Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Distorting Trump’s MS-13 comments and Israel’s defensive border action

Recognizing that secure borders are essential to a free and safe country, President Donald Trump is insistent on securing our borders, particularly the southern one, and would gladly build a wall to accomplish that necessary goal.

Whether it is because Donald Trump is the one emphasizing securing the border, or whether it is because the Left is soft on illegal immigration is less important than the high degree of foolishness of their position. They couch their position on “feelings” rather than national security and protecting Americans from the expense of supporting people who come here illegally, or from those who are dangerous criminals.

Some of the more recognizable names on the Left, particularly many people elected to Congress, make statements that can easily lead one to believe that they are more concerned with the feelings of those illegals than of their fellow Americans or of their own constituents.

A tripwire of these statements is Trump’s use of the word “animals” to describe members of the violent MS-13 gang and other ultra-violent intruders. And among those objecting to the use of the term is the agenda media, some examples of which follow:

* The Washington Post: "Trump compares illegal immigrants to 'animals'"
* The New York Times: "Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants 'animals' in rant"
* Huffington Post: "Trump refers to immigrants as 'animals.' Again."
* USA Today: "Trump ramps up rhetoric on undocumented immigrants: 'These aren't people. These are animals.'"
* Vox: "Trump on deported immigrants: 'They're not people. They're animals.'"

But, of course, they were all wrong. Were they wrong because they have no idea about how to produce an accurate news story, or because the truth intrudes on their Leftist and anti-Trump agenda?

Unless you can’t understand English or have an agenda, anyone who listened to, watched or read the entire text of the statement knew immediately that Trump was not talking about all illegal aliens or immigrants, but was addressing the vile and repulsive members of the venomous and violent MS-13 gang. The gang, whose motto is “kill, rape and control,” has a left a long trail of violence in its wake.

However, Trump is wrong in using the word “animals” to describe MS-13 members. In doing so he has insulted animals everywhere by comparing them to the lowlife MS-13 creatures.

While the U.S. has problems with people who try and succeed at sneaking into the country, a nation with perhaps the most serious border problems is Israel.

The Jewish nation has accomplished great things in medicine, technology, and agriculture, and operates on democratic principles; it is a bright spot in a troubled world region. Despite this impressive record of accomplishments that benefit the entire world, some of its neighbors want Israel gone. It is surrounded by relatively huge Arab nations, with Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan either on its border, or not many miles away.

The Palestinians have been conducting protests on the Gaza border for weeks, and they claim that the border protests are peaceful and civilian-led, which was parroted by elements of the western media. But in fact, they have grown more violent over time. The protest earlier this month found participants creating dark smoke to hide their movements toward the border by setting tires on fire, trying to break down the border barriers and starting fires in Israeli territory by flying kites over the border that had canisters of burning gasoline on them.

Having warned the Palestinians not to attempt to cross the border, when the warnings were ignored the Israeli Defense Forces defended their border, resulting in 64 Palestinians being killed and hundreds more wounded. Unfortunately, that included a few women and children. More information on that follows.

This defensive border action received a harsh response from the UN Human Rights Council, whose chief labeled the Israeli response "wholly disproportionate," and called for an international investigation, as well as widespread condemnation from the anti-Israel media.

This is not a surprise, given the non-secret disdain for the Jewish state of many UN members. While the automatic response of Israel-haters everywhere is to blame Israel for the so-called “unconscionable murder of women, children and peaceful Palestinians,” the truth is quite different from that account.

A Hamas terrorist who was captured after he had breached the border told Israeli officials that the violence in the protests was the work of his organization. And an official of Hamas, Salah Bardawil, said, “In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas,” members of the Palestinian terrorist organization.

The captured Hamas terrorist also said that the Islamic terrorist organization used women and children as shields, promising them they would be safe if they moved to the front line of the protest.

The Hamas terrorists among the protesters were armed with Molotov cocktails, guns and knives, and hid behind women and children in hopes of being able to break through the border barrier.

The accurate information about the terrorists taking part in this violent Hamas attack is not readily available, due to the bias of the United Nations and media outlets.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Equality of results is an unachievable goal, so stop, already!

The New York Times recently published a profile piece on clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson claiming Peterson is the “pedigreed voice” of those cretins who wish to undermine efforts by liberals to promote equality.

Peterson’s excellent new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has sold more than a million copies since its release this past January.  

But this is not about Peterson’s insightful tome, which is not primarily about equality, although that topic comes up in it. This is about the futility and great negatives of attempting to force equality of results.

Some years ago a step in that direction occurred in some schools in an attempt to save students from the negative feelings resulting from failure, or not being among the best at something. Instead of celebrating the best three or four with a trophy, some schools decided everyone deserved a trophy just for participating.

