Archive for October, 2017

Prosecutor tactics, explaining economic systems, and confirmation bias

Mueller’s Indictment Of Manafort: Desperate Prosecutorial Hail Mary, Or Trap For Trump? IBD –

The point is, there appears to be two laws in effect here: One for Trump and Republicans, the other for the Clintons and Democrats. Because of this, we first made our call for the Russian investigation to be disbanded last summer. Mueller’s investigation was an obvious political fishing expedition. That’s still true today.

A branch of SJWs: deniers of Bitcoin miners’ power by LuboÅ¡ Motl – it’s a lesson on capitalism vs communism and the meaning of accountabily and vested interests.

This far left loon says that a coder in some self-anointed Bitcoin organization is automatically smarter than the average miner, so the coder must decide. But that’s just completely missing the logic that makes capitalism work – and that makes communism fail. Everyone can claim he is smart but there must be mechanisms that actually choose who is right. And they only work if one’s well-being is affected by his results. And that only works if the owners are those who are actually making the ultimate big decisions (e.g. at the stockholders’ meeting).

How Google and MSM Use “Fact Checkers” to Flood Us with Fake Claims by Leo Goldstein –

The Left implemented a novel technique of the Big Lie that I will call a Flooding Fake here. This technique was especially widely used by climate alarmism. This is what it looks like:
The first Google search result says that Donald Trump is behind the hoax, created by the Time magazine four years ago, and links to a fresh Time article (6), repeating and amplifying the hoax. A Wikipedia entry (7) is the second result, and Snopes comes third. Snopes result is “fact-checked” by Snopes itself. Thus, Google simply cons a user with its “fact check.” This is a recurrent occurrence, not an exception.
The Flooding Fake is different from a strawman fallacy. The Flooding Fake is a political operation, rather than a fallacy. Accordingly, in a strawman fallacy, the strawman is not disseminated outside of the original debate, and does not convince the opponent. The Flooding Fake is disseminated very broadly and eventually takes over some opponents.
The Flooding Fake is related to two other PR techniques of the left: fake opponents (like “fossil fuels interests”), and fake debate subject.

This is just a matter of social confirmation bias. The search engine users have an interest in finding what they want to find. The search engines note this and put the most commonly used of its findings at the top of the list in related searches. This can provide a ‘Flooding Fake’ about what most searchers are searching for. It’s the phenomena behind the adage that a lie will travel the world before the truth even gets its pants on. 

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The rappers got it right: Haters gonna hate

Houston Texans find new fake cause to kneel By Cheryl K. Chumley – “The possibilities of this type of protesting — and by this type, it’s meant, fabricated and fake — are endless, it seems.” It looks like McNair hit a nerve.

Houston Texans, upset because team owner Bob McNair had remarked to fellow NFL top brass that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison,” by and large bent the knee during their weekend game. McNair had apologized to his team — but apparently, that wasn’t good enough.
Why, because too many of the NFL’s own have spent time in jail and the remark is a little too close for comfort?
Here we all are thinking players are protesting racism and social injustice — and then wham, gotcha, no, no Nelly, turns out players are actually protesting the lack of orange Gatorade on the sidelines.
But the thing is: The anthem protests were never rooted in realism in the first place. Police just aren’t out there randomly targeting black people to shoot to kill. Police aren’t searching for their next minority take-down.
So taking knees to protest police injustice? Well, that’s the beauty of the players’ politicking. It makes about as much sense to protest the national anthem as to protest team owner’s remarks as to protest supplies of Gatorade. They’re all fabricated, fanciful, fake offenses.

The Manafort Political Theater Project launched by Thomas Lifson –

Some absurd MSM political theater is about to unfold, as if it were a serious scandal for Trump that a guy who was his campaign chairman for a few months is going to be charged for alleged crimes committed years before that relationship was forged. Paul Manafort and his longtime protégé are the big news for the MSM to inflate into a conspiracy that traces back to the puppet master in the Kremlin. They have been told to report for arrest, which means they are to be indicted.
The theory under which prosecutors work, of course, is to squeeze the little guy with the threat of prison and get him to implicate the higher-ups. But for that strategy to work for Mueller on Manafort, there have to be facts to reveal. So far, despite extensive private and prosecutorial research for over a year, there are no facts.

It’s all a cover for Uranium One
Tough luck for Manafort and Gates. I have no idea if they are guilty, but they are in for an expensive defense no matter what.

Guessing a Scooter Libby type thing was a bit optimistic. Now it appears there is an Oliver North type thing adding flavor. It is a tale of the Eye of Sauron.

One characteristic of the Left is persistence in innanity. Consider this story. The Complete Story of the River Oaks Tank by John Nova Lomax – “The HOA wasn’t the only foe that Tony Buzbee and his tank, Cheyenne, faced in the Battle of River Oaks Boulevard.”

Buzbee’s other nemesis in the tank fight was “Randolph Duke,” partisan of all things Texas Longhorn and dedicated Internet-based scourge of all Fightin’ Texas Aggies.

This is not Duke’s first campaign in this theater. With the dogged tenacity of an Inspector Javert, Duke, who won’t consent to allowing the use of his real name out of fear of Aggie reprisals, has spent much of his free time over the last few years chiseling away at the true facts of the 12th Man story, that cornerstone of Aggie tradition, going so far as to send his research to the legal teams of the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts NFL teams in their battles with the school over their use of the Aggie trademark.
The rappers got it right: Haters gonna hate.

Wind PTC: Excessive Benefit Demands Repeal by Lisa Linowes –

For U.S. taxpayers, another 30,000 MW of wind means adding another $25 billion in public handouts to what we’re already paying today for existing facilities.[1] This estimate does not account for the repowering of older turbine projects which are also PTC-eligible.

Since the tax credit is an open-ended subsidy we can only estimate the full cost, but on a kWh-basis, the scale of the PTC benefit is enormous. The 2.4¢/kWh in after-tax income represents a pre-tax value of approximately 3.5¢/kWh. For most regions of the country this equals, or exceeds, the wholesale price of electricity. But the distortion does not end there.

When the government and money meet, the substance and reality get distorted with a fog of distraction, That is why Mueller hired specialists in this area in order to target folks like Manafort. Given sufficient examination, there will always be something.

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Lessons in swamp maneuvers

The artillery is flying in both directions. The troops are moving. There are casualties. There is collateral damage. There is carnage. And worse … it may not be quite like the Germans trying to prevent what the Russians did to Berlin at the end of WW II but there are comparisons to be made.

Lessons in Swamp Manuevers: Trump -vs- Clinton -vs- Mueller -vs- Sessions -vs- Rosenstein -vs- Comey, etc. by sundance – “The leak from a sealed grand jury indictment within the special counsel Robert Mueller investigation, writ large, has everyone a-twitter… Perhaps, a reminder is in order.”

You cannot view the current action through the transactional prism of modern judicial proceedings as they relate to you and me. These are political cases, that use the venue of the legal system. They use the legal system to play out the optics and narrative of political battles for ideological wins and losses.
The notification from the FBI through the DOJ to allow the unknown 2010 FBI witness to testify to congress about the Uranium One investigation has initiated a responsive action from Robert Mueller to save and use his political leverage. This is not about laws broken; this is about political leverage to be retained.

Democrat dossier desperation destroys decorum by Thomas Lifson – “A window into the deception and corruption at the heart of the modern Democratic Party has opened, and like vampires fleeing sunshine, those implicated are flinging up obstacles to view.”

My jaw dropped last night watching the bitterness of a discussion on the subject last night on Martha MacCallum’s Fox News show. … The segment pitted together two influential professional political consultants: Michael Caputo and Zac Petkanas.
There are so many contrasts at so many levels between the two that they illuminate the two camps into which America is divided. The way they argue, the way they look. the background, and the facial expressions all depict Trump America versus Democrat America.

The Russian collusion narrative is falling apart. There will be many embarrassed politicians in the near future by John Dietrich –

This “dossier” was an obvious fraud and no one in the intelligence community believed otherwise. People who claimed it might possibly have value were deceiving the public. They did this because it was the only thing they had to justify an investigation of the Donald Trump campaign. According to the Wall Street Journal, the dossier “became a factor in Obama administration decisions to launch an FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.”
This would all be a very humorous incident except for the fact that the “dossier” was used for such a nefarious purpose.

There is a war on. This time, both sides are fully engaged and the various swamp underground movements are at action levels not seen since the French efforts just prior to D-Day.

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Attack! Attack! Attack! (even with blanks)

Dossier wielded by Democrats shows only Clinton campaign collusion with Russians By Rowan Scarborough – “For over a year, the Hillary Clinton campaign, other Democrats and liberal pundits have pummeled President Trump and his men with one main weapon: a dossier.”

Since the dossier’s first memo hit town in June 2016, none of its core collusion charges has been proved. There has been no confirmation by any public pronouncement or a leak from Congress’ two intelligence committees or from special counsel Robert Mueller.

That did not stop the Clinton campaign from attacking Mr. Trump. Neither has it stopped congressional Democrats, especially members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, from reading the dossier’s sensational charges into the Congressional Record and on the network news. Based on the dossier, they publicly accused people of felonies while knowing the document remained unverified.
A source knowledgeable about the House intelligence committee probe told The Times that none of Mr. Steele’s collusion scenarios has been confirmed after months of interviewing witnesses.

Yet Democrats and the left-wing press have continued to vouch for the dossier, some to this day.

Hillary’s very own Russian collusion connection By Wesley Pruden – “The Clinton can is as full of worms as her harshest critics ever imagined it was, and now the worms are turning.”

Senate Democrats warned against double standard for female judicial nominees By Alex Swoyer – “The week will begin with a vote on a pick to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, proceed to the three women and finish with a vote on Stephanos Bibas, another appeals court nominee.” It’s not only gender, it’s religion being used to obstruct confirmation of judicial nominees.

Mr. McConnell had to set up votes to head off filibusters on each of the nominees after Democrats insisted on forcing them to go through all the procedural hurdles.

“This pointless obstruction is designed simply to waste time, not change an outcome — and it won’t,” Mr. McConnell said.
Democrats said Justice Eid is too conservative … One Democrat also tried to tie Ms. Barrett to what he called a “hate group,” … “Mitch McConnell’s actions today to jam through four controversial appellate court nominees is dangerous … “well outside of the mainstream” … Mr. Grassley’s suggestion that Democrats are using a double standard to deny women confirmation is misleading … the rush to confirm the judges … trying to accomplish through stacking the courts with extreme nominees
Mr. McConnell said the new judges marked a change in philosophy from the Obama era, when he said the president’s goal for judicial nominees was “the ability to empathize with certain groups over others.”

The squealing is quite something, but nothing new and, as usual, completely personal rather than substantive or reality based. The need for a judiciary that sticks to the law rather than to constructed identity idioms is blatant and urgent.

Benghazi Liar Schiff Now Lies about Uranium One by Daniel John Sobieski – “Rep. Schiff had no problem with intel leaks to the New York Times, but an intelligence committee chairman giving the President a heads-up that his transition team was in fact caught up in surveillance by his own government is out of bounds?” This is an example of why the swamp is so dire a threat.

that is what Schiff is doing, whistling past his party’s political graveyard and ignoring evidence of crimes that, yes, make Watergate look like a third-rate burglary and the treason of the Rosenbergs look like a misdemeanor,
Schiff, as we know, is no stranger to partisan efforts to distract and is a veteran of using lies, false charges, and obfuscation to distract the American people from the crimes and corruption of Team Obama and Team Clinton. He shamelessly defended the incompetence and criminal negligence of Obama and Clinton in Benghazi

The Democrats’ Pathology by Henry Oliner – “It’s a bit difficult for Democrats to claim credibility on judging Trump’s psychological fitness while Kathy Griffin is hoisting a bloody severed head.”

Failing to defeat Trump in the election, the Democrats have worked endlessly to deflect their humiliation with denials, demonization, conspiracies, and pathological diagnosis. These are not new political tactics. Although they are amplified more, they remain pathetic and ineffective.
Hofstadter’s anti-intellectualism has echoed ever since to explain any election the left loses. For a country that is anti-intellectual, we seem to lead the world in Nobel prizes in all fields of science and the arts. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Tesla and thousands of high-tech startups that have dramatically changed the way we work and live have solid American roots. No country can match us in startups.

Nor does the intellectual left explain their wide support of the most deadly and nefarious political movements from Mao to Chavez. The left confuses intellectualism with credentialism.
Hofstadter and Franks attributed their party’s loss to a pathology of the voters. The rejection of their candidates and their ideas was not a rational response, but some kind of social or psychological malfunction.
Democrats are revulsed today from tools they created handed to their worst nightmare. Yet they propose more tools that are more dangerous to our liberty than the problems they address.
The violence carried out in the name of political correctness, the ’ends justify the means’ mentality using moral supremacy to justify immoral acts, and their gaslighting that faults those who reject their arrogance all raise questions of their psychological fitness.
Perhaps the Democrats suffer from severe denial. Anosognosia is not simply denial of a problem, but the genuine inability to recognize that a problem exists.

Efforts to identify strategic and communication failures have excluded the recognition of the rejection of their policies and their ideas. Criticizing those who reject you is not productive to making the changes required to win. It has become an obsession bordering on the pathological.

The Maduro regime has more global, socialist support than you think by Jazz Shaw – “The overthrow of what used to pass for democracy in Venezuela (such as it was) is now complete.”

Maduro isn’t in too much peril because both China and Russia have stated that they don’t intend to punish the dictator or participate in any actions against him. But it turns out that Venezuela’s ruler has more friends than just those two nations and some of them are in surprising places.
But the biggest shock, at least to me, is the support Maduro is receiving from the man who is predicted by many to possibly become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain if Theresa May falls from power over all of the Brexit unrest. That man is Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Just how insane has our world become these days? And how deep are the roots of socialism and the globalist left around the world, allowing such attitudes to be so prevalent?

What’s happening in Venezuela right now is nothing short of a catastrophe. People are literally starving to death and being urged by their own government to hunt rabbits and feral cats and dogs to sustain themselves. The nation’s rich farmlands which once produced enough crops, poultry and beef to feed their entire continent now lie mostly empty thanks to the mismanagement and corruption of the socialist regime. Disease runs rampant as medical supplies are rationed out only to the ruling elites. People are terrified to speak openly against their government for fear of winding up in a dungeon.

