If Jussie Smollett isn’t at least whistling this old blues tune highlighted in the classic movie “The Blues Brothers” he’s even dumber than he looked when he got caught faking a so-called hate crime. And make no mistake. He got caught with his panties down around his ankles by the Chicago Police Department.
While we still have never seen this clown on a TV show, we have to admire his lawyers’ understanding of how identity politics works in Chicago.
They managed to get a hopelessly conflicted, elected State’s Attorney to drop all charges against Smollett after he was indicted by a Grand Jury on 16 felony counts. Her conflict, apparently, was between her patron Saint Michelle Obama and reality. Imagine if a Federal Grand Jury had indicted the President and the Attorney General decided not to prosecute.
It was completely predictable. As it happened, I was in Chicago the week Ms. Hopelessly Conflicted Prosecutor was warming up for something like this and now, she’s busy defending her office by suggesting—among other things—that she saved the taxpayers’ money.
The actual assistant State’s Attorney who handled the case said it wasn’t an exoneration and Smollett said he didn’t do it. The Mayor said he did do it, a Grand Jury said he did and the Police Superintendent said he did.
If Joliet Jake (John Belushi) were still alive, he would have probably been proud of Smollett. Or, maybe not, because at least Jake did his time.
The only problem with Smollett’s legal tactic was the unanticipated consequences of Federal involvement. It takes a lot to put President Trump, Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department on essentially the same page, but Jussie Smollett did it. Trump has announced that the Federal Government is looking into the case. This could be the Rodney King case of the 21st Century where we get to explain to students who went to school after the teachers’ union took over, that double jeopardy does not attach in such situations.
This is the way it works in Chicago and has worked from time immemorial. Remember, this is Illinois where being Governor is prep school for prison and the TV show, The Good Wife was either a documentary or a soap opera depending on where you live or grew up.
It’s also hard for someone who grew up in Illinois not to see some parallels to the Blues Brothers.
Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department have threatened to sue Smollett for the $130,000 they say was expended pulling his panties down after he filed a false police report. And Emanuel—in an attempt to keep his street cred with the left, told the President to butt out.
Smollett’s lawyers say that he doesn’t owe the city an apology but rather the Mayor and the Police owe HIM an apology for dragging his name through the mud.
That’s like Al Capone suing Chicago for letting him under-report his income.
The biggest problem with the entire nation seeing a clown show like this one is that not everyone grew up or lives in Illinois so there is a huge group of people out there who don’t understand the Chicago Way and don’t understand that in Chicago, truth is often stranger than fiction.
As we’ve observed before, maybe Law and Order’s Dick Wolf will explain it to the audience writ large with a one or two episode show next season on Chicago PD, ripped from the headlines. That he didn’t come up with a scenario similar to this up to now is only a reminder that you cannot make this stuff up.
Sweet Home Chicago, indeed.
Let’s start from the premise that Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee is so full of crap that his eyes are brown.
He suffers from a case of political Diarrhea which will ultimately consume him and his cronies who absolutely hate the President and simply cannot help themselves—even in the light of Robert Mueller’s nothingburger which was handed to the Attorney General over the weekend.
That said, we hope he continues along the path he is setting out on—impeachment. It will guarantee this President another term in office because the American public is simply not as stupid as Nadler and his fellow travelers think we are.
And then, there’s Senate Minority Leader, “Chuckie” Schumer, who thinks he’s way too important to lower himself to Nadler’s level. In point of fact, he’s much lower—if that’s possible.
Both of these clowns stand before lecterns and calmly, professorially, lie to the public. They sound a lot like Donald Sutherland’s college professor in the classic movie Animal House. Why, you’d think they actually a) knew what they were talking about and, b) were telling the truth.
Truth be told, they’re Washington swamp hucksters who only want to make sure they hold on to whatever sliver of power they think they have and they see Donald Trump as the guy who can take them down by telling the American voter the truth.
They have a hard time believing a) that Trump could have been elected in the first place and b) that a good share of the voting public—possibly a majority—likes him and approves of the job he is doing.
And they think that by doing everything possible to undermine Trump they will, somehow, gain the hearts and minds of the voters and vanquish the Trump dragon. You know, kind of like how Lyndon Johnson won the hearts and minds of the Viet Nam’s citizens by bombing them into submission. Not.
The truth is that America is so much smarter than the brain trust of the Democrat party that Democrats are heading for an extraordinary beat down in 2020. Think Ronald Reagan in 1984.
