Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The lessons of 'Lion'

If you haven’t seen the movie, Lion, I suggest you do. It’s the true story of a five-year-old from India who goes off with his older brother one night to look for scraps to sell to help support their mother. The older brother leaves the five-year-old asleep on a bench on a train platform. When the young boy awakens, he goes searching for his brother. He boards a decommissioned train that takes him on a two-day journey to Calcutta. There he fends for himself on the streets until he’s picked up and taken to an orphanage. He’s too young to be able to tell the adults where he’s from. They run ads in the Calcutta newspaper but no one claims him.

He’s finally adopted by an Australian couple and moves to Tasmania. There he’s raised as a typical Aussie. When he’s 25 year old, he visits the home of an Indian couple who serve up Indian cuisine. He starts having flashbacks of his youth and becomes obsessed with finding his real mother and his brother. The bulk of the movie is about his journey to reconnect.

I’ve thought a lot about the movie since I watched it with my family. The obvious point is how different his life was because he was raised in Australia instead of India. He’s wrought with guilt over his privilege, which we hear a lot about from the left these days. I’ve given that a great deal of thought.

We are all either victims or beneficiaries of our circumstances. There’s no doubt this young man had a much better life because he decided to board that train on that fateful night. But should he feel guilty?

Guilt is the currency of the left. Whether it be global warming or income inequality, they use it to try to force a redistribution of wealth. But redistributing wealth does not cure poverty. Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.” You have to first understand why people are poor, and reasons vary from country to country.

India is one of the poorest places on Earth and has been for a very long time. About 24 percent of the population is at or below the poverty level. That means around 276 million people live on less than $2 a day. Why? A lot of India’s ills can be traced back to the caste system, a social order that far predates British colonialism (although that certainly didn’t help). The caste system is a Hindu concept that dates back to 1,500 BC. Basically, you were born into a class and you could not escape it. It was your spiritual destiny. Lack of upward mobility is what has kept Indians in poverty for centuries.

If you ever wondered why Indians seem to be so smart but so many are poor, that’s why. You take Indians out of India a plop them in the Western world and they prosper. The left doesn’t seem to get that concept. Instead, they develop one redistribution scheme after another when the answer is the very system they loathe: capitalism.

America is where dreams come true. Why? Because it’s where you can go as far as your hard work, tenacity, and ingenuity can take you. Instead of asking why people are poor, we need to be asking why people are rich. Instead of hating them, we need to be emulating them. Rich people, for the most part, don’t become rich by stealing other people’s money. Lincoln said it best. “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Comey time bomb may be ready to blow

You’re familiar with the expression, “Be careful what you wish for,” I’m sure. The Democrats certainly are. Their whole “Get Trump” scheme seems to be blowing up in their faces. First, contrary to a top story on CNN just two days prior, former FBI Director James Comey testified that President Trump had been exactly right. Comey had told him on three different occasions that he was not under investigation for collusion with the Russians. That should have been the headline for the mainstream media. Instead it was “Trump lied,” a reference to Comey’s contention that Trump had mischaracterized morale at the FBI, a non-story in this whole soap opera. But Comey’s testimony lit the fuse to a power keg that appears ready to blow.

During Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, we learned that he leaked contents of his personal memos of meetings with Trump to the New York Times. I had questioned just two days prior to his testimony if Comey might be the source of the news leaks citing “senior FBI officials.” After all, it didn’t get anymore senior than Comey. I wanted to know after Comey’s testimony how many of those stories citing FBI officials were written by Michael S. Schmidt. He’s the one who leaked the Comey memos as fed to him by Comey. As it turns out, Fox News connected the dots.

