WATCH: Kyle Kulinski on Mainstream Bias

Video Source: Secular Talk on YouTube.

Presumptuousness, pompousness, entitlement, and condescension are among the worst of human qualities.  They can be ascribed to an individual like Donald Trump or to a collective of people like American news media.  I hate television news because they’ve grown accustomed to viewers taking them at their word.  We need to remember that what we refer to as “the media” are still simply people in positions of power or if not power than influence.  It’s a different kind of power than the kind which our current president wields but is just as dangerous when corrupted.

Albuquerque Passes Clean & Green Retail Ordinance on a 5-3 vote.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

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Inside the Vincent E. Griego Chambers prior to the start of the city council meeting.

The Albuquerque City Council met with a full house of spectators last night, forty-one of those people signed up to speak publicly in front of the Council on a specific item agenda.  Councilor Cynthia Borrego was absent from the meeting which brought the quorum down to 8 from the full 9-member council.  The spotlight was on the Clean & Green Ordinance, a local measure to “pressure businesses (Councilor Pat Davis)” into transitioning to more environmentally-friendly consumer containers.

img_20190415_165001625
The Clean & Green Ordinance as listed on the council meeting agenda.

The ordinance was amended to a phased-in ban to take effect on 1/1/2020, rather than an immediate ban as a temporary reprieve for local businesses from the extra costs of transitioning away from cheap plastics.  In the meantime until January of 2020, plastic grocery bags and plastic straws will be available upon request of individual customers.  The ordinance was also amended to add a charge of ten cents onto customers asking for plastic bags as a way to encourage consumers to start transitioning to reusable containers.

Opposition to the ordinance came from the restaurant industry, specifically the New Mexico Restaurant Association, arguing that the current cost of transitioning from plastics would be to great on business owners and that consumer prices would inevitably increase as a consequence.  A counter-point to that argument was made by private citizens in favor of the ordinance, that the cost is already artificially low and that consumers should be paying more for the luxury of take-home containers.  A representative from the New Mexico Recycling Association also made an appearance to speak on behalf of the ordinance.

The proponents of the ordinance focused their arguments on the environmental impacts of plastic trash and claimed responsibility on governments to force the hand of businesses for the sake of the planet.  The counter-point to that argument focused on individual liberty and government over-reach, the responsibility of clean environments should be on individuals and businesses making better choices willingly rather than out of necessity.

The three Councilors who voted against the ordinance in the final vote were Councilors Brad Winter, Trudy Jones, and Don Harris.

Trust me, I’m a writer.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Journalism is not supposed to be propaganda from politicians.  Journalism is supposed to hold politicians accountable for what they say (Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, 2019).”

How can a news organization today (particularly a new organization) gain the trust of the public given the current over-saturation of the market?  I think the key is transparency for themselves, each reporter/editor/producer must be willing to put their name in front of the public eye and stand up for their work in the face of criticism.  Make sure that any one of your readers/viewers/listeners can approach you with questions if they so desire and accept criticism with grace; do not let praise inflate your ego.  This is also just good advice in general – be honest with yourself about what you’re doing, try to be self-aware in what you do, and maintain an over-arching vision to guide your work.

It’s impossible to be completely objective simply because most humans orient themselves around their subjective feelings rather than logic and their objective surroundings but that doesn’t mean that we can not strive for objectivity for its own sake.  Every human has the capacity for logical reasoning through critical thinking and discourse, it’s what makes our species so powerful in nature – we can come together around common goals and manipulate our environment in ways other animals can not.  However; this attribute is a double-edged sword for, if we remain too long in one group with the same ideas in circulation over and over and over again, our minds become dull from ease and the group weakens with fatigue.  To maintain a competitive edge, a group of humans must always be inviting to a variety of ideas, individuals must be willing to challenge themselves to sharpen their arguments.  Echo chambers are dangerous.

