Friday, December 2, 2016

What Should the Court do With Katie Couric?




In May of 2016 Katie Couric and her associates produced a “documentary” entitled, “Under the Gun.”  Its website describes the film as follows:

“UNDER THE GUN examines the events and people who have kept the gun debate fierce and the progress slow, even as gun deaths and mass shootings continue to increase. Through the lens of families impacted by the mass shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Isla Vista and Tucson, as well as those who experience daily gun violence in Chicago, the documentary looks at why politicians are finding it difficult to act and what is being done at the state and local levels. The film is executive produced and narrated by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig.”

The film’s anti-gun predisposition is clearly conveyed by that description.  Included in the “documentary” is a clip in which Katie Couric interviews the pro-gun rights group, Virginia Citizens Defense League.  Couric asks them, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”  The group’s members are then shown looking around in silence for nine seconds, appearing stumped by the question.  But in reality it was later revealed that members of the group offered responses to her question immediately.  The edited version and a portion of the actual responses can be heard in this news segment on Fox News from May 26, 2016:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4913171510001

What a devious and unfair thing for Couric and her friends to do.   Couric initially dismissed the criticism of the misleading editing, saying she was proud of the film; but she later (when the criticism wouldn’t go away, presumably) issued the following apology:

“As executive producer of ‘Under the Gun,’ a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL),” she wrote. “My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.

“When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a ‘beat’ was added for, as she described it, ‘dramatic effect,’ to give the audience a moment to consider the question. When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response….I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.”

http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/katie-couric-under-the-gun-apology-misleading-epix-1201785392/

So let me see if I understand this correctly.  The makers of this “documentary” thought it would be better to edit out what was actually said and substitute a version that was, in essence, fiction?  Sounds perfectly in keeping with how the Left approaches just about everything.  It is no exaggeration to say that there is always an attempt to mislead and misrepresent in whatever the Left produces, because that is what is necessary for the Left to advance its agenda.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League has filed a $13 million defamation suit and they are entitled to every penny, in my humble opinion.  This was no accident.  According to her own apology, Katie Couric knew that the film’s selective editing would give viewers a false and unflattering impression of the members of this group, and that is what it intended to do.  One can only imagine what Ms. Couric’s response would be if Fox News, for example, edited an interview with her so as to purposely leave viewers with the false impression that she was stumped for words; but then, fairness is something that leftists believe only they are entitled to.  No expense is too great for someone else to pay for the sake of advancing the Left’s agenda.

A panel of politically-mixed journalists on Fox’s ‘Happening Now’ this morning seem to think Couric’s apology was enough penance, even while they unanimously called the actions of Couric and her film associates “inexcusable.” This remark by Bill McGurn of the WSJ, however, really hit the nail on the head:

“We all know in our business that it’s very easy to skew things with just a little touch here, where we place things and so forth…”

Absolutely they all know.  That little perk is precisely why the Left gravitates to the field of media.

It’s time to send Couric and other elites a message that they aren’t at liberty to abuse anyone else to get what they want.  Give Virginia Citizens Defense League their $13 million.


~CW


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Friday, November 18, 2016

Do You Agree that Healthcare is a Basic Human Right?


Yesterday I posted an essay on how rights become rights.  First there is the declaration, then comes the ability to exercise your “right” either by force or via the absence of, or ineffectual, pushback.  Over the past decade we have seen an increasingly aggressive push by those on the Left to nudge us (more of a shove, really) into accepting their claim (more of a demand, actually) to healthcare as a right.   It’s been very dismaying to me to observe the almost complete lack of pushback by the Right when it comes to this issue and the Left’s attempt (success, to be more accurate) to unilaterally establish a new right/entitlement that heretofore did not exist.  No one, it seems, wanted to look like the meanie who denied “access to healthcare,” as the Left so slyly phrases it, so let me be one of the first (as far as I can tell) to pronounce unequivocally that healthcare is not a right (although in truth I’ve said it for many years).  Let me also point out that, contrary to the myth hysterically cultivated by the Left that refusal to recognize healthcare as a right is tantamount to denying access, the refusal to agree that healthcare is a right only means that people have to provide their own means of obtaining it.  What a concept, eh?  But let’s get back to the subject of rights for a moment.

