The Long Version

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

Archive for January 2017

New Year, Same Old New York Times

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Well that didn’t last long.

It didn’t take much time at all for the New York Times to steamroll its own mea culpa after the November election. A time when Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and Executive Editor Dean Baquet offered a half-hearted apology to America, but an apology none-the-less, with regard to the way the Times had covered the election and for the most part America’s heartland.

As we reflect on the momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly. You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.

Within that quote is a thinly veiled admission to the fact that the Times has not been exactly honest in its reporting. This isn’t news to anyone who doesn’t exist on the Left side of the political spectrum.

But now we see the Times is the Times and it’s probably going to take some serious time and perhaps hard times before the paper actually does what it says it will do.

Case in point, a recent article by the Times on former Texas governor Rick Perry who was pegged by Donald Trump to be the next energy secretary.  As the Washington Examiner points out and proves, the Times took a single quote, misinterpreted it, created a story around it, which was then picked up by every other Times wannabe on the planet, smearing Rick Perry in the process.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the article was written by a first year journalism student who doubled as the president of the Democrat club.

So this is how the Times “rededicates” itself to the fundamental mission of Times journalism? Same as it ever was…

Read the full story here at the Washington Examiner

Even New York Magazine couldn’t back up the Times or condone the story.

Who’s going to revive the lifeless body of journalism in this country? I don’t see any legitimate organizations who can step in at this point.

Sad Times.

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Written by DCL

January 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Posted in News, News Media, Politics

Dear Entertainment Industry

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This letter has been circulating on social media since the election.  I have no idea who the original author is so I can’t provide attribution, but I believe it sums up the thoughts and feelings of most everyday Americans.

I’ve made a few adjustments and added some thoughts of my own making it more about the players in the entertainment industry rather than about Donald Trump, because it doesn’t really matter who’s running for what, their opinions don’t matter to me.

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Dear Musicians, Hollywood actors, and Entertainers in general,

I’m not interested in your political views, social views, or personal activism. So please, don’t use your prominent place on the stage, big screen, or TV to shove them down my throat.

You exist for my entertainment. Some of you are great eye candy. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you can scare the crap out of me. Others make me laugh. But you all have one thing in common, you only have a place in my world to entertain me.

That’s it.

You make your living pretending to be someone else. Playing dress up like a 6-year-old. You live in a make-believe world in front of a camera. And often when you are away from one too. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I’ll crank the organ grinder; you dance.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your stance matters far less to me than that of my neighbor. You see, you aren’t real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with you, I can put you back in your little box until I want you to entertain me again. I don’t care who you vote for or why. I’m glad you vote, now get back into your bubble. I’ll let you know when I’m in the mood to be entertained.

Make me laugh, or cry. Scare me. But realize that the only words of yours that matter are scripted.

I might agree with some of you from time to time, but it doesn’t matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So please just do what you do best. Read your lines, sing your songs, and dance.

Written by DCL

January 18, 2017 at 10:25 am

Posted in Humor, Politics

A Letter To Meryl Streep (not from me)

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This may be the most rational, well-written, fair, and accurate rebuttal to Meryl Streep’s public undressing of Donald Trump to date.

Don’t expect to see or read in any major publication. This letter will be ignored and intentionally buried because it exposes the Hollywood hypocrisy like no other.

It doesn’t just expose Ms. Streep but he industry and a large number of people who make a living there.

A Letter to Meryl Streep
Where was that empathy we’ve come to know?
by Lee Habeeb | Updated 13 Jan 2017 at 7:51 AM
An open letter to Meryl Streep from a conservative fan:

Dear Ms. Streep,

I’ve been a fan of your work since I first saw you in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” It was clear back then you were destined to be a star.

You didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to attack President-Elect Trump — and by proxy, the people who voted for him.
The camera loved your striking good looks. But we all saw more. Your depth. Your intelligence. And your empathy. And empathy is what acting is all about. Actors don’t judge the characters they play. They become them.

And what characters you’ve played. Linda in “The Deer Hunter,” Karen in “Out of Africa,” Sophie in “Sophie’s Choice,” Sarah in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” Rachel in “Heartburn,” Donna in my wife and daughter’s favorite movie — “Mamma Mia!” — and my favorite, Susan Orlean in “Adaptation.”

The flaws in your characters are never burnished, because you know all of us have flaws of one kind or another, and they can’t be separated from our virtues. You also know that there is, in every character you play, a part of yourself. A part of us all.

You are particularly good at taking seemingly unlikable people and making them fully human. In “Kramer vs. Kramer,” the movie that earned you your first Oscar, you turned an unsympathetic character into one we understood. And loved. Though your character had done the unimaginable, abandoning her husband and child for 18 months, you got us to see why she did such an awful thing. That she was in a lonely, desperate place. And did the only thing she thought she could do at the time: leave.

When she came back 18 months later to seek custody of her son, and won the custody battle, we were mad at her. But then she did something remarkable. Something hard. Despite the court’s ruling, she let her ex-husband retain custody of her son.

