Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Thirty years asleep

I read an article in The National, a publication from the United Arab Emirates, about an Emirati woman who awakened from a coma after nearly 30 years. Can you imagine that? It got me to thinking whether someone in that situation would find the world a better or worse place after 30 years.

Just think of what has transpired over the past 30 years. There was no such thing as a smart phone. The plus side is there was also no such thing as a selfie. ‘Friend’ was not yet a verb. Not only was there no Facebook, but Mark Zuckerberg was only 4 years old. You didn’t have to take your shoes off to fly. You could still smoke on an airline flight longer than two hours as well as in most restaurants. There was no such thing as iTunes or downloadable music. CDs had pretty much overtaken vinyl. 

You never saw 20-somethings with their ubiquitous water bottle. Somehow we made it through the day without constantly staying hydrated. You got your phone messages on an answering machine. If you had a cell phone you were excited because it had just been transformed from the brick to the first ‘pocket size’ phone. That ‘pocket’ was a jacket pocket. It could be yours for the mere price of $3,000.

There was no Internet dating. You actually had to engage in a conversation with someone in person. No texting. No OMG or LOL or the dreaded LMAO. You also had to know how to spell, or have a dictionary in book form handy. Oh, and if you wanted to read a book you had to carry a real one. If you wanted to get somewhere new you needed a map. Yeah, one of those things that folded up like an accordion and tucked away in your glove compartment.

If you wanted to see a movie other than what was on HBO and Showtime you had to rent it. On VHS. That was this plastic rectangular thingamajig with video tape in it that….oh, never mind. Binge-watching wasn’t a thing. If you wanted to hear a radio show you had to actually listen to the radio.

We still had something called the incandescent lightbulb. I really miss those. Only sailors and bikers had tattoos. Only men went to the men’s room. And only ladies went to the ladies’ room. To pay your bills you had to buy envelopes and stamps.

The Twin Towers still stood proudly in New York. Al-Qaeda was only a year old. ISIS was still ten years away. It was the Russians we were scared of. If we’d only known.

Over the past 30 years the world has become a much scarier place. It’s also become a much more exciting place. Life is easier for hundreds of millions more people. Thirty years ago about 20 percent of the world’s population was undernourished. Today that figure is around 10 percent. Things like instantly finding information, staying in constant contact with friends and family, and being perpetually entertained are all taken for granted. There was no Amazon. You actually had to go to a store. Yeah, I know. 

We like to talk about the good old days as if things were better. They were only because we edit out the bad parts. For the young, these are the good old days. We may endure recessions and terror attacks and natural disasters, but one thing has always been true for America. Its brightest days always lie ahead, not behind. Remember yesterday. Live for today. But always dream of tomorrow.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reparations make victims out of the victimless

Georgetown University students recently voted 2-1 to create a $27 student fee to pay reparations to descendants of slaves sold by the university in 1838 in order to save it. Descendants of those 272 slaves are treated as legacy students by the university, giving them preferential treatment in admissions. The liberal world rejoiced, but it was simply another injustice to try to make good on the first.

Legacy admissions are, and always have been, unjust. Why should it matter that your mother or father or sibling attended a particular university? Does that make you any better qualified than the next student? Of course not. Neither does the fact that one of your ancestors was a slave.

Elizabeth Thomas is one such Georgetown student. She grew up believing she was descended from slaves in Louisiana. In fact her great-great-great grandfather was a Louisiana state senator during Reconstruction. Elizabeth says her mother learned of the Georgetown connection while reading an article in the New York Times. She read the slave manifest of sold slaves and was “shocked” to find the names her maternal ancestors. Shocked? Interested I could understand, but why shocked? It’s not like she never knew she came from slaves.

When she told Elizabeth the news Elizabeth said the first emotion to surface was pain. Let me just pause the story right there and interject a personal aside. I’ve done quite a bit of research into my ancestors. It’s really quite interesting. Among the lawyers and politicians and dirt farmers I came across one ancestor who did time for murder. Was I shocked? Did I feel pain? No. I was mildly curious, but not enough to dig into the details. I moved on to another ancestor.

The thing is it’s useless at this point to have deep emotional ties to ancestors. Is it interesting? Absolutely, but you never knew them. Would Elizabeth feel guilt if she found one of her ancestors was an ax murderer? Probably not. Would she feel a responsibility to the victims’ descendants? No. It’s entirely different, however, when you can turn yourself into a victim.

Elizabeth Thomas is not a victim. She’s a desk assistant in the Washington bureau of ABC News who’s about to earn her master’s degree from Georgetown. She’s not a victim. Yet she chooses to portray herself as one. She said, “It wasn’t easy to become part of a community that enslaved my ancestors, thus changing the complete trajectory of my family’s history.” She says this while simultaneously looking back nostalgically on being raised in Louisiana. Had her ancestors not been sold she most likely would never have lived there.

I’ve traced my Valentine ancestors to settling in North Carolina in the 1800s. Before that little is known where they came from. My DNA test says I’m 82 percent from Great Britain, 13 percent Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 5 percent Sweden. When I first did the DNA test it said I was 6 percent Russian. Once new data came in the Russia connection was replaced with Sweden. Did that make any difference in my life? Maybe it exonerated me from the Mueller probe, but it was simply an interesting factoid. I wasn’t “shocked.” It wasn’t “painful.” If I find out I descended from a Swedish king I won’t suddenly develop an attitude.

