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Please read this because hopefully it enlightens you as much as it did me.

Tonight, while watching the news, I became interested in something which, yes, led me to do some research and what I found is interesting and leaves to question…why is it being ignored. This article started me on my research and I encourage you to read it (https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyfoote/2014/08/16/coffee-and-the-press-of-migration/#1853004768dd)

When you consider the areas of central America where we are seeing a mass influx of migrants, starting in 2014, you have to consider a variety of things. Yes, this countries, especially compared to the United States, have poor economies. However, there are a lot of nations South of our border that have poor economies. Consider the protests that erupted today in Argentina. In that country they as facing massive inflation and a UN Monetary Fund loan recently has drawn the ire of the citizens. Consider Venezuela, whose massive inflation over the past few years has led to riots, police crack downs, and even violations of human rights. Yet, we don’t see massive influxes of migrants from these nations. It worthy to ask the question why, which the media seems incapable of doing.

Right now the influx is coming from Central America. Yes, again, the economies of these nations are subpar, yes there is massive corruption, and yes there is gang violence. However when you actually look at the studies, the areas of “gang violence” don’t actually see a massive amount of migrants leaving. Yes, the numbers are there, but when you consider the map, they are coming from more rural areas. I know the media narrative likes to focus on the “gang violence” which of course allows for them to argue asylum as a major attack on Border enforcement (they are coming to America seeking asylum from gang violence is the mantra you hear often), but the realities just don’t play out.

I was interested in something that got a lot of attention this week…the Time Magazine cover showing an unsympathetic looking Trump looking down on crying little girl. Come to find out it was misleading. Why? Because first of all the little girl was not separated from her mother, and in reality she was separated from her siblings and her father. The mother had been deported once, returned and tried again, this time taking her daughter with her. Interesting that that aspect of the story has been left out of the media narrative, but setting that aside, I was more interested in the father’s story. He admits that things could be better, but he placed the blame on the corruption within his government. He owns a fishing boat, says that he does well and provides for his family…and was taken aback by his wife’s actions. Now you can play a lot into that. Was he being totally honest? Was there a domestic violence issue not being addressed? If so, why take only one child?

All of this, the areas where the majority of these migrants are coming from within these countries, the narrative, and what know about these countries and this area of the world. And that led me to find some very interesting information and question why the media is not addressing this. It also led me to ask, if more people knew this would they take their current passions about the current “Separation of families” narrative and direct those passions towards ways to help.

When you grab that cup of coffee in the mornings do you consider where those grains came from or the global impact those grains have. When you look at the map of the current influx of migrants you see that the majority of them are coming from nations that supply massive amounts of coffee…where coffee is the one of the largest economic supports for these nations. Knowing this it led me to ask the question…what impact does coffee have on our current migration crisis? Well it is huge and why the media is not addressing this is worrisome because by doing so it could actually be, not a solution, but step towards helping these nations.

Right now a fungus called “La Roya” is having a major impact on coffee production through out Central America. It is a rust that that is infecting the plants and killing them and major crops. And, interestingly enough, when you look at the map of where this is happening, it almost mirrors that of the current migration.

These nations, these areas rely on coffee production, but it goes deeper than that. This fungus is killing crops, less crops means less labor working on those crops, and of course less labor means less money in pockets. When dealing with economics you have to look at larger pictures. The destruction of these crops have a much larger impact. It affects the surrounding communities that supplies goods and services. So if you have less labor, and by circumstance less money in pockets, it means people are not spending money in markets, restaurants, etc. The ripple affect is huge.

Yet the problem goes deeper than and this is where the condemnation comes in. Today when you stopped at Starbucks did you consider how Starbucks plays into the current migration problem? Well, you should because they have a major impact. Starbucks sells itself as a globally conscience corporation that pays above market prices for coffee, but does it really either? Starbucks purchases a huge amount of coffee from these regions and yes they are feeling the brunt of this fungus problem. Starbucks has infested $30 million to help fight the fungus, but that is merely a drop in the bucket of the help and support this region needs. You see, the money is going towards their growers, but it is not wide spread. It is not helping those laborers let go, it is not helping local communities being affected by this, and it is not going regional wide. Yes, hopefully in the long run it can help, but the amount needed to help these farmers, and amount that could be increased by Starbucks with some pressure, is immediate.

No, Starbucks is not the only coffee purchaser in this region, but they are the healthiest. They could broaden their assistance to other farmers in the region, they could combine efforts with other coffee purchasers from this area, but they aren’t. Why? Well, to be honest and cynical, its about the bottom dollar. Set aside the very liberal aspect of Starbucks (Or Google, Apple, Tesla, etc for that matter) they are still a corporation and like any corporation profits matter. Starbucks does sell itself as a liberal bastion, but by doing so they also avoid scrutiny. I’m not bashing Starbucks. They pay their employees well, they provide great health care packages, etc, but they are also a profit based corporation. Yes, for them the immediate cost benefit is to help their growers, but as a bastion of progressivism, one would think, and be wrong, that they would want to help everyone in the region.

Beyond that Starbucks and other large corporate coffee establishments sell the public on the idea of “Fair Trade Coffee.” The idea behind it is that they are paying above market prices, yet there are major downsides to this and those downsides can be traced to the current migration issue. I encourage you to actually read up on “Fair Trade Coffee” and the criticisms because it is very enlightening. Fair Trade Coffee is sold as an environmentally and economically focused “progressive” way of purchasing coffee from these regions, however studies done by MIT and other’s show it usually has the opposite effect. It limits production, it limits market for these farmers, and it actually has a detrimental impact on these coffee regions. One reason why is because it does not create a distribution of economic support in the regions…it is focused and does not resonate.

A great deal of this is because Fair Trade Coffee business is actually done by the corporations and traders/distributers. Again, a wide variety of studies show that a great deal of money between these two does not actually reach the farmers, and worse, which again helps to explain current migration, surrounding areas. Most corporations have a misbegotten belief that the money they are spending actually goes to where it is needed, but the fact is there is no way to no this. In fact, being cynical here, they could care less because it isn’t as much about the actual distribution of money but the idea that they can sell their product under the progressive mantra of “Fair Trade.” Yes, Starbucks and others occassionaly send representatives down to their traders and growers to check, but the results are usually hidden. Yes, Starbucks and others could do more to make sure the money does reach the farmers and surrounding areas, but they don’t, which is why places like MIT and others criticize the practice. Some farmers do avoid this by selling their coffee to 3rd parties to recoup some profits, but, yes, Starbucks and others have placed restrictions on this practice, going so far as implementing consequences as draconian as nixing these farmers from selling to their trading partners

Part of me understands this because I don’t see Starbucks as anything more than a corporation. I don’t allow myself to be blinded by the fact that they sell themselves as a Progressive company. Yes, I freely admit and commend them on their pay, their benefits, and even their activism (though I don’t always agree with where their activism entails), yet that does not blind me to the fact that they are a profit based corporation that can and do more, but don’t. Cynically I say it is based on the corporate model of greed that allows them to ignore realities that continues to allow them play the mantra of a “Progressive” corporation.

All of these started with me asking the question…what impact does coffee have on the current migration crisis? It lead me to research and it led me to realize that the impact is huge. So the question is why isn’t the media doing this. Why did it take me, some shmo watching the news and wondering about this area and knowing it’s importance in the coffee economy to learn all of this? Could it be because they are more interested in the issue and not the cause or the solution. Being cynical here, could it be that it would force them to place a focus on something other than Trump and instead place it one their morning routine and the impact it has on the very thing they are reporting.

The fact is, I would not have learned all this without actually finding articles and research done by reporters, colleges, and yes, NGOs, but it means nothing when the larger media, both on the Left and Right, ignore or, or are too damn lazy to actually investigate and find some truths.

I’m just informing you and if you have read to this point I hope that you actually direct some attention towards this. If you truly care about these migrants, then help push for solutions for them. That cup of coffee you had this morning has an impact and it does relate to what is happening in this country.

Soap Box Moment: I am so sick and damn tired of the media driven narrative on these issues. I am so sick and tired at the misbegotten idea that our daily lives and routines play no part in global realities. We are so damn wrapped up in our lives to actually see what our lives actually do to contribute to problems…problems that lead us to “outrage” and uncivil discourse. I’ll freely admit that I am guilty of this, but at least my willingness to question led me to a new understanding. It won’t stop me from drinking coffee in the morning, but at least I won’t be blind to the notion that that cup of coffee doesn’t play a larger role than just giving me a caffeine jolt. And yes, I will be writing to Starbucks today asking them to do more.

