And Therein Is the Problem

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to speak on the nation’s largest black-owned Christian television network.

This should be positive news for the candidate who is barely in single digits with support from the African-American community as he faces the fall election.

Trump has been blasted by members of the community, the campaign of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and pundits for reaching out to black voters while speaking in front of predominantly white audiences.

Trump has been ridiculed for not going into black churches or before such groups as the NAACP to speak when invited.

The Trump campaign and surrogates have pushed back saying that the audience does not matter since the speeches are televised nationwide. They say that Trump is not speaking to the audience in the hall, but to the television audience and thus directly to African-Americans.

The campaign and surrogates have said Trump was trying to be respectful and did not want to go into areas where his presence would result in riots such as what occurred earlier this year when Trump spoke in California.

When it was announced today that Trump would go on the Christian network, owned by blacks and targeting a black viewership, this was a step in the right direction.

Not so say critics and pundits.

One black pastor was on CNN today and made it clear that Trump was not welcome to go into and speak to the black community or in black churches.

The pastor said he would be in the studio to protest Trump being on the network and beaming out to African-American Christians.

The pastor said straight out that Trump was not welcome nor should he be allowed to speak.

And therein is the problem.

How can we have an honest discussion when one side is ready to lock the door, batten the hatches, board up the windows and not allow for an open discussion?

From the Cornfield, I am not a fan of either Trump nor Clinton.

I am guilty of not understanding the perspective of those of color as I am an old, white man.

But in life, if we are ever to get along, we must be willing to tolerate each others’ opinions and views, though we disagree.

We must learn how to live in tolerant co-existence with one another.

To govern properly and do what is best for the nation we must learn compromise.

The same is true for getting along with others – even in our own families.

How can we learn or move forward when we close our minds to all competing thoughts?

As has been so often said throughout the years, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Cornfield Standings – 72 Days Out

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As of today there are 72 days until the November 8th General Election. This election may be one of the most crucial in decades.

Not only do we have a host of local and state elections occurring, but the both the US House of Representatives and US Senate face either retaining Republican control or either or both turning over to the Democrats.

Then there is the change in guard in the nation’s two highest offices – the President and the Vice President. Who wins the election for the Oval Office will also impact the direction of the US Supreme court for generations.

Each Saturday between now and Election Day, I will show where the top state and national candidates rate as far as getting my vote.

From the President to Governor to Senator and Representative, you can see how I am leaning from week to week.

President:

  • Libertarian Gary Johnson – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Donald Trump 2 Ears of Corn
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton 0 Ears of Corn
  • Green Party Jill Stein 0 Ears of Corn

US Senator:

  • Democrat Evan Bayh – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Todd Young – 2 Ears of Corn

8th District Congressional Representative:

  • Republican Dr. Larry Buschon – 4 Ears of Corn
  • Democrat Ron Drake – 0 Ears of Corn

Indiana Governor:

  • Democrat John Gregg – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Eric Holcomb – 2 Ears of Corn

This does not mean between now and November my mind can’t be changed. This is just how I am leaning at this point in time.

From the Cornfield, that’s how I view the races.

How are you leaning in your state and national elections?

Journalistic Integrity Model

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His father was a liberal giant. His brother is governor of arguably the most liberal state in the Union. He works for a center left news network. His political ideology is not a secret.

Yet, CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo is cut from the same fabric as those paragons of journalism, Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert.

Both icons maintained the highest level of objectivity and integrity in their reporting. While we knew their political bent, neither let that get in the way of doing the job of a free press who looks at events with an eye of neutrality and not picking sides.

This is why Cronkite was America’s favorite Uncle behind Uncle Sam. This is why Russert was the face of Meet the Press for two decades with full trust of the viewing public.

Compare this to today’s crop of journalists whom survey after survey reveals are not trusted. Today’s journalists rank far behind even the two most mistrusted presidential candidates in history.

Then there is Chris Cuomo.

Most people would accept if he slipped now and then and revealed a bit of bias or prejudice, but he does not. Instead Cuomo seems to go out of his way to uphold and maintain why the free press was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris makes sure he does not become the story, but rather lets the story develop on its own. In questioning candidates and politicians of all stripes, Chris walks the line we expect of reporters unlike too many of his colleagues.

Whether liberal or conservative or moderate, whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, all are put under the same glaring light of professionalism and transparency.

Chris is one reason I continue to view CNN. Not that I have many options with Fox News being too far to the right and MSNBC being too far left. 

There is hope left for the current cadre of journalists who have abandoned the principles on which our free press was founded.

That hope is the example of Chris Cuomo.

