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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Just the Facts Ma'am

Just the Facts Ma’am. 

I’m giving up my age admitting to watching the TV show Dragnet back when I was growing up. It was a police drama about two down to earth patrolmen investigating crimes in the city. Sargent Joe Friday was the lead detective played by Jack Webb. 

When interviewing witnesses that would go into an emotional story telling about this or that not related to the crime he was investigating he would “famously” say “Just the Facts Ma’am.”

A little chauvinistic seemingly now perhaps but as relevant today as back then when trying to get something accomplished. For Joe that something was to find out who did the crime. Anybody faced with solving problems on a daily basis soon learns that facts are the tools they need to successfully and quickly find solutions to problems.

At all levels gathering the facts is important if one is interested in finding a solution to any problem.

Trump knows this from his experience, intuitively he also knew that a majority of Americans still believed in the “Rule of Law” which is based on facts. People use facts in their everyday lives to solve everyday problems. Everyone know from experience that finding out the pertinent facts is the first step to successfully solving a problem. On a large scale, ironically it was the Media, the very industry that was there to ferret out the facts for the public who were the ones who were becoming so clever at obfuscating those very facts and replacing them with half-truths embellished with feelings and all kinds of other irrelevant clap-trap to make them appear as truths.

The American Public was getting tired of that nonsense being blasted at them all day long. They knew when they were being manipulated – they knew when they were being lied to. It all had the sense of propaganda to it. Americans understood also that because of the near monopoly of the Media, those very news sources which were tasked with getting the facts to the public started thinking the “Public” was pretty dumb and they could be told anything posing as the truth and the public would have to swallow it. 

People were getting tired of it, they had enough and were looking for a way out.

Then along came Trump and he was seemingly the only one who knew how to fight back and the only one with the guts to. Trump spoke to truth and a lot of people knew what he was saying. Trump looked for the facts then made the best decision/deal as he saw it. That is what he did for a living and he was good at it.  

He actually tried to fix things, people loved him for it and for telling the Media, the politicians and lobbyists to mind their own business. He was starting his own.

On all levels I see this search for the facts and what hampers it going on.

I and our Board of Road Commissioners at the local level have to tackle problems every day in all sorts of context. Previously we had numerous complaints that trucks were overloaded coming from farms and some of the bigger companies. When I asked the people making the complaints how they knew the trucks were overloaded they would say something to the effect that it was obvious, or that “I can tell when a truck is overloaded”. On the other hand I’ve had a corporate leader from one of our largest businesses tell our Commission that their trucks are never overloaded.  When asked how they knew that they simply said it is policy and couldn’t back it up with facts. I told him that then he should welcome a "Weigh Master".  He didn't, neither did most of those complaining.  

That's when I started saying “Just the Facts Ma’am”. I felt like I was channeling Joe Friday.

Our Commission was also responsible for not actively seeking the facts. We actually had the portable scales to weigh the trucks in our garage but never got around to following through and doing what it took to have a real “Weigh Master”. A couple of us started pushing the idea of a weigh master and we got a lot of grief from the farmers and business community. Even some of the people not directly in Agriculture and business were saying it would cost too much. Again nobody seemed to know any facts about how much it would cost and who would do it and how. Some of us on the board decided it was time to get those facts and the board went ahead and did just that.

In one of our meetings about this topic I used Joe Friday’s saying of “Just the Facts Ma’am” in order to sell the idea. I knew my audience was roughly of the same age and probably remembered “Dragnet” from their youth. I also went to a County Commission meeting with other Road Commission members and repeated Joe Friday’s mantra and it must have helped as we now have a Weigh Master in Oceana County and while very few tickets are written, there is a police presence and word of mouth spread like wild fire. I think our roads are better for it.

On another Road Commission front, a couple of us realized also that we had traffic counters in our possession but lacked the knowledge and software to use it. Our board started the process again of getting the facts and setting that process in motion. One of our Foremen took the lead in getting the software and setting it up. When our new manager came on board it was apparent to him that traffic counts were a necessary tool to make realistic plans about prioritizing which roads needed fixing. Also when seeking grant or other state money traffic counts would come in handy and ad to the voracity of our claims for need.

All up and down the line in a country based upon the rule of law which keeps a level playing field for all and so everyone can know what the rules are, facts and knowledge of them are essential if we are to remain a self-governing country.

In the national arena, the news media should be finding those facts and putting them out there for the citizens so they can make better informed decisions. This idea of “voter fraud” has been around for a long time and both sides have accused the other of this fraud and rigging elections. It is nothing new.  What would be new would be to actually have a real investigation into voter fraud and if there is a problem, fix it.  

Wow what a concept.  

Here is another.  Have the media “with malice towards none” present the facts to the public without putting its spin on it. Perhaps then we can see if there really is a problem instead of both sides feeling the other side is bad terrible and nasty. 

Below is a link to a great article in Townhall by Deroy Murdock titled "Why do Democrats Fear Trump's Probe of "Fake" Voter Fraud?" 

Perhaps if the Media would put out both sides, it might start gaining subscriptions and loyalty instead of losing both.  Look what Fox News did with a simple acknowledgement of what their job was. “Fair and Balanced”.  Top of the charts.

Are Trump's claims of 3-5 million illegal votes true?  Are the Democrats claim of no voter fraud true?

Wouldn’t it be nice to really know and fix any problems we find? The heck with what the parties feel about it, should not the American Public demand that their vote be protected?

“Just the Facts Ma’am”

Regards, Bob Carr
Live Dangerously, Tell the Truth

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