Tag Archives: opinion

Gerald Nadler’s Gun Violence “Opinion”

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Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), on December 21, 2012, said:

“Now, the fact of the matter is that Germany has 150 or so people killed a year with guns; Canada, 170; the United States 9,000 to 10,000 a year. We have a murder rate with guns that are 15 to 20 times higher than any other industrialized country. There’s only one explanation and that’s the availability, the easy availability of assault weapons and of high-capacity clips.”   [emphasis mine]

Nadler also said:

“One of the definitions of a nation state is that the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence. And the state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence.” Nadler offered no explanation of what “legitimate violence” is.

Well, those statements may be Rep. Nadler’s OPINIONS. He offered no study to support his opinions. He certainly has the right to express his opinion, but there is just one glaring reason why Nadler’s opinions cannot/should not go unchallenged: the MSM reported what he said as a fait accompli, something that everyone believes.

So, if we use Nadler’s opinions as representation of his “logic,” then there can be only one explanation for this country’s violence. Never mind liberal, bleeding-heart judges who somehow seem to never see actual violence.

On CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Nadler said

What are we most angry about? It’s that every poll shows that by massive majorities, Americans agree with what you just said. Yet we have a lobby, the leadership of the NRA, who function as enablers of mass murder. And that’s what they are. They’re enablers of mass murder, because they terrify the class of political people. And even though polling shows that most NRA members would support reasonable gun controls, every time someone proposes it, they come in. They lie. They say they will take your guns away. And they stop any kind of legislation to prevent that.

Again, Nadler spouted his opinion, offering no support for anything he said. Piers Morgan did not, in any way, challenge Nadler or his opinion.

There is a stark difference between opinions and facts, something Nadler doesn’t understand and/or chooses to ignore. As Bernard M. Baruch said, “Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.” James R. Schlesinger said, “Each of us is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” As the “Big Apple Corner” website says, “The sayings mean that opinions can differ, but that those opinions must be based on factual truths.” Neither Nadler nor the MSM ever cite or offer any factual truths to support their opinions. Yet, opinions are what form the basis for much of today’s legislation. Pity.

And, in what has to be the silliest piece of legislation ever proposed, a bill that would ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition was introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO). The bill was advocated by Nadler, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and other Democrats. I guess that McCarthy, DeGette, Nadler, Pelosi, et al, think that the first 10 rounds will never be effective, will never kill anyone, and all the police/first responders have to do is wait until a pause in the firing occurs as another magazine is inserted.

But that’s just my opinion.

Gun Control Statistics That Reasonable People Should Know

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What would a reasonable person do if he actually wanted to know the truth about gun control? Put aside emotions for a second, and really think about setting out to save as many precious individual human lives as possible . Wouldn’t you want to look at national, international, time-series and historical stats to find out if your opinion is, you know, true?

Anyone can have an opinion based on wishes; it just behooves us to know what’s going on in that place called “reality” before we set off on some self-defeating, quixotic crusade. And “crusades” often get people killed. Lots and lots of people killed. (See DDT and malaria; or consider that the ‘long peace’ since the end of World War II is almost entirely due to nuclear arms proliferation to great powers).

With an open mind and a heavy heart, let’s take a look at 11 contextual and specific facts about mass murder, gun violence, and violence trends in the United States, and compare the U.S. to countries abroad:

  1. Mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, and dropped in the 2000s. Mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929. (According to Grant Duwe, criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections.)
  2. “States that allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns enjoy a 60 percent decrease in multiple-victim public shootings and a 78 percent decrease in victims per attack.” John Lott, Jr. and Bill Landes, “More Guns, Less Crime.”
  3. “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”– John Lott, Jr. Co-author with Bill Landes of “More Guns, Less Crime.”
  4. “Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.” [John Fund, NRO. “The Facts About Mass Shootings.”]
  5. Total violent crime from 1973 to 2009 decreased 65%, or is about one-third as high. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  6. The U.S. murder rate decreased 8.1% between 2008 and 2009, and has fallen every year since 2006. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, based on FBI data).
  7. The United States ranks 24th in the world in terms of its murder rate. It also has the most highly armed civilian population.
  8. “International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.” (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  9. “The political causation is that nations which have violence problems tend to adopt severe gun controls, but these do not reduce violence, which is determined by basic sociocultural and economic factors.” [Then why does Luxemburg have nine times the murder rate of Germany?] (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  10. “The Middle Ages were a time of notoriously brutal and endemic warfare. They also experienced rates of ordinary murder almost double the highest recorded U.S. murder rate. But Middle Age homicide “cannot be explained in terms of the availability of firearms, which had not yet been invented.” (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  11. The odds of being in a victim of a mass shooting are far less than that of being struck by lightning.

Only when one gets the big picture view, then can we see the intra-national view: heavily urbanized gun control states tend to have gun murders that are just as high or higher on average than states that are rural or urbanized with concealed carry laws or relaxed gun permit laws. Beyond the timid phrase ‘gun control doesn’t work,’ which would imply we might as well implement them anyway just to make us feel good, they actually put Americans in more danger. This is not to say we shouldn’t do anything policywise to prevent as many rampage killings as feasible. We should do something — both personally and policywise.