From the Cornfield, Chris keep up the good work and being an example for journalists everywhere in this day when too many journalists are leaving behind objectivity and integrity.

Thank you, for the breath of fresh air, Chris.

‘Fess Up, Brianna

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Each day I tune in to CNN for all the news of the day in addition to pouring over the various news feeds online.

Over this past week, I have watched as one of the senior political correspondent and fill-in anchor has gone from objective reporter to an out-and-out surrogate for one of the presidential candidates.

Brianna Keilar has been filling in for Wolf Blitzer the last week while he has been on grandpa leave during the 1 p.m. Wolf show and the 5 p.m. The Situation Room.

After her interview with Donald Trump’s Chief Counsel Michael Cohen went viral as Keilar and Cohen squared off about polls and Trump being behind, I have watched as she has dropped day-by-day all pretense of objectivity.

Brianna has turned before our eyes on the television screen from being a journalist who covers the campaign of Hillary Clinton into a full-blown surrogate and defender of Clinton.

In my other life as a print journalist, who happened to cover politics, I would have been shown the door if I had exhibited even a smidgen of the bias Brianna is showing during her interviews with Trump supporters and in talking with her panel.

Today after bringing up the subject of stories swirling, erroneously, about Clinton’s health while interviewing Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy, Duffy attempted to say there were issues to talk about, but Keilar was not having it. She kept trying to get him to talk about the health concerns until he finally gave in to her persistence.

Later in talking with the panel, Keilar defended her inquiry and wondered why Duffy did not steer the conversation to issues instead. This after she clearly would not let him do that.

Brianna, it is time to ‘fess up.

Time to admit you are in the tank for the candidate you are suppose to be covering objectively.

Question is: are you being paid by the Clinton campaign in addition to your CNN pay?

For inquiring minds, I am not a Trump supporter. I am currently leaning toward the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

I am not a conservative, but a moderate. I am an independent, though I usually vote in the Republican primary.

From the Cornfield, this election cycle is making more nostalgic for the late Walter Cronkite and the late Tim Russert.

Both respected journalists always maintain objectivity in every election. Both respected journalists never let their own bias or prejudice get in the way of being members of the press.

Voters Size Up Choices

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In less than 80 days American voters will choose who will become President of the United States in January, 2017.

While there are four or five real options this election, the two major party candidates are the most likely to win enough Electoral College votes to move into the Oval Office.

Pew Research recently asked voters their thoughts about Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Not surprised that neither Clinton nor Trump scored well on whether, if elected, either would be a great or even good president. When you consider that both are the least liked and least trusted runners for the White House in anyone’s memory.

goodgreatprezAs is evident in the above chart, the majority view both Clinton and Trump to be an average to terrible president. Clinton does better with 67% saying average, poor or terrible. Trump gets trounced with 70% saying not good for the presidency.

Voters tend to split based on who they support on what are the main issues, problem areas in this election cycle.

problemsAs you can see, however, there is a convergence whether a Trump or Clinton supporter when it comes to race and ethnic group relations.

Trump supporters see immigration as the main problem facing the nation while for Clinton supporters it is the gap between rich and poor.

Terrorism ranks high for fans of Trump, but for Clinton voters it is below 40%.

Trump is running as the law and order candidate and more than half of his supporters see crime as a problem while a bit over 40% of Clinton voters think it is.

The availability of good paying jobs concern nearly half of Trump voters, but for Clinton supporters not so much.

Bernie Sanders and Green Party Dr. Jill Stein may have put emphasis on the environment which shows with Clinton supporters at over 40%, those voting for Trump see it as just blipping on the radar.

Going against Republican orthodoxy, Trump has been shooting hard at free trade agreements. Clinton had touted the Trans Pacific Partnership as the “gold standard” of trade agreements until she caved under pressure from Sanders and now does not support it.

What is the feeling of voters about trade?

tradeNearly 60% of Clinton supporters (Sorry, Bernie) favor free trade agreements. Trump supporters are overwhelmingly against by nearly 70%.

According to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, if elected, Clinton will sign and back the TPP, which would line up with her supporters on the trade pact. For almost 60% of Trump voters that would be a mistake.

Clinton is running for a continuation of Democratic policies under President Barack Obama and even saying a win would be a third Obama term. Trump, on the other hand, is railing against the Establishment and doing business the way it has always been done in Washington DC.

But has the country changed so much in the past half century a change candidate is needed?

changeBackers of Trump say it has and life is worse now than 50 years ago. A super majority of 81% of those going to the polls in November for The Donald feel that way. Contrast this to nearly 60% of Clinton voters who believe life is better now than then.

