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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Left's Last Stand

                               

The presidential election cycle is thankfully over, and for most of us things will return to normal and we will turn our attention to other things. It was a big win for conservatives, not only did we capture the White House but it was a big night all over the country for governors and state legislatures as Republicans cut a wide swath of victory across the nation.  But as recent election history tells us, hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned, or one who lost an election.
In the days and weeks leading up to the election, the hand-wringing du jour for the Left was would Donald Trump accept the results of an election that by their assumption was just a formality really, why even vote? Hillary was clearly going to be the winner. Let’s just save everyone a lot of time and just declare her the president. But that is not what happened. The American people profoundly fed up with executive orders, regulations, and candidates they did not like being shoved down their collective throats pushed back. And now, irony of ironies, that very question is being asked of Hillary Clinton and her supporters. The answer looks to be a big fat no.
On Nov. 25, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein presented to the state of Wisconsin a petition for a state wide recount. Stein also plans to mount a recount in Michigan and Pennsylvania. This will be a costly endeavor; however the Stein campaign claims that they have raised roughly $4 million to undertake the recount. Because Stein only received 1% of the popular vote nationally, most political experts do not think this is anything more than a fundraising stunt for the Green Party. But could this just be a distraction for a much more sinister, more organized attempt to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration and ignore the voice and the will of the American people?
Presidential electors from all over the nation are receiving letters, emails, and even phone calls urging them to change their votes to Hillary Clinton when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19 to officially elect Donald Trump president. Some electors are getting hundreds of these letters a day. As would be expected, these letters and emails are filled with erroneous information, all designed to cast doubt. In many states, there are laws against electors who change their votes to go against electoral votes that are awarded each candidate in every state. The penalties differ by state some will impose fines on what is known as “faithless” electors, others can carry up to a year in jail. But a handful of states have no such penalties. Those are the states in which electors face the most harassment, and in a few cases, there are even death threats being issued to electors.
So is there anyone who does not live under a rock that thinks this is a purely grassroots spontaneous movement? Is this really nothing more than just a bunch of left wing hippies rolling out of bed around noon one day and deciding then and there that they would launch this attempt to get their gal Hillary to the White House? Hardly.
What is a more likely scenario is the fact that this is one of those instances where the Left runs rings around conservatives. Even though six months or a year ago it would have not occurred to liberals that Donald Trump would today be the president-elect. But even the most unfathomable of outcomes must be planned for. And a safe bet would be that liberals started planning this effort long ago. They lined up their money guys, their IT guys, and their volunteers just in case. Whether or not the Democrat Party is officially involved is unknown. What is known is that at any time the Clinton campaign or President Obama could call off the dogs and urge their supporters to accept the outcome of the election. That will not happen because the dirty little secret is that Clinton and Obama are no doubt enjoying it. Anything that will weaken the Trump presidency or just make trouble for it softens the drubbing their Party took on Election Day. Chances are the only sound coming from the White House will be crickets. Call it unrealistic, naiveté, or something else, but for the most part conservatives are well aware how the Left operates, but they believe that everybody operates the way they do, by the book.
This effort is quite possibly taking place in every state where the Left thinks they can flip electors. Most electoral college experts say the percentage of electors that would be needed to toss out the election results and give the win to Hillary Clinton is virtually impossible and therefore not a threat. Is the real goal here to prevent the states in question from certifying their election results and ultimately that states electors not being allowed to vote? This is also a possibility. But what does the Left do when this effort fizzles as badly as the Clinton campaign?

This may be the last stand for liberals this election cycle, but don’t expect them to hear the fat lady warming up any time soon.                           

