Donald Trump And The Media

Donald Trump was just sworn in as President; yet, the opposition continues, fueled by a media that presents the news in a manner suggesting we are about to be ruled by a dictator.

The media, and certain specific Clinton-backed-Soros-funded organizations  are trying to weaken Trump even as he takes office. They are pushing two narratives to effect that end: 1) Russia meddled in our elections thus causing Trump to win and 2) Trump lost the popular vote and, therefore, has no mandate.

The argument that Trump won because of Russia’s alleged meddling is laughable. Elections are run at the state level not the national level. It is the states that receive and tally votes, first broken down by county then precinct then polling stations. So for Russians to hack an election, they would have to go precinct by precinct to do so.  Additionally, the majority of voting machines in the U.S. are still manual. Not being connected to the internet makes them impossible to hack.

In fact, Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, was so influenced by this accusation that she launched a recount in three states only to find that Trump actually won more votes than initially counted. The conclusion? There have been no verified findings that prove voters who cast their votes for Clinton somehow had their votes switched to Trump.

The second narrative being sold is that since Hillary won the popular vote, she should be president. It’s as if the whole media complex forgets we live in a Constitutional Republic not a democracy. This is U.S. Civil Procedure 101!

What has happened to our “journalists” and “reporters” that they don’t even know the fundamentals of our system of governance?

Donald Trump campaigned to win the electoral college vote not the popular vote. That is why he won. Had the election been a straight popularity vote (as in a democracy…mob rule…) he likely would have campaigned differently to win those votes. And, based upon his penchant for winning, I suspect he would have won that election as well.

The Founders set up the Electoral College specifically for this reason. They did not want mob rule. The whole point of a national election with an Electoral College was to decentralize the process so that voters in less populated states had some recourse to petition their government.  If the popular vote had been the determining factor, Hillary Clinton would have won based upon the preferences of two states: California and New York. That would have negated consideration of the preferences of the other 48 states!

Part of this continuously fed outrage stems from the fact that so many of our citizens trusted the media as their source for information. That “source” never had Trump ahead in the polls. Either they did not want to believe the phenomenon or they did want to report it. The net result was that for many in the general public they never considered a Trump win remotely plausible. Hence, their shock, awe and outrage!

Had the media been more transparent about the campaign and the economic disaster of the Obama presidency, the general populace would have been more aware of what was happening here in the U.S.

For example, look at some of the economic numbers that occurred during the Obama administration:

  • $19.9 Trillion: The Staggering Mountain Of Debt Obama Will Leave Behind On January 20, 2017. (“Daily History Of The Debt,” U.S. Department Of Treasury, Accessed 12/23/16)
  • $9.2 Trillion: The Increase In The National Debt Since Obama Took Office. (“Daily History Of The Debt,” U.S. Department Of Treasury, Accessed 12/23/16)
  • $1 Trillion: Tax Increases In ObamaCare Over A Decade. (“ObamaCare: Trillion Dollar Tax Hike That Hurts Small Businesses,” U.S. House Of Representatives Committee On Ways And Means, 3/31/16)
  • $870.3 Billion: Estimated Economic Cost Of All The New Federal Government Regulations Finalized Since Obama Took Office. (“Regulation Rodeo,” American Action Forum, Accessed 12/27/16)

If some of these numbers had been reported, Hillary Clinton probably would have pushed a much more aggressive economic growth plan to help alleviate some of the voters’ concerns resulting, in all probability, of her having received more votes.

Since the press did not want to report the reality, nor did they want Donald Trump to win, they reported the news as if Hillary winning the presidency was a foregone conclusion. Had they been more objective in their reporting, Hillary Clinton probably would have worked harder, and campaigned more heavily in the battleground states that Donald Trump ultimately won.

The point being, the unqualified, unverified support for all things Obama and Hillary actually hurt Clinton’s chances of becoming President. Whether on her own, or simply her swalloing the media narrative whole, she never grasped the real understanding of the popularity of Trump and his message.

Many on the Left love Obama for the things he did: universal health care and legalizing gay marriage. They are forever reminding us of these accomplishments. Yet, why didn’t the media report that he added 10 trillion dollars worth of debt, about $66,000 dollars for every person in the U.S.? The answer: Because it probably would have changed what people thought about him and the truth just doesn’t fit the Left’s political agenda and long term goal: Socialism American style (a/k/a Progressivism).

Take Obama’s biggest accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act. Everyone was supposed to be covered. Really? I don’t have health insurance for my family because it costs too much ($2,000 per month). When I talked to a health insurance company about my situation, they specifically told me not to get it as it was too expensive!  Yet, I am forever reminded by the media that everyone is covered…everyone except me, my wife and 6 children apparently.

Even with Obamacare, millions of people still don’t have insurance. It solved nothing!

