The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for January 2013

When You Treat Only the Symptoms and Ignore the Cause

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When it comes to our health we’re taught not to ignore symptoms of illness and get them treated quickly so they don’t develop into something more serious later.  If we visit a doctor he or she will attempt to learn the cause of the symptoms we are experiencing, find the root of the problem, diagnose and treat.

Done right, we get well and our symptoms disappear.

However, if the diagnosis only treats the symptoms in an attempt to only relieve pain or discomfort, the root cause will get worse and if left untreated can result with far worse or even fatal results.

Using this analogy, our nation has been suffering with painful symptoms of corruption, crime, debauchery, to name a few, for decades. Some will argue these problems have plagued our country in all generations, but I would suggest not at the magnitude or frequency we see today.

hippocratic-oath-medicineThe doctors in this analogy are our civic leaders, elected to govern, to prevent societal ills if possible and treat them when discovered and to provide laws and regulations that work but are not overreaching or infringe upon the rights established in the constitution.  Like a doctor, our leaders should have the knowledge and skill to diagnose the root cause of a problem and attack it with the proven methods to solve it. The doctor uses medicine, the politician uses principles.  Without these tools the prognosis of a cure in either case is bleak at best.

The skilled physician who is altruistic in his approach can diagnose and treat disease with high levels of accuracy and success and with permanency.  The not-so-skilled doctor or the doctor who may be less concerned about the patient than the pay, may only treat the symptoms prescribing treatment to provide temporary relief but certain to require return visits and more prescriptions. Regardless of intent this is not an uncommon occurrence in the medical practice today. president-barack-obama-takes-oath-office

The skilled politician who is altruistic in his approach and true to his oath of public service will look to long-standing principles that have worked to the benefit of all segments of society throughout history to diagnose and treat the ills described and attack the problem at its source through legislation that is enforceable, fair, and specific.  The politician who seeks office for reason of fame, fortune, power, or anything outside the core values of public service will too often treat only the symptoms through appeasement, redistribution, giveaways, cronyism, deficit spending, inequitable taxation, and a litany of procedures to distract the public from the root cause and thereby avoid the more difficult task of actually solving the problem.  Regardless of intent this is not an uncommon practice of political leaders in government today.

For an example we need only look at the current gun control debate.  Too many elected officials are focused on a symptom, guns, when regarding the problem of violent crime specifically that of mass public shootings amplified by the recent school shooting in New Town, Connecticut where 26 people were shot by a mentally deranged man, 20 of those killed were children under age 7.

Indeed, guns are used to kill people, which is abhorrent to nearly every human being and because it is such a horrible thought it incites an immediate and powerful emotional response.  But decisions made in the heat of emotion are almost always wrong.  History, crime statistics, gun crime statistics, and common sense overwhelmingly discredits the current political diagnosis and prescribed treatment of the problem of violent crime in this country.  Yet the emotional response being pushed by politicians and media is to ban entirely the weapons used in the commission of these crimes which infringes upon the rights of all people not just the criminals who voluntarily abdicate their rights the moment they commit a crime.

Emotion doesn’t recognize logic and emotion is driving the debate.  Imagine your doctor making every decision on your behalf based on his or her emotional attachment to your malady. It doesn’t work in either case.

Until our elected officials recognize the root cause of most or our societal ills, moral decay and the blurring line between right and wrong, the disease will get worse and at some point it will become fatal.

I’ll punctuate my argument by sharing a video from the ongoing public hearings in Hartford, Connecticut concerning gun control, where Henson Ong issued a passionate defense of the Second Amendment with irrefutable facts and historical data. Exclamation point.

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Tyranny Style

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In the whole history of the human race…Tyranny has never come to live with any people with a placard on his breast bearing his name.

He always comes in deep disguise, sometimes proclaiming an endowment of freedom [or rights], sometimes promising to help the unfortunate and downtrodden, not by creating something for those who do not have, but by robbing those who have.

But Tyranny is always a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and he always ends by devouring the whole flock, saving none.

– J. Rueben Clark, July 1935

When the Media Gets It Wrong…Intentionally.

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The major news media in the United States has failed its purpose and can no longer be trusted as a source of reliable, thorough, and objective information.

big3The Big 3 as they are known, ABC, CBS, and NBC, once a staple of the news and information diet of this nation have, by their own action or perhaps better stated inaction, alienated viewers and cast a shadow of doubt on the continuing freedom of this nation.

“Without a free press there can be no free society. That is axiomatic. However, freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society. The scope and nature of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of the press are to be viewed and applied in that light.” – Felix Frankfurter, New York Times, November 28, 1954

Thomas Jefferson said, “I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.”

“The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood.”

The power of the word in the hands of those viewed, read, or listened to by millions is immeasurable and when abused can have abhorrent consequences.

I believe our major news outlets are engaged in that abuse. Whether in ignorance  by coercion, or as a willful accessory the Big 3 and many of the cable news networks and new media are not providing the citizens of this country with the information they need to make important social, political, and personal decisions.