These are the wages of socialism and it’s happened so many times over the course of history that it boggles the mind to think that people could still support it. And yet there is still a sizable mass of politically powerful groups around the globe who are willing to turn a blind eye to the suffering in Venezuela and cheer on the socialist cause.

America was supposed to serve as a beacon for freedom and prosperity. We remain the shining example of how a free people left to their own devices under basic rules of law can succeed and rise to become a global superpower in a few generations. But much of the world is still mired in the belief that socialism or communism is somehow more “fair” to the people. A great man once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It appears that insanity is built into our genetic makeup around much of the globe.

What Is ‘Sacred’ to the Modern Left? by Trevor Thomas – “I think the most telling thing about General John Kelly’s press briefing last week was when he lamented the things no longer held “sacred” in our country today.”

Women, life, religion, marriage, family, hard work, the military, et al. are no longer widely held sacred in American culture because the values that demand such have largely been abandoned and attacked by the modern left. … Especially targeted are any values deemed “Christian.”
Entertained by the vulgar, informed by the ignorant, and educated from a godless Darwinian worldview, it should come as little surprise that tens of millions of Americans have little to no idea what is supposed to be sacred. …

What can those who kneel for a lie understand about truth and justice? How can we trust those who have waged a relentless war on the oldest and most sacred of all human institutions to grasp what is truly holy, healthy, and good for humanity? How can we trust the precious fourth estate to individuals who rarely hesitate to lie and distort in order to keep those of like mind in power? How can we expect those who peddle goods for votes in order to maintain power to serve sacrificially and keep the nation’s best interests at heart?
In addition to undoing the work of our founders – often “interpreting” the U.S. Constitution beyond recognition – for decades, the Democratic Party has worked hard to ensure that Americans be governed according to what modern liberals hold as “sacred.” Aided and abetted by the efforts of their like-minded allies in the media and academia, through the courts, Congress, and the White House, American Democrats have given legal legitimacy and political cover to the profane.

Google Should Practice What It Preaches On Net Neutrality by the Investor’s Business Daily – “Google has called for “the free flow of information” on the internet. How does that square with its YouTube subsidiary’s apparent bias against conservative content? Answer: It doesn’t.”

On Monday, PragerU filed suit against Google (GOOGL) for singling out dozens of PragerU videos for censorship only because they are conservative. YouTube did this, the suit claims, by labeling the videos as “inappropriate” for younger or sensitive viewers — making them unavailable to anyone in a “restricted” viewing setting — or by “demonetizing” them, which means PragerU doesn’t get ad revenue, even if the videos are widely viewed.
Yet all of these companies piously proclaim that they are dedicated to “net neutrality.” As Google put it on its own website, the internet must be a “level playing field” where people can “reach users on an equal footing.”

Deconstructing the Climate Demagoguery of the Wine Country Wildfire Tragedies by Jim Steele – “As sure as the winds will blow, climate demagogues hijack every human tragedy to amplify fears of rising CO2 concentrations. Despite that fact other critical factors were keys…” Find out about the factors that contributed to the California tragedy and how they fit into weather, climate, and seasonal atmospheric patterns.

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Played for patsies … so many scandals, so much denial and dissonance

Is a media reckoning looming for Hillary? By Thomas Lifson – “one thing that journalists hate is being played for patsies.”

Right now, the MSM is ignoring the story as much as possible, but the cofferdam has too many leaks. The presence of aggrieved, name-brand reporters at the NYT and WaPo is important, because their work cannot be dismissed as Fox News or Breitbart. The two papers operate as pilot fish for the rest of the media.

How Many Democratic Scandals Does It Take For The Media To Give Them Proper Coverage? by Joseph A. Wulfsohn – “There are plenty of controversies that can be discussed, but there are six politically damaging stories in particular that Democrats would rather not talk about (and apparently, the media as well).”

Trump has won the civil war where it counts — with voters by David M. Drucker – “The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable.” Those calling the President “Reckless, outrageous, and undignified” need to look in the mirror except that they are looking for peer points, not reality. Those opposing Trump seem to always be very sore losers.

The Republican civil war is real. The institutions that make up the party, from Congress to think tanks to prominent members of the conservative media, continue to resist Trump’s populist strain of Republicanism and his takeover of the party.

But for the most part, the voters that empower those institutions feel differently. To be sure, some Republican voters would prefer that Trump calm his Twitter habit and act more presidential. Eventually, their patience could run out. But for the most part, the president is giving Republican voters what they want. In that sense, Trump has already won.

The Russia Dossier Story: A Perfect Storm of Clinton Deception, Media Irresponsibility, and Democratic Moral Blindness by David French – “A bombshell Washington Post story reveals Hillary’s campaign and the DNC were behind the dossier, after all.”

It would be easy, at this point, to start to wander down the rabbit hole, to wonder how much of the so-called “Russia controversy” is based on the Clinton campaign’s opposition research, but let’s not speculate. The truth will emerge. Instead, let’s do something else: Let’s consider how the Russian-dossier story has thus far represented a perfect storm of classic Clintonism, media irresponsibility, and Democratic moral blindness.
“Sanctimonious lying” is Clintonworld’s M.O. From Bill to Hillary to key members of her team, they lie constantly, repetitively, and with style, and the lies often conceal no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle politics designed to win races and destroy political opponents. The lies here are important.
Then there’s the media irresponsibility.
Finally, let’s talk for a moment about Democratic moral blindness.

That rabbit hole and the tactics described provide a hint about what is likely to be the ongoing defense that will be visible in response to the revelations. Here’s one where ‘apologists’ is the label used for the defensive.

Still sure that non-citizens don’t vote? By Jazz Shaw – “You’ll probably be hearing more about this in the coming weeks, but Pennsylvania election officials have revealed that “hundreds” of non-citizen immigrants may have voted in various elections over the past sixteen years.”

Apologists for these programs will be quick to latch on to the small numbers repeatedly stressed in this article, but let’s keep in mind that this is only one category of improper voter registration. The people involved here are ostensibly legal immigrants who were obtaining drivers licenses and identification cards and were mistakenly registered. What about the booming business of black market, fake ID documents out there? (And yes, it’s a massive market.) Once you have one of those in your possession all sorts of opportunities open up, even if you’re an illegal alien.

More digging is required before this story heads down the memory hole. This is far more likely to be the tip of the iceberg than some statistically insignificant aberration.

Every anti-physics nut job should write her “Not Even Wrong” by LuboÅ¡ Motl – “The subsequent events have proven that there exist millions of people in the society who viscerally hate physics and who are willing to pay lots of money to talking heads who repeat some anti-physics populist gibberish sufficiently many times.”

What makes me so infinitely angry about similar nasty bitches is the fact that the expansion of this garbage proves the disappearance if not reversal of meritocracy in the society. I know numerous ingenious physicists – or mathematicians or some people in between – who could write amazing books with some precious, high-brow content. They could earn some well-deserved money for that. However, the society is so screwed that there’s really not enough demand for any of the things that have a value. There is much more demand for clones of Smolin and Woit that just spit at physics. That’s what millions of intellectually inferior readers want to read about and that’s how many authors and P.R. figures may make money – and they are already doing so.

Swamp-Shrink Rising at the Crack of Don By Deborah C. Tyler – “There are two kinds of ethical offenses a psychologists might commit: objective and subjective.”

An objective transgression happens when a psychologist is knowingly dishonest to other people, and a subjective error occurs when a psychologist succumbs to being dishonest with himself. Objective errors of omission happen when a psychologist fails to meet minimal standards of care while performing professional activities; objective errors of commission occur when a personal motive leads a psychologist to misuse his position for personal gratification.

Subjective errors occur when psychologists are dishonest with themselves about how their own biases, beliefs, and interests might affect professional judgment.

Psychologist John Gartner has committed all three ethical offenses in psycho-diagnosing the current president as an out-of-control “malignant narcissist” and in declaring President Trump psychologically unfit to serve.
John Gartner’s dishonesty with himself is his most serious offense, and it typifies the imprisonment of the entire field of clinical psychology in self-imposed anti-God, left-wing captivity.
Absolute ignorance demands absolute mental obedience. It destroys objectivity, reason, and compassion. The American left wing, the Democratic Party, the APA, and its member John Gartner crouch in that narrow cell of absolute and relative fallacies that perpetuate the unremitting hate of their closed minds. It is why they cannot rationally debate issues, but rage about nonexistent racism, sexism, homophobia, blah, blah, blah. It is why John Gartner violated the ethical principles of his profession to psychobabble against Donald Trump.

The current public square is a gold mine for any observer of deviant behavior but the first caveat for any such observer is to be self-honest and to ‘know thyself.’  

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Swamp cleaning has to deal with angry critters

This Flake got snowed — and soon will melt away By Ralph Z. Hallow – “Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake unburdened himself and burdened the rest of us Tuesday with what may rank as one of the worst-delivered nationally televised speeches in the history of the U.S. Senate.” There are those who think outbursts like this are proof that the President is in trouble. Others see projection and delusion.

Seems Mr. Trump out-insulted the junior senator from Arizona, who had written and published a book devoted to insulting Mr. Trump. In that contest to see who can stream used water farther, the president won. Now Mr. Flake knows how Little Ted felt.

OK, the discourse in the Senate is beneath Mr. Flake, thanks to Mr. Trump’s bad qualities of speech and temperament.
Mr. Flake’s problem is that he doesn’t really get “E Pluribus Unum.” He doesn’t understand why fears continue to grow that America is becoming the salad bowl so many of us feared instead of the melting pot that it was founded to be — that created something new and original in the world — an American, with a unique culture and worldview.

He thinks “America first” is, well, dangerously nationalistic.

Democrats in denial by Damon Linker –

And that brings us to where we are today, with large numbers of elite Democrats preferring to rant impotently on Twitter about the president and the GOP agenda instead of doing the hard and at times painful work of overcoming that impotence at the ballot box.
Then there are the Democratic donors and activists who would rather spend their money and their time chasing the pipe dream of removing Trump from office through impeachment.

What the Left Hopes to Achieve by Attacking the Founders by Walter E. Williams –

What goes unappreciated is just why America’s leftists’ movement attacks the Founders. If they can delegitimize the Founders themselves, it goes a long way toward their agenda of delegitimizing the founding principles of our nation.
The average parent, taxpayer, and donor has absolutely no idea of the bizarre lessons that college professors are teaching students.

After Trump dossier revelation, FBI is next by Byron York –

why did the story break when it did? Credit the much-maligned Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The California Republican has been pursuing the dossier more aggressively than anyone else, and it was his Oct. 4 subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that handled the dossier, that finally shook loose the information.
It was an astonishing turn: the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency agreeing to fund an ongoing opposition research project being conducted by one of the candidates in the midst of a presidential election.
the importance of the Democrats’ involvement in the dossier is that it could be one step on the road to a bigger story. What did the FBI do with the dossier material? Did judges make surveillance decisions in the Trump-Russia investigation based in whole or in part on the dossier? To what degree is the “salacious and unverified” dossier the source of what we think we know about allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign?

In the end, a House subpoena squeezed the information out of key players in the who-funded-the-dossier side of the story. But so far, the FBI has been much harder to crack.

A Crime Or Just ‘Baloney’? Hillary Clinton Russian Scandal Keeps Getting Worse by Investor’s Business Daily –

As evidence grows of actual collusion and possible illegal pay-for-play ties between Hillary Clinton, her closest political allies and Russian officials, the former secretary of state and presidential candidate declares on C-Span “it’s the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone.” She called the stories “debunked.”

Far from it.
The sudden re-emergence of the Clinton-Russia nexus — we reported on it last year — is mostly thanks to reports in The Hill and The Daily Caller last week showing that the FBI and Justice Department had found evidence that Russia had bribed a U.S. uranium trucking firm to further Moscow’s reach into the U.S. atomic energy industry.
This is just one of a number of scandals that Hillary Clinton has embroiled herself in over the last few years. And the revelations just keep coming — turning what was initially claimed as minor contretemps into major commissions of crime. And yet, her response is always the same. Deny, call it “baloney,” until the painful truth emerges.
At a certain point, a mass of facts begin to coalesce into a pattern — a pattern of criminality. One of the great triumphs of the Democrats in the past decade is they’ve managed to convince much of the public, the media and even some in Congress that the 2016 election was somehow stolen by Donald Trump working in cahoots with the Russians.

Trump’s Malaysia Gambit: Call It Another Win By Ned Ryun – “Less than two weeks ago there was a bit of news—little reported in the United States, but more on that later—that Malaysia had cut off all imports from North Korea.” The contrast between the Flake, McCain, Corker, and Democrat view of Trump as President and the reality continues to grow.

Only President Trump and his foreign policy advisers seemed to understand the importance of working with an influential, duly elected regional leader on a broader agenda important strategically to both the United States and Malaysia, and other allies in the region.
We’ve seen what happens when we have a president unwilling to defend and uphold our nation’s interests at home and abroad. It will take years for us to recover, but the Trump White House is digging in and rebuilding that trust and that national interest one ally at a time and whether the media elite and its friends like it or not.

Do Private Uranium Investors Have a $3B Claim against Obama Administration Officials? By Joseph Somsel – Congress has been a bit weak in oversight but private interests have been pushing on the many Obama administration scandals. Here’s another example.

It appears that members of the Obama Administration may have used the extensive regulation and secrecy integral to US uranium operations to bankrupt a $3 billion private firm, and civil litigation, with very different and often more permissive rules of discovery and deposition, may be feasible as a mechanism of getting at the rot. Some questionable federal government actions reported here in American Thinker in 2009 could be the basis for a civil suit against former Obama Administration officials.
Chants of “Lock Her Up” would set a very risky precedent for criminal prosecution of losing presidential candidates as would throwing outgoing administration appointees in jail. But going the O.J. Simpson route of civil cases by private citizens stripping ill-gotten gains from bad actors in government could a meaningful deterrent to future wrong doing.

Another graffiti “hate crime” is solved By Jazz Shaw – Yet another one bites the dust and the NFL kneelers might want to take note.

After a massive investigation involving school, state and federal authorities, the culprit has been found. Unfortunately for the activists pointing to these events as evidence of how awful the world is, this particular hateful racist was, shall we say… someone who doesn’t fit the usual profile. (Washington Post)
This isn’t the first time one of these incidents had turned out to be a hoax. In fact, it’s far from the first. What’s more noteworthy here (once again) is the way the story is being characterized both by school officials and the Washington Post. First of all, you won’t find the word “hoax” anywhere in the entire linked article.