This is exactly what modern media has become: an ecosystem of echo chambers.  People on the political Right-wing have their own sources, people on the political Left-wing have their own sources, and more moderately-minded people don’t know where to go for sources so they try to read multiple sources from both sides of the spectrum (if they don’t opt out of politics altogether) all the while animosity for everyone else increases and politics becomes more and more tribal.  Modernity is supposed to be more civilized than tribalism.

I think I’m digressing, let’s go back to the topic of modern news media.  I think the key to success in news media is transparency which is why I want to list what I think is important to discuss when it comes to political engagement, government functions, and such:

  • the role of a government relative to the society it presides over,
  • hearing from a variety of perspectives regardless of popularity,
  • clarifying differences between perspectives and taking care to NOT miss-represent one’s ideas.

I believe these to be important facets of news media – a result of my own beliefs in individualism, free speech, pluralism, government and corporate transparency, and democratic-republicanism.  My goal with my writing (both my personal writing and professional writing) is to promote inquiry into how our societies operate, encourage more people to ask questions that some people in positions of power may not want to answer.  I’ve written in the past about my belief in writing skills and their importance to civilization and I stand by that belief today.

Mueller Report Out (but not public), Upwards of $30 million likely Wasted, and the Democrats are STILL IDIOTS

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Russia!  Russia!  Russia!”

^ That is what the “resistance” Democrats have been yelling incessantly for the past two years.  Many people continue to chant that slogan even after Robert Mueller’s special investigation is ending with an announcement for no more indictements.

I think Mueller’s investigation was poorly focused from the start, the Democratic Party should have pushed for an investigation into President Donald Trump’s business ties for potential conflicts of interest.  The fact that the president has not completely disconnected from his business interests as well as the fact that he uses his own properties for government purposes is suspect.

The Democrats could have been much more strategic over the past two years as an opposition party but they were blinded themselves by holding onto a grudge, bitter from the 2016 presidential election blaming everyone and everything but themselves as well as grasping at straws to point more fingers at President Trump.

If the fucking Democrats had not rigged their own primary for their precious Clinton, they probably would have won the damn election.  As it turned out, the voters don’t like to be fucked over without consent.

If the Democratic Party doesn’t clean up its act, I think President Trump may win a second term next year.

 

Government Shutdowns are Epitome of Dysfunction

Cover Image Source: <https://theprogressivecynic.com/2013/08/02/avoiding-the-traps-of-compulsive-partisanship-and-compulsive-non-partisanship/>.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Should we expect another gov’t shutdown in February?

The funding lapse in the United States government has been temporarily resolved ending the 35-day shutdown.  President Donald Trump has explained publicly that this deal would give back-pay to furloughed federal employees but he is also NOT giving up his fight for his border wall.

How long will this temporary reprieve last?  3 weeks.  The national Congress will need to spar over funding again come February 15.

The U.S./Mexico border wall was a big campaign promise for President Trump back in 2016 and he has repeated the applause line at several rallies since his 2016 victory.  Considering the president’s stand-offish nature that we’ve seen in media appearances, I expect him to stick to that campaign promise to protect his own pride.  Although, it’s ironic that this gov’t shutdown is over border security because border security-law enforcement agents including T.S.A. agents and air traffic controllers are among the federal employees that were working without pay.

“While most government shutdowns are of relatively short duration, they all result in the disruption to government services and increased costs to the government – and thus taxpayers – due to lost labor.  According to the financial rating agency Standard & Poor’s, the 16-day shutdown from October 1, to October 17, 2013, had ‘taken $24 billion out of the economy,’ and ‘shaved at least 0.6 percent off annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth’ (Tom Murse, <https://www.thoughtco.com/government-shutdown-history-3368274>, 2019).”

Should we start expecting a gov’t shutdown under every new president? 

President Trump’s gov’t shutdown was about border security and a proposed border wall that some conservatives are claiming will be an effective tactic against illegal immigration.  The question of a border wall’s actual effectiveness is another discussion.

