Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Defending Your Right to Speak for Yourself

I read with interest this morning, a report on the AOL news page stating that the NFL has announced that players won’t be barred from taking a knee during the national anthem.  When I say, “with interest,” I am referring not to the NFL’s decision with respect to kneeling, which I didn’t find particularly surprising given the way the NFL has been managed.  No, what interested me were the blurbs of rhetoric that came from the interviews with Commissioner Roger Goodell and some of the players following the league’s autumn meeting. 

“The NFL won’t stop its players from kneeling during the national anthem,” said Goodell.  “Instead, he said, the league wants to help them in their political activism….”

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” Goodell told reporters.

Pay attention to the sleight of hand taking place here, because the cooption of individual speech rights often takes place as if it’s part of a magic trick.  Notice how the distinction between players who took a knee in protest during the game and all of the rest of the players has been quietly erased.  Suddenly the protest belongs to all of the players in the NFL, regardless of whether they agree or not. 

I for one find it fascinating – and by “fascinating” I mean deeply disturbing – that what many (incorrectly) hailed as an issue of free speech for the kneeling players is now morphing into the cooption of free speech rights of all of the players.  All of the players are social justice warriors now, whether they like it or not.  But as I’ve argued before (see “Losing the Power of ME”), this is what liberals do, and it’s how they’ve become so powerful, so it behooves us to pay careful attention to the experts in action.

One has to wonder if, when NFL players joined the players’ association, it was with the understanding that the spokespersons for the association would presume to speak for them on issues such as “social justice.”  Do the players who stood during the national anthem with their hands over their hearts agree that we’re a racist country where black people are systematically oppressed?  Hmmmm.  Regardless of whether they agree or not, this is what’s implied when the players’ association presumes to speak with one voice on this issue.  No one wants to be the one to raise his hand and say, “I disagree” or “I don’t want to adjudicate this on the football field.”  So the squeaky wheels win once again.

But please don’t let the trees distract you from seeing the forest.  This post is NOT about the NFL.  It’s NOT about the protests.  It’s about the right of every individual to preserve the power to speak for oneself.  It’s about defending the sacred right not to have our unique, individual voices coopted by those that we either have some real or imagined association with.  That, and only that, is what this post is about.

If free speech is power, then there is great power in being able to claim that you speak for others.  This fact has not been lost on many of those who want to drive an agenda.  As I relayed in “Losing the Power of ME,” this is a tactic in which the Left excels.  Liberals are notorious for infiltrating groups and associations organized ostensibly for one purpose and taking control of both the agenda and power of that organization’s voice (and by default, the voice of its membership).  Just think of the AARP, the NAACP, the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and just about every labor union that exists.  The leaders of these groups use their power as spokespeople to influence policy that reaches far and wide, and they do so by usurping the voices of the conservatives silenced within.   And though it’s a favorite tool of the Left, some on the Right are guilty as well.

Power is a zero sum game.  When your voice is coopted by others, that is power stolen from you, and your own voice is easily lost in the crowd.

This is a particularly timely subject in light of the onslaught of pundits these days who are presuming to speak for “the voters,” as if we are all of one like mind in a politically tumultuous time when we clearly are not, as evidenced by Garnet92’s enlightening post from earlier today:  “Here Are The Five Types Of Trump Voters.”  The post details a survey of 8,000 voters which found that “there is no such thing as one type of Trump voter.”  In spite of this reality, I turn on the news shows each day to see a familiar pattern wherein one pundit or another is declaring that “the voters” want this or “the voters” want that, in what I see as attempts to create the impression of support for their own versions of an agenda that’s still being tweaked.  If a pundit has evidence that he or she does indeed speak for the will of the voters, then by all means they should make their case; but the powers that be have a duty, in my humble opinion, to verify the truth of their claims, and not to assume that my inability to be heard over the pundits is a sign of my agreement.  Life is hard enough without my having to combat the claims of every shill who claims to speak for me.

The prospect of our stolen voices underscores the importance of by-laws and constitutions, and of the need for strict enforcement of them.  Such documents typically spell out the limits of the power of those in charge such that they don’t have the flexibility to be unduly influenced by those wishing to illegitimately harness the power of its members, as is occurring in the NFL and elsewhere.  Uphold the Constitution.  Isn’t this what it always comes down to in the end?


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Monday, October 9, 2017

Tales of Liberalism’s Destructiveness Hidden In WaPo Stories

I don’t typically read The Washington Post because I prefer my news without the annoying taint of liberal bias, but a while back I came across two unrelated WaPo stories by chance, and in the process of reading I found myself repeatedly struck by the glossed-over details that tell an important story of their own.  Those details demonstrate how the Left’s influence leads to destructive life choices and government policies that set the stage for needless tragedy which – just taking a wild guess here – might be the reason that the dedicated journalists at the WaPo choose to dig only so deep.

The first article, dated June 19, 2017, tells the story of a young Virginia man who, according to police, used his car to harass and attempt to run down a group of Muslim teenagers as they were on their way back from a 3 a.m. outing to MacDonald’s:

From the article it is unclear what led up to the altercation between Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, and the group of teenagers who were either walking or on bicycles, but readers are told that an altercation took place and that eventually Martinez Torres got out of his car and attacked 17-year old Nabra Hassanen with a baseball bat.  He then forced her into his car and took off.  Later that afternoon her body was found in a pond near Martinez Torres’ home.  She had been beaten to death.

