That headline may seem like something out of the 1920s, when Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was trying to rid the world of what she considered undesirable human stock – including the handicapped, mentally ill and Negros of any kind. She and her band of progressive eugenicists were pushing for abortions and forced sterilization of those they deemed unfit to propagate – and even live. If this sounds to you disturbingly like the social philosophy of Nazi Germany, you are not wrong. Sanger and her organization were in close touch with Hitler, who praised their efforts.
So, what is the deal with the headline?
Well it seems that a state senator in Ohio proposed that the new so-called “heartbeat law” limiting abortions not … repeat not … include African American women. They should continue to be aborting their offspring at record numbers.
One might assume that such a proposal would come from some white supremacist who, like Sanger, wants to reduce the number of little black babies coming into the world. That would make sense – wacko as it is. It would be consistent with the genocidal underpinning of Planned Parenthood today – which places most of their abortion operations in poor minority neighborhoods and aborts black babies disproportionate to the population demographics. While blacks represent 13 percent of the population, they account for more than 40 percent of the abortions. It is the reason that Martin Luther King’s niece, Alveda King, campaigns so vigorously against the “services” of Planned Parenthood.
Of course, such an exemption would violate the Constitution, which requires that all laws be equally applied. At least that is the general theory of it.
But hold on! The proposal to continue to abort black babies was not introduced by some old white racist. No. No. No. it was introduced by Ohio State Representative Janine Boyd – a black female Democrat. But what in God’s name could possibly motivate a black woman legislator to want to encourage the mass abortion of black children – exempting women from a law intended to protect the rights of ALL unborn human beings?
Boyd does explain her reasoning – although it does not make a lot of sense. But here it is. In urging her legislative colleagues to support her amendment, Boyd said:
“I consider the slave trade and how black slaves were once treated like cattle and put out to stud in order to create generations of more slaves. I consider the how many masters raped their slaves. I consider how many masters forced their slaves to have abortions, and I consider how many pregnant slaves self-induced abortions so that they would not contribute children they had to this slave system. … And so, I ask you, with all of your values, to consider that and vote yes to this amendment.”
She wants to allow black women to have abortions because slave owners forced them to have babies “to create generations of more slaves” and because slave owners “forced their slaves to have abortions” in order to reduce the number of black babies. Does Boyd’s reasoning suffer from a bit of inconsistency? She wants to preserve the ability of modern black women to have abortions because 150 years ago slave owners made them have babies and … made them have abortions. I just cannot get passed the head-scratching phase on that bit of reasoning.
She also notes that “pregnant slaves self-induced abortion so that they would not contribute children they had to the slave system.” Does this mean that Boyd sees today’s black women having abortions as some sort of historic tradition — some sort of cultural ritual?
I only had one college course in logic, so maybe I am missing something – but none of that seems to explain why black women should be granted an exclusive right to abort their unborn children under circumstances in which the children of white, Asian and Hispanic women are allowed to live. I would think that abortion, itself, draws a better comparison to slavery since both require the dehumanization of a person. But that’s just me.
It is interesting that Boyd’s outrageous proposal did not get very much attention from the left-wing east coast media – which is quick to give such local stories excessive national coverage if the outrageous news can be made to reflect badly on the Republicans and conservatives.
Reflecting the fact that there is still a modicum of sanity on our political process, the proposed amendment to Heartbeat Bill did not get very far. Whew!
So, there ‘tis.
The groupies inside the Beltway are obsessed with President Trump’s finances. An unusually large number of Democrat-controlled House committees are launching investigations into every aspect – and every asset – of Trump’s multifaceted and complex financial empire.
There investigations are based on rumors, gossip and unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing. Congressional Democrats are panning for political gold. So far, they have only found Fool’s Gold – which they are passing off to the public as the real thing.
They want Trump’s tax returns because … because … hmmmm. Oh yeah, because they hope to find some major skullduggery among all those accounting numbers. If their wildest dream comes true, they will find a billion dollar personal check to Trump from Vladimir Putin. Fat chance.
They also hope to prove that Trump is not as rich as he claims. The New York Times recently published a front-page story based on information garnered from Trump’s confidential tax information from the mid-1990s showing that the Trump Organization had run into financial difficulties when the real estate market took one of its occasional dips. What they did not find was any wrongdoing. No tax evasion. Just a business going through some difficult times.
