What’s in a Name: 3 Pieces of Legislation with Misleading Titles

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Upon winning independence, our founding fathers were wary of centralized power. They understood the corrupting nature of power, and set about creating a system meant to balance power, and reduce greed and corruption. 

Our system of “checks and balances” is supposed to ensure that the government doesn’t violate the constitution, and they were successful.. for a while.

Arguably the first erosion to this system came in 1913, when the 62nd Congress voted to pass the 17th amendment. Prior to 1913; the general population would directly elect members of their community to represent their interests in the House of Representatives, while state legislatures would pick 2 citizens of the state to serve the interests of the state at the federal level. When state legislatures picked Senators to represent their state, the Senator holds no power, if you’re not living up to your obligations, than the legislature would replace you.  Counteracting the members of the house who would stay in power by using charm to win re-election. The general population lives in an echo-chamber. If you’re a liberal, you watch MSNBC and read Slate on your phone while driving the kids to school.  If you’re a republican you watch “The Five” on Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh on your lunch break. When you think about it, it’s incredibly easy to trigger Democrats,Republicans, and Libertarians.

For example most Democrats LOVE giving their takes on these topics:

 

  • Income inequality
  • Healthcare
  • Identity politics 
  • Environmental concerns
  • Abortion
  • Guns
  • Taxes not being high enough

 

While Republicans will lose their mind for:

 

  • Illegal immigration
  • Military spending
  • Police
  • Guns
  • Taxes
  • Christianity
  • Muslims
  • Abortion

Libertarians? We will lose our mind for just about anything, but if you want to get us going discuss:

  • Roads
  • Military
  • Public Education
  • Free Markets/Regulations
  • Entitlement Programs
  • Ron Paul
  • Government spending

 

We’re all hypocrites. Democrats care about identity politics, unless you’re a person of color who may disagree with you politically.  They want government mandated equality for every gender and race, except white guys. Republicans think we spend too much. Specifically on regulations, bureaucracy, and entitlement programs; but balk at cutting military spending, despite finding $125 billion in administrative waste, or any government spending that helps them remain in power; you’re a conservative farmer who wants to cut food stamps? Alright, how about after we cut corn subsidies? Last month I wrote about how Social Security is destroying our country and Republicans went ballistic. Libertarians are the most annoying people on the planet, nobody’s a “real” libertarian, we have a portion of the party that wants free markets, but is anti-immigration and “America first.” We have a county chair in Michigan who supports Antifa, and our Vice Presidential candidate appeared to be actively supporting Hillary. Literally no consistency.

Our general stupidity, and tendency towards hypocrisy has allowed the career politician to thrive. Knowing we react to buzz words and topics that sound sexy, they use psychology to garner support. Just look at the title of the bills they write .

The Patriot Act

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Sixteen years ago next month, on 10/26/01,  George W. Bush signed the “USA Patriot Act” into law. Passed in the aftermath of September 11th by a vote of 98-1 in the Senate, and 357-66 (it is worth mentioning that the only Republicans to vote against this bill were Robert Ney, Butch Otter, and Ron Paul) in the House, in an attempt to curb terrorism.  

To put it simply, the legislation was passed in a panic with very little debate. Former Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 3162 on October 23, 2001, the House passed it the next day, and within 72 hours we had passed legislation that massively expanded the scope of the federal government.

There is nothing “patriotic” about the “Patriot Act.”  The indefinite detention of immigrants? That violates the sixth amendment. “Enhanced surveillance?” That’s led to NSA wiretapping, a clear violation of the fourth amendment. A lot can be said about some of the shady things in our Constitution, but the most important political document in American history isn’t the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence; it’s the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. Both collections of essays helped develop this country; while the Federalist Papers defended the Constitution, the Anti-Federalists demanded there be a Bill of Rights to protect the people from the government.

The point is, the first ten amendments to the constitution are so important that it almost tore apart this country.  And in a moment of panic, we passed laws that violate the bill of rights.

