The Rise of “Slacktivism”

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No, this is not another post about whether Colin Kaepernick was right or wrong to sit during the playing of our National Anthem. There are plenty of opinions on both sides of that issue. This is about what substitutes for activism these days.

Some of you may be new to the term “slacktivism”. My kids pointed out to me this new category of activism in support of social causes that does not require much effort. Like my millennial progeny, I thought I would look up what it meant where all high school and college kids start their search – Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia of the internet. The site has a very well written definition of the phenomenon:

Slacktivism is a “portmanteau” (great SAT word meaning the linguistic blending of words or their phonic sound to create a new word) of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or … Continue reading

Going Independent

lincoln-walking-away-1Walking away is hard to do. I have always been a Republican. When I was a freshman attending college in Washington, D.C., I proudly stood on the curb and watched Ronald Reagan come down Pennsylvania Avenue after being sworn in as our new President. The party of Lincoln had a positive spokesman and America was a “bright shining city on a hill”. Reagan had allies on Capitol Hill like Jack Kemp who believed that freedom, free enterprise, and programs that empowered people could raise everyone up in America willing to play by the rules and work hard. It was a positive message worth following.

2016 has been an interesting political year. The raw socialism of Bernie Sanders, the racist nativism of Donald Trump and the manipulative cronyism of establishment favorite Hillary Clinton have drawn some supporters, but for many in the middle of the political spectrum there is no one to support. I had personally been a supporter of John Kasich and went to see … Continue reading

Trust Iran? Kiss me!

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A picture says a thousand words.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been over in Switzerland trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with the Iranian Foreign Minister. At a time in which the militant Islamic State (or ISIS) has destabilized the Middle East in the name of radical religious jihad, the need for peace in the region and security for the world has never been greater.  Iraq and Syria is now home base for ISIS and the atrocities and human rights violations have been staggering. By comparison, Iran, with whom the United States has had anything but good relations, seems stable.

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry believe that we can and should enter into a 10 year agreement with Iran to control Iran’s nuclear production. Iran would promise to limit its nuclear production to only domestic uses and promise not to pursue a nuclear bomb and the United States and its allies would lift trade sanctions that have been hurting Iran’s economy.  However, … Continue reading

The Farce of Ethics Reform in Albany

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The arrest of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for enriching himself with $4,000,000 due to his position is the latest in a long line of corruption originating from our state capitol.  Only in Albany would the leading proposal to address these misdeeds be to increase the pay of our lawmakers.

So let’s go through it. The reasoning is that our lawmakers are abusing their positions of power because they are not getting paid enough and that if we would just pay them more of the taxpayers’ money they will stop abusing their power and stop taking money from special interests.  If we just limit our state legislators outside income and make the state legislature their only job, there will be no more temptation to abuse their power. Really?  Is that what we are going with?

Generally our society addresses misdeeds with some sort of punishment or limitation to serve as a deterrent.  Some of the other suggested reforms include: 1) loss of pension benefits upon … Continue reading

Race, Rhetoric and Rational Reform

The murder of two NYC police officers by a black man, in part, to avenge the death of two black men at the hands of the police is the latest tragedy in a recent deterioration in race relations in this country. The rhetoric has been heated over the last few weeks between the politicians, the protestors, the police unions, and the press. The root causes of the tensions between the police and the minority community are many and complex and not easily solved. But where does all this rhetoric get us? Where do we go from here? Are there any rational reforms that can be made?

The sparks that lit the recent fire were the decisions of the grand juries not to indicted the police officers in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. In both cases there were claims of an inherent bias that the prosecutors who presented the cases to the Grand Jury have in favor of the police officers they work with … Continue reading

A Primer on Corruption in Albany

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British historian Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Unfortunately, such is the state of affairs in our state capitol. Our Empire State is governed by a group of corrupt career politicians that have become so self-serving and arrogant that they believe they are above the law. Nothing is beyond the reach of corruption in Albany, and as recent events have shown, that includes the very commission set up to root out corruption.

A Corrupt Game of Musical Chairs

The corruption in Albany is so rampant and commonplace that most of our statewide officials owe their positions to the corruption of others. The Albany insiders seem to be playing a game of corrupt musical chairs where one member loses his seat in shame only to be replaced by another Albany insider. The music never changes, the chairs get rearranged, but the players remain the same. So here is a primer on Albany’s Corruption Musical Chairs – your very … Continue reading