Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Profile - Or Grab the Junk

To ignore the obvious is, well, dumb.


I’m bored to death with the news, hearing over and over again about some poor traveler who had to go through a pat down or a body scan.


Not that I don’t empathize with them. I’m not real keen on someone grabbing my “junk,” and it wouldn’t be hard to convince me that going through the scanner a bunch of times isn’t good for you. But, hey - it’s worth it to me to have a higher level of confidence that I won’t arrive on the runway of my destination as dust blowing in the wind because some joker wanted a shot at a bunch of virgins and blew himself up upon landing. I’ll be dust soon enough, but I want to see the Cubs win the world series first.


Anyway, I’m complaining about the complainers when my wife says, “Well, if you’re so smart, what would you do?”


“Why don’t we let people who will subject themselves to the searches to fly on one airline, and those who won’t can fly a different one? Funny, I bet the complaints will stop, and everyone will decide to fly the airline that requires the searches,” I answered.


Ignoring my sarcastic remark, she says “Complain if you must, but how will you get them to change the rules if no one complains?”


“Change them how?” I replied. “You want them to let anyone on? I know - just make them promise they won’t hurt anybody? Yeah, that’ll work!”


“No, dummy,” she says. “They need to do like Israel and profile the passengers. Israel has the safest airline around. Let’s just do what Israel does.”


I answered it would never be allowed here because we think racial profiling is a bad thing, regardless of the consequences. But then I got to thinking. This is different. This isn’t like police stopping someone on the freeway because of their race, aka driving while black. Or what the Feds are assuming will happen in Arizona with the immigration law hullabaloo. No, this is different.


Understand that all rights in our governing documents aren’t necessarily guaranteed, i.e., the old example that you cannot yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, even if you are claiming self expression. The courts are clear; while they will go to long, long lengths to keep our rights intact (as they should), they will bend the guarantees if the situation merits it. So, let’s look at this particular situation.


First, when we are flying, we usually do not have a choice - we have to fly. Driving to New York from San Francisco and taking a boat to Europe makes for a long trip. No two-week vacation here.


Second, national and international commerce depends on reasonably priced and efficient air travel. Today one Al Qaeda group released a statement claiming they were going to modify their procedures to do more small things, notably with air travel, to kaput our economy. Under current screening procedures they may be able to make some hay in doing that. Above all else, we need cost-efficient methods of making our airlines as safe as possible.


Third, in most situations where racial profiling is not allowed, there isn’t a large group of people having their rights usurped by forbidding it. In our airline security situation, while profiling will result in a violation of rights for the profiled group, it will result in a far larger number of people keeping their rights of privacy intact, not to mention the minor issue of their lives.


And last - but very important; whether the Administration wants to admit it or not, we are at war. And it might be a long one. In any war, there are certain actions taken that might not be taken in times of peace. Would anyone fault troops taking a good look into a suspicious vehicle in the streets of Baghdad or Kabul? What makes it suspicious? Would it be unreasonable to be more careful with someone wanting to gain access to a military camp in Afghanistan who is Arab as opposed to an obvious American?


By the way, there is no danger of this turning into a situation like what happened to Japanese Americans in World War Two.


To attempt compensation, I see no reason why the TSA can’t make it easy for “profiled” people to go through an expedited process, so the irritation of the extra requirement and embarrassment at least has an up side. Not to make light of the ill feeling that people get who have to go through this, but I bet some people would prefer to go through the expedited system in order to get through security quicker.


Obviously, at this time, the main group of profiled people would be Arab Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 40. The parameters may expand, or at some time in the future, they may change completely, in which case our security agencies should have the ability to change with them.


And, in the same sense that Muslims will tell you there were innocent Muslim males killed on 911 in the attacks on the World Trade Center, there will be innocent Muslim males who will survive and benefit from a more efficient profiling system of security.


In this piece, I am truly sorry if I offend anyone. When I take aim at liberals for what I deem are their skewed viewpoints, it is fair because they have the choice of coming to their senses, or fighting back, or whatever, and I stand behind my statements. It is unfair that the mere fact someone is an Arab Muslim male (and usually innocent) should make them subject to this differential treatment. If they are well-intentioned, however, they shouldn’t mind the inconvenience. Only those with bombs should be angry.


