The Making of The President 2016: The Race Has Begun

I work in the media world.  Radio broadcasting and digital media.  But despite that disclaimer, I am not a fan of the way media handles political news.

My activity in radio these days is all on the advertising side.  My paid work in digital media is also related to marketing although I was a full time “Social Media Magician” for awhile.

The 24 hour news channels on TV have to fill their 24 hours and the talking heads will repeat stuff over and over again, giving their slant on the stories we just heard last hour from the previous host.  Is it any wonder that MSNBC is losing viewers?

Admittedly the radio talk show do the same for 3 hours each day, but interestingly we have enough people in Northeast Indiana that want to hear national talk show hosts, Rush, Glenn, Sean, and Mark to keep them on the air year after year.  The radio ratings for Beck and Limbaugh on WOWO radio show that they are the most listened to over the 20+ other radio stations in Fort Wayne.  Hannity and Levin are on in the evening and so their audience is smaller, but they get a respectable number of fans tuning in each week.

It’s April 2015 and finally the most recognized potential Presidential Candidates are making their intentions official.  Ted Cruz followed by Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.  The conversations will shift from speculation to reporting actual campaign activities.  But don’t worry, the commentary and editorial and opinion pieces will continue to be the meat and potatoes for the next 18 months or so.

Already the silly season has begun.  Headlines made a big deal out of a typo in a Hillary press release that made it sound like she hated women and children.  The missing word was for.  And we all knew it was an overlooked typo.  It’s not just silly, it is downright pathetic that this typo made it into the news.

Each of us have a voice and a vote.  Depending on when your state has their primary election next year, you may have one or two handfuls of candidates to choose from.  Come November 2016, you really need to vote, no matter who is on the ballot.  It’s your right and responsibility.

Regarding your voice.  You can speak face to face, you can speak online and you can speak with your time and money.

I won’t be giving money to any politician.  I’ll do my best to refrain from getting caught up in social media debates.  I may add a few comments about the Presidential race on this website.  I will describe what I want in a President. I will vote.

Hang on, once again, we are in for a bumpy ride to the White House.

Explaining the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Wow, what a firestorm, this whole RFRA business in Indiana.

The basic media outrage being spread by both traditional media and social media is: Indiana people (Hoosiers) and Indiana businesses now have a right to discriminate and deny service to anyone they find objectionable based on religious grounds.

This is not what RFRA does.

After spending too much time trying to convince non-Hoosiers, that the people of Indiana are not filled with homophobic bigots, I have decided to clarify and take you through the steps that this RFRA legislation provides.

Oh, and before we do that, I will acknowledge that there are plenty of homophobic bigots living in Indiana.  We also have racists.  JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER OF OUR 50 STATES.  But they don’t represent the majority of Indiana people, just like the nuts at Westboro Baptist Church do not represent the majority of Baptists, or the majority of the population of Topeka Kansas.

If RFRA is not a licence to discriminate, what is it? RFRA is only to be used in court cases as a defense for people who are being sued by someone who claim that they were treated unfairly (discriminated against) because of religious beliefs.

Let’s walk through this using the LGBT argument that is being spread.  “Bob & Bill” are wanting to marry and are needing various wedding services.  They want a professional photographer to shoot their wedding and all the festivities. So they visit “Main Street Wedding Photos” and make their request.  Here’s a few scenarios of what could happen:

  • The owner agrees, just as they requested. Why? Because the owner wants their business and has no issues with their request.
  • The owner tells them he is unable to fulfill  their request because he does not have the time and or capacity because he is already booked for the date and time.  If the owner is lying, he is guilty of lying and they may have a court case. But this not likely to win in court as it is hard to prove.
  • The owner tells them he is unable to fulfill their request because his religious beliefs are such that he can’t participate in a wedding between two homosexuals.  “Bob & Bill” will have to go to court to attempt to force the owner to take their money and photograph their wedding.  The owner can use the RFRA as his defense.
  • The owner tells them he is unable to full fill their request for whatever reason and recommends another wedding photographer.  “Bob & Bill” contact  another wedding photographer who agrees to their request. There is no court case since “Bob & Bill” were able to get their wedding festivities professionally photographed.

