Principles I Carry Over into 2016

cornfieldlogoAs we enter into this New Year of 2016, many make resolutions to change some facet of life or to promise to do this or that.

What we should never do, however, is resolve to change our core principles for the sake of change and without rhyme or reason.

For me, as I have stated for the past several years in various reports, there are certain principles which I have maintained and have consistently stood on and behind. That has not changed as we have left 2015 to history and entered the “brave new world” yet explored called, “2016”.

There are those who say that a moderate independent is a fence straddler or wishy washy, without root. I would beg to differ. I once more reaffirm the principles upon which my political philosophy is based and has been steadfast.

I may be open to discussion, open to modifications and even at times change in where I stand as new information is revealed, but I am firm on who I am and where I stand.

The Cornfield Political Platform

1. Size of Federal GovernmentI am for a leaner, streamlined federal government with more power and authority vested in local and state governments.

2. TaxesThe tax code needs simplified. Close tax loopholes and get rid of deductions. I am not opposed to a flat tax, a value added tax or national sales tax.

3. Government SpendingI believe in spending what you have. Only in rare emergencies should government borrow to pay bills. Unnecessary or redundant government programs, agencies, bureaus, departments should be eliminated to cut the cost of government spending on all levels: local, state and federal.

4. Government RevenueWhen necessary to keep vital programs, agencies, bureaus and departments operating, an increase in revenue (taxes) may be necessary, but should be rare, not the norm. Pledges to never raise taxes should be eliminated. It is at times necessary to pass limited taxation adjustment upward.

5. Safety NetsShould be there only for the elderly, the infirm and disabled. Most other assistance to others can be provided traditionally on the local level through families, communities, churches, charities and local and state government as needed.

6. Social SecurityNeeds revamped and overhauled for the future. Current recipients should have option of current program or a new overhauled program. Social Security Trust Funds should be off limits to Congress with hefty fines on individual members of Congress who attempt to “borrow” from the SSTF.

7. MedicareNeeds revamped and overhauled for the future. Perhaps an individual medical savings account is the route to go. Current recipients should have the option of the current program or the new system.

8. MedicaidThis should go directly back to the states and implemented as outlined in #5.

9. Supplemental Security IncomeShould be given back to the states to administer in a manner as outlined in #5.

10. Military/DefenseWe must ensure that we have the best equipped, best trained military in the world. We must be sure we stay ahead of the world in defense weapons and technology including cyber security. We do need to assess our commitments and global locations. Closing those bases that are not necessary, consolidating our forces and bases where feasible.

11. EducationBelongs on the local level. Local school boards should have more say over the curriculum and evaluation. Bad teachers should be weeded out without regard to tenure. Parents must become more involved. No federal oversight, only state and local administration.

12. Laws and RegulationsA complete study and analysis of all federal laws. Get redundant, outdated, overly cumbersome laws and regulations off the books. We must make sure our laws are concise and fair.

13. Environment and EnergyWe must become independent for our energy needs. We must explore all avenues. We must approach new technologies with common sense. We must ensure we do the best for the enviroment, but measured and with common sense without being overly burdensome. We will move from fossil fuels to newer, greener energy once that technology is developed and affordable. We must weigh the needs of jobs and the economy against rules and regulations put in place which would place an undue hardship on families and individuals.

14. EqualityWe must ensure that all our citizens are treated equally under the law. No one class or group of individuals or couples should be granted any rights and benefits not afforded to every other group of individuals and couples.

15. ImmigrationWe must stop the fear mongering and address the issue with common sense. Mass deportation will not work. Children who have grown up in the US all or the majority of their lives and who are here, not of their own free will, should be afforded a path to residence, but not citizenship, by serving in the military or upon completion of college giving back to the community in such areas as medicine, research and development. Immigration laws need enforced and streamlined and overhauled with quotas reassessed every 5 years.

16. The National DebtAs I stated, government should spend only what it brings in through taxation and fees. To pay down our unsustainable national debt, 10% of revenue should be used explicitly to cut the debt balance. Government will have to live with the 90% left to meet its expenditures, making cuts to stay within that amount. This 10% should be used until the national debt is liquidated. Once liquidated, the 10% should be set aside and build a surplus in the event of an emergency to prevent the need for borrowing in the future. If God and religious organizations can make it on 10%, the government can do without 10% to address the national debt and buld an emergency fund for the future.

17. Jobs and LaborThe federal government needs to get out of the way and let the market work. Except for ensuring workers are not abused and safety concerns are dealt with, government should be in the position of enhancing an environment that is conducive to job creation – not an impediment to work and business expansion.