Monday, November 14, 2016

Journalists Behaving Badly

                                 

  Once upon a time, in a country that often seems far far away, a noble profession once existed. The people who practiced this profession, who were a part of it cared deeply about it. They demanded of themselves and each other high standards. They expected honesty, integrity, credibility, to be able to look each other in the eye and themselves in the mirror and know that they had done the best job they could. Such ideals and values once carried a great deal of weight in America, not for this particular profession, but for anything Americans engaged in. But sadly, like buggy and musket manufacturers, this industry is dying a slow agonizing death, and it seems that the people once employed in this industry show no interest in adapting to anything new and improved. That profession is Journalism.
  Journalism is the only profession that is mentioned and protected in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers knew the sacred spot free speech and freedom of the press occupied in the new Republic. They made sure that speech, both spoken and written had in present day vernacular, a safe space. Journalists have always been the most passionate among us in wanting to know what, where, why, how, and when. It is why they do what they do.


  We may have gotten a glimpse of the impending death of Journalism as far back as 2008 when the media, in all of its forms slobbered and stumbled over themselves to impart to Americans the Messiah status of an unknown named Barack Obama. Anyone who wished to even remotely practice the basic fundamentals of Journalism and dig into just exactly who this up and comer from Illinois was was promptly branded a racist and anything else that would discourage them from actually asking questions and doing anything else that might masquerade as journalism. 
  Conservatives have for a long time suspected most journalists and others in media leaned left. Along with Academia, studies had been done on the voting and political donating patterns among certain groups. Liberal college professors outnumbered conservatives by 12:1. Mainstream media journalists donated to liberal and democrat candidates and causes to the tune of 96% over Republican interests.
  But this year, all pretenses of impartiality and non-bias quickly disappeared, transparency was non-existent, and all bets were off. The mainstream media for the first time went politically commando, and they were loving every minute of it.
Thanks to outlets like Wikileaks, emails from some of America’s top newsrooms revealed all out collusion between themselves, the Clinton campaign, and the Democrat National Committee. There were journalists giving Clinton final approval on quotes and any stories they might write about her. There was interim DNC Chair Donna Brazille, a former CNN contributor being fed primary debate questions from her former colleagues. Most mainstream media outlets on their evening news shows could not pencil in stories into the show roster on Hillary Clinton and her home brew server that she lied about sending and receiving classified information on, but could devote almost the entire broadcasts to such things as women coming forth with thirty year old allegations of inappropriate behavior by Trump. Most of these women got their fifteen minutes of fame and their stories were quickly debunked. But don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that on the alphabet networks.
America’s news media launched an entire separate wing of the Clinton campaign and the Democrat Party. They eagerly fed the nation any and all propaganda thinly described as news whenever it was needed. An August 6 column by New York Times Columnist Jim Rutenberg even went so far as to try to justify slanted coverage of Trump in the mainstream media. Why, because Trump was not a “normal” candidate.
  The behavior by the American mainstream press is, to say the least, unacceptable, vile, contemptable, and should make every conservative feel vindicated that their suspicions were beyond correct. What’s worse, no one seems to be ashamed or even slightly regretting their atrocious actions. All in a day’s work if you are an east coast based journalist. And in what appears to be more and more of the liberal mindset, win at all costs, the ends justify the means.
Will the media suddenly have a collective epiphany and beg forgiveness of average Americans they feel are just too stupid because they live in a part of the country where people still have values and are therefore are just too dense to grasp their high intellect and superiority? Doubtful. They are out there for all to see and obviously they just don’t care anymore about things like objectivity and fairness.

  And with Republicans running the show in Washington D.C., the behavior is not going to get any better any time soon.          

