Saturday Sounds

Some music and imagery to relax to.


Creating problems to “solve”

After any well-publicized shooting we hear calls for more gun laws, proposals from banning entire categories of weapons to “stricter background checks.”

I suspect far too many people don’t realize just how strict background checks already are when one goes to purchase a weapon legally.  That said, it’s hard to take the “stricter background checks” talking point seriously when the same side of the political aisle (that would be the Democrats) does stuff like this:

The Justice Department under Barack Obama directed the FBI to drop more than 500,000 names of fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, acting FBI deputy director David Bowdich testified Wednesday

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about law enforcement’s faulty response to Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bowdich about the removal.

“That was a decision that was made under the previous administration,” Bowdich testified. “It was the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel that reviewed the law and believed that it needed to be interpreted so that if someone was a fugitive in a state, there had to be indications that they had crossed state lines. Otherwise they were not known to be a fugitive under the law and the way it was interpreted.”

Why on earth would the previous administration move to allow half a million people wanted by the law to be able to obtain firearms?  I submit it’s because it creates greater potential for events like the Parkland shooting, which stokes public sentiment against guns and creates an environment favorable for further gutting of the 2nd Amendment.

This theory goes back to what I said right after the shooting in Florida:

This entire event is best summarized by a military acronym whose use I also keep to a minimum: FUBAR. I’ve really, really tried not to entertain theories that mass shootings are a conscious tool of people who want to disarm us, but such a complete and catastrophic failure makes that increasingly difficult.

During Obama’s administration, I occasionally saw the question posed “if he wanted to destroy America’s prestige and power, what would he do differently?”  The same could be asked about disarming Americans.  If our government wanted people to loathe firearms enough to be willing to give them up entirely, what would they do differently?

So the next time someone is screaming that “background checks aren’t effective,” simply reply “taking half a million criminals out of the database tends to have that effect.”

When government makes it easier for criminals to obtain weapons than the law-abiding, it is not protecting the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Something to keep in mind.

They don’t really represent “us”

Congress has become a place where people entrench themselves practically for life, clinging to power without regard for the actual job of representing their constituents:

PHOENIX — Meghan McCain says she’s “cautiously optimistic” that Sen. John McCain could return to Washington by the summer.

The 81-year-old Republican senator has been battling a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. He was diagnosed last summer.

John McCain was hospitalized and treated for a viral infection in December. He has remained at his family’s ranch near Sedona to undergo chemotherapy and physical therapy since mid-December.

The senator had initially expected to return to Washington in January, but was unable to do so.

So for six months–maybe even more–the people of Arizona will only have half the representation in the Senate that is prescribed under the Constitution.  Of course, even when McCain is present in the Senate, one could hardly call his recent track record properly Republican.

Whatever his past services to the nation, John McCain is clearly seriously ill, and unable to perform the duties of an elected representative.  I wish him only well as he and his family battle the common scourge of cancer.  But a true public servant would recognize his inability to perform his duties and step aside.  We have precious few of those in office these days.  Instead, we have the image of an elderly politico clutching hold of his power even as he tries to cling to life, as though he’s permanently entitled to either.

Membership in Congress has become a sort of nobility in America, even to the point of attempts to maintain “dynasties.”  Of the current 50 senators, 18 have been in office since the Bill Clinton Administration, and the most senior senator–Patrick Leahy of Vermont–entered the body six years before Ronald Reagan became president in 1981.  McCain, a one-time candidate for president, currently is the 7th longest serving senator.

Before the “progressives” added the 17th Amendment, Senators were appointed by State legislatures, not by direct election.  I suspect if we reverted back to the original intentions of the Founders, it would be far easier for Arizona to tell McCain to focus on his health while another is sent to represent the State’s interests in D.C. Mordor.

I’ve said before we have to stop enabling careerism in politics.  No politician should be able to simultaneously run for higher office and reelection to his current seat (thus forcing the taxpayer expense of a special election if “promoted.”)  Politicians should not be able to shop around for a favorable district just by maintaining a second (or third…) home there. I’d even be in favor of allowing States to mandate their senators be drawn only from native-born residents.  Most importantly, Congress should only meet a limited period each year, forced to get the essentials done (like, say, passing a budget on time), then return to their constituencies.  By roosting in Mordor with others like them, it’s far to easy to become self-important and isolated from the people they supposedly serve.

The Greek historian Thucydides once said “of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.”  I’d offer a corollary to that: nothing becomes a statesman more than the willingness to relinquish power.  That was the essential difference between George Washington and King George III.  We need to regain that sense of civic mindedness.

What they don’t tell you

The Associated Press runs a story this morning that epitomizes why Americans shouldn’t trust the U.S. corporate media to keep them properly informed:

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Hillary Clinton told an audience in India that the United States did not “deserve” Donald Trump’s presidency and these are “perilous times.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate spoke over the weekend at a conference in Mumbai.

Clinton said the Republican president has “quite an affinity for dictators” and said Trump “really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.” But she said she thinks it’s “more than that” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia.

Clinton was critical of the reality campaign tactics of her opponent and questioned whether she should have provided more entertainment to voters who responded to Trump’s brash style.

She also believes former FBI director James Comey’s Oct. 28, 2016, letter to Congress about her private email server cost her support from white women voters.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

That’s the entire write-up from AP.  Note that it utterly failed to include these comments, which insult roughly half the population of the United States for failing to elect her:

According to Her Hillariness, the only reasons people voted for Trump were out of racism, sexism and xenophobia.  I truly hope the Democrats are stupid enough to run her a third time in 2020. The campaign ads are already writing themselves. For all those who complain Trump isn’t “presidential,” I’ll simply note he has yet to go overseas and bash Americans for failing to support him.

It’s worth pointing out that the supposedly healthy Hillary also had considerable trouble navigating stairs during her visit to India.  Wonder if she’s seeking too much liquid comfort while nursing her grudges.

As for keeping informed, be sure to include foreign news organizations in your perusing habits.  They offer more insight into what’s actually going on in America than the American press does.

Failing to protect the future

As I’ve pointed out before, Leftists — who more often rely on emotional appeals than logical analysis — frequently promote their cause du jour by proclaiming “it’s for the children!” Supposedly if a policy saves “just one life” it’s worth whatever tradeoffs (including essential liberties) are required for it.

Very well, then. Let’s look at how our immigration policies are failing our children, on both sides of the Atlantic:

From New York to Virginia to Texas, schools in areas racked by MS-13 violence are now struggling with a sobering question. What to do when the gang isn’t just in your community, but in your classrooms?

For the past year, the Trump administration has waged a nationwide crackdown on MS-13. Nowhere has this effort been more intense than in Suffolk County, where police say the gang has committed 27 murders since a surge of unaccompanied minors began arriving in 2013…

Starting in 2013, thousands of unaccompanied minors — most from Central America — began entering the United States illegally from Mexico each month, many turning themselves in to authorities. More than 200,000 have been detained, screened and then placed with relatives by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 5,000 have been sent to Suffolk County…

“The last couple of years, when we had the unaccompanied children coming, that’s when we saw the change,” he said. By providing vulnerable newcomers with a sense of belonging, MS-13 “became a powerhouse.” A deadly one.

The Obama administration tacitly encouraged the “children’s crusade” flood of ‘unaccompanied minors’ (who aren’t always telling the truth about their age). In doing so, they provided a large cohort of disconnected young people who were prime recruits for an organization like MS-13, which provides structure and an alternative form of ‘family.’ If just one in 20 of the new arrivals fell prey to the gang, that’s 10,000 new members — the equivalent of more than two Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. I make this comparison because MS-13 is more than a gang — it is an insurgent-type organization that provides an alternative to government for security, services and support… and violently competes with others for allegiance.

In the United Kingdom children are also being “recruited” into a different, but equally devastating subculture:

As many as 1,000 children are feared to have been drugged and abused by perverts in Telford, Shrops, since the 1980s — but their hell went on for decades as authorities repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of paedophiles in the town…

It is also claimed that social workers knew of the abuse in the 1990s but the police took a decade to launch an investigation, council staff viewed victims as “prostitutes”, and authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”.

Here it’s necessary to pause and explain that in the British press, “Asian” usually refers to Pakistanis. Tens of thousands of Pakistani Muslims have migrated to Britain, and as has been the case with minorities elsewhere in the West, have imposed their cultural norms on their surroundings rather than be assimilated to their new country. Just as American troops have been shocked to find pederasty rampant among our nominal Afghan ‘allies,’ so too are the cultural practices in Pakistan frequently incompatible with established Western standards.

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in 2000 along with her mother and sister after her 26-year-old abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood set fire to their house. Cabbie Mehmood targeted Lucy in 1997 and she was just 14 when she gave birth to his daughter…

Lucy’s death was used as a warning to other girls, according to victims. One, drugged and gang raped by nine men two years later, said the threats drove her to attempt suicide. She said: “I was scared my family would die like Lucy’s. I thought they’d only be safe if I killed myself.”

The latest revelations in Britain continue a trend that indicates this is a serious and widespread problem. Worse, the government seems more concerned about keeping the public pacified than it does about solving the issue. More than one report has indicated a concern among law enforcement that openly addressing the issue could make them appear “racist.” Voices that point out the clash of cultural values are punished and silenced.

And thus, under the flag of multiculturalism, does barbarism take strong root. The open- borders-moral-equivalency crowd refuses to acknowledge that importing large numbers of people from other parts of the world means importing practices antithetical to Western Civilization. This doesn’t mean they all fail to recognize it — in fact, some of their leaders consider this dilution a feature rather than a flaw.

For that crowd, it’s not really “about the children.” It’s about their power. If concern for the children convinces you to gut the 2nd Amendment, then they’re all about the kids. But if it causes you to question the unchecked influx of brigades of foreigners and their attendant abuses of children, well, that’s a different matter.

May there be a special place in Hell for those bureaucrats who, through their inaction, are allowing these crimes against the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. And may Justice return to our countries so that we may speed their way to that special place.


Too many Wrinkles

Even though I really enjoyed the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle (and still have a copy of it), I won’t be buying tickets for the new movie about to open.  Two words: Disney and Oprah.

That’s a combination enough to ruin anything, even a children’s classic.

What’s funny is that until very recently I wasn’t aware of just how controversial the book had been among Christians when it was first released.  That said, when I first read it as a teenager I did pick up on some strange vibes, such as listing Jesus, Ghandi, Einstein and great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Beethoven as examples of historical figures standing against evil.  Nowhere in that passage does it hint at any greater role for Jesus — he is simply one of the great figures.

L’Engle was an Episcopalian, a denomination that has skewed ever more liberal and heretical since the mid-1900s.  If, as the linked article above infers, the author was trying sincerely to reconcile the Christian faith with science, it may have been at the expense of watering down the Christian elements into a general spirituality that hesitates to draw clear theological lines:

“To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all,” L’Engle wrote in her book Walking on Water. “I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism, with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus-not at all!  But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen!”

And that’s where Oprah comes in.  The longtime TV host may have recently claimed she wouldn’t run for president unless “God tells me to,” but it’s fair to wonder what sort of god she’s expecting instructions from.  She is anything but an orthodox Christian — for a short glimpse of the evidence of this statement, click this link.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Disney, of course, regularly provides content full of themes incompatible with the historic Christian faith — all under the cute guise of “kids entertainment.”

So with a recipe involving a book of nominally Christian fiction, a New Age television guru, and the House of Mouse, what could go wrong?

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” is the latest victim of diversity-deranged stunt casting in which no respect is paid to the race or sex of existing literary characters. But that’s only one reason why this frustrating fiasco is such an embarrassing failure. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), who has no feel at all for the material, seems more interested in promoting colorblind multi-culturalism than producing an entertaining adaptation that is worthy of its much-beloved source…

Also, it’s unfortunate that the film eliminates the novel’s references to Christianity that resulted in it being banned from some libraries. Inclusion apparently has its limits.

I didn’t need the confirmation of yesterday’s movie review.  As soon as the very first trailer debuted last year, I knew this was a “must-pass” event.  The original book is still a fun read, but has more of a dualist worldview than a properly Christian one in which salvation through Christ alone is the central tenet.  Adding Hollywood to the mix just exacerbates the issue.  Christians are understandably hungry for good entertainment these days.  But that doesn’t mean we should spend our dollars in a way that encourages Hollywood’s tendency to take anything reasonably good, gut it, stuff it with their agenda, and pass it off as something worth seeing.

Find something better to do this weekend.