Managing Crisis and Chaos

“I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.”
Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place for us all if we knew factually that no matter what crisis we ever face, we can work right through each every time they show up?  Count my vote as “Yes” for that ability.

Everyone faces a crisis at some point in their life. Every company and organization deals with a crisis every once in a while. Unsuccessfully understanding and dealing with a crisis every time leads to chaos. Chaos will destroy any organization, individual, or even a family if not dealt with promptly and thoroughly. Leaving loose-ends in any crisis is suicide for the entity or individual to which it occurs.

Most Americans universally feel like the U.S. government is in a state of chaos right now, ushered in by both real and unreal crises. No doubt there are a plethora of issues that come up daily in governmental operations. That has and always will be ”business as usual.” The difference today is that an always-critical media shines a continuous spotlight on everything to do with our government, but not always with an objective purpose in mind. They often, it seems, are agenda-driven in crisis reporting. And their interpretations are too.

We have several “crisis of the month,” “crisis of the week,” or “crisis of the day” it seems in perpetuity. And we have one boiling over today. Are you surprised?

“Selective” Outrage: Congressman Steve King

A few weeks ago, we looked in to see a GOP Congressman chastised, excoriated, derided, and benched from House committees for speech:

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was stripped of his committee assignments by his fellow House Republicans Monday evening following bipartisan condemnation of King’s recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism.

“We will not tolerate this type of language in the Republican Party … or in the Democratic Party as well,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters. “I watched what Steve King said and we took action.”

In a formal statement, McCarthy said King’s comments were “beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America. His comments call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity. House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law. As Congressman King’s fellow citizens, let us hope and pray earnestly that this action will lead to greater reflection and ultimately change on his part.”

In a statement of his own, King insisted that his comments had been “completely mischaracterized” and blasted McCarthy for what King called “a political decision that ignores the truth.” According to his website, King was previously a member of House committees on the judiciary, agriculture and small business.

A senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives getting stripped of prestigious committee assignments is a really big deal, believe me. It wasn’t just fellow Republicans, of course, the anti-conservative Mainstream Media weighed in:

Congressman King was not the only member of Congress who in this very young 2019 stepped across the “racist faux pas” line.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN)

 Freshman representative from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, cheerfully repeated this anti-Semitic trope, implying that AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, pays politicians to support Israel. Top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called on Omar to “reject anti-Semitism in all forms,” according to The Washington Post, while Republicans have argued that her comments reveal the depth of anti-Israel sentiment in the Democratic Party. “I unequivocally apologize,” Omar said in a tweeted statement. “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA, or the fossil-fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

The CBS Evening News gave this scathing analysis of Omar’s actions:

Who Determines When Outrage in D.C. is Justified?

That requires an answer if we are to understand when outrage in D.C. is real. And that answer in today’s news cycle is easy: whoever is writing or broadcasting about that specific “outrage of the day!” But we, unfortunately, can narrow that answer even further: if President Trump is involved, it’s ALWAYS an outrage — not so much Democrat leaders in Washington or Democrats anywhere else in the U.S.

Here’s the scary thing about all this: remember the little boy who cried “Wolf?” He did it so often his audience was numbed to his cries. So when there really was a wolf and he cried, no one paid attention. In the case of Donald Trump, more and more Americans are growing “Wolf-numbed” at the constant attacks on the President and all in his camp. And it’s beginning to appear that Democrats are trapped in the “wolf” mode, and that they cannot get out of it.

America is dangerously close to watching as their government loses all of its once amazing power and credibility. Our elected officials have abandoned all reason in governing and have simply walked away from integrity. Political partisanship dominates every conversation, every policy discussion, and every legislative item. If Democrats like it or think it is good, Republicans automatically reject it as worthless for the American people. The opposite is true in the same way.

And we wonder why Congress gets very little done? Take a look at the current fallout from the release of the Mueller Report.

Integrity in D.C.

What a joke! Democrats and Republicans alike must literally think Americans have not discovered YouTube yet. EVERYTHING — yes EVERYTHING — that is said by legislators shows up in a YouTube video. Yet still members of Congress double and triple down on lies that are exposed over and over via some recorded news report or interview. And by doing so they expose one thing to Americans: THEY SIMPLY DON’T CARE! They say what they say when they say it in total disregard of what they have said about  the same issue previously. That can be for only one reason: they think Americans are so stupid we don’t remember!

That comes as no surprise to me. Don’t agree? Want some examples?

In 2017, Adam Schiff and fellow Dems went bonkers at the release by Congressman Devin Nunez of a Memo. Schiff stated that by doing so, “Congressman Nunes was ignoring the serious nature of the information contained in the memo that would certain jeopardize national security interests of the U.S.” Nunes sent the memo to the President for his final approval before its release to the public.

That was Congressman Schiff then voicing his concerns about sensitive information being released publicly and that doing so would damage national security. But today, Schiff is singing a different song about the same issues:

Schiff has maintained his strong belief that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, after the nearly two-year probe came to an end last week without directly implicating the president.“

“Undoubtedly there is collusion,” Schiff told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “We will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power? … It doesn’t appear that was any part of [special counsel Robert] Mueller’s report.”

Schiff made these demands without SPECIFIC knowledge of what is contained in Robert Mueller’s 300+ page report, knowing full well that names of individuals who are undercover intelligence operatives are contained in the counterintelligence report. Further, their demands include for full release of grand jury testimony which is illegal without a presiding judge’s full approval to do so.

Schiff’s doing so — especially in light of his charade in 2017 to NOT release that memo because of national security damage — proves he does NOT care what his previous position on any issue was. All that matters is what Democrats want today.

Congressman Jerold Nadler (D-NY) who is Chair of the House Judiciary Committee went bonkers during the Bill Clinton impeachment matter when Ken Starr was pressured to release his report on the Lewinsky Scandal to the public. Nadler demanded the report be released only to members of Congress.

Imagine Nadler’s position today looking at a report release from the OTHER side of the aisle. He has actually threatened President Trump, Attorney General Barr, and others with criminal subpoenas if the entire report is not only released in full, BUT BY THURSDAY OF THIS WEEK!

Summary

There is no doubt there has been, still is, and will be for years to come all-out crisis and chaos in Washington D.C. Why is that so? Because partisanship is the only thing lawmakers can think of to try and maintain their upper hand in negotiations of any kind regarding any issue (no matter how large or small) so as to give their minions the appearance that they are working hard for the People. Poppycock!

What is encouraging for conservatives to note, however, is that in spite of what Democrats want Americans to believe, Donald Trump did not bring Crisis and Chaos to D.C. the day of his inauguration. He didn’t bring it at all. IT WAS ALREADY THERE! What Donald Trump did was from Day #1 shine a light of exposure on all the chaos and every crisis every day! His using Twitter to circumvent the Drive-By media and take his message directly to the American People is the reason the nation awakened to the fact that there IS Crisis and Chaos in D.C. Further, Americans now understand sending Donald Trump — the “Fixer” — to D.C. was the right thing to do to tackle both Chaos and Crisis. Why? Because his history is getting things done.

He certainly has gotten things done, hasn’t he!

What happens when the light gets turned on in the middle of the night in the kitchen? Roaches scramble to get away from the light.

Those D.C. roaches are getting bright light in their eyes everyday! And (hopefully) they’ll see the same light every night for the next 5+ years!

 

 

Post Mueller: The Plan

We finally got through the Mueller investigation and everyone came through unscathed: well ALMOST everyone. A bunch of folks came through it with egg on their faces. Some have accepted the results; some still cling to a thread of hope that President Trump can still be guilty. Guilty of what? They’ll accept anything-anything at all.

In retrospect, I’ve been trying to reach an objective summary spot to identify a solid basis from which to move forward. I’m comfortable with what has been revealed so far. But I’m still puzzled at why and how the folks that still clamor for a pound of Trump flesh and his expulsion from Planet Earth can justify their vitriol and hatred. It’s true that there are political and personal differences they hold with the President. It’s true that their differences run very deep and that they do not accept the results of the Mueller investigation — at least the summary provided by Attorney General Barr. But at some point, these folks must decide that life goes on, that political differences have always and will always exist, and that the United States as a whole is far more important than any political pundit’s personal or political agenda. Folks just have to let go. And they will: hopefully!

That release may not come for a while. It may not come for a long while for many. I am certain the producers, writers, directors, and announcers at the cable television outlets are destined to live in shock for a bit. But at some point, reason and facts must overtake anger and hate. At least I hope so.

Those members of the media that are heartbroken that Donald Trump was not snapped up in the Mueller probe and forced to wear prison stripes for life still have jobs to do. Granted, they failed miserably at basic Journalism in the runup to the Mueller report, but they still represent their organizations that purportedly report the news. The need for real news has not lessened. And it will not regardless of their personal animus and disdain for the president or for anyone else.

The very nature of news should make it totally objective. News has never been a collection of opinions and hypotheses. The news is a group of facts about events and people that are simply put together and presented to an audience — at least that’s the way it originated and existed for centuries. It is true that 21st media on the most part have taken a different approach, but facts and real news have not and do not change. Facts are just that: facts. And facts are absolute. Otherwise, they would not be facts. It doesn’t matter if a known reporter maintains something they report is factual, unless it is true they are reporting what is simply their opinion on the matter. America’s news media as a whole lost sight of that during the Mueller probe. And Americans are paying the price for it.

