The first time I heard that banana was “going extinct,” I kind of ignored it. I mean, one paranoid lunatic screaming on the internet does not a fact make - you know what I mean? But after reading about it another dozen times over the next several years, it’s clearly NOT a paranoid lunatic screaming on the internet. It appears as if banana extinction is legit.
Anyway, going back to 2015 is when I came across this Huffpost article called: “Your Favorite Banana Is Facing Extinction As Deadly Fungus Spreads.” From the article:
“Before 1960, your grandparents and great-grandparents were eating better bananas. Called Gros Michel, they were tastier, bigger and more resilient than the bananas found in supermarkets worldwide today ... So why can’t we too enjoy the robust creaminess of the Gros Michel, once the world’s export banana? Turns out, the species went virtually extinct in the 1960s thanks to an invasive and incurable fungus that wiped out most Gros Michel plantations around the world. That explains how the Cavendish — the blander banana we now eat — grew in prominence. It tasted worse and was less hardy than the Gros Michel, but the species seemed able to resist the fungal invasion, known as “Panama disease.”
That is, it was able to.”
So, back in 1960’s they knew all about this banana killing disease but thought that they had figured it out by creating a “blander” banana that was more resilient to this Panama disease.
Okay. Sounds good. Bananas saved. But now it looks like a new disease called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is killing the Cavendish. According to wikipedia:
“This virulent form of fusarium wilt has wiped out Cavendish in several southeast Asian countries and has recently spread to Australia, India and Mozambique. It has yet to reach the Americas; however, the soil-based fungi can easily be carried on boots, clothing, or tools. This is how TR4 travels and will be its most likely route into Latin America. Cavendish is highly susceptible to TR4, and over time Cavendish will almost certainly be eliminated from commercial production by this disease.”
Okay. Sounds bad. Bananas endangered (again). The banana industry is huge. And, I mean - colossal. There are entire Latin American regions where the banana industry is so important they are literally called “banana republics,” because they are that dependant on the corporations that maintain and export from said plantations.
The three big boys on the block are, Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte - all of which primarily have plantations in South America. So, again, while the TR4 hasn’t yet reached Latin America, if it does - that will literally mean the end of bananas as we know it.
Not necessarily 100% extinction but, obviously, no longer a fruit you would be able to find all year round. I mean, consider the fact that Gros Michel bananas are not 100% extinct, they are still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found, BUT, they export less than 1% of what they used to in the 1960’s before Panama disease devastated the crops. So, there’s that to think about.
Obviously, there are a lot of smart folks trying to solve this problem, but, as of yet nothing is working. It’s just one of those things were we can hope TR4 doesn’t reach Latin America.
But if it does, that’s pretty much banana game over.
If you want to read a more detailed version of the history of, and the potential banana apocalypse, I recommend: The Quest to Save the Banana.”
Treason-In general, it is the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance, or of betraying the state into the hands of a foreign power. –Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Nobody likes to be lied to, but boy have we been lied to and how many times we have been lied to is beyond what can be numbered, I’m certain (Exodus 20:16). And for some reason or another, Americans will suffer the abuse rather than righting the wrongs (Proverbs 15:32).
The Declaration of Independence tells us:
“...and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” You have heard that saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” How many times do Americans need to be lied to before they shame those who are lying to them?
Our forefathers taught us (Hebrews 13:17) through their example how we are to lawfully deal with corruption. Declaration of Independence once again teaches us as to how our forefathers dealt with corruption, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
How many times one can warn a people that refuse to take heed to the warnings, I know not (Ezekiel 33:3). However, one thing I do know is that regardless if one takes heed or not, it is still happening, and sooner or later, there is going to be consequences to those who refuse to listen and act accordingly (Ezekiel 33:5).
We find that in the American politic today that the “circus of politics” is just that, a circus filled with clowns who are willing to sell their souls (Luke 22:48) and their country, along with the people, to special interest groups (Isaiah 28:18).
This is where the actors, politicians, act out on behalf of their special interest groups in pushing a global agenda that the people would otherwise refuse to adhere. What do the powers that mean to rule do. They create a likable and favorable politician, at least publicly, that the people will follow to do their bidding for them.
On May 6th I wrote, “Contrary to What You Have Been Promised, Your Country is Literally Being Handed Off to Foreigners,” in which I highlighted William Gheen’s findings on the Top 10 List of Trump’s Broken Campaign Promises.
Then on June 9, Tim Brown, Senior Editor at The Sons of Liberty Media reported, “This Is Not The Obama Administration: Homeland Security Releases 196,000 Illegal Aliens Into The Population, Many Receiving Work Permits.”
