Open Thread

A Catholic priest celebrating Mass in France was killed by ISIS goons. Oddly enough, the issue of air conditioning doesn’t seem to have played a role in this.

Trump is getting a lot of flack over his comments on NATO. All he’s doing, however, is tapping into a widespread view among the American people: that we Americans are routinely shafted by our alliance systems which put us on the hook while our allies rest on their oars, and engage in routine anti-Americanism into the bargain. As for me – keep NATO…but we do need some changes. First off, the European powers simply must massively increase their defense spending. Secondly, if we are to continue to commit ourselves to rushing off to the defense of European nations, then those nations should commit to come rushing to our defense if, say, we have to go to war with China. Collective security is the best guarantor of world peace…but it has to work both ways.

A Democrat unity breakfast didn’t work out so well. Happened to be driving around a bit this AM on some errands and so caught a few minutes of Rush – his opinion is that Sanders was unable to get regular Democrats to commit as delegates, so he was forced to turn to rent-a-mob, professional “no justice, no peace” activists…and such people lack a sense of decorum, to say the least. The Democrat convention could continue to be quite interesting.

The current RCP average of polls has Trump slightly up – which is probably correct, but is also probably immaterial. There’s a lot of campaign left to go and Hillary has yet to have her grand moment. And as I’ve said for a while, polling in 2016 might be quite off – it might well miss either a Trump or a Hillary landslide in the making. Meanwhile, in the 4-way poll (including Libertarian Johnson and Green Stein), Hillary is slightly up. I’m wondering: if GOPers disgusted with Trump go Johnson and Progs disgusted with Hillary go Stein, could we get a hung electoral college? Here’s how it might look.

Victor Davis Hanson has, as usual, something interesting to say on the whole Trump phenomena.

Democrats are actually worried about the November outcome – UAW President says Hillary has promised a re-negotiation of NAFTA.

Turns out it isn’t illegal to tell the truth about Planned Parenthood – score one for liberty!

Does Hillary want to ban guns? You betcha!

Are the Russians behind the DNC Leaks? Very possibly. Doesn’t matter, though – the e mails appear authentic. The larger issue: it appears that our national institutions are completely penetrated by any foreign power which has taken the time to try.

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15 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook July 27, 2016 / 10:12 am

    Does Hillary want to ban guns? You betcha!

    Wanting and doing are two completely different things. Two of the biggest shortcomings of Progressivism are the inability to think in dynamic terms and the inability to apply scale to ideas and policies.

    One of the basic tactics of Progressivism is the Alinsky tactic of forcing your adversaries to live by their own standards. So, for example, Conservatives claim to be honest, moral and law-abiding, so, if you make private ownership of guns illegal, Conservatives will, by their own standards, be forced to turn in their guns. Progressives also point to the gun confiscation in Australia as something they could and should do in this country. Australia has a population of 24 million, while the U.S. has a population of 321 million. The gun confiscation in Australia was actually a gun buy-back program which succeeded in collecting 650,000 firearms, or about one sixth of the estimated 4 million firearms in circulation. In the United States, by comparison, 150 million people own over 300,000 million guns.

    The Left will never succeed in repealing the Second Amendment, but should they succeed in packing the SC with enough Leftists to re-interpret the Second Amendment to not include the INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear firearms, the American public will simply ignore such a change, and the federal government doesn’t have enough agents nor enough body bags to enforce such a change.

    • M. Noonan July 27, 2016 / 10:48 am

      Someone Tweeted out last night that the Democrats are people who tell us a ban on abortion will just lead to illegal abortions but a ban on guns will lead to no illegal guns…

      • Retired Spook July 27, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        The one thing the Feds do have in sufficient quantities is ammunition — enough to kill every American thousands of times over. What a comforting thought. One has to wonder, though, how much of a threat the Department of Education SWAT team will be.

        A federal spokesman tried to distance the Education Department from the raid by emphasizing that the IG runs a “semi-independent office.” But that begs the question of why a federal agency overseeing education policy should have an IG who can send agents armed with guns into Americans’ homes. Or why the department has SWAT-style teams of agents to begin with.

      • Retired Spook July 27, 2016 / 12:57 pm

        The Federal Government is definitely gearing up for something.

        For those conspiracy-minded people who think the U.S. government is out to get them, here’s some ammunition they could use: the arming of federal government employees now shows the number of non-Defense Department federal officers carrying firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000)

        The spectrum of agencies whose employees are armed is cause for real concern. The authors note that IRS agents have access to AR-15 military-style rifles, Health and Human Services “Special Office of Inspector General Agents” have been trained by the Army’s Special Forces contractors, and the Department of Veterans Affairs boasts 3,700 armed employees.