The whole focus of pushing these two narratives was and is to weaken Trump and rewrite history. In the book classic 1984, by George Orwell, one of the main jobs of the government was to control the press. The manner in which this was accomplished was through the stories published by the press. Whenever the government wanted to change public opinion, new stories, new versions of the truth, were written to sway and change the minds of the people.

As Diane Keaton says to Jack Nicholson in the movie Something’s Gotta Give, “The truth doesn’t have versions.”

One of the main reasons Trump won is because most people hate Washington, its politicians and the media that support the incestuous relationship between them. What the media is trying to do is to weaken Trump and send a warning shot to other potential candidates outside the system.

Wanted: President. Job reserved for insiders only. Outsiders need not apply.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

Obama And Biden Award Themselves Medals

Ricky Gervais a few years back hosted the Golden Globes Awards and he joked to the audience about the uselessness of awards “Remember if you do win tonight, no one cares about that award as much as you do. Don’t get emotional, it’s embarrassing. That award is, no offense, worthless. It’s a bit of metal some nice old confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and have a selfie with you, okay? That’s all it is!” Ricky Gervais had won three of these awards for his past performances and yet he thought so little of the award that they were used as doorstops in his house.

The joke is funny because it is true. Because over time, the majority of awards and titles mean nothing to the general public. They only matter to the people who receive them.

Which leads me to President Obama and Vice President Biden who awarded themselves service medals during the last few weeks in office. President Obama awarded himself the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his own appreciation as his time as Commander in Chief while Vice President Biden won the Medal of Freedom award, the nations highest civilian award.

Many pundits were incredulous at the awards. And on many of the comment feeds on the articles have likened the awards to a much maligned “participation medal” and many others were even more skeptical of Obama giving himself a medal.

In Latin America the practice of the government awarding themselves participation medals is quite common. It is not uncommon to see a general in uniform stacked with medals and ribbons This is especially bizarre given none of them have seen any combat in generations. So self deluded with power and aggrandizement they award themselves medals to let people know how important they are.

Not all medals and awards are useless. Take a look at any serviceman who won the Medal Of Honor and you will get a glimpse if what real heroism looks like. I know many combat veterans here in the U.S who were actively engaged in combat operations and by ways of medals, have very little to show for it. The point being these awards were meant to really mean something.

For example in Mel Gibson’s latest movie Hacksaw Ridge about a Navy Medic, Desmond Doss, the movie depicts the heroism of Desmond as he saved countless lives on the battlefield. For his actions, he won the Medal Of Honor and I can guarantee you that every man in his unit will be forever thankful and indebted to Desmond for his actions and truly honored for him to win such an award.

Contrast this to President Obama winning his award for being an excellent Commander and Chief, the whole sordid notion reeks of desperation. Military awards are always given by their superiors to their junior leaders to recognize their efforts. Being that he is the most senior military leader, he nominated, recommended and awarded himself the award. President Obama winning that award is comparable to a mid level employee at Apple giving an award to Steve Jobs for his leadership abilities. That is how pathetic this whole thing is. In the military a junior officer can never recommend or award his superior an award, it is not the protocol and it is not conducive to good leadership.

The whole ceremony reminded me of the the famous line from Shakespeare: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” from Hamlet. The saying  has been used as a figure of speech to describe someone’s overly frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive and insincere.

These two must know how desperate this whole scenario reeks of so they award themselves medals to hide their incompetence.Since no one else will give them the credit they so rightly deserve, they award it to themselves. They really really want to let people how good, heroic and noble they were. And yet we have Benghazi.

During an attack on a U.S embassy in Libya, the president and his staff would not support Americans actively engaged in combat during the firefight where Ambassador Stevens was killed as well as four other Americans.The participants on the ground repeatedly called for help and even though there were Marines ready to go in, they were denied. We as a country had no problem putting Americans lives in harms way, and yet the Obama administration would not protect them when called.

With the Benghazi story as the backdrop of how not to behave in combat, during the invasion of Iraq, I remember reading a story about a Marine General who was relived of his duties during the attack quite simply because his units were moving too slowly causing other units in the attack unnecessary risk. I called my former Company Commander to see if he knew the story and if he could add clarity to the article. My former Company Commander said it was a highly unusual move for a commander to be relived of duty during combat operations as the General’s honor would forever be destroyed. He said “Most marine commanders would rather commit suicide than to face the eternal shame of failing in combat.”

His comments did not shock me as they rang true.For many not acquainted with military culture, this is exactly how mature military leaders think, and yet when President Obama had the chance to help fellow Americans in combat, he reportedly slept through the night.

Add this to his recent pardon of Bradley Manning who Obama commuted the sentence of a solider who went into a war zone, stole tons of classified files, and gave them to WikiLeaks. Manning released hundreds of thousands of secret documents relating to national security, during a time of war, with no regard to how it would undermine our war efforts and put lives at risk.  In any other time, Bradley Manning would have been shot for treason.

