Family Matters

As you may have noticed over the last few days, it’s been rather difficult to turn on a news program without hearing about the White House’s latest policy debacle, the separation of families attempting to cross our southern border. This was a fairly big story before, but it really came to dominate the headlines last Thursday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to justify the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, setting off a crapstorm of negative press coverage.

Things haven’t gone well for Sessions in the wake of that comment, as people across the country have called him out about it. Even his own United Methodist Church (Sessions is a member) has condemned both the policy and the AG’s statement, saying “To argue that these policies are consistent with Christian teaching is unsound, a flawed interpretation, and a shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel.” So, the UMC, a group that has been locked in a fractious debate over the status of people who are LGBTQ+ for years, thought one of their own member’s policy/statement was so bad it was worth putting all that aside and coming together to denounce it? Oh, I’ll bet that stings.

It’s not just Sessions who’s feeling the heat, though; the entire Trump administration is catching it. Of course, that’s due in part to their total ineptitude when it comes to governing. And, never has their incompetence been clearer than in the responses from various administration officials. Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.” Yet, back in May, chief of staff John Kelly said that tearing kids away from their parents would be a “tough deterrent” and wouldn’t call it cruel. And, the president himself has gone on record multiple times about the policy, usually to blame Democrats for this heinous practice. Of course, I’ve already told you about Sessions’ views on the subject. And, in line with her boss and the AG, Mouth of Sauron White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “It’s the law, and that’s what the law states.” Compared to these people, the Keystone Kops are the picture of competence.

On-air personalities at Fox News (aka Department of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) have been working hard to counter all the bad press and “inform” us about the “reality” of the situation. Tucker Carlson claims that public outrage over the policy has been ginned up by “the ruling elite” to accelerate “the collapse of the American family”. Co-host of Fox and Friends and ventriloquist-dummy-come-to-life Steve Doocy said that we’re not seeing concentration camps with cages for children, but “great, big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain link fences.” And, last but certainly not least, Laura Ingraham told us that these detention centers “are essentially summer camps”. While the comments from Doocy and Ingraham are mind-numbingly stupid, they were a welcome change from Carlson’s dog-whistle-racism-conspiracy-theory-bs. Something we hear all too often from the fine folks at Fox.

I will end this: One of the goals of this zero-tolerance policy (the brainchild of human-rat hybrid Stephen Miller) is reducing the number of people seeking asylum. And, it’s working. I heard a news report this morning about an interview with a Honduran woman at the border who was reconsidering her decision to attempt a crossing and request asylum. Think about that for a moment: our government has created an environment that is less attractive than the horrific violence occurring in her homeland. So, have we made America great again? Because I don’t think I can’t take much more of this “winning”.

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What I’ve Learned in 57 Years

Well, my friends, I had another birthday this week. And, as the title of this missive indicates, this one marks 57 years on the planet. My father taught me from a very young age that I had a responsibility to give back to my community and in an effort to do just that, every year I compile a list of all the things I’ve learned over the course of my life and share it with those closest to me. And, by “those closest to me”, I mean “anyone willing to click on a link”. And, this year, readers of The Betafiles get the benefit of my accumulated wisdom. Do you people know just how lucky you are?

Buckle up, kids. Here we go:

  • While you have to age, you don’t have to get old. “Age” is the chronological record of how long you’ve been alive. “Old” is a way of thinking; a mindset, if you will. You can be that old guy standing on his porch, yelling, “Get off my lawn!” or you can be that amazingly cool lady who’s been places and seen things and loves sharing those experiences with other, younger folks who haven’t. It’s your choice.
  • There is nothing like being greeted by a dog that hasn’t seen you in while. It doesn’t matter whether you were gone 5 days or 5 minutes, a dog is always ecstatic when they see you again. That is a level of gratification cat lovers will never know. And, I feel sorry for them.
  • Saying “I’m not a racist, but…” is a good sign that you might actually be a racist Or, at the very least, that you’re about to say some racist crap. If that phrase ever crosses your lips, you might want to reconsider what you’re about to say.
  • That every time I think it’s impossible for Lord Dampnut (anagram of “Donald Trump”) to make things worse, he finds a way to do just that. Like ticking off Canada. Seriously, how do you make the nicest, most polite people on the planet angry?
  • Adulting is like a dog going to the vet. At first, you’re all excited about it. Then, you realize what all it entails and you’re like, “Oh crap, this is what they meant?!?”
  • The American Revolution was born in taverns in a time when people drank a lot. Which means the idea for this country quite possibly sprang into being when Thomas Jefferson had one too many told the rest of the Founding Fathers, “Hey, y’all. Watch this!”
  • A group of giraffes is called a tower. There, that’s something you know now.
  • Being a grandfather is awesome. It’s all of the fun and none of the responsibility! If I’d known just how great it is, I’d have skipped being a dad and gone straight to granddad. Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. But, it should.
  • That giving up certain things may add years to my life. But, it may not add life to my years. Once, I gave up caffeine because someone told me I might live ten years longer. Of course, giving up caffeine meant giving up coffee. But I did it, and it was the worst thirty minutes of my life. At the end of that span, I decided those years wouldn’t be worth living without coffee, so I took to that delicacy again. With gusto.