The wise men credited with the founding of our great nation saw fit to include a Bill of Rights with our Constitution.  If liberals would ever bother to read it they might take note that healthcare is not included on that list.  Not that it would matter much to the bullies on the Left who believe that the way you get what you want in life is to lie, cheat, march, shout and force others to provide it for you.  More importantly, though, thoughtful readers will note that the “rights” protected under the Bill of Rights all have one critical thing in common:   No right guaranteed in the B.O.R. comes at the expense of any other individual.   The same certainly cannot be said about the “right” to healthcare and the multitude of other freebies the Left continually proclaims itself entitled to.  If you have the right to healthcare, then logically it must follow that other citizens have the obligation to provide it for you.  Those citizens become, in essence, your indentured servants, and we become, in essence, the very antithesis of the country that our founders sacrificed to create.

There’s an old joke about a man who asks a woman if she will sleep with him for a million dollars.  The woman thinks it over carefully and, after much agonizing, ultimately decides she will.  When she gives the man her answer, he responds by saying, “Okay.  How about you sleep with me for 50 bucks?”  The outraged woman cries, “What kind of woman do you think I am?!” to which the man says, “We’ve already established what kind of woman you are.  Now we’re just arguing over the price.”

Any time you fail to stand for the Constitution and you allow people to successfully grant themselves rights at the expense of their fellow citizens, you significantly change the nature of your relationship with those people.  From that point forward the question is not whether they can proclaim their own rights and take from their fellow citizens.  The question is only, “How much?”

Freedom, alas, is never free.  The price for preserving liberty, as the Founders defined it and as we so often tout in our posts and comments, is that we must do what’s right even when it’s tempting to give in.  Healthcare as a right sounds nice, I know, particularly when each and every one of us as well as our loved ones will need it at some point.  But the American spirit has a way of finding the path to provide what we need the right way when we are not enticed by the devil’s shortcuts that require indenturing our souls.  A true free market that normalizes costs (rather than the ludicrous pricing that artificial constraints have led to) coupled with the renowned generosity of Americans is the best way to provide everyone, including the truly disadvantaged, with what they need.  More on that in a future post.


~CW


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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Of Rights and Realities




The subject of rights is what I like to think of as a cornerstone subject.  It is the premise from which so many other arguments fall into place.  I was planning to write a post on America’s dysfunctional healthcare “system,” for instance, but that’s a topic which, in my mind, begins with the fundamental question of what our rights are.  Consequently, rather than do an inordinately lengthy post involving two equally important subjects I would like to first talk about the subject of rights.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get onto healthcare (I know you can hardly wait).

The concept of human rights, and the rights of American citizens in particular, is something that I’ve given a great deal of thought to over the years.  I wrote an essay on the subject on my old blog back in July of 2011.  Thinking I might save myself some time and just tweak that post a bit I revisited it this morning, but upon reading it again I ultimately decided just to re-post it in its originally form even though I might have revised it somewhat if I were starting over today.  The reason I’m doing so is because the ensuing discussion in the comment section, which I am also re-printing following the essay, includes what I believe is a thought-provoking dissent and discussion between myself and a fellow blogger whom some of you may remember, DrPete.  Here it is from 2011:

~CW



What Makes a Right a Right?

There’s a lot of discussion over at Townhall, and I’m sure it’s the same on other conservative blogging sites, about the origin of our “rights.”  Some say our rights come from God, some say they are derived from the Constitution, some say they come from nature and some say they simply exist and are not granted or bestowed on us by anyone or anything.  In reality, none of the above is true.

What makes a right a right – what gives it value, in other words – is the mutual agreement that such a right exists and/or the ability to defend that right.

Consider a scenario in which two people are stranded on a deserted island with no expectation of being rescued.  Now suppose that the stronger of the two demands that the other work as his slave, or else he will kill him.  If the right to life and freedom were truly unalienable, then the weaker fellow need simply assert those rights and the problem would be immediately resolved, correct?  In reality though, if the stronger man does not agree to those rights and cannot be held accountable for depriving the weaker man of them, then those “rights” are meaningless and may as well not exist at all.

