Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is Trump an Authoritarian?

As mentioned in the prior post, the 3/18/18 Book Review section of the New York Times has an analysis by Andrew Sullivan on two new books. The one authored by Cass Sunstein on impeachment is discussed in the prior post. This post discusses "Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America," which was edited by Cass Sunstein. Sullivan/Sunstein (again, it is not clear who is speaking) do not expect Trump to become an outright dictator. No, the suggestion is that he would be an authoritarian in the manner of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

That is curious. Back in Obama's first term, in January, 2012, Obama gave an interview to Fareed Zakaria of Time magazine. When asked about close relationships he has developed with other world leaders he names, among others, Recep Erdogan. One may recall that Obama liked the "authoritarian" Erdogan a whole lot more than he liked the democratic Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. Of the ways Trump might be helped in exerting this authoritarian control are "ever more extreme talk radio and what is essentially a state propaganda channel, Fox News."

Once again, you have to admire the artful characterization of conservative media; all the while ignoring how virtually the entire mainstream media, with the New York Times leading the way, was in the tank for Obama. Or, to put it the way Sullivan/Sunstein might, the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media, including CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC and ABC all acted as propaganda arms for the Obama Administration. It is also essential that the point be made that this Sullivan/Sunstein article views conservative news outlets as being bad. The Left has no tolerance for opposing viewpoints.

Yes, Trump calls the mainstream media the "fake news." But many of their articles are fake in the sense of pushing the Left-wing agenda ahead of honest reporting. But recall that it was Obama who, along with his top aids, repeated the same line about Fox not being a real news organization. It was as if Obama had declared war on Fox News. Why? Because Fox would not adhere to the Obama/Democrats party line. And talk radio? Obama also expressed his dissatisfaction with Rush Limbaugh setting the tone for conservatives. When Obama went after the media, that was acceptable. Only when Trump attacks the media does it become a sign of authoritarianism.

The article then discusses the "wreckage" caused by Trump in his first year. They say that Trump has gone after the FBI, the CIA, the media, judges, and so on. In case you were wondering - no, Trump has not done one single positive thing; at least, the article did not suggest that he did. Why shouldn't Trump attack the bias of the FBI? Think Comey, Strzok, Page and McCabe. The CIA past and present is always nonpartisan, right? It is hard to believe that any CIA Director would ever make this comment about the President of the United States: "When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history." Actually, former CIA Director under Obama, John Brennan, just made those remarks.

Frankly, I don't give a damn if Brennan feels that way about Trump. However, I care a great deal when we have high government officials, past or present, publicly making such distasteful and repulsive comments that add nothing to the civil discourse of real issues.

The article concludes with the assertion that the American people "voted for the kind of monarchy the American republic was designed, above all else, to resist..." And I thought it was Obama who told us that "we're not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help they need. I've got a pen and I've got a phone." Yes, no point in waiting for the elected representatives of the American people to actually pass bills. Who's the monarch?

Russia, Trump and Impeachment

Starting on the first page - in large print - of the Book Review section in today's New York Times, is an analysis by liberal commentator Andrew Sullivan of two books. One, written by former Obama aid and confidante Cass Sunstein, is entitled "Impeachment, A Citizen's Guide," and is the subject of this post. The other, edited by Sunstein, is entitled "Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America," and is the subject of the next post. Sullivan starts his piece discussing the four times impeachment proceedings were begun, along with a general review of when impeachment might be proper.

After analyzing some of what Sunstein, and apparently Sullivan, believe to be potentially impeachable offenses by Trump, Sullivan/Sunstein (it is difficult to ascertain who is speaking) conclude that those offenses may not be sufficient for impeachment. Then, we have this question: "What about passively cooperating with a foreign power to subvert an American election and then, after clear proof of such interference, refusing to counter that foreign power"s intent to disrupt the next election too?" You have to admire the phrasing of the question; analogous to a lawyer asking a defendant: "So, when did you stop beating your wife?"

Then, we are told there would be a difference between being a passive beneficiary of a foreign power's meddling, versus "but if he is actively neglecting a defense of this country's electoral integrity because he believes the Kremlin helped him win an election in the past, and will almost certainly help him and his party in the near future, then impeachment is a no-brainer." Notice the deft switching from "a foreign power" to "the Kremlin." Notice, too, that we are now told the Kremlin will be helping the entire Republican party. So, should we conclude that a vote for a Republican is a vote for Putin?

Wait a second! Obama was the one who drew a red line for Syria's (a client state of Russia) use of chemical weapons - and then did nothing when Syria crossed that line. It was Obama who mocked Romney in one of the 2012 debates when Romney asserted - correctly - that Russia was the biggest geopolitical threat to the USA. It was Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who famously had the 'reset" button with Russia. It was Obama who was caught on an open mike telling Medvedev to advise Putin that he, Obama, would have more flexibility (especially with regards to the placement of defensive missiles in Eastern Europe) after he won reelection. And it was Obama who watched - but did nothing - as Russia invaded and took over the Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

You have to give the Left credit. After all, notwithstanding all of the above, and notwithstanding Obama's awareness of Russian meddling years before the 2016 election, Russia was simply a non-issue for them. Here's Obama on 10/18/16, a mere 3 weeks before the Presidential election: "There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections. In part because they're so decentralized, and the numbers of votes involved. There's no evidence that that has happened in the past, or that they're instances in which that will happen this time. And so, I'd advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes." Here is a question that the mainstream media has no interest in asking: How come Russia was a non-issue for them and the Democrats when they thought Clinton would win the election, but then immediately became a huge issue after Trump won?

The hypocrisy by the Democrat politicians is no surprise. The willingness of the mainstream media to go along with the narrative about Trump and Russia is also not shocking. However, the willingness by my friends on the Left to simply ignore the actual facts involving Obama and Russia is, well, quite dismaying.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Guns - Comments From the Commentators

(Note: On 1/12/13, only one month after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I wrote a post entitled "Guns." As with all my posts, that post is still up on the blog, and the points discussed there are just as pertinent today following the latest school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Reading of that post would be a good intro, if you will, to the current post. In case those who disagree with me on the issue think that I do not care, let me state how horrific and terrible any school shooting is, and any murder is.)

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it appeared that many took up their usual positions on the issue of guns. I read and heard countless opinion pieces, letters to the editor and stories from people about how evil the NRA is. I have heard it said that NRA members should have to suffer the loss of a child. What a terrible thing to wish on someone. Here is what I have not heard from many on the Left - an actual analysis. The first question that I would ask is are there in fact more school shootings today than there were before? Assuming that there are, the next logical question would be: why?

Frankly, I am amazed at the amount of venom directed at the NRA, with virtually none directed at the actual perpetrator. Not only is religious affiliation and attendance at religious services down in the US, but the religious belief that we are responsible for own actions seems to have vanished from our society. The Ten Commandments give us some basic instructions on proper behavior. But the Ten Commandments are no longer allowed in public schools nor anywhere in the public square. Beginning in the 1960's, we started to blame "society" for the misbehavior, and even criminal behavior, of offenders. Also worthy of note is that in the year 1960, only 5% of all births were outside of marriage. However, by the mid-2000's, that number had jumped to 40%. Does any of this matter?

In an interesting Op-Ed in the 3/2/18 Ventura County Star, Jay Ambrose tells us that the shooters in Parkland, Newtown and at the Charleston, South Carolina church were all carried out by young men raised without involvement from their fathers. Ambrose cites a CNN report regarding the "deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history," noting that seven of the killers were under the age of 30 - and only one of them was raised with a father throughout his childhood. Ambrose cites a federal study concluding that suicides by young people mostly occur in fatherless homes - 63% of the time. Many of us recall the TV show Murphy Brown (played by Candace Bergen), with Brown, as a single Mom, giving birth to a baby boy. Then Vice President Dan Quayle said that by giving birth as a single Mom, Brown was "mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice.'" Quayle was heavily criticized by the Left. Of course, countless studies since then have demonstrated the importance of fathers being in the home - from lower poverty rates, lower school dropout rates, less drug involvement, and so on.

In a 2/27/18 Op-Ed in the LA Times, Devin Hughes and Mark Bryant opine that: "In reality, the best research shows what common sense tells us: More guns mean more crime and more death." Except, that does not appear to be the case. The number of guns in private hands in the US is at an all time high, yet the murder rate and overall crime rate has been going down. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December, 2012, the liberal magazine, The Atlantic, reported that 75% of the guns used in the US in mass shootings were obtained illegally. And Fox and the WSJ reported that only 11% of the time were legally obtained guns used in gun crimes. But how surprising should it be that someone intent on doing evil is also willing to break the law in order to obtain their instruments of killing.

