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(New York 11.24.15 BenQQ) His casual remark rang like someone banging a frying pan with a hammer. Don Lemon and apparently approving anchors of CNN's New Day, Chris Cuomo and Michaela Pereira, revealed the network's heavy racial slant. That is, blacks have not made headway in the news biz until recently, kept out by the man. Hogwash. At best it reveals a certain lack of depth and at worst, a willingness to exacerbate newfound racial tension.
Brought onto this morning's New Day to tout the latest CNN poll on race relations in America, Lemon said "30 to 40" years ago they would not be "sitting here," apparently referencing Pereira and himself. (I did not find immediately the New Day segment yet on-site. Lemon might have said, "probably," but my gist here is the same.) Does anyone at CNN know their own, if not general, broadcast news industry?
In glaring contrast to the content of Lemon's tilted remark, let it be known that Bernard Shaw anchored the first CNN news cable cast when Ted Turner launched CNN in 1980, 35 years ago.
Bernard Shaw Source Wikipedia
Even in the big three broadcast news networks there was black headway into the news industry in contradiction to Lemon's remark.
Max Robinson came to national prominence in July 1978 when he became a co-anchor the ABC News weeknight program ''World News Tonight.''
Max Robinson Source: NY Times
In television generally, the 1960s was actually a golden age for black performers with 38 series featuring blacks as stars, co-stars, or continuing characters. A far cry from what viewers would be lead to believe with Lemon's remark. Source
When reporters, especially national media, want to paint the history of race relations in extreme colors, as Lemon did this morning regarding his show tonight on the CNN poll, perhaps he, and they, should think about who came first.
(10.22.15 BenQQ) Its quite obvious now the "Benghazi Incident" is left to gather dust in the archives. Perhaps someday an historian will rediscover this sorry episode and declare the point where America stepped back. However, he would have to consider so many other previous times Obama "stepped back" as well.
The Republicans on the Benghazi Select Committee yesterday completely blew it and in the process gave the annointive Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton her claws to get to the White House. Enough people, even those who cared about her character as revealed in the Benghazi episode, will say she endured 11 hours of Republican abuse and she came out the victor.
Virtually none of the real questions, which I suggested yesterday (column right), were hardly touched upon. Instead, the Republicans wandered through the tulips talking about "security" before the event. The real issue is what Clinton and her crew did at the time of the attack. Perhaps Sen. Lynn Westmoreland began to hone in asking why she didn't move "heaven and earth" to rescue her pinned down fellow Americans. But he let it drop.
What we find out is Clinton made two phone calls. Did she do anything else? Apparently not. Apparently, her "leadership" skills simply bailed.
Further, we find out Clinton almost from the start communicated privately to a select few the attack was planned and organized and not the result of spontaneous outrage over an anti-Muslim video. Yet, she, Obama, and minions thereof continued to propagate that smelly story. Regular Americans didn't deserve the truth. With only a couple of months before the national election, that narrative was rolled out and swallowed eagerly by most media.
(Aside-yeah, you had the Republicans claiming nuclear capability of Saddam Hussein and now you have the Democrats claiming the video caused a spontaneous attack. Wonder why you hate politicians?)
Clearly she sacrificed fellow Americans in order to avoid Obama having to appear on television to say our embassy had been attacked by radical Muslims. That would have upended Obama's claim of success in dealing with them his way. Or, perhaps, neither wanted to work the issue. Maybe they were just too darn busy.
However, yesterday's committee fiasco is not the end of it. The Republicans in failing to nail down her inaction to the attack itself, allows the Dems to repeat the claim the latest Benghazi investigation was merely partisan politics and nobody really cared about it. (Except, Madame Secretary, at least the families of the sacrificed.)
In short, she took some responsibility for the lack of security, but blamed everybody else for the blatant absence of a rescue attempt for the defending Americans.
In fact, she shown over the committee with the help of the Democratic members. Her luster has been rebuffed to the point she is now not a liability. She looked good, flashed a smile or two, showed control, had great hair and makeup, showed a touch of humor and even smirked at the committee. And she's coming out teeth first.
The lesson: she can actually win. She has proven her presidential metal and nobody gives anything about four dead Americans, not even the majority, it may turn out, of fellow Americans.
Presumptively Trump will face her alone on debate stage. He had better redesign his overblown rhetoric or the Clintons once again may very well have a nice meal of road kill on their second road to the White House.
(10.13.15 BenQQ) More informative it is to attend a local political event in which people interact with each other than is learned by most TV reporters. Consider one of yesterday's dozens of debate watch parties held around the country, this one in Memphis.
An official bean counter to Bernie's a la carte menu to social, economic and political ills. Additionally, attendees scored debater performance in: "income/wealth inequality, getting big money out of politics, creating decent paying jobs, a living wage, climate change & the environment, racial justice, fair immigration policy, women's rights, LGBT equality, caring for veterans, expand and strengthen Social Security, Medicare for all/drug prices, reforming Wall Street, real family values, war and peace."
You gotta do something between commercials, so play political charades.
