See Something, Say Some Things

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It’s been about 2 weeks since Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said the following:

CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.

Since those words were uttered, Rep. Omar has gotten death threats (according to her) and more than a little push-back from people from all sides of the political spectrum. Rep. Omar’s defenders say her comments were taken out of context and actually meant something completely different. Her detractors say her comments downplayed the events of 9/11 and the feelings over those lost and left to carry on after the attacks.

I’ve waited a while to write about this because I wanted to dig a bit deeper and make sure I wasn’t doing what both sides of this controversy were doing: taking a side and ignoring any facts that contradict that side. After reading Rep. Omar’s comments in context, I have a few things to say.

Death threats are not cool, period. I don’t care if you’re so conservative you make Ronald Reagan look like a hippie or if you’re further left than an outfielder playing the third base line, threatening to harm or kill anyone is not the way to make your point, win friends, and influence people. And that goes double for anyone who acts on those threats. There’s a reason we’re on top of the food chain, and it’s not because we look snazzy in dress clothes. It’s because we’re supposed to be able to think. Rep. Omar doesn’t deserve death threats from any person, period. Instead, vote her out of office.

What Rep. Omar said wasn’t hate speech. I’m sorry, my Right-leaning brethren and sisthren (I may have made that last word up, but hey.). What she said wasn’t hate speech; it was stupid speech. Any time there’s miscommunication, the message and/or the messenger may be to blame. Given the sensitive nature of 9/11, it is vital to show careful consideration to the words chosen as to avoid unintentional misinterpretation. Rep. Omar and/or her speechwriter failed miserably here. Even if her intent wasn’t to downplay the events or the perpetrators of 9/11, her wording made it seem like she did. Thus, the backlash. Which brings us to…

Context matters, and not just in the moment. Rep. Omar’s defenders say her words were taken out of context, which is all too common an excuse for when Leftists make incredibly stupid comments that can be interpreted in a bad light. In context, it’s unclear who Rep. Omar was referring to by the “some people did something” line, and people adding context only muddies the water. Could it be she was referring to people attacking Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the aftermath of 9/11? Sure. Could she be playing defense for her religion? Absolutely. Could she be hinting at an oft-repeated, but utterly discredited myth that Israel was behind 9/11? Possibly. In the larger context of previous comments she’s made, one could make the argument Rep. Omar had a hidden motive like the ones I mentioned and others I didn’t. But to say Rep. Omar’s comments could only be taken in one context (that, surprise surprise, makes her seem either like a martyr or a monster) is ignoring the totality of her statements, ideas, and attitudes. And speaking of context…

Donald Trump and the New York Post didn’t take Rep. Omar out of context. Regardless of what the defenders of Rep. Omar say, her words were not taken out of context. They may not have been a full quotation, but that doesn’t negate the fact there is a legitimate interpretation of her words that she may not have intended, but is there. Claiming it was is a little intellectually dishonest and more than a little hypocritical, given Rep. Omar said President Trump was “not human” not that long ago. Live by the “otherizing” of an opponent, politically die by the “otherizing” of an opponent. And furthermore…

Donald Trump and the New York Post didn’t incite violence. If claiming Rep. Omar’s comments were taken out of context was intellectually dishonest (which it was), claiming President Trump and the New York Post incited violence is the Big Kahuna of intellectual dishonesty in 2019. The worst you can say is the Post cover was provocative to the point of exploitation, but nowhere in Trump’s tweets or in the Post’s reporting of the controversy is there a call for violent action. And don’t give me that “it was subtle” crap because it’s a double standard. If we have to be generous in giving Rep. Omar the benefit of the doubt with her 9/11 comment, the same standard should apply to Trump and the Post. But, it doesn’t because it ruins the narrative that Rep. Omar is being picked on by the mean ole Trumpmonster!

Silence isn’t golden, and neither is race and gender baiting. Since the controversy blew up (if you’ll pardon the bad turn of a phrase), Rep. Omar hasn’t retracted her statements or offered additional clarification. I’m sure she’ll get around to it once she’s done blaming the backlash on her gender and race. Yeah, not a smart move. Although I’m sure there is a lot of pushback due to her race and gender (and even her religion), there is a lot of it that has nothing to do with any of that, but rather the content of her words combined with the lack of a plausible explanation. When even Leftists are telling you what you said was troubling, Rep. Omar, you might need to take a step back and look at it from their perspective. The more she relies on the race and gender card instead of the “I screwed up and I’m sorry” card, the harder it will be for her to be forgiven.

Not all Muslims are like Rep. Omar. With all of the controversy, you may not have heard some of Rep. Omar’s critics…are fellow Muslims. And, no, it’s not because they think she didn’t go far enough. They actually don’t think she’s a good representative of their faith, and I tend to agree. Muslims attacked us on 9/11, but they’re not the representation of all Muslims, nor should they be. When they sympathize with the 9/11 attackers and those who share their interpretation of the Quran, then they cross that line, but not before. I don’t want Tom Arnold to be representative of all Iowans because we also have Brandon Routh and Jason Momoa, and those two were Superman and Aquaman. Instead, treat every Muslim like we would like to be treated, and nobody gets hurt.