18. Unemployment InsuranceThis should be returned to the states with full authority. Benefits should be limited to encourage individuals to actively seek work. Training classes and assistance in finding work should be provided and required. All of this should be managed and administered at the local/state level.

19. Food AssistanceThis again should be a state/local activity and not a way of life. This can be done successfully as was done traditionally as outlined in #5.

20. Financial and BankingThe federal government should ensure that proper oversight is in place to prevent those in the financial markets or banks from predatory practices. Banks or other financial institutions which run into trouble should be allowed to fail and let the market make corrections, while ensuring that customers are protected against loss. Regulators, inspectors and members of the Federal Reserve Boards should not be past or current employees of financial institutions or banks. Regulators, Federal Reserve Board members and inspectors must be completely independent of the industry.

21. AbortionAbortion should not be banned in its entirety. There should be exemptions for rape, incest and medical necessity (the life of the mother or viability of the unborn).

22. Campaign FinancesCampaign financing reform is drastically needed. All political campaigns should be funded on all levels (local, state, nationally) by the people through a fund set-up specifically for that purpose, placing all campaigns on equal footing with equal funding based on type of campaign (local, state, national). No funding of political ads by any other entity or individuals should be allowed and only publically-financed ads should be allowed. This will take Congress having the guts to cut off any and all outside influences.

23. The US of A in the WorldAmerica must accept and understand its position of leadership in the world along with its responsibility as being a beacon of freedom. However, the US of A must not become entangled in every outbreak or unrest that occurs. We must choose our battles carefully. When our government (the Executive and Legislative Branches acting in unison) does choose to intervene, we must ensure that our military forces are not hampered by politics or changing public mood. Rather when our military forces are unleashed it must be with one objective – to win and then withdraw from the battlefield. The US of A must not be in the business of nation building and must eschew the path of “winning the hearts and minds” of the enemy. The enemy is the enemy.

24. Voter ID LawsVoter photo identification seems logical and practical from where I sit in the Cornfield. We have had the law requiring a photo ID in the Hoosier State since 2005 with no disruption nor suppression of the vote. From my perspective, all the talk about voter fraud and voter suppression is all hooey. The practicality of having a photo ID to vote, to me, is that in order to receive government benefits, to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, to pick up prescriptions, to cash a check and the list goes on, a photo ID is required. Doesn’t it just make common sense if an ID is required for these things an ID would be appropriate before casting a vote? Think about it, you even have to have identification to have a job. Isn’t the most important function in our free society choosing our elected officials? So why not provide a photo ID, which under Supreme Court rulings must be free of charge?

That’s just a bit of The Cornfield Political Platform. It is not all inclusive nor does it address all issues. It is just a sampling of where I stand politically on the issues.

From the Cornfield, I stand flat-footed, my feet planted by the water. I may sway with the storms of life, but I will not be deterred by those who attempt to demagogue or cast aspersions on those who may think differently.

We are Americans.

Part of our legacy is our independence and liberty, not just from a foreign power, but free to think, reason and live with the least amount of interference and influence of government and special interest groups. It is our freedom to be ourselves, individuals united as one, which is our strength.

Our national motto says it best: “Out of many, one” – E pluribus unum.

In 2016, I Do Hereby Resolve…

cornfieldlogo…to refrain from responding, reacting, to engaging in any dialogue with any extreme ideologue on any post, report, blog, tweet or comment. To do so is a fool’s errand. It is simply “casting pearls before swine”.

Trying to have a real discussion or interact with an extreme ideologue, no matter which end of the spectrum, is like ramming your head into an immutable force. You keep doing it hoping that eventually you may make a dent or create a crack, refusing to realize it is immutable. It don’t budge.

It doesn’t matter how level-headed or logical your words or writings if it doesn’t match with the extreme ideologue’s position, you are automatically discounted and declared wrong. It doesn’t matter how many facts, statistics, irrefutable evidence are presented, the extreme ideologue will promptly be dismissive.

Both ends of the spectrum of ideology claim to be open to dissussion, claim to be seekers of the truth, claim to have a position on the higher ground, but unless your perspective is 100% on par with the extreme ideologue’s you are living in a world of delusion. While each polar opposite claims to be ready to see all sides, study all facets of a given issue or concern, to the extreme ideologue, there is only one side, there is only one facet. There are no shades, no contrasts, no variations nor truth from both ends that can meet and match in the middle.