It was a Sanders party so you'd expect a multi-generational, enthusiastic, crowd. It was, more or less. I came across one student from Rhodes College, an expensive liberal arts institution nearby, and a couple from the Memphis College of Arts. In all, 147 Sanders supporters showed up, along with a dozen or so campaign staff and volunteers. They had to hang in there to get their particular applause juice from Bernie--even though Hillary was reaping wild applause from the live studio audience. However, for this group watching at a local restaurant, Hillary and the other Dem stars might as well have been taking a nap. Sometimes its just hard for the establishment to get respect.
Collecting donations for Bernie, LR "Buss" McCormick, Inna Solfer, Sherry Hewlett
Its become the thing for the TV pundits to say: Trump and Sanders draw from the same well when it comes to official party politics. "Authenticity" is the word, but it goes beyond that. In Bernie's case, his long running message has now found real rebound, hitting on extreme income inequality, lack of jobs (and the unlikelyhood of even getting a good job.) Add to that the daily media spectacle of the jaw dropping remuneration to the banking and financial tribes, as well as their government/bigmedia allies. You just might have a level of discontent like that of the late 60s.
So Sanders supporters could be expected to support his opposition to the ghastly war on drugs (or more correctly, drug users), expansion of a broad range of social services, education and what they would site as "equality" issues among races and gender identities.
Bernie supporters got their picture taken and posted on his Web site.
Listening to the content of the debaters and looking around the crowd, I began to wonder if the divide within the two parties could form one--the dreaded third party. What would it look like? Generally, it would be fiscal and social service reform with the ultimate goal of instituting a Guaranteed Basic Income. It would be right down Bernie's alley and would let businesses off the hook for mandatory wage increases. But some things would have to happen first...
The Sanders side would have to concede none of the Democrats realized the failure of Obama's "leading from behind" and to abandon their constant desire to supersize the government, including getting the government out of the charity business in favor of a more rational system (below).
Trump supporters, equally angry about jobs and the economy, would have to own up to the needs of reforming policing, legalizing drug use and opposing the right of abortion.
Then there would be things both camps would have to do, specifically working toward implementing a flat tax and paying down the debt as the fiscal priority.
Then, if everybody has kept their eyes on the prize: after the debt is paid down, this third party could start formulating an American Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI), which would include a portion for health insurance without input from the insurance industry, which is the bad joke of Obamacare.
GBI cost? About 2.4 trillion annually at $1,000/mo for every legal citizen 18 to 65, if we keep our legal population stable. This, in exchange for reducing and eliminating other social payout programs and their vast bureaucracies as well as that of the IRS.
Of course there would be other compromises, but if the Sanders group wants a "revolution," this is how they could get it. No immediate reward like an instant political win. Just grueling, long term work with political opponents. The point is: all Americans benefit, including the economy and the poor to the middle class get some protection from what one writer has called "the unwinding."
Alana Mathis posing for an issue.
Finally, I didn't know how to work in: As if to make a point among the official Dems, Rep.Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she was "disinvited" to attend the national Dem debate. Gabbard said DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "rescinded" Gabbard's invitation to attend after she called for more than six debates. Hmmm...could it be too much of Bernie's "Democratic Socialist" ideas--or those of even the other runners who would no doubt improve their debate skills with experience--are just too much for the establishment Dem machine to risk Hillary getting pushed out?
(10.1.15 BenQQ) One time Bill Clinton commiseratingly said in his most sympathetic affect, "I feel your pain." As a politician he was really practicing pain control, that is, reducing it for Democrat voters and increasing it for Republicans, whom he knew to be accused invariably of causing more (pain).
One bromide about politics says all politics are local. Here's mine based on the famous Clinton quote: all politics are based on pain, specifically pain control from politicians to pain tolerance of those who must receive it.
Pain avoidance happened to all people and animals, since the beginning of time. In politics, the politician must be mindful that extreme avoidance to the "people's pain" does not rebound back to him.
So in dictatorships and abusive governments, like Cuba, China, North Korea, Russia and most of the Middle East, the pain can be acute. However, the politician there knows people can "get used to," that is, find ways to ever increasingly tolerate the pain, which is ratcheted up or down to assure the politician gets the "pleasure" of staying in power. Eventually, even over generations, people can no longer tolerate the pain and rebel in a revolution. (The Arab Spring, which, for pain avoidance reasons among the Obama administration, we miserably failed to support comes to mind.) When revolution happens, the rule of pain tolerance is reversed and the empowered politician becomes the one receiving pain by "the people."
Clinton's remark shows that in democracies political pain tolerances are far more sensitive and complex than in systems where gross human rights violations are imposed daily. Being offended by the rich buying your president or congressman is different than offense over your being strung up in the public square. However, they are structurally analogous.
Anyway, all that to show people are empowered to lever up or down their own pain tolerance by what? Voting. That is our most direct way to avoid political pain getting fast, fast relief. However, people can make their pain worse by not voting. Voting is the sole unarguable power the people have to curing pain imposed by the powerful. Politicians are the most powerful, especially when controlled by their buyers.
To continue, many people cannot tolerate the pain of Hillary Clinton's emails, her refusal to answer Benghazi questions nor even the big money that has already bought her like a dependable political tool. The ultimate cure to the pain, and all the little pains that comes with her package, is, of course, voting.
The opposite of pain avoidance is pleasure capture. That's when like-minded people empower someone who can't be bought, like Trump, not to say he doesn't come with his set of pains as well.
