Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day or Leap Year?

Yes, it is that one day of the year, or rather, that one day that happens once every four year.

Leap Day.

Or, as some people seem to keep calling it, Leap Year.

Personally, I think it is just one day, so it has to be called Leap Day, although I was surprised by how many people seemed adamant about calling it Leap Year. Does that mean that went it ends and March 1st comes, that it is another year?


In any case, I just figured that an event like this was worth mentioning here, as it only happens once every four years or so.

So, for what it's worth, Happy Leap Day and Year!

Golden State Dominates in Pursuit of 73 Wins

Here is my latest published article on Guardian Liberty Voice. It is another article about the Golden State Warriors, who are enjoying an amazing season following last year's also incredible, championship season.

So far, the Warriors are looking very much capable of winning back-to-back titles, and in fact, they are on record pace in terms of winning for one season. When I wrote this article, they were 52-5, but that was before an amazing 121-118 road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday evening that, according to ESPN's Sports Center, was probably the game of the NBA season thus far.

Maybe, although I thought that the game that I went to last month, which was similarly a Golden State road win which, much like Saturday's game against OKC, the Warriors won only after a last second three-pointer clinched it for them. Perhaps people are reluctant to put that win on the same pedestal, because it featured the NBA's best team so far in the Warriors, and the NBA's worst team this season in the Philadelphia 76ers.

As of this moment, Golden State stands at 53-5, and have 24 games to go in the regular season. If they manage to go 19-5 or better during that stretch, they will have either tied or, possibly even beaten the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record for dominance during the regular season. They will beat if if they finish 20-4 or better, and most of their remaining games are at home, which should be an added advantage. Even if they do not manage to surpass or even tie the Bulls, they can become only the second team with 70 wins or better during a regular season, simply by closing out the rest of this regular season with a record of 17-7 or better, which seems very much within reach, given how well they are playing on a game-by-game basis.

Of course, we have to wait to see what happens. One thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that Golden State has really helped to make this season fascinating!

Golden State Dominates in Pursuit of 73 Wins added by Charles Bordeau on February 28, 2016:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Quote That Perfectly Encapsulates False Patriotism

I felt that this quote helped put into perspective so much of the blatant hypocrisy and arrogance surrounding this false measure of patriotism, usually worn on the sleeves of prominent politicians and millionaire conservative commentators.

They will try to define what patriotism is, which usually amounts to outward displays of love of country via symbols and expressions of love of country.

If people paid attention, they would realize that the glaring contradictions between what these people say (and profit from) and what these people do, the actions that hurt so many Americans, just do not add up. They claim a love of country, but the only thing that they seem to value about this country is the opportunity for them to make tons of money.

To this end, they are willing to send American troops to an unjustified war based on a fabricated reasons, but they are not willing to pay those troops for medical expenses when they get back, and slash veteran's benefits. They endlessly praise the freedom and liberty that the nation represents, but undermine that freedom and liberty in their actions, as evidenced by the squelched criticism of the Iraq invasion, and how anyone opposed to that war either sided with the terrorists, or otherwise was not considered a real American. They promoted the PATRIOT Act, which was anti-democratic in nature, and were going to try to pass the PATRIOT Act II, which went even farther, granting the government the power to revoke the benefits of citizenship to people that they felt had gone too far in their criticism of government. Now, that is outright flirting with dictatorial powers and so clearly against freedom of expression and speech and thought, that it is almost laughable, if it were not so pathetic.

Granted, it did not pass, and thankfully, any other of their desires have not come to pass....yet.

But be aware that they continue to try to get their way every single day, and the real patriots among us need to keep this in mind and stand and fight to keep the best of what this country offers intact.

In any case, here is the quote that I was mentioning earlier:

“I am amazed that Congressmen can pass a bill imposing severe penalties on anyone who burns the American flag, whereas they are responsible for burning that for which the flag stands.”

~ Alan Watts

Jon Stewart Blasts Eric Bolling & FAUX News For False Patriotism

This story is very old, although I actually only encountered it today. Ran across the headlines of Jon Stewart blasting some FAUX News crony for what was referred to as "false patriotism."

Any time that I see some headlines where someone is blasted for false patriotism, my ears figuratively perk up, because there is just so much of that kind of superficial nonsense. Especially when that person making the argument (and usually a good one) is Jon Stewart.

Stewart does not disappoint, either. Here, Stewart is criticizing FAUX News, and Eric Bolling specifically, for railing against President Obama for anything and everything, even when their criticism was amazingly muted with the preceding president, who started an illegal and immoral war based on a false premise, all while fighting another costly war. All of that while providing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and major banks and corporations, and there were numerous major scandals involving corporations with links to the Bush administration.

Yet, FAUX News gets all worked up when President Obama salutes with a coffee cup in his hands. This hypocrisy is even more pronounced when Jon Stewart shows evidence that President Bush once saluted troops while holding the handle of his dog's leash, as unwilling to put it down, apparently, as President Obama was to put down his coffee.

So fuck you and all your false patriotism. 

When Bush took us to war, any criticism was shouted down as treasonous. But a president you don't like has the country poised on the same precipice? No transgression, no matter how immaterial and ridiculous, is too small to cite as evidence that this president isn't as American as you are.

Getting back to the coffee cup and the dog leash, he returns to these points by illustrating the lack of any criticism towards their guy, while brashly expressing their disgust and outrage with the other guy. Maybe it is a racial thing indeed. He sums up by illustrating just how full of nonsense the FAUX News pundits are:

So here we've got two presidents, both sending the United States to war citing the same legal authorities, both without any seeming exit strategy, and both holding shit in their hands while saluting our troops. But in their diseased minds, only one did that because he loved America; the other did it because he hated it. We'll be right back.

Jon Stewart to Eric Bolling: 'F*** you and all your false patriotism.'  By BruinKid, Sep 26, 2014:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Toxic Reagan

I found this rather dated article kind of telling, as the Republican demigod who made such a point of imposing his deregulation policies, which allowed big polluters to get away with all sorts of things that would previously have falled under the domain of a crime, suddenly could often pollute at will, with no consequences.

Reagan's image has nonetheless remained untarnished for many, despite the poor environmental record, as well as his numerous scandals.

The Navy boat named after him is toxic.

Ah, the irony:

Stunning New Report on USS Reagan Radiation   By JusticeSeeker68   Thursday Feb 27, 2014

Bernie Sanders on Republicans & Reproductive Rights

This is quite dated, although I figured it was time for this to see the light of day:

The Vermont senator accused Republicans of selectively favoring big government when it benefited their policy goals.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders takes aim at how some Republicans view the issue of reproductive rights as he addresses voters at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire.

