Opinion

Heading Towards Third World Oblivion

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Our country is quickly being taken down a path towards Third World oblivion by a shameful and unapologetic partisan congress who has allowed itself to defame its own republican investigative institutions, run interference for a primary suspect of a critical investigation of upmost national security and berate investigators who are doing their patriotic duty in following their legal mandate to get at the full truth.

I don’t ever remember any congress members of Obama’s party doing anything remotely similar while the Benghazi investigation was ongoing?  I don’t remember Obama whining constantly, bellyaching about there being a “Witch Hunt?”  I don’t remember Obama being anything other than a respectful monitor of the rule of law and allowing it to run its course unimpeded.

The wheels of justice may move slowly sometimes but not without purpose.  And in fact, these latest wheels seem to be moving much faster than many other comparative investigations. For example, Whitewater, the Iran-Contra Affair, etc. were slower.  All the while the number of indictments in this Russian Investigation continues to grow regardless of the inexcusable efforts by the majority of partisan congressmen doing everything in their abusive power to obstruct justice.

The Republican Congress’s treatment of the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and the FBI is nothing short of despicable.  It is repulsive.  It is un-American.  And lastly, it is an indication that we are in decline as a country dedicated to the rule of law and the notion that nobody in any position of power is above that rule of law.  By us taking no action at all against this type of unacceptable behavior by members of congress, we are enabling a “Mob Boss” mentality to slowly, and corruptively seep into American politics.

Congress needs to change course.  It needs to change its attitude.  It needs to promote more civility and respect for individuals (no matter who they are but especially when they are respected public servants doing their job) and, lastly, they need to refrain from these awful displays of rudeness that only highlight to the nation their unwarranted contempt for the rule of law.  Should they not do this then they, in fact, will be responsible for taking us down a road that no country dedicated to liberty and freedom should ever go down.

The Republicans who Stole Christmas

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“The Republicans who stole Christmas:” all about an evil, devious Tax Plan that takes from the poor single homeowners, robbing them of their tax credits and deductions, to give to the rich corporations.    Watch as Mr. Potter and President Bone Spurs, heads of the two biggest New York Wall Building conglomerates, compete to outdo each other in finger-twiddling schemes to reap even bigger rewards from the injustices they are allowed to employ against the struggling, unentitled poor.  Yes, the new Tax Plan is their new secret weapon that allows them to upgrade Potterville and Bone Spurs World to even worse living conditions.

Meanwhile, these two robber barons, Mr. Potter and President Bone Spurs, continue to get away with paying no taxes at all.  Billionaires, it’s time to watch the little guy lose for once!  Forget the George Baily’s of the world and their hapless guardian angels—that’s so passé.  Coming to America in the spring of 2018—watch for the new increased federal taxes taken from your paycheck in 2018 to pay for the new Tax Plan in 2019!  Check local listings for a theatre near you!  Also, in iMAX and 3D!

Dennis, Whatever Happened to Bob?

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Dear Mr. Prager,

[This, obviously, is an open letter to Mr. Prager and to all people with extreme, unchecked viewpoints, right or left]

I used to listen to your “Religion on the Line” radio show in the ‘80’s, religiously, when it was hosted by you.  I still think it is one of the better shows that radio produced during that time period.  Remember “Bob” (I think his name was “Bob”)?  Bob would call in each week like clockwork with some idea that you always found time to discuss no matter what his idea was?  The respect you gave that guy really impressed me even though I lacked a great deal of interest in most of the ideas Bob wanted to discuss.  I confess that I did often find myself thinking with a certain amount of dread, “Oh, no.  Not Bob again?”  But, regardless, you always seemed to be so fair with the guests on your program, the people who called into your show and fair in your analysis of the issues and topics you would chose to discuss on your program.

Since having lost track of what you have been up to since those days, I stumbled upon a random article that appears to have been written by you. So, I was a surprised, given my prior opinion of you, to find so much unfair propaganda in your article; more so, it seems, than the propaganda that is the subject of your attack in your article.  The type of propaganda you are promoting I think is actually the bigger problem in America today with respect to the degree of condescending contempt that can be found in it.  I don’t know if it is years of irreconcilable condescending attitudes towards each other (“conservatives vs. liberals”, etc.) that is the cause of this sad state of affairs.  But, my recommendation is that it should stop.

I’m sure that there are some liberals who are fond of distorting the facts.  But, I see just as many if not more conservatives doing worse.  How often do I see posts from my very conservative friends on Facebook saying something disparaging about my political party and/or distorting a policy platform to the point where it no longer is a true representation of that platform at all?  Most of the time, I don’t post a thing in response but when I do, it’s usually something positive to try to make them think about what the heck it is that they are really posting.

The distortions I see posted to Facebook every day are very similar to some of the comments that appear in your article.  It is also a little ironic given the amount and type of criticism you have for the commercial that you are writing about.  For example, consider your statements: “Women do not make less than men for the same work. And wage differences based on gender have been illegal for over 50 years. This fraudulent claim has been debunked so often that it is utterly irresponsible to keep repeating it.