I feel really sorry for Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Omar and her cohorts, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and the Socialist Socialite (D-UH), have given Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a lot of headaches since becoming members of the House of Representatives in January. From making absurd and hateful statements to the rollout of the Edsel of the green movement called the Green New Deal to taking up all the oxygen that other freshmen Democrats could be using to advance ideas, Pelosi has her hands full. Part of me says, “You got what you wished for” and leave it at that, but a part of me feels sorry for her because I don’t think she could have ever imagined three freshmen Democrats making such a mess out of what should be an easy time of making a cogent argument in favor of their policies. Instead, she’s having to put out fires like Squad 51 of “Emergency!” while spinning more then Enrico Fermi on the Silly Silo out at Adventureland and trying to keep the various factions within the House Democrats from creating a rift so vicious it makes the Hatfields and McCoys look like an Amish pillow fight. If the Democrats lose the White House and one or both branches of Congress in 2020, a good chunk of the blame will lie at the feet of Pelosi not being able to draw attention away from the 3 Stoogettes long enough to formulate actual policy.

That’s all I have to say for now, but if I don’t stop now, I’ll get off on tangents that nobody wants me to visit.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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There have been some major news stories breaking over the past week, but none has been bigger than WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being arrested in London at the behest of the United States. Assange is a polarizing figure to many. To some, he’s an unsung hero who kept governments’ feet to the fire. To others, he is a dangerous individual who should have been arrested and jailed a long time ago.

And, as you might expect, the Left has been conflicted over his work. When it was George W. Bush getting skewered, Leftists loved Assange. When it was Hillary Clinton catching his ire, he was a Russian asset. And when President Donald Trump said he liked WikiLeaks and asked them jokingly to get her emails, Assange became persona non grata to the Left. (Persona non grata is Latin for “person without cheese.” Or something like that.)

Time to delve into the wonderful world of WikiLeaks and Assange.

Julian Assange

What the Left thinks it means – a dangerous individual who is a threat to international security

What it really means – a 21st Century version of a hired gun

The Left’s attitude towards Assange is no surprise to me because they’ve played this game before. Remember Cindy Sheehan? The Left loved her when she would protest against George W. Bush, but when she decided to run against Nancy Pelosi, Sheehan was painted as an unstable grieving mother who couldn’t find her way out of a ditch with a map, a ladder, and a sign. The Left will use whomever they want in whatever fashion they want until that person becomes a liability to them.

And Julian Assange fits that bill perfectly.

I’ve been following his efforts to shine light into the cockroach infested halls of government for years, and it’s clear he has no allegiance to any one ideology or movement. He is truly a merc with a modem. That can lead to some interesting discussions about the morality and legality of what he does. On the one hand, he is revealing information the powerful don’t want you to know (or in Hillary’s case relying on the stupidity of her campaign staffers to openly give out the information inadvertently). Knowledge is power, especially in the Information Age. Yet, what if that information results in an innocent party getting hurt? Some could argue people like Bradley “Chelsea” Manning were damaged by working with Assange. And he/she may not be the only one, just one of the more visible victims.

This raises a question that hits at both the legal and moral parts of this discussion: is disobeying a bad law for good ends justifiable? Not an easy one to puzzle out, is it? Once you factor in such elements as severity of the crime (stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family versus stealing a loaf of bread to kill your family), the frequency of the crime (a first-time offender versus a serial killer who uses baked goods to kill his victims), circumstances (a poor child versus a rich white man who washed out of culinary school and wants to take revenge on the world), and so on, the hard and fast solution we want becomes murkier and harder to obtain. Yes, Assange broke the law in at least 2 countries, and the reasons behind that lawlessness may be the result of a lawless process, but it’s hard to get past the fact the law was broken.

Of course, none of that means jack squat to the Left. They will justify lawlessness in pursuit of their own ends without fail. How do you think Al Sharpton keeps getting sweet gigs in spite of his criminal behavior? The minute Sharpton flips the script and sounds like Rush Limbaugh with a tan, the Left will turn on him faster than you can say Tawana Brawley.

But this relationship isn’t one way. Seems the Left had no problems wanting Assange taken out. I seem to remember someone from a recent previous administration who wondered out loud whether Assange could be taken out with a drone strike, but I can’t remember who that was…I’m sure it was nobody important. After all, the previous President would never let someone make a joke like that or make a similar joke about his daughters and the Jonas Brothers.

Anyway, even a joke like that would be enough to motivate him to counterattack in the only way he knew how: by releasing damning information about Hillary Clinton. Personally, I’m surprised he had the bandwidth, storage capacity, and patience to limit it to just her emails, but bully for him all the same.