Even though one of the twenty participants in a 100-yard dash came in well ahead of the others, and four did not even finish the race, it is now the case for all participants to receive a trophy. Hurt feelings and disappointment are no-nos. But where’s the recognition for the fastest runner who beat the runner-up by a full second? First, second and third place trophies? Absolutely not! “Trophies for all” is better.

In recent tryouts for a high school cheerleading squad, one girl who tried out, but did not make the cut, was unhappy, as might be expected. So, her mother called the school and complained, and the school has since ruled that all who tried out will be accepted for the squad.

What about those that are just better at it and actually earned a position through their preparation and performance?  Does that mean the school will now accept all of those who show up for every tryout or team, regardless of their respective abilities? What if 50 girls show up next year for the cheerleading squad?

Some of the 50 will be significantly less able to perform than others. Will the squad have to do their challenging cheers badly, or just do less challenging cheers? Maybe they will just stand in a line and recite the cheers, hopefully together. What about the increased expense of outfitting 50 girls instead of 12? What if every girl in the school wants to be a cheerleader?

Regardless of their skills, preparation, or experience, every girl in the school is now deemed equal when it comes to cheerleading.

Except, of course, that they aren’t. Imposing equality attempts to equalize that which is inherently not equal.

Another popular topic is whether people doing the same job should receive the same pay. “Yes,” you may say. But it is more complicated than it appears.

Are they equally good employees that produce equally high quality work; do all have the same amount of experience; do they work the same hours? If all those are truly equal, perhaps they should receive equal pay. But that isn’t always, or even usually, the situation. Reality is rarely that cooperative.

We are all different, by design. Some of us are tall, some short. Some brilliant, some are less so, and some not at all. Some are athletic while others are not. Some are good at math, science, English, geography, art, music or other things, but also may not be good at others of those subjects. And there’s nothing liberals can do to equalize those natural inequalities.

How do you put a guy who trips on the stairs and continually drops things on the baseball or basketball team with kids who can actually play the game, and consider him equal to the others?

This trend of rewarding everyone regardless of their merit has taken hold, and has grown to a point where preventing individuals from having negative feelings is of greater importance than their learning to deal with the slings and arrows of life.

Many of us have decided that protecting feelings by giving everyone an award is more important than recognition for actual accomplishments. It is not a bad thing to compete with one another, to try to be the best among your peers, or at least work to be the best you can be. Do we no longer value excellence or achievement? Or is mediocrity the new national goal?

There is order in systems to rank people by their abilities, and forcing round pegs into square holes by imposing equality creates chaos. The effort to make all equal is chaotic, because it replaces order with disorder.

Protecting hypersensitive feelings did not get us to the top. America reached its peak of greatness by encouraging people to achieve great things and striving for excellence.

Equality – true equality in all things – is a pipe dream; an impossibility. But liberals seem determined to try, try and try again to produce the impossible. And this pretty well explains liberalism. In its efforts to achieve utopia, it makes promises that it cannot keep.

We can certainly work to improve equality of opportunity. After that, it’s up to the individual to succeed on her or his own initiative.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

When anti-Trump behavior becomes more than “spoiled brat” behavior

What is it about Barack Obama and members of his now blessedly former administration that causes them to plague the nation with their opinions on the words, deeds and thoughts of President Donald Trump? What prevents them from doing what nearly all members of previous administrations have done: return gracefully to the life of a private citizen, and keep your mouth shut about the successor’s presidency?

The Washington Post, no fan of President George W. Bush, complimented the former president’s behavior during the Obama administration in 2016 as “exemplary.” “W” has kept himself out of the limelight; despite the strong enticements Obama’s policies provided him and others. Until recently, that is, when he expressed concern over president Trump’s pulling out of the Iran deal.

Hillary Clinton is the most vocal of the bunch, and having been a candidate for president, such criticisms of her opponent are part and parcel of a campaign. But since then, she is forever criticizing Trump and the things he does and doesn’t do.

Her criticisms of Trump are nearly as numerous as her list of reasons she lost the race. As bad as her behavior is, and as bad as the shenanigans in the Justice Department and FBI are, former Secretary of State John Kerry’s behavior is just as bad, or worse.

Kerry was in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, and for him there are two Vietnams. In the first one, after returning from the war he despicably trashed American military personnel, accusing them of all manner of war crimes. But then, when the presidency lured him toward it in 2004, the second one appeared, and he then used his Navy deployment as a star in his crown justifying why he should be elected.

And oddly enough, whenever the negatives of Kerry’s Vietnam service were used against him, he attempted to shame his detractors, actually accusing them of attacking veterans. Blessedly, he was not elected, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to act against the best interests of the nation.

Mackubin Thomas Owens, a contributing editor for National Review Online, explains that  John Kerry 1) played a major role in helping to poison the attitude of the country toward those who fought in Vietnam and 2) laid the groundwork for the foreign and defense policy he embraced as a senator – a record he has not been forced to confront by the press.”

