Before we get started, pour yourself a tall one of This is Life, mixed not stirred, with the flavor of choice: Fox News, CNN, MSNBC or PBS. With that out of the way, let us move to the main course.
Grab a healthy slice of WWE Raw and knead with Survivor. Mix in a dallop of Big Brother and a bit of The Amazing Race. Blend until it consists of The Voice along with a tinge of American Idol. Sprinkle in The Real Life and a dash or two of Fear Factor. Garnish with The Apprentice. Bake and bank it like America’s Got Talent.
For dessert serve, hot or cold, The Bachelor or World of Dance (you may substitute Dancing With the Stars or So, You Think You Can Dance).
What you have concocted is the hottest dish on television this year, breaking all ratings and blowing up the Nielsen boxes – the reality hit – The Prez, starring Donald J. Trump and a host of snakes and gators slithering through the swamp.
So, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
We should have seen it coming. The critics should not be surprised. But in such a relatively short period of time it may have caught us all off guard.
Less than four score years ago, the first television President burst on our black and whites. John F. Kennedy became a matinee idol to Richard Nixon’s five o’clock shadow of a villain in the making.
Bill Clinton took late night TV by storm and even rocked out MTV.
Barack Obama tapped into the new internet medium, but soon a new nerd came along to dominate social media – Trump. On our smart phones, our tablets, laptops and PCs, not to mention our flat screens, Everything’s Turning Up Trump!
The American viewing public is eating up as The Donald takes on the Main Stream Media and rubs the Dems and even his fellow GOPers noses in it.
Americans have become insatiable. More Facebook videos. More Twitter. More Youtube cinema masterpieces.
Howard Stern may be the king of all media, but Trump is the master of the medium of social networking.
America, you asked for it – you got it.
Those 24-hour news networks have fed the monster and shot it up with hormones, resulting in the award winning show of our first Reality Television Presidency.
Now the national press corps complains about the Frankenstein it aided the American public in creating.
Yet in the Heartland, in the Cornfield, people tune in to catch the highlights, but go back to living their lives. Folk here tend to care more about a job, paying the bills, living life, putting food on the table.
While the Coasts can’t get enough of the Beltway action.
The Heartland yawns.
From the Cornfield, how long will the show run?
Will it crash and burn early with an impeachment to boost ratings?
Tune in tomorrow – same Bat channel, same Bat time.
It is a time to stop, reflect and remember those military personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain and protect our freedom and way of life in the US of A.
The tradition of Memorial Day originally began in commemoration of those soldiers lost during the Civil War. It was known in various communities and states as Decoration Day. The date set aside was May 30. This was later changed to allow for a 3-day weekend by Congress to be the last Monday in May.
For the vast majority of Americans it is just another holiday weekend and the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. For many others it’s the weekend when millions around the world tune in to watch or listen to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indy 500.
To too many it’s just a day to get together with family, have picnics and barbecues, go to the opening of community pools across the nation.
It’s a time to lay back and enjoy having three days off in a row with no worries.
Yet, Memorial Day symbolizes much more.
Ask any veterans’ organization or any military person in uniform or any family member who has lost a loved one in war, whether declared or undeclared, in peacetime or wartime.
Memorial Day was meant to be a day upon which a grateful nation pauses to remember those who donned a uniform and gave their lives in defense of our American way of life.
These brave men and women paid the ultimate price to make sure we could have our picnics, our barbecues, our splashing around in the pool.
The sacrifice of those who gave their lives 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 and died for peace, justice and freedom.
None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to those men and women who died in defense of our freedom.
On a personal note:
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 the war. The one who didn’t return was my Great-Uncle Homer. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.
I never was afforded the pleasure of meeting my Great-Uncle Homer Powell, a sailor who gave his life for our nation during World War II and long before I was born. The family seldom mentioned his name, but it was apparent Great-Uncle Homer was not forgotten. His picture, in uniform, hung proudly in my Great-Grandpa Ancil Powell’s living room. In silence, his memory was honored.