Here’s where I part company with Assange. Although he’s shown he has no allegiance to the Left or the Right, I can’t quite trust him. Call it the David Brock Effect. Brock was a Republican (or so the self-professed liar said in his book Blinded By the Right), but then shifted hard Left. Whenever someone shifts that drastically, even if I agree with the outcome, I can’t completely trust that person. People with integrity can change their minds without it affecting their core convictions. I don’t get that from Assange, just like I don’t get it from Brock because I’m not convinced they have core convictions beyond the here and now. That tells me their convictions can be bought and sold depending on who’s cutting the check. What’s to say Assange doesn’t goes after Trump tomorrow if George Soros drops a few million dollars in his lap?

Granted, this is speculation on my part because I don’t know Assange well enough to say definitively. He may be as consistent and dogged as I am to get to the truth. We will see in the coming weeks and years whether he is an opportunist or a soothsayer. In the meantime, I will enjoy the Leftist meltdowns.

Popcorn, anyone?

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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When former Trump attorney and insider Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee, people just knew sparks would fly. And fly they did, although not in some expected ways. One controversy that came from the circus…I mean hearing involved Lynne Patton, an official from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a friend of Cohen’s who appeared at the clown show…I mean hearing. Patton, who just happens to be black, caught the attention of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and used Patton’s appearance to accuse Congressman Mark Meadows of being racist by using Patton as a “prop.” This accusation has evolved into Patton being called a “token” by Leftists.

“Token” is a racially-charged adjective, to put it mildly, because of the implications around it. Yet, it seems to only be used in one direction. To better understand the controversy (and to complete my weekly obligation to you), let’s delve deeper into this word

token

What the Left thinks it means – a minority who is dragged out by the Right to distract people from their racism, a minority denied agency by the Right

What it really means – a minority who doesn’t subscribe to Leftist ideology

And you thought it was just a character from South Park!

The Left is obsessed with identity politics, or as I call it bean-counting for votes. By targeting certain groups of people, the Left can energize those people into potential voters, which in turn translates into money and power for the Left. These tactics usually work, too, as the election for Congresswoman Tlaib suggests. It usually works to keep people within these minorities allied with the Left.

The operative word, however, is “usually.” Sometimes, members of a minority group (or perceived minority group as is the case with women) will deviate from the Left’s agenda and find their own way. Once you break away from the Leftist hivemind, you become an “other” to the Left, and all the surface courtesy you get while dancing to the Left’s tune gets replaced by a deep scorn that rivals that of the closest betrayed lovers.

That’s where using “token” comes into play. By suggesting those minorities who break away from the Left are only being used by the Right and are too dumb to see it, the Left not only reinforces its message that they care about minorities, but also shows what will happen to them if they don’t follow along. After all, a little negative reinforcement never hurt anybody, right? Not so much, as we’ll see in a moment.

The funny thing is the Left doesn’t give minorities agency in the first place. If anything, it’s white Leftists who are the ones who take up “the struggle” on behalf of minorities, even when said minorities don’t want them involved. Take Black Lives Matter, for example. Once white Leftists got it off the ground and helped it to gain prominence, BLM decided they no longer needed or wanted white assistance, or at the very least they wanted whites to get behind the black leaders. (Ms. Parks, Ms. Rosa Parks, call for you on the Black Irony Phone.) As Leftist movements gain momentum, the members tend to purge their roles of white supporters, thus discovering their own agency in a way. The thing is they already had all the agency they needed to speak up without white support or assistance. They’ve always had it; they were just convinced by white Leftists to not use it.

On the other hand, any minority who uses their agency to speak out against what the Left is doing isn’t even considered to be human, let alone a “real” member of that minority.

And it’s the Right who are the racists?

The fact the Left resorts to calling blacks “tokens” when confronted with the inconvenient fact that they have the ability to speak without using a white Leftist mouthpiece speaks volumes as to how backwards the Left is on race relations. They will give Black Lives Matter a platform while denying people like Patton even exist. That’s where I differ with the Left. (Well, that, and I like to bathe more than once a Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign.) I want both Black Lives Matter and Ms. Patton to speak their minds, even if I don’t agree, because I respect their rights to speak. I want them to speak, if for no other reason than it potentially gives me more material for blog posts, but ultimately it’s because I don’t have the power nor the authority to deny them the agency they already have.

As far as Ms. Patton is concerned, she is no more a token than I am eligible to be Pope. She is a human being with thoughts, feelings, and opinions, just like me. That to me makes her as much of a human being worth even basic respect as anyone. She was motivated to be at the Cohen hearing for reasons I will not begin to try to articulate, but the fact she was there presumably of her own free will (at least, that’s what she’s said after the Leftist smear job against her) means she is neither a token, nor a pawn. She is an American exercising her freedom of association, not some “other” who should be derided for no legitimate reason.

And that’s exactly what calling her a token is: deriding her for no legitimate reason.

But tell me again how you Leftists are more open to diversity…

I’d Like an Apology…

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Leftists, we need to have a talk, and I think you know why.

When Jussie Smollett came out and said he was attacked by two white men in red Make America Great Again hats, you believed him. You went to Twitter to call it a hate crime, racist, homophobic, and what not. Now that his story has fallen apart like a leper in a tug of war, your words are coming back to bite you.