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Love Thy Neighbor

   
Plenty of people, including yours truly have written on, for lack of a better word, the intensity of this presidential election cycle. We have talked about not just people unfriending others they have never met in person on Facebook, but lifelong friends parting ways over differences of opinion on presidential candidates. It might sound like a big deal over something that ultimately may be trivial, but now it is personal.
  I am lucky. I have good neighbors. I don’t know them very well, but I like to think that if I really needed them they would be there to help. I most certainly would do the same for them. Even though the only thing we have in common is that we all live on the same street in the vicinity of each other, I like to think that in a world where people seem to avoid actual human to human contact, a small tidbit like that still matters.
  I live in Florissant Missouri. It is a city of roughly 50,000 in North St. Louis County. I have lived here all of my life. I live just a few miles from where I graduated from high school. Florissant is a welcoming diverse place, I am proud of that. I believe that my neighborhood reflects that. I want kids of all backgrounds who live in Florissant to have the same great experience that I had growing up here. I want them to be able to walk home from school, or play outside and not have their parent’s worry that something bad will happen to them.
  Perhaps just because of sheer numbers, urban areas have just as many opinions as there are people. That is fine too. One time honored way that people express their opinions, especially in an election season is with yard signs. But this year, yard signs take on a whole new meaning.
  In addition to them being stolen out of people’s yards, they also seem to be a kind of announcement as to what kind of person you “really” are. Apparently this year, they also sum up your character.
  I have a Trump sign in my yard. My husband is a true supporter. Personally, I am still not sold, but I realize what the alternative means, and like no other election that I have voted in, that alternative truly terrifies me. I have a neighbor who lives across the street from me. She is a single mother with a son and a daughter. Her mother lives with them as well. She is very nice, as is her mom, her kids are really good kids. Being a single mom is hard, and I knew that she must have worked really hard to achieve the American dream of home ownership. When she moved in I made it a point, like anyone trying to be a good neighbor, to go introduce myself and welcome her to the neighborhood. I would have done this for anyone.
  In between our coming and goings we would wave, say hi and maybe comment on the weather, just like I do with all of my neighbors. Then one day, the sign went up in my front yard, and all of that came to a screeching halt. A few days prior, on a warm Saturday morning when I had doors open to let in late summer fresh air, I overheard bits and pieces of a conversation across the street between my neighbor and a friend. I heard, “….the only one on the block….”, and “…..didn’t used to be like that…..”. I tried to tell myself that I was only hearing half the story and that I should ignore it. But curiosity got the better of me, and as we left to go out for dinner that night, my husband and I did a little community research. Sure enough, ours was the only sign on the block.
  As time has gone on, there are no more waves, no more “hi’s”, no more talk of the weather. The only thing I can think, like so many others, my character, or the lack of it has been determined by a sign in my yard. Huh??
  Donald Trump has said some inflammatory things. Because of many of those statements he has been portrayed as a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe. But for someone who has been in the public eye for thirty years, why haven’t these serious character flaws been discovered before now? Does my black neighbor now think I am a racist because of a sign?
  My neighbor has a sticker on her car with a picture of Jesus on it, so I assume she is a church going Christian woman. I can back that assumption up with the fact that she is usually gone on Sunday morning. I am certainly no expert, but is being judgmental traditionally a Christian hallmark?
  Again, maybe I should just chalk this up to one of those unfortunate aspects of life and move on, and for the most part I do. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. It goes beyond politics.  Someone thinks something about me that isn’t true, and that bothers me. I would also be lying if I said that it hasn’t made me take a look at assumptions I may have of others. I wish I could fix it, I wonder if it will change after the election and the sign goes away, or if this assumption about me and my husband is final. Guess I will have to wait and find out.

I value my neighbors and I like to think if she had a “Black Lives Matter” sign in her yard I would still wave, say hi, and talk about the weather. Not because I agree or disagree with her, but because your neighbors should also matter.                    

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Showbiz vs. Politics: When You and Your Favorites Don't Agree