For those of us who can see there is more than what is visible immediately on the surface and that there are layers to peel through before finding the gem in the center, we are dismissed and castigated. We, who are open, are not wearing blinders, are labeled herectics, wishy-washy, straddling the fence, unable to take a stand. This of course is as far from the truth and reality as one can get.

The reality is those of us who can “see clearly now, the rain has gone” are able to make informed decisions and make informed statements of belief that encompasses all that is around us. We do stake a claim. We do fight for what is right. We do hold our own.

From the Cornfield, in 2016, for as long as I remain upon this plain of existence, I hereby resolve to not engage in Don Quixote quests of jousting with the windmills of extreme ideology.

This is not to be construed as a boycott of other points of view, nor on not reading others’ comments and reports. What this resolution states is that in most instances, while I may follow, may peruse, may take in what is stated in both the posting and comments, I may in most cases refrain from commenting myself except in cases of clear factual error or whether to not comment would be a crime of gross negligence on my part.

Cha-Ching! Dems Debate

cornfieldlogoI noted Wednesday following the Tuesday Republican debates: human nature is such that each of us hears what we want to hear and see what we want to see in most situations. This is definitely true when it comes to the realm of politics and political debates. Often our mindset and preconceived notions determine what we perceive.

This is particularly true of Saturday night’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. From the punditry, the analysis, snippets from supporters and opponents, everyone saw and heard differing debate results.

For me one hyphenated word stood out – cha-ching! Yes, there were other moments and some substantial differences between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.

Yet, my head was resounding with the sound of money clinking as the Democratic contenders talked about how they want to expand the government’s involvement in our every day lives, the offers of “free education”, revamping healthcare and defeating the Islamic State.

Even when the three tangled over gun control, I could hear a tinkling of coins in the background. None were specific in numbers and details of how much their ideas were going to cost us – but – cost us it would. All three held their own with supporters being able to claim victory for each one with reasons to back up the claim.

To me Hillary won the day by not losing.

Others saw other things.

Good Morning America found nine moments that mattered:

  • Sanders Says He Is Sorry
  • Clinton Calls Trump ISIS Best Recruiter
  • Sanders’ Moment of Zen
  • No Fly, No Problem?
  • Sanders Gets Challenged “to Join the Democrats”
  • Hillary Goes Missing — Briefly
  • Everybody Loves Hillary?
  • Of “Lust” and Libya
  • Presidential Spouses Take Center Stage

Read the reasoning: https://gma.yahoo.com/third-democratic-presidential-debate-9-moments-mattered-042523396–abc-news-topstories.html

From the Cornfield, there will be two more Republican debates before the next Democratic debate. Then Iowa and New Hampshire vote.

By the way, the numbers were not good for last night’s showing.

Cornfield Polling Results

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Earlier this week I once more put up a non-scientific survey to gauge who readers wanted to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2016.

The results are in. Coming out on top with 50% of the vote of those who participated is Donald Trump. Three other candidates split the rest of the votes: Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.

results

Tonight, Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley will face each other in a debate that few are expected to view. The host is ABC and will begin at 8 p.m. (ET).

From the Cornfield, I was surprised to see Graham in the mix. The poll revealed that Trump has a good chance at winning the GOP nomination for president, but the field is fractured.

Debate Eve – Does Anyone Care?

cornfieldlogoTomorrow night in Manchester, New Hampshire for the third time Democratic presidential wannabes will square off. Once more the debate is scheduled on a Saturday guaranteed to get a minimal amount of viewers.

Contrast this to the Republican debates which have occurred during prime time in the middle of the work week which are smashing viewership records. The GOP has also had five debates today (10 if you figure there are always two debates – top tier and bottom tier) while this only the third for Democrats. 

Democrats will have one more debate on January 17 before Iowans and New Hampshire voters hit the ballot box. Republicans will conduct two more debates on January 14 and 28.

Question is does anyone care about Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley debating?

Apparently the Democratic National Committee who scheduled and sanctions the debates does not. Then again if Sanders and O’Malley are to be believed, Clinton has the DNC in her pocketbook.

The DNC has resisted calls from Sanders and O’Malley for more debates. This in spite of Clinton publicly stating she has no objection to adding debates to the few scheduled. What she has said in private is debatable.

Most presume that Clinton is already being fitted for her coronation gown and even fitting the Oval Office for new curtains.

It is understandable why, Sanders is still in the race. He is still drawing large crowds. He is getting big union endorsements. He is showing a lead in New Hampshire.

But can anyone explain to me O’Malley’s rationale for continuing to tilt against windmills?

