Episode #10: May 18, 2018. North Carolina joins the long list of protest states, Kim Jung Un is leaning towards not letting Trump play with his toys, Democrats win big in the small arena, the Senate releases Don Jr.’s diary, Trump’s check book gets an enema, someone important is getting married this weekend and we don’t give two shits about it, and Dr J is here to talk about political messages for the upcoming midterms – say hello to my little friend…
*Note: I think the beauty of this one is that the message remained clear even after moving through 5 languages, proving John Lennon a true genius and his song a wonderful universal message.
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
English – Filipino – Ukrainian – Macedonian – French – Arabic – French – Macedonian – Ukrainian – Filipino – English
Think of the sky
It’s easy if you try
There is no hell under us
Just above us is paradise
Think of all the people living today
Think of a nation
Not hard to do
Do not kill or die
Imagine all those who live in peace, you
You can say that I dream
But I’m not alone
I hope you join us once
The world will be just one
A lot of people claim the biblical story of Esther is their favorites. And, really, who can blame them? The tale of Esther has everything you could ever want: intrigue, revenge, misogyny, sex, violence. Oh yeah, there’s some courage, a little love and a smattering of devotion in there, too. You may be scratching your head and wondering “What are you talking about?” I’m so glad you asked. Let’s unpack this not-so-vaguely disturbing story.
Set during the Babylonian Exile, the story begins when a drunken King Ahasuerus orders his queen, Vashti, to dance naked in front of his guests. When she refuses (oh Vashti, you feminist, you), the king is not happy. One of his counselors says this affront must be punished because if the word got out that Vashti had refused an order from the king, all the other women would get uppity and there would be “no end of put-downs and arguments.” (From Ester 1, Common English Bible) In other words, women might start thinking for themselves, and God knows, we can’t have that. So, the king sent out a decree stating that Vashti would never come before him again (whether this was accomplished through banishment or execution is unclear) and her place would be given to someone “better”. And, doing so in such a public manner would send a message to the women throughout the kingdom to know their place and stay in it.
Of course, that meant there was an opening in Ahasuerus’ harem and he began looking for a replacement. That’s where Esther and her uncle, Mordecai, come into the picture. Every time I hear the name “Mordecai”, I can’t help but think of a character in an extremely surreal cartoon called “Regular Show”. That Mordecai, a blue jay who works as a groundskeeper at a park with his best friend Rigby (a racoon), is a slacker whose attempts to goof off invariably lead to crazy, weird misadventures. But, he stands head and shoulders over the Mordecai of the Bible. I mean, seriously, we’re talking about a guy who forced a young girl he had adopted after her parents died into prostitution. Yeah, you heard me: prostitution. I mean, what else would you call it? He pushed a 14-year-old girl into the king’s harem and something tells me it wasn’t to play Monopoly.
Why would Mordecai do this? It doesn’t really say, but later events show he may have done so for political advantage (we’ll get to that in a minute). What a sterling fellow. Whatever Mordecai’s reason might have been, it worked. After Esther spent that first night with Ahasuerus, she became his favorite. It makes perfect sense. What dirty old man worth his salt wouldn’t favor a pretty, unspoiled teen age girl?
As the story continues, Mordecai angers the king’s chief advisor, Haman. Why? He didn’t bow to him because, as a Jew, he only bowed to God. Haman, being a text villain straight out of Central Casting, decides to get back at Mordecai for his disrespect by convincing the king to authorize the extermination of all the Jews in the kingdom. When Morty finds out, he decides to use his strategically placed asset in the king’s household (i.e. Esther) to stop the plot, telling her to appeal to the king and save her people. This that political advantage I mentioned earlier. Mordecai was playing the long game.
Esther, however, balked because she hadn’t been called before the king and wouldn’t be any time soon. To appear without being called meant death. Mordecai, ever the doting father, throws a guilt trip on her, saying “Don’t think for one minute that, unlike all the other Jews, you’ll come out of this alive simply because you are in the palace. In fact, if you don’t speak up at this very important time, relief and rescue will appear for the Jews from another place, but you and your family will die. But who knows? Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family.” Seriously? “Perhaps you became queen for such a time as this”??? Hell, a situation is probably what he had in mind when he gave her to the king in the first place. I hear people talk about how courageous Mordecai was, but I think he was one manipulative mutha.
But, his guilt trip works, and Esther gives him one condition for going to the king: for all the Jews in Susa (the city where this story takes place) to fast for three days in order to help her be brave enough to carry out this crazy-ass plan. Really, Esther? You’re going to risk your life and all you want is for Morty and his people to fast? I believe I’d have asked for a little more.
