My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

Category: Information Only (page 2 of 49)

It’s time for a change

I am, probably more than most, a creature of habit.  Routine keeps me on the path.  If I fall off the path, I'm in the weeds and it is hard to get back on.  I find unstructured situations exhausting so I avoid them completely.  This drives Sarah nuts but it's what I do.

My morning routine has been the same for the past umpteen years: I read three papers most every morning and watch either CNN, MSNBC, CNBC or FOX while I eat breakfast (also the same thing every morning with minor variations).  No, I don't read every word of those papers but I dig into what I find interesting or useful.  The TV channels…..well, I do enjoy "Morning Joe" but it isn't nearly as good as it used to be.  Seems like they used to include the occasional conservative back in the day but not anymore.  If you flip from MSNBC to Fox, you'll wonder if you're in the same world as the coverage is so disconnected.  CNN has exactly one guy I like – Jake Tapper.  He's a hard-nosed dude and one of the better interviewers around right now.  I don't read many of the political websites and I honestly had never been to Breitbart until I saw Steve Bannons caricature on SNL.  Breitbart advances a pretty curious worldview that seems to be designed to make them money more than anything else….outrage sells.  Drudge, whatever.  Politico or realclearpolitics….yawn. 

I don't write all of that to demonstrate that I'm some sort of superior, well-informed super-human.  No, it's more to catalog for myself how much of this I digest.  It is a lot.  And lately it is all about Trump.  To the folks on the left, every tweet is an impeachable offense.  From the right comes some sort of hand-waving defense and a reference to Hillary's emails.  No, I watched all of this dreck in order to maintain an informed mind and insight into what's happening but I've come to a conclusion:

It ain't worth it.  I'm filling my brain with completely useless crap.

You know what's hurting our country?  MSNBC, FOX, Breitbart and all their ilk, left and right.  These people are simply merchants in outrage mining the fringes of our differences for their own profit…..with the bonus opportunity to report on the divisions they generate.  So I'm done.  No more morning TV.  Yes, I'll read my three papers every morning.  The New York Times has the best food section of anyone and, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a fat guy.  The Journal covers the markets and posses a decent editorial page so I'll read that.  The Washington Post reports on local stuff and has "Washington stories" – you know, about the City, not the politics – so I'll read that.  But that's it.

It'll be an interesting thing to try.  I'll have an additional free hour in the morning and I don't know what I'm going to do with myself.  Maybe I'll write more or just go to work earlier.  I like to do both of those things….and a lot more than watching the endless coverage of the idiots in Washington.  About the only conclusion that I've reached after watching endless rivers of this stuff is that if you view the results of the past 4 national elections through the lens of the public wanting results then those elections make a lot more sense….and it makes the Republicans failure to address big ticket items truley perilous going forward….the people might just decide they're sick of it all…..hopefully it'll be in the paper.


Just a little commentary….

The world is losing its mind.  It's irritating as hell.  First we had this free-for-all in Charlottesville followed by the President abdicating any moral leadership he ever had and now we're very busy tearing down statues.  It's madness.

As for the Trump thing, it matters that he equivocated.  There are no "very fine people" in a neo-nazi rally.  They don't exist.  Hold, on, I can hear you now "well what about Antifa?"  Antifa used violence as well.  That's bad too but we cannot tolerate nazi-ism or White Supremacists in our country for we know where that leads.  The President needed to say that nazis are bad.  That doesn't seem complicated or difficult to me.  Honestly, a politician in 2017 doesn't get points for being able to articulate such a position.  However, that second statement where he finally indicated that this was all bad didn't contain what Trump has in his heart.  We saw that at that free for all press conference.  I'm disappointed in him.

The wreckage that followed has been substantial.  His two big business councils have evaporated – that really shocked me.  Big time CEO's don't walk away from a power center like that easily.  Bannon is gone and the President's inner circle is as constricted as ever.  His Presidency is in serious jeopardy of just not mattering anymore.  Honestly, he needs to man up, forget about Twitter and do what the people elected him to do.  He's behaving like a 5 year old and whether you like the guy or not having a failed presidency isn't helpful.

What's followed is a rush to pull down statues, etc. celebrating / recognizing civil war era Confederate generals.  In my view, there's way more heat than light around this issue.  The Federal government doesn't need to be passing laws or any sort of judgment as to the appropriateness of these actions.  Frankly, neither do the states but states, and southern states in particular, despite their "freedom loving" majorities tend to be overwhelmingly paternalistic.  Virginia is no different so the state is involved in the debate.  Honestly, this is a question for the localities to answer.  I'd like to see a more public process than what happened in Baltimore but at the end of the day if the folks in Baltimore or Manassas or Richmond don't want those statues, it isn't anyone else's business.  Ideally there would be public hearings or maybe even a body to study the issue but any methodology that involves the public before the Council / Board of Supervisors makes a decision would be good.  If the folks in those towns don't like the decision they should find new representatives.  This is the way that most big decisions need to be made and when they aren't (like the police station project here in Manassas – zero input) then the citizens don't respond well.  It's an intensely local issue and it should stay that way.

What's going to happen next?  Well, the republicans have a hellish September in front of them.  They have to pass a deficit cap increase and a budget.  The leadership keeps talking about tax reform but I'm pretty skeptical.  If they get with the Democrats and figure out something that can pass with support from both parties then maybe.  Otherwise, we'll have more of the same….nothingburger drama from our leadership.

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