“As we’ve reported before, the Trump administration talks tough on illegal immigration, but what is actually going on rivals the impotence and downright criminal actions against the people that the administration under President Obama did in releasing illegal aliens, some of them convicted felons, into the US population. in just the past week, the administration released 5,500 and in the past 5 months, they have released nearly 200,000 illegal aliens into American cities.
From John Binder’s June 6th Brietbart (a supporting outlet of President Trump) article, “DHS Frees 5.5K Illegal Aliens into U.S. in a Week; 196K Released in 5 Months.” Binder writes:
“The catch and release process often entails federal immigration officials busing border crossers into nearby border cities — as well as flying them into the interior of the country — and dropping them off with the hope they show up for their immigration and asylum hearings. The overwhelming majority of border crossers and illegal aliens are never deported from the country once they are released into the U.S.
Today, there are anywhere between 11 and 22 million illegal aliens living across the country — the majority of which are concentrated in states like California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.
In the last week, about 2,500 border crossers and illegal aliens of the 5,500 released were dropped off in El Paso, Texas. Another 1,100 were released by DHS in San Antonio, Texas and another 1,100 were left in 1,100 Phoenix, Arizona. Since December 2018, El Paso has been forced to absorb nearly 70,000 of these nationals, while San Antonio has had to take 73,100.
Roughly 800 border crossers and illegal aliens were dropped off in San Diego, California in the last week. ”
Adding to the agenda that is being rolled out, we find Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham are working behind the scenes drafting legislation to further benefit them that are illegally coming into this country.
Criminal politicians, as well as illegal invaders, are endangering American lives. Today, we are seeing this country literally being handed off to those who mean to get above you, while Americans are being brought very low (Numbers 32:23; Deuteronomy 28:15, 43, 52).
If this is not the definition of treason, then I do not know what it means.
This Sunday is Father’s Day and millions of Americans celebrate it the wrong way. Why? Because no one asks Dad what he wants, and Dad is too nice to say.
Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday of every June. Although first celebrated in 1910 when Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her veteran father like mothers are on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day became an official holiday in 1972 by President Richard Nixon.
Although Father’s Day is supposed to honor Dads, retailers and even families seem to miss the mark. Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts for this Father’s Day.
Whenever a BBQ gets planned, someone needs to prepare the backyard, clean the grill, bring out the furniture, work the grill, serve the food, clean up the grill, clean up the backyard……and guess who that is…Dad. And its hot, super hot outside. Not the most fun way to celebrate one’s day. Go out to eat instead. Retailers like it and no one has to do the lifting.
Many households this Sunday will see Dad and the in-laws in the same room at the same time. For some this could be a pleasant occasion. For others, uncomfortable and stressful. Wives feel conflicted as they want to celebrate with their Father, but make the day spectacular for hubby. If an issue, I recommend splitting up the day where Grandpa has a Father’s Day brunch and Dad celebrates a Father’s Day dinner. Or designate a different day to celebrate each.
Avoid the following gifts for Dad:
Grill tools or BBQ Apron– remember the BBQ is a lot of work, don’t remind him of it
Cologne – most men don’t like “parfuming” up….. they wear it for others but it’s not for them
Lawn Mowers – unless its a ride-on, lawn mowers remind Dad of lawn work.
Dress/ Suit Shirts – button-up neck-constricting linens are not one’s most cherished gift. Unless they save him a trip to the department store, buy him something more comfortable.
Funny Underwear – underwear should never be a gift, its underwear….
Personal Hygiene/Shaving Products – this equates to getting a disposable razor for Mother’s Day.
Let Dad Have a Real Day Off – Take the kids out and give Dad a day to himself. Sure the kids could give Dad his gifts during brunch or dinner but allow Dad to spend the day how he wants to: in his underwear, taking a much needed nap, going for a drive, fishing, etc. Too bad there’s no skiing in June.
Ask Dad what He Wants – this doesn’t seem to get done all year round. Why not start on Father’s Day? Maybe he wants a Google Home or the next video game installment. Which brings us to….
Gift Cards Make the Best Gift – he can buy what he wants, and not feel awkward asking for it.
A Big Hug and Kiss Hits the Mark – despite any level of macho-ness, Daddies love this. Make him feel special.
Happy Father’s Day!!! Enjoy!
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month. Apparently, she plans to run for office somewhere with some speculating a gubernatorial run in her home state of Arkansas. Which, to be honest, is a little odd, as Hutchinson just won a reelection for Governor in 2018, so the next election won’t happen until 2022. It seems a little strange to me that Sanders would leave the press secretary job at the end of the month so she can - run for office years from now?
But, maybe. I guess campaigns do take a long time to build.
Regardless, Sanders has been something of a controversial figure. Her literal job description is to “act as spokesperson for the executive branch of the US government administration, especially with regard to the president, senior executives and policies.” Okay, fair enough. But, she hasn’t held a press conference in something like four months, and has only held eight press conferences in the last year. So, I don’t really know what she does at work all day long.