But, if you stick with this stomach-turning story long enough, there is a payoff. Eventually, Haman’s schemes come to light and he is impaled on the very pole he had planned to use for Mordecai’s execution (Google “impalement” at your own risk) and Esther begs the king to rescind his genocidal decree. Unfortunately, Ahasuerus doesn’t have the stones and passes the buck, allowing Mordecai to issue a decree that allowed the Jews to defend themselves. And, it works: Mordecai and Esther’s people are prepared for the attack and successfully defend themselves. Yay!
Of course, that isn’t where the story ends, because the Jews take this opportunity to exact revenge on everyone who had ever wronged them; even sweet little Esther gets in on this orgy of violence, asking the king to impale Haman’s sons. When the dust settles, 75,000 of their enemies lay dead. The Bible says this occurred on the 13th day of Adar and, on the 14th day, they rested and had a day of feasting and rejoicing. And, that boys and girls, is the origin of the Feast of Purim.
So, what’s the point of me dumping on a story that many people find inspiring? Well, for one thing, I’m tired of stories from the Bible being white-washed because the truth is unpalatable. That and I’m a bit of jerk. Sorry, not sorry.
May 11, 2018. Gina Haspel defends her street cred, Michael Cohen is leaked on, there is open rebellion in the house, California is proving to truly be the sunshine state, NBC and CBS are trying not to look back, and Trump exits the Iran deal Dr J is here to talk literacy because – Knowing is half the battle – I’m the Barbour and this is The BetaFiles…
The Week in News:
In a time of darkness and cold, when all seems lost to tweets and snatch grabbing, there’s one place that Americans can find solace – The BetaFiles week in News…(soundbite)
Welcome to the BetaFiles, here’s what’s happening around the tickers…
Gina Haspel went before the Senate on Tuesday to answer questions in her confirmation hearing. In her introduction, she stated, “I welcome the opportunity to introduce myself to the American people for the first time, I think you will find me to be a typical middle-class American.” However, as noted by The Washington Post, Haspel has seen far darker things than most middle class Americans have seen, even after binge watching all 9 seasons of 24. When pressed over the controversial waterboarding accusations, Haspel responded that she would be happy to discuss it in the classified closed door portion of the questioning, noting that there is good reason why certain actions by the CIA are classified.
However, Haspel did assure the Senate that controversial modes of torture that defy American law will not be practiced under her leadership, promising that the CIA will not restart what is known as an interrogation program, even under direct order of the President.
Haspel went up for a vote Thursday in what many believe will be a clear vote through as the new head of the CIA, the first woman to be nominated and granted the job leaving Trump to note, “if the British can have Judy Dench as head of MI6, we can have our own dame as the head of the CIA.” James Bond was not impressed.
Early Thursday morning, el Presidente welcomed home three American prisoners released from North Korea. The move, seen as a good will gesture by Pyongyang, comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un ahead of Mr. Trump who plans to meet with the North Korean leader in mid to late June.
The three men were being held for espionage and committing hostile acts against the North Korean government. Pompeo worked for 13 hours to negotiate the release of the three men, who were all detained shortly after Trump took office. The move is seen as a huge diplomatic victory for Trump who has been slammed the past week over his moves in Iran and continued criticism over trade deals with NAFTA and China. No other Americans are reported to be held by the North Koreans at the moment, and Trump used the opportunity to again offer condolences to the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was held for 17 months before being returned to the US to die shortly after his return.
In true Trump form, he noted to the press on the tarmac, “I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning. That I would say.”
And there you have it, folks. The country is now truly based on ratings…
And now for the elephant deal in the room, on Tuesday Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, leaving Europe and Iran scrambling to keep the deal in place. The move, what many see was a mistake and others see as redemption for a perceived mistake by the former administration, has been the story of the week with every opinion writer casting different doomsday scenarios as possible results to the action by the administration. We here at The BetaFiles would like to offer our own opinion on the matter:
And then we’d finally see peace in the middle east.
DACA is still being batted around, this time in the House of Representatives where a small 10 Republican led coalition have petitioned to go around Speaker Paul Ryan to bring the act to the floor of the House for debate and a vote. Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo filed what is known as a discharge petition that, if signed by enough of the members of the House, would force votes on immigration bills that will include a detailed law regarding DACA recipients. The move is built to undercut House Speaker Ryan who has stalled the move to debate immigration bills of all shapes and sizes repeatedly. When asked for a comment, speaker Ryan was quoted as saying, “it doesn’t matter, I’m mailing it in now anyways.”
On Wednesday, California became the first state to require all new homes built in the state to have solar panels installed. The requirement will begin in 2020, and is estimated to add an additional 8 – 12 thousand dollars to the cost of new homes. Current residents are already taking advantage of rebate programs in the state, and adding the panels to existing homes, but this current attempt to require solar panels on all newly constructed homes adds more to the state’s continued attempts to curve greenhouse gases and push more renewable energy into the mainstream.
The savings estimated for the use of solar power is, at the moment, quoted at $19,000 in electricity costs over 30 years, or the life of a typical mortgage. The standards for the panels, however, are set at a ow marker, which still leaves home owners to rely, in small part, on the grid to completely tackle all of their energy needs, but the step will help relieve a lot of the strain on the grid that hosts the largest single population of any US state.
Late last week, it was revealed the three women filed a lawsuit against former CBS and PBS news personality Charlie Rose. In all, 35 women have come forward with accusations against Rose, many from CBS. 27 of those women came forward last week before the announcement of the lawsuit, adding to the previous 8 that were the reason for his dismissal from both CBS and PBS. The allegations that have surfaced over the past week range from 1986 and 2017, noting how Rose used his position of power to manipulate women and take advantage of them.
Samantha Bee of TBS’ Full Frontal noted on Wednesday night that she had been a victim of one of his unwanted advances, claiming that when she had appeared to be interviewed by Rose, he kissed her on the lips with, “a hint of tongue like when a Turtle nibbles an apple.”
CBS management is trying to get their story straight as they claim no early warnings were ever given, and that the current revelations are just as surprising to them as they are to the public.
In a related story, NBC News released their findings in the case against former Today Show host Matt Lauer who was fired about a week before Rose last November. NBC stated that they too could find no evidence of reports to upper management prior to the allegations raised last year, even though several women, both crew and high profile players like Anne Curry, have stated that they went to management over Lauer’s behavior.
NBC did confirm, however that the allegations made against Lauer last year are credible, and the network is moving forward with continued focus on them.
Here’s the thing: CBS and NBC have been caught with their two high profile anchors pants down, and they are back tracking to cover the network’s tracks where several different administration changes have distorted what actually happened during both men’s tenures at the networks. The reality is simple: Get women into the head office and let them find out what happened. It is time these networks, all the networks, start paying for the cover-ups of their top personalities sins. They knew what was happening, we know they knew, and they know we know. SO its time to fess up.
Finally, Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani. The latest on the Stormy Daniels affair has created a massive headache for the Trump administration, and dominated the news cycle as it was revealed this week that Cohen created a special shell company to hide payments to Daniels, and apparently accept payments from a large range of companies that wanted access to Trump. Here’s a full rundown of everything that’s going on:
And if proven, then legal action could prove to be detrimental to the administration.
And that’s the news, or some of it, for this week…(exit soundbite)
Welcome to the LocalFiles. This week we look at Winslow, Arizona where we found two impressive stories from The Tribune News of central Navajo County. Last week, the Winslow City Council approved the hiring of Viking Specialty Services to continue the removal of Blight from the town, which will include the destruction and removal of four structures, bringing the total removal of structures to forty, and the total spent on the project to just over $200,000.
The demolition company will also be providing asbestos removal from the structures before demolition, all within 90 days of the date of contract, April 24th. A fifth structure may be added soon, although it may be salvaged and renovated instead pending a further inspection by the county.
The blight removal project has been four years in the making as the town continues to remake itself for future tourism prospects.
In an unrelated story, two Winslow men have taken it on themselves to honor all of the fallen veterans that are buried in Desert View Cemetery. The men, Larry Begay and Layman Brown, are planting full sized American flags at the sites of 723 veterans buried in the cemetery. The two men have been funding the project themselves until recently when the Winslow City Council surprised the men with a $5000 donation toward the project, something the men did not request, but gladly accepted. “We have all noticed what has been going on with the flags,” City Manager Steve Parkin said. “[The Five thousand] will get them about 160 more flags, but there are still many to go.”
The project began when Begay was searching for his grandmother’s grave, and he noticed all of the veterans in the cemetery. He came up with the plan and ran it by Brown who agreed to help. The pair offer families of the veterans to come out and help with the planting of the flags if they choose, something that has help stir more interest in the project from other communities nearby.
Thank you, Mr. Begay and Mr. Brown.
And that’s all for the LocalFiles for this week, remember, if you have a local story you want read on the BetaFiles, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send it through Facebook messenger or Twitter DM. You can find us on both networks as thebetafiles. (exit soundbite)
Dr J Segment:
(soundbite for J)
Ok –it is time to welcome my dear friend and colleague Dr. J. who is here to join me in a short discussion about literacy in America…What’s up, man?
