Think back to a year ago today and follow the mainstream news narrative to present time. Then candidate Trump was the GOP nominee for President of the United States and was largely seen as the underdog, a position he would continue to hold through the November 8th elections. The public narrative on candidate Trump was that he would drag the United States down into a dictatorship and ruin it forever. That same narrative rings true today in some media outlets, as well as in many opposition groups like Antifa and others. But is this idea really a possibility?
Let’s first take a look at Antifa and what they believe that President Trump is on a path to do to America. Antifa is a very far-left leaning group that uses military action and tactics along with violence to push their anti-fascist (hence the name Antifa) agenda . Antifa is fighting hard in the streets against President Trump and many Right-Wing policies that they oppose. This group claims that President Trump is a fascist and will do whatever it takes to prevent him from implementing his fascist policies. (I’ll pass on discussing the irony of using violence to fight their perceived violence.)
First and foremost, let us address what a fascist is. Merriam-Webster defines fascism as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” While it is no secret that President Trump promotes a form of Nationalism with his “America First” policy, he is far cry from fitting the rest of the profile of a fascist.
But for the sake of arguing, let’s say that President Trump is a fascist and wants to implement his fascist policies to make America into his own authoritarian dictatorship. Is it possible for him to do this? The short answer is no and it is due to the checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution.
The Office of the President wields a vast amount of power, which has expanded greatly over the last half century, but that power isn’t unlimited or unchecked. The president’s powers reach from enforcing the laws, to being Commander-in-Chief of the military, to Executive Order powers, and many places in between. [See previous post “Constitutional Powers of Government (Part 3)”] While these powers are broad and have become more far-reaching, they are still put in check by other members of the U.S. Government.
If President Trump gives an order to the military, but that order doesn’t correspond to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, then the members of the military have the ability to not follow the orders, if they are illegal and against the Code. There is precedence here where members of the military were punished for following orders that violated the Uniform Code, so it’s not a far-fetched idea that the military can disobey direct orders from the president.
If the president signs an executive order that is illegal, it is not binding law. The court system is one set of checks and balances to the presidential powers. An executive order can easily be overruled by almost any federal court in the land if it is found to violate the ultimate law of the country. This has been seen during President Trump’s tenure, where the courts deemed the travel ban to be unconstitutional, until the Supreme Court ruled that it was in fact a power that the president was able to use.
The houses of Congress hold another card in the deck of checks and balances. They have the ability to pass laws and if the president vetoes the bill, they can overrule him with a 2/3 majority vote. They also carry the power to impeach the president if he violates his oath of office. Take Nixon as an example of this check and balance… He overreached his authority and fired a Special Prosecutor, which caused Congress to speed up the impeachment process, effectively ending Nixon’s presidency.
These examples as well as many others show how one person would not be able to set up his own aristocracy or dictatorship. There are thousands and thousands of high ranking officials that would have to all waive their power to allow any US President to gain full authoritarian power and frankly, that’s not going to happen. So, groups like Antifa who are stirring up violence and controversy over their fear of full blown fascism are way off base on their thinking, and only doing harm to the country that they claim they love so much. The media’s narratives of a King Trump are also wrong and show their implicit biases in their reporting.
With that being said, there has not been one single empire that has ruled forever. Every empire has fallen at one point or another and history shows that the United States of America will not last forever either. Some empires have ruled for thousands of years, others shorter. In the end, it appears that there are only 2 constants in this world: Death and Taxes.
Earlier this week, news hit the airwaves that President Trump had reached a deal with the Democratic leadership in Congress dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and immigration reform. The President met with leaders from both parties this week and agreed to a plan set out by the Democrats on DACA, much to the chagrin of the Republicans.
As you may recall, President Trump rescinded the executive order from former President Obama, which instituted DACA without the approval of Congress. Many people felt this action to not be inconjunction with the scope of executive orders, but the policy stood until this past month when President Trump rescinded it, with a 6 month waiting period to allow Congress time to pass a bill and do this the right way.
