A Politics for U.S.

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“If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Politics runs through all we do. This humanest of conditions is no less admirable nor abhorrent today than ever but it has become a reviled element of society, commonly viewed as beneath polite discussion.  However ignored or deified, the consequences of politics and the subsequent political reality still fall on the informed and uninformed alike.  Cast into the shadows, as a snowy Denver sidewalk encumbrance, politics evolves. It forms in the darkness for the inevitable prestige.

The human invention of our political system has become a degradation.  We cursed ourselves the day rational, passionate, Political belief became a social taboo.  Fear and emotional instability have bestowed us with the gift that is our present state of political affairs.

Contradictions abound as the unknown unknowns mount and even those with driver’s licenses don’t vote with any exuberance.  Genuine individuality bows to the perpetually offended; disintegrated integrity and the stranger dignity invigorate public discourse and rhetoric. It was simply an inevitability that opportunists like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would move to the forefront of American politics.

Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

As the daily attack ads, emotionally-driven controversies and all over jackassery ensue, average citizens engage in the field as would-be political scientists and the truth disintegrates into a subjective force.  Emails warn of disarmed militias, women baking again while foregoing careerhood, #alllivesmatterexceptyoursbecauseyouhavestuff, y’all back in chainz, and virtual canine genocide.  In the midst of this remember: Obama came, he will go and we remain. For now.  And we have the critical task of electing one of “our own” to lead.  This person will undoubtedly transform our global future for years beyond the given term(s). Several Supreme Court Justices will surely vacate those seats, ISIS will force a reckoning and the domestic political divide will continue as it does.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Find a presidential candidate that does just that. Presidential activities, leader of the free world and so forth.  International relations, global power, military action and foreign policy are dominant at the executive level and these are the activities that require the action of a president.  Congress deals in legislation and the president does submit a budget that is regularly ignored.  Leadership on a global scale, not the status of local Planned Parenthoods or the activities of the NRA matter to a legitimate Commander in Chief.

Single social issues superficially simplify the process but do not constitute a legitimate cause for concern on a presidential level… for the most part.  Abortion, gay marriage, legal weed, gun rights, et. al., etc., etc.  As with any third rail of american politics, these issues see various changes at the margins but concentrated interests, the Supreme Court and states rights will drive change.  Presidents are rather limited as to the power and, quite simply, time or effort it takes to garner enough support to take our guns, outlaw pot again or see abortion doctors behind bars.

Focus on the iceberg, not the taste of the champagne: an economy subsisting on disgruntled foreign labor, discouraging domestic enterprise while falsely and faultily making financial promises for the future feasibility of me, you and Uncle Sam cannot long last.

Our houses, shops, parks and local amusements, both public and private, are regulated and taxed on a local level much more so than by the good folks in Washington. These bureaucracies employ thousands of workers that you never voted for and yet establish and enforce public policy.  Engage with local elections, school boards and the men and women making decisions that affect life on a day-to-day basis; literally in the front yard.

If nothing else: learn who represents you!  Local and federal senators and representatives; governor, mayor, Supreme Court, etc.

Because Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Personally, I’ve disagreed with everyone I have ever met on at least 16% of all things concerning life, the universe and everything.  Applying that same basic ratio to presidential candidates means that my very best, ideal, perfect, have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too, top hat, friendly joke telling, baby-kissing, karate-chopping, concealed-carrying, Chuck Norris of a candidate would still piss me off about 16% of the time!  May not seem like much, but over eight years, that’s quite a bit for someone I “agree with.”

Think on the political parties as teams with ever-changing players.  They are no longer established members with a rigid set of core beliefs.  Parties tend to start that way then diffuse as the tent expands.  Republicans and Democrats need strong, devoted members just as the Broncos strong players.  Whether or not we get a one-in-a-million or a dime-a-dozen depends in part on the decisions and focus of the other members of these teams but no matter what happens next year or next season, players and politicians must play ball.  Ideology is about ideas, politics is about winning elections.

