Discovering two can pull hair

There’s already plenty of commentary about “comedian” Kathy Griffin’s disgraceful photo shoot with a simulated severed Donald Trump head.  What interests me most about this is:

(a) The utter tone deafness such a photo concept conveys in a world where beheadings and general terrorism are becoming ever more commonplace thanks to outfits like ISIS, and

(b) The serious pushback against and rare consequences for a leftist who went too far — to the point Griffin is now complaining that “Trump broke me” and that her career is over.  In other words, “it all started when he hit me back.”

Welcome to the political world your leftist friends created, Kathy.

For years, even decades, individuals running afoul of the misnamed “political correctness” have been harassed, demonized, and in more than a few cases, left unemployed or otherwise financially harmed.  For instance, a rodeo clown lost his job after performing with an Obama mask.  Now to be fair, there were plenty of inappropriate Obama images during his presidency (including suggestions of lynching, assassination and more).  Such excesses rarely failed to gain national attention and condemnation.

So why would Griffin think her stupid idea would be any different?  Because of the insulated world she and her fellow travelers live in, and the double standards they are

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The world needs the U.S.

…more than the U.S. needs the world.  And it’s about time we started acting that way:

Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.

And releasing illegal criminal immigrants puts the U.S. population at risk.

As others have already noted, our response to this intransigence should go beyond refusing to issue any kind of visas to countries that won’t take back their criminals.  We should also halt any foreign aid that goes their way (which we shouldn’t be in the business of anyway), as well as putting a 100% tariff on any goods imported from that country.

The United States has the largest economy in the world and its third-largest population (after China and India).  We have a wealth of natural resources, and technology such as fracking is allowing us to access even more of this potential.  Simply put, the world needs access to our market and economy far more than we need anything from overseas.  Were it not for the debt we’ve recklessly assumed over the last half century (much of it from playing GloboCop), we could stand utterly independent of the world.

Want to make America great again?  Send all known illegal immigrants to Guantanamo Bay (which our last president unwisely all but emptied) until their home nation agrees to receive them.  Let’s stop pretending foreigners enjoy the same Constitutional rights as citizens.  They are endowed with the protection of life, liberty (as long as they are law-abiding) and the pursuit of happiness (subject to being in America’s interest to accept them).  As long as there is a foreign national being held because of their country’s refusal to take back deportees, cut off all access to the United States and its markets.

And while we’re on the subject, killing the H1-B visa is long overdue.

It’s time the American government (all branches of it) put America first.  We don’t need “citizens of the world” running our country.  We need patriotic, hard-headed realists.

The GOP doesn’t seem to have many of those.  Making America Great Again will require action in the 2018 election, too.  Do you know how your representatives are voting?  You should.  Don’t count on Trump to change the direction all by himself.  Even if he did, that way lies future problems with executive overreach.  Punish the globalists in Congress, and give Trump a legislature he can work with.

Then let’s let the world tend to itself for a while.  We’ve been bailing it out since 1917.  After a century, we deserve to shed the role.

If you build it

they will come:

Gab (gab.ai) is the free-speech alternative platform that has thrived because of Twitter’s SJW-led censorship policy which has driven away users. Now, it seems, Twitter is worried about the competition… ((…and they should be!  — Jemison))

Gab was founded by Torba following Twitter’s suspensions of conservative and libertarian accounts and has attracted nearly 150,000 disenfranchised users, including Breitbart Senior Editor MILO.

Since the platform’s conception, Torba has been banned from a Silicon Valley startup group, suspended from Facebook, and had his Gab features copied by Twitter. Apple’s App Store have also banned the app twice . . .

“The response to Gab from around the world has been nothing short of incredible,” said Torba to Breitbart Tech last year. “This is a movement, and something that the community is driving forward,” he explained.

“Folks are deleting their Twitter and Facebook accounts… They are waking up to the lies and censorship of Big Social,” he continued. “We will continue to build a product built by the people, for the people. We will continue to put people first and promote free speech for all.”