How long would you keep your job if you only did your actual job description like, once every four months? Because I know I wouldn’t have my job long if I did that.
Anyway, it also does appear, to even the most casual observer that, even when she does speak to the press (which is, again - literally her job), she seems to have a hard time speaking truthfully, on behalf of said administration. From June 13th, Vanity Fair piece, “As Sarah Sanders Signs Off, A Look Back At Some Of Her Biggest Lies:
“In fact, it appears that the only known instance of Sanders telling the truth involved a nine-year-old nicknamed “Pickle” writing a letter to the White House about how much he likes Donald Trump. But her track record was so bad that initially, no one believed her.”
Okay, that’s a little snarky - but kind of funny. I mean, I doubt it’s the “only known instance of Sanders telling the truth” but it does illustrate the amount of times Sanders created “alternative facts.” And, here’s a pro tip for life - there is no such thing as an “alternative fact.” The phrase, “alternative fact” just a funny way of saying, “I’m lying my @$$ off” and/or “I have no idea what I’m talking about.”
But, whatever. It’s not like the new White House press secretary will be more truthful. Hopefully, though, whomever it is - he or she will actually, you know - hold press conferences and “act as spokesperson for the Executive Branch.”
Basically, their job.
That’s probably wishful thinking on my part but a man can dream, can’t he?
I’m not part of the conservative club any more than I’m part of the liberal club. If I call them more conservative than liberal, that’s because it is the way I happen to see things.
The reason for that is my late father, Philip Weinberg.
He always taught by example, led from the front and encouraged me to act a little like Howard Cosell, telling it like it is and letting the chips fall where they may. So if you wonder why I don’t spout anybody’s party line except my own, it is because he taught me how valuable independence can be.
Included in that lesson was also doing the right thing no matter who you anger.
The older you get, the more that you realize Father’s Day may not just be a ploy by the greeting card manufacturers to sell more cards and retailers to sell more stuff but should just be taken at face value as an opportunity to thank and honor the man who raised you.
This Sunday will be the seventh Father’s Day since his death and those lessons he taught become clearer with every passing year. (Also becoming clearer is that getting old is not for sissies.)
Unlike the late Tim Russert I can never imagine calling my father, “Big Phil.” But he was.
Philip Weinberg’s public title on the day he died in 2012 was Professor Emeritus at Bradley University.
The title barely began to cover his career and his public life.
But growing up in his shadow gave me a perspective on life that many people, for many reasons, will never get.
He rarely lectured my sisters and me. His example was usually enough. He continuously taught by example that this is the United States of America and any little boy or girl could grow up to be President, or publish a newspaper, run a radio network or swing any bat you’re big enough to want to pick up.
He was the living embodiment of the concept that ordinary people can do extraordinary things by simply putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. If that were all he taught me in 60 years, it would have been plenty. But he also taught me that when you do get where you want to go, grace and humility can take you even farther. And, trust me, that’s a difficult lesson to learn no matter who is trying to teach it.
It is possible—although I’m not sure he would have admitted it—that he learned some or all of these things as he was raising his children and that the Phil Weinberg when he left us was as much the product of having raised three children as those children are the product of having been raised by him and my mother. It also occurs to me in hindsight that much of what he taught us was as difficult for him to implement as it was for us.
Kids don’t come with operating manuals and my father was an engineer by training. But the lessons he taught—intentionally or otherwise—have become so valuable that I can only hope that I’m capable of passing at least some of them on to my own millennial stepchildren.
As valuable as the lessons, are the memories. I vividly remember standing outside an apartment complex in Brooklyn with him telling me, “Son, there used to be a baseball stadium here and a real baseball team played there.” He never acknowledged that the Dodgers had moved to LA and abandoned Ebbets Field. And, given the choice between the Dodgers and the Angels when I owned a Las Vegas radio station, I chose the Angels because he would have been horrified had I consorted with dem bums…
I remember him showing me my first mainframe computer in the early 1960s and his precise explanation of how the monster IBM System 360 worked.
I remember coming home one Friday in 1963 to the death of John Kennedy and his explanation that the country is bigger than just one man and things would be just fine because that is the genius of this nation’s founders. And I also remember the summer trips we were able to take so he could graphically illustrate exactly how big this nation is.
He might have missed a few little league games (I never got past the minors in the Richwoods Little League anyway) but he never missed a crisis. You could tell when something was relatively unimportant—he wouldn’t hesitate to yell at you. But when the chips were down, there was nobody you would rather have covering your back. Until almost the day he died, he was the first call I and my sisters made when there was a problem. However difficult the problem was, his calm analysis was always dead on and his advice and support were invaluable.
In the immortal words of Michael Corleone, “what better consigliore can I have than my father?”
