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If you think Otto Warmbier deserved what he got, you might be a sociopath

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Otto Warmbier went to North Korea with a tour group as an adventure-seeking 21-year-old. He was taken by security at the airport waiting to board his flight back to Beijing and never seen again by his family until he was released last week, in a coma. He died Monday. afternoon.

Josh Rogin, of the Washington Post, interviewed Danny Gratton, Warmbier’s roommate on the North Korea tour.Gratton was the last westerner to see Warmbier as he was taken away.

“Otto was just a really great lad who fell into the most horrendous situation that no one could ever believe,” Gratton told me in an interview Thursday. “It’s just something I think in the Western world we just can’t understand, we just can’t grasp, the evilness behind that dictatorship.”

Gratton didn’t think Warmbier took the propaganda poster he was accused of stealing. Certainly, stealing a poster isn’t worth 15 years at hard labor. That sentence would fail the test by concept of the punishment fitting the crime.

Yet some liberal publications have made hay for a year over Warmbier’s “crime.” They’ve portrayed him as a white “frat boy” type who thought he could get away with something in a foreign culture and now got his comeuppance.

They thought he deserved what he got.

How ghoulish and disgusting can they be? Are they sociopaths or just evil?

https://twitter.com/TheAffinityMag/status/876921308990251009

Affinity Magazine is a teen publication covering “social justice + politics + culture.” They tweeted “Watch whiteness work. He wasn’t a ‘kid’ or ‘innocent'” and “respect their laws” in reply to Rogin’s tweet linking the WaPo piece.

Is this really the opinion of the teens who write Affinity? Are they really such awful people that they’re okay with another young adult dying in a foreign country because he allegedly (there was no fair trial or evidence presented) stole a piece of paper from a wall in a hotel?

Affinity wasn’t the only group mocking Warmbier. Salon cruelly called him “America’s biggest idiot frat boy.” They convicted him of an alleged crime he may not have even committed–a prank really.

Comedy Central’s “Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore joked “It’s just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears.” Maybe that was a joke, and maybe Wilmore meant it. I’m not sure which is worse: joking about a kid’s languishing in a dungeon at the hands of a despotic cruel regime, or actually believing he deserved it.

Warmbier got a death sentence, and they joked about it.

Meanwhile, last March, HuffPo published a truly hateful piece on white privilege. Self-described revolutionary La Sha described an 18-year-old who was caned in Singapore for vandalizing cars, quoting her mother “He earned that.” She went on in a shameful tirade…

As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.” That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country.

I suppose Dennis Rodman has nothing on Warmbier. He pals around with Kim Jong Un and gets whatever he wants. Black privilege? Rodman voluntarily enters North Korea and who knows what gifts he brings out? But Warmbier was judged guilty by La Sha because he’s white, and that’s okay with her. (Because he’s white, he must have done it.)

No thought was given by any of these hay-makers to the fact that other U.S. citizens have been taken by North Korea as hostages. They simply wanted to make their points and leave it.

Where’s the compassion? Where’s the concern for other people’s lives?

If Black/Muslim/Palestinian/Hispanic lives matter, why mock the millions of North Koreans who live until a repressive regime, on the edge of starvation, while their political bosses live like royalty? Why give a pass to a man so evil he had his own step-brother assassinated by deadly poison?

What is wrong with people that they can live with themselves after aligning themselves with Kim Jong Un?

Let me address the reader directly here.

If you react like most people, with shame and disgust over these remarks, and with horror at what Warmbier and his family went through and are continuing to experience, I’m not talking to you.

But if you really think North Korea played by some cosmic moral code and delivered justice to Otto Warmbier, I might suggest you have a psychological problem. You might even be a sociopath. Or you might be evil–take your pick.

There is no excuse, no cause, no higher purpose, that justifies the mental and physical torture of a young man whose biggest potential crime is best described as a prank. The North Korean government is brutal and efficiently so. They’d have put a bullet in Warmbier’s head right at the airport if they were ordered to. They’d have massacred the entire tour group if Kim gave the command.

No shades of grey, or moral equivalence can be found here. Either you agree with the barbaric dictator or you care about people’s lives. There is no middle ground.

Warmbier is dead. If you laughed, mocked, joked, or celebrated his arrest, you need to walk that back, hard. If you don’t, you’ve made yourself into something truly horrible and cruel. You need to go back and rethink your life.

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Thoughts and prayers are exactly what we need

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Thoughts and prayers are exactly what we need

One of the more disturbing developments in recent years is the growing attacks on thoughts and prayers in the wake of tragedy. Not only are more and more shouting that thoughts and prayers are “not enough” in the wake of tragedy. Many are also doubling-down on the idea by calling thoughts and prayers an excuse to do nothing.

This assertion not only strikes me as wrong-hearted but fundamentally in ignorance of two honest observations.

Firstly, those who attack thoughts and prayers ignore the necessity to grieve and the resolve that arises in the hearts of those who mourn.

Offering thoughts and prayers provides a message of unity and compassion. It’s a unified message that the victims of tragedy do not stand alone. The time where we offer thoughts and prayers is a time where we can set aside our petty differences and unite in mourning.

Further, it has often been my observation that those who offer heartfelt and fervent thoughts and prayers are the ones which arise from their knees, wipe the tears from their eyes, and provide the most energetic actions towards the support of others.

Mocking thoughts and prayers is mocking the humanity of those who are overcome with the grief of a heart-rending tragedy. It’s to mock the natural response of caring, faithful citizens. Quite honestly, it boils my blood that anyone would mock or belittle a quiet, tearful prayer, a lit candle in the window, or messages on social media that are, for once, positive, supportive, and contemplative.

Secondly, the attitude of mocking the thoughtful and prayerful is yet another example of the degradation of what holds us together as a society. It is a manifestation of our nation’s rotting core of community and brotherhood.

Ultimately, it is a demonstration of the same societal decay that is itself responsible for the lost souls of those who not only perpetrate horrible crimes, like mass shootings, but who resolve to end their problems by ending their life or escape their hollow realities through substance abuse.

We need a more thoughtful and more prayerful society. If we are ever going to get to the bottom of what is causing people to grow so cold in their hearts to kill others or so fallen from hope to kill themselves, we must rediscover the compassion and empathy that can alone save our families, our communities, and our nation from abject dysfunction.

Thoughts and prayers are not keeping us from solutions to the problem. Thought and prayers are the only true beginning to real solutions for the problems that ail our country.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Everything wrong with our political discourse in a single tweet

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Everything wrong with our political discourse in a single tweet

I will be completely transparent. I did not click on the link to read the extended version of what John Pavlovitz wrote. I looked at his tweet and determined that I was not going to give him the revenue for a single click. Especially for such clickbait. I did look at his profile which reads: “Author of ‘A Bigger Table’, ‘Hope’, and ‘Low.’ Unapologetically committed to equality, diversity, compassion, love, and justice.” Given the content of his tweet, the word irony comes to mind. As well as the dismal state of our politcal discourse.

John takes an approach toward people he disagrees with politically that I would not allow my children to take against anyone. Whether they looked different, practiced a different religion, came from a different country or God forbid, may vote for one of the insane Democrats currently on the debate stage. I have taught my children to think more deeply than that about people and relationships. To look at what people do. Not a single characteristic and make inane judgements like John.

I have been clear in all of my public statements that I did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. I also did not vote for Hillary Clinton. It was astounding to me out of a country of 340 million people we had two candidates under investigation by the FBI. It was even more concerning that one of them would be leader of the free world.

However, I will vote for Donald Trump in 2020 barring some unforeseen circumstance. I do not own a MAGA hat, and do not think I have ever tweeted the hashtag without irony. However, given the fact I could now be construed as a supporter, John’s aspersions are being cast at me. They are also being cast at many of my friends who did vote for Trump in 2016. Wonderful people, they just thought Hillary Clinton was as corrupt as she actually is. I know them, their children and their values. Here is what we actually teach our children in the order John has defined them:

  • Do not judge people by the color of the skin, who they love or what they worship and be very suspicious of those who do. It is the content of a person’s character that matters.
  • Apologize if you are wrong. Do not ever apologize for speaking your mind. Be polite. Don’t waste time being politically correct. That is a soft form of censorship that does nothing but limit your thinking.
  • Diversity is more than skin deep. (See number 1.)
  • You need to take responsibility for your own behavior and success. Then be generous.
  • Empathy means you can understand where a person is coming from. Don’t confuse that with sympathy and ever think you can truly understand someone else’s lived experience. Move through your life with empathy.
  • America is exception and has given more freedom and opportunity to more people than any other country in the world. That does not mean everything America has done is a source of pride. Learn history and to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
  • Women can be whatever they want to be from CEO, to teacher to stay at home mom. They should not feel shame for any choice they make.
  • See number 1.
  • Religion is the foundation for values that made Western civilization one built on free will and freedom. It also helps you find the “you” shaped hole in the world.
  • When in doubt, do your homework.

I literally can’t imagine thinking the way John thinks. Of course it does not surprise me with the identity politics so valued by both the far left and the far right. To actually imagine that you can tell anything about someone based on a single characteristic is the most arrogant and simplistic point of view I can imagine. To think you know anything about the values people teach their children based on their preference on taxes, regulation, border security or foreign policy is asinine.

I have no idea what John has taught his children any more than he knows what the millions of Trump supporters nationwide teach theirs. I certainly hope they have been taught to be open-minded, to actually listen to people with different ideas and judge people for who, not what they are. Otherwise their point of view will be a simple and lacking as John’s tweet. And our public discourse will never improve. That would be sad.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats turn Mexican Independence Day celebration in Chicago into political statement against Trump

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Democrats turn Mexican Independence Day celebration in Chicago into political statement against Trum

The long-standing tradition of cruising in Chicago streets for Mexican Independence Day had a double meaning this year as hundreds of revelers circled Trump Tower in Chicago waving Mexican flags and honking in celebration and protest.

The change in venue from the normal “cruising” in Hispanic neighborhoods was prompted by law enforcement’s decision to block off roads normally used for the occasion. The disruptive and sometimes violent celebrations were relocated after 10th district police blocked 26th St. in the Mexican neighborhood of Little Village.

The motivation behind the blocked streets in Hispanic neighborhoods was clear: To move the celebration downtown where it could become a protest. We know this because the official police statement declared their reasoning was for cleanup following a parade… but there was no parade scheduled for the streets in question. This was clearly a political move orchestrated by leftists in the Mayor’s office.

Cars and trucks with Mexican flags have been cruising Hispanic neighborhoods for Mexican Independence Day since the mid-80s. It wasn’t until far-left Mayor Lori Lightfoot sought to weaponize and politicize the celebration that the venue was changed to the streets right in front of Trump Tower.

Expression of cultural pride is one thing. Waving Mexican flags defiantly at Trump Tower has turned the celebration of Mexican Independence Day into a political statement, just as Democrats want it to be.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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