  
People who make their living in the arts have always been seen as the ones who don’t follow the crowd. Being hip and cool is usually not at the top of their priority list. It is what makes them good at what they do. They see things in ways that no else does, and often it is amusing to watch when they can’t figure out why they are an island unto themselves. Some are introverts, their art whatever it is, is how they express themselves. Others are extroverts and do not hesitate to say what they think about anything.
Like any other Americans they also have political views. And, like any other Americans they are free to express those views. But what happens when your favorite actor, actress, musician, or author says things you don’t agree with?
  Recently, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided that in protest of racism or oppression or…something, that he would no longer stand for the playing of the National Anthem before games. And still more recently, more NFL players and even entire teams are joining in or considering some sort of similar action. Many NFL fans are outraged by this. They say they will no longer attend 49ers games, watch them on TV or buy merchandise. While as an American it is Kaepernick’s or anyone else’s right to do so, it is also the right of his fellow Americans to protest his protest by boycotting anything to do with the San Francisco 49ers or any other NFL team.
Hollywood it seems has always taken a stance on the issues. At the beginning of America’s involvement in WWII, many of Tinsel town’s leading men decided to join up and fight overseas. Audie Murphy was one of America’s most decorated Servicemen. Those here at home did all they could to support and promote our brave soldiers on the front lines in Europe. Hollywood was awash with patriotism in those days. But things changed after the war ended. In the 1950’s many of the top movie stars of the day were the victims of blacklisting. Their loyalty to the country was questioned as the fear of communism spreading across America was for some people very real.
A classic case of American movie goers not agreeing with the stars they paid to see was actress Jane Fonda. The Vietnam War was very unpopular, and liberals across the nation flexed their political muscle in many different ways. In 1972 during a visit to Hanoi, Fonda was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun. To this day, scores of Vietnam veterans will have nothing to do with Fonda. They feel that she is a traitor and slapped them in the face for their service. Again, Fonda’s right to protest a war she did not agree with, and veteran’s right to boycott her movies.
So where does the average American stand? Are they able to separate the actors and musicians whose work they like but views they might not agree with? The answer might be that for most people, it does not occur to them. They might see their favorite performers at a protest but don’t think about those views when purchasing a movie or concert ticket. Should it occur to them? For the majority of the ticket buying public, the only thought in their mind is they want to be entertained. They want to see their favorite actor in a different kind of role perhaps, or hear new music from their favorite musician. The main thought is entertainment and/or escape, in today’s world, perfectly understandable. 
 So is it just politically minded people for whom the political views of entertainers matter? Not exactly. If you are a large corporation who is in the business of seeking endorsements of your product from such people, and they engage in voicing opinions that may turn off half of your customer base, you probably will not be seeking them out. And what about half of a market or fan base? Does the average actor or musician even think about the fact that voicing what might not be a popular opinion may just alienate half of his or her fan base, or is being socially and/or politically conscious worth whatever hit they may take in the wallet?
  Every American has the right to say what they think about any issue even if they are famous. Every not so famous American has the right to say they disagree by not buying movie or concert tickets.

  Whether you inhabit the world of politics or show business, in the end, the show must go on.                   

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Donald Trump: Not Being Nice May Get Him Elected

           

In an election cycle where it seems that the main gripe of American voters is they are tired of the same old politicians saying and doing the same old things, one thing is certain. Love him or hate him Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is definitely the anti-status quo. His own comments, actions, and the way he has run his campaign has turned conventional wisdom and those who worship it upside down. And why not, all we have to do is take a look at the traditional campaigns of past GOP nominees. How well did tradition work for John McCain and Mitt Romney?
  Traditionally, during the week of Party Conventions, the opposing Party usually takes a break. This year, during the Democratic Convention, because Trump is the Republican nominee, that did not happen. On Wednesday of that week, Trump held a lively press conference where he not only attacked Hillary Clinton, but also gave the business to the DNC, and the media, and their obvious support of the Clinton campaign. Since that press conference, America has also been introduced by the Democrats to the Khan family, an American Muslim family whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004.
  While there may be many a differing opinion on Trump’s comments about the Khans, that press conference and more specifically Trump’s handling of Clinton, Democrats, and the  media is exactly what his supporters want to see more of. Not being nice is why Donald Trump is where he is. But will it get him elected president?
  Republicans have a long sugary history of being nice. Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney didn’t stand a chance against the pit bull attack machine of the Democratic Party, and in McCain and Romney’s case it was imperative that they smile, bend over, and say thank you sir may I have another when both were up against the then potentially first black president in Barack Obama. At the time of the third presidential debate in 2012, the terror attacks in Benghazi were still fresh on the minds of Americans. It was served up to Romney on a silver platter, he could have hit Obama with a series of questions and comments, hitting an intellectual home run. Republicans kept waiting for it, and it never came. In 2008, John McCain it seemed never even considered not being nice, even going so far as to temporarily suspend his campaign for a time at the start of the 2008 financial crisis.
  Much has been said and written about Donald Trump’s demeanor. He is rude, crass, says whatever comes into his head. Yet there are also thousands of supporters who line up to attend his events, with still more who never get in. Is the “not nice“ factor a problem for them? Many a Trump supporter will say not only is it not a problem, it is refreshing to hear a politician say what he thinks, regardless of whether it is pretty or not. How many more Trump supporters are out there who are still, to borrow a phrase, “in the closet”?