Sanders: Here's what Republicans mean by 'family values', January 4, 2015:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders is All About American Families, While the Clinton Family All About Political Profitability

Okay, so I have been talking quite a bit about the differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton lately, and I would like to sum up.

Bernie Sanders is a man who speaks the truth as he sees it. He saw an unfair, unjust system as a young man, and became an activist to try and bring about change. He stood up against Jim Crow segregation, and was arrested for his efforts. That was what the young version of Bernie Sanders did, while Hillary Clinton was, as she described it, a "Goldwater girl," and her future husband, Bill Clinton, got out of the Vietnam War by convincing officials of his political value.

Sanders eventually went into politics, standing out for his consistently activist viewpoints. He was a successful politician in his native state of Vermont, and eventually became the only Senator who did not belong to either the Democrats or the Republicans, standing as an independent, and a self-described Democratic Socialist.

The Clintons, of course, were Democrats, although some considered their views basically "Republican light." Bill Clinton proved that his future in politics was as bright as the letter to those Vietnam War drafter suggested, as he went on to become the young and long-term governor of Arkansas. Eventually, he gained national attention, and in 1992, he decided to run for president, even though the incumbent was popular and looked unbeatable at the time.

Clinton beat him, running a brilliant campaign that ran like a well-oiled machine when it was at it's best, despite some less than savory facts that could easily have derailed campaigns from other prominent politicians, including sex scandals and Whitewater. His presidency was much the same, as he basically sidestepped one scandal after another, to the point that some in the media suggested that he was "the real teflon president."

Of course, I do not care about his affairs, so those scandals were mostly lost on me. I did care that what he promised as a candidate, and what he delivered as a president, were nowhere near the same thing. He proudly described some mediocre achievements as a unique and triumphant sounding, seismic change in a country that was through with it's political wintertime and was forcing the spring. In the meantime, cynics suggested that his wife, Hillary, was the "real" president. Once that presidency ended, she began pursuing her own political career.

Sanders remained in Congress, and was one of the very, very few who stood for values by standing against popular actions of the day that proved, in time, to be detrimental. He took Alan Greenspan to task for ruining the economy and hurting the middle class before well before the economic collapse of 2008. He challenged the big banks, and wanted a separation between big politics and big money. He voted against the PATRIOT Act and George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, although he was one of the lonely voices in the wilderness of big American politicians at the time to do so.

Hillary, in the meantime, had no real problem with big money for her big political ambitions, and readily helped herself to her share of the pie. She put her finger to test the political winds, and voted for the bailout to help big Wall Street banks that came to be known as "too big to fail." She voted for the PATRIOT Act and for the invasion of Iraq, although she craftily remained critical of George W. Bush and his handling of each. As a Democrat, she essentially posed as serious opposition to Bush, much like many Democrats did, although when push came to shove, she empowered his actions, more than anything. It should be noted that it was politically profitable to do so at the time, even though his poll numbers would quickly drop to historical lows, and he would become politically toxic. By that point, of course, Hillary had stepped up her own criticism of the unpopular Bush administration.

Hillary ran for president in 2008, and ran a campaign that was criticized for dirty tactics in 2008, although she ultimately lost a hard fought contest against Obama. She then served as his Secretary of State but, in 2012, decided no to stay on for his second term, which many indicated was a sign that she intended to run for president in 2016. Officially, she claimed not to have made up her mind just yet.

Bernie Sanders decided to run for president in 2016, feeling that things had grown so bad, that a different voice and face proposing very different solutions than either of the two major parties was needed. He switched from an independent to a Democrat for this presidential run, knowing that his chances as an official outsider were next to none. Still, most people were dismissive, and thought that his campaign would quickly fail.

Instead, people began standing up and taking notice. They listened to his message, and it resonated with millions. What he said made sense to a lot of people, and there was a feeling of hope, a feeling that this was a man who could and would and had stood up for average American families during an era when major politicians were, as a rule, pandering to the corporations and banks and wealthy private donors who funded the big money in these big political games, setting up a de facto system of corporate supremacy in the United States.

In the meantime, to the surprise of no one, Hillary decided to run for president again in 2016. She once again helped herself to money from the big banks and big corporations, and ran a very smooth, polished campaign reminiscent of her husband in his prime.

Sanders was anything but polished. He often seemed to be shouting during his speeches and during debates. He did not talk in lofty terms about some grandiose vision for the country, but spoke in concrete language, in real terms, suggesting very specific things that could be done to help working families. Almost all of it came down to what he described as taxing the rich and making them pay their fair share. Cynics (and who could be surprised to count the Clinton family among their ranks) suggested that this was politics and economics made from fairy dust, that these policies could not possibly work, even though they do work in almost every other industrialized nation on earth, where things like universal, affordable healthcare under a single payer system, affordable childcare, and free college are realities, rather than extravagances. They not only exist, but work better than what we what presently have in the United States.

As unpolished as he was, Sanders ran an effective campaign by simply pointing to the truth. He saw the problem with the country is clear terms: big money in politics representing moneyed interests was essentially ruining the country. He did not care about many of the main criticisms of Hillary, such as Benghazi and the emails. Instead, he blasted her for taking all of that money from special moneyed interests. And unlike the Republican efforts to hammer away at Clinton for Benghazi and the emails, the criticisms of Hillary really began to stick. People began to associate her with the big money that she armed herself with, building up her war chest for the presidential run.

Yes, Sanders proved effective in this regard, while he remained principled, running a grassroots campaign to try and win back America for working Americans. It might not have been as smooth a campaign as Bill Clinton in the nineties, and people poked fun at his gruff manner and his messy hair. But his message made sense, and people were listening.

In the meantime, the smooth, well-polished campaign of Hillary Clinton was running thin. Several times, she seemed to finally emerge as the winner, much like the expectations of her as the de facto nominee suggested. Yet, she kept running into problems, and could not seem to shake Sanders. When she seemed to have won and was comfortably ahead, she proudly proclaimed herself to be a moderate. But when the race was tight again, she dropped her moderate label and proclaimed herself, once again proudly, as "the true progressive."

But more and more people have grown tired of her overly polished approach, her politically correct answers to everything. Now, after being in serious trouble with another faltering campaign, she has recruited the help of her former president husband, as well as her daughter, and they have taken to attacking Sanders. Bill Clinton has always had a strong speaking ability, and he used these to deliver scathing attacks on Sanders, and to cast a shadow of doubt about his integrity, and even about his proposed policies. These have helped turn the tide, at least for the time being, back in favor of his wife.

