Above It All

Joe Doakes from Como Pak emails:

Many people want to be authors. They crave the adulation of fans, going to cons, signing books, being able to work in their bathrobe and getting checks in the mail. Few people really want to be writers. Writers are miserable people who spend most of their time alone, have poor relations with their families and live in other worlds because this one doesn’t work for them. But to be an author you have to be a writer first. (Paraphrase of Lois Bujold.)

There definitely are days when I feel that way.

Joe Doakes

I’m suddenly longing for the dignified grace of Jimmy Carter.

Funny Thing Is…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I astonishes me how much law enforcement has improved during the Trump Administration.  He should get more credit for it.

No, really: remember last Summer when thousands of people demonstrated against police, insisting that Black Lives Matter?  They shut down Snelling for the State Fair, shut down freeways, marched all over, all the time, all for the same purpose — to protest unfair treatment of Blacks by law enforcement.

There hasn’t been one such march since Trump took office; therefore, Trump solved the problem and he ought to get credit for it.

Either that, or there never was a problem, the whole thing was a billionaire-financed fake movement intended solely to whip up minority support for the Democrat candidate for President.  Now that she’s lost, there’d be no need to spend money on agitators and consequently no marches.  Who could believe such a cynical thing?  That can’t possibly be the reason.  No, it must be all Trump’s doing.  He saved the nation from a heinous and ongoing civil rights injustice.  Good for him.

Joe Doakes

As we noted earlier this week, the Obama Administration’s big “victory” was fairly destroying race relations in this country.

“Wiretapping”

“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
”  — Salena Zito

When Donald Trump claimed “Trump Tower had been wiretapped”, the media – awash in images of sweaty, donut-dust-stained cops hunched over in a 1974 Ford Econoline amid amplifiers and reel to reel tape decks, concentrating on conversations through headphones.  And they laughed – nobody’s done that since the ’80s!  Har di har!

Roger Simon connects some  dots – inconvenient ones, for the agenda-driven media:

What appears at this writing is that Trump transition team members and possibly Trump himself had their identities revealed, were “unmasked” in the parlance, while foreign diplomats were being surveilled. The identities of American citizens were not sufficiently “minimized,” as they are required to be by law. This is a crime one would assume would put the perpetrators in prison. So far it hasn’t. More than that, such behavior is a grave threat to a free society, to all of us.

In effect, Trump was wiretapped — if not in the corny, old sense of the word, something very close. Technologically, he was wiretapped, as were several (actually many) others.

A fair amount of this happened not long before Barack Obama suddenly changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, for the first time ever allowing the NSA to share its data with 16 other intelligence agencies, thus making the dissemination of said data (i. e. leaking) many times more likely. That was done on January 12, 2017, just three scant days before Trump’s inauguration. Why did the then president finally decide to make that particular change at that extremely late date, rather than on one of the previous seven years and three hundred fifty-three days of his presidency? You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or Watson to smell a rat. Something’s rotten somewhere — and it’s not Denmark.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Paging Alanis Morisette, Part CLXXVII

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I read a good quip the other day:

 Obama policies kill Obama values: if you dither and appease while Russia turns Syria into a charnel house, your commitment to humane treatment of refugees will collapse under the human catastrophe resulting from your fecklessness.

 Okay, technically it’s not true.  Obama’s policies were expressly designed to fundamentally transform America from the nation I grew up loving into a generic second-tier former imperial power like England, France, Spain or Italy.  Sadly, he largely succeeded.

 But the quip works if you replace “Obama” with “Liberal” because then you get:  “Liberal policies kill Liberal values.”

 Welfare intended to help families, disintegrated families.  

 Student loans intended to create an educated populace where students succeed, leave students ignorant and bankrupt.

 Obamacare intended to make health insurance affordable, made it unaffordable.

 Holy cow – this could become another Berg’s Law.

 Joe Doakes

I have a hunch it’s going to be a big year for Berg’s Laws – old and new.

It Works In So Many Ways

While it’s not statutorily legal, even under the French legal system, I love this idea on so many levels.

The caption, “Oui On Peut”, is French for “Sure, what the hell, it’s not the dumbest idea to come out of the French left in the past sixty years”. Seriously.