The National Weather Service has issued “excessive heat warnings” for many parts of the Southwest United States. It’s the first of the season for many states, so don’t be unprepared.
This occurs “within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions”. This means that the heat index (air temperature and humidity) will be greater than 105 degrees for more than three hours a day for at least two days in a row and the night-time temperatures will not drop below 75 degrees. Although many of us may live in areas where this occurs each year, the onset can be one of the most dangerous times. Symptoms such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke must be identified.
At first when one feels symptoms, it may come in the form of heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful spasms that occur in the muscles of the arms and legs and even abdomen. We believe that when one loses fluids and salts from excessive sweating, cramps ensue. Its important in these cases to get the person out of the heat, hydrate them with sips of fluid and electrolytes and massage the body parts affected.
If one does not leave the heat and come indoors, the next risky event that can occur is heat exhaustion. This worsens as the victim sweats profusely becoming more and more dehydrated. They could also have cramps but nausea may ensue, they may look pale and clammy and their heart rate will increase to try to compensate for the lost fluid. These individuals may become dizzy, weak and even faint. Immediately bring the person indoors, lie them down, elevate the feet, give sips of fluid, cool down the body applying cool and wet cloths to the underarms and body, and contact medical authorities if symptoms continue or worsen.
Heat stroke will occur if a vulnerable person does not get out of the heat in time. It is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If an individual has heat stroke 9-1-1 must be called immediately. Bring the victim indoors away from sunlight, lie them down, remove unnecessary clothing, cool their body with cold compresses and watch for signs of rapidly progressive heat stroke in which they have difficulty breathing, seize or lose consciousness. If they are unconscious you cannot give them fluids. Only if they are alert, awake and able to swallow will you be able to give fluids. Do not give medications to reduce the fever such as aspirin or acetaminophen since their body may not be able to metabolize them properly and this could make matters worse.
Young children and elderly individuals may have issues adjusting to the outside environment and may be more prone to dehydration. Those with medical conditions such as heart, lung, thyroid disease can be at risk as well. If you’ve ever suffered from heat stroke you can be vulnerable again. And many medications could make you susceptible such as diuretics, vasodilators and beta-blockers for blood pressure and antidepressants. The biggest risk comes when we are unprepared. Having an unusual cool week prior to a heat warning could preclude many from taking proper precautions. Staying indoors, checking air conditioning and fan devices to make sure they work properly, wearing cooler clothing is just the beginning. Stocking up and planning to hydrate frequently is paramount because when death occurs to excessive heat, dehydration is the main culprit.
Bring your pets in doors, and watch your kids, friends and family members frequently. If they are beginning to sucumb to the heat, they may be quiet and not be able to voice it.
Avoid drinking alcohol in the heat. It can dehydrate you more and worsen the situation.
Avoid excessive exercise when outdoors and make sure to make use of shady areas.
The summer and early fall offer exciting and fun ways to enjoy nature. Don’t let the heat get to you. Remember….if you can’t take the heat, get out of the…..well heat…….
General Motors (GM) and French tire manufacturer Michelin announced a partnership for a new airless wheel called the Tweel. Actually, tire manufacturers have been working on airless wheels for decades but apparently, no one has really knocked it out of the park yet. And to be clear, the Tweel already exists but it’s mainly in use for forklifts and lawn mowers and low speed engines. But first of all, what exactly is a Tweel? According to wikipedia:
“The Tweel … an airless tire … Its significant advantage over pneumatic tires is that the Tweel does not use a bladder full of compressed air, and therefore cannot burst, leak pressure, or become flat. Instead, the Tweels hub is connected to the rim via flexible polyurethane spokes which fulfil the shock-absorbing role provided by the compressed air in a traditional tire.”
Enter the new partnership between GM and Michelin who have partnered under the brand name Uptis. From the join GM/Michelin press release in Montreal:
“Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today. General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology. Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners.”
Okay. Sounds great. Also, the Tweel tread lasts longer and is replaceable which means much less waste. And I’ve had a tire blow up from hitting a pothole, and, probably just like you - had some tires punctured by nails and whatnot. Buying new tires sucks. So, when can I have one of these new fancy airless tires?
Alas … not until, maybe, 2024. Which sucks because I hate waiting. The other problem is that no one seems to know exactly how much they’ll … well … you know - cost. I mean, I’m one hundred percent on board for the airless tire revolution! But if the Tweels are, say - one thousand dollars each, then I might just have to stick with my trusty old air filled tires. Even if that makes me one of the uncool kids.
But whatever, I’m used to that by now.
Just bring me my airless tire at an affordable cost. That’s not so much to ask. Is it?
Last year the Obamas penned a huge deal over at Netflix to produce “...a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features." We’ve just recently found out the six programs they’re producing:
American Factory, a documentary about life in Ohio after a Chinese billionaire opened a factory and hired 2000 local workers.