For a couple of decades, the media have taken Americans for granted. And they’ve gotten away with doing that. How? Members of the media have borrowed from the very thing that gave their predecessors for decades the honor of deservedly wearing the banner of integrity bestowed upon them by our parents and their parents. Those men and women took great pride in being reporters — people like Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Frank Reynolds, and then Roger Mudd, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, and Peter Jennings, Chris Wallace, Frank Blair, Howard K. Smith, and Tom Brokaw. To most Americans, these became staples of evening wrapups of world occurrences of the day. Seldom did any American question the veracity of what they saw and heard from these media members. Their credibility was impeccable. They made electronic news media the most trusted source for news in United States History. When did it begin to change?

Cable News Television: CNN. Ted Turner with his upstart cable satellite news network created a new industry. It swept journalism through satellite locations around the world. Americans found a new way to get their daily news from an entirely different source from a new breed of reporters. And the quest for ratings took over. From the lobby of the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, CNN changed journalism and in doing so destroyed truth in news.

But no one told America what was happening. It was taken for granted that what we saw and heard via broadcast or satellite  — both radio and television — was just an amped-up version of Walter Cronkite or Peter Jennings. Those new anchors wore their hair longer, sharper clothes and more makeup made them look a little better, but everyone was certain the news was still the news. But the storm was brewing without most of us even smelling what was happening: satellite television opened journalism to a new way of making money — BIG money. Ratings became the force behind everything programmed on cable news. And ratings quickly and quietly began to steer cable stations and the “new” news format: 24/7 instant content that had to “look” better, “be” better, and attract a larger audience. And it worked. But the news suffered. And it still does.

Internet Death

When Al Gore invented the internet, (Ha!) news made another big leap. The hunger and subsequent demand for 24/7 news forced the delivery of non-stop information about anything and everything in human life. Not just Americans, but people on every continent, from every language, every ethnicity, and culture demanded around-the-clock “feeding” every day. It became a really tall order for the stalwarts of information to quell that hunger for news. ABC, CBS, NBC, the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and newspapers from major cities around the Globe found it tougher and tougher to keep up with that demand for news. Competition devoured the industry.

The internet made it much easier to transmit instant news. As technology developed at breakneck speed, the ability to produce network programming in video and audio and put it in the eyes, hands, and ears of people nonstop created intense competition to be first in reporting every tidbit of information. Being first was most important. Being most accurate — which had been the ONLY important thing in news and information for decades — was relegated to Page 2 of the D Section. Being first is all that mattered.

And Journalism died.

We have the internet to thank for that death along with the ravenous cries for instant information. Without access to 24/7 instant everything, there would still be a demand for the news, but that demand would still be required to pierce the prism of absolute truth in every story reported.

But the internet is always open for business. And that prism takes just a little too much time for the instant news cycle. We don’t need to scrub stories for truth anymore. Americans can’t wait! So the “truth” prism got put on the top shelf in the storage closet. Who’ll know, right?

Little did we know through the decade of the 90s that the news industry was gasping for air.  Many of those superstars of honesty and integrity — some of who are listed above — went by way of retirement to a more peaceful place. Some hung on as long as they could. But most had enough of this “new” news and just walked away. It wasn’t the news anymore. It was Internet Soap Opera every day. And pretty much the same day after day.

An Australian billionaire, already a media mogul, decided to create a 24-hour conservative cable news channel. Rupert Murdock birthed FOX News, seeing the need in journalism for “real” news and not just “fake news” that really wasn’t news at all. America found television news that was real news. And just as talk radio devotees had found Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, television news junkies quickly found FOX News and stuck to it like glue.

Real news and real Journalism was given new life. And that created Donald Trump. Trump is the antithesis of everything conventional wisdom dictates a president should be to be successful. But his straightforward way of communicating his blue-collar messages in his Queens crudeness resonated with middle-Americans. And for the first time in a long time, Americans felt there was someone who understood that most of the U.S. lies between coastal states and interior states with a few big cities. And that the people who lived in the fly-over country had been left out of the political process for far too long. Better yet, he made promises – BIG promises. They gave him a shot. He won. And he began to aggressively do everything he promised he would do if Americans gave him their votes.

The Plan

Fast forward to the “Days of the Mueller Probe.” Two years of news pandemonium welcomed Donald Trump to D.C. Every day all day, mainstream media hammered home into the heads and hearts of their followers the evil and corruption of Donald Trump. Never mind none of their allegations came with any evidence. Never mind that Mueller and a team of 19 Democrat attorney loyalists dissected millions of documents, hundreds of testimonies, 500+ subpoenas, and put several people in jail. Never mind that no implications of Donald Trump resulted from any of this even though several people were charged and jailed as a result. None of the dirt uncovered had anything to do with Donald Trump. It truly has proven to be a witch-hunt.

What happens now? Unfortunately for the nation, the same witch-hunt just paged forward to Chapter 2. What has been uncovered is what we here predicted two years ago was actually in all this investigating from the beginning: a coordinated all-out war against Donald Trump spearheaded by the Democrat Party. The war is cycling into Chapter 2 with a vengeance with Trump as the sole target.

Here’s the only difference: the truth has started finding sunlight for the first time since the 2016 campaign that started it all. More and more bad players are being exposed. “Truths” told by Democrat sycophants like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, etc., are being found out.

And the Democrat Party leadership has revealed the nuts and bolts of this Chapter 2: amp Chapter 1 up! The Democrat Party has poured fresh fuel into their attack arm that is ignoring the Mueller Report that for 2 years they universally demanded would implicate Trump, kick him out of the White House, and send him to prison. They threatened any who dared question the veracity of the Mueller investigation. Robert Mueller was the Democrat Party Messiah sent to save Earth from that devil Donald Trump.

Schiff and his House Committee showed on Thursday the nuts and bolts of that plan: keep screaming “Collusion, Obstruction, and Corruption!” They’ve attacked Attorney General Barr’s 4-page summary of the Mueller report, because they were told the report is 300+ pages. That means that “Barr is hiding bad Trump stuff with his 4-page summary.” Their attacks are exactly the same: Speaker Pelosi passes out the talking points, Democrat Party attack dogs — MSNBC, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, and every Democrat in Congress have simply turned up the volume of their attacks against the President.

Summary

What’s their plan? Simple: win the White House in 2020. Increase their House majority and take control of the U.S. Senate. And between now and Election Day 2020, obstruct anything and everything that in their opinion could be a possible victory for Donald Trump.

To my fellow Americans of the Democrat Party, I encourage you to open your eyes to see the truth. If you DON’T listen to us here, if you DON’T listen to other conservative news sources, spend some time in thoughtful consideration of what “FACTS” you discern on your own — by reading, watching, asking questions, and being open to consideration of responses that may not align with your own thoughts and opinions at the time.

”Just because you think something is right doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because you think something is wrong doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”

And, by the way, you might want to go back to last week here at TruthNewsNetwork and read the list of real Trump accomplishments during his first 2 years. Yes, there really ARE many significant, life-changing accomplishments this President led the nation into in 2017 and 2018. You haven’t heard about a single one from mainstream media.

I’ve said this before: I’ve always been a news journalist junkie. I grew up in broadcasting. I loved Paul Harvey. I honored Peter Jennings of ABC Nightly News. Before those two was Walther Cronkite on CBS. They were all brilliant broadcasters. Jennings and Cronkite exceptional news reporters. Neither editorialized the news and they respected members of their audience. And they trusted us, too. You don’t see that in mainstream media today. Why is that? They do NOT trust you or even consider your ability to discern truth. Quite honestly, they don’t want to allow you to think for yourselves. Yes, that sounds quite a bit like a State Media existence. Under Obama, that was already under serious consideration. Today, that concept is being exposed everyday.

And the media that has been weaponized by the Democrat Party are afraid. They have been exposed!

 

 

Mass Hysteria

I am back among the living! Thanks for the prayers and support. While I was recovering, Mueller’s report release set the political world on fire! And it’s just the beginning.

Most Americans felt Mueller’s report would exonerate the President which would get our government back to work. Not so. It just started a new chapter of “Dump Trump.”

Here’s what is quietly happening (and has been for two years): there’s far more to this story than the story itself. We have a two-fold bombshell to drop on you after extensive research, collection of intelligence not yet in the public domain, and conclusions that when all put together explain exactly what is driving this “Dump Trump” movement. 

Apologies for not unfolding it today, but we felt it would be better to present it all both with the written story and with the audio story. Unfortunately, the flu stole my voice 6 days ago and it’s just coming back sufficient to present to you.

Again I thank you for your support and tolerance of my temporary setback. One thing I know: I have now met the “bad” flu and I hope to never say hello to it again!

See you in the AM!

 

The Flu

It got me! Flu came calling  and it ain’t the ”good kind” if there is such. And it showed with ALL of its buddies. Ughhh…

Obviously no article or podcast today. But there are numerous goodies in the pipeline. And we’re all over them. Stay Close!

 

Dan

Jussie: Guilt or Innocence

Sixteen indictments were issued against Jussie Smollett by a Cook County grand jury on Friday, March 8 — felony indictments. Yes, a person is always (under U.S. law) “Innocent until proven Guilty.” And, no, Jussie has NOT been proven guilty. So why have the lines formed of people who are demonstrably declaring his guilt OR declaring his innocence?

I think it’s because it “appears” to be that Smollett attempted to in some way use the system, his ethnicity, his fame along with his sexual preference to sway the court of public opinion for some personal advantage. That in itself if true is sad on many levels. But there’s more to this story and its ramifications that haven’t been but should be discussed.

If allegations against him contained in these sixteen felony indictments are proven in court and he is found guilty, this case will prove to be just one more blight on today’s international media stage. This case so far has been nothing more than a three-ring circus. Wanna guess what specifically is on display in each of the three circus rings?

Jussie Smollett Is Famous: Ring #1

I’ve always heard: fame comes with a price. Maybe Jussie is finding that out firsthand.

He began his career as a child actor in 1987 acting in films including The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner’s North (1994). In 2015, Smollett attracted attention and received a highly positive critical reception for his portrayal of musician Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire (2015). Smollett has also appeared in Ridley Scott’s science fiction film Alien: Covenant (2017) as Ricks and in Marshall (2017) as Langston Hughes.

He doesn’t just act. Smollett signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and would be releasing an album in the future. Smollett co-wrote the songs “I Wanna Love You” and “You’re So Beautiful” on the Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire album, which was released in March 2015. In March 2018, Smollett released his debut album, Sum of My Music.

Of course, his “current” fame stems from his starring role in the Series Empire. It has been alleged that part of this “circus” that has consumed his life of late came from his desire to get more fame and subsequent pay increase for his role in that series. “Alleged” is the magic word — nothing is proven yet.

Jussie Smollett is Gay: Ring #2

Smollett came out as gay during a televised interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015.

In a 2016 interview with Out, he clarified his sexual orientation by stating “If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man.” However, he stated his belief that openness to love is more important than gender, revealing that “If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.” When Smollett’s gay character from Empire engaged in a tryst with a female character, Smollett defended the plot development by stating that he and Empire‘s creator Lee Daniels were trying to create a conversation about sexual fluidity in the gay community. Daniels has stated that while he and Smollett are gay, they both occasionally want to have sex with women. Daniels stated that “We’re showing life on Empire,” in that both he and Smollett were incorporating their own sexual fluidity as gay men into the show.

Smollett told his parents he was gay when he was 19.

Jussie Smollett is African American: Ring #3

Smollett grew-up in Santa Rosa, California, a small city in the Wine Country about 50 miles north of San Francisco. He is the third of six children of Janet (née Harris) and Joel Smollett (1956–2014). He has three brothers and two sisters: Jake, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz, several of whom are also actors.

Smollett is actually biracial. His mother is African-American and his father was Jewish (his family emigrated from Russia and Poland). He has said that his father would have “killed you if you called him white.”

Jussie Smollett is a Professional Entertainer: Ring #4

Yes, I know this is a “three-ring” circus. But in Jussie’s case, his circus has a fourth. Of course, we’ve all seen in past years the never-ending Hollywood circus. I don’t know exactly why, but it seems that folks who breathe Hollywood air and who work in the entertainment field  (acting, directing, music, etc.) have a propensity to concentrate on self-awareness. Jussie is definitely qualified as a member of that group.

Smollett Support from the Rich and Famous

On January 30, 2019, public figures expressed support for Smollett on social media. Entertainment industry figures, including Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis, tweeted their outrage over the attack and support for Smollett. Democratic senators and presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker both described the attack as an attempted modern-day lynching. Booker urged Congress to pass a federal Anti-Lynching bill co-sponsored by him and Harris. Smollett faced skepticism regarding his claim of being attacked; he responded by saying that he believed that, if he had said his attackers were Mexicans, Muslims, or black people, “the doubters would have supported me much more … And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”

Entertainment industry figures who worked with Smollett speculated about what may have motivated the actor to stage the hate crime. Some of the cast members of Empire believe that Smollett might have gotten the idea to stage a hate crime after the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, discussed a homophobic assault against his cousin with the show’s cast. Smollett’s co-stars theorized that the actor might have wanted to gain Daniels’ favor and become an “LGBT hero” by staging the attack. Director Lucian Read drew a connection between the hoax and a May 2018 episode of the Epix series America Divided about lynching which he directed; Smollett narrated and appeared in the episode. Epix also released a statement saying “with respect to the sensitivities around recent events…Epix is no longer making available the episode of America Divided featuring Jussie Smollett.”

What Happened to Jussie?

A recent Billboard Magazine article talked about a widespread lack of awareness about the importance of mental health in the jazz/hop Los Angeles music community. Six up-and-coming artists were invited to discuss how they took care of themselves. Among them was Jussie Smollett, who, in addition to his own fledgling solo musical career, played Jamal Lyon, a singer on the hit Fox series Empire. Smollett stressed the importance of honesty in his own internal struggles. “I admit that I’m jealous, I admit that I’m insecure and that I’m not good at certain things,” he said. Then, in a comment that didn’t get any attention at the time, Smollett suggested that these pressures might be catching up to him. “I’m in my 30s and I’m trying my best to learn that I can’t bend anymore,” he said. “I’m about to break.”

Six months later, he may have done just that.

On Jan. 19, 2019, the actor tweeted, “Depression is a real thing Y’all.” Three days later, a threatening letter targeting Smollett arrived at the Empire production offices in Chicago. And a week after that, the actor told Chicago police that two masked assailants had attacked him in a wealthy Chicago neighborhood as he walked home from a Subway at 2 a.m. while he was on the phone with his music manager, Brandon Z. Moore. Because Smollett, who is black and openly gay, identified his attackers as white males who shouted “This is MAGA country” and claimed they hung a noose around his neck, his case was immediately held up as an example of the growing problem of hate crimes in the Trump era. In Hollywood, where the alleged attack played perfectly into the community’s worst fears about prejudice, support for Smollett was strident. Robin Roberts interviewed him sympathetically on Good Morning America. Ellen Page called out the Trump administration for the incident on Colbert.

Synopsis

There are no doctors here at TruthNewsNetwork (TNN). There’s no way for us to draw any meaningful and educated decisions about what has been going on with Smollett and what could lead him down the path on which he finds himself. One would think he has some personal issues that fed this narrative. One can only speculate about what they are. And speculation ran amuck in the early days following the report of the “alleged” hate crime. Speculation like we see and hear in this NBC News report:

I doubt anyone will ever be able to provide an accurate “why” answer for Jussie’s creation of this alleged crime. Certainly, many factors contributed: disdain for President Trump, struggling with mental and professional pressure he felt, whether real or perceived job stress and personal insecurities. Honestly, most every American deals with those issues in their life at some point. And thankfully, most Americans do not find themselves where Smollett is today: career destroyed, dozens if not hundreds of friendships ended because of betrayal, disdain more than ever for being gay, and nowhere to turn for a peaceful way out of this dilemma.

It is a good thing that most Americans have the resources that come through family members, friends, business associates, and medical professionals necessary to successfully work through the issues that apparently drove Smollett to this point in his life. In Jussie’s case, however, it seems that all the things and circumstances that gave him the fame and fortune in which he found himself are actually major contributors — if not THE contributors — to the state of mind that created the Hate-Hoax scenario surrounding Jussie.

We have been accused of being too hard on the media at TruthNewsNetwork. And sometimes, maybe we are. But in this century and in this decade, everyone needs to understand the power of media communication. And those in media of every kind need to understand that with that power comes responsibility.

Jussie himself railed loudly and constantly against President Trump. I doubt Smollett stopped to consider the power of HIS words, of HIS political stances given in public that even though were his opinions, in most instances were swallowed by his followers as factual. Why is that? His fame and his universal support by those in his industry: Entertainment. Unfortunately, success in the U.S. entertainment industry resonates to many who watch and listen-in as integrity, honesty, and they give those stories total acceptance.

Maybe Jussie just flipped out; maybe he really believes the extent of American racism he expressed; maybe he really believes President Trump is a racist, an Islamophobe, and homophobe. If that is true, we could more easily understand his acting on those beliefs in the manner in which he did.

But one thing is certain: the American media fawn over those in Entertainment from Hollywood and Manhattan and elsewhere in the U.S. And it seems to be the same thing in American politics and even professional sports. Heretofore those in the media have rejected any calls for responsibility on their part. In a way, they are justified in doing so. Their reasoning? The media in part are the driving sources for the monumental adoration of Americans for all those in the movies, music, and professional sports. Without their news coverage, they maintain, stars in sports and entertainment would not have anything close to the adoration of adoring fans that they experience. For that, the media have forsaken any responsibility for any Jussie Smollet stories or any others. And there are many.

I’ll close today with a personal story to help explain what, why, and how Jussie Smollett happened. In 2006, I owned a professional arena football team. The availability of a really good quarterback was made known to me by an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Quincy Carter became available when the Cowboys released him and no other NFL team picked him up. “If he was so good, why did the Cowboys cut him and why did no other NFL team sign him?” I was asked. There’s a reason…or two. Believe me.

Quincy grew up in Georgia. He was a stellar athlete who was pampered because of his outstanding athletic abilities from a very young age. He excelled in football in middle school. He picked apart the defenses of high school football opponents. He rocked the Southeastern Conference playing for the University of Georgia. And he was the first quarterback to take the Dallas Cowboys to the NFL playoffs since Troy Aikman. But Quincy had some issues.

Few knew that he was the victim of Bipolar Disorder. He had dramatic mood swings that were uncontrollable and unavoidable. When diagnosed, the prescribed medication worked well at helping to control his wild swings in temperament and concentration. But he hated taking the medicine. It left him feeling funny. He tried marijuana, and marijuana worked. Quincy while at the University of Georgia began self-medicating with marijuana.

Marijuana was not acceptable, not only in the National Football League but in the Arena Football League as well. Quincy’s professional football career was over in the NFL — unless we could change things. We were called to see if we could work with him in the AFL and get him back to doing the right things medically. We agreed, but with conditions: Quincy had to agree to drug treatment prior to our 2006 season and throughout our season, he had to speak to a chosen (by our team doctors) drug counselor every day — either in person or via telephone when the team was traveling. It went well — at first.