Ultimately, why do spree killers go on their inhuman rampages? There are many different reasons, and a common causal factor is hard to say for certain. There are millions of people who are picked on, are lonely, or have bad families who don’t snap and kill others.  But simply looking at commonalities among spree killers is not sufficient; it’s an error in political science called “sampling on the dependent variable.” One has to look at the entire universe of individuals in a society more broadly and find the causal factors or cluster of factors that are significant and unique to the qualified cases at hand. What we can do is exclude the reasons spree killers don’t go on their murderous rampages.

The largest scientific study ever conducted at the time was published in 2000 at the NY Times, of all places. What was published is definitive and follows logically and empirically: rampage killers “are not drunk or high on drugs. They are not racists or Satanists,or addicted to violent video games, movies or music.”

The study examined 100 cases, including the Columbine massacre.  Among the findings: “While the killings have caused many people to point to the violent aspects of the culture, a closer look shows little evidence that video games, movies or television encouraged many of the attacks. In only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies.”

It is irresponsible and self-defeating to rush to adopt public policies just because they make us feel better or well-intentioned or because we think we should do something. The history of humankind shows: understand first, then act.

Editor’s note: This article was edited to streamline the argument.

The Land Of The Free, Think Again

Little by little, I have noticed that many freedoms are being taken away from us, but we do not seem to care; as a matter of fact, we seem to laugh and make light about it. I am not talking about big freedoms, but little things. But a freedom is a freedom, and it does not matter how small it might be. Many people do not realize that when the Government limits choice, it is limiting freedom; and that is exactly what it is doing today.

Everyone is probably aware that the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has banned sodas larger than 16 oz. Everyone I know says,that is ridiculous, we should be able to drink whatever size soda we want — after all, this is America. Bloomberg also indicated an interest in enforcing limits on other high-calorie foods like movie theater popcorn, coffee drinks and milkshakes.

So, we all talk about it, laugh a little and go on with our lives — it is forgotten about. Did you know that the Mayor also banned baby formula at hospitals, because he says breast-feeding is better for the baby? The hospital will still carry formula, but it will be kept under lock and key and forms must be filled out if the mother insists on using formula. He has also banned smoking on beaches or in the parks.

Why has he done all of this? Because HE says, it is better for us. We are too stupid and ignorant to think for ourselves, Government seems to know what is best for all people and they make sure they let us know about it. We once were the freest nation in the world — what happened to us? According to the Index of Economic Freedom, which is produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, the United States just barely makes it into the top ten: ranked number nine in the world.

Among the 179 countries examined in the Index, Hong Kong is ranked first, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and Denmark. These nations all outscored the U.S. across ten categories, including taxes, free trade, regulation, monetary policy, and corruption. The rights that Americans have lost over the years are just too many to fit on this page. I give small examples, but there are much bigger ones to be sure.

A while back in New Jersey, a couple had their son taken away by the state, because they named their child Adolph Hitler. Let me be clear, I would never name my kid that and I am sure you would not as well, but do we not live in America? Now, because the Government does not like a name, social workers can come in and take your child. What if the Government decided it do not like the name Olga, does that give the state the right to take your child? Where does it stop? We should be free to raise our children the way WE see fit, not the way the Government sees fit.

Every year there are new laws, new regulations and policies that restrict our freedoms and control the way we live our lives. The latest is Obama-Care. At last count there were 180 new bureaus, boards and commissions that have to be set-up for the new law, with them come 2700 pages of new taxes, laws and regulations — more freedoms we can kiss goodbye. The Government can now force you to buy coverage, tell you what doctor to use and what procedures you can have. Freedom? I don’t think so, but once again, the Government tells us what is best for us.

So if you keep saying that we are still the freest country on earth, you need to wake-up, because each year that goes by, we have fewer and fewer freedoms to enjoy. And with Obama as President for another four years, be prepared for our rating as a free nation to drop even further.

Soda, popcorn, smoking, baby formula are all little things, but they are all freedoms of choice which have been taken away. How many more little freedoms must be taken away before we have all had enough? I guess we are not there yet, but sooner or later it is going to come. But by then we will not be able to do anything about it.

This is one man’s opinion.

The Fallacies of Fairness

We hear it repeatedly from the left: so-and-so’s not paying his “fair share.” Or “that’s not fair!” Or the rich need to pay their fair share. Or fair trade, not free trade. And for good reason: the notion of fairness is so vague, it bears repeating in whatever context the left deems appropriate.

But what is fair? The left thinks it’s really unfair that people who don’t work, or do work that isn’t valued much in the labor market, aren’t given their fair share of the profits that rich folks receive by providing more demanded products in the marketplace.

Half the country doesn’t pay income taxes. Is that fairness? The government is billing each household over $200 in a single day, more than the median income salary, without their permission. Is that really “fair”? Imagine you opened your credit card bill and each day an unauthorized charged for $212 appears. That would make anyone peeved.

The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of the taxes. How is that not enough? While Democrats on news outlets like CNN insist that the only way to get the debt-to-GDP level down to 40% by 2035 is through tax increases, even if the so-called Bush tax-cuts expire and rates on the rich go up, we’ll generate $83 billion a year or a whole eight days of “revenue” annually. Whoopee.

How about we slash spending and live within our means? Government, through the inflation that comes from buying its own debt, jacks up gas prices, utility prices, and food prices, hitting the poor hardest. It thus creates the need for poorer people to turn to the government for food stamps. This Keynesian-created vicious cycle is somehow fair?

