- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Voters must wonder if the Republican presidential debates are entertainment or a sports match. Overcome with ratings lust, the pushy broadcast media has packaged the debates as brash combat, complete with whirling graphics and monumental sets. Moderators have taken liberties with candidates and content. Now comes the pushback from outsider candidates like Ben Carson.

“When will politicians entirely fire the media? We can thank Carson and fellow political outsider Donald Trump for inculcating their fellow Republicans on how the media actually works circa 2015,” says Simon Dumenco, an Ad Age columnist, who notes that the diminishing cultural power of the TV networks allows the pair to essentially write their own narratives.

“As self-made phenomena who have left political pundits both bewildered and agog, they feel like they can proceed without playing ball with the media, thank you very much,” Mr. Dumenco concludes, “Trump and Carson are, at the moment, acting like content marketers, secure in the presumption that if they just keep on entertaining the electorate, journalists will have no choice but continue to show up and dutifully take dictation.”


The GOP debate wars continue. In an open letter to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, independent media maven Glenn Beck points out that the mainstream media treats the GOP debates as “comedies, as propaganda and as ratings and revenue opportunities, even as they mock conservative candidates.” Mr. Beck also notes that his online empire — which includes Blaze TV, TheBlaze.com and the Blaze Radio Network now reaches, at minimum, 41 million viewers, listeners and readers.

“We’d like to make out audience your audience by hosting the ninth scheduled debate on Feb. 28,” Mr. Beck advised the GOP, describing the proposed two-hour broadcast as the “first truly cross-platform, digitally engaged debate in the history of American politics,” and one that might even attract the young and restless voting bloc.

“Our plan is straightforward. Rather than being moderated by journalists who ask all the questions, I will host, and I will invite the greatest new conservative thinkers and media voices in American to prepare and ask questions live and by video. The time for theatrics and hyperbole is passed,” Mr. Beck wrote.


Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump: The pair are an automatic draw for conservatives at the moment, something that Mr. Trump likely mulls as he continues to dominate many presidential polls. But he makes a modest link between himself and the 40th president in “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” which drew curiosity and criticism from the press, but a strong response in initial sales.

And about that connection: In the book, Mr. Trump compares himself to Reagan, who was a Democrat turned Republican in his time.
“He switched, and I switched years ago, when I began to see what liberal

Democrats were doing to our country, Now I’m a conservative Republican with a big heart. I didn’t decide to become a Republican. That’s who I have always been,” Mr. Trump notes in his book, published by Threshold Editions, and currently No. 7 on the top-10 list at Amazon — and No. 1 in the political, public policy and commentary categories.


From an advisory to Inside the Beltway from Morning Hangover, a Nashville-based news-tip sheet for country-music lovers:

“You may not have known this, but the official slogan of the Donald J. Trump for President campaign, Make America Great Again, was actually trademarked back in August by country music/iHeartRadio personality Bobby Estell, aka Bobby Bones. Bones offered to transfer the trademark to Trump in exchange for a significant donation to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Well, about an hour ago, the most influential man in all of country radio posted the following: ‘Can’t say how much the check was for, but thanks Donald Trump. This check goes to St. Jude. Have your slogan back’.”

Mr. Bones later tweeted to the Republican presidential front-runner a very cordial “Thanks for the check BUDDY!!!!!”


Politics is getting murky these days, and some suggest Americans are substituting ideology for faith.

“How much is liberalism like a religion?” asks Tyler O’Neil, a conservative columnist for PJ Media. “There is a sort of orthodoxy required among liberals. Do you believe in climate change? What about the gender pay gap? Those who do not toe the line often find themselves exiled — not just from the fold, but from the conversation.”

He continues, “To some extent, these views are merely what we mean when we say the word “liberal” — they describe a political program roughly supported by one major party. But at some point, these views have become prescriptive; they have morphed into a moral structure to provide meaning and guidance in place of religion. When political beliefs start to explain why bad things happen to good people, they may be crystallizing into something closer to faith.”

Those who espouse liberal theology have little patience for those who don’t.

“The accusations are endless. If you don’t believe in liberal positions about climate change, the minimum wage or social justice programs, you must have been bought off — there simply is no other possible explanation. How could you hate the poor so much? How could you doubt established facts? How could you hate yourself?” Mr. O’Neil says.


“Democrat candidates have been overwhelmingly successful at soliciting political donations at universities nationwide. Five out of six dollars donated to presidential campaigns from the top fifty national universities have gone to Democrat candidates,” reports James Mietus, an analyst for Campus Reform, a conservative watchdog project from the Leadership Institute.

“Over 1,200 faculty, staff, and students at the top fifty universities as ranked by the U.S. News and World Report have made contributions to presidential campaigns so far this election cycle. Filings released by the Federal Electoral Commission on October 16 reveal that together, their donations amount to $1.3 million so far this election cycle,” Mr. Mietus says.

“Of that $1.3 million in political donations, over $1.1 million went to Democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton alone raised $917,591, or roughly 70 percent of the total amount. Clinton has been performing particularly well among Ivy League universities, where she received over 87 percent of all donations,” he notes.


“No nominee wins the White House without the help and support of voters in the states. As it stands right now, Republicans control a supermajority of legislative chamber majorities and a majority of statewide offices from governor to lieutenant governor and secretary of state. Republicans hold the governor and full legislature in 24 states — compared to Democrats’ seven — and hold majorities in 23 chambers in states President Obama carried twice. This includes both chambers in traditional battlegrounds such as Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin,” says Republican State Leadership Committee political director Justin Richards.

“The path laid out by Republicans at the state level should serve as a blueprint to the eventual Republican nominee. These states added to the states won by Mitt Romney in 2012 give Republicans at least 322 electoral votes,” Mr. Richards observes.


NASA will soon be hiring astronauts again. The federal space agency notes that there are “more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history,” and will begin accepting application on Dec. 14. And the rides here?

“The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle,” NASA notes in a new advisory: they seek pilots, engineers, scientists, medical doctors. No call for journalists at the moment, though.

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” says an optimistic Charles Bolden, NASA administrator.

The age of astronaut hires has raged all the way up to 46; the average age is 34. Yes, U.S. citizen is a must and military and civilian applicants are welcome.

“Salaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are based upon the Federal Government’s General Schedule pay scale for grades GS-11 through GS-14. The grade is determined in accordance with each individual’s academic achievements and experience. Currently a GS-11 starts at $66,026 per year and a GS-14 can earn up to $144,566 per year,” NASA advises.
The journey begins at Astronauts.NASA.gov


⦁ 64 percent of Americans say the nation is on the wrong track.

⦁ 54 percent agree that the economic and political systems in the U.S. are “stacked against people like me.”

⦁ 52 percent would vote to replace every single member of Congress if they could.

⦁ 45 percent would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, 45 percent would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress.

⦁ 44 percent would prefer a Republican be elected president in 2016; 43 percent prefer a Democrat.

⦁ 42 percent say that who wins the election will make a “great deal of difference” in their lives; 20 percent say who wins will make “some difference,”

19 percent say “quite a bit of difference” and 17 percent “no difference.”
Source: AN NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 25-29.

⦁ Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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