In these times, reality needs to be a part of the decision-making process. Reality dictates we do this. And as you go through airport security, stay focused on who did this to us and who is responsible in the first place.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com


Monday, November 15, 2010

Robinson is Wrong - The Progressive Brand is Clear

“Just when you think you have the answers, they change the questions.” Variation on an original quote from Rowdy Roddy Piper.


In an October 10, 2010 article from New Republic, Sarah Robinson, senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, argues that progressives are at an electoral disadvantage with conservatives because they don’t have a well-known brand. Methinks she just doesn’t understand what her own brand is.


Ms. Robinson cites three main reasons for not having a brand in the way that conservatives do. One is the old argument that Republican candidates have deep-pocketed corporate donors. Next she states Republicans have used the same old war cry of lower taxes, less government, etc., so the public knows what they represent, therefore it doesn’t demand much time or money to explain conservative views. Finally, she declares Republicans don’t need training on how to run a campaign or speak their views because she says they are in some way trained at the outset, essentially to follow the party line, so they know automatically what to do. She calls all of this “party branding.”


First, of course, I have to comment on her assertions. One, the Democrats are frequently better-funded than Republicans. Most liberals don’t want to count funding from unions and lawyers as deep-pocket contributors who demand a return from their donation investment. I call reason number one a draw.


She is essentially correct about her second point, that Republicans have a firm grip on what they believe in, and therefore they don’t have a tough time figuring out how to explain their views. One aside on this point however - the public likes new arguments. They get tired of the same old arguments over and over, no matter how correct they are. I would argue Republicans need new ways to argue their points so they sound fresh, instead of tired.


And finally, she implies conservatives are automatons; that we attend some sort of de facto training. Huh? What is she talking about on that one? Has she not been paying attention to the tea party and other discontents on the right side of the isle?


Anyway, she thinks progressives have no such branding, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage. As a result, she believes Democrats have to “brand” themselves.


Sounds plausible. Unfortunately, she is exactly wrong - progressives do have a brand. A very distinct brand. It is in the word - progressive. It means that they can’t stay stagnant, they need change, status quo is not okay, regardless as to whether the status quo is good or not.


In her article she states (unbelievably) “Talking about policies and programs doesn't do it: progressives (have) always been at our best when we speak from a place of strong moral authority, rooted deeply in a daring vision of the kind of world we'd like to create. If we can't envision that world clearly in our own minds, we certainly can't describe it with conviction to other people.” In my view this is spot-on. The amazing thing is that she actually nailed it so well, and yet still does not understand how ridiculous this viewpoint is. If you have the time, read her statement again - it is truly remarkable.


When we look at her words we get an accurate, concise statement of exactly what the progressive “brand” is. Consistent with Ms. Robinson’s statement, progressives paint themselves as


  1. Speaking from a place of strong moral authority (self -designated authority);
  2. A daring vision of the world they want to create that they can’t describe; and
  3. No policies or programs to speak of.


If as she says, they are at their best when they espouse these policies, no wonder they are a mess! I read this as meaning they think they know what is best for everyone even if they can’t articulate it, and they have a daring vision of the world floating by the deep abscesses of their minds which they can’t put their finger on. That scares the hell out of the rest of us. Remember Nancy Pelosi? “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” In other words, because of our high moral authority we can just dive into “daring” health care even if we don’t know what is waiting there for us.


Correspondingly, I have more than once had liberal friends say they agree Obamacare has serious flaws, but they deem it a starting point, as though government will improve it as time goes by. Even though history has shown that to be extremely unlikely, they still believe. They are willing to go to the “daring” world of government-run health care even if they don’t have a clue as to what will happen.


Sarah, I would submit the reason you can’t pin down or describe the vision in your mind of the world you want to create is because you are not actually moving towards something as opposed to moving away. It is obvious you don’t like the injustices of the world, but all you can do is flail away aimlessly at the symptoms because there are no perfect cures - a fact you refuse to accept. You do not like exceptionalism because it proves differences in the skill and ability of individuals; superiority of one individual or group over another.


So, Ms. Robinson, I respectfully submit progressives have, in fact, done an accurate job of branding themselves. That you can’t see it further illustrates the problem with the brand, not that the brand doesn’t exist. With that in mind, maybe I can help you. If you want to formally designate the progressive brand, it should be this-


“We hate the world and those people who do well within it, and will have none of it. Stick with us, and we will somehow figure out how to make it perfect. We don’t have any specifics at this time, but put your trust in us and all will be grand. We will tear down everything and everyone that is doing well, and when the dust settles, we are convinced that something good will pop up.”


