Making a list, checking it twice

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations plans to note who’s naughty or nice:

America First

This is long overdue in our international relations, and should be a key plank of the new National Security Strategy to put American interests first (see pages 19 and 40 here).  Much of the foreign aid we give out yields dubious returns for America.  And unlike other nations (*cough* China *cough*), we aren’t exactly smart in our use of “soft power.”  Much of the “aid” we supply all too often ends up in the hands of local thugs in power, while China’s efforts produce visible changes and local goodwill.  No doubt if the locals balk, China is not reluctant to tighten the purse strings.

So why do we not do the same with our spending overseas?  At its most blatant, foreign aid is about “winning friends and influencing people.”  But how much influence do you really wield if the recipients of your largesse habitually spit in your eye, knowing they can get away with it?

We are not in the financial position we were after World War II, where America accounted for nearly one-quarter of the global economy.  The Marshall Plan of the late 1940s was unprecedented in scale for American foreign policy, but it also seemed a relatively small price to pay to stabilize Europe and inoculate it against further communist encroachment.  Today, advocates of foreign aid like to point out that it makes up “about one percent of the federal budget” — but that still amounts to billions of dollars that produce scant results compared to the Marshall Plan.

Here’s hoping those countries put on Nikki Haley’s “naughty list” Thursday feel the choking off of unappreciated American dollars.  Since the Federal Government currently borrows nearly 1 in every 5 dollars it spends, those dollars are more appropriately spent at home.

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Who needs credibility?

UPDATE: a good summary of a bad media week can be found here.

The mainstream press is tripping all over itself trying to manufacture scandals for the Trump administration — and in the process, shredding what little credibility they have left.  They are as uniformly hostile to Trump as they were protective of Obama, and anyone who believes their claims of objectivity is simply either not paying attention, or is beyond reasoning with.  The press is being aided in their efforts by Robert Mueller’s investigative politically partisan team, which is habitually (and illegally) leaking material to said press.

The Department of Justice would do well to look into both the leaking by the special counsel’s investigative team, and the editorial processes that keep producing these slanderous misfires by the press.

CNN thought it had a major scoop indicating Donald Trump and his inner circle coordinated with Russian-aligned operatives in 2016 to tilt the presidential election.

CNN was wrong

The CNN report hinged entirely on an email that was supposedly sent on Sept. 4. The September email to Trump and his team included a “decryption key and website address” for the WikiLeaks dump, the article added.

There’s a major, glaring error in this story, which CNN promoted all Friday morning and into the afternoon.

The email upon which the entire story hinges was sent on Sept. 14, not Sept. 4, meaning the email merely pointed Trump’s team to a trove of already-public hacked DNC documents.

The difference between Sept. 4 and Sept. 14 is difference between someone merely flagging already public information and someone quietly slipping the GOP nominee and his team advance access to hacked correspondences.

CBS News also misreported independently that the email was dated September 4.

The third certainty

It’s said the only things certain in life are death and taxes.  To that I would add it’s certain the Left will call for strict gun control that guts the 2nd Amendment every time a mass shooting occurs.  After all, as Rahm Emanuel put it: “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  So it’s no surprise the friendly fascists at moveon.org already have a petition up for “commonsense gun control:”

* Ban civilian ownership of weapons designed for warfare.
* Close the gun show loophole.
* Create certificates of ownership for firearms, similar to automobiles, which should be governed by similar regulations, including the need for training, testing, and insurance.

Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

First of all, who would decide whether a weapon was “designed for warfare?”  I’m sure they have in mind the spooky black rifle of their feverish nightmares known as the AR-15.  Never mind that civilians can only own semi-automatic versions of this, which makes it no different from most hunting rifles.  There are also many people who are proud owners of Springfield M1911 handguns.  These were originally designed for war, but are now commonly owned by civilians.  Would that no longer be permitted?  Maybe they’re thinking about automatic weapons (which the ignorant on the Left often claim AR-15s are).  Here’s the problem: it’s been illegal for more than 30 years to own an automatic weapon without a specific federal license that is extremely difficult to obtain.

That’s right, kids: our shooter in Las Vegas was in possession of more than a dozen weapons that were just as illegal for him to have as it was for him to kill people with them.  But feel free to cling to your fantasies that laws will prevent this kind of thing.  Just don’t drag me or my legally owned weapons into your unworkable utopias.

Second: “close the gun show loophole.”  This ridiculous phrase is used after every shooting, as though these killers are buying their weapons at the local Shriners show before going on a rampage.  There are no specific loopholes in federal law that apply to gun shows.  None.  Those who engage in the business of selling firearms, whether at a gun show or at a private business, must run a federal background check before completing a sale.  Period.  The only way around this is personal resale (for instance, if I sell a weapon to a relative).  To be accurate, what gun control advocates need to say is they want to require everyone to get Uncle Sam’s permission before selling their own legally owned property.  That sounds much more infringing on personal liberty than “closing a gun show loophole,” though, doesn’t it?