Lies and Manipulation: The Sorry State of Global Climate Alarmismby Vijay Jayaraj –

Weather always holds risks—storms large and small, droughts, floods, heat waves, and cold snaps have been with us throughout human history. But the climate itself has been anything but dangerous over the last 150 years, and the evidence is there for everyone to see from the polar ice caps to the paddy fields of India.

It is impossible to save a planet that is not dying, and it is a disgrace to lead people into false fears concerning climate change.

Getting the straight scoop is rather difficult. The swamp culture is determined to keep and maintain an alternate reality and that must be skimmed off first.

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It’s a matter of trust: rogue institutions, self protection, integrity

Institutions gone rogue By Richard W. Rahn – “Many government organizations hide scandalous behavior behind noble causes.”

Domestic and international government institutions and agencies are created on the premise that they will make things better for the people. But all too often, those who lead these institutions and agencies drift away from the core mission or become corrupted. When they do so, they undermine faith in civil society.

Government institutions become particularly dangerous when they have police powers or sufficient funds that they can spend to threaten or intimidate critics.
Citizens rely on law enforcement agencies to be competent, honest and impartial. Yet, Americans are faced with a situation where the previous two U.S. attorneys general — Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch — as well as former FBI Director James Comey and current Internal Revenue Service Director John Koskinen, all apparently were not truthful while under oath.
A number of international institutions have also gone rogue with dangerous implications for both economic growth and civil liberties around the world.
Part of the solution is to shrink the size of the rogue institutions while requiring greater transparency and accountability.

An example of the self protection behavior is Maryland attorney general seeks to derail probe into Hillary Clinton’s lawyers By Stephen Dinan – “He said it was unfair to David E. Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.”

The commission changed its rules after Mr. Clevenger filed his grievance, apparently to head off any future attempts, and Mr. Frosh, the attorney general, now says the new rules apply retroactively, since it was only a procedural and not substantive change.
“Normally, when an attorney is accused of misconduct, bar prosecutors order that attorney to respond to the complaint in writing and then share a copy of the response with the person who filed the complaint. If Maryland had followed its normal procedures, Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers would have to choose between answering the complaint or asserting their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination,” he said.

The Trump collusion with Russia effort is an example of frivolous as it has yielded no evidence of its thesis. Clinton is an entirely different manner and her ability to slide has been due to a lot of people who have put themselves into an awkward position to assist her defense.

How the liberal leanings of Google, Facebook shape the political landscape By Jeff Mordock – “Algorithms have become a modern-day Cronkite deciding what news reaches the eyes and ears of many Americans.” The problem here is that blaming a company or its methods is an escape. The real issue belongs with the citizen who needs to know enough about history and civics to put perceptions in context and needs to deploy an appropriate skepticism and discernment in his acceptance of information.

Robert Epstein tried a simple experiment in the run-up to the presidential election: running searches on Google and Yahoo for political topics.
Those algorithms have become the modern-day Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, deciding what news reaches the eyes and ears of Americans in an increasingly Google-Facebook-Twitter media environment.
The companies have denied the claims. They insist the algorithms are designed to capture the most-read news stories across the political spectrum. A computer program cannot distinguish between liberal and conservative, they say.
Patents suggest search engines may be increasingly tailoring results to the individual’s history, promoting websites or story themes the searcher seems to select the most.
“If 70 percent of the news media is liberal, you can expect there to be some unequal results to come from a search engine,” Mr. Diakopoulos said.
“When accused of a liberal bias, these companies say, ‘It’s not us; it’s the algorithm,” he said. “That is so hilarious because they programmed the algorithm.”

“What Google and Facebook lost with a Trump victory is cronyism,” Mr. Motley said.
Although Mr. Trump’s Twitter account gets the most attention, his campaign said it was Facebook that helped them win the presidential election.
“The social media companies will engage in full-scale censorship with the approval or rejection of advertising content in the next presidential election,” he said. “Trump’s advertising will be critiqued in a way that they will not do to the Democrats.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford Press Conference: U.S. Troop Deaths and Niger Mission… by sundance – the ambush and killing of four green berets has become a political issue. Here is some background.

Several years ago we wrote about how those massive stores of former terror armament looted from the Gadhaffi caches was going to be a major -yet unreported- story. We’re not talking about a few pounds of yellow-cake, or a few Man-Pads. No, we’re talking about 20,000+ shoulder fired SAAMs, Stinger Missiles, hundreds of Man-Pads and thousands of canisters of mustard gas and serin componentry.
For almost six full years EVERY ACTION in the region was about strategic retrieval of the “stuff” from the Libyan garage sale. The garage sale President Obama and Hillary Clinton put up the signs for.

Irony – Rep Frederica Wilson Wrote Legislation Demanding DoD Policy That Framed Lethal Mission of Sgt. Johnson… by sundance.

Representative Frederica Wilson, a devoted member of the professional grievance club, has been at the epicenter of a story surrounding the death of Sergeant La David Johnson in Niger ever since Wilson politicized the bereavement call of President Trump, and the bereavement of Sgt. Johnson’s widow, her constituent, Myeshia Johnson.

Representative Johnson has also claimed she was unaware of why we are carrying out military engagements in Niger, and has called the mission “President Trump’s Benghazi“.

Given that level of expressed outrage it might surprise people to know that it was Representative Frederica Wilson who personally constructed H.R. 3383 / S.1632, joint House and Senate legislation that directs the State Department and Dept of Defense to execute military missions in Niger.

CNN face plant trying to troll Trump By Thomas Lifson – “Evidently, the lack of self-awareness at CNN has reached a critical stage, leading the cable news pioneer to embarrass itself while trying to put down President Trump.”

No doubt, the “fake news” label applied to CNN by Trump really stings. But by adopting a tone of Olympian infallibility as a reporter of facts, while by implication looking down on Trump, the 30-second promotional video CNN tweeted out yesterday enters the realm of self-satire
Condescension as a communications strategy is rarely useful, and when dealing with a mass audience, always a mistake.
We’re not talking about Candy Crowley arguing with Mitt Romney … We’re not even talking about transparently partisan reporters like Jim Sciutto or Jim Acosta. We’re talking about CNN political analysts like Julian Zelizer
We’re talking about CNN host Chris Cuomo, who, in addition to his hopeless bias, regularly offers factually impaired assertions on every media platform available to him.
When people are laughing at you, it is impossible to be taken seriously. Trump Derangement Syndrome has struck CNN and is taking a terrible toll.

President Trump Is Right: The Media Escape Accountability by Shaun Mccutcheon – “President Trump recently made headlines for another necessary critique of the left-leaning mainstream media.”

Democrats immediately cried out in outrage. … Meanwhile, the liberal media predictably played victim.
They all face an inconvenient truth: Donald Trump is right. The liberal media continue to escape any semblance of accountability, as a handful of left-wing media CEOs control the prevailing narrative and spread their biased message to the rest of the country. Cable news networks like CNN operate under the guise of objectivity, only to flood the airwaves with falsehoods about the Trump administration for political purposes.
Politically involved Americans are strictly regulated, but biased media personalities can hide behind the veil of objectivity while engaging in blatant political advocacy.
The emergence of right-leaning websites like the Daily Caller, Independent Journal Review, and Washington Free Beacon provides Americans with more news sources than ever before. Not only do these new alternatives challenge left-leaning reporting with more factual narratives, but they also hold the long-standing media monopoly accountable to the American people.

If Americans detect bias in a news story, they’ll just go somewhere else for their information.

Democrats’ George W. Bush Nostalgia Smacks of Political Opportunism By Scott Jennings

This newfound Bush nostalgia smacks not of legitimate respect but of political opportunism, the latest harbinger of the rising tribalism plaguing American politics. How shallow must your political beliefs be if you are willing to tout the words of a man you used to think was a stupid racist war criminal who should be in jail?
The flippancy with which Democrats treat their political rhetoric is astounding. Yesterday’s war criminals, invalids, tax cheats and murderers are today’s indispensable statesmen, not because of their principles and decency but because Democrats lost an election and still can’t figure out why.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to own or understand it. People as lost and empty as today’s Democrats wouldn’t know shame or regret if Trump Tower landed on their head.

Trump voters are not animals to be studied by elitists on ‘safari’ by Matthew Walther – “Since last November, we have had any number of scientifically minded visitors.”

It’s not clear to me what any of these sojourners hoped to find. Why President Trump won the election? The antidote to “fake news”? The secret to political success? The first thing anyone who talks to Americans who are not part of the bicoastal political allegiance industrial complex finds is that neither of our major parties, in theory or in practice, is representative of most people’s views or aspirations. Trump’s America contains multitudes.
The problem with the Third Way was not that voters rejected its policies. No one even knew what they were. What voters objected to was its existence, the vision it was created to perpetuate of governance as a cold technocratic exercise in meta-calculation in which they were each variables meant to respond with a crudely mechanical regularity to a certain number of proposed affordable inducements.
This was not because voters are irresponsible or childish or too stupid to know what’s good for them. It is because they are know all too well that they are human and would appreciate not being treated otherwise.
People in the “real” America aren’t opposed to jobs programs or improvements to the Affordable Care Act. They’re opposed to treating these things like the more or less viable conclusion of painstaking data analysis rather than the dictates of justice or the fruit of common sense.

“So these two millennials are getting ready to sacrifice a goat…” By Jazz Shaw – “when we have more than half of people in their twenties thinking that astrology is an actual science, something has clearly gone wrong.”

Ten Psychological Tactics for Avoiding Climate Science Accountability by Duncan Smith – “Ten psychological tactics for avoiding accountability and how to address them” by Kelly O’Donnell (PhyD). According to the article, here are the “tactical tricks” … it appears that there are psychologists observing behavior in these interesting times. The O’Donnell post at CHS Alliance is a good introduction to cognitive dissonance. Besides the list of tactics, there are suggestions for avoiding falling into their trap.

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The Front Page isn’t saying much

In the Washington Times today are reports that much of the ‘Russian Collusion’ story stems from the appointment of a community organizer as ambassador to Russia in 2012. It seems the Russian government did not take too well to a U.S. Ambassador organizing resistance movements there.

Another story is about how ex-Trump aides are fighting back against the scurrilous smear campaign they endured by working with the FBI on criminal investigations and pushing ethics and court complaints.

I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore By L. Todd Wood – “Black America wrong to blame white racism for woes.” Many might sympathize with his observations and ‘enough is enough’ attitude.

The coverage on the Front Page is rather thin for many other news publishers as it has to spread to fill the space there. There is only so far you can Fake the News for that so many stories get buried below the fold or inside in curious spots if they get coverage at all. Then there is ‘social media’ and Drudge is warning that those who repeat fake stories my end up liable for libel. Caveat Emptor! The saga at Quicksand Bottoms in Hallelujah Trail comes to mind.

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Deceit scars people for life

The Hill posted an item on Russian Collusion that is causing quite a stir. Here’s a sampler.

Obama’s Russian collusion By Jerold Levoritz:

The Hill’s release of information on the collusion between American corporate interests, U.S. government agencies and Russia seems to be all-new material. The text outlines the failure of the U.S. government under Obama to take account of information generated by the FBI on attempts by Russia to gain a financial advantage in the U.S. nuclear industry.
The article includes redacted documents with official date and time stamps. The identity of whoever leaked these documents will become an issue for those wanting to deflect attention from the article’s contents, but the shocking details ought to prevent its source(s) from becoming the center of attention.

Time to subpoena Obama on his ties to Russia by Don Surber:

Whoa. No Drama Obama just became “Dynasty” meets “Dallas.”
Let’s see, on his watch, this man who received a Nobel for his efforts in nuclear disarmament:

  1. Gave pallets of money to Uran so it could nuke up

  2. Allowed North Korea to nuke up

  3. Cleared the sale of uranium to Russia

World War III should be named after him.

What Did Mueller Know? New Documents Show Clinton-Russia Scandal Dwarfs Anything on Trump’s Side by Tyler O’neil:

Contrary to the Left’s favorite narrative, any Russia scandal has always been worse for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Recent revelations confirmed this Tuesday, and even implicated the special prosecutor at the center of the Trump-Russia investigation, former FBI director Robert Mueller.
“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill. “And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions.”

Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation, was at the helm of the FBI from 2001 until 2013, so it seems likely he was culpable in keeping this investigation secret — at the very time when it would have been most pivotal for U.S. national security.
In light of such a scandal, it seems particularly damning that members of the intelligence community have been shamelessly leaking allegations against Donald Trump involving potential Russian connections. Every story in this direction turns out to be a dead end.

Attorney: DoJ blocked FBI undercover testimony on Russia bribery-extortion probe by Ed Morrissey:

How did the Department of Justice keep the FBI probe into Russian bribery and extortion a secret from Congress since it began in 2009? The attorney for an undercover confidential witness claims that the DoJ threatened her client with prosecution if he blew the whistle. Victoria Toensing tells The Hill’s John Solomon and Alison Spann that she has memos to back up that claim, raising even more questions as to why this information never emerged until this week
All of this is mighty curious, and not just a little suspicious. If we’re going full-hysteric on Russian interference and possible collusion, then let’s make sure we’re looking at its full scope — starting with the strange “reset button” from Hillary Clinton in March 2009, the shocking reversal on missile defense in Poland and Czechia in September 2009, and the “more flexibility” comment from Barack Obama to Dmitri Medvedev in 2012 while castigating Mitt Romney for calling Russia our most dangerous geopolitical foe. If the revelations from Solomon and Spann over the last couple of days turn out to be valid, we may find some explanations for some of these odd events.

The case of Fusion GPS by Scott Johnson fits in here, too.

The so-called strategic intelligence firm Fusion GPS is behind the infamous Trump Dossier. The dossier is one of the keys to the anti-Trump hysteria in which we have been engulfed since the election. Who paid for the Trump Dossier? The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to figure out what happened and at whose behest. Fusion GPS, however, won’t say. The company’s lawyer has submitted a 17-page list of reasons why the company won’t comply. Something is happening here. It is a most peculiar matter.

Remember “San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a frequent Trump foil, reportedly accused Trump on Thursday of “genocide” for not doing more to aid in the relief efforts”? The contrast is a Disturbing Video – U.S. Aid To Puerto Rico Thrown in Dumpsters… by sundance:

a disturbing video shows Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State showing boxes and boxes of food, water and supplies being discarded by Puerto Rican officials in dumpsters, obviously not reaching the intended residents.

