Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ted Cruz: That Rare Find

It is a rare thing in one's life to have a presidential candidate emerge on the scene who inspires you, who creates hope for a better America, who makes you feel that your future will be brighter. That candidate for me, was Ted Cruz, the true conservative on the GOP ticket, who, Tuesday night, dropped out of the race. He said he would stay in it as long as there was a path to the nomination, but when the state of Indiana went majority for the other candidate, Cruz suspended his campaign.

It was this candidate, Ted Cruz, who would rein in the government which had grown to near-unmanageable levels. It was this candidate who deeply believed in our founding principles of limited government, of individual liberty, of free market capitalism, of strong national defense, of personal freedoms. It was this one who had the depth of knowledge of our nation's history, why and how it was founded, what made it great, and why people from all over the world risk their lives to come here. He understood all that. He articulated all that. He fought for that his whole life in many ways, most notably in front of the highest court in the land. He experienced first hand, as a senator, the uphill struggle to keep one's promises made to the voters, and he made enemies in doing so. While working against an entrenched body of power-hungry politicians in congress, he still managed to break through to the surface, and for that he stood out. He stood out for that fight. He stood out for those principles. He stood out for us. He was not one to go along to get along. He distinguished himself by his service to the American people. When we overwhelmingly voted in representatives in 2012 and 2014 to control an out-of-control president, Cruz was one of a very few who actually kept his word. And for that we trusted him. For that we were happy to support him. He was the exceptional candidate in an exceptional time.

Ted Cruz is one of those rare finds. Someone like him comes along only once in a while. And when he does, you must be able to recognize a great man when you see him. I'm afraid the American people have lost that ability. We can no longer recognize greatness. We can no longer see that values and principles are vital to the health of our nation. That character matters. That honesty matters. Instead we reward popularity for its own sake and celebrity from a hit TV show. We have traded in truth for 'telling it like it is', no matter the veracity.

So, it was unusual to find a candidate who represented my hopes and dreams for this country and for my family. I will try to get through the next 4-8 years by dropping out from any media which has already proven itself to be dishonest. It will be too painful to watch my country sink further into the progressive abyss. I will channel my energies elsewhere, for I see that America has changed. The people want something different, and it's different than my own.

Hopefully, there's always 2020 to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

So Long, Fox News Channel

For many years, I had been a pretty loyal viewer of Fox News Channel. I found it to be fair and balanced as promised, and the only channel that actually offered a different perspective on news stories. It was refreshing to hear my voice represented on television. To put that in context, when watching every other network on broadcast or cable, their bias against Republicans or conservative thought was frustrating. So it was comforting to know that one network had the courage to do something different.

And then Donald Trump became a candidate for president. I am not a fan of his, which is what has created this tension for me, as well as for many other viewers. The frequent coverage of him, at first, was understandable; after all, he is a colorful character who says things in ways other candidates do not. Got it. But as time went on, it became apparent that the coverage was over the top.

Wherever he went there were cameras. His rallies became 'newsworthy' in the minds of the decision makers, his remarks, however inane, were repeated and analyzed. Once Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush dropped out of the race, Fox zeroed in on Trump as the guy they were going to get behind with all their resources. (It has been reported that Trump has gotten 2 billion dollars in free airtime, no doubt most of it from FNC.) This attention was heaped on him by their lineup of hosts: from Fox & Friends in the morning, to The Five, to Greta, to The Oreillyfactor, to Hannity, and more. Before long, it was obvious that Fox was actively promoting Trump while actively denigrating the other candidates. Not only was Ted Cruz given far less exposure, the interviews with him were often contentious. The conversation about him was not flattering.

Not the story, of course, with Donald Trump. One only needs to watch Hannity interviewing Trump (if you want to call it that) to see that Hannity finishes his sentences for him and articulates his positions for him. Sometimes all that is required for Trump is to agree with Hannity and say "yes, that's right." And let's not negate the fact that many Fox personalities are personal friends with Trump, so, standing by their friend is natural for them. Even Megyn Kelly, who was the only one on the network to stand up to Trump and actually challenge him on a few things, is now starting to cave in to the network pressure. She announced recently that she will be doing a one on one interview with Trump, which I guess is supposed to excite the viewers. All that accomplishes, is that she, as the last holdout for drinking the Trump kool-aid, will now fall into the trap set up by the network brass. She too, will now start covering Trump like the others; softball questions and praise. She has already softened in how she talks about him. She comes to his defense when a guest criticizes him, and she now mocks the other candidates like the good little host she's supposed to be. It is truly pathetic to watch someone who once had integrity, just lose it.

