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As many of you know, I am old white man.  Unlike many other old white men, I don’t watch Fox News, except for some comedy relief, and I certainly don’t agree with anything the Republican Party and their allies spout as what the country should look like.  I am an old white man who is fed up with unequal treatment of women, minorities, LGBT, and other non-white groups.  I served this country because I believe in fair, honest, equal treatment of everyone.  I also believe that is what America is supposed to be all about.

A couple of months ago, there were riots in Ferguson, MO over the shooting death of Michael Brown.  (I am afraid that once the grand jury comes down with their decision about charging or not charging the police officer who shot him, more riots will unfold.  Even though I fully understand the frustration that causes such riots, I am not in favor of violence.)  When the Ferguson riots took place, Fox News was front and center complaining about the rioters and then the peaceful demonstrators that followed.  They are still ranting against them.  Remember, as I go forward, Fox News claims to be a “Fair and Balanced” news network.

Fall has descended on us.  The air is getting chilly.  The leaves are turning.  And all kinds of fall festivals are taking place in various parts of the country.  In New Hampshire last weekend, there was a Pumpkin Festival.  That festival turned into a riot.  Keene State College students were at the heart of this “riot.”

During the incident, they turned over one car and danced on top of it.  They shot off fireworks.  They threw glass bottles.  They even threatened a senior citizen.  It got so bad that the police were called and they showed up in riot gear and brought out tear gas in order to quell the riots.  One female student complained about feeling very unsafe.

There were reports of students pissing on private cars, not their own.  As mentioned they threatened a senior citizen.  Oh, by the way, they were drinking large amounts of beer and alcohol.  To me, the worst part of the riots was that they seemed to be enjoying it.  It was a cascade of violence in what is usually a quiet small town.

Of course the Keene students placed a YouTube video showing all the “positive” aspects of the festival.  In the video you can see a bunch of students tossing back beers, girls twerking, at least one shot of a girls bare butt, and various forms of good ole college fun, all set to a Kayne West soundtrack.  They somehow believe this was just a good time that somehow got a “little out of hand.”

The problem is that anyone who has lived in a college town sees this type of behavior happening every year.  Especially during football season.  This incident at Keene State College is not an isolated case.  That being said, I ask again, Fox New where is the outrage about the riot?  Where is the outrage about students drinking in public?  Where is the outrage about destroying private property?  Where is the outrage about those people threatening old people?

I can answer that in a few words.  You won’t hear any outrage from Fox News.  Why?  Because the participants in this riot were white!  See Fox News isn’t interested in “fair and balanced” news reporting.  If they were, people like Sean Hannity and the self anointed prophet Bill O’Reilly would be screaming at the top of their lungs like they did during the Ferguson riots.  No, Fox News is only interested in spreading their fear and hate mantra on the rest of society about those “others” who cause trouble.  When it happens because white men are doing the rioting, it is just them letting off a little steam and things “getting a little out of control.”

If you seriously look at the reporting from places like Fox News on the Ferguson riots and the lack of coverage on the Keene State riots, you will see with clear vision the differences between white privilege and unequal justice prevalent in our society.  Which of course is what the right-wing and their spokespeople at Fox News clearly want to exist.  Nothing more needs to be said.

 

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The right-wing conservative wing of the Republican party is in full hysteria mode.  As the election approaches, they have dusted off the old argument that the Democrats are soft on defense and security.  There are two items that have flamed their hysteria.  The first was ISIS and the second was Ebola.  According to the conservative wing, we are in extreme danger of both of these hideous things.  According to Fox News, we are in imminent danger of having our country wiped off the face of the earth by them.

So, how do Fox News and the wing-nuts envision these invaders entering the country?  Through Mexico of course.  Tom Tillis, the Republican candidate in North Carolina went into full hysteria mode during a debate last night.  He said the only way to stop both ISIS and Ebola is by “sealing the border.”  Naturally, in true Republican fashion he did not state how we are to “seal the border.”  And, of course, his is talking about our southern border with Mexico and not our northern border with Canada.

See, the theory goes that if ISIS wants to attack America, they simply put people ashore in Mexico.  Those people then walk however far is necessary and cross the southwest border with the U.S.  I can only assume that these people will already be armed since Republicans don’t seem to think they can buy guns in this country.  Once they cross the border with Mexico, they will do their worst to kill us all off in our sleep.