Quincy was a quarterback phenomenon. He comfortably made the transition from outdoor football to indoor and the field half the size as that of an outdoor field. He easily won our starting QB job in training camp. We started our season 5-0, primarily because of Quincy. He was benched for game 6 for “team infractions.” We lost. And then Quincy came back with his head straight and led us to the Conference Championship game against our arch rival, only to lose on a freak play.

During that season, we saw firsthand why the Jussie Smollett’s and Quincy Carter’s and other in similar shoes fought different demons from most of the rest of us. Quincy was a god in Texas. We played against 5 Texas teams in our division. Everytime we played in one of those Texas team stadiums, they sold out. THEIR fans came to the games wearing Quincy Carter Dallas Cowboy jerseys, not those of their home team. And after games, Quincy was flooded with fans getting his autograph and a picture with him. Media interviews had to be closely monitored and scheduled. All through our league, conversations about Quincy were top of the news all season long.

The week after we lost that conference championship game, Quincy was arrested for DWI: marijuana.

We cannot blame that on the media. We cannot blame that on rampant fan support. We cannot blame that on Quincy’s upbringing in Georgia. We cannot even blame that on marijuana. But each one of those “things” in Quincy’s life was a huge contributing factor in the fall of Quincy Carter.

Jussie Smollett just like all of us has a bunch of “stuff” in his closet. Some of it Jussie’s friends and family members know about. There are probably other things Jussie keeps in that closet and with the closet door closed.

So what should Quincy have done about those things? What about Jussie? What about you and me? I’m fairly certain there’s no absolute answer to those questions. But one answer that I DO know for certain: doing NOTHING about them is NEVER the right answer.

So next time we see or hear about the failure of a movie or television star, a college or professional basketball, baseball, football, soccer, or golf star that has failed, let’s think through these and other possible factors that usually together put that person in the position in their life where that failure happened. And while we’re trying to understand, remember this: “But for the grace of God, that could be me.”

 

 

 

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Is It “Socialism” or “Democratic Socialism?”

In 2016, it was Bernie. But after the 2018 midterm election primaries, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) took over Bernie’s mantle of Socialism. And ramping up to 2020, the dozen or so declared Democrat Party presidential candidates are running over each other, each crying for the World to hear, “I’m the bigger Socialist…I’m the biggest Socialist!” 

It’s a bit spooky that the “next” generation of Americans are getting so chummy with Socialism. The reason for the far-too-common use of the term is simple: today’s educators have wrapped their classroom agendas in a cloak of Socialism. And Democrat presidential candidates have done so too with their campaigns. They talk about it like it has brought Nirvana to the countries who have embraced it, and they use that to demonize Capitalism. Educators nor politicians discuss the horrors of Socialism in Germany, China, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and nations who long ago disappeared because Socialism always implodes. All they share with our next generation is this: “Socialism is a political environment in which everyone is guaranteed by the government that all their fundamental needs are going to be met — no matter what.” I’ve not heard of any of these Socialists in their speeches espousing the grandeurs of Socialism even mention that it has never worked in any country on Earth. It seems that would be a pretty important fact to mention, don’t you?

Let’s be honest: who doesn’t like the idea of someone taking care of all our needs and wants? It’s a warm and fuzzy thought — at least initially. Remember when we were kids? We worried only about “important” things, like recess, and a new bicycle. “Where’s my catcher’s mitt?” was about the most serious thing we had to deal with. Fighting with a brother or sister over control of the tv remote finished a close second. We did all that while Dad worked, Mom cooked and cleaned and carpooled, and everyone and everything was peachy. The 60s and 70s families were the U.S. Socialism models that worked — at least that’s what pundits point to today.

What’s so spooky about it is that this utopian promise is based on totally false information. These Socialists and economic elitists are filling the heads and hearts of the next generation of Americans with untruths. And our kids and many adults are swallowing that propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

When asked about the history of the universal failure of Socialist nations, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is quick to correct that question: “What we need is not the old Socialism. What we need and must have in the U.S. is Democratic Socialism,” says AOC.

So let’s today compare Socialism with Democratic Socialism. We’ll then consider Capitalism and contrast and compare how each has succeeded or failed.

Socialism

Exactly what is Socialism? Webster defines it these two ways:

1.  Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy. (It requires termination of Capitalism)

2.  The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

Socialism is almost totally a political system, which does claim to magically solve all problems even though a socialist concept is what creates the problems that result in its inevitable failure. The Soviet Union is a good example. The claim for establishing the socialist Soviet Union was to solve the disparity between rich and poor and assure that everyone will have at least a minimum good life. (“Hey Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: does that sound familiar?”) The reality is, Socialism Soviet-style resulted in making everyone extremely poor and destitute, including people who were not poor before it was instituted.

Democratic Socialism

As compared with “Normal” Socialism, Democratic Socialism means that this political reality—the abolition of capitalism—will be achieved and administered through democratic, as opposed to authoritarian, means.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) website explains: “Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.”

AOC defines Democratic Socialism this way: “So when millennials talk about concepts like Democratic Socialism, we’re not talking about these kinds of ‘Red Scare’ boogeyman,” she said. “We’re talking about countries and systems that already exist that have already been proven to be successful in the modern world.”

Ocasio-Cortez has likened her view of Democratic Socialism to Scandinavian Social Democracy. The congresswoman’s progressive platform consists of a single-payer health care system that covers all forms of health care.

“We’re talking about single-payer health care that has already been successful in many different models, from Finland to Canada to the UK,” she said.

She also believes in tuition-free public colleges and universities. Her platform includes guaranteeing Americans a living wage that maintains “basic levels of dignity so that no person in America is too poor to live,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That’s what democratic socialism means in 2019, and not this kind of McCarthyism Red Scare of a past era.”

Capitalism

“An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.”

Capitalism has always been the home of true entrepreneurship, encouraging through free market trade the initiative for people to create and develop new technology and continual innovation for improvement and invention. Those who take advantage of the capitalistic environment receive rewards tied directly to their efforts. 

The greatest drawback of Capitalism is corruption that results in individuals and groups from both private and government sectors taking advantage of capitalistic opportunities to garner power and wealth: sometimes illegally and sometimes skirting the law but doing so unethically.

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

  1. The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
  2. The fifth would pay $1.
  3. The sixth would pay $3.
  4. The seventh would pay $7.
  5. The eighth would pay $12.
  6. The ninth would pay $18.
  7. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.” Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. The first four men were unaffected: they would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay:

  1. The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
  2. The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
  3. The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
  4. The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
  5. The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
  6. The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings:

  1. “I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $10!”
  2. “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”
  3. “That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
  4. “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important: they didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

Summary

Socialism, whether called simply that or with the word “Democratic” in the front, is nothing new. And there have been those who have tried and tried to get Americans to take more than just a passing glimpse at Socialism to try here. Very smart men and women have spurned the idea for a couple of centuries. They have stood on America’s shores and watched Socialism destroy cultures and societies all around the World. One of them was Ronald Reagan and long before he became President. A half-century ago, “The Gipper” had this to say about Socialism:

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system AND Socialism works. The people who pay the highest taxes today or do the most effort and provide the greatest amount of work in Socialism don’t get any extra benefit from what they bring “to the table.” Like the guys who met for drinks in the bar night after night — especially the guy who made the most money. Tax him too much, attack him for being wealthy, take from him the extra he put into the system, and he just may not show up anymore. In fact, he might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier!

One of our forefathers was asked once why Socialism never lasts anywhere. When does Socialism die? His answer: “It happens every time the country spends all of the ‘other’ guy’s money and there’s none of the ‘other’ guy’s money left.”

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Civil War: About Race or Something Else?

We are inundated in today’s U.S. about the racial divide that has existed for several hundred years. It is amazing to me that with our living in the greatest country in world history, arguably the most innovative technology in existence (with the exception of maybe China), and without question the best economy on Earth today, we do NOT tackle the problems that go hand in hand with racial divide and racism to finally put this puppy to bed. The most frustrating part of that? “IF” we honestly did address the issues from all sides, Americans could resolve ALL of those differences. But we don’t — and we never have.

Just so you remember, here are a few notes about the Civil War:

The war began when the Confederates bombarded Union soldiers at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861.  The war ended in Spring, 1865.  Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.  The last battle was fought at Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865.

At the beginning of the war, the Northern states had a combined population of 22 million people. The Southern states had a combined population of about 9 million. This disparity was reflected in the size of the armies in the field. The Union forces outnumbered the Confederates roughly two to one. The “North,” or Union forces, numbered approximately 2.1 million while the “South,” or Confederate forces, numbered approximately  1.08 million.

Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. This number comes from an 1889 study of the war performed by William F. Fox and Thomas Leonard Livermore. Both men fought for the Union. Their estimate is derived from an exhaustive study of the combat and casualty records generated by the armies over five years of fighting.  A recent study puts the number of dead as high as 850,000.

620,000 soldiers died in the Civil War. 644,000 Americans died in all OTHER wars combined. It wasn’t until Vietnam American military war death total numbers passed those lost solely in the Civil War. Needless to say, it was a horror to this nation then and still is. And many Americans still struggle with its aftermath. Those struggles stretch across the entire landscape of the United States and touch every sector of our lives.