It is the Declaration of Independence which declares that, “…all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;” however, the mere declaration of such rights is not sufficient to establish them.  If it was, then we would also be enjoying the right to free food, housing and medical care as per the declaration of such rights by one resident leftist over at Townhall.  Anyone can declare themselves entitled to “rights,” as the Left frequently proves.  Going back now to the DOI, England did not agree that our right to liberty was “unalienable.”  We had to fight to defend it, with many learning in the process that the right to life is not so “unalienable” either.  Ultimately it was only the demonstration of our ability to defend those “rights” that preserved them for the remaining Americans.

The Constitution does not “grant” us rights; however, it does three vital things that give us the best chance for being able to exercise certain rights.  First, it defines those rights with specificity, the founders having undoubtedly understood that specificity is key to enforceability.  Next, by incorporating the Bill of Rights into the Constitution they established the presumption of mutual agreement by virtue of citizenship.  It is this presumption of assent that then makes it possible to establish a means to defend those rights by way of due process and our justice system.  Brilliant?  That’s up to each of us to judge, but what it says to me is the founders astutely understood the intangible and precarious nature of “rights” and the problems associated with both guaranteeing and not guaranteeing them.

Ultimately our “rights” are only as good as our ability to enforce them.  Keep that in mind whenever someone presumes to declare what their rights are.

Posted by CW



DrPete:

Oh geeez, there’s such a love fest here. Why do I wanna rain on a parade with everyone so in step with each other?  That a right isn’t a right unless you are powerful enough or have bigger weapons for self-defense is nonsequitur. Though a misuse of the phrase, might does NOT make right.

I guess our government has a right to hand us unfunded liabilities of $120 trillion, current debt of $14+ tril, and deficit exceeding $100 bil per month. Why? They/ve done it and we weren’t powerful enough to stop them. They have the tanks and the nukes.

The Bill of Rights does NOT specify our rights. It provides civic examples of them. For example, the 2nd amendment affirms our unalienable right to liberty and to self-defense of our unalienable rights.

Because I have an unalienable right to life, doesn’t NOT mean that I’m impenitrable. Someone who murders me violates my right to life, and THAT is why murder is a crime.



CW:

Actually, drpete, although I’d been mulling over this subject for some time, it was something you said that finally inspired this post. You said something about having the right to abuse your dog if you like, because of your inalienable right to property (I’m paraphrasing so please correct me if I got that wrong). This was a bit puzzling to me, since most local governments have laws against abusing animals and hey, didn’t Michael Vick spend a couple of years in prison for abusing his dogs? How can that be, I wondered, if we have “the right” to treat animals as we please? I considered debating the issue with you but ultimately I figured, what was the point? All declarations aside, you can’t enforce your “right” to abuse animals, and the reason you can’t enforce it is because society won’t let you. So what does that say about your “right” to abuse your dog? If it’s a right, it’s a worthless one. That’s why the premise of this post was to understand what gives a right VALUE. That understanding, IMO, is of greater consequence than any one individual declaring what his rights are because, as you know, 10 different people will give 10 different lists if they’re asked to list their rights.

>>”Someone who murders me violates my right to life, and THAT is why murder is a crime.”

What about those countries where men can legally murder their wives or daughters? If it’s not a crime, does that mean those women and girls don’t have a right to life?   While I agree in principle that people have the right to live, I would say that murder is a crime here because citizens have come to a mutual agreement that it will not be tolerated and society has enforced its will by creating and enforcing laws against it.



DrPete:

I am more convinced now, CW, that our disagreement is semantic. If some people have government pass and enforce law infringing on my unalienable (from the Creator) right to liberty, I contend that such a right still exists, but is being illegally infringed. You say that, since the right is no longer exercisable, it doesn’t exist.

Am I correct, then, that while I’ll fight to the end to impeach the progressive plunderers, you’ll merely say “c’est la vie”?



CW:

Yes, drpete, I think semantics is definitely a factor in our disagreement.

>>”You say that, since the right is no longer exercisable, it doesn’t exist.”

I wouldn’t say that they don’t exist, in part because I can’t say that they ever existed in the first place. I would say that if you cannot exercise a “right,” it becomes meaningless.

