Introducing, a News Curation Site for the Non-Elite

While The Right Side of Life will continue in its capacity as an overall analysis blog, I’ve come across a way in WordPress to easily provide the kind of news aggregation that I’ve been looking for over many months and years.

This has culminated in a “soft launch” (of sorts) of, a site dedicated to curating news, tech and faith for the non-elite citizen 🙂 The launch is so-called because the site is slowly coming together, but with the way that I personally see holes in news stories, it’s better to go with something imperfect to start and build on it over time.

I invite you to take a look. Posted links are simultaneously fed to @deplorable_cit on Twitter and


The Reality of Political Correctness

If you control the language, you control the argument
If you control the argument, you control information
If you control information, you control history
If you control history, you control the past
He who controls the past controls the future.” – Big Brother, 1984

I had been looking for a way to address this very prescient, profound and fundamental topic, and it just so turns out that the eleven-year-old “news” that “broke” yesterday regarding Donald Trump speaking on a hot mic have provided the perfect opportunity to do so. If you haven’t seen the actual video, I’d highly recommend clicking on the referenced link. While it is PG-13 rated (in my view), it’s important that you know, as a concerned citizen, what he actually said and the context in which he said it.

As a sidebar, further note that there were simultaneous “leaks” of Hillary Clinton emails that were revealed via at least two sites, so at least from a political perspective, there are anecdotal inferences that Secretary Clinton either moved (if intentional) or is enjoying the move (if unintentional) of focus off of her statements over to Mr. Trump.

End sidebar.

For every tweet or talking head I’ve heard who has castigated Trump for his comments, I’ve seen plenty of reaction from “regular folks” who have defended the man.

I, too, will take what might be seen as a highly controversial stance and I will continue to stand by Mr. Trump though this alleged issue.

The reality is that Mr. Trump is categorically and undeniably the head of the “basket of deplorables” or, the ultimate “every man.”

What I mean by this is that Donald Trump is the quintessential archetype of the anti feminization of the American culture, a culture in which any semblance of an alpha male is construed as being racist, sexist and homophobic (never mind that the alpha-ness of a male member of the human species has absolutely zero to do with ethnicity, the inference of superiority of the two sexes, and certainly nothing to do with sexual orientation).

In other words, if you are a man and you are aggressive enough to lead in your particular circle of influence, that is characterized as bad or even evil.

This is the essence of a large aspect of political correctness and its sister in reconstituting the English language, feminizing culture.

Circling back to what Donald Trump actually said in the video, this is language that all men state at some point in their lives, typically between each other (in other words, not in “mixed” company, typically defined as including women in such banter), and if they deny that they’ve said anything even remotely euphemistic about lady parts, they’re lying. It’s as simple as that. And this isn’t just a male phenomenon; it works with women, too.

Let me remind you that this type of language is not objectifying women for the purposes of somehow invoking deviant behavior against them. This is simply a look inside of the male mind, and the more sexual that that male is, the more that this kind of thought process is pronounced. To get rid of this would be to remove the history-old process that, to be perfectly frank and blunt, God put into men.

Men are aggressive and they tend to be sexual beings, and this is by divine design. That’s why I’m defending the intent of what’s going on here, because it is a part of what it means to be a man. It’s what causes men to make “cat-calls” to women they find beautiful, and it’s too bad that this is castigated. And by the way, Trump is absolutely correct in stating that when you’re a star (high-profile person), most people get “star-struck” and will let you do whatever you want to with them. Instead of being an excuse to do anything, this is another phenomenon that is real.

Now, on the flip side. We’re also going to hear allegations of women who are trying to sue Donald Trump because they allege he raped them. This is something completely different.

Let me explain why this is completely different.

What men say about women within the context of sexuality absolutely cannot be tied to the fact that some men have no moral boundaries and will rape women. Why is this? Because if every time a man had a sexual thought about a woman was to be absolutely construed as condoning rape,  I’d say that the human race would very quickly come to an end, because we wouldn’t be producing any more children! In fact, for those women who may be equally sexually aggressive and had these thoughts, then we would have to say (in taking this irrational thought process to its logical extent) that women are always raping men simply because they had a sexual thought.

So, I immediately state there is a serious and huge dichotomy between sexual thought and the intent to rape. While I don’t have the statistics with me, my understanding is that rape is about power, but that’s not the same power as the aggressiveness that most men exhibit.

Political correctness wants you to think the opposite of what I’m espousing, that when someone speaks euphemistically (no matter how vulgar) about lady’s (don’t forget the opposite for men on the part of women!) body parts, that somehow that’s bad. Why? Why is this bad?

It’s only bad in the sense that the cultural elites are trying to play your mommy (feminization) and are trying to tell you what you can or cannot think about anyone or anything. This is a prime example of the matrix of political correctness. Somebody out there — whom you don’t even know — is dictating to you what is and is not acceptable language.

Is this to say that using any sort of language is always acceptable in every social situation? Of course not, but that’s not the same as political correctness. This concept describes decorum depending on social situation; political correctness attempts to redefine the language based upon someone’s standard of language.

To sum up, I believe that you can think exactly and precisely whatever you want to think in the imagination of your own mind. I believe that, in certain circles (such as close friends, etc.), you should be free to speak your mind about anything you want to. And, like Trump, if somehow what you said privately gets public, then you apologize — not for what you said (perhaps), but for the fact that some things aren’t meant for everyone to hear.

In conclusion, here’s a palate cleanser found on Facebook that brings us all back to reality:

“We don’t care if the guy swears… or how many times he’s been married…or who he voted for, or what his income tax return shows. We want the problems fixed. Yes he’s an egomaniac, but we don’t care. We know he’s not a racist, or bad to women, or all the other things the liberal media is trying to label him with. We know he’s raised a good family, and that says a lot about him.