The whole thing is so outrageous that words don’t do it justice. The pardon of Manning along side his own award for leadership stand as juxtaposition of a man gone mad. A truly despicable finale to his presidency.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

The Price of Excellence

I met Donovan Waite when he was in his mid-30’s

Donovan was single and supported himself by giving Aikido classes to other students. He lived in the “dojo” where he paid rent for a tiny, spartan-like room yet with with no real privacy.

His back story was that he had achieved the level of black belt by age 14 and spent the next ten years mastering his craft before moving to the New York Aikido dojo.  He then spent 5 to 7 hours per day training at his craft. Aikido is hard, arduous and time consuming. Injuries are common. Bones are broken, knees are decimated and backs are wrenched yet over a 25 year period he never missed one day of practice.

He would show up before practice began and stretch for thirty minutes then stay after practice to do the same. I know this first hand because I used to copy his stretching routine.

He was a paradox: violent yet humble. If pushed, he could be violent. Yet he always adjusted his training to meet his partner’s ability so as not to harm them .

On one occasion, a former student came in and was bragging that he had recently completed Navy Seal training and how hard it was. Donovan walked up to him gently and asked if he could use him in the next class to demonstrate a few techniques. Donovan moved to the front of the class, affording him use of the entire length of the dojo. Within minutes,  he began throwing the Navy Seal from one side of the room to the other!   He repeatedly “launched” the seal over 10 yards in the air until the Seal was spent.

The point had been made. Stay humble.

He and I weren’t friends; but, by watching and training with him I learned more about personal excellence than anyone else I’ve ever met.  Never have I met any as proficient in their field of endeavor as Donovan was in Aikido. I have read books on Warren Buffet and the single minded vision that he had. But for me, Donovan was a  something first hand experience that exemplified a focused and unwavering commitment to a goal. He sacrificed his youth, finances, family, personal health and well being for one goal: to master aikido.  And while I practiced aikido for many years, and was good, I was never jealous of Donovan’s ability. He made sacrifices I was simply unwilling to make.

Interestingly, in aikido these is no end. For Buffett, the tangible gain of his massive effort was wealth. Donovan would never get to experience that. There are no riches on the other side of the  aikido rainbow. There is no payday when he could expect reward. Donovan pursued excellence pure and simple. Nothing more.  In fact, I’d be surprised if he ever made more than $1,000 a month during the 10 years he spent at the dojo.  Today he travels the world and runs his own dojo. I’ve heard that, with age, he now occasionally takes a day off. But, even as he ages, his Aikido techniques are a thing of power and beauty.

I am happy to have trained with him. I took with me 10 things I learned from Donovan Waite:

  • Practice Every Day.
    • Not only did he practice every day, he worked out for multiple hours at a time.  He showed what it means to be a professional.
  • Stretch every day.
    • His stretching sessions were lengthy. He stretched to take care of his body so that it would not get hurt. That preparation made him stronger and more flexible…able to affect throws that most men would never attempt.
  • Push yourself every day.
    • He was forever challenging himself. He would work out with men much bigger and stronger to refine his technique. Alternatively, his practice was slow and deliberate as he tried to break down every part of the move so he could later put it back together…at twice the speed.
  • Teach every day.
    • Donovan took many classes during the day, but he always taught. The teaching helped him become a better student and he used teaching to help him better understand the intricacies of techniques.
  • Clean every day
    • Every day the students in the dojo had to wash the mats. It was a ritual and never missed. A messy and sloppy environment was not conducive to training or excellence!
  • Adjust your technique every day
    • He knew Aikido so well that each and every move had a different and varied adjustment he was able to make. Never satisfied, he was forever experimenting, tinkering and playing with technique.
  • Be a good Ukemi.
    • Ukemi is the art of being a good partner. In boxing, they are called sparing partners. To learn a technique requires someone to receive and take your blows so that you can see if your strikes are effective. In Aikido being a good ukemi is also meant to help you protect yourself from other combatants.
  • Be relentless
    • He never quit. He always showed up and was always on time. He was was always “here.” He was fully present for the task at hand. Some people can do something hard for a few months or even a year. Donovan trained hours, every day, for years.. If he was hurt, he would work on techniques to protect himself or train very softly, but he always trained.
  • Never give up.
    • By the time he was thirty, Donovan was already one of the greatest Aikido practitioners in the world with hardly a peer. He could easily have gone off on his own. But he continued to push to bring his skill set to a place unseen before in Aikido
  • Be willing to sacrifice everything for greatness
    • He gave up everything for mastery. All of his time and all of his resources were spent on one thing: to be great at Aikido. By the time I met him, he was already great; but, he kept on pursuing.

