LEFT, RIGHT & CENTER

leftrightcenter

Being retired allows me the luxury of time. Some of that time I devote to reading the news, especially the political news, from a variety of news sources. This has allowed me to form some impressions of where various news sources fall in terms of reliability and ideological bias. If you are interested, here’s my (not entirely unbiased) take on left-right-center news organizations. BTW, I don’t do television; these are all online media.

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IS DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK?

wethepeopleA great many Americans are alarmed that the Trump administration appears to be undercutting the key institutions that define and preserve American democracy, and is doing so in small increments, each of which appears minor, but which taken together trend toward a strong-man state similar to what we see in Russia, in which one man rules behind the curtain of democratic-looking institutions. (I’ll bet you thought the “Wizard of Oz” was just a children’s story, with no political message.) How do we know which of his actions, if any, are detrimental to a healthy democracy? And how would we know when we were approaching a red line, beyond which it is no longer possible to save our democracy.

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TRUMP ON NUKES

nukeblastDonald Trump says he wants to renegotiate some of our long-standing nuclear arms reduction treaties with Russia. He says they are unfair to us. I guess that’s because they target nuclear equity between the two nations. Trump says he wants us to have the biggest and best nuclear arsenal. The man demonstrates yet again that he is clueless when it comes to the topic of nuclear weapons.

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SANCTUARY CITIES

sanctuarycitiesWhat is a Sanctuary City? The name conjures of images of safe places where the city will protect illegal immigrants from federal immigration officers. But that’s not it at all. A Sanctuary City is a city that chooses not to utilize its government employees as agents of the federal immigration services. It’s a very passive thing. Sanctuary Cities typically give four reasons for taking this stance.

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TERRORISM IN AMERICA

terrorisminamericaNot surprisingly, there has been a lot of research on terrorist attacks within the United States. It turns out that, contrary to the propaganda you are likely to see on television, terrorist attacks by right-wing Christian extremists are at least as prevalent as terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. The implication of this is that if our country is serious about fighting terrorism on US soil, our counter-terrorism efforts need to be directed toward both kinds of terrorism. Furthermore, the motives, ways and means are different between the two, meaning that a one-size-fits-all approach is bound to fail.
Here’s an article on a recent study: Terrorism In America.

THE FLAT EARTH

Is the earth flat? flatearthKyrie Irving, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, says it is, and that those who say otherwise are lying to us. It’s not clear who “they” are; presumably scientists and politicians. “This is not even a conspiracy theory,” he says. “The earth is flat.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kyrie-irving-cavaliers-nba-earth-flat_us_58a7d1a3e4b07602ad54f2c9?dwh0r4a8jsx4huayvi&)

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THE HEALTH INSURANCE LIE

repealacaAttention fellow citizens: Both the President and the Republican-controlled Congress have been lying to us about health care.

President Trump, shortly before his inauguration, said that he had a health-care plan “very much formulated down to the final strokes”

So where it it? Apparently it doesn’t exist. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, has told Congress that they, not the White House, will have to take the lead on coming up with something to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “We’re really looking at a whole range of options,” and Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on health, said, “We are working together — this is not top-down; this is bottom-up.”

This is bottom-up. Hmm, sounds like they are starting pretty much from scratch.

In other words, contrary to what they have been telling us, neither the President nor Congress has anything to replace the Affordable Care Act with.

Both the President and the Republican-controlled Congress have been lying to us all along.

Maybe nobody will notice.

By the way: Unless you are getting your health insurance through your employer, you should look into what coverage you do have. The odds are you will lose it as soon as the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and there will be nothing to replace it with.

DOES TRUMP SUPPORT APARTHEID?

apartheidIn a news conference held during his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this week, President Trump backed away from the “two-state” solution that has been the bedrock of American policy in the Middle East for several decades, and said he was open to a “one-state” solution. This is alarming because it implies support for apartheid.

The two-state solution (with variants) assumes two independent nations, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side. Getting there is fraught with many difficulties, which is why it hasn’t happened.

The one-state solution (with variants) assumes a single state in which Palestinians live under Israeli rule as second-class citizens. This is known as apartheid, and is widely recognized as reprehensible.

It is possible that our President is simply ignorant about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and blundered his way into a dramatic shift in America’s policy toward Israel and Palestine without having given it much thought. Some of his other remarks during the press conference suggested an astonishing lack of understanding the region. In any case, that our President would declare America’s support to an apartheid regime in Israel is, in my opinion, reprehensible.