Archive for the ‘ Media ’ Category

An Honest Appraisal of the First Weekend

On Friday, I pledged to be an honest appraiser of the new president and his actions, praising good ones and offering a critique for others not so good. Over his first weekend in office, President Trump gave me the opportunity to do both today.

Let’s begin with praise.

First, just seeing a photo of the Oval Office without its previous occupant is a relief for many of us. Second, Trump’s action in this photo is the beginning of fulfilling a promise: dismantling Obamacare. He issued an executive order that lessens the stranglehold Obamacare put on the federal bureaucracy—an initial step that prepares the way for a full repeal by Congress.

To those who may say this is no different than Obama’s use of executive orders, I say that it’s a world of difference. Obama used them to impose his will unconstitutionally; Trump’s simply eased the burden Obama imposed. That’s called reining in the government, not extending its overreach.

What may be perhaps a small token of the attitude of this new administration is also welcome: the return of the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office. One of Obama’s first slaps in the face to our allies was his jettisoning of that bust.

Welcome back, Mr. Churchill.

There is another bust present in the Oval Office, that of Martin Luther King. Some in the media reported that it had been removed. That turned out to be utterly false; it was merely blocked out in a photo due to the angle of the picture with someone standing in front of it. That’s an indication of what the typical media will try to do. Shall we call that one fake news? Sounds right to me.

If only Trump had allowed his Obamacare executive order to be the focus. Instead, he had his new press secretary, Sean Spicer, come out in a press conference and trump up (sorry, I’ll do my best not to overuse that phrase in the next four years) an accusation that the media was falsely reporting on the size of the crowd at the inauguration.

To be fair, the media does do that on a rather consistent basis. Every year, at the March for Life (which will occur again next weekend), the media either ignores the March completely or does its best to downplay the turnout. So, yes, I know that happens. For a comparison of the inauguration crowds, this picture was used as evidence:

One can always question the use of such pictures. At what point was the picture of the Trump crowd taken? Was it at the height of the ceremony or before? I don’t know.

But why make such a big deal about it and push it to the top of the news cycle within 24 hours of taking office? Was it a smaller crowd than at Obama’s inaugural? I have no problem believing that for a number of reasons: concern for security may have kept some people away, especially in light of the predictions of violence at the ceremony; conservatives not being as motivated to go to D.C, seeing it as an essentially liberal place; the fact that most conservatives have jobs on weekdays.

One commentator, I believe, captured the real problem here:

Trump, being a reality TV star, puts a lot of stock in popularity and TV ratings. . . .

It was a lot of attention paid to what is a non-issue.

Whether it was a million people or five people who showed for the inauguration, Trump is still president and there’s still a lot of serious work he needs to be addressing. This is a non-issue.

Spicer (and Trump later) alluded to the TV audience being larger. Well, here are the facts about that, according to the Nielsen ratings as reported by Bloomberg:

Trump’s nearly 31 million television audience came 7 million short of Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and had almost 11 million fewer viewers than when Reagan was sworn into office in 1981.

According to Bloomberg, Trump did attract a larger audience than former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Those are the facts with respect to the TV audience, and it would be dishonest for Trump or anyone else in his administration to say otherwise.

As an aside, I remarked to my wife while watching some of the inaugural parade, that the stands set up for viewers, at least at one place along the parade route, were conspiculously empty. I was surprised by that. Was I seeing the only empty portion of the stands or was that indicative of the entire route? Again, I don’t know.

But what does crowd size really matter? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

What matters is whether President Trump does his job, and does it well. Let’s focus on that, shall we, and leave ego about crowd size behind us.

About October Surprises

Remember all those predictions about “October surprises” in this presidential election campaign? A lot of things are breaking on both sides this October. But none of them are really surprises.

your-side-of-family

The ones receiving less coverage, for obvious reasons since the media is on her side, are those swirling around Hillary Clinton: mocking Christians; lying to the people (having different private and public views on policy); coordinating with the media; giving favors to big donors to the Clinton Foundation.

The thing is, we all knew this is who she is. No surprises there. She would be a failed presidential candidate if anyone else had been nominated by the Republicans.

As with Hillary, nothing that has come out about Trump lately—his sexual vulgarity, accusations of sexual abuse (according to one count, ten women came forward yesterday with their allegations), his unbelievable (to use a favorite Trump word) thin skin that doesn’t allow any perceived slight to pass without a thundering response of divine Trumpian retribution, his penchant for wanting to destroy the party that nominated him—none of these things should be a surprise to anyone with any common sense. We all (well, those of us who were paying attention) knew this is who he is.

