Category: Politics

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Democracy Under Fire

Somebody sure seems set on changing up the Democrat and Republican candidates running for President. I am not one to peddle conspiracy theories, but, gosh, there are suspicious activities at work that shouldn’t be ignored when evaluated one against the other.

Early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt by a whisker, as the saying goes, during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa. Watching local news coverage from a TV station in Pittsburgh, I listened to an expert explain that three inches left would have been Trump’s nose, rather than his ear. The gentleman explained that, from the shooting distance, the difference was the slightest shift in the wind.

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Do you Feel…?

You may want to rethink that yes, if the answer. We have come to perilous times, where conspiracies make more sense than commonsense. Take, for example, Joseph Biden’s debate debacle with Donald Trump. An astute observer should have seen Biden’s cognitive decline years ago. I am no expert, and it was obvious to me—and plenty of other folks. Now, post-debate, Biden’s brain, and the continuation of his campaign, are the dominant topics seemingly everywhere. But something smells fishy here—and it ain’t good.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization, is responsible for organizing the face-off between candidates, which typically starts some time following each respective political party’s convention. CPD had scheduled four debates, with the first slated for Sept. 16, 2024, at Texas State University in San Marcos. In a statement, the organization explains that it received a “letter dated May 15, 2024 from Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Chair for the Biden-Harris Campaign, in which the Biden-Harris Campaign informed the Commission that President Biden will not agree to debate under the sponsorship of the Commission during the 2024 general election campaign”. The B-H campaign decided to organize its own debates, and Trump agreed to participate.

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Politics Stress Relief

As I write, the first Presidential debate, between presumptive candidates Joseph Biden and Donald Trump, is underway. For now, my intention is not to watch. Later, I will start with clips and possibly peek at a recorded version through which I can fast-forward and pause. The live event promises to be pure poison.

Or stated differently: Various manifestations of elder abuse. Seriously? You ask. Yes, Biden for his sheer presence and demand to stand and be mentally present for 90 minutes or so. Trump, for the abrasive handling by the hostile CNN moderators.

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Seven Movies Every Journalist Should See

Periodically, I update my picks for must-see movies about news reporting. More than eight years have passed since the last list, in February 2016—before the tumultuous Presidential election that thrust Donald Trump into the White House and precipitated disastrous changes across American newsrooms.

Editorialization of news, once taboo, is widespread. Many stories are subjective and slanted, pushing progressive—or, to lesser degree, conservative—values over impartial presentation of facts. The changes are evident in headlines or deks but more earnestly descriptive modifiers used for emphasis, where none should be.

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One Day in April

On this date 17 years ago, I visited the Capitol Mall for the second-to-last time before our relocation to San Diego about six months later. Nearly six years after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, against the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Washington, D.C. had returned to some semblance of normalcy.

Fast-forward to today, and what’s not different? The craft of politics is a toxic enterprise. Congress is a case-study in paralysis. If only Elon Musk had developed a Neuralink that could get government moving again. I can’t imagine going back, even while regretting having left.

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Clickbait, Misinformation, or Both?

I don’t write enough about the dreadful disdain that my profession deserves. But, occasionally, some story is so ridiculously egregious that I must admonish the story, its writer, and the editors. This afternoon, when turning on Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, Windows 11 Start menu teased with news that might interest me. I clicked mainly curious why our AI overloads would pick something about the Republican presumptive presidential candidate.

From Newsweek, headline: “Donald Trump Stung in Primary As Huge Number of Republicans Vote Against Him“. Lede: “Donald Trump suffered a blow in a number of primary votes on Tuesday, after thousands of Republicans refused to vote for him”. Well, yeah, that would be news if true. But, before proceeding, let’s dispatch any confusion caused by semantics.

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The Interview Heard Around the World

Today, Tucker Carlson released perhaps the most important interview of our time—and one not sought by traditional, Western news media outlets, if I correctly understand things. Recorded on Feb. 6, 2024, the journalist sat with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

My wife and I watched the first 55 minutes of the more than 2 hour interview; we will finish it tomorrow. My interest: Context and record-setting straight by Putin and the questions Carlson poses. The liberal American news media cannot be trusted to get the facts—for reason nobody openly discusses, because maybe for fear of being called homophobic. Sharpen your nasty labels, baby, and let’s get to it.

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I Stand with Texas

The Featured Image might seem to you an odd choice for this post’s title but I must disagree. Suddenly, on my walks, I see many more American flags displayed—and in places that are new to my eyes, like this one outside a North Park market. Makes me wonder: Are some San Diegans quietly, but affirmatively, expressing their patriotic support for Texas’ standoff with the Federal government?

Under a program called “Operation Lone Star“, Texas seeks to “hold the line to defend the Southern border”. Bolstering that effort, Governor Greg Abbott has mobilized state national guard units as part of a vanguard laying razor wire and blocking U.S. Border Patrol agents from processing immigrants. A Supreme Court ruling favors Federal efforts to cut (and remove) the razor wire. Abbott and his attorney general are defiant.

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‘Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution’

These posters suddenly are all about my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Ah, do these people not know the killing machine that is communism? I did some quick Googling this evening seeking an answer.

Marking a century since the 1917 revolution, Wall Street Journal published, on Nov. 6, 2017: “100 Years of Communism—and 100 Million Dead“. Dek: “The Bolshevik plague that began in Russia was the greatest catastrophe in human history”. Same year, October 28, from Cato Institute: “100 Years of Communism: Death and Deprivation“.

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The Outlier

If  elected, she would be the youngest President-elect in the history of the United States. She also would be ineligible to serve, at time of the election next year, being then 34 and 35 is the Constitutionally-mandated minimum age. However, Taylor Swift was born on Dec. 13, 1989, which means she would be of age to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2025.

Despite insane popularity, the singer sure looks like a longshot at this juncture, particularly with no real political experience—although navigating the complicated contractual craziness of the music business and self-managing a multi-million dollar entertainment career isn’t that far removed from taking on Washington.

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Death of a Republic

Foreshadowing is a common storytelling technique. Perhaps in a movie with what I call a “French ending”, the handsome hero stubs his toe early on, only to later die of blood infection. A different kind cuts across genres: In the classic trope from American cinema, a sidekick is introduced with intriguing backstory and quickly developed character, which signals that his or her death is imminent.

My question: What does a hearse parked across from the polling place in North Park foreshadow? The death of our constitutional republic? Or of democracy, if you prefer? Judging by the advanced ages of the people choosing to vote in person, on-call ambulance wouldn’t be unreasonable precaution. Hearse is a bit much, but, hey, surely someone will croak while voting somewhere. “Be prepared” is the Boy Scot motto and that of undertakers everywhere.

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A Solitary Sign

This is different and, honestly, refreshing. In my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, We Believe signs are almost always some variation of rainbow color text on black background professing sentiments like “love is love”; “black lives matter”; and “science is real”—among others.

Today, along Shirley Ann Place, my wife and I passed a placard seemingly meant as an antidote to the others. Given the community’s liberal leanings, and the plethora of the other signs, I must admit surprise seeing one so blatantly contrary. We live where views dissident to progressive feelings-based beliefs and values simply are not tolerated.