Today thousands still are in the fight to keep us safe. Over the past 10+ years, thousands more have shed their blood and forfeited their lives. We must never forget their sacrifice, their bravery, the lives they lived.
This is why we owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay and should never stop repaying.
This is why the deaths of veterans waiting on care from the Veterans Affairs medical facilities is such a gaping wound on the American conscious and must be addressed not after another study, but with action now.
From the Cornfield, I hope each of you will take time from the barbecuing, the playing games with family, watching reruns of yesterday’s race or enjoying the water and sun to stop – remember our heroes who gave their all so that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Welcome to the weekly compilation of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the comings and goings from the alternate world of reality – politics!
THIS JUST IN!: Major news outlooks are reporting that Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus has been selected to become President Elect Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff beating out Breitbart Exec and Campaign CEO Steve Bannon.
Tomorrow voters will fan out across the nation. At issue is who will lead the country for the next four years.
Will the race end or will there be ongoing battles contesting the will of the people?
Will there be mandatory recounts or challenges raised to specific precincts or state vote counts?
One Elector from Washington DC is already on record as saying he will vote on December 19, his conscience even if goes against how the people vote for their presidential choice.
Will any of the third party candidates deprive either of the two major party candidates from an Electoral College majority?
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey released another letter to congress in which he confirmed that his department had reviewed the emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton found on a laptop used by disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Hillary confidante Huma Abedin.
Comey stated that he stands by the conclusion he came to in July that there was no criminal wrongdoing by Clinton in the use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Comey wrote that investigators had worked “around the clock” to review all the emails. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions expressed in July.”
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is staying mum on the news.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is imploring voters to “deliver justice at the ballot box” for Clinton’s alleged criminal activity.
Trump supporters see this as more proof that there is one standard of justice for Clinton and another for ordinary Americans.
The emails found on Weiner’s laptop were determined to be mostly duplicates of other email already reviewed and personal correspondence.
Question is: Are voters paying attention?
US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan’s response to Comey’s announcement:
Early voting shows that Hispanic turnout is at an all-time high.
Could this portend bad news for Trump?
The largest voting bloc this election cycle – Millennials – could be the deciders in tomorrow’s election.
Question is: Will Millennials use their power at the polls or stay home in disgust?
The markets are loving the news from the FBI as the Dow jumps more than 250 points and the S&P 500 gains after a 9-day losing streak. Investors prefer a Clinton presidency to a Trump administration.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a federal judge in Ohio’s injunction against Republican activity at polls, when the judge barred the GOP from “scaring” voters. Democrats have now appealed to the US Supreme Court.
The US Justice Department says it will monitor the polls in 28 states, five more than 2012.
The FBI has questioned Muslims in eight states over concerns about election threats.
Will African-Americans turn out for Clinton on Tuesday?
To-date, African-American votes are lower than those of 2012.
If you are a fan of The Voice, like I am, expect to see your entertainment interrupted by two-minute commercials from Clinton and Trump tonight.
There is more than just who will sit in the Oval Office on the ballot tomorrow.
There is the fate of who leads the Senate and the House.
There are governor’s offices up for grabs in a number of states, including Indiana.
There are state legislatures along with a host of local races to be determined.
The first female US Attorney General, a key figure in the President Bill Clinton Administration, Janet Reno has died at age 78.
Reno was a figure of controversy with the Waco assault on the Branch Davidian compound and the Elian Gonzalez deportation.
Her decades long fight with Parkinson Disease is now ended. For the warrior her battles are over. She moves to her seat in the hallowed halls of Valhalla.
Rest in peace.
The finish line is sight as the candidates sprint toward a win or a loss.
Barring some unforeseen major screw-up, disputed ballots or multiple machine malfunctions, we may know later tonight or in the wee hours of the morning who will be the 45th President of the United States – Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.
