Women’s rights are universal, not political – the left kidnapped the cause, making it exclusive, not “inclusive”

“The march in Washington took on the feel of a political rally when US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and US Representative Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged women to run for office and vote to oppose Trump and the Republicans’ agenda.”  Washington Post, 1/21/18 (Celebrities join march for women’s rights, encourage voting)

I agree with most of the principles of women’s rights, especially equality on all levels. Most people in the U.S. do abide by those principles, even the President.

By turning the women’s movement into a leftist movement of the Democratic Party, it becomes not “inclusive”, but in fact “exclusive”. The idea that emerges is that women who do not support the “Party” (the Democratic Party) are not deserving of the same rights (in fact, the idea floated is that if you support the President, as a woman you definitely do not deserve any rights at all). This is the legacy of President Obama, the Great Divider. He championed the concept of “us or them”, either his disastrous ultra-leftist views or extremism on the right. As it turned out, there were 60 million people who voted otherwise, and an enormous legion of people who eschewed both the left and the right. But women’s rights should not be political.

Women’s rights are universal, not political. Yesterday, in Los Angeles, the marches for women were replete with political speeches against the current administration and any policies the Democratic Party does not support. Those issues have nothing to do with Women’s Rights.

In fact, and most importantly, many of the men who have been caught up in sexual harrassment cases (like Harvey Weinstein, a very high level high roller in the Democratic Party, and also Michael Oreskes, Chief of the news division of National Public Radio (who actually managed NPR’s coverage of the sexual harrassment narrative at NPR in recent months), and other TV and Screen stars) were high level members of, or supporters of the Democratic Party and extreme liberal views, proving that women’s rights transcend party lines. By co-opting the movement, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has isolated at least half the women in the world. Now how is that “inclusive”?

The “women’s movement” as defined by the Democratic Party, has been designed to include many issues irrelevant to the woman’s movement itself, such as BLM, anti-Trumpism, and illegal immigration. By swelling the ranks with many people with other axes to grind, it makes it appear the movement is bigger than it might be, and also part of the Democratic Party’s platform, but also in doing so it robs the women’s movement of its absolute purity and righteousness, and obscures the universality of women’s rights. Actually, the women’s movement needs to reach all women, not just liberals. Women’s right’s advocates have said that already, only the Democrats, so worried about economic success of the administration, have sought to piggyback on the opportunity of opening Pandora’s box of sexual harassment (and much to its chagrin, many of the casualties have been their very own male “treasures”).

Hypocrisy has come to reside in the left, to infect it really, and it is very scary and tragic. It is one of the chief reasons I abandoned the Party some years ago, because when I saw the ideological table, I was shocked to find the Obama wing of the Democratic Party sitting right next to the most extreme right wing acolytes, both adamant that their own speech is the only permissible speech, that only their own ideas were worthy of protection, and that everyone and everything else had to be suppressed, stopped, destroyed, even questioning the wisdom of free speech, and seeming to support China’s totalitarian system and Palestinian terrorism.  College campuses have become infected with this rot, and Obama’s political correctness has produced calls for many unconstitutional restrictions on speech. There is a name for that – fascism.

The Press Must Be Free – With Responsibility for Reporting Facts, Unless in Editorials

In an article that ran from AP in the Taipei Times on Jan. 1, 2018 (“Journalists came under further threat from governments last year”), it is reported that the press is under assault around the world. This has been true for a very long time, in particular among the world’s worst despotic governments, Communist China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and in other Capitals of such ilk. The article goes on to complain about President Trump. Freedom of the press is sacred in America, always has been, always will be. But in the U.S. at present there is war between left leaning and conservative news organizations, and the current government, signified by manipulation of stories on all sides.

For instance, it is naive to believe that a “philanthropist” like George Soros, with billions of dollars at his disposal and a socialist agenda, does not use the press (like Bloomberg, and Project Syndicate (a supposedly charitable foundation which is instead simply a pro-socialism organization dedicated to promoting socialism and mass migration in the US, and in Europe, on the general theory that tens of millions of migrants who are unfamiliar with free capitalistic systems, such as in the US, would support highly leftist views)) to manipulate the news to suit his agenda. I have complained about Soros-promoted articles (under Project Syndicate) on these very pages because of the canard they continuously promote that America is evil and China is blissful. What’s that about? Free speech is free speech. They have the right to write it, we have the right to criticize it.