The FBI had previously opened an investigation into the level of fraud and corruption within Puerto Rico’s municipal authorities and reports of widespread theft of U.S. aid by officials of the local governments. This report on FEMA aid being corrupted by these same officials does not come as a surprise; indeed, unfortunately, it is the norm – not the exception.

NFL cash cow dries up by Don Surber:

Broadcasters applauded this politicization of another form of entertainment.
I fail to see how disrespecting our flag is civil.

I fail to see the dialogue in calling our nation oppressive to black people, which had a black president when this protest began.

I fail to see how turning your back on the new president is love.

Oh and “colonizing”? We need to stop teaching Marxism and go back to teaching history in college because revisionist history like that scars people for life.
We are having a dialogue that James Brown wanted.

Money talks.

Losers kneel.
Treat the NFL like we treated Standard Oil.

The problem is that the NFL is doubling down on an indefensible position based on falsehoods. That never ends easy.

On that Marxism v History idea, The Ken Burns version, cont’d by Scott Johnson:

In place of a fair representation of the men who fought the war, it gives us voices ranging from disillusion to shame. The Ken Burns version should not become the received version with our silence or acquiescence.
Providence has posted Mac’s review of the Burns/Novick/War documentary in two parts: “Mission Failure: The Burns & Novick “The Vietnam War” Misses its Target| A Review (Part I)”and “A Failure to Discern: Burns’ & Novick’s ‘The Vietnam War’ is Bad History | A Review (Part II).”

Mac is one of the many veterans of the war who is proud of his service but whose like was somehow overlooked by Burns et al. in the ten years they worked on the documentary. He is also a scholar and student of the war.

… “I was struck by the absence of certain voices.” …
The Ken Burns version cannot rightly be ignored without dishonor either to our history and to our veterans living and dead. I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. Burns and his colleagues assert their will to power by controlling the past. We need Mac and the others who have risen to Burns’s challenge to provide the true ground of resistance.

There are scars and they don’t fade.

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Trump dismantles Obama’s ‘imperial’ presidency, rescinds dubious orders By Dave Boyer and that makes some people very, very unhappy.

While other presidents have rescinded policies of their predecessors, the extent of Mr. Trump’s actions is rare, said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation Institute for Constitutional Government.

“He is undoing unilateral executives actions of a prior president that went beyond the executive authority of the president,” Mr. von Spakovsky said. “Trump is not being given credit or praise the way he should for what he is accomplishing: restoring the rule of law, bringing the executive branch back within the parameters and limits of the Constitution and restoring to Congress authority that prior presidents have stolen.”

He said Mr. Trump “is reversing the unfortunate trend we have seen, especially during the Obama administration, of the move towards an imperial presidency that disregards the limits on its power.”

Pope Francis, biblically challenged, blames climate change — again By Cheryl K. Chumley

Once again, Pope Francis has pressed forward the mantra that much of the world’s problems — hunger, overrun borders — are due to man’s failures to stop wars and address climate change.

Not so, according to the Bible. But what’s a little Bible-based reading between the pope’s political devices?
It’s pretty much the pope’s thing — to call for global regulatory controls on environmental matters based on his view that climate change causes wars, hunger and so forth.

More government. More government control.
But the Bible paints a different story of the roots of war, one that has more to do with the designs of human hearts than the designs of human-made governments. Now if only the pope would quit straying into politics and meddling into realms he doesn’t belong, and focus more on the Good Book — where, it seems, he has plenty to learn to keep him busy.

Blacks Trashing Trump from the Pulpit By Lloyd Marcus. “his pastor gave him the same blank stare he always receives from fellow blacks when he states commonsense views that are contrary to Democrat lies believed by that most blacks.”

Jerry’s church realizes there is a war on Christianity. Jerry said it is mindboggling that his church has hired attorneys to defend itself from relentless infringements on its religious liberty. And yet, his entire church is loyal Democrat voters, the party leading the charge against Christianity. Jerry said it is as insane as giving your enemy a hammer to hit you in the head and then buying a helmet for protection.
St. Augustine said a minority of truth will prevail as long as it is heard. In other words, God only requires Jerry and me to continue faithfully spreading the truth. While most of our seeds of truth falls on stony hearts and minds, some will land on fertile soil in the minds of a remnant of black youths; take root, grow, and bear good fruit.

The Evangelical Case for Wealth Creation by Mats Tunehag –

The evangelical focus has centered more on the problems associated with wealth and its production than on its positive benefits and possibilities. Statements abound on its godlessness, its idolatry, and its injustice. It is not that Sider or the evangelical community is wrong to highlight these abuses. It is simply that a one-sided emphasis on wealth’s problems rather than its possibilities is out of balance.

Wealth creation is a godly gift and command, and business is a “noble calling,” as Luther and Calvin put it, a “noble vocation,” in the words of Pope Francis. Business and wealth creation can and should be solutions to justice issues such as human trafficking and environmental challenges.
The devaluation of both wealth creation and wealth creators (perceived chiefly as cash cows for the church) is a tragedy. This is not only an abuse of the business callings in the body of Christ but also undermines the very engine necessary to adequately address poverty.
It is a fact that aid—wealth distribution—does not lift people and nations out of poverty. Wealth creation does.

A faulty retelling of ‘The Vietnam War’ – “Richard Nixon kept his promises, Ken Burns did not” By Oliver North

Mr. Nixon’s prosecution of the war in Southeast Asia is poorly told by Ken Burns in his new Public Broadcasting Service documentary “The Vietnam War.” That is but one of many reasons Mr. Burns‘ latest work is such a disappointment and a tragic lost opportunity.

It’s sad, but I’ve come to accept that the real story of the heroic American GIs in Vietnam may never be told. Like too many others, Ken Burns portrays the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the Vietnam War as pot-smoking, drug-addicted, hippie marauders.

Those with whom I served were anything but.
In a technique favored by the “progressive left,” Mr. Burns uses a small cadre of anti-war U.S. and pro-Hanoi Vietnamese “eyewitnesses” to explain the complicated policies of the U.S. government.
Ken Burns failed to keep his promise to tell all sides about the long and difficult war in Vietnam. Mr. Burns, like John Kerry, has committed a grave injustice to those of us who fought there.

The Method to Trump’s ‘Madness’ By Victor Davis Hanson.

Pollsters, pundits, and the media have vastly underestimated how many in America loathe multimillionaire celebrities, pampered athletes, and triangulating politicians—the usual targets of Trump’s invective.
Take a sampling of Trump’s most infamous tweets and adolescent outbursts—attacks on Bob Corker’s height, referencing Rex Tillerson’s IQ, the creepy description of blood oozing from a supposedly irate Megyn Kelly, or deprecating the capture and imprisonment of John McCain—and the common denominator is not just puerility and cruelty, but also retaliation. All had first attacked Trump and sometimes quite viciously.
he knows the politicians, media hacks, and celebrities who attack him are sanctimonious bullies by nature. Their professions traffic in self-righteous invective, with the expectation that they will be never be attacked in kind.

But the public enjoys seeing them taken down a notch. It is inexplicable but also eerie to chart the subsequent downward career trajectories of those who sought to engage Trump in a mud-slinging contest.
Fresh episodic targeting serves two purposes. Trump is a sort of Road Runner: gone to reply to the next provocation by the time his Wile E. Coyote critics can put their hands around his long-gone neck. The pushback against him is usually yesterday’s news drowned out by tomorrow’s new melodrama.
Trump on the parapets not only means that others to the rear are freer to make and administer rules without much presidential oversight, but also that Trump, not themselves, is the controversy. That exemption means that a cabinet official has wide parameters, with less worry that he must fight the media and his political opponents.
Trump in contrast, in gesture, accent, vocabulary, and rashness, sounds like a cigar-chomping blue-collar machinist out of our past who is said to be outrageous in his crudity only because he is condemned by those who are far more outrageous in their mannered sobriety. In some sense, Trump welcomes wounds in order to inflict greater ones on the proverbial establishment.
the Trump presidency is moving at a speed likely unmatched by his predecessors, and he is getting somewhere fast.

Three More Trump/Russia ‘Bombshells’ Turn Out To Be Duds by IBD

For nearly a year now, we’ve seen this same pattern. A headline-grabbing story about Russia “meddling” and Trump “collusion” that ends up fizzling out when the facts come in.

If Russia’s motivation in all of this wasn’t to elect Trump, but to sow discord and hostility within the U.S. — which increasingly looks like the point — then Russia’s leaders succeeded beyond their wildest imagination. And for that, they have the liberal media, not their own efforts, to thank.

very, very upset people tend to no think, or act, very rationally.

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The Hate Hoax

The uses and abuses of hate By Robert Knight – “Falsely accusing opponents with hate is a devilish tool of the anti-Christian crew.”

The perfectly good word, which oozes out of every media pore, is now so overused that it means next to nothing. Every time you turn around, someone is accused of “hate” merely for expressing disagreement.

This is not just a matter of semantics. It’s serious. When you cheapen a word, it discourages honest discussion and leads to more confusion and conflict, which is how the devil likes it. We have it on good authority that the underworld thrives on mayhem.
While the SPLC spins out of control in its hateful obsession to criminalize Christian morality, it has plenty of ideological company that also plays the “hate” card. Name the cause, and if you’re not on the progressive side, you’re — what else? — a “hater.”
As with any emotion, hate in and of itself is not wrong. In Psalm 119, for example, we’re told to “hate every false way.” There are plenty of other verses where that came from by which we are exhorted to hate evil and favor what is good.
In recent years, radical groups have charged the Scouts with “hate” for maintaining their policies even as the culture slid into decadence. Despite consistent court rulings favoring the Scouts, the pounding obviously took its toll on the weaker sisters at the top of the Scout food chain. So they caved. And caved. And caved.

All this to say, if you hate America, you must love the moral chaos swirling around us.

George Soros Funded A Study Of White Working-Class Voters Who Support Trump. Here’s What He Found by Eric Owens. — No surprises if you have had your eyes (and mind) open to reality. Those who don’t have dissonance and it shows.

The three professors behind the study do manage to accuse working-class Trump voters of secret racism. The researchers chide their study subjects for using “racially coded” language “by referencing crime, welfare dependency, and competition for housing and jobs.”

The researchers appear to perceive themselves as being above any “racially coded” language — even though the words “white,” “black,” “Hispanic,” “Latino,” “Asian,” “Chinese” and “Muslim” appear a grand total of 537 times in the study.

White working-class voters think ‘white privilege’ is a bunch of idiotic claptrap

An interesting dynamic in the study is the way in which the researchers desperately want to inject both race and the concept of “white privilege” into the study but the study participants just won’t have it.

The study participants describe “white privilege” as nonsense.
The three authors of the study thank the U.S. branch of Soros’s Open Society Foundations “for funding this study.”

“Foundations such as Open Society work tirelessly” to promote social understanding, the researchers say. “In this process, the voices of white working-class people need to be heard by institutions and other communities. This study has demonstrated that they feel politically marginalized, culturally isolated, and economically vulnerable. As a consequence of their material reality, talking about white privilege to working class white people who are working two or three jobs to keep their families fed and a roof over their heads will be a difficult task.”

Silence of the Republican Lambs By Brian C. Joondeph – “America’s culture war is on full display and the left is losing badly. Public opinion is not on the side of left-wing social justice causes and moral preening. Where to begin?”

Recall the “hand up don’t shoot” hoax, bought hook, line and sinker by the media, President Obama, and Congressional Democrats, who wasted no time in seizing the moral high ground, posing in Congress and for the cameras with their hands up. Their high ground turned out to be quicksand, but that didn’t stop them.

I’m not suggesting that Republicans engage in silly theater or stunts like their Democrat brethren do, but their silence is deafening.
Why are Republicans silent? Why are they not on the capitol steps speaking out as Democrats do at any perceived slight to their liberal agenda?

The “hoax” part seems missing in many opinions of those trying to rationalize the hate or understand their dissonance. As Knight notes, the Christian teaching is to stand up to false witness. The people are standing up. Their representatives in government? Maybe not so much.

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Wishful thinking doesn’t do the job

This morning is a yin and yang raising the question about the difference. Why did the allegations against Weinstein (and Clinton et al) stick while those against Trump did not? Feldman takes off on the Weinstein mess while Taggart and Garrison push the plight of Trump’s accusers. The two essays might help clarify the question.

Take Back Your Diamonds, Take Back Your Pearls, What Makes You Think I Was One of Weinstein’s Girls? by Clarice Feldman – “The story has laid bare the hypocrisy of the media giants, Democratic biggies, and the Hollywood virtue signalers.”

Something like 32 women have come forward, now that Weinstein seems to be powerless, to confirm his inappropriate behavior, and as soon as more of them can find publicists to write statements for them, more are likely to show up.
His troubles are far from over. He’s under investigation by law enforcement officers in Los Angeles, New York, and Scotland Yard,

Watching Harvey Weinstein Fall, Trump’s Accusers Feel Frustrated by Kendall Taggart and Jessica Garrison – “When he won, I felt like I lost.”

For all the women who have cheered as accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein force a public conversation about sexual misconduct, one small group of women has watched with frustration. They are some of the dozen women who publicly accused Donald Trump of groping or kissing them — accusations that Trump has denied.

In a sharp contrast to the women who accused Weinstein, Trump’s accusers did not see the public turn against him, the board of his company fire him, or the police launch an investigation. Instead, these women watched the man they say humiliated and abused them get elected president of the United States.

One thing that is obvious is the transaction. With Weinstein, there was fame and fortune on the line. With Trump? There is also the seriousness of the charges: rape or boorish behavior? Where was politics and power? Weinstein was a major figure in the Democratic Party for years. Trump is being lambasted as ‘lacking experience’ because he wasn’t that involved until deciding to run for President. Look for which tale is shallow and which has depth. There are reasons to be found and understood.

Trump doesn’t owe Obama anything by Michael Goodwin – “It’s nine months into the administration, and there is no rest for the hair-on-fire coverage.”

Every report is a parade of horrors that celebrates critics as truth-telling prophets. All the code words about cruelty to the poor and benefits for the rich are trotted out, capped with warnings about race and gender impacts.

The hyperbolic language is designed to stoke partisan fear and rally the resistance.
And so it goes, day after day, issue after issue. Stripped of policy fig leaves, the media reaction amounts to, “You can’t do that! That’s not how Barack Obama did it!”
Never mind that unemployment is at a 17-year low and the stock market is at historic highs, or that it’s boom times for consumer and business sentiment. The economic recovery is going global, but Trump, we are assured, deserves zero credit.
But policy-wise, he deserves a fair assessment of his actions. Instead, he gets automatic denunciation, as if anything he does is either stupid or corrupt.
Changes are not only welcome, they are necessary. Yet from most of the coverage, you get the idea that Trump is messing with perfection.
What’s truly reckless is the continuing bias of the media. They campaigned to defeat Trump last year, and now campaign to defeat his every action as president. Their version of Groundhog Day is that he doesn’t belong in the White House, democracy be damned.

The feel good story: As everything around him burned, one Napa man’s house somehow survived by Eric Ting – “It was 2 a.m. Monday morning … as flames from the Atlas Fire rapidly approached. He opened his car door and saw his 80-year-old mother sitting in the passenger seat, clutching a rosary and praying.”

Omlin returned to find his house and compound still standing, even though the trees and ground right next to the buildings were scorched. … Other than the ground and trees, only one thing burned on Omlin’s property: A statue of Mary.

“It was so surreal,” Omlin said. “Remembering my mom and the rosary, and then to see the Madonna sitting there.” … “I will never forget this moment,” Omlin said. “When I saw my mom and that rosary, I wanted to say, ‘I believe in prayer, but right now we need to move. This is not the time for praying.’ I felt so bad.

“But when I saw the statue, I said, ‘Shame on you Kenny.'”

There’s another one about pets. Dog survives wildfire, reunites with California family by Jonathan J. Cooper. It’s like Saving Private Ryan but, in this case, Izzy. Pets are taking it hard in the fires as their owners can barely get out with just nightclothes. Some pets are being rescued and many have severe injuries.

What does the $100 race really tell us? by John Sexton – “They found it to be touching and insightful and revealing. I found it to be dishonest and misleading.” It is about a race where the coach has those who have two parents and other ‘whiteness’ privileges are given a lead … and then told to be guilty about their privilege else they are fools.

At this point, the coach asks the people in the front to turn around. Again, the camera goes back to the starting line where several black people haven’t moved. And then comes the kicker: “Every statement I’ve made had nothing to do with anything any of you have done. Has nothing to do with decisions you’ve made,” he says.
The general idea is that this reveals how racial disparities in society are the result of people starting out with unearned advantages. But is that what this clip is actually showing? The commentary is explicitly racial but the questions are all about having a two-parent family and a steady income to pay the bills and put food on the table.

The coach is correct that the young people themselves aren’t directly responsible for any of these advantages. What he doesn’t say is that all of these advantages nevertheless come from someone’s individual choices. Whose fault is it that some people don’t have married parents or a father figure in the home? That’s the father’s fault or maybe it’s the mother’s fault or maybe both of them are at fault. You know who is not at fault? The fathers and mothers of the other kids on the field, the ones whose parents got married and stayed married.
When I see this video I essentially see someone glossing over all those hard choices and difficult experiences that made it possible for many of those kids to have advantages in life. And yes, it also glosses over the poor choices of the some of the parents who didn’t stick around for their kids.

This is the sort of insidious propaganda that attacks those aspects of western culture that has done so much for the state of mankind. People get ahead, gain privilege for themselves and their children, by taking charge of their lives and responsibility for their actions. Accepting victimhood is a characteristic of third world cultures.

Gun-control measures in Colorado and Washington about as effective as you’d expect by Ed Morrissey – “Three years after a hard push for gun control nearly cost Democrats control of Colorado, a new study suggests that they shouldn’t have bothered.” This tends to miss the idea that the stated arguments for gun control are not why it is being pushed by the Left.

The study concludes that in Colorado, Washington, and Nevada, the laws had little effect on increasing the number of background checks
the only issue studied was whether passing new laws would force greater compliance from already law-abiding gun owners on private transactions. Instead, it showed that people tend not to follow stricter mandates where government remains mainly unaware of the transactions in the first place.
Not only did it show that people tend to keep their private transactions private, it also showed that police tend to stay out of otherwise lawful private transactions, too.
Charles C. W. Cooke warns that gun-control advocates are pushing a police state, whether they realize it or not
Suggesting that government mandates succeed merely on the basis of compliance with them is the same logic that ObamaCare advocates used to claim success for having less than half of their projected enrollments materialize
Do laws like this reduce gun violence or don’t they? That’s the only measure that would justify pouring more regulation onto legal gun owners and requiring them to become an agent of the government to conduct private transactions. It’s very telling that this study completely avoids that question, choosing instead to measure success by the compliance of law-abiding citizens to ever-increasing regulation — and then failing even on that measure.

Speaking of sabotage by Scott Johnson – “When it comes to President Trump, hysteria is the only note the Democrats can strike. According to Nancy Pelosi, in terminating the subsidy payments Trump is guilty of “sabotage.” What else is new?”

During his two terms in office President Obama conducted an assault on the Constitution and on limited government in the name of the higher good as he saw it. Obama’s lawlessness was little noted in the mainstream media other than in disparaging accounts of the Republican and conservative reaction to Obama.

President Trump appears to be a bull in the White House china shop. He is portrayed as a kind of Strangelovian madman. Yet in many respects he seeks to restore the rule of law where it was abrogated by Obama. As a reaction to Obama’s lawlessness, Trump stands in relation to the Obama era as Jimmy Carter did to the Nixon era.

Trump’s cessation of subsidy payments to Obamacare insurers represents a perfect example.

Does anyone think anymore?

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Dangerous times and making effective decisions

The 49th Sveriges Riksbank prize in economic sciences – commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize for economics – has been awarded to Richard H Thaler for his contributions to behavioural economics. Sergey V. Popov explains why.

He was a key proponent of the idea that humans do not act entirely rationally. By applying insights from psychological research, he helped the world better understand people’s economic decision-making in particular.
I hope this Nobel Prize award will attract the public’s attention and encourage many to acknowledge the irrationality of their decision-making. As well as seeing the value in regulating financial markets so they are not susceptible to irrational behaviour, by acknowledging this tendency, we can make better plans for our futures – ones that our “doer” sides are happy to follow.

Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, and Al Shaw: Everyone Knew Houston’s Reservoirs Would Flood — Except for the People Who Bought Homes Inside Them – “This is not dumb, bad planning,” he said. “This is very well-thought-out, bad planning.” It’s willful blindness of the sort the casino depends upon. For the casino, they bet the sucker will take the low odds in hopes of winning. The homeowner takes the odds in hopes of losing. The story here is about flood control planning and preparation that wasn’t expected to be used. The same story on a smaller scale occurred in Lemmon Valley, Nevada where the Reno City council denied development permits unless the developer built above the flood levels like the sewer plant did in the sixties.

“One option was, don’t allow any development there. And it was like, well, politically we probably can’t do that,” Dunbar remembered. “So I said, another option is, make all the developers elevate the homes above the design pool” — the land behind the dams the Army Corps knew it might have to flood. Dunbar said county officials told him “that may not be practical.”

In the end, over significant opposition from developers, the county agreed to put a one-sentence disclosure of possible “controlled inundation” for plots of land in neighborhoods inside Barker. But the sentence was buried in the plat documents, which are not typically shown to homebuyers.

Charles Hurt: The general schools doltish press corps –

But a quick run through the cable channels and all anybody was talking about were the tweets. The palace intrigue. Who called whom a “moron.”

Or, as Mr. Trump calls it, “Fake News.” Somebody should check their licenses.

But even that tweet about NBC has been taken to some suggesting a Congressional Inquiry …

Scott Whitlock: Chris Cuomo Flips Out Over ‘Emperor’ Trump, Gets Schooled on ObamaCare –

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo got in a heated dispute, Friday, with Congressman Jim Jordan over Donald Trump ending ObamaCare subsidies. After asking Jordan for his opinion, Cuomo demanded a more liberal answer: “Jim, why aren’t you saying the President is acting like an emperor? And his job is to execute laws that are passed, not write his own and Congress must hold him into account for doing so.”

This is rich coming from Cuomo as he previously slammed Trump for ending Obama’s DACA action even though it was “legally dubious.” Later in the segment, the Republican schooled Cuomo on ObamaCare: “Everything that the Democrats told us about this law has turned out to be false.”

F.H. Buckley: Behind Trump’s latest moves: A return to constitutional government –

From 2013 to 2017 we experienced a period of monarchical government under good King Obama and his executive diktats. Under Trump we’re seeing a return to constitutional government. Sometimes that means that things don’t happen, and don’t get passed. But if so, it’s as the Framers intended.

Andrew C. McCarthy: Trump Faithfully Executes Obamacare; Media, Democrats Go Nuts –

In report after sky-is-falling report, the journalism wing of the media-Democrat complex castigates the president over his decision to — as the New York Times put it — “scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out of pocket costs of low-income people.”
It’s ironic. Notwithstanding the many outrageous, mendacious things the president says and tweets, the press is aghast that his “fake news” tropes against mainstream-media stalwarts resonate with much of the country. Well, if you want to know why, this latest Obamacare coverage is why. What Trump has actually done is end the illegal payoffs without which insurance companies have no rational choice but to jack up premiums or flee the Obamacare exchanges. The culprits here are the charlatans who gave us Obamacare. To portray Trump as the bad guy is not merely fake news. It’s an out-and-out lie.
In essence, we are back to the question we asked a couple of weeks ago in connection with Trump’s then-anticipated decertification of Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal: It is not whether the president should take this action; it is why he failed to take it before now.
The media-Democrat narrative that President Trump is imperiously flouting the rule of law has it backwards.
Finally, the claim that Trump is “unraveling” the ACA would be laughable were it not so cynical. You can’t unravel something by honoring its terms.
Republicans are afraid to deep-six Obamacare because they have never explained how bad it is. They do not want to be seen as shafting the people who benefit from it, even though it is at the expense of others who are badly harmed. Meanwhile, the public does not comprehend that Obamacare is unsustainable because the GOP, fearful of being framed for its failure, is actively complicit in (or at least passively resigned to) the shenanigans by which it is propped up.

The best way to make the case for repealing an atrocious law is to execute it faithfully. That appears to be President Trump’s new approach. If so, it has a lot more promise than empty GOP campaign prattle about “repeal and replace.”

Jim Dicks: Donald Trump’s True Nature –

If you scratch below the surface of a typical Trump supporter, you’ll see a roiling resentment. Many on the left see this as an indicator of “white rage,” of impotence or envy of a fading ruling group in an increasingly ethnically diverse culture of color.

These pejorative beliefs buttress the intolerant self-righteousness of the virtue-signaling left. But if you ask Trump supporters what’s driving their anger, you’ll get a different story.
To put it in a nutshell – we’ve had enough.
Once it is understood that Trump’s political positions are authentic and spring from the core beliefs of our country established at its founding, that he is the tip of the spear and his intentions are trustworthy, then one can sense the awesome power he wields.
That’s the real view of Trump by his vast legions of supporters. In him we see a fighter, fighting our fight to break the backs of the colluding cabal bringing economic suffering to our great and unique country and to shut down the drug cartels bringing death, misery, and destruction across our borders. If, in this epic fight, he uses some rough language and throws some precise arrows of insults at the corrupt political class along the way, if he offends the Peggy Noonans of the world with his “coarseness” or “vulgarity”, then so be it!

He’s got our backs. We’ve got his.

L. Todd Wood: The Boy Scouts are waging a War on Boys –

The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to admit girls is vile. It represents nothing less than the destruction of an organization that has helped millions of boys throughout the last century. Lord Baden-Powell must be turning over in his grave. Leftists will stop at nothing to destroy the culture of America.

Valerie Richardson: Black Lives Matter, police-focused NFL protests overlook rising black-on-black homicides –

the dramatic increase in black homicide victims has raised questions over whether NFL players taking a knee in a statement against racially motivated police violence are missing the larger problem.

“If these wealthy football players really cared about saving black lives, they would support proactive policing and denounce criminality,” said Ms. Mac Donald, author of “The War on Cops” (Encounter Books, 2017). “When the police back off of proactive policing in high-crime areas, black lives are lost.”
While the NFL kneeling began as a protest against police brutality, those involved have increasingly expanded the point to encompass what San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid described as “systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades and decades.”

Rashad Robinson, senior campaign director at Color of Change, said President Trump’s recent suggestion that owners should fire players who refuse to stand for the national anthem represents a view within sports that “black people serve at the pleasure of white people.”
“It’s the communities themselves — people who are being victimized, people who are being murdered, families who are losing loved ones, kids who are afraid to go to schools, business people who won’t open up a business because the neighborhood is too rough — that’s who’s suffering,” he said.

Not all neighborhoods are hit equally.

“It tends to be poor communities, communities of color,” Mr. Johnson said. “Communities that are already suffering from higher crime rates than their neighbors who need safe, effective, thorough law enforcement.”

There is a difference between “black people serve at the pleasure of white people” and ‘all business serve at the pleasure of their customers.’  The former is identity politics and grievance that lead to impoverishment in mind and body and the latter is the essence of western culture, capitalism, and Christianity where people serve each other for mutual gain, benefit, and growth. 

Coyote: UNC Avoids Athletic Sanctions By Arguing their African-American Studies Dept. Had Staggeringly Low Academic Standards –

UNC successfully argued that it was not giving its athletes special treatment in the African-American studies department — they had low standards for all students in that department.
Just so we are clear exactly what we are talking about, UNC, which consumers about 12.5% of the entire North Carolina state budget, freely admits, in fact desperately argues, that it was offering courses like this

Ryan Saavedra: NFL Goes Left: Won’t Force Players To Stand For Anthem, Focuses On Social Justice – “Commissioner Goodell has a plan “to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country.”

The National Football League announced on Friday that it wants to use its platform to raise awareness for social justice issues and that it does not plan to mandate that players stand for the U.S. national anthem.

So it’s no longer the NFL but rather the NSJL? A business loses its identity and then wonders why its customers act like they think they’ve been had?

Scott Johnson: The Ken Burns version, cont’d –

I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. To take only one example, as I say in my “Notes,” Burns and his colleagues were apparently unable to find a soldier to recall his service in anything other than shades of disillusion, disgust and shame. Much more remains to be done on this deeply dishonest work to prevent it from becoming the received history of the war.

Richard Fernandez: After the smash – “It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe the world can return to the status quo ante,”

After several ominous rumbles outside the tower the individual creaks have finally merged into a continuous roar. Brexit, the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the crumbling of the Iran deal, America quitting UNESCO, Trump dismantling Obamacare, consular withdrawal from Cuba, the pullout from the Paris accord — these have piled on so fast they’ve acquired the character of a single collective event. Now the fall of Hollywood has followed like the inevitable comedic boulder right on Wile E. Coyote’s head at the bottom of the gulch. Are we still in Kansas anymore?
It is as if a demolition crew has cleared a site leaving only a vacant lot. Some ask “when are the builders due?” Others more ominously ask “when are the zombies due?”
There will be danger — perhaps immense perils — associated with this paradigm shift. Yet the danger may have even been greater had the population not risked adapting. For one thing it might have been trapped in the Tower now fallen to dust. What is manifest is the gods have fallen, leaving many institutions rudderless. The Left spent decades replacing traditional myths and social sanctions with their own structures only to see these fall to ruin.

Dangerous times need rational decision making. The zombies are gathering.

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Filled with dread. Fires. Healthcare. Extremists. Corruption.

Umair Irfan : California’s wildfires aren’t “natural” — “humans made them worse at every step. We fuel them, we build houses by them, we ignite them.” And, of course, there’s the obligatory ‘weather is human created global climate change’ blame complete with fuzzy (non-existant) evidence but, otherwise, a good rundown on just how normal the tragedy really is.

The California fires stretch the definition of “natural disaster” since human activities have exacerbated their likelihood, their extent, and their damage. Deliberate decisions and unintended consequences of urban development over decades have turned many parts of the state into a tinderbox.

This year’s blazes particularly stand out because of how close they are to suburbs and major cities.
Much of California is naturally hot, dry, and prone to fires for parts of the year. But the state’s population is growing, leading to a significant overlap between the areas of high fire risk and areas with a growing population density, as you can see in these maps from a 2014 study of population trends in in California out to 2050.
This pattern of building in or near fire-prone regions has also led to land management practices to prevent fire that paradoxically increase fire risk. For instance, policies for preventing wildfires have in some areas led to an accumulation of the dry vegetation that would ordinarily burn away in smaller natural blazes.

John Hinderaker: On Health Care, Trump Takes an Important First Step – “practical solutions that don’t sound glamorous but will help millions of Americans.”

In the wake of the Republican Congress’s historic failure to carry out its pledge to repeal Obamacare, President Trump today signed an executive order intended to promote choice and competition in health care markets. The order is a practical and positive step forward that will benefit millions of Americans.

Why am I so sure of that? Because the order is based mostly, if not entirely, on work done by Peter Nelson, my colleague at Center of the American Experiment, one of the country’s top health care experts. Peter has consulted extensively with the Trump administration’s health care team, and some of the ideas incorporated into today’s executive order have been advocated exclusively by him.

Stephen Dinan: Trump declares Obamacare payments illegal; deals second blow to health law – “Without payments, insurers say they would jack up premiums, upending the underpinning of the ACA.”

The Trump administration announced late Thursday that it has concluded it can no longer legally make critical Obamacare “cost-sharing” payments and will cut them off, dealing another blow to the struggling 2010 health law.

The payments had specifically been denied by Congress but President Obama had made them anyway, drawing a rebuke from a court who said he was overstepping his powers.
The move comes just hours after Mr. Trump signed an executive order pushing his administration to allow association health plans, which would allow individuals and small businesses to join up and purchase insurance on the group market across state lines.
Mr. Trump’s decision Thursday means he’s accepting the original judge’s legal finding. It’s similar to the move he made last month on DACA, the Obama-era deportation amnesty, where the administration concluded it would likely be unable to defend the program in court, so it instead announced a phaseout.

“This administration is committed to the rule of law, and a fundamental premise is that Congress holds the power of the purse. We will not usurp its authority,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Follow the law? That gets the Democrats in a moral outrage! For example, Cheryl K. Chumley: Chuck Schumer, always ready with the cheap shots – “Count on death and taxes — and the ability of Sen. Chuck Schumer to take cheap partisan potshots at the president, wherever and whenever possible.” Or Stephen Dinan: San Juan mayor accuses Trump of ‘genocide’ after hurricane – “Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, accused Mr. Trump of “genocide” for what she said was an antipathy toward her island territory.” This was prompted by the President noting the incompetence of the mayor earlier and making it clear that emergency aid to Puerto Rico was not permanent and, hence, not a fix for the territory’s financial problems that stem from corruption and incompetence.

The Puerto Rico aid situation also came up with the news reporting problem. Jennifer Harper: Even after 266 days in office, the news media mistreats Trump — and voters know it – “The nonstop coverage instead is filled with fake news, tweaked polls, false narratives, weaponized talking points, personal insults and incendiary language.”

IBD: It’s Official: Democrats Are The Extremists Today – “Data from the highly respected Pew Research Center provides a definitive answer. It’s because Democrats have moved sharply to the extreme left.”

Everyone knows that the country is more politically polarized than ever, but most don’t know why.

Given the way politics gets reported these days, it’s easy to conclude that the widening gap is the result of Republicans become more extreme in their views. That is, after all, a mantra among Democrats and the press. The GOP is the party of racist, sexist, xenophobic, right-wing extremists, we hear over and over again, while Democrats are but humble centrists.

The Pew data, however, make it clear that the shift toward the extreme has happened among Democrats, not Republicans.
Democrats and their water carriers in the press are like people on a boat that is drifting off to sea, but are convinced that it’s the land that’s moving, not them.

It gets interesting to hear the rhetoric about Trump with the Weinberg (and Cosby) scandals that bring up Clinton and Kennedy. David French: Trump’s Tweets Are Damaging the Republican Character – “No short-term political victory is worth the long-term cultural degradation the president is guaranteeing the GOP.”

Yet, incredibly, across the country rank-and-file Republicans react to such messages not by rebuking Trump but by trying to find a way to rationalize or justify them. Many go even further, joining Trump in his attacks regardless of their merit. These folks are degrading their political character to defend Trump, and the damage they do to their own credibility and their party’s in the process will endure long after he has departed from the political scene.

Trump is stoking a particularly destructive form of rage — and his followers don’t just allow themselves to be stoked, they attack Trump’s targets with glee.
And I have never in my adult life seen such anger.

This gets rather puzzling. Glee and anger seem at odds. Never seen such anger? Like what antifa is doing? Like the actual Fake News™? Like the assassination or impeachment ruminations? Or the expression of the heckler’s veto nearly any time a conservative shows up on campus? Or consider how French completely misses the point of the press responsibility for accuracy tweet. Or consider how he takes a single instance of locker room braggadocio and compares it to decades of sexual abuse by Weinstein. “On a vast scale, members of the Republican base are defending behavior from Trump that would shock and appall them if it came from a Democratic president.” You mean like Clinton with perjury, disbarment, and a semen stained dress? What French illustrates is just how hate can blind a person and distort his perceptions to the point of derangement. He needs to look in the mirror and do some heavy introspection to maybe find out his accusations and allegations might likely be a case of projection and not of reality.

Thomas Lifson: Tucker Carlson declares war on ‘corrupt’ NBC News – “these are far from ordinary times, and I am coming to appreciate that Tucker Carlson is far from an ordinary TV talking head.”

Meanwhile, things are a’poppin’ on the important issues. Lewis K. Uhler and Peter J. Ferrara: Congress Makes Big Progress On Pro-Growth Tax Reform – “The so-called “do nothing Congress” is making amazing progress toward major, pro-growth tax reform.”

The architects of “progressivism” (Schumer, Pelosi, Sanders) continue their chant that we are “toadies” of Wall Street and want to cut taxes for the rich. Their left wing “intellectual” apologists like the Tax Policy Center claim that our tax cut proposals will dramatically reduce federal tax revenues, increase our national deficits and debt, and bankrupt America. Yet, these are the very same people who applauded Obama’s anti-growth policies and trillions in additional debt.

These so-called “progressives” still haven’t gotten the message of the last election. Working people and their families want growth, not Third World-style stagnation.
The fundamental economic truth is when the economy is rising, revenues will be rising, regardless of the rates. And when the economy is declining, revenue will be declining, regardless of the rates.

These are historical facts, not opinion. And those who do not understand them should not pretend to be practicing economics.

Only on the promise of tax reform plus a concerted attack on business regulation the U.S. economy is growing at a rate not seen in years and the stock markets are at record highs. Trump is doing his part. Will Congress, most pointedly the Senate, follow through?

Have you wondered about those naval ship collisions? Neo-neocon describes a case at Army: The West Point rot – “Many people (me included) wondered how it was that the openly-Communist Spenser Rapone was allowed to graduate from West Point.” If the Naval Academy is similarly effected, it may explain a few things.

Now the professor who had originally reported Rapone to West Point authorities (to no avail), retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Heffington, has issued an open letter to West Point graduates with a word—actually, many words—of explanation:

Here is the text of the letter. After you’ve read it, you will understand that Rapone didn’t fall through the cracks. There weren’t any cracks. If what Heffington says it’s the truth—and I’m definitely inclined to believe it—then West Point has apparently become a standardless, permissive, PC, open (and perhaps bottomless) pit.
West Point has become the same as just about any other university, afraid of its students and subservient to the PC dictates.
If all of this was an open secret, it’s shocking that there was a culture of silence around it till now. Reminds me a bit of Hollywood—or, if truth be told, most institutions. Maybe Spenser Rapone did us all a favor by being so flagrant that he drew greater public attention to the rot that’s been going on (not just in the military in general, which we already knew about, but at West Point itself) for a long time. The question is whether anything will be done about it.

William A. Jacobson: Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread – “Last year I noted that while it was a difficult year personally, I was optimistic. …The attempts to unwind the 2016 presidential election have changed everything.”

If the assault on the Electoral College was the game changer for me, a runner up was waking up to implications of the concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression.
I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter.
There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable.
The press could stand as a bulwark against this slide, but it too is corrupted.

Filled with dread indeed. 

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In the Weinstein era …

Peter Nichols: On the ‘Vulgar Manliness’ of Donald Trump – a takedown of the hyperbolic language being used by such as Harvard Professor of Government Harvey Mansfield who depicts the President as a demagogue.

Ace has an example: Trump’s “Threat” About NBC’s Broadcast License May Be “Dangerous,” But It’s Rooted in the Public Interest Requirement for Broadcast Licenses. The vulgarity and demagoguery is often in those whose ox is being gored.

Harsanyi argues that it’s a dangerous road to go down, threatening to deny someone’s free speech rights, even if they are putting out “#FakeNews,” as NBC allegedly did here.

But there’s an aspect of this he entirely omits, which makes me wonder if he even knows about it. (This is so important that I imagine he’d mention if, if only to explain why it doesn’t matter, if he knew about it.)

Betsy Newmark contrasts with ACE by assuming a stupid president who doesn’t understand the First Amendment. Like with the NFL, free speech isn’t the issue. Her bias stemming from hate is destructive. Feeling good and assuming the hubris of moral superiority is destructive to the person as well as to any productive discussion of the actual topic or issue being raised. A history teacher should be especially cognizant of these internal bias issues but this one seems to have a weakness when it comes to Trump.

Dan Calabrese provides another example for contrast and comparison: Of course, Trump’s random musing about NBC’s broadcast license is the end of civilization – “Trump is a troll without equal, and his ability to inspire completely insane overreactions to his words and actions is quite something.”

The constitutional power of the president is limited, but his power to get people to do things is limited only by the bounds of his persuasive power. You might think Donald Trump is a little short in that area because he is so widely and deeply reviled. I disagree.
did he really threaten NBC’s license? Er, kinda, sorta . . . not really.
This is a classic Trump troll. He doesn’t actually take any action, nor does he direct anyone else to do so. He merely muses about it, and that’s enough to send the rest of the media into a fullblown meltdown.
Trump’s aim in tweeting stuff like this is twofold: 1. Make the public more aware of the media’s practice of publishing and airing untruths; and 2. Provoke the media to freak out. They take the bait every time.

Mark Perry: Quotation of the day on Pope Francis’s misguided worldwide campaign against capitalism and entrepreneurs…. is from Lawrence J. McQuillan’s May 12, 2017 article titled “Pope Francis’s Failure to See Entrepreneurs as Good Samaritans Undercuts the Poor“

Leslie Eastman: Gov. Brown fiddled with climate change while Wine Country now burns – “The Wine Country Wildfires may end up being Brown’s lasting legacy.”

I suspect that the Wine Country Wildfires will turn out to be Brown’s Katrina, the legacy for which he will truly be remembered. The death toll in these devastating blazes has already hit 23, and 315 are now reported missing.
No matter the ultimate cause, 2017 was anticipated to be a potentially bad wildfire year, because recent rains led to more growth in drought-impacted areas…but not enough to leave enough moisture to make ignition difficult. Instead of focusing on infrastructure, security, and disaster preparedness, Brown’s effort went to becoming an international climate change star.

Additionally, he vetoed a bipartisan bill in 2016 aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires from overhead electrical lines.

Walter Olson: “Morally Innocent, Legally Guilty: The Case for Mens Rea Reform” – mens rea, a guilty mind, is about the difference between crime and unintentional misdoing.

our justice system has usually been content to evaluate accidents that injure others as civil wrongs, but criminal punishment has been reserved for people who do bad acts on purpose. But that has changed as legislators and regulators have begun to see the criminal justice system, not as a forum for ascertaining moral blameworthiness and meting out punishment accordingly, but as just another tool in the technocratic toolbox for shaping society and preventing social harm.”

The SJW often confuses good intentions with proper results. Their judgments are often missing context and implication. Legal justice differs from social justice as it has been honed over time to avoid the bias and errors in subjective opinions and human nature driven motivations and behaviors that are more for protecting self than society. For the SJW, law is a weapon and not a path to justice.

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The Blue Bubble – it may be a very different place.

Clifford D. May: We’ll always have Paris – “But like the rest of Europe, it may be a very different place.”

Europeans seem to have an increasingly bizarre and perhaps self-destructive view of the world, and their place in it. Last week’s most creative illustration: The Irish postal service issued a stamp to “commemorate” the 50th anniversary of the death of “Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.”
This particular Marxist revolutionary wrote a treatise in 1967 in praise of “hatred.” Why? Because hatred can turn a man into “an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine.”
Paul Berman, … Do the Irish understand that they are commemorating that as well?
His bluntly stated thesis: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.” He thinks there’s an outside chance that less exalted Europeans can still save their culture and civilization.
Other factors contributing to the coming calamity include Europe’s “guilt for its past,” its “existential tiredness,” and, of course, multiculturalism, an ideology based on the premise that all cultures are equal but that the cultures of the West are less equal than others.
many European are leftist multiculturalists who believe that the solution to the problems of the world is to bring millions of foreigners to Europe, along with their cultures and values. It’s yet another grand experiment. Mr. Murray is not alone in believing it won’t end well.

Thomas Lifson: James O’Keefe video has New York Times management reeling – “Hats off to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas (donate here – please!) for another video that is rocking a major progressive institution to its foundations.”

So blatant is the self-described misbehavior that the Times tasked its Vice President of “Comms,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, with a response:
the Times has got to be frantically asking people if they have ever shot off their mouths to someone they didn’t know particularly well. I’d really love to see how that memo is worded, and hope that somebody will leak it.

The heart of the problem is that the Times people live in what I call the Blue Bubble, where everyone shares their prejudices. In the mentality of most urban progressives, one gains approval, acceptance, and prestige by cleverly expressing contempt for the “other” upon whom they look down with contempt: Trump and the racist morons who foisted him upon “us.”

“They” are seen as a threat to all that urban progressives hold dear.
the notion that people are wandering around with hidden cameras and publicizing the results has got to be terrifying, once they think it through.

Who knows, maybe it will make people think about changing their behavior.

Noemie Emery: Who’s breaking America’s norms now? – “Even more strange is their claim that the Republican Party brought Trump about by shattering norms of behavior,”

To Mann, Ornstein, and Dionne, Ted Kennedy did nothing wrong when he took to the floor of the Senate in 1987 to unleash a tirade against Robert Bork that would have been considered unhinged in a campaign context, but was unheard of against a high court nominee. Bork failed to fight back, and the Court and the Senate were altered forever — or, as Kevin Williamson would say later, “The Democrats’ craven, despicable, lying campaign against Bork announced the arrival of Supreme Court confirmation hearings as bare knuckled political brawls.”
Nor could they acknowledge that Barack Obama did anything to smash civic norms in 2010, when, after Scott Brown’s election deprived him of his 60th vote for the passage of health care, he rammed it through anyhow using parliamentary technicalities, breaking the norm that large, complex measures should be passed by a large and bipartisan margins and backed up by popular will
So we’re to believe that the Tea Party is the norm-breaking event, not the decision to take on 5,000 and 2,000 years of religious tradition in a country founded on biblical principles. It’s pretty hard to keep reading once that premise has been established.

Ed Morrissey: Judiciary war escalates: McConnell gives blue slips a pink slip – “Get ready for the howls sure to come from Chuck Schumer and Co, but they only have themselves to blame.”

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redefinition to rationalize; fears not realized

Cheryl K. Chumley: Mike Pence, mocked for principles the left just can’t fathom – “Mike Pence, post-Colts-49ers walkout, has been mocked mercilessly by a vicious left as little more than a media hog and public relations stuntman for daring to leave the game in protest of players’ national anthem kneeling.”

Now that Pence has walked the talk — now that he’s actually shown his disdain for the improper, inappropriate shows of political protests on the playing field, and left the game — the lefties want to pretend like he’s all show, no substance.

Sorry, guys. Pence had principles before players decided to kneel. He had the same principles when he attended the game and found the players still kneeling.

Those on the left are only making a case out of Pence’s departure because a man of principle is so alien to them. They just can’t fathom anybody in politics who actually stands for something — because everyone they know, everyone they support, does not.

The personal attacks are ‘as usual.’ What is interesting is that money shows up. With Pence, it is taxpayer money on a trip that has long been in the schedule and is rather standard practice for Vice Presidents. Another story comments on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith warning that President Trump is winning an ongoing public debate claiming the President has hijacked the issue. The motivation for this effort is asserted to be an effort to “exact revenge for failed attempts to gain a financial stake in the league.” Interesting how money is being used as a weapon (see also Jazz Shaw: Another dry hole: Mnuchin travel inquiry comes up empty).

Ed Morrissey: Cowboys owner: I’ll bench anyone who disrespects the flag – “The NFL doesn’t appear to have figured this out. It’s not just about the flag, but about the theft of trust with the fans, all for a series of silly and impotent protests.”

The multimillionaires on the field and their billionaire owners have plenty of platforms for social protest and activism. Fans want them to stop hijacking the one that taxpayers got shafted to provide.

John Merline: What Is ‘Patriotic’ These Days? A Guide For The Perplexed – “ When millionaire football players turn the anthem into a divisive stunt, it’s patriotic. But when a sitting vice president walks out of a game to show respect for the flag, it’s shameless and disrespectful.”

Time was, being patriotic meant supporting the troops, honoring the flag, loving the country and its many freedoms. It was pretty simple. But progressive sophisticates have been trying for years to redefine what patriotism means, and the result is a muddle that requires a pro-football-size playbook to figure out.

To that end, we’ve reviewed a multitude of stories and commentaries from some leading politicians and the best and brightest of the pundit class to put together a brief tutorial on the current thinking about this word
If you find all this confusing pr upside down, join the club. Worse, there’s no consistency. Some protests, even if they’re violent, are deemed patriotic, while others, such as peaceful tea party marches, aren’t. One day, criticizing the president is akin to treason, the next, it’s as American as apple pie.
How does burning the flag, thumbing one’s overpaid nose at the national anthem, attacking the founding principles of the county, calling its institutions oppressive, opposing border controls, putting American lives at risk constitute love, support, or devotion to the U. S. and its interests?

Jennifer Harper: Trump and Pence: Power of the pushback – “Critics called the brisk departure “a political stunt” and speculation was rampant. But some say the couple’s exit was a defining moment that launched a jolt of cultural change, which now is gaining momentum.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is what pushing back looks like. Get used to this. This is what pushing back looks like. This is what the left not getting away with setting the narrative and determining who can and who can’t say anything — this is what it looks like. This is what it looks like when you push back against it,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his 10 million listeners Monday.

Americans have been conditioned for decades “to accept anti-American displays” Mr. Limbaugh said — but that era may be waning with President Trump in office.

Ace – “We cannot sit idly by as the Social Justice Warriors identify, kill, gut, and wear the skin suit of one powerful institution after another without any kind of pushback whatsoever.”

Bullying a bully isn’t bullying — it’s just kicking a would-be bully in the ass for a while until he stops bullying.

The left has decided that it can’t win the political war on the current battlefield, so it has made it its mission to shape the battlefield by taking over the main transmission stations of permissible public opinion and using the power of those corporations to propagandize and bully citizens into compliance.

That is the war. Some on the Not-So-SmartSet right may proudly pat themselves on the back for avoiding that war, denying the existence of that war, and even white knighting corporations actively fighting that war on behalf of the left — but that is the actual war.

And, as to any conservative too polite to fight the actual war — then what is the point of you, and whose side are you actually on?

David Horowitz and Matthew Vadum: Mouth Control, Not More Gun Control, Is What We Need – “How the Democratic Party’s “Resistance” and Trump Derangement Syndrome are inciting a violent war against Republicans and conservatives.”

While the left side of the political spectrum responded to the mass shooting in Las Vegas with fevered calls for gun controls, which even Democrats admit would not have prevented the massacre, they have done nothing to rein in their hateful rhetoric demonizing Trump supporters and providing clear incitements to deranged individuals like Stephen Paddock to commit heinous acts of violence. Leftist celebrity Nancy Sinatra notoriously tweeted “Murderous members of NRA should face firing squad” – to express her politically correct assumption that a gun, rather than an individual incited by hateful comments like hers, was responsible for the slaughter.

Nor are Democrats unaware that their reckless rhetorical attacks can have deadly results.
While Democrats call for gun control they project a steady stream of wild-eyed rhetoric and venomous rationales for violence against their political opponents. This is not only not useful in a democracy. It is downright dangerous.

Victor Davis Hanson: Message v. Messenger: The Trump Enigma – “The strange disconnect between a disliked person and his mostly praised policies again raises fundamental questions.”

Is Trump’s occasional crudity and unapologetic animus counterproductive and turning off possible allies, as conventional wisdom suggests? Or is his rambunctiousness instead integral to reifying his message? Neither or both?

Is he hated in unprecedented fashion by the media and the Left because he can be crude in a manner unmatched by past presidents? Or because his efforts, both real and rhetorical, to overturn the progressive project, are of the street-fighting caliber never quite seen before from a party of sober and judicious Republicans but long adopted by the Left and therefore likely to be both eerily familiar to them and perhaps even efficacious?
what is clear is that many liberal and conservative prognostications about his presidency have so far not happened.
No previous president has been the target of such public venom. Assassination chic is now endemic. Anti-Trump obscenity is a staple of late-night television.
Yet it is likely that there is a 50/50 chance that the unpredictable and irascible Trump and policies will achieve in the not so distant future a sustainable 3 percent annual rate of GDP growth, a reform of the tax code, a systematic dismantling of onerous government regulations through executive orders, a restoration of U.S. deterrence abroad, another conservative Supreme Court justice, and a return to legal, measured, and meritocratic immigration—and thus even more hysteria and hatred of Trump, the person, from policy supporters and opponents alike.

And there are stories about implicit racism out there today, too.

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SJW’s met on their own ground. Outrage erupts.

Ralph Z. Hallow: Pence brings social justice to 49ers – “All you do as Vice President is go to funerals — and, if you’re Mike Pence, you kick the NFL and its anthem kneelers in their overinflated footballs.”

Several of the San Franciso 49ers didn’t stand at the Colts’ stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Colts did stand for the anthem but with arms linked, showing unity over what?

“Social injustice?”

In a land that has worked harder, longer and more successfully to achieve equality of opportunity and social justice than any other country on earth.

Cheryl K. Chumley: NFL players union still doesn’t get it – “Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts-49ers football game after players fell to their knees in protest of the national anthem.”

Shortly after, the NFL Players Association released a statement of support for the kneelers. Make that: The tone-deaf NFL Players Association released a statement.
But truly, these ‘disses of America’s symbols — of the anthem, the flag — for reasons that are rooted in false leftist notions of widespread, rampant police brutality against minorities are past wearisome.
Pence is being blasted by several NFLers for what they’re claiming is a vice presidential “PR stunt.”

Well, note to NFL players: That’s pretty much how America regards your on-field shows of anti-Americanism. Pence? He’s an American patriot who took a stand on principle and did what the rest of fed-up fans have been doing for weeks now — turned his back on the game.

Schuyler Dixon: Jerry Jones: Cowboys ‘will not play’ if they disrespect flag – an owner in conflict.

CNN shows its colors: Trump praises Christopher Columbus, omitting explorer’s dark history. The “omitting” is on CNN’s part as it omits the context of history. It is an attempt to bash and trash by distortion and selective history. For example, CNN brings up the ‘epidemic’ that occurs in a meeting of cultures but takes it only one way. They ignore the slavery, the oppression, and the brutality existent in the ‘new world.’

“Christopher Columbus’ legacy of extreme violence, enslavement, and brutality is not in dispute,” O’Farrell said, according to CNN affiliate KCAL. “Nor is the suffering, destruction of cultures and subjugation of Los Angeles’ original indigenous people, who were here thousands of years before anyone else.”

The thing is that this “extreme violence, enslavement, and brutality” was near nothing compared to what the Europeans found in the indigenous population. CNN, again with the Left, repaints culture and history to destroy what gives them a voice.

Christopher Columbus XX: Hey America, my ancestor didn’t cause your failings – “We’re quick to rewrite history and accuse Christopher Columbus of decimating Native Americans when the truth is so much more complex.”

Two cultures meeting for the first time in 1492 was no easy thing, but blaming Columbus for everything that went wrong hides the truth about him and about those who followed him. It also obscures the great things that the countries of the American hemisphere have accomplished.

What is lacking in the anti-Columbus narrative is any sense of history or of nuance.
Blaming Columbus does his legacy a terrible injustice, but it does something else, too. It focuses anger on one man and on the wrong man.

Jack Cashill: Harvey Weinstein and the Slow-Motion Theft of American Culture – “Having just given up on the NFL, I have to ask myself how much more of our common culture will be denied me and the millions of Americans who would rather desert that culture than be demeaned by its custodians.”

Like Glen Reynolds noted, who would of thought that a Queen concert (pausing for a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance) would be more patriotic than an NFL game?

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Whole Truth??

Douglas Ernst: David Frum tells readers to stop believing the ‘myth’ of responsible gun ownership – “The Atlantic’s David Frum had a social media feed filled with angry Second Amendment activists on Friday after telling his readers that responsible gun ownership is a “myth.” This is a fundamental difference between Left and Right. The Left believes negatively about people which leads to the necessity of governance by an elite cabal.

Those four rules that Mr. Frum claims impede appropriate gun laws from being crafted include:

  • “The measures to be debated must bear some relationship to the massacre that triggered the debate. If the killer acquired his weapons illegally, it’s out of bounds to point out how lethally easy it is to buy weapons legally.”

  • “The debate must focus on unusual weapons and accessories: bump stocks, for example, the villain of the moment. Even the NRA has proclaimed itself open to some regulation of these devices.”

  • “The debate must always honor the ‘responsible gun owners’ who buy weapons for reasonable self-defense.”

  • “Gun ownership is always to be discussed as a rational choice motivated by reasonable concerns for personal safety.”

In other words, reason, reality, integrity, and trust in ‘the people’ should be off the table. And, of course, the problem is with those who do want reason, reality, integrity and ‘trust in the people’ to be at the forefront of constructive dialog.

The Weekly Standard: Let’s Have a Real Debate on Guns – “their real aim—an outright ban on all civilian use of handguns and most rifles—would require a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

The pattern is depressingly familiar: Someone uses a gun in an act of mayhem and murder. Progressive and center-left politicos demand “action” in the form of gun-control legislation. Congress toys with the idea but doesn’t pass much of anything. The Times and other liberal publications and commentators denounce the “gun lobby” to which they attribute vast powers of coercion.
what makes the gun debate so unbearably stale isn’t any disagreement over the interpretation of data. Nor is it a dispute over the value of firearms in a free society. If only it were about these questions. What makes the debate so stale, rather, is the disingenuousness of those who claim to want “sensible” and “reasonable” gun regulations but who in fact want an outright ban.
Since they can’t name their desire, anti-gun activists, in a kind of Freudian displacement maneuver, spend their energy fulminating against the “gun lobby.”
If progressives insist on engaging in the joyless ritual of arguing about guns after every inscrutable act of mass murder, we would prefer that they drop the pretense and advocate the repeal of the Second Amendment and the confiscation of our guns. We disagree with that view, but we would rather have an honest debate about the Constitution than go on trampling the sensibilities of mourners by treating their grief as an occasion to quarrel about statutory adjustments nobody really believes in.

Stephen Dinan: FBI says lack of public interest in Hillary emails justifies withholding documents – “You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” FBI records management section chief David M. Hardy told Mr. Clevenger in a letter Monday.” It is yet another example of the disparagement of the public in favor of the elite.

“How can a story receive national news coverage and not be a matter of public interest? If this is the new standard, then there’s no such thing as a public interest exception,” he [Clevenger] said.

Thomas Lifson: Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’? – “Could the story behind the “Trump dossier” be the Rosetta Stone of Russian manipulation of our electoral process in 2016?”

There is a strong and justifiable suspicion that the dossier was the critical bit of evidence that persuaded the FISA Court to reverse itself and permit monitoring of American associates of Donald Trump. The dossier was originally begun as an opposition research project for Republican rivals of Trump, then funded by Democrats, and allegedly, finally funded by the FBI. We already know that some of the wild accusations in it were demonstrably false.

The Ken Burns Vietnam propaganda epic response profits from modern technology where many voices can add to the public discussion. Previous posts here have linked to two distinguished ‘been there’ voices. Terry Garlock is another who warns: Be skeptical of Ken Burns’ documentary: The Vietnam War – “Some months ago I and a dozen other local veterans attended a screening at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.”

The series began showing on PBS Sunday Sep 17, and with Burns’ renowned talent mixing photos, video clips and compelling mood music in documentary form, the series promises to be compelling to watch. That doesn’t mean it tells the truth.

For many years I have been presenting to high school classes a 90 minute session titled The Myths and Truths of the Vietnam War. One of my opening comments is, “The truth about Vietnam is bad enough without twisting it all out of shape with myths, half-truths and outright lies from the anti-war left.”
Our group of vets left the Ken Burns documentary screening . . . disappointed. As one example, all four of the photos I use were shown, with only the anti-war narrative. Will the whole truth be told in the full 18 hours? I have my doubts but we’ll see.
Will the full documentary show John Kerry’s covert meeting in Paris with the leadership of the Viet Cong while he was still an officer in the US Naval Reserve and a leader in the anti-war movement? Will it show how Watergate crippled the Republicans and swept Democrats into Congress in 1974, and their rapid defunding of South Vietnamese promised support after Americans had been gone from Vietnam two years? Will it show Congress violating America’s pledge to defend South Vietnam if the North Vietnamese ever broke their pledge to never attack the south? Will it portray America’s shame in letting our ally fall, the tens of thousands executed for working with Americans, the hundreds of thousands who perished fleeing in overpacked, rickety boats, the million or so sent to brutal re-education camps? Will it show the North Vietnamese victors bringing an influx from the north to take over South Vietnam’s businesses, the best jobs, farms, all the good housing, or committing the culturally ruthless sin of bulldozing grave monuments of the South Vietnamese?

Will Burns show how the North Vietnamese took the city of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive, bringing lists of names of political leaders, business owners, doctors, nurses, teachers and other “enemies of the people,” and how they went from street to street, dragging people out of their homes, and that in the aftermath of the Battle of Hue, only when thousands of people were missing and the search began did they find the mass graves where they had been tied together and buried alive?

Will Burns show how America, after finally withdrawing from Vietnam and shamefully standing by while our ally was brutalized, did nothing while next door in Cambodia the Communists murdered two million of their own people as they tried to mimic Mao’s “worker paradise” in China?

Will Burns show how American troops conducted themselves with honor, skill and courage, never lost a major battle, and helped the South Vietnamese people in many ways like building roads and schools, digging wells, teaching improved farming methods and bringing medical care where it had never been seen before? Will he show that American war crimes, exaggerated by the left, were even more rare in Vietnam than in WWII? Will he show how a naïve young Jane Fonda betrayed her country with multiple radio broadcasts from North Vietnam, pleading with American troops to refuse their orders to fight, and calling American pilots and our President war criminals?
I expect to see American virtue minimized, American missteps emphasized, to fit the left-leaning narrative about the Vietnam War that, to this day, prevents our country from learning the real lessons from that war.

Roger Canfield: Why Ken Burns’ “Vietnam” on PBS Matters – “With monuments falling and history burned, comes renewed foci on America’s faults. Vietnam is exhibit A.” The website is Vietnam Veterans for Factual History.

Burns is America’s greatest storyteller since Mark Twain. Unlike Twain, Burns does not admit to fictitious works. He has perfected manipulating human emotions. He selected veterans whose war stories bring one to tears, anger and even hate. Ho Chi Minh said America’s policy was “burn all, kill all and destroy all,” using “napalm bombs, poison gas and toxic chemicals to massacre our compatriots and ravage our villages.” Burns fills the screen with the orange fires, bloody slaughter and destroyed hamlets — that do not fit the narrative’s timeline. No matter. An ugly America is repeatedly depicted waging an illegal, immoral, unjust, racist and unwinnable war. You see, America “misreads” the war as fighting communism. Burns quickly passes over Ho’s 20 years as a paid agent of the international communism and his receipt of massive Soviet and Chicom weaponry.

To Burns, America is the real enemy in Vietnam. Episode 1 begins with the sound of helicopter blades and a montage of scenes symbolically running rapidly backwards out of Vietnam. Veteran Karl Marlantes has an unfriendly homecoming – strangely, not being spitting upon or being called a “baby killer.” No one talks about Vietnam. Burns does that definitively. Almost all of Burns’ facts are true as far as they go. The emotional impact of 60’s music, iconic photos and human pain easily pass by contradictory facts.
A blizzard of facts, critical ones omitted, and a cacophony of sounds and pictures flashing by, obscure key points and advance falsehoods. Here’s some examples.
The main antagonists in Burns’ morality play, other than lying presidents, were corrupt Saigon leaders and their cowardly troops.

What is missing is the war from the ‘other side.’ There has been no documentary with the weight that Ken Burns and PBS provide that goes into just what it was that the U.S. was fighting. There is very little on the quality and nature of the enemy’s leadership or of its sources, history, and context. There is very little about the enemy’s troops or tactics or behavior. There is very little about the aftermath of the war comparing and contrasting to, say, what happened in Europe after WW II. There is very little about the role of the communists and other Leftists in the U.S. anti-war movement and how they were organized, funded, and executed.

Here’s one result. Natalie Bruzd: UNLV class erupts after professor blames Trump for shooting – “In the aftermath of the mass murder in Las Vegas, a UNLV history professor told her class this week that she had predicted “people will die” when Donald Trump was elected president.” This was in a senior level course (History 407) where you’d expect a bit better intellectual rigor.

“It is sad she is teaching students such divisive, inaccurate and irresponsible rhetoric,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “She should be ashamed of herself, and the university should look into it. What a terrible example to set for students.”

A few things missing make a mockery of the whole truth.

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Selective blindness and glass houses

William Lloyd Stearman: Facts ‘The Vietnam War’ left out – “Communist barbarism that invited U.S. involvement was left on the cutting room floor.”

“The Vietnam War” series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is most certainly a TV tour de force replete with information which basically sought to confirm the view that the war, so costly in lives and treasure, was unwinnable and accomplished nothing.
The series ignored why we got into this war in the first place.
Another key development was the large-scale reduction of the Viet Cong due to heavy losses during the 1968 Tet Offensive from which they never really recovered. This was not reported by our news media and was scanted in the series.
The series covered this offensive in some detail, but neglected to describe just how badly off these North Vietnamese troops indeed were. They had lost 100,000 killed in action, twice as many KIAs as the U.S. had suffered in the entire war.

Had the series contributors done their homework, they would have known that after the final communist victory in 1975, a senior North Vietnamese general wrote in the party newspaper that by the fall of 1972, his troops were on the ropes and on the verge of defeat.

The series did not describe how the communist side avoided defeat by conning my boss, Henry Kissinger, into resuming negotiations and offering Mr. Kissinger concessions he had been trying to get.

The series should have stressed how Washington micromanagement prevented us from invading Laos and Cambodia for fear of “widening the war.” Had we been able to block the Laos Ho Chi Minh Trail with ground forces and denied Cambodia to enemy headquarters and logistic centers, we would most probably have won the war.

Victor Davis Hanson: The glass house of the NFL – “Cracks are growing in an institution that insults the fans who fund it.”

Multimillionaire players, mostly in their 20s, often cannot quite explain why they have become so furious at emblems of the country in which they are doing so well.
The result, fairly or not, is that a lot of viewers do not understand why so many young, rich players show such disrespect for their country
Professional athletes are frequently viewed as role models. Yet since 2000, more than 850 NFL players have been arrested, some of them convicted of heinous crimes and abuse against women.

The old idea of quiet sportsmanship — downplaying one’s own achievements while crediting the accomplishments of others — is being overshadowed by individual showboating.
the league has entirely forgotten the fundamental rule of business: Never ignore, insult or talk down to the loyal consumers who provide the leagues’ support and income.

On that, see Dan KB6NU: Another ham radio business owner shoots himself in the foot – “What was he thinking when he wrote, “My goodness gracious people I have more important things to do than spend my time on stupidity like this!” You just don’t call potential customers stupid.”

Thomas Lifson: Social Justice Warrior who stole MAGA hat to face justice system – “The progressive cant uttered by the student, identified now as Edith Masias, reveals the brainwashing she has received: a mindset that utterly rejects the laws and customs of society.”

Now, the victim of the theft, Matthew Vitale, who debates her on the video, has filed charges against her, and because of her subsequent actions, the charges may rise to the level of felony.
The video is no longer available on YouTube, but the words cited (“You’re not safe…. We need to make racists scared”) do indicate a terrorist intent.
Like any bully, Masias is shocked and outraged that her victim dares to fight back and cries out that she is the real victim. Even more comically, her supporters are demanding the university and the taxpayers fund her living costs

David French: The Left Misunderstands the Power of the NRA – “It’s not an all-powerful manipulator; it succeeds by reflecting the wishes of a large community.”

It never fails. Every single time there is a mass shooting in the United States, a huge section of the Left singles out a single political culprit.

It’s the puppeteer, and GOP politicians are its marionettes.

It’s a pop-culture-Left idea — Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week claimed that the NRA had Republican senators’ “balls in a money clip” — and the elite Left analyzes the NRA’s influence like it’s breaking down the Zapruder film. Experts analyze the organization’s evolution from hunter-safety organization to gun-rights group, and left-wing social media pass around charts of NRA political donations as if those modest sums dictated the outcome of some of America’s most important civil-rights debates.

Journalists often treat the NRA differently from every other consequential activist group in the United States. Yes, they recognize that liberal groups like the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood are important, but they do not treat progressive politicians as those organizations’ puppets. Instead, they do the accurate thing: They cast progressive politicians and progressive organizations as part and parcel of a larger progressive community that shares certain ideas and values and speaks for tens of millions of American citizens.
Why the difference? Why do progressives ascribe such awesome power to the NRA? I’d suggest that one explanation is confusion.
In the Left’s fight for gun control, the great bogeymen aren’t the leaders of the NRA, they’re the Founders of our country.

John R. Lott, Fox News: Gun control in Europe is almost total. It hasn’t stopped mass shooting attacks like Las Vegas – “Within hours of the horrible attack in Las Vegas, before we knew most of the relevant facts about the tragedy, gun control advocates were calling for more gun control.”

Here is something I would like those advocates to consider: Europe, which has all the gun controls that are being pushed in the aftermath of the Las Vegas carnage, has actually suffered more bloodshed from these types of attacks than the U.S.
It is an attack that is likely to rank 14th in the most deadly mass public shooting in the world since 1970. It is the worst ever in the United States, according to data collected by the Center for Crime Research where I am founder and president.
Again, many of the facts about what happened in Las Vegas remain unknown at the moment, including exactly what type of firearm the gunman used. But one sad fact that everyone calling for gun control needs to consider is that, as Europe has shown, you can have all the gun control laws you want and you still won’t be able to stop horrors like this from happening.

Paul Shlichta: Holy Hillary! – “Autobiographies, like dramas, usually include passages of unconscious self-revelation of character. Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir, What Happened, is no exception.”

it will be interpreted differently by different readers. Her devoted followers will find it poignantly honest, while her foes will perceive thinly veiled narcissistic tirades. The latter should be cautious about mocking her; she may well go down in history as one of the major promoters of religion in our time.

I’m reminded of the story about a holy missionary who died and was received in Heaven by a crowd of angels and saints. Soon, a trumpet sounded, and everyone but his guardian angel left to join a much larger crowd greeting a scowling unpleasant-looking man. The bewildered priest turned to the angel, who said, “Don’t be surprised. He’s no saint, but he saved far more souls than you. He was a notoriously reckless driver, and wherever he drove, people prayed.” So it was with Hillary.
We had better begin by laying aside our animus against Hillary. We must remember the rule that God imposes about praying and, hard as it may be, forgive her trespasses, including her book and her recent pontifical tweets. After all, we should be grateful to her for reminding us of the power of prayer.

LuboÅ¡ Motl: Irreversibility, anonymity: Bitcoin’s flaws, not virtues – “there are really lots of characteristics of the Bitcoin that are almost religiously presented as holy virtues of the system but that are actually flaws, pretty much serious if not lethal flaws.”

My understanding is that this person – and lots of others – don’t really worship the Bitcoin because they understand the new idea of the blockchains that are combining clever ideas in cryptography. Instead, the Bitcoin has become just a fancy new symbol in their hysterical fight against the money-using society, banks, and capitalism in general. They would like to “liberate” the whole world from these things and introduce some kind of a communist utopia, one in which wealth and classes don’t exist and where the people are rewarded by a Soviet-style committee of the faithful believers in the cult. The Soviets and committees could be called The Bitcoin Foundation or the Association of Miners but they would play very analogous roles as the top bodies of the Soviet Communist Party.

bug or feature? depends upon what you really want.

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