The country is a mess because politicians suck, the Republican Party is two faced & gutless, and illegals are everywhere and Muslims are openly trying to hurt this country and make the civilized world adjust to them. We want it all fixed!

We don’t care that Trump is crude, we don’t care that he has changed positions, we don’t care that he fights with Megan Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell, and so many of the elected establishment. We don’t care that Rubio, Ryan, the Bush’s, and so many other top old and new Republicans refuse to endorse him for their own selfish reasons, and we know what they are. We don’t care that he doesn’t know the name of some Muslim terrorists, we don’t care that he tried some businesses that didn’t work out.

This country is weak, bankrupt, our enemies are making fun of us, we are being invaded by illegals, we are becoming a nation of victims, where every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is a special group with special rights to a point where we don’t even recognize the country we were born and raised in, AND WE JUST WANT IT FIXED. And TRUMP is the only guy who seems to understand what the people want.

We’re sick of politicians, sick of the Democratic and Republican Party. We’re angry about the Iran deal, the budget, treatment of Israel, military weakness, lobbyists, special interests, overpaid politicians with their self serving bills and back room deals, trade deals, loss of jobs, manipulated economic numbers, businesses fleeing, and even the phoney pay for play Clinton Foundation.

Americans are no longer going to be fooled, and the movement is out to change the direction we’re taking. Trump may not be a saint, but he doesn’t have lobbyist money holding him, he doesn’t have political correctness restraining him, and all you know is that he has been very successful, a good negotiator, he has built a lot of things, he’s flexible, and he’s also not a politician. And he says he’ll fix it. And we believe him because he is too much of an egotist to be proven wrong or looked at and called a liar.

Public service has become elected greed. This may be our only chance to have a non-politician, despite his flaws, try and correct the mess, at least for 4 years. We must take the shot, because the consequences of putting Hillary Clinton in office are frightening. There is a tidal wave happening, and its going to overcome much of what’s happened to this country.”

Faith/Virtue Should Inform Politics/Issues (In Response to @EWErickson)

“If Virtue and Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav’d. This will be their great Security” — Samuel Adams, Chief Massachusetts Leader of the American Revolution

Keep this quote in mind as we traverse Erick Erickson’s “Erick Drops the Mic on Trump and Christians,” in that not only does this series of tweets best represent what a chief “Never Trump” adherent believes, but also provides a fantastic opportunity to follow up on why the same group may be barking up the wrong tree (read my last posting regarding the secular side of this issue).

Without further ado:

So let me go on a random twitter storm about Trump and Christians.

Sure, let’s do it.

1/ First, note to reporters, if a pastor has a “Doctorate of Divinity” it is an honorary degree, not a real degree. Be careful.

Yup, agreed. Having a pastor with an actual Master of Divinity is so much better than “honorary” degrees. After all, if a pastor isn’t formally trained via an accredited seminary, how can you know (aside from especially keen discernment) that they know what they’re doing?

2/ There are three groups of Christians in this on the right. (1) Actively for Trump; (2) begrudgingly for Trump; (3) still opposed to Trump

3/ Though there are exceptions, it seems the ones most actively supporting Trump are dispensationalists.

4/ Most reformed protestant supporters of Trump are begrudging supporters and a great many of the reformed won’t vote for him.

5/ Outside of the dispensationalist, the theonomists and post-millennialists seem to represent a block of Trump voters.

As an aside, the linked posting from which I’m pulling the above tweet quotes contains definitions for most of the terms being used here. And, so far, it’s likely that Erick is correct in terms of naming those serious about their belief system and where they likely fit in.

As you’ll see, I take issue with a more fundamental premise to this rant which I believe is the real point of what’s going on here.


6/ Lots of Trump supporting Christians really care about Israel

7/ The dispensationalists are convinced Israel still has a role to play in scripture and will align with any candidate to advance Israel.

8/ Others are really worried about the Supreme Court and Hillary Clinton’s appointments.


9/ It is telling, however, that the most aggressive Trump supporters in the faith community are prosperity gospel preachers.

10/ The prosperity gospel is a heresy and it is no wonder a group of heretics getting rich off the poor would like a guy like Trump.

Having had close family members directly and intimately involved in a formerly very large church in the metro Atlanta area that had regularly broadcasted on TBN that was torn apart by a searingly immortal controversy (nothing like having issues spread across two full pages of the Atlanta Journal/Constitution several years ago), I’m personally quite keenly aware of what the “name-it-and-claim-it, blab-it-and-grab-it” philosophy is about.

Having said that, I don’t agree with the insinuation of point 7 that somehow Donald Trump’s business acumen is the same as what prosperity gospel preachers do; the former looks out for the interests of his organization, the latter look out for the interests of themselves.

11/ Too many Christians in this country have tied the church to culture and, as a result, tied the GOP to the church.

I’ll address this more directly on down the line, but yes, it’s true — God does not need America, but America does need God. God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, nor any other such label; those labels belong to our political system.

Instead (and as my opening quote portends), the Church — individuals of faith — should be informing the GOP regarding moral/ethic issues and not the other way around.

12/ What we are seeing is that culture is polluting the church instead of the church improving culture.

I think this depends on where you’re going to church locally (and I’m about to get to my major point on this). As a lay leader in one of the top ten churches in America, especially during our current “at the movie” series, I would suggest that there are some of us in the local church who are impacting the culture, using the culture to make a bigger point about God.

13/ When u have the man who wrote “The Book of Virtue” accusing anti-Trump Christians of “moral superiority” you get a sense of the problem

14/ Virtue and politics are not the same. But too many pastors have tied them together.

In my view, politics is nothing more than the study of personal interaction between people who may disagree with one another. Therefore, politics is the tool that individuals use; whether this tool is used in a virtuous way is the real question, and I think this is part of Erick’s point, with which I’ll staunchly agree: don’t use politics to bash people regarding virtue. For Christians, it’s supposed to be virtue that informs politics, not the other way around.

