Category: Politics

Katie Couric is Full of It

Katie Couric has new documentary out called “Under the Gun”. Ostensibly a look at gun violence, it would appear to be very heavy on the pro-gun control side, with gun control supporters massively outnumbering gun control opponents among the interviews. And from what I’ve been reading, it looks like she’s trying to fill the rather sizable in deceptive left-wing propaganda left by Michael Moore.

The worst mistakes here rise to the level of factual error, and they undermine the film as a whole. There is no law, for example, “making it illegal to sue gun manufacturers”; rather, the law lays out the specific circumstances in which such lawsuits are allowed. These include cases stemming from illegal sales and design defects. The law was enacted amidst a wave of lawsuits against companies whose legally sold guns had eventually been used in crimes.

Further, despite what was claimed in an al-Qaeda video featured here without correction, one cannot “go to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card.” Fully automatic weapons, which fire continuously when the trigger is held down, are heavily regulated. Gun owners have been harping on the media’s failure to grasp this automatic/semiautomatic distinction for decades.

And even when the film gets its facts right, it often makes little attempt to explore both sides of an issue. While everyday gun owners and activists make numerous appearances—some flattering and some definitely not—pro-gun experts are sorely lacking. Gun-control advocates are well-represented by folks like Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Robyn Thomas of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Mark Follman of Mother Jones. Viewers are left believing that there are no similarly well-informed researchers and journalists on the right.

She also repeats a bunch of candards such as the false claim that a mass shooting has never been stopped by a legal gun owner.

But the Free Beacon recently discovered that she goes even beyond that:

A conservative news site posted what it said was audio proof that filmmakers behind a documentary about the gun control debate deliberately edited video to portray gun-rights activists as unable to answer questions about background checks.

The audio, posted by The Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday, seemed to differ from the video shown in the documentary, “Under the Gun,” in which a group of activists appear to fall silent during an interview with the news anchor Katie Couric.

“If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” Ms. Couric asks. The next shot in the film is of the activists looking on with blank stares instead of answering the question.

In the audio clip of the interview posted by The Free Beacon, Ms. Couric prefaces her question with a remark — “I know how you all are going to answer this but I’m asking anyway” — before she asks about background checks.

“One, if you’re not in jail you should still have your basic rights,” someone answers about one second later.

You can click through to get the entire audio. The gun owners don’t hesitate at all. They answer her questions immediately and directly, showing an understanding of the issues that Couric lacks and an appreciation of the subtleties. The difference between that and the video couldn’t be more blatant.

Couric and her producers are defending this as an “editing choice”. They say they just wanted people to think about the issue. I find this excuse to be garbage. You can make the audience think about a question without portraying your political opponents as bumbling idiots. And it’s not like the Left is unfamiliar with this complaint. The Planned Parenthood and ACORN videos came under fire for this kind of deceptive editing. But, apparently, all’s fair when it comes to riding our society of the dread evil firearm.

Kudos to the interviewees in this video. Not only did they effectively answer questions from a hostile interviewer, they had the wisdom to record the interview to make sure they were not misquoted. It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. And the gun grabbers are really out to get us.

Breaking: The Clintons Lie

Sit yourself down. You will be shocked to hear this. It turns out that the Clintons were not completely 100% honest about her e-mail server:

The State Department’s inspector general has sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.

In a report delivered to members of Congress on Wednesday, the inspector general said that Mrs. Clinton “had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business” with officials responsible for handling records and security but that inspectors “found no evidence” that she had requested or received approval from anyone at the department to conduct her state business on a personal email.

The report also said that department officials “did not — and would not — approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business.”

It also added new detail about Mrs. Clinton’s motivation for using the private server, which she has said was set up for convenience. In November 2010, her deputy chief of staff for operations prodded her about “putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.” Mrs. Clinton, however, replied that she would consider a separate address or device “but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

The report contradicts Clinton on several critics points. It puts the lie to her statement that their e-mail preservation methods had approval. It puts the lie to her statement that other Secretaries had done this (none had their own servers). And it shows that she used a private e-mail server mainly to shield her privacy, not for convenience.