Now let’s take this in another direction with another example.

“Bob & Bill” own a custom bakery and they are gay.  “Susan” goes to their bakery and wants them to bake a couple of sheet cakes with the words, “Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve” in bright blue icing letters. “Susan” belongs to a Christian Womens Group and the cake is for an event they are having.

“Bob & Bill” can decide to take “Susan’s” money and fulfill her request.  Or they can tell her no, that would violate their beliefs.  If “Susan” wanted to take “Bob & Bill” to court, they could use RFRA as their defense and probably win. Odds are that “Susan” would simply go to another bakery and there would be no lawsuits.

One more scenario: “Robert” is pro-nazi and goes to “John” who is Jewish and is a printer.  “Robert” wants “John” to print 100 flyers for a rally that are pro-nazi.  If “John” declines to fulfill the print order, and he is threatened with a lawsuit, RFRA can be used as his defense as RFRA prevents the government from forcing “John” to print the flyers.

RFRA actually helps the proponents of separation of church and state by keeping the government from interfering in each of our religious beliefs.

Indiana Doesn’t Hate You

This month, Indiana’s Governor added his signature to a bill nicknamed “RFRA”.

As the bill made it’s way through both houses of the state legislature, the voices of opposition became more and more vocal and with the signing of the bill, it made national news and reaction.

But over the course of several hours of research and reading the bill, I have come to the conclusion that this is a whole bunch of protest about nothing.

Before you disagree, I ask, have you read the bill?

If so, do you know when the law goes into effect?

This two part question is a trick.

A trick to see if someone is telling the truth.

That they really read the bill, not just listened to the media coverage.

The bill is not an easy read, but it is brief and the answer is there.

Unless you read the bill, stop forming opinions and telling others what the bill/law does and doesn’t do.

I could put links to the bill, or to the multiple comments for and against this law, but I want you to do your homework.

Google RFRA .

I’m not even going to tell you what RFRA stands for.

Google it.  Do your research.  Read the source material on both sides.

I may write another update on this but I’m going to leave you with this simple statement:

Indiana Doesn’t Hate You, no matter who you are.

Now, go do your homework.

Your comments are welcome.

Less Hate, More Understanding, Please

The United States and most of the world would be a better place if there was less political posturing.

If we stopped looking for the things that we disagree with and instead looked for the things we can agree on.

I have a friend whose wife gave birth to their first born, a daughter on December 11th, my birthday, nearly a month ago. Today I was reading about how that little girl is fighting for her life.

This morning I bumped into a friend from my childhood and asked him about his family.  Matt mentioned his mom died in November and his Dad had passed away in 2013.  Not unexpected due to their age and declining health, but these two examples point out something.

We are never guaranteed a life on this planet.  For some it may last 80+ years.  Other lives can only be measured in days.

Fighting for good for others is admirable to a degree.  But if you are fighting and hurting others, it really isn’t worth it.

News this morning out of France mentioned more violence: Twelve people were killed in a terror attack Wednesday at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine that has published controversial Muhammad cartoons.

Like the Sony hack and threats that were attempting to prevent the movie “The Interview” from being released last month, there was probably a bit of anger and revenge behind this killing.  From the news story linked above: “Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo,” one of the men shouted in French, according to one video shot from a nearby building and broadcast on French TV.

Freedom of speech is something we value in the United States and it is protected in our Constitution.  However there are limits and while the killing in France cannot be justified, I see why they may have done this.

Look, evil and hate will be with us forever.  We can only do our part to not spread it and instead look for ways to draw us together to find solutions for everyone.  Let’s pledge to do that this year, okay?

Sony, North Korea and Stupidity

The alternate title of this piece would be, Yes you can but…

Sony Pictures was hacked and troves of stuff was accessed by the hackers.

The suspects are connected to North Korea according to the latest reports from the FBI.

Why did the North Koreans do this?

The reason being floated around is that they are upset that Sony is was planing on releasing a comedy flick about killing the leader of their country.