Republican leaders in Congress are outraged that the Republican president would make a deal with Democrats. The problem here is that America has come to a point that compromise and listening to different viewpoints is almost a dirty word. Yes, politics is dirty and messy, but it wasn’t so long ago that you would see this type of compromise all the time between two parties. One party gets one thing that they want, the other party gets something else.
Lately, you haven’t seen compromise in the government. It’s been very one sided to the ruling party. Whether that is a lack of willingness on the ruling party, or a lack of willingness on the minority party, I’ll let you be the judge, but there has not been much compromise as of late.
This is how we make government work… we compromise. The Republicans need to give some concessions to the Democrats on immigration to get their support, but the Democrats need to give concessions to the Republicans as well. This will require some work and some squelching of egos. In the words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want.”
So, what would a bipartisan bill on immigration look like? Well, there have been several bills that have been presented in recent years, most notably in 2013 with the “gang of eight” bill that was drafted by 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans. This bill provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the US and other safeguards and improvements on the immigration system. It was passed with a supermajority in the Senate, but House Speaker John Boehner refused to take it to the floor of the House and effectively killed the bill at the end of the 113th Congress.
Currently, President Trump wants funding for a wall or fence along the US and Mexico. Democrats want DACA re-instated permanently, along with other policies such as amnesty. Congress and the President must agree to allow some of the Democrats policies into the bill as well as some of the Republicans policies. This is the only way that a good, fair and solid bill would be passed and be able to stand the test of time. The Republicans don’t want to take a page out of the Obama days and force their own immigration reform down everyones throats because as soon as they lose their majority, the Democrats will come knocking to overturn the legislation (think Obamacare).
So, is Trump wrong for meeting with and agreeing to some terms with Democrats? Absolutely not. It’s compromise folks. Jump on board with it and see how this and many other plans can continue to make America great.
As a healthcare professional, the issue of childhood vaccinations is an important issue to me. In the past decade or so, childhood vaccinations have come under fire from a small group of people, parents, mommy blogs, some alternative healthcare providers, and as of late, by President Trump.
Today, I want to break down some of the topics involved with vaccines and discuss what exactly is at stake.
What are vaccines, and how do they work?
Vaccines come in several different forms, and each form works in the body differently. Generally, the vaccines have proteins from a killed, an inactivated, or a weakened live strain of a virus and (sometimes) bacteria, which normally causes significant disease in the general population. These proteins are suspended in a solution with some preservatives to prevent contamination, stabilizers to keep it potent during transport and storage, and adjuvants to help stimulate a stronger immune response.
When injected into the body, these proteins, or antigens, are recognized by the body’s immune system, which begins to form immunoglobulins against that specific antigen. It takes the body several days—up to a couple of weeks—to build up a response and create antibodies that recognize the antigens. The antibodies then signal other cells in the body to begin mounting a response against a certain pathogen. This is why a flu shot doesn’t immediately provide protection against the flu but, instead, takes a couple weeks to become effective. If your body has never come in contact with one of the antigens in a bacteria or a virus, there is no way for it to immediately mount up a good fight against that pathogen.
At times, I find it easier to understand by seeing this happen. TED Ed has made a great 4 minute video explaining this process, so if you are interested, see the link below.
Currently, there are approximately over 30 different individual viruses and bacteria that are covered by a vaccine with several others currently in research and development. There is no need to have every single pathogen covered by a vaccine because we have antibiotics to help fight against most of the harmful bacteria, and some viruses are not harmful to the health and wellbeing of humans.
Some of the most common pathogens addressed by vaccines include organisms that cause influenza, meningitis, hepatitis, chickenpox, and pneumonia. There are many others, but for the sake of time and space, I only chose to mention a few.
Are vaccines effective?
Vaccines have reduced or nearly eliminated many of the bad infectious diseases of the twentieth century. Individuals with polio are no longer seen on the streets because people were inoculated with the polio vaccine, which enabled their immune system to fight off the virus. Likewise, except in some rare locations, it is extremely uncommon to find measles. Such areas of exception are where one might find small sects of people who have chosen not to vaccinate their children, and outbreaks are occurring there currently. The chart below shows the number of people who suffered from a disease before the vaccine was invented as compared to today.