The Left has to monopolize the “conversations” in order to seem relevant.  The vast majority of their positions on just about every topic don’t hold up under close scrutiny.  Because of this, they are driven to maintain control of the flow of information.  During the days of the “big three” TV networks (1960s-1990s) this was relatively easy, and the same period saw Leftists gain control of most of academia.

The internet upended all of that.  Suddenly, not only did non-Leftists have a medium in which to speak, they also quickly found they were not as alone as they’d been led to think.  The rise of blogging just after 9/11 unleashed previously restrained conservative and libertarian viewpoints.

This was intolerable to the Left, of course.  So the past decade or so has seen a concerted effort to gain control of the “commanding heights” of the internet: Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and so forth.  In the name of “eliminating hate” what they’ve really done is harass and eliminate competing points of view.  It’s Orwellian MiniTrue as its worst.

In order to restore free speech rather than stay cramped in the “safe space” echo chamber of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, non-Leftists have begun building alternative platforms.  In addition to Gab, there is also Infogalactic (a substitute for Wikipedia), and other alternative platforms are under construction.  The builders of these systems are committed to allowing all speech, however repugnant, under the simple idea that in a free marketplace of ideas, truth wins out in the end.

It’s said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  Once these platforms are established, they will have to be ruthlessly policed against those who would again bend them into the service of Leftist ideology, rather than being a true marketplace of ideas.  It will take all of us to keep free speech free, both in reality and in cyberspace.

The alternatives are being built.  Come along and support them.

Is real change here? Will hope follow?

“Trump is taking office with his entire Cabinet named and a slew of other positions announced. This is actually not normal. Other presidents have been way slower.”

************

“Making good on a promise to slash government, President-elect Trump has asked his incoming team to pursue spending and staffing cuts.

Insiders said that the spending reductions in some departments could go as high as 10 percent and staff cuts to 20 percent, numbers that would rock Washington if he follows through.”

I truly hope these promises and inclinations hold.  If the transition team needs any help, I’ve published a few modest proposals where those cuts should come from…

Here’s hoping in a few years we look back on today and say “Happy Inauguration Day.”

uninstalling-obama-1

A few modest suggestions

Life’s been busy lately, so posting has been light.  For some time, though, I’ve been working on a list of “things I’d do if I was completely in charge of adjusting the government.”  They center around limiting the influence of lobbyists, making immigration offenses a serious matter, and reducing the ability of a president to unilaterally commit the nation to war.

It’s an ongoing project.  But I’ll post it here for any comments and input on what’s already there.  Warning: it’s a lot of stuff (roughly 6 pages in a word processor).  But then, there’s a lot of stuff wrong with the country, so that’s to be expected.  Use the page numbers at the bottom of the post to advance to the next page.

Constructive input/critiques welcomed.

REFORM  (Federal Level)

General:

No person convicted of a felony will be eligible to hold elective office at the Federal Level.  Convicted felons may not serve in the Federal Civil Service above the grade of GS-5.

The Legislatures of each State will appoint one person to serve on a Federal Civil Service Oversight Board.  Board members will serve terms determined by their individual State.  This 50-member board will have power independent of Congress to investigate accusations of fraud, waste, abuse, or employee misconduct/failure to meet standards within the Federal workforce.  The board, by a 3/5 majority vote, may dismiss any federal employee below the grade of Cabinet Secretary.  The board will also investigate charges of retaliation against whistle-blowers.  With the concurrence of 3/5 of the board, anyone deemed as having engaged in retaliation will be dismissed from Civil Service.  No person dismissed by the Oversight Board will be eligible for any future Civil Service position or for elected office to Congress or the Presidency.

If all men are equal…

…then all bear close watching when given authority.  I say this because I see in some Trump supporters the same “man-on-a-white-horse” aspirations as Obama’s believers in the “Lightbringer” showed eight years ago.

That’s not to say there isn’t reason for optimism.  There have been some interesting aspects to this transition period, and it’s entirely possible Trump may meet or exceed some of the expectations people have for him to disrupt what has clearly become a government run by globalists with little concern for their own constituents.

But to be successful in the change many Americans voted for, they must make sure we don’t trade the cult of Obama for the cult of Trump.  In some respects, they are mirror images of each other.  Both have serious character flaws.  Both promised a lot of things in their campaigns.  Obama delivered on the “transformation” he promised, but many people now realize the changes were not in a positive direction.  We’ve yet to see how successful Trump will be in undoing his predecessor’s damage.

The bottom line, however, is this: a healthy republic does not run on the whims of any single person.  It requires the constant engagement of the citizenry… which is why it’s so hard to maintain.  As the quip goes: “most people don’t really want to be free… they just hope for a good master who takes care of them.”

These thoughts were already running through my head when I read this article:

The idea that a large, complex society enjoying English liberty could long endure without the guiding hand of a priest-king was, in 1776, radical. A few decades later, it became ordinary — Americans could not imagine living any other way. …

As American society grows less literate and the state of its moral education declines, the American people grow less able to engage their government as intellectually and morally prepared citizens. We are in the process — late in the process, I’m afraid — of reverting from citizens to subjects. Subjects are led by their emotions, mainly terror and greed…

For more than two centuries, we Americans have been working to make government subject to us rather than the other way around, to make it our instrument rather than our master. But that requires a republican culture, which is necessarily a culture of responsibility. Citizenship, which means a great deal more than showing up at the polls every two years to pull a lever for Team R or Team D, is exhausting. On the other hand, monarchy is amusing, a splendid spectacle and a wonderful form of public theater.

But the price of admission is submission.

We’ll know we’re succeeding in returning to the Founders’ vision of a limited federal government when it doesn’t matter as much who occupies the White House or Congress.  For now, though, the Executive has become quite monarchical (“I have a pen and a phone” sounds a lot like something George III would have said, had he access to either).  Congress, meanwhile, dutifully plays the roles of courtiers, many of whom have aspirations of eventually occupying the Cherry Blossom Throne themselves (HT: Vox).

I sincerely hope our people didn’t go through two centuries of hard work fighting for, debating, pushing, shoving and reforming representative government just so it could devolve back into an authoritarian regime.  Expect and hope for improvement under Trump, yes.  But let’s also redevelop that culture of responsibility that recognizes “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

That goes no matter whether Team Elephant or Team Donkey is at the levers of power.  Remember that, in the end, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The more  powerful Uncle Sam has grown, the more corrupt his institutions.

Return  power to the States and the people!

Abolish the VA

Hospital spokesman Jason Dangel said hospital officials view what happened as unacceptable but have implemented changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We feel that we have taken strong, appropriate and expeditious steps to strengthen and improve our existing systems and processes within the unit,” Dangel said. “It is our expectation that each veteran is transported to their final resting place in the timely, respectful and honorable manner. America’s heroes deserve nothing less.”

And what was it that spurred all these furled eyebrows and expressions of momentary concern again?  The fact a veteran’s body was left in a shower room for nine hours instead of being transported from hospice to the morgue.

We’ve heard these kind of statements before, whether it was falsified records keeping to make a facility look better in reports, to hiding documents by incompetent managers to, veterans being exposed to diseases because proper procedures weren’t followed… the list goes on and on.  Saying “this is unacceptable; we can do better” works the first couple of times.  But when there’s a pattern like this there’s no credibility left in the public mea culpas.

The Veterans Administration was made a cabinet-level agency  under Ronald Reagan, with the assertion that such status would improve the quality of care.  The reality is that it has just become another bloated administrative nightmare, with accountability sorely lacking.

As President-elect Trump looks to dismantle Obamacare (something I sincerely hopes he follows through on), he should also look at the VA — currently the government’s second-largest employer, and simply privatize the whole thing.   Give vets vouchers they can use at any medical facility, not just Uncle Sam’s.  Choice leads to accountability.  Monopolies (particularly government ones) do not.

Remember the saying: having seen federal public housing, why would anyone expect any better services from the government in other areas of life?  And anyone who was watching the VA should have known that Obamacare would be a disaster from the start.