I want to thank you for making exactly what you stand for so clear. Hopefully I have reciprocated by helping clear up some of the confusion in your own mind.


Click the link below to read Sarah Robinson’s article in full.


http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/78278/building-the-progressive-brand



Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Imagine...What if Kerry Had Been Elected?

"If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas?" - Don Meredith


The 2004 presidential election featuring George Bush and John Kerry was close. Kerry won 59.03 million votes, or 48.3 percent of the popular vote; Bush won 62.04 mil, and Bush won the electoral vote. It wasn’t as close as the Fiasco in Florida in 2000, in which Gore won the popular vote by approx 500,000 votes and lost in the electoral college, but it was close.


I was thinking back.....what if Kerry had won? I imagine we could do this ad nauseam with all elections. But in close elections, it is more of an “almost,” and because of the significance of the economic times we are in, especially interesting.


Fair or not, the president in power gets the credit and blame for what is transpiring. In general, the economy is the most important thing, but not the sole issue. Analyzing just the economy portion of this imaginary tale, it is hard to imagine Kerry would have done anything to change the flow of events that led us to the economic mess we were in during the 2008 campaign season. Dems would say like to say they would have immediately added regulations that would have prevented the meltdown, but that’s highly unlikely, especially since they blocked attempts from the Bush administration to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is more likely Kerry would have focused his attention on the Iraq War and the polar ice cap. With the economy humming along, all would have gone down as it did.


Thus, in 2006 when the Dems took control of the House and the Senate, and if Kerry had won, the Dems would have been in full charge and had full accountability. Guess who would have gotten the blame in 2008?


Not that it would have been completely the Dems fault - no more than it was Bush’s fault. But they would have taken the heat from the American public. Republicans would have said “See, give the economy back to the Dems and in just two short years they crashed the car off a cliff. Don’t give them back the keys!” It is not unreasonable to believe the Republicans would have swept into office in a big way. We would have had - who - McCain? Doesn’t matter, it would have changed things. At the end of ’08 whether Kerry would have recognized the coming financial meltdown as Bush did or not, things would have been different. Would the Republicans have spent as much money? Probably not, but who knows.


Anyway, we would not have acquired Mr. Obama. It would certainly be possible for him to win in 2012 if the Republicans didn’t straighten things out, although by then he would have had four more years in the senate and be better known, which, I believe, would hurt his chances. And again, as is the case with American politics, the mid-term elections might have swung wildly back to the dems just as they did for the Republicans.


Going forward, if the economy remains the big issue the relevancy of all this will play out when we see who is in control if the big swings diminish and things start to settle down. If, however, the battle for control of the political ideology of the country becomes important, than the results of 2008 will, indeed, turn up huge in our country’s history. I believe the Tea Party would never have formed had not Obama, Pelosi, and Reid taken their merry ride. This radical trio helped spark the silent majority into action, which will probably have an effect on politics for a long time. Just what effect I don’t know.


If I had to guess at the time of this writing (and it is a guess), I would think Obama is a one-term president, and his policy making will be short lived. It is, however, still two years until we head to the polls again. Ultimately, economies always recover, so things may be better in two years. But good enough? Hard to say. If he goes to Pakistan and personally pulls Bin Laden out of a cave, his chances will increase.


As to whether the American public will embrace the decidedly socialistic tendencies of Mr. Obama, who knows. If things get really bad, they may. But Obama and his gang have brought the issues front and center to the average American people and they don’t like it. It is entirely possible that we will swing to the right for an extended period of time due to them.


Just imagine if Kerry had won. Socialism would probably not be a frequent “talking point” on the right-wing political commentary programs. Republicans would be fighting off criticism about the economy, and Hillary would be gearing up for 2012.


I would have bet on Hillary.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No Need To Dislike Obama, Just Get Him Out of Office

“To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Alexander Pope


As anyone who has stuck his or her head out during their life knows, you are taking a chance when you do so. I’m sticking my neck out here with this blog. Some of my friends may take offense to my writings and not want my association anymore. While I am dismayed at that thought, I recognize it will probably happen. But I have never been a milk toast on opinion, and I won’t turn to mush now.