Of course, that’s just a portion of what I’ve picked up in journey up this five-terraced summit. There’s more, but I’m hanging on to that until I see what you people do with these bits. Until the next time, nerds!

Google Translate: The Jeffersons Theme

Original:

Well we’re movin on up, to the east side.

To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Movin on up to the east side.

We finally got a piece of the pie.

 

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;

Beans don’t burn on the grill.

Took a whole lotta tryin’ just to get up that hill.

Now we’re up in the big leagues

Gettin’ our turn at bat.

As long as we live, it’s you and me baby

There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

 

Well we’re movin on up, to the East Side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Method:

English – Norwegian – Sudanese – Hebrew – Bosnian – Polish – Bosnian – Hebrew – Sudanese – Norwegian – English

Result:

Yes, we moved east.

luxury apartment in the sky.

Continuing east.

Finally, we have a piece of cake.

 

Cereals are the fish in the kitchen;

Beans do not burn on the grill.

If necessary, too, but try to get up the hill.

Now are our big leagues

Gettin ‘Tora is our home.

As long as we live, girl

There is nothing wrong.

 

Yes, we moved east.

luxury apartment in the sky.

Continuing east.

Finally, we have a piece of cake.

Butt Hurt White People

I realize that may be a shocking title for some of you, but I really can’t think of any other way to describe the phenomenon I’m writing about today. You all know who I’m talking about, though. We’ve all seen them, loudly voicing their support for Trump, the Second Amendment, and making America “great” again. And, most recently, railing against an imaginary double standard after Roseanne Barr posted an ugly comment on Twitter.

Okay, a little background for those of you living under a rock: Tuesday morning, Roseanne Barr went on a little Twitter rant, railing against liberals, tossing out conspiracy theories, saying Chelsea Clinton married a Soros (combining two right-wing bogey… people?), and best of all, smearing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett as a radical Muslim and, wait for it, an ape. Good times.

Before we go any further, let me take a minute here to address the press way reported this story. Early on, several outlets ran with headlines that referred to what Barr said as “racially charged”. Let’s get one thing straight: “racially charged” is a garbage word. I can’t find a definition of the phrase on any dictionary site in which I have any confidence. But, that’s not the worst part; it’s also incredibly ambiguous. Calling what Barr said “racially charged” implies that there’s some gray area about whether her comment was racist. Believe me when I tell you that there is nothing “gray” about a white person calling a black person an “ape”. That slur has a long and inglorious history and it’s well past time it was retired.

Okay, back to the matter at hand. Barr, in what appears to be a rare moment of lucidity, must have realized just how bad her comment was. She quickly apologized and said she was “leaving Twitter”. If she was trying to head off any negative consequences, it didn’t work because ABC cancelled her show that same day.

Roseanne’s self-imposed Twitter exile was short-lived, though. She was back on a few hours later, asking fans not to defend the comment and blaming it on Ambien. And, by that evening, she was retweeting supportive messages from right-wing fan base and talking about fighting the cancellation. So much for conservative self-awareness.