Why do I have to get the flu shot every year?
The influenza virus is different than many of the other viruses and bacteria because every year, it undergoes what is called “antigenic drift.” There are very small mutations, or changes, that occur often in the influenza virus that alter the makeup of the antigens; therefore, the flu shot is not effective from one year to the next. This mutation process also makes it difficult to predict which strain of the flu will be present each year in the U.S. Scientists have to analyze the flu seasons from other countries to help them make an educated guess as to which strain might show up here during our flu season, which runs from early fall to spring. Some years, they guess correctly, and the flu shot is very effective against the virus. Other years, the strain that is most common in the U.S. is a different strain than what was covered in the flu shot, and it is, therefore, less effective.
Think of the antigenic drift process by envisioning a boat floating in the ocean. The boat has no sails or motor, but it will slowly drift to a different position over time. The influenza virus acts like that boat, slowly changing, in no particular direction. Imagine trying to pinpoint the exact position of that boat on any given day. This simple analogy provides a better idea of what it is like to match the flu virus strain to the flu shot.
Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are generally regarded as safe for the majority of Americans. Typically, vaccines are some of the safest medical products available, but, although small, they do carry some risks. The most common side effects for most vaccines include soreness around injection site, mild fever, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, and headache. These side effects are similar to what you would experience at the beginning of an illness, as the body begins to try and fight off the pathogen.
There is a chance that more serious side effects could occur, many of which are related to other pre-existing conditions or illnesses. For example, many of the vaccinations are grown in a medium with egg proteins to help grown the antigens. An individual who is allergic to eggs should not receive those particular vaccinations because of the allergy to one of the components. However, sometimes, a patient might not know he/she is allergic to eggs until after the vaccination is administered, so they could have a more serious reaction than some soreness or fever.
Generally speaking, the more serious side effects are very rare, and most are still manageable with medical interventions.
Do vaccines cause autism?
In a word: no. There is no scientific proof that vaccines cause autism. In fact, as the awareness and understanding of autism’s pathological process grows, professionals can see more and more evidence at an earlier time in a child’s growth that signals the development of autism.
The popular belief that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine caused autism was started in the early 90’s by a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield. He published an article in The Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to the development of autism. Soon after, it was discovered that his research was highly flawed and fraudulent, so it was retracted. This article, however, has done irreparable harm to the vaccine reputation that continues to stick with society today.
The most common signs of autism begin to show up around 18-24 months of age and expand rapidly after 24 months. This was and has been one of the most common rallying cries for the theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism—the first MMR dose is given at 24 months. Nonetheless, correlation does not equal causation. Recent studies have shown that autism characteristics and changes can be seen as early as 6 months by professionals using advanced imaging and techniques. These scientific advances almost completely eliminate the idea that the MMR vaccine given at 24 months would cause autism that is present at or before 6 months of age.
There is much more research and understanding needed concerning the process and pathology of autism, but the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly abundant to proceed with the notion that vaccines do NOT cause autism.
Why do I need to get vaccinated? I’m OK with taking the risk.
Disease prevention efforts rely on the concept of herd immunity, or community immunity. The concept is that if a certain percentage of the population is immune to a particular disease, then those who are not immune or cannot be immune will not have to worry about contracting that particular disease.
There are a number of people who, for medical reasons, cannot receive the vaccination. Some may have an autoimmune disease; some may have an immune system that is incapable of mounting a fight against a pathogen; or some could be allergic to contents of a vaccine. There are many different reasons that one individual cannot tolerate a vaccine, but herd immunity helps to protect that particular individual from contracting a potentially deadly disease.
While a member of society, in particular, might have a health immune system that could successfully fight off a disease, that person could be a carrier of the pathogen and could be able to transmit it to someone else. A neighbor’s child might have a disease like leukemia or SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) and cannot get vaccinations because the child’s immune system will not mount any type of an immune response. In order to protect people like this, the vaccination rates in the U.S. need to be somewhere between 80-95% of the population.