Kerry was Obama’s secretary of state, beginning in 2013, and was a key player in the Iran agreement Obama eventually heralded as the greatest thing since … well, the last greatest thing the “Leader from Behind” did.

Obama, Kerry and Clinton were among the throng of Democrats that raced to complain about Trump’s withdrawal from the deeply flawed Iran deal, with predictions of worldwide catastrophe.

But Mort Zuckerman described the deal in a 2016 edition of U.S. News, writing, “President Barack Obama never submitted his Iranian nuclear deal for ratification by the Congress because he knew it would have no chance of passing. That does not make the United States unique: The Iranian parliament has never approved it either (that body passed a heavily amended version) and the Iranian president has never signed it. The Iranian cabinet has never even discussed it. … Indeed, President Obama ‘may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself,’ as the Gatestone Institute's Amir Taheri has said.”

Zuckerman went on to report that a State Department official confirmed that the deal "is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document."

When you add in the sanctions lifted and the cash and other rewards, it may be the worst deal ever conceived.

And now that Trump has identified the deal as the mess that it is, we find Kerry engaging in shadow diplomacy trying to salvage the Iran deal.
On May 7, The Federalist reported: “Kerry’s highly unusual shadow diplomatic maneuvers include engaging in multiple meetings with high-level Iranian officials in the last several months. For instance, Kerry met with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif two months ago then again two weeks ago at the United Nations in New York to discuss ways to keep the Iran nuclear deal intact.” He also lobbied members of the U.S. Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

This has fostered accusations that Kerry has breached the Logan Act, which according to The Free Dictionary “is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.”

Fortunately for Kerry, no one in the Act’s two century history has ever been prosecuted under it, not even members of the Trump team, so he may escape the penalty of three years in prison for his malfeasance.

What really needs to happen to put a stop to, or at least dramatically slow down, these anti-Trump corrupt, and often-illegal actions by members of the government, past and present, is to prosecute, convict and jail these perpetrators.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Will forces from within bring about the demise of America?

In this time when virtually all our standards and traditions are falling away or being scrapped, we should be concerned about what America will look like in another generation. Will America even be recognizable?

School-age kids aren’t being taught to write or read cursive. Like the kids in the UK, 80 percent of Oklahoma kids 6 to 12 years old also are having trouble telling time on an analog clock.

Much of public education seems to be in a crisis.

Columnist and economics professor Walter Williams wrote recently about the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is often referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card,” showing disturbing results.
“Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math.”

He went on to report that America’s high school graduation rate is over 80 percent, which indicates that graduates’ math and reading skills are at a 12th-grade level. How can that be, he asks, when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math?

Combine that with the changes to the curriculum, where many schools no longer teach civics or properly emphasize American history, and we appear to be deliberately creating a generation of young people who are seriously under-educated, in general, and about their country in particular.

College once was a place where young people went to advance their education, prepare for their future work life, and evolve from a teenager into a mature adult. Now, many campuses are places where free speech, once strongly emphasized on campuses, is dead or dying, and instead of learning to cope with adverse realities, they are provided protection from them.

The successful imposition of political correctness and the over-the-top behavior of some people to push PC on the public have turned things upside-down. This may pose one of the most serious societal problems we will face, as so many people want to magnify tiny little “discomforts” into Earth-shattering events, and condemn those who are responsible for these minor “offenses” to a living hell.

Among the abundant examples of this silliness is the recent episode where an American high school girl chose as her attire for the high school prom a dress with a Chinese theme. The PC police quickly hopped aboard the Knee-jerk Band Wagon to label her a “racist” and scream that she was guilty of “cultural appropriation.”

The young lady brushed off the nutty criticism, and the Chinese reacted positively to her. But the PC crowd apparently believes that only Asians can enjoy sushi, and only Italians can order spaghetti, or go to Pasquales’ restaurant.

The profound goofiness of such ideas apparently escapes the understanding of the disciples of political correctness. Many of these folks are from the younger generations, thus this way of thinking does not bode well for America’s future, unless they experience an intellectual  renaissance.

America – the land of the free – a place where government was designed to serve the people, now has important agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) straying from their constitutional roles and being run by people who are motivated by narrow political goals rather than their sworn duty to honorably serve Americans.

IRS employee Lois Lerner delayed applications and hassled applicants for non-profit status because they were conservative organizations. FBI agent Peter Strozk and his lover, agency attorney Lisa Page, used FBI email for partisan messages against Donald Trump’s candidacy. And then we have former FBI Director Jim Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and their numerous misdeeds. The list goes on.

The now notorious and fraudulent Trump dossier was used as evidence to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump officials Carter Page and Michael Flynn. And the FBI and Department of Justice are withholding documents legally subpoenaed by a congressional committee with oversight authority.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to find a crime in the Trump campaign in the 2016 election had cost taxpayers nearly $7 million as of last December, producing only meager results, thus far.

