“Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

   

Obama

     There was a time when people thought parody was funny, but now I am not so sure.  For example, in the recent sketch of President Obama meeting with President-elect Trump for the first time, it appeared to me as if President Obama could not quite remember his lines, could not force a smile, and finally just resorted to a grimace.  It did not make me laugh.  The material was just not funny.  I kept thinking to myself President Obama should say, “My legacy, my legacy, please save my legacy.”  Now, that would have been funny, but all we got were big ears and a grimace.

     I have come to understand since that President Obama just doesn’t understand parody.  In fact, it is one of the words he will not say, kind of like his not being able to say “Muslim terrorist.”  In Germany recently, President Obama referred to parody as fake news, and at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he took the opportunity to blast “fake news.”  He said, “If we are not serious about the facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”  I think this was another lame attempt at parody because he has never been one to concern himself with facts or serious arguments.  Some claim that “fake news” will be his only lasting legacy.

     Many will recall the “fake news” story he created in 2012 to confuse the facts surrounding the Benghazi massacre.  You know the one, where President Obama and his minions claimed the attack on the American Embassy was caused by a YouTube video.  Ironically the video he referred to was parody, but I do not think he got the humor.  Of course, we heard the story for weeks on end, and we have not yet had an honest report on the matter.

     Who could forget the memorable line so eloquently spoken by President Obama, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  That was fake news at its finest.  Every time I hear that often repeated line, I visualized the minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany.  In fact, the whole “fake news” campaign is Nazi-esque.  It appears to be reverse propaganda designed to regulate the unregulated social media.

     Everyone will remember the fake story of how paying $400 million to the Iranians to free American military hostages was not ransom.  The fact that an unmarked plane was used to deliver the unmarked bills is irrelevant we are told.  While the unmarked plane and unmarked cash may be irrelevant, it does not make for good parody.  If the unmarked plane had delivered monopoly money, that would have been funny.  The president just does not get it.

     Oddly President Obama’s interest in fake news comes at a time when social media platforms are being criticized for carrying fake news stories.  Claims have been made that fake stories helped to elect Donald Trump.  Mark Zuckerberg the co-founder of Facebook initially called that idea “crazy”, but he has since reversed his stance.  Zuckerberg has now outlined measures to help prevent fake news from being shared on Facebook (pronounced fakebook).  Sources tell me that Zuckerberg would never have claimed it was “crazy” if he had not been late opening his emailed instructions form George Soros.

     It is probably just me, but I think freedom of the press means “freedom of the press.”  While social media platforms have a right to control what is on their site, the government and President Obama have no roll in interfering with freedom of the press.  Given that President Obama’s administration is riddled with fake news, I find it ironic that he now wants to put a stop to it.  Perhaps it is just another lame attempt at parody, and President Obama is pretending to be the Ayatollah of Iran.

     All I can say for sure is that it has been a long eight years, and every time I have had the misfortune of watching the news, I kept wishing that someone would step forward and say, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Until next time…

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A Time for Healing

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

Image result for man scratching head + commons

     The longest presidential campaign in my memory has come to an end, and I am grateful. Pundits and pollsters are scratching their heads and wondering how it happened.  I would like to say to them that you are bunch of ignorant hicks who are out of touch with the good citizens of the United States of America, but I will not.  While it could be true, now is not the time for crowing.  Now is a time for healing.

     Over the last eight years, the division in our country has weakened the fabric of society.  Much like an old pair of Levis, the denim is frayed at the seams and the knees are soft, white and transparent.  It will take a delicate hand if they are to be mended.  But mended they must be.

     Over the last eight years, I have often thought about the slogan “hope and change.’  Like many Americans, in the early days, I remained hopeful that President Obama would unite the citizens of this great country, but that hope was soon ground beneath the heal of the community organizer.  Hope was quickly lost and the coming change was far worse than anything I had seen before.  At every opportunity, the presidential influence was used to divide the nation’s citizenry and to pit one group against the other.  Looking back it saddens me, but I am determined to look forward with newfound hope.

     It is easy in victory to look at the vanquished, and merely say “I won.” But, salting the wounds does not promote healing, and we must heal if our nation is to survive.  The election results clearly indicate that the citizens of our nation do not want to continue down the same stony path of division.  Therefore, it is incumbent on the victors to promote healing, to reach out, to lift up and to enlighten those bound to the path of division with truth rather than emotion.  It is not an easy task, but true enlightenment is the only way to unite a people and preserve the blessing that is freedom.

     The task is daunting, the path is long, but as my friend Bill Pruett often said, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

 

Until next time…

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The Sky is Falling

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial

Chicken Little

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” cried Chicken Little, and it was not long until the entire town was in an uproar. It is an amusing children’s story, but it is less amusing as it plays out through the news media this election cycle.  It kind of goes like this.  Donald Trump says something; for example, “NATO is costing us a fortune.”  Ted Cruz follows with, “Donald Trump is wrong that America should retreat from NATO; hand Putin a major victory, and while he is at it, hand ISIS a major victory.”  Next the media declares Donald Trump is an isolationist, and we should all be shaking in our boots or something along those lines.

 

Frankly, I am a bit tired of the distortions, half-truths, and outright lies. Trump did say, “NATO is costing us a fortune.”  Is it wrong to say that?  The United States funds 22% of NATO’s 2.3 billion dollar budget and nearly 75% of the military expenditure.  Yes, I know the politicians explain it away as insignificant, but if you listen closely to the politicians, every expenditure is insignificant and not worthy of cutting.  I suggest not listening to politicians; after all, they are the ones that got us into this mess.  But what of NATO?

 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 with 12 member nations. In 1954, the USSR petitioned for admission to NATO but was denied.  In 1955, the USSR formed the Warsaw Pact in response to West Germany’s participation in NATO, and the Cold War began and eventually ended in 1990.  In 1991, the Warsaw Pact was declared at an end.  Subsequently, many former Warsaw Pact nations have joined NATO, and the total participating nations now totals 28.

NATO Budget Pie Chart 2

At this juncture, with the demise of the Warsaw Pact, it is difficult to place a value on the continuance of NATO; although, again the politicians would assure me it is invaluable if I wanted to listen. However, if it is indeed valuable, wouldn’t the other 27 participants be willing to pay their fair share?  After all, it would appear more beneficial to a European nation who might be invaded and in need of protection than it would be to the United States, who doesn’t mind a little invasion considering our unwillingness to secure our border.  Further, if our NATO allies do not see enough value to fund it, then why should we continue to fund it?

 

Like many other things in this election, we would not be discussing NATO if it was not for Donald Trump bringing it to the forefront of the discussion. I know the political establishment would rather not talk about it because a billion dollars here or there does not seem like much compared to the 19 trillion dollar debt they have created.  Still it is a large expenditure and worthy of consideration and honest discussion.

 

Donald Trump might just be on to something. After all Plato said, “They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth.”

 

Until next time…

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The Revenge of the Unrepresented

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

 donkey-and-elephant-clipart-1

      If you are reading this new and erudite newspaper, you make a point to be informed.  So you may have noticed that these are odd times in politics.  What, Trump the Republican front runner for President while Jeb! languishes in the single digits?

      But I can make matters simpler to understand, if still odd.  We are experiencing the Revenge of the Unrepresented.  Our English friends some 240 years ago found out the hard way that taxing people without representing them may not evoke a happy response.  Today’s Washington establishment politicians are finding out the same thing, yes, the hard way.

      Rewind to 2010.  Obama was determined to cram Obamacare down our throats in spite of half or more of Americans clearly not wanting it.  In January, Massachusetts elected a Republican for the U. S. Senate largely because of opposition to Obamacare.  Yes, Massachusetts.  That’s not an auto typo.

      Yet Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored that warning shot and marched forward in passing Obamacare.  The result was a historic political bloodbath in the November 2010 elections, handing the U. S. House and any number of state houses to the Republicans with a clear and simple mandate – Stop Obama.

      But that teary-eyed orange-skinned drunk Republican Speaker Boehner and other RINOs did little to stop Obama and instead enabled him.  And that included funding, of all things, Obamacare.  Thus the Republican establishment joined Democrats in virtually ignoring the 2010 elections.

      Fast forward to 2014.  Again Americans gave Obama’s Democrats a good pasting at the polls, handing now the U. S. Senate over to the Republicans.  Again, Republicans had a clear mandate to Stop Obama, particularly on the presenting issue of defending our borders and restraining illegal immigration.

      But, again, Republican leaders did little to stop Obama and again enabled him, including on immigration.  In fact, Congress, with the support of the establishment Republican leaders, just voted to fund Obama’s illegal immigration programs.  (And when I say illegal, I mean both the programs and the immigration are illegal.  I would say “illegal illegal”, but that would make me appear to be ranting, not to mention ungrammatical, God forbid.)

      So, yet again, about half the country finds themselves utterly unrepresented by either party.  This is not only bad policy; it is stupid politics particularly on the part of Republicans.  It is asking, nay, begging for trouble.

      And then here comes trouble with funny hair.  And in his very announcement speech for President, he came down hard on illegal immigration to the point of being crude and unrealistic to put it nicely…

      And millions loved it.  Immediately, Trump had high poll numbers, and they have gotten higher.  Finally, millions found that someone powerful seemed to represent them on illegal immigration and other issues.  (Note I wrote, “seemed.” I will leave aside the question of whether Trump should be trusted.)

      Now, are there more sensible ways to fight the establishment of both parties who are so intent on not representing Americans?  I certainly think so.  That’s why I support Ted Cruz, by the way.  But is there a more clear way than Trump to give the establishment of both parties an affectionate one finger wave? 

      And, yes, Americans are that angry at the political establishment.   Not just Trump’s numbers reveal that.  Here is what I see looking at the Real Clear Politics poll averages as I write this in early January.  Anti-establishment candidates (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum) have a combined 68% support among Republicans.  Jeb!? Just over 4%. 

     In desperation, the establishment wing of the GOP is turning to Rubio, but he polls only 11.5% compared to Trump at 35% and Cruz at 19.5%.Can it be any clearer that a lot of people out there are angry at being unrepresented by the establishments of both parties?

     So I’ve got a 2016 prediction you can add to the zillions you’ve heard already ‘cept mine is better.  2016 will be the Revenge of the Unrepresented.   One result will be the nomination of Donald Trump this summer or the defeat of Hillary Clinton this November. 

     And do not be too shocked if it will be both.

 

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