Sunday, June 29, 2014

Can Americans Ever Work Together Again?

This morning I watched Bob Schieffer's Face the Nation, as I often do. Bob's calm and disciplined look at politics and political issues is a refreshing break from the hyperbole found on the highly partisan cable news networks.  People are not yelling at each other but actually talking with each other.

One of Bob's guest commentators this morning was Todd S. Purdum, author of a new book about the passing of the landmark civil rights legislation during another time of great political partisanship, An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964

After discussing the book, Bob Schieffer wondered if we would ever see this type of cooperation between the political parties again.  Please keep in mind that is was a coalition of a majority of Republicans with only some Democrats who actually passed the Civil Right's Bill.

The answer to Schieffer's plaintive plea is actually in the book.  The answer in 1964 was President Lyndon B. Johnson's incredible style of management of the political process. Johnson never once even imagined, let alone threatened that would "bypass Congress" or usurp the Constitution to accomplish his difficult task.  Instead Johnson masterfully worked across the aisle to win support.

Lyndon B. Johnson picked up the phone, quite literally all day, every day and talked with supporters and opponents of the bill.  He wanted to understand, genuinely understand, the reasons so many in Congress opposed the bill.  He wanted to learn  how he could win the support of those who wavered.  He used the power of persuasion and politics.  He horse-traded. He cajoled. He begged and he promised.  And he enacted what is one of the single most contentions pieces of legislation even enacted in our nation's history.

I genuinely believe President Barack Obama could get immigration reform passed if he could just bring himself to stoop down to the level of one of the greatest politicians in our nations's history, and one of our greatest statesmen, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Judy Woodruff and the Betrayal of America by the Main Stream and Liberal Media

A brief five second statement, really almost an side comment in the midst of a larger discussion, illustrated the nearly complete bankruptcy of our Main Stream Media and our beloved Liberal Media in the face of major scandal in the Obama Administration.

The side comment was made by Judy Woodruff, the co-anchor of Public Broadcasting's PBS Newshour.  She is one of the leading luminaries at PBS and a highly respected journalist.  Her candid comment tells us everything that is going wrong in main stream Journalism today.

The discussion took place today on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday.  The complete transcript of the hour long program is available here: Kevin McCarthy talks Iraq, future of the GOP; latest on IRS scandal.  

As Wallace's panel on pundits discussed the stunning disappearance of two years of Lois Lerner's emails and the highly improbable instantaneous failure of not just one but six individual computer hard drives (on six different computers) all happening exactly ten days after Congress began questioning the IRS about the targeting of Conservative Groups.  Any (and I do mean ANY) computer expert or engineer will tell you this is simply impossible.

Worse, the hard drives were not repaired of reclaimed, but destroyed.  Destroyed, ten days after Congress began asking questions.  Stunning, in fact it's frightening.

This scandal is much worse than Watergate in both the facts and implications.  Now I doubt the President is involved, but this is a conspiracy of huge proportions. We need a Special Prosecutor.

But what was upsetting this morning was not any of that.  What's upsetting was Woodruff's candid admission:   Well, what I can say, Chris, is I haven't reported this story. I haven't -- I don't know what happened inside the IRS.

What's tragic here is that PBS has willfully ignored the story and has spent not one second investigating or even exploring the implications of a massive, coordinated government cover-up.

Had this exact same situation occurred with a Republican President, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I or Bush II, PBS would be tearing the very walls of the IRS down the ground.  And they should be doing it now.  We only survive as a free democracy with the aid and protection of a vibrant, active press.

FOX NEWS has few resources and limited access.  They cannot carry the ball alone.  Plus they might distort the story.  We need ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS on the case.

We cannot survive as a free nation if the main stream media only does it's job when a Republican is President. The press is either going to have to start doing their damned job or we can simply never elect a Democrat President again.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Racism in Gun Violence Reporting

It's been a tough, demanding news week. Between the Sunni led invasion and revolution in Iraq that genuinely threatens to topple the government and the controversial Bergdahl - Taliban prisoner exchange and the stunning Tea Party election victory over Republican Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary, it's amazing that anything broke into the news stream.

But one huge controversy did break through and occupied significant time on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN: A group called Everytown for Gun Safety released what they thought was a definitive list of all the school shooting since Sandy Hook, a stunning seventy-four examples of gun violence in or around school.

Immediately nearly everyone tore the list apart, claiming it was fatally flawed with non-school shootings, unrelated crimes and events like suicides that should not be included in the list.  However, Liberals and Gun Control Advocates trumpeted the list demanding increased gun laws and stricter licensing requirements.  After all, seventy-four school shootings is a nightmare.

Now, admittedly the list is a huge exaggeration.  CNN recompiled the list into actual school shootings and it only came up with ten (10).  But ten is still terrible.  And, regardless, the news cycle was dominated by statistics about past events, not a current event at all.

The real question is "Why?"  The answer is obvious. School Shootings are horrific. They are easy to visualize. I bet you can see it now ---> Innocent children mowed down by a machine gun wielding rambo-like maniac.  Of course we need gun control.

But maybe these school yard shootings get the press and publicity, public outcry and notoriety for another reason.  The victims are virtually always white.  So are the shooters.

You remember Sandy Hook In Sandy Hook twenty-seven were shot.

Last weekend, Father's Day Weekend, twenty-five (25) people were shot in south and west Chicago. One as young fifteen, another seventeen. By the way, the fifteen year old lived, the seventeen year old was killed. And this happens most weekends. A Sandy Hook every week.

No one reports this, but if they did, no one would talk about it. Why?

Is it because because most of the victims and shooters are black?  Is it because Chicago already has the toughest gun laws in America, laws that are rarely if ever enforced?

There is just no milage in discussing America's Genocide. No one can profit. No one can raise money. No one can lobby for tougher laws.

And no one wants to even brooch the real issues of societal breakdown behind the gang related violence.

We Liberals love to blame guns because they are inanimate objects.  People? Not so much.