Government inflates education tuition rates with its student loan programs and then bails the indebted students out by subsidizing their loans’ interest rates. Meanwhile, the job market is thoroughly saturated with graduates with  low-demand liberal arts and humanities degrees that colleges offer and to the extent that more than half of new grads can’t find a relevant job. This doesn’t strike me as “fair.”

Perhaps it’s heartless to think this way, but it seems impossible that someone is entitled to things he has done little or nothing to contribute to making. Just because someone is born on earth, he is neither owned by society, nor does he own society. Mutual slavery is not the natural condition of man.

But capitalism is taken to mean exploitation. Property is theft, as the radical slogan goes. So who should control it? “People,” says the leftist. And who should control the people? “No one.”  So how should the equal distribution of property be governed? “Democracy.” Then people vote for politicians who will make it equal? “Yeah.” And politicians will always make things equal because… ‘blank out’ (to borrow a phrase of Ayn Rand’s).

Or alternatively: “We all just come together and share stuff.” But no one has any clue how a business or any organization can function that way. Maybe that’s the point – disorganization is freedom, ahem.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Wealthy people’s money did not come at other’s expense without government arm-twisting. If someone thinks work is inherently exploitation and willingly paying for a product is being gouged, then it’s hard not to feel embarrassed for him.

So, Bill Gates exploits people, because Windows Vista sucked and was overpriced? Touché. But people cannot profit in a marketplace unless they provide something that is valued by the people willingly buying it. And they cannot charge whatever price they want for their crap, unless they have some brand-capital to burn. Like Microsoft did. It had to revamp and offer a new OS upgrade incentive on Windows 8 or spook people that didn’t want to get burned again.

No one gets screwed over when he voluntarily plops down $200 for some computer software. Like Bill Whittle put it, “nobody trades down.” People either prefer parting with their cash or going without a new Operating System.

The flip side of all the progressives’ complaining about being exploited by rich people is that a lot of those nasty bastards mass produce or mass market things that improve people’s standard of living. Apple makes IPads that do things that boggle the mind for the price of a low-wage earner’s salary for a few weeks of stocking shelves. Is that really unfair? Or someone working at McDonald’s can earn enough in an hour to feed himself for a day. That is definitely not considered “unfair” in non-capitalist systems around the world.

There is a lot of hand-wringing about supposedly evil Wal-mart, which saves people on tight budgets a bunch of money (or else they wouldn’t shop there). Its employees make about as much in three days as it costs to buy a medium-sized flat screen TV. And for what? Certainly nothing comparable to the marvels of engineering it took to build and ship the televisions to the store.

That’s not a knock on Wal-mart workers; they have necessary and tough jobs. But let’s not pretend it’s unfair that they aren’t paid the same as people who got themselves into debt and invested the necessary time and effort to graduate from college —  at least with meaningful degrees (and let’s be honest, most colleges don’t exactly have rigorous standards).

But young people expect government to clear all obstacles in their path to success. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. No one can be great unless he overcomes adversity. Looking to government to remove all hardship from life is a fatal illusion. This misperception has aided government’s growth to dangerous proportions.

All politicians can really do is pass the buck to other people or to generations down the line. Not owning up to this basic TANSTAAFL economic reality is harmful to people’s integrity and also to the young folks who will pay the price for it.

Young people are now saddled with $200,000 in national debt for all the gifts government is giving out (yes, I did go there). Where is the money going to come from? A lot of people don’t know and don’t care.

What about rich people? They have so much and poor people have so little. If only there were so many truly poor people in this country! There are a lot of folks below the poverty line who are rich by world standards, and it isn’t because of perpetual-poverty creating entitlement programs. Many own cars and televisions and cell-phones… not exactly the picture of sub-Saharan Africa.

But let’s dispel the myth anyway that soaking the rich is going to pay for all of our stuff: the government could seize all the incomes and savings of the so-called 1% and run the country for about a year.

We’re turning into a nation of beggars, and Americans who are getting something for nothing should stop burdening society. There is nothing fair about subsidizing the takers and penalizing the makers.

The Democrat Party: Has It Already Seceded?

Demoralized conservatives, feeling dejected by an inexplicable election loss after being virtually water-boarded by the media for four interminable years, and savaged by an economy decimated by left-wing Treasury raids that make Alaric the Visigoth look like a piker, may be asking themselves the question: Has the Democrat Party finally succeeded? What they should be asking themselves is if the Democrat Party has seceded.

This is more than just a stupid pun. One glance at the electoral map above shows that tiny pockets of the country are lording over the rest of us, demanding we fund our own destroyers. Just a hair over half of the electorate is asking the rest to finance things they find morally reprehensible, fiscally unsustainable, and nationally self-destructive or else face the government gulag. Non-coincidentally, just about half of Americans pay exactly zero federal income taxes, and a smidgeon over half vote Democrat as reliably as the lunar cycle that drives the moon-barking mental midgets to howl ever for “more!”

In fact, Americans from all 50 states are so infuriated and petrified by the federal government’s hard lurch to the left that hundreds of thousands have signed onto a WhiteHouse.gov petition for their states to secede from the union. Seven states — Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina — have received more than 25,000 votes each to split the increasingly dismal mise en scene.

The petitions were instantly the talk of the town on the left-wing blog cocktail circuit, where snot-nosed, vanity eyeglass-wearing leftists who think “secession” is what someone does when he is addicted to cloves yucked it up before they likely took Princeton prof Peter Singer’s advice and sexually molested some hamsters.

