Political Kool Aid and Pisa

There’s no “good news” in politics today.

Doesn’t matter where one looks, or reads, or listens, the social and news media can only comment on strife and division. They only see life through political eyeglasses.

And the “deliverables” from the American political process are tainted or adulterated or poisoned. Legislation is full of favors and gifts and each is poisonous to the US budget and deficit.

And as for politicians, poisonous accusations abound. There is haint with the taint. (The word haint was historically used in African-American vernacular to refer to a witch-like creature seeking to chase victims to their death by exhaustion.[4][5] The accusations are exhausting!)

There is poison in the political Kool Aid. How much will you drink when you are told to drink from the glass, shut your mouth, and look the other way?

Do you drink Red Kool Aid or Blue Kool Aid? Do you lean left or right?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans both ways depending upon where you stand. America leans in the same way. Depending upon where one stands, America is left-leaning or right-leaning. Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa built on soft land, America was built on the soft land of people rather than the hard land of history. The Constitution is a heavy monument to the best in humankind. Unfortunately, soft people have settled over the past two hundred and fifty years and the Constitution now leans.

People wonder why the Constitution has not already toppled. Two political parties intend to bend American government to fit their agenda. The tilt of the Constitution increases relative to the observers but in no way does it straighten itself.

To prevent the Constitution from toppling, engineers are needed to strengthen it . It can never be completely upright again but the lean (from both perspectives) must stop or it will topple.

Where are the engineers and who will let them be about the business of shoring up the Constitution to offset the settling of the people?

Wherever they are, don’t let them drink the Kool Aid.

Social Hypochondria

I admit I still have a vestige of social hypochondria. COVID, Trump, Red vs Blue, robots, budget deficits, police brutality, Children of the Corn (hehehe), zombie vaccinations, etc.

Slate Magazine: Social hypochondria: “As a society, we always seem to be obsessing about some problem like teen-age drinking or child abuse or immigration or cloning, convinced that it will destroy the country or the world unless it is eliminated. The hypochondria analogy isn’t perfect: These diseases tend to be real, not wholly imagined. But a) their perils are exaggerated—at least until they are put aside to make room for other perils; and b) the hope of ever curing them is also exaggerated.”

There is no cure. But how do we discourage decent people from believing all the social media things they encounter?

Truth helps but it is always a complicated truth and, frankly, not everyone is cut out to ferret truth from lies. There are experts out there who find a hot button issue and begin to infect society with an exaggerrated fear. How can a regular person decide if “global warming” deserves all the hyperbole written about it? Or police brutality? Or Aliens in the Arctic?

And yet, ignoring threats isn’t wise either.

Open to your thoughts…

The Passing of Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh died the other day. He was excoriated by the liberal press and revered by the conservative press.

Some say he defined the modern Republican Party with his views about women (Feminazis), Gays, liberals, female sexual freedom, and the dirty, sinful, socialism of the Democrats versus the shining Republicans on the hill. You know them, the ones who live Christian lives as examples for the rest of us to follow.

Rush Limbaugh was at the crest of societal change in America and he didn’t like any part of it. He told millions of viewers every day , in mocking self-righteous tones, of the hypocrisy between what liberals and Democrats say and what they do. The disaffected and suspicious-of-change Conservatives listened to his radio program every day to hear more examples of outrageous behaviors on the part of liberals who believed in improving humanity through others but not through themselves.

He was funny and he poked the bear with outrageous quotes and comparisons.

But something changed in Rush Limbaugh in the early 2000’s. He was no longer funny. He became mean. I don’t know if he realized he was losing his war on the culture changes in America or if he started to throw himself into propaganda for ratings and money.But change he did. He became the voice of right-wing ideology, obtained a following, and fueled partisan politics in ways no one had previously had done.

Connecting the dots between conservatives who lived by self-actuating,nuclear family, individual rights and biblical memes, with a solid Republican, fiscally responsible, minimal government, and political perspective, Rush Limbaugh developed a cult. He fed the cult and the cult echo-chamber replied.

Becoming more mean, Rush began to denigrate people by name rather than by poking fun at their ideology. He created a monster that hides under YOUR bed or in the dark corners ready to take YOUR soul if you let it. He taught people to fear Hilary because she was a feminazi, fear Obama because he was angry and black, fear gays because they want you to accept their biblical perversions, and fear sexual freedom for the collapse of shameful behaviors in Society. This is who Rush Limbaugh became for the past 15 years.

But now, Rush is dead. So,too, is the old society that Rush tried to salvage from the forge that was creating a new American mettle. The new American mettle? Women became competitors to men, even among truckdrivers, construction workers, bank CEOs, Wall Street financiers, scientists, plumbers, elcetricians, politicians, and engineers. Gays are competitors to straight men and are accepted in society without being considered biblically perverted. American blacks of both sexes are now competitors to white men and have broken more ceilings and become a larger part of society than ever in American history. And sexual freedom is found everywhere. Even among the gun-toting, single white female moms living in the Bible Belt working in sex chat rooms.

