To Our Veterans – Salute!

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

On Wednesday, November 11, we stop and give thanks for all those who have served the nation in uniform, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to ensure that we have the life we so proudly proclaim.

Their sacrifice is honored with each election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land, the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

The ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds, the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought for peace, justice and freedom.

None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to each of our veterans and to those who still serve.

On a more personal note:

Normandy Award to Luther C. Powell

In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

Three made it back home at the close of World War II. The one who didn’t return was my Uncle Homer. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

First Sergeant Jack L. Hollifield

My step-father, a fresh-faced kid from Sullivan County, Indiana didn’t wait to be drafted. He went to the recruiting office and signed up to be a soldier for Uncle Sam. He survived, though wounded once, three tours in Viet Nam. He remained in the US Army to retire after 20 years as an E-8 First Sergeant.

USN veteran Allen Powell

My grandfather’s only son, my uncle, later followed in his father’s footsteps and sailed off on the ocean blue with the Navy. He served around the world, then came home.

Allen's Honorable Discharge

All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.

AFC Mark after USAF Basic Training

Their service made it possible for me to join the US Air Force in 1976. My time was spent at Grissom AFB, right here in the Cornfield.

It also allowed my step-brother, John Hollifield, a few years later to join the US Army. Unfortunately, we lost him in a drunk driving incident after he did his duty and was home.

The sacrifice of my grandfather, great-uncles and step-father also allowed all of us to still be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is why I am always appreciative of those who choose to serve in our military. This is why I always have an empathy and a connection to the families left behind to keep the home fires burning to shine the light to lead our service members home.

Each November 11th, we celebrate, not just the veterans of that long ago war that was to be the war to end all wars, but the holiday has evolved to celebrate and to show appreciation for all who have served our great nation and those who continue to serve.

From the Cornfield, veterans, I salute you and thank you!

Cruisin’ with Cruz

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

While Donald Trump is known to be bombastic and throwing jabs at anyone and everyone, the real bruiser in the race to be the Republican presidential nomination is the junior Senator from Texas, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz.

Cruz has had a reputation as a fighter ever since he was elected to the US Senate. He is credited with the single handled shut down of the government since his tenure began.

Whether Democrat or Republican, Cruz has no problem going for the jugular. He even called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar from the floor of the most prestigious club in the world.

The only area where Cruz seems to be hesitant about calling out or taking a punch is with Trump. This has led to speculation that Cruz is perhaps waiting in the wings to be a running mate to the New York Mouth. Some talking-heads point out that Cruz may be hoping to pickup Trump’s more right-leaning supporters if the front runner stumbles or drops out.

While Cruz is of Cuban-American descent, his position on immigration is in stark contrast to the other Cuban-American in the race, Marco Rubio of Florida. Taking a hard line, Cruz is adamant about the deportation of illegal immigrants and has sided with Trump on the issue.

The Texas firebrand is a stalwart of the Tea Party. He is a staunch fiscal and social conservative. He espouses a belief that compromise is a betrayal of one’s principals – thus he is often seen as obstructionist in moving legislation through the Senate – even when sponsored by Republicans.

There has been controversy surrounding the eligibility of Cruz to run for president since he was born in Canada. As a result he renounced his dual citizenship. Most, however, believe that Cruz is eligible since he was born to an American mother and a naturalized father while in Canada.

Currently Cruz is running in 4th place in the national composite with 7%. That is nearly 20 points behind front runner Trump. In the key state of Iowa, Cruz stands at 3rd place with 7%  still far beyond The Donald.

On Cruz’s website (tedcruz.org), you won’t find a link called, “issues” or “policies” or “goals”. What he does share is his “proven record”. 

What we know is what positions he has taken since his election to Washington and speeches he has given. This produces the following:

We know that Cruz is against all tax hikes and wants taxes cut.

We know Cruz is for complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

We know Cruz is against ever raising the national debt limit.

We know Cruz is not accepting of the Supreme Court ruling on equality for all long-term couples.

We know Cruz is a tank in defense of the Second Amendment.

We know Cruz wants a wall, a fence, troops on the border, anything to stop illegals from crossing.

We know Cruz is against allowing the 11 million in the country illegally to stay.

We know Cruz is pro-life and anti-abortion for any and all reasons.

We know Cruz accepts only one position on any issue – his own.