Maybe Sanders can rebound, maybe he can astonish once more. However, it does look like everything is leading to a win for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in the end. The political establishment wants it, and Goldman Sachs clearly wants it. And once again, they likely will get it, and familiar faces will, once more, dominate American politics.

The thing about the Clintons that has always bothered me, right from the 1992 presidential campaign, was that they are an exclusively political family. It is what prevents me from taking the possibility of voting for Hillary seriously. Everything - and I do mean literally every single thing - that they say or do is with political interests in mind. It is impossible to imagine any of them in an unguarded moment, when they are not thinking about their present actions and what impact it might have on their political future. Even when they pose as relaxed, you get the clear sense that they are, indeed, posing. After all, in big American politics today, it seems to be about posing as something that you are not. And no family is better at that than the Clinton family.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

George Harrison's Birthday is Today

Image courtesy of niteprowl3r Flickr page -  beatles:
Creative Commons License:

George Harrison

I try not only to acknowledge, but also to honor the birthdays of the Beatles, since they are all not only decent guys, but had such a profound impact on the world, both with their music, and with their passion outside of music. They not only were from the sixties, a time of turbulence, experimentation, and change, but they also helped to mold the sixties, to let it become what it became. It remain influential and provocative to this day.

George Harrison was known as the "Quiet Beatle" and was also the youngest member of the Fab Four. He was particularly known for his spirituality, and bringing an Indian influence to the Beatles, with the sitar in particular, something that had not been heard in western music before, but became popular afterwards.

He grew as a songwriter, with the obvious privilege of working under legendary songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Eventually, he wrote some of the most iconic tunes that the Beatles are known for in his own right, and went on to have a pretty amazing solo career as well.

His concert for Bangladesh set the tempo for tribute concerts since.

Years later, he joined numerous other legendary musicians to form the Traveling Wilburys, a "super group", if you will, for it's day.

Harrison died of cancer in 2001, but his music and memory lives on in so many ways.

On this day, his birthday, I pay tribute to him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton is the Wrong Choice for Real Progress, Whether She Wins or Loses the Nomination

Despite talking about politics quite a lot, as anyone who follows this blog regularly could attest to, I do not have the best memory of what each politician truly stands for, and what their voting record is, and so on and so forth.

However, right off the top of my head, when I think of Hillary Clinton, I think of many of the same contradictions that plagued her husband and his presidency. He wanted to inspire people, and I remember that he reminded a lot of people (myself included) as a kind of version of JFK. However, he lacked the integrity to make such comparisons stick, having earned the reputation as "Slick Willy." He was considered by some blacks as "the first black president," even though some of his policies actually hurt blacks, and he was a member of an unofficially, exclusive whites-only golf club. He championed the middle class, although his presidency came under fire by both Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden for devastating the middle class. He held tremendous promise among environmentalists, as finally a Democrat was going to be in the White House, and with noted environmentalist Al Gore serving as Vice-President, yet his administration was, by and large, disappointing for a lack of action on environmental issues. He claimed to have paid 60% of the national debt, although all he did was transfer these balances to other, short term loans, which meant that the nation as a whole still owed the same amount of money.

There are plenty of other contradictions, of course. If I were to try and remember or unearth them all, this would be a book-length blog, and that is not at all my intention. But suffice to say, probably the best way to sum up his contradictions is to remind everyone that he was sometimes known as being 'Republican light."

Hillary is very much the same, and too reminiscent of these contradictions. Again, without digging into research too much, there are certain contradictions with her and her policies that bother me too much to garner any real enthusiasm for what a Hillary Clinton presidency would be like. Once upon a time, she was resolved to make a universal, affordable healthcare system a reality, now she and her supporters mock Bernie Sanders and his supporters for advocating the same thing, all while taking millions of dollars from private health insurance corporations. She claims to be the "real progressive" in the Democratic race, although just months ago, she proudly hailed herself as a moderate, back when she assumed that she had the nomination in the bag. Taking a page from Sanders, she blasts big corporations and banks, although again, she takes millions of dollars from them, including speaking fees. She was supposedly a liberal voice criticizing George W. Bush and his policies, although she supported him with the Iraq invasion (which is probably the biggest foreign policy disaster in recent American history), supported the PATRIOT Act, and the bank bailout in 2008.

These things really, really bother me about her, and there is the perception that she will say and do anything to get elected. That is why it is hard to take her seriously when she suggests that she is the "real progressive" in this race, as there is little real unquestionable evidence to back that up.

But don't take my word for it. Here are a couple of fairly extensive links that illustrate further just how different she and Sanders are, and just how deep the contradictions with Hillary Clinton run:

The Definitive, Encyclopedic Case For Why Hillary Clinton is the Wrong Choice  By Mass Southpaw   Monday Feb 22, 2016

The Senate Votes That Divided Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Derek Willis, May 27, 2015:

Hillary Clinton, Corporate America and the Democrats' Dilemma Sunday, 21 February 2016 00:00 By David Niose, Truthout | Op-Ed:

This is a very alarming article that shows that Hillary Clinton was funded by the same sources as Jeb Bush, which is further proof that the two-party system simply does not work and fails Americans, as they are both controlled by the same corporate special interests:
JUST IN: Records Uncovered By Daily Beast Show Jeb Bush And Hillary Clinton Are Funded By The Same 17 Mega Donors FEBRUARY 17TH, 2016  NATALIE THONGRIT:

Pro-Hillary Supporter Mocks Sanders Revolution, & My Response, Part Two

Yesterday, I posted about a guy (who shall remain nameless) who himself posted something about Bernie Sanders that I found both baseless and classless.

I posted a response, which is unlike me for people I do not know well. He and I belong to the same group (which happens to be an anti-Tea Party group), so it is not like I know him, or anything. Yet, it just irked me, how self-assured he was, and how his support of Hillary Clinton had made him a sore loser following the Nevada caucus results.

All he did in response was "Like" my comment, but he did not choose to respond on his own.

Well, since then, he went much, much further. He posted a series of memes with pictures of Bernie Sanders saying or doing fairly ridiculous things, or generally implying a ridiculous way of thinking. One of them was aimed at supporters of Sanders, and it basically suggested that he could say or do anything that he liked, because his supporters simply took him at his word and never did research, just drank the Kool Aid.

Drank the Kool Aid, which is an obvious comparison to Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy, when well over one hundred of the cult leader's followers, including children, drank a toxic Kool Aid in what I believe to be the biggest mass suicide in history.

This was taking criticism of Sanders to a whole new level, or, shall I say, a whole new low.

However, I did not want to argue anymore. Yet, it also bothered me enough that I did not want to leave it entirely unanswered. So, I wrote this:

Comparing a man like Bernie Sanders to Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy? Wow. Just wow.