And that’s the thing about art. It challenges and surprises us. And reveals the contradictions and convulsions within us all. Indeed, it may be your crowning achievement that so many of your performances did just that.

That can’t be said for your performance at the Golden Globes. It was an obvious performance. A rude performance. And it lacked your characteristic courage to surprise and challenge all of us. Yourself included.

Let’s start with why it was rude. The Golden Globes invited millions of Americans into that room in Los Angeles, and millions of us invited you into our homes. But you didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to attack President-Elect Trump — and by proxy, the people who voted for him. You either didn’t appreciate that fact, or took it into account and made the speech anyway.

Millions of your fans voted for Donald Trump, and millions were women. Good women you’d probably do a great job portraying if you had to. But on that stage, filled with righteous indignation, you paid them no respect. Like my wife, who admires your work, and who voted for Trump.

Moreover, what you failed to appreciate was this: Millions of people watching may not have liked Donald Trump, but voted for him anyway. Because sometimes, people we don’t like — people who offend our sensibilities — end up being very good at their jobs.

Like Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” the character you so capably brought to life. Could she have become a force in her industry by being anyone but the person she was? That’s what made your performance great. You didn’t judge her.

Could it be that Donald Trump has similar strengths and flaws? And might end up being a great leader, too? And could it be that those people who voted for him saw what you just couldn’t see?

Your performance was also obvious. When you started rattling the names of all of the actors, and where they were all from, we knew why you were doing it.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” you said. “If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

The line got a laugh. But it was a cheap laugh. Because President-Elect Trump doesn’t want to throw outsiders and foreigners out of the country. Nor do his followers. Do you really think we want Ryan Gosling deported to Canada? And why that dig at so many millions of Americans who love you and the NFL? Love your movies and mixed martial arts? You treated us like we’re stupid, like you’re better than us. That’s a side of you we never saw on the screen before — condescending Meryl. Arrogant Meryl.

It’s an easy thing to caricature one side of a debate like illegal immigration, and worse, shut it down by calling people names. Or mocking them, which you did in your own elegant way. Which most of Hollywood has been doing in a not so elegant way since Trump launched his candidacy.

But what your performance lacked most was courage. You didn’t challenge your peers. They didn’t boo or hiss you once. We know why. They all agree with you. Moreover, you did not challenge the folks listening at home who did not vote for Trump. That’s not courage. That’s moral preening masquerading as courage.

I expected more from you. Because you know things aren’t always as what they seem, and that it’s easy to draw from single moments a caricature of any human being. Which you did when you focused on that Trump transgression with the journalist. You could have done that to Joe Biden when he implored a man in a wheelchair a few years back to stand up, not once, but several times. You didn’t, because you like Biden, and his brand of politics.

In what may have been the best movie of last year, “Hell or High Water,” Jeff Bridges plays an old Texas Ranger who teases his fellow Texas Ranger incessantly about his Comanche heritage. It would be easy to write the Bridges character off as a racist. But in the end, we learn that he loved his partner, and was willing to die for him.

That’s what art does. It surprises us. Inspire us. Even heals us.

“An actor’s only job,” you said, “is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”

That’s why your performance stunned us. The empathetic powers you so generously deploy with the fictional characters you play in movies was not extended to millions of real-life Americans watching on TV, the president-elect included, who see life differently than you.

You failed your own standard. And this is one case where you can’t blame the writer.

Related: Ingraham: Ironic Streep Rant Gives Elites a Pass

You still hold a special place in my heart. Your work always moves me and makes me think. Which is why I’ll give you a pass on your latest performance. Because, like you, I believe in art’s power to reveal the things not that divide us, but that bring us together.

From a fan for life, no matter what your political views,

Lee Habeeb

This letter has been sent to Streep’s agent. Habeeb anxiously awaits a response. He isn’t holding his breath. Habeeb is the VP of content for Salem Radio Network, and host of Our American Stories. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughter.

Mrs. Clinton’s Struggles with the Truth

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Hillary doesn't think she lies.Hillary Clinton will now become a part of political history books as she and her husband finally ride off into the sunset of political life…or so we think.

While she says she will never run for office again, Mrs. Clinton is well-known for saying one thing and doing another.  Her relationship with the truth is strained to say the least, but as these 9 examples will show, she has no problem telling the public tall tales regardless the seriousness of the subject matter.

Hillary’s 9 biggest whoppers:

1. Clinton lied about the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. “We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s,” Clinton said. “That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.”

Actually, as the Daily Wire has previously explained, the economy Ronald Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter was in worse shape than the Great Recession, and the financial crisis was actually caused by Clinton’s husband’s policies forcing banks to give out loans to people with bad credit.

2. She falsely denied her previous support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump called out Clinton for previously calling TPP “the gold standard of trade deals,” Clinton flatly said “no” and accused Trump of living “in your own reality.” The former Secretary of State attempted to worm her way out of it by claiming that she had “hoped it would be a good deal” but couldn’t support the finalized version.

