Viewpoints

Requiem for a Republic – April 13, 2016

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

Abraham Lincoln presciently noted that “America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”  If we carefully survey our political scene, both macro and micro, our republic may be ending, “…not with a bang but a whimper.”
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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The Game – March 23, 2016

Michael Zavala, Political Columnist

A sigh of relief will settle like dust over a breathless nation when the damn elections are over. These crippled opinions will all go back to their caves and hibernate another four years. People from every end of the spectrum are so uninformed, it’s become quite embarrassing. So many Bernie people understand the Fed is brutally corrupt, but falsely believe change could come swiftly with brute force. They understand indignant cronies run the game, but ignore their own fallacies. Trump people are the same, but a little worse. Their hearts betray them, to believe a trust fund baby could understand the working man’s pain. The Middle Class, as always, fetishizes a pandering rhetoric, and would never anticipate a sobering crash to their high. Then there are Clinton followers, those poor devils, who are the most unoriginal of all. Safe to say, boring. They use the same three or four boilerplate phrases like a comic book superpower, and drown out all logical opposition. Clinton supporters speak the Great Lie to themselves: that they are not utterly resigned.

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Trump V. The People of Chicago – March 16, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

President Richard Nixon flew into San Jose Oct. 29, 1970 to stump for the Republican Senator George Murphy, whose rigid support for the Vietnam War would doom him in the next week’s election.
Arriving just six months after he informed the public of military involvement in Cambodia and five months after the Kent State shootings, activists and students from San Francisco State, UC Berkeley and San Jose State planned to protest their Commander-in-Chief. Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman relished the attention: “We wanted some confrontation.”
Other than some rude words directed at the man who had been carpetbombing Southeast Asia for two years, Nixon’s entrance into the San Jose Civic Auditorium went rather smoothly. Once inside, however,  a security force made up of Secret Service and SJPD roped the doors shut to keep the rude youths out, causing the fire marshall to sweat through his undershirt.

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How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love the Political System – March 16, 2016

Michael Zavala, Political Columnist

This presidential election year has been nothing short of electrifying. Last year was a vocal time for the horde of individuals running for office, although nobody paid attention to more than four or five viable candidates. Now, in 2016, people are enthused to an almost uncomfortable degree, and the atmosphere proves voracious, even hostile.
Three candidates remain, and two are absolute game changers. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were once underdogs, now top men, who promise novel ideologies. Established candidates who opposed them are now sitting on couches back in Washington deciding which they should endorse. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton calmly mumbles and bumbles back and forth towards a predetermined victory.

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Trump Attached for Not Using Party-Approved Language – March 9, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

Ever since Jeb Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential primary race, there’s been a tremendous void left by the former Florida governor. Who would serve as the robotic millionaire punching bag for Donald J. Trump?
Enter Mitt Romney. In a speech dozens of Americans were begging for, Romney picked up the $100 million flag and charged at Trump with his most polite material.
“Look, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them,” said the man who made his fortune buying and liquefying companies at Bain Capital.

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Farewell, Jeb: You Were Fleshy and Weak, and Nobody Liked You

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

John Ellis Bush quietly dropped out of the GOP Presidential primary on Saturday after failing to make the podium for the third consecutive contest.
Jeb, as he’s better known, went into the 2016 race as the frontrunner, or at least we were told so. We were also told that he was George’s smarter, more capable brother. The former Governor of Florida is bilingual and has a Mexican-born wife, things the RNC assumed would appeal to Latino voters, a demographic they thirsted for after the 2012 election.

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Hillary Clinton Panics After Fumbling a Sure Thing, Pt. 2 – February 10, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton is not an especially brave politician.
Faced with the possibility of losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, her campaign leaked a photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban while visiting Kenya. In a televised debate a few days later, she urged then-Sen. Obama to not only reject a non-endorsement from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, but to repudiate him. The optics of the situation were apparently lost on her.
Secretary Clinton’s instinct to jump into bizarre attacks perhaps comes from her apparent lack of any sort of ideals. After months of playing nice with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who most mainstream pundits gave little chance to win the nomination, she again employed a puzzling strategy as he pulled closer in Iowa: she began to tell voters that universal healthcare will never happen.