Politics from the people's perspective in a constitutionally free society is therefore avoiding pain and capturing pleasure. That's my very basic political theory. I need an aspirin.
(9.28.15 BenQQ) Would you like your media to be "crowd funded"? The Huffington Post site seems to think you might. They want readers to fund one reporter to stay on in Ferguson for a year and they want readers to pay for it. Question: will the reporter therefore be "crowd responsive" in her reporting, knowing, so to speak, where her bread is buttered?
In an industry that is losing advertising as well as footing to hundreds of outlets on the internet, could crowd funding your news become a trend? If so, would such stories be stamped "crowd funded" so news consumers know the report necessarily is skewed to the group who funded it? Without a desk editor working with independent fact checkers (another vestige of old time journalism disappearing for economic reasons) might, just might, a crowd funded reporter pander to her funding source? Ya' think?
On the other hand crowd funding reporters affords the financial opportunity to keep digging inside their issue with their desired slant, as with the Huffington Post reporter. Why not? They paid for it. No quotes needed. Just go here.
If this works, why would crowd funded media be just for media organizations? Why not apply the technique to politicians, nonprofits and corporations (as assuredly PR practioners have already thought of)? Such product could be stylistically packaged and posted just like this site does. Nothing wrong with that. Most media do not carry both sides, let alone all, sides anyway, having given editorial control over to lazy reporting.
Add on: LA Times cuts newsroom from 1,500 to 500 with 80 more sometime soon. Link.
(9.18.15 BenQQ) The televised mayoral debates afford broad exposure on the candidates. The only problem is Tuesday night's WREG debate did not include the opposition "outsider" candidate for reasons that can only be considered odd for a media organization licensed by the FCC to serve the public. Of course, we are talking about Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams, the lone candidate for mayor not elected to a current city seat.
Instead, WREG ran their debate like an insiders club even to the point of limiting their attendance to city employees who work at City Hall. The affair raises some sticky questions: What if the national networks excluded the "outsider" candidates in their debates? What if Trump, Carson and Fiorina were just not there? What if the audience was only limited to the government class that would benefit from the decisions of the pre-selected on stage?
Last night's WKNO debate at least included Williams but no live audience, which brings up another thing. Debate sponsors obviously are terribly afraid of chaos. I'd like to see at least one "open debate" that is unstructured and where members of the audience throw spontaneous questions, statements and demands [but not shoes or cats] at participants. Call this the Italian postwar neo-realist community meeting where candidates meet and greet the public, only for real.
In such a rare environment, candidates would have to hold their own between each other and the voters direct. Such an event would reveal the person and be more interesting than a panel of self-important talking heads asking goody goody pre-selected questions.
If a sponsoring debate entity held such an undignified chaotic extravaganza, democracy would be served up spontaneously without filters. Chaos can be good. The results would be huge ratings and increased voter participation.
Regardless, why anyone who is not an established Democrat incumbent chooses to run for anything in local Memphis politics is nothing short of heroic. Local politicos have just to keep their noses clean, show up and they're fairly assured of being reannointed for another term by usually a small number of voters. Samo Memphis samo. That's why "outsiders" are critical in local as well as national politics.
(9.08.15 BenQQ) Do black lives matter? Do white lives matter? Apparently, no one's life matters if we observe the inaction of the United States in preventing the rise of geo political radical Islamist regimes and effectively abiding a Middle Eastern dictator that is a mass butcher of his own citizens.
No surprise the Dems have turned a blind eye to the first genocidal mayhem of the 21st century. After all, they auto-support an administration who bugged out of Iran giving ISIS (or the more respectful ISIL as our president likes to call them) the opportunity to grow in the vacuum. Add to this his humiliating inadequacy of responding like someone with a moral will when Assad crossed "the red line" with the use of chemical weapons.
Democrats defensively love to parse responsibility onto Republicans way back in history and then wipe their hands of the whole thing in some kind of above-it-all posture. The TV pictures of the young child lying dead on a Turkish beach and images of his desperate brethren running for their lives (Trump called them "hordes"--another of many unfortunate slips to come--see below) seem to have awoken some quarters of the American electorate after a deep sleep of being dumbed down.
Obama's consistent pattern of bad decisions (in my humble opinion) from the Iraq bugout against the advice of his generals all the way up to squeezing out the upcoming Congressional approval of the Iran nuclear deal--which apparently is a done deal as of today with the Democrats having enough votes to filibust--have ramifications nobody can even imagine, although the experts think they can.
I, along with most of the Americans, have real doubts if Obama and Team Kerry are doing the right thing. Sure, they are the "best and brightest." Just relax. Its all going to be just fine. You'll see...
However, parts of the nuclear deal have not even been released. Congress, let alone Democrats who prefer not to read things anyway, have not read the agreement. We know there is at least one secret side agreement. Why isn't every word posted on the federal .gov site for all to see? The Dems must think we are the great unwashed, insensitive and too uncouth to process information.
Moreover, what would have been wrong with continuing to tighten the screws onIran with ever more stringent sanctions until hell froze over if need be? No, you can't join the club--ever. The Europeans wouldn't like it? They would rather accommodate Assad and Russia, which is now building an airbase to ostensibly fight ISIS in Syria? Sure, once ISIS is gone, they'd just love to have an active base in Syria, now wouldn't they, Mr. President?