They also see that someone from West Africa who is infected with Ebola will fly into Mexico, take a bus to somewhere near the border, and then simply walk across.  All the while suffering from the disease symptoms that include organ damage and internal bleeding.  They make is sound so easy that GOP congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr. of California, told Fox host Greta van Susteren last night that ”[a]t least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.” Pressed on how he knew this, Hunter replied that he’d “asked the Border Patrol.”

When contacted, the Department of Homeland Security flatly denied the charge and basically said Hunter was patently false in his assertion about ISIS people being caught at the Mexican border in Texas.  To be honest, I started laughing that these ISIS terrorists entered in Texas and not in California or Arizona.  Is that a subliminal hint that California isn’t a direct target?

So, is there any validity in the Republicans claim that both ISIS and Ebola are going to just walk across our southern border?  Well, history proves just the opposite.  I know that Republicans aren’t too keen on history and the facts, but let’s look at a few things here.

Before the 9/11 attacks, terrorists crossed our border to carry out their plot.  But please note, none of them entered the country through Mexico.  In order to be able to walk around without being harassed, they either entered the country via European countries on a legal visa granted under false papers, or they entered through, get this, CANADA.  See, if a terrorist wants to commit an act in the U.S. he needs to be able to enter the country without bringing attention to himself.  Entering through a European country or Canada is the best way not to bring attention to yourself.

Every case where the FBI and/or Border Police have captured potential terrorists have been at the Canadian border NOT the Mexican border.  For one thing, the Canadian border is longer than the Mexican border.  There are far more places where people can illegally cross.  There is even the Great Lakes where some can get a boat and simply enter the U.S. from Canada without even being noticed.  When you dock your boat at a marina in the U.S., there are no border police present to check IDs and “papers”, so it is far easier to enter through Canada than through Mexico.  I know, I lived on the Great Lakes most of my life.

So, what about Ebola?  The only case, so far, of a person entering the country with Ebola came through a U.S. Airport.  He did not cross the Mexican border.  He was legally entering the country to visit family living in this country.  As a matter of fact, every case of an epidemic problem that has entered the U.S. was through legal means, not sneaking across the border from Mexico.

So, when Republicans like Tom Tillis start talking about “sealing the border” we need to be asking him if he means both the southern and northern borders.  Even if we were to build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border, it will not stop terrorists from entering the country through Canada or even our airports.  Besides, where do the Republicans think they are going to get the billions of dollars necessary to build such a border wall?  And, how are they going to pay to maintain it?

Finally, if we do build a wall between us and Mexico, won’t that also mean we will need thousands more border police to patrol the wall?  What about all of the security equipment necessary to let us know when it is breached?  What about the equipment necessary to find tunnels under the wall?

Republicans don’t really care about “sealing the border.”  What they care about is letting loose a hysteria that those “other” people are coming to get us and the only way to stop them is to lock off the “other” people from getting in too.  That is what brings the wing-nut voters to the polls.  We don’t need to worry about our northern border, because they are not those “other” people.  They are white Christian souls just like us.  Forget that is from where terrorists enter.

Terrorism and infectious diseases, not just Ebola, are real concerns that we face everyday.  The problem is that both of these concerns are more likely to enter the country via legal means and through our own airports than “sneaking” across the southern border.  But, Republicans know that hysteria can generate votes.  It is truly sad that they think they need to hype it up in order to win an election.  But then, they don’t have anything else to run on.

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With the mid-terms just weeks away now, I find it difficult to understand why we aren’t seeing more TV ads from the Democrats about equal pay, minimum wage, and paid family leave.  These are issues that are extremely important to families, especially women.  As usual, it is projected that the turnout for this mid-term will be lower than in a presidential election year.  That also means that fewer women will vote in the mid-terms as well.

If the Democrats really want to keep the Senate and make some strides in the House, these are issues that they should be talking about more, not less.  There is plenty of evidence that it just might turn the tide against the Republicans if the Democrats use these issues wisely.  People want paid family leave.  They want affordable child-care.  They want fair and equal pay.  They are even willing to vote for people who support these issues.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Make It Work campaign found that 76 percent of surveyed registered voters favor the campaign’s efforts to implement fair pay for minimum wage earners — who are disproportionately women — as well as more flexible family leave policies. Researchers found that a majority of respondents disagreed with the assertion that “men and women these days are generally paid equally for doing the same work,” and 80 percent said it’s the government’s responsibility to guarantee fair treatment for workers, regardless of income level or gender.