Rush Limbaugh found, identified, and held up for our inspection, the societal changes that were occurring around us. No longer isolated by two oceans, America was becoming part of the global community whether Rush Limbaugh wanted it or not. And now, America has changed and it knows it has changed. It cannot return to the paternalistic People of The Book Christian ideology that it once exemplified.

The death of Rush Limbaugh, the expulsion of Donald Trump, and the new American mettle, each heralds a greater American future.

I mourn the loss of my enemy. I mourn the passing of my past. The King is dead. Long live the king.

One image, many interpretations

The President sees the looting and mob actions.

The Media see the abuse of the innocent by the Authorities.

The Democrats see the outcome of rich versus poor politics.

The Republicans see the outcome of poor choices made by individuals.

The Communists see an opportunity to de-stabilize Americans from their government.

The Fascists see an opportunity to demonstrate the Force of Law.

The Antifa see an opportunity to rebel against Authority.

Law Enforcement sees civil disobedience.

The emotionally sensitive see the pain of others.

The emotionally insensitive see the weakness of others.

And what about you? What do you see?

COVID-19 Made in Wuhan?

https://listverse.com/2020/03/20/top-10-reasons-to-believe-the-wuhan-virology-lab-caused-2019-ncov/

Hmmmm… is the bat out of the bag?

It appears there is un-vetted information on the internet that the COVID-19 virus came from a research lab in Wuhan, China.

But IDK anymore. There is so much false information out there that who can believe any thing reported anywhere?

Let’s face it:

a) The President lies; not just this one, all of them

b) The new media doesn’t vette their stories

c) The CIA plants phony stories in servers around the world, aka disinformation

d) The Chinese government controls their media

e) Partisan politics have gotten absurd about everything

Our problem is not that we have too little news, we have too much of it and cannot sort out the truth of it anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

WaPo Does It Best: COVID-19 Timeline

The Washington Post is simply the best at collecting, analyzing, and distributing timelines of history-making events. Read it here.

The attached article outlines in detail the events that marked the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a tone of Monday morning quarterbacking, but don’t let that tone divert you from understanding what occurred and when.

In essence, the agencies of the United States government were swift to begin, BUT the President’s appointees slowed the game down enough to thwart US leadership. The President’s appointees were informed and then promptly acted in a mediocre manner to an urgent situation. The result was the Rest of the World was ahead of the US.

You should thank God there are two oceans to protect America. And thank God that China quarantined a city of 11 million people when it did. If not for that quarantine and two oceans, the deaths in the US would have been unbelievable.

Although others try, one can’t really fault China for being slow to respond to the ROW (rest of world). It had 11 million people to address and millions more to prevent infection.

As for the US response, well, we are into the fourth month of an outbreak, and there is no national testing to show us the spread of the disease. There is a lack of protection for healthcare workers and shortages in disinfectant for everyone.

YouTube has more videos about how to protect yourself than the CDC or Health and Human Services.

All of which proves this President, and his political appointees, failed to lead America during the crisis that occurred on President Trump’s watch.

The missteps of a bombastic President and his staff will have severe consequences in New York City these next two weeks. But no sense crying over spilled milk.

We can thank the media for its overblown and reactionary approach to the news. Without it, millions more Americans would be at risk today. It literally PUSHED the government to do its job.

We can thank God that state governors stepped up and took measures the White House failed to recommend.

BUT, give the Devil of Unresponsiveness his due. When the White House finally acted, there were unprecedented measures taken with closing travel from other countries. Of course, it was too little and too late, but it was still unprecedented.

I once read that mediocre people are always at their best. This President and his appointees are always at their best.

Read the article. Learn what you do not know.

Terrible “News”

They just don’t get it, do they? The news anchors, I mean. “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Let’s say this straight out:

If you are a news person and you are “The Story”, you aren’t doing your damn job right!

YOU… Mr./Mrs./Ms….you so-called journalist…YOU are not supposed to have encounters with the President, challenge the President, or pontificate on a series of facts before asking the President leading questions. Or anyone else for that matter.

YOU are not the news. When YOU are the news, it is because you have too much ego and not enough intelligence. YOU want us to see YOUR “courage” (cough) to speak truth to power. YOU are NOT the story.

YOU are supposed to give us YOUR opinion AFTER THE DAMN INTERVIEW!

Have you forgotten your elders? George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Seymour Hersch, Howard Fineman, Wolf Blitzer, George Stephanopoulos. Sheesh!

Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read PRESIDENT CAN’T SWIM.”