I think I agree that it is “utterly irresponsible to keep repeating it,” but, probably for different reasons.  Seriously, this conclusion and opinion you have is clearly a distortion and a poor generalization of “countering” what “liberals” are promoting.  Very few knowledgeable left leaning people are arguing the point that “women make less than men for the same work” if by that you mean the same exact work, same company, same output, same company benefit, etc.  Your comment misleads people to a conclusion about what “liberals” generally believe that is simply not true.  What is being argued more often by “liberals” is this:  women are paid less than men when considering their household incomes.  The argument is backed up by a government study which concluded household incomes for women are less than household incomes for men.

Why household incomes are less for women than they are for men might be due to a whole array of causes.  It might be due to the jobs women select for themselves.  Maybe this selection is a result of stereotypical societal pressure or, perhaps, it is just personal preference based.  Or maybe it’s due to the economic situations of businesses that are more likely to hire women vs. those that are less likely to hire women? Who knows?

The crazy thing about the issue being cited as one example of liberal viewpoints gone awry is that it is not even a liberal viewpoint.  It’s just the way it is; a fact based upon a statistical government report.  So, the topic of discussion (that there is an “untrustworthy” viewpoint promoting a disparity between the incomes of men and women and this is “a liberal viewpoint”) is itself yet another unfair and objectionable distortion of the facts.

In the end, all this confused doublespeak ends up being is just another way for conservatives to point to liberals to show the world how bad it is to be a liberal. It serves no other purpose.  Also, any hope for a reasonable discussion on the original topic (the government report) is lost because the topic we should be discussing has moved to something entirely different.  Distraction is a common tactic many people use to win an argument but it doesn’t make that tactic any less despicable in my opinion when the more important discussion never occurs.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter why household incomes are less for women.  What matters is that we promote a society that continues to encourage women to achieve the same things that men can achieve.  And why should we do this?  Because it just makes our country better and freer.  The more people who are encouraged to excel with great ideas, the better off our country will be; the more ingenious and innovative our country will be.  It just makes sense.  That’s the more important point that gets lost because you are too focused on celebrating and belittling how liberal and “untruthful” those liberal ideas are.  We should, instead, I think, spend more time casting the spec out of our own eye.

What I would like to see are forums more like your old “Religion on the Line” show where people can discuss what they really believe in a civil, respectful and well thought-out way.  You have a right to your opinion.  I have a right to my opinion.  And we respect each other’s right to have that opinion.  But, all the while, it is absent these distortions of truth.  In other words, cultivating a little more respect for the opinions of others just like you did on your “Religion on the Line” show in the 80’s is something I think is desperately needed.

And if distortions do happen to seep into a discussion, they can be systematically and properly dealt with in a manner that is more representative of our traditional American way of discussing our differences rather than yielding to all this unnecessary, unhelpful saber rattling from both sides without any intention to respect the other party’s opinion, without any intention of understanding the other side’s position and without any intention to really get anything done as a result.  In fact, all the saber rattling does is to make the civil divide greater, the civil war bigger and, subsequently and quite frankly, it makes it more dangerous for our country to exist as the beacon of light that it needs to be for freedom, justice and liberty for all.

Your “civil war” you write about can be easily ended.  But attitudes need to change for this to happen. It doesn’t start with political parties or with “Conservatives” or with “Liberals” or with Congress.  It starts with us.  We need to change our attitudes if we expect to make America function in the way it should and needs to function again.  We need less propaganda from both sides and more civil discussion of the untainted facts.

Lastly, and, in conclusion, I have a final proposition for you to consider.  To help in the effort of ending this “Civil War” that I agree is negatively affecting and dividing our country, how about helping me to promote a new Internet show similar in spirit to your old “Religion on the Line” radio show?  We could call it, “Civility on the Net?”  Maybe we can even get “Bob” to call in and/or post a comment or two?

References:

 

Patriotic Fox Sports Announcers and Other Boobs

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I agree with Brooke Baldwin.  You cannot say:  “I believe in the First Amendment and boobs.”  You can either say, “I believe in the First Amendment” or “I believe in boobs.”  But you cannot use both in the same sentence.  It also would be improper to say:  “I believe in First Amendment boobs” (regardless of how patriotic you think you might be sounding).  However, if you voted for one, then saying, “I believe in political boobs,” would be perfectly acceptable.  And that leads me to my final point: the only time it might be acceptable to say “I believe in boobs” at all on national television is if you happen to be one.

Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis’s dysfunctional response to Baldwin during her interview on Friday, September 15, is obviously offensive to anyone who believes public statements should promote a certain amount of decent coherency along with a certain amount of reasonable civility and respect.  While the First Amendment does give Travis the right to expose debased portions of his mind; it doesn’t mean he should ever use it to do that without considering the forum of his free speech.  Nor should Travis expect decent people to think he is being more clever than obnoxious for doing so.

But, one thing we should give Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis some credit for: at least he didn’t say he goes around grabbing boobs that don’t belong to him or that he uses his celebrity status to help him execute such overtly licentiously conceived plans.  Those careless thoughts might just get him elected President of the United States.