Political teams are not friendly adversaries. They have and always will exist as ideological rivals engaged in allegorical combat in the realm of ideas for the collective destiny of free-thinking (and unthinking) people everywhere.  Active and opposing discourse is healthy and ought be encouraged as soon as children can speak (along with gun safety.)  Opposing ideas will be brought forth and a republican-style government will enact or reject reform.

Rational, legal, AND compassionate conversations (ugh!) will occur when we define terms and establish goals.  We then begin to address economic issues and potentially avoid our own Greek tragedy.

The system is designed to work slowly, painstakingly at times, in order to avoid sweeping reforms and declarations such as offering mass amnesty to all immigrants or interning lifelong American citizens.  The modern politician makes a living off the exploitation of the ignorance of the populace on this very issue.  Claims of a “do-nothing congress” or “playing politics” are meant to give the impression that but for the actions of the inept and insane political opposition, the nation would be a better place.

All would be fixed if the plain-bellied Sneetches would do what their star-bellied counterparts know is best.

Come together for the good of the country!

Won’t somebody think of the children?!?

Ideological differences are rooted in fundamentally opposing views on nature and the human condition (see Sowell’s work “A Conflict of Visions”.)  Fundamental beliefs on authority and perfection on Earth clash.  Clarity and substance fade as rhetoric increases.  Each side openly admires aspects of Lincoln, Kennedy, the Roosevelts and Reagan, as leaders to emulate and claim that those historical and ideological powerhouses would support whatever cause du jour happens to be on the docket today.

The nature of human history is penduluminous. All apotheosized feelings of pride regarding enlightened achievement trudge forth, shackled to the omnipresent defects of human character.  Such shortcomings then serve as the basis of ideological opposition or critique; and every politically platitudinous bromide.  The elephant and donkey enhance the perception of the other as politicians stumble through words to make us believe we need them.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Black, white whatever, Politics is interested in you.  Pick a side, join a team and come in for the big win.  We need devoted Constitutionalists and the opposition parties.  Care about the right, the future and your own place at this point in history, blessed to be a part of the most benevolent of superpowers the world has ever known.  Learn about more than the impassioned hysteria of the New York Times or Fox News and know that you will never agree with anyone on everything but that the perfect ought not be the enemy of the pretty darn good.

If you want a candidate that fits all your needs, see a priest. For the good of those of this world however, inform yourself and vote.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

– Luke 20:25, NASB

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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!

An Education in Rebellion

Student-Protest-US-History-7Crayola colored cardboard signs adorned with bland, opaque rhetoric meant to embolden the civil disobedient in you.  Matriculated, misguided minions manipulated into ditching an education in order to protest in the name of freedom.  The goal being, that they may learn “unpurified, uncensored” US history in the classes that they are skipping.  A fawning media encouraging the future Gandhi Thoreaus to speak Truth to Power, demonizing the constitutionally empowered (Art 9 Sec. 15 of CO Constitution empowers school boards to take responsibility for curriculum) and ELECTED, conservative school board and its job to take responsibility for curriculum. An entitled teachers union, willfully blind to the value of a pay for performance system; deaf to the calamitous crash of fiscal reality.  Ignorant parents.  Naive teachers…  And community organizing rabble rouser Saul Alinsky maniacally laughing whilst his fingertips touch, framing a fiendish smile.

Here is a video of students explaining the protest.  Please watch this as it really exposes the naive mindset of the students: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0lAX5OuIoo

What the ongoing protests in the school district of Jefferson County Colorado amount to is that one side won an election, which means the other side lost.  This is the fallout.  The voters in Jefferson County chose to elect a slate of conservative candidates who promised to implement new policies, contrary to those supported by the previous board and the activist teachers union.  The new school board, taking its constitutional powers seriously, has created a PROPOSAL (not a law or act of some conservative, vengeful God as one might think after witnessing the protests and hearing or reading media accounts) to create a panel entrusted to make decisions regarding curriculum, in this case what materials will be included in the advanced placement course on the history of the United States.  This review is a direct response to the proposed curriculum for AP US history by the College Board.  Supposedly the College Board values input from local school boards regarding curriculum.  However, the perspective of the College Board cannot withstand the influence of the all too familiar “blame America first” crowd that dominates modern academia.  Here is a statement made about the goals of the review board that has caused much controversy:

Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.