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Moderate. Agitate. Or Instigate. Who Calls the Shots? – February 3, 2016

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

By the time this is published, the citizens of Iowa will have established the first party primary presidential pecking order of the season.  They will have also answered a number of questions.  Did the enthusiasm of the Donald’s trumpeteers carry over to the arduous task of the Iowa caucus?  Did Ted Cruz’ organization and ground game overcome the gap opened up by the frontrunner?  Did Marco survive the negative advertising onslaught of “Right to Rise” and Jeb?  Did the latest email revelations have any effect on Hillary or was she “burnt toast” from enthusiastic youth who “feel the Bern”?  Political pundits were all over the map on this one.
It certainly was an interesting week leading up to the Monday vote.  Did Donald skipping the last debate help or hurt?  Is your glass half empty or half full?  Fox News points out that the Trumpless-debate received their second highest rating ever.  Then again, the rating was the second lowest in viewership of the seven debates.  At the same time, the Donald threw together and pulled off an event that raised $6 million for veterans in one day.  Not bad for such short notice.

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No Apocalypse Coming – January 27, 2016

Michael Zavala, Political Activist

River News-HeraldThe editor of this paper recently received a scathing letter criticizing the Democratic nominees. Strong words were used, the bible referenced, and so here we are.
The letter begins by quoting “a notable historian.” The quote, to paraphrase, claims that democracies collapse when they overdraw from their treasuries to provide public benefits. This is a fake quote, a bit of propaganda lingering from the early George Dubya days. The “notable historian” is likely supposed to be Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish nobleman who died around the time Lincoln was born. The fake quote is often misattributed to him.
The Great Democracies/Republics he references are probably Greece and Rome of antiquity. They had caste systems, slavery, and the occasional dictator, so one may argue they were not the truest of democracies. Even so, they most certainly did not collapse from an abundance of public safety nets and social programs. Most historians agree that these civilizations collapsed from overexpansion and a reliance on a militaristic economy. It has been pointed out that Nazi Germany (formed in the image of the Holy Roman Empire) collapsed under similar conditions. So let us assume this problem is not unique to democracies.

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On the Oscars – January 27, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

River News-HeraldMuch has been made of the most recent crop of Oscar nominations since they were announced January 14. For the second year in a row, all twenty of the nominees for Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress are white performers.
Some have called for a boycott, some have voiced their disapproval, and others have said that everything is fine as is. Still, others have taken the backlash as a demand for meritless racial quotas.
Some of the immediate reactions implicitly or explicitly claimed that perhaps there just hadn’t been any noteworthy performances by people of color the last two years. Of course, this is a ludicrous claim on two levels: it assumes that Oscar Isaac hasn’t been snubbed three years running, and that all 40 of the nominations of the last two years have been worthy.
This also limits the scope of the critique to acting, the most visible category. When it comes to behind the scenes nominations, the field is often even whiter. Only seven black writers have been nominated for Best Screenplay, an average of less than one per decade, and a grand total of three black filmmakers have been nominated for Best Director. There has been one nomination each for cinematography and editing. The stats for other ethnicities are even more dire.

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Gov. Brown Calls State of Emergency 75 Days After Event Started – January 20, 2016

The Nuclear Advocate, Political Columnist

River News-HeraldThe gas and oil lobby is huge and pervasive, and has far reaching political and social implications state-wide in California and nationally.
As of today, there is an ongoing environmental and public health crisis brewing in Southern California.  On January 6, 2016, Governor Brown issued an order to declare the situation an emergency.  Meanwhile, since the event began October 23, some estimates say 130,000 pounds per hour of methane gas, also known as natural gas, have been billowing into the air and nearby neighborhoods, making people sick and forcing the evacuation of local residents.  From the onset of the construction project, just as we’ve seen time and again in Northern California wind farm projects, empty promises and flowery words have been spoon fed to an unsuspecting, unquestioning, and unchallenging local population.  All the while, plenty of dollars and preferred stock promises have trickled to local political elites and to Sacramento.  We hope there will be a swift resolution to the methane leak down south, but the SoCalGas company has said that a solution to stop the leak is still months away.  Also, let us not miss the statement the company’s website shows about the start of the project:

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How To Lose Friends And Alienate Voters – January 13, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

In 2000, Republicans saw a voting bloc ripe for the taking: Muslims. Like the evangelical voters who served as the engine for the conservative resurgence, Muslims tend to be socially conservative, and with their core population in swing states like Michigan and Florida, they seemed to be a valuable and growing demographic. With some campaign promises from George W. Bush to address profiling and a mellowed foreign policy, they turned out for the Texas governor in November: in what ended up being an incredibly close race, he collected 70% of the Muslim vote in Florida.
Soon after the inauguration, anti-tax firebrand Grover Norquist held a meeting of American Muslim leaders and conservative figures like former Speaker Newt Gingrich to hash out policy ideas, hoping to continue the courtship.