How much more ammunition do you need to fire the shots necessary to fire up these people enough to vote?  The Republicans have been very public about their refusal to implement any of these issues into law.  They are constantly telling voters that only companies can decide what a fair wage is, so the minimum wage is antiquated to the point it should be abolished.  They are constantly telling voters that you don’t deserve paid family leave time because it will hamper the business.  They are constantly telling the voters that men and women make the same wages for the same work.  Which statistics prove them wrong in every field and profession.

I live in a state where there is a very tight race between the incumbent Democratic Senator and her Republican rival.  I have not seen one single advertisement about the difference between them on these issues.  These are things that can even make Republican women vote Democratic.  The adage of “voting your pocketbook” is not dead.  It has just be hijacked by Republicans who get the wealthy to vote their pocketbooks.  Somehow they have convinced too many people to vote against their pocketbook just because they belong to a certain party.

In order to get people to the polls, Democrats need to start talking about issues that affect people’s pocketbooks.  Telling a minimum wage working person that raising the minimum wage will almost double their income, and you can get their vote.  Tell them that raising their income will mean more money to spend on necessities and even some “luxury” items and the will vote for you.  Tell them that increasing money to spend into the economy will help boost jobs, and they will vote for you.

But, for some reason, the Democrats seem to be mum on these topics.  I don’t understand why.  The Republicans haven’t been mum.  They especially like the idea of running ads telling women they should think about voting the same way the look at dresses or dates.  They are telling women that they don’t understand politics enough to vote on the issues, so they have to vote according to style.

If the Democrats don’t wake up soon, we may be faced with an even worse congress than we have had for the last several years.  If they don’t start fighting for the common people and telling them they favor these issues while the opponents do not, we won’t see any dramatic turn-around in November.

It is very easy to do as well.  We know Democrats favor these issues because they have already passed the Senate.  They haven’t become law because the Republicans refuse to even hold a vote on them in the House.  More fodder for the Democrats.  Just think about it.  76 percent of people want all of these issues to pass.  That means there are gerrymandered Republican districts that have a majority of people who want these issues to pass.

One way Democrats can get women to the polls is to talk about pocketbook issues.  So far, they have been remarkably silent on them.  Their silence could spell their doom in the mid-terms.

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Okay, I am going to say this as plainly as I can.  There is a real terrorist threat to America.  This threat has existed for a long time now, and the right-wing media is ignoring it completely.  The reason they are ignoring it is because this threat does not come from Islamic terrorists.  It comes from white, right-wing, anti-government extremists.

We all know that Fox News is xenophobic.  What they have been successful in hiding is their total disregard for right-wing terrorists for a very long time.  The recent stories, or lack thereof, about the Oklahoma killing and the terrorist shooting of two state troopers in Pennsylvania shows that Fox News doesn’t think right-wing extremists are terrorists but a fired Muslim worker is a terrorist.

Last week there was a gruesome murder in Oklahoma.  A fired worker, Alton Nolan, entered his former workplace and beheaded a co-worker.  This ghastly story has been front and center over at Fox News.  Not because the crime was so gruesome, but because the suspect, who is in custody, recently converted to Islam.  That means according to Fox News it was a terrorist attack.  Police say otherwise noting that the attack came immediately after Nolan was fired and stating that they’ve yet to find a link to terrorism.

According to Fox News, this proves that Islamic Jihadists are running rampant in the heartland of the country.  They are treating the story as a national problem with political implications.  Of course, they blame President Obama for the attack because of his “indifference to the threat of Islamic terrorism.”

Yet another story that really is an act of terrorism is ongoing with barely a mention from Fox News.  On September 16, 31-year-old marksman Eric Frein was allegedly laying in wait outside the Blooming Grove police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, preparing to assassinate state troopers. Shortly before 11 p.m., Bryon Dickson was shot and killed as he walked towards his patrol car. Moments later, as he approached the barracks to begin his overnight shift, trooper Alex Douglass was shot and seriously wounded by a bullet fired from a .308-caliber rifle.