Comey and Trump’s first meeting was held on January 6 at Trump Tower. At the request of Comey, the meeting was a private one-on-one meeting between the two men. In that meeting, Comey disclosed to Trump the now-famously debunked ‘Russian dossier.’ This was the one from that shady British agent who sounded like a poor man’s James Bond. In it, he claimed Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a bed in a hotel in Moscow that President and Mrs. Obama had slept in. I guess Trump was too lazy to pee on the bed himself. A few days later, that Russian dossier story shows up in the New York Times citing “two officials with knowledge of the briefing.” The only two officials with knowledge of the briefing were Comey and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

A couple of weeks after that story, another story appeared in the Times stating that Comey would be staying on as FBI director. Comey was in the middle of his term as director. There was never a question as to whether or not he’d stay on, unless you were in that private meeting with Comey and Trump where Trump asked him if he would like to stay on. That question has been framed as some sinister threat by the left when Trump was trying to fill positions in his administration.

When Trump tweeted that he’d been “wiretapped” by the Obama administration, the Times cited “senior FBI officials” who said it was false. Of course, surveillance of Trump’s associates now appears to have been widespread, but the mainstream media choose to argue over the semantics of the term “wiretapped.” Now they’re obsessed with any “tapes” Trump has of White House conversations. Of course, there are no “tapes.” Nobody uses tapes anymore.

Almost every single one of the leaked stories to the Times was either authored or contributed to by Michael S. Schmidt, the reporter Comey admits leaking to.

Now we’re learning there’s a document that shows Loretta Lynch, as attorney general under Obama, had agreed with Democrats not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. That is the textbook definition of interfering in an election.

Keep on peeling that onion, Democrats. The stench is rising.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Paris accord does nothing about real pollution

Donald Trump is famous for stepping on his own message. There’s no doubt about that. However, the message is still worth sending and he sent a big one when he pulled us out of the Paris Climate Treaty. The bullet we dodged is largely unknown by the American people. It’s time they knew.

First of all, and this is a trap many conservative outlets fall into as well, the Paris agreement does not reduce pollution. It ostensibly reduces CO2, which is not a pollutant. In fact, CO2, if you’ll remember back to 5th-grade science class, is beneficial to the planet. It’s what plants take in from us in order to give us oxygen. The reduction of CO2 could only hope to be a two-tenths of one degree reduction by the end of this century. And that’s if you make the leap of faith that reducing CO2 emissions has any effect on temperature.

The evidence suggests that it does not. According to satellite data, temperatures over the last two decades have remained steady despite the increase in carbon dioxide. 

And before we get too far away from this lame argument that CO2 is a pollutant, it’s instructive to bring in a recent World Health Organization study. Real air pollution is how we should be measuring countries. How clean is their air? We’re talking smog. Air quality that is actually detrimental to health. And, by the way, there is no CO2 in smog. The WHO ranks the United States as one of the cleanest countries on the planet. We’re as clean as Iceland when it comes to air quality. We’re also cleaner than all of the G-7 nations, the ones that have been having a hissy-fit over our leaving the Paris agreement.

This is something the Branch Algorians can’t seem to get through their thick skulls. The real issue is air pollution. We have spent untold amounts of money on technology that converts real air pollution into carbon dioxide, and we’ve been very successful at it. Now the crazy dirt people out there want us to pay up. Obama committed us to $3 billion for the so-called Green Climate Fund. This is the conduit through which wealth is redistributed. We’ve already coughed up a billion dollars and guess who gets the money. Countries like Iran and North Korea and other countries hostile to the United States. And do you really think they’ll use the money to reduce CO2? Do you?

I remember a trip to Rome several years back. I don’t want to gross you out, but at the end of the day I would blow my nose and the discharge would be black. Their air pollution is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. People walk around Beijing with surgical masks on. They routinely issue air quality warnings. The Paris agreement does nothing to change that. Do you hear me? The Paris agreement does nothing about real air pollution. Nothing.

We have got to educate the American public on how they’ve been bamboozled. Al Gore shortened carbon dioxide to “carbon” for a reason. To fool you into believing that CO2 was something dirty. It’s not. CO2 is as natural as oxygen. They’ll probably demonize that before it’s all said and done.

President Trump needs to seize this opportunity and completely change the discussion. We’re a world leader in clean air. The rest of the world needs to follow us instead of us following them over this cliff of economic destruction under the guise of “saving the planet.” According to the World Health Organization, we already are.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.