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Not Found in the News – January 6, 2016

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

Now that the Democrats have successfully avoided the effort to defund the barbaric practices of Planned Parenthood, it might be wise to see how they are bought and paid for. After all, this is the party that continually screams about “crony capitalism” and “big money” polluting the political process. According to the Federal Elections Commission, in the 2014 election campaign, Planned Parenthood contributed $404,907 to Democrat House candidates on the federal level. They doled out a measly $2,823 to Republicans. In the Senate, they dumped $181,188 into Democrat coffers and ZERO into Republicans. No wonder year after year after year Democrats vote to give over $500 million of taxpayer money to PP because “other people’s money” can be funneled back into their own pockets.

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Strange Bedfellows – December 16, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

In last week’s issue of the Herald, my fellow columnist William Garvin seemed to lament the inaction of the American people.
“In light of beheadings, murders, 9/11, Ft. Hood, etc., one could easily postulate that America has been remarkably restrained and tolerant in its response,” he wrote. “Has there been a single Muslim beheaded or a single mosque burned or bombed in this country? No there hasn’t…[Loretta Lynch’s declaration that inciting hate speech will be prosecuted] is just another patented pandering ploy…”

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Isis and Foreign Policy – December 16, 2015

Devon Minnema, Guest Column

After the attacks in Paris, one might have thought that the imperative for action of some type was strong enough to force our middling President to present a plan for dealing with ISIS, but that apparently wasn’t enough. The shooting that occurred in San Bernardino last week has been revealed as an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism and serves as yet another reminder that we need to put together a coherent foreign policy.

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Sit Down & Shut Up – December 9, 2015

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

The “never let a crisis go to waste” leftist playbook was employed instantaneously in San Bernardino.  The terrorist carnage was barely contained before progressive politicos began shilling for more gun control and more speech control.  CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) ignored its own terrorist connections and blamed USA foreign policies for the incident.  Leftists large and small began speaking not of the dangers of radical Islam, homegrown terrorists and jihad but of an anticipated anti-Muslim backlash.

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Solving CA’s Water Needs Will Take More Than El Nino – December 9, 2015

Bill Dodd, Assemblymember

Winter is coming, and some experts are saying this year’s El Niño could be one of the most powerful on record. After four long years of drought, increased rainfall this winter is certainly a welcome relief. As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours,” and we must ensure we are prepared for flooding and mudslides. At the same time, it is absolutely crucial in this wetter year that we continue to focus on water conservation and plan for the long term.
We cannot take our eye off the critical importance of investing in efficiency, water recycling and storage capabilities for future dry years. It’s important that we view this year’s El Niño for what it is – a temporary reprieve. Even if El Niño does provide us a wet year, it will not reverse 4 years of drought conditions or erase our long term prospects for hotter, drier weather.

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Make America Great Again – December 2, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Politcal Columnist

River News-HeraldI’ve watched three and a half of the four GOP debates, both of the Democratic debates, and MSNBC’s Democratic forum. I’ve heard a lot about immigration, what we should do to contain/destroy ISIS, why Hillary had to take Wall Street money because of 9/11 (your guess is as good as mine), and whether or not vaccines are good.
The curious thing is that, other than Donald Trump’s vague plan to make Mexico pay for a Huge Wall, there’s only one proposal that has had its financial feasibility questioned: Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan for publicly-funded college.
The plan would split the current $70 billion a year spent on tuition at public universities between the Federal and state governments, 66-33%, respectively.

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Using Hindsight for Foresight – November 25, 2016

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

Two years ago, I went to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. Located right in the middle of the high Wyoming desert between the cities of Cody and Powell, the Heart Mountain Center exists in and around a former internment camp, where some 14,000 American citizens and foreign-born residents were incarcerated for four years.
Before I went, I had already thought that the Japanese internment was almost entirely motivated by race. There’s no shortage of documented racism of the era, from “Jap” hunting licenses (“no limit”) to propaganda comics featuring Japanese-Americans lining up to receive their saboteur’s dynamite drawn by the beloved Dr. Seuss. But a single exhibit in the museum made it explicit.

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A Vicious Circle – November 18, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

After the terrorist attacks, the President made that somber promise of justice again.
“There are no words to properly express our outrage and, I think, the outrage of all Americans at the despicable act,” he said.
“These terrorist acts of violence are abhorrent, they are inhuman. We will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice.
“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”
These words were not spoken by the current president, of course, but by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and the younger Bush after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the bombing of the American embassy in Kenya, and 9/11, respectively. President Obama said something similar on Friday after the Paris attacks. An attack on our values, justice will be served, etc.