The instant rejoinder from the serial abusers in our dysfunctional government relationship is that any such attempts to stop the bullying federal government from being so darned bullying has been null-and-voided by some left-wing lawyers. That’s cute. Y’all on the left want to violate the Constitution whenever you’ins damn well please, but insist that people obey the law whenever you say. Umm, what if people stop playing that game?

Whenever the elected President of the United States swears an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and then violates it by nationalizing part of GM (Art.I, Sec. 8 on uniform bankruptcy laws), committing troops to extended military combat without a declaration of war or authorization (Art. I, Sec. 8 on war powers), making recess appointments when the Congress is not officially in recess (Art. II, Sec. 2), appointing “czars” not subject to advise and consent (Art. II, Sec II), violating legal entities’ due process, as with BP (Fifth Amendment), trespassing against unreasonable search and seizure with the TSA (Fourth Amendment), and so on and so on, it’s hard to take his legal decrees seriously.

The secession question should therefore be flipped on its head: Has the Democrat Party already seceded from the United States? Because the U.S. government has no force of law except that granted by the Constitution, which the states ratified to bring it into being. America itself was founded by those who broke apart from the mother country of Britain by reasonably citing numerous grievances listed in The Declaration of Independence. A lot of those complaints look laughable in hindsight. Most people suffer through a litany of rights infringements comparable to the Intolerable Acts by breakfast.

As the blogger Jon Galt pointed out on his article on secession, the following are Thomas Jefferson’s words as found in the Kentucky Resolutions:

“[T]he several states who formed that instrument [the Constitution], being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those [states], of all unauthorized acts….is the rightful remedy.”

In other words, we the people will tell the federal government when our rights are being violated, and not vice versa. The left can attempt to legalize tyranny, but some of us know the history of the country, and we do not have to give our consent to immoral government acts. Democracy is not the final moral or legal authority; the Constitution, which is based on inalienable individual rights, is.

There is a huge difference between morality and legality, as the great writer Frederic Bastiat illuminated (cited at length):

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

What more is Obamacare than an attempt to legalize plunder by charging government with the enforcement of a non-existent right that requires that the entire medical field by usurped, its doctors chained to the government system, and the state’s subjects forced to foot the bill for it? Those who immediately benefit may think they are getting medicine for “free,” but there is always a price to pay for such immoral legislation that enslaves one part of the country and puts it in hock to the rest.

People have rights and they should not give the government license to abuse them; even in exchange for “gifts,” which all-too-quickly come to a grinding halt when the economy inevitably and finally collapses.

What more is tyranny than the unlimited ability of the U.S. government to tax and to spend? What separates this miserable state of affairs from some of the worst political systems of the twentieth century: communism, socialism, and fascism?

Nothing will change until the producers stop paying to support the lives of the parasites via government. When the American people finally “go Galt,” it may take the form of a national revolt, a mass refusal by taxpayers to pay their bills, or even secession.  “What happens next?” is a question that should be giving all good Americans serious pause.

You Just Can’t Argue Against Communism

Communism, one of the most virulent ideologies in the history of mankind, has proven harder to defeat than imagined just one generation ago. Though it doesn’t typically parade itself around in red uniforms anymore, communism is still very much alive, even if it is cloaked in the green jacket of radical environmentalism. And communism’s fundamental tenets of equality, class warfare, and wealth redistribution are core principles of the American left.

Most Americans no longer think communism is a threat or that discussing it is even relevant to modern political discourse. Though many understand that socialism is still around, they don’t consider it to be as dangerous as communism, or akin to it in any fundamental way. Communism no longer exists in the  public mind, because the Soviet Union is no longer formally embodied, and the Chinese have introduced some market elements into their state capitalist economy.

But communism is just socialism run by the wrong people, so many leftists think. If one resorts to history to prove to a leftist that communism was a scourge on mankind that was a necessary result of socialist doctrine being put in practice, he will deny that history is relevant, or will claim that communism was never actually implemented.

The best way to describe this mindset is utopian. “Utopia” is a word from Greek meaning “no place.” It was first used in modern parlance in Sir Thomas More’s work “Utopia” to describe through the words of a world traveler in a classless society.

And communism is truly no place.

The broader point is that it is impossible for the right to use counterfactuals to disprove that communism works, because communism, the way the left idealizes it, doesn’t exist, and never existed. They see all the flaws of the world, they see capitalism, they see war, they see greed, and they see crime, and as long as those exist in any way, we don’t have communism. We have a capitalist society, one that must be razed to the ground so that a brave new world can be molded from the ashes.

Thus whatever the world is, as long as it is imperfect, it’s not communism. And as long as the world exists, communism cannot be argued against.

How the Midwest is Won

I am a Midwesterner by birth and now by choice.  We here in America’s breadbasket are a diverse and demanding group.  Rarely concerned with the latest trends and most populist views,  we vote from our hearts and deeply rooted ideologies, passed down generations  like a family heirloom.

I feel like our voice is only heard during election time and then quickly dismissed after the vote is cast.  Presidential hopefuls stroll into small town coffee shops with brand new blue jeans, open collared oxford shirts with rolled up sleeves claiming to “know where we are coming from”. (Are you reading this, Mr. Romney?)  Bullshit. Yes, there it is, Bullshit.  These fine folks in their actual well worn bib overalls and blues jeans aren’t wearing Italian loafers. (And that is real cow dung you smell, Ricky)  You want to impress them? Show up unannounced with no media circus and help raise a barn or bale some hay.  Then tell nobody.  It would kill all of you to do anything of that nature.  By arriving in your “country casual” costume you are insulting us and you don’t even know it.  They all know they will be treated like any ol’ girl in your ports of call.  Wham, bam, I gave you the clap.  That’s how they feel.