That is unless neither gets the requisite 270 Electoral College votes. In that case it goes to the US House of Representatives to decide our next leader.
There have been a few hiccups today, but nothing of consequence as of this time.
The Trump campaign filed suit to set aside some early voting precinct ballots in Nevada, but the judge said it ain’t happening.
The weather has not been beneficial to my respiratory system today, but I made my way across the street to the Ruritan building to make my voice heard in the Cornfield.
On the northern border of Sullivan County, Indiana where I live is Vigo County and county seat Terre Haute. Since the late 1890s, Vigo County in all but two elections has chosen correctly the candidate who becomes President.
Will Vigo County do it again?
The election of the Cornfield’s new US Senator filling the vacancy with the retirement of Dan Coats will be a real squeaker between Republican Todd Young and former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh.
The governor’s office is being vacated since Mike Pence may or may not be the nation’s next Vice President. Another squeaker between Democrat John Gregg, former Speaker of the Indiana General Assembly, and Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb.
The all-important State of Florida is still voting, but has already exceeded the total votes cast in 2012. Some 400,000+ more Latinos registered and voted in early voting.
The super early voting in northern New Hampshire gave Trump the win 32-25 in the three communities. Clinton did claim the first in the nation vote from Dixville Notch taking four of the eight votes. Trump received two and Libertarian Gary Johnson, one. The final vote was a write-in for Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
In Hart’s Location, Clinton captured 17, but only 4 in Millsfield. Trump garnered 14 and 16, respectively.
The next crucial vote will be on December 19, when Electors from every state gather to officially elect the person who will be the next POTUS.
It is over!
Last night I could not get Carol King out of my mind singing:
“I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the clouds coming tumbling down…“
Even today the song won’t quit.
Around 2:30 a.m. Hillary Clinton called Trump and conceded the election.
Shortly before 3 a.m., Trump addressed the nation for the first time as the nation’s soon-to-be 45th President.
In his acceptance speech, Trump said, “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”
Trump also congratulated and held out an olive branch to his rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump won 289 electoral votes with four states still out.
He knocked big holes in the Blue Wall of Democrats as he claimed Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to put him over the top.
Michigan will likely be added to his win as well.
The plan had been to run through the Rust Belt and turn blue to red.
It looks at this time that Clinton won the popular vote by a little less than 200,000 votes, but Trump took the Electoral College by blasting through Clinton’s firewall.
Both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate stayed firmly in GOP hands, handing Trump an added bonus come next January when he takes office.
As noted yesterday, the Cornfield’s Vigo County has in all, but two elections, correctly picked the next President in every election since the late 1890s. Vigo County, Indiana did it again on Tuesday as the normally Democratic country went for Trump.
Indiana Republican Congressman Todd Young stomped on favored former Governor and Senator Evan Bayh in the Cornfield.
In the Cornfield’s gubernatorial race, Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb bested Democrat John Gregg, who was in a second run for the governor’s mansion.
Holcomb will succeed Mike Pence, who was elected to become our next Vice President.
In Illinois, as expected, Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Senator Mark Kirk.
Democrats held onto retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada, where Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto bested GOP Congressman Joe Heck.
California, Massachusetts and Nevada voters approved recreational marijuana use.
Maine may be added to the list as votes are tallied. In Arizona the measure is failing.
Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas gave thumbs up to medical marijuana initiatives.
Colorado voters approved assisted suicide.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona will be no more. He tumbled and failed in his re-election bid for a seventh term.
“The people Arpaio targeted decided to target him,” said Carlos Garcia, executive director of the advocacy group Puente. “He lost his power when undocumented people lost their fear.”
The pundits, the pollsters, the national press are still in shock.
Results reveal Trump – the equal opportunity offender – received more Hispanic and African-American votes than 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
President Barack Obama will meet with Trump Thursday to plan for the peaceful transition of power, the hallmark of US democracy.
No glass ceiling.
No floor painted with the map of the US for her stand in the center.