Peggy Noonan had a different take from Messrs. Hughes and Bryant in her weekend (2/17-2/18/18) column in the Wall Street Journal. After asking what has changed in society in the last 40 years that would account for all these mass killings, she declares this: "The family blew up - divorce, unwed childbearing. Fatherless sons. Fatherless daughters, too. Poor children with no one to love them. The internet flourished. Porn proliferated. Drugs, legal and illegal. Violent videogames...The abortion regime settled in...An increasingly violent entertainment culture..." Some of us recall the Westerns where, when the bad guys got shot, say in the stomach, they would grab their stomach and fall. We never saw a single drop of blood. Now, we can witness the most horrific gun violence, with blood spurting everywhere, as if it was all real. I fail to see the benefit of that, as it undoubtedly hardens at least some young people to the effects of such violence.

In yet another Op-Ed, in the 2/21/18 NY Times by Amy Barnhorst, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UC, Davis, we are told that "The mental health system doesn't identify most of these (potentially violent) people because they don't come in to get care. And even if they do, laws designed to preserve the civil liberties of people with mental illness place limits on what treatments can be imposed against a person's will." Then, she makes this telling comment: "But there are no reliable cures for insecurity, resentment, entitlement and hatred." Maybe not, but religion can teach that we do not get to do whatever we want against whoever we want. And "entitlement?" We have seen far too much of that attitude in our society. It is now passe to say that one should have to work for what they get. Even more importantly, one should always be grateful for what they have, not stress over what they do not have. But religion teaches that.

Karen Lehrman Bloch has a regular column in the LA Jewish Journal. She writes that: "In New York City, so-called progressive groups are succeeding at removing metal detectors from high schools. Why? Because they consider them 'racist.' That's right. Racist metal detectors." (As an aside, and not to make light of this serious topic, my doctor just put me on a "no whites" diet - no white bread, no white rice, no white flour and the like. Nothing white. Racist?)

I cannot end this post without noting the failure of the "if you see something, say something" maxim. So many people said something- to the school, to the local police, and even to the FBI. Then again, the FBI has failed us so many times before it is hard to keep track. And what about the sheriff who was on the scene and the three who arrived shortly thereafter - yet failed to confront the shooter. My friend who is a retired cop, explained that during the time a shooter has to turn his weapon away from the victims to the person shooting at him, gives precious seconds to the students allowing them to run and escape. That same friend asks this: "Who would you rather have carrying a gun during the Florida incident? The three police officers who cowardly hid while the shooting was taking place and kids were being massacred? Or, the coach who bravely went after the gunman without being armed?"

You see, that friend was involved in 4 shootouts during his career. He has seen cops conveniently arrive late to the scene of an active shooter. Therefore, when many on the Left say only the police should be armed, he gets infuriated. He knows that "when seconds count, the police are minutes away." And, even then, it is quite clear that we cannot always rely on the police.

The Incivility of the Uncivil Left

(Note: As regular readers of this blog know, I recently wrote two posts discussing this issue. See the 1/30/18 post "The Last Acceptable Prejudice," as well as the next one of 2/6/18 entitled "In Case Anyone Needed Further Proof...". As a result of some personal interactions, along with an LA Times Op-Ed, I was prompted to write this further post on the incivility of the Left.)

A Ron Berler wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the 2/18/18 LA Times. He is 68 years old and was having dinner with a long time friend, a man who had been at his wedding, a man whom Berler said "was important to me." Berler describes their friendship as having "frayed" over a period of 18 months because of Donald Trump. Although they had agreed not to discuss politics, Berler says he "just couldn't help it."

Berler wrote that he just had to have an answer about Trump's character: "...the things he's said and done - the race-baiting, the name calling, the womanizing, the divisive attacks on immigrants and refugees and everyone who opposes him - doesn't that make you question his character?" Of course, what Berler was really asking his friend was this: "What is wrong with you? How can you not detest Trump?" His friend, clearly being more civil, answered as follows: "I don't judge people." While that may be unlikely, I suspect that his friend was trying to politely avoid politics - a topic that they had agreed they would not discuss.

Had Berler asked that question of me, I likely would have given this answer: "How in the world did you support Obama? (He does not say that he did, but it seems to be a fair assumption.) His race-baiting of the Cambridge police, the Ferguson police, and every time a black man was involved with the police. Race relations were set back decades thanks to Obama. What about Obama's name calling and demonization of those who opposed him? From day one he attacked Fox News. He attacked the Tea Party. He attacked all Republicans as wanting dirty air and dirty water, among other accusations. He favored immigrants over American citizens, and mocked Americans who 'cling to their guns and religion.' And lies? Sure, Trump lied about things like the size of the crowd at his inauguration. But Obama lied about important policy decisions. Obama told us: 'If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor; if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.' Now, what were you asking me about Trump?"

Berler next revealed his true contempt for those who might disagree with him. He consulted with three psychology professors claiming to seek an explanation for the "chasm" that had developed between him and his friend. But his real motivation was revealed a few paragraphs later as he asked one of the professors this question: "Why will a person go to irrational lengths to defend an act that he or she knows is indefensible?" Once again, Berler's real question is: "What is wrong with my friend?" And: "How can anyone defend Trump?" And then Berler asks the third psychologist this question: "What is the likelihood that my friend will return to rational thought?" What sheer arrogance! Berler agreed not to discuss politics with his friend. Having broken that agreement, his friend refused to take the bait. And his friend is the one lacking in rational thought? This is just another example of a Leftist abandoning a long term friendship because they are unable to accept the notion that someone - anyone - might not share their viewpoints. No surprise to those of us who are conservatives.

On a more personal level, I recently ran into a man I have known for 40 years. He is older than I am, and not having seen him in a while, and out of my respect and fondness for him, I approached him and gave him a hug. He was standoffish. I mentioned something about him and his wife getting together with me and my wife. He has known my wife for probably 38 years. He deflected my invitation. Subsequently, I sent him an email indicating that I wanted to apologize for whatever I may have said or done to upset him. Basically, I did not do or say anything. Having read some of my blog posts, he just could not understand my politics. Disappointing? Yes. Hurtful? Yes again. But, as a conservative it is something that I have come to expect from those on the intolerant and uncivil Left.

One more personal note. Our youngest daughter recently went out on a date. During the course of the conversation, the young man uttered these words: "I hate Republicans." Maybe in California he thought it was a safe bet to assume that everyone is a liberal Democrat (which is a Leftist today). While my daughter is definitely more liberal than her Dad, she also loves her Republican Dad. I would like to suggest that this young man might benefit from taking a look at "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

In what may be a rare instance of agreement with Nicholas Kristof, he ended his 2/18/18 column in the NY Times with this: "Civility is not a sign of weakness, but of civilization."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Israel and the Americans

When it comes to US support for Israel, thank G-d for the Republicans. A new Pew Research poll reports on whether people sympathize more with Israel or the Palestinians. Not surprisingly, Republicans come in at 79% sympathetic with Israel. Democrats were at what I believe is their all time low for support for Israel - only 27% sympathize more with Israel. As most American Jews are Democrats, this does not speak well of American Jews support for Israel.

Several Israeli papers reported that former US Secretary of State John Kerry recently met with a top confidante of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry was to have asked that this message be passed on to Abbas: "hold on and be strong." Kerry is also alleged to have expressed that Abbas should "play for time" and "not yield to President Trump's demands." Finally, Kerry is also reported to have said that "Trump won't be in office for long." (According to the Jerusalem Post.)

Kerry's behavior is outrageous, arguably treasonous in the sense of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. But it is telling just how far the Democrats have moved away from support for Israel towards supporting the Palestinians. Nor did it matter to Kerry that Abbas still claims the Jews have no right to Israel. This is what Abbas recently said about the Jews' historic and biblical claim to the land of Israel: "Colonialism created Israel to perform a certain function. It is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism, but rather used the Jews as a tool under the slogan of the 'Promised Land.'"

Of course, the Bible tells us that over 3000 years ago G-d told Abraham to leave his home in Mesopotamia to travel to "a land that I will show you," the land of Canaan. On his recent trip to Israel, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. Said Pence: "The Jewish people's unbreakable bond to this sacred city (Jerusalem) reaches back more than 3000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Issac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in G-d. It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government."

