Politics

To be Free of Despots and Tyrants

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I do not find it too surprising that an agent of a foreign government would take his next offensive strike against democracy and freedom by attacking a former intelligence officer, an officer who, for over 25 years, dedicated his career to protecting our Constitution and the liberties and freedoms it guarantees. It is just the type of action one would expect from someone who wants to thwart an investigation that might expose his illegal activities and alliances.  These are the desperate actions of a guilty man not an innocent man who seeks truth, justice and who has nothing to hide.

Ironic, isn’t it; that a President of the United States who is supposed to be protecting our Constitution would attack it so ruthlessly by employing such a thoughtless attempt at curtailing the very freedom our Constitution guarantees with such childlike vindictiveness?  Such an action openly violates his oath of office.  Not only is revoking Brennan’s security clearance offensive to the ideals of our founding fathers, it is the real treason.  It is a high crime. It is a tactic right out of the Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Putin handbook.  And to tolerate it would be to imply a complacency that no American who truly believes in liberty and freedom can ever accept.

Trump’s action to wield his position as a weapon against those who disagree with his policies threatens the very foundations of our democracy and that of our republic.  It shows a blatant disrespect for our republic, our democracy and the intent our forefathers had for our country to be free of despots and tyrants. The seriousness and the far reaching implications of these latest actions by the President to revoke security clearances of his perceived “enemies” can no longer just be excused as simple ignorance, nativity nor the bumbling incompetence of a harmless buffoon, but now must be considered as a calculated effort to circumvent and undermine the very institutions and checks and balances that our forefathers sought to establish to protect our nation against would be despots and tyrants.

What No Respectable U.S. President Would Ever Do

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Unsophisticated third world country dictators and totalitarian autocrats abuse their power by squashing free speech. They make reckless accusations that, “The Press is the enemy of the people.” They threaten their critics with petty, vindictive measures, such as advocating that well-respected, career intelligence officers be stripped of their security clearances.  They might consider offering career diplomats from previous administrations to likeminded despotic regimes for questioning in retaliation for the diplomats’ efforts in championing human rights in that foreign country or they might ban targeted reporters from being allowed to report the news in a rose garden because tyrants dislike having to answer thoughtful questions that might expose their incompetence.

These unsophisticated, insecure human beings maintain their power by giving the greater electorate a minority group to hate, a migrant group, a group seeking asylum, a religious group seeking refuge from persecution.  They manipulate swooning crowds with grandiose promises, exaggerations and emotion so appealing to the crowd’s less reasonable senses that it motivates many to drink the Kool-Aid being offered to them without even thinking twice about it.  These despots encourage division, internal and otherwise, “us against them.”  They build walls…a Berlin Wall, an iron curtain, a detention center wall, a concentration camp wall, an internment wall, walls of shame and disunity.  Bridges and the infrastructure of the mind are nowhere to be found.

So full of themselves are they that they believe that an intellectual assault against them is an intellectual assault against the country itself.  They believe themselves to be the sovereign.  Less inclined are they to recognize that, in the United States, the people are the sovereign.

They rewrite history.   They lie to their fellow citizens about trivial things such as the size of their inauguration crowds; things that only their own fragile ego can appreciate or they might find themselves suffering paranoid delusions about how former office holders have wire tapped their business suites or infiltrated their campaign with spies.  The list of incidences of lying, vindictive pettiness and unending paranoid delusions are too numerous for the average person to comprehend or to even adequately keep track of but these are the actions that only unsophisticated third world country dictators and totalitarian autocrats do—despicable actions that no respectable U.S. President would ever do.  For, if any U.S. President did participate in any of these actions, a respectable U.S President would instantly grasp, as witnessed by previous historical generations, that it could easily lead to our country’s downfall, to the loss of its democracy, to the loss of its republic, to the loss of its standing in the world, declining, diminishing and, then, finally, no more.

But, only a respectable U. S. President would ever understand those things that no respectable U.S. President would ever do.

Where have all the Patriots Gone?

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In the United States, since our very inception, we detest despots.  This sentiment is clearly expressed in our Declaration of Independence:  “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”  So, I really have some questions about the trip a small delegation of lawmakers made last week to a country whose leader exemplifies despotism.

These are the names belonging to the delegation that went to Russia on July 4th, 2018: Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Thune (S.D.), John Kennedy (La.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Rep. Kay Granger (Texas).  Instead of celebrating our country’s independence from a despot these seven government representatives decided it was better to patronize one in Russia.  In general, it doesn’t really matter to me if the intent of this trip was to discuss the proof they had regarding Russia’s interference in our election nor does it matter much if they had any earnest warnings for Russia against trying the same thing in our 2018 elections.  That could be done in other ways without having to go to Moscow.  By engaging in a trip to Moscow now, there seems to me to be a high probability that it creates the perception that we (the United States) are just accepting Russia’s recent violations of international law.

Such a perception would amount to appeasement.  We all know the result of the last time leaders of the Free World tried appeasement (reference Neville Chamberlain).  Hint:  it didn’t work out so well.

So, I think some real soul searching on the part of this delegation needs to be done but does this delegation also need to be reminded about who their host is?  The leader of Russia is someone who is suspected of human rights violations, suspected of murder, attempted murder, has squashed expressions of freedom and, of course, attacked our own country by interfering in our elections. Putin is a leader who has invaded two other independent countries that led to portions of those sovereign states being removed from their sovereign control.  In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia then sponsored what amounts to puppet governments in the former Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  In 2014, Ukraine was invaded by Russia where Russia simply annexed Crimea outright.

The worst part about the trip this delegation of US representatives made is that it occurred on the 4th of July, our Independence Day.  This is a day where we should be shouting to the world in no uncertain terms that we will be free of despots, all despots.  Therefore, if this delegation’s intention were not to make a complete mockery of our most patriotic holiday of the year where freedom rings loudest, it may have come close to doing just that despite what its intention truly may have been.

References:

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/395719-gop-senators-visited-moscow-on-july-4

https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=626664156

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/21/politics/senators-russia-congressional-delegation/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

https://pixabay.com/en/revolutionary-war-historical-102237

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupied_territories_of_Georgia

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-paul/russia-georgia-war-in-200_b_4891391.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_Abkhazia_and_South_Ossetia

 

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:

 

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.