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Hatred

If you have chosen to click on the link I added on Facebook it means you are willing to read this post with an open mind and with a willingness to consider what is going on in this country with analytical thought. I chose not to post this on Facebook because I am going to deal with things with a lot of depth and clarity…in other words it is going to be a long as hell post.

Since the election of Trump I have seen the idea of civility devolve into something I consider very frightening. Since the election I have lost 17 friends on Facebook. These were people I worked with, was friends with in actual and not social media life, people whom I respected to, with some, levels of admiration. I viewed them as honest people, as caring people, and as intelligent people. That does not mean that because they unfriended me that they lack intelligence (though my ego would like to say that). What I mean by that was that there reasoning for “unfriending” me was based on the unwillingness to hear an opposing view. For a couple of them, just the mention of a counter argument was tantamount to me being something they know that I am not, but were willing to define me as such because I did not share their views.

Let me share a couple of examples. Not long ago there was a nationwide “outrage” moment when Trump removed the US from the Paris Accords on Climate Change. I had a friend who post a long diatribe about how wrong it was and of course bashing the president. I had no issue with that. I have always known that she is a Climate Change believer and her post made sense. However, in her post she mentioned that the Paris Accords had passed with overwhelming support and was doing so much good. However, the facts didn’t support that and I replied to her post. I mentioned, and actually sited, comments from Democrats including Chuck Schumer who apposed the Accords. I also mentioned the fact that the Accords were considered an abject failure by many because it allowed China and India to continue to produce harmful waste for a long period of time, which made zero sense because China today is one of the largest polluters and in fact leads the world in marine pollution. In other words, if the purpose was to help the environment it does exactly do that for a long time as long as it allows developing nations to continue to pollute the world. I was in no way arguing with her, I simply pointed out facts. Well, that was enough. Her reply to me was, “I am sick and tired of you fucking Climate deniers” and I was unfriended.

Another example actually came from a family member, my Aunt to be exact. I posted about the flawed logic of Bernie Sanders. I mentioned that the idea of “free college” is wrong headed because in all of his rhetoric he continues to fail to go after the real culprit in high tuition…the colleges themselves. In other words, I failed to see how the US paying for everyone’s college works for the American tax payer when the colleges are allowed to continue to hike up tuition rates. Think about that for a second: The US pays for Sally to go to college. It costs the US taxpayer $11,000 her Freshman year, but come Senior year we are now paying $14,000 for Sally to go to school. How does that help the tax payer? In the post I mentioned that I hated Bernie Sanders because he sells people on ideas but fails to point out realities…and worse, when those realities are mentioned, he ignores them and continues spouting off fiction. My Aunt, based on what she wrote, ignored the entire post and said, “The only thing that stood out was you saying you hate Bernie Sanders. I can no longer be exposed to your posts” and I was unfriended.

And that explains my “intelligence” remark. I am in no way bashing either of them. However, the lack of intelligence pissed me off. Wait…I’m a climate denier because I disagree with the Paris Accords? Wait, when did I ever ask you to read my posts. I have a lot of friends who I know 99.9% of the time ignore my posts. So just the simple fact that I post them was tantamount to “harmful exposure?”

I’ve said this many times and I will continue saying it until I am blue in the face, I don’t care who the president is, whenever I see something I disagree with, something the facts just don’t support, I am going to post about it. And, I’m sorry, but since the election of Trump, there has been a lot of shit for me to comment on because the media has just been completely and totally dishonest in it’s reporting. And because of that I believe it has helped to generate hatred in the United States to a degree I have never seen before. To a degree where it makes rational people, people whom I have a great deal of respect for, come off as completely irrational and, totally against who I believe they are, hateful.

This week I had a friend, who I consider probably one of the most caring people in my circle of friends, post about the border crisis. In her post she said, “if you don’t agree with me I want you to unfriend me because I don’t want you in my life.” Really? Where’s  the logic in a statement like that. So that friend who has always supported you and been by your side is no longer worthy of your friendship because they disagree with you? What happened to you? What turned you into this person? The election of someone you dislike?

I truly disliked Obama. I did. There were fundamental reasons for my dislike of him. I felt that during his presidency there were enough scandals (Fast and Furious, VA, IRS, Benghazi, etc.) that would have drawn the full brunt of media attention had say any of those things happened under Bush. However, that is not what upset me. Every President has scandal, it’s just part of the deal. When you have a government as big as ours even the best presidents have not been free from scandal…most of which they probably knew nothing about, but it happened under their watch. What upset me was the fact that the media ignored them, and because of that NO ONE was ever held responsible or accountable for the actions that caused those scandals. Worse, it allowed Obama to blow each and everyone of them off as if they didn’t matter, as if they were some Republican generated conspiracy. That is not ok when it cost people their lives, when it destroyed people, when it decimated families.

For example.  I will not go into the details of Fast and Furious, but during an interview a reporter for 60 minutes asked Obama when he learned about Fast and Furious and he replied, “Via news reports.” In other words, during the almost two years of the program Obama denied any knowledge of it until the media reported on it when a whistle blower exposed it. Fine, give him the benefit of the doubt. Less than a month after that statement though, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress. By doing so, it allowed the Congress to conduct a full fledged investigation, yet it was shut down, by Obama. How? He stated that all the records pertaining to Fast and Furious were covered under Executive Priviledge. Wait a second…just a month prior he stated he had no idea about the program until he watched the news, but now the files pertaining to a 2 year program were classified under EP? The worse part is that the media never called him on it, never asked about it…they covered it up and moved on and did so while the family of Brian Terry, a Border Patrol officer killed by weapons used in the program, still have no answers.

During the course of Fast and Furious it is estimated that nearly 2,000 Mexican civilians, including children were killed by weapons allowed to cross the border by the Obama administration. Now imagine for a second that tomorrow we learned that Trump restarted that program and we learned that 2,000 Mexicans and a Border Patrol agent had been killed. Do you think for one second that it would not be 24/7 “outrage?”

I use the term “outrage” because that has been the emotion that seems to be the driving force for too many today. Whatever is the story of the day is it is followed immediately by outrage. It has gotten to the point where it is a machine. “Oh my god the First Lady wore high heels when getting onto a plane” and of course the outrage machine gets started. It ignores the fact that she did not wear those heels when she got off the plane…nope it was the “outrage” that dominated the news cycle and allowed the masses to get into a frenzy. It is fine to be upset about policies and actions of the President, but what we are seeing today goes far beyond that. It is hatred…purest of all forms of the word hatred. And worse it lacks rationality. It lacks common sense. Worse, it drips of hypocrisy.

I am not going to go into the border policy, however I am going to give an example of the “outrage” dripping with hypocrisy. When the Trump administration declared it’s new policy, pictures of children were being shared by the media. The pictures were sad. Little kids behind cages lying on thin green mats on the cold concrete floor. Immediately the “Outrage Machine” got primed, the talking heads, the Left, and the Democrats began sharing those images and wasted no time in bashing Trump and soon the masses were in a frenzy.  However, there was one problem, the pictures were from 2014…during the Obama Administration. And that there is where the hypocrisy was exposed.

Set aside for a second the Trump policy…it was the pictures shared that drew the outrage that deserves some focus because they truly exposed the hypocrisy of the media, the Left, the Democrats, and all those who are currently outraged. How? Because it proved that it’s not exactly the fact that children are in cages that they hate, it’s the fact that it is happening under Trump and the pictures proved that and they also proved the narrow minded nature of the “Outrage Machine.” Think it for a second, 4 years ago when those little kids were lying in those cages there was no one taking to the streets, no one was harassing the HHS Secretary while he ate dinner, no talk show hosts were starting their monologues with tear laden diatribes, no celebrity was out there saying the most vile things about Obama’s children of wife. Nope…none of it. Now the excuse that can be inserted here was that the media didn’t report on it, especially to any degree in which they are now. And that alone should tell you all you need to know about the “Outrage Machine.” They aren’t directing their outrage on the media that failed to do their jobs 4 years ago, or the Obama Administration, no…they get a pass…but why should they?

I am going to go out on a limb and say this and it is going to be harsh, but the “Outrage Machine” are nothing more than useful lemmings of the Media and Democrats. Let me explain before you pop your top. It’s fair to say that the media hates Trump, and it’s not a stretch of the imagination that the Democrats also hate Trump. It’s not hard to prove any of this. Right now, like it or not, our country is doing well. The economy is doing amazing, jobs and wages are up, unemployment is at historic lows, and best of all jobs are coming back to America. If this were any other president the media would spend hours talking about these things, but they don’t. It focuses on the negative and it does so with the most vile rhetoric that it can use. There is a purpose behind it…create hatred, bitterness, yep, outrage.  And they do so because it works for them. Yet, in doing so they are being dishonest or at least not being stewards of the news.

For example, lets take the border children. It is totally ok and right that people are upset about children being removed from parents. Fine. However, there are certain realities that the media refuses to address. For instance, the images themselves. These come from processing facilities, but the media calls them detention centers. If the media were being honest they would use the term “processing” because that is what they are. On an average day a kid entering a processing facility would be processed within 8-12 hours. The processing is important. It finds out who they are, where they are coming from, how old they really are, and yes, are they carrying any diseases. From there they are sent to a separate facility that is more like a boarding school. It is houses them in rooms, are feed, play, attend classes, etc. That is the average day. However, the problem is, which the media ignores is that there isn’t an average day. As of May over 52,000 illegals have been caught crossing the border. They are sent to these processing centers, and because of the numbers, instead of it taking 8-12 hours, it is taking 24-76 hours (sometimes even longer) to process these kids before they are moved the the other facilities.

The media likes to portray all those who cross the border as loving families just seeking a chance at a better life. I’ll say the majority of them are, however that is not the case for all of them. A lot of them are not the mothers and fathers of these children. There is a Washington Post article about the upsurge in kidnappings in Mexico. In 2014. 27,000 children were kidnapped in Mexico, that is 76 per day. One of the advocates mentions in the article that a lot of these children end up with coyotes who use them to get people across the border, as drug runners, or in the sex trade. Think about that. 27,000 kids taken off the streets of Mexico, a lot of them being used by coyotes, and advocates on the Left and Democrats are seriously suggesting that ICE just let all the families go? How is that more humane than holding them in processing centers, where they are fed, where we can find out who they are and what has happened to them? I am not arguing for the policy enacted by Trump, what I am advocating for is media honesty about the situation.

I am not going to lie. The hatred and outrage that I am seeing generated in this country concerns me. There is a moralistic side to me that believes that people are good, but there is something happening in this country that is changing that. I do place a lot of blame for this on the media. When some talking head POS refers to ICE as terrorists, as these processing centers as Concentration Camps, as the people doing their jobs as Nazi’s it does real damage in this country…and no one holds them accountable.

The historian in me gets pissed off by it because the Holocaust and the actions of the Nazi’s were truly horrific and deserve its rightful place in history. However, when some MSNBC POS calls a processing center a “Concentration Camp,” it lessens the history of that term. It creates the idea that a processing center on the border is the same sort of conditions a Jew, a homosexual, a disabled person faced in Nazi Germany. It allows the ignorant and uneducated to look upon that dark period of human history with a deminished view.

It also creates something that is scarier, the idea that doing harm to someone is ok, because after all they are nothing more than Nazi terrorists who run border concentration camps. Of course it’s ok to attack them, of course it’s ok to go to their kids schools, of course it’s ok to harm them, it’s ok to kill them. Imagine how better off the world would have been if they killed the Nazi’s in 1930.

I’d liked to say that I have more faith in the common man than that, but I don’t anymore. I see our country, our society, devolving into something that I have never seen before in my life time and it scares me. I go back to the early part of this post. I never in my life would have imagined that 17 of my friendships would have ended, especially the way that they did. I never in my life would have expect a member of my own family to act the way she did. Yet, that is the reality of the situation we live in today. So it is a stretch for me to believe that the rhetoric and hatred we are witnessing today will lead to violence?

Just the other day Peter Fonda, a celebrity, wrote one of the most vile tweets I have ever read. One part of it hoped that a woman would be stripped naked and raped in the public square. A second part of it hoped that the 12 year old son of the President would be kidnapped by pedophiles. Where does that sort of hatred come from? Where in the human mind does it exist that suggests that thoughts and words like that are ok? Yet he Tweeted them and worse, over 2,000 people who followed him liked it, shared it, and worse, commented their approval of it. And for what…because they disagreed with a policy, they were outraged about something the media purposely did not fully inform them about? And still worse, not a single solitary one of my liberal friends on Facebook chose to condemn him. Every minute of the day I see them post something bashing the president, which is fine, but someone says something that vile and silence?

There is this part of me that consistently reflects on 9/11. Not on the day itself and the horrors we as a nation witnessed, but how we came together as a nation. I remember watching the best of our humanity come together to donate blood, to donate money, to hang the American flag with honor. I remember the stories of people going to the store to purchase water and traveling across the city just so they could hand it to a first responder atop of the destruction. I remember the stories of people going home to hug their children and loved ones, showing kindness to strangers, just remembering a putting what truly matters ahead of everything else.

I don’t know what happened in the 17 years that led to where we are today. Where it’s not ok to have an American flag sticker on your car in a high school parking lot because it might “offend” someone. Where we shout each other down, share disgusting memes, and attack each other without a sliver of consideration of what it says about us. Where we turn our back on friends because we disagree with their opinions. Where we have just forgotten what it means to have a civil conversation. Where we seem to have forgotten that our humanity is more important that being right or wrong.

 

I don’t know what the end result of all this will be. I can hope that common sense and rationality will win out in the end. I can hope that is is not the new norm that society will right itself and we will look upon actions of hatred with the condemnation that it deserves. However, I lack faith. I lack faith because it seems like every day the limits are being pushed of hatred and the masses aren’t pushing back. When celebrities call a woman a “cunt” and there is dead silence and no condemnation by the masses, then all it means is that is where the new line is. Before saying such a thing was wrong and everyone believed that and agreed with that, but the silence from the masses says, “nope that’s ok now…as long as you hate that woman or the person she is related to…then calling her a cunt is now ok.” No, that is not what anyone in a functional, rational, and intelligent society should believe. So the question is…are we still a functional, rational, and intelligent society anymore? Have we allowed the displeassure with the results of an election to end all we believed separated us from those we used to condemn?

If you have read this to this point I am going to ask a favor of you. This is a favor I ask of both my friends on the right and the left. Be better than the other guy/gal. Don’t share some hate filled meme of Obama, Clinton, or Trump. Don’t delve into the hatred and when you see it call it out. We have to be better than the other guy/gal and the only way we can right the course of this country is by starting with ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Wait…You Said Science

ScienceLast night I was watching a talking head program and the host has on a guest to discuss an article that was written that suggested that if humans had less children it would help curb global warming. Of course, within seconds it turned into just another right vs. left debate about global warming.  What caught my attention, though I have heard many times, was that the “left” kept on saying “You can’t argue with the Science.” Every time the “right” guy began a sentence the “left” guy screamed out the same sentence over and over again. With all do respect to the “left” guy, screaming something over and over again doesn’t make you correct, instead it makes look like a nut job who can not answer questions.

I am not going to debate Global Warming here. I have a lot of friends who believe in it and and lot that question it. Personally I stand on the fence. I believe we are seeing changes, but I also don’t believe that humans are the only cause of the problem. However, I do want to talk about the “Science.”

Every time someone who believes in global warming debates someone, they always turn to the same old argument…”Science proves it and you can’t argue with Science.” I find that utterly laughable only because science has been argued forever. Before science said that the Earth was the center of the universe…there was no arguing that point, until Copernicus came around and, yeah, argued it and said, no the sun was the center of the universe. Before science suggest that based on your luck of the draw in the color you were born determined your intelligence, which now is laughable. The whole point of science is to argue, to challenge old ideas and beliefs, and to advance the discussion. I’m sorry, but when you say, “The argument is over,” you sound more like the 16th Century Catholic Church than a reasonable human.

What I find most interesting though is that those who are die hard “Global Warming” enthusiasts tend to be on the left. As mentioned before, whenever the question of global warming comes up they always turn to “Science has proven it and you can’t argue with science.” It is fascinating to me that those who make that argument, that science is the “end all, be all” of the discussion, are some of the first ones who tend to also deny science.

For instance, science has proven that life begins at conception, yet the “left” is the first ones that argue against that believe. They like to argue that life does not begin until the fetus is born. They make that argument because accepting that life begins at conception would justify the idea that abortion is taking a life. No, they argue, this is not true. Let’s forget that the heart has formed and is beating. Let’s look past the fact that the brain has formed and is functioning. Nope…that is not “life” until it comes out of the womb.

I am not arguing for or against abortion (though I am against it), I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy. How can science be the final answer for one argument, but it is easily discounted for another?

Another example are GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). I personally question the safety of these and avoid them when I can (though it is increasing more and more difficult to do, even with foods labeled “organic.” I read a study that some companies label their foods “organic,” but not everything about them actually is). Like it or not, the majority of scientist have come out and said that GMO’s are not harmful, and actually have advocated there use, especially in 3rd world nations. Yet, the “left”, even though science as said they are ok, argue the science. They point to some scientist who says the opposite and believe him over the majority. Ironic, considering they decry the “right” for pointing to any one scientist that questions “global warming” as hacks because they, yep, point to the fact that the majority support it. Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Ok, let’s for the sake of argument say that “global warming/change” is real and that the debate is over. For the sake of this argument I am going to agree. However, where I have an issue is the cause. Let’s say that carbon’s released by coal and other manufacturing is the cause. How can you say this and demand one nation (the US) to cut down, while signing accords and agreements that allow 2nd and 3rd world nations to continue? If the problem is the carbon, cutting it from one nation and allowing another to continue to pump them seems counter to the purpose. And if you are not aware, the Paris Accords actually allowed that…which is why the “left” and global warming/change folks were actually against it (of course they forgot about that).

Let’s approach it differently. Let just for a second look at other possible causes. When I was in 9th grade, in science class, the biggest threat to the globe was the deforestation of the Amazon forest. I remember this wholeheartedly. I remember our who class watched videos, read articles, met a guy whose team was trying to save it, and we wrote about it. Well, since 1989 the Amazon Forest deforestation has continued. Not only has it continued in that time, but in 1989 90.4% of the forest was still covered, today it is down to 81%. Hundreds and thousands of acres have been lost in that time period. Yes, it has seen periods of slowing, but the deforestation continues. Let’s not forget the Gobi Desert in China. Since 1990, because of deforestation, the Gobi Desert has expanded by million, not thousands, but MILLIONS of acres. Right now one of the biggest health risk, besides the massive amount of carbons, in China, including Beijing, are sand storms. Fine particles of sand, whipped up by winds over the Gobi, sends miles long clouds over that nation.

You are telling me that has nothing to do with global warming? You’re telling me that my SUV has more impact on the climate of the Earth than the deforestation of millions of acres of land across the world? Well, if you listen to those who argue global warming or watch the videos, you see smoke stacks pumping out black smoke (though in the 1990’s US and western corporations are required to have filters the actually cut down on carbon released), but rarely if ever do they talk about the Amazon anymore.

Or how about this one…which is the one I wish more people would study. Until the ban, which required nuclear tests to take place under ground, the United States conducted 219 atmospheric atomic tests. God only know how many China, the USSR, India, Pakistan conducted. Let’s just round it off and say, 500 were conducted between 1946-1963. You are telling me, that the release of that much nuclear energy into our atmosphere has not caused climate change in the past 50 years? Massive amounts of radioactive energy released into our atmosphere, where there was already a certain amount that existed, has nothing to do with the changes in weather we have seen in our lifetimes? You’re telling me that all the tests done in the ocean has not caused changes? Nations dumped millions of radioactive components into our oceans and that has nothing to do with say the oceans heating, ice caps melting, etc.?

And let’s not forget about Fukishima. The UN’s nuclear regulatory committee has blocked survey after survey, story after story, about the fall out that was created by that reactor melting down and the continued nuclear waste emitting from it. Yet, reports are on the internet for those to read, yet the global changer’s never reference any of these reports in their “science.” Even though those doing the studies have shown that the Pacific corridor between Japan and the West coast of the US has warmed in that time, that millions of fish have died in that time, that changes to currents have occurred in that time. Again, science that is out there, but not referenced as a possible cause?

Really…the debate is over?

I am not right winger who sits and denies that we as a nation can not do more for our environment. I grew up on the California coast and LOVE the ocean. I support the Surf Rider Foundation and the continued work they do to safe guard our oceans and beaches. I don’t pollute, I worry about the bee population, and yes, rising oceans and ice caps melting concern me. However, I do not buy into the causes that I am being spoon fed, when I never see other possible causes examined to any length, and when they are, those scientists are referred to as “hacks” or studies are ignored or discounted. I also have issues when the science that most refer to comes from grants (remember a is money from the government that supports a theory…the more you “prove” your theory the longer the grant lasts and the more money you get) or from a report that was shown to be doctored and is questionable at best. I also have a hard time being told I have to change by people who are flying around on private jets, living in homes that use more energy in a month than I use in a year (Al Gore), and ride around in convoys of SUV’s to go 8 blocks from hotel to their talk about Global Warming. I have an issue with people who tell me that they purchase “carbon offsets” when time and time again the companies who pilfer in this game are shown to actually do nothing…zip…zero…to offset the carbons rich guy in the private jet uses. In one, that was popular after Al Gore’s first movie came out, they were saying that the carbon offsets being purchased were going to grow trees in the Amazon…come to find out that millions of dollars were spent, a few acres of trees were “grown” and all died within a year because they grew them in DEAD SOIL!!! So, rich celebrity flew is private jet, powered his three homes, and did so under the guise that they were purchasing “offsets” only to learn that the “offsets” never happened…so double the pollution.

So, yes, I do have an issue with the idea that “Science proves it and you can’t argue with Science.” Yes, you can argue with the science, it has been done since the dawn of time and will continue to be argued. Challenging science is exactly how new ideas are born, how we continue to advance as a civilization. Once you end the discussion because “Science proves it” then you hold back on innovation and the expansion of ideas.

Again, I am not arguing global changes. For the sake of argument I agree with it and not denying it. I am merely pointing the deficiencies in the argument. I believe a lot more has to do with it than carbon’s being released and unless we discuss, include, and address them all, how does the change occur? I am fine, totally fine, with reducing carbons. If we can find cleaner ways to power our society and industry, then I am all for it, but don’t sit and tell me that the coal energy plant down the street from my house is doing more harm to our environment than the one in China, or the thousands acres of Amazon that was cut down since I woke up this morning, or the left over radiation from hundreds of nuclear weapons that were detonated in our atmosphere, or for shits and giggles the entire female population of the 1980’s spraying Aqua Net don’t have anything to do with it. That is unless you can show me that neither of those has ZERO and I mean ZERO affect…and as of yet…not one scientist quoted by global changers has.

And if you are a global changer…be careful before you spit out that wasted line of logic…because if you buy one science wholeheartedly because the “majority agree,” and then turn around and deny another science where the “majority agree” you are little more than a walking, talking counter argument, and yes a hypocrite.

160506-kirell-scarborough-tease_kr9op4Chalk one up as a victory for the Democratic or Independent Party. Last night on the Colbert Show, Joe Scarborough, the talking head of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, announced that he was officially leaving the Republican Party. He said it wasn’t solely about Trump, but more about the fact that the Republican Party has lost it’s way. Two points to address here.

The first is the implication that the Republican Party has lost it’s way. I’m not sure what exactly Joe was talking about because he failed to explain. He through out a few platitudes for the set up question by Colbert, “Wait, aren’t you part of the Republican Party?” And of course it came with applause when Joe turned in his Republican card on national television.

Where exactly, Joe, has the Republican Party lost it’s way? It won the House in 2010, held the House with a larger majority in 2012, won the Senate in 2014, and in 2016 it held the House, Senate, and won the White House. So if that is losing it’s way, I’d hate to see what it would look like if they found their way…maybe 300 members in the House and 75 members in the Senate?

Here is the most interesting part, and if anyone has followed the Republican party over the past 6 years, or the past three months, is that the Republican party is no monolithic. You see, if the Republican all walked lock step with each other then I could see where Joe could make the argument, however that has not been the case, and it hasn’t been the case since 1952.  The reality is that the Republican party is made up of different factions and it has been a headache for presidents since, hell, Lincoln, but more recently with Republican presidents since Eisenhower.

As the Civil War was coming to it’s conclusion, the first Republican president, Lincoln, though with massive Republican majorities in 1865, faced divisions with in the party…the Radicals vs. the Moderates. It was the same way with Eisenhower when he was elected in 1952 with majorities in the House. He faced many different factions and found himself working with Democrats to get things done. It was the same way with Reagan in 1980, and even W. in 2000. There have been some issues where the Republicans have walked lock step with, but more times than not, Republican presidents have had to deal with the different factions.

That has not been the case of the Democrats since 2006. They have walked lock step with each other. No matter the issue or Legislation, the leader directs and the party has followed. I would argue that has been good, especially if they are in opposition (W. in 2006 and now Trump) or once they controlled the White House under Obama.

If anything, following Joe’s logic, I would argue that it’s the Democratic Party, not the Republican party, that has lost it’s way. My stepfather was a lock step Democrat. We would have conversations all the times, I can honestly say, based on how my stepfather described the party, the Democrat no longer look like the same party. They have moved to the far left, blurred the lines between socialism and social activism, and no longer represent the party of old. And it’s because of that shift, that Trump became the president. Many Democrats actually voted for Trump not only in primaries (where he got the majority of independent and Democratic votes), but also during the election. He was the first Republican in decades that not only broke the Blue Wall, but shattered it, taking almost every one of the Blue Wall states.

The second thing about Joe’s “announcement” is how hypocritical it truly is. Since the election of Trump, Morning Joe as well as other liberal outlets, have seen a rating spike because of their hyper critical analysis of Trump and his administration. That’s fine because it was to be expected. The same liberal talking heads who were utterly silent for the past 8 years have a Republican back in the office and suddenly they are doing their job. So based on that, those who are now paying attention to Joe and Morning Joe, because they were (and still are) the lowest rated morning show, are under the very, very false impression that this is how it has been since the creation of Trump in the primaries. Those now paying attention may actually believe that Mike and Joe have been battling this man since day one, and it has only escalated since the election. NOT TRUE!!!

Here is a harsh reality. Donald Trump was on Morning Joe, during the primaries and the general election 142 times, the only other morning show out did them was the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends (no surprise there). What is worse was that every interview started the same: A couple of questions about policy, a few minutes on polls, the the rest of the interview of them having a grand ole time (all this comes from a Washington Post editorial titled “The Many Times Donald Trump Yukked it Up with Morning Joe”)

It went beyond that. Joe Scarborough, during that entire time, being the only “Republican” on MSNBC, defended Trump, even going so far as, on multiple occasions calling Trump “the next Ronald Reagan” and saying that Trump was the “best thing for the Republican party.” They have been friends for a long time. In fact, Trump even offered his luxury golf course in Florida for Joe and Mika’s wedding (before they announced their engagement while they were dating). They have spent time together in New York and Florida, and even accompanied Trump on a trip to Scotland.

It was only after the election, when Trump essentially blacklisted MSNBC and CNN, thus Morning Joe, that suddenly that Trump became a “Thug,” a “goon,” etc. Morning Joe, like the rest of liberal media, jumped on board the Trump hate train very quickly once they realized they would no longer get him as a guest on their show, because, like all the others, they saw a ratings opportunity. Spend the morning bashing Trump, thus preaching the the MSNBC viewer choir, and rating will be much better than supporting him.

Of course, everyone knows that Trump sent out a mean tweet against Mika, and are assuming that is there the split came. Nope. Since the election Morning Joe has gone after Trump and his family, not based on policies, but based on personal attacks. I don’t done the Trump tweet, but it was a bit of retaliation that I think was deserved. I’m sorry if you are upset by my stance, but that’s how I feel. In my life time I have never seen the sort of attacks I have seen by the media against a sitting president…on the personal level. I watched Fox during the Obama administration and nothing, nothing said about Obama was on this kind of level, and it sure in the hell was not personal attacks on the man and his family.

Joe made a decision with the election of Trump. There is ample proof that during the primaries and during the general, Joe was a Trump guy, or at least vied for his attention and presence on the show. Yet, since the election, Joe, who considered Trump the next “Reagan,” has been one of the most vocal in his personal, and yes, outlandish attacks on Trump. So much so, that any accomplishment, even one that Joe would support, has gotten scant to no attention on the show.

Consider this. One of Joe Scarborough’s biggest issues is the treatment of veterans. It was something that was something near and dear to him while he was a member of Congress, and it is something that he has been passionate about for a long time. When the VA scandal broke, Joe was one of the most vocal when it came to attacks on the Obama Administration for not holding those accountable. Oddly, it seems that Joe has forgotten that. Since his election, Trump has signed three pieces of legislation to help veterans. One was a hotline, another allowed veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA, and the other was to allow the government to hold those in the VA responsible, including being fired. Everyone of these things were what Joe has argued for since the VA scandal. Yet, here is something interesting…Morning Joe spent a total of 7 minutes on these pieces of legislation. SEVEN MINUTES FOR ALL THREE. Joe made a choice: praise an accomplishment of Trump, an accomplishment he has been an advocate for, or remain opposed to the man and get the ratings. Well, with a total of  7 minutes devoted to all three, it shows where Joe has decided to lay his idea and values.

In the end, Joe announcement that he was “leaving” the party made him look like nothing more than a hypocrit. For those who have not followed Joe until the election, as the audience seemed not to have, they would have seen it. If it is because the Republican party has lost it’s way, fine, then avow that you would not join the Democratic party that has truly done so in the past decade. But of course that never came. And if it’s about Trump, please explain the 142 times he was invited on to your program and you guys “yukked it up.” Explain why you heaped praise on this man, even going so far as to heap the ultimate Conservative praise by referring to Trump as the next Reagan. Explain, why, since Trump has not changed a damn bit since (it was why I dislike him from the start, why I didn’t vote for him, and why I have issues with him as president), you didn’t disavow him long ago. Explain you vacations to his luxury Florida home. Explain the numerous times you have “hung-out” over the past year. It’s is because you can that make you announcement last night one of the biggest examples of hypocrisy ever.

Sure those that don’t know the past were quick to applaud your decision, but those who have followed you have the past couple of years knows the truth.

 

como lakeI just read an interesting article in the Daily Mail about Lake Como in Italy. If you are not familiar with Lake Como, it is the destination of the rich and elite of the world. It is extremely beautiful which explain why famous folks like Richard Branson, George Clooney, and Madonna all own multi million dollar homes there. Lake Como has long been the vacation destination of the elite. During it’s Golden Age, the Hollywood elite would scamper to this plush area as did global royalty, including the King of Camelot himself, President John F. Kennedy.

Right now though, Lake Como is facing a crisis. No, it’s not green algae or tree beatles eating away the trees. The crisis is refugees. Over the past five years millions of refugees have fled northern Africa and Syria and made their way across the Mediterranean. Italy has become the central hub for these refugees, where they then make their way to the rest of Europe. For the past couple of years the refugees would make their way through Lake Como on their way to Switzerland, however, with growing pressure, Switzerland has closed it’s borders and these refugees now find themselves stuck in midst of the elite. How? The rail system into Switzerland crosses right through Lake Como, and because the Swiss have closed their borders, the refugees find themselves in limbo and because of this status they have essentially made a make shift refugee camp at the rail station.

The government of Lake Como has proposed to build a standing refugee camp, but it is facing massive push back. Reading this, you would expect that it is the dirty Trump-like nationalist of Italy who are pushing back against a camp like this, but you would be wrong. Instead, it is the very wealthy of Lake Como who are pushing back. Out of fear that a refugee camp would only encourage more refugee’s to come, the residents of Lake Como have made it clear that they do no want this camp. Because, after all, the rich and elite come to Lake Como for the beauty and to be pampered and the last thing they want on their multi-million dollar vacations is to be reminded of the problems of the world, especially having to see the down trodden on their door steps as they drive their Bentley’s to the posh $1000 a plate restaurants before heading off to sail on their multi-million dollar boats.

This is only one of many examples of the hypocrisy of the wealthy that we have seen in recent years.

  1. The government of Marin County, California just proposed building affordable housing for residents who can not afford to purchase a home in this plush, wealthy section of the state. However there is push back, especially from the wealthy elite who are concerned that such housing would “damage” the beauty of the area and, of course, bring down housing values.
  2. A couple of years ago, there was a proposal to build wind turbines off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It made perfect sense. Because of the constant winds that flow off the coast, why not take advantage of them and build clean energy? However there was push back from the elite, including then Senator Ted Kennedy, because disliked the idea of having their views disrupted by these large white turbines sitting off the coast of their multi-million dollar homes.

There are many more examples, but the three I have pointed out have something in common. Think about it for a second. Refugee’s, Affordable Housing, Clean Energy…what do they have in common? When you take all the America residents of Lake Como, or the wealthy elites of Marin County and Martha’s Vineyard and you see which party they donate money to, it comes out to be almost 95% Democrats. Democrats who have pushed that the US and the world do more for refugees. Democrats who champion affordable housing. Democrats who are the first to jump on any chance to promote clean energy. Yet, as shown, when it comes to these things being put in their backyards they are the first ones to push back.

Why? Why would champions of these causes be so strident in their denial of having them in their own backyards? I would argue it comes down to money and their elite status. Follow me here. These folks write big checks to candidates who promote these ideas with the idea that by doing so, they are helping. Joe Millionaire rights a $250,000 donation to the refugee cause. He thinks that money will go to building shelters for them or help promote them being allowed into countries. They have done their good deed. Then suddenly they find out that cause is now pushing to build a refugee camp in their backyard, somewhere they have to see it and deal with it, and suddenly the tone changes. It’s ok for some place like Greeley, Colorado to have to deal with the refugee population, but god forbid Aspen have to deal with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually understand it. If I owned a multi-Million dollar home in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the last thing I would want is for something to interfere or impede that beauty. If I owned a home on the coast the last thing I would want to see when I sat on my porch in the morning with my coffee is a valley of wind turbines or oil derricks. The last thing I would want to see as I drove down to my $1000 a plate lunch is a track row of affordable housing or a refugee camp. I earned my money (or was lucky enough to be born into it), or purchased my elite hideaway from the rest of the world, and the last thing I would want is to be reminded of the dredges. I get it and I am actually ok with it.

My issue is not that they are pushing back against these things, my issue is the hypocrisy behind it. These folks are the first ones to write big checks to Democratic candidates or to social issues. Again, I have no issue with that. It’s your money, do what you want with it. However, when they write these checks, they are in essence supporting these causes and by doing so, putting their names and wealth behind these causes. They tell the rest of the world that we must “accept” these things. We must be more caring and open. Our hearts must go out to these people and we must do more to help them. Again, I am ok with all of that. Yet, when suddenly they are asked to accept them in their neighborhoods, suddenly they build walls. Funny isn’t it. They are the first to decry a wall, but are the first ones to build a wall to protect their elite status.

What is most ironic about all of this actually centers around the refugee crisis. If you go to the Daily Mail article dealing with Lake Como, there is actually a video of George Clooney speaking to refugees. I think the Daily Mail put that on there because Clooney owns a home in Lake Como. I’m not sure of Clooney is one of the people pushing back against the proposed refugee camp, and if he is, oh man. However, I did find the video ironic.

If there was ever a supporter of former President Barak Obama, it was George Clooney. Clooney, in the course of the elections of 2008 and 2012 raised and donated over $30 million for Obama. He did not stop there. During the 2016 election he held a fund raiser for Hillary Clinton that raised over $15 million. In other words, Clooney was invested in Obama and his actions. Which makes his work for these refugees interesting.

What is consistently lost in the story of Syria and Libya, where the majority of the refugee’s are coming from, is why. The media, who have shown they support the refugee initiative of Obama, and thus the Democrats, will constantly show the images of the refugees and of course will air segments on their news programming like 60 Minutes or hour long documentary like investigations. Each of them showing the horrors in the nations they are leaving. Each showing the horrors of the crossings into Europe. Each showing the horrors of the conditions in the refugee camps. And of course, each showing those against the refugee’s as some Hitlarian look-a-like, red faced, and looking as if he/she is ready to pounce and beat a refugee. Yet, in all of these they fail to mention Why. It wasn’t as if one day that millions of people decided to up and leave their nations. And of course the media will show the footage of the war taking place in these nations. The stock footage of men firing AK-47’s, rockets being fired from helicopters into civilian populations. It’s all horrid…but again why?

And here is where the video of Clooney talking to these refugees becomes ironic. You see, both the Syrian Civil War and the atrocities taking place in Libya have a very large American hand print on them, but more importantly…an OBAMA hand print. Yes, the very man Clooney supported in two elections, who he raised millions for, is also implicated in the very refugee crisis Clooney is lending his face to.

You see in 2011, an even called the Arab Spring erupted in numerous Arab nations. First it started in Egypt where Mubarak was removed from power and the Muslim Brotherhood took control, only to have a quasi-civil war erupt, which removed the Muslim Brotherhood and now Egypt is controlled by a faction of the military. Then it spread. It erupted in Libya, where the people, supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical factions, rose up against Gaddafi. Then it spread to Bahrain, Quatar, Yemen, and of course to Syria.

How does Obama play into this. Well, if you recall, Obama supported the Arab Spring. He called for Mubarak to step down (also putting pressure on him by threatening sanctions), and supported the Muslim Brotherhood government, even though it was repressive and the people rose up against it. As Gaddafi fought against the uprising in Libya, using air support, NATO called foul, and the US joined in, though without Congressional approval, to initiate a no fly zone, and of course used US fighters to take out Libyan surface-to-air missile sights, not to mention Libyan ground forces (though never reported in the news). Gaddafi fell and the country fell into chaos.

SIDE NOTE: As Libya fell into chaos, the US using fear of weapons getting into the wrong hands, continued to have a presence there, even though other nations bailed. Well, come to find out, that US presence was there because the CIA was collecting those stockpiles of weapons and funneling them to fighters in Syria. Where was the base of operations for this? Yep, you guessed it, Benghazi.

And of course there is Syria. Just like in Egypt and Libya, the Arab Spring erupted in that nation. In hopes of removing Assad, the people rose up. In the early stages one could possibly support the uprising. After all, like Mubarak and Gaddafi, Assad has a long history of human rights violations and being oppressive governments. However, the battle turned into something more as radical groups became involved in the battle and suddenly, like with Egypt and Libya, the lines became blurred between good guy and bad guy.

The Obama administration had its hand in all of these uprisings. It support the uprisings in Egypt, used the US military to support the uprisings in Libya, and covertly used the CIA and US military to support the uprising in Syria. And what all of these have in common is that these nations were left in chaos. Egypt, with a long history of democracy, was able to right the ship, however that has not been the case with Libya and Syria. Libya is now controlled by different factions vying for power, not to mention now becoming a hub for ISIS. Assad in Syria is supported by the Russian and Iran and because of that has been able to withhold the attacks on his government, but in doing so, it has allowed radical factions, like ISIS, to control parts of that nation and thus has led to millions of refugees.

Yet, in none of the media coverage, or in Clooney’s nice little refugee video, is any of this mentioned. I personally find it fascinating. The very groups that have called out those against allowing hordes of refugees into the United States, were the same people who supported a president who Administration had a hand in creating the very crisis we see.

Now, I don’t know Mr. Clooney, and maybe I should give him credit. Maybe he realizes that his support of Obama in a very contorted way led to the refugee crisis, and based on some guilt, he feels that he must do something for the very people his personal bank account helped to create. I know that is snarky, but when facts are laid out on the table it’s just a sad sorted reality that we have to accept.

The media, frankly, treated Obama with kid gloves, and because of that, did not call him out, as they would a Republican president, for a foreign policy that was utterly flawed and, again frankly, created a mess in the middle east. Sure, it is easy to look at brutal dictators and support any uprising or action to remove them, however in doing so, one must look at the consequences. What is most ironic about all of this is the fact that the media were the ones who quickly turned on George W. Bush for doing this in Iraq, but blindly and without any real critical analysis, allowed for Obama to do the same thing, yet on a much larger scale. US intervention in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, helped to create this mess, and it was done with the sole idea of removing despots. It was the same thing that was done in Iraq with the same results. Only difference was that the media and people like Clooney expressed their outrage and dismay over one, while ignoring the other.

Which, ironically and without purpose, brings this full circle. The elites and wealthy are continuously the first ones to tell us what is right, yet, with deep hypocrisy, live much different lives. Education is a perfect example of this. The wealthy and elites decry the idea of school vouchers, which allow student an opportunity to leave failing schools and attend good school. The media and elite decry this as an attack on public education, and thus tell us that it is wrong, that school vouchers will hurt public education. And there in lies the hypocrisy. They tell average Americans that they shouldn’t support school vouchers because it will hurt public education, while they send their own kids to the very schools that school vouchers would allow lower and middle class students to attend. Which leaves the question: Is it really about protecting public education or is it more about protecting the elites from having to share space with those beneath them? Well, if we look at the example of Marin County, Lake Como, and Martha’s Vineyard, it seems that the answer is clear.

