Wither today’s over-hyped unrest?

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A close friend recently observed that the national media – print and visual – by and large have taken the USA’s public down an all-but-inescapable rabbit hole of deception and self-serving hatred of the opposition. Violence from the left is on the uptick. Decorum and good taste are on the wane. Humor isn’t funny anymore. And everybody is fair game when it comes to name-calling and head bashing.

“Can you even fathom what the next presidential election is going to be like?” my friend wrote. “No matter who wins, it’s going to be all impeachment all the time. The only variable will be which media outlet(s) will be covering it. Man, I never knew a nation could go downhill so far so fast.”

Indeed, we are a divided nation — not so much because of our ideological differences. Our division is skin-deep, emotional, rooted in unsubstantiated opinions (aka donkey scat) and given legs by those who believe what they want to believe, and the facts be damned.

Blame the schism on several factors:

Social media, particularly the cell phone and the iPad, have fueled the ripple effect of lies and made-up “truths.”

Camera-hog politicians simply spit out the latest hate speech against President Trump without taking the time and effort to identify real problems and their root causes.

Our so-called news organizations — particularly in the television industry — are unable or unwilling to exercise good news judgment and stop airing the senseless flash points that continue to divide us further. Instead of focusing on solutions, the messengers continue to trumpet the problems, whether those problems have merit or not. (Television cameras at the White House briefings? Oh yeah, that’s a life-or-death issue.)

Back in the day, if somebody filed a lawsuit, newspaper editors usually turned an unseeing eye. Lawsuits were not news. Why? Because ANYbody can file a lawsuit — and to do so is not necessarily newsworthy. Such activity would not get ink and be reported at least until the lawsuit reached a courtroom, where the charges would be aired publicly, and the defendant remained innocent until proven guilty.

But today, every time some bozo passes gas in the wind, he gets 10 minutes of face time on TV.

The public has allowed itself to be brainwashed, resulting in too many of us believing that we are sheep, willingly being led by the go-getters in Washington who apparently control every facet of our lives — a belief that could not be further from the truth.

Too many of those saddled with responsibility and who exercise lawful control have put God in the back seat, or have kicked Him out the door altogether as we speed along toward implosion.

And we continue to treat the mentally handicapped as equals in our society, free to roam our streets and drive on our highways, causing mayhem and death. Instead, they should be institutionalized and attired mentally and emotionally in ways that will prevent them from hurting themselves and others.

We’ll get through this era of revolutionary malcontent. We always do. We’ve got the right guy at the top of the pyramid to get ‘er done. All we have to do is keep showing up at the ballot box and the public rallies to support him. Meanwhile, it behooves us to continue working outside the purview of the TV cameras to restore law and order at the community level on the left and the right coasts, and in the contrarian communities in between.

Oh, Maxine! Please sit down and shut up

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U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters was rather unkind in her remarks about federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson during a speech in New Orleans last Saturday.

Waters claimed that Carson “doesn’t care about people in public housing.”

Carson “knows nothing about the mission of HUD,” the California Democrat said in a speech at the Essence Festival in The Big Easy. “He doesn’t care about people in public housing. He believes that if you are poor, it is your own fault. And he doesn’t know the difference between an immigrant and a slave.”

Waters was reflecting on Carson’s remarks to an assembly of HUD employees in March, during which he referred to slaves brought to America as “immigrants.” 

“That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson  said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”

Technically speaking, Carson is correct — the pre-Revolution era slaves were involuntary immigrants. Even President Obama made similar comments when he was in office.

Carson also said in May that “poverty is a state of mind.”

“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while, they’ll be right back up there,” he said in a SiriusXM radio interview. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, (and) they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

Waters is a career politician who comes from humble roots and today represents south-central Los Angeles. She warned Carson that she would be tough on him when he testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services. She is the ranking member of that committee, by virtue of her seniority, not her IQ. Waters’ first two-year term in the House began in 1991. She quickly became a firebrand for the Democratic Caucus.

The soft-spoken Carson is an internationally respected neurosurgeon, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he has been awarded more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees. He is both well-informed and articulate.

But, Waters declared, if Carson “thinks that I am going to give him a pass, I am going to take his ass apart.”

Wonder if she would ever say that to Carson’s face? Perhaps the nation would be better off if Maxine just took her own ass home and stayed there.

More wasted effort, overly inflated reporting

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All the irresponsible chatter of late about moves to impeach President Donald Trump is just that – meaningless horse hockey designed to distract U.S. voters from the national issues that matter.

