It's kinda funny that the same people who are convinced that a foreign power (i.e. Russia) somehow influenced our election also don't believe in the necessity to show identification to vote.
This time of year, most people in the US are starting to gather to celebrate our nation's birth and their outdoor activities consist of parades, barbecues, and fireworks.
But 154 years ago on the 1st of July, 150,000 men gathered at a small Pennsylvania village for a different reason; they were not there to celebrate.
Two days later, when both sides had exhausted each other, about 50,000 men on both sides were casualties of the Battle of Gettysburg. A few days prior, hardly a...nyone except the locals knew the place existed. Now, more than 150 years later, the majority of Americans have at least heard the word, even if far too few of them understand the significance.
But remembering the actions of all those brave men, from both North and South, gives me a breath of solace that even in these dark times, with our nation divided in a way it has not been since the 1860s, there are still some of us left who would bear any burden and pay any price to see our grand American experiment continue, and honor the sacrifice of those men who were willing to lay down their lives at the altar of freedom.
This morning the news and internet was all abuzz with a school shooting in Ohio. Now, nothing. Why is that?
Well, it turns out the "shooter" was a Somali immigrant to the US, and it wasn't a shooting at all. He used his vehicle and a machete. The "shooting" that was reported? That was a police officer killing the attacker and saving others' lives.
I'd ask the question "Why isn't that on the news?" but anyone with a degree of impartiality knows the answer.
While I'm still troubled by General Petraeus' serious error in judgment which led to his downfall, I would support this choice. Despite his personal failure, the General remains, in my opinion, the greatest American soldier of the post WWII era, rivaled by only James Mattis. I think it is terrific that they are both being considered by the Trump administration - showing that the President-Elect really is serious about facing the international challenges that face the United States.
The US State Department has just admitted that it paid $400 million to Iran as "leverage" during the nuclear negotiations so that the totalitarian regime would release hostages.
At the time I compared President Obama to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, but I was very wrong.
Chamberlain never would have given Hitler $400 million....
In other news, it has been proven that neither Hillary Clinton nor her senior staff completed the legally required ethics courses at the State Department while she was Secretary of State. As an individual working in a senior field position in the private sector, I can tell you that ethics training is mandatory in almost every field now because of the propensity for corruption. Yes, the trainings are very basic and common sense - but, common sense is less and less common all the time. It says something that Secretary Clinton and her aides never even bothered showing up.
Finally, Louisiana and other parts of the south have been hit by deadly flooding. It has been compared to Hurricane Katrina by some. However, when President Bush was roundly criticized for his administration's handling of that, he was still present on the ground looking presidential, if nothing else. Nonetheless, that was seen as a low point of his presidency and he was excoriated in the press for it.
Currently, of course, President Obama is on vacation golfing and can't be bothered to head down to Louisiana - a state which didn't vote for him, of course - and put on a good face. Nary a word from the media.
I wish I had a job that let me golf a couple days a week.
While I still enjoy reading The Economist, I find myself disagreeing more and more often with their analyses. They have always been center-left, but tempered that with a realistic viewpoint of global economics. That has proven double-edged, however, as they are unapologetically globalist, often just for the sake of adhering to the ideology. For example, they opposed Brexit, while failing to acknowledge the legitimate concerns about globalization - an attitude which continues ...
"When the nation with the strongest history of the rule of law is plagued by unprecedented lawlessness, then it is time for new leadership in the United States of America.
When the nation with the world's greatest military suffers defeat after defeat overseas, then it is time for new leadership in the United States of America.
When the wealthiest nation in the world has millions more in poverty than it did eight years prior, then it is time for new leadership in the United States of America.
And when American citizens are under attack at home and abroad, then it is time for new leadership in the United States of America."
Good god, another attack on police; this time in Baton Rouge. When will our federal government, particularly the Presidential Administration, wake up and recognize what this is?
Then again, they have proven blind to foreign terrorists and their threat. Why should domestic terrorists and their threat be any different?
I am so very, very afraid for our country.
We should be concerned that the coup attempt in Turkey by that nation's military - long the ironic defender of Turkish secular democracy - has failed. This will enable President Erdogan to further "cleanse" (his word, not mine) the military, which is code for put in more Islamists loyal to him and remove officers who are loyal to the founding principles of Turkey that Ataturk put into place.
It is precisely because the Turkish military has been willing to move against governm...ents in Turkey over the years (four times I believe since the founding of modern Turkey in 1923) that they are one of the more stable countries in the Middle East - a country built on secular democracy.
Sadly, we have seen through our nation building attempts in that part of the world that democracy only works if it remains secular. If there is a religious component, particularly from a religion that desires domination over others, then democracy will be subverted by radicals.
The failure of this coup will empower radical hardliners in Turkey and abroad.
There are a several key differences between President Richard Nixon and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
1) Nixon was a competent executive who was one of the most qualified men to ever seek the office of President of the United States.
2) Nixon did not personally commit the crime that brought him down, though he most likely did lie to cover it up after the fact....
3) The media, in all the forms it took in the early 1970s, was committed to learning the truth about the Watergate cover-up.
President Nixon lied to coverup a burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. It was pure partisanship, and had nothing to do with the actual governing of the United States of America.
Secretary Clinton lied to coverup the use of an illegal email server that a) was not secure from potential security breaches from hacking and b) allowed circumvention of the Freedom of Information Act (we know this because thousands of emails were found to be deleted and are no longer accessible).
Likewise, Secretary Clinton lied about the Benghazi incident, and was at least partly responsible for the lack of proper defense and relief for those killed in the attack.
Watergate was allowed to reach the public consciousness because of the actions of four people: Mark Feldt, the FBI administrator who was willing to leak the information to the media, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who were willing to investigate, and finally the editor(s) above them who were willing to publish the stories.
It does not seem at the present time that there are any in the traditional media with the same desires.
And, finally, there is the statement by FBI Director James Comey in which he states that it was not the finding of the FBI that Secretary Clinton had done nothing wrong - it was that they had decided not to press charges and that an "ordinary" person in similar circumstances would face the full power of the law.
It is clear that we have reached an obvious point in our nation's history where the elite, due to influence, wealth, corruption, etc are above the law.
I'd like to share some thoughts today about gun control, as it is the current hot button topic for obvious, and unfortunate, reasons.
I want to start by explaining how I view this issue. I'm occasionally asked why I am a Republican, when I hold some beliefs and opinions that differ from Republican orthodoxy. It's ironic that many of my liberal friends consider me some arch-fiend conservative, yet my very conservative friends find me far too centrist. Funny how that works out....
About 20 years ago (1996 I think), Australia enacted a total gun ban, which many on the left - including the President - has touted as a model we should observe. While gun accidents (specifically suicides) did decrease slightly (while after a brief spike, non gun related suicides decreased as well), there was a sudden increase in non-firearm violent crime. However, looking at the crime rate from about 1980 to the present day in Australia shows a steady decline which the gun b...an did *not* influence one way or another.
I have a lengthy explanation for the historical validity and concept of the 2nd Amendment as it applies to more than just a bolt action rifle or shotgun, but I will try to be brief here. As you are no doubt aware that when someone says "We don't know what they really meant when they wrote the 2nd Amendment." we do know the answer. Or "It applied to muskets not assault rifles" The response to the latter is "In that case the 1st Amendment only applies to the printing press", but more importantly to the former, we do know what the Founders meant from the Federalist Papers: the idea was that the average American, who might need to defend his life, liberty, and property from threats foreign and domestic, needed to be able to arm and equip himself as light infantry. In 1783, this was indeed a musket. In 2016, light infantry is an AR-15 or variant. And, critically, I would again reiterate the phrase "threats foreign and domestic". It is clear that, due to a variety of reasons, many of which are the fault of our representatives in Washington, that the reach of those who wish us harm has grown very long indeed.
All this obviously requires not only a knowledge of history, but the clear-sightedness to understand what history means - both of which are lacking from the radicalized modern left. It is tragic that these events continue to happen, but the causes are anathema to the narrative that a certain ideology wants to represent. There is a reason all these shootings happen in "gun free" zones. If we make the country a "gun free" zone, then there will be shootings everywhere.
There is truth to the old saying "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."