15/ Scripture says Christians are to live by faith, not by the ballot box. Thinking we are doing God’s will by voting is not Biblical

While I might be getting “pharisaical” (see a point further down!) on this point, the reality is that we are imposing God’s will by voting, which is, by definition, biblical.

If virtue (and, by extension, faith) is going to inform politics (which is what I think we’re all driving at, at least those of us of the faith), then necessarily politics is going to be driven by faith/virtue.

Please notice the construct that is at play here.

16/ Voting is the act of an American, not the act of a Christian. When the principles of both collide, the latter must govern.

And I’ll now share my big, main point: the Two Kingdoms Doctrine, which is partially explained via this site (I have no affiliation to that link; it simply appeared to be a reasonable backgrounder on the idea). In short, there are two kingdoms — one of the spiritual, and one of the natural — and while we are of the spiritual, the thought is that getting entangled with the natural was greatly frowned upon (apparently Martin Luther used this as the basis for why he was against the Roman Catholic papacy, where the Pope had direct control over both church and State affairs).

The point here is to continue driving home my original point of virtue and knowledge. As Erick actually agrees (to a point), since the gates of hades won’t prevail against the church, we ultimately don’t have to be neurotically concerned that the church will be overcome by evil. On the flip side, however, I believe we are to influence the natural realm, and in that respect, I think this is Erick’s biggest disagreement with many on the right: stop trying to take faith out of the battle over politics and culture. Let individuals stand or fall in the ongoing battle.

17/ That there are pastors claiming Christians are “pharisees” for not voting for Trump is a damning indictment on the pastors.

I agree. Pastors are here to guide and lead the flock; they are not here to replace the brains and will of parishioners.

18/ The demand that one participate in the voting system as opposed to acting in conscience is pharisaical.

This depends. If faith/virtue is to inform politics, then by definition one should be voting. The only exception to this admonition is where failing to to vote is to vote.

19/ The pharisees were also known as chasidim, which means “loyal to God.” But they were blind to the truth.

20/ Some Christians think voting is “rendering to Caesar” so it is okay, but faith cannot be bifurcated.

21/ It is okay to vote. It is even okay to vote for Trump. But to separate your faith from your vote is wrong.

22/ One should not vote for Trump, accepting him as immoral, thinking voting has nothing to do with faith.

23/ In every act a Christian is to glorify God and advance the kingdom.

This is where church leaders must discern the best direction. If one is of virtue/faith and one is voting for someone who does not wholly subscribe to one’s moral code, is it OK to still vote for them?

What you’re really asking/saying is that one must prioritize the issues, where those issues are informed by faith/virtue.

Let me illustrate this more starkly. The current issue is Donald Trump’s alleged immorality, presumably regarding multiple marriages. I would then ask, who do you vote for, assuming that all of the following may agree, politically, with seventy-five percent of your secular issues?

The multiple-marriage candidate?

The gay candidate?

The glutton candidate?

The deceiving candidate?

My point is that there are a great many personally immoral candidates (whether currently immoral or not) out there who could make otherwise excellent candidates for office.

Does one completely sit out elections because all available candidates have had (or do have) some semblance of sin making them personally disqualified?

That’s a question everyone must grapple with.

24/ If you are a Christian and want to vote for Trump, God bless you. But do not attack your brethren for abstaining.

Amen, assuming that the abstainers have thought this through.

25/ Scripture says that what is not done in faith is sin. To feel forced to vote, even against violating your conscience, is sin.


26/ To demand a Christian vote for anyone their conscience opposes is to sin.

27/ But ultimately, on that last day, God is not going to ask who we voted form in 2016.

I don’t know that I agree with such a general statement. Then again, I don’t know the bases with which God the Father will be judging our actions (outside of Jesus’ blood covering).

28/ He will ask what we have done for the kingdom. Pastors attacking Christians for not voting Trump will have much to answer for.

29/ Along the way, what we are seeing in Christian America, is a disentangling of faith and politics. That’s messy, but not bad.

Actually, I say that is bad for the reasons already stated. If virtue/faith is going to inform our politics as believers, how is it therefore positive that virtue/faith and politics being disentangled is a good thing?

Apparently only if you’re a Two Kingdoms doctrine believer, which I’m not.

But hey — you are free to believe such 🙂

30/ Many a prominent Christian willingly tied to Trump will not come away from this with their integrity.

Hypocrisy alert.

What if Donald Trump becomes the church’s friendliest President? What if he is able to help overturn LBJ’s legislation having to do with charitable organizations — most notably the church — that prevents them from advocating for certain folks — or even issues — in the sanctuary? Granted, that would be a different set of battles, but would that be wrong?

And would you then be saying that a multiple-marriage-immoral person was actually good for the church?

31/ lastly, many (but not all) who demand Christians vote for Trump will be confronted, on judgment day, with Matt 7:21-23.

In my case, I’m not demanding anyone do anything except to filter politics through the lens of faith/virtue and subsequently act accordingly.

32/ In response to the common criticism, no you’ll never vote for a perfect person, but…

33/ There is a difference between supporting a sinner (which we all are) and supporting someone who revels in immorality.

See my point, above, regarding the “reveling” bit.

As we both say that humanity is flawed, sometimes it’s called, “pick your poison.” Or, don’t pick, which is still picking. And still worthy of accountability in the hereafter.

34/ The Christian witness in America is far more important than who you vote for, for President.

The Christian witness in America is precisely what informs who you vote for, for President.

35/ Going to seminary has forced me to think about these things more and put my faith and politics at odds more. (Corrected)

My abbreviated biblical studies certificate has done the same for my wife and I. Excellent.