They are also looking into the closed down Trump Foundation for some alleged … repeat, alleged … irregularities associated with the purchase of a large painting of Trump. This little transaction was overwhelmed by millions upon millions of Trump’s dollars that helped fuel the charitable work. They also accused him of using other people’s money – more accurately described as charitable donations to the Foundation. Of course, that is what most foundations do – solicit donations.
Based on mendacious accusations from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Trump was still exploring a legitimate business deal in Russia even as he campaigned for President. Reality check! There is nothing illegal or wrong about doing business as a candidate. Very few give up their careers and sources of income BEFORE they are elected – even if the odds of being elected are far greater than were Trump’s. After all, we were told innumerable times that he had “no path to the presidency.”
They say Trump lied when he said he had no business deals in Russia. Technically, that was true. There were talks, but no deal was consummated then or since. Even if you think Trump was a little less than forthright, so what? For whatever reasons, the Trump Organization never went ahead with the project.
House Democrats want to investigate Trump University. Why? Former New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman settled that case for $25 million in 2016, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration – shortly before Schneiderman, himself, fell from grace (and office) in a sex scandal. There was no admission of wrongdoing by the Trump organization, and $25 million was a relatively small amount to get the case off the books rather than have it drag on for several years at costs that would exceed the settlement price tag. While Schneiderman claimed fraud, that charge was never adjudicated. The only objective of a congressional inquiry is to regurgitate some bad publicity for Trump.
For Democrats, the holy grail of their dubious investigations is obtaining Trump’s tax returns. That is nothing more than a fishing expedition. They already tried fishing for two years with the accusation of criminal collusion with Russia. In that fishing expedition they came up with an empty hook – no fish and even lost their bait.
They brought Cohen before Congress again – shortly before he donned prison orange. While it produced a lot of accusations from a very bitter prevaricator, there was no meat on those bones. In fact, the prosecutors in New York cut Cohen off as a source of credible information and Special Counsel Robert Mueller reflected none of Cohen’s sensationalistic statements in his final Report. There apparently was no there, there.
Democrats seem to be operating on the theory if they launch enough investigations, the entire effort will appear more credible – defying the arithmetic reality that zero times any number is still … zero.
More importantly, the public is finding all these Democrat fishing expeditions to be uninteresting – much less credible. There was fear among some Democrats that putting the focus on investigation instead of legislation would backfire – and apparently it is. Polling suggests that the issue of Trump’s tax returns and his business finances are very … very … low on the list of issues that concern the American public. Despite the hopes of the Democrats, it does not appear that all the financial stuff is going to drive voting decisions. And isn’t that what all those investigations are supposed to be about?
So, there ‘tis
There are many problems associated with having a large field of presidential candidates – not the least of which is that it often results in the nomination of the most extreme – read that, unelectable – candidate.
While the 18 candidates who ran for the Republican nomination in 2016 and the 23 – and growing – Democrat candidates in for 2020, we often have a relatively large number of candidates. The only difference is that the media – and we the people – tend to ignore most of them.
In past elections, there were unwritten rules covering the handling a large field of candidates. It was to separate the wheat from the chaff – the serious contenders from those whose support does not extend beyond family and friends. If a candidate was polling below five percent, they were usually determined to be “not serious.”
Although I have never been involved in a presidential debate, as executive director of the City Club of Chicago, I negotiated several Senate, House, gubernatorial and other debates. Who would be on the stage was usually restricted by the unwritten rule of five percent. This was often the requirement of a co-sponsoring news organization. Though the rule was never officially cited, news coverage – or lack thereof – generally followed in that tradition.
On 2016, Republicans used a modified version of the rule to determine which candidates would be on the mainstage debate and which would be relegated to the separate kiddie pool event. There were some off-the-wall candidates who did not get invited to participate in either platform.
There has been a demonstrable change in terms of the long list of Democrat presidential candidates. They are taking a much more egalitarian approach. Every one of the candidates will be treated equally – well almost. The Democrats first presidential debate will take place over two nights.
The rule kept down the number of candidates because the marginal candidates – those with overblown egos – could get no traction. The news media ignored them – as did the funders. That is yet to befall those Democrat presidential candidates who languish in the less-than-one-percent polling level, but in the meantime, they are getting the treatment of serious contenders.
That is providing a huge communications benefit for the Democrats. With each of the 23 (so far) candidates getting media interviews and being invited to participate in several so-called “townhall meetings” and two-hour interviews characterized by softball questions, the Democrats anti-Trump, anti-Republican message is getting scores of hours of airtime – essentially political infomercials. In the media, it is essentially an 23 person ambush on Trump – with the media playing it to the Democrats advantage.
The two-hour appearances do not include all the pre-event promotion and post-event analysis – virtually all of which will be very positive. It was a recent townhall-as-infomercial that is supposed to restore former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke to some semblance of visibility and credibility. You will recall that he descended from being one of the most excited candidates in the early presidential field into the abyss of political irrelevancy in the Democrats game of Whack-a-Mole.
When the press and pundits wonder why some of these folks have jumped into the presidential race – with zero chance of even coming close – just look at all the exposure and publicity they are getting. For some, it may be a hope of getting noticed for a Cabinet position or even a vice presidential invitation. It is a level of recognition that they could not have possibly achieved without raising their head out of the hole – even if they eventually get whacked.
So. There ‘tis.
Unless my memory is failing me, Iran was and is a rogue state that finances attacks on American interests from cyber warfare to terrorism. Their treachery goes beyond America. Iran is a theocracy with a form of Islamic fundamentalism that is a constant threat to Israel and even the non-Muslim nations of Asia. Their alliance to Russia is a double threat to Europe.
Iran is engaged in an intramural Arab war in the Middle East – with Saudi Arabia as the primary counterpoint. With the help of Russia, Iran now exerts effective hegemony over Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and growing influence among Palestinians, as well as in some other Arab and North African nations.
With that being noted, it is obvious that every patriotic American should see the danger that Iran opposes to the security of the United States. We should be united in our support for President Trump’s sanctions against the Iranian regime, his officially declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and his refusal to allow the ill-advised Iranian nuclear deal to shield the radical clerics from avoiding the consequences of their terrorist activities – as the Obama administration did.
For the better part of this country’s history, it was said that political partisanship ends at the shore – meaning that we always show a united front to our friends AND enemies overseas. Unfortunately, it appears that the zeal to oppose all things Trump has led the left into aligning with our enemies.
In a recent program, MSNBC’s “security analyst,” Ned Price was asked to opine on the growing tension between Iran and the United States. He had been a constant critic of Trump foreign policy at every turn. Like so many others at MSNBC, Price’s role is not objective analysis, but to serve as a mouthpiece for the networks preconceived anti-Trump narrative.
In the case of Iran, he lived up to more than his prescribed purpose. The case-in-point was the sending our military into the waters off the shore of Iran at the order of President Trump – based on the intelligence and recommendations of the State Department and our other intelligence services.
Based on information received from both internal and external sources, Iran was planning an attack on American assets in the region. It was not to be a direct action by the Iranian military. That would be too bold and result in a disproportionate response. Rather it was to be an outlier event using forces sponsored by Iran – potentially terrorist or supposedly quasi-independent militia.
According to the reports, weapons for an attack were being surreptitiously transported aboard civilian vessels. The movement of the American fleet was not to engage in war as much as to get the Iranians to back down. It seems to have worked, since the Iranian leaders claimed they had no intention of attacking any American asset.
What should have been an “atta boy” response to Trump is not how the left likes to do things.
Price declared that we were in a most dangerous moment. Because of the Iranians? Nope! Because Trump has been provoking the Iranians. In fact, Price said that the United States had committed 17 acts of provocation leading up to the current situation. While he did not list all of them, he said they included terminating the nuclear deal, imposing severe sanctions, declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be a terrorist organization, stopping Iran from selling its oil on the world market.
Ignored was the ravages and carnage of state-sponsored terrorism. Forgotten are Americans currently being held as hostages in Iran. Apparently unheard by Price and others is the constant chant of “death to America” that characterizes Iranian sponsored rallies.
Price went on to say that we – meaning the entire world – should be wary of the claims of the Trump administration. In other words, we should not believe the rationale for sending in the Navy. Instead, we should believe the Iranians. Price accused the American administration of concocting false intelligence to create the predicate for the movement of the fleet.
Price declared that such international gamesmanship could lead to war, if not by intent then by miscalculation. What if one of those supposedly quasi-independent paramilitary groups does, indeed, attack an American asset? It could lead to a bigger conflict.
What was striking about Price’s assessment of the situation is that it sounded like what the Iranian propaganda mill would, and was, saying. In sympathizing with the radical Iranian regime, Price was proving to be one of those “witting or unwitting assets.”
If you are inclined to think that his was one man’s opinion – think again. The obsessively anti-Trump media propped up a string of politicians and pundits with the same anti-American message.
Price was followed on MSNBC by Maryland’s Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen. His message was exactly the same. He called Trump’s “series of provocative actions” dangerous. What if, he hypothecated, the Shia military in Iraq responds to Trump’s alleged provocations? It could lead to war, he suggested.
Van Hollen likened the influence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House foreign policy advisor John Bolton to Vice President Dick Chaney and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld in the lead-up to the Iraq war during the administration of President George W. Bush.
The harmony between the Price punditry and the Van Hollen statements was that Iran has been victimized by the American administration. Both expressed sympathy for what they considered an understandable and justified reaction.
It is almost impossible – no it IS impossible – to find a time in American history where so many of one political viewpoint have expressed a view in opposition to United States foreign policy and such verbal support for a dangerous rogue nation. Yes, there were people in the United States who opposed opposing Hitler, but it did not come from supposedly responsible and ethical members of the media – and most certainly not from members of the House or Senate.
While there has long been a “hate America” undercurrent by the radical left, the election of Trump appears to have brought it to the mainstage of the Democratic Party. We do not jail people for dissent or the most objectionable opinions – and that is a good thing – but must not let the anti-American sentiment become meanstreamed. The #NeverTrump Resistance Movement pleads that we do not normalize the President, I would suggest that we are in far greater danger if we normalize the rhetoric of Price and Van Hollen.
If we were officially at war with Iran, such aiding and abetting of an enemy would be considered treason. Not being officially at war creates an important distinction, but it does not make the endorsement of Iran by these reprobates any less offensive.
So, there ‘tis.
One would hope that when a Christian clergyman invites a Muslim minister to share the sanctuary, it would be a good thing. You know, a show of harmony and brotherly love. That is how men of the cloth are supposed to be.
But not when the men a Chicago’s radical show-boating Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, and the guest of (dubious) honor is the Nation of Islam’s bombastic, racist and antisemitic Louis Farrakhan.
The reason for the invitation is ironic. It seems that Facebook banned Farrakhan for his hateful sermons and speeches. Using that rationale, one might expect Pfleger to next invite the head of one of the white supremacist groups to preach to his predominantly black congregation. It would give hatred an equal opportunity.
Pfleger has long been a crown of thorns on the heads of the prelates of the Chicago archdiocese for decades – and the current incumbent, Cardinal Blase Cupich, has not been spared. In response to the appearance by Farrakhan, his eminence issued a statement of rebuke. In it, he said:
Without consulting me, Fr. Michael Pfleger invited Minister Louis Farrakhan to speak at St. Sabina Church in response to Facebook’s decision to ban him from its platforms. Minister Farrakhan could have taken the opportunity to deliver a unifying message of God’s love for all his children. Instead, he repeatedly smeared the Jewish people, using a combination of thinly veiled discriminatory rhetoric and outright slander. He suggested that “Talmudic thought” sanctioned pedophilia and misogyny. He referred to Jewish people as “satanic,” asserting that he was sent by God to separate the “good Jews” from the “satanic Jews.”
Cupich went on to say:
Such statements shock the conscience. People of faith are called to live as signs of God’s love for the whole human family, not to demonize any of its members. This is all the more true of religious leaders, who have a sacred duty never to leverage the legitimacy of their ministry to heap blame upon a group of persons, and never to deploy inflammatory rhetoric, long proven to incite violence. Antisemitic rhetoric — discriminatory invective of any kind — has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church. I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.
Pfleger, himself, has often been accused of preaching a racist gospel – raising the tropes of white privilege. Though a blue-eyed, blond-haired German, Pfleger preaches in the voice and style of the stereotypical black Baptist preacher. It is a put-on that he believes helps him relate to his flock. Does “pander” come to mind? It has always struck me as patronizing – sort of a vocal version of blackface.
if you are curious about Pfleger’s style and his politics you can take in his defense of then-candidate Barack Obama. It has been these kinds of political endorsements from the pulpit that have raised questions of the Church’s tax-exempt status.
The one thing Pfleger and Farrakhan have in common is using a supposedly religious platform to advance narrow partisan political views. They are not the first to use religious ministry to promote their political views. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made a very successful and lucrative career doing just that. And it does not only come from the left. Televangelist Pat Robertson has plowed those fields from the right. But none of them have risen to the level of Pfleger and Farrakhan in provoking animus in the name of godly love.
Like others of the breed, Pfleger and Farrakhan have passionate followers who have kept them in their respective pulpits. There were times when it appeared that the Archbishop of Chicago would reassign Pfleger – especially since he has been at St. Sabina’s much longer than the rules generally permit. He has been previously rebuked, but never replaced – and even in the aftermath of this egregious performance, it is unlikely that Cupich will have the testicular fortitude to do so.
So, there ‘tis.
The world of sports and the presidency of Donald Trump have collided in yet another example of modern racial divisiveness. I have long held that the VAST majority of Americans are not racists and get along very well in all walks of life. From time to time I feel obligated to quote from the manuscript of a book I am just competing as a backdrop to opining on the most current racially charged event. To wit:
“If we take a fresh look at America, we might just discover that we are not a nation of racists after all, but rather the victims of racial baiting by politicians and the mainstream media. We should keep in mind that billions of times every day … yes, billions … black and white Americans smile and nod to each other as we pass on the streets. We serve each other in restaurants and stores. We work side-by-side in factories and offices. We do favors for each other. We come to each other’s aid. We cheer alongside each other on both sides of every sports arena. We play on the same teams. We chat on social media. We die alongside each other in battle. We become lifelong friends. We adopt each other. We fall in love and marry each other. We laugh together at the same movies and we weep together at shared tragedies.”
Despite my generally positive view of the American people – of all backgrounds — I do recognize a disturbing growing tension being promoted in the name of identity politics with a subtext of political race-baiting. The cause is easily identified. As a political strategy, the Democratic Party is working overtime to convince the black community that Republicans and white folks are racists and that they are the victims of society-wide oppression. In fact, examples of racial hostility pale compared to the overwhelming examples of racial harmony – but that is not the narrative Democrats so callously proffer.
The Democrats’ toxic racial strategy promotes highly publicized examples of divisiveness – as well as the interpreting of benign events as racially charged. Even if racist incidents are miniscule in number and are not representative of the general population as seen in everyday life, they do garner undeserved publicity – which, in turn, convinces folks that the extremist view of racism in America is the norm.
The Democrats false, but pervasive, narratives of pandemic racism – as a divide-to-conquer political strategy — has imposed racism into virtually every aspect of American life. The most recent example comes from Bean City, U.S.A. – Boston. Sadly, it involves a feature of American life that was once –and should be – a respite from the serious issues of the day. Of course, I am referring to sports.
Sports are entertainment. It is composed of games. It is America’s pastime – something we enjoy apart from our more serious concerns of the day. Not so anymore.
The latest manifestation of the everything-is-about-race mentality has to do with the tradition of inviting championship teams to the White House for an Oval Office celebration. These have always been among the least political occasions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Following tradition, President Trump invited the 2018 World Series winning Boston Red Sox to the White House – along with the coaching staff. The invitation had nothing to do with politics or race. It could have been an example to the nation that there are a lot of things we can share without tiptoeing into the murky waters of politics.
Unfortunately, half the team decided to snub the President. They decided that politics was more important than this nonpartisan occasion. More important than recognition for winning the World Series. More important than the sport of baseball. More important than the young people who love the sport. This had to be yet another occasion when individuals decided to let their political prejudices take dominance over the purpose of the White House gathering.
At last count, all the black members of the team have rejected the invitation and all the white members are going to attend. Coach Alex Cora, of Puerto Rico, will also demur – assumedly over the alleged treatment of his island home by the Trump administration.
This is the kind of shabby action that has resulted from the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. Nothing related to Trump can be acceptable – nothing. It is a result of a racist policy that has dishonestly pitted all people of color (which includes Hispanics, Asians and anyone with a skin tone darker than a California beach bum) against white America – especially white males with those “toxic genes.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was saddened to see the Red Sox protest break so starkly on racial lines. He wished that at least one of the white players would have joined in the protest to make it more bipartisan. Of course, Joe could have conversely wished that at least one of the black players would have decided to attend the White House ceremony. I suspect that Scarborough would have liked to have had ALL the white players refuse to attend. Ya think?
If they want to have sports be for everyone, then they should respect everyone by not using a social occasion to express political views. The black players who have decided to stay home may believe that their insult is surgically directed at Trump, but, in fact, they are insulting those millions of Americans who are not part of the Resistance Movement. They are corrupting the sport, itself. And they are wrong if they believe that their action draws positive attention to racial issues or wins over new supporters for a civil rights agenda. Au contraire.
They have unnecessarily offended many fair-minded people and further widened the racial divide. They have set back the cause of civil rights by aggravating and misrepresenting the issue.
Red Sox officials assured the country that the difference in viewpoint did not create tension in the locker room. Each side respected the decision of the other. While that sounds like an obligatory public relationship statement, I am dubious. I cannot help but believe that the black players are not disappointed to see their white teammates reject their protest. And I cannot help but believe that the white players do not harbor some resentment for creating a sidebar controversy that diminishes both the event and the team’s achievement.
We have seen the same twisted thinking with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom to a man of color, golfer Tiger Woods – indisputably the greatest living golfer and one of the greatest of all time. But because the medal was presented by Trump, many Democrats and black leaders were appalled. There was chagrin that Woods did not reject the honor. It was the old traitor-to-his-race mentality.
Woods was as worthy of the honor as any past recipient – and more so than some. Had the honor been bestowed by President Obama, the same said critics would have cheered both Obama and Woods for respectively bestowing and accepting of the honor.
It has been more than two years since Trump was elected President of the United States, and yet the hostility to that reality emanating from the left has continued unabated. In fact, it may be getting worse.
I have spent a lifetime in support of civil rights and economic opportunities for minorities – especially the oppressed by long-empowered Democrat political machines in our great urban centers. But I do not admire the politicization of everything. If the black players wanted to make a positive statement about the sport of baseball and the country that invited it, they would be heading to the White House.
So, there ‘tis.
It does not take a professional pundit or life-long political analyst to know that all these early Democrat presidential candidate polls are meaningless. It is simply too early to even have the slightest clue who will emerge in the lead going into the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in the summer of 2020.
It is like calling a horse race from the starting gate. The early front-runners are often viewing horse hindquarters rather than the finish line. Anything can happen – as the recent Kentucky Derby proved.
But still, polls seem to create a compulsive desire to interpret them by the media – including, sadly, this commentator. So, let’s play the game.
While much is said about the scientific precision of modern polling – and we tend to accept the results as an accurate representation of reality. But then, how do we explain all those different results from different polls?
Polls taken before the official entrance of former Vice President Joe Biden had him in the lead with a plurality of approximately 39 percent – comfortably ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders, who was pulling around 30 percent.
Now that Biden is officially in, we can see the post-announcement number. In three polls, Biden scored 38, 44 and 45 percent respectively. Considering the margin of error, that would suggest that the former Veep essentially remained in the same place – with approximately two-thirds of the Democrat voters preferring someone other the Biden or just not able to make up their minds this early. Still, he is in the lead and a candidate can get to the nomination with a plurality against a large field. Good for old Joe.
What is interesting in these polls is that Sanders not only drops significantly from his earlier 30 percent – to 14 percent in one poll and 11 percent in another. Even more concerning for Sanders is in that he drops to third place – behind Senator Elizabeth Warren with 12 percent.
It seems that every poll has a different line up of the top five – the only candidates who count at this point. When asked who has the best chance of beating Trump, one poll gives the win, place and show position to Beto O’Rourke, Biden and Sanders respectively. In other polls, O’Rourke does not even squeeze into the top five.
One poll shows the top five to be Biden, Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Mike Buttigieg while another stacks them as Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg and Harris.
Currently, there are 22 Democrats running for the Democrat nomination. While the polling takes them all into consideration, the news media focuses on the top five – and occasionally puts up a mosaic of head shots of most of the other candidates. I say “most” because if you quickly count the mosaic, it rarely goes beyond 15 to 18. In other words, a whole bunch of Democrat candidates are non-existent to the press people.
But they are important since they are dividing up the potential vote into very small portions. The best way to analyze their importance is what happens to their few votes when they start dropping out. Individually, they will have very little impact, but collectively their voters will ultimately decide the nominee.