(Sarah Sanders Soundbite)
(Fox and Friends soundbite)
(Anderson Cooper Soundbite)
(Jake Tapper Soundbite)
(Meet The Press soundbite)
Alternative facts. The term used by Kellyanne to describe Sean Spicer’s claim that President Trump’s inauguration audience was the largest in history. Period.
It’s such a silly argument that the White House stood by, and still does, but in reality, there is a real reason why this small quip from Kellyanne Conway carries so much weight. It was the height of what has become known as “post truth” – a term that describes how we engage with our reality now.
Overwhelmingly, America has moved towards a place where our feelings and beliefs define our reality. Perception has truly become real life, and fact based understanding of our environments has been thrown out the door.
Case in point: the rash of racial profile incidents over the past couple of months where innocent individuals have been publicly humiliated over no other reason than the fact that they look different. This very issue was addressed, of all places, on Rosanne this past week when an Islamic family moved in across from the iconic Connor family. However, the Trump loving conservative Rosanne was forced into a reality that lives on the outskirts of FoxNews: Muslims are no more terrifying than the white couple next door. It was a direct message to the middle class poor of our country who champion Trump and his fictional surrogate: not everything you hear is to be believed.
I think the real issue at hand is how far we as a culture have gotten away from common decency. One of the traits of all the clips presented at the beginning of this piece is the sheer animosity on display in each one. The audacity of one side to stand its ground, facts be damned, and the highbrow elitism of the other side in their condescending responses. In both cases, a line is on clear display, and neither side dares go near it.
Edward Said discussed the basic human instinct of creating and sustaining “the other” – the opposite of what we believe and what we defend against. It is a basic defense mechanism that assures our survival.
But in America, this causes a problem: there are far too many “others” to be able to defend your own systemic ideology successfully. Which forces us into a rigorous routine of compromise on a daily basis. Without compromise, America would cease to exist. The grand experiment would end.
We do not need God in our schools, he is already there in the different beliefs and religions that cover the social fabric of the students. The argument, however, involves a specific God to a specific religion, one even the founding fathers did not share as a whole.
Critical Thinking skills is not a Liberal mechanism designed to brainwash the conservative into seeing things through a liberal lens. It is a universal tool that allows the average citizen to decide what is truth, and what is not.
Climate change is happening, and it is not a right or left issue – it is an issue of nature that we all share.
Unions fight for the average blue collar worker, the ACLU fights for the rights and freedoms of ALL Americans. Mexicans speak Spanish, as do Venezuelans, Columbians, and Spaniards, and Russia has been an enemy of the state since before Khrushchev planted Soviet missiles in Cuba in response to our missiles stationed in Turkey pointed at Moscow.
And Putin is ex KGB, the arm of the old Russia that we fought for decades.
The scariest part of “post truth” fiction is the sheer determination to make what doesn’t exist real. In order for the American public to gain power over our government and media again, we must educate ourselves, which would be easy enough if we were to simply use common sense with the technology we hold in our hands every day.
Unfortunately, common sense goes out the window once a troll disrupts a calm news feed with a link to a conspiratorial nudge in the wrong direction, and mis-information shows her ugly head.
Beware the Ides of March was what Caesar was told, but the real warning should be, beware the motives of the author. “Alternative Facts” can be used as a knife to stab the truth no one wants to hear, but needs to know.
And that’s the show for this week. Next week, we’ll have another fun look at the headlines from the week, Dr J will join me for a fun discussion about who knows what, and so much more. For Dr J, I am The Barbour, thank you for coming by. Make it a great day, and always remember, as long as the sun rises there is opportunity. Take it…
This has been The BetaFiles.
May 11, 2018: Gina Haspel defends her street cred, Michael Cohen is leaked on, there is open rebellion in the house, California is proving to truly be the sunshine state, NBC and CBS are trying not to look back, and Trump exits the Iran deal Dr J is here to talk literacy because – Knowing is half the battle…
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah
English – Romanian – Welsh – Basque – Arabic – Hebrew – Arabic – Basque – Welsh – Romanian – English
Hey, Jude, you will not hurt
Take a sad song and do it better
Remember that you will leave it in your heart
So, start improving
Hey Yehuda, do not be afraid
You have to go and take it
When the skin is thrown down
Then start working better
When you’re sorry, you’re avoiding Jews
Do not take the world on your shoulders
Well, you know you crazy
Make the world cool and nothing