I am done with Fox News Channel. It has become unwatchable for non-Trump fans. I stopped watching it a couple of months ago, (with the exception of Kellyfile), when their bias was overwhelmingly obvious. Now, sad to say, the Kellyfile will join the scrap heap of once-watched shows. CNN, for now, has become the cable alternative, but they too, can be frustrating to watch at times. The difference with CNN though, is that I expect to see bias, so the disappointment isn't too great.

I am not alone in this boycott of FNC. But, rest assured we will find a home elsewhere. I have been a fan of TheBlazeTV for a few years now and LevinTV which has just launched, are great alternatives. My voice is represented on those internet networks. And I don't have to tolerate the insanity that has gripped the Fox News Channel, aka the Trump News Channel.

So long Fox. You have outlived your usefulness. You have turned from "We Report, You Decide" to "We Report, We Decide." And that just isn't fair and balanced.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I'm Angry Too

I, too, am one of the angry voters. I am angry at the GOP for allowing Barack Obama to fundamentally transform this country. I am angry that when given the chance to stand up and defund Obamacare, or vote down yet another stimulus package which increases our debt, or secure our border once and for all while they had a majority in Congress, they have opted to take the road that they weren't elected (in massive numbers) to take. They have demonstrated time and time again, they do not have the political courage to do what we asked them to do.

Donald Trump has seized on this anger and run with it. He speaks plainly and boldly and repeats his messages of building a wall, changing trade rules with China and Japan, and bringing manufacturing back to America. He has tapped into the desire for America to be the best again. And what makes it more attractive, he is not a politician.

However....many things have become quite obvious over the past nine months since Donald Trump started running for office. It is obvious his depth of knowledge on most issues is shallow. One need only listen to his answers in a one-on-one interview that exposes a lack of understanding on important topics. Since day one it has become obvious this man is a loose cannon. It is obvious his character is lacking a certain civility we have come to expect from our presidential candidates. He has stumbled over himself too many times to count. His retractions on any given day, for what he said the previous day (sometimes even the same day), have become all too routine. His obsession with himself via the non-stop talking about his winning in the polls, or how great he is, or how much money he's made, has become the great comedy routine we expect from comics who replay their jokes to an eager audience wanting to hear the same bit; only it's not funny. His frenzied tweeting, which mock his opponents, or the wife of an opponent, or hurls insults at various people who oppose him, seems to land him in perpetual hot water. His refusal to apologize to anyone for anything, also demonstrates some psychological disturbances. And yet he continues. His tone at rallies, in which he yells to his supporters and to security to "get him out of here" or to offer to pay legal fees to someone who pummeled a protester, or to throw someone out in the freezing cold without his coat. His constant claims about being treated unfairly by the media which has given him billions of dollars in free air time or his griping about a particular host on Fox when many other hosts on the network have demonstrated their support for him, just rings hollow. He has shown us he is a petulant child, a schoolyard bully who constantly reassures us 'I'll be good, you'll see, I can be very presidential.'

I'm still waiting.

No matter though. I've got my candidate in Ted Cruz who has shown traits quite the opposite to what I've ascribed to Trump. Cruz is a thoughtful, knowledgeable and politically courageous man who understands America's problems and how to fix them. He has repeatedly shown he has the political courage to stand up to Democrats and Republicans alike to do what the voters asked. That is a fact. With Cruz, I don't worry about things that might spit out of his mouth without forethought. I don't worry about any deep psychological problems he might be carrying around. I don't worry that the world will continue to spiral out of control with him at the helm. I don't worry about what his mood might be on a given day which may negatively alter world events. Cruz is a solid, stable person, with whom, whether you agree or disagree, you can count on to listen to the will of the people and do what he promises.

I'm angry too. But I don't have to back Trump to prove it. Cruz will do just fine.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

In His Own Words

Forget the debates. Forget the pundits. Forget the press. Forget even the other candidates....for a minute. I want you to judge a man based on his words. This is important, because it's his words that reveal his ideas, his character, and more importantly for us as Americans, how this man would govern. The following quotes came straight from the the guy who's leading the pack in the GOP race to the White House, Donald Trump.