>>”Am I correct, then, that while I’ll fight to the end to impeach the progressive plunderers, you’ll merely say “c’est la vie”?”

No, that’s not correct. A right BEGINS with our belief that we are entitled to certain things, and when we declare something to be our right we are essentially asserting that we intend to fight for that entitlement. That’s what the authors of the Declaration of Independence were doing when they wrote that document. They were notifying England and anyone else of concern what they were prepared to fight for. It was, essentially, their line in the sand.

Like everyone else, I believe there are certain things in life I am entitled to, including life, liberty and property, and I am willing to sacrifice and fight for those things. But my declaration of these entitlements does not guarantee that others will agree with me and honor my right to them. This is why the Constitution, to the extent that we are able to uphold it, is so vital. As the Law of the Land it provides the assumption of mutual agreement and the mechanism of defense that give our rights significance.



DrPete:

I think, CW, that the Founders DEDUCED that humans must be born with certain rights, that human life made no sense without these rights having been endowed. They were certainly also aware that in the entire history of humankind, those rights had been infringed and plundered by despots of one or another stripe.

These men set out to forge America as the first place in history to respect, protect, and defend those rights. I agree with their thinking processes, their deductions, and their conclusions. And I’d like to help restore their vision.



CW:

I think you’re right, drpete, but in the end they were merely men and their deductions were merely their opinions, just like you and I (except that I’m not a man, but you get what I mean). I agree they showed enormous wisdom and I, too, would like to see it restored, but this brings us back to the eternal struggle – what gives us the “right” to do so if others disagree with that vision? I would say that, to the extent we have the “right” it’s because the Constitution is still the Law of the Land and mutual agreement is implicit; but enforcing it is a whole other ball of wax.

In your last post you talked about marching on Washington to physically remove those people that you perceive to be illegally messing with the Constitution, and restoring the founders’ vision via your own “benevolent dictatorship.” Doesn’t that sort of smack of the “might makes right” which you chided me for? That’s not meant to be any sort of gotcha. I’m sincerely interested in what you see as the difference.



DrPete:

Might, CW, doesn’t MAKE right, but self-defense with force as necessary to protect and defend life, liberty and property is an unalienable (from the Creator) right with which each of us is endowed. It is THAT — self-defense — that We the People empowered our federal government, the authority and duty to do collectively what each of us had the right to do individually.

Now that the federal government has overstepped its authority (by in my estimation fourfold) and plundered, rather than defended, individual liberty, it is the right of each and all of us to UNDO that.

As aside, it scares me that the federal government is not only the enemy of the people, but it out “guns” us by a cubic pantload.



DrPete:

I want to disagree, CW, with your contention that the Founders’ “deductions were merely their opinions . . . ” The conclusions they drew from reasonable premises and deductive reasoning, it seems to me logically follow.

Humans have intelligence both different from and superior to other animals and all plantlife. They are capable of planning and organizing, of inventing, of agriculture and manufacturing, of choosing and behaving as they choose. Choices have consequences. Behaviors have consequences. Humans are capable of living and surviving, indeed thriving, sans cooperation or assistance.

They must be free to choose or they cannot help in their own survival. Their first property is themselves. The taking of a human life is totally unnecessary for a human to survive and thrive. The right to control one’s own property, oneself, is. Etc. Etc.

Such thinking isn’t just opinion. It’s logic. It’s rational. It’s the opposite of progressivism which is mindless feeling.



CW:

drpete:  I agree with you that it’s logical and rational, but so what? That’s merely my opinion, agreeing with your opinion which agrees with the Founders’ opinions. To the extent that you can persuade people with that reasoning, that’s great.

A liberal I used to argue with once said that the right to life means we also have the right to food, housing and employment because life cannot be sustained without these things. That, to him, seemed perfectly logical, therefore HE was right. You see?

The only thing we have going for us right now is the Constitution, because (at the risk of being obnoxiously repetitive) it is still the Law of the Land and it still contains the assumption of mutual agreement that existed at the time of the founding, and which is the only way, IMO, to enforce our “rights” (other than by physical confrontation, and the odds, as you point out, are against us). Granted, the Constitution is hanging by a thread…



DrPete:

Your arguing here, CW, reminds me, sorry, — Oh don’t go there, Pete, don’t — of my wife. “It’s just YOUR opinion. Others have THEIR opinions. Doesn’t make you right.”

There ARE facts. And 2+2=4, regardless of someone’s opinion. I have a pantload of facts to support my premises that humans have assets that other animals don’t and that plants don’t. Once there, reasonable premises added to facts yield logical and supportable and verifiable conclusions. Data and observation prove those with contradictory opinions WRONG.

I knew I shoulda quit while I was only slightly behind.



CW:

It’s obvious, drpete, that your wife is an intelligent woman (she chose you, didn’t she?).  If facts and logic ruled the day, we wouldn’t have a leftist in the Whitehouse.

I rest my case. :)



November 15, 2016, epilog:

The subject of what determines rights, along with many other subjects, churns in my head continuously and refines itself as – I like to think – I refine myself.  If I were to start over and write that post today I would change the last sentence of my first paragraph which said, “In reality, none of the above is true.”  Instead, I would say, our belief in where our rights originate doesn’t necessarily matter except to ourselves, or except to the extent that we are able to persuade others of our logic or righteousness.  I stand by my contention that what gives a right value is our willingness to assert and fight for that right as well as our ability to defend and exercise it.



In this country and around the world we are constantly seeing epic struggles over the question of rights.  Today, groups like Black Lives Matter and other leftist organizations are increasingly trying to assert “rights” not found in the Constitution through violence, force and intimidation.  Any failure on the part of our ostensibly representative government to fight back with equal force, as has certainly been the case under the current leftwing regime, is akin to recognizing their claims. We can take some comfort in knowing that these movements have come and gone in the past and establishing rights by violence and hissy fits has been rejected by virtue of the voters directing a change in control of government, but the peace generally comes with some unwritten bargain that nudges that line in the sand to give more room to the would-be anarchists and less to those of us who still support the Constitution as originally intended.  The election of Donald Trump – and rejection of Hillary Clinton – is one side’s way of telling the other side that they have once again gone too far.  The question now is, where will Trump & Co. reset the line?  


~CW

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What’s Really Unprecedented?

Hillary Clinton is very distressed about FBI Director James Comey’s announcement to congress and the American people that the FBI is re-opening its investigation into her emails, complaining with shrill indignation that his actions are “unprecedented.”  It seems a bit odd that a lack of precedence, of all things, would be the main basis for her protest given that she and her fellow Democrats are no strangers to doing that which is unprecedented.


  • It was unprecedented when Democrat Hillary Clinton set up a private server in the basement of her home for the sole purpose of concealing her communications as Secretary of State from public scrutiny.It was unprecedented when the head of the Department of Justice (appointed by a Democrat POTUS) held a private meeting on an airplane with the Democrat husband of a central (Democrat) figure in an investigation.
  • It was unprecedented that a presidential nominee’s spouse has a known history of serious sexual misconduct, including allegations of rape.  Both the nominee and spouse are, of course, Democrats.
  • When Democrat POTUS Barack Obama chose the occasion of the State of the Union Address to attack the Supreme Court for its decision on “Citizen United,” that was unprecedented.
  • It was unprecedented when Democrat Obama used executive action to unilaterally grant amnesty to five million people – non-refugees - living illegally in the U.S., against the objections of Americans’ representatives in congress.
  • It was unprecedented when Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore challenged the vote results for the state of Florida by requesting a recount - but only in select counties, and it was unprecedented that when Democrats lost (after two state-wide recounts) many continued to claim or suggest that George Bush was illegitimately occupying the White House throughout his term.
  • The number of unanimous Supreme Court decisions overturning actions by the Obama Administration has been unprecedented.
  • The $400 million cash ransom to Iran, courtesy of our current Democrat administration, was unprecedented.
  • When Democrat Barack Obama disparaged presidential candidate Donald Trump while on an overseas visit to Japan, this was an unprecedented breach of presidential decorum. 
  • When Democrats, led by Obama, passed an almost trillion dollar stimulus bill without Republican support this was unprecedented both by its size and partisanship.
  • When Democrat Senator Harry Reid orchestrated a change in the senate rules to take power away from the minority party, this was unprecedented.


