Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NFL has championed the wrong cause

The NFL anthem protests continue without an end in sight. It’s time somebody says what needs to be said so this country can heal and move on. If you’re ready for it, this is it.

In order to understand the protests we must understand what’s being protested. Too many owners, too many Americans are willing to blindly go along under the banner of free speech. Free speech is not the issue. What’s at issue is a perception that America is fundamentally a racist society. Colin Kaepernick said as much when he started all of this. He said he didn’t want to stand for an anthem that represented a country that oppressed black people. To understand where he’s coming from is to get at the root of the problem.

We’ve been over the statistics. Kaepernick believes black people are being indiscriminately gunned down by police. The fact is white people are twice as likely to be killed by police as black people. The liberal media would have you believe that’s proof of racism just because there are more than four times as many white folks as there are black folks in this country. As I’ve explained in a prior column, the racial makeup of the country has nothing to do with it. Were that the case, one could argue that the NFL itself is racist since it’s 80 percent black.

The sad fact is black people commit crimes at far above their representation in the population. For example, 52 percent of the murders are committed by black people. It’s not racist to point that out. It’s just a sad reality. Instead of looking at the number of blacks in prison or those killed by police and assuming racism, we should dig down and try to figure out why those crime stats are so out of kilter. 

That’s what leads us to the crux of the problem. Roughly 72 percent of black children born today will be born out of wedlock. That means, in all likelihood, there’s not a father in their day-to-day lives. Ninety percent of all homeless children are from fatherless homes. Same for runaway children. Eighty-five percent of children with behavior disorders come from fatherless homes. Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Of the kids in rehab centers, 75 percent come from fatherless homes. And the statistic that should hit us all between the eyes, 85 percent of all youths who end up in prison come from fatherless homes. This all according to research by The Fatherless Generation.

That, my friends, is the problem. Not that America is a racist country. Not that America is oppressing black people. Fatherlessness. That is the problem. And this is something the NFL is in the perfect position to help solve. These men are role models for millions of American boys, especially black boys.

The irony is Colin Kaepernick’s father left his mother before he was born. He ended up being adopted by white parents. Some kinda racist society he grew up in, huh? Many in the NFL who kneel know exactly what the problem is. Marshawn Lynch’s father has been convicted six times and is serving a 24-year prison sentence for burglary. He could be a shining example of how to overcome such odds. Michael Bennett of the Seahawks is raising three girls. Why not highlight that instead of protesting the anthem?

Instead of taking a knee, how about take a stand. Use your influence to end fatherless households. That’s how you can help heal this country instead of tearing it apart.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hollywood has no moral high ground

I was in Europe last week for a river cruise. I highly recommend it, by the way. My wife and I would wind down from the day’s excursions with BBC news. I don’t know what everyone was talking about back here in the States but it was wall to wall Harvey Weinstein. This is not purely a political issue, but I find it so ironic that this pig was hailed far and wide by liberals all across Hollywood as a wonderful guy who gave selflessly to liberal candidates and causes. The irony is that all the while Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment was legendary.

And now starlet after starlet is coming forward to reveal that they too were sexually harassed by Weinstein. They kept their silence because they were afraid it would hurt their careers. What does that say about them?

Everyone’s focused on Harvey, as well they should be, but we have to have a conversation about culpability. You can’t at once say you kept silent to advance your own greedy desires to succeed in Hollywood and call yourself a victim.

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my point here. There are plenty of women who have been sexually harassed by pigs like Weinstein. They keep quiet for a variety of reasons. Some know they’ll lose in a he said/she said situation. Others actually like the guy and don’t want to ruin his career over what they hope is a temporary lack of judgement or an isolated indiscretion.

What I’m talking is the Hollywood community that knew full well that Harvey Weinstein was a monster. Still, they dealt with him because he could help them. And I’m talking men and women. What they should’ve done was lived by the principles they preach to everyone else and stop dealing with people like him. Instead, they fed on Weinstein for decades when it served their own purposes.