I got the flu shot, and it gave me the flu.
I have heard this myth often. The answer is always, no, the vaccine did not cause the flu. Every flu shot is made up of proteins from the flu virus, but it is not the actual virus. The virus was killed before it was used to create the antigens contained in the flu shot. Therefore, when one receives the flu shot and subsequently gets sick with the flu, it is because of two possible reasons:
The flu virus was contracted before or concurrent with the timing of the flu shot, and flu symptom became present before the immunization had time to become effective.
Mild side effects, such a fever, body aches, and fatigue were experienced, but the flu virus itself was never contracted.
Long story short, someone has not and cannot contract the flu virus by receiving the flu shot.
So, what does this all mean?
President Trump has been critical of vaccinations in America. From what I can tell, it is due to some of the sad stories about children “contracting” autism from the MMR vaccine. President Trump has spoken out about the terrible effects of autism and that if it is vaccines that are causing it, then he doesn’t think children should be required to be vaccinated. The problem is, these myths of autism and vaccines have been debunked by the scientific community over and over again. Scientists and physicians alike need to make their voices heard at the White House so that President Trump is aware of the other side of the argument—the truth.
I do give him credit for planning to establish a counsel at the White House, led by prominent anti-vaxxer Robert J. Kennedy Jr., that is charged with gathering the facts related to the issue at hand. More than any other president in recent memory, President Trump seems to listen to both sides of the argument and, then, come to a decision based upon the evidence he has seen. While some may not like the decision he makes, at least he is trying to be well informed on the issues.
I hope that President Trump sees the overwhelming evidence that support routine vaccinations and is able to ignore the mommy blogs and detractors. This really is a life or death issue.
Yesterday morning, Republican lawmakers were targeted in an attack while playing softball just outside of Washington, D.C. According to eye witnesses, the assailant (who will remain nameless…more on that below) asked a congressman who was getting in his car, “Is this the Democrats or the Republicans practice?” 3 minutes later, shots rang out. Several members of Congress as well as staff were hurt or wounded, but as of now, all are expected to fully recover.
This man blatantly targeted Republican members of Congress. Interestingly enough, this man also supported and campaigned for Socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries until Hillary Clinton won the nomination. He later pushed for Senator Sanders to run on the Green Party ticket because he believed that Hillary was a closet Republican. Review of his social media pages showed that he was an extremely adamant supporter of Bernie Sanders and many of his posts could be read by some as hostile on the verge of violent towards President Trump and the GOP.
Now, obviously Bernie Sanders is not directly implicated in this act of domestic terrorism, but he carries partial blame. Bernie’s rhetoric since election night has been of resisting, taking this to the streets and even going as far as saying that President Trump is “perhaps the worst and most dangerous president in the history of our country.” This kind of rhetoric is dangerous to some of the ears that hear it and interpret it with different intentions. The same went for President Trump, when he was running for the office last year. While the meaning of public official’s words might not intend harm, they need to consider their constituency when choosing their words and phrasing.
In the opening paragraph, I mentioned that I would not use the assailant’s name. I believe this is a good policy that would do well in the mainstream media. While I can’t speak to this individual’s motivation, many people who commit acts of mass terror are in it for their 15 minutes of fame. Whether it is to see their name in the news, or to know they will not quickly be forgotten, many know that it will only be a short while before they become a common household name. For some, this is the ultimate goal because they have been ignored most of their life and feel like they have nothing to contribute anymore. Taking away their inevitable notoriety is a first step towards making them think twice before they commit an act of terror.
Finally, while this wasn’t a known terrorist group like ISIS or the Taliban that committed these acts, this is a case of domestic terrorism. This man committed these acts of violence against his own people of his own country and he directed it to an individual group of people.
The decision makers in the Democratic Party need to tone down their rhetoric because they are inciting way too much violence in this country. Day after day, more and more violence is directed towards the right side of the aisle by those on the left. Groups like Antifa, and other hard left groups are promoting resistance at all costs and this is not being condemned by the Democratic Party. If this trend continues, this will become the new face of the DNC and there will not be any more peace in Washington.