So far, few of you have come clean. Some have taken the coward’s way out and deleted the tweets in the hopes no one remembers what you said with such conviction. (Spoiler Alert: The Internet never forgets.) Some have acknowledged the situation, but then tried to excuse it by adding additional context designed to lessen the impact. Few of you have even stood firm with your sentiments, ignoring the additional information or the calls for you to reconsider your position.

Few, if any, of you have apologized to the people you turned into victims because of what you said: Donald Trump supporters.

Now, you may not think of Trump supporters as victims in this case, but your rush to judgment and your desire to make Smollett’s story truth turned them into villains based on a lie, a lie you have helped to perpetuate. Remember when Alyssa Milano said MAGA hats were “the new white hoods”? How many times have you said Trump supporters were racist and homophobic without looking deeper into the matter? How many lives have you endangered with your inflammatory rhetoric, the same type of rhetoric you chastise President Donald Trump for using?

Regardless of whether you mea culpa or memory hole what you said, one thing is crystal clear to me: you owe Trump supporters an apology. Regardless of how you feel about them, you allowed yourselves to be lied to because you wanted to believe the lie was the truth. After all, it confirmed what you already believed, so it had to be true, right? Wrong. You have succumb to a little thing the kids like to call confirmation bias, and it blinded you to all the red flags around the Smollett story. But that’s not the worst of it.

The worst of it is you have let that bias cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing that those with different opinions than you aren’t monsters. The vast majority of Trump supporters would never consider attacking anyone else unless they were attacked first. They aren’t all racist, sexist, homophobic monsters, and to treat them all as such is wrong. I’m going to engage in a bit of whataboutism here, but I do it to make a point. Would you like to be branded as dishonest because of Smollett’s actions? I sincerely doubt it, but that’s exactly what you did to Trump supporters here.

And it’s not something that can be forgotten or glossed over.

So, I’m asking you to apologize to Trump supporters for calling them racist and homophobic and for not taking the time to find out the facts before coming out with a statement. No backhanded apologies or attempts to reframe the situation to make Smollett look sympathetic instead of just pathetic. Own what you said and did, and apologize.

Of course, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen. You’ve shown me what kind of people you are, but surprise me for once.

Closing Time on Mueller Time?

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If you heard the distinct sound of popping in your area, it’s not fireworks. It’s Leftists losing their minds over a news report from NBC that the Senate Intelligence Committee found no direct proof of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia. And Leftists took this news with their usual maturity and introspection.

That’s right. They pretended the report didn’t exist.

Normally, I might pass this off as partisan wishful thinking on the Trump supporters’ parts, but other news reports prior to the NBC report adds weight to the notion Robert Mueller’s investigation is going to come up emptier than a Sandra Fluke campaign rally.

“But what about all the indictments of Trump campaign personnel?” Leftists scream. The indictments by themselves lead to the conclusion the President surrounds himself with bad actors, and it should be pointed out the indictments were for matters not related to Trump’s 2016 campaign. Put another way, it’s like trying to throw out a murder trial because the prosecutor had an overdue library book in the 3rd grade.

To any Leftists reading this (or having this read to you), we need to have a serious talk about this whole situation. All the fantasies you have about undoing the 2016 Presidential Election aren’t healthy, and they’re hurting you on several fronts. Just because you can point your fingers at some of Trump’s inner circle as being corrupt doesn’t mean Trump is corrupt. That’s call guilt by association, and it really doesn’t fly in criminal, civil, or even political court, i.e. impeachment. It means he’s a lousy judge of character, which isn’t an impeachable offense, nor is it illegal. It’s the deeds that make one guilty.

Obstruction of justice? Sorry, but that one won’t stick because of the fact Mueller still has an investigation pending. Not to mention, Trump could fire Mueller at any time for any reason, but has stayed his hand. If he wanted to, he could have appointed any pro-Trump stooge to head up the investigation and gotten further in less time.

Treason? Last time I checked (and according to the President before Trump) Russia was an ally of ours. Not a good one, I grant you, but an ally nonetheless. Sharing intel with allies isn’t uncommon, kids. On top of that, sharing polling data that the Russians could have gotten from, say, anywhere on the Internet simply by typing in a few keywords isn’t illegal, nor is it all that troubling.

Destruction of evidence? That one has the outside chance of sticking, but the key will be whether it can be proven Trump did it or ordered it done. And you might want to tread lightly if you want to go with this charge, considering his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton is accused (and probably guilty) of destroying evidence using the same legal framework you want to use against Trump.

Once you get beyond these three arguments, there isn’t much there to justify impeachment, let alone continuing the Mueller investigation, and it doesn’t look like there are going to be any more bombshells to come out of anything. It’s time to face what I had to face back in the 1990s with Kenneth Starr: you pinned your hopes on a man who was destined to fail. In Starr’s case, it was because he was dealing with some of the most dishonest politicians ever to sully the White House. In Mueller’s case, it is because there isn’t enough evidence to even fabricate anything that looks even remotely like criminal conspiracy. And no amount of repeating squawking points from either side will change the outcome.