36/ My faith is more important than my politics. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. So I’m not worried about the outcome

Your faith and your virtue should be informing your politics. In my view, quit trying to divorce/dichotomize bewtween the two.

As you’ve just admitted, the Church will be fine and will continue being here long after we’re all physically gone from this planet. Therefore, it’s perfectly OK to go after these political and cultural battles.

I don’t believe we can sit on the sidelines the way that Two Kingdoms doctrine folks believe; I believe individuals are too worth influencing for what’s right and true.

37/ Goodnight now.

If you think I’m trying to shame you out of voting, you are reading me wrong. I’m defending those who won’t be shamed into voting.

While I’ll shame anyone into voting, I won’t shame anyone into voting for whomever is available.

Once again: faith/virtue must inform politics/issues; the supernatural must inform the natural (unfortunately, I think Martin Luther was so hung up on fighting the Roman Catholic Church that he didn’t keep even bigger issues in perspective). While it’s up to every American citizen to freely vote (or not), the encouragement should be to make every such citizen face the choices, face the issues.

Liberty is always one generation away from extinction (I think Ronald Reagan once said that). Liberty is not easy to tend to, yet since there is no liberty without purpose and responsibility, it must be tended to.

Therefore, make sure your political decisions are informed by your faith.

I’ll go one more step in a personal direction here. If you are a Christian, then you should be attending your local church on a regular basis. And if you’re reading this blog, then you’re being challenged to use your brain, which means that you’re a leader, if not by title then certainly by influence. Therefore, get involved with your church. Don’t just treat it like a country club and “sit-and-soak,” become involved.

Defined local church involvement is one of the best ways to truly influence other people.

#NeverTrump Selective Outrage — and Circumvention

“Donald J Trump may not be the most subtle, but he may just be like Andrew Jackson, the kind of person we need to break through and actually get the system to work again. And this, I would argue, is a much better gamble for the future than continuing with the current system, the current policies, and the current mess in Washington.” — Newt Gingrich, Munk Debate on U.S. Election

Last Friday, Munk Debates held what I thought was an exceptionally well-presented debate between Republicans Newt Gingrich and Laura Ingraham and Democrats Robert Reich and Jennifer Granholm. The above quote was just one part of what Newt and Laura so eloquently represented in front of an otherwise peaceful but adversarial Canadian audience.

I’d like to make a few points regarding their “resolution,” which — from a debate perspective — is so classical in style: “Be it resolved: Donald Trump can make America great again…”, yes or no.

First of all, this debate format (and I greatly encourage anyone to take the time to view the entire linked video) turned out to be fantastic. My recommendation to our own Commission on Presidential Debates would be to take this same format, perhaps including at least one session that includes both the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same stage.

Secondly — and more to the point of this posting’s title — I thought that Newt and Laura continued to make a more fundamental, strategic point regarding the current American political landscape: a sufficient majority of voters are completely fed up with how things are running in Washington, D.C., and even if Donald Trump were not the GOP presidential nominee, these “fed up” trends would still be demanding to be dealt with.

While Newt specifically dealt with three general areas along these lines, I wanted to tie the trends back to the “Never Trump” phenomenon. I actually get the frame of reference from which “Never Trump” originates — the GOP has a nominee that they believe is not trustworthy, has many unknowns regarding what he’d actually do if he were to become President, has taken many stances on various issues over the years, does not have the most pristine personal life, and appears to have come to the Republican party more out of utilitarian convenience than overtly obvious conservatism — the same conservatism that’s been battling DC politics for several years.

I think my questions back to the “Never Trump” folks (however many there may be) include: where were you over the years? Why are you moving the proverbial goal posts now? Did you support the Presidents Bush? How about President Clinton? Why is it just now that — in the clearly imperfect candidate of Donald Trump — you insist that a candidate essentially be purely conservative or pure as the wind-driven snow on various issues, versus the alleged “compassionate conservatism” of W.?

As the Munk Debate clearly demonstrated, there is an obvious, palpable and measurable (by different metrics than pollsters use) aggravation within the American electorate, as just mentioned; it would be there whether Donald Trump were the candidate or not. And this aggravation has been produced by the elitism that is currently inherently presented by the overall leadership of both Republicans and Democrats. Part of it is organic, where some will follow leadership no matter the issue, and part of it is based on feeding off of what’s good for the rich and well-connected, not so much for the often looked-over middle class.

I would wager (not sure what) that Trump supporters are not locked into Donald Trump based on who he is, but quite similarly to Obama supporters, I believe his staunchest supporters project onto Trump that he will similarly bring staggering change to Washington. And the beauty of such salesmanship is the fact that, if after four years said candidate does not fulfill on some semblance of their campaign promises, they can be voted out at that point for failure to perform.

So here’s where I see some serious illogic and disjointedness on the part of a “Never Trump” believer. It’s as if they’ve saved up their passion for the ideal conservative all of this time, and since Donald Trump does not fit this bill, he must be absolutely jettisoned because, in being less than ideal, he cannot be trusted at all. I’d further wager that, should such a perspective be taken to its logical extreme in any other domain, one would either wax into wholly unsupported conspiracy theory and/or end up having an inoperable life!

I think the biggest challenge that someone such as a “Never Trump” believer has with the man is his sheer and utter uniqueness and unknown political attributes that he brings to the table. In other words, nobody really and actually knows what he would do in getting into office. Yet, at a time when the electorate says they want someone completely different in the Oval Office, essentially demanding a political unknown that you’d otherwise be randomly picking from a phone book, is he not this, exactly?

The truth is we don’t know exactly what Donald Trump would do should he become President. Yes, he has a portfolio of policy stances on his web site, and he clearly has spent the majority of his adult life working large-scale business projects throughout the world. But in all fairness, this doesn’t guarantee any future results.