Since more than 50 percent of the votes across the board are going to the most radical left-wing candidates, Biden needs to hope and pray that not too many of the others drop out – especially Warren, Harris, Booker, Buttigieg and any number of the lessor left-wing one-percenters – such as former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Eric Swalwell and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. It is safe to assume that most of their voters are not likely to switch to Biden.
As in many races, it is not good to be in the lead coming out of the gate. Horse races and presidential races have a history of early leaders falling behind the pack as they get closer to the finish line. This season will be no different.
So, there ‘tis.
If you were unaware that the annual White House Correspondents Dinner has come and gone, you are not alone. Compared to last year — when the absence of President Trump and the tasteless and humorless pillaring of the President and White House staffers made headlines for days afterward – the 2019 event was barely noticed beyond the Beltway.
This is not only as it should be, but what the Dinner had been for decades before it was taken over by Hollywood.
During my time in D.C., I had the pleasure of attending the Dinner. That was back in the late-1960s and early 1970s. It was an important political and social even for the Washington political and press communities – but it received very little reporting in the rest of the country.
While much was made of President Trump’s declining his invitation to participate, it was never a “must attend” for presidents. Some attended sometimes, but not all that often. In fact, most presidents were AWOL when it came to the dinner – although not because of the friction that has marked the relationship between Trump and the major news media.
Previous dinners were more of a private social event to allow members of the press corps and the politicians they cover to mingle in a friendly setting. There was always a bit of a comedic roast, but not with the Partisan viciousness that has arisen since the Trump election. Mostly it was good-spirited pokes at the pomposity of the press and the politicians – what is better known as self-effacing humor.
The event changed dramatically during President Obama’s administrations. He brought a glitzy Hollywood glamour not seen in Washington since President Kennedy’s days of Camelot. In fact, it is arguable that it was Hollywood that helped destroy the purpose and the reputation of the Dinner – two things the White House Correspondents Association hoped to correct this year.
Rather than make the event a platform for the biased and nasty comedy of Michelle Wolfe — last year’s featured celebrity – the Dinner sponsors chose historian and author Ron Chernow – author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that was the inspiration for the popular Broadway production.
It was a move that would assure minimal humorous content. Chernow promised to deliver a few knee-slappers but proved that humor is an art form in which historians are relatively unskilled. The best he could elicit from the audience was an occasional round of polite chuckles.
The association took away what Hollywood had brought to the event – the iconic red carpet. Oh yeah, there was still a red runway, but it was not lined by cameras, entertainment reporters and gawkers. If there were those exaggerated poses in front of a multi-labeled advertising backdrop, not may photos of the posers to be seen in the next morning news reports – largely because there was very little reporting on the event … period.
The Association was smart in toning down the event. He had become weaponized by a biased media to attack their political adversaries – specifically President Trump, Vice President Pence, the White House Staff, the Cabinet, congressional Republicans, conservative Supreme Court Justices, FOX News, conservative icons and millions of Americans who do not share the media’s political perspective.
One can only hope that the White House press corps – and the media outlets they represent – and follow the lead of the White House Correspondents’ Association and restore a bit of unbiased civility and integrity to the profession in general.
So, there ‘tis.
Crooner Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but a lot of local folks are leaving something a lot less romantic – poop. No, not talking about dog doo doo, but human excrement being left on the streets and byways of the California city.
Once known for its iconic cable cars, the trendy Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the city by the sea has become famous – make that infamous – for the tons of human poop that litter the public fairways from Fort Point on the north to Vistacion Valley on the south – and from Mission Bay on the east to Golden Gate Park on the west coast. In other words, the entire city.
According to the official human excrement report and map – yes, they even have a map of poop sightings – in the past decade or so, there have been official reports of 118,000 dumps on the commons. Averaging somewhere between half pound and a full pound each, San Franciscans have dropped trou in public enough to have deposited between 118 and 236 TONS of fecal waste. And unofficially, officials believe that map records only a fraction of all the public piles.
The map above indicates the specific locations of those 118,000 dumps. You can not only find the map, but the specific addresses where each turd turned-up thanks to the folks at Open the Books. (click on the pinpointed map to get the list if you desire. But why you would, is beyond me.)