You want Average Joe to vote for you?  Don’t pretend to know more than he does.  You probably don’t anyway.  When asked a question you clearly do not know the answer, DO NOT break into some sort of nonsensical song and dance routine resembling Mr. Bojangles.  Say you don’t know, but are willing to try to find out.  What the hell is wrong with a little humility and honesty? (Newt?)  Also, you need to LISTEN to the statements and questions.  When a single mother asks you about rising gas prices, she is really asking you exactly how is she going to feed her kids as gas skyrockets?  She could give a rats ass about the current administration’s failure to approve a pipeline and how it is all his fault.  What are YOU going to do? Immediately.  Anything short of that, you are cooked.  Don’t reply with some fabricated anecdote about how small town life made an impression on you as a youngster spending summers with your Aunt Martha on her New England boysenberry farm.  You went away in summer. These people stayed home and worked their asses off.  (Mittens, the hard roughness of hands you are shaking right now are called callouses)

Most of all candidates need to stop worrying so much about the sound bite of the day, and start giving these folks what they deserve: respect and honest, compassionate attention to what THEY lose sleep over every day.  That’s how the Midwest is won, in my opinion.

I would like to thank Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) for inviting me to put all my musings in an organized, sentence type fashion here on CDN.  This is my first foray publishing my views for the world to see and judge.  I am positive that not all of my viewpoints are going to agree with everyone, but I do hope that you enjoy my angles.

Mitt Romney: Isolation from Reality

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently set off fireworks all across the American heartland when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

There are two major components of politics: ideology and imagery. Unfortunately, many voters are compelled to put more emphasis on imagery. Americans like their politicians to be fairly good looking, charismatic, charming, kind and of course….relatable. When a politician that is worth 250 million dollars talks about not being concerned with the poor, you can expect a chorus of angry and confused individuals. Let me say this: If you’re never been poor or had to struggle to make ends meet, it will be difficult to relate to those who are poor and encounter financial burdens on a daily basis. In all fairness, I do want to point out that Romney contributes 15% of his income to charity, so it’s a little harsh and naïve to claim that he doesn’t entirely care about the condition of the poor in America. However, perception, to most people, is reality. You can begin with Romney telling voters in Iowa that he was “unemployed”, or his unflattering “I like to fire people” comments. This creates an image of a filthy rich politician that is out of touch with mainstream America. It makes people view him as a plastic individual entrapped within his own comfort zone who is unable to reach out to those who are hurting and in financial despair.

Not only does Mitt have an image problem, but his ideology is questionable. His reference to the poor having a “safety net” is intriguing. He said if it needs to be repaired, he’ll fix it. This is very vague and lacks a concise approach to the problem. This can be interpreted as simply allowing the poor to be complacent and increasingly dependent on big government. Should we be satisfied with just having a “safety net” for the poor, or should we look for ways and ideas to help eradicate poverty, enhance the cost of living, promote ownership, help small businesses, and advocate the message that the American people can live their lives better without the government telling us what to do left and right.

I understand and agree with Romney’s case for helping strengthening the middle class. The problem we are facing is that the middle class is shrinking. The middle class is what is paying for our deficit and debt. What happens when the middle class becomes smaller? Well….they become poorer. If you want to help the middle class, you essentially are helping the poor class.

Mitt Romney, obviously in the upper echelon of wealth and success, cannot simply say he isn’t concerned with the poor. This is not an issue that can simply sit on the shelves. This attitude and approach enhances the dialogue and frustration of disparity and the gap between the rich and poor.
For someone who has been running for President for a second time, Romney has struggled and failed, to this point, to perceive an image of someone who can relate to the “everyday individual” or to the couple who shops at thrift stores and Walmarts.

My message to Mitt Romney: Perception can be reality. If you cannot resonate with the “average Joe”, you will not win the 2012 presidential election. I hate to use an Occupy reference, but it’s possible that 99% of people will agree with this sentiment.

Hank Williams Jr. Calls Media Kamikaze Pilots!

As many are probably aware, last night the country music awards occurred. The show began with a tribute to Bocephus, as Brad Paisley, who jokingly called himself Bradcephus, began by playing the tune to Williams’ Monday Night Football theme song, which ESPN yanked from the air, because apparently Hank Williams has no right to express his opinion. Carrie Underwood stopped him in horror, explaining they couldn’t sing the song because Williams ‘compared’ Obama to Hitler. The two then jokingly sang about how people could drink before interviews but not compare the president to Hitler on national TV. Bocephus himself then appeared and the trio sang an opening for the awards to his football theme.

What country music fans, and those who don’t subscribe to Glenn Beck’s new network, GBTV, don’t know is that Williams repeated his offense mere hours before the tribute.

On Wednesday night, GBTV did live pre-coverage of the awards show and Glenn Beck himself sat down with none other than Hank Williams Jr. As they chatted, Williams mentioned the work that he has been doing since ESPN kicked him off the air for exercising his first amendment right. Williams discusses the new album he has been working on, and uses yet another World War II analogy to describe his motivation. “When I get motivated look out. I’m Pearl Harbor. They were the Japanese. Look out,” Williams said in the interview.