Rather a more demure setting with a tinge of sadness was the scene as Clinton today said farewell to the political world and her disappointed supporters.
Clinton, dressed in purple, – the convergence of red and blue – conceded the election to Trump.
She noted that Trump would now be her President and President of all Americans.
“We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” Clinton said.
To the dismay of her supporters, last night Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta came out to speak to supporters at the Javitz Center, where Clinton’s celebration was to take place, told the crowd to go home.
Clinton would not be speaking last night.
President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, stood in the Rose Garden today to promise a smooth and efficient transfer of power. The President also pointed out that we are all Americans and “on the same team.”
Both Presidents Bush and their wives called Trump to wish him well and to offer their support.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the new Administration.”
While congratulations came in from leaders around the world, many also expressed concern about Trump’s election.
For the uninformed, this looks like the end of the “Un“Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature domestic legislation.
Expect one of Trump’s first acts as President is naming a jurist to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Remember when Obama was elected Texans talked of seceding?
This time around we have Californians talking “Calexit.”
With the White House and both chambers of Congress being in Republican control come January, will the GOP do any better than the Democrats in 2009?
Melania Trump, born in Slovenia, will be only the second First Lady not born in the US of A.
The other was Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams.
While last night, in 25 cities across the US of A, people marched in protest to the election result which catapulted Trump to the presidency. Many of those protesting were young people. High school students, some too young to vote, stomped out of their classrooms in protest.
Many expressed fear of the future under a Trump Administration.
I wonder how many of these young people know our history or understand our political system?
Much of the protests seem reminiscent to the fear and protest of many in 2008 when Obama was elected.
As the President said yesterday, “The sun still rose.”
Protesters across the nation found themselves behind bars as well.
Young protesters, many undocumented, were concerned they or friends and family would be rounded up and shipped out of the US of A.
The Trump Transition Team is fighting over whether to consider #NeverTrump people for vital posts.
Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sounded like he was back in the boxing ring as he slammed voters electing a “sexual predator” as President.
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison being touted to become Democratic National Committee Chair.
Former Maryland Governor and presidential wannabe Martin O’Malley expresses interest in DNC Chair.
The Mayors of Los Angeles and New York vow their cities will remain sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.
The marches in the street, some peaceful, some not, continue even though the election was five days ago.
Fear is a common reason given for people taking to the streets in protest.
Portland, Oregon continues to be the center for violence rather than peaceful dissent.
The safety pin has become the symbol for the movement. As it signifies keeping those maligned by President Elect Donald Trump during the election cycle – Muslims, the gay community, minorities and handicapped individuals.
The campaign of losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as well as the candidate herself are blaming the loss of the presidency to Donald Trump to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey sending letters to Congress in the waning days of the campaign about opening then reclosing the issue of criminality with use of a private email server while Clinton was Secretary of State.
What Clinton refuses to do is take blame for the loss in her own actions or message.
About one-third of Clinton supporters are saying the election is not legitimate.
Vice President Elect Mike Pence has taken over the Transition Team.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was demoted to vice chair of the team.
A choice of who will be Chief of Staff is imminent, according to the only woman to ever successfully run a presidential campaign, Kellyanne Conway.
Trump told CBS 60 Minutes he will continue to use Twitter, but be “very restrained” in what he tweets.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the President Elect has no plans to form a “deportation force.”
Trump said that sections of “The Wall” may be fencing instead of an actual wall.
As most supporters already knew, President Elect Donald Trump signaled he would keep provisions that allow for people with pre-existing conditions to have healthcare insurance as well as allow children up to age 26 remain on their parents’ insurance policies.
Today, 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:
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.
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.
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.
All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.
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!
The election is coming up fast. November 8 will be here before we turn around and sit down.
Over this past week I surveyed my family about whom they would vote for President. I also asked them to share whom they would vote for Governor and US Senator, since the majority live in the Cornfield.