        According to the op-ed, federal officers with arrest-and-firearm authority numbered 74, 500 in 1996; over 200,000 exist today. As the authors ask, “What exactly is the Obama administration up to?”

        On Friday, the authors’ organization, American Transparency, will publish its OpenTheBooks.com oversight report, which will enumerate “federal purchases of guns, ammunition and military-style equipment by seemingly bureaucratic federal agencies.” The authors write, “During a nine-year period through 2014, we found 67 agencies unaffiliated with the Department of Defense spent $1.48 billion on guns and ammo. Of that total, $335.1 million was spent by agencies traditionally viewed as regulatory or administrative, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Mint.”

        Here are some more staggering statistics: between 2005 and 2014, the IRS spent $11 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment; the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $11.66 million, including over $200,000 on night-vision equipment, $2.3 million for body armor, over $2 million on guns, and $3.6 million for ammunition; The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service “spent $4.77 million purchasing shotguns, .308 caliber rifles, night-vision goggles, propane cannons, liquid explosives, pyro supplies, buckshot, LP gas cannons, drones, remote-control helicopters, thermal cameras, military waterproof thermal infrared scopes and more.”

        There’s more: The Environmental Protection Agency spent $3.1 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment; The Food and Drug Administration has 183 heavily armed “special agents.”

        All that said, I don’t see how 200,000 armed federal agents taking on 150 million armed Americans ends up working out well.

  2. Amazona July 27, 2016 / 10:26 am

    VDH’s article is interesting, to a point, but it says nothing new. It is merely a summary of what has been said, many times, by many people. True to his skills, he says it better, but still…

    One thing I noticed was his skimming over the fact that Trump is a card-carrying poster boy for the elite East Coast people seen to be villains by so much of the American public.

    As I read his article, I kept being reminded of one thing that now seems to be a main “selling point” of Trumpkins in defending their idol—“he is not a politician”. I think it is a sad commentary on the success of Semantic Infiltration and general propaganda when a sentiment like that sweeps the country and is accepted, at face value, as important.

    Politics is governance. Government has to be run by politicians. Some are good, some are bad. But the meme that a candidate is superior BECAUSE he is not a politician is simply stupid. Government should be, must be, run by people who understand it and have experience in its management.

    Hundreds of thousands of people die every year due to mistakes made by doctors, yet think how stupid it would be to call in your plumber when you have a heart attack because “he’s not a doctor”. There are good doctors and bad doctors, and good doctors who make mistakes, but overall it makes a lot more sense to consult someone with training in medicine, who has at least a basic understanding of how the human body is supposed to work, and some experience in fixing it when it doesn’t work properly, Most people understand this.

    But when it comes to electing the President of the United States, millions are now touting one of, if not the most, most important things in they consider to be in his favor —- the fact that he knows absolutely nothing about governance, how the government works when it works well, why it doesn’t work when it works badly, what parts need to be fixed and how to fix them.

    The nation is facing cardiac arrest and we have not only nominated a plumber to “fix” it, we have chosen one who would fit in very well in “A Plumbing We Will Go”

    • M. Noonan July 27, 2016 / 10:42 am

      It is odd that we have a political system which essentially requires a professional, political class of people to run it – and then get angry about all these professional politicians. But, as our Founders understood, all that is required to keep things on even keel is checks and balances…so, insert the term limits they neglected to impose.

      I think the most important lesson we can learn from the Founders is wariness – they were fearful of what might happen. Steeped as they were in classical education about Greece and Rome, they well knew the absurdities to which both democracies and Republics could descend. Having just experienced Royal despotism, they weren’t in a mind for a monarchy, either (though there was a serious move to make Washington King George I). And, so, they gave us a mixed government which included elements of democracy, a Republic and a Monarchy.

      Our problem, today, is that no one in charge is serious about defending this system – and both Trump and Hillary have in various ways promised to continue Obama’s path of just ignoring laws which don’t poll well at the moment…

      My Mrs is the best and most successful political observer I know – because she doesn’t give a rat’s you-know-what about this nonsense. I’m serious about that – she can watch these clowns and predict exactly how it will play among the American majority. She can see past it all and right through these people…and this morning she asked me, “isn’t it against the law for people to be helping illegals move around?”. I said it is – and she said, “then how in heck did those illegals get to the DNC?”. Boom – I now know that those illegals giving speeches was a devastatingly bad thing for the Democrats to do. Someone point out on Twitter that the DNC is an exercise in handing the White House to Trump on a silver platter…it may well end up being that.