Bloom, a post WWII drama.
Crip Camp, documentary about disability rights.
Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents, a kids show about food and stories from all over the world.
And three untitled projects: one about Frederick Douglass based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by David W. Blight, An adaptation of a NYT series, called “Overlooked” and a series based on the book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy - a look at the transition to Donald Trump’s presidency through the lens of federal bureaucrats.
All set to be released on Netflix soon.
And now, the Obamas enter the podcasting business with the multiyear deal between their Higher Ground Productions and Spotify. Of course, you’ll have to be a premium (paid) member of Spotify in order to listen to any of the Obama produced material but, that’s probably to be expected. With something like 100 million paid subscribers, Spotify is certainly the place to go when producing high end podcasts.
From statements by the Obamas about the Spotify deal:
President Obama, “We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation. It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”
Michelle Obama, “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts.”
As of today, Spotify has not yet released details on specific projects the Obamas will produce, but did state the programming will be “a diverse slate of original podcasts."
Which, to be honest - could mean, literally - anything. =)
Progressivism was a set of related movements in the U.S. after the Civil War up to World War II. Modern progressives emphasize movements related to government corruption, women’s suffrage, municipal administration, education, promoting abortion, child and pro-union labor laws, conservation, internationalism, culture and especially activist judges promoting a “living constitution” against originalism. Also, aggressive economic regulation and anti-trust law, much of which has been discredited by experience.
They studiously overlook as embarrassing progressivism’s first cause, eugenics (“scientific” racism); plus alcohol prohibition; and opposition to prostitution and voter fraud – because they’re not popular with today’s progressives. But where they used to soft-peddle governmental coercion and socialism as unacceptably harsh, modern progressives now proudly trumpet them.
Prohibition of alcohol and prostitution were greatly rooted in traditional religion, but many other progressive causes – especially scientific racism and opposition to basic principles of America’s founding – were rooted in disdain for religion. So, progressives experienced much cognitive dissonance.
The original progressive causes quickly found their natural partner, liberal statism. This 19th Century term stands for extensive government intervention in economic and social matters and not leaving much room for traditional and voluntary social, economic and political institutions and practices. Statism gave progressivism its key means: the mushrooming administrative state.
The movement was bi-partisan. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were the main leaders.
Progressivism was somewhat a reaction to the 19th Century rise of industrial and urban society. It’s called a reform movement because it sought to create new social and political means to preserve the positions of many groups – especially labor, farmers and whites – against new developments. Hence, much populist progressivism is reactionary.
An even larger part of the progressive movements was based on two related ideas. First, that there is an arc of history moving society toward ever better practices, policies and institutions – ergo, progress. Second and even more important, that the small socio-political elite fraction of the population, via the use of science (especially emerging social sciences) and their asserted natural intellectual and ethical superiority, would discern that arc of history and should therefore be given the power to effect their vision of it.
Thus, the disdain for traditional democratic means and religion and for the founding principles based on them.
A third key ingredient was arrogance due to their ignorance of possible unintended consequences and their stupidity in assuming they could remake the world and human beings, and everything would work just as they intended. Racism is the most obvious part of their ignorance and stupidity. But what we know today about their misplaced faith in rampant economic intervention (including labor law), internationalism and substitution of judicial for political means also drives home this point.
Ditto, their belief that government action is inherently benign (because it will be guided by the progressives implementing the arc of history, of course), and government won’t be co-opted by predatory special interests to prey upon the people and the public interest. The Founders understood the true nature and risks of government, so they designed a constitution to protect people and the public interest from them. These ideas were anathema to progressives.
Even more than FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society was the apogee of progressivism and statism in the 20th Century. Then they subsided somewhat.
However, in this century, they have gained a new life, now replacing the good early causes with identity politics; radical economic egalitarianism; socialism; political correctness and suppression of free speech; environmental catastrophe dogma; and opposition to real science.
Classic failures of progressivism such as judicial activism are now joined by these predatory special interests as major parts of the sad legacy we’re leaving. Plus, of course, long-term slow economic growth and thus diminished human wellbeing and fairness.
Next time, examples and a few solutions.
Robert Mueller IS a hack.
He proved it in nine minutes last week when he did exactly what prosecutors never do which is to say to the world that he wasn’t exonerating President Trump from obstructing the investigation of what wasn’t a crime in the first place.
Prosecutors have exactly one decision to make in the charging process. Either charge or don’t charge. And they can empanel a Grand Jury so they actually don’t have to make the decision themselves. But they do NOT and CANNOT exonerate. It is judges and juries who make decisions as to guilt. And even there, “not guilty” simply means the prosecution couldn’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The reason for that is because our legal system assumes you are innocent unless PROVEN guilty.
You never saw Jack McCoy in Law and Order (Sam Waterston) call a press conference and say that a defendant had been exonerated. He (or his predecessors) might have, in 456 episodes, dropped the charges, but prosecutors do NOT exonerate.
Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and, specifically, did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians. The facts now coming to light about the origins of that appointment are—to say the least—odd. In fact, President Trump appears to be right to say out loud that it was an attempted “take-down” of a duly elected President.
Mueller spent somewhere near $34-million, hired 19 lawyers (the “angry Democrats” as the President called them) used 40 FBI agents, empaneled a Federal Grand Jury and came up with bupkis where Trump, his family and his campaign were concerned. If you don’t understand Yiddish, that means nothing, nada.
And now what is loosely called the “intelligence community” is outraged that President Trump has given the nation’s top law enforcement official the authority to declassify and investigate the sequence of events that led to Mueller’s investigation.
Well, here’s a reasonable question.
Assuming the Russkies did, in this country, what Barack Obama (actually his lackeys) did unsuccessfully in Israel—distribute fake information during election season—exactly what laws did they violate? We do have a First Amendment in this country which protects everyone against government censorship. A few Russians buying Facebook ads and distributing fake news? How is that different from CNN International? Or any number of US based shortwave radio stations aimed at other countries.
Is it now illegal to take sides in an election if you are not a citizen of the United States?
And then there is the hacking of DNC bigshot John Podesta’s email. I never heard Podesta say he didn’t write them. Yes, it’s illegal to hack someone else’s email, but it’s not like Mueller charged the Trump campaign or anyone connected with it.
Also suspect is Hillary’s lack of understanding that when you call half of America “deplorable” they may, possibly, vote against you.
Apparently, she failed to learn that little factoid during her time in Arkansas which happens to be a state where real people live waaay outside the beltway.
The problem with Democrats—with the left in general—is they have pioneered the concept of getting their way no matter what it takes.
If we in Middle America vote for Donald J. Trump, they say screw him. They will use whatever they have—legal or illegal, logical or illogical—in an attempt to take him down.
The “Russian” investigation was just another piece of the game.
It’s hard to call yourself a patriot when you commit treason against America because you lost an election. The 2020 election should remind the left, writ large, of that.
The latest potentially deadly challenge sweeping social media is the “Vacuum” or “Trash Bag” Challenge.
In this feat, one climbs into a garbage bag, while a friend or parent sucks air out of the plastic bag until the inmate topples over.
Bringing people to the point of falling (or if putting the bag over their face) of asphyxiation can cause a plethora of health issues including fractures, respiratory failure, stroke and death.
And even if parents appear to be supervising or performing the challenge and the child comes out unscathed, dangers lurk as the child could try to reproduce the challenge with their friends, this time putting the bag over one’s head.
This Spring another stupid challenge swept social media called the “Shell On” challenge in which teens Snapchat videos of themselves eating through fruit skin, cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing their food.
Although this appears to not be as dangerous as the Tide Pod or Boiling Water Challenge, it can cause choking and asphyxiation.
Last year we learned of the “Boiling Water Challenge” in which kids drink boiling water from a straw or have it poured all over their body. Then they topped it off with a more dangerous challenge, the “Fire Challenge.”
The Fire Challenge is executed by pouring rubbing alcohol on one’s body and then setting oneself on fire. A video records the victim running into a tub or shower to wash it off, and this trend has gone viral.
Unfortunately it’s one of the most dangerous. A 12 year-old girl from Detroit who participated in this challenge is undergoing multiple surgeries to repair burns afflicting close to 50% of her body.
Multiple cases of the “Fire Challenge” have been reported over the years, including a 12 year-old boy from Georgia.
One would think children, especially teens, innately know that fire is dangerous but maybe the younger generation has been so protected that they haven’t experienced the basic concepts of danger and inadvertently underestimate its force.
Challenges that involve dangerous stunts have been around for some time. The Choking Challenge induced children to suffocate themselves for the high of feeling asphyxiated. The Tide Pod Challenge tempted kids to put colorful cleaning packets in their mouths, hoping they wouldn’t burst.
The Cinnamon Challenge sparked thousands to inhale the common kitchen spice and cough till they puked. Then the Condom Challenge offered two options where one dropped a condom filled with water on a friends face, or snorted one through the nose.
We adults can’t for the life of us figure out what the reward is in performing these challenges, but presume its fame and awe among friends and social media followers. But these challenges prove dangerous and in some cases deadly. Unfortunately the YouTube Clips never show the after effects of these pranks…maybe they should.
We are facing a constitutional crisis. Through the use of nationwide injunctions, a group of liberal federal district judges are fighting to maintain Obama era policies until President Donald Trump leaves office.
And now, President Donald Trump is fighting back as his administration seeks a case to be brought in federal court against the practice.
These judges’ actions are an attack on our system of government undermining the value of voting and the public’s trust in the impartiality of the judicial branch. These injunctions must be halted, either by the Supreme Court or by legislation.
Nationwide injunctions, which are also called universal or national injunctions, are issued by federal district judges and prohibit the federal government from enforcing laws or policies against anyone, not just the plaintiffs in the case.
There have now been 37 nationwide injunctions issued against the Trump Administration, which is significantly more than were issued in the entire 20th century. In contrast, there were only two nationwide injunctions during the first two years of the Obama Administration; and there were no nationwide injunctions issued during the first 175 years of our Republic.
Recently, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech attacking nationwide injunctions, saying that the bar for getting one from a district judge is too low: “When Congress passes a statute or the President implements a policy that is challenged in multiple courts, the Government has to run the table — we must win every case. The challengers, however, must find only one district judge — out of an available 600 — willing to enter a nationwide injunction. One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”
And this is bad for democracy, Barr said, “Nationwide injunctions undermine the democratic process, depart from history and tradition, violate constitutional principles, and impede sound judicial administration, all at the cost of public confidence in our institutions and particularly in our courts as apolitical decision-makers dispassionately applying objective law.”
Barr is not the first prominent conservative to take aim at these injunctions. Barr’s predecessor, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has also denounced the injunctions. Sessions stated, “Increasingly, we are seeing individual federal district judges go beyond the parties before the court to give injunctions or orders that block the entire federal government from enforcing a law or policy throughout the country…. This trend must stop. We have a government to run. The Constitution does not grant to a single district judge the power to veto executive branch actions with respect to parties not before the court. Nor does it provide the judiciary with authority to conduct oversight of or review policy of the executive branch. These abuses of judicial power are contrary to law…”
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has indicated his skepticism of the legitimacy of the injunctions. Thomas wrote, “These [universal] injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch. I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions… They appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on … the power of Article III courts.”
Elections must have consequences. Members of Congress and Presidents are elected to set and implement federal laws and policies; and unelected, unaccountable lower court judges must not be allowed to obstruct the policies of the elected branches of the government indefinitely. The Supreme Court will soon weigh in on nationwide injunctions and make it clear to district court judges that they have no authority to issue these injunctions.
If the Court fails to do so, then it will fall to Congress to enact legislation to end these acts of judicial tyranny once and for all.
Richard McCarty is the Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation and a contributor to the pennypress.com, the conservative weekly voice of Nevada. His views are his own.
I hope everyone enjoyed their recent Memorial Day weekend. Many Louisianans were vacationing over the long holiday or enjoying a cookout with family and friends. Many stores held sales advertising for us to have a “Happy Memorial Day.” All well and good, but what about the real purpose of this special day?
Many of us don’t even know the difference between Memorial Day (honoring those who died defending our country) and Veterans Day (honoring all service men and women). Only 5% of Americans attended local military events or parades. I joined a sparsely attended gathering Memorial Day at the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge. Is it enough to holler USA at sporting events, or to say “Thank you for your service” when you see a service man or women in uniform? Should Americans be required to do more?
In 1967, I was 27 years old and newly married with my first child on the way. So I was draft exempt, with no legal requirement to join the service. Maybe I did not have a legal obligation, but what about a moral responsibility to serve my country in the time of war?
I come from a long line of distinguished military officers who never hesitated to serve their country. They did not try to find ways to sidestep such service like so many others, including most of our politicians today as well as several recent presidents.
Relatives on both sides of my family served their country with honor and distinction. My first father-in-law Dick Campbell who was an ace fighter pilot, rose to the rank of full colonel in the Army, and twice escaped from German prison camps. My Dad stayed stateside coordinating military transportation coast to coast for the Army. Second father-in-law Teddy Solomon was sent by the Army to the South Pacific. My younger brother Jack volunteered and joined the National Guard for a six-year hitch.
My mother’s brother had quite a navel military career. In the final months of World War II, Commander Jack Gentry was flying a reconnaissance mission over the Pacific when his flight cameras captured photos of the Japanese flotilla. He made the cover of Life Magazine as his pictures allowed a direct attack on the enemy fleet that sped up the ending of the war with Japan. He went on to command the battleship USS Enterprise until his retirement from the Navy in the 1960s.
With this strong family military background, I felt an obligation to continue the service to my country. I make no bones about the fact that I feel every American should either serve in the military or perform voluntary service in the city or state where they live. The American flag flies outside my home 365 days a year. I wear my military dog tags while I broadcast my syndicated radio program each week (NG25520050).
This is not an effort to pat myself on my back. Like so many other young men and women who love their country, it was something I felt a strong obligation to do. So despite the fact that I was draft exempt, I signed up for service in the Army, then stayed for ten additional years in the Louisiana National Guard.
