Saturday, 16 November 2019

A Four Minute Lecture

When the 1916 election came up (Wilson going for re-election, and Charles Hughes for the Republicans) presented an unusual election dilemma.

First, lets be blunt....Wilson won in 1912 only because Roosevelt returned to political life and felt the need to challenge his former friend....Robert Taft (GOP).  Taft and Roosevelt divided the general vote across the nation, and Wilson with 6.2-million votes....essentially won 435 Electoral Votes....yet only got 41-percent of the national vote.

Four years go by and frankly, there's not a lot for Wilson to sell his campaign upon in 1916. 

Second, the key feature in the summer and fall of chat about across the nation....was the war in Europe.  We hadn't entered the war, and virtually everything that Wilson talked about....was to avoid entry.  If you measured the public response to that position....the majority were in favor of just watching and not participating.

Third, to sell the public on this Wilson anti-war position....the campaign decided early on in the summer to go and activate something that they would call the 'Four-Minute Men'.

At it's peak in 1917....there were around 80,000 'volunteers' across the US who were deemed Four-Minute Men. 

Their job?  They would be sent pamphlets and notes to give them material....bullet-statements, and from that they were given the task to engage in conversation in train stations, colleges, churches, and public settings.  They were to talk (in four minutes) over Wilson's theme, and the direction of the Democratic Party. 

So leading up to the election in 1916.....they convinced the public that ONLY Wilson could keep the nation out of the war.  Hughes would lead the nation into the war.  Roughly four weeks after the Wilson win....pamphlets flow out to the Four-Minute Men....that Wilson has the right plan to enter the war. 

Propagandists?  Yes.  In the true sense of the word.

Did they limit it to just English?  No....that's another amusing fact....they went into various ethnic neighborhoods, and spoke to the languages required.

You can figure that out of 103-million in 1916-1917.....virtually everyone got a dose of the Four-Minute Men a minimum of three occasions, and some might have gotten even a hundred doses.  The national head of the group even bragged at one point....figuring a minimum of 7.5 speeches given by his propagandists.

Most historians leave the group at that point, and just kinda suggest that by 1920 (as a weak Wilson leaves office)....that the group is disbanded.

There is evidence that in the California governor's election of 1930....a Four-Minute Men mechanism went back into action.  There's also a suggestion or two that in the 1932 national election period (1930 to 1932)....that FDR used the same type of resources. 

The Bonus Army that marched on DC in 1932?  Were they led by Four-Minute Men propaganda?'s best not to bring that topic up, but Hoover's loss is dependent on the Bonus Army and the massive news coverage around it. 

The Four-Minute Men at work today?  This is an interesting discussion point.

Once you lay out the former Fox News guy Bill O'Reilly's method of news's built into a bullet-like statement, and is the perfect vehicle to go and make you or your associates into Four-Minute Men. 

Others from NPR, CNN, and the NY Times?  Well....same story.

So do we have a modern-day Four-Minute Men problem....with propagandists on every corner?  Absolutely.  And are there counter-Four-Minute Men at work?  Absolutely. 

Just something to think about, and how we've been spoon fed for over a hundred years. 

Friday, 15 November 2019

Impeachment History Numbers

In the case of the supposed Nixon impeachment chatter, did the Senate have potentially 66 votes to impeach Nixon? 

Simple answer?  No.

In this period....1973 and 1974....the Democrats only controlled 56 of the Senate seats, with two independents, and the rest Republican (44).

Republicans possibly crossing over?  No one has ever sat down and figured the real positions, and frankly....if you guess on might have had five or six Republicans total....who would have gone with the Democrats. 

This means Nixon would have survived the impeachment process?  Yes.  They would never reach 66. 

But here's the thing....already in the first year of the administration, he was showing serious drinking issues, and he was probably not at the peak of his understanding or authority.  It really didn't take much chatter to convince him to resign and step down.

Same issue with Clinton?  Yes, they were never going to get to 66 Senators. 

Trump?  They might reach between 55 and 58 Senators total.  Just something to think about. 

Thursday, 14 November 2019

The 'Shiffy Show', Lost and Closure

My brother brought up this topic.....over the impeachment hearings (the Shiffy Show), and the TV series Lost (one of my favorite all-time shows).

What made Lost (the series) a great series...was the thrill of the unknown.  They could package six to eight curves in each 43-minute drama piece.  Throughout the first and second season, you probably had over 300-odd curves which lifted you into a state of suspense.  It literally begged you to come back the next week, and try to solve mystery #11.....while they were introducing you to mystery #12 and #13.

But here's the thing about Lost, even with all the great characters, acting, the early part of season four, you were discounting about half of their mystery elements, and shaking your head because nothing really could explain the whole thing without suggesting that this was just a fake reality, and landing you in either 'limbo' or purgatory (between heaven and hell).