The reason the Patriot Act keeps getting extended (last extended by Obama in 2011), is that no politician wants to appear weak on national security, and being against the Patriot Act means you support terrorism, so politicians continue to support it. Even though it doesn’t  work and often ruins lives.

Affordable Healthcare for America Act

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The “Affordable Healthcare for America Act,” commonly referred to as “Obamacare” was President Obama’s landmark legislative achievement. FDR had “The New Deal,” Johnson had his “Great Society,” Barack Obama has “Obamacare.”

Signed into law by the 111th Congress in March of 2010, with a single Republican voting for the legislation (Joseph Cao, Louisiana). 39 Democrats voted against the bill, bringing the final tally to 220 for, and 215 against.

The legislation is exceptionally long, and provided healthcare to 24 million uninsured Americans (at the threat of a tax for non-compliance). After surviving the Supreme Court, Obamacare premiums have continued to soar. As the “New York Times” points out;

“While fewer than 20 million Americans buy their own insurance, the tribulations of the individual market have captured most of the public’s attention. The average cost of a benchmark plan in the individual market rose 20 percent this year, according to Kaiser, as insurers tried to stem their losses. “

Although they later go on to defend the Affordable Care Act, the fact is that using the the term “affordable” is a misnomer. Being forced to pay for insurance you don’t want, that rises at a rate of 20% annually, under threat of punishment is the exact opposite of “affordable.”

The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984

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Unlike some other pieces of legislation, “The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984,” enacted by President Reagan in October of 1984, doesn’t have a flashy nickname. The name itself is straightforward and to the point. An idiot could conceive what this legislation was meant to do. When enacted it became the first comprehensive revision of the United States criminal code since 1900. Like the Patriot Act for Bush, and “Obamacare” for Obama, “Comprehensive Crime Control” was meant to be, and is, a cornerstone of Reagan’s legacy.

The name itself is brilliant. Nobody likes crime, crime is bad. We need to get rid of crime.

But what is crime?

We all have our own moral code, our own sense of right and wrong. We all define crime differently. A soccer mom from Kansas is going to have a different vision of right and wrong than a poor kid from LA.

The benign nature of the name meant most people wouldn’t pay any attention to it. The goal was if you were against crime, than the average American wouldn’t give it a second glance.

Problem is the legislation was not benign. This country was founded on a set of principles that valued the individual over the community, the community over the state, and the state over the federal government. When it came to legal affairs the founding fathers preferred to leave the punishment of citizens to locals. A soccer mom in Kansas and a poor kid in LA have different experiences, values, and ways of life, it only makes sense that there would be minimal federal oversight on criminal affairs. That was true until small government conservatives created the United States Sentencing Commission, and put them in charge of normalizing prison sentencing.  Their recommendations became the “Armed Career Criminal Act,” creating mandatory minimums. Mandatory minimums have had a jarring effect on society. Disproportionately affecting people of color, and lower economic status, hurting multiple generations. Mandatory minimums created career criminals, comprehensive crime reform just created more crime.

The legislation also reinstated the federal death penalty, increased penalties for marijuana possession and cultivation, and created the despicable act of civil asset forfeiture .

All of this was able to get through because the name was self-explanatory and boring.
How a lawmaker labels their legislation matters. These pieces of legislation affect hundreds of millions of lives. What they pass matters. Using clever, or boring names and nicknames to either attract or repel attention is manipulation that pays off in votes. We need to demand better.

 

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4 Things to Remind Liberals Of As They Whitewash History

 

It seems as though the latest fad in the progressive movement is for city leaders across the country to prove how “progressive” they are by campaigning to remove any “offensive” statue, renaming any building that may have ties to slavery, and essentially eliminating any reference to  American history that may be uncomfortable.  Anything that alludes to the Confederate States of America is under protest by progressives. The city of New Orleans, for example recently spent $2.1 million dollars on removing four civil war era landmarks.

I wish more people would think like Condoleezza Rice, who told Fox and Friends; 

“I want us to have to look at the names and recognize what they did; and be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history.”