It’s no wonder that “unprecedented” has come to be such a dirty word, and yet in keeping with the increasingly Orwellian world we live in, only Democrats are entitled to be outraged over the crime of doing what supposedly is “unprecedented,” an irony which is not lost on those of us who are acutely aware that we’ve been living through a whirlwind of unprecedented acts for the past eight years. 


~CW

Unlike our government, I care what you think (unless you’re moving to Chili, in which case I don’t care what you think), so if you want to comment just follow the link to The Pesky Truth where this essay is reprinted.  Thanks.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

The One Reason to Choose Trump over Hillary



What is the essence of America?  There is the land, of course, the essential territory wherein people can exist and exercise their God given right to pursue happiness in this life; but every country, good or bad, has land.  What makes America unique is its founding as a nation rooted in the quest for freedom and the opportunity for prosperity; its inhabitants’ fight for resistance against tyranny; and, of course, the Constitution that arose from this struggle which makes government subservient to the people and signifies mutual agreement to recognize and respect each other’s basic rights.  Lastly, the essence of America is our sovereignty – our proclaimed right to self-determination and refusal to be subject to the will or demands of any other persons or nations.

All of this is old news to the conservatives who frequent this blog but this post is going to be about the love of country and I feel that, in recognition of the sad state of true patriotism that exists today, it’s necessary to explain what America is before I can talk about what it means to love it.  Leftists like Hillary Clinton don’t share my view on the essence of America.  They may pay lip service to certain patriotic themes, but if you listen carefully to their speeches, if you read between the lines and if you heed their actions, you’ll see that they are not talking about America as we know it (read the WSJ’s “Hillary’s New Constitution”).  Their serial abuses of The Constitution, veneration for big government and cavalier attitude with respect to our sovereignty (read:  “Hillary Clinton embraces George Soros’ ‘radical’ vision of open-border world” – Washington Times) reveal their disregard for the essence of America.  To the Left, America is merely a tool that enables them to herd and mine its inhabitants for their own wealth and power.  Everything they say and do is intended to keep the herd compliant and moving in the direction that it wants them to go.  They may love what it can do for them, but they have no love for America as it was intended to be.

For all of his faults I believe, and always have believed, that Donald Trump sincerely loves America.  It’s unfortunate that, like too many Americans, he’s never given serious thought to the relationship between America’s founding and what this country provides us that makes it worthy of his love and effort to preserve it.  These are things that he takes for granted, that’s obvious to me from his speeches and from many of his policy proposals.  I’ve found that to be problematic because someone cannot truly fix what’s broken in this country if they don’t understand its essence at the deepest level any more than a mechanic can make a car run as it should if he doesn’t understand how the engine works.  Still, Trump understands enough to know that America is slipping away, and while he may not have the understanding or expertise to repair its engine himself, he understands that it needs to be protected from those (like Hillary Clinton & Co.) who would run it into the ground.  If you don’t believe that Hillary intends to run the country into the ground, just take an honest look at the presidency of Barack Obama.  Yes, by outward appearances we’re humming along with life as usual, mostly:  You go to your job (if you have one), pick up the kids from school, help with the homework, eat some dinner, watch your TV shows, go to sleep and start again the next day.  But if you ever dare take the time to really look at what’s under the hood of our car you’ll see the reality:  skyrocketing debt, half a nation on welfare, a weakened position in the world, and scariest of all – a growing sense of entitlement and disrespect for the rule of law.  The Left has abused and neglected the car and there’s a fatal crack forming in the engine block.

You can talk all you want about experience, temperament, health or making history, but none of those things means anything if you have a POTUS who doesn’t first and above all, love this nation.



~CW

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WHAT’S IN A NAME?



Given the laundry list of ills that liberalism has spawned in this world the popular trend of double or hyphenated last names may seem quite trivial by comparison but I bring it up because not only is it a particular pet peeve of mine but it provides valuable insights into how the liberal mind works.  Here’s a small sample of what I’m talking about:

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Debbie WassermanSchultz

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Teresa Heinz Kerry

Sheila Jackson Lee


What exactly is the purpose of subjecting us all to these overly cumbersome names, pray tell?  Oh, I’m aware of the stated reasons that we’re given for our inconvenience: Professional women want to be sure they’re still recognized after they’re married; or:  they don’t want to lose their bond to their family name.