The most recent glaring example comes in a report from the recent gun control hearings before a General Assembly task force in Hartford, CT where over 600 people, including many of the parents of the children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in December, were invited to share their thoughts and feelings on gun control and what might be done to curb the violence and prevent another Sandy Hook from happening again.

Comments came from all sides of this debate. More than 1500 people attended. The mood was somber as parents of lost children spoke. Some in favor of more gun control others against it. But it was the comments of one father, Neil Heslin, and reactive comments from some members of the audience that have been thrust into the forefront of the debate and are now being used to “prove” the insensitivity and coarseness of the argument on the right.

At one point during his comments Mr. Heslin turns and questions the audience, “I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question … why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips.” At this point Mr. Heslin pauses and looks around him as if awaiting an answer, when none came he said, “Not one person can answer that question.”

That’s when you hear several voices say, “The 2nd Amendment”. The few who answered did it respectfully. There was no shouting or hint of anger in the voices heard. Yet it has been widely reported that Mr. Heslin was “heckled” by the crowd. MSNBC aired a clip of the Mr. Heslin’s comment and the reaction to his question, however, they curiously edited out the part where Mr. Heslin pauses, looks for an answer, and then makes his statement that there is no answer.  This selective editing (which NBC has now become infamous for with Andrea Mitchell’s doctored Mitt Romney clips and selectively editing the George Zimmerman police tapes) makes it look like Mr. Heslin indeed was being heckled. However, when you view the full video including Mr. Heslin’s question it becomes self-evident that no “heckling” occurred at all.

I’ve included the unedited video of Mr. Heslin’s comments so you can be the judge. Forward to about the 15 minute mark to hear the relevant comments.

Unfortunately, those who watch MSNBC or read articles posted in The Daily Beast, Slate (updated), The Huffington Post, Gawker or even Hearst Communications CT Post, a Connecticut newspaper, were provided a biased and incorrect perception of what actually occurred. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed Politics, CNN’s Piers Morgan, David Frum of the Daily Beast, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, Michael Skolnik of the Global Grind, Democrat Congressman Jim Himes, Talking Point Memo’s Josh Marshall, and Vanity Fair’s Kurt Eichenwald all chimed in on their twitter feeds condemning the “gun nuts”, “gunners”, and “right wingers” for being soulless, horrible, uncivil human beings.

Here is the “edited” version shown at MSNBC’s website. Note the verbiage used in the URL string.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/29/emotional-father-of-sandy-hook-victim-heckled-by-gun-nuts/

Piers Morgan, the former tabloid chief and talent show judge, who now has his own “News Show” on CNN tweeted this gem after going to his unbiased objective news source Huffington Post.

Piers Morgan Tweet

Will any of these “news resources” admit their mistake, retract their false reports, and apologize for smearing decent people who happen to believe the 2nd Amendment is as relevant today as it was 235 years ago?

Don’t hold your breath.

It’s time for all Americans to demand the media return to its founding principles and begin reporting the truth. Until they change, we the people, can take our eyes and ears away from them. Be proactive. Contact the media networks. Make your voice heard. It makes a difference. They will notice.

Editor’s note: Slate has updated their story and is now saying it wasn’t heckling. Kudos to Slate for the correction.  David Frum of theDailyBeast has also recanted his initial remarks on twitter but with a heavy helping of aspersion to go with it.

Written by DCL

January 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Your Little Book!

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From the Washington Post:

“Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate John Lott by scoffing at him.
Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate Larry Pratt by insulting him.
Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate Alex Jones by saying nothing.

And Piers Morgan struggled to find the appropriate strategy for dismissing Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com and a foe of extraordinary polemical agility.”

When it comes to the topic of gun control, Piers Morgan continues to show himself to be little more than a vernacular illusionist.  Like the guy who sits at the table with 3 cups and 1 ball fooling and frustrating each passerby with his smooth and tricky sleight of hand, Morgan used his well honed skills of aversion and confusion to make Lott, Pratt, and Jones look silly and ill-prepared.  In Jones’ case victory was handed over on a silver platter when Jones became a tad agitated (understatement intended).

But Ben Shapiro, Editor-at-Large at Breitbart.com, came to his interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, knowing the trick and by knowing, picked the right cup every time.

Shapiro was concise, confident, and most of all capable of putting Morgan on his heels, sending his straw men flying in the storm of facts Shapiro brought to the discussion. Including the bold accusation that Morgan was using the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting as a club to bully anyone who disagrees with his restrictive gun control stance.

Morgan, visibly taken back by the statement, could only reply with how dare you!  “How dare you accuse me of standing on the graves of children that died there, how dare you?” To which Shapiro replied, “ I’ve seen you do it repeatedly, Piers…What you do, and I’ve seen you do it on your program, is you keep saying to folks if they disagree with you politically, then somehow this is a violation of what happened in Sandy Hook.”  Morgan quickly switched the subject.’

At another point of the discussion Shapiro reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a miniature addition of the Constitution of the United States handing it to Morgan and encouraging him to read it, specifically the 2nd amendment.  Morgan later in a huff would call it, “your little book”.