American liberals would reflexively attack anyone who claimed He wasn’t actually born in France as a racist.

And John F. Kerry, stricken with jealousy, would no doubt leave the country to run against him.

Parting Shot

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Obama promises to send 1,200 Special Forces troops to Lithuania, to counter Russian military aggression.

This is a transparently political move directed at low-information domestic audience, the people who get their news from headlines alone.  Obama won’t be President this Spring so he won’t be the one keeping the promise when it comes to sending Greet Berets against Russian tanks.  But if Trump doesn’t keep Obama’s promise, then Democrats will claim Trump is abandoning our allies because he’s in bed with the Russians who stole our election.

Trump should declare today that he has no intention of letting Obama start a war with Russia and then walk away leaving him holding the bag, that Trump will make his own decisions after he is inaugurated.

I expect Obama will continue to sabotage the incoming administration, not in Bill Clinton’s juvenile method of removing the “W” from all the White House keyboards, but in true tin-pot dictator style, by emptying the prisons and pardoning his henchmen.

Joe Doakes

I expect Sasha, Malia and Michelle to get a “fact-finding trip” to Monaco out of the deal in the next two weeks…

What Might Have Been

Nate Cohn notes why Hillary couldn’t reassemble the Obama Coalition:

It is entirely possible, as many have argued, that Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect of the United States if the F.B.I. director, James Comey, had not sent a letter to Congress about her emails in the last weeks of the campaign.

But the electoral trends that put Donald J. Trump within striking distance of victory were clear long before Mr. Comey sent his letter. They were clear before WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. They were even clear back in early July, before Mr. Comey excoriated Mrs. Clinton for using a private email server.

It was clear from the start that Mrs. Clinton was struggling to reassemble the Obama coalition.

At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 — by a wide margin. Mrs. Clinton was also not matching Mr. Obama’s support among black voters.

The one “down side” – I”m exaggerating – to Clinton’s loss as far as I’m concerned?

We won’t be able to test my theory that, had Clinton won, all the liberal money and media love lavished on Black Lives Matter would have dried up before Hillary Clinton left the inauguration stage, because the reason George Soros was pouring megabucks into BLM was to get black voters, who’d turned out in cataclysmic numbers for Obama, to take any interest in a geriatric white patrician.

Misplaced

President Obama unveils an unseemly snobbery:

On Sunday’s season premiere of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” the president discussed food and foreign policy over noodles with the celebrity chef in Vietnam…“Is ketchup on a hot dog ever acceptable?” Bourdain asked the leader of the free world in an episode taped in May.

“No,” the president quickly responded. “I mean that … that’s one of those things like, well, let me put it this way, it’s not acceptable past the age of 8.”

Bam. Obama out.

Mr. President; you’re eating a hot dog.   Pretension is misplaced.

I’ll Swim Against The School

A lot of conservatives bag on the President pretty hard for his dedication to his golf game.

Kevin Williamson says it’s a mistake, and I agree.  There are two reasons.

The first:

There are some obvious and practical reasons not to discourage President Obama’s sporting pursuits. The most obvious of them is that every hour Barack Obama spends on the links is an hour he is not wrecking the republic, distorting its character, throwing monkey wrenches into its constitutional machinery, or appointing sundry miscreants and malefactors to its high offices. If golf is the only prophylactic we have against him, then Scotland’s second-greatest contribution to modern civilization is to be celebrated for doing work that the Supreme Court and Congress can’t quite manage.

But there is more than the consequentialist case for Obama’s golf.

And I urge you go to and read it.

 

Incurious

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when the US sent a check to Switzerland to be cashed into a pallet of bills and flown to Iran, where hostages were held at the airport until the money arrived? 

 Remember when President Obama said that was not ransom, that the United States didn’t pay ransom?

 Now they’re saying it was a refund due for a never-completed arms deal from the 1970’s.  And of course we tied the payment to the release of hostages.  It wouldn’t have been prudent to just give them money and hope they released the hostages, since we weren’t paying ransom.

 And it wasn’t money laundering either, and wasn’t done to subvert the law against providing assistance to Iran.  The fact that it was done in secret, converted from fiat money to US cash to Foreign cash, in foreign banks without extradition or information sharing, was not relevant to their good intentions.