Or could it be he is hoping the Federal Bureau of Investigation will conclude its look at Clinton’s email server and see the US Attorney indicting her?

This would leave him as a clear Democratic choice, being the only life-long Democrat in the race against the independent, Democratic Socialist Sanders.

Is O’Malley hoping to be there to grasp the crown if it falls off Clinton’s head if she is indicted?

What can we expect tomorrow night?

Most likely trying to stay awake and a lot of what we heard during the last debate. For Democratic voters the economy remains the number one issue unlike Republicans where it is national security.

From the Cornfield, with nothing better to watch on a Saturday night, I will tune in and write my take of the Saturday night slumber party.

Debate Take-Aways

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Human nature is such that each of us hears what we want to hear and see what we want to see in most situations. This is definitely true when it comes to the realm of politics and political debates. Often our mindset and preconceived notions determine what we perceive.

Last night’s two Republican debates among the 13 candidates for president who participated is a case in point. For supporters of each of the wannabes, they were not disappointed in their candidates’ performance.

For the undecided, each of us heard and saw different things which stood out the most.

There were one-liners and sound bytes galore to choose from in each of the two debates. But it is not the one-liners which stood out the most for me.

For me, my take-aways from both events were: 

1. Americans are scared

2. The would-be commander-in-chiefs are not sure what to do to calm Americans fears

3. There will be no 3rd party runs

4. Time to cut and run

More than angry, Americans and the candidates are afraid of what shoe will drop next.

Which city, community will be targeted next by radicals?

How do we stop it or can we?

We have suggestions of carpet bombing, negotiations, walls, deportation, banning a religion, troops on the ground with disagreement on how to do any of these things.

Do we disregard the Constitution and personal liberty for the sake of security?

The candidates primarily played to Americans’ fears rather than a call to their more noble natures.

Whether the war on terror, immigration, refugees, the siren call was to strike first rather than being hit at home. Yet our greatest danger appears to be from within more than from without.

It did appear evident to me that the follow candidates need to suspend their candidacies. Now is not their time. Time to leave:

1. George Pataki 

2. Mike Huckabee

3. Rick Santorum

4. Rand Paul

5. John Kasich

6. Carly Fiorina 

Jim Gilmore, who has been absent from the debates, should have already said, “bye-bye“.

If no good placement in Iowa and New Hampshire in February then these should be cut:

1. Jeb Bush

2. Lindsey Graham

3. Ben Carson

4. Chris Christie

Going forward after the two early states would have three contenders:

1. Donald Trump

2. Ted Cruz

3. Marco Rubio

This is crunch time. It is time to assess and re-evaluate.

While Graham is having no traction in the polls, he continues to best the field in debate performances. Trouble is – no one is listening.

Jeb came alive – finally.

Trump showed humility.

The young bulls – Cruz and Rubio – are the most likely to be on the stage for years to come.

Christie is mounting a come-back.

Rand is Rand, but he is not his father.

Carly is banking too much on her gender.

The doctor is not so good with an audience though great with house calls.

Kasich is from yesterday.

Pataki – who?

Huckabee and Santorum are yesterday’s news.

From the Cornfield, that’s the way it looked as I peered through the corn stalks last night.

Next up on Friday night, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have their snooze fest.

GOP Presidential Preference Survey

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Tuesday, December 15 – the date of the last Republican presidential wannabes debate before the New Year.

Here is your chance to make known your preference before 2016 who, at this moment, you would like to see emerge come July, 2016 as the Republican presidential nominee.

This survey will run through Friday night, December 18, at 6 p.m. (Eastern Time). The totals will be tabulated and the results made known over the weekend.

Make your voice known: http://fromthecornfield.com/polls/index.php/517439

Please share the link with your friends, family, in-laws and out-laws!

Changing Climate

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Since the beginning of time the climate has changed. The old adage remains true that no one can 100% of the time predict the weather. On these two points there has been little to no disagreement.

What has been in contention from before these first 15 years of the 21st Century is the impact that mankind has had and is having on climate change and the weather.

In the wee hours of the morning today, representatives from 195 nations around the world agreed to an ambitious goal of keeping the average temperature from rising by 2 degrees.

Question is whether all the signatories can get their respective country’s confirming bodies to agree to the accord.

The acceptance of mankind’s impact on the climate has been universally accepted with one major exception – the United States of America. Congress is already advancing proposed legislation to negate the US involvement with the Paris Climate Change forum.

Most members of Congress do not deny climate change is real, but argue over humanity’s impact and whether humans can do anything about it.

Yes, there are those with their heads buried in the sand who seem to even reject naturally occurring climate change.

The concern over climate change has been pronounced from President Barack Obama, his Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as being the number one threat to Americans’ safety and security – even more so that terrorist activity, foreign and domestic.

Outside the US, the other concerns over whether the Paris Accord may be accomplished are with China, India and Brazil – the big three, rising industrial and technological giants.

China is of special concern. Especially when you consider this past week that the Chinese government issued its first-ever red alert due to the severity of smog in the capitol of Beijing.

Most “climate change deniers” in the US seem to be Evangelicals and other Christian believers when you listen to some lawmakers who cite faith as part of the reason for their denial that the climate is changing.

Yet if Christians are to be true followers of the Christ, one of the prime directives from God is to be “good stewards of the Earth.”

Most fellow Christians I know do believe in conservation, proper tillage rotation, keeping the land free of trash and debris, doing what they can to decrease the misuse and abuse of energy and energy supplies.

For many people I have talked with over the years it comes down to dollars and cents. Yes, preserve the planet for future generations, but do not break the piggy bank to do it.

The new pact is being held as a monumental achievement, but it sorely lacking on actually doing anything. The nearly 200 nations only agreed to develop plans to prevent Earth from warming 2 degrees – nothing more. And the signatory nations are not required to do so, only agree to consider to do so.

So what good or how effective is this deal? From the Cornfield, while it is laudable that nations are talking about lessening the human footprint and causation on the changing climate this is too much ado about nothing.

Tell me what you think.

Trump 3rd Party Threat – Historical Evidence

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Donald Trump is once more threatening to bolt from the Republican Party and run as a 3rd party candidate for the presidency in 2016.

But historically, how have such bids fared?

As you can see from the chart below, since 1832, no third party candidate has come close to grabbing the keys to the Oval Office. Historically, third party candidates have been spoilers, often give the White House to the party least associated and often in direct opposition to the major party which the candidate’s views are more aligned.

Such, if we are to believe history, will be the case with Trump should he embark on an independent run.

Currently he is running in the GOP primary/caucus system. Should he negate his pledge to support the Republican nominee, one can based on the statistical past, reasonably believe that the Democratic nominee, most likely Hillary Clinton, will be a shoo in come November, 2016.

See for yourself the historical evidence:

3rdpartyAs you can see only John Breckinridge in 1860 running against Republican Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 running against Republican Howard Taft, managed a second place showing. In all likelihood,

Trump would take away the best shot, historically, for the out-of-power party (Republicans) taking the reins from the current in-power party (Democrats) after two, straight terms in the President’s chair.

This would mean we would wake up the morning after Election Day to Madame President-Elect Clinton.

From the Cornfield, unless Trump wants to see Clinton win, his best bet is to stay with the GOP and support its nominee – even if that nominee is not Donald J. Trump.

 

Campaigning Versus Reality – Rhetoric Can Be Dangerous

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Most Americans realize that candidates, no matter the office, will say anything to get elected to office. This is very evident with the 2016 presidential campaign – especially with Donald Trump.

Trump’s most outrageous statement to-date is calling for a total, but temporary, ban on allowing any Muslim to enter the US of A – which would be patently unconstitutional. But reaction from his supporters is, “Do it!”

Trump is tapping into the phobia – irrational fear – of anyone who happens to be followers of the Islamic faith. It is not unheard tactic in US politics.

George Wallace, in this third party bid in 1968, used it. He garnered 13.53% of the national vote and won five Southern states giving him 45 electoral votes.

But – he lost the general election.

Trump and his supporters should take note.

The rhetoric on the campaign trail can be harsh, can be borderline insanity, but can also cause rifts and scars on the American psyche. The words spoken can pierce to the marrow of the American spirit.

Most Americans surely know by now also that what candidates say and pledge when faced with the reality of governing usually come to naught.

Take for example President Barack Obama, then Senator, vowing to close the military prison at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. With a year left to be President, Obama has finally admitted Gitmo will not be closed on his watch, if ever.

What one promises on the campaign trail and what one is able to do once in the job often become empty words spoken in the heat of the race.

Should Trump emerge as the Republican nominee to run for President in 2016, if history is an indicator, the GOP will hand the keys to the White House to the Democrats in an unprecedented outcome.

Should Trump defy history and be elected, he will learn quickly as did Obama, that being President and running for President are worlds apart.

From the Cornfield, while I strongly denounce much of what Trump has said, I also know that the institution of the Presidency will and can survive even a Donald Trump. It has survived and will survive a Barack Obama.