The Fourth Estate

Ever wonder why the two presumptive nominees both rank so low in the polls.  High unfavorables, not trustworthy.  Me too.  I mean why would we elect someone whom we can’t trust? Who’s character is at best questionable?  The answer seems to be in the media coverage.

The U.S. ranks 41st of 180 countries in the 2016 Press Freedom Index.  41st!  Our Constitution has freedom of the press in the First Amendment!  The explanation isn’t government control like China or North Korea.  The explanation is corporate ownership of the media.  These large corporations are more interested in ratings than journalism.  The trend from hard news to infotainment has been a trend for a while.  They know sensationalism sells.  Trump’s outrageous, boorish behavior has got him over a billion dollars of “earned media.”  The press hides around every corner trying to uncover the latest Clinton scandal.  Trump’s racist, sexist base say that he’s saying what they can’t.  People have a visceral reaction to the Clinton’s.   The press knows that supporters are blind — or at least forgiving — of a candidate’s faults and detractors view them as deal killers.   If it bleeds it ledes.

Trump may be bad for America but he’s great for CBS.

— Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS

Blow up your TV.  Throw away your papers.

— John Prine, “Spanish Pipedream.”

The image is of the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC, as this campaign is anything but pleasant.




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Happy 4th of July



Star Swain sings the National Anthem at the Lincoln Memorial.


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Mass murder.  A hate crime.  Horrific.  Unbelievable.  Fortunately everybody is rallying around the LGBT community, not just here but around the world.

This must stop.


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Muhammad Ali 1942-2016

The Louisville Lip has been silenced.  It’s been 35 years since his last fight but he’s still the greatest.  Pugilist, activist, war protester, pacifist, principled, Muslim.  Ali created his brand and then used it for good.  Civil rights, pacifism, Parkinson’s issues all on center stage thanks to Ali.

Quotes from the greatest of all time.

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
Don’t count the days, make the days count.
Live every day like it’s your last because someday you’re going to be right.


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2016 Campaign

This crazy campaign season makes me feel like this:



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Voter Psychology

Sigmund Freud

Ever wonder why some people vote against their best interests?  Why some believe campaign propaganda even when fact checkers point out misleading statements, half-truths and outright lies?  Why some go to extreme lengths to cherry pick opposition statements to make some minor point?  Why they are willing to propagate a campaign’s nonsense?  Why otherwise ethical people are willing to do or say anything to support their candidate because, in this case, the ends justify the means?  You are not alone.

Psychologists have been studying voter preference for decades.  Scholarly articles and books have been written on the subject.  Campaigns hire these experts to craft their message, target supporters and deflate opposition supporters.  There are a gazillion of factors that effect voter preferences, but basically it boils down to the fact that decisions are made in the unconscious mind.  The personality dimensions you were born with color the way you think about candidates and issues.  They give campaign consultants precise information on how to do that.

The bottom line is that we all vote with our hearts instead of our heads.  We may think otherwise, or at least think that’s what everybody else does, but it’s a fact.  We use our heads only to rationalize our decisions.

The same is true of our religious beliefs.  This is why your mom told you never to discuss religion or politics in polite company.

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.

— Mark Twain


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When Hillary implied that Bernie may not be qualified to be president and Bernie suggested that those that who do what Hillary has done are not qualified all hell broke loose in the political media looking for anything snarky to boost ratings.  Policy positions are too boring to get eyeballs.  But it brings to light about the qualifications to be president.

Technically, Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

  • No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

All the candidates claim to be the most qualified.  Their experience in government, business or something regarding the “establishment” means they’ve got the stuff.  However noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin points out that qualifications don’t translate to a great presidency.  She notes that James Buchanan was probably the most qualified ever, but is regarded by most historians as the worst.  He was succeeded by a tall skinny guy from Illinois whose detractors said he didn’t have any qualifications yet turned out to be one of our greatest presidents.  It is left as an exercise to the reader to make any comparisons to Bush 43 and Obama.

One could argue that Nixon had excellent qualifications and we all know how that turned out.  Harry Truman, not really qualified but did some great things, like end WWII.  Ike had no qualifications but kept us out of war with the Soviet Union.  Ditto Kennedy.

I could go on and on but the point is that qualifications don’t indicate greatness.  Ms Goodwin points out that it is temperament not qualifications that make a great president.  So again it is left as an exercise to the reader to determine which candidate has the best temperament to be president.

President Roosevelt possessed a second class intellect, but a first class temperament.

—  Oliver Wendell Holmes

The image is of Mt. Buchanan and Kootenay lake near Kaslo BC.


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