Federally Funded PBS: Why are Voters Upset how Taxes are Spent?

PBS Town Hall: role of government and how tax dollars are being spent

JUDY WOODRUFF: We came to Tampa, Florida, to throw a spotlight on what Americans think the role of government should be and how their tax dollars are being spent. To that end, we asked our local PBS affiliate, WEDU, to help us round up the people you see behind me, all residents of this area.

There is just so much wrong here, I’m not sure where to start. The painful irony of seeing tax dollars spent to air why the public is frustrated with how tax dollars are spent.

It should come as no surprise that in discussing how tax dollars are spent, PBS fails to mention the 430 million PBS takes from tax payers each year. There was no mention of conflict of interest from the federally funded broadcast network. Any other media organization would be chastised for failing to mention their connection to the organization they are covering.

What you won’t hear in this video: No mention of the original role of the federal government. Nothing about the amount of money spent on two wars. Nothing about federal spending in regards to subsidies, corporatism, or the war on drugs. Watching this PBS spotlight on voter frustrations on how tax dollars are spent is like watching the drunk looking for keys under the streetlight–because the light is better.

Share Button

Libertarian Values: Not Mainstream Just Yet

no more hateFrom Chris Stirewalt’s piece titled “Hating the government finally goes mainstream”  at the Washington Examiner. Emphasis added to illustrate libertarian values aren’t described as mainstream in the mainstream media.

Three years ago, the Republican establishment piled scorn on the presidential candidacy of Ron Paul.

Today, he is in a statistical tie with President Obama in 2012 polling. His son, an ophthalmologist who has never run for elective office, is well ahead of not only the GOP’s handpicked candidate for Senate in Kentucky but also both Democratic contenders — all statewide officeholders.

What happened? Did America sudden develop an insatiable appetite for 74-year-old, cranky congressmen from Texas? Is the gold standard catching on?

Paul will not likely be the next president. And his son still faces the most arduous part of his journey as Democrats spend millions to paint him as soft on defense, lax on drug enforcement and too radical on welfare programs.

But there’s no doubt that hating the government and the powerful interests that pull Washington’s strings has gone from the radical precincts of the Right and Left to the mainstream.

…Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream.

Libertarian values haven’t gone mainstream just yet. You’ll know when those values have hit mainstream when they aren’t described with negative connotations. Once a political perspective goes mainstream, it’s described with positive adjectives.

With abortion, the sides are generally described as pro-choice and pro-life. If the sides in abortion were described as baby-haters or choice-haters, it would sound as if they are against something rather than for something. Part of the reason for using the pro-adjectives is both positions are mainstream, in that both groups represent a large number of people.

It’s polite to refer to these groups in a positive sense of what they favor rather than pointing to what they oppose. Referring to others in the positive terms they prefer shows your respect, even when it’s a view you don’t share.

Libertarian values are often not shown the same respect as other views, because they are described as haters, radical or cranky. If others valued or respected those views, they would be framed in a more positive light.

For those who are not trying to alienate others, here are a few suggestions for how to refer to those with libertarian views in a more respectful and polite manner.

  • Liberty-minded
  • Pro-freedom
  • Libertarian
  • Limited government advocates
  • Individualist
  • Fiscally Conservative – Socially Liberal

To other liberty minded individuals out there, if there are other terms you prefer, just leave it in the comments and I’ll update the list; thanks.

Share Button

War: Fog of Moral Justification

Sons of Confederate Veterans Chairman Defends Omission of Slavery from Confederate History Month

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UzaC_YARlw&feature=player_embedded

To explain why there is still a divide over why the US Civil War was fought, look to the war in Iraq. If a public opinion poll was taken today asking what the Iraq war is about, you’d probably get several different views and just as heated discussions.

Some of the debated reasons for the war in Iraq:

  • WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
  • Oil
  • Combating Terrorism
  • Human Rights
  • Bringing democracy to the Middle East

The original emphasis of the war was to remove WMDs from Iraq, because they posed a threat to the US and the stability of the Persian Gulf region. After no WMDs were found, the emphasis (and justification) for the war shifted. Concerns over human rights, combating terrorism and promoting democracy were elevated over removing non-existant WMDs as the reason for the war.

Was the Iraq war fought for the original issue of WMDs, or was it to combat terrorism? When the war is over, will there be another reason promoted? We are living through the years of the war right now, and still there isn’t a consensus over why the war is being fought.

Something very similar happened in the Civil War. Originally, Presidents Lincoln’s goal was to preserve the union; after the war began, the emphasis shifted to ending slavery.

Except from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

In Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, prior to the end of the war, the issue became the morality of slavery.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

When justifications for war change as a war goes on, it leads to endless debates about the “real reason” for fighting the war. A hundred and fifty years from now, the question will be asked, “Why was the Iraqi war fought?” And there won’t be a consensus on that war, either. Once the fog of war sets in, the fog of moral justification sets in too.