I challenge all my Jewish friends and readers who are Democrats to tell me what Democrat could be counted on to give similar words of support to Israel. Kerry? Clinton? We know Obama did not. What future Democratic President or Vice President would say to the Knesset these words that Mike Pence said: "...I am here to convey a simple message from the heart of the American people: America stands with Israel. We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight." The Vice President also quoted our first two Presidents, including this quote from John Adams, that the Jews "have done more to civilize man than any other nation."

Different Jewish holidays have different prayers that are said. But they also have one prayer in common - the shehecheyanu. It is a short and simple prayer with which Jews thank G-d for giving us life, sustaining us, and bringing us to this day. Acknowledging that Israel is about to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its rebirth, Pence declared: "I say, along with the good people of Israel, here and around the world: shehecheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyana la'z'man ha'zeh."

But Jews who vote Democrat vote for the same candidates that Muslim Americans support. After all, both religious groups vote in large numbers for Democrats. According to "The Israel Group," the NY Post recently reported that Imams across the US spoke to their congregants in their mosques with these, or similar, words: "Oh Allah, count them (the Jews) one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one." (For more on these distressing comments, see the 8/10/17 post, "Guess the Countries.") It is projected that sometime in the 2040's, the number of Muslims will exceed the number of Jews in the USA. When that happens, and if life in America becomes as difficult for Jews as life in many European countries has already become, and when American support for Israel ends under possible successive Democratic Administrations, I wonder what my fellow Jews who vote Democrat will think then.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In Case Anyone Needed Further Proof...

In my last post I asserted that the last acceptable prejudice was anti-conservatism. I claimed that "many on the Left act as if they have an absolute right to be rude to conservatives, to mock us, to insult us, to ignore us, and to simply stop being friends with us." The examples abound on a non-stop basis. Here are a few recent ones.

A Tweet from Stephen King: "A train load of Republicans on their way to a pricey retreat hit a garbage truck. My friend Russ calls that Karma." Yes, let's make fun of injuries, death and destruction. Jonathan Tasini, a regular commentator on CNN, Tweeted this: "Wow, btwn train full of Goopers hitting truck and this (Trey Gowdy announcing his retirement from Congress), G-d is working hard today to clean up the stink. Thank her..." The "stink," aka Republicans.

Jimmy Kimmel: "It just so happens that almost every talk show host is a liberal and that's because it requires a level of intelligence." While some claimed it was a joke, the point is that he said it knowing it would get a huge laugh, and it did. Because, after all, conservatives are dimwits. Although I would not mind seeing a debate between Mr. Kimmel and one of those dimwit radio talk show hosts, such as Dennis Prager, Larry Elder or Michael Medved.

One reader emailed me after reading the last post to tell me he had been hiking when he ran into another person on the trail. It was an isolated area and apparently the two of them were the only hikers in the area. As they crossed paths they stopped and chatted for a while. When he returned to his car there was a note from the unknown hiker on his windshield: "Nice to talk. Here is my personal info. Maybe we can get together. If you voted for Trump, though, the offer is definitely retracted."

In case anyone claims these stories are simply anecdotal, and not reflective of the mainstream Left, think again. The premier left-wing newspaper is the New York Times. Following President Trump's State of the Union speech, the Times' lead editorial of 1/31/18, said this: "...underneath distracting surface spectacles like his trolling on Twitter, he is delivering the most ruthless, conventionally conservative domestic policy in memory." So, for the NY Times, "conventional conservatism" is "ruthless." Got it. The Times editorial continued: "Nowhere is this more evident than in the way he is packing the courts - including the Supreme Court - with far-right justices." Hmmm...a conservative President appointing conservative judges. Didn't left-wing Obama appoint far-left justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan? Conservative Presidents don't have the right to appoint conservative justices because...why? Oh, that's right, conservatives are ruthless.

Lastly, we have MSNBC's Joy Reid's Tweet after Trump's State of the Union speech: " national anthem...Trump trying to call on all the tropes of 1950's-era nationalism. The goal of this speech appears to be to force the normalization of Trump on the terms of the bygone era his supporters are nostalgic for." I hope that Joy Reid and others on the Left continue with their out-of-touch elitism. What people like her do not realize is that it is not only conservatives who respect their church and family, the police and military and yes, the national anthem. After seeing a reduction in both attendance and TV viewership following the kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games, it was hardly a surprise that the league went out of its way to showcase numerous military veterans during the Super Bowl.

To sum up, conservatives are garbage, stink, are dimwits, Trump voters and ruthless. On other the hand, we value church (synagogue for some of us), family, the police, the military and the national anthem. I can deal with the demonization and demagoguery. After all, we are sustained by our faith, families, and basic American institutions. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

We know that it is unacceptable to be biased against or prejudiced against or discriminate against blacks, women, Hispanics, any member of the LGBTQ community, Muslims, and so on. Right? Wrong! It is perfectly permissible to mistreat any member of those groups if they are conservatives. In fact, prejudice against conservatives occurs on a daily basis. If you doubt the claim of such bias being acceptable against even members of the favored "victim" classes, consider the following. Pro-life women were discouraged or banned from participating in some of the women's marches. The same for pro-Israel women. Some in the Hollywood crowd had no problem with recently body shaming Sarah Sanders, President Trump's Press Secretary. After all, she is a conservative.

You see, marches such as the women's marches should really be referred to as the progressive/leftist women's marches. Are you a conservative black? Uncle Tom! This prejudice against conservatives is pervasive throughout our society. In fact, many on the Left act as if they have an absolute right to be rude to conservatives, to mock us, to insult us, to ignore us, and to simply stop being friends with us. The mainstream media's editorials mock conservatives all the time. It is nearly impossible to find a network TV show that does not attack or mock conservatives in at least one scene. College campuses? Do I really need to list all the times professors have insulted Republicans and conservatives. Let's not forget Hillary's "basket of deplorables." Democrats are the party of "tolerance?" Please.

On a more personal level, see my summer of 2016 post "A Personal Tale of Intolerance," wherein I describe being verbally assaulted and in fear of being struck by someone who was angry beyond words that I would be voting for Trump. I have had people tell me to my face that they "hate" Republicans, knowing that I am one. I have been mocked, otherwise treated rudely, and lost friends simply because my political beliefs are "unacceptable." Being a conservative makes me a lesser human being in the eyes of the Left. I am a "deplorable."

The Left has so incorporated this disparagement of conservatives into their worldview, that they believe it is, or should be, legal to discriminate against conservatives. Don't believe that either? Recall the various big city mayors across the country, all Democrats, telling Chick fil-A that they were not welcome to do business in their cities, after the owner of the company said he believed in the traditional definition of marriage. These mayors did not believe that the owner had First Amendment rights; they did not believe that he had a right to conduct business. Why? Because he expressed a conservative viewpoint. You want to live in a society where you must pass a political litmus test to get into a college, or get a job, or run a business? What happens when they ask if you are pro-Israel, or Jewish, and if you are, you are rejected. Some of us remember being down that road before.

In California, we already have legal discrimination against Republicans. In the primary elections, all candidates of both parties (multiple parties in California) are listed on a single ballot. The top two vote getters make the general election ballot. In California, the top two are Democrats. Therefore, we have no Republicans holding statewide office. We have an overwhelming Democrat legislature. One party rule. That is what the Left is aiming for on a national level. Welcome back to the USSR.

I have a confession to make. (No, I'm not a Christian.) I made the mistake of thinking that if I engaged with people on the Left, but did so in the manner of the "Happy Warrior," Hubert Humphrey, that I would be well received. I did my best to be polite, not be "in your face," and to stick to facts and logic. I was wrong. I forgot a truism that I have often stated. That is, many on the Left have so internalized their Leftist worldview that it has become a part of their self-identity. Therefore, if you criticize Obama, for example, it is as if you are personally attacking them. No matter how nice you are, they will get mad at you, because it is as if you are attacking them. You may as well be screaming at them. My bad. I forgot.

Therefore, I have decided that I will no longer engage with those on the Left about politics. I'll stick to "my own kind." Is that better for society if we cannot respectfully engage with one another? If the Left stays in their Left-wing bubble, and the Right stays in theirs? Some will say yes, there was less division in society when people discussed neither politics nor religion with one another. Others will say it is not better, that the inability to cross the political divide is a sign that it is the beginning of the end of this great country. That we will ultimately split into two countries. How do you see it?