It’s not that we love Donald Trump—although many of us do. It’s that Trump has this bad habit of actually standing up for what he believes and doing what he promises. The Democrats aren’t scared that what the President proposes won’t work. They’re scared that it WILL work. That it IS working.
Yet the Democrats are shameless. John Podesta—whose emails were almost as embarrassing as Hillary Clinton calling half of America ‘deplorable’—was on CBS screeching that the report was not an exoneration of the President. Seriously? The poor dear. His emails were supposedly hacked. He didn’t bother to mention that they were all written by his own hand and that he’s so crooked they couldn’t straighten him out with a crucifixion.
Somehow, the party of tolerance and free speech has become the party of Fascist thought. The party which Jews endorsed has become the party of anti-Israel anti-Semitism. The Democrats are the best reason for Israel’s existence, because they have proven that, put into power, another Holocaust CAN happen again!
It’s as if Firesign Theatre and Monty Python have taken over the Democrat Party. Actually both of those early 70’s groups usually made more sense than the Democrats do these days.
Watching Democrats dance over what they still insist is the President’s political grave is like watching an alternate version of Saturday Night Live.
We’ll see how funny they think it is in November of 2020.
Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subcribe here www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been repritined in full, with permission.
“The Killer” needs to take a break from Rock and Roll. Jerry Lee Lewis had a recent stroke and will spend the coming months in a rehab facility near his home in Nashville. I was looking forward to his April 28th concert at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and had already lined up my tickets for his show. But that’s been cancelled. So let me look back on a few memories about Jerry Lee.
In 1958, I was at a high school hop in St. Louis when the number one song in the country was performed. I danced with my girlfriend to Jerry Lee’s hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” We played the song over and over. My favorite part was when his vocals got quite and in a soft voice he sang.
I play a little music myself, but I have never heard anyone play a boogie woogie piano like he could. He often played standing up and could even play with his feet, after he kicked over his piano bench. Jerry Lee was something else.
Fast forward ten years almost to that day. I’m sitting in my office as a new country lawyer in Ferriday, Louisiana. I had few clients so I was always anxious when the door opened. One afternoon, in walks “The Killer” himself. I recognized him immediately with that long wavy hair and pointed chin. He didn’t need a lawyer but had a family member that was in a bit of trouble with the local game wardens. I was glad to help and that forged a long relationship with the king of rock and roll.
There were other incidents from time to time, and when a relative or friend appealed to Jerry Lee for help, I would get a call. I never sent him a bill for my services, but I could get front row seats to his concerts. He played at a Baton Rouge club called Floyd Brown’s back in the 80s, and Jerry Lee kept my group entertained backstage for a good while after the show.
You have to admire his resiliency. Jerry Lee has certainly had his highs and lows, but in his worse moments, he’s always had the heart and stubbornest to fight back. His popularity today continues at a high level that most star musical performers envy.
I attended a dinner in New York last year for a relative, and a wealthy hedge fund CEO came to my table and introduced himself. He had heard I was from Ferriday. All he wanted to talk about was Jerry Lee Lewis. “My musical idol,” he told me. “I even have a piano in my office, so to unwind, I play “The Killer’s music.” This guy has billions, travels the world in his own private jet, and to relax, he plays the music of a Ferriday boy who cut his musical teeth hanging out with the likes of Mickey Gilley and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart.
The three cousins all were self-taught and could each play the piano before they reached 10 years old. They went separate directions and each found success. At one time, Rev. Swaggart (whose family I also represented) had a worldwide following, and his preaching is still watched in numerous countries. Mickey Gilley, who did several concerts for me in my political days, was named the country singer of the year, and performs now at his own club in Branson, Missouri.
For good reason, Jerry Lee was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is just one more of the musical legends that call Louisiana their home. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and is back on the concert stage again soon. We all want to hear again about “a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.”
Another white supremacist right-wing terrorist commits mass murder. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it. I’m not going to talk much about gun control because you already know where you stand on that issue. I’m not going to even talk about the actual massacre because you’ve probably heard all about it and, honestly, I doubt I have anything new to say. I do want to talk about the fact that I wish I was more shocked. I mean, do you actually remember a time when it would be shocking to hear about any kind of massacre? I certainly do, and I honestly feel like it was decades ago. Now, I just wait for it to happen, knowing it will.