Of course, there is plenty more that I can say about that. There are crazies supporting pretty much every candidate, and I know that there are good people who support Hillary, and truly believe in her and what she represents. I am not one of them, because it is hard to overlook some of the less savory aspects of her political reality.

Still, it is comments like these, and the supportive comments (of which there were plenty) by other Hillary supporters, who keep talking in terms of winning this political battle by any means necessary, rather than on focusing on what is truly best for the country as a whole, that turn me off to the so-called mainstream politicians, and reaffirm my staunch opposition to the two-party system. Some people will disagree with me here, but that kind of nonsense really makes me wonder if I actually ever could enter a voting booth and cast a vote for Hillary, or any other politicians like her.

So, I decided to write a little bit about this here, as well as to add another blog entry entire that will focus on the specifics of what Hillary Clinton is all about, and why detractors (such as myself) are not merely sexist or stupid, but have very good reason not to trust her, and specifically, to be highly skeptical of her ties to big money.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pro-Hillary Supporter Mocks Sanders Revolution, & My Response

Earlier today, I ran into an enthusiastically pro-Hillary supporter on Facebook who posted something about the results of the Nevada caucus this past weekend. This guy basically mocked Sanders and his supporters, suggesting that all of that talk about how America was ready for a revolution had not panned out.

Personally, I sure am tired of all of those pro-Hillary supporters who try to mock supporters of Bernie Sanders, and then turn around and are surprised when many of these same people simply cannot see any value in Hillary (and her supporters) and what they stand for, because what they stand for is a laser-like focus on winning political battles, at the expense of everything else.

This time, it irritated me enough to do what I usually try to avoid doing, which is to get into online arguments with a stranger. But I could not leave this particular gloating session unanswered this time around. So, I thought I should share my response, because it is probably similar to what a lot of Bernie supporters feel about mainstream politics in general, and perhaps Hillary in particular:

Yes, you're right, (unnamed). America is not ready for a revolution. Politics is not much more than a game in this country, and Clinton is one of the favorites to win it all. Let us get the same old same old with Clinton instead. Another politician focusing only on how many millions that can be raised, and promising to be everything to everyone. When she thought she had the race wrapped up months ago, she proudly proclaimed to be a moderate, but now claims to be the "real progressive." We could have had someone who fought for civil rights in his youth and was arrested for it, but we got the self-described "Goldwater girl" instead. We could have had someone who stood almost alone in opposition to the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act, but we predictably got someone who voted for both instead. Could have had someone with a long history of fighting for the middle class, but we got someone who stands opposed to bringing back Glass-Steagall Act.  Thank goodness, Hillary restored order, because we certainly would not want to try anything different than the policies that have seen the living standards in this country consistently decline - yes, right through the years with Bill Clinton as president. She wisely sided with Goldman Sachs & other big banks and corporations, and the party establishment made sure of the rest. Winning is everything, and the Clintons clearly are consistent winners in the American political game. So, let's get on with the scheduled coronation, so that you & people like you can continue to celebrate. Yay, ra-ra! Go 'Murica!

I have not voted Democrat, much less Republican, for many years now, although I might have scratched my head this time around, seriously contemplating voting for one of the big party candidates. I joined the Young Democrats fresh out of high school, and believed that I would meet other people who felt as active and motivated for real change to make the country better. But the first meeting that I went to reminded me instead of the Sunday football shows before the game, when they talk about each team's strengths and weaknesses and possibilities for winning. It was all about winning elections, and not enough about what mattered to impact lives. That turned me away from either of the two major parties, and being an independent, neither of the two major parties have felt like a viable option for me, since they look and feel too similar, both taking money from the same big banks. It felt like neither party was serious about addressing real issues, opting instead for political pragmatism. You, in your enthusiasm for the "can't opt for real change" line, helped to remind me of why being a born & bred Democrat is never, ever a good idea. Too much emphasis on making sure the party wins political battles, and not enough on substantive matters, sacrificing what is actually good for the country for political victories instead. I'll bet it even truly baffles you why so many people like me just can't trust Hillary.

According to Erin Brockovich, Flint, Michigan is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Benjamin Franklin once said, “You will observe, with concern, how long a useful truth may be known, and exist, before it is generally received and practiced on.”

He was actually talking about the damaging effects of lead, which is yet further proof that he was well ahead of his time.

For much of our talk presently about remaining true to the vision of the Founding Fathers, we have ignored this simple truth of these true words of wisdom uttered from the lips of Franklin. Indeed, it takes a long time for useful truths to be established and known, even when they have existed for quite some time.

Still, we have known about some of the environmental disasters facing us for a very long time now. Even when we put aside the apparently controversial scientific consensus that human activity is largely responsible for climate change, we have a long list of enormous environmental disasters that have undeniably been to the detriment of countless American citizens.

The latest such big story is of the non potable public water for the people of Flint, Michigan, all so that the government could save literally a few hundred dollars.

Not surprisingly, it seems that we are seeing that Flint, Michigan is only one of a number of communities that have seen their water supply compromised.

Of course, that is what happens when you emphasize how evil the government is at every turn, that government can do nothing right, and that the emphasis needs to be on deregulation.

This is the product of deregulation.

We are learning that corporations are worse, even far worse, than governments. That at least governments are elected by the people, and serve the people, even if they make mistakes.

Corporations certainly make mistakes, but they do not even pretend to serve the people. They do not have to and, it is becoming increasingly clear that they do not put anything, not even what is best for the country, anywhere near as much of a priority as they do short term profits.

We are a worse country for it.

There have been some real horror stories of corporate irresponsibility affecting the health of communities across the map of the United States, to say nothing of it on a global level. From Three Mile Island and Love Canal in the 1970's, Centralia and Times Beach in the 1980's, Rocky Beach that actually made headlines over a period that spanned across decades, the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, the corporate irresponsibility of Pacific Gas and Electric Company in Hinkley, California, that was now famously fought by Erin Brockovich, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the undrinkable water in West Virginia a few years ago and Flint just a couple of months ago. Now, we are hearing stories leaking out of similar polluted public water in other parts of the nation.

With all of these revelations, you might think that people would finally wise up to the fact that deregulation has been a disaster for the country, and is designed specifically to help out irresponsible corporations at the expense of the American people.

Unfortunately, we are only really beginning to learn about some of these horrors. If Rachel Carson's Silent Spring awoke us to the reality that we could not do whatever the hell we want, however the hell we want to do it in this world, than the proof has been forthcoming ever since. And much like with police officers being increasingly videotaped, the reports for environmental abuses by corporations is beginning to be revealed more and more over time. Erin Brockovich is saying that this incident in Flint is just the tip of the iceberg, and that there are surely more such instances that we will learn about ahead. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that she is right.