Per the WaPo, the girl’s distraught father “said that he feels sure his daughter was killed because of her religion.”  Police, however, seem to have information indicating that the attack was motivated by road rage.  From the article:

“Martinez Torres spoke through a Spanish translator to answer a judge’s questions. He was appointed a public defender…  U.S. immigration officials requested that a “detainer” be placed on him at the county jail, meaning they are interested in possible future deportation proceedings.  Family members said the man worked in construction. He is Salvadoran and has a 4-year-old son and a girlfriend. He attended school briefly in the United States.”

That’s the story, but here are the between-the-lines parts of the story that stuck out to me:

1.  Martinez Torres is an ILLEGAL ALIEN according to coverage  of the story in The New York Times the next day, surprise, surprise. One would think that with the fierce debate currently taking place on the relationship between crime and illegal immigration in this country, that newsworthy tidbit would warrant mention in a news article, but apparently it is too much of a leap for WaPo to assume  that a man who needs a Spanish interpreter and has an immigration office detainer attached to him is an ILLEGAL ALIEN who all but certainly strolled across our borders during the Obama administration and was immediately and conveniently forgotten by Obama’s immigration enforcement.  Even the leftwing NYT found that part of the story newsworthy, but being a liberal-run propaganda arm of the Democrat Party they naturally used the Left’s politically-cleansed term, “undocumented immigrant,” to describe this person who entered the U.S. illegally and now appears to be responsible for a girl’s abduction and brutal death (eight days after this article was posted Daily News reported that Martinez Torres had been previously accused in a sex assault case and had ties to the MS-13 gang).  Surprised?  Me neither.

2.  The double last name, Martinez Torres, suggests to me that this man is likely the product of an unmarried couple, as so many troublesome young men turn out to be thanks to the influence of liberalism on attitudes about marriage. Similar background details emerge in story after story of violent young adults, yet liberal journalists are strangely lacking in curiosity about the coincidental connection between violence and the disappearance of the traditional family.

3.  Martinez Torres has a 4-year old son “with a girlfriend.” That’s just great isn’t it?  Hope they started teaching him his letters early on, because he has quite a long name to learn, but that’s the least of this poor child’s problems.  As the product of yet another non-traditional union that liberals will tell us there’s nothing wrong with, he already had one big strike against him, and now his father may be on his way to prison.

4.  There were approximately 15 Muslim teens walking and biking to McDonald’s at 3:40 a.m. on the morning of the altercation/abduction. According to reporters Justin Jouvenal and Julie Zauzmer, this is what all teenagers do.  Apparently Jouvenal and Zauzmer grew up in very permissive households, because I wasn’t allowed to roam the streets with my friends at 3:00 a.m when I was a teen, nor did I allow my two sons to do so because it sounds like an invitation for trouble.   I understand their outing had to do with the observance of Ramadan in preparation of the coming fast that morning, but I also understand that parents anticipating hungry teens can make food available so that there’s no need for a large group of teens to wander the streets unsupervised at 3 a.m.  If that sounds a bit like blaming the victim please be aware that I am not one of these people who subscribes to the belief that all victims are to be held 100% blameless for their fate.  My heart goes out to this girl and her family and what happened was indisputably undeserved, but it does us no good to pretend that a bit of common sense and parental supervision might not have made the difference that day.

5.  Without citing specific reasons the police labeled this a road rage incident, which leads me to wonder if the teens were blocking the road or were slow or uncooperative about moving out of the road when Martinez Torres came upon them. That’s just speculation on my part, but I’m guessing that this fairly large group of 15 teens wasn’t walking single file on the sidewalk.  They may not have anticipated any cars to be on the road at that time.  Police said there was a verbal altercation that did not involve racial or religious slurs, so it’s hard to imagine what else these strangers would be arguing about if not some dispute over the road.  My thought:  don’t block the roads and whether you’re in a car or on foot, respect the right of way.

In sum, here is how I, as a conservative, wrote this story in my head:

An (most likely) unmarried girl/woman gives birth to a male child in El Salvador, because marriage is old fashioned and fathers are unnecessary.  He grows up in poverty without a male role model in the home and probably surrounded by violence, and he becomes the “angry young man” that Elvis sang about in his haunting song, “In the Ghetto,” likely to inflict violence and/or die by violence.  This young male, with all his baggage and two last names, is encouraged to make his way to the U.S. where he can simply walk across the border because liberals believe a border wall is ugly and mean-spirited, and besides they would rather spend that money nurturing the sheep’s addiction to the welfare state (Oops – did I say that out loud?).  Once inside he can disappear into the country without fear of being hassled if he keeps his nose clean, because liberals in the U.S. believe that it is better to subject American citizens to whatever violence, diseases or poverty the illegals bring with them than to commit the obscene offense of allowing police to identify illegals by – gasp – profiling.  God forbid any citizen should ever be pulled over and asked to show their drivers’ license and then sent on their way, because this would be a horrendous experience that might require years of psychological counseling.  As far as keeping his nose clean, that didn’t happen with Martinez.   Just a week prior to allegedly killing Miss Hassanen, Martinez Torres was accused of sexually assaulting another woman as well as punching and choking her in front of her child.   According to the CPS report the woman said she didn’t want to press any charges against Martinez Torres, telling authorities in the hospital that she feared her attacker, “…who was in the MS-13 gang.”