Remember back in 2011 when a white supremacist right-wing terrorist massacred 79 people in Norway? I hope you do, because I actually forgot all about it. I seriously did. This morning I read Huffpost’s really excellent: Mass Shooters Have Exploited the Internet For Years. New Zealand Took It To A New Level. (No, seriously, it’s great, you should take a few minutes to read it because they accurately point out some of the social problems that lead to mass shootings). Somewhere within the Huffpost story, the writers mention the 2011 attack in Norway that killed seven nine people, and I immediately thought, “Attack on Norway? Jesus, I don’t even remember that one.” I had to look it up. It took me a few moments of reading to recall the details. And then I thought, “Oh, I think there's a Netflix movie about it that just came out a few months ago - maybe I should watch it.” Sadly, my thoughts were not “What a horrible, f**king thing to have happened!” Nope. My thoughts were, “Don’t remember it. Oh, right, now I remember it. I should watch the movie.” =(
I mean, there are plenty of mass shootings I do remember. Without looking anything up: Vegas. The Ariana Grande concert in the UK (I think this was a bomb and not a shooting, or maybe it was both, or maybe I’m mixing up concert attacks). The FL nightclub massacre. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. The Synagogue attack in … um, I can’t recall which city (and I even wrote about that attack). The attack on the movie theater where viewers were watching Batman, but I don’t remember the name of the theater chain or the city it happened. Multiple attacks on black folks while they’re in church. Multiple attacks in Paris within the last five years. The Kenya school attack. The Australian massacre in Port Arthur and I only remember this one because of the Jim Jefferies stand up routine about the attack and his views on gun control (which, is a pretty good routine). The Amish school shooting in … actually, I don’t remember where. Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head and there are clearly important details that I just can't recall - like the horrible massacre in Norway where 79 people died! Five years from now, after another couple dozen mass shootings have occurred, I wonder which of the above I will have forgotten?
Obviously the point being that mass shootings happen often enough that I no longer even remember some of them. I don’t claim to have a solution; however, I do see a few things in common with modern day massacres.
And there we have our game of Clue: The modern day massacre edition! Pick a mass shooting and ask - who did it? Oh, I know! I know! Is it ”the crippling insecure white male right-wing extremist, in the city, with a semi-automatic weapon?” (Well, not 100% of the time but, close enough).
Hey, how about this for a new law - men are banned from owning and operating guns! No, that's illegal. Let's remember the Second Amendment here so, oh, I know! Men can own, like, a flintlock rifle or a blunderbuss, or something as equally inefficient in the modern world - but women are allowed to own Uzi's and 9mm semi-automatic pistols! That would probably cut down on mass shootings. =)
Anyway. We all know mass shootings are not going away. Maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to shoot up a movie theater - I’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to “ignite a race war” by walking into a church filled with black folks and gunning them down - you’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to walk into a nightclub and gun down dancers - your kid will be there and get killed.
But I hope not. I hope someone, somewhere has a solution. And I hope it comes sooner, rather than later. Until then, I will cynically just wait for the next mass shooting to happen. I’ll probably post a bitter story about that one too - "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
While the government is busy attempting to disarm the Americans that they work for through their continuous propaganda efforts, they are on the back end in covertly expanding their agencies' arsenals. This should come as no surprise. These types of actions have been leveled against the American people since September 11, 2001, in which many agencies were created that were sold to the American people as precautionary and security measures, only to find that 18 years later that these same agencies have been found warring and stripping away the rights of Americans that government is to secure (Deuteronomy 29:63).
If this is not a cause of alarm to the American people, then what is?
Mint Press News' Whitney Webb reported in an article titled, “Non-Military Federal Agencies Under Trump Expand Already Enormous Arsenals”:
The massive purchases of ammo and weapons by non-military federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA), that first began under the Obama administration has continued unabated under the Trump administration, while receiving less media coverage.
According to a report released last December by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and recently highlighted by Forbes, the mass purchase of ammunition, weapons and other military-grade items by ostensibly civilian government agencies has continued up through Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, the latest year for which data is available. The report also found that many agencies had misreported the amount and size of their ammo and weapons purchases to the GAO by a significant degree. In one case, the GAO found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had actually spent eight times more on weapons and ammo than it had disclosed to their office.
The budgets that had been proposed for FY 2017 — which ended on September 30, 2017 — had originally been drafted under the Obama administration but were amended by the Trump administration and the then-Republican-led Congress beginning in late January 2017 following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Trump administration chose to leave the massive purchases of ammo and weapons by non-military agencies as they were, despite the controversy they had caused among many Trump supporters and other groups when such purchases were made under the Obama administration.