In times like these, I think it’s important to remind people that most of the historical figures we admire had some shitty qualities.

Abraham Lincoln Believed in Racial Superiority

 

Abe Lincoln is often portrayed as a good man who fought for the freedom of millions of slaves. That was hardly the case; his wife’s family, owned slaves, afterall. What Lincoln really cared about was maintaining the Union, once writing;

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.”

But it was his quotes on racial superiority that show that Abe Lincoln, more than anything, pitied African Americans. The “Historical Review’s” Robert Morgan notes that on August 14th, 1862 Lincoln invited free black ministers to the White House, where during the conversation, Lincoln stated:

“You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.”

And during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates in 1858, Abraham Lincoln once said;

“And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

People seem to forget that young Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin in southern Illinois, where he used to shepherd people across the Ohio river into Kentucky.  Maybe it’s not fair to stereotype, but it’s hard to imagine growing up where he did made him the most tolerant person.

Gandhi Hates “Kaffirs”

Mahatma Gandhi was a civil rights leader that helped lead India to independence from the British.  He’s seen as one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders, a paragon for equality and pacifism.

Unless, of course, you’re black

 Using the South African term “Kaffir” as a racial slur, there are multiple instances where Gandhi lets his prejudice shine through.

For example, Gandhi proclaimed that Europeans want to make Indians out to be lazy.. Like the kaffirs:

“Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

“There is a bye-law in Durban which requires registration of coloured servants. This rule may be, and perhaps is, necessary for the Kaffirs who would not work, but absolutely useless with regard to the Indians. But the policy is to class the Indian with the Kaffir whenever possible.”

Not all brown skin is created equal:

“The £3 tax is merely a penalty for wearing the brown skin and it would appear that, whereas Kaffirs are taxed because they do not work at all or sufficiently, we are to be taxed evidently because we work too much, the only thing in common between the two being the absence of the white skin.”

What Gandhi really was, was a racial supremacist.

 

MLK Was a Sexist

 

Martin Luther King Jr. once said;

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

And he really meant the “men” part.  

From 1957 until December of 1958 MLK wrote an advice column for “Ebony” magazine.

 He had some interesting advice for women.

When asked by a woman how he should handle her cheating husband, King responded;

“In the meantime, since the other person is so near you might study her and see what she does for your husband that you might not be doing. Do you spend too much time with the children and the house and not pay attention to him? Are you careful with your grooming? Do you nag?”

He also suggested to an abused wife that she may be at fault for the abuse, and chided a single woman for unknowingly tempting her boyfriend into losing his virginity pre-marriage.

Mother Teresa Didn’t Care About the Poor

Mother Teresa is seen as a modern day saint. During her incredible life she set up schools and soup kitchens, doing missionary work across the globe.  Revered for her work with the poor, she’s seen as this loving and compassionate figure. Whether or not the praise is deserved is up for debate; forcing homosexual conversion, and being friendly with dictators will do that.

One thing that can’t be questioned, is that she didn’t really care about the poor. Telling Christopher Hitchens;

“I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”

In fact, the University of Ottawa conducted a study that outlined how fraudulent her entire career was, they conclude her image is the result of a relentless media campaign.

 

Whitewashing history to play to the sensitivity of individuals has gotten a little out of control. Society would be better off facing its history head on, even if it’s painful.

Evergreen State College: A National Embarrassment

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For years conservatives have been deriding the increased liberalization of America’s college campuses; mocking recent trends like “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” has recently led to some of those same groups purposefully trying to “trigger” their liberal counterparts.  2017 has seen several examples of this campus liberalization, and until last month, Cal Berkeley was the center of these protests.  That all changed in late May, when the world was introduced to “Evergreen State College” in Olympia, Washington.

The small liberal arts school of about 4500 students was founded as a “non-traditional” college back in 1967 as a way to even out the distribution of “higher learning” opportunities for students, at the time, students from that part of the state didn’t have many college options, so Evergreen State College was born.  The college quickly earned a reputation as being one of the most liberal colleges in America, and in 1970 the school started sanctioning “A Day of Absence.”

“A Day of Absence” traditionally takes place in the Spring, and until this year was a day in which people of color were urged to avoid campus, and instead attend a number of off-campus events meant to promote diversity.  “A Day of Absence” was traditionally followed by “A Day of Presence” in which minorities would return to campus the next day, joining their white friends in a series of on-campus lectures and activities.  

This year, however, the tables were turned.  Rashida Love, Director of the  “First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services” office at the “school,”  pushed an event in which white people were told they had to leave campus for 2017’s “Day of Absence.” Chloe Marina Manchester, writing for the school newspaper, explained this year’s changes:

This year, however, it was decided that on Day of Absence, white students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities. This decision was reached through discussion with POC Greeners who voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

While the paragraph is frustrating to some, it isn’t the worst thing in the world, after all, white students and staff were only invited to stay off campus. It’s not like they were forced out by a shouting mob.

Just Kidding, That’s Exactly What Happened

On May 23rd, a group of 50 students surrounded Biology Professor Bret Weinstein, calling him a “white supremacist” and other insults for refusing to participate in this years “Day of Absence.”

 

Professor Weinstein isn’t some far-right radical, either.  Weinstein describes himself as “extremely progressive” and actively supported the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.  In the past he was extremely vocal in his support of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and seems to be a perfect fit for such a liberal school.  However, he did take issue with this years event; particularly how there was no discussion surrounding the validity of the event, and in an email to Rashida Love he expressed how he feels that this year’s day of absence was an act of oppression and force.

Email sent by Bret Weinstein to Rashida Love

After  these protesters surrounded and threatened Weinstein, the protesters barricaded themselves in the “Trans & Queer Unity Lounge” before issuing a set of demands to school President George Bridges.

 

Bridges proceeded to meekly defend the protesters, caving to the students demands which included “cultural competency” training for all faculty and staff.

Protests Continue

The weak response from Bridges, as well as other faculty and staff, have led the situation to go on for far too long.  Culminating in duel protests last Thursday that ended in violence. Riot police had to break up the protests, and one person was arrested.  

The protests were held by “Patriot Prayer,” a Portland based conservative group. And “Antifa,” the violent, left wing, “anti-fascist” group.  Antifa was there protesting, what they called, a “white supremacist group.” In response to those claims, “Patriot Prayer” organizer Joey Gibson said:


“I love all people, because they’re human. It doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is. Ok? And I’m sick of hearing about that,” Gibson said. “If we’re white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? That’s what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, they’re the most whitest (sic) people I’ve ever met in my life.”

The situation has gotten so bad that students attending Friday’s graduation had to go through metal detectors.

In the wake of these protests, the “college” has announced that they still plan on going forward with their re-vamped “Masters in Teaching” programming which emphasizes training teachers to indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology. Program director J. Patrick Naughton wrote in the programs catalog that:

 

“Our schools are called upon to help children and youth develop physically, emotionally, and cognitively in order to create meaningful lives for themselves and to participate collaboratively and creatively in public life. In our increasingly diverse and complex society, public education must play a key role in nurturing and educating citizens who care about equity and justice for all beings. We focus on preparing teachers ready and willing to take on these responsibilities every day. “

This emphasis on social justice is mandatory, even for teachers who are training to teach subjects like math or science, in the program students will;  

“examine and consciously act on differences such as ethnicity, race, class, gender, gender expression, culture, religion, language, ability, and sexual identities.”

Schools are supposed to be a place of higher learning, yet more frequently publicly funded schools are being used to push a political agenda.  With luck, Evergreen State College will lose the $24 million dollars in public money currently allocated to them for next year.

Venezuela: How the Hell Did We Get Here?

 

 

Earlier this week Peru’s President, Pablo Kuczynski, warned that the civil and economic unrest in Venezuela could create a refugee crisis in South America.  He also expressed concern that the unrest was destined end in civil war.  

 

The news isn’t that shocking.  For years Venezuela has been on the verge of collapse; recently it’s gotten so bad that the Washington Post is even having trouble defending the country.  Gone are the days where we’ll see Bernie Sanders praising the Venezuelan economy; while Sean Penn,  Oliver Stone, and Michael Moore hardly make a peep.

 

The thing is, Venezuela shouldn’t be poor. They should have Latin America’s best economy. Instead, the citizens are killing each other over toilet paper.  So how the hell did the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves get this way?oil-reserves-by-country.jpg

 

A Brief History

 

The name “Venezuela” was given to the nations north coast by spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda, and means “Little Venice,” and the name stuck. Venezuela remained under Spanish control until July 5th, 1811.  That July, the majority of Venezuelan provinces declared independence from Spain.  

Over the next ten years, the Venezuelans fought the Spanish for control of the country. On June 4, 1821 Simon Bolivar, commander of the revolutionary forces, broke a ceasefire, defeating the Spanish at the Battle of Carabobo and securing Venezuelan independence. 

Modern Venezuela was founded in October 1958 after the three major parties; Accion Democratica (AD), Comite de Organizacion Politica Electoral Independiente (COPEI), Union Republicana Democratica (URD) signed the “Punto Fijo Pact” . The pact established the fact that the military worked for the people, not the other way around. The pact formally protected the right to vote.

In the mid-1990’s Venezuela was in economic turmoil; inflation and corruption ran wild, and people were starting to question the pact.  Seeing an opportunity, Hugo Chavez, who had led a failed rebellion in 1992, seized control of the country in 1998 (with military backing), officially becoming president in 1999.

What the Hell Happened?

Simply put, oil prices bottomed out in the mid 2000’s.  But that’s a bit simplistic, Venezuela’s real problem began much earlier in the 1960’s. In the 60’s, the Venezuelan government started to use protective tariffs to increase manufacturing at home, when some industries started struggling to keep pace, the government leaned on subsidizing those industries.  As Thomas Sowell points out in “Basic Economics”, subsidies hurt the economy by encouraging inefficient business practices.  It’s better, long-term, to let those businesses fail, or else you’re just kicking the can down the road.

The protective tariffs led-way to nationalizing iron ore and natural gas in the 1970’s.  During the 1970’s Venezuela was the wealthiest country in Latin America; they had the region’s highest growth rates, some of the lowest levels of inequality, they were the best educated nation in the region,  and they had a stable democracy. The 1980’s, however, saw 3 coup attempts and an impeachment.  

So what happened? One of the conclusions drawn by experts is that  weak government institutions caused inflation and stagnation. Normally higher education levels lead to a better economy and higher wages. Experts, however, experts were surprised to discover that that wasn’t the case in Venezuela.

“One of the more surprising findings is related to the role of human capital. The chapter written by Corporación Andina de Fomento (Andean Development Corporation—CAF) economist Daniel Ortega and Harvard Kennedy School professor Lant Pritchett notes that Venezuela not only had a relatively well-educated population in the 1980s, but that education increased throughout the period in which growth decreased. As they point out, “If the wage-returns relationship had been stable over time, then the additional levels of education of workers should have raised wages by 58 percent.” Instead, wages declined by 70 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. The notion that education—a key component of human capital—has either no relationship or a negative relationship to real wages is counterintuitive.”

Ortega and Pritchett had determined that large-scale nationalization efforts undertaken by Hugo Chavez, had decreased the incentive to work.

After Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, he started implementing wide-scale nationalization policies culminating in 2002, after he fired 18,000 oil workers, seizing complete control over the oil industry.

At the same time Chavez dramatically increased government spending. Touting welfare programs for the poor, making him exceptionally popular. For the first few years, it worked.  Malnutrition rates, for example,  dropped from 21% in 1998 to 6% in 2007. The government attributed it to Chavez’s food initiatives. Implementing these initiatives meant government took over food production, centrally planning the entire thing. They re-distributed land, established price controls and quotas, all in the name of the collective good.