Why do you suppose police did not detain this violent, dangerous illegal alien?  Why not notify ICE and get him off the streets?  What kinds of policies and influences might have led to such flawed decisions and abdication of duty?  Instead Martinez Torres was left to continue his trespassing upon this country and to beat and murder a 17-year old girl who should have been safely tucked away in her home at 3:00 a.m. that fateful morning.  And based upon the surviving teens’ claims that Martinez Torres attempted to run them down with his car, the scope of the crime – ultimately committed by Martinez Torres but with every step of the way paved by “well-meaning” liberals – could have been far, far worse.

Reporters Jouvenal and Zauzmer never mentioned the liberal policies and influences that brought Darwin Torres and Nabra Hassanen together that fateful day.  They preferred to cover the was-it-road-rage-or-anti-Muslim-bigotry angle.   This is why some terrible crimes that are avoidable will inevitably go on to happen, nonetheless; and it’s why you don’t read the Washington Post if you want real news.

I think we’ll leave that second story for another day.


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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I Am an American, and When You Disrespect the American Flag You Disrespect Me

It really is that simple. 

The American flag stands for a set of ideals, and for all of the people of this nation, as imperfect as any of us may be.  The flag and the national anthem are there to remind us of those ideals and of the importance of unity and patriotism, and when we stand we do so to reaffirm our commitment to all of those things.

When did Americans stop being mature enough to understand this?  Too many Americans are crybabies and attention seekers who are incapable of looking past their own grievances.  It’s disheartening to be sure, but I’ll stand for the American flag in spite of the crybabies and in spite of those who try and tear this nation down, because honoring the flag is the only way to keep the ideals alive.

That’s all for now.


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Trump, DACA and the Test of Our Democracy

It ought to go without saying that Donald Trump did the right thing by putting the groundwork in play to rescind DACA. Allowing Barack Obama’s illegal usurpation of congressional authority to stand would be a dereliction of duty and affront to the Constitution.   Judging from the hate speech and histrionics that followed Trump’s announcement, however, I think it’s safe to say that those on the Left see things just a wee bit differently, but that’s par for the course nowadays.  These frauds who claim to revere democracy have become increasingly hostile to the notion of following the Constitution and allowing their fellow Americans to have an equal say in the policies of this country.  When I commented on a recent blog post criticizing Trump’s decision (“Repeal of DACA Will Kill Dreams”) I was told that my argument against DACA wasn’t “strong enough,” the implication being that the Left, as a morally superior class, possesses the inherit right to reject our arguments and assume the authority for making policy unilaterally.  That was the message signaled by Obama when he bypassed congress on DACA and it wasn’t lost on the sheeple, as evidenced by another commenter who wrote on his own blog post (“In Defense of the DREAMers Our President Doesn’t Care About”) that:

DREAMers have just as much right to belong to the American experiment as any American citizen.”  

Really? When did that happen, and what happened to my right to have a say on the issue?  This is the dangerous place where the thinking of the Left is increasingly headed, and it won’t stop with DACA.  The shouting, the marching, the violence bubbling just under the surface…..all of it points to the Left’s embrace of tyranny and rejection of democracy.   DACA is just the latest testing ground, so it is imperative for the future of this nation that we reset the tone, starting with DACA.

Getting back to Trump for a minute, it’s quite worrisome (and I hope diehard Trump supporters who claim to love the Constitution are paying close attention) that Trump hinted that he, too, would consider messing with congressional authority if congress “doesn’t do its job.”  This begs the question:  What exactly is congress’s “job” with respect to the hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” who are living unlawfully in the U.S. because their parents illegally brought them here as minors?  How did this become a test of America’s moral values rather than a test of the moral values of the parents who knowingly put their children in this predicament?  Something is seriously amiss when a nation of 330 million people can be essentially blackmailed into weakening its own laws to compensate for the crimes of a much smaller group of trespassers.  This, I presume, is why congress has been reluctant to “act” in the face of presidential bullying to do so.  Furthermore, since when does the decision to leave a law as it stands constitute a “failure to act?”  We can thank Obama/Alinsky (Obalinsky?) for reprogramming the sheeple to think this way.  The illegal alien community and their cohorts on the Left are attempting to force congress into making laws to accommodate criminal behavior by putting this moral quandary on the shoulders of the American people.  I like to think that those who have refused to be blackmailed this way are taking a pro-active stand against aiding and abetting the lawbreakers and are trying their best to place the moral quandary back on the shoulders of the wrong-doers where it rightfully belongs.  In any case, the great lesson to take away here is that DACA, along with all of its ugly repercussions, is the consequence of decades of refusing to stand up and enforce our immigration laws, and for that both political parties are to blame.

So what, if anything, should be done about the so-called Dreamers?  As I see it there are three options:

1.  Congress can do nothing.  This will mean the tragedy inflicted upon these young adults will go unresolved, and they will face unfortunate hardships as a consequence of the choices their parents made. 

2.  Congress can enact its own version of DACA.  This will resolve the dilemma of the so-called Dreamers to a certain extent, but in doing so it will reward the people who disrespected our laws and act as an enticement to others tempted to do the same thing.  The Left will coyly offer to limit this special amnesty to existing “Dreamers,” but we know from experience that this is a lie.  If the logic is that it’s immoral to leave the “Dreamers” in limbo, then the moral argument must apply to all who come in the future as well. 