Prayers go out to Congressman Scalise and all those who were injured in the awful attack Wednesday morning.
In the aftermath of the London Bridge terrorist attack late in the evening on June 3rd, President Trump took to twitter. His tweet at 6:17PM read as:
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”
While I agree on the content in the text, I believe the President was wrong.
I think that jumping to conclusions immediately after an attack, of any matter is wrong. I have discussed this with people before when a new story about a mass shooting hits the airwaves, many on the left side of the aisle jump as quick as they can to stand on the graves of the dead, to push their own agenda. Trump took a move right out of the liberal left playbook this weekend when he stood on the graves of those killed in London from a terrorist attack to push his executive order agenda.
If you look at a map with the terrorist attacks since 2001 (through 2014), you will see that virtually every country in Europe has had at least 1 terrorist attack in that 14 year period… all but one country. That one country is Poland.
Why does Poland stand out as not having a single terrorist attack? If you pay much attention to world news, you might know that Poland has a very tough policy on immigration and especially on refugee resettlement. After the Brussels attack at the airport, Poland doubled down on their policy and has refused to admit refugees until they can get a system in place to verify them.
Now, obviously, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but it’s hard to ignore the common denominator here. Poland hasn’t had a terrorist attack in recent memory and Poland has a very limited immigration policy. Those facts can’t be overlooked easily.
All of the immigration and refugee stuff aside, immediately following a tragic event is never the time to use that event to push your own agenda. It was detestable when President Obama stood on the graves of the children at Sandy Hook after a mentally ill man murdered 26 people, all in the name of pushing for more gun control. It is equally detestable for President Trump to stand on the graves of the 7 dead in London after a terrorist attack and use them to push his travel ban or extreme vetting.
There is a time and a place for this type of discussion, but before the dead are even buried is not the time. Maybe the White House would do well to have a personal “Tweeter” for the President who can say… “How about not doing that or saying that right now!” I know there are plenty of lawyers who would appreciate him being a tad more choosey with his tweets.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, recently joined voices with the likes of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, and others in calling for a national “Universal Basic Income” (UBI). The discussion on UBI is not a new one; in fact, one of the country’s founding fathers Thomas Paine (Author of “Common Sense”) promoted a very rudimentary form of basic income in the 1700s.
“Being a plan for meliorating the conditions of man by creating in every nation, a national fund, to pay to every person, when arriving at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, to enable him or her to begin the world! And also, ten pounds sterling per annum during life to every person now living of the age of fifty years, and to all others when they shall arrive at that age, to enable them to live in old age without wretchedness, and go decently out of the world.” – Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice
The idea of a UBI has increased and decreased in popularity over the last 100+ years and has come and gone in many different countries.
First, let’s figure out what a Universal Basic Income is. While there are many proponents of UBI and many varying ideas on how it can be implement, the premise boils down to a form of social security. A resident or citizen of a particular country of working age is guaranteed an income for basically just being born. It is the ultimate of the participation trophy mentality that I have ever heard.
The UBI is given to everyone, regardless of their income, and many proponents suggest setting the UBI at or slightly above the poverty line in order to virtually eliminate poverty in that particular country. Every single person would receive this minimum income, no matter what their own income might be. So, Bill Gates and wife Melinda would receive the UBI, just like John Smith, an unemployed professional video game player who lives in his parents’ basement. Any income that you make on your own is in addition to the UBI you would receive.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons (as argued by supporters and opponents) to the idea of a UBI:
Proponents of a basic income argue that it could eradicate poverty because everyone will receive a wage that is above the poverty line.
A UBI would be much easier to administer than the current welfare program. Everyone gets a check – no questions asked.
It could allow individuals to invest in themselves for higher education by using the extra money created by UBI to fund higher education degrees.
Some suggest that it will fix the “disincentive to work” welfare system currently in place because when individuals add their own income, they will not lose their basic income, like they do in the current system.
Some suggest it could reduce crime by reducing the need for theft or looting, thereby reducing the expenditures of police and court costs.