Perspective

downloadDuring my APUSH class this year, while covering the events that led to the Civil War, a student raised her hand and asked a question that made me think really hard. “Mr. Simmers, do you think we are seeing the same divisions today that we saw in the 1850’s?” My first reaction was to down play the divisions today as part of the ebb and flow of discussion and difference. Yet, I had to pause, because the more I thought about it, the more I found it hard to argue. We are so dead set in our beliefs today, so quick to dig the trench and man it, that it’s hard to believe that discussion and debate can lead to compromise. When we see Republicans, and now Democrats, simply say “No” instead of finding common ground on legislation. When we see friends and family, so deep in their convictions that they end relationships. When we see the sides battle ready and engaging in violence to defend their ideas instead of coming together to find peaceful resolution, then maybe we are closer to a dark period of our past than we want to accept. Worse, we are closer because we are as bullheaded and blinded by our ideas as those before were with results that could have been avoided.

A lot of people are going to disagree with this post and chalk it up as “just another person defending this man.” That’s fine if you view it that way. Chances are, if you despise this president, anything positive said or anything put into perspective, will automatically lead you to that conclusion.

Here’s the deal, based on the ratings of Morning Joe, in which Mika is a guest host, most people do not watch it. Honestly, used to catch it, but stopped because it was nothing more than blather. Yet, being someone who does follow conservative blogs and news, I have been made very well aware of some of the very vile things these hosts, including Mika, have said about this president.

Listen, I get it, there are A LOT of people who dislike Trump, and I am ok with that, but there is a line. If you are the regular Joe on the street you can say anything you want about this man and his presidency. However, when you are a member of the media there are unwritten rules of couth when it comes how they address and discuss the president. Policy disagreements are open for attack. Legislation passed or debate is open for attack. However, since the election of Trump, the media have crossed these lines over and over again in ways that I have never seen in my lifetime. They go after him on a personal level that is blurring the live of objective reporting to hit man porn.

It is perfectly fine if you disagree with the president or a policy as a member of the media, however when you engage in personal attacks, then the line between objective reporter/analyst is crossed. Since the election of Trump that line has been crossed by a lot of people in the media, but some of the most ridiculous and disrespectful things have come from Mika and her crew at MSNBC. And worst of all, it seems that they do so because it draws ratings. They know their audience hates the man and because of that they believe they have carte blanche to say whatever they want, even if it crosses into the the viles and utterly disrespectful of the office. Why? Because their audience likes it because they agree with it. And that is the saddest part of it. Those that turn a blind eye because they agree, instead of holding their media accountable and saying “the personal crosses a line.”

I don’t, again, let me make it clear, I DON’T agree with the tweet by Trump, however to claim it is “unpresidential” presumes something that is not the reality we have seen. Yes, if Trump were treated with the same kid gloves that Obama or previous president were treated with, the same respect for the office shown to previous presidents, then yes, his tweet is purely and undeniably “unpresidential.” Yet, as mentioned above, that is NOT THE CASE. As I said, I have never seen the likes of the attacks on this president as I have seen by the media since the election of Trump, and because of that, I think we have entered a realm not seen before on both sides. We see the media overstepping bounds never before seen crossed, and in return, we are seeing the reaction of a president we have never before seen.

Yes, you can chalk it up as Trump being thin skinned or immature. However, I just do not think that is a fair analysis. First of all, had other presidents received the type of treatment and vileness we have seen from the media, who knows how they would have reacted. If the attacks on Trump were merely based on policies and a tweet like this came out, then yes, I would agree 100% that it was out of line. Yet Mika has made it personal on numerous occassions, and in kind, Trump made it personal. Agree or disagree with it, that is fine. I personally DISAGREE with it, but I do so because for me, BOTH ARE WRONG.

Since this story broke, all the focus has been on Trump’s tweet, yet not one single story (I watched CNN coverage of this) mentioned a damn thing Mika has said. The way the media this portraying is that poor little Mika was just coming to work to report the news and big bad Trump just attacked her. NOT EVEN CLOSE TO FACTUAL. Since the election of Trump Mika and the crew at Morning Joe (among others at MSNBC and CNN), have made some of the most vile and disrespectful comments not only about Trump, but about his family. Yet, because so many who watch these channels hate Trump anyway, they are ok with the personal attacks, worse they applaud it. Again, if their attacks were on policies of Trump, then fine, that is required of a free media. Yet, that is not what they have been. They throw personal punches that are uncouth and just wrong for any member of the media to throw at ANY PRESIDENT, and yesterday the president punched back. Again…we have never a president do this, but then again, we have never seen the level of attacks like this. And again…I AM REFERENCING THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA…not radio hosts and commentators…that is not the media…that is just dirt mongering passing themselves off as news barriers.

And spare me the “Trump has gone after the media, so they have a right to counter punch.” First of all, and equal counter punch to Trump’s attacks on the media would be to show where he is wrong, not engage in PERSONAL attacks on the man or his family. Secondly, it suggests that this is the first time the media has been attacked by a president. As if, until Trump no other president called out the media or certain stations for being “fake news.” On a daily, if not weekly basis, Obama attacked Fox News as fake news, as over hyping stories, and called out members of that channel and suggesting they “find a new job.” Yet, what we did not see was people like O’Reilly, Kelly, Hannity, or anyone else engage in personal attacks of Obama. They called him out on the policies they disagreed with, but not the president himself.

If one were objective, they would see that what I am writing is right. I hate feeling I have to constantly say this, but I am not defending Trump here. I made it clear that I disagree with his tweet. Yet, I am also saying that NO ONE IS INNOCENT in this exchange. Since the election of Trump the personal attacks have reached a level I am utterly disgusted with. It’s not even news anymore and it has reached a level that we all need to call out. Agree or Disagree, Like or REVILE Trump, that is fine, but we have to hold our media accountable. And for all those who are turning a blind eyes to the vileness because you hate the man, be forewarned because come 2020 or 2024 you will have someone you like in that office, and once you allow this door to be opened, it will be left ajar, and be ready. Once you allow it, it becomes the norm. Yes, we need to hold the president accountable for misguided and immature tweets like this, but we also must hold the media accountable so as not to create an atmosphere where tweets or comments like this are the reaction.

And one final note about the “Sexism” being implied in all of this. Fine, call it sexism, but before you do, make sure all of your ducks are in row before doing so. What do I mean? Make sure that before you comment and share the Mika story, you have a history of calling out those who have denigrated women. For every Mika that the left tends to loose their sh*t over, there is a Ivanka, Palin, Rice, Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Reagan they were utterly silent about when personal attacks were laid out by those on the left. I was not fan of Sara Palin’s, however the constant drum beat of how stupid she was and criticisms of her education, clothing, and looks with utter silence by the feminist left in this country was unbelievable.

And that is the double standard that is exposed in liberal/left outrage over this. They are the first ones to dawn the protest flag over comments like this, but when those same comments are directed at women they dislike, oh how silent they become. And I think this is why so many on the right poo poo sh*t like this. They of course condemn it, but they reserve their chorus line of disgust displayed by the left because they see the hypocrisy that is so blatant. When they see a Chris Mathews get red faced with his rage over the sexist tweets of Trump, they also remember how he was the same person who mocked and personally attacked Palin. When the double standard is black and white, it becomes hard for some to accept that one event deserves “outrage” while a similar one does not.

Yes, I do see the difference. This is the president of the United States engaging in this immaturity. Yet, the ones who are drum beating the outrage are just as guilty. I saw a Congress woman today attack Trump because of the “mental health” aspect of his tweet. It was funny, because the news host I was watching then played file footage of her, in reference to her critics, calling them “crazy,” “Stupid,” and yes, questioning their mental health. Again, the hypocrisy.

I know I have a lot of friends who disagree with everything that I wrote here. As I said before, they chalk this up as a defense of Trump and move on. Fine. Yet, if you were objective you’d see that this is a condemnation of both sides. Pure and simple. I have to say, that since this election, I have seen my some of my friends in a very disturbing light. Before we would engage in discussion and debate, now it is straight to anger and the “Unfriend” button. Sad that we have come to this place in a nation where discussion and debate were the foundations and have led to voices being heard and changes made for the better. We’ve seen it before, but the question is, can we avoid the dark path of historic regret, or can we come together for positive change? Like my students question, I’m personally having a hard time finding the answer.

loveofgame_01Of all of the knocks that professional sports take, one of the most ridiculous for me, is the one MLB baseball receives.

The NFL has faced scrutiny because of domestic violence in recent years, but that does not even come close to comparing to the reality that the NFL, purposely, withheld evidence between concussions and long term brain damage. A scandal of its own making for one purpose, to keep fans coming to watch big men destroy each other…in other words, for money. And of course there was last year, when the NFL saw it’s rating dropped and blamed it on the length of games and commercial breaks while avoiding the elephant in the room called Colin Kaepernick and others who, in the eyes of many American’s, disrespected the nation and flag by taking a knee.