Meanwhile, union supporting activists, conflating different issues, have engaged and manipulated the sympathies of the naive student body to create the illusion of kids protesting in the name of their own education.

Read the actual board proposal here

Make no mistake.  The union goons have an endgame to oust the current school board, repatriating members “bought and paid for” and entirely sympathetic to the agenda of the teachers union.  The faux issue of censored history is but smoke and mirrors.  The students hardly grasp the causes that they are being used to support.  Ironically, the Denver Post notes that the movement began on September 19 when 50 teacher skipped out on work to protest a proposal requiring effective, successful results in order for teachers to receive a raise in pay.  This pay for performance system directly opposes the classic, union supported algorithm where everyone with X amount of years on the job and Y amount of degree training receives Z dollars regardless of whether or not they give a damn about the job.  The security blanket of tenure further solidifies teacher pay and job security, insulating teachers from the consequences of poor behavior and on the job performance.  It is astounding and yet entirely predictable that the teachers union, who ostensibly values students and education above all else, would use these kids as misguided pawns in a struggle against the democratic process, as evidenced by the voter supported actions of an ELECTED school board.

This ELECTED school board and the proposal for review seek to implement a balanced approach to US history while promoting national pride and good citizenship.  No one seeks to ignore the civil rights movement, slavery, or the Trail of Tears.  Those are all vital components of our history that document dark times.  This history also demonstrates the ability of our nation to overcome.  What is to be avoided in the AP curriculum is the omnipresent tendency of leftist doctrine such as marxist Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, still used as an objective textbook, that dwell upon the negative aspects of the United States.  “It’s very difficult, given the dominance of liberal perspectives in college and high school history departments, for faculty committees to avoid unintentionally muting, eliding, or obfuscating the perspectives of the right,” Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the College Board.

A proper education encourages students to develop ideas and discover the truth in all things.  Mentors along the way, parents, coaches and teachers, are charged to present information and nurture the desire to learn, not indoctrinate young minds with a leftist leaning liberal “curriculum” that portrays our country as an evil, imperialistic nation empowered by white privilege.  There are certainly elements in our history that fit that description, but it is not the entire story.  These students want to do ‘right’, as evidenced by their passion for justice.  However, inexperience in politics and controversy has allowed for misguided, misplaced faith in “good natured” educators with union ties.  The good intentions of the students make them unwitting supporters of a biased anti-Americanized curriculum.  This is, ironically, tragically, what the civil disobedience that these students so prize is meant to stand against.  Educationally speaking, they are working towards their own demise.

When taught, history should be a balancing act.  The United States has been the greatest national force for good that the world has ever known.  The Last Best Hope for mankind on Earth.  This is where the world looks when the lights go out everywhere else.  Our story is dominated by a narrative that should be a positive source for pride, despite the negative, undeniable acts of shame.  Students should hear this side of history and be encouraged to be a part of that narrative for the future.  It is in the knowledge of their own heritage, history and culture, that students will become empowered to affect the future and in so doing, shape history for the curriculum of future students.

Eric Holder: Greatest Hits

5471883786_3c9a98d120Attorney General Eric Holder has resigned and the blindfold of Lady Justice rests damp with tears of joy.  She is experiencing mixed emotions and a tentative reprieve from the abuse of power and misapplication of justice that has been the prevailing norm as the disgraceful rule of law over the past 6 years.  This administration will undoubtedly fill the post with another pillar of injustice but the interim provides for a reparative calm between the storms.