That said, of course governments cannot arrest journalists for speaking opinions, and those arrests are the hallmark of totalitarian regimes, like in China, Russia, Turkey (not a democracy these days), Iran or many other tyrannies. The free press is the foundation of freedom and holding the government and its parties and their members accountable for their policies and actions. The more vibrant the press is, the less likely a government can violate the law. In the US, the Constitution and its law fully supports the freedom of speech, whether by the press or anyone else.

In a democracy, when journalists have the right to speak their opinions, and when they promote opposition to the government, of course the government can respond with criticism, not arrests. This article reports Trump is sowing distrust in the media for claiming unfair treatment, but when 80% of the media focus only on leftist criticism of the government there is already distrust because it is one-sided.

In the US, the press is wide ranging, very free, and there is no threat of arrest for writing articles. I am truly sick and tired of ultra-left press like CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, Newsweek complaining about the President criticizing them for “fake news”, when 75% of their coverage is aimed at what many people consider matters of their the reporters’ opinion, not fact.

Reporting in the United States has essentially stopped, and it has been replaced by opinion reporting, which means that there is very little reporting the facts that lets the people decide their own opinion and more of reporters reporting their own opinions, as though that is news – it isn’t. Reporters cannot help inserting their opinions in almost every story. My Blog is an opinion blog, it doesn’t pretend to be reporting. CNN cannot say that, yet almost every article is dripping with opinions, almost as though its reporters have not been schooled in the art of objective reporting. There seem to be no ideals except “kill the other side at all costs”.

Truthfully, I don’t care what their opinion is, I only want the facts, just the facts. People have become so lazy, they want to be told what to think. Editorials are for that, not news articles. And most of the time, Trump’s argument is that reporters, trying to avoid opinionizing, instead report only those facts that support what their opinion would be, essentially showing half the story.

I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, in the Huffington Post, there was an article entitled “Trump Terminated All Members Of HIV/AIDS Council Without Explanation”. The title is designed to heap infamy on the President for supposedly being against the HIV/AIDS Council. But that’s not true. While the bulk of the article is criticism for the firings, in the middle of the article the following sentence is thrown in: “Also of note, during the Obama administration, nearly all of George W. Bush’s appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named.” In other words Obama did the same thing, because it is normal for a new President to get rid of the predecessor’s appointees and appoint his/her own members. In fact, the article also states: “One of those members ― Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution ― told the Washington Blade, however, that “it is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in.” So what’s up with the completely misleading title of the article, and what is Huffington Post trying to pull? This is a very small example of manipulating the media to promote a “fake” critique – you could call this “fake” news. This is basically using freedom of the press to “hide the ball” and sell propaganda for a social agenda, not reporting what happened. I don’t blame Trump for sacking Obama’s appointees. It is totally normal for a President to do. There are plenty of other things to blame him for. But the Huffington Post is guilty of misrepresenting the truth by omission when they know most people read the headline, not the article, especially scrolling through Yahoo News, where the article appeared near the top. It is disingenuous at best, blatant fraud at worst.

I can only name a few reporters out of thousands who have a reputation for being completely honest in their reporting. Truly. That is a very sad fact. I don’t want to know a reporter’s political choices. Objective reporting is a lost art. Reporters should be required to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Objectivity.

NFL Players Kneel for the Anthem – TV Audiences Turn Off the NFL – Free Speech Goes Both Ways

To be sure the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of free speech in its First Amendment allows anyone to criticize the government, but exercising free speech does not mean you are free from that speech having consequences. Of course, the government cannot take action against the speaker or the speech, but some free speech is intended to provoke, and the speaker is not insulated from the lawful reaction to the speech of private citizens and businesses.

In the U.S. right now, it has become popular for some NFL football players to kneel during the National Anthem supposedly to protest police brutality against black communities. It was started by football quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. His very direct purpose was to “disrespect” the country and its flag and anthem because of what he perceived as “injustice”. Others trying to avoid being seen as disrespecting the country, flag, anthem and military servicepeople since his words have tried to spin the protest as not involving disrespect for the country or the flag, but most people are not having that prevarication.

Kaepernick is absolutely entitled to protest. Especially as a spectator. But as a player, as an employee of an NFL football team, there is less flexibility in his choice of when and where to exercise his free speech. Since his protest, and since he decided to leave his team, he has not been rehired. Some say he is not a good enough quarterback to get hired, some say it is in retaliation for his controversial protest. But there were consequences for his exercising his extremely unpopular free speech. Employees represent the companies they work for, even if they earn tens of millions of dollars.