Inflation, increased costs, and other operational issues could make it unsustainable.
There have not been very many options regarding how to pay for a UBI. Some propose using profits from publically owned enterprises – which opens up a whole other can of worms as to how the government would come to own all these enterprises (AKA: Socialism).
Much like the previous point, this sets up the mother of all welfare states.
It could positively reinforce laziness because individuals would not have a work incentive as a means to provide food and shelter.
Funding would require a tax increase, and there is ambiguity as to if the UBI would be taxable. Some studies done in other countries show a need for 45% income tax rate to pay for the basic income. The estimated rate for the US would be around 39%. Germany found no viable way to fund a basic income.
It would lead to a vast increase in immigration as individuals attempt to “cash in” on the free money.
What this all boils down to: a universal basic income is equivalent to a massive scale redistribution of wealth and a little candy coating to Socialism. Many of the current proponents are Silicon Valley tech CEOs who have a distorted perception of the world in which most people live. The costs alone for a UBI program in the United States would dwarf Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, along with many other social programs.
In the current welfare state which expanded greatly under President Obama, we need to invest in ways to encourage Americans who are currently on government assistance out into the job market and help them contribute positively for themselves, for their families, and to society. The worst thing we could do to them is write them a check without an expiration date. Participation trophies are taking away our children’s incentive to work hard, train, and win. Why strive to do your best, when, at the end of the day, everybody gets the same trophy? UBI is an adult participation trophy… Congratulations, you are breathing today, so here’s a check.
It’s Memorial Day. For some, that means an extra day off of work, a day to barbecue and hang out with friends by the pool, or another day to sleep in. For others, it is a day that represents the ultimate sacrifices over 1 million people have made for the freedoms that we enjoy here in America every single day. The problem is, too many Americans have forgotten the reason for Memorial Day and the people who gave it all–blood, sweat, tears, and even their lives–for us and our families.
Let’s take a look at the history of Memorial Day in order to understand the greater meaning of the day. Memorial Day was first used in 1882 but was commonly referred to as Decoration Day until after World War II. The first mention of a remembrance of those who gave their lives for the country came in 1861 when a civil war soldier’s grave was decorated. The Federal Government officially recognized the first Memorial Day in 1866, but there are several records that show earlier years existed prior to 1866.
The Memorial Day that we currently observe was instituted by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968. Prior to this Act, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 every year. The Act moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in the month of May. This allowed for the creation of a 3-day weekend every year for Memorial Day, as well as the beginning of the end for the real meaning of the holiday.
The real meaning of Memorial Day is to remember the ultimate sacrifice that was paid by men and women in the military.
If you visit any of the National Cemeteries today, you will find each headstone decorated with a small American flag to pay tribute to the Veteran whose remains are interred there.
The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2000 to call for a time of silence at 3:00PM. There is also a movement spearheaded by a Veterans group called the #GoSilent campaign that seeks to draw attention to the 3 o’clock hour for a moment of silence to remember the nations war dead.
So, when you sit down today with your pulled pork sandwich and crack open a cold beverage, don’t forget to pay your respects to the multitude of men and women who don’t have the same privilege because they never returned from fighting for your freedom.
Last night, after the final notes faded out from an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, a suicide bomb was detonated amongst a crowd of concertgoers as they left the arena. While authorities have not concluded the event was directed by a particular terrorist organization, the Islamic State has already claimed responsibility for the attack. As of this writing, 22 people have been confirmed dead, and 59 wounded.
England has been in the terrorism spot light, along with other countries in Europe, including France. In the last year and a half, there have been at least 6 major terrorist attacks in Europe. Almost every single attack was related to ISIS in some fashion. Some were actual “soldiers” for ISIS, others were inspired by the terrorist group. The most recent attack is one in the same as the other attacks across Europe. Innocent civilians were targeted and brutally murdered by a terrorist organization spreading hate and violence in the name of Islam.