Overwhelmingly, Republican Donald Trump came out ahead on the presidential race. When it comes to the other two offices open for Indiana voters, it was a down the middle split.
Here is how it played out:
Democrat Hillary Clinton 25% Republican Donald Trump 62.5% Libertarian Gary Johnson 12.5% Green Party Dr. Jill Stein 0% Independent Evan McMullin 0%
Democrat John Gregg 33% Republican Eric Holcomb 67%
Democrat Evan Bayh 33% Republican Todd Young 67%
So is one family’s divisions indicative of the public as a whole?
We will know in a few more weeks.
From the Cornfield, I actually believe that the way my family is split does mirror the country at large.
It seemed to be a quiet, sunny day in the dwindling hours of summer. People going about their business. Children rushed off to school. Flights of pleasure, business and fancy were seemingly soaring the skies peacefully.
Tranquility and a sense of safety were shattered in an instant as a commercial jetliner plowed into the World Trade Center (WTC). What first seemed to be nothing more than a tragic accident was quickly revealed to be more diabolic in nature.
The world watched horror-struck as a second jetliner in live airtime was shown deliberately crashing into the second tower of the WTC.
The unthinkable, that which seemed to only be comprehensible in a movie script, lifted from the page of fiction into the horrifying fact of reality. Life changed forever.
I rolled over. Opened my eyes. With blurred vision, I looked at the clock. 10:48 a.m. I sprang out of bed, shaking my head, wondering why I had slept so late.
I grabbed my robe, moving between my loveseats to turn on the television. I made my way back around what I called, my loveseat, to make my morning coffee.
Strangely I heard the voices of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. In disbelief, disconcerted and shocked, I listened and learned about the attack on America.
Nearly spilling the water, I finished making my coffee. I stumbled back to my loveseat to watch and listen to the unfolding events.
I yelled at the troubled young man sleeping on my other loveseat, “Wake up! We’ve been attacked!“
Frightened, not knowing what to do, how to react, what to say, the young man took off on his bike. Running, trying to find comfort, peace and some sense of what was happening.
I stayed glued to the TV.
Not only had two commercial planes been used as guided missiles exploding into the WTC, but another had been fatally directed at the Pentagon.
But, this was not the end.
The news revealed a fourth jetliner, its objective still unknown, was deflected from further mass destruction by the heroics of passengers. Passengers, who followed the highest law of Love.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)
The unthinkable had become a deliberate, thought-out scheme of murder, destruction, mayhem, pain and suffering.
What had happened to America’stranquility and safety?
Gone in moments.
What were and are we to do?
What could and can our leaders do?
What was and is America to do?
Life changed forever.
From the Cornfield, we pause, as we do each year, and remember the lives lost, the heroes, the resolve of a nation to not back down, to rise from the ashes and press on for a better day filled with peace, liberty and justice for all.
We will never forget.
We will never crumble.
We will stand tall.
We will cross any valley, climb any mountain, ford any stream and remain forever that shining city on a hill to which the world looks to find light in the darkness of ignorance, fear, intolerance and injustice.
This Sunday afternoon I sit in Mark’s Den watching and listening intently to heartbreaking news coming out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Three police officers have been killed in an apparent ambush. Three other officers have been shot with at least one in critical condition. One suspect has been killed. Two other suspects are being sought.
It is a little over a week since five officers were killed by a mad snipe in Dallas, Texas. Now this.
It is the eve of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. There is concern that protesters may come armed with rifles and shotguns since Ohio is an open-carry state.
As President Gerald Ford told Congress and the American people in 1975,“The State of our Union is not good.“
The same can be said as I sit here in the Desert and look out across our land from sea to shining sea in July of 2015, 40 years, a generation, later.
The country is at its most divisive since the mid 1960s. The country is nearly as torn as it was in the mid 1860s. But so far, insurrection, taking up arms, has not occurred.
For the past few years there have been calls by some quarters to secede once more from the Union. There was a movement, including an online campaign with thousands of signatures, for Texas, which once was a republic in its own right, to pull out of the national association of states and return to the time of Sam Houston.