When will the violent rhetoric end? Clearly, he’s accusing the media of being Kamikaze pilots out to destroy him! Where’s the outrage, media?

Sarcasm aside, any rational human being can see that he is not in fact calling the media outlets Kamikaze pilots. Just as saying that Boehner playing golf with Obama is like Netanyahu playing golf with Hitler is not equating Obama to Hitler. It is using a literary device to make a point more understandable by drawing parallels to events or figures a person is familiar with. The point here is to point out the media hypocrisy, who get outraged over the use of metaphors but have no problem with Bill Ayers blowing up buildings with the Weather Underground and holding a professorship at the University of Illinois, or Joe Biden calling Tea Partiers terrorists. In Biden’s case, we were told that we shouldn’t focus on language. So how come in Williams’ case it’s perfectly fine to focus on language? To the point where he lost his job over something he said?

Sorry main stream media, but until you address that problem, my loyalty and viewership will remain with ‘crazy extremists’ like Glenn Beck and Hank Williams Jr, who stand up for what they believe in and don’t persecute those who think differently.

The President’s Gift

President Obama has decided to bow down and concede to the cries and the gnashing of teeth of his liberal base. He must have already forgotten the fact that the countries credit rating was just downgraded by the S&P to AA+. How else can you possibly explain that in just a few short months that he has reduced his savings promise from the already to low $650 billion to a pathetic $320 billion? One explanation is that Obama is stuck in what I like to call “people-are-actually-listening-to-what-I-say land.” In other words, when President Obama was candidate Obama he was able to say and do pretty much what he pleased with little or no repercussions.

First, he is a gifted orator; when he speaks people listen. Second, he never really said anything of substance. While he was great at marketing his hope and change movement he never really committed to anything except not being George W. Bush. He allowed his loyal followers to fill in the blanks. Fast forward a few years to an economy in absolute shambles, a lot more gray hair and his audience has changed. He is stuck between Candidate and President Obama. On one hand Candidate Obama wants to go out and look moderate by talking about Medicare and Medicaid reform. On the other hand President Obama wants to be sure that his base does not think that he has actually changed his position so he softens his reform promises and goes back to where he is really comfortable- class warfare. He proposes to eliminate the Bush tax cuts and to increase taxes on those that already are a majority of the tax base.

My question is: Should we look a gift horse in the mouth?

Far more people are paying attention to the substance or lack of substance than were listening during his candidacy. The job outlook is dismal and he has no real plan to push our country to recovery. We are in need of an intervention. It is going to be rough. Our country needs to be cut off cold turkey. We need a President that is not concerned about re-election but with doing whatever it takes to bring our country back to greatness. We need a President that is willing to cut us off from the rest of the world until we are detoxified. We need a President that knows that while we are going through recovery we cannot offer help to others, as we must focus on ourselves. We need a President that understands that he must teach people to once again support themselves and not depend on the government for their present and future sustainability.

We should allow the President to continue to try and be everything to everyone. He does not have the ability to truly balance his stance. He will not do what President Clinton did and move to the center on substance. He will promise more hope and change but will continue to bow to the left with tax increases and possibly even more entitlement spending.

My advice is for us to take advantage of this gift. We must take this opportunity to point out each and every time that Obama is giving speeches with a moderate slant while proposing bills and pushing his far left ideology. After all, an intervention is not successful without a strong support group. We can be that support and we can help usher TRUE recovery.

The Icon and the Straw Man

During a recent conversation over a social network something striking occurred. The interchange became quite heated requiring retrieval of a footnote from a book. When I produced the footnote my fellow communicant mocked the source, and informed me that it was spurious if it did not have a link to the Internet. This statement shocked me, in that it was coming from someone older than I who claimed to be well read. This suggested to me that consumption and dissemination of the opinions of others is now what liberals believe passes for being well read. Many political tricks cause this kind of thinking. The most effective trick is the creation of Idols to be worshipped and emulated and straw men to be derided and burnt by the idols. The dichotomy of the accepted ideal and the other is incredibly powerful.

 

The most severe example is that of John Stewart and Fox News. In the conversation I mentioned at the outset, one of the first responses I received from this individual was an admonishment of Fox News and was accompanied by a clip from John Stewart’s Daily Show. The clip showed numerous segments of anchor Megyn Kelly contradicting herself. I didn’t respond to the clip because it was not relevant to the conversation. The individual brought this argument and clip up because she assumed – because I was a conservative – that I view specific news anchors, pundits, politicians as she does, as idols.

 

The people idolized by the left are frequently built by manipulating public perceptions. Stewart is so effective in this role because he has a special bully pulpit at his disposal. His show, being a comedy show, is not required to be truthful or factual. It also provides a vehicle to attack people without looking mean. Ironically, Stewart admits his show is “the fake news.” Despite this contradiction, Stewart’s show is, for many liberals, their only news show. When looked at discerningly, one sees that Stewart’s show is nothing more than propaganda. Although incredibly funny, the show consists primarily of Stewart mocking his ideological adversaries. This is incredibly powerful sociologically because Stewart is in a position where he never has to admit he was wrong. He shields himself from criticism by describing himself as being “just a comedian.” Many young people on the left do not consider receiving their hard news from a comedian as being suspect, despite their opinion being provided to them sans an intellectual struggle. They simply do not entertain the notion that their idol, Stewart, could be wrong, so why would they need to look into an issue any further. Of course, the other side of the argument is ‘the other’ and cannot be trusted. It is far easier to show a thirty-second video clip of an opinion, than having to explain a footnote.