Barr has had no shortage of people trumpeting their support for her in the aftermath of this disgusting, yet completely in-character escapade (for more on that, check out this Vox article). A Google search of the subject reveals everything from people not seeming to understand the racist nature of the “ape” comment to others employing the grade school tactic of “But, _____ did it first!”, posting photo-shopped images of Whoopi Goldberg at the 2017 Women’s March and whining that Bill Maher called 45 a “gorilla” and is still on the air. To be fair, Maher’s show should have been pulled. Not because he was rude to Trump, but for blatant animal cruelty. I mean, what could gorillas have done to deserve that comparison?

In what can only be termed an “interesting” development, the right-wing Outrage Brigade gained a new target for their ire during a recent episode of TBS’ “Full Frontal” when Samantha Bee said to Ivanka Trump,

“Do something about your dad’s immigration policies, you feckless c__t! He listens to you! Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to f___in’ stop it.”

What makes this interesting is that conservatives were more upset about the “c-word” than Bee’s reference to Trump’s creepy infatuation with his daughter. I’ve been wondering if they were so incensed by “feckless c__t” that they didn’t notice it or if this just one more thing they’re willing to let slide in their hero. The more I think about it, though, the less I want an answer.

Of course, conservatives jumped on this with both feet and continue to pound away even after Bee and TBS apologized. The White House has even gotten in on the act, with Mouth of Sauron Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling the comment “vile and vicious”. Right, and standing before the country and giving cover to a serial abuser and pathological liar is doing the Lord’s work. Nice one, Sarah.

For the record, I’m not telling women they shouldn’t be offended by Bee’s use of the “c-word” in reference to Ivanka. As a man, that’s not my place. But, I am saying that if you’re a Trump supporter, you should probably shut up about it. After the way you people used that word on Hillary during the campaign, your “outrage” has about as much credibility as a tweet from the unhinged Oompa Loompa currently occupying the White House.

Look, the bottom line here isn’t that a show right-wingers love got cancelled. It’s not that the press repeatedly refuses to call out racism even when something is plainly racist. It’s not even that some white people in this country have some how convinced themselves that they’re being persecuted. The real bottom line is that a lot of white people all butt hurt because they can’t spew racist garbage with impunity anymore. When you ignorant gits finally grasp this concept, things will get better for everyone. Until then, you might want to follow the advice of Mark Twain and keep your mouth shut and just appear stupid instead of opening it and removing all doubt.

 

 

 

ADHD and Me

Recently, I read an article that said 6.7% of Americans suffer from depression. A year ago, I would’ve said, “No, that’s too much. 22 million people? No way that many folks are depressed.” But, I’ve been hanging out with comedians for the past year and now I’m like, “Yeah, that sounds about right.” If anything, it sounds kind of low. Y’all might not now this, but comedians and depression go together like tacos and Tuesdays. In fact, I know some could make Ellen Degeneres start cutting.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the more depressed you are, the funnier you are. And, dabbling in comedy the way that I do, I’m a little worried. Why? Because I’m not depressed. Now, understand that when I say “depressed”, I’m not talking about “feeling low” depressed, I mean “constantly contemplating suicide” depressed. I’m not going to say I never think about killing myself, because I do. It usually happens while I’m talking to my ex-wife. There are no words to explain why a conversation with this woman is so bad; to be truly understood, it must be experienced. The closest I can come is that it’s like walking up to a stranger and paying them to punch you in your nether regions. Repeatedly.

Not depressed doesn’t mean I’m not broken, though. I’m severely messed up, just in a different way. You see, I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The DSM V defines ADHD as “A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”. On a side note, DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and unless you work in the mental health field. Knowing that, not to mention the current edition, isn’t a good thing.

You might think that means I can’t concentrate very well. And, you’d be right… most of the time. But every now and then, I have a laser-like focus. Unfortunately, it tends to be on things that aren’t productive, like Wikipedia. I can read that junk for hours and hours. But, even then, I can get distracted.  Let’s say I’m reading an entry about the Rubik’s cube and the next thing I know, I’m down the rabbit hole looking at an article about Roland the Farter, flatulist and jester to King Henry II of England. In case you’re wondering, a flatulist is exactly what you think: “an entertainer (sometimes considered a comedian) whose routine consists solely or primarily of passing gas in a creative, musical, or amusing manner”. Don’t get hung up by the question of how someone who farts on stage is anything other than a comedian, just know that it’s as hilarious as it sounds.

And, reading is just the beginning of the distraction train. Once it leaves the station, it takes me to YouTube. Why? Because you have to see if there are any videos about a guy who farts for a living. There are, including several by Roland’s artistic heir, Mr. Methane. And, you should watch every one of them.

If you think a host of farting videos should be able hold my attention, you are, oh so wrong. ADHD is so insidiously powerful that it can overwhelm even the most juvenile humor. Basically, I’ll watch for a few minutes and then get pulled away by something in the sidebar. And, not even something good, either, it’s always something ridiculous (why are cat videos so riveting?). And, before you know it, I’m getting down to Disco Star Wars. And, yes, there is a disco version of the Star Wars soundtrack. If you didn’t know that, don’t call yourself a Star Wars fan, you poser.

So, why am I telling you this? Mostly, I’m playing on your sympathy for some gratuitous laughs by exposing this contemptuously pitiful existence I call my “life”. Wow, I’m more depressed than I thought. Hooray, comedy is not outside my grasp after all!

What the Hell America?

Today’s essay was supposed to be about my incredulity at America’s obsession with the royal wedding. But, that fell by the wayside when news broke of yet another school shooting. I’m not going into detail about it; by now, you should know the particulars well enough to make that a waste of time. But, saying the situation is dire is an understatement on the order of calling the World War I a “minor kerfuffle”. If you don’t think so, listen to what Santa Fe student Paige Curry told a reporter who asked why she wasn’t surprised when the attack happened: “It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too.” Did you get that? Kids aren’t even surprised anymore when someone walks into their school with a gun and murders their classmates.

After you finished wiping away the tears that comment brought on, you probably wondered how we can stop living this nightmare. You might also have wondered why we still haven’t enacted some common-sense gun control laws by now. It’s a good question, but I think we all know why: The NRA has spent a lot of time and effort to keep that from occurring. And, by “spent a lot of time and effort”, I mean, “bought a lot of politicians”.

That situation has led to several… interesting ideas being floated to protect our kids. And, as none include curtailing wholesale access to firearms that is the norm in this country, there are some impressive mental gymnastics involved. Here is the best/worst of what I found:

  • Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick believes the problem is that our schools have too many doors. At a press conference on Friday, Patrick told reporters, “We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our more than 8,000 campuses in Texas.” And, he said it out loud. Where people could hear.
  • According to Fox’s Sean Hannity, schools should monitor their students’ social media feeds because quite a few shooters have made disturbing posts in the days leading up to their attack. Why, that makes perfect sense! I mean, it’s not like teachers and administrators are already overworked and our schools are woefully underfunded or anything. Someone should tell Sean that the average high school student population in the U. S. is right around 750. That means his proposal would force some poor schmuck to scroll through 750 teenage social media feeds every You might think that sounds good until you remember that the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Here’s another one from Dan Patrick: school shootings happen because, wait for it, abortion. Speaking with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week”, Patrick said, “George, should we be surprised in this nation? We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games, which now outsell movies and music.” Yes, I realize he also mentioned movies and video games. But, those are old news. Abortion, though? First time I’ve heard that one.
  • President Trump (I throw up in my mouth every time I say that) didn’t offer any suggestions to prevent school violence and that may be a good thing. We are talking about the guy who thinks trade wars are good and that we should build a border wall while the rest of our infrastructure crumbles around us. Unfortunately, he wasn’t silent on the matter. As details began to emerge, he tweeted, “School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!” I have no words.
  • Not to be outdone by his conservative brethren, incoming NRA president Oliver North blamed school shootings on Ritalin. North told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that “We’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptoms without treating the disease. And the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence. They’ve been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male. … Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten.” You know, Ollie, I had more respect for you when you were selling arms to our enemies. At least then, you didn’t say stuff as stupid as this. (Huffington Post)
  • Let’s end this list the way we started: with some more of Dan Patrick’s verbal diarrhea. On the same show where he dropped that abortion gem, Patrick told George Stephanopoulos that the Second Amendment “talks about a well-run militia … our teachers are part of that well-run militia.” A “well-run militia”, really? It’s a “well-regulated militia”, Dan. How about you just shut up. You’re giving English majors a bad name.

So, have you got a concussion from all that face-palming? A bruised forehead from banging your head on your desk? Do you need to buy a new computer because you punched your screen in frustration at the abject stupidity of the people we’ve either elected to lead us or that we allow into our homes to inform us? If so, that’s a good thing because it means you haven’t completely given up and still have some capacity for outrage. Don’t worry, though, it’s long time till November. That means there’s plenty of time for these bucketheads to crush that out of you. And, if they don’t, there’s always the ineptitude of the Democrats to help them out. You’re welcome, friends.

The BetaFiles Episode 10 Script

The BetaFiles

 

Date: 5/18/18

Episode# BB010

Subject: Political Messages 

 

Introduction:

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 – 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 trending on the cable news tickers…

Wednesday saw a flurry of news, starting with North Carolina as it became the latest state to see teachers protest over current education spending. 40 school districts closed down Wednesday in the right to work state that saw thousands of teachers put in for time off so they could descend on Raleigh and demand increased pay and spending for supplies, facilities, and better policies. Something else that North Carolina has introduced to the now running conversation over education: class size. So far, North Carolina and Oklahoma have been the only two states where demands included reform in class size, citing too many pupils for far too less teachers.

The day started with a march on the capital before moving to the mall outside the capital building where a rally for respect was staged and Governor Roy Cooper spoke. Throughout the day, state representatives and senators met with the teachers in efforts to learn more about the struggles teachers in the tar heel state were facing.

North Carolina is ranked 38th in spending per student and ranks 37th nationally at nearly $10,000 lower than the average in teacher pay. In recent years, the state has given raises, but has in turn cut pay for longtime teachers and removed bonus pay for teachers who receive an advanced degree. There is worry that the Republican led legislature is going to cut another $3.6 billion in revenue, with education as one of the major targets, again.

The protests, according to leaders of the movement, are the culmination of years of constant education cuts and policy changes that have put more and more strain on the system. The leaders of the movement hope to use the protests as a means to campaign for more candidates that support public education and support reform to the ailing system. The goal is to rally for the November elections that can help turn the state house and senate towards a more education friendly capital. Every seat in both chambers is open in the coming elections, and with the recent district re-drawing, some of the seats that were solidly republican are now extremely competitive.

State republicans claim that there is no need for the call for extra spending, claiming that this year will mark the fifth teacher raise in as many years, but what they refuse to even debate is the spending on classrooms, students, and better policies.

When asked for comment, one random citizen commented, “I don’t understand why the teachers are complaining, we already buy the kid’s crayons, glue sticks, index cards, folders, notebooks, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, markers, paper, post-its, and cup-cakes for birthdays. Why are they bitching so much?”

So let’s get this out of the way…

Another big story from Wednesday brought news that Trump paid Cohen lots of money according to his spending records given to the Office of Government Ethics. Reportedly, the $100,000 payment to Cohen was listed under the “liabilities” section of the report. In a statement from Trump’s personal lawyers, it was noted that the expense was between $100,000 and $250,000 which fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen for services rendered in 2016.

The reason why this is important: we still don’t know. He lied. He keeps lying. He will always lie. And his supporters don’t care, so we at The BetaFiles don’t care either.

Another massive story, one that matters, from Wednesday came when Twitter blew up with thousands of tweets and retweets announcing the vote on Net Neutrality in the Senate. The measure passed with all 49 Democrats and 3 Republicans voting for the move to keep Net Neutrality open, rejecting a move by the FCC last December to end it. Net Neutrality ends in June if Congress doesn’t move fully to restore it. The measure now moves to the House where it is up to Paul “I’m calling it in now” Ryan will decide if it should be taken up for a vote before sending it on to President Trump who will more than likely veto the measure as it attempts to defy his administration and its actions.

Speculation is that the move this week was more for campaigns for the Midterm elections, hoping that a larger number of Democratic wins can help bring the measure back up with a veto block vote count.

For those who are in the dark, Net Neutrality forces ISPs to allow equal bandwidth to all services dependent on the internet. Once Net Neutrality ends, many fear that the major ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will repackage their internet subscriptions, and throttle certain services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Spotify in an effort to boost their own services, or force consumers to pay more for access to their favorite internet based services.

Several of the larger ISPs have publicly stated that they will self-regulate themselves and keep the old Net Neutrality rules as guidelines for consumers. However, with recent developments like Spectrum, who continues to raise rates to former TimeWarner customers, and the possibility of a T-Mobile and Sprint merger which may signal an industry wide increase in data plans, faith in the ISPs is little, and fears of new scaffolded data plans based on internet services are becoming a slow, painful reality.

Speaking of painful realities, Michigan State University on Wednesday announced that it would pay $500 million to the 332 alleged victims of Michigan State where Larry Nasser worked as a sports physician and was found guilty of sexual misconduct where he is serving a sentence of 40 – 170 years. The settlement is only for the Michigan State victims and does not include the victims from the US Gymnastics team who are a part of a separate lawsuit. Michigan State, with the settlement, is now free from the Nasser drama, though the stain on the University will most certainly last for years to come, much like Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, who is still investigating the Russia Election Meddling, released thousands of documents this week which gave details on several of the better-known portions of the story. The committee, unlike their House counterpart, announced that there is significant evidence to show that Russia did indeed try to influence the election for Trump, and that the call to do so came directly from Putin himself.

The documents released also shed a more detailed light on that infamous Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr and his party of adoption advocates. The notes revealed that Don Jr was ecstatic over getting possible dirt on Hillary, the first time in decades someone was excited to see her noughties, that Trump himself was personally responsible for the confusing misleads over the meeting when it became public, and Paul Manafort doesn’t know how to take damning notes about a meeting he’s not supposed to be a part of.

What it all means is that there is still plenty to learn about the dirty dealings of the bumbled Trump campaign and their attempt to use Russian intelligence against Hillary.

In the spirit of elections gone wrong, there were primaries this week which sent waves through the Democratic party, however, they were not the waves they had hoped for.

On Tuesday, in several contests in four states, the far left wing of the Democratic party won huge upsets, sending worries through the party that the moderate side of the party may be losing power in a moment when moderate politics is in desperate demand. The wins are a sign of several social responses to the current climate: 1)  that the left is vehemently against anything Trump, 2) that the extreme politics of the far right have sparked a desperate call for an equal and opposite reaction from the far left, 3) Bernie is a much better catalyst for liberals than any other Democrat out there at the moment.

What this means is that come November, there is fear that the moderate base that did not vote in those primaries will come out and move toward the Republican candidates who show more convincing signs of playing to the middle than the farther left wing candidates.

However, critics also point that this midterm could be a repeat of what happened in 2010 and 2014 when the Tea Party rose to power through midterm upsets. The largest campaign messages from these extreme candidates focus on health care for all, education, and immigration reform that includes solidifying programs such as DACA and work visa programs, recent targets of the Trump administration.

The moves have put new pressure on Bernie and his followers as it appears that even though he may not win a second bid at the presidency, it is obvious that he has become somewhat of a Democratic guru, and the far left is starting to steer the party away from the middle, much like the Neo-cons of the late nineties that steered the far right towards a Koch brother controlled tea party agenda.

On Sunday, the New York Times ran an expose on Betsy Devos and the department of education discussing how the department has derailed an investigation into for profit universities and wide spread abuses by those institutions. The teams that were in charge of investigating have been, the article claims, marginalized, reassigned, or instructed to focus on other matters, forcing them to slow down on the investigations and keep the remaining abuses to continue.

The smelly sock in the laundry basket is the fact that the universities that were at the top of the list being investigated are institutions where Mrs. Devos’ main advisors used to work.

The investigations, begun under the Obama administration, focus on advertising, recruitment practices, and fraudulent job placement claims from institutions such as DeVry, Strayer, and ECPI.

The investigations into DeVry slowed to a crawl last year when Devos hired former DeVry dean Julian Schmoke as the new supervisor to the investigation into – wait for it – DeVry. The investigation is technically still under way, but the team is down to 3 people who spend their time processing student loan forgiveness applications for DeVry.

In addition to the investigations into DeVry, Strayer and ECPI, four other investigations have been halted with half a dozen former for profit administrators assigned to upper offices in the department of education, and given significant power over the investigations, which have been all but abandoned.

DeVos has also rolled back regulations previously put in place after the collapse of both Corinthian Colleges and ITT in 2016. Critics, which include Senator Elizabeth Warren, are crying out that the moves by DeVos are built to put the industry’s interests ahead of its students, who find it harder to get a well paid job with the degrees they receive, and are saddled with enormous amounts of debt.

The DeVry investigation, the largest currently, became a point of contention with DeVos’ transition team early on in the administration, and has been the subject of several calls for re-opening and re-evaluating that have gone no-where. The signs all point in the same direction: DeVos is helping make for profits richer while their students pay the tab.

On a personal note, as a public instructor and assistant professor for a non-profit public institution, stay away from these institutions. Their degrees are worthless, the education you receive is not complete, and the amount of money needed is far more than a public education. These institutions are corner cuts for a piece of paper. When you cut corners, you get what you pay for. Cut corners.

Finally, the royal wedding. I blame Disney for our fascination with the royals. I blame Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and all the other Disney Princesses for this unholy worshipping of two people that are far richer than most of us. Their reception dinner will be more expensive than a dozen houses in a typical suburban neighborhood.

One thing I am happy about is this: Harry is getting a little attention. With William and Kate making like rabbits lately, its about time the other brother got some love. So, for all of us here at The BetaFiles, congrats, Harry and Megan. We wish you happiness and a better shot than Fergie got.

And that’s the news, or some of it, for this week…(exit soundbite)

LocalFiles:

(Soundbite)

Welcome to the LocalFiles. This week we look at Ville Platte, Louisiana where our story comes from the Ville Platte Gazette.

Local recent LSU English Graduate Jordan LaHaye has made the news as she is set to publish her first book, a creative non-fiction take on her Great Grandfather and his mysterious kidnapping and murder when he was the president of Guaranty Bank in Ville Platte. The book idea was born from her senior thesis at the University, and she has had the full support of her faculty who have advised her on interviews, research techniques, and marketing. The young Louisianan has always wanted to write and claims to have written her first book in Kindergarten about the Lords Prayer, the only thing she really knew.

She followed her dream into an English BA with a minor in mass communications claiming, “journalism is a good way to be able to write” on a more constant basis. She has written about folklore, local festivals, urban legends of her community, and women and gender studies. She has been published several times by Country Road magazine in Baton Rouge and In Register also of Baton Rouge which she completed an internship with while contributing. She has found success when she has kept her writing focused on local stories, where she has been able to bring older, forgotten tales back to life for the younger generations of the local community.

LaHaye also notes that she realized in her studies at the university that “people are interested in hearing about personal experiences. Some of the best writings are memoir types of things.”

She plans to work at a magazine somewhere, but as for the novel, she is still researching and writing, hoping to shed light on another local story, one that hits very close to her.

Found in 1983, the body of her great grandfather had been missing for 10 days after being abducted from his home at knifepoint. His kidnapper had demanded a ransom of half a million dollars, but never called again. The story rocked the area when he was found in a bayou. Now, 35 years later, Jordan LaHaye is preparing a creative non-fiction book that will tell his story for her community and the nation.

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 thebetafiles23@gmail.com, 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 Political Messages ahead of the coming midterm elections in America…What’s up, man?

(Exit soundbite)

Closing segment:

This week, I want to take a moment to address the elephant that will not leave the room: President Trump.

I remember back in the late 90s when I was in college, I had a debate with a fellow classmate in my British Lit class over Bill Clinton. At the time, we had just learned about Monica Lewinski, and my sparing partner that day was adamant that then President Clinton needed to be removed from office because he had lied under oath about his sexual exploits. Ken Star was a house hold name, Paula Jones was another. We had just escaped a government shutdown where Clinton won a political victory over Newt and the “Republican revolutionaries” of the ’94 midterms.

My stance was simple: he was the first President to get caught with his pants down, literally. My contention was that all Presidents had lied about affairs, all the way back as far as we could count Presidents with maybe the lone exception of John Adams.

We know about Kennedy and his exploits, about FDR and his getaways with his mistress, about Johnson and his pride over his Texas sized Johnson, etc. Why was this new?

The major problem: he lied under oath.

That was a stickler, and it warranted the scrutiny it deserved.

So, living through that moment, I can’t help but to compare it with our current moment and the Stormy Daniels affair.

I have heard numerous conservatives and liberals that lean moderate say the same thing I said 20 years ago: why do we care? We need to let the man do his job.

The problem is that he is not doing his job. Unlike Clinton who was able to keep the Lewinski mess at arm’s length, Trump and his people are constantly engaging with the scandal. On top of this, the story is in constant flux, changing almost daily with a cast of characters that would be more comfortable in a small Italian restaurant in New York than the capital of our country.

The real problem I have with our President is not that he defeated Hillary. He won the electoral college, and in America, when you win the Electoral College, you win the Presidency. He won it. I dealt with it. I have gotten over it.

No, the problem I have is his character. He lies. Every day. He lies about lies that he lied about. FoxNews uses his lies as fact, and millions of Americans who honestly believe they have been forgotten believe the lies and defend these lies as fact in the face of being proven wrong because of the supposed deep state conspiracy to remove him from office.

First of all, there is no working conspiracy to remove him from office. It is a know fact that the Russian government, under control of Vladimir Putin, infiltrated and influenced the 2016 Presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The NSA, CIA, FBI, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Senate have all proven this fact to be true. This is not a conspiracy, it is known because actual given facts have been provided to show that this actually happened.

Secondly, the Trump campaign had an unusual amount of contact with a host of highly influential Russians who all have direct ties to Putin and his bank accounts. We know this too because we have tons of physical, digital, and testimonial evidence that show the Trump campaign was in contact with these people.

Third, Trump himself acts everyday as if he is guilty as sin of these actions. His actions scream someone who is guilty, and calls for simply answering questions if he is actually innocent are answered with the call “witch-hunt.”

On top of all of this is the Stormy Daniels mess. What the scandal with the porn star is doing is exposing things that would not be seen if we were simply looking for Russian ties as it establishes patterns in behaviors from a man who, as noted before, lies constantly.

Add it all together and we have a man who, either directly or indirectly, was involved with the largest hijacking of our democracy in the short history of our country.

And we don’t care.

We don’t. We haven’t. We won’t.

The loudest patriots in our country scream their support for this man, too. Questioning the stench that rose from the 2016 election shows un-patriotic motives against a truly great, Christian friendly, man. A man who is in constant trouble with taking advantage of, demeaning, and having multiple extra-marital affairs with women that Evangelicals overlook because of his blatant racist views that plays right into white Christian rhetoric.

He didn’t create the divide in our country, but he empowered the people that want the divide to remain. Nativism is dangerous. Nativism is racist. Nativism is a dark alley that we do not want to go down. Nativism is fascism.

I will not come out and call the man a fascist. He is not one. He is not smart enough to be one. He is, however, a power hungry narcissist who only cares about himself and only himself. He will only do that which will benefit him. He does not care about the people who support him outside of their undying support which serves to give him what he wants: more power.

I often scratch and bend my head when I am confronted with the reality that Trump supporters, the vehement ones, have created inside their heads. I do not understand how we got here.

I remember when GW was President, and even though I didn’t agree with much ( if anything) of what he did, I scolded my ex-brother in law and ex-wife over wishing the man dead, loudly telling them regardless of his policies, he is still our President, and the office deserves our respect.

Unfortunately, we live in a time with a President who does not respect the office, and continuously attempts to use it for his own personal gain, and a large swath of our population refuses to acknowledge this fact.

Being conservative does not mean you have to defend this man. In fact, he betrays not only liberal ideals, he betrays basic conservative ideals that the Tea Party and Neo Cons before them destroyed. We live in an era now that conservatism equals radical far right agendas. That is not true conservatism, and this President is not a true conservative.

I end this with an excert from a conversation I had with my mother about a year into this administration. My mother asked me why I didn’t like Trump, and I answered her this way: “Do you remember when I was a kid, you would tell me to clean my room as if the President (then Ronald Regan) were coming for a visit. You, my mother, taught me to respect the President of our country because he was simply that. Our President. I have respected every President I have had in my time on this planet, but I cannot respect this man.” She asked why not, and I told her, “because, mama, he doesn’t respect you and me.”

And that simple character trait of his is why I cannot and will not support this man. And it is why citizens in this country should not do so either.

And if you say that other politicians do the same, I remind you that he won the Presidency with the message that the “forgotten men and women of this country will be forgotten no longer.”

Just one of the many lies he has told, and one that many truly believe.

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.