The NBA has been under attack in recent years because of it’s ridiculous draft policies which essentially make college a one-and-done prospect for most kids. Not to mention the “Super Team” building of recent years, where the question of who would play in the finals became a foregone conclusion. The downside of that has been a huge pool of blah blah teams playing for nothing more than revenue (i.e. my team the Sacramento Kings). Then of course there is the “break’s” superstar player take, which means that if say Cleveland comes to Denver, there is a damn good chance that I wont see Lebron on the paint because our game fell on his “much needed” rest day (when we know that he really just see’s the Nuggets as nothing more than a bump in the road towards the foregone conclusion of his team being in the finals, so no need to waste time on the court).

Then there is the NHL and NASCAR. I have never been a fan of either, but over the past decade I have literally watched these two sports become near nonexistant.  Attendance is down, as are sponsors willing to invest money in these sports, when they could dump it in sports where people are actually watching. I am not knocking these sports or their die hard fans, but honestly they have become bottom of the bag draws and that is where the scrutiny about them comes into play. Granted, as mentioned, I am not a fan of these sports, couldn’t name a top ten guy in NASCAR or the NHL if my life depended on it (is Gretsky still playing?).

Which bring me to baseball. A decade or so ago, the biggest “scandal” to rock the Major Leagues was that the truth we all knew was exposed…players were juicing. Yes, it reached the levels of Congress where, instead of fixing jobs and helping the middle-class, they spent months investigating steroids in baseball. Yet, no matter how much they made it a scandal, most MLB fans didn’t really give a shit. Yeah, we were conflicted with the reality of cheating vs. watching our favorites players smash 450 foot homers, but in the end it just exposed a reality we all knew existed. Seriously, when your favorite players goes into the off season looking like Erkel and comes back looking like Arnold, something is up, but who gives a shit, he has 40 homers before the All-Star break and your team is in contention.

Right now, with everything else rocking major league sports, the biggest knock that I am seeing the media make on MLB is “The games are too long.” No sh*t Sherlock. It has been this way…forever!!!. However, they are pointing to the ridiculous. Example: Average game time in 2004 was 2 hrs. 37 mins. compared to 2016 when the average time increased to 2 hrs. 48 mins. OH MY GAWD!!! Seriously, to all the baseball fans out there, honest question, did you notice the 11 minute increase over 12 years? “Hell yeah Jason, before when I went to a game I was knocking back 5 cold ones, now I’m officially hitting a sixer…thanks a lot eleven minutes (sad face emoji).”

I have few good memories of my father, but the one good one I have are summer nights outside. My father would be B-B-Qing up something (honestly, I can’t recall ever having a meal during the summer that was not grilled, except for the once a months joy of deep fried, beer battered shrimp and scallops). We would be outside, sitting on the picnic table, Dad would be grilling, and on the radio was the either the Giants or A’s game. I know I am probably wrong on this, but the game would start just as Dad tossed a match on the coals and we finally retire inside when the game was over.

I remember those night fondly. Getting eaten alive by mosquito’s, while listening to Dave Kingman or Will Clark come up to bat. Never actually knowing the score or if the at-bat matter much, but hoping against hope that Kingman would hit a homer or Clark would get a hit. I know I am wrong, but there was a summer where I swear Dave Kingman must have homered ever damn game that season and Clark must have hit .800 for the season.

I grew up a baseball fan and yes, I love the sport. I played it, lived it, and like most boys, dreamed it. I had dreams of playing right-field for the Giants or A’s for the longest time. There has not been a time in my 40 odd years of life where baseball didn’t matter. Yes, I am a die-hard fan, and yes, like I am sure it is the way with NHL and NASCAR fans, no amount of sh*t talking my sports is going to change my mind.

Yet, if the biggest hit MLB is taking is the length of the game, well, honestly, I’ll take it. Baseball has always been a long game. The seconds ticked off between pitches, the minutes ticked off by a change of pitcher, the seconds ticked off because of the home-run trot. It’s always been a part of baseball, and honestly, it also gives baseball it’s charm.

I honestly consider baseball a family sport. Maybe that comes from my memories as a kid, but it has been reinforced by the years I’ve added on. Think about the two major sports in America right now…NBA and the NFL. They are fast paced games, your attention is locked on them, and except for commercial breaks, your family and conversation are merely background noise. Not with MLB. Because of the lag time between pitches your engaged with your family. Sitting around the table watching on listening to the game and, unless it’s a 3-2 count with runners on and 2 outs, your with your family and engaged. It’s the same way when you go to a game. I have been to NBA games and NFL games and I can’t recall a time when I actually engaged with my friends and family because the game moved so fast (except time-outs and half-times). Not so when I go to baseball games. Sure, I am watching the game, but there is time to spend talking to family or teaching the game to your kid.

A perfect example of this was two years ago. My family and I headed out to California, and one of the things I had to do was catch a Giants game. It had been 12 years since I had been at that stadium to watch my team play. Also keep in mind the fact that the Giants had just won their 3rd World Series the year before. Yes,  for a few minutes I was enthralled in the majesty of the stadium and watching my team live on their homefield, but I still spent time playing with my daughter, trying as best I could (she was 4 years old) to explain the game. It was family.

There is a downside the the lag in baseball…it gives the false sense that nothing his going on. Any true baseball fan will tell you that there is A LOT going on. Depending on the count and the batter, there is positioning of fielders, and of course the biggest question…what pitch to throw and the prayer that it does catch or hang in the sweet spot. In 2007, my wife and I went to a Rockies game. There were runner on, but there was a lot of lag time and my wife went to grab us drinks. My wife loves the Rockies, and at the time, Troy Tulowitsky was her favorite player. There I was, under a blaring sun, waiting for my wife to come back with drinks, when I watched something that had only happened 12 times to that point in the entire history of baseball.   With runners on 1st and 2nd, a live drive was hit to Tulo (out #1), runner on second left, Tulo jogs over and steps on the plate (out #2), the runner on first had gone and was just a few steps from 2nd base when Tulo laid the tag on him (out #3). In the entire history of baseball, I had watched only the 13 unassisted triple play…my wife however missed it, and still to this day she brings it up (on a side note, I put my ticket for that game on Ebay just to see how much I would get and wound up selling it for $185…I bought it for $40. The other is in a case with a signed Tulo baseball and card).

Another downside is as a coach. Don’t get me wrong, even during lag time in a game, there are about a million things rolling through my mind. However, for anyone who has coached Colorado high school baseball will admit to, when it’s 30 degrees outside with a light drizzle and your bones are frozen and ice is forming off the bill of your cap…a shorter game would be nicer.

Yes, I get it, baseball is a slow sport, and yeah, I have heard it so many times…”It’s so boring.” Every time someone says that around me they hear an ear full, because they are just telling me they don’t understand the game. If you watch a game, as a fan, there are about 100 things happening on that field with every pitch. How the batter is standing, where the outfield and infield is positioned, and not to mention the too numerous to count options a pitcher has. There is always something happening on the field in front of your eyes, except of course, during the lag times, but then again, those should be spent talking to friend and family anyway…so who cares?

Yes, I am approaching this as a fan of the game, but honestly, if the largest hit MLB takes is the length of the game, I’ll take it. I honestly believe with all my heart, no matter how popular the NFL and NBA are, America is an will forever be America’s game. You take any NFL or basketball players and you ask them “When you were a kid did you play baseball at all,” I will be that 80% of them will say “yes.” I don’t think you will get those numbers if you ask a baseball player the same question about football or basketball. Me personally, baseball was the only sport I played. Sure, I’d go out to the field or to the court and play football and basketball with friends, but I’ve never worn the uniform. Baseball might not be the sport you end up playing, or loving, but you played it.

I would also like to throw out some love for softball. As I have gotten older and the body doesn’t work the way it did, I had to step away from playing baseball, but softball was always there. I loved playing, but more importantly, through playing it, I also gained a love for girls fast pitch softball. Every year I follow the College Softball World Series, was pissed off when the Olympics pulled it, and was happy as hell when the Olympics reinstated it. I have had two of my former students who were lucky enough to make it to the next level of the sport they have dedicated their lives to, and honestly, I followed their progress because, with all do respect to the volleyball, basketball, and soccer players, it was a sport I understood.

So feel free and knock baseball for how long it is. I’m cool with that. Compared to the drama surrounding the other sports, if my sport being too long is the worst thing about it, I’ll take it.