What is this country coming to and what the heck is going on at Fox with all this crazy regressive subculture they seem to want to own?  How long will the Fox Network continue to appear to be actively promoting sexual misconduct and degeneration within their midst?  And one last question: does the basket stop here?  Or is it something more systemic that is growing in our general population that should cause us more alarm?  I guess I will let you know after I get done eating lunch at my favorite owl themed restaurant (“Oh Miss, can I get another basket of deplorables, I mean, buffalo wings?”).

 

References

CNN Anchor Ends Segment Early Over Commentator’s Bizarre ‘Boobs’ Remark

 

 

Speaking Out Against Hate Doesn’t Require a Permit

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Trump may not be a Nazi.  But, he is something close to it and about as repugnant.  The problem with Trump’s careless, disgusting and ignorant comments about “both sides” being responsible for the violence in Charlottesville is that it doesn’t address the fact that “both sides” did not drive a car into the other side.  “Both sides” did not murder somebody from the opposing side.  Only one side did that.

Trump is a complete failure as a leader.  Trump has proven time and time again that he is more worried about his image, more worried about his dwindling base of supporters than he is about the country as a whole.  No President in our nation’s history has ever directed their statements about national concerns exclusively to only their supporters while completely ignoring the rest of the country.  He is a deadly combination of brash inexperience, unapologetic arrogance and uncontrollable ego—the perfect prototype for America’s first despot and tyrant.

Unfortunately, Trump’s ridiculous statement about the hate-group combating “leftists’” that had failed to obtain a Permit just demonstrates how limited the thoughts in his poor mind must be.  Did it surprise Trump that not only Neo-Nazi’s could attend a rally; that there might actually be respectable people who think hate groups in America might be a bad thing and that they should actually bravely speak up and say something about it?  That there are actually good people with viewpoints that oppose the hatred that the rally marchers were promoting really is something that should have been lauded by any normal, respectable leader of the free world.  As American citizens, these so called “leftists” had every right to be there.  Sorry “Mr. President,” speaking out against hate doesn’t require a permit.

Trump’s FBI Lies and the 5th Avenue Effect

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Because of his lies and erratic behavior, Trump is the most dangerous President we have ever had.  Trump just makes things up.  People without any opposing information readily available to counter his false claims have no ability to question it at the time his statements are made.  It is only afterwards that they find out that Trump’s statement is something he pulled out of thin air.  From stealthy wiretapping former Presidents to false claims that the FBI had previously reported to the President before Nixon ruined it all with Watergate, his consistent, never-ending stream of falsehoods is astounding and unprecedented.  Some will eventually realize that Trump is a fraud and a liar.

But, even if enough people realize what Trump really is, by that time, it is probably too late and the damage already done.  If you are basing your decisions on “alternative facts” that are simply not true and you are President of the United States, then the likelihood you will make decisions that will greatly damage our great nation is pretty obvious.  It is not rocket science.  Blatant lies have consequences.

But if that wasn’t already serious enough for you, there is something more serious to consider.  Lies like this will lead people to believe that they could shoot somebody on 5th avenue and suffer no consequences.  It will lead someone to believe they can collude with foreign governments and suffer no consequences.  It will lead someone to believe they can obstruct justice and suffer no consequences.  It will lead someone to believe they can pardon themselves and suffer no consequences.  It will lead someone to believe that they are above the law.

Is that someone you really want continuing to represent you in the White House?  Is that someone you really want representing the face of America?  If too many answer, “yes,” to any of these questions then all hope is lost and the fate that befell Russia where an autocratic leader murders or jails his opposition without any fear of reprisal, who will not relinquish the power he has enjoyed for over ten years, where the freedom to speak freely without government reprisal is limited is not a too far off distant future for America.

References:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/jul/21/donald-trump/trump-watergate-fbi-reported-doj-courtesy/

 

Invite a Migrant Home to Dinner

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This morning I watched an interview segment on a Sunday news program to commemorate the fallen in last year’s assault on police officers where five Dallas police officers were murdered and seven others wounded.  David Brown, former Dallas Police Chief, closed the interview with a story.  Brown was a product of Busing and racial desegregation.  As a young boy, Brown was bused to an all-white school where he met a white classmate who invited Brown home to have dinner with his family.

David Brown’s whole perspective about race was changed by that single act of random kindness that included a couple of pot pies for dinner.  “God knows,” Brown contemplated, “what I would think about people had Mike not invited me home for dinner.”  The greatest move that we could ever make for our country and for ourselves is exactly to participate in that type of inclusive civility.

Walls are never good.  Discriminating bans are never good.  Building bridges is much better because it allows us to find out that the migrant, that foreign invader from another neighborhood, from another part of the world, that person that is so much different from us is not to be feared but actually turns out to be our best friend.   It’s a priceless discovery because it is the solution to making our country and the world a better place.

Migrants have friends and family in other parts of the world who will hear stories similar to the story Police Chief Brown told.  It will be the real “Voice of America.”  That story will be retold and heard around the world.  That is the real key to making America great and it has always been the key to America’s greatness from the very beginning when we declared “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

So, next time you are inclined to jump on a bandwagon that preaches division and divisiveness, jump off and invite someone from the other side to dinner instead.