This reminds me of a quote by Norm Chomsky that I very recently encountered, about privatization.

"That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital."

Indeed, it is true. And what is worse, it is working precisely in this manner. Corporate irresponsibility always seems to prevail, to reinforce the message that Americans always seem all too eager these days to swallow whole, that privatization is the way to go. Do you think this will hurt private sellers of water? Do you think this will help the case of government oversight to provide clean, safe, healthy, and free water for all?

I will not suggest that this was designed. However, I will echo Norman Mailer's words following September 11th, that the right wing might not have orchestrated it, but they sure jumped on the opportunity afterward to capitalize on it. The same thing will surely be true for private, corporate water seller like Nestle.

That seems to be the state of the world today, as no matter what happens, good or bad (mostly bad, it seems), everything seems to be literally capitalized on by major corporations who focus exclusively on privatization, and the result is more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

Sounds a little like a new form of feudalism, does it not?

Welcome to the future. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

According to Erin Brockovich, Flint, Michigan is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sanders Finally Fights Back Against Bill Clinton Trade Disasters During Presidency

In an effort to give her struggling campaign a boost, Hillary Clinton predictably turned to her popular ex-husband, as well as to her own daughter, for help.

And she got it, although the attacks from those other Clintons upon the Sanders campaign have been disingenuous at best. They have been filled with fear-mongering and not just half truths, but outright lies. 

Former President Bill Clinton attacked Sanders and his movement as being, in effect, a liberal answer to the Tea Party movement. 

Sanders dismissed these allegations as nonsense, and then finally pointed his own attacks at Clinton's presidency, suggesting that Clinton's emphasis on deregulation and the horrendous NAFTA agreement were devastating for the American middle class.

Here, specifically, is what he said:

“Bill Clinton was the president who led the effort to deregulate Wall Street, was the president who fought for the disastrous NAFTA trade agreement.”
“[Clinton] was the president who pushed this so-called welfare reform, which was absolutely disastrous for low-income people in general, and the African-American community in particular.” 

Nor is Sanders the only surprising critic of Bill Clinton's presidency, and the detrimental impact it had on the middle class of the United States. No less a prominent figure among the Democrats then Joseph Biden took aim at Clinton's policies, and how these really hurt the middle class.

Here are two links elaborating on these two prominent figures calling the Clinton legacy into question:

Sanders Finally Goes after Big-Mouth Bill For Trade Disasters He Brought Us, February 19, 2016

Joe Biden Claims Middle Class Devastated During Clinton Years by Dave Boyer, November 13, 2014:

Scientists Discover Hundreds of Galaxies Previously Hidden by the Milky Way

It seems that the more you think we have gained definitive knowledge of the world and, yes, the universe around us, the more there are pockets of things that we have only begun to explore.

We keep hearing about the discovery of new planets, and several of them seem to have qualities similar to the Earth, which leads to the exciting possibility of life on these planets.

Well, scientists have just discovered literally hundreds of galaxies relatively nearby that were previously hidden by our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Check this link out:

Scientists have discovered hundreds of nearby galaxies that were hidden by the Milky Way Countless worlds no longer veiled by stardust. PETER DOCKRILL 10 FEB 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Today's News Headlines: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

This is a weird world that we live in, truthfully.

I mean, really, who could have thought that the headlines dominating the news today domestically here in the United States could possibly have come to pass?

We have a shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where seven people were confirmed dead, and one injured. The attack has been called "random" for the time being, but that might just be because the attack just happened, and facts have not yet been collected sufficiently.

This was the first major mass shooting in the United States in 2016.

And then, of course, we have the primaries, which took place yesterday.

Both parties had primaries in South Carolina, and the two candidates that held big leads in that state, Trump for the Republicans and Clinton for the Democrats, wound up winning substantially. Nothing really all that shocking in that, as for week, the polls consistently revealed that this was what was likely to happen, barring some unforeseen scenario. There were no unforeseen scenarios.

There were some surprises, however. Clinton won in Nevada. It was a narrow win, and she barely eked out the victory, but it was nonetheless a win. Despite her shaky campaign at times, the issues that many voters have with trusting her (including yours truly), and despite the strong emergence of Bernie Sanders as a seemingly viable alternative to Clinton, and easily the most refreshing and honest candidate that I have seen since the first elections that I ever participated way back in 1992, Hillary managed to survive, and is now clearly the leader and frontrunner for the Democrats.

The Democratic establishment is having their way, imposing their will, unified as they are against Sanders.

That leaves the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, if she even manages to win the general election, which is far from decided. As of right now, most polls actually show her losing to all of the GOP candidates, although many of the pro-establishment, pro-Hillary supporters are insistent that she is the only electable candidate, the only one with a shot at giving the Democrats the White House in the upcoming election.

So, it is business and politics as usual for the Democrats.

You might think that the Democrats, who are considered the more progressive and possibly the ones who flirt with real change the most out of the two major parties, would have been the party that supported a so-called "outsider" candidate.

Not so.

There was billionaire Donald Trump, winning big again last night, taking South Carolina handily, and further cementing his status as the GOP frontrunner. Everyone else is running far, far behind.

Perhaps the big news yesterday came after the race, when Jeb Bush, both son and brother to former presidents and, at one time, the de facto leading candidate in the GOP, suspended his campaign.

Maybe Barbara Bush was right when she said that America has had enough of people named Bush in the White House. I know that I have had more than my fill of members of the Bush clan occupying the White House.

All in all, no really great news that I can tell. Hillary winning is predictable, and if she manages to win, her presidency would likely strongly resemble her husband's, which is hailed by many as a hugely successful presidency, but which also was a step back for the country in many ways. Hillary's preference for what she calls "incremental progress" is essentially a promise that it will be more of the same.

Yes, it would be historic if a woman finally wins the highest office in the land. But that would likely be just about the only truly historical marker, because otherwise, it would be more of the same. She takes money - big money - from big corporations, making her a corporate supremacist candidate. That, in turn, likely means more wars in the Middle East, more incremental changes and band-aids to a failing healthcare system where prices are ridiculous in an atmosphere that feels like "anything goes" is the rule of thumb. That means a whole lot of talk about environmental issues, but a decided lack of policy to go with it. Much like Obama, particularly during his first term. Much like Bill Clinton, during both terms, until the final three days, when he passed a series of sweeping environmental legislation, although he and everyone else surely knew that those reforms would be quickly swept away by the incoming president.