We’re told that all the sexual abuse allegations are cooked up by the Democrats and their media allies. I agree that they have worked together to undermine Trump. Yet are we really supposed to believe that every one of these women is part of a conspiracy to lie about Trump for pay or something?

If you believe that, you have crossed the line and have become a Trumpbot, a person who will accept any and all excuses he offers, a person who now sees a massive conspiracy in everything bad that happens to him, a person who simply won’t face the reality of the Trump who always has been this way.

proud-to-stand

We have two pathological liars running for president. Democrats will continue to look the other way and pretend Hillary hasn’t threatened national security. Trump devotees are so sold out that they will advocate for him even if—as Trump himself so infamously noted—he shoots and kills someone on the street in full view of everyone.

We’re almost at that point.

Hillary covered for Bill Clinton’s sexual harassment. Trump voters are covering for Trump’s. They have become what they hate.

This election seems to be a neverending sewer.

almost-there

Why do I focus a lot on Trump when Hillary is as big a threat to the republic? I’ve focused on her for years. What bothers me so much this year is the degeneration of the Christian witness by those who follow Trump, almost without reservation.

Take Jerry Falwell Jr., for instance.

In a CNN interview last night, he stated that he would vote for Trump even if Trump had a record of sexual assaults. This, coming from the president of Liberty University, one of the most visible evangelical Christian universities in the country, destroys the Christian witness.

Significantly, students at Liberty have formed a group called Liberty United Against Trump to tell the world they have a big disagreement with their president. The group has issued a public statement that begins this way:

In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.

The statement continues,

Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.

The final paragraph states,

We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school. While our president Jerry Falwell Jr. tours the country championing the log in his eye, we want the world to know how many students oppose him. We don’t want to champion Donald Trump; we want only to be champions for Christ.

I am heartened by this statement. I applaud those students who are putting Christ first. I hope Mr. Falwell heeds their concerns and walks back his Trump endorsement. Repentance is always welcomed and received.

Meanwhile, for all the other Christians who are still on the Trump Train, I implore you to take another look at what you are supporting. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton deserves to be placed in an office of trust because both are untrustworthy.

Don’t sully your Christian witness. Like those Liberty students, please be champions for Christ, not for a corrupt politician.

Review: The Light Between Oceans

Not one car chase. Not one shootout. Only a glorious film that deals with conscience, the consequences of violating one’s conscience when swayed by love for another, a willingness to suffer on behalf of the one you love even when misunderstood by that loved one, and the spiritual release that comes from confession and forgiveness. Put that all together and combine it with stunning visual beauty and superb acting, and you have one of the most compelling movies I’ve seen in some time.

Light Between Oceans

While I like a lot of movies—after all, my undergraduate degree was in radio, tv, and film production—only rarely do I leave a theater thinking as deeply as I did after viewing The Light Between Oceans.

Bare bones plot:

An emotionally scarred Australian man returns from WWI seeking solitude, so he takes a lonely job as the only person on a small island tending a very important lighthouse situated between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

A young woman who has lost both of her brothers in the war helps him come to grips with his war experience, they marry, and now the two of them are the only inhabitants of that island.

The marriage is healing for both of them but she suffers from two miscarriages, thereby creating emotional trauma for both. Then a small boat washes ashore. In it is a dead man and a newborn baby girl needing love and care. Do they try to find out if there is a mother somewhere or do they take the child and raise her themselves?

The decision they make leads to the litany I described above: matters of conscience, sacrifice, and forgiveness.

I won’t go any further in laying out the plot. If you have been looking for a film that demonstrates the love of God and love for another, a film that forces people to grapple with heartbreaking decisions and whether to forgive, let me suggest that this is the film for you.

Christian faith is an important element in the story. Ultimate decisions are based on that faith. Needless to say, I heartily recommend The Light Between Oceans.

The Most Corrupt Power-Couple in American History

Let’s see. Last week another treasure trove of Hillary e-mails was discovered—15,000, to be exact. Now investigators have uncovered another bundle that were supposedly personal and destroyed, among which 30 are related to Benghazi.

Nothing to it, Hillary assures us. She jokes on late-night television that her main embarrassment over the e-mails is that they are so boring. And the audience goes along with the joke. Isn’t the joke perhaps on all Americans?

It also appears that the e-mail scandal is really only the operational side of how the Clintons schemed to enrich themselves through their phony foundation. The two are inextricably intertwined.

But there’s nothing here to see, right?