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Enter At Your Own Risk: Highway 160/Three Mile Slough Bridge Traffic Update – November 18, 2015

C.A. Giacoma, Staff Writer

River News-HeraldCaltrans has completed the installation of traffic lights on the 3 Mile Slough Bridge project and expects to change from supervision by the California Highway Patrol with flagmen to traffic control by traffic lights only on the one lane/one-way stretch of Highway 160, as soon as today.
Caltrans seems undeterred by the fact that, as we go into winter, the incidence of heavy fog is highly likely, including visibilities as short as a few feet. At times there may not be visibility for enough distance to see a traffic light in time to stop, much less avoid a head-on collision on the narrow one lane bridge.

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The NFL Is Decadent and Depraved – November 11, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

Charlotte police officers found Nicole Holder walking barefoot in the pre-dawn morning May 13, 2014. According to testimony by Holder, she had just been brutalized by Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Holder said Hardy had thrown her against a wall before again throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles, finally choking her. She believed he was going to kill her. Crying, she told the responding officers that none of this mattered, though, because “nothing is going to happen to him anyways.”
She was right: Hardy was convicted of assault but won an appeal and promptly signed an $11.3 million one-year contract with America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. A ten game suspension was reduced to four.

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40-Watt Patriotism – November 4, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

Last Sunday night, I was watching the Mets politely decline another World Series win. After the 11th inning, an advertisement came on selling light bulbs.
The ad tells us that veterans are all around us; they are our friends, our coworkers, even strangers on the street.
“But it’s hard to show our veterans the appreciation they deserve,” the voiceover says, “when, out of uniform, they’re more camouflaged than ever.”
Cue Wal-Mart’s fool-proof plan: change your porch light. A green light symbolizes hope, they say, borrowing a line from their “Gatbsy” book report. Veterans will see this as a non-verbal thank you and will feel nice.

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Winner By Knockout – November 4, 2015

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

In the “sweet science” of pugilism, there is a common plan for those beginning their professional careers.  Competent trainers don’t throw their novices into the ring with an undisputed champion.  They start off with lesser skilled opponents, pugs of limited ability, to build up the fighter’s confidence and won-loss record.  It appears that the Democrat party is using the same strategy.
It was obvious in the so-called Democrat debate that Hillary was made to look good by surrounding her with stumblebums and palookas.  Of course she shined in comparison, especially when Bernie Sanders took a dive on her emails.  The fix was in and obvious to all.  The debate ended up being a draw between the socialist and the progressive as to who could give away the most “free stuff” but Hillary got the decision on style points.  Neither candidate was queried as to how all this largesse would be paid for and how much it would add to the $18.5 trillion national debt.  Anderson Cooper ended up shadow boxing and lost a split decision to his shadow!

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Trump & National Taboos – October 28, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

I don’t think many people expected Donald Trump to still be leading this late into 2015. I thought for sure he’d be a flash-in-the-pan candidate, in and out quick like Herman Cain in 2011. Yet here we are in late October, his only rival (as of yet) being Ben Carson.
Trump and Carson are both attractive to voters due to their “outsider” status, neither having held office before. And while both eschew so-called political correctness, Trump has (predictably) done it with much more bluster, turning conservative dog whistles into bullhorns. Sometimes, however, he uses his platform to take aim at subjects that nearly every other politician would consider taboo, and this is where he is at his most fascinating.

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Selective Surgical Slicing and Slander – October 28, 2015

William L. Garvin, “Questions of Perspective”

So let me get this straight.  Leftists are trying to remove every vestige of religious thought from the public stage.  However, if someone says that he will not support a Muslim for president who places Sharia law above the Constitution that is somehow Islamophobic and reprehensible.  Leftists holding that view are either ignorant as to the presidential oath of office or totally uninformed as to the nature of Sharia law…or both!

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Ben Carson’s Hitler Problem – October 21, 2015

Tyler Mortimore, Political Columnist

In an appearance on CNN last week, retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was asked about claims he made in his book A More Perfect Union. In the book, Carson states that German gun control laws essentially facilitated the Holocaust.
This week, fellow Republican hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul reiterated Carson’s sentiments.
This idea that small arms ownership was the one obstacle between life & death for European Jews is both worryingly pervasive and wrong.

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