His protest has been taken up by other players. And a huge number of spectators of the NFL have consequently decided to turn off their TVs and not watch football if the players are going to kneel during the National Anthem. Under the Constitution, the players can exercise their free speech in the absence of a direction from their employer, but the spectators also have the right to decide not to watch. The NFL is losing its share of Sunday’s TV audience because so many people are not watching the games anymore. The teams are trying to get the players to protest outside of their games, so as not to project a stand on Kaepernick’s complaint. The teams of course just want to play football (and so do many other players), and virtually all of the audience just want to watch the games without the politics.

On Sunday the Vice-President of the U.S. attended a game, and several players from one team kneeled and others wore shirts that protested. The VP left the game in a protest of his own, saying he would not attend a game where the players disrespected the country, the flag, the anthem and the men and women who fought for freedom, the soldiers and others.

Many have said the players who kneel should be fired. This is a First Amendment legal issue. Companies presumably have power to determine whether their employees can engage in political speech while on duty (for obvious reasons) and even to discipline them if they do something against the team’s policies (a famous baseball player was fired for political speech aligned with President Trump). Now it is becoming a struggle for vast sums of money affecting the teams. A team which pays a player more than $10 million to play football, does not want that player doing anything that takes away hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Players who wish to protest can do so on their own time, the argument goes.

I don’t agree with Kaepernick’s complaint. A man who earned tens of millions of dollars playing American football complaining about a country where he could live such a wonderful like makes it seem he is ungrateful for the opportunities provided. Also, 70% of the football players are people of color, a huge disparity in demographics. I also don’t agree with his assessment of “injustice”. The U.S. is a country of laws, enforced by police in general. While there have been cases of people of color killed by police in the line of duty, there have been lots of cases of white people also killed in the line of duty. It is very hard to convict police officers of murder because most people respect the split second decisions officers must make when faced with aggression, possible weapons and situations requiring orders to perpetrators who may or may not follow the directions of the officer. In almost every case questioned by Kaepernick. the perpetrator refused to follow the officer’s directions, which usually are “Stop. Police. Raise your hands.” In almost every case of protest, a jury has found the police officer innocent, or the Grand Jury has voted not to indict the officers. Due process of law applies in both directions as well, for the individual, and for the officers, who are also entitled to it.

In any event, there are two sides to free speech. The speech, and the consequences. Both are likely within the First Amendment’s parameters. Many Americans just want to watch football, not protests. And the more protests there are, the more people there will be watching baseball or soccer or golf or the news or movies instead. The owner of one team has said that his players will not kneel during games to disrespect the flag or the country. Perhaps there will be some case about this. One ESPN commentator vociferously argued that the NFL audience should turn off the game to protest this team — I think she completely underestimated the sentiments of the people watching football. Those in favor of the protests form a tiny tiny fraction of NFL enthusiasts. She was suspended by ESPN for suggesting the boycott, ironically a violation of ESPN rules. Free speech does have its limitations for employees.

The protests have basically backfired. I don’t believe in this protest against the country or the flag. The complaints by Koepernick have nothing to do with the country or its flag or its national anthem.  If Mr. Koepernick detests the country so much, he is welcome to find another place in the universe where he could earn millions of dollars a year for throwing pigskin around or for which fame anyone would listen to him.

The discussion about the police and alleged brutality has been aired and has been subjected to legal action. During the Obama administration, the government almost always took the side of the individual against law enforcement (and always on the wrong legal side, eventually), creating a huge divisive undercurrent against police. The result of this has been an enormous spike in violent crime, especially in the former President’s own backyard in Chicago, where the crime rate is through the roof, probably because the police modified their procedures to avoid getting caught in the kind of situations with minorities that created the failure to obey and resulted in shootings. The minority neighborhoods have run amok, and gun killings are out of control. It is ironic.

Those protesting have to understand it goes both ways. Free speech is a tough lesson in democracy. While they may have permission from their teams to protest and say the things they believe in, the audience has the right to reject their speech and turn them off. And if the teams suffer financially, they may insist their players follow the rules. If the players do not follow the rules, they can be disciplined by the team and told to stand during the National Anthem or be benched. Free speech can have consequences. Nothing stops those same players from kneeling at every playing of the National Anthem on their own time.

It is time that people who protest on the left take off blinders and begin watching and listening to the other side of things. All I hear from their point of view is that it is the only point of view that is valid. Thinking like that leads nowhere pretty quickly, and is anathema to the Constitution’s notions of free speech. How ironic, and hypocritical.