Straight Outta GQ

ben-carson-donkey-hotey11-450x321Two sides are engaged in a fierce ideological struggle to win over the hearts and minds of the citizens of the United States in order that the principles composing those ideologies might be put into effective action by a legitimate governing body.

How can this task be accomplished?  How to persuade, compel or simply overpower the opposition in order to win elected office and govern accordingly?

Here are two recent examples highlighting the opposing perspectives and differing approaches between the so called left and right on just one particular issue.  These are the modern methods of these two sides:

Ben Carson speaking publicly on responding to a mass shooter:  “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’

The article: Fuck Ben Carson

And his response: We should pray for them.

If I am being honest, I have made extensive use of the ‘F’ word on many an occasion and do not shirk from its usage as a variable part of speech.  However, call me old fashioned, but I still value honor between professional opponents, at least as it extends to the public realm.  Look no further to find evidence of the deterioration of not only the integrity of the media as a societal institution, but the complacency of detractors to look no further for the truth.  For if GQ says it, it must be true.

The article went on to sing further the praises of the Republican contender, “You know, the only thing more alarming than Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field is the fact that Ben Carson is the guy right behind him. While establishment puds like Jeb! Bush and Marco Rubio can’t decide if they want to beat Trump or emulate him, the Good Doctor made it clear this week that he is not only willing to replicate Trump’s signature brand of hot-garbage-spewing, but he’ll say even DUMBER shit.”

This tripe bears witness to the incessant acrimony that plagues the leftist, progressive mentality. It never finds alleviation, and no peace of mind can assuage the perpetual hatred that these folks possess in their hearts.  There is no wise commentary, no enlightening aphorism meant to elevate the conversation and actually make progress.  There is simply name-calling, ad hominem attacks and an entirely dismissive attitude of a legitimate point-of-view.

Furthermore, the tendency of the lefty mentality is to impose this disposition onto society-at-large, seeking to further restrict onto those who agree with Dr. Carson.  Despite the attempts that have been imposed however, in the form of outright gun bans in urban areas and the adoption of gun-free zones, gun violence still mysteriously occurs where gun violence is not allowed.

Some folks don’t like guns, don’t want guns and would rather die before picking up a gun to hurt another living thing, even in self defense.  That is a perfectly acceptable position and I can support such conscientious objectors.  However, just as they have a right not to fight back, to peaceably submit in a movie theater or college classroom, the rest of us have a right not to be made dead by a tragic, sickened individual.

This really is the primal, prehistoric, primitive defense mechanism that living beings have always possessed as a means of survival:

1. Recognize threat

2. Respond to threat using fight or flight

3. If selecting flight, stretch legs

4. If selecting fight, get weapon

5. Use legs or weapon depending on previous decision, see step 2 – fight or flight

As humanity has progressed, the weaponry has progressed too.  Instead of clubs and board-with-nail, we have Sig Sauer and Glock to protect and defend. (not to mention entertain future fossil hunters)  Admittedly, there is a case to be made against personalized nuclear devices and a reasonable debate can be had as to where that line is but the current 12 v. 17 mag capacity BS is missing the shark because, once again, for the cheap seats, criminals do not obey the law.

I have my personal grudges with the positions taken on some issues by Ben Carson but on this one we agree.  And when the opposition has resorted to vulgarity and playground strategery, I think that’s game.

Mic drop.

Boom!

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Failure To Communicate

failure-to-communicateWhat we’ve got here…

No matter how many times leftist leaders like Bill De Blasio, Al Sharpton and Team Obama raise the obligatory call for peaceful protests, the violence persists, recently culminating in the assassination of two police officers in New York City.  Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were the direct victims of a vengeful miscreant who posted “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” on Instagram.  They were indirect victims, collateral damage if you will, in the progressive movement that despises a racist America and while I would never expect complete adherence to authority on the part of such a man, what I do see are politicians making token gestures of peace, which are totally disregarded by their like-minded sycophants, while regularly acting in a contradictory manner that fuels such violent actions.

