Tag Archives: Politics

Weapons of War

The fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Massachusetts ban on so-called assault weapons. The ban is a reactionary piece of legislation designed to make people feel good about doing something in the wake of the horrific December 2012 Sandy Hook Newtown shooting. The language of the ordinance makes broad definitions of what constitutes an “assault weapon,” which has been the bone of contention between gun control proponents and second amendment supporters ever since the incident. Also included in the ordinance is limits magazine capacity.

The court, in ruling in favor of the ban, stated in the opinion that “weapons of war” are not covered by the Second Amendment. This is a gross error of thinking by a panel of liberal judges who clearly do not understand the history of the amendment nor its language.

The second amendment was created by congress to protect Americans’ right to arm themselves in the event of war. This war could come from foreign forces, or from the organized military of a tyrannical regime. The language says this in the first phrase: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” This phrase says militia. It doesn’t say Army, or even organized military. It does not call for the creation of a standing Army. It was written in such a way to state that Americans could unite into militias to defend themselves, and as such need access to arms. This presupposes that the militia would need “weapons of war.”

The Second Amendment was not written to provide Americans the right to have flint-locks, or shotguns, or even bolt-action rifles for use in hunting or even self defense. It was written so that citizens could rise up to defend themselves from the enemy in a time of war, whether that war was a world war or a civil one. This is a fundamental American right. This right is one of the things that separate America from the rest of the world, and make us the envy of other nations.

The single most popular weapon in America.

The single most popular weapon in America.

Gun control advocates claim that putting “common sense” limitations in place is reasonable. The amendment has a word that addresses this thought: infringed. To infringe is “to act so as to limit or undermine.” The language of the amendment says specifically the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall NOT BE INFRINGED (emphasis mine), meaning shall not be limited. Our rights to possess “weapons of war” cannot be limited. To enact limitations is to violate the Second Amendment. It is plain and simple.

Do people abuse their rights? Of course they do. Do we throw out our rights because of those who abuse them? No, we don’t. In fact, we double down on defending them.

The fourth circuit is wrong in this decision. This is the result of seeding the bench with too many activist liberal judges. This case needs to move on to the Supreme Court AFTER Trump’s pick to replace justice Scalia is sworn in, so it can be reversed and our rights remain protected.

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The Sweet and the Bitter of Election Day

Tuesday the 8th of November, 2016 will be a bittersweet day for many people in this country, if not the whole world. It is the date that the worst campaign in the history of this country will officially end, which is the sweet part. The bitter part is that it is also the date that we will have elected the person who will no doubt go down in history as one of the worst world leaders ever. It is not because we have been forced against our will to endorse a tyrant, but rather we have degraded the principles of liberty so much that the citizens of this country no longer know any better than to elect people based not on capability, but instead on popularity. Knowledge and logic have been supplanted by feelings.

This is not new to this election cycle, unfortunately. The election of Barack Obama was the first time a president was chosen not because of skill, knowledge, or experience, but rather because of social popularity. Obama was not elected because he was the most capable, he was elected because people thought it was time we had a black man in the White House. This election is another opportunity for the populists who want social justice to ring their bell by not electing the best candidate, but by electing the first woman to the presidency. In fact, it has become the media catch phrase as pundits tout how America will make history by electing Hillary Clinton.

The social justice warriors who gave us affirmative action and hiring quotas are now trying to staff the White House, as if the qualifications for that job are limited to the color of one’s skin or the gender to which they self-identify. A knowledge of history, or law, or economics or anything understood to be a formal education are not even mentioned in the candidate selection process. None of the candidates who ran in either primary touted their academic credentials. Very few of them mentioned their relevant experience. All of them threw out their feelings on the issues about which the media had drummed the populace into a frenzy and batted sound bites around like a litter of puppies fighting over a toy, and we the people watched with similar fascination as we decried the responses that hurt our feelings and shouted along with the ones that echoed our own beliefs.

As a society, we have become so focused on feelings, that real matters that have meaning are relegated to whispers among the like minded, too afraid to speak out in public for fear of being labeled a bigot, racist, misogynist, extremist, leftist, right-wing, birther, libtard. If we cannot discuss the serious matters facing society as a whole, how can we hope to find a leader willing to do it? We can’t. This is why our politicians have become so impotent lately. They are afraid of being on the losing side of legislation being voted on by a public who cannot be counted on to actually learn anything different from their preconceived notions and ideals and who think it is time we had a woman in the White House even if that woman is a proven manipulative, elitist liar who doesn’t even think members of her own party are worthy of consideration.

Clinton said in an interview that she wants to be the president of those who vote for her and those who vote against her. Well, that is as stupid a statement as any candidate has ever made, but nothing more can be expected from someone who has manipulated the system at every turn to ensure her victory in the election, even going so far as to have defrauded the country by negotiating back room deals, including selecting her opponent, to lock in her win, no matter the outcome of the ballot count. When Hillary is announced as the winner (and she will be) understand it will not be because of the ballots cast. It will be because she defrauded an already corrupted process and was validated by a population that wanted a woman—any woman—president. Wednesday morning, there will be no more campaign commercials and no more news time devoted to the campaigns, but we will have someone who will no doubt end up being the worst president in history sitting in the White House. Bittersweet indeed.

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Call Me Crazy

People cannot accurately parse what is happening around them anymore. It is like the apathy that has led to the current socio-political climate in this country is continuing its effect by making people unwilling to recognize the danger or take steps to prevent the damage. When I point out the situation and indicate the likely outcomes, people tsk tsk me as though I am missing some key mental faculty needed to function in society. I have heard some fanatical ranting over the years, and my ideas are not radical by any measure, but call me crazy if you must. Just listen first.070716_1756_1.png

It has been my position since the beginning of the primary season that Donald Trump does not want or expect to be President of the United States. Trump is a long time friend and ally of the Clintons. He supported Hillary’s ’08 campaign financially as well as campaigning for her in key states. It is my belief that Hillary, knowing that the Democrats are not in the best position to keep the White House given the shellacking they took in the mid-term elections and the debacle that is Obamacare, needed a ringer in the republican race to keep conservatives from rallying around a serious candidate. Trump—a long-time democrat—entered the race as a republican to be that ringer. At best, he was expected to split the vote, thus weakening the eventual candidate, at worst, create enough infighting that the candidates would dig up enough bad press to tarnish public opinion about all of them. The plan was brilliant and it worked better than anyone could have predicted.

The argument I get is that no one would spend the money Trump has spent just to lose an election. This argument presupposes that the goal was just to lose. No. Trump’s goal was to have a president that would favor Trump with financial rewards through government contracts or relaxed regulations or fast-tracking certain permits needed for Trump’s projects. Can I name them? No, of course not. But by his own words, Trump has said many times that he backs candidates that benefit his businesses. As President, he cannot enact any regulations that benefit his businesses. It would be a conflict of interest. As a losing candidate, he is not limited by conflict of interest, nor is Hillary. She can help him all she wants.

I also doubt that Trump spent that much of his own money. Creative financing can hide DNC and corporate campaign contributions, not to mention the Clinton Foundation is rife with graft and corruption. Trump’s personal funds have not really been used as much as the media would have us believe.

Before anyone suggests that such a deal would have been uncovered by the news, let me tell you that the major media outlets are owned by the same corporations that are funding the campaigns. The media has a part to play in this sham of an election, a huge part. Their job is to distract the public and to direct their attention to minutia rather than focus on the real issues. The news (both network and cable) have done an admirable, if insidious, job of making the public feel like Trump is a real candidate and the people are eating it up. They trot out polls that show this candidate or that candidate as being in the lead among certain voters in certain locations in certain states. This practice effectively forces people to vote for the candidate in the lead, since no one wants to vote for a loser. The media is also in charge of redirecting attention away from Clinton’s scandals. If a republican had faced similar circumstances, the fact that the FBI refused to proffer charges against a presidential candidate charged with a felony would have dominated the news cycle as all of the media outlets dug down into the evidence themselves and then castigated the candidate in the court of public opinion. With Clinton, the media celebrated the news as a vindication of their favored client.