In a last ditch effort to save face and his crumbling argument, Morgan tried to turn the tables by accusing Shapiro of being the bully.  Shapiro’s reply?  “I call it punching back twice as hard”.

Which indeed is how you stop a bully.  Ben Shapiro hit back at Piers Morgan and his baseless argument about guns in America with a powerful, knowledgeable, and fact-filled counter punch last night, the knock-out blow coming in “that little book”.

Well done, Mr. Shapiro. Well done.

Guns and the Hearts of Men and Women

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CNN’s British political pundit Piers Morgan has been making a case for gun control in the US and by so doing has been making statistical claims and comparisons between Great Britain and the USA to bolster his argument.

This week on Piers Morgan Tonight, his weekly program on CNN the Cable News Network, Morgan invited talk radio host and conspiracy theory icon Alex Jones onto the program to discuss gun control.  The word discuss however would be an incredibly inaccurate definition of the dialogue that took place between Jones and Morgan.  The colloquy that ensued must have had Morgan twisting and turning, jumping and shouting with glee on the inside, though you wouldn’t notice it on his calm and determined face.

Jones on the other hand came unhinged.

Regardless of whether you agree with Piers Morgan or Alex Jones or land somewhere in between, it’s important that facts be wielded correctly and in context.  Neither Morgan nor Jones did that during this spectacle but Morgan has been peddling numbers and making statistical comparisons that simply don’t exist in fact.  Jones facts got lost in the hysterical outburst that ensued where we were all left “rubber necking as if witnessing a terrible accident on the freeway.

FBI crime statistics which have recently come out  for 2011 refute Piers Morgan’s argument, show his numbers to be low and incorrect, and more importantly show incontestably that guns do not cause violent crime, unstable people with evil and violent intentions use guns or any other weapon as tools to inflict their evil intentions.

Ben Swann, a broadcast journalist at Fox 19 WXIX in Cincinnati, Ohio,  took Morgan to task on his numbers, comparisons, and insinuations on his Reality Check segment during a recent local newscast.

The numbers don’t lie but they can be cherry picked and used to mislead.  Whether by intent, lazy fact checking, or ignorance, Piers Morgan is misleading his audience and bolstering an argument that isn’t based in fact.  I don’t have a problem with Morgan’s opinion that some weapons should be banned.  I do have a problem when he or anyone else misleads their audience and continually pegs the BS meter with false information.

Whether we, as US citizens, should support a ban on certain guns and/or gun accessories is a debate worth having but it must be won on its merits with all evidence laid out for all to see, digest, and then fall on a side.  I believe in that scenario and when done with integrity the anti-gun argument falls apart and its non-solution position becomes self-evident.

The reasons for ratification of the second amendment of the United States constitution have not gone away.  They are as valid today as they were the day it was ratified.  A nation of citizens who cannot defend themselves are ripe for government overthrow and enslavement by tyrants.  History has proven it over and over again.  An armed citizenry does give pause to those who would consider such action and I believe prevents it from occurring.

Until all evil is eradicated from the face of the earth, the gun will be the determining factor as to whether men and women will remain free or lose their liberties and be ruled by an iron fist.

As Mr. Swann concluded in his report, “Violent crime is not the result of a gun or any tool, it is the result of the heart of men and women.”

Amen!

Written by DCL

January 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Sins of Omission

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On December 14, 2012 a mentally unstable young man walked into a Connecticut elementary school and opened fire on students and faculty.  The horrific act left 26 people dead, including 20 children.  As would be expected following such a heart breaking ordeal there has been a lot of talk about increased gun control.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has reintroduced an expired “assault” weapons ban in the Senate, British CNN host Piers Morgan has made it his full-time job educating Americans on the dangers of firearms, and left-leaning filmmaker Michael Moore has pleaded with “frightened,” gun-loving Americans to resolve their “race” problems.

But there has been a glaring omission from the side dominated in the mainstream media, Hollywood, and liberal politicians.   In the midst of all the statistics being thrown at anyone who will watch or listen, including crime stats in both the US and abroad, there is a set of statistical data that is being completely ignored.

This video on YouTube was published at the end of December and puts this set of statistical data in its rightful and proper place in the gun control debate.

Why is it being omitted from the noisy arguments bombarding the public through the public airwaves?  You’ll get a better idea once you’ve watched this video.  You may also begin to understand why so many Americans no longer trust our major news outlets for their news and information.

 

It’s unfortunate that the Free Press appears to be ignoring key facts in a debate of this magnitude that debunk the emotional arguments surrounding gun control.  It’s even more unfortunate how the Free Press has become a propaganda arm to government rather than the watch dog it was meant to be under the first amendment.

In case you want to review the statistical data for yourself here are citations for those resources:

FBI Uniform Crime Reports Table 1

FBI Uniform Crime Reports Table 16

FBI Uniform Crime Reports Table 8

Crimes Detected in England and Wales 2011/2012

 

Written by DCL

January 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm