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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