You Leftists are going to be angry at Mueller for failing to topple Trump, but he doesn’t deserve your wrath and scorn. Who does? The FBI, James Comey, the mainstream media who has pushed this narrative, those who decided to run with the Steele Dossier that has been discredited to the point of being useless, just to name a few. But you also need to take a little responsibility for the situation getting to where it is today. There are plenty of reasons not to like Donald Trump, but investing so much on so little evidence is folly at best. You were duped by your own ideological biases, so it’s best to own up to them now instead of writing another poorly-sourced tweet or angry blog post about how Mueller was in Trump’s back pocket all along.

Or maybe you can go back to protesting. That seems to have worked well, right?

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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In a world of information, we seem to have access to all sorts of facts. Or at least, information we’re told are facts. Global climate change is a fact, according to some. The reporting on MAGA hat wearing teenagers in Washington, DC, was factual…kinda. Even CNN, the self-professed leader in cable news, tells us they’re committed to facts, even when they get facts horribly wrong. Many times, they’re too busy confusing their apples with bananas.

For centuries, philosophers have tried to determine what truth is, and Man has continued to question it in today’s landscape of 24 news programs, reporters as Leftist stenographers, and Internet and real life hoaxes becoming major stories. Do we even know what facts are anymore?

No, but at least there’s a topic for a Leftist Lexicon!

facts

What the Left thinks it means – information that supports the truth

What it really means – information that the Left thinks supports their truth, but doesn’t always

When it comes to facts, the Left isn’t always on speaking terms with them. Sure, they say they’re the “Party of Science” and “truth has a liberal bias,” but when science and truth clash with their ideology, more often than not they either pretend it doesn’t exist or find ways to talk around it.

Take abortion, for example. The Left denies a fetus is a human being, even though medical science confirms it. Instead, the Left calls the fetus a “clump of cells.” The funny thing is that description applies to pretty much every human being on the planet. And if the fetus isn’t human, what is it? A dog? A 1971 Dodge Charger in pristine condition? (Actually, if it were a 71 Charger, I’d be ecstatic.) In spite of the science, the Left wants to treat the fetus differently than, say, an endangered animal. Remember, some of these same Leftists who treat fetuses as clumps of cells got their collectivist panties in a wad over Donald Trump’s sons killing animals on safari.

Anybody want to try to square that circle?

The bedrock principle of a fact is that it’s based on what is, not what we want it to be. No matter how many flat earthers say the planet is as flat as a crepe sat on by Rosie O’Donnell, the planet is still roundish. A problem arises when dealing with humans, though. See, humans are about as logical as letting Ted Kennedy be the designated driver. (Because, well, he’s dead.) We bring our own baggage, blind spots, and ideological bents to any observable event, and that can make facts a little murkier than they should be.

I mentioned the Covington Catholic school kids in passing earlier, and this single event became the epicenter of a battle for truth. Even with a full video showing what happened, people took sides on what the facts of the case were to the point of inventing new narratives not based on the facts in play. Without even saying a word, one of the students was branded a racist, merely for wearing a red MAGA hat, which the Left says other racists have worn in support of Trump (who also happens to be a racist to the Left because he makes overt racism okay again, or something). Not only that, but a case of mistaken identity lead to death threats against the family of a student who wasn’t even there. Slight bit of an oops there, kids.

But these types of things are to be expected when we let emotions dictate what the facts are. Unfortunately, we’re in an age where emotions and perceptions create the factual baseline for our opinions, where “hot takes” that prove to be wrong are commonplace, and we emote first and ask questions never. It’s almost as if we feel we have to rush to tweet something without checking it out first because we get a thrill out of it or it gives us attention, which feeds our egos. Meanwhile, facts seem to be getting mugged in dark alleyways while pseudo-facts have become the gospel of the land.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The first key to dealing in facts is to patiently gather information from multiple sources. Over time, you’ll figure out which sources can be trusted and which are the factual equivalent of junk food. Looking right at you, BuzzFeed. By the way, Gawker called and they don’t want their business model back, so it’s yours to keep…at least until you get sued into oblivion.

Once you have determined what sources to trust, keep checking them. Just because you trust them doesn’t make them infallible. And check everything you see, read, and hear against a little thing the kids call Occam’s Razor. Simply put, Occam’s Razor states the simplest answer is usually the right one. Throw in a bit of Sherlock Holmes-style deduction (which is pretty much Occam’s Razor with a twist of acknowledging the possibility of an improbable answer being correct), and you have your network of facts.

And on a side note, don’t trust any fact checking websites without visiting them. Most of them are partisan garbage and will insult your intelligence. If they have to tell you they’re fact checkers, they’re peddling themselves, not the truth. (Insert obligatory Bill Clinton/Anthony Weiner/Pee Wee Herman joke here.)

The most important thing to remember when fact checking on your own is to be patient. Very rarely will the truth appear to you with flashing neon lights with arrows pointing towards it. That’s only happened to me once or twice in my life and I think it was the NyQuil more than anything else that made it happen. Anyway, don’t jump on a bandwagon of information because someone else is doing it. The truth takes time to uncover, and a delayed factual response is better than a quick flawed one.

