Election 2012 Reaction: "Though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal shall never expire."

This morning on radio, Glenn opened the show by telling the story of Thomas Paine and how he came to write the pamphlets that made up  The American Crisis, a document written during The American Revolution famous for its line "These are the times that try men's souls".

It was in the middle of December 1776. It was cold; the men were tired. They had started out an amazing summer in early July of that year. They all gathered, the leaders, in Philadelphia, after years and years and years and years of begging the king. None of them wanted to stop being an American citizen ‑‑ or a British citizen. They didn't want to become a new country. They were British. They loved the king; they loved their country. But over and over and over again they would sail the open waters, make the slow, arduous journey to plead with the king, "Please."

Finally in July of 1776 in a hot summer with the windows open and the men sweating under their powdered wigs, they penned the words, "We hold these truths to be self‑evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." They then outlined all of the things that the king had done that compelled them now to say, "We must be separate." It is their duty to state those things.

Thomas Jefferson wrote at the end, "And in firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." It was a moment inspired by God. It was a moment of bravado in many ways. It was done in humility but they knew they were going to win. And they brought George Washington in. He was going to be the general. George Washington didn't want the job.

That summer they had over 20,000 men. Think of that. When we met at the stadium here in Dallas, it was in July. Think how little time has gone by. What were you doing in July? Where were you on July 4th? The country was excited in July. "We're going to go to war. We're going to separate ourselves. We're going to be a new country." And by December they had been driven all the way down back to Philadelphia and George Washington, with now less than 2,000 troops, only a tenth remaining, stood there on the shores of the Delaware knowing what he had to do but not knowing how he was going to get the men in the boats to turn around and go back into New Jersey, go back to Trenton and take on the equivalent of the Navy SEALs, the Hessians.

At the same time he was wondering that, Thomas Paine was marching with American men, the farmers that had grabbed their guns over their fireplace and were now marching in the cold, wet, snowy mud. And he was listening to the drums. I imagine in my head just because I know me, I don't know Thomas Paine, and maybe at the time a good drum set's more appealing than it is now, but I've never heard anybody play a drum for very long in a drum solo, maybe in the garden, but I've never heard a drum solo that I enjoyed for more than about a minute and a half.

But he had been walking beside the drummer and hearing that guy drum, and it stirred him. You see, back before they signed the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine had written Common Sense. It was a pamphlet. He was the ‑‑ he was the blogger of his day, except there was no information superhighway because Al Gore hadn't been invented yet. And so what he had to do was he would have to write something out and then he would go to the printer and they would put the typeset in one at a time and then they would print these pamphlets one at a time, and you would go into a store and you would buy it and they would rip it out of this giant so stack of pamphlets. There weren't such things as book covers anymore. Those were far too expensive. If you wanted to have a book cover for it, well, you'd have to put it on yourself. And then you would read it and pass it on to a friend.

Common Sense was a short little pamphlet. It just said, "Hey, come on, you guys, we know this. We know these things. We know the king doesn't have absolute rule over you. We know that he doesn't have a right to do these things. You should be able to chart your own destiny. You should be free. It's your land. You were born free. Nobody rules over you. This is common sense." That's what stirred everybody to get into that room and pen the Declaration of Independence and then state, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." And so they put together an army, and they had lost every single battle. And now Thomas Paine was like, "I can't believe it. It was just last summer."

As he's listening to this drum, and I don't know if it was because it really was the only piece of paper that he could find, the only thing he could write on, or if it was just a very clever trick from a very clever man to get rid of that damn drum. But he looked at the drummer and he said, "I need your drumhead now." And he scratched these words on the head of a drum: These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. That what we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain with an army to enforce her tyranny has declared that she has a right not only to tax but to bind us in all cases whatsoever. And if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then there is not such a thing as slavery upon the Earth. Even the expression is impious. So for so unlimited a power can only belong to God. These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink now from the service of their country. But he now who stands... deserves the love, deserves the thanks of man and woman.

Did we think that things could be achieved with such high value with such little effort. We have worked hard, but heaven knows how to fix a proper price on something so dear, so precious, so rare as freedom.

That message was rolled up on the head of a drum, given to a rider. "Take this to Philadelphia. Find Mr. Franklin if he is still there. Print it and find General Washington." It was printed, and it found its way on December 23rd, 1776, on a cold, wet, snowy evening. It was handed to him in a tent that I'm sure was riddled with mud.

I imagine in my mind's eye the great giant... sitting in his tent, wondering... how, how, dear God. After all that his men have seen. Look at them. They are not rich. They're farmers. They're just the regular Joe that haven't been trained. "How am I going to get them into the boats? I've lost every battle. I am not the man for this task," he must have thought.

When somebody missive from Mr. Paine, I imagine him reading by candlelight, and after that first paragraph standing and reading the rest of the pamphlet, knowing this is the message the men need to hear. That, that which we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Thomas Paine gave a message at the end. He appealed: You knew these things to be right and righteous and full of common sense. You knew what was true. But the man who is called a deist, a man who believed that God was a watchmaker who later said there is no God said at this time that God almighty will not give up a people to destruction or leave them unsupported to perish. He will not abandon those who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid calamities by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal shall never expire.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?