3.  The Republican-controlled congress, which is largely made up of cowards and vote whores and will most likely cave like a pup tent in a hurricane in the face of the Left’s bullying on this issue, could use it as an opportunity to negotiate for meaningful reforms to immigration policy, such as amending the 14th Amendment to disallow any interpretation that grants citizenship to the children born to people who are in the U.S. illegally.  Add to that a requirement that the home countries of these “Dreamers” must reimburse the U.S. for the costs we’ve incurred by their presence here to the tune of, say, $10,000 each.  For 900,000 “Dreamers” this would translate to $9 billion, which would make a nice down payment on the wall.  Add to that laws that make it harder for sanctuary cities to exist, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Understanding that there is no “solution” that doesn’t come at a big price for one group or another, it comes down to a question of who should be the one to pay the price, and that’s a no-brainer for me.  The parents of the “Dreamers” and the Democrat Party whose resistance against immigration enforcement gave aid and comfort to the trespassers are the ones most responsible for the state of things today, so one way or another they must pay the price. 


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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Knee-Jerk Nation

Back in the days when I blogged at Townhall I regularly sparred with a group of rabidly angry, quasi-libertarians.  During one exchange my adversary characterized a response I made as “knee-jerk,” essentially accusing me of not thoughtfully considering the question or my answer before I responded.  That’s a serious insult in my book, so I immediately grabbed my keyboard to shoot back a denial and defend my comment, but in the struggle to articulate my reply I came to the embarrassing realization that he was actually right. 

Dang.  I hate it when that happens. 

I don’t recall the exact comment in question, only that it involved accepted ‘conservative’ lore and that daring to consider I was wrong also brought into question my worldview which was partially premised upon this and other notions that I’d long accepted as fact.  That was a pivotal moment in my blogging “career” and yes, I did concede to him that he was right (on that ONE point!), because I happen to believe credibility matters.  The experience taught me the importance of taking the time to stop and think and not be so reflexive in debate.  In the process I made a few alterations to certain long-held beliefs that I took for granted, and learned the value of carefully forming my own opinions instead of invoking standard partisan talking points.

Sadly - nay tragically - we have become a nation of people who by and large debate consequential topics with knee-jerk thoughtlessness.  The blogosphere, opinion journals, Facebook and Twitter are often besieged by inane, misguided, indefensible prattle that reveals a dangerous and destructive level of closed-mindedness, inexcusable ignorance and blind devotion to precious prejudices.  That’s not intended to be a blanket condemnation of those mediums as there is plenty of worthy, thoughtful discussion going on as well and that’s a great thing; but certainly the absence of any minimum standards for participation means that self-policing humility is in dangerously short supply.  It used to take work – and to certain audiences the demonstration of credibility – to enjoy the privilege of sharing your thoughts with vast numbers of people.  Now anyone can do so with a phone or computer, but the heretofore unsung voices of wisdom that have been given life by these tools are too often drowned out by those who spew nonsense. I think about the carefully articulated essays and letters crafted by this country’s founding fathers to debate and express their thoughts on the serious subjects of their time and I just want to shake my head at the realization of how far we’ve fallen in comparison.  Am I just glorifying a bygone time and a bygone people or is the disintegration real?

Look at the de-evolution of speech occurring on the campuses of our “institutions of higher learning,” where those who offer to come speak and who are willing to defend their opinions are treated with hostility and violence by those who, in all likelihood, have never heard these speakers articulate what they’re advocating.  In liberal-run schools of all levels the mere act of voicing an opinion is giddily applauded, as long as it’s the right opinion of course.  In these places where objective thinking and debate are supposed to be taught to young people as part of their passage to becoming adults, we instead see these young people encouraged to crawl back towards the womb, where they will curl up and suck their thumbs in their safe spaces or become tyrannical toddlers, screaming and hurling objects when they don’t get their way.   This is both the consequence and the future of the knee-jerk nation.   Gone are the days of Abraham Lincoln’s sage advice:  “Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  

After years of watching news analysis shows where conservative and liberal guests are brought on to debate the issues of the day, I have given up any hope of ever seeing one side persuaded by the other side’s more compelling argument, even when that argument contains facts and logic that are indisputable.  Without missing a breath every salient point is rejected out of hand, as if the speaker is on auto-pilot and just waiting to regurgitate his own talking points.  I understand they’re getting paid, one way or another, to represent a certain view no matter what, but I for one wouldn’t be able to stand the embarrassment of standing my ground while my argument is shown to be a failure.  But that’s just me.

Naturally readers will be wondering, “What about Donald Trump?  Isn’t he a knee-jerk president, what with all the tweeting and all?”

To a certain extent, I believe Trump is guilty of knee-jerk behavior, particularly when he feels personally attacked; but let’s not confuse quick reactions with automatic, thought-free reactions.  If one has watched for years as a rogue dictatorship like North Korea menaces its neighbors and the U.S. with threats of attack and progresses closer and closer to having nuclear weapons despite diplomatic efforts, it seems to me the thoughtful reaction, irrespective of speed, would be to treat this serious threat with serious words and actions, which is what Trump has done in my humble estimation.  It is the refusal to modify one’s precious prejudices about the sanctity of diplomacy in the face of an escalating threat that strikes me as robotic, and therefore knee-jerk, under this scenario. 

I don’t expect that the tide will turn and thoughtful reflection will be back in vogue any time soon.  As with anything that involves the Left, there’s a method to the madness.  If one actually debates with seriousness and sincerity one might have to concede that one is wrong, and then the mission to co-opt people’s rights is jeapordized.  There’s too much at stake to risk that.  Thieves and other usurpers of liberty never debate and they never concede any territory. 