On Friday, we learned of a modified tactic to unseat Trump, a Republican. Yahoo News reported that 25 U.S. House Democrats are now pushing an equally radical alternative: They are backing a bill to create a congressional “oversight” commission that could declare the president incapacitated, leading to his removal from office under the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment.

The bill is being championed by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who reportedly is a former constitutional law professor. Raskin points to some obscure language in Section 4 of the 25th Amendment that permits “such other body as Congress may by law provide” — along with the vice president — the means to reach the same conclusion. It’s impeachment by a lesser name.

Specifically, Raskin’s measure calls for creating a nonpartisan “Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity” appointed by congressional leaders. (Yeah, good luck with that.) The commission would be composed of four physicians, four psychiatrists and three others — such as former presidents, vice presidents or other one-time senior federal officials. The commission could be empowered to conduct an examination of the nation’s chief executive “to determine whether the president is incapacitated, either mentally or physically.”

Heck, Congress these days can’t even fashion a consensus on the big issues, let alone on some contrarian’s move to bring down a president who, at most, is guilty of name-calling and verbal mud-wrestling.

How threatening is this attempt to effect an oversight commission? Not very. Keep in mind that the U.S. House seats 435 elected representatives. Now do the math: 25 of them comprise a super-minority of one-half of 1 percent. So, where are we going with this “initiative”? Hopefully, nowhere but the trash can.

As to the prospect of impeachment, a successful move to do so in the U.S. House would require at least 218 “yes” votes – a simple majority. Then the decision would go to the U.S. Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required. That’s 67 of 100 senators voting yes to impeach. It’s just not going to happen.

Is President Trump guilty of criminal wrongdoing. Nope.

Has he “committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” as spelled out in the 25th Amendment? Again, nope.

Has he tweeted and uttered some obtuse and insulting barbs against other public figures? Yup, but those are not impeachable offenses any more than a lack of decorum is grounds for a good ol’ hanging.

So, let’s applaud our Washington representatives who’ve kept their eyes on the road ahead and their hands on the wheel. More importantly, let’s push, pull and prod the killjoy representatives to stop all the senseless frivolity and get on with what we elected them to do.

And that is, to pass legislation that improves our collective standing, to restore the nation’s exceptionalism that is running a couple of quarts low, and – by all that is legally salubrious and fortuitous — to reinstate the faith we once had in ourselves.

Investigators should cast a wider net

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We continue to hear the political pundits rant about the need for today’s congressional investigating committees and special prosecutor Robert Mueller to subpoena former president Barack Obama if we – the USA’s voters — want to get to the bottom of the “Russian concussion.”

(Most of us don’t care one way or another about the outcome of this Democrat-fueled sideshow. It has been determined that the Russians, or their hacking proxies, had no influence on the outcome of last November’s presidential election.)

Nevertheless, the question remains: Are the inquisitors aiming too high?

Why not first go after Valerie Jarrett, 60, who served as Obama’s senior adviser and assistant for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs? Jarrett would be the likely insider who knows all the details.

Of course, being a lawyer (University of Michigan law school), Jarrett would pull every toy out of her legal bag of tricks to not comply with any subpoena.

But wouldn’t it be fun to watch her act unfold in one of the side rings of what we have come to know as Washington’s three-ring circus?

Cake lawsuit wastes more public money

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As for a man-couple filing a discrimination lawsuit against a north-central Colorado baker, let them eat cake – one of their own making, or one baked in the ever-more-bold rainbow community.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear an appeal from Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who sued cake-maker Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop of Lakewood, Colo. During the summer of 2012, Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Craig and Mullins, citing his objection to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. The Craig-Mullins lawsuit went up the legal ladder from there.

The liberal Colorado Court of Appeals eventually affirmed a state Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to create cakes that celebrate same-sex ceremonies and required Phillips to comply with Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act by re-educating his staff (which includes members of his own family) and filing quarterly “compliance” reports for two years.

Even though Phillips has lost every legal skirmish so far, he has not given up. Hence, his appeal to the highest court in the land.

“I’ll sell anyone any cake I’ve got,” he wrote last year in a letter to The Denver Post. “But I won’t design a cake that promotes something that conflicts with the Bible’s teachings. And that rule applies to far more than cakes celebrating same-sex marriages. I also won’t use my talents to celebrate Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency.”

Phillips might have avoided the initial lawsuit and the resulting fallout it has generated if he had simply told the two roosters that his bakery had run out of flour and would not be getting resupplied in time to bake the desired cake.

All joking aside, the plaintiffs’ every litigated step along the way appears to have violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights and his prerogative to operate his business as he sees fit in a free-market republic. Once again, spineless “political correctness” has overwhelmed reasonable good sense, good government and good behavior in a Jeffersonian democracy.

Meanwhile, the Craig-Mullins demand to be treated equally under the law easily could have been satisfied if they had just found another store that would have baked their cake. They might have found a sympathetic baker in the Cap Hill area of Denver. After all, the Mile High city — a mere 8 miles away by car from Lakewood — is reputed to be home to the seventh-largest LGBT population in the nation.

Instead, the unhappy “couple” retained a lawyer and wound up costing the U.S. taxpayer a bundle of time and money in the court system because of a frivolous lawsuit.

Hopefully the high court in Washington will reach a swift decision. Hopefully, in reaching their decision, our supreme justices will not try to overstep the authority of the High Court in the Hereafter.

Worth repeating …

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In 2009, the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger published a letter to the editor as an open letter to President Barack Obama. The letter was written by Dr. Roger Starner Jones, who addressed then-pending federal health-care legislation. The comments by Dr. Jones are just as valid now as they were then.

Jones is a physician who specializes in emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a 722-bed facility in Jackson. His letter was printed under the title “Why Pay for the Care of the Careless?”

Before you cast aspersions on Dr. Jones as having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, consider his background. He grew up in a lower middle-class, single-parent home in the rural hill country of Pontotoc, Miss. While attending public schools, he paid attention in class and did his homework. He ran with the right crowd and stayed out of trouble. His dedication in school resulted in a full-ride scholarship to the prestigious University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. After college, Jones set out for medical school, with everything he owned in three bags. The rest is history.

Once again, Dr. Jones’ letter-writing story teaches us that motivation, not entitlement, is the key to personal success and happiness in life. Here is what he wrote to the Clarion Ledger:

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted ​on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ring tone.

While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care?

I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage  of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of  culture” — a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me.”

Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health​-care difficulties will disappear.

Respectfully,
STARNER JONES, MD

The student reading list that exploded

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Popular author Winston Groom’s character, Mama Gump, schooled her son, Forrest, to get over his self-conscious thoughts about his own mental ability, telling Forrest that “stupid is as stupid does.”

The fictional Forrest Gump blossomed.

But apparently the lesson was lost on Baldwin County (Ala.) school superintendent Eddie Tyler and the county’s board of education. They overreacted when Spanish Fort High School teacher Gene Ponder posted a list of books by conservative and libertarian authors. The idea was that each of his Advanced Placement government and economics students could read just one book off the list over the summer to earn extra academic points.

As he has done for a decade, Ponder posted the list of books, and participation was voluntary.  The list included:

— Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation” by Ronald Reagan.
— “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” by Thomas Sowell.
— “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” by Mark Levin.
— “FairTax: The Truth” by Neal Bootz, John Linder and Rob Woodall.
— “God & Government” by Charles Colson.
— “48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned in School)” by Larry Schweikart.
— “Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America” by Ann Coulter.
— “Climate of Corruption: Politics & Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” by Larry Bell.

Within hours of Ponder listing the books, the complaints started trickling in. Why? Because the liberal left was not represented on the list. Never mind that the liberal point of view is well represented in today’s school textbooks. Forget that the national media is saturated with liberal viewpoints. Even locally, one critic reportedly called the conservative authors “terrifying.”

Seriously? Ronald Reagan – one of the most level-headed, efficient and popular presidents in U.S. history – terrifying? Thomas Sowell — terrifying? Sowell is one of this nation’s premier economists and social theorists. And so on.

Superintendent Tyler noted that Ponder’s reading list was not endorsed by the public-school system. Moreover, Tyler noted, Baldwin County’s system has a process in place to ensure that all reading lists are approved.

In this case, that smacks of political censorship.

This entire matter likely would not have earned public exposure if Tyler and the school board simply would have instructed Ponder to balance his original list by adding some published liberal authors. Saul Alinsky (“Rules for Radicals”) comes to mind. Or how about Mark and Paul Engler (“This Is an Uprising”). Or Michelle Alexander perhaps, who authored “The New Jim Crow.” Or Erica Chenoweth (“Why Civil Resistance Works”).

These last book titles should tell you why Ponder limited his list to books by authors who have earned wide respect and whose morals and principals follow in the footsteps of great leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Moreover, the big picture shows that while Baldwin County’s school leaders might be well educated, they seem to come up a quart low on common sense — choosing political correctness over reputable substance.

If a teacher’s job is to educate in a way that builds character, honesty, service, pursuit of the truth and a strong work ethic, then Ponder is doing his job. Unfortunately, dirty politics intervened. And dirty politics eventually will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

A final thought: Wonder if the critics would have come out of the woodwork and would have attracted a “corrective” school-system response if Ponder had posted a list of nothing but left-leaning liberal and socialist authors?