The War impacted every American and even those who lived here without citizenship.  With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, African-Americans – both free and runaway slaves – came forward to volunteer for the Union cause in substantial numbers. Beginning in October, approximately 180,000 African-Americans, comprising 163 units, served in the U.S. Army, and 18,000 in the Navy. That month, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers repulsed a Confederate attack at Island Mound, Missouri. Men of the U.S.C.T. (United States Colored Troops) units went on to distinguish themselves on battlefields east and west – at Port Hudson, Louisiana; Honey Springs, Oklahoma; Fort Wagner, South Carolina; New Market Heights, Virginia. African Americans constituted 10% of the entire Union Army by the end of the war, and nearly 40,000 died over the course of the war.

Slaves and free blacks were present in the Confederate lines as hand servants and manual laborers. On March 13, 1865, the Confederate Congress passed a law to allow black men to serve in combat roles, with the provision “that nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which said slaves shall bear toward their owners,” i.e. that black soldiers would still be slaves. On March 14, 1865, the Confederate military issued General Orders No. 14, which provided for the raising of black combat regiments, but there is no official military documentation that indicates these orders were carried out or that any black soldiers were ever properly enlisted in the Confederate army. There are a few photographs of blacks in Confederate uniforms, but these appear to be hoaxes.

So What Started “The War Between the States?”

While many still debate the ultimate causes of the Civil War, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson writes that “The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won the election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.”

The burning issue that led to the disruption of the union was the debate over the future of slavery. That dispute led to secession, and secession brought about a war in which the Northern and Western states and territories fought to preserve the Union, and the South fought to establish Southern independence as a new confederation of states under its own constitution.

The agricultural South utilized slaves to tend to its large plantations and perform other duties. On the eve of the Civil War, some 4 million Africans and their descendants toiled as slave laborers in the South. Slavery was interwoven into the Southern economy even though only a relatively small portion of the population actually owned slaves. Slaves could be rented or traded or sold to pay debts. Ownership of more than a handful of slaves bestowed respect and contributed to social position, and slaves, as the property of individuals and businesses, represented the largest portion of the region’s personal and corporate wealth, as cotton and land prices declined and the price of slaves soared.

The states of the North, meanwhile, one by one had gradually abolished slavery. A steady flow of immigrants, especially from Ireland and Germany during the potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s, insured the North a ready pool of laborers, many of whom could be hired at low wages, diminishing the need to cling to the institution of slavery.

States quickly jumped into the fray as well, but not so much about slavery. Seldom discussed in Civil War conversations are the “State issues” of the day. State issues arose from State rights as compared to those of the federal government. Remember: many American settlers fled from Europe less than a century before. They fled to America in large part to get out from under the heavy hand of a government that controlled just about every aspect of their lives. The framers of the Constitution made it clear with the First Ten Amendments — known better as “The Bill of Rights” — that the ONLY rights held by the federal government were those that were specifically given to them by the States. Jefferson and Company were petrified that any United States federal government would as quickly as possible seize control of Americans throughout the New World. They were committed to prevent that from happening. Many leaders in that evolving nation feared the power that the centralized government in the U.S. was spreading itself into. Their fear of a too powerful federal government was a large contributing factor to the Civil War. The southern States were impacted in greater fashion because of slavery.

But were these concerns driven by disdain or hatred for Africans? Was the racial divide that is so powerful today in America a force in the attack on Fort Sumter? And was that racial chasm initiated by hatred for diversity, ethnic origin, religion, and skin color?

To the editorial staff of TruthNewsNetwork, honestly ALL of the above contributed to the deadliest war in U.S. history. Just imagine how much more devastation Americans would have sustained if the armies of the Union and Confederacy had access to weapons as do our current military members!

The “Rest of the Story”

Throughout human history whenever two countries or two factions within a country or MULTIPLE factions determine their differences substantiate going to war, seldom does this happen with just one specific initiating factor. Certainly, slavery was a HUGE factor in the Civil War. Historians have on the most part ignored this in discussions about the reason or reasons for the Civil War — until the 1990s. Then things changed a bit.

One major universal factor in historical wars was almost always economics. Let’s face it: dollars and cents or money in some other form are the energy that drives the growth of all nations in many different ways. The economy in the United States in the run-up to the Civil War was in transition. But until the 1990s, historians pretty much ignored the role that American economics might have played in starting the Civil War. The efforts to explain economic growth and the timing of the United States’ “take-off” into industrialization in the decades leading up to the 1860s, together with extensive research into the “economics” of the slave system of the South and the impact of emancipation, brought economic questions dealing with the Civil War to the front of the line in “causes of the War” discussions.

No one seriously doubts that the enormous economic stake the South had in its slave labor force was a major factor in the disputes that erupted in the middle of the nineteenth century. Remember this: northern states were NOT exempt from slavery. They sooner than southern states took action to move away from slavery, but slavery was not new to those settlers. Slaves and slavery made a huge impact on Americans socially AND economically. And “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Throughout World history, many wars have been fought and millions have died in the name of $$$$.

Historians in the early 1990s took the cue and launched into an analysis of the economic impact of slavery in the South. Here are some of their findings:

  • In 1805 there were just over one million slaves worth about $300 million; fifty-five years later there were four million slaves worth close to $3 billion. In the 11 states that eventually formed the Confederacy, four out of ten people were slaves in 1860, and these people accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states.
  • In the cotton regions, the importance of slave labor was even greater. The value of capital invested in slaves roughly equaled the total value of all farmland and farm buildings in the South. Though the value of slaves fluctuated from year to year, there was no prolonged period during which the value of the slaves owned in the United States did not increase markedly.
  • It is hardly surprising that Southern slaveowners in 1860 were optimistic about the economic future of their region. They were, after all, in the middle of an unparalleled rise in the value of their slave assets.
  • A historical economist named Gerald Gunderson unearthed some amazing facts regarding the economics of slavery in the South. In the seven states where most of the cotton was grown, almost one-half the population were slaves, and they accounted for 31 percent of white people’s income; for all 11 Confederate States, slaves represented 38 percent of the population and contributed 23 percent of whites’ income. That explained why Southerners — even those who did not own slaves — viewed any attempt by the federal government to limit the rights of slaveowners over their property as a potentially catastrophic threat to their entire economic system.
  • “Cotton is King” was heard all over the South, but also in the Northern States. The economic impact of cotton exploded in every sector of the U.S. The export of cotton exploded. By the 1850s the large majority of cotton produced in America was shipped to and sold in Great Britain and Europe. The Northern States benefited greatly as cotton drove the economic opportunities in the textile industry and other sectors in the Industrial Revolution. Slaves in the South primarily planted, developed, and harvested cotton that northern textile mills turned much of it into cotton products. The remainder primarily went to Great Brittain or Europe.
  • With so much to lose on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, economic logic suggests that a peaceful solution to the slave issue would have made far more sense than a bloody war. Yet no solution emerged.

Summary

There is no doubt that slavery was the match that lit the fire that consumed the lives of 600,000+ in the Civil War. But was racial animus the cause? Critical thinkers disagree. (Of course they do! They disagree on everything) Those “experts” are actually split right down the middle on that issue. But one thing is certain: money played a significant role. Don’t get me wrong: race did too. But it is time to take a step back and analyze the total story from every side. If one does so, finding that economic factors and the way they played in the U.S. during this piece of the Industrial Revolution probably played an equal role in the Civil War as did slavery. How so?

Southerners did not want to give up their revenue generating platform! Abrahan Lincoln and Republicans were NOT against the wonderful economic achievements directly and indirectly derived from the cotton industry. They were opposed to the ownership of humans by other humans. And, quite honestly, slavery has been the principal contributor to the racial fires that still to this day burn brightly in America.

Is there a way to a resolution on these disagreements?

The discussions of reparations keep coming up again and again and are once again on the minds of Americans, thanks to Democrat 2020 presidential candidates already on the campaign trail. Whether or not reparations are “owed,” are necessary, or even workable is a hypothetical conversation we will NOT undertake at TruthNewsNetwork. It’s tough enough to analyze factual data to reach factual conclusions. Without that data, a reparations conversation is nothing more than more fuel to this raging fire of racial tension and divide.

Unfortunately, the political agenda has for 150+ years kept racism around as a convenient tool to use whenever politically appropriate. Doing so is a blight on the political landscape of the U.S. But human nature has always prevailed in this depraved pursuit of a division.

And it’s intentional. Sadly, there are those who surreptitiously find ways to insert racial animus in every political conversation. Their objective for doing so? Division. One would think that after so many years of watching the cyclical rise and fall public outcry against racial issues, America’s political leaders would diligently determine to finally smoke the “peace pipe” of unity and find an effective process to bring Americans back together. Obviously, that has NOT happened. And sadly, I cannot see that happening in the current political atmosphere.

But there’s hope: hope in the fact that this nation is really “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The critical word of that sentence is “all.”

Who can be the tie that binds? Who can tamp down the massive fires of racism that burn ever so brightly from the West to the East?

I have no idea who that might be. But what I know for absolute certainty is that God opened the door to this nation, has led through a couple of centuries groups of people in leadership in the right direction for the people of the United States, and that He will continue moving us down that path. We’ve made mistakes. But getting and giving forgiveness for those mistakes and making route adjustments is what being human beings that interact with each other is all about.

We’ll get there. Boy, I hope it will happen in my lifetime!

Here’s one factor that will play heavily into the timing of total racial reconciliation in America: when we EACH are willing to say to each other, “Just because I think something is right doesn’t automatically make it right. And just because I think something is wrong doesn’t automatically make it wrong.”