      • Amazona July 27, 2016 / 11:59 am

        “I now know that those illegals giving speeches was a devastatingly bad thing for the Democrats to do.”

        If the message gets out. Remember, what is legal no longer matters. Some sanctuary cities have illegals in public offices.

        I had lunch the other day with a Trump supporter who likes him for his stance on illegal immigration. I pointed out that no one knows what that stance IS, but went on to point out that NO ONE, not a single person who has touted “comprehensive immigration reform”, has started with the first and most obvious and necessary step, which is to make being here illegally an actual crime. Right now it is a misdemeanor about as meaningful as a traffic ticket, unless it results in deportation.

        All anyone does is complain, but the so-called “solutions” are superficial and temporary.
        My idea is this:

        1. Pass a law making it a felony to be here without proper legal authority, to go into effect the day after…
        2. A 90-day period in which all illegals have to register. Upon registration, which would include a detailed questionnaire to answered under penalty of perjury and a retinal scan and DNA sample, the illegal would get a temporary visa allowing him or her to remain in the country, and work, legally until investigations are completed and he or she qualifies for a work visa.

        OK, now we have a beginning. A lot of illegals will leave voluntarily, knowing their prints are on file somewhere even if they have not shown up for court and been convicted. A lot will leave because they can’t prove employment. The heavy weight of an automatic felony conviction if discovered to be here after the registration period is over will be an impetus to get the hell out of Dodge.

        A parallel law dismantling the IRS in favor of a flat tax or fair tax will free up large numbers of people who have been working for years investigating people, and they would be put to work investigating the information given at the interviews at registration.

        Upon passing the investigation, a person would be given a different temporary, probationary, work visa, good for a year. At the end of that year, upon passing a basic English equivalency test and having successfully attended culturization classes where they are taught how to go find and to go medical clinics instead of ERs, expectations of Americans such as flushing toilets after use in public restrooms, and so on. At that point we would have screened, vetted, employed people with a better understanding of how to live successfully in this country, and they would be given long-term work visas, say for 15 years. Within a year or of the expiration of the visas, the people would have to make a choice—time out the visa and return to the country of origin, or apply for permanent residency.

        No citizenship. Ever. We accept people who came here illegally, under certain criteria, but we do not reward them.

        In the same time frame as working out this plan, and the IRS plan, the 14th Amendment would have to be addressed—specifically the anchor baby concept. Given the time restraints of getting a Constitutional amendment passed, it would have to be a SCOTUS decision. The amendment conveys citizenship upon children born here to parents who are not under the jurisdiction of any other nation. Therefore, children born to legal citizens of other nations are NOT automatically citizens of the United States. A decision would have to be made regarding the status of children born to parents who are here legally—would a valid work visa make that parent under the jurisdiction of the United States?

        These actions alone would do a lot to clarify the immigration problem, and be a good start to getting it under control

        Accompany it all with a barricade along the border—not a wall, but a series of very tall fences, with no-man’s land in between, built to make them hard to scale and electrified to make them very unpleasant to try to cut through—and illegal immigration will be severely curtailed.

        Add in restrictions on sending US dollars out of the country, and it will be even more restricted.

      • M. Noonan July 27, 2016 / 2:15 pm

        You and I differ on whether or not someone who came in illegal can ever be a citizen, but that, to me, is not as important as the real need to (a) secure the border and (b) make being here illegally painful. I like your idea – it goes along with my idea of holding illegals, once caught, for a period of time before deporting them…with progressively longer time in detention for each successive capture. The illegals are coming here for something – by detaining them, we are preventing them from doing what they planned to do; whether its work, collect welfare or commit crime. It would provide a massive disincentive for crossing the border illegally.

  3. Amazona July 27, 2016 / 12:08 pm

    Mark, ask the Mrs. how she feels about translators at polling places. A foreigner here on a work visa said she could not understand why this would be necessary or even tolerated. Her parents were going through their citizenship process and she knew that to vote you have to be a citizen, and to be naturalized you have to pass an English competency exam. Therefore, you don’t need a translator at the voting booth.

    On the contrary, needing a translator is a basic admission you are not a citizen.