F***'em. The Republican candidate who declares he or she will return with troops and overwhelming military force to kill both ISIS, Assad and his regime will have my vote. Obama acts like he doesn't know what's going on as his edifice of denial quakes around him. A real commander in chief would attack the problem(s) at their roots before radical Islamists consolidate more global real estate, kill hundreds of thousands, feed other offshoots worldwide while millions of innocent immigrants, who should have been helped long ago with military intervention, flood into the Western countries.
We've now seen the devastation of "leading from behind." We are the only power on earth capable of being a policeman. We should be and quit pretending everything will work out by itself.
As we've seen in Baltimore, when policemen are not supported by their government, bad guys keep on doing bad things. There, as here, things will get much worse before they get better. The election is a long way off and by then it may be too late to put the pieces together.
update 9.9.15. It should be said pres. candidate Lindsey Graham is saying much the same thing. The only problem: he supports the Patriot Act that undermines our privacy from government.
(9.04.15 BenQQ) Was it muscle or security? Now, I've been pushed around by security by the likes of either Memphis police or private security of such as Al Sharpton when he was here protesting the Bedford Forrest statue (scroll down for related) or by the Secret Service at such events as the Royals (not the team but the Brits) wedding visit. Its all a part of the job and most of the time everybody gets the etiquette rules in this often tactile sport. (When shooting the last KKK visit, one of the more pushy cops later asked me if I got any good shots. I responded I would have if the Klan had handed out donuts and coffee. It was a good laugh.)
However, I've never seen at a public event a private security bodyguard yank a protest sign from a political opponent in a public street. The guard reportedly punched out another protestor for trying to regain the sign.
That's muscle intimidating free speech, plain and simple (ok, if reported correctly). Trump may think its OK, but I don't. Reportedly The Donald has supported his guard, saying he would go to court with him. Interestingly, the media hasn't made much of it, but I see it as another crack in the Trump wall. This is going to be way different than misanswering an interview question. It has legs, albeit short ones if his Teflon holds out. See the whole thing here.
(9.04.15 BenQQ) Another in your face message from the the GOP pack leader Donald Trump. After stumbling on a question by radio guy Hugh Hewett, Trump on another interview show called him a "third-rate radio announcer" and said he used "gotcha" questions.
More to the point, its not that Trump says they actually are irrelevant, but he treats them as such. He's doing them the favor of doing their little interviews. Previously such an attitude would have condemned a candidate. However, with twenty years of growth of a generally condescending commentariot/news industry, attitudes have changed. They are now about the same as those toward government and the political class in general. Perhaps self-serving, too big, redundant, bloated with credentials and irritating.
His answer to their gotcha questions is this: I don't need to know the details of being a general, but I do need to find a Gen. Patton. That is his self-professed method and not just with the military, but presumably every area of government.
What has to be forthcoming is what it is he wants his Gen. Patton ("generals" in all areas) to do. I don't think he reads the public like a politician--just look at how carelessly he uses language--but the public reads him as one of them.
The media still have not got voters see a frame of reference in Trump they haven't seen in other candidates since Ross Perot. If they were voting for professorial eggheads, they just might draft Hugh Hewett himself. Hardly. In Trump, they see an energetic irreverence that meets their distaste toward professional politicians and mediasters both. Brewing ever since the internet as an alternative source of information emerged, both are seen by a huge voting block as irrelevant and self-serving.
But I don't think it even ends there. My suspicion: add to that government workers and pensioners, lawyers, doctors, union teachers (plus insurance companies put in the catbird seat by Obamacare) and you just might get that people are fed up with getting the short end of the stick.
Things may change for The Donald, but for now he poking his finger in the eyes of the know-it-alls and people seem to like it.-comment FB, Twit or email for possible post-
We in Memphis know two names really well. One is Jesus Christ. The other is Fred Smith, founder of Memphis based FedEx. In Memphis at least, we genuflect to both. Both had business plans of sorts with Smith legendarily writing his while he was a student at the local Rhodes
College. He is said to have formed the famous shipping company Federal Express from his college idea. He is a bonafide hero of capitalism. His life has been all about getting packages competitively from origination A to destination Z, not to mention managing a financial strategy to make all that happen.
Now, Pres. candidate Chris Christie says if elected he would ask Fred Smith to design a sort of tracking system. Christie was immediately villified for treating illegal immigrants like "packages"--items with addresses and RFID tracking code. And probably the FedEX general could come up with a way of indeed tracking that didn't seem like cattle herding, but whether he could or couldn't, his name brings star power, kind of.
But that's Christie's point. Find somebody with star power, create a mission the implementation of which is way over the top and maybe you have another wild immigration strategy hopefully like Trump's. Hey, its worth a try.
-comment FB, Twit or email for possible post-
(8.28.15 BenQQ) In the wake of the live TV shootings in Virginia, politicians are rote repeating once again for more gun control, completely discounting nothing, short of deep and intrusive government probes, would have stopped the shooter there.