You’ve heard that multiple times in our stories. That is a principle that honest Americans must grasp before we will ever achieve racial unity.

I’m positive: I’m certain we can do it!

“Anything worth having is worth hurting for.”

If hurting is necessary for racial harmony, I think Americans have hurt just about enough now!

Let’s take a hint from Larry the Cable Guy, and “Get ‘er Done!”

 

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“Hate-Hoaxing”

”It’s new…it’s exciting…and it’s coming soon to your neighborhood!” I thought this being the most innovative country in world history meant we had either invented or discovered everything there possibly was to invent or discover: until now. Actor Jussie Mollett just proved me wrong. He added one to the record book: “Hate-Hoaxing.” I don’t know if Jussie invented or discovered it. But what I DO know is that he at least put it on the front page of every newspaper, lead story of every newscast, and slug line of every internet news site. He gave it a life of its own.

Mollett’s Hoax

The perplexing story as it has come together regarding the black, gay television star in Chicago illustrates just how dividing the racial and sexual animus is in the U.S. And the finger pointing and blame game have been running amuck.

Why all of a sudden do we have people unable to study while black, unable to mow a lawn while black, unable to have a picnic while black and being attacked?” wondered Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. She answered her own question: “It’s coming from the president of the United States.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said: “When one of the most famous black and gay men in America is not safe, the message is clearer than it has ever been. The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is (sic) killing & hurting our people.”

The same day that this scenario unfolded, GQ magazine published their writer Joshua Rivera’s rant on “the blind rage of late-stage whiteness” beneath this headline: “The Racist, Homophobic Attack on Jussie Smollett Is Far-Right America’s Endgame.”

Rivera complained that police called this a “possible hate crime.” He moaned: “The cautious wording is one last wound inflicted on Smollett’s battered body, careful hedging of bets that don’t need hedging – a crime scene involving a corpse is not discussed aspossible death.’”

Actress Alyssa Milano took her usual position on such occurrences tweeting: “The red MAGA hat is the new white hood,” she wrote on Twitter. “Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.” #FirstThoughtsWhenIWakeUp.

I have news for Alyssa Milano, Maxine Waters, Rashida Tlaib, and Mr. Rivera: this entire debacle WAS AND IS A HATE CRIME! But Oh the irony! Smollett was NOT the victim — he was the “HateHoaxer.” The victims were President Trump and all who consider themselves conservative.

Smollett Thursday morning was in police custody, awaiting charges regarding the reported attack committed by two men against the actor in Chicago.

Smollett’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson stated, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

The first travesty of this event is that with Chicago’s staggering crimes — especially those of assault and even murders — several dozen officers were taken away from their normal jobs of investigating those crimes to around-the-clock investigating the reported hate crime against Smollett. Smollett will certainly be forced to pay those “hard” costs sustained by the police. But will we ever know the REAL cost paid by Chicago residents who were not able to receive police protection because of the Smollett investigation? Few if any media reports will reference those.

The second travesty is the creation of a “new” divisive classification that the obvious charade perpetrated by Smollett birthed: “HateHoaxing.” It’s happened before — just not often enough to get its own name. But the uproar among those who have made themselves (or have been made by others) arbiters of identifying and calling-out sex and/or racial criminal acts have a new class of discriminated-against Americans to which to lend their undying support: those victimized by “HateHoaxers.” The problem, in this case, is that the darling of the Left — Jussie Smollett — is NOT the victim of this incident. Jussie is the “HateHoaxer.”

Shrinks will have a heyday with this. Why? We now have a new class of disadvantaged and discriminated-against Americans who will need psychological assistance in overcoming the trauma they sustain from being targets of “Hate-Hoaxing.” It’s been around for a while. But the desperation on the part of leftists to rid themselves of Donald Trump has taken “Hate-Hoaxing” to new heights. And it’s NOT exclusive to this matter starring Jussie Smollett. I could take a huge chunk of your day by listing dozens of examples of other such attacks on President Trump from people from every walk of life. The videos of some of those hoaxes are mind-boggling.

There are many traps being created not by these hoaxes, but by the mindset that allows them to even happen. Can you imagine what thought process Smollett went through to put this  plan in place? (And he wasn’t very smart with his methodology) Let’s bullet point them:

  1. Police said Smollett was walking home from a Subway restaurant, in the 300 block of E. Lower North Water Street, around 2 a.m. on January 29th when two offenders yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. According to Smollett, they beat him, put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, yelled homophobic slurs at him and cried “This is MAGA country!”
  2. Have you ever been to Chicago on a January 29th? I have. It’s cold! That day at that time, the REAL temperature was 1 degree — windchill was -11 degrees. To make it more unbelievable is that address is 1 block from Lake Michigan! The windchill in that part of Chicago would have been at least -25 degrees at that time.
  3. After attacking him, the men shouted “This is MAGA country!” Hmmm…..Chicago voters gave Trump a scant 12% of their votes in 2016. I doubt there are ANY black guys in Chicago that consider the Windy City “MAGA Country.”
  4. Two black attackers. When I’m in Chicago, I stay at a hotel just 1 block from Lower North Water Street. Seldom have I been outside at 2 a.m. — especially not with below freezing temperatures — but I assure you, two black guys roaming downtown at that time in those conditions is sketchy at best.
  5. Jussie wrote a $3500 check to pay them for the setup attack. WROTE A CHECK! I don’t know Jussie or how intelligent he is. He does well in his series Empire, so I assume he is intelligent. Writing a check — a very traceable check — for a setup hoax was NOT intelligent.

The Sting

I kept waiting as the Smollett story developed over 10 days for Robert Redford to show up to perpetrate “The Sting,” just like he did in the blockbuster movie of the same name. But the Smollett actions and attempted coverup were NOT a sting. The big sting in this all was the extreme outcry about what would have been an amazingly atrocious homophobic, racist attack against a well-known entertainer who lives in two minority groups. But such a story was a blockbuster for the Mainstream Media in America and their fawning California, New York, and Washington leftist minions. And they did not disappoint.

The New York Times story headline January 29th just after the “alleged” attack: Jussie Smollett, Star of ‘Empire,’ Attacked in What Police Call a Possible Hate Crime.

Writer after writer, television commentator after commentator, talk show hosts almost without number, blasted the President of the United States because two of his reported backers did this to a homosexual black man.

The sting is that the Left — not the media, not Democrats, not Hollywood, but ALL of those on the Left — showed their colors in the Trump attacks. And in doing so, we discovered something: America’s “slip is showing.”

Summary

America’s “slip” is really its under-belly. It’s something that we most often hide: we’re ashamed of it. Remember when months ago we made this statement? “Most of the time, someone who shouts loudly that someone is doing something horrible, is actually doing that very same horrible thing they are accusing the other person of doing. By shouting, they’re simply trying to cover up what THEY are doing.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all those who have been attacking Donald Trump and his followers for instigating this attack on Smollett are racist homophobes. But what it DOES show is that they are all consumed by Identity Politics! We’ve been pointing out for a couple of years now each time the hypocrisy of Identity Politics shows its ugly face to the nation and the World. This latest escapade is literally “The Grand Reveal.” And they don’t like it.

Honestly, it’s a shame that politics even enter stories like this. Why? Because politics has nothing to do with the actual circumstances. Human Nature fueled this story. As it turns out, the two men caught up in this by Smollett told Chicago police that Smollett created this (along with the hate letter he sent to himself but swore it was from a Trump supporter) because he wanted to get Fox Entertainment to pay him more! (The “love of money is the root of all evil.”)

But it doesn’t stop there. Millions of Americans — including the previous president — refuse to accept any of the positives the U.S. has experienced from actions taken by the Trump Administration. They cannot believe that the economic and social values espoused by this President could EVER accomplish any good in the World. Fundamental economic measures like lowering taxes, piling on tariffs to level the trade imbalance in favor of the U.S., attracting companies to expand, hire more people, repatriate billions of dollars being held in foreign companies, drawing a REAL redline in front of America’s foreign foes that they feel is meaningful and not like Obama’s red line in Syria, renegotiating Bill Clinton’s atrocious NAFTA trade deal with Mexico that prompted the abandonment of the U.S.(along with several million jobs in the auto industry) that reappeared in Mexico. All of these changes and more have been the direct result of the “orange-haired, loud, narcissistic billionaire from Queens. AND THE LEFT CANNOT STAND IT! Furthermore, they will NEVER accept it.

But just because they don’t accept it doesn’t mean it’s not real. In rejection of President Trump, they have shown their loss of the grasp of the reality that 60+ million Americans saw even before the 2016 election!

Smollett now faces both state and federal felony charges, probably has lost his starring role in the series Empire, has shown everyone that he is not only a liar but probably has far-reaching psychological damage that means he needs professional mental treatment. All of that when all he wanted was a pay raise!

Do you know what that really is? “Symbolism over Substance.” Identity Politics is covered with it. And those who have picked up the mantle of Identity Politics now proudly show their membership cards, assuming their being in that club means they are something much more than who they really are. So to stay in line and keep their facade in place, they symbolically say exactly what Symbolism demands, simply (and gladly) ignoring the Substance of their fault.

And you know who suffers through all this? The REAL victims out there whose attacks sustained at the hands of REAL racists and homophobes get ignored, covered up, or just forgotten. Their tragedies are lost in the breathless 24/7 news and entertainment world that those in Hollywood, New York, and Washington D.C. call “Reality.” All it is is a sad shadow across the calendar marked “The Trump Era.”