Share Button

O’Reilly Misrepresents Facts on Westboro Case, Again

Megyn Kelly discusses Westboro Baptist Church with Bill O’Reilly

Kelly argues areas where O’Reilly has misrepresented the facts surrounding this case. O’Reilly accused Kelly of saying the case had no merit, while Kelly’s position was that it was going to be a closed case.

O’Reilly accused the other two judges in the case with concurring with Judge Shedd’s view that “reasonable people can debate the worthiness the appropriateness of Westboro position.” Kelly points out the other judges threw the case out for other reasons, and did not need to concur with Judge Shedd.

Kelly goes on to explain to O’Reilly that Judge Shedd has a point. “It may not have been intentional infliction of emotional distress, for this Westboro Baptist Church people to go outside of that funeral and protest, because to make that claim under the law you have to prove conduct that is extreme and outrageous, but extreme and outrageous don’t have the meaning that you and I understand them to have;  legally it means something else.”

Latter on Kelly also points out that the Westboro protest was a thousand feet away from the funeral. For a moment, I thought Kelly was going to point out another area where O’Reilly has misrepresented this case, as the protesters didn’t disrupt the funeral.

O’Reilly states at the start of the clip:

As you may remember, these fanatics disrupted the funeral Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, twenty years old, killed in Iraq.

Evidently the Westboro group wasn’t very successful in disrupting the funeral in question. The father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder did not see t signs of the protesters until he saw them on television later that day.

Kelly points out this case has serious implications on free speech, which it has; but this case has also been a serious misrepresentation of the facts by O’Reilly.

Share Button

O’Reilly Misrepresents Facts on Westboro Case, Again

Megyn Kelly discusses Westboro Baptist Church with Bill O’Reilly

Kelly argues areas where O’Reilly has misrepresented the facts surrounding this case. O’Reilly accused Kelly of saying the case had no merit, while Kelly’s position was that it was going to be a closed case.

O’Reilly accused the other two judges in the case with concurring with Judge Shedd’s view that “reasonable people can debate the worthiness the appropriateness of Westboro position.” Kelly points out the other judges threw the case out for other reasons, and did not need to concur with Judge Shedd.

Kelly goes on to explain to O’Reilly that Judge Shedd has a point. “It may not have been intentional infliction of emotional distress, for this Westboro Baptist Church people to go outside of that funeral and protest, because to make that claim under the law you have to prove conduct that is extreme and outrageous, but extreme and outrageous don’t have the meaning that you and I understand them to have;  legally it means something else.”

Latter on Kelly also points out that the Westboro protest was a thousand feet away from the funeral. For a moment, I thought Kelly was going to point out another area where O’Reilly has misrepresented this case, as the protesters didn’t disrupt the funeral.

O’Reilly states at the start of the clip:

As you may remember, these fanatics disrupted the funeral Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, twenty years old, killed in Iraq.

Evidently the Westboro group wasn’t very successful in disrupting the funeral in question. The father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder did not see t signs of the protesters until he saw them on television later that day.

Kelly points out this case has serious implications on free speech, which it has; but this case has also been a serious misrepresentation of the facts by O’Reilly.

Share Button

Fears of US Political Violence Put in Perspective: Softcore

Warnings of political violence and domestic terrorism in America seem to be all the rage these days. Bricks thrown through windows and buses being egged–oh my!

It is just talk; for real examples of political violence, you have to look outside of the US: places like Iraq, where today suicide bombers killed 42 people. Or South Africa, where President Jacob Zuma called for unity after the murder of a white supremacist on Saturday.

No curfews in America due to riots, as there are in India right now. Police in riot gear aren’t battling protesters, but they are in the UK where the EDL clashed with police over a new mosque being built.

Below is a video that sums up the fighting being waged in America today. When it comes to political violence and domestic terrorism, I think the US might just come in dead last.

Washington D.C Monument pillow fight April 3rd 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYLPvZiBuog

Share Button

Bill O’Reilly on Westboro Baptist Church: Disrupting the Facts

Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points: Hating America – 03/30/10

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qKPka-cwwA

O’Reilly at 1:25 into the clip:

Its obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested.

There is a problem with accusing the Westboro Baptist Church of disrupting the funeral. They didn’t disrupt the funeral, as 4th District which reversed the judgment pointed out.

The protest was confined to a public area under supervision and regulation of local law enforcement and did not disrupt the church service.

If the intent of the Westboro Baptist Church was to disrupt the funeral, they failed badly. Albert Snyder, the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder who died in Iraq, did not see the signs of the protesters until he saw them on television later that day.

Reporting the church members disrupted the funeral is inaccurate. The lawsuit isn’t even about disrupting the funeral; the lawsuit alleges privacy invasion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. If the Westboro Baptist Church had disrupted the funeral, they probably would have been arrested.