  Donald Trump is often his own worst enemy, but the mainstream media will continue to manufacture stories in order to take him out. Polls will continue to be designed to show sizeable leads for Hillary Clinton. The question may be though, how many voters have realized that the Democrats have no intention of being nice, and that if he wants to be elected, Donald Trump may just be on to something if he throws being nice out the window?  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's Make A Deal?

                                    

  If you ask the average man on the street, your average joe, many times their image of politicians is that of a bunch of fat sweaty cigar-chomping guys in dark smoky rooms in the bowels of Capitol buildings making deals and decisions that affect the people without their input. In some cases those deals are as clear as day, other times, not as much, and the deal makers are not the sweaty cigar-chompers but the people you would least suspect. 
  Since the birth of the nation, Americans have had a very simple distinct way of determining who and how many they send to Washington to represent them. That process has always been based on a national census taken every 10 years and is mandated by the Constitution. Based on population, Congressional districts in every state grow, shrink, or even disappear depending on the number of its citizens.
  But what if something else had happened? What if Congressional districts were determined not just by elections, but a lack of an election? What if the sweaty cigar-chompers decided amongst themselves where they would aggressively campaign and where they would not, basically affecting the outcome of an election?
  Take Missouri for instance, and why wouldn’t we? Missouri is an interesting place for many reasons. Like many other states there are the urban population centers and there are the rural areas. But when you look at a map of Congressional districts is where it gets really interesting. Again, like many other states, much of the big cities garner more Democrat votes and the rural areas tend to lean more Republican and Conservative and get those votes. But in Missouri, a very sharp, clear line has been drawn between those areas. Has anyone bothered to ask why?
   St. Louis and the surrounding area has a long history of being a Democrat stronghold. The Gateway City has not had a Republican Mayor since 1949. The first Congressional district has not had a Republican representative since, you guessed it, 1949. But at some point the Republicans simply stopped showing up for the election. Do they not owe it to the Republicans, no matter how few of them live in the district, to at least put up a vigorous fight?
  One of America’s most divisive periods in its history was the 1960’s, and St. Louis was certainly not immune. The City’s foray into massive public housing complexes was the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing complex. The experiment quickly went south and by the late 60’s it became apparent that it was going to have to be torn down. But what to do with all the tenants? Where would they go? In 1968 Missouri’s first Congressional district elected its first African-American Congressman, and in an era where it may have been quite a battle to get a black congressional candidate elected. Could the powers that be might have decided that he needed a little help? After all, a census year was approaching in 1970 and based on those numbers, new district lines would be drawn. But on an even grander scale, and in true Democrat fashion, how to ensure that that district would remain Democrat indefinitely? How do they ensure that that first black Democrat Congressman has that job as long as he wants it? Would some concessions have to be made?
  It sounds like the stuff of urban legends. No one has any real proof but many have heard the story. Could one have those back-room cigar-chomping deals have been made in the form of a trade off? Democrats get the urban areas of Kansas City and St. Louis City, and the Republicans leave them alone, while the GOP would hold sway over the rural areas of the state and the Democrats would remain fairly quiet. While many show-me state political watchers would chuckle and promptly dismiss the whole notion as some black helicopter conspiracy theory, some of the most seasoned veterans of Missouri’s political battles say it is entirely possible.
  Martin Baker, three-time Republican candidate for Congress in Missouri CD1 says, “As our Party has consistently failed to support any congressional candidate who challenges the status quo in the urban areas and make our Party be electorally accountable to the people of those areas, Republicans are waving the white flag of surrender each electoral cycle and also when the district lines are redrawn by the General Assembly every ten years. Under Missouri law, any resident of the state can run in ANY Congressional District, regardless of if they are a resident of that district, so easily the GOP could recruit the best and brightest to stand for nomination and election in CD1 or CD5 (Kansas City) but the GOP consistently leaves those districts to die on the vine by not encouraging a “Party All-Star” to run and then either underfunding or not funding at all those races so it does give one consideration of possible political collusion.” Robyn Hamlin, two-time Republican nominee for CD1 agrees. She says that while she does not know what the agreement might have been for the Kansas City area, she is “very positive” that it happened in St. Louis. She went on to say that she believes the major players that might have taken part in such an agreement are either out of politics or deceased.
  Does concrete evidence exist somewhere that such brokering took place, more than likely decades ago? Does someone’s spouse, children, or political protégé know the real story? Will someone offer up a death bed confession? Will others decide to dig deeper and find out the truth once and for all? Good questions. But perhaps the best question of all, don’t the residents of Missouri’s first and fifth congressional districts deserve to know all the choices before them prior to an election, instead of having that election decided for them?