You have likely heard a discussion about the R.I.T. phrase… Radical Islamic Terror. The events of May 22 in Manchester and previous events keep that discussion current. We are dealing with people who believe that killing people in the name of Allah is right, holy and justified. And they can use verses from their holy book, the Quran, to back up their claims. Islam is often called a religion of peace, but the fact is that its pages are filled with many references to violence and murder. Some examples of these verses include Quran 2:191,193; 9:5, and 49:9.
Some argue that these verses in the Quran do not supersede the verses referring to peace in the Quran, including Quran 49:13, 11:118-9 and 5:48. The problem with all of this is that interpretation and application is in the eyes of the beholder. While one Muslim might adhere to peace and non-violence as a general rule, another may read it as “kill all the infidels” and “jihad”. In fact, this is exactly how ISIS and other Islamic Extremist groups read it.
The fight against Radical Islam is not a new fight and it is not close to being over. The fight is against an ideology, not a people group. Until Islam is able to rid itself of those who interpret its pages with malice and hate, this war will not end. The bombings of Manchester, Brussels, France and many more will continue and will likely make its way to America. It could likely be slowed, but I am doubtful that it can be stopped. Some have even given up hope all together.
“Terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city.” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
We can slow it down by not allowing these radical ideologies to cross our borders and set up camp in our country. We can’t control those who are already here and have a radical bent, but we can filter out those who come here and have that soldier mentality already. President Trump issued an executive order to try to decrease the number of extremists crossing the border, by increasing the vetting process and stopping immigration from unstable and war torn countries that cannot assist us in vetting their citizens. The problem is that there are some who don’t want this to happen. In the name of “Equality”, they are trying to sacrifice our safety.
Do not be surprised when one day the headlines change from “Terrorist Bombing in England” to “Terrorist Bombing in New York City”. Mark my words, that day is coming. Are you prepared
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in the U.K., to the victims and to their families.
George Orwell and his seemingly prophetic writings have entered into the limelight of reality. With many of his writings, he touches on the thoughts of many American’s as we sit back and ask ourselves, today, “What is going on?” and “How did we get here?” . In fact, George Orwell once wrote that,
“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”
with an eerie premonition to the challenges we face today. The very rights granted to us by our founding fathers in the United States Constitution are under attack. Yes, I get to write this post without repercussion or fear of reprimand by our government. But let’s face it; this post is bound to offend someone right? In today’s world, it is seemingly impossible to practice our rights of freedom of speech without offending someone. What has changed? As the nation approaches its 241st birthday, we have seemed to have traded our patriotism and love for country for the love of self.
Today, groups such as ANTIFA claim to be using freedom of speech while suppressing the speech of others. Seems ironic doesn’t it? ANTIFA, or Anti Fascist suppressing the speech of others? But I digress. The point is that we have all become soft-skinned. Unfortunately, it seems that the only ones willing to actually stand up for what they believe are those that are offended.
Who do we blame though? I don’t know. Do we blame the government for allowing such acts to take place? No, I don’t think so… This would be an infringement on the very right granted to us by our government. However, I would argue that lines should be drawn and a clear distinction should be made between freedom of speech and crime and treated accordingly. Do we blame social media? Sure social media has allowed ideas, thoughts, and feelings to spread across the globe like wildfire, but the blame still can’t be placed on social media. Again though, as stated in previous posts, social media has begun to play a role in the limiting of freedom of speech dictated by their own understanding of what freedom of speech may be and how it fits in with their ideals and target audience. Let’s face it. To be honest, I don’t know who to blame. I do know that somewhere along the line, the United States has given birth to a generation of soft-skinned individuals that are too lazy to form their own ideals and beliefs and rely on others to influence their ideals and beliefs.
What can we do? Again, this is a question that is hard to answer. I feel it, and I know you do too. I feel like the United States is riding a thin piece of string about to break. Maybe one day we will collectively stand up for a common belief and fight for what we believe for the sake of the Nation and push back on the idiotic, delusional, psychotic feelings we find ourselves being forced into.