Lot of Smoke

Hillary’s office at the State Department must have looked a little different than when others occupied that same office:

Old Office

Well, she can count on her spouse to put the best face on all of this. After all, he’s had a lot of practice fending off allegations:

Financial Relations

Foreign nations could always count on the Clinton Foundation for direct access to the highest level of the federal government and for the favors that followed in the wake. Some, though, didn’t get the message that Clinton Foundation connections could work to their advantage:

Still Be in Power

Well, at least Hillary is going to face tough questioning on this, isn’t she? Oh, that’s right, she hasn’t held a press conference for more than 200 days. Maybe the press can learn a lesson here as well.

Hillary Press Conference

We are now on the verge of welcoming back to the White House the most corrupt power-couple in American history. Oh, how I wish the Republicans had given us a viable alternative.

Trump Camp Complaints

Two major complaints are now emanating from Trump supporters, and I know those complaints well because I’ve had the same ones over the years. The first one is about how the media is biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. Well, we all knew that was going to happen—the Democrat always has the media on his/her side, so that’s nothing new.

The second complaint is that the polls are skewed. The pollsters are deliberately getting the electorate into a mindset that Trump is going to lose, so give up now. I’ve certainly suspected polls in the past, and sometimes they are skewed. However, much to my chagrin, some of them turned out to be correct after all. Anyone remember the Romney presidency?

In response to the current complaints, I must urge Trump supporters to take into account that bad news about Hillary would have a much better chance of coming to the forefront if Trump himself would stop hogging the headlines with stupid comments. It’s almost as if he can’t let 24 hours go by without creating another controversy.

Breaking News

His thin skin and, frankly, mental imbalance, leads him to respond in fury to any criticism. Who does that help in the end?

Self-Destructive

Mike Pence, and others, are constantly having to tell us what Trump really meant to say.

Let Me Rephrase

After a while, this gets very old. Republican leaders keep promising Trump will “pivot” to a more presidential demeanor. That is a pipe dream. While I’m no fan of the Republican establishment, I can understand why they are wary of tying themselves too closely to someone who might be rather unhinged. They continue to say they support him, but it’s obvious they wish they didn’t have to.

Still Support

As I’ve been saying all along, both Hillary and Trump will be disastrous for the  nation, but only one of the two has the potential for also destroying the Republican party.

Who Says

And what about all those polls that are predicting a huge loss for Trump? Do you really believe they are all deliberately skewed in Hillary’s favor? They not only show national leads for her ranging from 3 points to 15 (not one shows Trump leading at present), but they also indicate he is in danger of losing some traditional Republican states.

Everywhere You Go

Might I suggest they just might be more accurate than critics think?

Once Trump loses, people like me will be the scapegoats for the loss. Rather than blame the candidate himself, the loose cannon who should never be allowed anywhere near the levers of power, Trump fans will solace themselves with attacking those who saw the danger from the start and did their best to sound the warning.

Maybe those of us who couldn’t support Trump due to conscience will someday be honored for our stance on principle. Whether I ever receive such honor or not, I will continue to speak out. My goal is not to be honored, but to be honest and to maintain integrity.

Review of “Hillary’s America”

Yesterday I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, Hillary’s America. I saw his previous two—2016: Obama’s America and America: Imagine the World Without Her—and all three, from my perspective, are superbly written, visually effective, professionally produced, and timely for an age living in deception.

My personal favorite is the second, America: Imagine the World Without Her, but the new Hillary film is very significant as well.

Hillary's America

Hillary’s America has two goals: trace the “hidden” history of the Democrat party; reveal the character of Hillary and the disaster we would be facing should she become president. D’Souza makes his point well on both fronts.

For me, there is no hidden history of the Democrats. I teach much of what D’Souza documents in the film. I’m sure some of my students are surprised when I show them that it was the Democrats who pushed Native Americans out of their lands, that it was the Democrats who defended slavery and segregation, and that for most of our post-Civil War history, at least until the 1960s, the majority of black Americans voted Republican.

D’Souza lays out the stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in the history of race relations in America. His documentation seems to be solid; this is not simply a partisan Republican diatribe against Democrats. As a historian, I recognized immediately the quotes used in the film (many of which I use in class also) and can say he is not using them out of context.

Goal #1 achieved.

When he then takes aim at Hillary Clinton, he again effectively uses her own words and those of her mentors (Saul Alinsky, for example) to show how her views developed and what she has become. Making the long story very short, I can say that anyone walking away from this movie thinking Hillary would be a fine president wasn’t really listening.

Goal #2 achieved.