Frein, who is described as a survivalist, fled into the Poconos Mountains woods where he has been hiding out ever since.  There has been a massive man-hunt for this terrorist by the State Police, FBI, U.S. Marshalls Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Because Frein has been described as “extremely dangerous” and possibly armed with an AK 47, local schools were closed for fear of another attack.  Business were warned to remain black.  And mail delivery was suspended because officials feared mail carriers might be attacked by Frein.

So, what sparked this ambush?   “He made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and to commit mass acts of murder,” state police commissioner Frank Noonan warned the public at the time. Another official noted the shooter has a “longstanding grudge against law enforcement and government in general” dating back to at least 2006.

A friend was even more explicit.  “He was obviously a big critic of the federal government.  No indications of really any malice towards law enforcement in particular. Most of his aggression was (toward) the federal government.”

Philadelphia columnist Dick Poleman wrote:  “We have a well-trained sniper who hates authority, hates society, hates government, and hates cops enough to plug them from ambush. He’s so lethal, so locked and loaded, that communities in the Pocono Mountains feel terrorized.”  “He kept camouflage face paint in his bedroom. He toted the AK-47 on social media. He collected, according to the criminal complaint, “various information concerning foreign embassies.””

If this sounds like domestic terrorism being perpetrated by a homegrown terrorist, you are right.  But, turn on Fox News and you will not find anything about the story.  None of the major evening commentators like Meagan Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity or Neil Cavuto have said a word about this domestic terrorist.

To really show the slant, in the two weeks since the shooting, the shows on Fox News monitored by Nexis mentioned Frein’s name only six times.  And most of those were in one sentence “updates”.  None of the so-called big news people mentioned above have said a single word about the murder.  On the other hand, these shows have donated hours and hours of the Oklahoma killing.  They even have included overheated commentary, and most of them dwelled on the fact the killing may have been an act of terror.

The only show that had a feature on Frein and his act of terrorism was one segment of the show On The Record With Greta Van Susteren.  But before you give old Greta some praise here, she whitewashed the story.  She never mentioned Frein’s vocal anti-government leanings, nor was there any suggestion Frein was a domestic terrorist.  At the end of the story she even told viewers to stay tuned for a report about the “nightmare” looming from the threat of jihadist fighters inside the United States.

Naturally, this isn’t the first instance of right-wing terrorism in the country.  We had two cops killed in Nevada by right-wing terrorists.  That ambush came just two days after Dennis Marx, member of the “sovereign citizen” anti-government movement, tried to lay siege to a courthouse outside of Atlanta. Sovereign citizens are militia-like radicals who don’t believe the federal government has the power and legitimacy to enforce the law. The FBI has called the movement “a growing domestic terror threat to law enforcement.”  Like Frein, these stories got little coverage on Fox News.

The Pennsylvania ambush is just another in a long line of extremist terrorism that has taken place from Neo-Nazi killers, to a string of women’s health clinic bombings and assaults, as well as bloody assaults on law enforcement from anti-government insurrectionists.  With very little coverage, if any, on Fox News.

As CNN’s Peter Bergen noted earlier this year, since 9/11, “extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.”

I don’t know what you make of this “fair and balanced” news reporting from Fox News, but I find it very telling.  If someone has any ties to Islam and commits a crime, it is an obvious terrorist attack on America.  Fox News is very quick to put terrorism and Islam together whenever a horrible crime is committed.  But, they are hesitant at best to even mention when a white man commits an act of terror, especially if that white man is a right-wing extremist.

You only have to remember Sean Hannity praising law-breaker Cliven Bundy as a true hero and patriot for stealing from the federal government.  And, don’t forget those pictures of a man lying on an overpass in ambush ready to shoot and kill federal law enforcement officers, if he deemed it necessary.  Sound familiar to Frein?

I have been watching the news for over fifty years.  I have never seen anything as biased as Fox News before.  But then, what do you expect from a network whose sole purpose is to preach the right-wing propaganda?  Sadly, if you look at Fox News and the propaganda machine in Germany during the 30s and 40s, you will see a disturbing similarity.

Like the German propaganda machine at the time, Fox News is only interested in pointing out whom we should be afraid of.  Everything that is wrong with the world and our country can be blamed on those people.  Maybe it time for Fox News to change its logo.

 

 

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The mid-term elections are beginning to turn to warmonger vs. not-so-much warmonger.  ISIS has been in the headlines for months, and the warmongers are all screaming for “boots on the ground” to eliminate the threat.  They have even pulled the immigration reform battle into this fight as well.  According to the warmongers, we need to lock down our southern border so ISIS cannot get in.  They aren’t asking for the northern border to be locked down.  And, history has shown that more terrorist types enter the country through Canada than Mexico.

The real warmongers are calling for an all out war against ISIS.  They want us to send troops back into Iraq and also into Syria to kill the ISIS terrorists.  The not-so-much warmongers want us to continue the bombing and arm other groups to fight ISIS.  The President announced in his speech that he intends to bomb ISIS both in Iraq and Syria and to arm groups in the region to do the actual ground battle with ISIS.  But, that isn’t good enough for the warmongers.

The real problem is that Republicans who are running for office are now beginning to run ads with no other intent than to scare the holy shit out of the voters in their state.  Tom Tillis in North Carolina is a perfect example of this scare tactic.  He recently unveiled an ad criticizing the President and his opponent Sen. Kay Hagan.  He claims that “their policies are putting you in DANGER.”  I emphasized danger because he used font bigger than I have ever seen on that one word.

Naturally, he criticized his opponent for missing some committee hearings.  That turns out to be no big deal according to Republican candidate Scott Brown who said that senators have hectic schedules and serve on multiple committees that often double-book hearings.  So, even if Tillis is elected, he will also miss a bunch of committee hearings.

The real problem with Tillis and many of his fellow Republicans is that he won’t take a stand on what to do.  He is very critical of the President, and therefore his opponent, but he also supports bombing ISIS.  Unfortunately, he won’t state what different policies he favors.  Even when he is campaigning with Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is obviously one of the biggest warmongers in Washington.

See Graham wants to put “boots on the ground” practically everywhere there may even be a terrorist threat.  That means we put our troops back into Iraq whether the government there wants us to or not.  He wants troops in Syria so we can get involved in their civil war.  I haven’t heard of a place Graham doesn’t want to put troops into.

While on the campaign trail, Tillis was asked if he, like Graham, supported giving arms to rebel groups fighting the Syrian regime.  His answer was basically, “I don’t know.”  He said:

“I actually don’t know if we should or shouldn’t,” Tillis said this week. “I would have to know that these arms would not get in the hands of people who would want to take over the Middle East.”

Asked about the differences between he and his opponent, Tillis said, “it’s not a matter of disagreement.”

“It’s a matter of having an independent thought, something that Sen. Hagan hasn’t had 96 percent of the time. … Based on the information I have today, we don’t have a disagreement; we’re just at different places in the decision process.”

Lindsey Graham also favors sending troops to fight ISIS arguing that is the only way to “win” against them.  So, since Graham was with Tillis on the campaign trail he was asked if he agreed with that stand.  He said he didn’t have enough information to make a decision.  In other words he punted.  He further said that Graham had had  “briefings that I haven’t had access to. He’s arrived at his conclusions as a result of those briefings … When I have the opportunity to be briefed at that level, then I’ll make a decision based on the information.”

So, as usual, we have a Republican candidate who is openly crying wolf but won’t say what he would do differently.  You may ask if that puts him in the not-so-warmonger category.  I believe it puts him in the category of “I don’t know what I would do differently until after I am elected.  So, you will just have to trust me.”  That type of attitude puts him in the warmonger camp as far as I am concerned.  Remember, North Carolina has several large military bases located in it.  Openly stating he favors sending all those brave men and women back into battle may not be politically correct for him.

He is not alone in his “I don’t know but trust me” room either.  The Republicans have been saying that ever since President Obama was elected back in 2008.  They hate the Affordable Care Act and want to repeal it, but won’t tell us what they would replace it with, for example.  Only, when you are talking about putting American Military Personnel in harm’s way, we deserve a better philosophy than “I don’t know, but trust me”.

According to the Republicans we are supposed to trust them with our service members lives, we are supposed to trust them with our health care, and we are supposed to trust them with our economy.  I don’t know about you, but I do not trust anyone who won’t answer a simple question.  My own children can attest to my irritation with their not answering a question.  They heard me say more than once “answer the question” when they tried to circle the situation.

Why should we trust politicians who won’t answer simple questions either.  Maybe Tillis and other Republican candidates haven’t received the same briefings that Graham has.  That doesn’t preclude them from saying what they would do based on what they do know.  That makes me believe that they either won’t say what they would do for fear of losing votes, or they really don’t know.  Either way, they don’t deserve our vote for their non-stance.

 

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Last week there was that great gathering of conservatives called the Value Voters Summit.  Every time I research this Summit, I can’t help but think the name is an oxymoron.  Think about that.  Value Voters Summit.  It kind of makes you think that people with real values are attending the summit looking for candidates who share real values.  Then, out pops speakers like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and others.  It appears that “Value Voters” don’t really have any “values” like they want you to believe.  Unless you consider greed, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and hatred of the poor as values.

Then, I couldn’t help but think that I had fallen through a time-warp or something.  I felt like I had gone to sleep and woke up in the middle-ages.  I heard Michelle Bachmann actually call for another Crusades.  Now, she didn’t actually use the word Crusades, but it was apparent that was what she meant.  In her speech, she said:

“Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!  And I believe if you have an evil of an order of this magnitude, you take it seriously. You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it. Just like the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America.”

Now, if you studied any history at all, you can’t help but conclude that Ms. Bachmann is actually calling for a Crusade against Islam just like in the middle-ages.  Of course she failed to say that if we did “declare war on Islam” we would be fighting in almost every country in the world including in our own country.  See Islam is everywhere.

To be honest with you, I can’t remember who came up with the idea first.  Was it Michelle Bachmann or was it Bill O’Reilly?  See, old Bill has a solution to the problem as well.  And, it sounds very similar to Bachmann’s.  Bill said on his show that the answer is to put together a 25,000-person, well-paid, mercenary “world-wide strike force.”  He then said:  “You wouldn’t believe how many military people who have called me and gone, ‘that’s a great idea.’

Well, he was right about one thing.  No one believed him about the military people who said “that’s a great idea.”  As a matter of fact, no one on FOX News thought it was a very bright idea either.  Even Charles Krauthammer said: “You’ve gone from out of the box to off the wall. Do you really want to be running around the world responsible for a band of desperadoes?”

A guest military expert said: “It’s a terrible idea. We’re not going to solve this problem by creating a band of Marvel’s Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy.”  I guess it is kind of bad when your own side calls you nuts!

But, no one dared say anything bad about Michelle Bachmann and her call for a crusade.  I don’t know if no one paid any attention to her, of if she has fallen so low on the FOX radar that she doesn’t get a mention anymore.  But, anyone with a brain can tell you that those kinds of words are exactly what ISIS is looking to play up.  What better way to recruit more “converts” to their cause than play a recording of Ms. Stupid calling for a war against Islam?

There were a lot of other stupid moments at the Value Voters Summit as well.  Like Sarah Palin saying the White House is at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Just think, she was supposed to be McCain’s Vice President.  Guess it is a good idea he lost, she would still be looking for the White House for her first meeting.

She even weighed in on the ISIS thing too.  She said:   “Bush’s war was bad, but Barack’s bombs, oh baby those red lines, the strategery [sic] there that was thought up on the back nine, Barack’s bombs, oh they’re the bomb.”  Yes, she used the word “strategery.”

I don’t usually get to worked up about the Value Voters Summit.  I fully understand that the attendees don’t have any moral values.  But, when members of Congress, even out-going ones like Michelle Bachmann, start calling the second largest religion in the world “evil” and calls for the U.S. to “declare war” on it, we need to take notice.

Even more frightening than her speech was the applause she received for it.  Apparently, the Value Voters who attended this summit agree that we can declare war on a religion.  These are the same idiots who claim “religious persecution” because our laws won’t allow them to discriminate against those they don’t like.

This is the type of lunacy that creeps up when politicians are more interested in establishing a theocracy than working to make our country better.  The mid-terms are coming up.  You have a choice between reason and these folks.  Which are you going to choose?

 

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Bill Simmons at ESPN was suspended for three weeks for his rant on his podcast on the web magazine Grantland against Roger Goodell.  On the show he said:

I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the [Ray Rice] tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit. It really is—it’s such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.

To show how insulted he really was, he dared ESPN to discipline him:

I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Thank you. … Please call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.

ESPN took him up on his dare.  Remember, ESPN has a contract with the NFL to show Monday Night Football.  Since they received the contract, the majority of their programming is more about football than anything else.  So, it isn’t surprising that ESPN would not only suspend Simmons, but use the following statement to justify it.

Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons … did not meet those obligations.

There is really more to this story than meets the eye.  The NFL has been engaged in a lot of negative publicity in the last few years.  Former players have sued the NFL over brain injuries caused by concussions.  More and more players have been accused of domestic violence.  More and more players have been suspended for drug use.

Problem is these are not new issues.  They have been around for years.  But until recently, the NFL has been able to backseat these issues so the fans don’t lose their enthusiasm for the sport.  With the most recent problems with domestic abuse by players, sponsors have expressed their “disappointment” with the league on how they handle such cases.  There hasn’t been a huge break of sponsorship, yet.  As one reporter said “although gaining some points for fighting abuse would be nice, it isn’t financially worth losing potential revenue from not advertising with the NFL.”

The other problem in making the NFL more decent in these matters is the fans.  Every game is still being sold out every week.  That means that none of the problems are having any impact on the NFL’s bottom line.  Until that happens, there will be no real change in how the NFL handles these cases.

I have said before that the NFL is today’s version of the Roman Gladiator Games.  Hell, Fox even plays up that idea in their ads for upcoming games.  This just proves that our lust for blood-sport seems ingrained in our genes.  Yes, I know, no one is actually killed at the end of the event as in gladiator fights in the coliseum, but the brutality of the sport is what seems to glue us to the TV every week.

It is true that all sports are a reflection of society.  As a result, society can make changes in how sports leagues handle social issues.  In the 1970s, there was a huge backlash against the NBA over drug use.  Players were constantly getting in trouble for using recreational drugs.  People stopped going to NBA games saying that the NBA had become a bunch of street gangs in shorts.

This drop in attendance and TV ratings forced the NBA to make some changes.  The league cleaned itself up.  It was either that or go out of business.  Yes, players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan helped turn things around.  But, it was also their “clean image” that helped bring people back to the game.  As a result, the NBA is about as popular as ever.

The Sterling crisis brought up another possible crisis for the league.  But, the commissioner handled it so quickly that it was resolved.  It was handled so well, that when another owner got caught with his own racial comments, he didn’t wait for the NBA to act.  He announced that he would sell his portion of the team as quickly as he could.  And, the league received praise over its handling of the situation.  That praise is something that is definitely lacking in these NFL cases.

The point here is that maybe Simmons was really insulted over the NFL and Roger Goodell’s recent new conference.  Simmons is widely known as a huge sports fan.  That is what makes his podcast so popular.  People look at him as a fan, not merely a reporter.  As such, wouldn’t it have been real nice if Simmons went on to say that the public should boycott the NFL until these matters are resolved?  What kind of shock-waves would have reverberated in the sports world if he had said that?  That would have been real news.

Football is not alone in problems.  As I mentioned the NBA went through problems.  Major League Baseball had their problems with PED’s.  In their case, it was the players who fought the dirty players, and they eventually won.  Contrary to popular belief, it was the players who fought for more drug testing to clean up the game.  Unfortunately, NFL players don’t seem to harbor the same fight to clean up their game.

The public proved with the NBA that they can force changes.  It is time for the public to force the NFL to make similar changes.  Look, football is a good sport.  The vast majority of players are good people who do wonderful work in the community.  But, the NFL is being tarnished by these abusers who have been getting away with it.

One step to force change is for sponsors to pull out.  Another step is for the players to revolt against the abusers and stop talking about “they are family” which only suggests they approve of domestic violence.  But, the best way to force change is for the fans to stop supporting the sport.  Let the fans stop going to games, or have TV ratings plummet for a few weeks, and you will see changes.

Despite the fact that many argue that sports figures are not heroes to our children, they are.  That alone should help ignite a fan revolt against the obvious reticent of the league to do something right.  I suggest that figures like Simmons should be leading the charge.  If he is truly “insulted” like he said he is he should leap on the opportunity.  Otherwise his comments are merely “fucking bullshit.”

 

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