At times over this last year, where many of us had thought the racial divide was giving into the melting pot, we have learned that there is a segment out there where we have a white America and a black America. There is an abyss between suburban, small town and rural areas of the country and the inner cities and areas of urban concentration.
Even between suburbia and rural, small town communities there is a divide. The more liberal occupy urban America and much of suburbia, while conservatives claim rural and small town America.
Each day we turn on the television and go online with trepidation wondering if we will be dismayed, our hearts torn, by yet another mass killing or disaster. Each day we wonder if a rogue country will launch the bomb.
Radicalism is growing and not just with those pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Some threats are homegrown. Some threats are white supremacists, black power enthusiasts, free nationalist anarchists and so on.
Crime may be down over all, but police are backing off from serving and protecting. In many parts of the country – urban areas predominantly – police are under fire, afraid doing their job will lead to being arrested.
Politicians are playing to our baser nature, garnering large crowds. Politicians are playing on our fears to keep us in an uproar. Politicians have forgotten their duty to do best for the nation and not for their personal careers.
Then there are the millions going about life, ignoring it all. If it does not knock on their door, these millions stay in blissful ignorance, dashing toward the cliff and destruction.
These millions will wake up, but will it be too late?
While the annual budget deficit may continue to track downward, not a word about the national debt of $18 trillion plus and growing. Not a word about the generations to come already buried in red ink. We run merrily along from bubble to bubble, from crash to crash.
Yes, my friends, the State of our Union is not good.
From the Cornfield, should the national anthem be changed to “God Bless America, Again?”
Or have we traveled to far down the road of perdition where even the Almighty cannot intervene?
However, in light of Dallas and now Baton Rouge, the question is being raised if some within our American family have taken up arms in insurrection targeting law enforcement?
From the Cornfield, perhaps what is needed is to heed II Chronicles 7:14,
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Surely if ever for the sake of the State of our Union, our land, the US of A, needs healing.
As if this election cycle has not been bizarre enough, what if come January 6, 2017 no one wins a majority of the Electoral College?
What happens if neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton reach the magic 270 votes from the electors of the 50 states and the District of Columbia?
Article II Section 1 of the US Constitution sets up the Electoral College and what to do in the event no candidate receives a majority of electors.
It is not that there is no precedence of nominees not reaching the requisite number in our 240-year history since proclaiming our independence from Great Britain.
Yet in each of those cases in history, it has not been a pretty affair.
Most recently, most of us can recall when this came close to happening in Election Year 2000 when sitting Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote to challenger George W. Bush as the Florida votes were in dispute.
In that situation, which Democrats refer to the election robbed and handed to Bush, the third branch of government, the Supreme Court, stepped in and decided along ideological lines (conservative versus liberal) that Florida went to the Bush column.
The first instance took place shortly after the birth of the nation in 1800. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, won as Congress voted to make him the nation’s third President.
However, the opposition Federalist Party members of the House of Representatives considered giving the presidency to his vice presidential pick, Aaron Burr, instead.
The Federalists had backed John Adams for a second term.
What triggered the House stepping in to decide the election was that the Democratic-Republican Party, which backed Jefferson and Burr, gave each 73 electoral votes, thus triggering the need for the House to step in and decide the election.
Following this debacle, since at the time the top and second vote getters were elected President and Vice President, the 12th Amendment was ratified in 1804 which called for the two nominees for the top slots in the Executive Branch be from the same party.
For a few years all was sane, then came the 1824 Election pitting Andrew Jackson against Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and William H. Crawford, the sitting Treasury Secretary.
There was no majority of electors.
Under the 12th Amendment, the top three vote getters would be cast to the House of Representatives for a vote. Clay was out, but agreed to throw his support behind Adams in exchange for becoming Secretary of State for the son of the first Adams to be President.