So what's left? Obviously a psych exam. Should this particular test to own a firearm take effect, would people be required to go to a government shrink, wait in the office, pay him (or the state would pay at no doubt a much higher rate), get a check mark on a form and go back to pick up his license to own a gun? Or would it just take a call from his supervisor to flag him as too unstable to own a gun? Or would the state review all his social media posts to see if the applicant made an untoward statement politically or otherwise? If so, who would decide if statements were bad enough to prohibit him from buying a gun? His boss? A shrink? A cop? An angry girlfriend?
See any problems here? If you are a Democrat you probably don't. This never ending encroachment of modern government would result in another huge outlay of funds that would continue to restrict the rights of everybody under an emotional pretext. Ultimately, it would take the Supreme Court to strike it down as unconstitutional.
Politicians have found another reason to rant, but have little real solutions. Let's hear them. If Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants gun buyers to take a background test, let's hear the details. But a normal background check would not have stopped the shooter in Roanoke.
To be balanced here, it is much like some Republicans advocating defunding Planned Paranthood because of videos of PP people bargaining over human parts. Sure, that's bad, but defunding would effectively block a route to abortion, a constitutional right for women. That's what they are really against but are too dishonest to say it.
Politicians love pretext, especially emotional ones. Damned if that pretext always creates worse solutions.
(8.27.15 BenQQ) On a CNN interview yesterday Trump was asked what could have prevented the shooting of the Roanoke TV station employees. His response? More mental health but not more government control on guns. Assumption: people reject more gun control that stands in stark failure as illustrated in such Democratic places as Chicago and urban areas across the United States, despite the Clinton/Obama mantra to pile on more laws. People feel like he "gets it," despite his more strange remarks (below). His interview here.
(8.23.15 BenQQ) The crowd in Mobile paused. Did they hear that? The Donald actually sold himself on his genes (here at 42:00). Genes? Did he just say that? Yes, he did. If you watch, notice the pause from the crowd buzz. Nobody in the media seemed to take note. Perhaps it was just another Trumpian pecadillo common to some showbiz CEOs: total self confidence to the point of self indulgence. Its all about me.
Eventually, someone in the media who is not a credentialed copycat robot is going to ask: "Mr. Trump, you mentioned your self touted good genetics as a qualification to be president. How different are you from Margaret Sanger, who was a believer in negative eugenics or even Adolf Hitler? Hmmmm..."
As a Trump supporter (below), his crack in Mobile worried me because it shows a rhetorical recklessness that just may reveal real attitude. As the Mobile crowd seemed to hear, I am forced to ask, does he really believe that his personal genetics got him to where he is? Then I'm forced to ask, what about average joes or janes and by inference, me? Will his "make America rich" spiel just make the richer rich? What is he actually asking me to believe about him?
In Mobile, Trump delivered a stream of conscious that slipped under an increasingly higher bar of acceptability to, at least, people like me. Agree his delivery is a new gale in politics that can win him an election if he directs it properly, but his crack about personal genetics and--did you catch this one as well?--why not just hold the election tomorrow--will blow up in his lifetime-of-privilege face. Add those to his solutions of mass immigration deportation--instead of just building a fence and enforcing current law--and you have a revolution that's gone off its tracks before it even got started.
Hopefully his staff are not as politically sensory deprived as their boss nor so scared of him they can't say no. (Then we'll have another politician as tone deaf as Obama.) This is an internal campaign wakeup call to drill into who has so far been the political "Teflon Don" that what he says will eventually matter. Don't blow it, they should yell into his ear stuffed with hundred dollar bills. Running the country is not your personal corporate sandbox.
On the other hand, Donald, if you actually think your genetics is the reason--and not regular American values--for your rise to the top, just continue to expound on that particular birthright "qualification."
(8.16.15 BenQQ) That state fair chopper ride you gave to the kids and cameras was, as usual, genius. CNN scrounged around pitifully to find ways to discredit the spectacle of both a shiny big helicopter you own (and not rent) lifting symbollically up up up drawing the stares of cameras and corn dog scarfing commoner alike. They both know something's up.
So I've loooooved to see the oh-so-credentialed media failing to explain why you haven't crashed and burned. From the very start they pontificated, ranted and dropped their eyebrows to their upper lips in "analyzing" your exagerated political death.
Didn't happen. Hasn't happened. And now they're blaming the process itself. There must be something wrong with the process itself, they infer under their breath, heads shaking. You have thrown fresh cold water into the faces of Americans parched by the "best and brightest" advice of "experts," government officials and media gurus who didn't hesitate to act like they were annointed with The Truth. The rest belonged to the great unwashed.
Back to the Donald: we know your thing--after all, you did go to Wharton (but only as undergraduate) as you endlessly remind us--is negotiation and we indeed expect you to use it to our advantage. And that goes for our lousy bottom rung education, too.
Your people really want you to amputate--not trim--useless and even less effective--appendages of government and variously do other things: install some kind of flat tax system that shuts down the IRS and its vast bureaucracy, phase out the extravagant salaries and pensions of federal emloyees, and stop the growth of debt that can only be paid back by more borrowing destined to saddle the young with overwhelming debt (not to mention undermines our military.)
Of course launching a building program of your border wall and finding ways to halt the participation of illegals in the economy--which drive down wages for blue collar Americans of every hyphen (including Mexican)--would be an immediate priority. Of course, the Dems will wail because they won't have their millions of voters. But, then again, they'll wail because you--hopefully--will find a way to institute legal voter identification. Oh my, the years of s**t have built up a really full plate.
