Calling them out

The corporate press in America preens about being an agent of accountability for public officials.  In recent years, though, many Americans have come to wonder “who watches the watchers?”

Thanks to the internet, the answer can be: everybody.  Knowing this, President Trump executed a genius communication move last night by announcing his “1st Annual Fake News Awards.”  While some may have laughed at the claim these were “highly anticipated,” events bore the description out as the hosting GOP website crashed for approximately two hours after the tweet (from all the incoming traffic), and on Twitter the hashtag #FakeNewsAwards trended globally (it still is as of this writing, more than 14 hours later).

Some in the press are trying to counter by pointing out the mistakes on the list were later acknowledged and corrected.  And for the most part, they’re correct — while still being disingenuous.  Any student of journalism knows the first copy is what gets the attention — retractions almost never get the same level of resonance.  What Trump’s compilation does is remind and show overall just how sloppy/slanted/partisan the news coverage was in 2017 as the press hurried to seize on anything that might remotely make him look bad, without taking time to verify or research context.  (Hint to media executives: when your only source is that another news outlet is reporting something, you’re on very shaky ground.)  It is a very damning list.

By releasing the compliation on Twitter, Trump circumvented the media gatekeepers.  His public stature prevents Twitter from blocking such a move, but it’s worth noting plenty of voices on the Right are being silenced deliberately there and on other prominent internet platforms.  The press is working overtime to respond to Trump today, but that means they are reacting to his messaging, rather than producing their own biased news cycles.  And in doing so, they are giving the compilation even more coverage, potentially showing more Americans the sum total of what the epithet “fake news” really means.

As I said, it was a genius communication move.

In desperation, some have taken to claiming that Trump’s effort to point out media errors amounts to attacking the First Amendment, and equating it to various dictators’ muzzling of opponents.  This childishness trivializes the very real dangers advocates of free speech, criticism and accountability face around the world today.  Let’s be blunt: the First Amendment does not provide anyone the right to print whatever they want without being challenged for it.  When corporate news have to have the administration’s prior permission to run their stories, or CNN’s Jim Acosta is arrested or killed I might reevaluate the vacuousness of this whining, but not until.

I still shake my head in amazement that our nation’s reached the point where Donald Trump could become president.  But as others have pointed out, he looks a lot better if you evaluate him by what he’s done, versus what he says or what’s said about him.  In the meantime, Trump is showing how to play offense in this struggle, the media are getting a dose of their own medicine and it’s clear they don’t like it one little bit.  To which I can only say:

It’s about time.

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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.

Why is this even an issue?

And why did it take the Administration six months to enact ANY penalties?

The Department of Justice is cracking down even further on so-called sanctuary cities, saying that cities with such policies are not eligible for a federal assistance program used to help fight violent crime.

According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, four cities — Albuquerque, N.M., Baltimore, Md., San Bernardino, Calif., and Sotckton, Calif. — have expressed interest in the department’s Public Safety Partnership, or PSP, program.  The initiative was launched in June in 12 cities that the Justice Department said needed “significant assistance” in combating “gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.”

Now, in letters to those cities, which limit cooperation with the federal government when it comes to immigration law, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson tells the police chiefs they must show a “commitment to reducing violent crime stemming from illegal immigration” in order to be added to the PSP program.

The four cities must prove to the Justice Department by Aug. 18 that they will give federal immigration agents access to jails to question immigrants, as well as provide 48 hours notice to the Department of Homeland Security regarding the release date and time of someone who has been flagged for violating federal immigration law.  The cities must also show they do not block communication between local police and federal immigration agents.

The basic premise of “Sanctuary Cities” is flagrant disregard of federal law.  The Federal government shouldn’t just withhold funding from a new program.  Any such declared “Sanctuary city” should lose ALL federal funding of any kind (not just from the Justice Department), and any public officials who have declared intent not to comply should be removed from office under the Constitution’s supremacy clause.

This is a national security issue — one of the very few areas where I believe the Federal government has the main role.  The costs of our lax and negligent enforcement of immigration law has led directly to the rape and murder of U.S. citizens.  No State or local government complicit in such defiance and mayhem has any legitimate claim to ANY Federal funds of any kind.

I am not a fan of strong Federal government, but where it has been tasked specifically by the Constitution to do certain things it should do them vigorously and well.  To that end, the President should immediately do the following:

  1. Suspend ALL federal funds to any declared “sanctuary city.”
  2. Arrest ALL officials who have openly supported such areas as having knowingly aided and abetted illegal immigration and the crimes that result from it
  3. Refuse to allow Congress to recess until it has passed full funding of enhanced border security (including the wall) and eliminated the H1B and H2B visa programs.

The administration’s current push toward prioritizing legal immigration to those who already speak English and have skills to offer is but a tiny step in the direction we must go.  And it’s good to see an official remind the press that a poem added to the Statue of Liberty 18 years after it was erected does NOT constitute national immigration policy.

Open borders and a welfare state are NOT compatible.  I’ve said it before: there should not be unemployment benefits at the same time we’re importing foreigners to “do the jobs Americans won’t do.”  Close the borders, and the wages for jobs will rise until people ARE willing to do them (cutting off unemployment benefits will be a motivator as well).  The administration is absolutely right to say that immigration policy should be based first on what is good for America and the people already here.

That includes repatriation of all those who are here illegally, no matter how long they’ve managed to “live in the shadows.”  Lawbreaking is lawbreaking, period.

The truly sad thing about the Left’s abuse of the appeal to compassion and emotion is that, for people like me, it’s been worn out.  NOTHING short of full-up globalism will satisfy these people, and that is not in anybody’s interest except for a handful of string-pullers behind the scenes.  Although well-traveled, I am NOT a “citizen of the world.”  I am an American, one who’s worn the uniform to defend my patrimony, and I’ll be damned if idiots like CNN’s Jim Acosta are going to simply give away what I and generations before me have fought to preserve.

As for the Republicans who’ve done all they can to stymie Trump, I’ll simply say this: he’s not our last chance.  He’s your last chance.  A last chance to show the system is in any way responsive to the problems facing real Americans.  And if you undermine that chance, you do so at the very real peril of convincing those who love what America once stood for that our government has become destructive of Life, Liberty and property, and that we need to institute new safeguards for our liberties.

If (when?) it comes to that, it’ll be, in the words of the President, “sad.”  But also necessary.  And probably long overdue.

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.

Distract and demolish?

While CNN (and many of its fellow travelers) are now caught up in the fact the network essentially threatened to “out” a citizen for exercising free speech, the Trump administration continues to make at least American history great again:

President Trump donated the first quarter of his presidential salary (to the Antietam Battlefield National Park) in early April, totaling $78,333.  The Interior Department said that after Trump donated his salary to the National Park Service, anonymous donors sent money for the agency to use in preserving the nation’s historic parks, which are suffering from a $12 billion maintenance backlog.

On top of this, Trump has reduced White House spending:

There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.  Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).

The pattern in all of this seems to be that Trump’s seemingly random social media messages are keeping the corporate media in a state of apoplexy while his administration actually has the nerve to do some of the things he promised to do:

Trump scares the media, makes them angry, and distracts them. Meanwhile, quietly he moves from accomplishment to accomplishment. Downsizing the State department and EPA. Getting most of his travel ban enacted. Illegal immigration is down significantly. Exited TPP and the Paris accords. Hiring freeze on federal employees. Revocation of DAPA. Border wall prototypes being built. Handcuffs removed from ICE. Supporting apprenticeships. Reestablishing the Space Council. Establishing an American Technology Council. Establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Implementing a strategy for “America First” offshore oil drilling. Reducing federal power and increasing local power over education. Revocation of multiple executive orders written by Barack Obama. Directed EPA to revoke “Waters of the United States” regulation (the one that extended federal control of waterways to include non-navigable waterways such as irrigation ditches, flood ponds, and puddles). Revoked Obama’s Social Security gun ban. Revoked DoE Title IX guidelines. Banned administration officials from lobbying their federal agencies for five years, as well as banning them for life from lobbying foreign nations and political parties.

This is only a partial list. And while this has been happening the MSM has been focused on fake Russian collusion and his tweets and his trolling.

I believe that these are effective tactics supporting a long term strategy, and that it is working.

Several of the accomplishments above took considerable time and coordination.  Many of Trump’s choices for key positions seemed solid when first announced (It doesn’t get any better than General James Mattis for SecDef).  If it turns out that he put principled, capable people in charge of executing his promised agenda, then provided top cover by keeping the corporate media focused on him personally rather than what his administration was doing, it’s possible he might go down as one of our more accomplished presidents.  Despite the cringe-inducing antics at times, it seems the president may understand how to navigate and negate our current media-saturated environment better than any Republican president since at least Reagan — if not earlier.

Here’s hoping there truly is a method behind the madness.

This-n-that

A few scattered thoughts prompted by recent reading…

1)  Seen online: “Next time we have a peaceful transfer of power, can there be less of it to transfer, please?”  Hear, hear!

2)  God continues to have fun with the Goreacle:

Park City is bracing for a slew of snow at Sundance Film Festival.

The festival locale sank to below-freezing temperatures ahead of Thursday’s opening-night film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s climate-change follow-up to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth.

It’s sure “inconvenient” to keep having all those cold-weather events show up every time he tries to peddle global warming (oh, wait: now it’s just called “climate change.” How… convenient.)

3)  The corporate media, led by CNN, continues its increasingly brazen lying in order to imply Trump has less support than he does.  Click this link, then this one.  This is just another petty and underhanded way to try to make Trump’s administration seem illegitimate.  So for the record:

gettyimages-632192820_20170120191651847_7099300_ver1-0_1280_720

Hey, CNN: do you want to keep getting ignored at presidential news conferences?  Because this is how you keep getting ignored.  Here’s hoping this administration holds all press outlets accountable for every propaganda twist they try to pull.  This goes for Fox News as well, whose own narrative-pushing I have direct experience with.

4)  Remember when hundreds of protestors were arrested at Obama’s first inaugural, and how conservative activists smashed storefronts and generally made a destructive nuisance of themselves?  Yeah, me neither.  It occurs to me that if these people are so violently unhappy with the country they live in, it would be a simple matter after arresting them to revoke their citizenship and give them a one-way ticket to wherever they believe things are better.  Might be a rude wakeup.  These people are so stupid they don’t realize their antics are pushing many Americans (including me) to farther political extremes than they’d ordinarily go.  Polite society has tolerated this sort of thing for so long that I fear it will take a sustained, violent crackdown to re-establish civic norms.

These antics are a symptom of what got Trump elected.  If they continue, they’re simply helping his reelection campaign from Day One.