 Pathetic.  Who makes up these lies?

 Joe Doakes

Someone who can count on the American people being badly educated, incurious, too hooked on reality TV (including a reality TV election) to pay much attention, and a media that will never, ever question him?

Just off the top of my head, I mean?

The Best Among Us

Remember when flooding in Louisiana was a massive crisis – when we had a Republican President?

The Cajuns are seeing to their own rescue – 15,000 of them:

They’re known as the “Cajun Navy,” and in recent days they’ve become possibly the nation’s most important neighborhood watch.
Troy Green, from Ascension Parish just south of Baton Rouge, loaded up his boat after hearing the Cajun Navy needed a few good sailors.
He drove to East Baton Rouge Parish where the National Guard had a staging area.
“I am here to help,” he said. “Where do you need me?”
They paired him with a local man and the two spent a full day pulling people — at least two of them in wheelchairs — out of flooded houses.
All while Obama golfed.

Buried In The Details

Joe Doakes, de Como Park, envía un correo electrónico:

I recently vacationed in Mexico.  The shops advertised Cuban cigars.  I remember President Obama normalized relations with Cuba so Americans can now bring home Cuban cigars worth $100 for personal use.   Great, I bought a box.

Cigars

Except . . . I’ve learned not to trust that guy.  Before I brought the cigars on the airplane, I did a little more checking.  Media accounts were what I remembered but Newsweek mentioned “Americans eligible to travel to Cuba” can bring home cigars.  Hang on, that’s lawyer speak, what’s that doing in the article?  What does it actually mean?  Finally found the Customs website.

If you buy Cuban cigars in Cuba, you can bring them home; if you buy Cuban cigars anywhere else, they’re still illegal.  Attempting to bring them home is smuggling, a federal crime with a whopping fine and prison time.

Typical for this President, just like his big talk about closing Gitmo, slowing the rise of oceans, gun control . . . it’s announced to great fanfare but amounts to small beer.   I left the cigars for the hotel maid in addition to the cash that I tipped her for looking after our room.  I hope she finds a use for them.

Joe Doakes

Back in 2008, when people said “Obama will be a splendid president, because constitutional lawyer”, I used to respond “a President needs to know the same about the Constitution as a good cop, or maybe a high school civics teacher.  Politicians who are lawyers like to play games with the law.  Never trust them.”

I take no pleasure from getting the last laugh.

Extreme Measures

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It occurs to me that the Obama administration may be quietly supporting a Final Solution to global warming.

World population increased from 2 billion in 1950 to 7 billion today.  All those extra people exhaling carbon dioxide, raising cattle that produce methane flatulence, heating their homes with natural gas, driving cars, charging their iPhones with electricity generated from burning coal . . . they all contribute to global warming.  Hey, Liberals are right, global warming IS produced by mankind: the world simply has too many people emitting too much carbon.

It wouldn’t, if we could reduce world population back to 1950 levels.  But how would we do it in a politically acceptable way?  No Blood For Oil is still a favorite Liberal hymn.

If we support policies that undermine world-wide oil prices, the economy will collapse in oil-producing countries, leading to mass starvation, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we release terrorists from Gitmo and also foment insurrection in Arab countries, civil war will break out leading to bloodshed, disease and starvation, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we unleash the Ebola virus in Africa and the Zika virus in South America and warn women not to get pregnant for three years, we reduce the birth rate below replacement level, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we let felons out of prison and decline to prosecute killers based on color, thousands will die in inner cities, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for wealthier Americans.

Europe is getting ready to eliminate millions of asylum seekers.  North Korea is making noises – maybe a major war on that peninsula will draw in some neighbors to die fighting?  And how are things between India and Pakistan right now, any chance they might massacre a few millions of each other’s citizens for us?

Genocide could turn out to be nicely guilt-free, as it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity to survive global warming.  Settled science, doncha know?  Maybe President Obama really will halt the rise of the oceans and begin the heal the planet.  Boy, would I have egg on my face.

Joe Doakes

Omelette/eggs.  Just saying.

Full Employment – For Propagandists

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama is taking credit for full employment.  The economy is roaring.  The unemployment rate is under 5%.  The recession is over.

