Rock Does It Right

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All the buzz before tonight’s opening monologue at the 88th Oscars was what Chris Rock would say.

Chris Rock did it right.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Chris Rock handled the current boycott of the Oscars by some within the black community with humor, insight and on the mark.

Often I have found Rock to be over-the-top and inciting anger and division. Tonight, Rock was a rock of rationality and hitting the mark.

Diversity is needed in all walks of the American life. But let us get our priorities right and focus on what is really important in life.

As Rock pointed out why wait until the 88th Oscars to boycott?

He rightly noted in decades passed the focus was on those things which had a real impact on every day life – like staying alive.

From the Cornfield, hats off and give that man an Oscar!

Chris Rock showed he was the right host for the right time.

Wannabes Punch, Weave, Jab

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Things are getting serious in the Republican fight for the nomination to represent the party this fall in the presidential election.

Last night during the debate hosted by CNN at the University of Houston in Texas, there were more fireworks than a Fourth of July extravaganza. From the get-go Marco Rubio came out swinging. Ted Cruz joined in the fun from time to time as Donald Trump was pummeled by the junior Senator from Florida.

Standing on the outside of the ring were John Kasich and Ben Carson. Kasich appealed like a mother trying to break up her sons in a death match to be civil, calm down and play nice. Carson begged for someone, anyone to attack him so he too could brag of battle scars. The moderators were left bound and gagged on the sidelines as Rubio and Trump traded barbs, sometimes seeming to hit below the belt.

Looking for a chance to throw a sucker punch here and there, Cruz looked like the kid running around the schoolyard fighers waiting for a chance to throw a hit or two.

The money bags, the Establishment snobs, were oohing and aahing wondering where was this Rubio for the past nine months.

Cruz may have won one caucus by a hair while Rubio has came second twice with no wins, it is Rubio today who is getting all the buzz. Cruz’s sure win in Texas on Tuesday has been overshadowed by his fellow classmate.

But has Rubio come alive too late?

Mitt Romney, screaming at his television screen, managed to slip in some jabs of his own while Trump and Rubio went toe-to-toe.

It is obvious the Establishment is getting even more nervous that Trump is indeed reshaping the Republican Party in his own image.

But there are cracks in the ice.

Today former presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took his place in Trump’s corner. A Congressman came out as a Trump supporter telling CNN that 15-20 other Representatives told him yesterday they too were ready to back Trump.

Is it too late?

Is my analysis of An American Revolution on the money?

Is the Grand Ole Party become the Great New Party?

From the Cornfield, unless Rubio can score a win or two come Tuesday and his own state of Florida a couple of weeks later, his shedding of the robot suit and shaking the tree may be in vain.

Cruz may take Texas, but like the defenders of the Alamo who lost to the overpowering force of Santa Anna, he may find himself overrun by the armies of Trump and Rubio.

Sorry, Governor and Doc, looks like you both will end up being mere footnotes in the annals of history of Election 2016.

An American Revolution

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A political revolution is taking place in America.

Sorry, Bernie, you are not the catalyst of this upheaval.

Fact is the revolution is not even taking place in the party in which you are running to become president.

Fact is the party in which you are competing, the Democratic Party, has been moving your direction for decades, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in your political direction.

There is not nor is there a need for an insurrection with Democrats. If and when a revolution comes it will be to return the party to the center-left where it has been for most of its existence.

There is an American revolution going on, but it is in the Grand Ole Party. It is Republicans who are seeing their party transformed before their eyes.

The party moved to far to the right and now there is a correction. There hav been other attempts to revolt and transform the party with mostly failures, but also success.

The Dixiecrats with the lead of Strom Thurmond tried in the 1960s in reaction to the Civil Rights Era. The Dixiecrats were assimilated.

The Moral Majority, which became the Evangelical force, tried and succeeded in the 1980s. Until this election cycle, they have held the reins of power.

But now, American voters are saying, “enough” to the extremes of social conservatism when there are more pressing issues – the economy, terrorism, immigration.

The Tea Party tried, but were assimilated.

The Liberty Movement tried, but were assimilated.

Last summer along came a business tycoon, a reality TV star, worth billions. Until it was too late, the so-called “Establishment” thought his campaign to be the nominee for president from the GOP a joke.

Even the opposition and the current resident in the White House saw this brash, media-hogging celebrity as an entertainer bent on a publicity stunt. President Barack Obama, just last week, said America was not ready for an entertainer in the Oval Office.

Fact is, America has already set a precedent for a celebrity, an entertainer in the White House – Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump is upending conventional wisdom.