Simultaneously launch a quick and dirty war against ISIS by really arming our allies, putting back American warrior boots on the ground and, yes, blowing up their captured oil fields. Despite the Dems' waving their naughty finger, this expanding Islamic psychopathic branch that is replicating itself in various hydras gets 30% of their budget from the oil black market--budget used to rape, kidnap, torture and commit the likes of genocide against Christians and Muslims alike. America is the only power to stop it in its tracks. Do it.
Obama let it happen. History will no doubt condemn him and the illustrious Hillary, architect of Benghazi, for it. But that's not enough. We must not hesitate to finally kill the ISIS bastards, and fast.
And then, once all of that is taken care of--and this will take some looking at to get it right--launch a national sales campaign--you'd be a natural for that--to institute some kind of guaranteed basic income for every legal citizen in exchange of many, if not all, of the social welfare programs. Further, with the repeal of Obamacare, you could set aside an amount with a monthly GBI dedicated to insurance payment to companies anywhere in the country, or maybe even world. Of course, this would create true competition, thus driving down insurance costs for the average legal citizen that should be protected from catastrophic health events. But that would be only one of many benefits.
For the first time, Americans have got a real dose of a hard charging positivity belching salesmanship in politics. A large swath of the pubic likes it. If nothing else, its refreshing, at least for now.
And by the way, I've worked for both nonprofit and forprofit CEOs at various times in my career. The nonprofit were always the easiest. The successful for profit CEOs were always more complex. They were blustery, demanding, egotistical to the point of overbearance, but successful because they demanded it of others.
That's why they're not politicians.
(Los Angeles 11.19.15 BenQQ) Apparently not caring they sounded like Nazi thugs threatening performers in a prewar Berlin nightclub, as in the movie Cabaret, Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, said recently a "prominent" member of Hillary Clinton's campaign demanded he take down a three minute video, entitled, what else? “Hillary vs. The First Amendment.” It of course made fun of the candidate. As a result, Masada said, “I have received complain(t)s before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video,” according to the Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles. Not only that, he said the unnamed campaign officio wanted to know the personal contact information of the performers in the video. Here's the story and the link to the video. The three minute video is still running.
Perhaps more important, it would be interesting to know if current Hillary supporters believe this tactic is OK with them. If so, expect worse. Seig Heil, Hillary, Seig Heil.
(10.21.15 BenQQ) Here are seven little questions I'd like to ask Hillary Clinton regarding the 9-11-12 attack:
If you were visiting these pages soon after Sept 11, 2012, you might recall my outrage culminating in a call for Obama's impeachment because he failed to offer not even a concern to protect American soil during the attack. Both Clinton and Obama apparently have gotten a pass for not being particularly responsible before the attack (despite numerous warnings).
The Democrats have exhibited a shameless craven partisanship in pretending to want to get to the bottom of this scandal, the only Obama scandal that has resulted in loss of life. They point to the previous seven (7) hearings as quite enough, thank you. They, and their media as well, fail to point out the previous hearings were mostly finger pointing exercises from one agency to the other.
The American people, not government agencies, most deserve to have the answers only the Benghazi committee can bring them. With the exception of a few investigative reporters, no other body has the mission nor the budget to uncover the truth.
Watch the hearing tomorrow.
MPD's secret new toy: the Stingray vacuums up cell phone through its fake cell phone towers. photo: US Government Patent Office
(9.29.15 BenQQ) Evidence of yet more privacy invasion creep by government has nothing to do with the usual suspect, that is, the federal government. Now, you need just look no further than your own Memphis Police Department, Maria Hallas, LocalFox24, reported yesterday and credited by on air by co-ancho Katina Rankin as breaking the story.
In the Hallas' story mayoral candidates, surprisingly, did not uniformly condemn the secret deal signed in 2012, as discosed in a city purchase order, of a surveillance system called Stingray. Jim Strickland outright condemned the agreement because it was hidden from the city council. "Everything we do should be transparent, and if we are using a new way to track crime or follow criminals, we should be open about it," he said.
That is one problem, but there is another: Stingray can suck up cell phone data indiscriminately of anyone passing within reach of its fake cell phone towers--without any search warrant from a judge. This is a legal issue as expressed by Brian Owsley, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, who said in the linked interview below:
"The problem that I have with a pen register to justify use of something like a stingray is that the standard for a pen register is much too low, given the invasive nature of a pen register. Instead, I think the use of a stingray should be consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and pursuant to a search warrant." Full interview here.
Other mayoral candidates Harold Collins said the city council knew nothing of the agreement. Mike Williams, former police union president, said it "might be a good thing" because it might help the police catch criminals.
Local governments can reportedly get Stingray technology with federal Homeland Security funding.
Now that this has become a hot potato that has suddenly, and suspiciously, exploded at eleciton time in the face of Mayor AC Wharton and Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong. They've clammed up, not answer questions citing a "non-disclosure" agreement. The city tossed this hot potato to the FBI who said it could not speak for the city.
As long as the media do not drop this story of secret local government surveillance, it may very well go national in media examining the limits of official privacy inyrusion. Further investigations will hopefully reveal:
Stingray, like the fish, will leave a painful, if not embarassing, scar on the behinds of Wharton, Armstrong and the city council itself if the latter doesn't take the lead in getting to the bottom of this "Stingray non-disclosuregate" (our term).