What we do not know is exactly what Cruz will do on anything should he become president other than undoing everything he opposes.

From the Desert with my feet firmly planted in the Cornfield, while Cruz cruises along waiting for the misstep that will push Trump out of contention, we are left with little of substance to judge whether he should be the pick of GOP voters.

Where Do They Stand? Anybody?

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2016 Election Season – Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts!

The first debate (or was that two debates?) in the 2016 presidential election has passed. There were slight movers, no shakers, but there was fall-out.

Republicans have taken the stage, but we have to wait until October for the Democrats. Who knows if we will get a chance to hear from the Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Greens, Reformists or the independents.

With the summer of campaigning halfway completed, what do we know about the two major party candidates and their positions on the issues?

Donald Trump wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it, which is not going to happen. Trump also thinks the Mexican government is sending the dregs of society to our country since our government leaders are “stupid” and will take these troublemakers in, making them our problem.

Hillary Clinton wants to hand out a free, two-year college degree and pay for it later with more taxes from American workers. Clinton also wants us all to ride bicycles to help the environment while she boards a private jet.

Bernie Sanders wants the minimum wage to be a phased rise to $15 per hour and a “living wage”.  Sanders also wants to cut the cozy ties between Wall Street and Hillary and all the Republicans.

Jeb Bush wants education to stay in the hands of locals, but with core standards. Bush also wants to do what his father could not and beat a Clinton.

Martin O’Malley erroneously thought that each and every life matters until he was forced to apologize and recognize only certain lives matter.

Ted Cruz thinks everyone is wrong and a liar except himself.

Rand Paul thinks government should stay out of people’s personal business. Paul also thinks we should defeat terrorism, but keep our nose out of the world’s affairs.

Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are for ending, any way possible, equality for all American couples. The tactics and statements are straight out of the mid 1960s when those tactics were so successful in putting the Supreme Court in its place for declaring bans on inter-racial marriages unconstitutional.

Marco Rubio is all for fixing our immigration problem and a pathway to legal residence. Rubio is also dead set against having re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba.

John Kasich has a similar view on immigration as Rubio. Kaisch is open to loving everybody. He is also in favor of expanding Medicaid, though he is not a fan of the Affordable Care Act.

Carly Fiorina, a former corporate executive officer, is not a fan of paternity and maternity leave – surprise, surprise. Fiorina also thinks Hillary is the wrong woman for the job. Fiorina knows how to handle men in the boardroom as she has all over the world – unlike Hillary who can’t handle one man.

Lindsey Graham is in the race only to keep the focus on national security and the threat of jihadism. Graham has no delusions about being able to get the nomination.

Jim Gilmore is the man who is telling us, “I told you so” on the threat of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Dr. Ben Carson is the brain surgeon, retired, who knows where to cut and how to cut, causing the least pain – but does that translate into economics? Carson also advocates moving on from race and uniting all as Americans.

Chris Christie knows how to deal with a Democratic majority. But can he deal with a Republican majority?

Scott Walker is all for busting public unions. Walker may have maxed out his credit card, but he will have a plan to fix the economy – eventually.

George Pataki, the three-term former governor of New York, has a plan to try and make it to the next debate.

Jim Webb – is he still in the race on the Democratic side?

Rick Perry is learning that song, “If We Make It Through December” and changing the month to September. Too busy figuring out how to keep staffers on the job without pay to worry about the issues and policy.

Bobby Jindal – is he still in the race on the Republican side?

If we go to the candidates websites (a simple search will get you there), sadly we will find little to no substance. There is no meat on most of the bones, if there is even a bone.

So where do the candidates stand and what workable plans do they have on:

A. The Economy

B. Job Creation (good jobs, not just low paying jobs)

C. The National Debt and Budget

D. Energy and the Environment

E. Terrorism

F. Uniting Americans

G. Safety Nets and Sustainability

H. Down-sizing Government

I. Campaign Finance

J. Wall Street, the Markets, Banks

From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, as I look through the stalks of corn and navigate through the cacti trying not to get stuck, it may be early in the political season, but we know very little on what matters from any of the candidates.

 

Trumping Trump

cornfieldlogoIs there any way to halt the juggernaut, Donald Trump, in his quest for the presidency?

Is there a Thing or Incredible Hulk out there who can match The Donald and impede his march on Washington DC?