The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.

They won’t refuse, they’re not going to refuse me — believe me. (upon hearing that the military would refuse to take out families because it's illegal)

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.

Paul Ryan, I don’t know him well, but I’m sure I’m going to get along great with him. And if I don’t, he’s going to have to pay a big price.

I’ll tell you what we’re going to do, right? We get greedy, right? Now we’re going to get greedy for the United States. We’re going to grab and grab and grab. We’re going to bring in so much money and so much everything.

I'd bring back waterboarding, and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.

I’m very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.

I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!

I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists, so I don't know. I don't know -- did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.
I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I'd have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine -- it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I'll let you know. (referring to the Ku Klux Klan)

Honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. And I just don't know anything about him.

I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it. The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.

Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.

We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. Certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago. (referring to requiring American Muslims to register with a govt database)

(I'm calling for) total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.

When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.

(Citing an alleged story about Gen. Pershing executing Filipino Muslim fighters in the early 1900's, Trump said): He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pig's blood and he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said 'you go back to your people and you tell them what happened.' And for 25 years there wasn't a problem, okay?

I think eminent domain is wonderful.

I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.

I paid millions and millions of dollars in refunds. (referring to Trump University)

Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.

We’re gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.

How stupid are the people of Iowa?

We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.

You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden — you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?  Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible. (referring to North Korea's despotic dictator, Kim Jong-un)

I would get China to make that guy disappear, in one form or another, very quickly.
(Do you mean assassinate him? he was asked.) No, well, you know, I’ve heard of worse things, frankly. This guy’s a bad dude.

It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond. (referring to Vladmir Putin)

Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Nobody has proved that he’s killed anybody. (referring to claims that Putin has killed many journalists)

He’ll pay. Trust me, he’ll pay. (referring to ex-President of Mexico who said they would never pay for the wall)

Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee.

This is a small sample of a multitude of quotes from Trump. As we all have seen, he has also personally insulted many of the people he crosses paths with, ranging from women to those in the media, and of course, to other candidates in the race. Aside from the fact that he alone has lowered the standard for any decorum in a presidential race, his words have given us insight into who this man really is. His supporters and those yet to decide, must look objectively at his character and think about whether he should be the one to lead this country.  Do you really trust him? Donald Trump wants to be the most powerful man in the world. Let's think very carefully about with whom we entrust that power.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Best Candidate, The Worst Candidate

Ok, I admit it. I have a dog in the race. I have now watched nine debates, have watched many interviews, both short and full length, and have come away from all of it with a strong affirmation. My dog, or candidate, is Ted Cruz. Cruz has shown himself to be, time and time again, a voice of reason and thoughtfulness. When asked about how he would govern this country, he articulates his positions clearly and eloquently.  He is consistent in his stances because his positions are based on core principles of Constitutional conservatism, and he steadily draws upon this core. When challenged to prove it, he points to times when he has stood up in Congress to oppose policies that stray from these principles, and likewise, he has stood for policies which have supported these principles.

While Cruz has had to endure accusations of being a liar, of being nasty and of being dishonest, these characterizations couldn't be further from the truth. While other candidates have pointed to inconsistencies in his positions, one need only dig a little to realize that sometimes what appears to be a reversal in position, is merely one that is nuanced - perhaps too nuanced for public consumption which feeds on sound bites.

One example of this is the amnesty issue Cruz and Rubio spar over in every debate. Rubio accuses him of changing position, while fully knowing that his accusation is a sound bite taken out of context. Even Megyn Kelly (no obvious fan of Cruz) admitted on air to Cruz in a post debate interview a couple of weeks ago, that she did a lot of research on this subject to investigate this apparent 'lie' of his. She came away, however, agreeing that Cruz has been very consistently against amnesty. Yet in every debate, Rubio brings it up as though this issue wasn't settled. And Rubio, in a blatant lie that was on display for all to see, was when he stated quite affirmatively, (after Cruz accused him of saying one thing about amnesty in Spanish on Univision, and another in English), that Cruz doesn't even speak Spanish. Embarrassing for him, was when Cruz responded to him in Espanol. Rubio just smirked and had to swallow his lie whole. Such is the dishonesty at these debates.