That is what I mean about the Clintons, and why I feel they have such issues with trust. Because everything that the Clintons do, they seem to do with their considerable, even overwhelming political ambitions in mind. Bill Clinton not had the most famous environmentalist in the country in his administration, but serving under him as Vice-President. They could talk a strong game when it came to environmental issues, but the reforms were actually quite modest, at best. The most sweeping reforms during a presidency that lasted the better part of a decade came in the final 72 hours, and everyone knew that they would be promptly done away with by President Bush. It made Clinton look like the good guy, and Bush like the bad guy. Also, it looks good on paper, although the reality was that a lot of this stuff actually lacked substance.

It was much the same case with the national debt. Clinton boasted that he had managed to pay off 60% of the national debt, which sounds great, doesn't it! It sounds magical, and leaves you wondering how he did it. When you pull the curtain back on his wizardry, however, you see that it is, indeed, all smoke and illusions. What he did was take out temporary loans to pay off the old loans, so he could rightly boast, in a purely technical sense, that he did indeed pay off such a huge sum of money that the country owed. Only, we still owed that amount, anyway. It was a brilliant piece of politics, but lacked anything more substantive than that.

Yet, that was quite indicative of the presidency of Bill Clinton in general. He could spin it so that it looked great! But when you take a closer look, when you pull back those curtains to see how everything was done? Well, it looks less than spectacular by that point.

Still, many Democrats seem to be choosing this again. They want the illusion, rather than the substance. They do not want to risk someone who too closely is associated with many of the labels that Democrats have been hurt by in the past, and have been running to distance themselves from ever since, at every turn. So, when you have a candidate like Bernie Sanders, who professes outright to be a socialist, that raises alarms. Many Democrats began to recycle old Republican arguments that Sanders was, in fact, a communist, that he was dangerous and reckless, that he was unelectable. All of these things run against the facts, because Sanders most certainly is not a communist, and despite the reputation that he could not win the general election, polls showed him comfortably ahead in most head-to-head polls against every major GOP candidate, while the same recent polls show Clinton losing right now to all of them.

The establishment within the Democratic party wants everyone to believe that Hillary is indeed a progressive. At least at this moment, they do. A few months ago, when Hillary and her supporters were comfortably ahead of Sanders and the race seemed over, she proudly chose to call herself a moderate. In the past, she was a self-described "Goldwater girl." Vastly different ends of the American political spectrum, but the Clintons always seem to land on their feet. They want to believe that Hillary will produce real, meaningful change, although her husband's wizardry did not seem to make America a better place except in his speeches. Hillary will do the same. She will electrify the Democratic base with moves that look great on paper, so she will be able to make certain claims about her leadership. But when you pull back the curtains, it is all smoke and mirrors. She is in bed with Goldman Sachs. She is opposed to bringing back Glass-Steagall Act, which her husband repealed in the first place. The very fact that she proudly calls herself a moderate when it seems politically profitable to do so, and then turns around and labels herself the "true progressive" when it is politically necessary for her to do so, betrays her willingness to say and do whatever it takes to get elected, even at the expense of the truth.

What her presidency would resemble, if she is indeed elected, would surely be a lot like her husband. I once heard it aptly described not so much by ideology, as by political pragmatism. Specifically, it was described as stepping cautiously on stones across a fast stream. Not so much a vision for the country, so much as a craft politician able to concentrate on poll numbers and superficial accomplishments blown up to look remarkable on paper. In reality, little changes for the better. Hillary already is employing those tactics, and they have served her well, much like they did for her husband. The Clinton political machine keeps on rolling, although more and more people are waking up to the reality that this does not represent real change, much less real improvement in their lives. Hillary voted for the PATRIOT Act, she voted for the Iraq War, and she is opposed to any major reform in the unfair healthcare system, or in bringing back Glass-Steagall. She talks a goo game on environmental issues, but let us see if that is backed up if she actually becomes president. Smart money would be on a big no in that regard.

And so, ironically, the Democrats, the party that poses as reformers and free thinkers, have opted for the establishment candidate within their ranks, while the Republicans, the stand pat party that traditionally favors consistency, instead seem to be at least flirting with what would be a real change within their ranks. No matter what you think of Trump (and I try not to think much about him myself), he nonetheless represents a change within the traditional party system. For that, he deserves some measure of congratulations.

Personally, I suspect that this represents a weariness by Americans in general of the superficially sunny outlooks that once worked, but no longer do. Some aspects of our society still reinforce that sunny, everything is wonderful message, even there is no place in the world where it is always sunny and beautiful. Still, the shopping malls and glossy economic reports would suggest otherwise. Beautiful actors in the entertainment world, with their often superficial talk and gossip and excessive focus on image, would suggest otherwise. And mainstream politicians hoping to tout their own paper accomplishments to further their political ambitions would suggest otherwise.

There was a time when these kinds of sunny forecasts worked for Americans. When we reflect on the so-called Golden Age for the United States, back in the 1950's and 1960's, people seem to recall a more innocent, honest time. The word of the president was taken seriously, even if people disagreed with him. There was a lot more respect towards many things in general, as well, which necessarily translated to a lot less skepticism. Politicians were taken seriously, and so their sunny forecasts were, as well. Of course, things were considerably better in the United States at the time, in terms of how it looked in the world's standings, as well as the strength of the economy and overall quality of life. People felt good, felt confident, and so they could afford to buy into the same kind of thing with entertainment, as well. Actors and other entertainers were looked up to as the most successful and beautiful people in a nation that believed itself to be, at least collectively, successful and beautiful. Economic indicators suggested that there was no end to it all. The good times were here, and it seemed, they were here to stay.

Fast forward to the present day, and economists, entertainers (especially in Hollywood), and politicians still are pretty much on the same point about how rosy everything looks (at least politicians who are in office will suggest these things). But living standards have definitely and generally declined, and they have been doing so for decades now. Some would suggest otherwise, including politicians, of course. Hillary would suggest otherwise, as would Jeb Bush, although he was forced to suspend his campaign. No more Bushes in the White House, at least, suggesting that the invasion of Iraq was the right course of action to take. Let us see if we will see a Clinton in there instead.

But all of this brings me back to the other news dominating the headlines this morning, the one about the mass shooting. Because for all of their wonderful talk in pursuit of higher office, the politicians once again are ignoring a real problem here. Mass shootings, and gun violence in general, is ridiculously high in the United States, far more than in any other country supposedly at peace. It remains a blight on our international reputation, and nothing substantive is being done about it. Once again, we have too many people dead, and all we will get from politicians seeking higher office are the standard lines about the family of the victims being in their prayers.

Surely, if there is a sign today, this very morning, about just how little we can expect any real, meaningful change, that would be it in a nutshell.

Star Wars Filming Locations Throughout the World

Here is a link that reveals some of the truly incredible, often breathtaking places that the makers of the Star Wars movies used. Some of these places are instantly recognizable, such as the location where the Wookies were fighting in Revenge of the Sith. Other locations did not jump out at me in as obvious a manner.

In any case, here is a link that reveals some of the real life locations where Star Wars was filmed, and not just in some green room somewhere. There are incredible mountain ranges in China, a stone temple in Guatemala, an elaborate palace in Italy, another beautiful locale, this one a villa, on a kale surrounded by mountains in Italy, a volcano in Italy (you get the impression that the makers of Star Wars really, really liked Italy - and who can blame them?), the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Iceland to create Hoth, a jungle paradise in Thailand, a deserted town in Tunisia, a gorgeous plaza in Spain, the desolate landscape of Death Valley in California and Nevada, a lush green and flowery forest in England, and the green forest with giant Redwood trees in northern California.

Take a look for yourself by clicking on the link below:

Incredible Star Wars filming locations around the world: in pictures Monday, May 4, 2015

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Greatest Single Season Teams That Failed to Win the Super Bowl

They correctly diagnosed the 2007 New England Patriots as the top team to have failed to win the Super Bowl, in what surely was the most disappointing single game loss in sports that I can remember, if not in sports history entire (but I cannot say that with certainty).

For that matter, the 1968 Baltimore Colts are given their due as the second best team not to have won the big game, although it should be noted that the Colts did win the Super Bowl just two short seasons later, with mostly the same lineup.

There are a few teams that raise eyebrows here for being on this list. The 2012 Falcons, for example, were not nearly as solid by my estimation as numerous teams that came closer. I can think of some other teams, including the Denver Broncos of the 1980's and the Buffalo Bills of the 1990's, as well as a few others, as well. Also, how can the 2012 Falcons make it, when the 2012 49ers, who actually beat the Falcons in Atlanta after falling behind 17-0, and then almost winning the Super Bowl, not be on the list? I am not a Niners fan by any means, but come on!

Now, I guess we have to add this year's Carolina Panthers to that list, as well as last year's Seattle Seahawks. Seattle came within one horrendous call and, yes, poor execution of one crucial play in particular very late in the game from winning back-to-back championships, and taking a clear lead in the  race for "Team of the Decade" honors. As for the Panthers, it seems incredible that they started the season of 14-0, barely lost to the Atlanta Falcons, then finished off the regular season at 15-1. They had their doubters, but after dominating both Seattle and Arizona  in the NFC playoffs, people began to really believe that this was a team of destiny. But then, in this last Super Bowl, they were simply physically dominated and worn down by an aggressive Denver defense with a chip on their shoulders. Just like that, a historically great season was compromised in an instant, and the level of pain from that loss was clear in the way that a frustrated and angry Cam Newton handled (some might say mishandled) himself after the game.  

NFL's greatest teams not to win the Super Bowl: 1-20 by Jay Clemons Jan 27, 2014:

NFL's greatest teams not to win the Super Bowl: 1-21-40 by Jay Clemons Jan 27, 2014:

Star Wars Original Film Print Makes it Online

Desfile Star Wars Santiago 2013

Image courtesy of Contando Estrelas' Flickr page -  Desfile Star Wars Santiago 2013: 
An Original Film Print of Star Wars Has Been Restored and Released Online  James Whitbrook, February 18, 2016:
Creative Commons License:

A group of Star Wars fans have taken it upon themselves to not only restore a version of the original movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, but then went ahead and released it online, although they kept it low key, afraid that there might be some legal problems for them upon having cleaned it and then publicly released it.

Mighty brave of them, and also pretty selfless to spend that much time trying to restore the original great movie for fans to enjoy!

You can read more about it by clicking on the link below:

An Original Film Print of Star Wars Has Been Restored and Released Online  James Whitbrook, February 19, 2016:

Friday, February 19, 2016

NBA's Love/Hate Relationship With Stephen Curry & Golden State

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

Reading this article, I began to gain a better appreciation for why eveyone seems so reluctant to crown Stephen Curry as the new greatest player in the NBA, and why LeBron James still holds that particular mantle in the eyes of so many.

It is the same in the NFL, where the rules grew so much in favor of offenses, that defenses became watered down, and scoring became superficially easy.

This guy makes it seem like the Warriors are somehow cheating the game, or doing something that does not take skill, which is far from the case.

Look at what he says about Golden State's success based on their style of play:

So Curry and the Warriors are, in certain spheres, less the historical greats that their accomplishments suggest than an opportunistic and homogenizing presence in the basketball landscape. The fear is that they’ve disrupted the sport’s equilibrium and capitalized on its design flaws. That they’re forerunners of a slick, soulless future.

Whether or not there is some truth to this rather strange notion that the Warriors are essentially cheapening the NBA by circumventing how it works, rather than mastering it, is besides the point. To me, I think that it takes incredible skill to make shots from as far away as many of the Warriors players take them.

One of the most exciting basketball players that I can remember was Reggie Miller, and he had that special touch, much like Curry does now. When he caught fire, the man was unstoppable. He hit some clutch shots in the playoffs against the Bulls, the Magic, the Nets and, of course, the Knicks. In fact, much of his career is defined by how much he mastered burning the Knicks in particular, and he earned the nickname "Knick killer."

Those games were incredibly exciting. There was this sense that anything could happen, that Miller could catch fire all of a sudden, and then all of those defensive specialists on the Knicks who had dominated the East and intimidated opponents were suddenly rendered ineffective. Worse than that, they suddenly looked flustered and would make costly mistakes, many of which Miller benefited from.

If the Warriors have done what this author says, than they can only be criticized for effectively changing the game. If so, they are not the first team to have done so.

In fact, the cream of the crop in every sport tends to do that. Remember the 1985 Bears defense, that dominated with a 4-3 formation? A few years later, everyone was using the 4-3. Or the 2000 Ravens, who used two huge guys on the line to apply pressure to opposing offensive lines, and free up other defenders to maneuver and clamp down on opposing offenses. Unstoppable - until everyone was doing it, and then it became another thing that opposing offenses had to deal with.

Man, when he caught fire like that! There was nothing more exciting in the NBA than that at the time - with the possible exception of the lights out (literally) player introductions at the beginnings of the games. Those were some exciting times in the NBA, and I was fortunate to have seen one such playoff game with Reggie Miller in person in 2002. It was the best individual basketball game that I ever saw! But Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, when Miller got hot and burned the Knicks in perhaps his most memorable performance, was one of the best, as well.