 

Stewart’s largest straw man is Fox News. Stewart, being the liberal idol, must project his superiority over what is the most popular news network of his adversaries. He has been incredibly effective in this for years. I have been told by many with an almost religious certainty that the Daily Show does not only have better news, but is more reliable news than Fox News Channel. They believe the Daily Show is a better source for news overall.

 

In reality, the Daily Show is a thirty-minute comedy performance. Unlike the New York Times and other print media, it does not have to print retractions. In contrast, Fox News is a cable channel that is under consistent scrutiny from both sides of the political spectrum. Although the left will not accept it, many conservatives deride Fox News just as much as liberals. Fox News, to the chagrin of many conservatives, always puts forth opposing opinion no matter how dearly the right believes those arguments to be hogwash. Fox News also engages many liberal voices daily, even on the perpetually derided shows of O’Reilly and Hannity.

 

A liberal now need only say, “you must watch fox news,” to justify themselves to the other. To liberals opinion has become fact and fact has become irrelevant, for to be right is to be on the side of the idol, to question the idol is marking ones self for immolation. Self-satisfaction, safety in the herd, and exclamations of intelligence await individuals who will submit to the idol. While those who question receive an ‘a priori’ belief of their stupidity from the herd. Our education system has already been devalued through liberalism, and now it seems that comedy and self-satisfaction is exalted over individualism and what Sociologist Le Bon called the “critical spirit.” People’s opinions have been bought by pop culture popularity like so many “Mean Girls” and “Heathers” types have through beauty and money. It is a devolution…and these people call themselves intellectuals.

The Rainbow Formula: Hollywood’s False Diversity

A couple of weeks ago as my husband and I were leaving church we were stopped by our pastor, who asked us if we had seen the guest pastor from the previous week.  We hadn’t. “Oh, that’s a shame” he said, “He was Black and I wanted to know what you guys thought”. While the population of Orange County includes quite a large number of minorities, the one group that is woefully underrepresented is Blacks.  Being among the few Black congregants in our large church, we took it as a natural curiosity that he would ask our opinion of the guest pastor.  We took no offense, but did have a giggle as we told him perhaps our names had been left off the minority alerts email blast.  He rolled his eyes apologetically. “I know.  We aren’t the most diverse church.  We need to do more to address that”.

On the drive home I started thinking about that. Why do we need to make a concerted effort to diversify?  When it comes to church, Black people are different from White people in many ways.  They are more interactive, they worship differently, and they hear messages differently.  That is not a bad thing. It’s a cultural thing.  Attracting more Black people would mean having to change the whole approach to services, and if you do that, then aren’t you letting the quest for diversity trump genuine message?  Church is not for meeting your weekly diversity quotient. It’s for fellowshipping with other believers and spreading the Word. For those who aren’t drawn to a particular service, there are other churches with different ways of worshipping that may work better for them and that is why God made diversity, so there could be a myriad of choices for folks of different stripes.

My thoughts turned to Hollywood and their seemingly never-ending modern quest for diversity. What I find most frustrating about this is how it is so deliberate and methodical.  It’s as if there is a formula that must be adhered to in order to receive the diversity stamp of approval.  I’ll call it the Rainbow Formula.  1 Black + 1 Asian (any type) + 1 Hispanic (any type) + multiple White people = officially diverse.  Sorry, Native Americans.  You don’t make the cut unless the script calls for something to happen on an Indian reservation.

I suppose I appreciate the effort, but the result is a “false diversity” that ends up bleeding cultural appeal and uniqueness. The Rainbow Formula creates a “vanilla” diversity that adheres to a color quota, but denies any other relevant differences between the cultures other than the superficial aspects.  Cue sassy Black friend, cue nerdy, overachieving Asian friend, cue clueless, rhythmless White friend.

This false diversity is not only offensive, it’s bad for business.  I believe Hollywood could be creating a lot more revenue if it strove for a genuine assortment of offerings.  In other words, the diversity doesn’t come in the casting, it comes in the programming.  Recognizing that different cultures perceive, laugh, love, work and interact differently could be the key to creating a diverse arrangement of shows that appeal to Americans in many different, but lucrative ways.  Take BET, for example.  Two of their most popular offerings in the history of their channel cater specifically to the sensibilities of Black people.  The Game and Girlfriends.

Of course, it’s not only Black people who watch those shows, but they are marketed to Black people in the respect that they approach issues from a specific cultural perspective.  The fact that they do that unapologetically and organically ends up making the shows palatable to all races, while recognizing their cultural market.  Black people flock to those shows and they’re happy to do it because it’s a show for them and about them.  It’s just too bad that those millions and millions of Black viewers have to navigate their dollars to the nether regions of cable when they could and would be just as happy to turn their televisions to any of the major networks if only their programming was more… diverse.

We’ve seen hints of this diversity model in the past.  Both Fox and the CW built their fan base on Black shows (Living Single, In Living Color, Moesha, etc.) before abandoning that audience.  They ignored programming diversity in favor of the Rainbow Formula, forgetting that those shows were popular precisely because they celebrated cultural identity instead of sanitizing it.