Correspondingly, throughout my career as a builder in affluent neighborhoods, I have irritated people who thought my vacant lot should remain open so they can continue to walk their dog or allow their son’s archery arena to remain intact. In some cases these people have cost me time, money, and sleepless nights. I consider them selfish people, but I don’t dislike them.


I’m not a religious person, but “forgiveness” is something that is a valuable tool for your own sanity, and for the people around you as a whole. Holding onto grudges is unhealthy in all respects. I try to understand why a person feels the way they do, what in their background or DNA makes them think the way they do. I am usually able to figure out (or concoct) an answer to why they are how they are, and I understand them. Whether I am correct in my assessments or not doesn’t matter - it makes me feel better and allows me to put everything behind me and move on.


While there are very few people that raise my ire as much as Barrack Obama, I try to apply the same thinking in my assessment of him. From my perspective, his policies are going to destroy America as we know it. I think that is his intent. In my estimation, he doesn’t like what America represents or has been in the past. He is a firm believer in redistribution of wealth. He wants to apologize to the rest of the world for America’s behavior, which has been nothing short of stellar. He wants to destroy our economy to chase fantasies of millions of green jobs. In short, he is not just ignorant to what our country is, he is intent on changing it.


But even though he is actively trying to (in my view) destroy my country, I don’t dislike him. Why? It’s not his fault. In some sense, no one is responsible for their behavior. We are a product of our DNA and our environment. If you are religious, you may include some other ingredients. Barrack Obama has a past, as we all do, and he can’t escape it.


I am the first to admit I am not a historian and don’t know the details of Obama’s life. However, I write from the perspective of a common sense regular person. From what I see and hear from various news sources, documentaries, and from clips and interpretations of his books, I feel I have an understanding of Obama’s nature and motives.


My assumptions -


1. One of the most important things that happened in his life was the death of his mother to cancer, purportedly because she did not have the insurance coverage needed to treat her.

2. His views of the world and America are different than those of most Americans because he grew up all over the place. Yes, he is a citizen, but I don’t believe he values American citizenship as much as the rest of us. To him, it is nice to have because it affords him the opportunities to do what he wants to do, but it isn’t part of his soul. He does not feel a kinship with Americans.

3. Possibly what he came away with from being a child of the world was a vision that your life and living conditions were not dependent on who you were, but rather the environment into which you were born. This seems grossly unfair to him.

4. It appears he has never done any real productive work. As a cerebral guy, he didn’t place value on work. His career as a lawyer mostly centered around civic issues such as housing for poor people, voting rights, etc. His mind lives in theory and possibilities, not gutty reality.


So how can we expect him to be in touch with average Americans? Is it surprising he feels the way he does about economic inequities and Americas’s position in the world? Of course not. It is to be expected.


I haven’t heard anyone say he is a jerk, and either Michelle is a great actor, or she is very fond of him. So are his children. He must be a nice guy. He seems like a nice guy. I’d love to shoot some hoops with him sometime and have a beer summit afterward.


No doubt when he was a youngster and registered a complaint about things in America he got the same answer we all did, “If you want to change things, do it in the responsible way. Vote. Get involved. Work in the system towards what you want.” So he did. In short, if you are a conservative and were told his story without knowing his political views, you would respect him.


To all my conservative friends, I ask you to forgive him. And, I would ask you not to dislike him - just get him out of office as quickly as possible. We have many would be politicians with similar stories of struggle who love and are proud of America, think America is a great country, and acknowledge that America is the place that allowed them to succeed. These are the people we need for our leadership.


Okay, okay. I am not as righteous as I make myself appear to be. At times I shout horrible things at the TV, although they are usually more often directed at Nancy Pelosi. But you get the point. Hating people may increase motivation, but it does not effectively win hearts and minds. Besides, hate distracts one from purpose.


So, again, don’t dislike Obama, just get him out of office ASAP.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

The Rise of Fox News? The Networks Have Themselves To Blame

The people at Fox News are dumb. Dumb like a fox.

The rapid rise of Fox News has been staggering. Fox continues to “shellac” it’s competitors on CNN and MSNBC, often getting more viewers than those two networks combined. According to Nielsen, in last Tuesday’s election night between 8PM and 11PM, Fox outpaced not only the cable stations, but ABC, CBS, and NBC as well. My guess is Fox will continue to rise. Here’s why.