He also scares many associated with the political establishment because he is a Jacksonian American and, to some, brutally so, especially in relation to foreign policy, where a Trump administration essentially promises to be a one hundred and eighty-degree change from our current posture in the world. In other words, once again, we’re so used to the current perspective of globalism on display — something that Brexit has already addressed — that we don’t recall what true nationalism would bring to America (as Newt aptly opined, it’s been well over a generation since we’ve seen pre-globalism).

Allow me to be equally brutal in push-back: A “Never Trump” individual no longer has the courage to face a reality in which American interests are paramount to our foreign posture.

America is going to change after November of 2016, and my gut says it’s not going to go the direction of the 1990s. My gut also says that the polls are not picking up the pulse of those Americans who may never even have voted before. And those who are voting inherently know that a vote for those who represent a government of the last three or four decades is a vote for the problem.

Et Tu, @TedCruz?

Last night, it was former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz’ turn to take the stage at the Republican National Convention and give his speech. While that speech was nearly as much of a barn-burner as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Monday-night speech, it may ultimately have resulted in something negative against the Senator in what it did not do.

Sen. Cruz did not end up fully endorsing Donald Trump as the GOP candidate.

In this case, however, it wasn’t so much the fact that Sen. Cruz didn’t endorse Donald Trump that could have negative repercussions here; instead, and as with most situations like this, it has to do with why he did not endorse.

Today, the political section of the AJC ran a great story generally covering the drama that occurred last night on the convention floor. Lots of machinations were going on behind the scenes (including how the Trump campaign handled Sen. Cruz’ speech delivery while having had a copy of it well beforehand — this is Donald Trump’s convention, after all), but what really got my attention was the following:

[Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul] Manafort also expounded on the issue of the pledge GOP candidates signed onto last year during a debate in this same arena:

“He was the only speech in the convention that was poorly received by the body in the hall. That was Senator Cruz’ decision. Mr. Trump invited him because he wanted him to have the opportunity to speak.

“As to their obligations, they all signed pledges. Everybody knew about the pledges. They knew what that meant, what obligation that put on them. Senator Cruz, a strict constitutionalist, chose not to accept the strict terms of the pledge that he signed. As far as the contract was concerned, he was the one in violation, not anybody else.”

Back in September, 2015, CNN reported that all candidates at that time signed a pledge to support whomever the eventual GOP candidate would be (the news outlet included an embedded video of Mr. Trump’s presser at the time).

In spite of this, here was Sen. Cruz’ response (also reported by Fox News):

…Cruz, amid some contentious exchanges with delegates, suggested endorsing Trump would have been the easy option.

But he said, “Whether you want me to or not, I’m not going to lie to you, and what I said last night is what I believe.”

And he made clear that part of the reason was personal, referencing campaign swipes at his family in explaining why he broke a primary campaign pledge to back the eventual nominee.

“I’ll tell you the day that pledge was abrogated was the day this became personal — I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he said.

One delegate said, “Get over it. This is politics.”

Cruz responded, “No, it is not. It’s about right and wrong.”

In fact, instead of outright endorsing the duly-nominated candidate as he promised, Sen. Cruz — in his “vote your conscience” admonition — quite ironically gave former Secretary of State and presumed Democrat nominee for president Hillary Clinton her own campaign fodder:

So, on the one hand, Sen. Ted Cruz goes on the record with signing a pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee, continues to promulgate the idea that he’s a defender of the American Constitution, but on the other, once things get tough, he backs down from what he says he’s going to do.

Why do I think he did what he did in his non-endorsement? I think he’s among those who believe that Hillary Clinton will be winning in a landslide in November, and Sen. Cruz thinks that he’ll be simply waiting in the proverbial wings (come 2020) to pick up the pieces of the party, where everyone that he sees as behind a flawed candidate will then flock to him to be the next GOP nominee.

Unfortunately for the Senator, the presidential primary statistics simply don’t match up with this alleged theory. In fact, the increase in numbers of GOP primary voters versus the decrease for the Democrats is so lopsided as to be hilariously different (overall, I believe the GOP was up over 60% versus the Democrats being down something like %30). Further, this doesn’t take into account the fact that Donald Trump garnered more primary votes than any other GOP candidate in the history of the Republican Party.

I’m simply not seeing the factual case to be made for an alleged Hillary Clinton landslide.

Regardless even of this point, I take serious issue with a man who backs out of a signed pledge simply due to the fact (as he himself put it) that rhetorical attacks were levied against him during the primary campaign. Given this rationale, the Senator has stepped beyond a principled disagreement with Donald Trump or even the Republican Party; if that were the issue, I’d be completely for his stance.

But he went further.

A presidential primary campaign is absolutely going to be full of all sorts of rhetorical jabs, innuendo, insinuations, and outright half-baked claims — levied both by the complainer as well as others (and they were).

What are you going to do in a presidential general election campaign when the other side ratchets up the rhetoric by at least five times what you’re used to?

What else would you be backing away from at that point?

Don’t claim to keep commitments to the voters but yet refuse to keep a commitment you made back when you had a chance to be the nominee. That’s just a tad hypocritical. If you’re backing from your word in the “small things,” you’ll do the same in the “big things.”

Ergo, what makes you, Sen. Ted Cruz, any different from those you claim to despise, who go against their word and don’t represent constituencies — much less conservatism — properly?

Et tu, Ted Cruz?

What Is The News And How Do You Know? (a.k.a. Thinking For Yourself)

Today I ran across a repost from freelance investigative reporter Jon Rappoport entitled, “Mind control achieved through the ‘information flicker effect.’” While this linking isn’t meant as a full endorsement of Mr. Rappoport (I don’t know about him any more than what’s posted in his “About” page), and even though I think the phrase, “mind control” is a bit strong, I wanted to post on why I think he absolutely nails what the American media engages in for every major news story.

I’ll speak from experience.