Surely someone said, "Hey, Wait a minute! Isn't this an invasion of privacy? A rank violation of the fourth amendment?" Apparently, no one did. Now its left for the city council and possibly state legislature to pass restrictive legislation on what amounts to a secret and massive invasion of privacy by local governments. Some state legislators have acted to not allow Stingray to operate in their state.
Learn more about Stingray:
(9.17.15 BenQQ) The clear come from behind winner for the main debate was Carley Fiorina whom Donald Trump publicly months before had assailed as ugly and incompetent. She didn't respond an iota to his condescending denial of what he said and went on to qualify herself in clear, informed positions--a brutal contrast to Trump's performance. Might there be a teeney weeney crack in the Trump juggernaut after his performance in the 2nd GOP debate last night? He is either not getting or not listening to his advisors that its time to quit acting like he's in his personal board room. Glaringly quiet on Syria and ISIS, all he had left was to make cracks about George H.W. Bush and wise off inappropriately about the qualifications libertarian Ron Paul. Second front runner Ben Carson slowed and said little that was memorable. In the earlier debate Linday Graham had the courage to say he would kill the "ISIS bastards" wherever he could find them including with ground troops--a sentiment few, if any, of his opponents seem to even want to talk about. Meanwhile, the Obama foreign policy enabled genocidal state rages on.
Last night as well, Hillary Clinton appeared on Jimmy Fallon's comedy show to adulational applause because she was in a funny segment that lambasted The Donald.
I once did an exercise with others where you had to keep drilling down to your core wants with that question. I tried it in politics and decided what I want is frankly unattainable without a good share of compromise.
Whether you are a doctrinaire Democ or Repub, the question is a good one because it forces you to look beyond just being a member of the club. It asks what do YOU want a president and party to DO. Try it. Break away from party rhetoric and put the question to your test.
Anyway, let's talk about what we, in this case "I," want in a president. Your mileage may vary.
First, we choose a commander most capable of doing what we want done, "we" being some kind of collective of individuals. As an individual I want to see a commander who will bring Islamic fascism, now unmistakebly a declared enemy, to ruin; blood thirsty tyrants like Assad destroyed; and restore the United States to international leadership for justice and freedom for all. Simple, huh? (No, this doesn't mean we have to go on a worldwide military crusade as the Dems have repeatedly asserted until brain dead.)
Second, related to the first, I want a president who will vastly increase real job growth, reduce government spending, protect the dollar and debureacratize the system with some kind of flat tax and some form of guaranteed income to replace wasteful and redundant social payout programs, (but would cover catastrophic care health insurance).
Now, what I want my president to do as laid out in the simplest of terms above is nowhere to be found. The Democrats and their house media are mired in repeating old disproven policies (for the most part) and the Republicans are running around trying to...let's just leave it at running around. I've yet to hear any Republican candidate speak in cohesive, strategic terms.
Now, to sum up, my president would be neither liberal nor conservative, Democ or Repub in nature. He would not try to refight previously established things like abortion and marriage rights. (If the states want to fritter away their budgets doing that, let 'em.)
My president would obviously be a mix of what we already have: a benefits society but smarter with guranteed income and strong job support. You may argue we already have that, but I submit that is not going away. So the opton is to make it better, smarter and more efficient. In so doing both sides would have to compromise.
So, " WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
(9.10.15 BenQQ) I may have missed any on-air announcements about his departure, but I couldn't help but notice ABC Local24 did their usual thing when an on air staffer left a prominent slot. That is, said nothing much, did nothing much, if at all. The latest abrupt vanishing is apparently former anchor Rodney Dunigan. I didn't even see any announcement on their Web site. I'll correct here as requested. See below.
Once I realized he was not returning on air from vacation (or so I had assumed), I fell on my knees in front of the set and screamed, "Oh Rodney, where art thou??" As soon as I recovered from my shattered senses, I did a little research on the internet, the real news source for everything, and discovered him here, the lucky....
Rodney where he was seen in Orlando with, yes, wait for it, former Local24 reporter, Jackie Orozco, about whom I also went into deep depression after she left the station. Jackie is now a WOFL-TV FOX 35 reporter. Photo credit: Instagram until further notified.
Mea Culpa! Update from co-anchor Katina Rankin, upon request for more information: "Hi Ben: Thanks for reaching out. Rodney did say goodbye to his viewers. See below. This is the script he read to his viewers on his last day.
'THIS IS MY LAST DAY HERE AT LOCAL 24. I'M MOVING ON TO A NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE…I'M GETTING MARRIED NEXT MONTH AND JOINING MY FIANCEE IN ORLANDO.
I WANT TO THANK ALL OF THE LOCAL 24 VIEWERS FOR INVITING ME INTO THEIR HOMES FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS.
I'VE REALLY ENJOYED LIVING IN THE MID-SOUTH AND TAKING PART IN YOUR COMMUNITY EVENTS.
I WISH MY CO-WORKERS HERE ON LOCAL 24 GOOD DAY ALL THE BEST.'
Plus, I believe that he, Joy and Lauren posted info on our facebook page, Local Memphis.