Of course, this does not consider the tens of thousands of druggie needles that are disposed of on the commons of San Francisco. That is a blight for another time.
But this is only the frosting on the cake. Okay, that may not be the best choice of words, but the point is that San Francisco has had a reputation for being a dirty city for decades. Not only has that been a frequent report for tourists, but my wife and I saw it first hand during a visit to the city more than 30 years ago. There was litter everywhere. It is the reason we never found a reason to go back. Actually, we avoided reasons.
San Francisco is a city with one of the highest homeless populations. It is reasonable to assume that the poop and liter problem are at least partially due to that fact. That has not helped encourage tourism. Most people have two reactions to the kind of homelessness you see all over San Francisco – pity and anxiety. As much as our compassionate side is sad to see disheveled people sleeping on benches or in the nooks and crannies of buildings, we also have a natural fear. These are, after all, desperate people.
I know the social welfare agencies promote photos of the homeless as a sad mother holding a couple sad looking kids in their fundraising material. In reality, if you travel through places where the homeless gather it is 90 percent scary looking men and an occasional woman. The odds of seeing that depicted woman and those cute kids is nearly the same as winning the California lottery.
One reason that San Francisco may not be able to deal with the poop, the liter and the homelessness is the lack of resources. Yes, that Golden City by the Bay is running short of the gold. San Francisco is broke – something that had been hidden by the folks in city hall for years. In 2014, the pension liability was officially reported as zero. One year later, after new accounting procedures were imposed, the pension liability rose to … ready?
… $1.8 billion dollars in 2015 – and experts report that figure is still too low.
If the taxpayers of San Francisco were to pay off the city debt in one payment, they would each have to cough up more than $16,000.
If there is any discernable reason that San Francisco is in the condition it is – suffering the modern debilities of America’s urban centers (and one seemingly unique to the city by the bay — the most obvious commonality is long term Democrat governance. The economic and social decline we see in San Francisco has spread to the entire state of California – much like the Democrat politics of Chicago is now bringing down the entire state of Illinois.
One can only wonder how our other great cities would compare is view through a poop map.
So. There ‘tis.
A number of members of the White House press corps have called for Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to be removed. Last year, I penned a commentary suggesting that it was then time to replace her. It is now well past the time.
To be perfectly clear, my opinion has nothing to do with the highly politicized reasons given by some of the most disreputable members of the White House scribblers. For them, Sanders is just another person surrounding Trump who should be demonized by the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement within the Fourth Estate.
When it comes to anyone not buying into their pernicious and persistent anti-Trump narrative, the media weapon of choice is character assassination. That is why their contempt and hatred goes beyond Trump and members of his administration to the more than 100 million Americans who they derogatorily refer to as “Trump’s base.”
While they see evil in the work of Sanders, I do not. I think she is a very good person doing a very difficult job – made more difficult by many members of a press corps with all the characteristics of a pack of political jackals.
My reason for replacing Sanders is much more compassionate of the person – but unimpressed with the job she has been doing for quite a long time. I do believe she is doing the best she can, but she is not suited for that role.
It has long been my impression that she is on the defensive too often – and not good even at that. She does not take command of the podium, but rather pushes back occasionally by engaging in what can only be described as bickering. She has a so’s-your-old-man level of engagement that does not put her above the fray. In the defensive mode, she is not persuasive – looking more like a fighter on the ropes.
She may respond, but often does not sell her points effectively – and too often walks into traps set by the more antagonistic members of the White House press corps. She also lacks a sense of humor – even mocking humor. She has no flair for the put-down that is essential in verbal combat. It is the old issue of not what you say, but how you phrase it.
She would do well to learn from President Reagan, who could use both humor and anger with devastating effect. Reagan at the podium was a joy to watch and hear. Sanders elicits more of a wincing pain.
Oddly, the person who seems to have the best attributes for the role of presidential press secretary is Anthony Scaramucci, who survived in the job as White House Communications Director for a mere 10 days because of in-house political intrigue – not his innate communications ability. He still appears regularly on various cable news shows – and remains one of the more articulate and effective defenders and representatives of President Trump and administration policies.
The only reason not to replace Sanders immediately is the fact that it would be interpreted as a chest-pounding victory of the members of the Resistance Movement within the press corps. But it should happen as we get into the headwinds of the 2020 presidential campaign.
So, there ‘tis.