For many years, I had been an avowed “info junkie,” sometimes incurring the relative wrath of my wife, in that I was watching news almost non-stop during those times that I had a chance to watch TV. While I spent a lot of time watching the Fox News Channel, I eventually drifted over to the Fox Business channel, because I began to get tired of the “surface treatment” that I thought the Fox News Channel was providing the news.

However, even as I made these kinds of changes — often shifting over to CNN or other news channels — something still didn’t sit quite right with me. It was as if stories weren’t being completely fleshed out, and where cursory searches on reputable web sites would still provide better, more fully researched data on the news than what the news channels were producing.

And, for me, there had always been psychologically what I term a bit of a “dull roar” from the constant input of what would be about 25 – 30% news and 70 – 75% “talking heads” — alleged (and some real) experts on what was actually news-worthy.

Then, I decided to turn the TV off — at least from 24/7 news. After about 48 hours, it was as if real silence returned, like I could think on my own without being told what to essentially think. It was like when I once tried a particular 7-day diet and it never occurred to me how much high-fructose corn syrup I was really putting in my diet (such a thing was a big deal for me at the time, a kind of understanding why I (and others) seemed to be so “hooked” to eating out or otherwise not eating healthy). The same thing had just happened from a media consumption standpoint.

It turns out I was unhooking myself from The Matrix (I’m using the venerable movie’s name in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way, but it gets the point across).

The real question, for me, was: how is the news getting folks “hooked” to the goods being sold? On the food side, it was relatively easy for me to see how I was being “hooked;” on the media side, not so much, though I did at least have the clue that there was very little actual facts being reported, and more of a story being told.

Mr. Rappoport’s posting filled in the gaps.

While he calls the methodology the “information flicker effect,” Mr. Rappoport does a great job of explaining that it’s actually the news anchor weaving a story through the repeated use of bringing up incomplete facts, one after the other, then “dropping” them (or brushing aside to be picked up at some point in the future), such that the story-teller (the anchor) ultimately has another agenda in mind (not so much simply stating facts). Such drop/adding occurs as a frequent enough clip that the audience never has time to seriously think through all of the open leads being produced as the story is “unfolding,” where the media show is more interested in an ultimate story to tell than stating facts (which is what news ought to be — the what, when, where, why, how and to what extent of a given subject or event).

Now, since it is true that you can never fool all of your audience all of the time, then when a media story is ultimately about, say, gun control, because such a topic is so charged (certainly in America), when this topic is brought up, enough of the audience does say, “enough,” and begins to engage in critical thinking once more.

That is why I believe Mr. Rappoport’s use of the phrase, “mind control,” is a bit strong. “Mind influencing” is probably a better turn-of-phrase, but I digress.

There were some excellent questions that Mr. Rappoport brought up, to wit:

Why is it that every major network anchor is reporting every major story from the same perspective?

Would it not be reasonable to expect that a legitimately-questioning journalist would be getting more facts on the table to at least present a different point of view?

Why is it that every major network also reports the same perspective on every major story?

Why is it that younger reporters just starting their career aren’t being used to proverbially “pound the pavement” themselves to gather facts? Why are only the authorities involved being trusted to relay facts to reporters who are then telling some story for which someone else (a producer or higher up the chain) has already provided a template?

The simplest (and perhaps complete) answer to the above is that those “in power” (and by “in power” I’m transcending political parties here) like to have a mechanism in place in order to persuade (I think “control” is too heavy a word) enough people that they ought to believe a certain way so as to promote such power. After all, what does anyone who has power want? To both garner more power and consolidate it the best they can.

To me, the good news is there’s a very simple antidote to the above — unplug! If you’re an “info junkie,” spend a couple of days shut off from whatever source you’re using to stay “up-to-date” on news stories and see if you gain a bit of intellectual peace (and perhaps sanity). If that works, then you’re being persuaded to not use your brain. Also, try watching news stories for the facts that are presented; once the “talking heads” are paraded in front of your face, that’s a clue to turn the news off.

You don’t need to be told by anyone what to think. Getting an education should be possessing a tool that helps you to logically deduce and infer facts and evidence from the world around you — not to simply memorize a list of things that someone else put together.

Having the ability to independently think on your own means being able to operate as a full-fledged citizen in society.

And our society definitely needs more such citizens.


My First Foray Into Ruby on Rails, Thanks To A Web Bootcamp

My first “prototype” Ruby on Rails site, Dev Match, is currently live.

What’s this all about? I’ll explain.

For the majority of my IT career, I have either been in a Linux/OpenVMS-based shop (in telecommunications) or I have been in a Microsoft-based shop (in hospitality). Now, at my current company, we are a Java/AWS/Git-based shop (in cybersecurity). This is also to say that, in the 21st century, many startups use open-source-based (and similar) technology stacks to save money and quickly get a concept to market.

Therefore, during my off hours, I’ve been wanting to explore other aspects of open-source programming. Enter certain web development bootcamps, one of which I got started late last year and was able to catch at a severely discounted rate. And now I’m halfway through!

The “Dev Match” site is the culmination of several weeks’ worth of online instruction introducing students to the basics of Ruby on Rails, git version control, the Bootstrap UI, Stripe e-commerce, PostgreSQL as the DB schema, and many other concepts (such as various “gems,” the name for the vast portfolio of add-ons for the Ruby framework). It is the first of a number of projects I am working on as I progress through the more advanced portion of the boot camp.

Why Ruby? Because of its impressive collection of sites and development community.

Why not something like continued pushes into WordPress (the software this blog is based upon)? Because a CMS (Content Management System) will only take you so far, and if you’re serious about realizing concepts, you have to get your hands into code at some point.

What do I expect to accomplish out of all of this? I have a handful of ideas that I’ll eventually be putting to code, and we’ll see how it all goes.