It’s history. It’s interesting, but beyond that it doesn’t change anything about me. I have three grown sons. I’m no longer responsible for what they do—good or bad. Then why do some feel I’m responsible for someone who lived 200 years ago whom I never even knew?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

At war with socialism

This is almost like a war. We’re fighting socialism on so many fronts. One wave of the dreaded enemy is approaching from the west as California seeks to tax soft drinks, tires, guns, car batteries, even lawyers. Anything the socialists don’t like they tax. Another big battle front is in the southwest. The one at the southern border. They’ve penetrated our defenses with thousands of illegal aliens with an invasion wave designed to destabilize the country. And then there’s the east in Washington, DC. The socialist enemy has infiltrated the Democrat Party to the extent that they’re on the verge of taking it over, and with that they take control of the House of Representatives.

Their inroads into the Democrat Party are almost complete. Although Joe Biden still leads in the polls, he’s been badly wounded by the socialists’ planned attack on his character as some sort of sexual predator. Bernie Sanders, an unapologetically avowed socialist, is leading the pack of socialists who are gaining on him. He’s followed by other socialists like Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. There’s hardly a declared candidate for the Democratic nomination who isn’t a socialist.

This should come as no surprise. For the first time since Gallup has been asking the question, more Democrats approve of socialism than capitalism. It’s no longer on the fringes. At least not in the Democrat Party. In fact, with Democrats socialism is now mainstream. What exactly does this new breed of socialists want?

They want greater control of corporations by labor unions. In fact, they want workers to control some of the seats on corporate boards. That particular idea is big with Elizabeth Warren. That assumes several things. It assumes that just by working for a corporation that you’re somehow entitled to help run it. It also assumes that you know what you’re doing. Putting a worker on a corporate board just because they happen to work for a company will lead to that board member most likely voting for things that will help the workers even if it hurts the company. Which misses the point of the company altogether.

Socialists believe companies exist to provide them jobs. They don’t. Nobody ever started a company with dreams of employing people. At least nobody who’s ever run a successful company. Let’s go back to the infant stages of one of our largest corporations. Take Amazon, for example. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in 1994 to sell books online. He saw an opportunity. People were driving to bookstores to browse a limited inventory. Bezos allowed you to browse the bookstore in your bathrobe with a virtually unlimited inventory that would be delivered to your doorstep. I doubt Bezos started Amazon with a socialist dream of employing hundreds of thousands of people. It just so happens that Amazon needs about a half-million people to do what it does. However, if Amazon can find a way to do some of the things it does without people it will. Its distribution centers are already using robotic technology to stock and distribute product. That’s because the goal of a company is not to employ people. It’s to make money for its shareholders. Think of it this way. If you were to start a business today what would be your goal? Exactly.

Workers are the beneficial side effect of business. If they ever become the primary focus then the company stops being profitable and fails. And guess what. Everybody loses their job.

Socialism is a failure and will always be simply because it does not understand that basic principle of business.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The left must stop Joe Biden at all cost

You would think with the résumé of Joe Biden you’d be embraced by your own party. This ain’t Joe’s party any longer. It’s the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. You wonder why the Democrats aren’t rushing to Joe’s defense over accusations of inappropriate touching? The truth is the socialist wing of the Democrat Party is behind the political assassination of Joe Biden.

Anvil Joe is what we call him. He’s so gaffe-prone that he tends to be an anvil tied to the neck of the Democrats. And they know it. That’s another reason he must be dispensed of. That and he’s an old white guy. He even apologized on behalf of old white guys like himself. Didn’t matter. Trying to distance yourself from who you are is impossible. So Joe must go away.

But he’s not. He’s polling at the top of the contenders for the nomination in practically every poll. Not good. Not if you’re a socialist Democrat, which is rather redundant these days. Try as he may Joe’s just out of step with his own party. It left him in the dust in its race to be Venezuela.

Anvil Joe has his own problems, however. Creepy Joe is what some call him. He apparently has a shampoo fetish. He’s a close talker. He loves to hug. He loves to whisper in women’s ears. Nothing I’ve seen rises to sexual assault, but that’s how it’s being portrayed by his accusers. Lucy Flores, a Nevada state legislator, says ole Joe inappropriately touched her at a campaign event in 2014. Curious how she’s just coming out now, but she says she’d still vote for Joe over Trump. Apparently she’s not that shaken up over the “inappropriate touching.” That or she’s willing to take one for the team in order to defeat Trump.

What’s telling is how the mainstream media have jumped on Joe like a pack of coyotes. They see AOC and her legion of sycophantic fans as the way forward for America. God help us. Joe’s too white. He’s too old. He’s too establishment. Let’s face it, as Democrats go, he’s too reasonable. If you don’t think dismantling our entire economy with the Green New Deal is a grand idea then you’re a dinosaur who needs to go the way of the, well, dinosaur.

Unfortunately too many Democrats continue to ride this raft down the river toward the waterfall. They’re too deaf because of party loyalty or tradition to hear the rushing waters. And they don’t mind pulling the rest of us over with them.

Why this sudden lurch to the left? Some will argue it’s a long time coming. It really began when Nancy Pelosi became speaker the first time. Once the likes of Barney Frank were running committees we knew we had turned a dark corner. Then the American people woke up and threw them out. You’d think they’d learn a lesson, but they didn’t. They figured they weren’t radical enough.

Then along comes Donald Trump. With all of his distractions there’s one thing liberals do notice. He’s actually doing what so many Republicans before him only talked about. We got tax cuts. We’re trying to get control of illegal immigration. We’ve abandoned this nonsense of allowing global warming to drive policy. He’s the socialists’ worst nightmare. That’s why Anvil Joe ain’t gonna cut it.

The socialists see Trump as wounded (in spite of exoneration by the Mueller investigation) and they want to strike while the iron is hot. That means going full socialist. That means Creepy Joe Biden cannot be allowed to win.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show. He's also the co-host of The PodGOATs podcast.