Hope this helps.
The old vacation ruse is an HR trick to soften the jolting absence of an on air personality who has decided to move on. Indeed, from the tales of friends in private companies, more than once someone went on vacation and returned with their desks occupied or gone. (Clearly, the message is not to go on vacation.)
There is no evidence or leak about Rodney's disappearance that indicates any personnel action. His Linkedin resume shows Anchor/Reporter/Multi-Media Web Producer Local24 WATN August 2011 – August 2015. Hey, there is Florida, the beach, Jackie and market options.
Of course, those would be only my reasons, if I were so fortunate. His may be different. Best of results, Rodney. The Elvis market shall miss ye.
Previous shots of Jackie and Rodney together on a New Year's Eve Night. (Scroll down.)
AC Wharton, Mayor of Memphis (photo)
(9.02.15 BenQQ) The local elections coming up Oct. 8 will present another chance for this city to break away from following predictable voter habit: choosing the familiar over known options. Nothing against AC Wharton. He's done a pretty good job, but his election would give him another 4 years in office with the same old clique, the same good ol' buddy sysem that can't help but happen with any long term administration.
We think even two terms, after the city smartly set term limits, is too much. Besides, why does a mayor need eight years? What's he going to do with his next four? Go find another job. You've got the ultimage feather so far in your resume. His Linkedin page. There should be plenty more career opportunities for a well experienced mayor.
Still having said that, Mayor Wharton's rationale for status quo maintenance isn't good enough. Not that any bold and fresh solutions from any of the candidates were heard in the recent Ch. 5 WMC TV debates that were carefully controlled like a middlle school classroom. In fact, the audience should be allowed to toss a few spitballs. Some might stick. Next debate: Ch. 3 WREG TV at 6:00 pm hosted by news anchor Claudia Barr. Perhaps one debate question could be: if elected mayor, would you commit to one term? Yet another could be: what do you see as the surest way to turn Memphis into Detroit?
So fantastically enough, we'd like to see the mayor withdraw from the race while he's ahead. He could endorse a competitor that would not reinstate the old pension plan and declare one administration is enough for any mayor. He would show cities don't need long term mayors but do need new people to constantly refresh and replace methodologies.
So let another fresher job hungrypolitico step in with new ideas. The Academy of your youth awaits you, Mr. Mayor. Quit while you're ahead.
(8.30.15 BenQQ) Its coming as sure as tomorrow's sunrise, like marrying your robot, if you're into that sort of thing. All these transformations in small areas, like trackless bitcoin currency, driverless cars, nations without identity, and males emasculated by unisex culture makes "neutral" pronouns that don't imply gender downright unavoidable, thanks in a small way to the University of Tennesse Knoxville.
As someone who has always craved two things: simplicity and the inability of people and government to discover what I'm doing privately, the idea of genderless pronouns, at least on one level, is appealing.
For example, if I can mask my gender in speech, I don't have to worry about people adding meaning to what I write. A "he" advocating, for example, absolute and immediate destruction to psychopathic torture cults, like ISIS, is differerent than a "ze" who does not burdened with outdated masculine traits that corrupt "his" every thought.
A pronoun of universal acceptance. When I think about it, that's what we need! Countless times have doctrinaire females imbued meaning to what I was saying because I was "male." By implication, a genderless pronoun frees males from that just as feminism freed us from the shackles of male dominance--or so feminists claimed.
After all, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know ze exists, when zirs work is done, zirs aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it our selves." Call it xe speech. Thank you UT. Another step for man..., uh, humankind.
(8.28.15 BenQQ) Half of the American population are terrorists. Maybe the burden of that knowledge makes her look like she just stepped on a land mine (or mind, depending) every time she gets in front of reporters. Hillary Clinton is worried, big time. There are millions of terrorists running around out there free to say anything--ANYTHING!
They must be stopped. It matters not how she does it. The ends justify the means. As obvious terrorists, every Republican, including people with secret furtive leanings toward same, should come forth and register at their local fire and police stations. First responders should know where Republicans live for immediate roundup before they start throwing molotovs. Of course, they should be put on no fly lists as well.
I declare I am not a Republican and swear to turn every one of them I know over to the proper authorities forthwith. God Bless America. Hillary's comments here.
(link below) H.K. Edgarton, former president of the North Carolina NAACP, displays one several flags he carried with him as he walked across the South in sympathy and in Confederate uniform. Photo is from my documentary Ghosts and Symbols: Last Stand of the Confederacy.
(8.19.15 BenQQ) On a personal note, after hearing of the Charleston, South Carolina mass shooting and the attention given to Confederate symbols such as flags and statues, I remembered I had shot a lot of footage of a national convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Memphis, 2002. I thought it would add to the "conversation," such as it was/is, of symbols in Southern history and therefore culture.
Yesterday, the city council of Memphis, TN voted to move the statue of CSA Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest at what was formerly called Forrest Park where he is interred with his wife. The statue is featured prominently in the documentary.
I admit my movie is one sided because it was all shot at the convention. However, you get the attitude, look and historical context of both Memphis and the priorities and emotions of Confederate bloodlines. As is for the other side, this side is personal, too.
I believe it is worth looking at because we seldom hear or see in any kind of depth to the side of Confederates in media.