The moral of this story is this: if you’re interested in getting going with web development, the hardest thing to do is to keep at it. That “barrier to entry” is the only thing that keeps people back from accomplishing things.



P.S.: Since my “Dev Match” site is currently hosted on a freebie dyno at Heroku, it may take several seconds to first come up; that is intentional.

When #NeverTrump Goes Pseudointellectual

James Madison once said the following:

It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.

He also said:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.

In today’s world, the above observations can be boiled down to this: well-intentioned folks who believe that Donald Trump is so dangerous to the American republic that, if he were to be elected as President, he would be worse than any other such officeholder in history because, well, “insert favorite worry here.”

The challenges are what the “worry” is, what actual evidence there is for said “worry,” and exactly how one man could be so different from any other egotist who’s ever ran for the same office (and yes, all men who’ve been President have been egotists — it’s practically a requirement to be such to think that one could positively exercise that kind of power and authority over others).

When the evidence (at least as far as I’ve seen, and I’ve been actively searching for it) is anecdotal at best, we have a form of pseudointellectualism going on, defined thusly:


1. a person exhibiting intellectual pretensions that have no basis in sound scholarship.

This is to say that a lot of fear is being misplaced on one American citizen — Donald Trump — with no basis in actual facts, merely circumstantial evidence, typically ascribed as this man being so confident in himself and selling himself and his abilities to such an extent that some cannot fathom even remotely positive outcomes.

In fact, this fear has become so palpable that radio talk show host Glenn Beck has been suspended for agreeing with comments by author and media contributor Brad Thor.

In a Washington Post piece, Mr. Thor is quoted as saying the following:

I am about to suggest something very bad,” Thor said. “… With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as president? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president,” Thor said, according to CNN. “If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

“I would agree with you on that,” Beck responded.

To get to the point, I’ve underlined those areas that are currently at issue, as least as far as SiriusXM is concerned.

However, before explaining why the above is so controversial, I’d like to bring your attention to the Soundcloud recording of the above with a portion of the interview that wasn’t quoted (link should start you at the 4:03 mark).

During the interview, as Mr. Thor compares Mr. Trump to a South American dictator, he states the following:

“…That is the type of guy he is. And I guarantee you, Glenn, that during his presidency, during his ‘reign,’ if you will, he is going to petition the American people to allow a temporary suspension of the constitution so that he can help America get back on its feet again. He is a danger to America and I gotta ask you a question; and this is serious and it could bring down incredible heat on me, and I’m about to suggest something very bad [begin quote from Post, above]…”

What Mr. Thor is claiming (based solely on the words that he’s used) is that Mr. Trump would be an American dictator, would ask for the People’s permission to suspend the constitution for a particular purpose, and by doing such an action, since Mr. Thor doesn’t believe that Congress would remove Mr. Trump from office, that an American patriot would have to do that (office removal), which by definition would be illegal.

The assumption that the court of public opinion made was that Mr. Thor was referencing assassination as being that “illegal” office removal act that an “American patriot” would have to perform. Rationally speaking, the only other act that falls under this context would be a coup d’etat. Which would all be fascinating in that such a suggestion is to illegally remove a President for alleged and hypothetical illegal means of misconduct.

There are several questions I’d have to ask:

Where is this fear coming from?

Why haven’t these same fears from predominantly right-wing sources been levied against President Obama? If they have, what’s the difference between President Obama and Donald Trump?

Has Mr. Trump ever claimed anywhere that he is going to suspend the Constitution in order to make America “great” again?

What is it about a confident billionaire that strikes so much fear in the hearts of some media types?

While Mr. Thor and Mr. Beck have the right to their opinions, since Mr. Thor is a writer of thrillers, is this merely a move to drum up sales of his own wares?

I would suggest this was a publicity stunt, per my last question. Case in point: Glenn Beck immediately began backing away from all recorded comments regarding this issue. In other words, if Mr. Beck or Mr. Thor were really that concerned about the future of the country, and they really had some basis in fact for going forward with such a heavy hypothetical, they would not have backed off from that stance, no matter what pressure was brought to bear. By definition, in backing off, that makes them as “feckless” and “spineless” as they’ve claimed Congress would be.

This is a textbook study in the mindset of the #NeverTrump paradigm. The modus operandi is to take thoughts and concepts that have never been recorded by the presidential candidate to have said and base entire FUD (“Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt”) tactics against that candidate in hopes of pushing some other agenda. After all (as #NeverTump believers would claim), who would be against pursuing the conservative agenda?

The answer? Nobody is, actually, but if the GOP power-brokers in Washington, D.C. were all about pursuing the conservative agenda, then why is Mr. Trump so politically powerful at this point?

As I’ve stated before, the #NeverTrump folks are fighting the wrong battle. Conservatism isn’t on trial here; Washington, D.C. is. There is no evidence that Donald Trump, if elected, were to overturn the American constitution.

Which begs several questions:

If, as a #NeverTrump believer, Donald Trump is allegedly going to be so bad for the republic, why weren’t you this passionate and hot-headed during the “reign” of President Obama and demanding the same actions now and over the past seven-and-a-half years?

Were you afraid of a black man and didn’t want to be labeled a “racist” for going against him?

If that’s the case, who’s really the bigger fool in this drama?


New Hosting Provider Is Live for TRSoL :)

Image courtesy:

The Right Side of Life has officially moved to DigitalOcean for its web hosting. This is part of an effort to not only get better and cheaper service for the blog, but also allows my own after-hours expansion into web development.

Based on some excellent HOWTOs, everything should have migrated successfully. Email/RSS subscriptions to Feedburner should not be impacted, and phil [at] therightsideoflife [dot] com should also continue without issue. If not, and you feel so inclined, you know how to reach me!