As the mainstream media has drifted decidedly left over the years, the lack of fair and balanced reporting left an opening for someone to step up and provide it. Okay, you believe Fox is right wing, not fair and balanced? Whatever. In either case, the media’s move to the left created an opening for viewpoints that were not being expressed. Fox stepped in and said “Thank you. We appreciate your generosity,” and filled the void.


Since left-wing ideology deems it’s views as facts, it is understandable they saw Fox as a purveyor of trash. In their view, Fox was anything but legitimate, and probably would fade into the sunset when it’s viewers came to their senses. Assuming their left-wing focus on news coverage was due to ignorance as opposed to intent (not sure we should make that assumption, but heck, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt), I have to think they didn’t believe there was much to worry about.


Fox started picking up viewers in large numbers. Why? Because they presented news the other providers didn’t. Stories that did not fit the viewpoints of the mainstream media did not find their way to the public except through Fox. As an example, during the 2008 campaign season when the Jeremiah Wright story broke, initially only Fox that covered it. When I asked friends what they thought about the Jeremiah thing, they didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. I told them they were only getting half the news, and they needed to start spending some of their time on Fox. Some didn’t take my advice, but some did. Those that did now call Fox their main source of news and don’t trust the networks.


All the networks had to do to keep Fox from becoming the 800 pound gorilla was to present the news - all the news. They could have presented it any way they wanted, but they had to present it, and they didn’t. So now I know, as do many others, that if you want to get all the news, you have to spend most of your news time on Fox.


But, you say, Fox is so right-wing. Maybe so. And most of the starboard commentators wouldn’t deny that. They take news pieces and situations and spin them to the right. But not the news teams. They are real professionals and present the news in, as they say, a fair-and-balanced manner. And, as far as the right side commentators go, no one can deny they at least present all the news, even if they spin it. They almost always have left-wing guests and contributors to present liberal views in contrast to their own. One complaint about Fox is the yelling and screaming and people talking over each other that occurs on many of it’s programs. Of course, this is because there are people on both sides of the issues arguing vociferously to sell their point of view. Tell me Marc Lamont Hill, Kirsten Powers, Ellis Hennican and Alicia Menendez aren’t liberals. Or how about Alan Colmes? You will get every viewpoint on Fox - not so the other stations.


So what did the networks do when they started seeing their market share erode? Instead of holding their noses and covering stories they did not want to acknowledge, they slammed Fox as liars, right-wing whackos, and idiots. Unfortunately, this didn’t jive with those people who had discovered Fox. The networks started looking like children, like the kid who took his ball and went home when the good players showed up. Disrespect for the networks grew as respect for Fox climbed, even among many democrats. Approximately one-third of Fox’s regular viewers identify themselves as democrats. Obviously, they watch for a reason, even if only to understand what the right wing is thinking, and hear it from the right wing, not have the left wing explain it to them.


Unfortunately for the networks, it will be difficult for them to switch course. Their contempt for conservatives is apparent, and they are so loaded up with left-wing people they don’t know how to present the opposing view. They look foolish on those occasional moments when they try. They would have to fire many of their people and hire some right wingers. Not only are they hesitant to do this, it would be extremely distasteful to them. Additionally, they have spent so much effort bashing Fox that altering their ways would leave more egg on their faces than a raw omelette. Admitting their bias would go against their grain. It would violate their true beliefs and they would feel they were doing something solely for ratings.


One of the first things learned from business courses in college is free enterprise will find a void and fill it. Fox found the void. Another thing learned is profits breed competition. Fox is profitable. If just one of the major networks shifts gears and becomes a well-balanced news organization, they will see their market share rise dramatically. If not, it will take a completely new outfit to challenge Fox in it’s ever-increasing niche.


By the way, the claim that Fox News drivel is irrelevant. If it’s news, it should be covered. The fact that many Americans think something is important makes it important.


Of course, if you think FOX News is nothing but drivel, you understand why the networks will have a hard time changing. But then, since you began reading this piece, the gorilla has gained a few more pounds.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com


This is part two of a two-part opinion about Fox News on this blog. Part One, Is Fox News Divisive? Well .... Sort Of discusses political divisiveness in the country, and Fox News’ role.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Is Fox News Divisive? Well .... Sort Of

Is it divisive to state your opinion? I guess it is, if someone disagrees with you.