Modern liberal Hollywood’s sad obsession with false diversity effectively reduces every person to nothing more than the color of his or her skin.  It erases individuality and very real cultural differences.  The Rainbow Formula becomes more important than solid entertainment.  Its born of a twisted need to prove that they are not racist like the great unwashed masses of middle America, a guilt that transcends time and reason.  It ends up whitewashing (if you’ll forgive the term) the unique cultural flavors that have gathered to make up America. Ultimately, and by Hollywood terms almost unforgivably, it throws away the significant entertainment dollars of minority communities (see Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry for more information about harnessing that particular revenue stream).  It sends the message that those communities have no important stories to tell that don’t include Jim Crow or “white knights” riding to rescue the natives.

Perhaps the real problem is the almost religious connotation liberal Hollywood has given the word ‘diversity’.  There is no inherent virtue in diversity.  Diversity, as we use the term today, is a joke and applied almost exclusively to color while ignoring culture.  Hollywood needs to give up this stifling quest and start working on creating real programming choices.  That is where the money is, and ultimately, the viewer’s heart.

Illegal Immigrant is Not a Derogatory Term

Last Week, an eerily Orwellian opinion article by Leo Laurence was published by the Society Of Professional Journalists.  The post declared that “illegal immigrant” is to be considered an offensive term and that “undocumented worker” should be used instead.  Some illegal immigrants don’t work and/or may have falsified documents.  Neither undocumented nor working are accurate terms in all cases with this segment of the population.  However, they are definitely in the United States illegally.

Progressives have long worked to remove negative connotations through semantics, this makes historically unacceptable conditions .. acceptable.  Orwell tried to illustrate this activity in 1984. In Orwell’s book, the main character, Winston, works for the Ministry of Truth.  His job is to change terms and facts to those more acceptable to the ruling oligarchy.  The terms must align to a dictionary published by the ruling elite.  This is the art of semanticists to water down terms so that they can continue to progress their agenda without active opposition.   Richard M. Weaver explored this concept in detail in his work Ideas Have Consequences.

Here begins the assault upon definition: if words no longer correspond to objective realities, it seems no great wrong to take liberties with words.

This is the tactic, but the end to which they are working is much more disconcerting – it is confusion, of course.  By claiming that these are simply undocumented workers, they are disassociated with the idea that they have broken the law.  They are simply workers that just don’t have some unimportant piece of paper.  If Americans accept the breaking of some laws simply because the word used to describe the criminals has changed, which law is next?

Laurence attempts to defend his position by using the fifth amendment, another progressive suddenly referring to the Constitution only when it seems to favor their agenda.

One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of anycrime until proven guilty in a court of law. That’s guaranteed under the Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, as I learned during four-year post-doctoral studies in appellate law at the California Court of Appeal in San Diego.

If that were the premise for his article, he would simply be adding the term “alleged” in front of “Illegal immigrant”.  That’s what is done with those accused of all crimes until found guilty.  So if “Alleged Illegal Immigrant” is more tolerable, then so be it –  is objective, it is factual.  Once the accused informs authorities of his alien status, he then could become an admitted illegal alien.  All semantics to cover the real issue.   The people labelled with the moniker have immigrated to the United States by knowingly and purposefully breaking immigration law.  Once that has been proven, we do and will call them illegal immigrants or illegal aliens.

Offensive terms are much less objective and may have nothing to do with facts.  If we are referring to Mexican immigrants, a long-used and truly offensive term was “wetback”.  I think having replaced wetback, with illegal immigrant is fair and truthful.  The only ones that take issue with the term are those that would rather play with the meaning of words than enforce our laws.

In all fairness, the Society of Professional Journalists made sure no one thought that SPJ was in agreement or disagreement with Laurence.  The article is headed with:

CLARIFICATION: The following article is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of SPJ, its membership or its Diversity Committee. The committee itself has taken no official initiative on the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant.”

World Opinion Worse Now: Obama Cost Chicago the Olympics

During his campaign run, Barack Obama disparaged past leaders for having created an atmosphere in which the rest of the world despised America.  Obama had promised to, “renew the nation’s promises” because he believed that we had, “a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image around the world”.  Our image has been reshaped, but not positively.

Obama now has a public image of someone that talks big but does not deliver.  This is the fear that many expressed during the campaign.  He is an effective cheerleader, but not so much a quarterback.

We have spent America’s political collateral talking to Iran, ignoring England, talking to Hammas and the Palestinians while brow-beating the Israelis, ignoring the success in Iraq and failing to support Afghanistan, talking to Russia while screwing Checkoslavakia and pushing Georgia away.  We have not gained a single new ally or friend, but have managed to distance ourselves from the ones we used to have.

Is it any wonder that the International Olympic Committee dropped Chicago onto the trash-heap in the first round?  Those who held America in contempt before Obama, still do.  Those who used to consider us stalwart allies, can no-longer count on us.  Anyone that might consider a partnership with us sees a weak leader that goes back on his commitments and has achieved exactly nothing.

In the end, the President has had almost a year since his inauguration.  If he decides to blame world opinion, it’s actually the world’s opinion of him now.  It won’t stop him from somehow blaming Bush, or the liberals calling it racism, but it should.

As an article on NBCWashington.com put it, “it wasn’t right-wingers at a town hall meeting, or even the loyal opposition in Congress who said “no thanks” so emphatically to Obama.  It was the world.”