Thanks again for your readership, and I look forward to continuing to blog 🙂



P.S.: Clicking on the DigitalOcean logo at the top of this post will open a separate tab in your web browser and will refer you to DigitalOcean in the event that you require web hosting services. You get a $10 credit when using the link to sign up for doing so 🙂

P.P.S.: Reposted due to some server issues.

Religious Freedom Cannot Be Brought About By Discrimination

Image courtesy

EDIT: Since originally posting this story and concluding with the idea that you might be lead around by certain leaders for the purposes of money or influence, the has a fantastic, short write-up of how this “hunch” was correct.

Here in the great State of Georgia, we have been getting almost non-stop local coverage over the issue of religious liberty. And while I believe that all Americans — regardless of their personal belief system — should have equal protection under the law, the knee-jerk reaction to what Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of HB 757 has produced (one of the two religious liberty bills floating around our General Assembly) needed some rational commenting.

However, what really got me going today was what the Rev. Franklin Graham said yesterday about this issue. I am really sorry that Rev. Graham is taking the stance that he is, because he clearly has not actually read HB 757, and neither has Sen. Ted Cruz, because it would absolutely not do anything that they’re going on about. The bill would have essentially provided for the following:

  • From Section 2 of the bill, any leader in a faith-based organization has the right to allow or disallow activities based on their beliefs and cannot have negative repercussions on account of their stance;
  • From Section 3, any business has to allow for reasonable accommodation for an employee to have a day of rest either on Saturday or Sunday;
  • From Section 4, a faith-based organization can’t be forced to rent, buy or sell products or services that go against their faith, and such refusal can’t be grounds for a lawsuit or other repercussions;
  • From Section 5, no faith-based organization is required to hire or retain talent who has a different belief system than that of the faith-based organization.

From a religious perspective, a number of those points sound great, don’t they? But remember that such laws tend to have unintended consequences that would occur. For example, what happens if all of your employees were to decide that they weren’t going to work on a Saturday or a Sunday, and if you threatened them in some way, they could come back and sue you — but wait: they couldn’t sue you, because the same law says that you cannot be sued on account of religious stances. Ooo. First bug.

What about wholesale discrimination? According to this law, if you were a church leader (or any other type of lay person), you could legitimately refuse anyone who is gay, divorced, a glutton, an adulterer (or any other favorite sin) from darkening your church’s doorsteps and such potential parishioners could do nothing about it (because you’re protected from being sued). Further, if your non-church organization decides to do the same thing (by virtue of rejecting to sell products or services), you’d be free and clear to discriminate.

Well, you’d be free and clear to discriminate at the State level. However, there is still federal law that states that, in the marketplace, you can’t discriminate based on protected areas. Ooo. Second bug.

As a third illustration, what about the situation where you’re an employer and you discover that your employee is a Jehovah’s Witness, or maybe a Mormon (both of which are considered cults with respect to orthodox Christianity), perhaps even a Roman Catholic (because you think all real Christians must be Protestant, or maybe it’s vice versa)? Or, maybe the employee is pro-choice, and you’re not? Perhaps the employee has gay friends, and you vehemently disagree with that lifestyle? According to this legislation, you as the employer could fire that employee solely based on their beliefs and/or belief system. Ooo. Third bug.

For those who are detail-oriented, you might be saying, “but wait — doesn’t the law specifically describe a faith-based organization? This doesn’t count towards a ‘regular’ business, does it?” To which I would then say the following:

  • Section 2 only refers to the individual, not a business situation, and is therefore open to interpretation;
  • Section 3 specifically refers to businesses, not faith-based organizations;
  • Sections 4 and 5 do specifically refer to faith-based organizations.

As such, we can already see that this proposed law is, at best, not complete in its application of discrimination, something that federal law takes great pains to alleviate (i.e.: you must equally cover law across everyone in your jurisdiction). And make no mistake, this is lawful discrimination.

You might not like hearing that, but the reality is — and as Gov. Deal specifically stated in his veto promise — the First Amendment to the American Constitution already guarantees the right of free speech. In my opinion, trying to add to or take away from this fundamental right only confuses the issue. Unless your right is being infringed by someone impugning someone else’s ability to exercise the same right, there is no wrong here.

As a corollary, however, the First Amendment does not guarantee the right to be heard. Whether you’re a left-winger or a right-winger, it’s already a truism (sadly, except for the concept of health insurance, which is currently a federal mandate upon all American citizens) that you cannot be forced by any third-party entity to buy, sell or otherwise engage in something you simply choose not to engage in, specifically when it comes to any private entity. This carries with it the onus on the individual to proverbially change the channel and go somewhere else if the current situation is not in that individual’s best interests.

Let me tell you why this is therefore such a big deal, and why some don’t believe the First Amendment essentially has anything to do with this (if you listen to their banter).

It’s because they (whomever they are) have an agenda. They want you to stop thinking for yourself, stop doing your own homework, and simply trust what they have to say. This way, they can persuade you to think like they do, and ultimately give them money and support. This is brutal commentary, but it’s the truth.

What’s my agenda? It’s to first vent, and then to present what I see as the facts of a percolating situation in the court of public opinion. I’m simply tired of folks being led by the nose towards irrational ends by leaders in the community who really do know better (and if they don’t, they’re being disingenuous with you) because the facts simply contradict what their griping and whining is actually stating.

At the end of the day, you are not going to lose your ability to go to church if this bill doesn’t get passed. You are not going to lose your right to free speech, nor your ability to formally confront someone (sue them) about your rights being infringed. Why not? Because of the First Amendment!

Instead, perhaps we all ought to be asking the following questions of our alleged leaders:

How will my rights under the First Amendment be curtailed if Georgia’s so-called religious freedom bill does not pass?

How will someone be able to stop me from going to church or from me being able to opine on a blog if such a bill does not pass?

How will I not be able to sue someone else if they make certain claims against me if this bill does not pass?