I don’t know which category this misreporting falls under: defamation, libel or slander. I see a potential for news outlets to be sued by Westboro Baptist Church, for the very similar reasons they were being sued by Albert Snyder–intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The church could claim their image has been harmed, by news outlets falsely reporting they were engaged in an illegal activity. Westboro has ammunition to backup the claim because the court has stated they were not disrupting the funeral.

Bill O’Reilly has offered to pay the $16,000 court costs for Albert Snyder to the Westboro Baptist Church. This sad story has the potential to become even more shocking and depressing. If O’Reilly continues to misrepresent the facts, he might end up handing over even more money to the church.

Share Button

War on Drugs Shenanigans: Free Drug Samples

FREE COCAINE SAMPLES!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvb6ae7eyWI

California Gang Gives Away Free Samples Of Cocaine

Police in California are on the hunt for members of a local gang after they say they’ve begun targeting teens in the area by offering them free samples of cocaine and teaching them how to smoke it.

La Crescenta and northern Glendale police say a Hollywood area gang is swarming the area with the product and providing freebies to eager teens to up their clientele. The News Press reports that after giving the children the substance, the gang which has not been identified, would reportedly give the kids free lessons.

I call shenanigans for these reasons:

  • Very similar to the “strawberry quick handed to kids in school yards” myth.
  • Or the Drug dealers handing out LSD-laced tattoos of cartoon characters myth.
  • Originally the story was heroin being given away for free.
  • The gang is not mentioned, probably because it does not exist.
  • The reporter states “its happening allegedly in the Glendale area,” so no effort has been made to confirm the police statement.

It’s not impossible that drug samples might be given away for free; it’s just highly unlikely.

Chris Rock put it best:

“Drug dealers don’t sell drugs. Drugs sell themselves. It’s crack. It’s not an encyclopedia. It’s not a f**king vacuum cleaner.

You don’t really gotta try to sell crack. Ok? I’ve never heard a crack dealer going, ‘Man, how am I gonna get rid of all this crack?!'”

Share Button

War on Drugs Shenanigans: Free Drug Samples

FREE COCAINE SAMPLES!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvb6ae7eyWI

California Gang Gives Away Free Samples Of Cocaine

Police in California are on the hunt for members of a local gang after they say they’ve begun targeting teens in the area by offering them free samples of cocaine and teaching them how to smoke it.

La Crescenta and northern Glendale police say a Hollywood area gang is swarming the area with the product and providing freebies to eager teens to up their clientele. The News Press reports that after giving the children the substance, the gang which has not been identified, would reportedly give the kids free lessons.

I call shenanigans for these reasons:

  • Very similar to the “strawberry quick handed to kids in school yards” myth.
  • Or the Drug dealers handing out LSD-laced tattoos of cartoon characters myth.
  • Originally the story was heroin being given away for free.
  • The gang is not mentioned, probably because it does not exist.
  • The reporter states “its happening allegedly in the Glendale area,” so no effort has been made to confirm the police statement.

It’s not impossible that drug samples might be given away for free; it’s just highly unlikely.

Chris Rock put it best:

“Drug dealers don’t sell drugs. Drugs sell themselves. It’s crack. It’s not an encyclopedia. It’s not a f**king vacuum cleaner.

You don’t really gotta try to sell crack. Ok? I’ve never heard a crack dealer going, ‘Man, how am I gonna get rid of all this crack?!'”

Share Button

Did CNN Fake Gulf War Story? Nope.

I stumbled across this YouTube video of former CNN reporter Charles Jaco during the Gulf War. The rumor that the video was fake has been floating around the internet for some time.

Charles Jaco CNN 1990 Persian Gulf War

The poster on YouTube said, “Google his name and read the results.”  There were so many Google hits labeling this video fake, I thought I would save others some time searching for the answers.

At first glance, I thought the video had been faked, but after digging into it, they were really just shooting on the roof of the hotel at night. What appears to be a studio blue screen is really just the color of the hotel where they were shooting.

Charles Jaco sent an email to several blogs that mentioned the video.

First the facts of the case: our coverage was on the roof of a hotel and military facility near the intersection of the two main runways at the Dhahran Air Base, Western Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plywood background was erected as a guard against sand and wind storms. The clowning around on the video is just that. We used black humor to deflect the tension of covering SCUD missile assaults.

If you look at 1:36 in the video, you can see what appears to be a small satellite dish. Here is the frame, the bottom edge of the satellite dish is between the crewman’s hand the wall just above the electrical cord. Using a satellite dish outside makes sense; inside a studio using a satellite dish does not make sense.

If there was any question if Jaco was really in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, I think this video answers that question. At two minutes in the video, you can tell its being shot outside.

Jaco in Dhahran

Share Button