Can a Man of Steel or a Caped Crusader put a stop to the steamroller rolling across the land?

This time around Mighty Mouse is not on the way. This time Speedy Gonzalez has dashed to the border. This time Yosemite Sam is lost in the redwoods mumbling, “Tarnation!”

The Republican National Committee with backup singers, the rest of the GOP presidential wannabe field, can be heard singing, “Holding out for a hero.”

Is there no one who can trump Trump?

Wait, what’s that I hear?

There is someone who can trump Trump – it is The Donald himself!

What no one else can seem to do, Trump may soon be a victim of his own brashness and blunt talk. Trump is on the verge of implosion.

There is an easy explanation for what seems the popularity of Trump with the core of the GOP base. There is an easy explanation for why independents and others are flocking to The Donald’s events.

Savvy businessman and television entertainer he is, Trump is tapping into the frustration and anger the people out in the heathers are feeling toward politicians and the elected officials in Washington. Trump knows full well the more lambastic he is and more often he shoots from the hip, the people eat it up.

But therein lies the problem.

Trump knows the buzz words. Trump knows how to read the crowd. Trump knows how to get attention.

Where Trump will trump himself and implode will be on policy specifics.

When he has to actually start answering the questions he now avoids or which he deflects to sound byte mode, then is when, as the saying goes, the rubber will meet the road.

Trump has to lay out a plan – a plan to fix what he is complaining about.

Trump is going to have to lay out specifics on how he will deal with the 11 to 12 million people who are in the US of A illegally, whom most have been here for 10 years or more.

Trump is going to have to spell out what he will do with Iran, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda – and just saying, “Bombs away!” – is not a strategy nor an answer.

Trump is going to have to, in graphic format, explain how he will get the national deficit under control and a budget which will ensure the viability of safety nets, the highways, other infrastructure and the defense of the nation.

Words, accusations without foundation, throwing jabs – first right then left – may draw crowds and keep Trump’s name in the press, but when it comes down to the voting booth, there must be policies and plans which Americans may read and understand – and hear enunciated from the candidate’s mouth.

From the Cornfield, who can trump Trump?

Trump.

The implosion may very well be seen on television nationwide come August 6 – IF the other GOP candidates pin Trump on issues and demand him answer.

Then again, The Donald will survive and look stronger, IF the wannabes do nothing, but attack him, rather than debating the issues.

Official ‘Other’ Wannabes

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Recently I shared who were, at the time, declared candidates and potential runners for the Republican and Democratic Parties presidential nomination for 2016.

But those are not the only political parties in the US of A. Though most of the time it seems those are the only choices when we go to the ballot box.

There are other parties. There are other candidates vying to become the standard bearer for those other parties or running on their own – even though the election of a third party candidate or independent is highly unlikely.

The two who came in the closest in recent history to a distant upset were George Wallace, governor of Alabama and stalwart anti-segregationist, and Ross Perot, quirky billionaire and independent founder of the modern Reform Party.

Like a perennial blossom, the Libertarian Party puts forth a candidate and placement on the ballot nationwide, but gets nowhere near Wallace or Perot in electoral votes or winning a state in presidential cycles.

So who are those other “official” candidates for president in 2016?

Glad you asked!

Here they are:

Libertarian Party

Declared Candidates

Mark Feldman – Physician – MORE

Cecil Ince – Actor & Business Owner – MORE

Steve Kerbel – Author & CEO – MORE

Darryl Perry – Author, Publisher, TV/Radio Host – MORE

Derrick Michael Reid – Lawyer & Engineer – MORE

Joy Waymire – Veteran & Spiritual Visionary – MORE

Potential Candidates

Gary Johnson – 2012 Libertarian Nominee, Former New Mexico Governor – MORE

R. Lee Wrights – former Vice Chair, Libertarian Party – MORE

Constitution Party

Declared Candidates

Scott Copeland – Ordained Minister – MORE

Chad Koppie – Farmer & Retired Jet Pilot – MORE

Potential Candidate

Chuck Baldwin – Pastor, Theologian & Radio Host – MORE

Green Party

Declared Candidate

NONE

Potential Candidates

Jill Stein – 2012 Green Nominee, Physician, Environmental Activist – MORE

Cynthia McKinney – Former Georgia Congresswoman – MORE

Reform Party

Declared Candidate

Ken Cross – Management Consultant, Semi-Retired Engineer – MORE

America’s Third Party

Declared Candidate

David Jon Sponheim – Entrepreneur – MORE

Now those running as an Independent:

Ed Baker – Management & Market Research – MORE

Paul Chehade – Entrepreneur & Human Rights Activist – MORE

Mark Dutter – MORE

David Holcomb – 2012 Independent Contender & Lawyer – MORE

Lynn Sandra Kahn – Executive Consultant – MORE

Bishop Julian Lewis Jr. – Ordained Bishop – MORE

Mark Pendleton – Educator – MORE

Jeremiah Pent – Entrepreneur – MORE

Ryan Shepard – Bartender – MORE

Scott Smith – Finance Expert & Entrepreneur – MORE

Tami Stainfield – Computer Science & Political Studies – MORE

Robert Steele – Activist – MORE

Samm Tittle – Entrepreneur – MORE

None have the real potential to upset the status quo and knock the main two parties’ nominees out of the Big Chair.

However, what if one of these could get the attention to be heard?

Could one of these change the dialogue, if the media only allowed them to speak to a national audience?

From the Cornfield, there you have it. The “other” presidential wannabes.

Check them out and let us know what you think.

Do any of them have the ideas, the qualifications, the ability to change the direction we are now headed to a better port in the storms ahead?

 

Rand Who?

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Remember when last year the junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky went to the US Senate floor and made an historic filibuster?

Well, remember when this same Senator a couple of months back once more took the floor for another filibuster to jump start his flagging campaign?

You are not alone, if the recent polls are any indication.

At one time Rand Paul, son of former Texas Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, who turned out the crowds in a bid for the presidential nomination during the 2012 race, seemed like he was the man to beat in the upcoming GOP primaries and caucuses. Rand with his libertarian ideals was tapping into the angst of Republicans, independents and even Democrats.

Somewhere along the way, Rand seems to have been detoured or, being kind, ran across more than his share of those dreadful speed bumps that plague shopping center parking lots.

The steam went out of his locomotive with his position on foreign entanglements and isolationist-slanted talk. This was all when the threat from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and homespun jihadists were beheading, kidnapping, raping, pillaging and threatening inside the US of A borders.

Rand may be coming in 6th in the top 10 contenders on the GOP ticket, according to the Real Clear Politics composite polling at 7.3%, which is enough to get on stage at the first debate in August, but his numbers are disappointing. Rand’s headline-getting-attention is waning.

What’s the heir to the Liberty Movement to do?

I noted back in 2011 that Dr. Paul had no expectations of either winning the nomination nor of moving into the Oval Office. I stated over and over that what the doctor was doing was building a catapult to launch Rand into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This seemed more plausible when a number of state party boards were grabbed by members of the doctor’s very loyal and very vocal followers. There was a lot of speculation what course of action the Liberty Movement would take with its new-found power.

It appears that the fate of victims of the Borg has been the outcome – Paulites, rather than reshaping the GOP, have been assimilated. This is to the detriment of Rand’s current campaign.

Rand has yet to generate the loyalty his father still commands. Rand has yet to get Paulites to blanket social media in a blitzkrieg that carpet bombs all foes.

While many younger Republicans and independents do like what Paul has to say when it comes to individual freedom and reining in government intrusions into what they believe should be none of the state’s business, others in the crowded Republican field are sidelining Rand out of serious contention – at this moment in time.

Most notably, “The Donald” Trump is sucking the oxygen out of the room for almost every other candidate with his flamboyancy and disruptive rhetoric. That rhetoric is causing a tsunami of devastation which could have major effects on Republicans ability to become a more diverse tent in 2016 and win the election.

Rand, for his part, has backed away somewhat from his more jingoistic and xenophobic approach to foreign affairs and trouble spots, which keep erupting. He has had to soften his strong disagreement with US involvement with world wars and battlegrounds as the terror and jihadist reach has been successful in penetrating crevices within the nation.

Will Rand be able to reignite the Liberty Movement and Paulites?

Will Rand be able to provide the contrast and the words at the debate in August to have the base take a serious look at his candidacy?

From the Cornfield, looking through the stalks and the cacti, Rand has to find a way to grab the attention back from the likes of Trump and Jeb Bush.

Question is: Is Rand the man to do it?

Or will people be asking, “Rand who?”