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dear Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark,

In your recent commencement address to Harvard, you said:

“We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Mind if I ask a question?  Here it is:

What gives you or anyone else the right to treat other people’s money as if it is your own to do with as you please?

Please satisfy my curiosity.

When I was growing up we had a word for the type of thing you’re suggesting.  We called it “stealing.”  Nowadays conservatives call it “wealth redistribution.”  The leftists euphemistically call it “social justice.”  That sounds so much nicer than “stealing.”  But it’s all the same thing.

If the late, great Founders of this awesome country had had a crystal ball to see the names and faces of the enemies of liberty we would face within our own nation, they might have dealt with you and your ilk specifically.  But they had no way of knowing that a clever young man with the mental maturity of a 13-year old child would become a powerful billionaire by virtue of a popular social media website, and that this would seemingly entitle him to arrogantly and openly suborn nationwide theft.  The times may change but human nature never does, and the Founders knew you would come even if they didn’t know who you would be.  You are one of the wolves that Ben Franklin so wisely warned us about.  The Constitution our Founders gave us was meant to protect us from people like you.  You are a party to that “social contract” by virtue of your citizenship here, and being a party to the contract myself I’m here to say you have no right to propose what you’re proposing.  Do whatever you want with your own money, but keep your mitts off everyone else’s.  That goes for your friends too.

I could talk about all of the incredibly bad and predictable consequences of an idea like “universal basic income,” and back it up with centuries of history.  I could bring up all of the liberal programs that are riddled with fraud and corruption, that start out small and grow like the most aggressive cancers.  I could list all of the human parasites that feed off of ideas like yours and then multiply like zombies in the movies, beginning with the politicians.  Or I could point to the vast quantities of amazing innovation that we have somehow managed to produce without this brilliant idea of a “universal basic income.” That’s what conservative bloggers typically do when liberals share their great ideas.

But I won’t because I shouldn’t have to.  I am simply saying “No,” because you have no right to suggest what you’re suggesting.

If Republicans wanted to do anything useful while they control the three branches of our government they would make it a crime to do what you did in your speech at Harvard, just as it would be a crime, I presume, for me to suggest exploring the idea of taking Mark Zuckerburg’s fortune.  Regardless of how I feel about how you made your fortune or how you waste it, I would never do such a thing because I’m not a thief.  That, and billions of dollars, is the difference between you and me.

Lastly, Mark, I just want to point out that your idea for a “universal basic income” isn’t even necessary, because every American already has access to a guaranteed income.  We just have a different name for it.  We call it “having a job.”



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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Barack Obama was and is Ten Times the Liar Donald Trump Will Ever Be

When James Comey last testifed before the Senate I was struck by the former FBI Director’s unapologetic use of the word “liar” when referring to President Trump in an open hearing.  It’s not that Donald Trump doesn’t lie.  Far from it, unfortunately.  It’s just that for the eight years prior to Trump’s election it was considered a no-no to use the word “liar” when referring to the POTUS in this type of public forum.  In fact, when Rep. Joe Wilson rightfully shouted “liar” while Barack Obama was lying in his State of the Union address to congress in 2009 it sparked disbelief and spitting outrage among the media elites.  Former POTUS Jimmy Carter as well as talking heads at MSNBC, the Daily Kos, the NYT and the Huffington Post, among others, angrily denounced Wilson as “racist,” even though Rep. Wilson was correct:  Obama was indeed lying.  But that was then and this is now, or as I am quickly learning, that was them and this is us.  The standards for what is considered acceptable behavior are rapidly changing, but don’t get too used to them.  They’ll change back if and when a Democrat is POTUS again.

During the Obama presidency much of the American public and nearly all of the “mainstream” media (MSM) played a game of see no evil, hear no evil when it came to Obama’s rampant dishonesty.  A frustrated Rep. Wilson no doubt felt compelled to defy the usual State of the Union etiquette because the MSM, by and large, certainly wouldn’t call Obama out for his lies and the rest of us were not allowed to according to rules of political correctness established by, coincidentally, the MSM.  Fast forward to today, however, and we are supposed to believe that Donald Trump is so uniquely and dangerously dishonest that the rules must be changed and the censorship – oops I mean civility – that was then the standard must now be temporarily forsaken for the good of the nation.   Will the good sheeple of the United States of America, dumbed down by years of media manipulation, go along with this?  If so, I have a question:   

What is a lie? 

When Barack Obama was accidently caught on camera leaning in to surreptitiously tell Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate the issue of missile defense after his election, would you say this was the act of an honest or dishonest man? 

When a person’s actions often don’t match their words, what does this say about their honesty? 

From The Hill:  “Obama's speech proves hypocrisy of Democrat's anti-Wall Street rhetoric”
From the CNN opinion page:  “Obama administration was hypocritical on UN's Israeli settlements vote”
From Breitbart:  “Obama’s Pathetic Hypocrisy on Trade”
From the New York Post opinion page:  “Obama’s ‘safe space’ hypocrisy”
From Mother Jones:  “Obama Is a Climate Hypocrite. His Trip to Alaska Proves It.”
From  “Hypocrisy legacy, part XXIV: Obama was for gerrymandering before he was against it”
From The HuffPost blog:  “Obama’s Climate Change Hypocrisy”
From Politico:  “Spare Me Your Hypocritical Journalism Lecture, Mr. President”
From National Review:  “Scarborough Dings Obama on Private-School Hypocrisy”
From The Toronto Sun:  “Obama's Keystone hypocrisy”

A serial hypocrite is a liar, plain and simple. 