Hillary Clinton is one of them. She’s now going to give the money Weinstein gave to her campaign to charity. Or so she says. She’s using the Weinstein story to bash Trump. “After all, we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office,” she told Andrew Marr on BBC. I’m sitting there screaming at the TV, “What about your frickin’ husband?” Of course, Marr never brought that up.

And another piece of irony is Weinstein helped pay Bill Clinton’s legal bills during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

Again, Hollywood knew full well about Hillary’s husband and not only never said anything, they continued and continue to give to the Clinton machine. Hillary once said on the campaign trail that any woman who accuses a man of rape should be believed. Unless that woman happens to have been raped by her husband. Then she needs to be destroyed.

This whole Weinstein thing isn’t just a Harvey Weinstein scandal. It’s a Hollywood scandal. It’s about people like Ashley Judd who put up with Weinstein asking her to watch him take a shower and never say anything, then publicly complain about an airport employee who says she’s pretty. It’s about the countless actresses who came to town very willing to take their turn on the casting couch if it got them that big part and now cry that they’re victims.

And, yes, there are plenty of victims. I just don’t think a whole community who knew of the monster in their midst and tolerated him because he was powerful are among them. Let’s stand against not only the monsters like Weinstein but the many enablers who keep a predator like that in business.

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What really caused the Vegas shooting

The shooting in Las Vegas was on a scale of unspeakable horror. Dozens killed. Hundreds wounded. Predictably, the left immediately launched into an issue they keep in their hip pocket. Gun control. It’s an understandably emotional response, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.

Before I get to that I need to point out a fallacy of the gun control argument. The most obvious flaw is the number of weapons this monster possessed. If news reports are accurate, he had 23 guns in the hotel room and another 19 at home. One has to wonder how he got so many guns into a hotel room undetected, however the left misses one simple point. More guns doesn’t make one more dangerous. You can only shoot one gun at a time. In fact, if he were putting down one gun and picking up another it would stand to reason that he would do less damage, not more. What matters is the capacity of the gun he used to kill.

We won’t know for sure until the investigation is complete, but it appears he managed to convert a semi-automatic rifle to automatic. In other words, he was able to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun. There is such a thing as a “full auto kit.” However, these kits are restricted by the 1986 law that bans civilian purchase of automatic weapons. The gun control that would’ve stopped this killer from obtaining a fully automatic weapon already exists. Yes, he had dozens of guns, but it appears the killing machine he used was obtained illegally. Passing more laws is not going to change that.

Now let’s get on to the real problem. The guy was nuts. We seem to have a mental illness crisis in this country. One in six of us is on some sort of psychiatric drug. This includes antidepressants and sedatives. That doesn’t mean that if you’re taking an antidepressant you’re psychotic, but it does mean that roughly 42 million adults are on some sort of psychiatric medication.

If you’ve ever known anyone who’s bipolar you know the difficulty is in knowing where the person ends and the disease begins. We should have the same compassion for mental illness that we do for physical illness but we don’t. It’s easy to dismiss people with mental illness. They’re odd or they’re crazy. Stay away from that guy, he’s nuts. We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it. It’s part of what causes people with mental illness to go through life undiagnosed.

I can’t imagine that was the case with the Las Vegas shooter. You don’t get that mentally ill without someone noticing. Unfortunately with mental illness too many of us notice, too few of us help.

But what can we do? I don’t for a second think we need the guys in white jackets with nets prowling the streets in a padded van. However, there are far too many people who are dangerously mentally ill roaming free. Loved ones are oftentimes reluctant to report the danger signs out of compassion for the sick person, but you wouldn’t allow a person you knew had cancer to remain untreated,

The compassionate course of action is to help people you suspect are unstable get well. You don’t do that by ignoring the illness. If you suspect someone is mentally ill take action. Talk to one of their family members. If it’s your family member, talk with a mental health professional. 

Mental illness is bad enough. A mentally disturbed individual with an automatic weapon is a horribly lethal combination.

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