Protesters chanting “What do we want?  DEAD COPS!.”  Progressive “leaders” simultaneously calling for peace AND undermining these calls with divisive rhetoric.  Violent actors shooting, looting and burning.  All have hitched their wagons to the flagship cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, which are exhibits A & B in the case against a racist police force, society and nation.  Except they’re not evidence of any such culture.  Michael Brown was killed while physically attacking a police officer after breaking the law (by robbing a store) and resisting arrest.  He didn’t have his hands up.  Eric Garner was killed while struggling with police after breaking the law and resisting arrest.  He wasn’t killed by a chokehold.  Each case was investigated by a grand jury, each officer found to have acted within the law.  And yet, when violence erupts, despite the calls for peace that are inevitably followed by admissions of our racist nation, whether it be the murder of police officers or the burning and looting of shops and homes, such violence continues the progressive narrative of the racist police, system, etc.  If not for the actions of the police, no violence would occur, so goes the narrative.

And then there’s our leaders calling for peace.  Pleas for peaceful protests mask the condescension held in their hearts for our biased, racist, prejudicial system.  Before the grand juries had rendered any verdicts, Eric Holder was in Ferguson to investigate and Al Sharpton had set up camp while the officer in question had been found guilty in the court of public opinion.  New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has found himself shunned by the NYPD due to comments calling for the “retraining” of his police force to better deal with race relations. (Because they are presently too racist)   Also, he acknowledges advising his biracial son to “be careful” when dealing with the police. (The only conclusion is that this is because the police working in his city have racist views of young black men, despite the diversity of the police force)  As for Al Sharpton, here’s a link to his highlights.  Now consider his close relationship advising both Mayor De Blasio as well as the sitting President of the United States.

Calls for peace are the obligation of politicians and public leaders.  However, while peace is preferable, even to these leaders, it is violence that stirs emotion and invigorates the movement.  They must speak peace but do so in a way that undermines that same speech.  And when all subsequent violence can be blamed on the initial event, either Brown or Garner, so much the better.  Notice how, as with Occupy Wall Street, all violent undesirables supposedly do not reflect the genuine feelings of the real movement.  Such violent actors are cut loose and the fact that their actions were motivated by a false narrative, peddled by the same double-speaking leaders is swept aside as irrelevant.

These facts must remain to further the cause: cops kill black men and we live in a racist society.  Any evidence to the contrary cannot be allowed to pervade the social conscious.  Police acting in self defense does not matter to those with a progressive agenda for social justice.  Black on black violence is not an epidemic that should be addressed by black leaders but further proof of prejudice and white privilege.  Basically, these leaders, the protesters and the violent actors are not interested in the truth or the betterment society.  They are interested in the same type of vengeance that tragically found Officers Liu and Ramos.  Sadly, they will not be the last victims of the progressive cause.

Notable Quotations

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” – President Obama

– Does this mean he would be black?  In a hoodie?  Suspended from school?  And how does this NOT create division especially coming BEFORE any trial.

“These outbursts of bigotry, while deplorable, are not the true markers of the struggle that still must be waged, or the work that still needs to be done — because the greatest threats do not announce themselves in screaming headlines. They are more subtle. They cut deeper. And their terrible impact endures long after the headlines have faded and obvious, ignorant expressions of hatred have been marginalized.” – Eric Holder

– The other thing about supposed subtle forms of racism is that race hustlers can claim racism is at work when the fact is that people disagree with, for example, a president, because of his policies, not the color of his skin.  Any disagreement can be met with accusations of racism to effectively end any substantial discussion.

“This is true all over the country. We have to re-train police forces in how to work with communities differently.  We have to work on things like body cameras that would provide different levels of transparency and accountability. This is something systemic.  And we bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics underlie this.”- Mayor Bill De Blasio

– Re-training is only necessary if the police are not adequately trained already which leads to: why were they not trained adequately enough resulting in such “racist” police officers?  It comes as no surprise that this mayor quickly lost the support of his own police force.

“For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” – Michelle Obama

– Her claims of prejudice by a Target customer are also ridiculous and may actually have been fabricated

SEE VIDEO– Al Sharpton

“The Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” -Steve Israel, Chair of the DCCC

– No specific people mentioned, just a hollow claim of blanket racism

A Republic for Republicans

2-8-13-republican-elephantAt the close of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin left the hall in Philadelphia, he was asked, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”  As Republicans come to Washington after winning in this landslide election, they will ask the American people “What have you given us?”  A republic, if you can keep it… Republicans!

Majorities rule in this two-party system of ours.  The Democrats, led by the president, had their time to impose the agenda of ever more expansive government.  Now, the political pendulum has once again swung the other way.  Congressional Republicans have an opportunity to lead us off of the statist path to Bankruptcyville and walk the road less traveled of constitutionally limited government.

But where to begin?

Politicians have this annoying habit of overreacting to any event and attempting to assuage any fears by banally claiming “We must do something!”  While specific, focused action is needed, more and more interference via arbitrary legislation is not an effective means to govern, and be perceived to govern, effectively.  Never forget, the next election is less than two years away and many more people will pay attention to that one.  Perception is reality.  The Republican party must act in such a way that conveys courage, stability and control.

People of all political persuasions respond to honest conviction.  This is what made Barack Obama so appealing to so many voters.  He was passionate about his beliefs and fought against all odds to achieve his goals.  Or at least that was the perception.  Republicans are in a prime position to harness charisma, take advantage of the zeitgeist and use popular support to direct the nation.  Better yet, they have a blueprint for successful governance.  Unlike progressive policies that promise much but deliver misery, conservative principles have their foundation in respect for individual rights, the basis of the idea that is the United States.  The Constitution, while a bit dusty from lack of use, is the go-to guide for how to deal with the issues of the present day.

My Two Cents:

In many cases my ideology goes further than these recommendations.  However, politicians must deal within the confines of political reality.  Ideology is about ideas, politics is about winning elections.  You cannot govern if you don’t win.

– Allow the continuation of the Keystone XL Pipeline…finally.  It has been studied, and studied…and studied.  We all hate oil spills.  We all love oil (if only through the de facto behavior of driving our cars and using anything made of plastic).  Until “clean energy” sources can pay their own way, we need oil.  This pipeline is simply an example of a societally approved trade-off between risk and reward in the modern world of industry.

– Immigration reform must occur once existing law has been enforced.  Close the border.  Not so we stop people once they get into Texas but make it so no one can enter Texas without proper documentation.  Deport anyone stopped for breaking the law and found to be in the USA illegally.  Next, law-biding immigrants, here to work, albeit illegally, must be identified and put on a pathway to apply for citizenship.  Basically, enforce current immigration laws while dealing with the people who have come in while we were not enforcing such laws.

– Communicate sound economic principles about the national fiscal situation.  Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, all entitlements are simply borrowing against the future.  Fiscal solvency is a fantasy as long as progressive policies promise to give and give in the name of altruistic compassion.  The money is not in the vault.  There are only IOUs that will soon come due.

– Value the rights of the states and leave social issue oriented legislation to them.  I.E. legal pot, abortion laws, same-sex marriage, etc. should be determined on a state-by-state basis.

– The minimum wage is an artificial tool, earned by 2-3% of the workforce, that generates much sympathy.  However, this present day government wage and price control is here for awhile.  Raising the minimum wage will make Republicans a more populist party which in turn can siphon votes from their progressive counterparts.  This could be done under the umbrella of a complete economic overhaul.  Such a plan could reduce corporate taxes to stimulate business growth (corporations don’t really pay taxes by the way, you do), lift all sorts of business restricting conditions from the EPA, OSHA, IRS et al., and then look to phase out all wage and price controls like the minimum wage.  Again, deal with political reality while transforming our country for the future.  Communicate the benefits of supply side economics while defending free market capitalism against the fallacious arguments of those like Hillary Clinton who seek to prey on the rampant economic illiteracy of the electorate.  Educate voters, and potential voters, of all economic levels, as to the benefits of free markets.  Make it personal.  Demonstrate that no matter how much progressives promise, they cannot deliver on those promises.  (See the economic data regarding the war on poverty)

– Defend against unfounded attacks on conservatism, free markets, capitalism and the personalities of those pursuing such ends.  Racism, sexism, trickle-down economics, tax breaks for the rich, millionaires and billionaires, blah blah blah…  The DNC and Democratic candidates have tried it and this time they lost.  Stand up to claims of racism or sexism with facts, not further acrimony.  Court those voters who truly do not know what Republicans can offer because they have always been told about the evil GOP.  Dismiss the epithets against free markets.  The USA is the most prosperous, benevolent nation the world has ever known.  We have a mixed economy, based in free market capitalism.  That’s the evidence.

The reality (ergo, the perception) seems to be that as much as Hillary is the chosen one, she is not a great candidate.  Let her make her “businesses do not create jobs remarks and she will sink herself yet again.  2016 will be another pinnacle election year, a battle in the war of ideas where voters will once again choose in which direction this country should go.  Over the, (less than) next two years Republicans can show us all that there is another way.  A constitutional way.  They can demonstrate why we should vote for the party of Lincoln and Reagan; They can show us the greatness this country can do so that the darkness before the dawn that has been the last 6 years can give way to morning in America once again.

A Guide to the Ballot of 2014

i-voted-stickerThe time has come to cast the ballot, to take part in the democratic process and let your voice be heard.  Interestingly, the “undecideds” generally wait the longest to cast ballots, I suppose that’s why they’re called Undecideds.  The ideological political junkies are not to be swayed by the last minute attack ads and tend to vote early.

Here is my assessment and recommendations for the statewide races and propositions/amendments in both California and Colorado, where the majority of my readership will cast ballots.  There are also local issues in each electorate.  Read those thoroughly and make informed decisions.  Remember that party trumps person, particularly in legislative races and reflect on the proper role of government when voting on the propositions/amendments.

State names link to Ballotopedia for more election info

CALIFORNIA

Governor- Neel Kashkari

NO on Proposition 1– $7.12 billion bond for California’s water system

– Expands the debt of California, encouraging the further fiscal profligacy of elected officials.  The proverbial “we must do something” action of politicians

YES on Proposition 2– Increase amount of potential savings in the state ‘rainy day’ fund from 5% to 10% of the General Fund

– Encourages fiscal responsibility and accountability.  Supported by both Reps and Dems of California.

NO on Proposition 45– Public notice required for insurance company rates initiative

– Leads us further down the road to a single-payer, government run health care system.  This places a further burden of health care changes and costs onto insurance companies and consumers

NO on Proposition 46– Increase the cap on damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits to over $1 million

– Will increase health care costs while encouraging even more frivolous lawsuits.  Parts of this prop could work well but taken as a whole it is no good

NO on Proposition 47-Reduces the classification of most nonviolent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor

– Basically, reducing the penalty for any crime is not going to deter anyone from committing criminal acts.  This is not the solution to the burden of incarceration

NO on Proposition 48-Ratification of gaming compacts with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe

– Personally I do not cherish the idea of more casinos, I don’t frequent them.  However, this ‘NO’ vote is a vote against the continued partnership between business and government that has become a virulent relationship, detrimental to a vibrant economy.  Admittedly, this is more symbolic than anything else.

COLORADO

Governor- Bob Beauprez

U.S. Senate -Cory Gardner

NO on Amendment 67-Recognizes unborn children as persons in the Colorado Criminal Code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act

While I do believe in certain limitations to a woman’s “right to choose”, this amendment, which has seen it’s place on the ballot before, attempts too much

NO on Amendment 68-Establishes a K-12 education fund to be funded by expanded limited gaming at horse racetracks

– Everyone wants to help the kids.  However, any funds set aside for education primarily go to fund personnel costs which in turn help the teachers union.  Until that monopoly in public schools is abolished, this would simply be throwing good money after bad

YES on Proposition 104-Requires open school board meetings for collective bargaining negotiations

– This option will aid the public to limit the power of the teachers union.

NO on Proposition 105-Mandates labeling of certain foodstuffs that contain genetically modified organisms

– The price of food will needlessly increase.  GMOs are the modern day DDT.  Safe for consumption.

Go Vote!

In Cronkite We Trust

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The News

“That’s the way it is.”

This was the regular sign off of the legendary Walter Cronkite.  With these six words he left the audience confident in the accuracy of the information presented and in the veracity of Cronkite himself, doing the presenting.  Events and opinion singularized by this one source who delivered “the news”.  Bias was almost a non-factor as Cronkite was essentially unimpeachable.  The unfailing purveyor of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Well, God bless the 24 hour news cycle, right????  Television, the internet, blogs, Twitter et al. make the news an omnipresent force, no longer relegated to the evening hours surrounding family supper.  The breadth and depth of events in the United States alone requires the media to make decisions regarding which stories they will cover and how to disseminate those stories.  Pundits must choose the controversy to criticize and activists, the cause to champion.  There are always deserving stories that go overlooked and information that is disproportionately overblown (see NFL abuse stories, everywhere, all the time).  Such is the nature of news and opinion journalism that reflects the various agendas of those making the decisions.  This is the nature of bias.

If the powers that be choose to cover a story there is an inference by the receiving party (the audience, the public, the family watching the news or the guy surfing the net) that it is an important story, a story that deserves our attention.  What should accompany this inference is the critical line of thinking that asks: What makes this important? Why is this worthy of my attention?  Also, being that time is a limited commodity, if one story is chosen, another must be left out.  Which stories weren’t covered and what makes one more valuable than another?  A repetitious warning label ought to be applied to the news programs of the dominant media outlets:

THIS PROGRAM CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF JOURNALISTIC  SPIN KNOWN TO CAUSE ACUTE, PROGRESSIVE BIAS AND HYPOCRITICAL OVERCONFIDENCE CONCERNING NATIONAL AND WORLD EVENTS.  TAKE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.  THINK FOR YOURSELF.   

An exercise:

Think back to elementary school to the moment when the teacher called your name, having caught you in the compromised position of passing a note, telling a secret, laughing during a lesson etc.  Now, try and remember how the recollection of this story may have changed as you were forced to explain your actions to your parents.  In the replay, there are most likely no outright lies as those are too easily exposed.  However, the events are altered in such a way as to make your actions seem less disruptive to the learning environment and make the teacher seem just a little meaner and more goblinesque.  (For those unaware of this scenario, picture explaining the loss of your pocket protector to your ever doting parents)

A similar motive lies behind the spin and bias of the media.  Events are described in such a way as to support the overall world view of a particular news network.  Unfavorable aspects of a story are downplayed while favorable elements are repeated over and over again.  Are they terrorists or freedom fighters?  Is a billion dollars an enormous fortune or a drop in the bucket?  Is it cold outside or unseasonably cool allowing you to flaunt that new jacket?

As you read, listen and watch always remember that everyone has an opinion and that there is no such thing as entirely objective journalism.  Discover which sources do the best job in presenting facts as facts, checking opinion at the door.  Ask yourself where does each network sit on the ideological spectrum and then go a step further and determine how that perspective relates to your own beliefs.

As an aid in this endeavor, I have provided examples of different media outlets and the perspective and bias they bring to their brand of journalism.  Bear in mind that the degree to which bias affects reporting will vary dramatically.  For example, Fox News is a right-of-center, conservative outlet.  MSNBC is a left-wing news source, further left-of-center than FOX is right-of-center :

TELEVISION

Conservative – Fox News

Liberal – ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC

RADIO

Conservative – Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mike Rosen

Liberal – Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz

PRINT

Conservative – Wall St. Journal, editorial pages; National Review Magazine

Liberal – New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post

***Here are two articles on a similar topic.  Different sources with different ideological perspectives.  Find where the writers sit by recognizing different phrases for the same thing and the tone of each article.  Then determine how this compares to your own beliefs.

Left- http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/american-dream-undocumented

Right- http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/12/Congress-Votes-To-Give-Welfare-To-Illegal-Aliens