Recently, I have seen quite a few YouTube videos explaining the new monetization scheme for the YouTube website. As you may or may not know, content providers for YouTube are compensated for their videos (as long as they have a minimum of 10,000 lifetime channel views) based upon money from ad revenues. There is an algorithm based upon the number of views each video receives, to pay the video creators for their time and efforts on the site. This monetization scheme has come under fire lately and it is hurting many YouTube content creators, many of which have a certain political leaning, leading some to believe that this change is an attempt to shrink or censor one particular political viewpoint.
The changes to video monetization came about due to issues brought up by advertisers, with YouTube ads on videos that included hate speech and inappropriate content. Some of the video content that was objectionable to advertisers include, racial slurs, holocaust deniers, and others. In response, YouTube changed their rules on how your video gets monetized, and more importantly, what content gets monetized.
There is a long list of content that is not advertiser friendly and therefore not subject to YouTube monetization. Some items on that list include sexually suggestive content, violence, inappropriate language, drug use, or controversial or sensitive subjects. I emphasized the last one because it is probably the most important item on the list. YouTube has the right to demonetize your video if it deems your topic or content to be controversial or sensitive. What exactly is controversial or sensitive? That particular item isn’t defined, so it is therefore left up to the observer.
Extrapolating the list of content not allowed in monetized videos, we find quite a few YouTube channels affected by mostly the last point: controversial or sensitive subjects. YouTube giants like Philip DeFranco, who has over 5.4 million subscribers, and PewDiePie with 55 million subscribers, to smaller channels like hickok45, Iraqveteran8888 and 22Plinkster have all felt the effects of demonetization over the past year. More recently though, those effects have affected the more conservative channels the greatest. RoamingMillenial and Louder With Crowder are the most recent channels to post about their demonetization and how it affects them personally. One creator, ThePatriotNurse, has noticed that videos that just mention Jews or Israel (because the creator is in fact Jewish) has caused some of their videos to be demonetized.
On the flip side, you have YouTube news outlets like The Young Turks, which has a small paid subscription service, but has a very strong revenue source in YouTube videos, has not mentioned any issues with demonetization of their videos. Interestingly enough, The Young Turks has a very strong liberal bent to their political leanings. So, the moral of this story is that if you lean liberal/progressive, your chances of making money with YouTube is greater than if you lean conservative.
From the surface, it appears that YouTube/Google is attempting to do kind of a backdoor censorship of the conservative/right-wing viewpoints. Gun channels where gun safety and reviews are uploaded have had nearly every video demonetized, even though they are not promoting any kind of violence. ThePatriotNurse is a conservative channel that promotes medical preparedness for worse-case scenarios and many of her videos are demonetized.
Obviously, YouTube and Google are private companies and have every right to limit their content. In the same manner, advertisers are spending their money and have every right to request certain types of pages not be included in their ad distribution. The problem is, many of these channels were built from the ground up on YouTube and have invested a lot in the platform, from video equipment to editing software to make their videos top notch, and many of them rely on revenues to continue adding high-quality content to their channels. YouTube seems to be taking them out of the game by taking away their incentive to provide good content.
How do you know if a video you watch has been demonetized?
If you watch a video that does not have an advertisement before the video starts, or doesn’t have a banner ad somewhere during the video, it has likely either been demonetized by YouTube, or the creator has not requested monetization for the video (likely it’s the first option).
What can you do to help?
Most creators have other jobs that allow fluctuations in revenue to go without any ill effects. So a loss of YouTube ad revenue doesn’t hurt them personally, but it will likely affect content on their channel. You might see less videos, less often. You might see a change in the content, spending less money on props, effects, etc. Some of the creators have set up pages on crowd sourcing websites to help fund their videos. You can certainly help there if you feel the urge. Others have requested you give money to a charity and that it will show them they are wanted and will promote a good cause. But no matter what you do or don’t do, continue to support your favorite channels with views and “thumbs up”. Nothing speaks louder to companies than popular items with a lot of support. Share the videos on your social network pages to get more views. Comment and tell them you like their content and want to keep seeing more. Spread the love.
Let’s not let one company tell us what we can and can’t enjoy for entertainment and education. If you are a YouTube creator, keep up the good work. Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged.