By John Shaffer
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, told an interviewer that he had twice refused to stand for the National Anthem prior to football games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Mr. Kaepernick said. Until two weeks ago Mr. Kaepernick seemed perfectly fine with the anthem, so his position makes one wonder if something took place very recently that provoked his response. Another point – is it accurate to claim that a nation “oppresses black people” when it twice has elected a black President? For that matter, how oppressed does Mr. Kaepernick feel in a society where he has earned millions to play football? As to the bodies lying in the streets – there are hundreds more black bodies killed by other blacks than there are killed by policemen. Mr. Kaepernick ignores those hundreds (thousands, actually) and instead sees only the handful of shootings by police – and jumps to the conclusion that all those are murders by racist cops. Even worse, Mr. Kaepernick ignores the hundreds of millions of Americans who treat people of all races with respect, and he ignores the hundreds of laws intended to prevent or to punish illegal racial discrimination. A country that “oppresses black people” would hardly make it illegal to oppress black people. Furthermore, Mr. Kaepernick’s use of the word “oppress” reflects an ignorance of what true oppression is, and there are dozens of countries in the world where he could find examples. He also ignores the millions of black people who, along with white, brown, red, yellow and other people are protected by police, and also fails to note that most of those high-profile police shootings were not in fact racial murders, but were line of duty shootings, usually involving criminals behaving in a criminal or threatening manner.
By J0hn Shaffer
In case you might believe that self-enrichment is the only motivation behind the Hillary Clinton email scandals, this week we have more evidence that secrecy also is lurking behind that dark curtain. Excerpts from a forthcoming book on Bill Clinton were released this week. One of the most intriguing recounted a conversation said to have taken place at the home of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, with invited guests former Secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and then-Secretary Hillary Clinton. Asked for "one bit of advice" for the current Secretary, Mr. Powell is supposed to have advised her to use her own email, except for classified information. Mrs. Clinton is said to have repeated this advice during her FBI interview, in an apparent effort to be absolved of the blame herself. In Mr. Powell's time at State, email was somewhat primitive. After the news broke about Mrs. Clinton's email, Mr. Powell was not pleased, and told People magazine that he has no recollection of the conversation but did send a memo which described how he used his personal account - strictly for private things. He says that Mrs. Clinton is "trying to pin" the blame for her email practices on him. Oh, Mrs. Clinton already had been using her private server and email long before Mr. Powell's conversation or memo.
By John Shaffer
Charity begins at home, we are told, and a certain home in Chappaqua, NY is overflowing with the milk of human kindness. Yes, giving is ingrained in the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the former and future Presidents. In 2015 they raked in an income of $10,745,378, which is nothing to sneer at, considering neither one of them actually was employed by anybody. Since that January day in 2001 when they left the White House “dead broke,” if we may use the phrase of a prominent American political figure, Mr. & Mrs. C. have banked nearly $250 million. Some of that came from memoirs, which attract massive advances from publishers. The Clintons may be brilliant writers, but pen and ink are sidelines; their real earning power comes from their amazing powers of oratory. Their speeches and talks command staggering sums (The pair made $6.7 million in speaking fees last year and $10.5 million in 2014.) We would love to tell you what it is they have to say and why it is so valuable (in more than one sense of the word) but alas, this we cannot do; for one of the conditions of Mrs. Clinton's speechifying is that she controls the content. No recordings, no printed copies – well, actually, Hillary’s contracts insist that the listener pay for a stenographer, and further insist that which the stenographer produces becomes the exclusive property of Hillary herself, never to see the light of day.
By John Shaffer
The book of Ecclesiastes says “there is no new thing under the sun.” Far be if from us to disagree with Holy Scripture, but if not “new” this year’s presidential election is as close to it as we ever have seen, because each of our major parties has nominated candidates who turn off more voters than they turn on. Following are illustrations of how typical voters, disappointed, discouraged and disgruntled, might describe the candidates they don’t want to support, but may have to:
The Republicans had seventeen candidates to pick from, and, due to circumstances that seemed to start at pride and descended into an inability to get out of each other’s way or settle on an alternative, they ended up nominating the candidate with the least experience, the least competence, the least demonstrated ability to handle the office of any of those candidates it nominated back in those days when the party was “grand” and “old.” Barack Obama may be the most thin-skinned, egotistical, uninformed, unknowing and unaware presidents ever, but Mr. Trump would top him in every one of those categories. His biggest problem, aside from the fact that he is unprepared to be president, is that he finds it necessary to say what’s on his mind – not a bad quality, when one gathers evidence, listens to those who are knowledgeable, marshals facts and speaks precisely and clearly. It is a bad quality when one’s thoughts are undisciplined, when one reflexively lashes out and when one lacks command of the facts.