Apparently, Hollywood thinks this is funny.

Funny enough to make a movie and release it on Christmas Day and make a profit.  Otherwise they wouldn’t have backed the movie.  This was supposed to be a money maker, not an Oscar contender.

Now, Sony has backed off and has postponed the release of the movie.  That may change so keep an eye, ear or whatever you use to consume news alert on this stupid story.

The stupidity I want to point out is sitting in Hollywood.

We live in the United States of America where we still have the freedom of speech to make all kinds of statements.  And we sometimes cross the line in the name of humor.  That’s what a lot of comedy is about.  Saying out loud what we or others think.  It was Jerry Seinfield’s shtick along with lots of others.

But turn this around.

If some foreign country made a comedy based on killing our president, would we be laughing, or bothered?

And those of you who are radical enough to believe that is a good idea,  shame on you.  Grow up and stop being such as hater.

Anyway,  in this country we have the freedom to say nearly anything.  However if we make threats against someone, there could be an investigation which could lead to all kinds of trouble.

North Koreans don’t have the freedom of speech we have.

But their government leaders have access to nuclear weapons and other bad, bad things.  They also have been trying for years to gain some respect in the world.  Respect based on fear and power, sort of like a little bully.

If it is true that the North Korean Government hacked Sony and is now threatening the United States because of this movie, I don’t blame them.

Not that what they are doing is right, but what do you expect when you tease or threaten a bully?

Look at the motivations and mindsets again.

Sony just wants to make money.

North Korea just wants respect.

Someone should have vetoed the making of this movie before it was given the green light.

Sony is paying the price by being hacked and having all of their secrets revealed.

Yes the hackers should be prosecuted.

People should lose their jobs.  The people who allowed Sony’s security stay out of date and be “hackable”.

The people who made the move don’t need to apologize to North Korea.  But they probably should anyway.

That’s how Sony should wish the Koreans a Merry Christmas.


What’s Important to You?

Politics is confusing.

So much positioning.

So many perspectives.

Few absolutes.

As we prepare for a new year and a potential new political climate, I want to lay out a few thoughts.

1. I tend to lean conservative in my political beliefs.  But don’t assume that I am a radical right wing nut job or whatever derogatory label you want to slap on me or others who lean conservative.

2. I happen to work for a news/talk radio station that carries Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  They are 4 of the most listened to national radio talk show hosts. I will listen to them if I am in the car, depending on the topic they are discussing.  I do not agree with everything they say.  Each of them has their own agenda and it is a combination of gaining and retaining listeners and advertisers. I believe they are true to their own beliefs but some of them, notably Glenn Beck have changed their stance publicly and even apologized for the way he presented himself in the past.

3. I have listened to talk radio for 1/2 my life.  Started when I was in Detroit and was bored listening to music radio. I also listen to my local N.P.R. station because I enjoy some of their weekend programs and also their ability to take a deeper dive into some stories that never make it to the mainstream press.

4. I consider myself to be fairly well informed about things I care about. I don’t just jump on a bandwagon blindly.  I have a curious mind.  I could have been a detective or investigative scientist if I had not entered the radio broadcasting world as a teenager.  But I still take that curious approach to life both personally and professionally.

5. I tend to reserve judgement.  I believe that there is a reason for people to be passionate about the things they are passionate about.  I want to know why they are passionate and the root of that passion.  It helps me to understand more deeply the people and issues.

6. The Constitution of the United States of America is still the foundation for our Federal Government and identifies separation of  powers on many levels.  That includes separation of powers within the 3 branches of our Federal government. Also included is a separation between State and Federal governments. And last but not least, are specific rights of citizens.  Unfortunately, over the past 200+ years the politicians have whittled away at these separations and rights and even the branch of government that is supposed to be above the political leanings of left or right, the judicial branch is also influenced by biased judged who are either liberal or conservative.

7. An overhaul of certain areas of government are needed.  Theoretically it can be done.  A few years ago Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act which was a monumental change in how health care, health insurance and government interact.  But as difficult as it was to pass, it was a step in the wrong direction. Why? It gave more power to the Federal government and took away power from the states.  There are lot’s of good things in the law, but I don’t believe it was within the Federal governments constitutional authority and the changes should be made on a state by state basis. Time will tell. We really need to move to reduce the power of the Federal government in our lives or at least simplify the rules and regulations.  Taxation could be simplified.  I’m in favor of eliminating the I.R.S. and a whole host of taxes that are unconstitutional because they favor one group over another.  Instead a simple national sales tax that is paid when an item or service is purchased can replace our current mess.

8. Our government is self serving and not serving the people.  We have always had this to some degree, but I believe it is getting worse. People in power do what they can to keep their power.  The millions of dollars that are spent in elections is obscene.  It that money was spent on helping others with needs, we could help so many families instead of buying votes.  A co-worker of mine proposed a 12 year Federal government lifetime term limit. I’ve been thinking about this and like the concept.  Keep the two term limit for President of the United States and add this provision President, Vice-President, Senators and Congressmen. How would this work?  You get a total of 12 years to serve in any combination of those elected offices and then you are banned for life from serving again.

9. I believe in conversations and finding solutions. I believe in getting involved where we can and making a difference in peoples lives. The lives of our friends and families.  The people in our communities, the neighborhoods and our neighborhoods.  Break down the racial tensions.  Stop judging people based on who they are and begin to understand what they are about.  Look for the common. Expand your world by discovering the uncommon.  Your preferences are not mine all the time and that’s okay.

10. Get involved and take action.  Anyone can post something online.  But what about face to face? Over the years I have spent a portion of my time volunteering with a variety of non-profits.  In 2013 I started working with others at my church to adopt a neighborhood and make an impact.  Now in our 2nd year, I get to lead a group of volunteers who are doing incredible work and only God knows the ultimate impact we are having. This is not a government mandated or approved program. And fortunately our church removed some of the inside political process for us to do this kind of thing.  You can join us or join others for a cause.  You don’t even need any organization.  Just introduce yourself to a neighbor and sit down and talk.

There’s 10 of my thoughts on a few things I care about. What do you think? What’s important to you?

Michael Brown Aftermath

Updated Wednesday 11/26/14

I think my Moms favorite word was Fair.

She wanted everything and everyone to be be fair.

My Dad was more of a realist.

He knew that some folks would have an advantage and others a disadvantage due to nothing that they had control over.

Monday night at 9pm the Prosecutor in Saint Louis County, Missouri read a prepared statement pertaining to a Grand Jury decision not to bring charges against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  That shooting occurred over 100 days ago.

I recall watching the reports on TV the weekend of the shooting as eye witnesses told their story of what they saw or at least what they thought they saw.

The nation was outraged.  The original story was that a white cop shot an unarmed black youth.  As the weeks unfolded the story was enhanced and then altered and pretty soon we had a multitude of versions of what happened.

You can read the documents that were released after the announcement and you will see a mixed bag of testimonials.  Let me warn you there are 5647 pages here.   I have not read it and I probably won’t.

But here’s what I know:

Mike Brown is dead.

His family is grieving.

This is due to a series of unfortunate events that occurred, not an out of control cop who was determined to kill an unarmed black man.

That is why the Grand Jury decided not to indite the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown.

What bugs me is that the news media made this a racial issue.

It’s not.

Mike Brown was not targeted by Officer Wilson because he was black.

This is not to downplay the death of Mike Brown or to ignore the fact that there is racial inequality in our country.

But come on now, this became a public outrage when the media jumped on board and made this about race.

It is a private tragedy.

It can be talked about publicly as the issue of reducing racism needs to be addressed.  But that is not what has transpired here.

The President spoke in Chicago Tuesday evening and said he was going to hold a meeting or meetings on how to solve race relations and law enforcement.  That is a political stunt.  Having a meeting doesn’t solve the problem.  Dealing with the hearts and minds of people to remove racial bias and stereotypes is an ongoing exercise.

Pray for those involved with the Ferguson case.

Do what you can to eliminate racism.

Don’t confuse the two.