The controversy over the Cruz campaign trying to attain Carson's Iowa voters, was due to the Carson campaign putting out the information in the first place of their candidate not moving on to the next couple of states. CNN, in turn, reported as "Breaking News" that it was odd that Carson would do such a thing, unless he was dropping out. And while one could argue that Cruz's campaign should've confirmed this (proving now that CNN cannot be trusted for information), Cruz took full responsibility and apologized to Carson both privately and publicly; no one was fired because of it (as Carson desired) because the campaign was merely doing its job of securing voters.  Let's not even mention that Rubio's supporters did the same but that wasn't talked about at all, except on social media. Nothing to see there, of course, for Carson or anyone else that continues to call Cruz a liar. Carson, much to his own dismay if he would admit it, has become political. And Carson himself, while seemingly aligning with Trump who praises him at every turn, has evidently forgotten when Trump accused him of being pathological and a child molester. Those accusations cost Carson the most votes of all, for it was after that his numbers started dropping precipitously.

While there doesn't seem to be any fighting between Cruz and Bush, Kasich, and the other candidates who have since dropped out, the Cruz vs Trump fights are turning out to be quite sensational.

Which brings me to Donald Trump; the worst candidate in this race.

Donald Trump employs the politics of destruction. At this point, that seems to be a fact. His anger, which is justified when speaking about the state of the union over the past several years, has instead been focused on his GOP opponents.

If you wonder where Trump stands on issues, you can listen to him in debates, or you can go back to interviews and listen to him there. If you do that however, you will find that his positions have been inconsistent and very much dependent on where, when and with whom he is speaking. He doesn't seem to have a true ideology, no political philosophy, no core from which he takes positions.  This is why he is all over the map with opinions.

When Cruz points this out, as he did in the most recent South Carolina debate, Trump goes beserk over it, and in his fieriest of fiery exchanges, then starts his trademark name calling, interrupting and shouting, as if the person who shouts the loudest wins. Trump simply cannot stand to be called out on his own lies and reversals. And when he yells out that Cruz is nasty and lying, the irony is just too much to bear.

When Cruz really becomes a thorn in Trump's side, Trump vows to sue him over his eligibility to run for President (Cruz was born in Canada to an American-born mother). So far, two courts have struck this down, but Trump himself keeps threatening to sue if Cruz doesn't behave like a nice little boy. Although a non-issue, as it has been looked at many times, Trump keeps it alive merely to cast doubt and to try to silence him.

Of course, Cruz isn't the only one who has had to put up with Trump's overbearing and narcissistic behavior. To date, it's been Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. At this point, we await the attacks on Rubio if he gets too close to Trump's numbers. And the attacks have all been personal. Why? Because Trump cannot debate on substance. He has none. So the politics of destruction sets in. To date however, that strategy seems to work for him, as the masses seem to want blood. The debate stage has become his Coliseum.

For many of us, Donald Trump has been exposed for the person he is. There are no more excuses for his behavior. There are no more excuses for his tantrums and no more excuses for his personal attacks on his GOP opponents. There are also no more excuses for his shallow and repetitive responses on issues. He has proven over and over he is not presidential by any means; he is unpredictable, vicious, and uneducated on many issues. How would he govern? Hopefully we will not find out.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's a Wonderful World (?)

Americans have been given a gift. Recall George Bailey from the film "It's a Wonderful Life" who had the chance to see what the world would've been like had he not been born. For the last 7 years under Obama's tenure, Americans are getting the chance to see what the world would be like when America is NOT leading on the world's stage, (thereby leaving a vacuum for non-benevolent nations to fill). After decades of questioning, why America? Why do we have to be the world's policeman? Why do we have to be the world's superpower? Here's why:

We are seeing what happens when we pull out of countries too soon (Iraq and Afghanistan) and our enemies take over cities we had previously liberated from a ruthless dictator who was a threat to our own security.
We are seeing what happens when the largest sponsor of terror in the world, Iran, is given consent to develop nuclear weapons, much to the horror of Israel and its Arab neighbors in the region who see a a dismal future with Iran in control of that region. 
We are seeing what happens when our once closest ally in the Mideast, Israel, is left alone to deal with threats to their very existence.
We are seeing what happens when we draw lines in the sand that we don't adhere to (Syria), and tyrants like Assad are allowed to murder innocent civilians by the hundreds of thousands.
We are seeing what happens when the most savage barbarians in the form of ISIS are beheading, crucifying, torturing, burning alive, drowning, and raping Christians and other Muslims in the Middle East, men, women and children alike, in their quest to build their long awaited caliphate, and we do nothing to stop them. 
We are seeing what happens when we sit back and do nothing while Russia is emboldened to move in on Crimea and Ukraine, blatantly violating international law, and then intervenes with military aid to Assad's regime, while also partnering up with Iran. 
We are seeing what happens when millions of refugees in that region flee to Europe and the United States to escape the savages of extreme Muslim radicals and brutal dictators, and we can imagine how the influx will profoundly impact these cultures and societies. Included in the influx are countless young, single Arab men who are joining the refugees because they know they are not being carefully screened. 
We are seeing what happens when our own Secy of State is allowed to have a private email server with which to conduct official state business, only to have China and Russia able to hack into confidential messages and compromise our national security.
We are seeing what happens when our own President may be siding with the UN in its condemnation of laws passed by the U.S. congress when it comes to lifting the trade embargo with Cuba. While Cuba has not changed its abuses on human rights, Obama seeks to ignore that and normalize relations with the Castro regime anyway.

So, this is our gift. We get to see what the world would be like without America at its helm. Boy, we really did have a wonderful life before we relinquished our leadership position.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

You Call These Debates?

In the last GOP debate, CNN moderators pitted one Republican against the other all night long. If your name was mentioned in a previously stated criticism of Donald Trump, you got to speak. If you had the restraint not to put him down, you didn't get called on as much. Such became the new rules of debate for the GOP as seen through the prism of the liberal media. Trump this and Trump that.

Did we hear about the candidates views on the economy and how to generate jobs, reduce govt dependency, bring down the debt and deficit, lower our taxes, and strengthen our currency? Nope. It was as though there was nary a thing to discuss regarding the economy, since things, in that liberal world, are moving along swimmingly.

Did they discuss healthcare and how Obamacare has caused millions to lose insurance, premiums to rise, deductibles to skyrocket, and doctors to retire early? Nope. It was as though Obamacare was a huge success and now all Americans have affordable health care.

Did they discuss the divisive culture which has been fueled by an administration, who once promised to unite all people, and instead, has fomented resentment among its citizens in many different ways: race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, politics? Nope. It was as though Americans were all holding hands, singing "Kumbaya" and living in purple states.

More important for CNN, the so-called neutral and objective news channel for all Americans, was that the Republicans fight amongst themselves, that they make each other look foolish in front of the world, that one by one, they are invalidated in the eyes of the voters, so that the eventual Democrat nominee will have a clear path to the White House.

Additionally, the Fox News debate was not much more elevated. Those moderators (whom Republican voters had prior expectations of fairness and objectivity) were vicious in going after each and every one of the candidates. Unabashedly they went for the jugular - finding their respective weaknesses and bringing them to the surface. Don't kid yourself Republicans: Fox has an agenda too, in that they have a dog in the race. Their dog is anyone from the establishment of the party, not the outliers, not the oppositional voices. The only difference is that Fox is not looking to bring them all down, just most of them. As a result, Fox viewers were left feeling betrayed and angry at Fox hosts for not rising above the smut. We expect it from liberal media, not from our own.

Here's a prediction: you won't find moderators in the upcoming Democrat debate pitting the candidates against each other hoping to incur as much infighting as possible, as they did with the others. No, you will find the moderators pitting them against Republicans, so as to give voters yet another chance to smear the GOP candidates. They will invoke Republican statements about Clinton or Sanders, thereby offering the Dems an opportunity to respond to their Republican opponents and straighten out any voter 'misperception', unlike in the GOP debates, in which the candidates all did the job for the liberal media by criticizing each other.

The media has become (for a while now) advocates and participants in the political process. This must end and the viewers and prospective voters must demand it. GOP candidates must learn not to take the bait from any media, liberal or otherwise. Don't want to answer another Trump question? Then don't. Insert your own viewpoint on an important issue and force the moderators to do their job fairly. Call the media out on their nonsense. Raise the bar and let's really find out where these candidates stand on real problems facing this country.