Our nation has been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan going on two decades. Yet many Americans look on war as a spectator sport. So few have any real skin in the game.
I recently read a book by military scholar George Wilson called “The Mud Soldiers,” where he laments over the problems with an all-volunteer army. He quotes Vietnam veteran Col. Steve Siegfried who states: “Armies don’t fight wars. Countries fight wars….. Yes a country fights a war. If it doesn’t, then we shouldn’t send an army.
War should be every citizen’s business. We should all perform some volunteer service, military or otherwise. This should be an easy decision if we love our country and care about our freedom.
“The problem with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.”
My son recently was looking for a company to work with concerning content that was needed for the videos that he would soon create. As he was doing so, I told him to find a package deal so it will be all-inclusive with music, images, fonts, etc.
A short while later, and in his excitement, he said that he found a company with which to work. I asked him how much the package was and if it was all-inclusive?
He said, "Dad, it is only $29.95 a month."
I said, "For everything?"
He then went on to say that you could even cancel at any given time.
I said, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
I then told him to call the company and ask if there are any hidden costs and, again, does everything come with that $29.95?
Well, he called and the first mistake that the company made was that they didn’t have a real person answering the phones. When you see when companies that use computers to do their selling for them you can rest assured that they are on their way out. If a business wants to slap a customer in the face, this is usually the first thing that they do.
When he received his call back, he found that the deal of the century was a year contract! Otherwise, the cost would be $69.95 and you can cancel at any time.
Friends, this is not what their page stated, at least not in big print.
The sad fact of the matter is that this country no longer operates under the banner of “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:17).
I have found that a good number of the companies in America today are not serving the customers, but rather the almighty dollar and themselves (1 John 5:2).
I ask, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Let me share some of my experiences with you.
About 15 years ago, I was in a health foods GNC store where they sold a large selection of vitamins. When I grabbed some ginseng and was going to check out, a man that was at the cash register was ready to pay for his items when the lady behind the counter said to him that he owed 2 times more than what it said on the price tag. The man told her that the price was right on the sticker while pointing at the items. She replied that those prices were for members only. Right next to the big price numbers were little tiny numbers to the right of it where it said that these prices apply to members only. How deceptive. The man was rightfully angry and he walked out, leaving the products on the counter. I followed in close pursuit.
No one likes to be sold with deceptive and deceitful tactics.
The Bible says, “making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?” (Amos 8:5)
Another time, we walked into a local Midwest favorite called “Old Country Buffet.” It was one of those restaurants in which you could eat and when you were done, felt like you got yourself a good deal. You were treated like a favored customer and left feeling satisfied. About 5 years ago, we went in as usual, and right when we were going to pay for our food, the lady behind the register asked if we wanted something to drink, which by the way was always a part of the price when paying for the buffet.
I responded, "What about if we want something to drink? Of course, we want something to drink. That is why we just entered into your eatery."
She said that would be a separate charge and I responded, "Well, it is not going to be long before your place of business will be shut down. You are gouging, and people are going to catch on and that will be it for your restaurant."
Sure enough, 6 months later, they were done.
How prevalent this has become today: charge your customers more by separating the meal from the drinks. This applies to "business as usual" today in America across the boards.
The airlines have now been found guilty of this every step of the way, literally. You now pay a surcharge for handling on the phone when you purchase your ticket, and when you check in, you then have to pay for your bags. Before boarding, you now have to pay for your seating, and when you get into the plane, you have to pay for your drink and your food. Treating customers like they are now doing them a favor.
Another experience that I had was another place called “Timberlodge” restaurant in Minnesota. They started out right by giving bigger portions at a fair price. However, soon after their food chain became big enough, they started to charge more with smaller portions. I told my wife that they needed to quit this or they are going to be a thing of the past. In this particular situation, I called the management and told them people are seeing what they were doing in their restaurants and it wasn't good.
"I know that you are really doing very well with your food chain, but it is coming across as you only care about the money here," I told him.
I added that they needed to either get back to customer service first or they would be gone within a year.
A week later, they put up a sign at one of their stores that read “We're not going anywhere.” I'm not kidding.
I told my wife that they were done. Two weeks later, the restaurant was shut down.
Deceptive business owners can only take advantage of people for so long before people catch on. People are not stupid. If people do not feel like service is being done on their behalf and that they are getting their money's worth and feel like they are being taken granted for, again, you can mark my words, that’s it for your business.
I can also tell you that when I and my family detect this with a business, we are done with that company in whatever capacity it may be. It usually is a good sign that a company's efforts to get a little more out of you means that it is no more about the customer, but about what they are getting from their customers.
Furthermore, if their product and service is everything that they claim it to be, then do they have to lie or deceive (Hidden costs) in the process of selling it (Proverbs 19:9)?