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The Illusions of Trump and Sanders

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the antithesis of the conventional politician. They are not programmed, their lines are not focus-group tested, and they take positions far outside the mainstream. But the victory speeches they gave in New Hampshire Tuesday night showed they have mastered the oldest political trick of all: promising things they can’t deliver.

And the real socialist is…

As we get deeper into the weeds of the current election season, the din of empty rhetoric is deafening. Much of the blame goes to the Republicans’ darling of the moment, Donald Trump. I see Trump as the equivalent of cotton candy. It’s all puffed up, showy, appropriate for a circus and utterly void of meaningful substance. He’s all emotion, derogatory bating and narcissism.

Planning puts smart brake on sale

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee recommended the full council consider a measure imposing a moratorium on the city sales of property zoned for commercial use until more detailed guidelines are developed.

Promises and visions

When I was a pre-teen, I recalled a biblical message delivered by our church minister, the late Reverend T.J. Taylor of the Pine Hill Baptist Church here in town. Unlike Donald Trump, I will not fake a knowledge of biblical verse and attempt to quote scripture and verse. However, I do remember the essence of that message was that people without a vision will perish. As we approach the election season here in town with all of the promises of elected officials who profess to have a vision that will move Pine Bluff forward, I suggest we take time to reflect.

Old grudge new fodder

Last week The Commercial reported on yet another kerfuffle between mayoral candidate Theodis “Ted” Davis and his former associate on the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners, Stu Soffer. Like the swallows returning to San Capistrano, these individuals never disappoint in their political theatrics.

Why would Cruz insult New Yorkers?

When it comes to votes, the state of New York is a gold mine. In the 2012 presidential election, more than 11 million New Yorkers were registered. By itself, New York accounted for half of Barack Obama’s margin of victory in the popular vote over Mitt Romney.

Lesson apparently not learned

Seventy-five years ago today, the shine wore thin on one of America’s greatest living heroes. On this day in 1941, famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During his testimony, Lindbergh argued against Pres. Roosevelt’s proposed Lend-Lease policy. He also urged Congress to negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler.

White Hall solicits controversy

It’s no secret that civic leaders in White Hall seek to actively manage their city’s reputation. It’s equally apparent that many of their peers in Pine Bluff have largely abdicated this responsibility. While a bit of reputational tailoring is a good and necessary thing, a recent report in the Commercial shows how too much can be just as damaging as not enough.

Solution to the birther debate

At the base of the Statue of Liberty are poet Emma Lazarus’ words: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The fiction behind Sanders’ health plan

Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist who thinks the United States needs a “political revolution.” His plan to replace our health insurance system with “Medicare for All” is in some ways a dramatic break with the status quo. But it rests on an old and thoroughly conventional formula: Promise voters they will get more and better health care without paying for it.

Is ISIS an Islamic State? just published a thought provoking piece on the ways the Islamic State (ISIS) builds revenue. The core of ISIS funding comes from four main streams: an intricate network of taxation; oil production; looting of banks; and ransoms from kidnapping.

Indian history provides contrast

While most of us probably don’t spend much time considering the verities of Indian politics, this week marks an anniversary on the Sub-continent worth remembering. It’s the 50th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s ascension to the office of prime minister of India. Following the death of her predecessor, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, under arguably suspicious circumstances, Gandhi became head of the Congress Party and thus, prime minister of India.