Jackson had won the popular vote, but the Clay-Adams could not be beaten.
In an election that gave rise to the image of powerful men with cigars in a smoke-filled back room making deals to decide the fate of the Oval Office, Rutherford B. Hayes became President in the 1876 Election although rival Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote.
Under a commission set up by Congress to determine which slate of state electors to seat in the event a state submitted competing rosters of electors, but the commission kept splitting 8-7 to over which slate to seat from Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana.
Hayes cut a deal with commission members to withdraw Reconstruction Era federal troops from the South in exchange for the South to protect and respect the rights of freed blacks.
The commission approved the slates of Hayes’ electors handing the election to him.
Although Hayes kept his word and withdrew federal troops, as history has shown us, it was nearly a century later before the South finally lived up to its end of the bargain.
There is also the unusual situation where Gerald Ford became President after Richard Nixon resigned from office rather than be impeached over the Watergate scandal.
Ford, a member of the Michigan House delegation, was elevated to be Vice President after Spiro T. Agnew was removed from the vice presidency on charges of taking bribes while Governor of Maryland. This set-up the situation for Ford to become the first and only President of the United States to have not been elected to office.
This brings us to this weird year. We have the two most unpopular candidates for office ever as the nominees or soon to be of the two major parties – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
There is rebellion among Establishment and some conservative Republicans who have lined up as #NeverTrump. These GOP members are looking for another candidate to support. The opposition to Trump even includes the GOP 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
With Democrats there are those who felt “the Bern” and pledged their all to Bernie Sanders. Uncle Bernie today endorse Clinton. His supporters, however, are not falling inline and looking for an alternative.
Independent voters, the largest voting bloc, are not happy with the choices being set before them. Independents want a real vote, not a vote against someone instead of for someone.
This brings us to third party candidate from the Libertarian Party, former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
Although no one expects Johnson has any chance of winning the White House, there is the possibility the Republican turned Libertarian could match or best the showing of either Ross Perot in the 1990s or George Wallace in the 1960s.
What if Johnson drew enough votes from the Sanders camp, the disgruntled Republicans and perplexed independents to not win the Electoral College, but to prevent either Trump or Clinton from getting a majority?
The election outcome would then fall into the House of Representatives where each state would have one vote.
A simple majority would determine the presidency.
A simple majority would also with a vacancy on the Supreme Court could determine which direction the Judiciary Branch would travel for at least a generation.
This means that the down ballot races are even more important than ever before. Who controls the House of Representatives controls the fate of both the Executive and Judicial Branches of Government.
From the Cornfield, this one year that one vote, your vote could make a difference.
Before retiring last night and after I rose this morning, I have not been able to stop the memories of yesteryear from flooding my mind.
It was the summer of 1968, prior to my returning to school for my freshman year of high school. We were living in Aurora, Illinois at the time.
It was a summer of unrest. Riots and demonstrations in the streets flooded the nightly newscasts on all three of the only networks of the time – ABC, CBS and NBC.
I was already something of a history and political buff. So I watched intently to the scenes playing out on our color television.
The images were much more real than what they were that other July night watching on a black-and-white screen as President John F. Kennedy warned the nation about the Red Scare 70 miles off our coast, which I had watched as a second grader living in Anderson, Indiana.
Come to think of it – it had been a decade of unrest.
The standoff with the USSR, the assassination of President Kennedy, the social upheaval of the hippies and flower children, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the marches of those seeking civil rights for all, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the burning of bras and draft cards, the running away to Canada, the protests against the Viet Nam War, Woodstock – all were part of this decade.
Now in July of 1968, transfixed I watched the National Guard on the streets of Chicago a mere 60 miles away. I saw mounted police trampling on protesters. I saw the barricades, the smoke from tear gas, from Molotov cocktails, bloodied faces outside the Democratic National Convention.
I watched protesters dragged out of the convention. I saw the inability of nominee Hubert Humphrey to quell the unrest.