With so much of their economy under control of the government, it went to hell during the oil crisis of the mid-2000’s.  It doesn’t seem as though they’ve learned from their past. Today,Venezuela doesn’t release any economic statistics, but it’s estimated that inflation sits around 440%.

 

Venezuela’s tax revenue has decreased, even though it’s expenditures have risen.

Although Hugo Chavez died in 2013, the country is still run by his sycophant, Nicolas Maduro. Under Maduro’s leadership, the co

untry faces a shortage of everything. Venezuelans are describing hellish situations; Pittsbur

 

gh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli wrote of his homeland:

“There were IVs and bags of liquid medicine on the ground. Babies were screaming. Some of the older children, the toddlers, were moaning in pain. Doctors and hospital workers were stepping over little kids like it was nothing, like they were pieces of garbage.

It was human suffering on a scale that you hardly ever witness in person.”

Venezuela is the long-term effect of socialism. Anti-government protests have waged on for months, and are becoming increasingly more violent, maybe President Kucyznski was right. Maybe Venezuela is destined for civil war.  

Inside the Progressive Mind: Episode 1

 

 

*Author’s note: I used the word ‘Progressive’ over ‘Liberal’ in this post because I identify as a classical liberal, and there is a substantial difference between classical liberalism and the bastardized version of today. So to avoid confusion, we will just refer to them as progressives. 

As often as I am on social media, I tend to get into political discussions, no matter how hard I try to avoid them. I learned long ago that trying to argue with someone on Facebook is the biggest exercise in futility in which one can engage these days. But it is my crack. I cannot help but respond when I read something so egregious that I simply can not abide it. The Dude minds, man. This aggression will not stand. So I was struck with inspiration for a recurring piece within Authentic Liberty today after a cordial exchange with someone online: Each week (roughly, or as often as I encounter something worth writing about), I will take a progressive comment I have read in a social media post,  and break it down from a Classical Liberal/Libertarian perspective. Today’s winner is this gem, found in response to an article calling out Democratic Socialist Socialist hero Bernie Sanders for calling on “Millionaires and Billionaires to pay their fair share”, whilst raking in a seven figure income, and purchasing his third(!) house for the small, small price of $600,000. And I quote:

“A lot of speculation there saying he doesn’t do much for the poor… or that his ideology precludes him from being successful. He’s clearly willing to impose higher taxes on himself and his financial peers because he believes a better educated and healthier populace contributes more to the economy.” 

Learn how to be a Socialist! (for $16.99)

Bernie’s Ideology has far from precluded him from being successful. No one at this point that has even paid a modicum of attention would argue that Bernie is a pauper. The man has a talent for expressing a viewpoint, however misguided, in such a way that resonates with millenials, and the progressive socialists of yesterday. A talent, mind you, that he has parlayed into a seven-figure income thanks to the glorious, capitalistic freedom this country has afforded him to peddle his class warfare rhetoric in book form.

And for this, I cannot fault the man! The marketplace of ideas and products has rewarded him for his talent. I will not begrudge a man’s success. And subsequently, if Bernie wanted to impose a higher tax on himself (LOL), then he has every right to do so. As Dubya once so eloquently put it, “…I am pleased to report the the IRS accepts both checks and money orders, heh heh.” *Bush-giggle added for effect* 

No, what I take particular issue with from this valiant Bern-out is his insinuation that Bernie is somehow justified in imposing HIS view of what should be paid in taxes on anyone other than HIM. This Is Hardly unique to Senator Sanders. This is, of course, what most libertarians despise about politicians in general. Why should the federal government get to decide how much of MY money I get to keep after my state has already decided what their claim to MY money is, and in certain cities, how much of MY money I ‘get’ to contribute just for driving on #muhroadz or eating in one of the cities fine dining establishments.

The most basic, underlying question I have for my progressive brothers and sisters is why, WHYYYY do you place such high amounts of faith in these people to make decisions about the lives and money of your fellow Americans? Is it because they spend your money So Very Very Very Very Very wisely when they do get it in their greasy mits? Is it because they are So Very Very Very Very Very trustworthy? Why do you believe these people should be the arbiters that get to decide how much money you or I should make? Why should ANYONE vote to impose a limit on their potential earnings?

The reason for many Bernie fans feeling this way on this matter, is most likely, because  they are among the group of 45% of all Americans that need not concern themselves with the burden of a high income tax. Make the other guys pay for it. Those ‘millionaires and billionaires’ can foot the bill for all of our free healthcare and free college and free XYZ. Except they can’t. America’s won-ton, runaway spending would continue to expand our deficit, even if we taxed all income over $1mm at 100%. Which means that taxes on the middle class, under a Sanders-style tax-and-spend plan would have to increase, not just on those fat-cats on Wall Street. Main Street would be Feelin’ the Bern as well. But who cares? There’s a statistically significant chance that even a tax hike on the middle class wouldn’t affect majority of those who would hold the same viewpoint as the person to which this article is a response.

If wanting to maximize my earnings and keep as much income as I possibly can is greedy, then so be it. I’m greedy. But then, so is Bernie Sanders. The only difference is, I don’t run around preaching the Gospel of redistribution while participating in the same behavior in my private finances, that I lambast in the public space.

I’d leave you with this, my favorite clip from my boy, Milt, schooling Donahue over the exact same socialist propaganda that Bernie is spewing today. Milt doesn’t trust ANYONE, not even Donahue, as an Angel run a perfect “””Fair””” society for us. I don’t trust Bernie to, either.

 

 

 

 

ESPN’s Hard Left Turn

 

 

I’ve got a confession to make; politics isn’t my first love, sports is.  I absolutely love them. Growing up playing sports was practically mandatory in my house. Saturday’s would be spent with my dad driving me from soccer, to hockey, and lacrosse; while my mom would do the same for my little sister.  When I wasn’t playing sports, I was watching ESPN; starting my day with Dan Patrick and Sportscenter was part of my routine.  ESPN was integral to shaping my identity.  Which is why it’s painful to see what it has become; an unapologetically political network.  Released by ESPN’s Public Editor Jim Brady during the Men’s National Basketball Championship game between North Carolina and Gonzaga, the new company policy on politics, encourages hosts to make the connection between political and social issues on their shows, giving them the discretion to be as political as they want.

 

Today ESPN  is essentially MSNBC with Lebron James; and it’s killing them. By the end of June, ESPN will have shed $100 million in salary in an attempt to firm up their bottom line, a bottom line that is bloated by expensive broadcasting contracts.  ESPN committed $15.2 billion to the NFL over an 8 year period back in 2011; another $12 billion went to the NBA, while they won the right to broadcast the College Football Playoffs for a cool $7.3 billion. Having over $34 billion in financial commitments while seeing a 27% drop in ratings since 2010 cannot be a sustainable business model, yet, actions by the “worldwide leader in sports” doesn’t seem to suggest they see a correlation between declining ratings and their new political identity. Instead, ESPN’s management points out that ratings are down at every station, management suggests that as more people cancel their cable subscriptions, ratings will suffer. While this may be true, the evidence suggests that this is only part of the reason for the decline.

The numbers show paint a different picture. In February 2011, at its height, ESPN appeared in over 100 million homes, while ESPN2 appeared in 99.9 million homes. In a sign of things to come, also in 2011, progressive “sports” writer and radio show host, Dan Le Batard had his show “Highly Questionable” premiere; he was joined by co-host Bomani Jones, an even more progressive voice, two years later  in 2013.  Today, both Le Batard and Jones host nationally syndicated radio shows where they discuss cultural, society, and race in sports.  All of which are fine topics, but, as a study from media analytics firm “Deep Root Analytics” recently shows, sports fans skew republican, and devoting a minimum of 6 hours of radio time a day to social justice warriors alienates their largest demographic. Coincidentally, it has been all downhill, from a ratings perspective, since February 2011, culminating with the company’s worst month coming in November of 2016, when ESPN lost 600,000 subscribers. As of December 2016, that 100 million subscribers had dwindled to ESPN appearing in 88.4 million.  ESPN, for their part, blamed low ratings in 2016 on the presidential election; which, in all fairness, may have some truth to it; after November’s election ratings did improve, slightly.  

 

ESPN’s attempts to create a greater political dialogue in this country would be more tolerable if they, as a company, didn’t at least openly take sides.  In July 2015, ESPN moved a golf tournament from “Trump National Golf Course” after a then candidate Donald Trump made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.  It would be even more tolerable, still, if they didn’t have openly biased opinions towards those who may have different political views than their own.  Current “Sportscenter” anchor Jemele Hill, while speaking about former colleague Curt Schilling (who was fired by the company after a 

social media post showing a man dressed as a woman demanding to be allowed in the women’s bathroom, appeared) said:

“ESPN is in an uncomfortable position,” “They don’t want to suppress anyone’s beliefs, but some would say, ‘You can say that, but Curt Schilling got fired.’ But the values Curt Schilling was trying to promote didn’t line up with what ESPN wants to be as a company.”

The problem, of course, is that right or wrong, many people share Curt Schilling’s belief when it comes to who can use what bathroom.  And the ideological bias wasn’t just directed at white men, long time “NBA Countdown” host Sage Steele, an African American woman, was demoted the day after ESPN announced it’s new guidelines relating to sports and politics. Sage Steele had been the studio host for ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” was given a more limited role. Steele, a slightly more conservative voice, was famous (at least politically speaking) for saying:

 

“There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing. The worst racism that I have received, and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind I thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience. But even as recent as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen?”

 

African American culture magazine “The Root” wrote an article highlighting the happy responses from progressives, the next day.

 

The ideological bias within ESPN is so extreme even employees are starting to notice;

 

“We’ve done a great job of diversity,” said longtime ESPN anchor Bob Ley. “But the one place we have miles to go is diversity of thought.”

Ryen Russillo, who has hosted a nationally syndicated radio show on ESPN for years, took it a step further:

“I feel like there’s so many people that I work with, that every show, every topic, every angle on it is hoping to be right about destroying the right on every single thing that comes up. And I don’t even feel like I’m taking that much of a stance other than I feel like I just — I hear it every single day. I don’t know what the job is anymore.

I got into sports because I want to talk about sports, and now I feel like if I’m not doing a social awareness show three out of five days a week I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I can’t possibly think that’s the play, long-term, for what I’m supposed to do as a sports talk show host for the next 10 years.”

Danny Kanell was laid off from ESPN this year.

Ryen Russillo, has, in recent months, seen a mild reduction in his role at the company.  First, his show “Russillo and Kanell” was moved from standard “ESPN Radio” to ESPN’s “secondary” radio network, “ESPN Xtra,” for the first two hours of its broadcast three hour broadcast, in order to accommodate the “Stephen A. Smith Show.” Then, Danny Kanell, his co-host on “Russillo and Kanell,” was a victim of ESPN’s layoffs. The moves may have nothing to do with politics, but as a “sports first” radio host who rarely talks about politics or social issues, it was interesting to see his show get replaced with the loudly progressive “Stephen A. Smith Show.”

 

So what could be driving such a leftward turn? One possibility could be Bob Iger. Iger, the CEO of Disney (ESPN’s parent company) could be considering a 2020 Presidential run.  Although his contract isn’t up until July 2019, “The Hollywood Reporter”  reports that the Disney billionaire has been encouraged by friends and family to seek public office, and that he has recently met with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about transitioning from a CEO, to holding office.

 If he is considering running for President in 2020, the Democrat was likely encouraged by seeing fellow billionaire Donald Trump, whose advisory team he just quit (over Trump’s withdrawing from the “Paris Accords”), likely provided him with the confidence in knowing a billionaire can relate to middle America. In that case, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to think that in a few years he could point to ESPN and tell progressive America “see! See what we did at ESPN!” as a way of gaining some credit amongst the Bernie bros out there.

 

Whatever the reason, ESPN’s hard left turn is ruining my first love: sports.