Third: ownership certificates with various requirements attached.  This is where I may part company with some.  I believe the 2nd Amendment is a crucial liberty and non-negotiable.  Every law-abiding citizen has the inalienable right to self-defense, and that includes the mechanical means to enable that defense.  That said, every right carries a responsibility, and it’s clear many people don’t take that seriously.  So just as I would advocate a citizenship exam before allowing people to vote, I do not necessarily object to requiring citizens to pass a safety and qualifying course before receiving a certificate to own personal weapons.  The only issue here is one of degree.  There are plenty of gun controllers who would use such a concession to create a process so onerous that nobody would be willing/able to complete it and thus obtain a firearm.  If such a process were permitted, it would have to be under the guidance that the burden is on the State to show why someone should NOT be issued a weapon, rather than on a citizen to show why they should.  (This is similar to the difference in “may issue” versus “shall issue” for concealed permits.)

So of the three items in the petition the first is deliberately ambiguous, the second is a tired sound bite, and the third may — MAY — have some merit if done correctly.  Instead of putting enormous effort behind such an ill-thought petition, here’s a better use of your time:

Ask why it took police SEVENTY-TWO minutes to respond and breach the shooter’s room in Las Vegas.  (This is the first of many odd things that stand out about the Las Vegas attack.)  Then ask yourself if you want to outsource your personal defense to institutions that have, at best, a questionable ability to actually protect you in the event someone has murder in mind.  (As the saying goes, when seconds count the police are only minutes away.)

No civilian crowd should ever be under (illegal) automatic weapons fire for more than an hour. And none should ever face such a situation without recourse to their own ability to defend themselves.  Granted, concealed carry weapons at the concert likely wouldn’t have done much against a madman firing from the 32nd floor.  Remember, though, the reason this is news is that such an event is an outlier, not the everyday experience.  In many crises there are often plenty of veterans (both of the military and police) and brave lifelong civilians present who, given the tools, would be willing to respond much faster to such a public emergency.  The public should not have to depend on someone else to save them when they are capable of saving themselves.

I’ll close by pointing this out: many of those yammering about gun control the past couple of days were fully on board both with the Obama administration’s “Fast and Furious” gun running scheme to Mexican cartels, as well as his release of billions of dollars to Iran — a known terrorist-supporting government openly determined to obtain atomic weapons.  Given this, their pleas of “give me your guns so we can make you safe” sound more than a little hollow and self-serving.  Besides, if Trump is “literally Hitler,” isn’t calling for public disarmament self-defeating?  (Never try to look for consistency in Leftist arguments — it isn’t there.)

We live in an increasingly dangerous world, where terrorists maim with weapons as varied as automatic weapons and automobiles.  At the same time our governments seem determined to allow a continued flood of strangers from violent lands to settle among us. Between terrorists and the mentally ill, there is simply no way to predict when the next incident will occur.  As someone who carried a weapon and defended this nation–including the Constitutional right to carry firearms–for 24 years in uniform, I’m not about to give up my legally acquired weapons or the right to defend myself and my family.

Period.

‘Deplorables’ get things done

This observation is worth reading in its entirety:

How many flood victims in South Texas have been rescued by the Antifa navy?

Just asking, because on TV this week I’ve been watching the “Cajun Navy” pull one Dunkirk after another all around the Gulf Coast.

And those good old boys look like they just came off the set of “Duck Dynasty.” They could be wearing MAGA hats. Hell, I’ll bet one or two of them may have even been falsely accused of committing a fake hate crime or two since the election by some unhinged Social Justice Warrior.

They are, to coin a phrase, deplorables.

Hell, a Chick-fil-A franchise in Houston sent out a power boat to rescue a couple of elderly customers. And the old folks didn’t even ask if Chick-fil-A’s CEO is still opposed to gay marriage.

Is Michael Moore hosting an All-U-Can-Eat buffet for first responders in Harris County? If he were, surely MSNBC would be covering it, live.

Where are Elizabeth Warren, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Colbert, etc. etc.?

Seriously, doesn’t it look like almost all of the heavy lifting in the wake of Harvey is being done by people who belong to what the Southern Poverty Law Center would describe as “hate groups?”

Speaking of which, when does the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] food drive begin? (((Maybe once they’re done transfering all their donations to offshore accounts — Jemison)))  Are the non-workers of the Socialist Workers Party and the Spartacist League loading any southbound 18-wheelers with relief supplies this weekend?

Maybe everyone in “the Resistance” is worn out from wearing pink hats and black masks and tipping over statues and sucker punching passers-by with bicycle locks in Berkeley and grabbing an old lady’s flag on the Boston Common and burning it — all those wonderful manifestations of how Love Trumps Hate, as they say.

As the Instapundit frequently says, “read the whole thing.”  There are two groups of people in this land: those who build it up and those who tear it down.  The former group is running out of patience with the latter’s yapping and worse, while contributing nothing to society.  If Antifa hates it so badly here, then get the hell out (I hear the socialist paradise of Venezuela has plenty of openings for violent anarchists right about now).  If it’s all just a pose, then you’re welcome to roll up your sleeves and do something more productive than chanting asinine slogans and showing your historical, political and economic ignorance loudly and violently.

It’s getting on the nerves of us busy ‘deplorables’ who believe in helping our neighbors, not ostracizing them over differences of opinion.

A slow-motion coup

Pat Buchannan’s column today looks at how government officials are breaking the law to “leak” sensitive information in order to damage the Trump administration, and asks the question — where does this all lead:

Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.
So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?…

Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.

Consider the (Washington) Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister.  The Post was letting itself be used by a leaker engaged in disloyal and possibly criminal misconduct. Yet the Post agreed to provide confidentiality and to hide the Trump-hater’s identity…

…there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy...

The Justice Department is now running down the leaks, and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner is apoplectic: “Every American should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists. A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy.”

That’s one way to put it. Another is that some of these “whistleblowers” are political criminals who reject the verdict of the American electorate in 2016 and are out to overturn it. And the aforementioned “journalists” are their enablers and collaborators.

Read the entire piece hereNot every leak qualifies as “whistleblowing.”  In fact, I’d say that most leaking in D.C. is done out of political motivation of some sort.  True whistleblowing is the release of information a government, business or organization is holding back simply because it reveals wrongdoing.  The classic case of this is, of course, the Pentagon Papers.  The Supreme Court upheld the publishing of the papers because they clearly showed the Johnson administration had lied multiple times to the American people about the progress (or lack thereof) in Vietnam, and because revealing the contents posed no direct national security risk (only a political risk!).  When such a concerted effort is being made to conceal the truth, going outside the system as a whistleblower can be justified.  There are, of course, many other examples of people who took great personal risk to expose wrongdoing.

But that’s not what’s happening today.  Nobody is claiming the release of presidential telephone transcripts reveals devious doings and attempted cover-up.  In fact, most of the “leaks” are more like the National Enquirer’s gossip-mongering (“you won’t BELIEVE what Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster said to each other today!”).  It’s a scattershot rumor mill enabled by spineless weasels who put their vanity as an “unnamed source” to a reporter above their duty to the country.  The ACLU has it all wrong here.  Cracking down on leaks doesn’t threaten whistleblowing — it protects it from abuse.  Protecting whistleblowing means bestowing that status only on courageous individuals who see clear, unaddressed wrongdoing in a failing system and literally blow the public whistle on it.

Speaking of failing systems, that now seems to include our entire crony-infested government bureaucracy.  The public has a right to know a great many things, but their are legitimate reasons for the government to protect certain types of information.  Those who abuse that trust need to go to jail, period (including Her Hillariness and Huma Abedin, among many others).

The corporate press is also a failing system.  The Washington Post’s new motto is that “Democracy dies in darkness.”  Fair enough.  It can also be murdered in broad daylight by irresponsible officials working with reporters who simply want to delegitimize the last election because it didn’t go their way.

Because once the government is seen as completely and hopelessly illegitimate, it’s only a matter of time before the true “Resistance” begins. THAT’S where the road we’re on seems to be headed.

Why CNN is now a target

Since the election of Trump, CNN has gone completely out of its way to distort reality to support its preferred narratives.  See recent example below (helpfully recaptioned at the bottom to bring us back to reality):

CNN's world

Full disclosure: I personally scrolled back through CNN’s Twitter feed to confirm that yes, they did in fact Tweet that message and image.  I also visited EuroNews to confirm the quote that was added to the bottom of the image above. (Due diligence is more important today than ever before).

This is how little respect CNN has for the average viewer’s intelligence.  (To be fair, even the college-educated aren’t necessarily prepared to think critically these days.)  It took me less than five minutes to confirm both parts of the meme above, and to cross check with other news sites that noted the more violent aspects of the G20 Summit protests.  Yet CNN boils it down on Twitter to a “we are the world” gathering of “peaceful” protestors.  Even in their own photo, the question should come up “why so many police officers there?”  But answering that question would mean looking at the long history of Leftist violence at such international meetings (such as the “Battle in Seattle.”).  There are many like me who also distrust the globalist agenda for different reasons, but you don’t (yet) see us acting like this on a regular basis.

Angry at the deception yet?  In the event you think this is just an isolated instance of malpractice on CNN’s part, here’s some more reading for you.  This isn’t new for CNN — or, for that matter, most of the corporate media world (I include Fox in that as well, for what it’s worth).  The divide between reality and their reporting has been growing for some time.  With the election of Obama, however, most of what was left of the pretense of objective journalism was jettisoned in order to enable the Anointed One’s “fundamental transform(ation)” of America.

CNN’s reputation deserves the trashing it’s currently experiencing.  But while it’s fun to see the media get a well-deserved comeuppance, let’s also remember that if there’s to be a restoration in this nation critical thinking and rational discourse MUST be taught and emphasized again — even in policy areas where the facts are very uncomfortable to the individually messianic “we can save the world” worldview.

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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