Just ask Gawker. Oh, wait…

Shut Up About the Shutdown

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As we enter another week of the government shutdown, I’ve noticed more and more talk about it and its potential impact to our economy and to the furloughed government workers and service members and their families. Since we haven’t devolved into Thunderdome yet, I’m thinking we’re doing okay, but the media seem ultra concerned about the shutdown as though we’re one story away from total anarchy.

As both a freedom-loving individual and a lower middle class wage earner, I see both sides of the equation. On the one hand, living paycheck to paycheck is subsistence, not living. On the other hand, not having government worm its way into my life (and my wallet) as much is a good thing. Somewhere in between, there is a happy medium.

But since we have toddlers in Congress, we can’t have that. Republicans blame Democrats for not agreeing to $5 billion to fund a wall/barrier/fence/garden wall that President Donald Trump wants. Democrats blame Republicans for not doing anything about it when they had control of the House and Senate. Trump is blaming Democrats for not wanting to come to the table about the wall, after saying he would take full responsibility for shutting down the government.

Is anyone else tired of the shutdown talk?

Yes, I see the irony of writing a blog post talking about not wanting to talk about the shutdown, but the point is still the same. People are tired of the back and forth between sides that don’t want to be the first to blink. Take ideology off the table for a moment, folks, and look at what the core of the matter is. It’s not national security. It’s not amnesty. It’s not separating families or curtailing crimes committed by illegal immigrants. It’s not an allegedly racist President wanting to stroke his ego or a Congress whose approval ratings are lower than a snail’s belt buckle.

It’s about a wall. Period.

All of this macho posturing over a damn wall that won’t mean a thing unless there’s real change in the way we address illegal immigration. And, spoiler alert, only one side of this shutdown debacle is even talking about matters beyond a wall, and rarely at that. Meanwhile, the other side has members who want ICE abolished because reasons. Actually, they want ICE abolished because doing so allows more illegals into the country…to vote for Leftist candidates.

Put simply, the wall is a metaphor for the political aspirations of two sides who really don’t give a damn about us, but they care enough to shill for our votes and take our campaign donations. It’s political theater where you pay out the nose for a bag of popcorn and watch the crappiness play out. Wait. That’s the current movie-going experience. Nevermind!

You know what might stop the posturing and jockeying for position? If we stop paying attention to it. Fire doesn’t last if it’s deprived of oxygen, and so do political shenanigans like the shutdown/wall controversy. There are a lot better things out there to be spending time on than rehashing the same tired arguments about why we need/don’t need a wall. Like, and I’m just throwing this out there, reading a thoughtful, occasionally humorous, and well-written blog like mine. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing…

State of The Onion, or Journalism Dies in Dumbness

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journalism as it’s being practiced today. There are some who excel at their profession, but there are far more who stink up the profession. (I’m looking right at you, Jim Acosta.)

Since we’re getting close to the State of the Union Address, I figured I’d give my own twist on it focusing on the state of journalism today.

Hey, media knuckleheads. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting someone to insult you right out of the gate like that because you’re important, but let me tell you something. You’re not as important as you think you are. If anything, you’re becoming more and more irrelevant by the day.

And it’s not a new phenomenon, either. For eight years, you rolled over like faithful lapdogs at everything President Barack Obama said or did and held him about as accountable as Massachusetts held Ted Kennedy. Now that there is a Republican in the Oval Office, and one that you find particularly nasty, you act like the watchdogs and guard dogs you claim you’ve always been. That notion may fly with your fellow talking airheads, but not with me. You have let your personal opinions poison your profession. Well, that, and you’re pretty much dunderheads.

By this time, you’re probably ready to write scathing responses to my statements. Good. It will give me much to laugh at while you fume. As brave as you think you are, it takes no courage to stand up against someone you hate. It takes courage to stand up against someone you love. And, yes, I know you’re fond of saying you don’t take sides, but you do.

Just take at look at how you’ve covered the border crisis. If your reporting were more ham-fisted, it wouldn’t be kosher or halal. And before you get indignant, let me point out you were caught trying to pass off photos from 2014 as photos from last year. And who was President in 2014? Why, it was Barack Obama! You know, the President you fawned over like women at an Ed Sherran concert while he was implicated in crimes and general incompetence that you should have reported? Please, go on about how you’re the real deal when you spent time covering Obama’s NCAA Final Four picks.

That’s one of the reasons people don’t trust you to report the facts: you’re dishonest. If you tell lies enough times and get caught, people stop listening to you. And, news flash kids, fewer and fewer people are listening to you for that very reason. Granted, some might stop listening because you’re not telling them the truth they want to hear, but most people stopped listening when they realized you lied about something meaningful to them. When the people charged with telling the truth get caught in lie after lie over trivial matters, they tend not to listen when the real news hits.

I know why you lie, and it’s not hard to figure out. You let your desire for fame, ideological purity, and egos get in the way of your job. You’re basically like Congress, only you have to pay your own bar tabs. You think you’re one story away from being the next Woodward and Bernstein, but you’re closer to Joanne and Leonard than you are to Bob and Carl. A huge part of that is you went into journalism for the wrong reasons. Journalists are not supposed to be the centers of attention on a story, or ever for that matter, because they are supposed to work behind the scenes to keep those in power in check. When you trade in the role of watchmen for that of media darling, it gets harder to keep the powerful on their toes because you think you become one of them. They will let you into their circles and talk you up, but only so long as they think you’re useful to them in some capacity. And no matter what kind of crap they do to you, you will go along with it because you like being noticed. But know this. They won’t lift a finger to help you if you can no longer help them. To them, you are just the hired help.

So, why keep doing it? Do you like to be treated worse than Louis Farrakhan at a bar mitzvah? Are you still struggling with self-image issues from high school because you weren’t one of the “cool kids”? Or are you so delusional as to think you can be the one to become one of the elite? Whatever it is, it’s not working. You are writing checks your egos can’t cash, and justifiably so. Whatever worth you once had is waning, and you’re stuck looking for answers.

Here’s a helpful hint from your ole pal Thomas. Instead of chasing celebrity, chase leads. And, no, whatever Beyonce and Jay Z are doing/wearing/hawking. Do some real reporting for a change. If you think there’s something to the Trump Russia story, do some digging and figure out where the bodies are buried, regardless of whether you agree with the outcome. There are some things more important than being allowed into exclusive parties, and one of those things is the truth. The reason Donald Trump keeps outmaneuvering your best efforts to bring him down is because he’s spent enough time around you to know your habits. Break those habits and hit the beat for a change, and you’ll find out more information about him and his political fans than you ever could by attending elegant dinner parties with celebrities and collectively looking your nose down at the rest of the country, as you are wont to do.

And as far as your haughty attitudes, dump those, too. You’re not better than us because of where you work or who you cover. You’re basically history’s steno pool, and you’re not even doing that right (which is ironic given how concerned you are about being on the “right side of history.”) Try being on the right side of the factual divide for a change. Write stories with actual facts and actual sources, not the scuttlebutt you might hear around the office water cooler, and people might start trusting you again.

Something else that will go a long way with people is to honestly apologize for your screw-ups and show them you’re working to fix them. And, yes, that means being willing to show multiple sides of an issue. Even if you think that side is bat-crap crazy, you owe it to your audience to show us that side and let us make up our own minds. We may not have gone to Columbia Journalism School, but we’re not dullards. Okay, some of us may be dullards, but that doesn’t remove your responsibility to deal straight with us as people, not as mindless sheep.

In closing, the state of journalism today is sorrier than a televangelist getting caught using church funds to get hookers and blow. The only way to fix that is to get better at what you do, and that starts with you. You tell us you’re only reporting on what we want, but that’s not exactly true. You’re reporting what you want us to think we want. That power corrupts absolutely, and you’ve abused that power like Ike abused Tina. Don’t shape our opinions for us; let us shape them.

And put a muzzle on Acosta, would ya?

You Really Don’t Like Me! You Really, Really Don’t Like Me!

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Elizabeth Warren has been toying with the idea of running for President since at least 2016, but recently she announced in a cringe-worthy video she started an exploratory committee for 2020. This has media types asking the most important question they can think of.

Is Elizabeth Warren likeable?

Seriously. That’s the idea they’re going with, and Leftists are up in arms over it. To them, Warren is accomplished, articulate, intelligent, and many other things these same folks said Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Any criticism of her, legitimate or otherwise, is written off as sexist, racist, unintelligent. You know, the same things said when any criticism of Hillary was made in 2016 (and oddly enough descriptors that apply to her as well). Some have gone so far as to say asking if Warren is likeable or relatable is offensive.

Let me field this one. No, no it’s not. Politics is a game of style over substance, so likeability/relatability is a legitimate concern, and when it comes to it, Elizabeth Warren isn’t that likeable or relatable. She’s more awkward than John Kerry on a hunting trip. I’m not sure she’s up to Dukakis in a tank level yet, but the election season is still young. (On a side note, why are Presidential candidates from Massachusetts so bad? Must be something in the imported spring water….)

I will admit I am not a fan of Chief Running Mouth, mainly because of her creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which from personal experience has little to do with consumer protection and everything to do with financial bureaucracy. Since it’s existence, the CFPB has accomplished very little for consumers while raking in federal dollars to do the job they’re doing at a frozen snail’s pace. The only federal program who does less with more is Super Fund, but give the CFPB time and they’ll make Super Fund look thrifty.

But this tangent cuts into one of the reasons Warren isn’t likeable. She thinks she’s smarter than she actually is and her attitude reflects it. Watch her when she’s presiding over a Senate hearing or in an interview. She thinks she is the expert whenever a subject comes up for discussion, just like your typical Leftist. This may win her Leftist hearts and minds, but it can be off-putting to someone outside of the Leftist hivemind. And before you Leftists reading this say “You’re just intimidated by a strong, intelligent woman,” let me point out if that were the case, I wouldn’t be married to my wife. And, unlike Warren, she doesn’t need to show off how smart and capable she is.