Donald Trump is capturing the hearts of the voters.

Donald Trump is changing before our collective eyes from a do-anything-for headlines reality star into an actual (gulp!) politician.

The Grand Ole Party is turning from being the party of “No” into a party of “Why Not?”

Fact is we are getting next to zero in the way of substantial policy blueprints.

Fact is we are not finding any substance to Trump’s ideas.

Fact is, Americans do not care.

While some state lawmakers and governors may be digging in, their constituents are moving away and turning another direction. These governors, representatives, senators may find themselves in political trouble come November unless they are willing to change and adapt to the new reality.

The conventions to select the nominees for both Democrats and Republicans are still a long way off. The election is more like an eternity away.

After only four states voting, no one can say if the revolution will succeed or fail. After only four states, no one can say what may happen.

Bernie Sanders may become the candidate of the party of Thomas Jefferson by default if Hillary Clinton is indicted.

The Establishment may congeal around Marco Rubio or John Kasich, impeding Trump’s march to Lake Erie.

From the Cornfield, what is certain at this point is that there is a political revolution in the US of A. Sides are forming and the fight is on.

The vaunted autopsy by the central committee of the GOP may have identified some of the problems with the party, but the committee did nothing to change the party.

Voters are now doing that and are cheering their general, Trump, with ticker-tape parades in community after community, state after state.

Will Trump and his troops be halted, sending The Donald into exile in Manhattan?

Will Trump’s forces lay waste to the terrain, installing him as leader of a new Grand Ole Party and claim the White House?

This is not the Whiskey Rebellion, easily put down by George Washington.

This is not your grandma’s and grandpa’s politics.

This is an American Revolution.

Is anyone in Washington DC listening?

Bare Knuckles Brawl

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Last night’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina broke out into a bare knuckles brawl as Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz took off the gloves. John Kasich and Ben Carson stayed out side the cage, yet both scored points with a more gentle approach.

From the get-go, it was obvious that most of the candidates were out for blood and would give no quarter.

Where the Democrats have devolved into a three-person race with President Barack Obama being very much a part of the debate on stage between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Republicans have turned into an eight-person race where former President George W. Bush is in the fray.

While neither President was physically in the room, both Presidents were very much impacting the discussion.

In a surprise, Rubio came out in defense of GW and backing his chief rival, Jeb, on the issue in a free-for-all with The Donald. The audience, packed by the South Carolina State Party with Establishment types, booed over and over at Trump especially when he slammed GW.

Jeb disinvited The Donald to a Monday rally where former First Lady Barbara Bush (the nation’s Grandma) would be in attendance. Jeb said he was “sick and tired” of The Donald blasting his family.

Liar, liar – over and over Marco, like a Chihuahua, nipped at Ted’s heels. Ted did not lay down, but punched back at The Donald and Marco. The Donald could not decide who was the biggest prevaricator in the room – Ted or Jeb.

Kasich called for a time-out which went ignored.

The Doctor got more questions and speaking time than in previous debates.

One point where all the candidates agreed was that the choice of who should filled the vacancy caused by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court should be put off until a new person takes over the Oval Office.

Who won and who lost?

Each of the candidates scored points. Each won in their own lane.

How that will translate come the South Carolina primary and the Nevada caucus is anyone’s guess in this atypical and strange, topsy-turvy election cycle.

Likewise each of the wannabes lost in that most likely none expanded their appeal much beyond the base already supporting each one.

Clear losers were the moderators of the event put on by CBS. It was clear that the moderators were not in control as the candidates continuously talked over each other, interrupted each other, demanded to interject and respond.

The moderators caved.

From the Cornfield, there will be another debate on February 25 after the primary and caucus. Whether the field will narrow after those votes is up in the air.

Before the votes are cast Republicans will get one more chance to talk to the voters of South Carolina as CNN hosts three candidates on Wednesday in a town hall and the remaining three in a town hall on Thursday.

Conservative Justice Unexpectedly Dies

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Conservative and often controversial Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead of apparent natural causes this morning.

Scalia, who was appointed to the high court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was a stalwart of the conservative bent of the Court.

Often his remarks and actions were seen as a pox by the liberal portion of the nation while endearing to the right.

Scalia was a guest at the Cibolo Bend Ranch in the Big Bend area of Texas when he was discovered dead this morning.

Many had thought a vacancy may occur on the Court earlier, but presumed it would be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She, however, opted not to retire.