This is a lie. The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler points out that in 2012, Clinton’s full quote on TPP was: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”

As Kessler notes, Clinton’s statement was crystal-clear at the time; she did view the TPP as a good deal, not that she “hoped” it would be a good deal.

3. Clinton lied about the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk. After falsely accusing Trump of painting “such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country,” Clinton brought up a blatant falsehood about stop-and-frisk.

“Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective,” Clinton said. “It did not do what it needed to do.”

Clinton’s statement flies in the face of publicly available evidence. As the Daily Wireexplained here, not only is stop-and-frisk not racist, it has proven to be an effective means of reducing crime, as “murders declined almost 80 percent and major felonies by almost 75 percent from the early 1990’s to 2013 thanks to ‘proactive policing,’ which includes the practice of stop-and-frisk.”

4. Clinton claimed that violent crime is on the decline. It’s not. Following Clinton’s aforementioned falsehood about stop-and-frisk, she then unleashed yet another untruth: “In fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.”

The Daily Wire debunked this, as the FBI recently released a report showing that violent crime increased by 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, including a 10.8 percent increase in murders, 5.8 percent increase in rapes and 4.6 percent increase in aggravated assaults. Clinton used 1991 as the baseline year to hide the recent increase in violent crime.

5. Clinton continued to pander to the Black Lives Matter movement by peddling the myth of systemic racism. Here is what Clinton had to say about it:

Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

The statistics prove Clinton wrong. There is this 1985 study:

“Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their classic 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.” This was true decades before the authors put it to paper, and it remains the case decades later.

“The over-representation of blacks among arrested persons persists throughout the criminal justice system,” wrote Wilson and Herrnstein. “Though prosecutors and judges may well make discriminatory judgments, such decisions do not account for more than a small fraction of the overrepresentation of blacks in prison.”

As well as the following data:

Mac Donald writes in The War On Cops, “The statistics on the race of criminals as reported by the crime victims match the arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim reports and in arrests–a finding replicated many times, among a range of crimes.”

She also points out that criminologist Alfred Blumstein determined in 1993 that “blacks were significantly underrepresented in prison for homicide compared with their presence in the arrest data.”

In other words, the notion of systemic racism oppressing blacks is nothing more than a phantom pursued by race-baiters like Clinton to pander to the Black Lives Matter crowd.

6. Clinton also claimed that violent crime was decreasing in New York City. This, too, is false. Here is the exchange Trump and Clinton had about this:

CLINTON: Well, it’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is…

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong.

CLINTON: No, I’m not.

TRUMP: Murders are up. All right. You check it.

CLINTON: New York — New York has done an excellent job. And I give credit — I give credit across the board going back two mayors, two police chiefs, because it has worked. And other communities need to come together to do what will work, as well.

Trump is correct on this and Clinton is not. Heather Mac Donald has noted that as the stop-and-frisk practice came to a halt in New York City, “homicides rose 20 percent” in 2015 and “gun crime was experiencing its first two-year consecutive increase in nearly two decades.”

There’s also this:

7. Clinton portrayed herself as a leading figure in slapping sanctions on Iran. This couldn’t be further from the truth. “I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough,” Clinton said. “So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.”

However, a 2014 report from The Daily Beast revealed that Clinton’s State Department “repeatedly opposed or tried to water down an array of measures that were pushed into law by Democrats and Republicans in Congress” that involved putting sanctions on Iran. For instance:

The most egregious example of the administration’s effort to slow down the sanctions drive came in late 2011, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez openly chastised top administration officials for opposing an amendment to sanction the Central Bank of Iran that he had co-authored with Sen. Mark Kirk. Leading administration officials including Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman publicly expressed “strong opposition” (PDF) to the amendment, arguing that it would anger allies by opening them up for punishment if they did not significantly reduce their imports of Iranian oil.

Clinton’s top deputies fought the amendment at every step of the legislative process. Clinton’s #2 at the State Department, Bill Burns, even joined an emergency meeting with top senators to urge them to drop the amendment. They refused. The amendment later passed the Senate 100-0. Menendez said at the time that the administration had negotiated on the amendment in bad faith.

It’s difficult for Clinton to seriously portray herself as a champion of Iran sanctions when her State Department repeatedly opposed them.

8. Clinton lavished praise on the Iran deal for supposedly stopping Iran’s nuclear program when it really didn’t. “My successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot,” Clinton said. “That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations.”

In actuality, Iran openly flaunted the fact that they were violating the agreement’s cap on their nuclear program, and yet Obama delegated authority to a joint commission that provided permanent exemptions to Iran on their violations. Obama and Kerry knew this, yet declared that Iran was in “full compliance” with the deal.

9. Clinton continues to lie about her private email server. “I made a mistake using a private e-mail,” Clinton said. “And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.”

But she really hasn’t taken any responsibility for it because no form of punishment has been handed out to her, and the fact that she tried to delete the evidence suggests that she never viewed it as a mistake. Instead, Clinton continues to repeatedly lie about it.

This list was previously published on The Daily Wire by Aaron Bandler

Written by DCL

January 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

Posted in News, Politics