And then there’s Obama’s notorious straw-man dishonesty:

Obama:  “There seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing [about the economic meltdown].” 

Obama:  "…a philosophy that says every problem can be solved if only government would step out of the way; that if government were just dismantled, divvied up into tax breaks, and handed out to the wealthiest among us, it would somehow benefit us all. Such knee-jerk disdain for government -- this constant rejection of any common endeavor -- cannot rebuild our levees or our roads or our bridges." 

Obama:  “In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems… … that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures…… that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.”

Obama:  “Listen, here’s what I say. I say our challenges are too big to ignore.”

Obama:  “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war.”

Obama:  “But U.S. military action cannot be the only, or even primary, component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”
Obama:  “Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me.  You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

According to Obama Republicans suggested we do nothing about the economic meltdown except dismantle the government and divide the spoils among the rich; Republicans said we should ignore our energy and healthcare, and all other problems; the only options in Iran were the Obama deal or going to war; Republicans want to use the military to solve every problem; and other candidates attacked Obama’s name and race to scare away voters.  The abundance of posts on Obama’s proclivity for straw-man arguments proves that it’s not just a figment of this writer’s imagination:

From The New Republic:  “Obama's Straw Man Argument”
From The Washington Free Beacon:  “Obama’s War on Straw Men”
From The New York Times:  “Some Obama Enemies Are Made Totally of Straw”
From American Thinker:  “Obama, Master of the Straw-Man Tactic”
From The Daily Caller:  “Former CIA Director Blasts Obama For ‘Straw Man’ Arguments In Fight Against Islamic Terrorism”
From National Review:  “How to Ignore Obama’s Straw Men and Override the Terrible Iran Deal
From The Washington Times:  “HUMPHRIES: The liberal bully of the week is … Obama’s straw man”
From American Thinker:  “The President's ObamaCare Straw Man”
From The Heritage Foundation:  “Obama Tax Hikes Defended by Myths and Straw Man Arguments: Summary”
From The American Spectator:  “Obama’s Straw Man”

My apologies if you don’t find this particular set of sources persuasive but since the MSM rarely reports the hypocrisy or fallaciousness of Democrats we have to rely largely on conservative sources to see what the facts actually are.  And then of course there were plain, old-fashioned lies.  These were some of the headlines we saw during Barack’s presidency:

That last one documented Obama’s lies with respect to:

  • ·         The real loss of jobs in the American steel industry
  • ·         His changing position on using executive authority on immigration
  • ·         Calling ISIS a “JV team”
  • ·         The number of young Americans not covered by health insurance
  • ·         The number of people newly insured due to Medicaid expansion
  • ·         The number of jobs estimated to be created by the Keystone pipeline
  • ·         His claim of doubling the distance American cars will go on a gallon of gas
  • ·         Keeping Congress fully informed of his efforts to create a legal framework on counterterrorism
  • ·         Mitt Romney’s comments on an Arizona law, and on numerous other topics
  • ·         Obamacare being the reason for slowing insurance premium increases
  • ·         George W. Bush and the recession being responsible for 90% of the increase in the deficit (after Obama was in office for four years)
  • ·          “Fast and Furious” starting under the Bush administration
  • ·         Excluding lobbyists from policymaking jobs in his administration
  • ·         Getting the vast majority of his campaign money from small donors
  • ·         An Illinois man dying because he was denied treatment by his insurance company
  • ·         Health insurance companies making record profits just prior to passing Obamacare
  • ·         What percentage of our oil the U.S. imports
  • ·         A wide range of comments that he falsely attributed to John McCain
  • ·         Saying that he won’t wear flag pins

And please don’t get me started on the Oscar-worthy acting performances we were treated to throughout the Obama years, wherein the Liar-in-Chief would get angry, cry or hoarsely plead with us right on cue.  The MSM, who somehow missed so much of the lies, straw men and hypocrisies that riddled the Obama presidency, were deeply impressed by Obama’s acting:

CNN:  “Barack Obama's emotional evolution on gun control”

“The Mr. Cool in the Oval Office rarely shows emotion.  But on one issue -- guns -- President Barack Obama lets the public mask slip, revealing the ire boiling within.  Before the cameras, moved by the massacres of innocents that have punctuated his presidency, Obama has wept, his voice has cracked, he's visibly shaken with frustration, he's lashed out at lawmakers he sees as cowards and even led a congregation in ‘Amazing Grace.’”

The L.A. Times:  “Obama delivers emotional final speech to the nation: 'Yes, we did. Yes, we can.'"

“President Obama reprised his message of hope and change Tuesday as an antidote to an unstable world…”

The Washington Post:  “President Obama’s amazingly emotional speech on gun control”

“For Obama, who is often criticized for his overly clinical approach to heated issues, his tone -- sad and mad in relatively equal measure -- was remarkable.”

It’s true, Donald Trump lies.  That is in part why he wasn’t my choice for the Republican nominee.  But Trump’s lies pale in comparison to the calculated, holistic approach to lying that we saw for eight long years under Barack Obama.  Obama was so good and so practiced at lying that nearly every sentence could be steeped in dishonesty and still not trigger the Left’s increasingly high bar for technically lying.  Furthermore, weren’t these the same people who wanted Hillary-Pants-on-Fire-Clinton to be POTUS?  So when James Comey and America’s hysterical Left profess such concern and righteous indignation over Trump or complain about his obscene, parasitic presidency, color me completely unmoved.  They were the enablers to much, much worse.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Healthcare, the Constitution, and Why are Republicans Such Fools?

Free Market Healthcare

NOT Free Market Healthcare

Any questions?

Can you imagine what it would be like if Republican politicians were put in charge of removing a stubborn Band-Aid from a child’s arm?

Republican #1:  “We can’t just rip off the Band-Aid!  It’s going to hurt and then her parents will be mad and our approval ratings will go down!

Republican #2:  “What if we brought in the finest surgeons (at taxpayers’ expense) to surgically remove her arm, rip off the Band-Aid, and then reattach the arm?”

Republican #3:  “That’s crazy!  Let’s just bring in a team of anesthesiologists (at taxpayers’ expense) to sedate the child, then rip off the Band-Aid while she’s sleeping.”

Republican #4:  “Or we could hire a circus (at taxpayers’ expense) to distract her while we rip the Band-Aid off!”

After recently postponing a vote on the Republican healthcare bill, Senate leader Mitch McConnell said, “This is a very complicated subject.”

I suppose it is complicated, but that’s in no small part because Republicans have exacerbated the problem with their foolish and misguided efforts to “fix” the Obamacare mess with the impossible, self-imposed condition of not upsetting anyone.   Furthermore, if not upsetting anyone is the goal, they’re failing miserably.  And apparently if anyone IS to be upset it can’t be the freeloaders who should be paying for their own healthcare, the insurance companies who conspired with Obama or the medical industry that profits so handsomely by gaming the system.  No, as always it must be middleclass taxpayers, most of whom already provide for their own insurance, who take the fall because these are the folks who can be depended upon to re-elect the same Republicans that keep failing them.  This is the insanity that is our Party.

The Supreme Court’s traitorous ruling notwithstanding, the federal government has no business involving itself in the healthcare of American citizens.   I know this in my heart and in my brain to be a fundamental and inarguable truth, because the evidence speaks for itself.  Just look at the mess that’s been made with respect to both our healthcare “system” (more on that later), the infinitely spiraling costs and the take-no-prisoners fighting that consumes both bodies of congress as they battle on behalf of their constituencies.  You don’t need to be an expert on the Constitution or on the Founding Fathers to see that this chaos and violation of our liberties is not the product of their design.   This is what the Constitution was supposed to protect us from.  As long as the federal government insists on inserting itself where it doesn’t belong and assuming powers that the Constitution does not expressly assign to it, chaos will always be just an election away, if not the everyday norm.  That is the principled, moral argument for repealing Obamacare.  It was wrong from the get go, therefore it must be undone.  But since so many Republicans no longer care about what is right or wrong according to the Constitution, I’ll make the practical argument as well.

The first problem with the “healthcare system” in the U.S. is that it was never supposed to be a “system.” “System” implies central planning, purposeful design and continuous regulation with the goal of producing a defined outcome.  None of this has historically been applicable to healthcare in the U.S. which, aside from the unique and polluting involvement of the insurance industry (more on that later), should be like any other consumer product bought and sold in the free market.  But the Left understands that a clever lie repeated often enough becomes the truth, and their nagging insistence, year after year, that the “healthcare system is broken” has turned myth into reality in a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.  How can the system be “broken” if the system doesn’t exist?  It was a slight of hand that enabled the federal government to justify meddling in something that the Constitution gives it no power to meddle in.  To whatever extent a U.S. “healthcare system” exists, it is not by design but by deceit and default.

One of the reasons Republicans are having so much trouble trying to cut and paste a bill that “fixes” healthcare, besides the fact that it’s outside the scope of authority of the federal government, is because they want to give voters the benefits of a free market without the negatives of a free market.  Insurance is supposed to be something you buy in case you get sick, not after you get sick.  That’s what makes it insurance.  A free market requires that you make trade-offs and sacrifices and establish priorities in your life.  Consequences, good and bad, are a necessary element of the free market system.  And here’s the really big rub:  Neither Obamacare nor the patchwork “fix” cobbled together by Republicans will “fix” healthcare because it does nothing to lower the real cost.  U.S. Healthcare costs are comparatively high due to:

Administrative costs
Defensive medicine costs
Drug costs
Impediments to competition in the market
Absence of a true consumer-producer relationship

That last one’s a biggie.  The educated consumer is a key factor to making products and services affordable, and yet it’s nearly impossible for the average person to be an informed and discerning consumer in a market dictated by deals between insurance companies and medical providers.  If congress really wants to meddle in something, paving the way to transparency and consistency in medical pricing would be a good start.  Defensive medicine costs and impediments to cross-state competition are also areas where congress could help the free market, if they would only do it instead of just talking about it.

Our reliance upon insurance companies who act as the middleman in nearly every doctor-patient transaction also inflates the cost of healthcare.  Insurance was originally designed to protect consumers from large and often unexpected healthcare costs.  Now it’s more of a payment processing system for everything from ingrown toenails on up, which means your doctor has to hire more staff to interface with insurance companies.

Finally, one in every five Americans gets their health care through Medicaid.1   This is an outrageous and inexcusable breach of congress’s fiduciary obligation to American taxpayers.  The vast majority of Medicaid recipients could be and should be paying for their own healthcare, which they might actually be able to do if our merry meddlers in the federal government would ever focus their efforts on reducing the cost of medical services and insurance rather than simply transferring the cost from one person to another.