With the vacancy caused by Scalia’s death there will be a push by Democrats for President Barack Obama to name a successor to the bench, who will turn the Court from conservative leaning to liberal leaning. However, with Republicans holding the majority in the US Senate, the vacancy most likely will not be filled until the next President takes office.

Scalia, whether loved or hated, will leave a dent in the cases considered by the Court. He was in the minority of such landmark decisions such as upholding the Affordable Care Act and the decision which made same gender marriage legal across the nation.

With this presidential election cycle already destroying the conventional wisdom, it is certain that the passing of Scalia and the vacancy on the Supreme Court will become a major campaign issue with both Democrats and Republicans.

The pressure to appoint a new justice will be intense on the White House. Equally, the vise will be twisted to the extreme on the Senate to not confirm any appointee.

Scalia was the first Italian-American appointed to the Court. He was also the longest serving justice of the current bench.

From the Cornfield, no matter your political persuasion, Antonin Scalia was a legal force and a brilliant mind impacting our judicial system from the top to the bottom.

Thoughts and condolences to the Scalia family.

May he rest in peace.

‘Trust Me’ – Um – No

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Nearly two years ago I penned an article on politicians telling people to “trust me“. With a couple of alterations that article is on point with this year’s presidential election cycle.

It is not as if we have never been warned.

Our parents warned us. Our teachers warned us. Our ministers warned us. Psychologists have warned us. Prosecutors and judges, especially television judges, have warned us. Talk show hosts with cheating guests have warned us.

Yet over and over again it seems we, human beings, never listen.

The first words out of someone caught doing something they shouldn’t or someone’s other half is caught cheating, it is always the same two words, “Trust me.

Americans, especially voters, seem to throw all caution to the wind every time some politician answers a question or peppers a speech with those two problematic words. A defendant or witness in a criminal or civil trial is immediately suspect, yet jurors seem to ignore the flashing red letters, as the person sitting in the witness box declares, “Trust me.

What is it in the psyche of humanity that seems prone to allow those who intone as if pontificating from the heavens, “Trust me“, to get away with it?

In this election season we have a candidate in the world of politics, in the land of public service, who has in essence pronounced this dictate to potential voters, “Trust me.

That candidate is Texas Senator Ted Cruz. A banner is emblazoned in the background at all his rallies with “TrusTed”.

Sadly, too many will be duped by what we have all been warned is a clear sign and reason to run the other way. Sadly too many of us will hold our nose, close our eyes, grin and bear it. Sadly too many of us will once more fall for those two words which almost never end well – “Trust me.

I am not saying that Cruz is not worthy of a vote or cannot be held to his word.

What I am saying is that we should all “trust, but verify“, as Ronald Reagan advised. Sadly, too many of us will find it too hard to verify and hope for the best instead.

Let’s not go blindly down a road pitted with potholes and think we can escape the jarring and damage to the undercarriage of our life vehicles.

From the Cornfield, when will we learn, especially when it’s a politician who is mouthing the words, “Trust me“, to stop, look and listen before crossing a busy highway into the onrushing traffic?

How many more times must we be fooled before there is “reasonable doubt” when anyone, especially a politician, looks us dead in the eyes and says, “Trust me“?

When is enough, enough?

Danger, Hillary, Danger

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The people of New Hampshire have spoken.

Donald Trump was the choice by more than a third of Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats chose Bernie Sanders.

While the GOP continues to thrash around figuring out whether to coalesce behind one so-called “Establishment” candidate to go up against The Donald and untrustworthy Ted Cruz, the real news may be on the Democratic side of the race.

And that news is not good for Hillary Clinton. Last night’s exit polls showed that 66% of men preferred Bernie over Hillary. That is not surprising. Men have always eschewed a Hillary run.

What is a clear danger sign is the way the female vote went.

According to the exit polls, 53% of women voters felt the Bern.

So much for Gloria Steinem’s and Madeleine Albright’s comments to younger women pressing it was a woman’s duty to vote for another woman.

If the vote of women continues to break toward Bernie in Nevada and South Carolina, this will not bode well for the woman who hopes to be the first US female president.

Another danger signal was the way the 18-29-year-old vote broke. Bernie garnered 85% of that vote, which is more than that of President Barack Obama back in 2008.

Perhaps former Obama campaign manager, David Axelrod, got it right in his tweet the other day about the problem not being with the campaign staff – but – the candidate.

From the Cornfield, will Hillary listen to the sirens going off or will she ignore?

Will the coronation of Queen Hillary be usurped by the court jester?

Maybe we will get answers on Thursday night when Bernie and Hillary once more debate on PBS and simulcast on CNN.