Warren is having the same trouble Hillary did in 2016 in that she’s trying too hard to fit in. When that happens, people see right through it and it hurts the tryer’s credibility. This is especially true in the Midwest, where I’m from. We can spot a phony a mile away and tend not to give them a chance to burn us once, let alone twice. No matter how many corn dogs she can wolf down or how many visits she makes to the Iowa State Fair, she will be seen by enough as a phony.

If Elizabeth Warren does decide to throw her 1/1024 of a hat into the ring, the likeability issue will need to be addressed. Instead of trying to tiptoe around it or dismiss it out of hand, let me give you a piece of advice: be honest with us. I know you think you are, but you’re not. Just come out and tell us what you want and let us decide if we’re in favor of your vision of the country. Trying to appeal to different groups and failing only makes you look foolish.

But if you want to stay on the course you’re on, at least make it an entertaining dumpster fire! Sure, you’ll go down in flames like the Hindenburg, but at least you’ll bring joy to millions of Americans like me and you’ll be liked for being brave (if you’ll pardon the expression) enough to take this tack and crazy enough to have agreed to it in the first place. Ross Perot and Ron Paul tapped into this and they’re still beloved today.

You’ll thank me later.

Your Move, Leftists

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It’s the start of a new Congressional term, and before you can say “We elected who?” Democrats are already racing to file articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Why, it’s almost as if they were going to do that anyway once they got control of the House of Representatives again!

Actually, this wasn’t much of a surprise, given how the Left has wanted to impeach Trump for everything from having two scoops of ice cream to alleged ties with Russia. What may be a surprise is my response to these House Democrats.

Go for it.

No, I haven’t gone back to being a Leftist, nor do I hate President Trump. The latter requires too much effort, and the former is impossible because I don’t think I can fit my head up my ass anymore. Instead, I want Leftists to go all in on impeaching Trump because it will be a spectacular failure on several fronts.

First, let’s look at the political aspects of a Trump impeachment, since impeachment is a political action. The Democrats came into power in part because Republicans didn’t seem to fight as hard for their offices as their Democrat rivals did. In other cases, Democrats ran unopposed, such as with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If the Democrats and Leftists see the 2018 midterm election as a mandate to impeach Trump, I would beg to differ. Sure, the possibility of impeaching Trump was high on Leftist voters’ priority lists, but outside of that group, I don’t think there’s enough of a drive to follow through on such a promise.

What do non-Leftists think is important? As James Carville once famously opined, “It’s the economy, stupid.” People are more focused on their pocketbooks rather than the political kabuki theater of a Trump impeachment because the latter doesn’t matter to them as much. Public opinion and approval ratings aside, most people do not care what Trump does or doesn’t do because it doesn’t affect them financially or because they’re tired of hearing about it. And who might be responsible for the latter? Maybe it’s the Leftists screaming for Trump’s impeachment non-stop? Ponder that for a second.

Democrats can’t be seen as the Party of Impeachment right now. Their focus needs to be on the economy where they may be able to convince Trump voters and Independents that they have a plan to make the economy better. Out of all the Democrats talking, most are silent or shouting about impeachment. That leaves the aforementioned Ocasio-Cortez as the Democrats’ economic wonk, and if you’ve seen her talk about it, it’s clear she doesn’t have a clue even with an economics degree.

Then, there’s the legal side to consider. The standard for impeachment is high crimes or misdemeanors, which covers any crimes a President might commit. The problem Democrats face is the seeming lack of criminal activity. What we have is a bunch of accusations of shady dealings without much along the lines of evidence. Also, we have to take the timeframe of these alleged crimes into account. Collusion with Russia? Happened prior to Trump becoming President. Lying? Unless it’s under oath or in a Congressional hearing, it’s not a crime. Getting rich because of his office? I’m going to need some proof of that. His advisors got indicted, so Trump must have known? So far, none of Trump’s advisors have been linked to direct criminal activity related to his Presidency, and remember this is the same President Trump you claim is so dumb, but yet he’s a criminal mastermind behind the most feverish of Leftist fever dreams. You’d be better off hoping for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.

From a numbers standpoint, the House could vote to impeach Trump if all Representatives voted along party lines. That may be a bigger assumption than the Left wants to admit. With 2020 right around the corner, a good chunk of Representatives from both major parties will be up for reelection, which means these folks have to pay attention to what their constituents want or need. And in those districts where Trump remains popular, a vote to impeach (especially without hard evidence) is a one-way ticket to unemployment. And we’re not even getting into the Senate, controlled by Republicans. Any impeachment efforts are going to run into resistance from Senate Republicans, who most likely won’t break with the President or his party. Sooooo…what’s the Plan B, kids?

That’s just it. They don’t have a Plan B. It’s either impeach Trump…or keep trying to impeach him until something sticks. In other words, they were like House Republicans in the 1990s, only with less of a legal leg to stand on. Which is precisely why I want Democrats to go ahead with impeachment. The more they focus on the task of removing Donald Trump, the less likely it is they will move ahead with their real agenda.

That’s a win-win in my book.