What that means is that this kind of basketball cane indeed be exciting, and I, for one, think that it is impressive. Certainly, I think it takes more skill, and is more fun to watch, than some enormous but not altogether athletic guy like Shaquille O'Neal bullying his way to the basket game in and game out. That was effective, but hardly what I would think of as entertaining to watch.

You want to see brilliance on the court. Certainly, Michael Jordan provided that, but a big part of why he looked so impressive was with how deadly he could be when taking a shot from some distance, making it virtually impossible to defend.

Now, you have the Warriors. No, they do not have what anyone might call a great defense, but do they really need one? When you can score at will as they often times can, then you can bury most opponents with the avalanche of points that you put up. That is how the Warriors have been winning - and generally winning big - for the last couple of years. And let's face it, the NBA Finals last year proved not only to be one of the most intriguing, but also one of the most fun to watch Finals series in a long, long time, as well.

Why the NBA Loves—and Fears—Stephen Curry by Robert O'Connell of The Atlantic,  Feb 9, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Very Bizarre Weather Lately

No, I am not just trying to make some small talk about a neutral subject here by commenting on the strange weather.

We here in New Jersey really have had some very bizarre weather that ranks as among the strangest weather patterns in a few days span that I can personally remember.

On Sunday, we experienced some bone chilling cold and probably some record cold temperatures. It read 0 degrees centigrade, although with the wind chill, it felt even colder than that!

Yet, the next day, it had warmed up, but was snowing and then sleeting later on in the day.

By Tuesday, the temperatures were unseasonably warm, and it truly felt like spring. However, it also rained and that, mixed with the warm temperatures, made the snow melt and caused some flooding on the roads, leaving less than great driving conditions yet again!

Very, very strange weather indeed!

Am I being alarmist to think that this is unnatural, and perhaps not the best sign of things to come for us in the future?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trump Lies Again

I just saw a clip on the news about President Obama believing that Trump would never be president, and Trump's own response to that remark.

It got me scratching my head and wondering if my memory was now failing me, because Trump suggested that Obama was lucky that he had not run in 2012, or he would have beaten Obama. That made me do a tiny bit of research.

Turns out, my memory is not as faulty as I feared, and that Trump did indeed run, but lost. Early, well before even 2012.

Trump bowed out of the 2012 presidential race in May of 2011, and I added the link to an article about that, as well as the video clips that got me on this topic. Turns out that Trump was lying, that the facts show that he did indeed run for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, but fell far short of winning. Then again, when have the facts gotten in Trump's way before?

Trump responds by saying Obama is lucky that he did not run in 2012 (even though he did, and failed), because Obama would have been a one-term president:

Donald Trump bows out of 2012 US presidential election race

Rubio's "Marcobot Moment" & What It Says About Politics Today

A little over one week ago, one of the major Republican candidates, Marco Rubio, had an embarrassing moment during the Republican debates.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blasted Rubio for basically memorizing certain talking points from index cards, suggesting that the points were well made, but that Rubio needed to show stronger leadership by thinking outside of the box.

Somehow, without finding the irony, let alone the disastrous consequences to come, Rubio went right from being criticized for acting like a robot reading off cue cards and without an independent mind to think to acting like a robot reading off cue cards and without an independent mind to think with. He basically said the same thing that he had said which got Christie going about reading off memory from the index cards, saying the same thing, with slightly different wording. Later on in the debate, he did it yet again.

This hurt Rubio's presidential campaign, and fairly seriously, at least for the moment. He had just come off a solid third place finish in Iowa that effectively established himself as the major "establishment" candidate, which means that he would be the main guy that most mainstream Republicans would turn to. But after this debacle of a performance in the New Hampshire debate, he sank all the way to fifth, and suddenly, as quickly as he had risen to the ranks of the favorites, his entire campaign seemed to be in trouble.

It was compared to former Texas Governor Rick Perry's embarrassing moment in the 2012 campaign, when he could not remember what he had, moments before, described as his three major ideas for his presidential campaign. Perry never came close to recovering after that. That is not to say that this was comparable to that. In fact, my suspicion is that it is wishful thinking on the part of his detractors.

Still, it showed a lack of flexibility and, frankly, ability, on the part of Rubio. To prove that Christie's criticism was right, that Rubio is, in essence, reading from points that he memorized on index cards, and that he is unable to think outside of that, puts into question just how effective he would be as Commander-in-Chief.

The moment has become one of the most popular and memorable events so far in this 2016 campaign, and some people have given it the label of "Marcobot," obviously implying that Marco Rubio sounded and acted pretty much like a robot just spouting off specific information, rather than adapting to changing situations.

Embarrassing, to say the least. Rubio denied that it was embarrassing the following day, but admitted after he dipped in the polls and had a disappointing finish in New Hampshire that it was, indeed, a bad moment for him.

It really is astonishing to me, these people that think that they are somehow qualified for the highest office in the land, simply because they have the perfect political image for it. They can sound articulate before the cameras for soundbites, and that is clearly what they are aiming for.

Personally, I think that soundbites are an indication that the American people as a whole are getting dumber, and the emphasis on soundbites is proof that the attention span is decreasing dramatically. Once you get beyond these soundbites, you had better be able to continue to articulate your vision, or you might prove yourself to be entirely unqualified to be considered for the highest office (at least if you ask me).

Let's see how this effects the Rubio campaign in the long run. But for me, all of the hype surrounding Rubio, and all of that talk that he was the leading "serious" candidate, basically just went out the window. He showed himself to be very much the problem as a mainstream candidate who is too polished, and reveals how much he rehearses in order to further his political ambitions, without giving serious thought to the problems that the country faces, and what kind of leadership would be required to restore the country to former days of greatness.

It is this tunnel vision by mainstream politicians transparently getting rich and trying to further their political career by any means necessary that has gotten people so sick of politics in general, and this is the reason that so-called outsider candidates are gaining traction and enjoying success like never before. This is particularly true for Donald Trump, who sounds anything but rehearsed, but is still nonetheless enjoying incredible success at this stage of the race as the frontrunner on the Republican side.

People are getting tired of overly polished candidates like Hillary and Marcobot. Donald Trump might not be the answer, but clearly, people are beginning to realize that these kinds of robotic politicians, with corporate money in their campaign coffers and key talking points memorized like a school kid preparing for an exam also are not the answer, either.

Here is the link to an article from the night after Rubio's now embarrassing and infamous "Marcobot" moment:

Last Night's "Marcobot Moment" May Have Ruined a Political Career —By Kevin Drum | Sun Feb. 7, 2016: