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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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.