I bet historians will have a much different and more positive summary than that of these elitists. And many members of the “Identity Politics Club” will shake their heads in shame, knowing they were foolish enough to fall for “Jussie’s Attack.”

Here’s the real travesty from the mouth of the Superintendent of Police in Chicago — Ed Robinson:

(click on this hyperlink)

Smollett Presser

 

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If They Said So, It Must be So

We watch it all the time: a news story quotes “unnamed sources” that claim that the President “might” be a Russian agent. Never mind McCabe is a proven liar. Never mind he is personally under investigation awaiting certain prosecution for committing at least one felony, never mind he is alleging major wrong against a sitting president. Never mind that McCabe and his fired mentor James Comey used that “might be a Russian agent” as a basis to begin the FBI probe of Trump that morphed into the Mueller probe. All that matters is they “think” there “might be” evidence that proves that. Those allegations, or “suspicions” — not “evidence” — were used to get the FISA court to authorize electronic surveillance of the Trump Organization. Providing “fake” and unproven evidence in a FISA application is a felony!

Then there’s this: a Supreme Court nominee was accused by a woman of sexual assault at a party 30 years ago that caused her irreparable harm and psychological damage while proving the nominee unfit to serve. None of the witnesses she stated would testify on her behalf to prove those allegations would do so. No evidence….no witnesses….her testimony nearly destroyed the life of a now seated United States Supreme Court Justice.

Both of these are examples of exactly what Americans face daily in the instant 24/7 news environment in which we live. And the questions that arise from such stories seem to be unending: Who do we believe? Were the allegations true? If not all, which ones are true and which are false? And almost every time we face such questions, we must make a decision to believe or disbelieve all or portions of what we hear.

But if we cannot be certain about elements of these and other stories, how can we make good, logical and informed decisions? And such decisions are often monumental! Decisions of this magnitude can determine outcomes of national elections, who the President of the United States is, our Governors, Mayors, U.S. Senators, and Congressmen. We MUST get it right.

Unfortunately for Americans, we have no legal requirements that force absolute and accurate information from these national news sources, or from any one individual or group. The First Amendment “absolutely” protects all individuals, corporations, and groups from liabilities associated with disseminating incorrect information. And it seems that the legal protection mentioned here encompasses EVERYTHING and that there is NO requirement for the truth and NO penalty for untruth.

Wait a minute: there are libel laws, right? There certainly are. But, obviously, they are on the most part ineffective — so much so that most of such laws that have actual “teeth” in them are at the state level. And protection under the First Amendment gives illegitimate individuals and organizations a “free pass” for lying most of the time. One would think defamation could best be handled in a uniform and universal way at the federal level so that truthfulness would be a news and information requirement with stiff penalties for NOT being as portrayed. Alas, legal precedence regarding existing laws does NOT favor the truth.

So let’s get some legislation passed that puts teeth into forcing truthfulness from our media! Oops…the First Amendment. Stories like this one are out there aplenty:

“In the latest in a long line of attacks on freedom of the press, President Trump has once again threatened today to change libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations, publishers, and others after the publication of an unflattering book. “We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Trump said.

Fortunately, there are two strong obstacles standing in his way. Chief among them is the First Amendment, which clearly protects freedom of the press. But the other main barrier is the inconvenient fact that there is no federal libel law for President Trump to bully Congress to change. Libel cases are based on state laws, which neither the president nor Congress has control over because of our nation’s federalist system.”

We’ll give you some specific thoughts on all this. But first, let’s take a quick look at the “legal” history of defamation, how we got to where we are, and what defamation regarding truthfulness really is today.

History of Defamation Laws

The origins of the United States’ defamation laws pre-date the American Revolution; one influential case in 1734 involved John Peter Zenger and established a precedent that “The Truth” is an absolute defense against charges of libel. (Previous English defamation law had not provided this guarantee.) Though the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect freedom of the press, for most of the history of the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to use it to rule on libel cases. This left libel laws, based upon the traditional “Common Law” of defamation inherited from the English legal system, mixed across the states.

The 1964 case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, however, radically changed the nature of libel law in the United States by establishing that public officials could win a suit for libel only when they could prove the media outlet in question knew either that the information was wholly and patently false or that it was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” Later Supreme Court cases barred strict liability for libel and forbade libel claims for statements that are so ridiculous as to be patently false. Recent cases have added precedent on defamation law and the Internet.

The First Amendment guarantees of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press provide defendants in the United States significantly more protection than the countries of the Commonwealth and Europe. Some variation exists among the several states to the extent the state’s legislature has passed statutes or its courts have handed down decisions affecting some elements inherited from the common law. Some states connect what constitutes slander and libel together into the same set of laws.

Criminal libel is rarely prosecuted but exists on the books in many states, and is constitutionally permitted in circumstances essentially identical to those where civil libel liability is constitutional. Defenses to libel that can result in dismissal before trial include the statement being one of opinion rather than fact or being “fair comment and criticism,” though neither of these is absolute on the US constitution. Truth is an absolute defense against defamation in the United States, meaning true statements cannot be defamatory.
Most states recognize that some categories of false statements are considered to be defamatory. People making a defamation claim for these statements do not need to prove that the statement was defamatory.

John Peter Zenger

In one of the most famous cases, New York City publisher John Peter Zenger was imprisoned for 8 months in 1734 for printing attacks on the governor of the colony. Zenger won his case and was acquitted by a jury in 1735 under the counsel of Andrew Hamilton. Governor Morris, a major contributor in the framing of the U.S. Constitution said, “The trial of Zenger in 1735 was the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America.” Zenger’s case also established that libel cases, though they were civil rather than criminal cases, could be heard by a jury, which would have the authority to rule on the allegations and to set the amount of monetary damages awarded.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed specifically to protect freedom of the press. However, for most of the history of the United States, the Supreme Court neglected to use it to rule on libel cases. This left libel laws, based upon the traditional common law of defamation inherited from the English legal system, mixed across the states.

People v. Croswell

The Zenger case did not, however, establish a precedent. In 1804 Harry Croswell lost a libel suit in People v. Croswell when the Supreme Court of New York refused to accept truth as a defense. The following year the New York State Legislature changed the law to allow truth as a defense against a libel charge, breaking with English precedent under which the truthfulness of the statements alone is not a defense. Other states and the federal government followed suit.

New York Times v. Sullivan

In 1964, however, the court issued an opinion in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan dramatically changing the nature of libel law in the United States. In that case, the court determined that public officials could win a suit for libel only if they could demonstrate “actual malice” on the part of reporters or publishers. In that case, “actual malice” was defined as “knowledge that the information was false” or that it was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” This decision was later extended to cover “public figures,” although the standard is still considerably lower in the case of private individuals.

Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries, due to the enforcement of the First Amendment. One very important distinction today is that European and Commonwealth jurisdictions stick to a theory that every publication of defamation gives rise to a separate claim so that defamation on the Internet could be sued on in any country in which it was read, while American law only allows one claim for the primary publication.

In the United States, a thorough discussion of what is and is not libel or slander is difficult, because the definition differs between different states. Some states join what constitutes slander and libel together into the same set of laws. Some states have criminal libel laws on the books, though these are old laws which are very infrequently prosecuted. Washington State has held its criminal libel statute unconstitutional applying the state and federal constitutions to the question.

Most defendants in defamation lawsuits are newspapers or publishers, which are involved in about twice as many lawsuits as are television stations. Most plaintiffs are corporations, businesspeople, entertainers and other public figures, and people involved in criminal cases, usually defendants or convicts but sometimes victims as well. In no state can a defamation claim be successfully maintained if the allegedly defamed person is deceased.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 generally protects from liability parties that create forums on the Internet in which defamation occurs from liability for statements published by third parties. This has the effect of stopping all liability for statements made by persons on the Internet whose identity cannot be determined.

All states except Arizona, Missouri, and Tennessee recognize that some categories of false statements are so innately harmful that they are considered to be defamatory per se. In the common law tradition, damages for such false statements are presumed and do not have to be proven.
Statements are defamatory per se where they falsely impute to the plaintiff one or more of the following things:

  • Allegations or imputations “injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession”
  • Allegations or imputations of “loathsome disease” (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
  • Allegations or imputations of “unchastity” (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women)
  • Allegations or imputations of criminal activity (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude)[12][13]

On the federal level, there are no criminal defamation or insult laws in the United States. However, 23 states and 2 territories have criminal defamation/libel/slander laws on the books, along with 1 state (Iowa) establishing defamation/libel as a criminal offense through case law (without statutorily defined crime)

Those 23 states and territories are: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands.

Summary

The U.S. is one of the only countries on Earth where harm that results from untruths stated or printed carry no consequences for those who initiate those. Don’t get me wrong: protection under the First Amendment is of the utmost importance to us all. It was crafted because those in the British Commonwealth could not say anything about the government or governmental wrongdoing without paying a horrible price. But the unfettered ability to say or print pretty much anything about others with absolutely no accountability for those thing being truthful is devastating. And it’s pretty unrealistic.

We see the horrors from such every day. What’s that old saying, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” or “you can’t take back what you said.” Those are both true.

But is it realistic to such things as the circus of the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination and confirmation in which multiple people publicly defamed him with apparent lies? He could have missed the opportunity of a lifetime for which he and thousands of other Americans study for, practice for, and aspire to achieve: a seat on the United States Supreme Court. It is unimaginable to think that such action could legally occur simply because someone or some people — for the purposes of stopping another from such an achievement — could lie, fabricate false circumstances and make unsubstantiated claims against someone, and can do so with no recourse whatsoever for what they said and what their saying those things do to the person or persons they are attacking?