None of these means she will be indicted. It’s not clear if she broke classification rules by accident or on purpose, which makes a difference in whether she’s charged or not (Petraeus, to cite one example, deliberately exposed information he knew was classified). The FBI should conclude their investigation before the election. But indictment or no, that shows once again a fundamental aspect of the Clintons: the lie, frequently, fluently and flagrantly. They lie when they don’t need to. They lie when they need to. They will lie whenever they think they can get away with it. Because they usually can.

It also shows something else: left wingers will defend the Clintons no matter what they do or who they screw over or whether that screwing was consensual. Over the last few days, Trump has been dragging out a lot of old Clinton scandals, some real (Whitewater, Juanita Broaddrick), some phony (Vince Foster). The response of the Clinton defenders, however, never changes: Whitewater was a fake scandal (that, uh, resulted in 40 felony convictions); the Travel Office Controversy was phony (because apparently it’s OK to wreck someone’s life with false embezzlement charges); the Lewinsky scandal was about a blow job (not obstructing justice or committing perjury to avoid embarrassment).

This is why I’ve dreaded this election for the last four years. Whether Clinton wins or loses, we’re going to be rehashing the battles of the 90’s. This is what the Clintons do. This is who they are. This is what 2016 has brought us to.

Update: Reading more on this, it looks worse for Clinton than I thought. The violations appear to be quite deliberate and knowing. As Charles Cooke put it, Clinton wanted to avoid FOIA and thought the rules did not apply to her.

As this goes on, we are rapidly progressing through the known stages of a Clinton scandal, which I will illustrate from the Lewinsky scandal:

Stage 1: Denial. “I never had sex with that woman!”

Stage 2: Misdirection. “This is about Republicans being angry they lost an election! Newt Gingrich cheated on his wife!”

Stage 3: Quibbling. “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”.

Stage 4: Brazenness. “OK, but the economy is doing great! Who cares about a blow job!”

Stage 5: Dismissal. “Why are we still talking about this? It happened so long ago.”

State’s report basically destroys Stage 3. So now we’re transitioning to Stage 4: “But … Trump!” I expect by July, Democrats will be saying that since this happened four years ago, what possible difference could it make?

Transparency!

While the DNC controlled media has done its damned best to help the crooks in charge look decent, occasionally the truth slips out:

John Crane, 60, who spent 25 years in government before he was fired as an assistant Defense Department inspector general in 2013, went public with a series of accusations that key officials in the watchdog’s office retaliated against whistleblowers, destroyed permanent records and altered audits under political pressure.

He has filed those charges with the Office of Special Counsel, which so far has referred one to the Justice Department for detailed investigation, though others may soon follow.

Crane’s name and case appear in a new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden (Hot Books, 2016), by Mark Hertsgaard, excerpted in the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel.

In an interview with Government Executive on Sunday, Crane challenged the criticism by many top U.S. officials who say Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who worked as a National Security Agency contractor, could have taken his complaint through official channels. In 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong, leaked classified documents exposing U.S. surveillance programs and ultimately took refuge in Russia.

“Edward Snowden and his decision not to go through the whistleblower process indicate a larger failure within DoD IG,” Crane said. “Snowden did not go through the IG because he saw what had happened to Thomas Drake,” he added.

This reality has permeated this administration across the board: anyone that pointed out how fucked up things had gotten was hammered for doing so. From the VA whistle blowers to those that spoke out about the crap the Obama controlled agencies were doing either in operation “Fast & Furious” or at the IRS, where they targeted enemies of the administration for political reasons, the Obama admin has set new records in punishing those that dared point out that things were real bad for us all.

I remember the BDS infected fuckwads making me defend Boosh when they levied these idiotic accusations against him, and yet today, when we really have a tyrannical government punishing dissent, these fuckers – like the anti-war pinkos – are nowhere to be found.