The word “divisive” has turned up in politics a lot in the last 10-15 years. I started noticing it’s frequent use during the George W. Bush Administration, and I thought it funny because those who disliked Bush were, of course, the ones calling him divisive. While Bush might have been divisive, I certainly don’t think he had a monopoly on it. Even before the Dems took the house in 2008, my view was that Nancy Pelosi was the most divisive person in politics. I guess it depends on your political leanings.


Nevertheless, it does appear we are more politically divided, and the magnitude of our different viewpoints is increasing. Why is this? Have we just become less tolerant of others with differing views? Are we more stubborn about our own?


There are many reasons, but two that stand out. First, the American public is more informed. In many cases, they are misinformed, but still are fed information to process. The more information people get, the more they strengthen their opinions. And, this, of course, is because of the new media. It is easy to get news without having to obtain a newspaper or sit for a given period of time in front of a TV to find out what is going on. We have a smorgasbord of choices from the internet, blogs, DVR’s - you name it. Info is available at virtually any time and in any form we want. People who want to seek out info can find it fairly easily.


The more compelling reason, however, is the rise of conservative talk radio and Fox News.


We all know (or should know) the major broadcast organizations such as ABC, CBS, and NBC and newspapers such as the New York Times have moved decidedly left over the years. These news outlets drifted into reshaping news to cover only what they wanted to cover, news that fit their view. Anything that didn’t fit their view was omitted, dismissed as irrelevant, or just plain lied about. Everyday citizens were brow-beaten into believing what they heard from the establishment news organizations, and made to feel stupid if they didn’t understand and agree.


But all along, something didn’t seem right, and when conservative talk radio gained to get a foothold, many people started to question what they heard in the mainstream media. Common sense conservative talk radio dared to challenge the “established beliefs” that characterized the mainstream media, and people connected. Suddenly people began to realize they were not alone, that there were other people who shared their opinions. Does the “silent majority” come to mind? Notice we haven’t heard that term for a while. That’s because they are no longer silent.


If conservative talk radio was the fuel, Fox News was the match. With a television network now in on the uprising, people were able to see photos and video clips to justify the viewpoints of the upstarts. No longer was right-wing talk just hearsay. The large numbers of Americans who found out others shared their views suddenly became empowered, suddenly felt justified, suddenly felt right. They were no longer as afraid to express their views and stand up to be counted.


Yes, the Left is correct when they accuse conservative talk radio and Fox News of creating the divisiveness in this country. Contrary to their charges, however, it is not because they spread misinformation or fear, it is because they distribute facts and express opinions that are legitimate and well-conceived, and, therefore, have assisted in creating the uprising of people who are just not going to take submission anymore.


The reason the left calls it divisiveness? Prior to this political rebellion, the left had their way with the media and the public discourse in the country without challenge. All of a sudden they were being called out, challenged, and their columns and news broadcasts were being criticized. The peace and harmony of a one-party dominated media and an intimidated political under class were suddenly gone. No more easy street. They named it divisiveness.


I am distressed when I see the vitriol spewed from both sides of the idealogical isle. I wish we could have reasonable discussion without name calling. Name calling is a good form of defense because it shifts the discussion from the issues to whether or not the target of the attack is guilty as charged. A good example is calling tea party people racist, or calling left-wingers unpatriotic. Both charges are ridiculous.


In my recent blog, The Boxer Racist, I began by saying when you disagree with Democrats on any subject where race is remotely involved, they will call you names. As expected, one reader called me a bigot, and said I was “full of crap.” He said little to explain his reasons. He also said nothing to rebuke my statements in the article, feeling that merely calling it “laughable” disproved everything I had said. Fortunately, these forms of verbal intimidation and oppression are more and more being ignored by those previously oppressed. The “right-wing” media is making that possible.


The new discussion is healthy. The name calling is not. And while both sides participate, the predominant name callers are on the left. The “divisiveness” will not lessen until it stops.


So, Fox News, you are guilty of promoting divisiveness as charged. And we thank you.


Mercer Tyson Straightthinker.com


This is part two of a two-part opinion about Fox News on this blog. Part two, The Rise of Fox News? The Networks Have Themselves To Blame discusses how Fox has catapulted itself to the top in television news ratings.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wait - Exactly What Was Bush's Fault?