If you are ever in New York City,  try and visit one of his classes because they are truly inspiring. A small part of you will be forever uplifted by seeing something so graceful yet powerful.

Excellence crosses all disciplines. It’s attainment and ultimate achievement require the same steps regardless of the goal. I  strive to apply what I’ve learned to many aspects of my life, not just Aikido.

For this priceless wisdom I am forever grateful to Donovan Waite.

 

Steve Clark

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

I Only Film What I Can See

In my opinion, there are two things that can absolutely not be carried to the screen: the realistic presentation of the sexual act and praying to God.” ― Orson Welles

 

Orson Wells believed praying like sex where two profound activities that could not be captured by film, in other words something deeper was talking place that could not be captured by the naked eye.

But alas, any show nowadays is awash with sex. I am no prude but it seems any good show on t.v now includes a gratuitous sex scene wether it is needed or not. It’s as if all the directors in the film world got together and decided that it was a prerequisite for any tv show.

 

Lately I have become am a bit more annoyed with this trend especially after watching the first episode of Orphan Black.

The TV series focuses on a woman named Sara who assumes the identity of one of her fellow clones, Elizabeth , after witnessing Elizabeth’s suicide. Seeing the uncanny resemblance between the two, Sara embarks on a journey to find out who this person was. At first, Sara did not know she was a clone so she digs into the origin of her story and how she came to be. The show raises issues about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning, and its effect on issues of personal identity and what it really means to be human. Truly a fascinating premise.

After watching it for a few minutes I was  hooked me and wanted to watch more. But, half way through the show, there was a scene in which we are shown two men cleaning up after sex followed by Sara having sex with a man she just met. Not sure how theses two scenes were suppose to meant to advance the story, but nevertheless they were added.

The director must have felt he was losing the audience so he added these scenes to make sure they stayed engaged. The additional scenes reminded me a book my teenage daughter wanted me to read a few years ago. The premise of the book was that the earth had split in two after a cosmic hurricane that caused 90% of the population to be wiped out and caused complete chaos on the earth, but the story was about to get worse because of a great rain that was coming. It wasn’t enough that the earth had split in two, it was the rain that was suppose to cause the real excitement of the book.

And just like in Orphan Black, the whole concept of cloning and its moral implications were not enough, the sex scenes had to be added to really spice up the show.

Yet our culture is truly saturated with porn which is totally free and ubiquitous. It has pervaded all aspects of entertainment and web content. Any and all explicit sexual acts are free and easily accessible to be viewed at any time. And yet even on the most random shows that we watch, the artistic community feels compelled to feed us more sex.

Because sex is so ubiquitous,I would think an artist these days would have more freedom to show the ideas without having to include a sex scene. The reason people watch a show like Orphan Black is because of the premise The viewer is not tuning in for more sex.

I think the truly avant-garde show of today would be to show  a series solely based on ideas, story and dialogue. Sex scenes, pre 1960’s, were alluded to but never shown. If the director wanted to make the point that the couples were about to have sex, a fade to black or a closing of the bedroom door was enough for the audience to get the message

But today in many films,  even bodily functions are filmed. Yes we are all human, so yes we do have to respond when nature calls but is it really something necessary to be filmed? In the great film Panic Room with Jodi Foster, she was filmed going to the bathroom, but for what reason? Art in its best form is meant to inspire and bring out the best in man. In this present day art form it seems we are more concerned on how low the human condition can go.

Viewership in all of the traditional media channels is in serious decline being replaced with on-demand devices. Audiences in all media  is a fraction of what they used to be- and maybe the cause is the decline of quality programming.

Years ago I heard an interview with Sherwood Schwartz who was the producer of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. In many ways both shows are quite simple and can be easily dismissed as novelty shows of their era. The disk jockey, although not disrespectful of his work did not seem to appreciate Schwartz work or his shows.

Schwartz said that all of his shows have been in syndication for years and there is a constant demand by the cable companies to air these shows. “Take the show Gilligan’s Island about a group of people stranded on an island. The show had a cross section of people; the rich, the famous, the fool, the farmer, the scientist and the captain. All as different as can be and yet all coming together to work on a common goal. And so  for many they see a simple show, yet what I created in my small way was a show about struggle and about mans search to make his lot better even when stranded with little hope for rescue.”

“The reason why people still flock to watch that show is because in my own way I tapped into those feelings about what it means to come together and work for something greater than oneself. You might laugh, but my audience and cable companies still buy and watch that show because they know the message rings true.”

Our shows no longer even strive for this optimistic message any more as the anti-hero has displaced the hero in todays culture. People so flawed we find repellent- think Walter White or Don Draper. The sex we see on shows today is not meant to uplift but rather to debase us. To remind us how flawed we all are, and for that we are all worse off.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com