The movie makes ludicrous the assessments of Hillary’s supporters (read: Barack Obama) that she is more ready than anyone in American history to assume the mantle of the presidency:

Most Accomplished Candidate

D’Souza clearly shows how the Clintons have always used whatever means available to promote themselves and take advantage of others. This time around, they had the DNC to act as their bouncer, making sure that Bernie Sanders never had a chance:

Crooked Ones

Not that I wanted Sanders to be the nominee, mind you, but the Clinton machine is far worse.

Then there was Bill’s sappy speech about what a great love affair their marriage has been. Is there anyone out there who really believes a word of that?

Met a Girl

They have a political marriage, pure and simple. Well, maybe not so pure. Did you notice what Bill left out of his speech?

Late Nineties

ImpeachableIn case any of you have forgotten, you can still get my book, Mission: Impeachable, on Amazon. It’s out of print now, but there are used copies available. It would be a great refresher course if you weren’t paying attention in the late nineties or you weren’t old enough to have experienced it firsthand.

As D’Souza shows, deception has been the hallmark of everything the Clintons have done. There’s no reason to believe that would change in another Clinton presidency. She definitely would be Obama’s third term, and she would be just as deceptive and as much of a liar as he has been over the past seven years. She could even use his slogan, albeit with a slight alteration:

Deceive

And who knows what else will come to light after she is elected?

Other Shoe

This brings me to the only weakness of Hillary’s America. D’Souza offers as a solution voting for the Republican candidate. Oh, how I wish I could! If only the Republicans had chosen a Republican for their nominee!

Prior to Trump’s nomination, I was really looking forward to this election because I knew that Hillary’s baggage was so great that she was eminently beatable. Now, instead, we are given the choice between two crime figures instead of one crime figure and a true conservative.

I agree with D’Souza: Hillary Clinton should never be president. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is no better. A film could be made about his life and dealings and, I’m sure, it would be just as damning.

So, thank you, Mr. D’Souza, for pointing out what we need to know about Democrats in general and Hillary in particular. However, this time around, your solution is no solution at all.

That Benghazi Report

The far-too-long-awaited Benghazi Report has now been released. Democrats naturally call it a partisan witchhunt; some conservatives are criticizing it for not going far enough, since it just relates the facts and doesn’t come to concrete conclusions.

The facts should be enough. The report is less a commentary on the administration’s actions during and after the terrorist attack than it is a primary-document exposé of the fecklessness and political cover of the Obama administration as it headed into the 2012 election.

One doesn’t have to read an official “conclusion” to conclude that those who were under attack and those who died were political pawns, sacrificed to electoral gain. The report makes it clear who is to blame for this deadly fiasco.

Hillary Clinton says there’s nothing new here and time to move on. I remember that “move on” phrase—it was used during the Bill Clinton impeachment process. Nothing here, move on. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

Both Right

Remember Hillary’s infamous rejoinder before a congressional committee that first sought to uncover the truth about Benghazi? She would probably use it again, except it’s become a standard joke about her insensitivity to those who lost their lives:

Benghazi Report

Whatever excuses one might concoct for the lack of action by the administration to rescue those in harm’s way (incidentally, the report reveals that it was former members of the Qaddafi regime who rescued them—that was the regime that Obama and Clinton ousted), it was the coverup afterward that may be the most repugnant aspect of this reprehensible event. Blaming it all on a video hardly anyone saw was an attempt to deflect from the truth that our people were abandoned by their own government.

Hey, maybe she can use that ploy again to help win the presidency:

Upon Further Investigation

She lied to the victims’ families and made sure that the producer of that nondescript video was sent to prison. When Susan Rice was sent out to the various talk shows on the following Sunday, she went full video for the blame. Documents in the report show that State Department officials were shocked that the administration was using that line; none of the communication during the “event” placed blame on the video. Not even Hillary’s communications. In fact, she explicitly stated it was not the case.

So go ahead and spread the lie because no one will ever read those communications. Fortunately, that is not the case. All has been brought to light.

President Obama played along with the game as well, checking the video-is-to-blame box for another two weeks, giving speeches publicly pushing that lie.

Want to blame a video? Here’s the one that now needs to be produced.

Liars

Strangely (well, not really), the news media—you know, that wellspring of objective reporting—has largely ignored the Benghazi Report. Why? It would upset their cozy relationship with She Who Will Finally Break the Glass Ceiling.

Rapid Deployment

Most of the mainstream media are just as feckless and dishonest as the one they are trying to protect. “Feckless,” by the way, as used twice in this blog, means “having no sense of responsibility.” Just wanted to be sure you understood why I chose that word.

I half expect the “news” anchors to rely on Hillary’s own words in their reporting.

What Difference

She should never be allowed in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, Republicans are on the verge of making official the one nominee who will make that possible. Will they come to their senses in time?