How the West Was Won

Deirdre McCloskey has an outstanding article in the WSJ this weekend asking how America and other countries got rich. I hate to quote as the whole thing is worth your time, but here’s a few choice selections:

Nothing like the Great Enrichment of the past two centuries had ever happened before. Doublings of income—mere 100% betterments in the human condition—had happened often, during the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome, in Song China and Mughal India. But people soon fell back to the miserable routine of Afghanistan’s income nowadays, $3 or worse. A revolutionary betterment of 10,000%, taking into account everything from canned goods to antidepressants, was out of the question. Until it happened.

McCloskey asks how this happened, dispenses with the usual explanations and focus on this:

What enriched the modern world wasn’t capital stolen from workers or capital virtuously saved, nor was it institutions for routinely accumulating it. Capital and the rule of law were necessary, of course, but so was a labor force and liquid water and the arrow of time.

The capital became productive because of ideas for betterment—ideas enacted by a country carpenter or a boy telegrapher or a teenage Seattle computer whiz. As Matt Ridley put it in his book “The Rational Optimist” (2010), what happened over the past two centuries is that “ideas started having sex.” The idea of a railroad was a coupling of high-pressure steam engines with cars running on coal-mining rails. The idea for a lawn mower coupled a miniature gasoline engine with a miniature mechanical reaper. And so on, through every imaginable sort of invention. The coupling of ideas in the heads of the common people yielded an explosion of betterments.

OK. But then why did that happen? Why did human ideas, which had been basically celibate for a hundred millennia, suddenly start “having sex”? Well, something we’ve been on about in these very pages:

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not. By certain accidents of European politics, having nothing to do with deep European virtue, more and more Europeans were liberated. From Luther’s reformation through the Dutch revolt against Spain after 1568 and England’s turmoil in the Civil War of the 1640s, down to the American and French revolutions, Europeans came to believe that common people should be liberated to have a go. You might call it: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To use another big concept, what came—slowly, imperfectly—was equality. It was not an equality of outcome, which might be labeled “French” in honor of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Piketty. It was, so to speak, “Scottish,” in honor of David Hume and Adam Smith: equality before the law and equality of social dignity. It made people bold to pursue betterments on their own account. It was, as Smith put it, “allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.”

I would particularly focus on freedom of speech and property rights. Freedom of speech allowed ideas to be communicated, now at literally the speed of light. And property rights removed the fear that communicating your ideas would deprive you of their benefits.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth rehashing: my dad did the War College in the 1980’s. He argued that classifying military technology to protect us from Soviet spies was actually a bad idea. Ideas flourish under communication; progress flourishes when ideas “have sex”. The freedom of the United States meant that we could publish our military tech secrets on the front page of Pravda and the Soviet Union would still not be able to keep up. We would always be steps ahead of them technologically because our people were free to develop and exploit those ideas while the Soviets were not. And since the Cold War ended, we’ve seen our technological progress only speed up.

Anyway, the article is worth your time. It’s inspiring. And it suggests that the way to get of our two-decade long economic doldrum is more freedom, not more regulation and redistribution.

Post-Scriptum: McCloskey, incidentally, is a trans woman. She had some great thoughts on the whole bathroom kerfuffle:

The bathroom “issue” is entirely phony. It has never been a problem. Anyway, if men wanted to sneak in (they don’t), they could always have done so, with or without North Carolina’s law. How is it to be enforced? DNA testing by the TSA at every bathroom door? Anyway, your house has a unisex bathroom, I presume, and in Europe they are not entirely uncommon—after all, the stalls have doors. Etc, etc. On both sides it is just a club to beat up the other side in the silly Cultural Wars, and to make people hate and disdain each other. Adam Smith would not have approved.

Again, the link is worth a clickthrough. Anything McCloskey writes, including grocery lists, is usually worth your time.

What Spending Restraint Looks Like

In case you think government spending is out of control and the GOP RINOs and sellouts have given spendthrift Obama everything he wants, here’s some more data to chew on: over the last five years, we have spent $2.5 trillion less than Obama was projecting in 2009, including $697 billion less in 2015 alone. That’s the equivalent of having cancelled Medicaid. And, of course, those savings become baked into future projections, which means unfunded liabilities are down by trillions as well.

Is it perfect? No. It is a huge improvement? Absolutely. If the GOP had shown this kind of spending restraint while Bush was President, we would currently be running a $400-800 billion dollar surplus right now and the national debt would be about $8 trillion smaller. And that’s with the Obama stimulus included. Without, the numbers would be even further in the black.

Spending restraint. It works.

Venezuela Down the Drain

The situation in Venezuela is becoming grim. Hospitals are leaving infants to die. A country sitting on a lake of oil is experiencing huge power outages thanks to a drought. Their inflation is so bad they literally can’t buy paper to print the money on and India is proposing a return to the barter system where they would get drugs in exchange for oil.

It’s really bad:

In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

This is not a visitation of fate. The collapse of oil prices is part of it (as I previously noted) and many former Chavez defenders are trying to weasel out of their previous words by citing oil prices and drought. But it’s not just that. Oil prices have fallen all over the planet. Drought and natural disaster happen all the time. Only Venezuela is imploding like this. It’s because of fundamental flaws in their system:

The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).

A case in point is the price controls, which have expanded to apply to more and more goods: food and vital medicines, yes, but also car batteries, essential medical services, deodorant, diapers, and, of course, toilet paper. The ostensible goal was to check inflation and keep goods affordable for the poor, but anyone with a basic grasp of economics could have foreseen the consequences: When prices are set below production costs, sellers can’t afford to keep the shelves stocked. Official prices are low, but it’s a mirage: The products have disappeared.

You can check out more from Reason and Hot Air. In the aftermath of this epic economic implosion, many people are digging up old articles that praised the Venezuela model. It’s important to remember just how many “wise” people though Chavez had successfully upended the free market consensus.

The situation in Venezuela isn’t funny. It’s tragic. It is the direct result of a flawed broken system that was enabled by apologists in wealthy countries who should have known better. And things are just going to get worse. They’re going to get a lot worse.

Who would thunk it?!

The people pushing for a $15 minimum wage have assured us that the wage hike will not destroy jobs. After all, there was this one study back in the 90’s that showed that a small increase in minimum wage didn’t immediately destroy jobs. Granted, almost every other study has shown differently but, you know, A STUDY SHOWED SOMETHING. ONCE. So we’ll assume that gigantic increases in the minimum wage will have no effect, none whatso-

Oh:

Wendy’s (WEN) said that self-service ordering kiosks will be made available across its 6,000-plus restaurants in the second half of the year as minimum wage hikes and a tight labor market push up wages.

It will be up to franchisees whether to deploy the labor-saving technology, but Wendy’s President Todd Penegor did note that some franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes.

McDonald’s (MCD) has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.

Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”

It’s not surprising that some franchisees might face more of a labor-cost squeeze than company restaurants. All 258 Wendy’s restaurants in California, where the minimum wage rose to $10 an hour this year and will gradually rise to $15, are franchise-operated. Likewise, about 75% of 200-plus restaurants in New York are run by franchisees. New York’s fast-food industry wage rose to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state at the start of 2016, also on the way to $15.

Wendy’s plans to cut company-owned stores to just 5% of the total.

I hate to say I told you so, but … no, wait, I don’t hate that. I hate it when people’s lives and the nation’s economy are upended by the utterly predictable results of feel-good liberalism.

These people think George Orwell’s 1984 is an instruction manual

If you have not read 1984, you should, but here is a synopsis about what at that time was seen as a work of fiction that reflected a world gone mad. Basically Orwell created a dystopian world run by “Big Brother”, an entity that pretends to run this upside down world for the betterment of all people, but really is only out for the elite few (basically every collectivist system in history), where amongst other things the “Ministry of Truth” twists language to suit whatever the agenda du jour of the masters is. Stories change, often and blatantly, without regard for the obvious contradictions and abuse, so the masters can get what they want from the sheep.

Queue in the latest instance of our own Obama Administration’s “Ministry of Truth”, and man have we had a few doozies from these people, where they now are relabeling criminals and criminal activity. I admit that when I saw this piece for the first time I double checked to make sure it was not a belated April first joke or some publication from whatever site finally replaced the now DNC controlled Onion as the latest site for sarcastic, ironic, and moronic news. It tuns out that it is for real. Sure, the claim is that this relabeling is to give people a second chance, but me, I see it as another chess move in the much greater game where the left wants to specifically use the power of government restore voting right to criminals, whom would predominantly vote for them.

Whatever your feelings about criminality in this country, you have to admit that we have a problem with our leadership at this time. On the one hand they are criminalizing all sorts of albeit stupid but not criminal behaviors the left dislikes, and yet here we have the administration going out of its way to destigmatize real criminals and crime. Personally I, if I for a second believed that we could get a system where if drugs were decriminalized the government wouldn’t make people like me pay for the cost of the nanny state safety net that they would create, would decriminalize drug use. But rape and robbery, armed or otherwise, are serious crimes I feel far stronger about. I don’t mind people making personal choices about associating or interacting with people convicted of these sorts of crimes, but I have serious reservations about government pushing people into that, and doing so at such an Orwellian level, just so they can eventually tell us they will give these people the ability to vote (for them) again.

NYT caught shilling for Shillary

In case you didn’t get to see it, the NYT ran a hit-piece on Trump titled “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private“, where they used quotes from women to basically paint the picture that Trump was a cad. Unfortunately for the scumbags at the NYT that feel obligated to shill for democrats, and for Hillary Clinton in particular, one of the people they “misquoted” (that is me being sarcastic, because I have no doubt they lied on purpose) decided to fight back.

I guess the idiots at the NYT felt that they could lie with impunity and that since nobody in the DNC controlled media would give these people they were lying about a forum to call them out. By the time the truth comes out, it is too late because people made the wrong choices already. Let me point out that this is a tactic used to not just elect, but reelect Obama by the DNC controlled media, and thus considered very effective by these propagandists. I guess they got unlucky that one of the people they chose to lie about not only had the avenue to get the truth out, but chose to do so. Maybe people in the LSM that want to make a name for themselves should find some of these other women quoted, and see if their story checks out. My guess is that the lot of it was fabricated by the scumbags at the NYT.

Let me be clear that I wouldn’t mind real investigation into people running for high office’s personal behavior, if I for a second believed that the media actually meant to just inform the public. But the problem is that whenever you get one of the SJW hit pieces it tends to be replete with falsehoods and always targets non-democrats to push an ideology that basically is evil. If the shitheads in the LSM had vetted Obama with the same expediency and faked rigor they felt was necessary to undermine candidates like Palin, Romney, and now Trump (see a pattern there yet?), and applied the same rigor to any democrat, I think we would never see another democrat winning any election. You might think Trump is a blowhard and likely to make a mediocre president like I do, but then again, I am willing to bet money that he can’t sink to the level of Obama, and for that matter the stupidity of Sanders or the criminal behavior of any of the Clintons.

BTW, I have some advice for the NYT and rest of the DNC controlled media about finding men that treat women like sex objects and shit: if you want to do a serious hit piece, one based on truth and that targets a real scumbag that abuses women, write about Bill Clinton. No need to make up any facts there to show how much of a lowlife that dude is. But nobody at the NYT, or in the LSM for that matter, seems interested in actually writing objective pieces about members of the DNC, where we have real despicable and law breaking activity going on constantly, precisely because they feel they are protected by the media.