Anyone who has studied psychology, sociology, or media relations should recognize these tactics. I have studied all of them. Look at how the Clintons managed to dodge an indictment on the email scandal. The very fact that the director of the FBI issued a press conference to publish their findings was unusual and indicative of corruption, especially in light of the meeting between Bill Clinton and the head of the Department of Justice. Obama has done everything he can to stack the deck in Clinton’s favor, including the amnesty and relaxing of immigration rules so that non-citizens can vote for Hillary. With the death of Justice Scalia, if the Supreme Court has to decide the outcome of the election, the bench is now more left-leaning, giving the edge to Clinton.

Call me crazy, but unfortunately I am predicting a Clinton win in November, and not my some small margin. If Trump is still a candidate, he will be blown away. Even if every person in the country votes for him. The fix has been in since 2008. But don’t fret for the Donald. He will come out of his loss just fine with some lucrative contracts and business deals to ease the pain of losing the presidency.

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The Donald’s Big Move

In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, Trump has come out supporting a ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States. This plays to the justifiable fears of Americans who worry that Islamic extremism is coming to main street America. While—from a paranoid viewpoint—there is some merit to the idea, America has always been a nation of immigrants. Banning immigration goes against the very foundation of this country. Having said that, many people are attacking Trump for his position on Muslim immigration. One might even wonder how he could hope to remain a presidential candidate after saying something like that.

Now that the primary is getting near, more people are beginning to see the Donald for the whack that he is. This is not accidental. This is not even unexpected. It is planned. Trump’s bid for the republican nomination was never a serious bid for the presidency. Donald doesn’t really have ambitions for the White House. His primary mission, from day one, was to throw the republican party into disarray and to prevent them from rallying behind a serious candidate to challenge Hillary. His mission was to draw the GOP into following him, then to drop out at the last minute so that voters won’t have unity in the republican party, thus allowing Hillary to benefit from the fractured electorate. He will probably drop the GOP and run on the ticket as an independent.

It is a brilliant strategy. The Clintons are well known for brilliant strategies. It follows they masterminded this one, just like they masterminded Bernie Sanders’ vice-presidential bid. Sanders is not a presidential primary candidate. He is there merely to make it look like the DNC is taking the primary seriously. Hillary was promised the nomination in ’08, when she (not-so-graciously) bowed out of the primary for Obama. Sanders is her running mate.

The GOP needs to rally behind a real republican candidate now before the fractures get too big and the disenfranchised voters jump ship for an independent candidate, or worse, follow the Donald to an independent ticket.

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Culling the Herd

This blog has been silent of late, due, in no small measure to my own laziness, but also and more significantly by my ennui about all things political. Public reactions to the issues of the day and the coverage of the media have left me stunned silent and unable to articulate a response. I cannot grasp how an intelligent person can think the way that so many people seem to be thinking lately. I cannot follow how rational minds can accept the overreach of the judiciary and the executive branches of government without so much as an outcry about checks and balances. But before I go completely into rant mode, I do want to answer a political question my niece asked me in response to a comment I made on a friend’s Facebook post.

My pastor, Randy White, wrote a blog in which he analyzed the Fox news republican “debate.” I put that in quotes because it was not so much a debate as an attempt by Fox to rank the candidates. I won’t spell out Randy’s entire post here, but suffice to say he and I agreed on almost every point. This is a lot of why he has been my pastor for the past 9 years. He’s leaving the church now and I am very upset about it.

The debates are supposed to help the public find a candidate to support. This should allow the field of candidates be winnowed down to a reasonable number. We started the campaign season with a record seventeen republicans; too many to appear on one stage at the same time. Fox divided them up according to their polling numbers, which is no small statement about their viability as a candidate.

The candidates I feel have a shot:

Ted Cruz: He’s a long shot, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that he could pull off the nomination with some money and a good CM.

Mike Huckabee: One of the best speakers in the field. He communicates well and he has a lot of good ideas. His biggest weakness in the election is his strongest asset to his base: his faith. As an ordained minister, a lot of people are not comfortable with someone so strong in his faith leading the country, which is a shame. We need more like him.

Marco Rubio: Young, energetic and Latino. I differ from Randy on this one. The pundits like him and they love to categorize him as the republican’s best hope for relevance in the future. His youth may work against him unless he gets a crack team on his campaign. My biggest problem with him is his support for amnesty for illegal aliens.

Jeb Bush: Pros: Experience, name recognition, good speaker. Cons: Name recognition, waffler, past support for Planned Parenthood. I’m not a big fan of the younger Bush, and a lot of moderates are similarly unimpressed. Liberals will shut him down out of spite for GW’s administration. He has the best chance, however, of sustaining a campaign thanks to the established power base within the party.

Kasich: Was on the stage as a nod to Ohio only. He had some good responses to the questions he was soft-pitched, but he hasn’t spelled out his policy platform yet, aside from commenting on the media issues of immigration and abortion. He doesn’t have enough wide-spread support to maintain a campaign.

Rand Paul: The hothead. A lot of bluster and good interchange between him and Trump and Bush. Makes for good television, but that’s all he’s good for. He reminds me of the one guy hollering at the back of a crowd that desperately wants him to shut up, even if they know he’s right. I don’t see him riding it out until the end. He doesn’t have a presidential bearing.

Ben Carson: I loved his responses and I love his message. If no one had to actually hear him say it, he would go a long way. As it is, he looked unsteady on the stage, pale, almost sickly and tentative in his tone. He did not look presidential, even though he had some of the best things to say. If he gets an image consultant, he may last it out, otherwise not.

Donald Trump: I may be alone on this, but I hope not. Trump is NOT a republican candidate. Trump is on the Clinton campaign. His mission is to split the vote, and he is well on his way to doing so. Allow me to elucidate.

The current Democratic Party contest consists of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders is an admitted socialist running as a democrat (semantics, I know, since they have become one and the same) and not a genuine candidate. The party just has to have someone else to look like they are having a real primary since they have no incumbent. Hillary took a dive in ’08 so the party could elect the first black president in history with a proviso that she would be the candidate in ’16. There will be no other viable candidate on the democratic ticket unless Hillary gets convicted.

Now, the democrats are well aware that Obama has lost a lot of the moderate and independent voters that helped get him into office. Since those voters are up in the air, the only way to ensure Hillary gets elected is to prevent those independent and moderate voters from voting republican. The best way to do that is to give them an alternative: enter Donald Trump. Trump is spouting the republican battle cry like a seasoned general—almost like he actually believes it. Heck, I like what he’s saying. I agree with most of what he is saying. The problem is that I don’t think he actually believes what he is saying.

He won’t get the nomination. He will announce as an independent. He will do his best to keep the support he drums up through the republican primary, thereby weakening the republican candidate’s support. If you do not want Hillary in the Whitehouse, do not support Trump.

The second tier candidates had a mini debate before the main show and none of those are likely to survive the first wave of cuts. Rick Perry’s campaign is already on the rocks financially. Fiorina has a lot going for her if she can get more exposure. If she can get her numbers up, she may ride it out. My biggest problem with her is her support of abortion as a “women’s health” issue. You will find that she won’t tow the party line on abortion and she will probably duck the issue the whole way through the campaign. I anticipate the campaign will be narrowed to ten before Thanksgiving, and four or five by Caucus time.

It is too early to pick a candidate now, however. Always use the whole primary period to research all the candidates and when voting time comes, then make your decision. Please do NOT rely solely on the media for this information. It would be akin to buying a car solely on the salesman’s pitch. Look the information up yourself.

Happy voting.

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Pitching the Vote

As we head into the big election week for the congressional midterms, the media is all aflutter trying to predict the outcome well in advance of actual voting. This is ostensibly in keeping with a trend of trying to be the first media outlet to accurately announce the winners. I think it is more than that, however. I believe that the media—ever so left leaning—is trying to use the cover of prognostication to actually effect the election results.

It is human nature to want to be on the winning side in any contest. No one wishes to be associated with a losing team, or losing effort, and those who find themselves in this unenviable position often try to distance themselves from the team to avoid embarrassment. If a candidate is predicted to win, this prediction may actually swing undecided voters to support the candidate based on their chances of winning, rather than voting for a candidate that more closely aligns with the voter’s ideology.  No one wants to vote for the losing side.

Look for numerous ads paid for by campaigns and political action committees designed to sway voters, but also, be on the lookout for articles run in newspapers, magazines and on TV that ostensibly are trying to cover the race, but are actually casting one side or another in a negative light—even if it is only saying something banal such as “this campaign is struggling with funding” or “this campaign is x number of points down in polls.” Those supposed news stories are nothing more than attempts to get voters to vote against those campaigns by painting them as losing propositions.

Also, look for stories that tout as successes that which has previously been panned as failure. An article on Yahoo from Business Insider this morning praised the successes of Obama Care even though it is pretty much recognized as an abysmal failure by both parties. The article says that it is a success because more people have insurance than had it before. It doesn’t mention any of the controversial issues that have arisen from the measure.

The most egregious issue with campaign ads are the blatant lies and obfuscations that campaigns issue during the elections. One candidate has taken an opponent’s words on abortion out of context to make it appear as if he supports rape. Ridiculous. Another ad for another candidate tries to intimate that the opponent would be a bad representative because he made millions as an insurance salesman. I’m sorry, but I think a person who earns millions of dollars in their job is a success and would probably make a pretty good representative. If he were running in my district, I’d vote for him.

People have been calling for campaign reforms for decades. Unfortunately, this will never happen. The first amendment provides for free speech and, aside from some case law that prohibits out-and-out lying, a candidate can say pretty much whatever they want in an advertisement and can buy as much air time as they can afford. What this means for you and me is that we get deluged in political advertising from TV, radio, internet, mail, email, and even phone calls from all directions until election day filled with some of the most inflammatory statements of dubious veracity ever imagined.

I would love to recommend a law prohibiting such commercials, but again, it is provided in the first amendment and I am an unrepentant supporter of the constitution and the bill of rights. The only way to combat this onslaught of lies is through education. Research the candidates and find out through their voting record what is fact and what is fiction. Caveat emptor applies to the electorate. Do not blindly accept the advertisements of political candidates any more than you would blindly accept a salesman’s pitch. But also, do not listen to the news media telling you who will win. You determine who will win only when you vote.

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One Land, Separate Ideals

America has never been so polarized, so divided or so fractured—or so says the media. Many pundits and analysts have offered observations and predictions based on this perceived dichotomy that is American society. Red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and republicans and other designations are the rally points for differing ideologies across the nation. Issues from immigration to gay marriage, from education to health care, and from foreign policy to domestic issues are driving the debates that separate the nation. Many people wonder why America has come to these crossroads especially given the advent of the Internet and the social media that was expected to unite everyone in the utopia that is instant connectivity of shared ideas. This is not just a fallacy; it is exactly the opposite of what is happening. The Internet is actually the tool that is dividing us.

idealpqThe mainstream media, ostensibly a long-time proponent of free interchange of ideas, touted web 2.0 tools such as Twitter and Facebook for their role in the 2010 Arab spring uprisings in the Middle East, which was expected to foster democratic movements in those countries. The ability to reach out and contact so many people at once is supposed to have been the cause for so many people coming together in such short order to force the revolutions and ouster of the supposed dictators of those countries.

While that may be true (and we have yet to see those Arab Spring revolutions foster democracy in any of those countries) the ability to communicate with so many instantaneously is also fraught with peril. The Internet is worldwide, to be sure. But in this wonderful wide world, there has long been a collection of disparate, different and dissonant societies, many of which who cannot tolerate those that are different. They have existed on the same ball of dirt simply because of the distance that separates them. Now that the Internet has removed that distance, those conflicting ideas ignite into hostility.

This is observable in America as well. The map of the United States shows how the divisions play out. People tend to cluster around like-minded people. This is how communities began. This is how the colonies got their starts in the 1700s. People gathered around those with whom they could identify; typically people of the same nationalities and ethnicities held the same beliefs systems. Thus the community prospered with minimal ideological conflict and churches fostered and nurtured the community.

With the advent of technology, people began travelling to other communities and clustering in cities and in those groupings, nationality and ideology were pushed aside for economic development and prosperity. But the stressors of ethnicity began a slow boil that eventually erupted into the civil rights movement. People of different ethnicities and nationalities began to bicker and fight. Legislation may have quelled the worst of it, but even today different ideologies thrust together into common geographic space breed hostility.

At the foundation of our nation, literacy was not commonplace. Only a few learned individuals possessed the tools and skills to communicate to the masses effectively. In those days, “the masses” was defined by those who gathered around the public square. Again, in those days, the public square was in a community of like-minded people with shared nationality and ethnicity and ideology. Today, anyone can say anything to anybody at anytime. Instant public speech is possible with a world-wide audience.

In England, the people were forbidden to speak out against the government. One of the founding principles of American government was the freedom to speak out against the government without fear of reprisals. It is inscribed in the first Amendment along with a line about how the government cannot dictate how individuals practice their religious beliefs. This freedom has been bastardized by those who think that it allows anyone to say absolutely anything they desire. This is not true. It just means one cannot be arrested for it. Many people have found out through lost jobs and lost relationships that speaking one’s mind on the internet can have consequences.

A teacher posted a picture in which she enjoys an adult beverage while on vacation. Her school terminated her for the posting. A healthcare worker posted a comment in which she advocated mass murder for criminals rioting in Ferguson Missouri. She was terminated by the hospital that employed her. A college professor was fired after joking on a Facebook post about hiring a hit man. Many celebrities have been called to task when they make comments that are picked up in the media and broadcast. Public outcry resulted in the forced sale of the L.A. Clippers after the owner made private comments that were made public by someone else.

In many of these cases, advocates claim these people should be protected by the first amendment for free speech. Again, none of these people have been arrested for their statements. None are facing federal charges. The first amendment is working in these cases. It is other people who are squelching the principle of free speech.

This is because people are communicating—albeit inadvertently—with a global audience and not a local community of like-minded people. A statement decrying abortion would gather great support in a small community where everyone shared nationality, ethnicity and ideology. Make the same statement on the Internet and it is likely to be met with hatred, vitriol and threats of violence.

Human beings are not the same. We still have unique nationalities, ethnicities and ideologies and many of these are incompatible with others. The crisis is the middle east is a glowing example. Ideologues from Palestine cannot abide the existence of an Israeli state and no amount of negotiation can change that. Radical Muslims will never accept any other religion and will always refer to any non-Muslim as “Infidel” and declare a Jihad to kill them.

Democrats and Republicans have different beliefs of the role of government. These differences are fundamental. The only way both can exist in governing is to be willing to surrender some of the ideals in order to achieve a greater good. This idea sounds great in theory, but those who are steadfast in their beliefs cannot abide surrender and they have the support of like-minded community members who rally around them shouting and holding signs. These people look crazy to the members of the opposing community who also rally together and try to shout down the opposition. This is where the dichotomy breeds and it is nowhere more apparent than on the internet.

We are products of our communities; we develop ideals based on interactions with those around us. The “Global Community” is a dream that cannot be realized because of the vast differences that exist between nations, ethnicities and ideologies. Perhaps in a century, if all national borders are eradicated and all ethnicities have blended into a homogenous amalgam of humanity, we might be close to a universal ideology. But don’t count on it. I, for one, would not want to live in such a world. And many in my community agree with me.

 

 

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