Among the agencies that acquired ammunition, weapons and related equipment in FY 2017 were:
These purchases in the past have been the subject of some controversy, such as the mass purchases of hollow-point rounds by government agencies including the Forest Service, National Park Service, Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Fiscal Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hollow-point bullets are illegal under the Geneva Convention but government agencies spent at least $426,268 in just two years (FY 2015 and FY 2016) to acquire them.
Ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security in 2013 were also controversial and were subsequently investigated by the GAO. DHS had claimed that is was buying over a billion rounds of ammunition, including hollow-point rounds, in order to “save money.” However, this has long been in doubt, given that hollow-point rounds are significantly more expensive than other rounds that do not expand upon impact.
At the time, Forbes noted that the massive ammo purchases by DHS could be used to sustain a “hot war” for more than twenty years, given that during the height of the Iraq War the Army used around 6 million rounds per month. With its planned purchase of 1.6 billion rounds, DHS would have ammo left over after matching the Army’s peak daily outpouring of hot lead for two solid decades.
Though the initial mass purchases of ammo and weapons by U.S. federal agencies received considerable media attention and provided fodder for numerous conspiracy theories, the fact that those purchases have continued under Trump has received surprisingly less attention. This may be because past concerns over such purchases during the Obama era were often raised along partisan lines, with conservatives being the most vocal critics. This may seem odd given the gun control stances of Obama and his supporters. Many of those who had criticized the Obama administration for these shocking purchases, a large number of whom are now Trump supporters, may perhaps be uninclined to levy similar criticism against a president they now support.
In addition, it is not surprising that the Trump administration would allow these purchases to continue given that such purchases greatly benefit American arms manufacturers, with whom the president has cultivated a close relationship while making arms sales to allies the cornerstone of his foreign policy. Thus, it would make sense that Trump would be willing to support U.S. government purchases of those same arms, by both the military — as evidenced by the Pentagon’s still-ballooning budget — and non-military agencies.
There is no denying that these purchases represent a significant amount of government waste. More importantly, these purchases reveal the gradual yet continual effort to militarize federal agencies that have historically been administrative, a trend that should concern all Americans.
While the militarization of domestic police forces has attracted attention, it is equally important to ask why regulatory agencies are now so heavily armed, considering that virtually all of those pursued by these regulatory agencies are American citizens who are wanted for minor infractions or non-violent crimes.
One might ask themselves, what has been the history of the state when it comes to this sort of activity? Consider that it is this government, outside of their delegated authority, that just passed a bill calling for the murder of the innocent up to birth (Proverbs 6:17).
Yet, there are still many Americans that stand back and play the fool to their own demise as to what this is all really about.
The word has spread all over the internet, and all over the news that as many as 50 people conspired in a scheme to help their kids cheat on SAT/ACT tests and / or get their kid admitted to a privileged school on an athletic scholarship - even if the child had never played the sport.
Okay. Well, that’s clearly fraud. You can’t pay someone to take tests for your kid and you can’t get admitted on scholarship for a sport you’ve never played. That’s a crime. And let’s not forget the general idea that the moment you pay for the privilege of placing your child in a college that he/she probably didn’t deserve to be at - you’ve actually significantly harmed someone else who deserved that place but was rejected due to your fraud.
And there are some high profile people involved in this including actress Felicity Huffman (of Desperate Housewives fame) and actress Lori Loughlin (of Full House fame) both who paid huge sums of money to cheat their kids into college. Now, I know parents will do anything for their kids so, to be honest - I’m certainly not surprised to hear that rich parents will, you know - pay large sums of money to give their children even more privilege and more advantages than they already had. This is not a big shock to me.
And this is nothing new, right? I mean, all you have to do is apply common sense and reason to the George W. Bush Yale/Harvard question. How did Bush Jr. get into either ivy league school with his C average in high school, his decent (but certainly not great) SAT score and his zero college sports scholarships? You or I would NOT be able to get into Yale or Harvard with a C average and a decent SAT score. So how did Bush Jr. get in? Well, we all know that answer to that - because his family is well know and rich, rich, rich.
Obviously both schools accepted Bush Jr.., probably for the prestige of the Bush name but maybe, like in these recent cases - out of fraud. It’s very possible the Bush family just shelled out huge sums of cash to both schools until the universities in question said, “Sure, we’ll take your C student son!”
Well, that’s pretty much what this new scandal is all about. And we’re talking all sorts of universities are involved in this - Georgetown, Stanford, Yale, Wake Forest, UCLA, USC, Harvard, to name a few. And officials are claiming this might be just the tip of the iceberg.
So, how did this all happen?