At the risk of opening old wounds, recounting the painful, buried past and repeatedly beating a dead moose,  I have compiled a succinct list of grievances against the Department of Justice under the reign of Holder and the current administration.  This will undoubtedly lead to much shaking of the head and mutterings of “unbelievable”.  The purpose being (along with the obligatory refrain that accompanies all tragedy, “Never Forget”) to shed light for those unaware and remind everyone that the United States was founded as a land of laws.  Those in power can violate those laws, creating a de facto regime, ruling without constraint and Americans are rather helpless to hold their leaders to account.  My educated guess is that all administrations have bent and/or broken laws in order to implement an agenda: Lincoln famously suspended due process during the Civil War and FDR had Americans of Japanese descent placed in detainment camps.

The Department of Justice under Eric Holder has not operated in circumstances requiring such decisions.  The source of his lawlessness has been the repeated attempts to cover improper behavior and impose social justice a.k.a. equality of outcome.  Americans have been at the mercy of a leader who views our society as a wasteland of racism, inequality and corporate power.  Now he has resigned; good riddance.

Each segment contains a brief synopsis and commentary.  Click any heading for more information

DECISION NOT TO PROSECUTE NEW BLACK PANTHERS

– Members of the New Black Panther Party dressed in pseudo-military uniforms carrying batons and intimidating people who were attempting to vote.  I understand that it is the prerogative of any DA to decide which cases to prosecute but… men with weapons outside a polling place… hypothetically, what if they had been wearing white hoods?

CALLS THE UNITED STATES A “NATION OF COWARDS” REGARDING RACE

– You, me, everybody… except whomever Holder doesn’t think a coward

LIES UNDER OATH TO CONGRESS?

– He doesn’t read information, doesn’t find out, doesn’t investigate.  Either absurdly incompetent or intentionally deceptive.  As with Kennedy and the missing 18 minutes from Watergate, you can make up your own mind?

WEIGHS IN ON ZIMMERMAN/MARTIN CASE

– The notion of “innocent until proven guilty” is compromised when the Department of Justice supports the protesters calling for a conviction of of George Zimmerman.  Despite this help he was acquitted.

ILLEGAL ELECTION PROCESSES

– from Frontpagemag.com:  

Eric Holder allowed that election to take place with over 4,000,000 ineligible voters on the rolls.  The left-leaning Pew Foundation issued a report showing that voter rolls around the country were polluted with dead and ineligible voters.  Holder is obliged to enforce federal laws which require states to remove these ineligible voters from the rolls before a federal election.

Instead, Holder has a philosophical objection to these laws and he refuses to enforce them.  Failure to remove ineligible voters allows people to vote multiple times in multiple states.  It allows dead voters to remain on the rolls to be voted by family members or others who know they have died.  Felons who have not been removed from the rolls will also be allowed to cast illegal ballots.  Since Holder alone has power to prosecute federal election crimes, we cannot count on him to do anything about voter fraud in federal elections.

Consider Meloweese Richardson in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Richardson admitted on camera to news reporters that she voted multiple times for President Obama in 2012 and 2008.  She voted in the names of people who spent time at her house as well as family members.  She was unapologetic.

HERE IS A VIDEO COMPILATION:

In Cronkite We Trust

walter-cronkite-1fbg856

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

The Cost-Effective Gender

young business woman

Researching details regarding the ostensible discrepancy in pay between men and women, (the causes, supposed causes, discrimination or life choices that may or may not exist) is an undertaking in the mold of brushing one’s cat.  You may be able to smooth things out but the excess fluff just keeps on coming.  For every source claiming undeniable discrimination in the workplace, a mirror explanation provides evidence that such discrimination is a myth.  There are in-depth examples of differing views on this issue.  It is interesting to note that the same stats regarding employment numbers and pay exist for both sides and that it is the interpretation of those stats that result in one opinion or another.  Both articles use info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics..

Progressive sources such as Think Progress unwaveringly see pay discrimination in almost every field.  Flying in the face of identical education and job title, women are still making less than their male counterparts.  While some of the discrepancy can be explained due to career breaks to raise families, the progressive side, despite any specific convincing evidence, still sees discrimination as a pivotal factor.  “There is still more than 40 percent of it that remains unexplained, the part that COULD be chalked up to discrimination.”  Discrimination can be tough to prove but nevertheless, the onus is on the accuser.  It is not enough to claim that discrimination cannot be disproven and is a de facto reality.  This is a trademark tactic of such  progressive outlets: make noncommittal and unspecific accusations against a group without pointing to the guilty individuals who make up that group.  (See the accusations of racism against republicans)

“The interest I have to believe a thing is no proof that such a thing exists.”-Voltaire

The Wall Street Journal (conservative on its editorial pages) proposes the opposite.  The frequently cited “77 cents to every dollar” that women make is a pervasive myth that fails to take very gender specific differences into account when looking at disparity of income.  According to the WSJ “every “full-time” worker, as the BLS notes, is not the same: Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings.”  Also considered are consecutive years working, taking not time off for family.  “Single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012.”  This finding virtually eradicates any pay discrepancy, though admittedly, not completely and I found no other explanation for the remaining 4%, which does leave for the possibility for limited yet unproven discrimination.

Bias Alert:

The myth exposers are undoubtedly in support of business and in favor of free-market based solutions to issues regarding employee pay and requirements placed upon businesses.  Their bias is based on a vision of limited government when it comes to interference in business practices.  However, on this issue, this side possesses a desire to deal with the evidence and argue head-on about the specious claims of discrimination as a driver of the discrepancies in pay between the genders.

The progressive side of this “controversy” seeks to push an agenda, not merely expose an injustice and right a wrong.  There is a deep desire to promote the cause of social justice, using the argument of pay discrepancy as a tool to that end.  The progressive view places more demands onto employers while emphasizing unjustifiable rights for workers.  It reinforces the narrative that only further involvement by government can enforce the social justice so desperately needed in our unjust society.

Proponents of social justice view both employment and having a family as rights regardless of potentially conflicting goals or demands placed upon others.  Supposedly, people have the “right” to work, take paid-time off from work in order to have children and return to work without suffering repercussions for the absence.  These “rights” support the chosen family lifestyle of employees at the expense of the business and employer.  This is exactly why they cannot be rights.

Maternity leave, health benefits and 401k plans are wonderful incentives to offer employees.  They may even be essential in order to keep up with the competition in a given field.  Regardless, these options are based upon an agreement between the employer and employee.  No person ever has a right to compel action from another, in this case the time and pay of the employer.  That is slavery, not fair trade.

The proponents of social justice also possess a trait that the conservative position does not:  a belief in the ubiquitous discrimination of our society and a desire to keep it alive.  The objective is to vilify the supposed enemies of a differing ideology in order to create perpetual victims, who will cast votes based upon fear and the promise of social justice by a benevolent and all powerful state.  Ergo, there exists no fear to instill without the underlying discrimination.

The ulterior motivations are evidenced by: discounting the progress made by women in education and the workplace.  Unwarranted claims of racism against those with opposing views that conveniently avoid recognition of the progress made by minorities and women (and the failed social programs designed to help those in poverty).   And the focus of discrimination in the USA while mounting no criticism of gender discrimination in the middle east.

The evidence presents a compelling case for the argument based in common sense that no matter what big government types try to do, there will be naturally created differences between the genders.  I see reasons to be proud and optimistic for the future.  The USA has struggled and seen a remarkable increase in the opportunities gained by women, in a relatively short amount of time, considering the status of women in general for the entirety of human history.  This nation has been a beacon of hope for the downtrodden of either gender.  It continues to expand on the promise that work, ambition and skill will lead to success.  Content of character is the driving force in finding good friends, partners and employees…of either gender.

A final thought:

If, for whatever reason, men are paid more than women for the same work in the same career field while possessing identical credentials and education, businesses could save a remarkable amount of money in the short run by hiring only women.  However, if this were true, unemployment for women would plummet, offering a free market solution to the issue of pay inequality.  As demand increases to hire females, the supply will decrease inversely increasing the requisite salary to hire a woman.  Therefore, if allowed to self correct, the market could adjust any remaining inequality.