I doubt our forefathers had that in mind.

What can we do?

The states listed above have acted on the fact that the federal government has done virtually nothing to protect Americans in this regard. Unfortunately, those protections are not the same from state to state and on the federal level are unenforceable.

Why hasn’t Congress done something about it? Could it be they are afraid that any such federal legislation would be struck down at the Supreme Court? Are all the members of Congress so callous they don’t care? Or is it because they are afraid they (who most of are attorneys) are incapable of crafting legislation that would 1) protect innocent Americans from reprehensible talk, written or electronic allegations from those who don’t have the truth, or have the truth and will not give it, or simply make up defamatory stories to hurt others?

No doubt Freedom of Speech is guaranteed. But there is no prevention in the First Amendment of holding those who unjustly bear “false witness” against another American that is severely damaging in its untruth. Our extremely intelligent legislators could surely craft a law that would pass muster. Why haven’t they?

I think for political purposes, they like it open-ended just like it is. Politics have become so dirty, so nasty, and so divisive that maintaining the unfettered legal permission to go after one’s political opponents in any way felt necessary is something they want to protect. Shame on them for that!

It’s time to have the ability to protect our integrity from lies, misrepresentations, and innuendo. Let’s protect the truth and encourage its use in a public and open environment. While doing that, let’s send a message that we encourage all to tell the truth all the time. But when you don’t, there will be a price to pay.

The warning with this is: Know for certain that if you lie about someone, there WILL be a price to pay. If it’s true, feel free to tell it. If it’s not, know there’s a price to pay if you DO say it.

 

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Think

I don’t sleep a lot. No, I’m not sick. I don’t have insomnia. There are no “things” going bad in my life that keep me up stuck in worry and stress. It just doesn’t take a lot of sleep to keep me going.

What I do when I don’t sleep much at night is think. I think a lot. I think about family, about grandchildren, and about growing old, It’s easy to think about growing old — I am old.

Thinking has become highly underrated. I find myself so busy today, my life seems fuller than ever with “stuff” that keeps me from thinking. My iPhone seems to never stop dinging with voicemails, emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter notifications. Add to that the IOS upgrades, app upgrades, and calendar notifications, and I find myself sometimes too busy to think.

But in the last few years — since having my 60th and now 65th birthdays — I’ve learned to welcome thinking that keeps me from sleeping. It’s been a gift that even though it’s been a part of my life all along, I have simply missed it. Maybe I missed it because of being so busy, so preoccupied, so torn by dealing with “stuff.” But, no matter, I’ve simply really missed it. And missing it has cost me a bunch of years.

At some point during the last decade or so, lightning struck me with the realization that more of my life is behind me than is in front of me. Funny how that realization changes the way we think. No doubt, my past has been really good to me. But obviously, that’s no guarantee of what’s ahead. And if I am caught in projecting what’s left of my life based on my life up until this point, I could just stop thinking and coast along, knowing things are going to be pretty good. Because things HAVE been pretty good.

No matter what the gurus of positive thinking say — like making things happen by being positive, rejecting negative thoughts, always claiming the glass is half-full, rejecting superstition, and reaping what we sow — at some point I’ve simply got to stop planning and worrying and let thinking take over.

And I think I’m just about there.

At 65 it’s kind of late for me to fret and worry about all the mistakes I’ve made. Sure, every mistake has made an impact on the course of my life. That’s part of living and growing and making a life. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. And some of those mistakes have cost me dearly. I’d have loved to be able to brush those all away, but sometimes mistakes just happen. But I’ve learned to deal with them: think them through and learn from them all.

My old friend Andrae Crouch wrote a song titled “Through it All.” It’s one of the best songs ever written. It contains what has been the most impactful line of any song I’ve ever heard: “If I never had a problem I’d never know that God could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God can do.”  I think Andrae was in his early 30’s when he penned that. But he sure nailed what thinking through and making choices in life is really all about.

During my “mid-life crisis,” (I guess that’s why I don’t sleep much) there is no way I could have survived without having the assurance that when I got to the end of that ordinarily traumatic period of my life, things would really be OK. And they are. In fact, things are not just OK, they’re pretty darn good.

Will you indulge me for just a few minutes? I’d like to — while I’m not asleep and thinking at 3:56 AM today — analyze those “pretty darn good” things:

  • I’ve got good health. Yes, there’s a heart attack in the mix, removal of two kidneys (don’t go bonkers — I was born with 3), two heart stints, both thumbs now have artificial thumb joints, and there were a handful of minor surgeries. But I’ve lost over 100 pounds in the last 5 years — the right way: eating right and daily pretty aggressive exercise. In fact, I’m back at my college weight — and maintaining it!
  • I’ve had a good marriage, although in no way a perfect one. Ours has in fact imitated what life is all about: being happy, having problems, working through problems, and being happy again. Thank God there’s been a bunch of “happy again’s!”
  • I’ve started 4 companies in my life, the latest turned out pretty good.
  • We have 3 wonderful children — now all grown. All are married, doing well, and have given us 6 amazing grandchildren. I learned quickly that grandchildren are much more fun than children were, although I loved fathering our amazing 3. We spoil the grandchildren rotten by always saying “Yes.” Then we send them home!
  • On the bad side of a parental divorce — when I just knew my life at 16 was pretty much permanently trashed — God moved me 200 miles north and into a family that through the last 50+ years have proven to me again and again that family and relationships are what life is really all about. And family is the model with which God put in place His perfect plan for us to use to “make it.”

Along the way at very strategic moments, I’ve met very specific people who each made major impacts on my life. The first was Sister Green who taught Children’s Church which I attended in Lafayette, Louisiana. Sister Green had somewhere in her life captured the reality of relationship with God. She masterfully simplified that process so that a 5-year-old little Cajun boy could understand who God is and how to have a relationship with God Himself. She was simply amazing.

Rodger Robinson befriended me as my high school freshman Speech teacher. He walked on crutches because of polio at a young age. But you forgot about any handicap there because of the way he lived his life for and with others. He never saw me as just a 14-year-old kid. He saw something in me that I didn’t know was there. Without telling me what he was doing while he was doing it, he put me on a path toward success that molded my life with readiness for all of the hills and valleys that lay ahead. And when the hills came, I adjusted almost automatically. I did the same when the valleys came. Rodger taught me how to lower the mountaintops a bit and to make the valleys shallower than they really were by just rejecting that old success killer: “Somebody owes me something.” He taught me to simply push through, put the bad stuff behind and keep walking.

Rodney and Francis Duron opened their home and hearts to a 16-year-old boy who had lost a big chunk of confidence in his parent’s nasty divorce. When I moved in, they moved all-in with their love and lives. Though never formally adopted, I was always treated as a true son — and still am. Dad Duron went to Heaven 6 years ago after giving his life away every day he breathed. He was the epitome of giving one’s life to others. He loved people — everybody. He pastored the entire city of Shreveport, Louisiana. And his life showed just that. At his wake, mourners lined up for 4 hours to pay their respects to the most honest, God-fearing, committed-to-others man I’ve ever known. It was fitting he met Jesus on March 16th — “3-16:” “For God so loved the World He gave His only son that whoever believed in Him would not experience eternal death but have life forever.” That’s from John 3:16. Dad Duron shared that with people every day.

Their only son and my brother, Denny Duron, too took me in too. For 50+ years he has loved me, poured his life into mine, shared literally everything in his life with me, including his family, friends, contacts, resources, and his magnanimous giftings. I’ve never known anyone like him and probably never will. He just took what Mom and Dad Duron lived and expanded it to a larger group of people. I am proud to say he’s a world-changer and teaches all those around him what a personal relationship with God and other people does for you. He’s no different than everyone else in this respect: he has been hurt, taken advantage of, disappointed, fought some health issues, while having a glorious life in high school, college, and professional football, and as the founder of one of the most successful high school football programs in the nation. All the while, he has pastored the finest church in America — Shreveport Community Church — fulfilling what his father did HIS entire life: show people in Shreveport and around the World that God really cares. Denny loves everybody! And I get to live in that amazing environment daily.

As I sit and write this, I realized something: I’ve been guilty in that during a large part of my life I have taken the good things that happened to me for granted. I guess that in my “thinking cycle” that dawned on me. I’ve made a bunch of choices: some good, some bad. But in every choice, no matter good or bad, I’ve come through each feeling stronger on the back side for going through them. The good choice results are obvious. Unfortunately the bad choice results are too.

Here’s my conclusion: I don’t know of anyone in history that didn’t face hurt, betrayal, abuse of many kinds, and personal loss. I know of many who let some or all of those wrongs destroy them. But I know of some who took them in stride using the results of THOSE things to seed the ground in their lives to become good.

Farmers have it figured out: when they plant soybeans, soybeans are going to grow. It makes no difference if they didn’t have soybean seed to plant and put pumpkin seeds in the ground, nothing those farmers do will make soybeans grow. They “harvest what they plant.” Realization of that “God” fundamental has really impacted my thinking. I’m not concentrating on those bad seeds I’ve planted that have grown into bad stuff. Sure, I dealt with the bad fruit that grew. There’s no way around that. But I’ve planted far more good seeds — some of which have already been harvested, some still in the ground. But I’m ecstatic that almost ALL the seeds that have been planted in my life by me and others I have already seen their fruit, and the products of the other seeds are on the way.

Oh… and “The Best Is Yet to Come.” (Pastor Rodney Duron)

I Can’t Wait!

Dan

 

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