Back in 2013, there was a gov’t shutdown perpetuated by the Republican Party (who then controlled the U.S. House of Representatives) in which Republicans demanded a repeal of President Barack Obama’s arguably signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (controversely nick-named “Obamacare.”)

Back in 1995, there was a gov’t shudown over apparently grim economic forecasts.  Then House Republicans expressed concerned about the Clinton Administration’s budget effects on the national deficit.

Are gov’t shutdowns becoming more and more common as partisan tensions continue to heat up?  As we move forward, is each subsequent Congress going to have its own battle over the national budget?  That doesn’t sound like it will go well with lower class American workers who are being squeezed every year with low wages and a lack of consistent healthcare coverage.

The solution is more home-rule.

I think a solution to extreme polarization in the national government is for citizens to reconnect with each other at the lower government levels.  Federal elected officials are at historic low approval ratings which means the American public largely does not trust its national leaders.  However; voter turn-out is also plummeting in local elections.  This is bad news across the board.  Regardless of our outlook on our federal leaders, Americans need to remain involved in our home communities.  If we’re unhappy with our federal leaders then we should be able to turn to our respective states and localities to pick up the slack.  That is exactly what was originally intended with our democratic-republican, federalist system of government – multiple governments acting as checks on each other’s power.

Political Partisanship, Divisiveness, and a Demonization of Discourse

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Has American politics grown more divisive throughout our history or has it always been bad?  How can a person initiate a discourse with their ideological opposite without the discussion morphing into a monster of insults and character assassinations?

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in his book, The Prince, that a primary goal of any national leader is to avoid a civil within his own country.  Based on that pragmatic view, has the United States of America failed as a nation because it could not avoid a civil war?

 

An accusation is not a conviction and the media is not a court.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

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Photo Credit: New York Law Journal, 7/11/2018.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has been accused of a second instance of sexual misconduct.  This new allegation from Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of Judge Kavanaugh, dates back to the 1983-84 academic school year at Yale University.

Regarding the first allegation from Professor Christine Ford (Palo Alto University) which dates back even further to Judge Kavanaugh’s high school academics in the 1980’s, the current university professor has agreed to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this coming Thursday after negotiations over the conditions of her appearance.

Since the accusation from Professor Ford, there have been many a proselytizing online from self-proclaimed feminist activists, self-righteous individuals shouting at the public through their Web accounts to “believe women.”  At the time I’m writing this, there is a trending hashtag on Twitter, “#BelieveSurvivors.”

This is the main problem with cases of sexual misconduct/harassment/assault: people are way too quick to run to the media in an emotional defense of the supposed victim defending themselves with the common objection, “why would someone lie about being assaulted?”  I don’t know why anyone would lie about being victimized.  I don’t know why anyone would rape or kill another person.

I don’t know.

Ben Shapiro at The Daily Wire breaks down the flaws in Professor Ford’s story in an editorial:

Screenshot_2018-09-24 6 Questions About The Sexual Assault Allegations Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh

SOURCE: The Daily Wire, 9/17/2018.

“You don’t have to believe that Ford is lying to believe that these allegations require more substantiation.  Thirty-year-old events are difficult to reconstruct; memories change over time.  Witness testimony is notoriously unreliable in many cases.  And she could be telling the absolute objective truth, of course.”

Ryan Saavedra breaks down the flaws in Ramirez’s story in another editorial:

Screenshot_2018-09-24 10 Serious Problems With New Accusations Against Kavanaugh

SOURCE: The Daily Wire, 9/24/2018.

Maybe Professor Ford and Ramirez are telling the truth about Judge Kavanaugh, maybe the judge did act inappropriately on more than one occasion in his youth.  The alleged actions supposedly took place decades ago and the accusers have not provided very many details as to the time and place making an official investigation damn-near impossible.  Professor Ford says that she wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate her alleged crime but we don’t even know if her alleged crime would fall under the FBI’s jurisdiction.

We don’t know the truth and, in the absence of the facts, we should not be taking any sides.  Taking sides in various media outlets will only serve to introduce needless bias into these cases.