Or is it?  The BLS says we didn’t gain 195,000 jobs, we lost 665,000 jobs.  So are those people unemployed?  Turns out, it depends on what the meaning of “unemployed” is.  We’re back in Clinton-land.

Numberz

 

The red line is U3 – people who are unemployed and have looked for work within the past four weeks.

The grey line is U6 – people who are unemployed and have looked for work within the past year.

The blue line is an estimate of people who are unemployed and have not looked for work within the past year because there’s no point – there are no jobs for people with their education and experience.  They’ve given up hope.

Meanwhile, this Federal Reserve study concludes at least some of the unemployment is caused by immigrants.  President Obama’s most recent plan would exacerbate the problem.

What it tells me is:  all the numbers are lies.  The government agencies lie to us, they lie to each other, they lie to the media.  It’s like the old Soviet Union claiming record harvests as they beg the UN for food because harvests were so bad.

I don’t think this is the Full Employment that we were looking for.

Joe Doakes

Honesty has fewer opportunities for graft.

Today’s News, A Month Ago

January:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement watched President Obama’s tearful, angry, and utterly theatrical broadside about guns, gun owners and gun manufacturers, noted that nearly everything he was “proposing” was existing law already, and said that the President’s big “effort” was nothing but a shallow bit of political grandstanding calculated to make it look like he planned to, as his supporters wailed, “dooooooooooo something”, without actually signing the political death warrants of every Democrat between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.

February:  The New York Times notices the same thing.

Lesson:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement are smarter and better-informed than the media.

Unprecedented!

I’ve had some of my Democrat friends chuckling about the idea that the GOP might endorse Donald Trump for President.

And I can see why they’re so giggly. The idea that a major political party might endorse someone with almost no relevant experience, whose entire campaign is built on saying things people want to hear (sometimes contradictory things to different audiences)?  The product of cynical marketing aimed at a sincere but gullible and undiscriminating audience?  A product bolstered with breathless media hype from a bloated, entitled and leadenly incurious media – the same media that was intimately complicit with creating him as a public figure in the first place?

Why, that‘s just preposterous!  That’s almost like a bad movie!

(“Hey, Mitch – are you talking about Jesse Ventura?”  Why, no.  Very close, of course – but that was almost two decades ago).

Takeaways

I went to a “watching party” to check out President Obama’s town hall meeting on guns last night.

Just a couple observations.

Huh?:  Anderson Cooper was actually pretty good; he kept Obama on his toes with a couple of lines of questioning.

For that matter, the President actually did his best to curb his condescending inner Ivy Leaguer.  Perhaps it’s because his popularity is lower than the NRA’s.

Didja Catch The License Number On That Truck?:  It took a second for this picture…

…to sink in.  Let’s zoom in:


CNN has eschewed the neutral, euphemistic “Gun Safety” or “Gun Violence” for the more accurate “Gun Control”.

I’m amazed, frankly.

The Reason For The Meeting?:  Every day we’re talking – and talking, and talking – about guns, we’re not talking about the First Husband Presumptive.

And now it all comes clear.

Boys Don’t Cry

I was among the conservatives who shook their heads in (in my case) muted mockery during the President’s “gun grab” speech on Tuesday.

Like most shooters, I’ve prided myself for decades on being able to run factual rings around gun grabbers, whether they be politicians or activists, without breaking a sweat; about knowing their case better than they did; about being able to meet challenges like this with a humble “well, actually, not much here surprises me”.   Ever since I was a 24 year old kid with a talk show at KSTP in 1986, I’ve happily made the grabbers look like the ignorant, emotion-based naifs that the imponderably vast majority of them are.

12509209_10205334412982274_2594818559084656109_n

But a lawyer friend of mine once told me an attorney’s adage; “When the law is against you, argue facts; when the facts are against you, argue the law; when they’re both against you, argue like hell”.  In other words, accentuate the positive; play to your strengths.

All the gun-grabber movement has is emotion – so the President plays emotion.

And as David French cautions, “emotional” isn’t necessarily bad politics.   I’m going to add some emphasis here and there:

And while I don’t think this campaign will work, it is incumbent on gun-owners to persist in making the moral case for carrying a firearm. Too often we find ourselves locked into wars over statistics — comparing gun violence across national and cultural boundaries, examining the effectiveness of a particular gun-control measure, or measuring the lives saved by the use of personal weapons in self-defense against the lives taken through suicide and homicide. But gun ownership is about values that are far deeper than any set of statistics.

That last sentence?  Read and absorb.

Gun ownership goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible citizen in our constitutional republic. It goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible parent or spouse. It isn’t merely about hunting, or the joy of an afternoon at the firing range, or “looking tough.” It isn’t about fear. It’s about autonomy, independence, and a deep and self-sacrificial regard for the lives of those you love. It’s about exercising the fundamental human right to defend oneself and others. And that can’t be stressed enough, unless we want “gun culture” to live on in ever-shrinking regional enclaves, with each generation bowing just a bit lower to a relentless, motivated political and cultural elite.

I worry, at times, that Real Americans have gotten complacent; many of today’s shooters weren’t around, or don’t remember, the nadir of the late seventies through the early nineties – when gun-grabbers ran the show, when Real Americans were a minority in fact as well as perception.

Never again.

Barack Obama won’t be the last president to feel this deeply about gun control, and his tears reflect the deep feelings of millions of Americans, including those who effectively control the entertainment consumed by millions more. Politics are downstream from culture. We ignore that reality at our own risk.

This is going to be a big subject tomorrow on the NARN, and next week on the blog.

Much Ado

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama supposedly issued some Executive Orders relating to guns.  Both sides are in an uproar.  But wait – what did he actually do?

The White House has a website, naturally.  It lists all Executive Orders.  There are no new orders relating to guns.

Okay, well, maybe the orders were issued but staff is slow updating the website?  No, his speeches and remarks are right up-to-date.

So maybe they’re not technically Executive Orders, maybe they’re some other Presidential Action?  Doesn’t look like it.  The only new Presidential Action relating to guns is a memo directing the AG and the Army telling them to put together a research proposal to investigate the possibility of inventing some future technology that might make guns safer someday.

The White House did post a FACT SHEET about guns.  It refers to Executive Actions.  Is that the same as Executive Orders?  Apparently not.  Looking through the Actions, we find:

 

  1. ATF is finalizing a rule clarifying who needs an FFL to sell a gun.  The federal rule-making process is a well-established procedure for making administrative law, this isn’t a spontaneous action by the President
  1. The Attorney General sent a letter telling states to follow the law and also held a conference call.  That’ll take a bite out of crime.
  1. The FBI will hire more people to do background checks.  Good, they’ll need help processing all the applications generated by panic over the media’s reporting of the President’s unconstitutional power grab – which doesn’t seem to have happened, yet.  Keep reading.
  1. Democrats want to spend more money, $500 million for mental health care.  This is, in fact, the right place to spend money because the mental health system is a disgrace that all too often leads to tragedy; but considering the history of Democrat spending, I’m not convinced any of the money actually will reach the mentally ill.  Instead, I fear it’ll end up being block grants to mental health advocacy groups who will hold picket signs and issue press releases demanding . . . another $500 million.
  1. Social Security will begin the rulemaking process to strip seniors of their right to self-defense, if they mis-manage their finances. Rulemaking takes forever and mis-managing your finances isn’t the same as posing a danger to yourself of others.  I doubt that proposal will go anywhere.
  1. DHS is finishing up rulemaking to clarify that HIPPA does not prevent shrinks from reporting psychos to the background check folks.  Rulemaking, again, not bold new initiatives to make playgrounds safer.
  1. ATF is proposing a rule to outlaw gun trusts used to hold title to machine guns, which have been used to kill exactly zero children and will do precisely nothing to make Americans safer.  More rulemaking, wait and see.
  1. ATF issued a final a rule that gun dealers who lose a gun in transit must report it.  Not controversial, everybody supports that.

Frankly, I don’t see that the President did anything today.  This looks more like a publicity stunt to rally the base and deflect attention away from other administration failures, at home and abroad.  This Presidency started with vacuous promises of hope and change but it’s ending with tearful press conferences about memos and conference calls.  It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Joe Doakes

It does indeed look to be shaping up that way.