Sorry I don’t buy it.  A young Margaret Roberts ran for political office twice before marrying and changing her last name to Thatcher.  The name change does not seem to have harmed her career any.  Elizabeth Hanford worked for several presidential administrations and was Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission when she married Bob Dole and became Elizabeth Dole.  Her prior accomplishments were not forgotten and people managed to figure out who she was while she continued to have a highly esteemed career.  Does anyone care that Michelle Obama’s maiden name is Robinson?  Was taking her husband’s name an affront to her family crest?  No, it changes nothing.

I concede that I made up my mind prior to ever being married that I would keep my maiden name if (a) my husband’s name was something disturbing or comical, like Hitler or Weiner (my apologies to the Hitlers and Weiners out there); or (b) if his last name rhymed with my first name (I could never be Debbie Webby, just as an example), but that’s just a practical matter.  I have to be able to say my own name without cringing or laughing, don’t I?  In that case, though, I would keep just one name.  I also understand there may be women who re-marry and choose to keep the surname of their children along with their new name, but that’s not the case in most of my examples above.  So again I ask, what is the point?

I believe the point is to steer people into making assumptions about you based upon your name rather than letting your actions and accomplishments speak for themselves.  It’s a manipulation, albeit a small one, and it goes to the heart of the way liberals tend to think, placing appearances above substance.  “Look at me.  I buck tradition, therefore I am more free-thinking and independent than you.”  That’s what the point is, and that’s why I think it’s worth writing a post about.  I resent the fact that these women might be assumed to possess qualities that are superior to those of us who choose to give up our maiden names and adopt our husbands’ names when one has absolutely no bearing on the other.  Carly Fiorina was moving up the corporate ladder when she married and took the surname of her second husband.  Does anyone seriously question her independence or her belief in her own right to thrive as a woman in this world?

On top of all that I’m just plain tired of saying and typing ‘Wasserman Schultz,’ et al.  It’s tedious; which brings me to the second half of this complaint.  More and more we’re bombarded with the growing trend for hyphenated names, as any football fan has no doubt observed.  Here’s a sampling:

Da’mon Cromartie-Smith

Maurice Jones-Drew

Mike Sims-Walker

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

I can only assume that this latest trend in name patch-working is the consequence of the destruction of the traditional family unit engineered by the Left over the past many decades.  It’s a wonder to me that the makers of sports uniforms haven’t gone on strike in protest over the needless complexity of having to cram two names onto a jersey now instead of just one.  What’s next?  Shall we wrap the names all the way around the jersey?  What about twenty years from now when the daughter of Jones-Drew marries the son of Rodgers-Cromartie? Will their children be signing Rodgers-Cromartie-Jones-Drew to their second grade homework assignments?  To what lengths, literally speaking, will we go to accommodate this silliness? 

Looking into the future I can foresee the day when a young Ms. Sims-Walker-Wasserman-Schultz suddenly announces that she has a brilliant idea for simplifying things and proposes that we all choose just one family name.

Gee, why didn’t we think of that? 


~CW



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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

For a Glimpse at Your Future under President Hillary and the Left, Just Look at the Nightmare in Venezuela



Emphasis in bold is mine.  ~CW


“It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.”                    ~Moisés Naím and Francisco Toro, The Atlantic                                                     
  

The article continues:

“In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.”

 http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/05/venezuela-is-falling-apart/481755/

  
Reporters for the leftwing journal The Guardian paint a similar picture:

“Venezuela is suffering the worst economic crisis in its history. Ordinary people in the oil-rich country are regularly going without food. Three-quarter empty supermarkets are being ransacked by angry, hungry mobs. The government has declared a state of emergency, food is now being transported under armed guard, and basic necessities are being rationed. People have to queue for hours and sometimes overnight on their assigned days to receive staples like rice and cooking oil.”

 “By IMF figures, it has the world’s worst negative growth rate (-8%), and the worst inflation rate (482%). The unemployment rate is 17% but is expected to climb to near 30% in the coming few years.”

 “The shadow of hunger, the desperation of the crowds and the spread of unrest and criminality threaten the government of Nicolás Maduro, three years after he was bequeathed power by the dying revolutionary strongman, Hugo Chávez.”

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/22/venezuela-economic-crisis-guardian-briefing

  
Venezuela’s socialist government has also brought devastation to its healthcare system, as reported by The Guardian:

“For years, among the proudest boasts of the Bolivarian Socialist administration was that it eradicated hunger, reduced poverty and improved healthcare for the poor.”

“But the trend is now appears to be moving in the opposite direction at an alarming speed. [That’s the funny thing about socialism]  Reliable data is hard to find. The government has acknowledged that maternal mortality – a key healthcare indicator – has doubled in the past year. The opposition says the deterioration is five fold – and that death of newborns increased 100 fold.”

“We are seeing a collapse in the public health system.” said Maritza Landaeta, a senior member of the Health Observatory. “Venezuela is witnessing a miracle, a miracle of destruction.”

“Earlier this year, the president of the Venezuelan Association of Clinics and Hospitals in the state of Carabobo, was detained by police and questioned for three hours after he went on TV to complain about medical shortages.”

“Doctors have also accused the government of downplaying the threat of the Zika virus.”

“Diphtheria is making a comeback….”

““Nine thousands doctors have left the country and the exodus is continuing,” says one of those who stayed, Yamila Battaguni.”

 “His hope is for political change. ‘We have two options: leave or be part of the change,’ he said. ‘I hope this bad stimulus can make us want something better.’”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/19/venezuela-crisis-hospitals-shortages-barcelona-caracas

  
So what happened that caused the citizens of Venezuela to be cast into hell on Earth?

Per The Atlantic: 

“The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).”

In other words, the socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and his successors brought this ruination upon Venezuela, and though it’s not mentioned (it never is) the greed and complacency of the Venezuelan people are also responsible.

Here’s how The Guardian explains it:

“The government’s tendency to subsidise many products below the cost of production is a major reason why the economy is in such a mess. It is a habit formed by oil, which warps price perceptions like a pyschotropic drug.”

Oil is the culprit?  I think not, but let’s read on:

“Historically, abundant supplies have made Venezuelans regard cheap petrol as a birthright, so for political reasons – and despite hyperinflation, collapsing government revenues, global markets and climate change – the current price for a litre of high-grade gasoline is just 6 bolivars (less than a penny or a cent) – more than 100 times cheaper than the same volume of mineral water. This meant the fuel bill for the entire 1,400km journey was less than a pound or dollar.”

 “When Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999, he took this way of thinking a step further and used petrol dollars to subsidise essential products such as rice, sugar, toilet paper, sanitary towels and medicine.  His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has tried to continue and even extend this policy, despite a 60% fall in crude prices since 2014. Even in the midst of crisis, the government still hands out free or massively discounted homes, cars, DVD players and microwave ovens.”

 “It was an altruistic, populist move that allowed the poor to finally share in the nation’s oil wealth. But it also stifled incentives for producers and created a system of dependency and black-marketing that was already causing economic problems before Chávez died in 2013 and the global crude market collapsed the following year.”

Altruistic?  There’s nothing altruistic about a power-hungry socialist buying the loyalty of the public by squandering the country’s resources, but there you go, folks.  Venezuela is on the verge of suicide by socialism, a consequence of greed and stupidity.  Over time the country may survive if the adults can wrestle control back from the children who’ve been in charge, but what of the people who are suffering today?  I’m guessing the possibility of a turnaround in the way distant future is not much consolation to the mother who is watching her children go hungry today, or who is watching her child die for lack of medicines that are readily available in other countries.  How tragic is it that they did this to themselves?  Hugo Chavez, leftwing socialist revolutionary and father of these destructive policies, was democratically elected by Venezuelans and then re-elected multiple times, and I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Venezuelans were attracted to his promises of free stuff.  Sound familiar?  Those who propelled him to power are responsible for the terrible suffering that is happening right now, though they will never be made to answer to their children or their fellow citizens for their part in this man-made disaster.  This is what happens to a society that allows itself to be enticed by promises of something for nothing.  Hope those free DVD players were worth it.

Are you listening, Hillary and Bernie supporters?


~CW


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