This illustrates my point. The story was about the President. It’s not about the journalist who was standing on the shore shouting out some absurd comment like: “How do you think people are going to feel about you walking on water now, Mr. President? Some might say that you are covering up the fact that the water is polluted since you removed all pollution controls by executive order?”

That’s not journalism. That’s crap.

Save your pontificating in front of the Washington press corps for drinks at the “newsy” hotel bars.

Or get a blog like mine. With a blog, you are free to open your mouth and remove all doubt about the kind of fool you are. I do it every day.

Silence of the Pols

The silence of the politicians continues into 2014. It has been a couple of months now that the rhetoric between the two political parties has subsided. In fact, the volume is almost as low as Congress’ ratings.

We must be in the re-branding phase. This occurs right before the campaigns for re-election begin. This is the time when we American idiots are supposed to forget the characteristics of the current politicians so our heads can be filled with new stuff and nonsense about the campaign themes du jour.

Will it be social re-engineering topics like gay marriage and women’s rights? Will it be economic blankets to cover the poor and homeless and the unemployed? Or will it be National Defense, the National Deficit, or National Healthcare?

Seems to me that we have exhausted the print media and the news with stories on all of those. Taxes have lost their luster also. Looks like we might have to put together something like a “Congressional Modernization Act” in order to change the operating rules in Congress. Then both parties will have plenty of fodder until after the campaign. But like all “Modernization Acts” enacted to date, it will be fraught with problems of power and over reach when it is passed.

Perhaps Congressional races can stir up a fight over Executive Privilege. One side seeking to give more power to the Executive Branch for liberal ideas and the other party seeking to give more power over conservative ideas. Then both parties can claim victory over the results when the President simply closes Congress for malfeasance reasons and takes over writing all laws.

Sigh, my cynicism is getting the better of me. Perhaps the fight will be over Privacy Rights and a bunch of stuff will get dumped into it that gives government more intrusive power, removes responsibilities and liabilities of communication and information companies while pretending to add them, and limits freedom of the press and freedom to travel.

I know that last year has left me underwhelmed with congressional hope, overwhelmed with governmental intrusion, and simply whelmed with the political balls of some people. I promise to do better…Wish me luck…

 

Freedom of the Printing Press?

From 2011:

In his landmark new article on the press clause’s original meaning titled “‘The Freedom of…the Press,’ From 1791 to 1868 to Now- Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or the Press as a Technology,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh argues the Founders meant the press clause’s “the press” to be the printing press (a printing technology) and any future communication technology.  Crazy, right?  So the Founders really meant something more like “freedom of…the printing press” or “freedom in the use of the press”?

Volokh describes how, with no significant exceptions, prominent writers the Founders often cited, including William Blackstone, Jean-Louis De Lolme, and George Tucker, connected press freedom with the right of every “freeman,” “citizen,” or “individual” to “write,” “print,” or “publish” his or her thoughts.  This fact implies the Founders didn’t intend the press clause to protect the existing or future collection of “newsmongers” per se but rather to recognize the right of any person (or “freeman”) to use printing presses (Until 1694, England imposed licenses on publications, which the Founders abhorred).  James Madison’s following first draft of the Bill of Rights’ speech/press clauses highlights this point: “The people [emphasis added] shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”

So this morning, my ‘debating’ work colleague said that he supports journalism (freedom of the press) but not journalists as it applied to the Fox reporter who kept her sources private. He thinks that she should be tried for concealing the identity of the person who leaked her information during a judge’s gag order. Freedom of the Press is not an issue, he says, because the story was published and distributed and she does not receive immunity from prosecution because she is a reporter. His point was that an order of the court to gag public officials was legitimate and therefore she should be compelled to turn over her source who broke the law. I repeated the established journalists’ argument that if reporters are required to divulge their sources that their sources will dry up.
My colleague asked why should reporters receive special consideration and not be held accountable like other citizens. After all, no one else is allowed not to testify when ordered by a court. I replied that wives are not forced to testify against their husbands why should they receive special dispensation under the law.
My colleague replied that there is a clear definition of a wife and there should be a clear definition of a reporter. I said that a definition of journalism is precisely what will create journalists as a special class of people who cannot be charged with contempt of court. He dragged out an example of a reporter who witnesses a murder and refuses to tell the court who did it. I said 1. There is no moral equivalency between a gag order on public officials and murder and 2. He himself had argued many times that no one should be charged with a crime for lying to investigators. (Silence being the least offensive lie.)
This is when he said again that he supports journalism but not journalists.
All of this occurred between 7:45 a.m. and 7:55 a.m. this morning.
So I had to go look for more information and I found the article above that Freedom of the Press meant the freedom to print your opinion and distribute it. Freedom of the Press did not mean Freedom for Journalists. Yet the two are linked aren’t they?
In today’s language, Freedom of the Press, should be construed to mean spreading your opinion around by media and it should not be tied to a person’s job or credentials. It is the right of a person to distribute his message around the country. Pamphleteers of 1780 are akin to bloggers today in my opinion. If laws are created that set boundaries around what a ‘journalist’ is, then we have created a special class of people with special laws due to the job they perform. That is elitism and undemocratic.
The government’s purpose in defining a journalist is the power to suppress those who do not meet the definition. Over time, the government will seek to erode the special status of journalists for more control and more power. Does anyone doubt this? It won’t be through conspiracy but through opportunity. That is how these things work. ‘Striking while the iron is hot’ is the mantra of powerful people who seek opportunity to advance their causes, their hidden agendas.
The first amendment does say: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Please note that the sentence structure implies that the freedom of speech is linked to the freedom of the press.The authors wanted to be certain that no one in the future would think that the freedom of speech was limited to a person talking but that it included the ability to distribute speech in written form as well as in verbal form. Commentary was included as speech but was ‘news’? At that time, commentary and news were linked as one and the same.
What to say then about gag orders and the distribution of information by journalists, who obtained it from those who were bound by judicial decree not to release it? Should they be compelled to release their sources?
Perhaps the question is ‘does the Freedom of Speech also include the Freedom not to Speak?’ I think so. Without the ability to choose when to speak and on what topics, there cannot be freedom. But like all freedoms, there are limitations. One should not be permitted to remain silent when justice to a victim will be denied. Yet, one should not be compelled to remain silent with information about an alleged offender. Clearly that is what the judge was seeking with his gag order. He was compelling those with information about the offender not to release that information to the public and he wished to punish the offending law enforcement official who defied him.
There is no doubt that the court should pursue an investigation to determine the offender but that does not mean the court ought to compel a reporter to disclose his/her source. And that was the final result of the trial, wasn’t it? Well, no, actually. The ruling was whether New York’s Shield Law applied to New York journalists when they were traveling in other states. The New York Court system ruled that “an order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy,”
The courts of New York have a public policy that ought not to be offended…apparently. Sigh… it is so complicated when the courts stray from the law and begin to support and establish public policy. The headline for that piece said “New York’s top court blocks Colorado from forcing Fox reporter to reveal sources or face jail”. Giving credit to the court system for supporting public policy is never good. Supporting the law is better.
So my conclusion is that while reporters and journalists are not enshrined with Constitutional protections per se, compelling them to reveal their sources effectively removes the benefits sought by the Freedom of the Press. I also conclude that New York Courts think more about its policies than the law and that is dangerous and offensive to me. And finally, New York’s Shield Law does precisely what I said it will do: it created a special class of citizens with more rights than you or I. The State of Colorado should feel snubbed by the State of New York for extending its Shield Law protections into other states. Will Colorado take this to the next level? I don’t know.

Who needs a law that protects a Constitutional Right?

Over at Constitution Daily, a reporter writes:

“The legal victory secured by Fox News reporter Jana Winter this week could mark an important milestone in the fight for a national law that protects journalists’ First Amendment rights.”

Someone has this all wrong. It is the other way round. The Constitution protects our rights from abuse by law.

The judge apparently wishes to punish somebody.

Winter faced jail time in Colorado for refusing to name a confidential source in her reporting of the July 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. After the incident, Winter reported that the accused killer, James Holmes, had sent a notebook containing disturbing images to his psychiatrist.

Winter’s news report appeared after a judge in Colorado imposed a gag order on the case. In January 2013, the court in Arapahoe County, Colo., where Holmes is being tried, concluded there was substantial evidence that unnamed law enforcement officials in Winter’s story had violated the gag order by giving her information.

Yeah. So what? There was no untruth.

Two things burn my butt more every day.First, if you withhold information from investigators you are charged with a crime. Second, if you tell someone other than the authorities what you know, you are charged with a crime. How is that not judicial tyranny?

People who wield the law like a weapon and threaten citizens should be chastised publicly. The reporter is not the problem. The informer is not the problem. The problem is people who wish to control the truth in order to conceal it from others. They are the problem.

When the truth becomes secondary to the judicial process, the guilty go free and the victim has no justice. And when injustice becomes predominant, people will take the law into their hands.

But in all of this, I really expected that the Constitutional Daily would not support a law that will limit the definition of a journalist. That type of law will be used to control everyone who knows the truth and it will penalize those who share the truth with others.

While a law may describe and even enshrine a principle of the Constitution that has not been honored in practice, the Constitution is national law already.

Another law about the freedom of the press is unnecessary. The courts have ruled over and over again the Constitutional right to distribute the truth in any media by any person who reports it. That is what happened here.