It was total chaos. A couple of weeks later, I remember Everett Dirksen, our own Senator, take control at the Republican National Convention. I watched as if in a trance as Dirksen had the hall on its feet reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
But it was still a summer, a decade of unrest.
Over the past week, once more I have been transfixed seeing reminders of that summer nearly 50 years ago.
The marches in the streets.
Presidential nominating conventions in the wings.
The saying goes that history repeats itself.
We are also admonished to learn from the past so as not to make the same mistakes.
Have we learned nothing?
From the Cornfield, America the Beautiful, God shed His grace on Thee.
With the national conventions of the two major parties only weeks away, what is the state of the race for the White House on this Independence Day holiday weekend?
That’s what happened in New Hampshire on Thursday when Donald Trump attempted to make a joke about Mexico, pointing to a plane flying above the crowd. Trump said it might be Mexican and the country was ready for war.
Then Trump let slide a woman asking him about replacing Transportation Safety Administration workers who wear those “hibby jobbies” with veterans.
Rather than let the woman know her reference was inappropriate, Trump said he was “looking into it.”
A new ad out from the Hillary Clinton camp, slamming Trump for being “too volatile” to be Commander-in-Chief, uses video of him in Scotland following the Brexit vote talking like a businessman in soft, controlled terms which belied there was anything volatile about him.
Remember yesterday about Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who is overseeing the criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, meeting former President Bill Clinton, husband of the candidate, on the tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona?
Seems the two retired to the AG’s plane and had a sit-down for about an hour. Lynch and the former Prez both say it was purely social and about the family and grandkids.
Oh, but the optics!
Today Lynch, while not recusing herself, said she will not object to whatever finding the Federal Bureau of Investigation concludes at the end of the investigation.
Trump says he is fighting on two battlefronts – the Democrats and Establish Republicans who refuse to be assimilated into the new GOP he is creating.
All this is making it difficult for The Donald to hire staff he needs and to find anyone willing to speak at the Republican National Convention which gets underway July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Some of the staff he has hired are jumping ship.
Shoot, Trump can’t even get the sitting Republican Governor and former rival John Kasich to attend the event in Kasich’s own state.
Moody’s Analytics, not to be outdone by Nate Silver, is handing the race to Clinton as well.
Here’s how Moody’s puts it:
“The closer we come to election day, the more that two-year change is based in history and less on our economic forecasts,” said Dan White, a Moody’s economist who oversees the monthly model.
“With just over four months left to election day, the chances of an economic forecast error distorting the results are fading,” he said.
“This ups the confidence level in the model’s results, though forecast risks are always present, especially when it comes to politics.“
Scuttlebutt has it that Trump will name his vice presidential pick – soon – before the convention. The top contenders: Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Bob Corker and Jeff Sessions (both Senators).
Christie would be a better pick IMHO as Attorney General.
Newt is so 1990s – wait we already have Clinton talking about the good ole days of the 90s.
As to Corker or Sessions, both would be great picks in any other year – not so sure about this crazy Reality Television Election.
There is even talk about the Cornfield’s own Governor Mike Pence being consider for Veep.
Talk about an election killer.
Plus Pence has his hands full trying to fend off another run for the Governor’s Mansion by former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg (my personal pick).
Uncle Bernie Sanders is trying to quell the pronouncement by Vice President Joe Biden that he will endorse Clinton.
“Joe and I talked about three weeks ago, and as I said, right now my hope is we can reach an agreement on some very important issues and I can go forward to the millions of people who supported me and say, ‘Look this is the progress we’ve made, this is where we’re gonna go as a country,‘” Sanders said. “So, I hope it happens. As of this moment we’re not there quite yet.“
So will he or won’t he?
When questioned why he was bothering to run, considering the chances of a third party win, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson said, “I would not be doing this if there wasn’t the opportunity to win.”
From the Cornfield, that’s how the race for the White House is looking as Americans prepare to enjoy fireworks to celebrate the birth of the nation.