It appears that a man named William "Rick" Singer is the front runner. Singer is CEO of “The Key,” which is a college admission prep company. And Singer pretty much told super rich parents that, for a specific fee, he would pay people to take standardized tests for their kids and then Singer would bribe test administrators to look the other way. If that wasn’t going to work out, he told parents he could create fake sports photos to submit to the schools and pay coaches to recommend a sports scholarships. He did that too! Well, Singer was caught, and he confessed to everything, so I’m not going to bother with the word - alleged.
And, of course, sometimes the parents helped in communications with university officials or coaches. Sometimes they didn’t. But they all paid and they all knew what they were doing was illegal. And some of the parents paid huge amounts of money - up to millions of dollars! I mean, how much does your kid have suck in school for their parents to need to pay millions of dollars to get them accepted?
Anyway, then Singer used his “The Key” business to launder all the money, and all the parents agreed to the scam from top to bottom. And this is pretty much the epitome of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. So this is going to get a whole lot of rich people in trouble, all their kids are going to get thrown out of their respective schools and lots of money is going to get lost. The lawyers will all make out like bandits, though (but don’t they always).
What will happen now?
Well, will anyone go to jail? Ummmm, probably not any of the parents. They’re all rich and have expensive lawyers. They’ll probably pay a fine or two and get a hand-slap or two. And there will certainly be public embarrassment and humiliation. Prosecutors might pin a few things on some low power scapegoats and throw them in jail as, “a lesson,” but that’s probably all that will happen.
Anyway. I don’t know about you but I am not surprised that super rich people pay ridiculous amount of money to get their kids into a college that they clearly don’t deserve to be in. Is it a crime? Yes. Should their kids be kicked out of school? Yes. Should there be some kind of punishment and/or fine? Yes. Will there be lawsuits? Yes. But, to be honest, the only thing that really shocks me here is that, this time - the rich folks actually have to pay for their crimes. That's actually, pretty surprising.
After two horrific airline crashes within six months many airlines around the world are grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the model of plane used in both crashes. Investigators are still looking into the most recent crash that happened on Sunday to see if it the reason for the crash is related to the previous 737 MAX 8 which crashed just six months prior.
Boeing is the largest aerospace company in the world and it’s a leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. It’s also one of America’s biggest (if not THE biggest) manufacturing exporter, as the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries.
Boeing leaders should be panicking right now. This is a brand new plane and now it’s responsible for the deaths of several hundred people. I mean, the investigation for the recent Ethiopian crash isn’t complete and it might reveal that the crash was due to pilot error and not as the previous crash, because of a manufacturing error. But, I doubt it. The Indonesian crash six months ago was due to a malfunction with the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) which is an “automatic feature that detects if the nose of the plane is pitched up too high and pushes it down to prevent the craft from stalling.” The MCAS during the Indonesian flight sensed that the nose of the plane was too high (even though, it wasn’t) and forced the plane down, sending it into an irreversible nose dive that killed everyone on board. The recent Ethiopian crash on Sunday has all the same signs of the Indonesian disaster.
Many world airlines are not waiting for the recent investigation to conclude and have grounded the Boeing MAX 8. This is the right move! Sadly, some airlines are ignoring the threat and are keeping that model in flight rotation. This is clearly a risk/profit analysis, right? They are choosing to risk the death’s of their passengers because they are concerned grounding the plane might cut into their profits and they certainly don’t want to admit any guilt because that will only add fuel to all those future lawsuits that are coming.
Enter Senator John Thune (R) who is ranking member on aviation oversight of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Thune told reporters that he would be open to grounding the planes if the evidence pointed to it, but absolutely did NOT say that the Boeing MAX 8 should be grounded out of precaution. That is, of course, until a reported asked this question:
Reporter: Would you feel safe flying in a Super Max 8 right now? Would you fly on it?
Thune: Uhhh...well, I guess I would uh, probably like everybody else, prefer flying on some other plane.
Isn’t that just like a spineless politician? He won’t go against his corporate masters but he certainly wouldn’t fly on that plane! He can’t even come out and say it out loud. He has to stammer and stutter his way into a “prefer” comment.
Obviously, the Boeing 737 Super Max 8 should be grounded. And Thune knows it. I mean he certainly won’t risk his life, or the lives of his family but - you? He’s fine with that. I hope his constituents vote him the F out of office come next election day.
As of Tuesday here are the airlines that are still flying the Boeing 737 Super Max 8:
GOL Linhas Aéreas
Update 3/13/19 - 3:00pm: Most countries have grounded the Boeing 737 Super Max 8. Boeing did NOT ground the planes themselves because they care more about $$ than human lives. Finally, just a few minutes ago - President Trump issued an Executive Order grounding all 737 Super Max 8 models in the U.S.
Update 3/21/19 - 1:10pm: The investigation has concluded that both planes went down for the exact same reason - a faulty MCAS! From my understanding, all Super Max 8 models are now grounded.
This is an updating story.
Okay. As a huge Michael Jackson fan I did not want to watch Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary detailing MJ during the height of his stardom and his relationship with two boys, aged 7 and 10 (now in their 30s), and their story of how MJ sexually abused them. I mean, I was always on the fence with MJ's guilt. I’m sure that over the years, I defended him in conversations, even though I had my doubt.
I grew up in the 80’s and MJ was THE super star of my generation. Everyone loved him. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there was always a kid or two that was like, “I hate Michael Jackson” but, whatever. No they didn't.
In fact, one of the hardest decisions my 9 year old self ever had to make was this: It was Friday night and there were two things on TV at the same time that I desperately needed to watch.
The first: Doctor Who: The Key to Time Part (something) Dude, you may not care about Doctor Who but for me, as a nine year old kid - Doctor Who was the everything! I can’t remember exactly which episode of Key to Time was going to be on, but I know that it aired at 10pm and went until midnight. On Friday.
The second: Friday Night Videos. Which, from memory was on from 10:30 to 11:30pm. And, you know what video was going to be the featured? Thriller! For the first time, ever!
OMG! What to watch. What to do? What to watch! Doctor Who or Thriller? Thriller or Doctor Who?
I watched Doctor Who. Which, come Monday morning at school, turned out to be huge mistake because everyone else had seen Thriller and I was suddenly the uncool kid, and the only kid in class - who had not seen it. Which, is a big deal when you’re nine.
Moving forward, personally, I think Bad is actually a more consistent album than Thriller, and Smooth Criminal is the greatest dance video ever produced and probably my favorite MJ song. I bought MJ’s early 90s album, Dangerous, but by then the magic was fading. I never bought HIStory and never even heard much of his music after that because by then we were neck deep in “Wacko Jacko” stories and abuse allegation trials. And, even if their wasn’t actual abuse, which is what I believed at the time - Jackson was f**king weird, man! He did himself no favors by … ummm … admitting to sleeping in the same bed with lots of children. For many years. At his private ranch. While the parents of the kids where at a completely separate part of the ranch. And MJ had alarms on his doors & hallways so no one would be able to sneak up on his bedroom unnoticed - where he was alone with the children. In bed. But, um, nothing happened (says Jackson.)
And a lot of us … kind of believed it. I mean, the idea that MJ, who’s public persona was nothing more than a grown up kid himself, actually molested children was difficult to believe. But now, in 2019, the very thought that I didn’t believe the allegations against him feels pretty damn naïve. But at the time, I mean, he was weird and he was rich - which makes him an easy target. And just because he’s weird and rich doesn’t mean he’s evil. And besides, I like his music and his dancing is awesome. Therefore - he probably isn’t guilty. Right? (And "probably" was good enough for me.)
Shortly after his death (in 2009), I read about a couple of the police officers that had collected evidence in the 90's Jackson child abuse allegations. And while they were under a gag order and were unable to discuss specifics, both of the officers said something that struck me, which was to the effect of, “I make sure no one, and I mean no one in my house, or family - listens to Michael Jackson. Ever.”
Hmmm. Reading between the lines there, it sounds as if the officers involved in collecting evidence from Neverland Ranch were so disturbed by said collected evidence against M.J. - that they refused to let anyone in their family ever listen to his music.
To me, that suggested - something. Not everything, yet ... but something. But still, at the time, had you asked me if I was 100% certain of MJs guilt I probably would have made excuses defending him, but then at the end of the conversation would have said, “But I don’t know, I wasn’t there. So … maybe he’s guilty.”
Back to the fact that I really didn’t want to watch Leaving Neverland. You know why? Because it’s pretty damn clear I always suspected in my heart that my childhood idol was guilty of pedophilia and I just didn’t want to hear proof. Which is a sad admission, but there it is. Also, I suspect many, many people feel/felt this way.
And so, I watched it.
Holy God. The documentary is as horrifying as you’ve heard. Part 1 details the allegations, which are stunning. Part 2 deals with family trauma, which is heartbreaking. And it's true that the documentary doesn’t offer “proof,” per say (for example - video of the abuse), it does; however, offer two extremely believable, sincere testimonials from James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both of whom accused MJ of sexually molesting them for many years when they were young, Wade as early as seven years old. Seven years old! And the documentary does not make any case that MJ doesn’t know what he is doing. In fact, it suggests the exact opposite in that MJ is a totally self aware f**king monster. The grooming. The planning. The lying. The seducing. The gifts. Getting the kids to lie for you. Just about everything we know about child molesters is there and it was probably always there, and most of us ignored it - because Michael Jackson is awesome!
Corey Feldman and Macaulay Culkin, MJ's two famous childhood actor friends, have both repeatedly said that MJ never did anything inappropriate to them which, I actually beleive because they were both famous child actors at the time. Pedophiles target kids with no power. Feldman and Culkin had, at least a modicum amount of power which is probably why MJ didn't target them. Culkin, as far as I am aware, has yet to comment on the documentary, but Feldman pushed back calling it “one sided” and criticized the film because MJ has no chance to defend himself. But, that's not exactly true, is it? I mean, MJ had every chance to defend himself when he was alive and in fact, he did so because there were acusations and trials. It occurred to me that we’ve only heard MJ’s side of the story - over and over and over - that he's innocent, he would never hurt kids, the alleged "victims" were out for money and that the media lied about him because he's rich and weird. That's the story we've been told. Leaving Neverland is actually, the first time we’ve ever heard from any of the alleged victims. So, I kind of feel like, while it's true we don't have "proof" that MJ is guilty or innocent - we've heard his side of things - that he's an altruistic angel and does nothing wrong and is the target of a smear campaign. And now we've finally heard from two of the alleged victims. And they are very, very compelling.
Feldman, himself an alleged victim of sexual abuse, quickly backtracked his early defense of MJ, telling CNN:
“I cannot in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes, but at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him, because, again, he didn’t do those things to me and that was not my experience … It comes to a point where, as an advocate for victims, as an advocate for changing the statutes of limitations to make sure that victims’ voices are heard, it becomes impossible for me to stay virtuous and not at least consider what’s being said and not listen to what the victims are saying … As I’m watching it [the Leaving Neverland documentary], I’m going, ‘This doesn’t make sense to me. This isn’t the guy that I knew. But look, I’m a guy that at 14 years old was molested, did have a pedophile completely lie to me about who he was. I trusted him. I believed in him as a friend, and I thought he was a good person, and then he molested me. It all proves that I’m not the best judge, and that’s why I shouldn’t be the judge in this situation, and especially given the fact that I’m so close to [Jackson].”
Jackson still has his defenders. He always will. I used to be one of them. Not so much any longer. I mean, MJ was weird and rich and was an easy target and his estate is worth … God only knows … a couple of billion dollars? That, right there, is motive. So, I feel that I really understand all the reasons people don’t want to believe that, Michael Jackson, the best selling recording artist of all time - is a pedophile. I really do understand the reasons for doubt, but - I no longer believe any of them.
Not one bit.
Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Presidential Election called for a single payer system to cure our healthcare woes. Now Democratic contenders for the 2020 election are calling for the same. Some voters are salivating at the thought, tired of high insurance premiums and deductibles. Others are cringing at the idea of the government running our healthcare system. Yet most are confused and want more details. So let’s break it down.
Medicare is the health insurance offered by the federal government for those over 65 and with disabilities. According to medicare.gov they breakdown medicare as the following:
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Part D adds prescription drug coverage to:
These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Originally suggested by Senator Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All would essentially allow all Americans to qualify for Medicare. According to Unitedmedicareadvisors.com:
The concept sounds nice but Medicare doesn’t currently cover many of the above such as hearing aids, dental exams, and long-term care.
Unitedmedicareadvisors.com reports the following:
Unfortunately, tax hikes on employers could lead to price hikes and less employment.
So the concerns I have are Medicare doesn’t currently cover what Medicare for All is touting and the expense may be underprojected.
Moreover many healthcare providers do NOT take Medicare so access can be an issue.
However, until premiums and deductibles go down, and more Americans become insured, plans such as this will gain attention and popularity.
“Some men have a very small Savior, for they are not willing to receive Him fully, and let Him do great and mighty things for them.” -D. L. Moody
It was J. C. Ryle that said:
“Look at the history of the church of Christ after the days of the apostles. How soon formalism ate out the life and vitality of the primitive Christians. Look at the Middle Ages, as they are called. Formalism so covered the face of Christendom that the Gospel laid there as one does when they are dead. Look, lastly, at the history of the protestant churches in the last three centuries. How few are the places where religion is a living thing! How many are the countries where Protestantism is nothing more than form! There is no getting past these things.”
I am here addressing the formal believers who deny "the gospel,” which was preached “unto you” by “the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven" (1 Peter 1:12).
These deny the giftings of the Holy Ghost.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” -1 Corinthians 12:4-12
These formal believers would have you rest Scripture in having you believe them in that which counters the Word of God in their feigned and dissimulated state (Romans 12:9), rather than in God and His Word, which is immutable and infallible.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” -1 Corinthians 4:20
These formal believers that just do not believe, would suggest to you that what the Lord has done in the past is now a work from the past. The Word of God in all of its promises is now nothing but a memory of better days! That in some way He was willing to do in the Old and New Testament what He is now unwilling to do today. This all coming to you from formal believers in Christ that just do not believe!
“Those that teach that the day of miracles is past, teach the most disastrous lie ever told… Such lies are responsible for the prevalent lack of faith in God and have robbed Christianity of the power to demonstrate itself.” -John G. Lake
Formalist: One who regards appearances only, or observes the forms of worship, without possessing the life and spirit of religion; a hypocrite. -Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
A formalist is one who plays the part and claims to have the answers that the world has great need of, and yet they are found to be false witnesses.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” -1 Corinthians 14:14-17
What would you think if I brought a freezing man a painting of a fire which cannot bring him any warmth? You would say that was cruel, and I would agree. What would you think if I brought a painting of a large banquet dinner to a starving man? Again, you would say that that is cruel, and again, I would agree wholeheartedly. Is that not what those who claim to be Christians do when they begin to denounce and counter the Word of God in all of its promises?
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20
You see formal believers that just do not believe seem to promise much, but deliver nothing but feeble paintings. The reason being is that these formal believers cannot deliver what they do not have.
Jesus tells us to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
Many of those who call themselves believers in Jesus Christ are found to be more like unbelievers. They have the shell and the form only. They have the head, but not the heart when it comes to what Jesus said that He would bestow upon those who do believe.
As a matter of fact, these formal believers that just do not believe like to set themselves next to Jesus claiming to be His, and then go on to deny to the world what Jesus promised to do for them.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” -Matthew 23:15
These formal believers that just do not believe omit the obvious when it comes to what is right in front of their faces
“And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” -Mark 16:20
Apparently, these do not understand,
“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” -2 Timothy 2:6
These Pharisaical hypocrites, dead in the formality of their sins, profess their Christianity in word only as if they were just like Jesus, all the while denying Him.
“He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore, greatly err.” -Mark 12:27
For many of these said formal believers that just do not believe, they are more likely to denounce the Word of God in favor of their false professions and lack of spiritual life by blaming the Holy Ghost for not bearing witness to their lies.
Again, they are more like unbelievers than they are believers. They are more like anti-Christs who are, in fact, succumbers to this world, the flesh and the devil (1 John 2:15-18) in giving defeat a praise report than victory in Christ.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” -1 John 5:12
Maybe these formal believers that just do not believe have forgotten that “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“For I am the LORD, I change not;” -Malachi 3:6
They have forgotten that He is faithful to a thousand generations.
“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” -Deuteronomy 7:9
It is not the Lord that has changed, it is man that has disobeyed and played the hypocrite by having one foot in the world and one foot in the Church (2 Corinthians 6:17; James 1:7-9, 4:4).
“The church will have a convincing testimony and will become a power in the world when it is separated from the world; but as long as it is hand in glove with the world, it cannot have power.” -D. L. Moody
These formal believers that just do not believe fail to deny themselves (Galatians 2:20) and take up their cross. Instead, they deny Christ (Matthew 10:33) and give heed to the commandments of man, which nullify the commandments of God (Mark 7:13) and union with the Father (1 John 2:23).
By keeping our eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), we receive the end of our faith (1 Peter 1:9).
“That ye be not slothful, but followers (Imitators) of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” -Hebrews 6:12
These formal believers that just do not believe attempt to bring the rest of the world to their own level of unbelief, as if to suggest that they are the standard! (Abandoned to their sins - 1 John 3:4).
“Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” -Matthew 15:14
Scripture tells us:
“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." -1 Thessalonians 1:5
Yet, the formal believers, who have a “form of godliness,” are well enough to leave off and deny the very Christ that bought them (Acts 20:28). Scripture tells us to turn away from them.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” -2 Timothy 3:5
The good news is God will not deny Himself!
“If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” -2 Timothy 2:13