Don’t they deserve to know the truth?           

Monday, July 11, 2016

Being Above the Law in America

                           

  One of the many beautiful things about America is that the law of the land is just that. No matter if you are the CEO of a million dollar company down to the janitor at that million dollar company. We fought a war for this very principle. Before America’s independence from Britain, if you committed a crime or some other infraction, and you were a good buddy of the King, chances are that things would go a lot easier for you than if you were just the average tricorn wearing colonist.
  Since the founding of the nation, even with that idea for the most part in place, there have always been that few, that handful of well-connected people who always seem to slide by, to skate. Are they that charming, are they expert manipulators of the truth, do they know the right people, or all of the above?
  We learned last week that that dubious system is firmly in place, and if your name happens to be Clinton, doesn’t really matter if it is Bill or Hillary, the sky’s the limit, the world your oyster.
  It is not a new phenomenon. Long before the nation was enchanted by the man from Hope and his wife, the people of Arkansas were well acquainted with the legal and otherwise escapades of the Clintons. From the bungled Whitewater land deal, to Hillary’s cattle futures windfall, to those long searched for Rose Law Firm records that just poof, appeared out of nowhere in the White House, the close inner circle made sure that no Clinton would ever be held accountable for any questionable activity.
  When Bill Clinton became president, the cycle continued, and with the assistance of an always willing liberal media, the Clintons would be investigated, questioned, and interviewed. But the long arm of the law never seemed to be long enough to ensnare the Clintons.
  Then came the night of September 11, 2012. The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya is attacked by terrorists. Four people, including a United States Ambassador is killed. The Obama administration with Hillary Clinton now Secretary of State tells the world the “spontaneous” attack is because of an offensive YouTube video. Some four years later, we know not only this but virtually everything Americans were told about this attack is a lie. We also learn that not only is Hillary Clinton using unsecured servers to send and receive sensitive classified information, she lies repeatedly and ad nauseum about it. The entire case is handed over to the FBI. Possible multiple felonies have been committed by the now presumptive Democrat presidential nominee. The investigation goes on for months, the result, the usual, no criminal charges.
  Let’s review. We have learned that the concept of equal treatment under the law no longer applies. FBI Director James Comey all but told us that if this were any other American, they would have surely earned themselves an orange jumpsuit. But not Hillary. Not only does Hillary skate because her name is Clinton, she expects to skate because her name is Clinton. When you lose one of the basic tenets your society was founded upon, why would you not assume others are to follow.
  The American people have watched Bill and Hillary Clinton wiggle out of every bit of legal mayhem that has come their way while their willing media accomplices cleared the path for them. American are tired, fed up, and angry that the Clinton double standard they have suspected for decades has once again been proven true.

  It is clear that the Clintons will not go away quietly unless we make them. It is a crime spree whose time has come.