At that point, you grumbled your way through season five and six.

Episode 121?  The ending....more or less to deliver you over to 'closure'.  Certain characters were absolutely dead....and a handful were going off to a permanent purgatory existence.

A lot of 'huff' and 'puff' over nothing?  In the end, you just were left with a marginalized closure, and wishing that the show had a real ending.

So you gaze over to the impeachment hearing....waiting for 'Jack' to arrive, and the storyline to pick up....wondering about 'little smokey', the four-toes Taweret statue, that Ben-character (if he is that evil), the re-set button, and thinking that James Sawyer-character from Jasper, Alabama might save everyone.  If none of those mystery things come up in the hearings?'s pretty much doomed.

In the end with Lost, you wanted closure, and you never got it.

In the end with the impeachment hearing business, you want closure (if you were a CNN-obsessed person or Hillary-voter), and you probably won't get it.

Adding to this mess, with Joe and Hunter Biden's also kinda wonder if this not more like the Sopranos of New Jersey TV fame....than Lost.  The Delaware and Ukrainian mafia?  In fine clothing?

First Day of Impeachment Hearing

To be honest, I only put in 45 minutes of viewing.  To me, it's really not that dramatic or filled with information.  But there is this one thing that stood out with the witnesses that came on day one....second-hand and third-hand information.

Throughout my life (in the military years and the contractor period).....I often found that you needed to find the obvious person who knew the situation or the facts.  You learned to value first-hand information, and to usually discount second or third-hand information. 

If this hearing business ends up being mostly a pony-show, with people talking about so-and-so saying this but they didn't really hear it themselves....then it's a worthless show. 

Maybe it got better after the 45-minute period I watched....but if it didn't, then it's pretty much a wasted effort. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The 'Hillary-Thud' Factor

Throughout 2016, with journalists hyping the negativity over Trump and the high poll numbers....all of that effort led to people in a state of shock over Hillary failing to win.

Basically, we are repeating the same formula.....with journalists hyping the impeachment, and preparing people for Trump being removed. 

The state of shock approaching in early 2020 as Trump's impeachment business fails?  Same shock level. 

Days of Our Lives Chatter

Years ago, in my Panama tour (mid-80s)....for some odd reason, I got into soap operas.....namely, 'Days of Our Lives'.  This is when video-tape rentals were big and you could show up on a Friday after work, and rent an entire week's worth of the show to watch over Saturday and Sunday. 

At the end of that tour....I quit the habit, and frankly didn't care what happened to 'Patch' and 'Kayla'. 

I noticed in today's news that Days of Our Lives had this little meeting with the contract folks, and they basically released ALL of the cast (probably up to around 30 people in the primary group, and another twenty who would occasionally show up for some storyline).

Yep....the contracts ended. 

So what the business side says is that they have canned episodes to actually carry the show up to mid-summer 2020.  Normally, they'd restart the shooting around Feb/Mar timeframe, but they aren't saying much.  The bosses say.....they'd really like to continue, but the idea is....the cast would have to come in and talk over their contracts. 

My humble guess is that the production folks would like to cut the contracts by some magic amount (maybe 20-percent).  My other humble guess is that at least one-third of the cast will walk away and refuse to work for less. 

Some folks (journalists who chat over the show).....suggest that maybe the entire cast would walk away, and they'd just go hire 30 new people off the street, and reset the whole storyline.  Could they even reset the city of 'Salem'?   Maybe.

I often wondered why you had to do the series in Hollywood.  You could have picked some southern town, and just set up a production warehouse, and hire forty-odd wannabe-actors for various roles.  You could have cut the costs by fifty-percent. 

So, bold new world coming to Days of Our Lives.....or maybe even the end of the series entirely. 

Monday, 11 November 2019

The Whistle-Blower Problem

For at least two months now, folks are consumed....24 hours a day.....with this topic of the whistler-blower, and the 'mystery' that it entails.

So folks are hyped up....especially journalists, on getting the identity a secret.  Twenty years ago?  The name would have been out in the public in less than 72 hours.  So this is rather this game is being played.

Would I be in trouble if I released the name?  Yeah, probably.  But this brings up the would I know? 

In fact, there's 99.999 percent of the public who have no idea who the whistle-blower is.  Unless you sat on the committee in the should have no idea. 

So when this journalist stands up on Fox News and says 'X' is the does she know?  Did someone in the House leak it?  More than likely. 

It's a funny history drama because in the 1990s....over forty different news organizations, and newspapers....would have detailed reporters, and found out the name in a short-period of time.  Today?  Virtually nothing.  It's like they fired all the investigative journalists and just stopped that whole process.  The original guys from 60 Minutes?  They have to be flipping over in their graves....nothing gets reported unless it's bless by political agenda experts.