Listen to the rhythm of the words today

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Spin du jure – A tip of the ol’ green eyeshade to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who uttered an apt catch-phrase Wednesday night to describe the Democrats’ unrelenting and unsuccessful preoccupation with Russian interference and alleged high-level U.S. collusion in last November’s presidential election.

Conway called the failing seven months of inquiry the “Russian concussion.” Her comment came during her appearance on Sean Hannity’s FOX-TV talk show.

Conway said that the American electorate is not talking about Russia and its purported role (or lack thereof) in the election.

“You have the Democrats talking about Russia,” she said. “You have (President) Donald Trump and the Republicans talking about America. I’ll take America talk any day over Russia talk.”

Secret? Seriously? — Today, the “secret” is out. Yes, that’s what the mainstream media are calling the Republican plan in the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.

The Democrats have been whining for weeks about the GOP’s work behind closed doors to fashion the bill that already has been leaked to health-industry lobbyists, who then forwarded it to the Washington Post. Is nothing sacred in Washington?

The bill was kept under wraps because it was a work in progress. In the same way, an efficient police department will keep active investigations under wraps. In both cases, the authorities don’t want what’s at stake to be prematurely tried in the court of public opinion.

So, what’s new about keeping secrets on Capitol Hill? Absolutely nothing. The Democrats did the same thing when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi uttered her now infamous statement about the pending Affordable Care Act championed by Barack Obama in March 2010. That’s when she said: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

Keep her around a while – Speaking of Pelosi, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says the voters in California’s 12th District (San Francisco) need to re-elect her at least five more times to keep her around in the U.S. House for the next decade or so.

Gingrich, who appeared on national television Thursday morning, reasons that as long as Pelosi is in the mix, the Democratic initiatives in the House are doomed to failure. Also doomed to oblivion will be the war cry of the Democratic caucus to oppose everything Republican – not on its merits, but because it was spawned by the GOP.

Pelosi is a staunch critic of President Trump and is the firebrand voice of the Democratic caucus in the House. She and Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, have been at odds for years.

In 2008, Gingrich and Pelosi – who then was serving as Speaker of the House — appeared sitting together on a loveseat, making a public-service commercial that addressed the theory of climate change and global warming. Gingrich later said that making that TV ad with Pelosi was “probably the dumbest single thing I’ve done in recent years.”

Please think responsibly, then act accordingly

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Judging by the bucks flying around, you might have believed that a Trump-Clinton rerun was being replayed Tuesday in upstate Georgia. Perhaps it was — but that slant should not have been in the center ring of the political circus.

In Tuesday’s 6th District runoff for a U.S. House seat to represent suburban northwest Atlanta, Republican Karen Handel handily trumped novice Democratic rival Jon Ossoff. Handel (a former Georgia secretary of state) beat Ossoff (a self-described investigative filmmaker) by 52 percent to 48 percent — a margin of nearly 11,000 votes among the 250,000-plus ballots cast.

Most of the media latched onto the hook that the special election reflected the nation’s support (or lack thereof) for President Donald J. Trump, who defeated former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton last November. Indeed, the Handel-Ossoff contest was viewed that way because of the millions of dollars poured into the campaign from beyond the boundaries of the 6th congressional district. At $50 million donated to one side or the other, it was the most expensive political contest in Georgia’s history.

CNN’s report even trumpeted Handel’s victory as “denying Democrats their first major victory of the Donald Trump era.”

But isn’t that view just a little bit myopic? C’mon, you left-leaners. The Handel-Ossoff campaign was about the issues. And the majority of voters in House District 6 favored where Handel stands.

It’s time for reporters and editors alike to put aside the bitterness and acrimony that continue to dominate the fallout from the November election. It’s time to let the influence of social-media bias bite the dust. What the heck has happened to good news judgment? When will we once again read news reports on national politics that reflect not only the truth, but also accuracy and — most importantly — impartiality?

Handel spoke for many in the electorate during her victory speech, when she said voters in both red states and blue states “need to lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements. Because in these United States of America, no one — no one — should ever feel their life threatened over their political beliefs.”

So, let’s get to it, eh?

And one more thing: In the 6th District race, the pre-election polls  were wrong again. When will the media understand that polls are not news? Poll results do not reflect the broader populace. The results reflect only the opinions of those surveyed. The questionnaires can be “loaded” and/or incomplete, and the sampled areas can be gerrymandered to conform to an expected outcome.