Whether the next generation will have a better life than we currently enjoy, Clinton supporters are split with 30% saying it will be worse and just under 40% saying it will be better.

A minuscule 11% think that the next generation life will be better among Trump backers. The vast majority think it will be worse for our children and grandchildren.

From the Cornfield, is it any wonder that people are taking second and third looks at Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green’s Stein when there is such a divide in the way Americans are thinking and viewing the election?

Race Determines Race Perspectives

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This election cycle race has become a major topic of discussion. Adding fuel to the emphasis on race has been the number of people of color killed in confrontation of police.

Yet, for all the news headlines about race, the protests, the riots, the upheaval in big cities across the country, Pew Research has uncovered some interesting information. How people talk about and view race relations in the nation is largely determined by one’s race.

For the majority of whites, race seldom if ever enters the conversation on social media. For the majority of blacks, race occupies a majority focus on social media.

Check out this chart:

socialmediaraceAs is readily seen, for whites race is something of an afterthought. For blacks, race is an integral part of life on and off the web. The saying goes that perception is reality.

For most blacks, the perception is that life in the US of A is pitted with systemic racism. For most whites, the perception is that the race issue was long settled and not worth discussing.

It is our perceptions, whether from the Cornfield or from the inner city, which taints our reality to one view or the other. Thus our reality is skewed toward what we see when we look out the door. This also has an impact on what we hear from and see on the campaign trail from the candidates.

Another saying is you cannot have your own facts, but the fact is the facts are even colored by our perception which is also colored by our color or race.

Because of our perspectives being different, do our perspectives end up being self-fulfilling prophecies?

From the Cornfield, whites believe we are well on our way to that color blind society where people are accepted as people without a regard to race. Blacks believe the mountain is still far off in the distance.

Can the two perceptions ever meet and become a reality for all?

Or will we continue to struggle day by day in either ignorant bliss or fearful existence?

Read more about the Pew study: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/08/15/social-media-conversations-about-race/

Cornfield Standings – 79 Days Out

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As of today there are 79 days until the November 8th General Election. This election may be one of the most crucial in decades.

Not only do we have a host of local and state elections occurring, but the both the US House of Representatives and US Senate face either retaining Republican control or either or both turning over to the Democrats.

Then there is the change in guard in the nation’s two highest offices – the President and the Vice President. Who wins the election for the Oval Office will also impact the direction of the US Supreme court for generations.

Each Saturday between now and Election Day, I will show where the top state and national candidates rate as far as getting my vote.

From the President to Governor to Senator and Representative, you can see how I am leaning from week to week.

President:

  • Libertarian Gary Johnson – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Donald Trump 1 1/2 Ears of Corn
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton 0 Ears of Corn
  • Green Party Jill Stein 0 Ears of Corn

US Senator:

  • Democrat Evan Bayh – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Todd Young – 2 Ears of Corn

8th District Congressional Representative:

  • Republican Dr. Larry Buschon – 4 Ears of Corn
  • Democrat Ron Drake – 0 Ears of Corn

Indiana Governor:

  • Democrat John Gregg – 2 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Eric Holcomb – 2 Ears of Corn

This does not mean between now and November my mind can’t be changed. This is just how I am leaning at this point in time.

From the Cornfield, that’s how I view the races.

How are you leaning in your state and national elections?

Qualified to Be President

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This presidential election cycle we are hearing a lot about this one or that one not being qualified for president. We hear this disqualifies him. This disqualifies her.

Through a good part of the primary season questions swirled around whether Texas Senator Ted Cruz met the qualification of being a natural-born citizen.

With Cruz not winning the Republican nomination and the fact that Cruz is one of the most disliked politicians among his colleagues in Washington DC, there was no need to pass a special law proclaiming him a natural-born citizen as was done for Arizona Senator John McCain in 2008.

Of course McCain was a war hero, who had been held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War, and was well liked on Capitol Hill by friend and foe alike. McCain also came from a long line of Naval officers and had been born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed there.

But that is an issue for another time, if Cruz tries to run again in 2020 or 2024.

Currently the issue has risen again about the two most disliked and untrustworthy candidates to ever sit atop the two major parties’ tickets.

Even the two minor party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein, have jumped into the conversation saying both Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are not qualified to be president.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, at a news conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore in the East Room of the White House, jumped in the fray proclaiming Trump not qualified.

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania for Clinton made a case that he says disqualifies Trump from the Oval Office.

Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine routinely have made disqualifying Trump a part of their stump speeches.

On the other side of the aisle, from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus along with countless other GOP lawmakers pronounce Clinton is not qualified.

Trump constantly points to Democratic rival Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders saying time and time again that Clinton’s vote on the Iraq War and coziness with Wall Street bankers disqualifies Clinton from the presidency.