One year on, two people associated with Trump have been charged: Former campaign chief Paul Manafort, over alleged bank fraud many years ago, and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, after FBI officials said that he was not suspected of lying. Flynn plead guilty to the charge, apparently to end the crippling legal fees that drove him to near bankruptcy.

And then there’s the $20 trillion national debt – $62,500 per American – that no one seems serious about reducing, that threatens the nation’s future.

Young people who are inadequately prepared through their education to understand America and the realities of life, and people both inside and outside the government, and in the news media, who are willing and eager to cheat to achieve their political goals may bring about the demise of the country.

Are Abraham Lincoln’s words coming true? “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Here’s some good news on climate change and the U.S. energy picture

Was it a breakdown of distribution components? Did information editors snooze through this big news? What was it that caused the recent important news about climate change to not be widely distributed?

Normally, when data show a new hottest year on record; or a big increase over the previous month, or the same month in the previous year; or represent a sequence of warming months or years, that’s a big story. But not this time. What’s up with that?

Well, the answer is that the climate change news did not fit with the climate change narrative preferred by those who promote cataclysmic damage to the Earth’s atmosphere unless we make dramatic, inconvenient, expensive, harmful, and virtually useless changes to the way we live and work.

Since the Little Ice Age ended in the 1880s the Earth has warmed by about 0.8 degrees C, a level of warming that many regard as serious, even catastrophic. However, that same approximate level of warming occurred three times prior to this one, in the Minoan, Roman and Medieval warming periods. Somehow, the Earth managed to not blow up, and its plant and animal life survived. And the fact that Earth survived runs contrary to the manic warnings of the alarmist faction about our fate under such conditions.

The recent news that hardly anyone is aware of demonstrates how Earth’s temperatures fluctuate; alternately rising and falling, over varying lengths of time, and has occurred for at least thousands of years.

The most recent available data comes from the GISTEMP Team, 2018:GISS Surface Temperature Analysis. The source for this report is NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and the data shows that from February of 2016 to February of 2018, global average temperatures fell by 0.56 degrees C. That was an even larger drop than the previous two-year drop from 1982-1984, when the global temperatures dropped by 0.47 degrees C.

The recent temperature drop, called the Big Chill, represents the reversal of about 70 percent of the previous 0.8 degree C increase in global temperatures over the last approximately 120 years. This is important; however, two years of lower temperatures are not sufficient to label it a complete reversal of the warming trend. But it does demonstrate the changeable nature of global temperatures.

Other relevant information not widely reported consists of an analysis of computer climate models as designed by the climate scientists on the alarmist side of things. Writing for Investors Business Daily, Nic Lewis’ and Judith Curry’s study shows the alarmists models are tilted upward on the temperature scale. The planet, they say, is far less sensitive to increases in CO2 than the climate models predict. The result is that Earth will warm less than the models predict, even if the levels of CO2 we put into the atmosphere do not decrease.

Thus, the global warming scare that we are continually being beaten up with is not currently a looming danger. Instead, it is an exaggerated picture of normal temperature fluctuations.

The majority of the information media, which largely sides with the predictions of catastrophe for our environment, mostly reports information about climate when it suits their political perspective.

* * * * *

On the energy front, there is also good news. Bloomberg Markets reports, “Selling more than two million barrels a day of U.S. crude overseas may soon be the new normal.”

The U.S. exported 2.33 million barrels a day in the third week of April, which is the highest export number in the last 25 years, according to the Energy Information Administration. That is a significant increase from earlier in the month, when average exports were 1.76 million barrels a day. U.S. total output has increased to 10.6 million barrels a day, Bloomberg reported.

This increase is attributed to the shale production revolution, which largely comes from light, sweet West Texas crude.

The U.S. is moving from the world’s largest importer of crude oil, and is about to displace Russia as the largest producer of crude in the world.

The coal picture, while improved from the over-reaching Obama administration, does not look as good as the oil picture. However, a new discovery could produce some positive impacts.

The American Geosciences Institute notes: "Rare-earth elements (REEs) are used as components in high technology devices, including smart phones, digital cameras, computer hard disks, fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, flat screen televisions, computer monitors, and electronic displays. Large quantities of some REEs are used in clean energy and defense technologies."

A new project with the goal of being able to extract rare earth elements from acid mine drainage at coal mine sites in the country holds some promise. West Virginia University and the National Energy Technology Laboratory are focusing on developing a less expensive method for extraction, and to increase domestic supplies of these elements, which now are primarily available only from China.

If successful, this project will not only provide a strong domestic supply of the increasingly valuable and useful elements, but will also have a positive impact on the waste produced from past and present coal mining operations.