    As for needing someone to explain the complexities of a ballot, we all have trouble with that. That is why we get a newspaper with a sample ballot and all the ballot issues, so we can study them at home and become familiar with them. If you can’t do that you have no business voting.

    • M. Noonan July 27, 2016 / 2:12 pm

      She doesn’t understand that nonsense – but it’s all wrapped up in an, “hey, I thought that was illegal” about a whole bunch of things going on. The people – average, everyday American people – are watching our government and wondering what the heck is going on.

  4. Bob Eisenhower July 28, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    OK, I’ll say it since it hasn’t been said yet.

    What the F with Trump joking about his buddy Putin’s hacking activity? Hell, forget the joke, what about the way he constantly sidles up to the Russian despot. For his part, Putin cleared up that he likes Trump but doesn’t “like” like him.

    How can anyone vote for this guy?

    • Amazona July 28, 2016 / 7:56 pm

      “sidles up”? Good trick, being thousands of miles apart and never having met.

      I am not a Trump fan. I am not a Trump apologist. But neither am I scrounging around looking for things to hold against him. There is plenty without getting all worked up about him saying he will be able to have a good relationship with Putin. He is gooning Hillary, saying that Putin doesn’t like or respect her but he thinks Putin will respect him.

      Personally, I doubt it, as Trump is exactly the kind of guy Putin would laugh at and dismiss—but it is a fun thing to throw at Hillary. And I’m fine with that.

      I was on the road today and listening to the radio for a change, and heard a couple of comments that I thought made sense. Hysterical Lefties (sorry for the redundancy) are squealing that Trump has asked Russia to commit espionage against the US. Well, that’s just plain silly. He asked them to reveal Hillary’s missing 33,000 emails if they have them, and if they don’t have them it’s too late now because her server is shut down. He didn’t ask Russia to wake up and realize there were many state secrets hanging out there waiting to be harvested. On the contrary, security people know and have said for months that Russia, China, NoKo and who knows how many other countries have routinely been hacking all unsecured and poorly secured servers connected with government. It’s done. It’s over. No one had to go knocking at Putin’s door and say “Hey, you really ought to look into this Secretary of State server thing,” He just made a comment that points out that Russia probably already has them. As Hugh Hewitt said, on Putin’s desk and fully collated.

      BUT….whining that the content of these missing emails is classified or for any other reason really important and should be kept secret and digging into them would constitute “espionage” pretty much destroys Hillary’s claim that they were just about Chelsea’s wedding plans. Whether he meant to or not, Trump set up a tidy little trap for the Dems, and at the same time played the Putin card—“I’ll be he will like me more than he likes you”.

      Maybe Putin will have a little more respect for Johnson after seeing that strip tease. Hey, who knows what floats his boat? Russians like guys who know how to party.

      Speaking of the stripping, we come back to “how can anyone vote for this guy?”

      I am not going to vote for Trump as much as vote for the person most likely to be able to beat Hillary, and that person is not a Libertarian or a Green. On my priority list, in descending order, are: Beat Hillary. Worry about a President Trump. Everything else.

      Besides, Donnie won’t have time to screw up the country—he’s taken on a night job, on the VA hot line. Then he’ll be personally running around all day yelling “Where’s that damned wheel chair you promised to Joe Jones?” and “Why didn’t Sam Smith get his insulin shot last week?”

    • M. Noonan July 28, 2016 / 11:45 pm

      Oh, come on – it was an epic troll.

  5. Amazona July 28, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    I read this and had a question and a comment.

    The question is, shouldn’t this be used against the former Secretary of State in her bid for the White House?

    “Under immigration law, the State Department can deny visas to citizens of countries that refuse to repatriate their nationals.

    The government is reluctant to use this authority, however. A State Department official told The Daily Signal that the government has refused to issue visas to only one nation, in 2001 against the South American nation of Guyana.

    “Visa restrictions are not imposed lightly,” the State Department official said. “For many years, we have worked with DHS [Department of Homeland Security] to review the status of each recalcitrant country on a case-by-case basis. We engage at the highest levels to resolve these issues diplomatically when possible, while remaining ready to invoke visa restrictions, as warranted, in consultation with DHS.”

    http://dailysignal.com/2016/07/27/how-other-nations-stop-us-from-deporting-criminal-illegal-immigrants

    The comment is, when Trump trumpeted that he was going to deport all illegals and the WWE/UFC crowd started screaming in ecstasy, my first question was “how?” but my second was “so who says those countries will let them come back?”

    • M. Noonan July 28, 2016 / 11:44 pm

      Good point.

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