FBI Director James Comey, in confirming before Congress that Clinton did not tell the truth to the American people though she did to the FBI, said that Clinton was extremely careless in protecting American secrets with the use of a private email server while Secretary of State.

Trump and company has seized on this to confirm Clinton is not qualified to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Everyone seems to have a pocket Constitution these days. That’s the authority on who is or is not qualified to be president. So…open up your Constitution and refer to Article II Section 1 Clause 5:


No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

That my friends is the complete list of qualifications to run for and be elected to the highest office in the land.

From the Cornfield, we may not like this candidate or that candidate. We may not trust this candidate or that candidate. We may pray we had others from whom to choose.

But…alas!…both Trump and Clinton meet the constitutional qualifications to be president.

God help us all!

Cornfield Standings – 86 Days Out

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As of today there are 86 days until the November 8th General Election. This election may be one of the most crucial in decades.

Not only do we have a host of local and state elections occurring, but the both the US House of Representatives and US Senate face either retaining Republican control or either or both turning over to the Democrats.

Then there is the change in guard in the nation’s two highest offices – the President and the Vice President. Who wins the election for the Oval Office will also impact the direction of the US Supreme court for generations.

Each Saturday between now and Election Day, I will show where the top state and national candidates rate as far as getting my vote.

From the President to Governor to Senator and Representative, you can see how I am leaning from week to week.

President:

  • Libertarian Gary Johnson – 3 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Donald Trump 1/2 Ear of Corn
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton 1/2 Ear of Corn
  • Green Party Jill Stein 0 Ears of Corn

US Senator:

  • Democrat Evan Bayh – 3 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Todd Young – 1 Ear of Corn

8th District Congressional Representative:

  • Republican Dr. Larry Buschon – 4 Ears of Corn
  • Democrat Ron Drake – 0 Ears of Corn

Indiana Governor:

  • Democrat John Gregg – 3 Ears of Corn
  • Republican Eric Holcomb – 3 Ears of Corn

This does not mean between now and November my mind can’t be changed. This is just how I am leaning at this point in time.

From the Cornfield, that’s how I view the races.

How are you leaning in your state and national elections?

About that Red Line, Mr. President

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Remember back in the midst of the 2012 presidential election cycle when President Barack Obama in his quest for re-election stood up before the whole world and drew a red line in the sand and dared Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad to cross it?

What did Assad do?

He crossed it of course.

Then remember how the President tried to back away and disclaim responsibility for the red line?

Speaking at a news conference in Sweden back on September 4, 2013 had this to say:

“It’s not my red line.”

The President then went on to say, “I didn’t set a red line, the world did…This debate is about the world’s red line. It’s about humanity’s red line…about Congress’s own red line.”

It all had to do with the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on its own people.

Russia rode in like a knight on a white horse to save the President from having to back up his threat to Syria crossing his red line.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 12, 2013 proposed and Syria’s embattled President Bashar al Assad apparently agreed to placing the chemical weapons stockpile under the control and direct supervision of the international community.

With the proposal on the table, Obama while stating the US had a moral obligation to punish the Syrian regime for use of chemical weapons, called on Congress not to vote on his request for authorization of use of force until the diplomatic solution from Putin played out.

Putin, Assad and even the United Nations watchdog pronounced to the world months later that Syria had turned over all its chemical weapons. The regime no longer had the capability of using these banned weapons on its own people.

Skip ahead to the past couple of months and even this week.

For at least the fifth time, the Syrian regime has used chemicals on its own people. The latest attack this week was the use of chlorine gas. There have been three other instances of chlorine gas attacks, one attack of mustard gas and one of Sarin, which have been documented.

All of these since supposedly Syria gave up its chemical stockpiles.

Yet the media is not saying much about it. Not just in the US of A, but in Europe there is little outcry about the blatant disregard once more to the President’s red line.

Shame once more, Mr. President. Over and over, your policies have allowed innocents to die at the hands of a madman.

On Thursday, Mr. President, you received a letter from 29 of 35 doctors left in the besieged city of Aleppo, Syria asking the US to provide safety to medical facilities which are attacked every 17 hours not by just the Syrian regime, but by Russian forces backing Assad.

The White House merely acknowledged it received the letter – but nothing more.

Like your red line, Mr. President, apparently this humanitarian crisis will also be ignored.

From the Cornfield, in the current political season, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is asking the American people to elect her to be the third term of the Obama presidency.

Are moving red lines, which mean nothing, and turning deaf ears to the cries of 300,000 people facing death due to the war crime of attacking medical facilities what the American people want to see continue?