In sum Republicans aren’t doing themselves or the American people any favors by making the repeal of Obamacare so complicated.  This is the ideal time, with their approval ratings already low and expectations waning, to go bold and rip that Band-Aid off as quickly and cleanly as they can.  Let this be the congress that helps restore the Constitution rather than helping to kill it.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We’re “All” Guilty. Or Are We?

Ever since the shooting incident in which an unhinged leftist opened fire, terrorist-style, on unarmed Republicans gathered for baseball practice Americans have been deluged with cries from politicians and pundits Left and Right who say that “both sides need to tone down the rhetoric,” as if Republicans and Democrats have been equally guilty of engaging in inappropriately heated and provocative speech.  I can certainly understand why Democrats, who are demonstrably the more vicious and irrational of the two parties, love this misguided narrative of moral equivalency that makes us all equally culpable, but I’m a bit dumbfounded by Republicans who get on the bandwagon.  Do they think throwing everyone under the bus makes them appear more statesman-like?  Are they, like parents settling disputes between children, avoiding the chore of holding the instigators accountable so that they can get on to other things?  Whatever their reasons, it’s a huge mistake to pretend that neither side occupies the moral high ground, because this is what ultimately distinguishes Left from Right.

I don’t recall any public figure on the Right beheading Barack Obama in effigy under the guise of “comedy,” nor do I recall people flocking to theatre productions that depicted the assassination of Barack Obama.  I can’t even begin to imagine the outrage that would have dominated the MSM coverage had Obama been the object of the kind of threatening “speech” routinely aimed at Donald Trump.  This isn’t a matter of civility.   The Left’s veiled threats and violent undertones are signs of their dangerous disdain for our republic, and signify their increasing unwillingness to peacefully share power and be held to the same standards as the rest of us.  It’s critical that we recognize and address this because the leftists are becoming more emboldened, as evidenced by what transpired at that ball park in Virginia.  The “we’re all guilty” mantra is counter-productive to this effort because it undermines accountability.

Having said all that, this is only half the story, and it is the least significant half.  The second and far more consequential half has to do with the construction of this false narrative of moral equivalency with respect to the governing of this nation.   In other words, the Right resisted Barack Obama and the Left is resisting – albeit more violently – Donald Trump, this makes us even or morally equivalent.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Barack Obama came to office with the dark promise of “transforming America,” which those of us paying close attention rightly understood to mean that he was going to use the power of the presidency to undermine the Constitution as given to us by our Founders, an understanding that was vindicated again and again by Obama’s actions as president.  Obama’s promise was to expand the power of the federal government and to use this expanded power to weaken, if not altogether usurp, our rights as Americans, and it was a promise largely fulfilled.  The Constitution belongs to We the People, and as such we had every right and moral reason to oppose Barack Obama and his government of helpful minions in their attempts to circumvent or redefine it.  Even so, we eschewed violence as a means of doing so, opting instead to oppose the Obama administration by simply exposing the truth about who he was and what he was doing.  It was these truths about Obama’s dishonesties and abuses of power that the Left denounced as “uncivil” in order to bully us into voluntary censorship, a tactic which too many Republicans (the same folks who now want “everyone” to tone down their rhetoric) caved in to.

But that was then and this is now.  Or should I say, that was us and this is them.  With the election of a Republican president it is once again okay, courageous even, to be uncivil, even violently so, just as it is any time a Republican is president, in case you didn’t know.  My question to the Left is this: 

What, pray tell, is the great threat posed to this nation by Donald Trump that supposedly justifies not only your abandonment of the much ballyhooed “civility” but actions and speech laced with threats of violence? 

Trump came to office on the promise of “making America great again,” which he defined as restoring law and order, enforcing U.S. immigration policy, making better deals with other nations, fixing the healthcare mess created by Democrats, appointing judges who will uphold the Constitution, and undoing the lawless tyranny imposed upon us by Barack Obama with his infamous “pen and phone.”  If you have a problem with that, your problem isn’t with Trump, it’s with America and all that it stands for.  What you’re “resisting” is the Constitution, the rule of law, equal justice (not to be confused with “social justice,” which is the opposite of equal justice) and the God-given right of every American to pursue his own self-interest while respecting the rights of others as defined in the Constitution.  Any “rights” that you feel are threatened by Donald Trump – i.e., the “right” to free healthcare, the “right” to be in this country illegally, the “right” to free college and other welfare, the “right” to exclude other Americans from having a say on sweeping climate policies, etc., etc., etc. – are not your rights at all, and your phony “resistance” movement is exposed for what it actually is:  a movement for tyranny. 

It troubles me immensely that the protestors, organizers and other loud mouths declaring their “resistance” to the Trump administration are never asked to explain or defend just what it is they are so violently resisting, and why.  We have become so accustomed to opposition solely for the sake of opposition that we mindlessly give it respect it doesn’t necessarily deserve, and we judge it only by the means with which it is manifested, which is akin to saying that people protesting to free a guilty man from prison are as righteous as those protesting to free an innocent man.  It simply isn’t true, and we’re fools to put up with it.

I, as a conservative, have my own quibbles with Trump.  As such I will make use of my congressional representatives to resist whatever I perceive to be not in keeping with the Founder’s Constitution and the proper role of the presidency.  But the leftists and I share no moral high ground whatsoever.  As I survey the landscape from up here they are, in fact, nowhere in sight.


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