Dance with the one that brought you and you can't go wrong. - Shania Twain

Obama and the Democrats have been insulting the intelligence of the American public ever since it started to appear that Republicans were going to coast to a landslide in the mid-term elections. Funny, but didn’t they declare that “intelligent” Americans elected Obama in 2008? How did we get so stupid in just two short years? Usually we get wiser. Obama and his gang would have you believe it is Fox News’ fault. Fox, it seems, makes enlightened people stupid. They also want you to believe the economic meltdown was Bush’s fault.


After the 2008 sweeping Democratic victories, the feeling within the Democratic party was one of pure joy, a belief they were now in power forever. And I must admit, I was worried they were. I told my wife the election of Obama was something America might never recover from. Worse than him becoming president was knowing the people actually fell under his spell and voted for him.


Okay. I understand. The country was tired of Bush, fed up with the war, and the economy sucked. Agreed. But, really.... Obama? All these people that are now decrying liberalism and socialism - what did they think Obama stood for? What did they think the “Fundamental Change” was?


The key thing they sold the American people was that George Bush’s policies were to blame for the economic meltdown. When the debates came along, Obama essentially used the “chicken in every pot” approach to outdo a good man but a feeble campaigner in John McCain who had nothing to say but “same ol’, same ol’...” I don’t really think McCain could have won anyway because all he could propose to help the economy was lower taxes, etc. - things the Democrats decried as the “same old policies that got us into this mess.” Well, guess what? Those same old policies Republicans push are what built this country, whereas the “same old policies” the Democrats tout are what generally hold us back. Now more than ever we need the Republican “same old policies.”


Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that both parties have contributed to this mess. But George Bush was fooling around with a baseball team in Texas when the policies that created the current mess were being formulated and legislated. And who can really believe lending money to people who could not be expected to pay it back is a Republican policy? At most, it is a bipartisan effort. And all the additional “deregulation” policies that have been laid on the Republican lap had many Democratic supporters along the way - Clinton, Schumer, Dodd and Frank among them.


But whether you think Republicans or Democrats or both were to blame is irrelevant. The point is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fix what is broke, and leave the rest alone. Quit loaning to people who can’t pay the money back. Quit allowing credit swaps or whatever else they talk about that a non Wall Street guy like me doesn’t understand. Quit bundling loans together and selling them in enormous investment packages. Fine. But don’t trash the whole system. The system is what has led us to become the greatest economic power in the world. (And for you “One World” people, we helped bring the rest of the world along for a good portion of the ride.)


Here’s my proposal - get rid of the bad stuff and keep the good stuff. Ingenious, isn’t it!


So, get rid of whichever deregulation policies can reasonably be assumed to be bad, and keep the ones that are good. Loan money to people who can afford it. You know, like 10%-20% down, good incomes - that kind of stuff. Regulate the banks so they have enough liquidity to meet hard times and their money is safe. Don’t allow companies to get too big to fail. Whatever. But don’t throw this marvelous system out with the bathwater. Keep the fundamentals in place that made our country great. Keep the best possible environment for our creators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and for people who work hard. Keep things good for those people who are the “Salt of the Earth.” Keep the focus on who makes this country work, not those who drain it. Keep the American ingenuity moving forward. Don’t burden it with socialist policies that will drag it down and kill it. Of course, that means low taxes, a better climate for business, especially small business, and more freedom.


Like it or not, the Tea Party has the right idea on most of this. And if you liberals want to call them stupid or uneducated or whatever, go ahead. But do what they say, because they are right and you are not. I know it is hard for intelligent, educated, high-earning liberals to believe they haven’t got a clue. But like Obama in his speeches, you need to stop looking up to the left and the right. Instead, you need to look down at what is right in front of you.


I wish Republicans could do like the Democrats and just promise everybody anything, whether they want to work and be responsible or not. But that is Democratic prerogative, because they are the party of “Hope and Change,” (translate - fantasy). Republicans are usually unattractive, stoic, boring, hard-nosed people who don’t seem to like to have a good time. They just work, work, work, and can’t say anything nice or positive. Some truth in that.


Here’s what I ask of you. Next time someone declares it was the Bush policies that got us into this mess, ask them to name one such Bush policy. If they even have an answer, it will probably be “low taxes” or “deregulation.” If they say lower taxes, ask them exactly how that caused the crash. If they say deregulation, ask them exactly which deregulation policies didn’t have Democratic fingerprints all over them. And then ask them how health care “reform” and Cap and Trade fall into either of those categories.


They won’t have a sensible answer because there isn’t one, and because they will be looking up to the left or the right instead of what is right in front of them.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com