C N S News Scroll

Monday, October 1, 2018

Arm Yourself

Duped: How the Anti-Gun Lobby Exploits the Parkland School Shooting – and How Gun Owners Can Fight Back – Mark W. Smith (Bombardier Books)

I have mentioned here before that I am a recovering radio talk show host. While my thirst for debate has slackened, it never really goes away. I am (still) always on the lookout for concise, direct and powerful tools that will help me win the war of words.

Mark W. Smith’s latest book Duped: How the Anti-Gun Lobby Exploits the Parkland School Shooting – and How Gun Owners Can Fight Back, certainly lives up to and exceeds those three descriptors. A practicing trial lawyer and vice president of the New York Federalist Society, Smith clearly has the necessary legal chops to lay out the case; taking the often hyperbolic anti-gunner claims and then methodically shredding them step by step, point by point.

Smith makes the case that the anti-gun drivel spewed by looney left has brainwashed the unfortunate victims/survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting and turned them into useful idiots to further their agenda. He skillfully utilizes relatable stories to knock down anti-gun arguments from the likes of hypocritical liberal nitwits like Rosie O’Donnell and Alyssa Milano, who appeared at an anti-gun rally trailed by security guards armed to the teeth.
Then there is the do as I say not as I do ridiculousness of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, who wants to take away your guns, while spending $20,000 per day on armed personal security for himself and his family. What? You don’t have an extra $3.7 million per year laying around to protect your family 24/7?

I still remember when the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named after President Reagan’s aide James Brady who was caught in the crossfire during the 1981 assassination attempt on the President, which I think was still called Hand Gun Control Inc at the time; brought their brainwashing road show to a local university. I had requested the opportunity to debate their rep and he flat out refused, telling the college’s PR flak that he would not debate, because they knew I was too well prepared.

My gun control debate has been boiled down to two simple questions:
     1. Anti-gun type love to claim (wrongly) that private gun ownership does nothing to prevent or reduce crime or make you safer. My first question is, would they be willing to place a small sign on their front door that proclaims, “No Guns on Premises”. These are similar to the gun free zone signs that are on the doors of most U. S. schools that make those inside the schools prime sitting targets.
     2. What specifically does an “effective” and “common sense” gun control bill look like, that will prevent school or other mass shootings? It’s likely you will get the standard load of hooey that includes something about “closing the gun show loophole” and “banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.” None of these will do the first thing toward preventing a mass shooting

This is why arming yourself and arming yourself with the knowledge Smith imparts are the best way to protect your family and your right to choose.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Immigration Reality Check: Earn It

Dear America – Notes of an Undocumented Citizen – Jose Antonio Vargas (Dey Street)

“Yes I am lying, but I am going to earn this box.” The box in question is the one next to the line that reads “A citizen or national of the United States” on an employment application. With the flick of a pen Jose Antonio Vargas claims he committed his first lie about his citizen status at the age of 19. What he brushes over is the fact that in the process, he knowingly committed a crime.

In his new book Dear America – Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, Vargas, a native of the Philippines, details how he came to be in the United States and the struggles and quite frankly his triumphs during his time here. A respected and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Vargas claims that we are living in “the most anti-immigrant period in modern American history” which is complete and utter bullshit.

This is nothing more than the usual journalist’s hyperbole about immigration. While certainly there are pockets of virulent anti-immigrant folks, the vast majority of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum are not against immigration. However that vast majority is against illegal immigration; follow the rules and you won’t have a problem, it’s really that simple.

Vargas has already admitted to being a liar, so I guess I wasn’t surprised to read him spread the outright LIE that “everyday at least 34,000 immigrants are locked up, at enormous cost to American taxpayers.” First off, “immigrants” are not “locked up” any that are, are here illegally, yes they have broken the law. Second, liberals love to claim that there is a Congressional mandate that at least 34,000 illegal aliens be locked up in a daily quota. This is a flat out LIE. The mandate is for the number of beds that must be available to house the illegal immigrants on a daily basis. Just imagine the outcry from Mr. Vargas and his ilk if there was a shortage of beds for this purpose and an excess of people.  
Another bullshit stat that gets floated is that “immigrants” commit crime at about half the rate of the native-born population, 1.6% to 3.3%. This is a not so clever mixing of metaphors when you consider that fully 100% of illegal aliens commit a crime just by being here. Most compound that crime by committing fraud by lying on applications and claiming to be legal and/or identity theft when it comes to false social security records or fake identification.

Vargas details his 2014 visit to the Texas, Mexico border at McAllen, Texas to document the so-called “immigration crisis” and his detention by authorities. He claims this is the first time he was ever the recipient of legal documents from the U.S. Government. I find it amusing that for all of his teeth gnashing about President Trump and his illegal immigration policies, his arrest occurred during the Presidency of Barack Obama.

I must admit that I may have missed the part of the book where Vargas details how he has a gun held to his head forcing him to remain in the United States. If things are so hard for him here, why not accept the largess of the U.S. government in the form of a one way ticket home? He claims his life would be in danger from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte due to his crack down on journalists. Maybe life in the U.S. isn’t so bad. I would think that Mr. Vargas has the wherewithal to quickly pass through his native country and on to anywhere in the world he would like to plan his next steps.

Problems and Solutions   

Like so many problems/issues we face, liberals tend to think that the solution has to be BIG – as in big government. We really don’t need a massive immigration overhaul, to match say the EPIC FAIL of Obamacare. It’s time to look at the real issues and break them down piece by piece instead of throwing a massive blanket over it, why not try using a laser to pick away at the problem areas.

In healthcare it was pre-existing conditions; why not address that relatively small issue in the grand scheme of a multi-trillion dollar healthcare system and take care of that need instead of blowing up the whole system? The so-called Dreamers who were brought here illegally when they were kids; why not develop a system to identify these folks and get them legal, without the baggage of creating anchor families or the radical leftist thoughts of no borders. There clearly is a solution that can be developed without using a nuclear weapon.

The issue of Middle East refugees is different and separate from immigration and should be treated as such. One look at the utter mess in European countries that threw open the gates and who knows who is walking in and creating a national security nightmare. By controlling and limiting the number of folks is the only way possible to avoid a massive problem that we could live to regret down the road. See Germany and France. We need to work to develop a system to provide a closer screening process that keeps us safe. Is this a perfect or fool-proof system? NO! No system ever is, but it’s better than what currently exists and what Europe has in place. Will that delay or slow the process? YES, but isn’t a little inconvenience worth the risk involved if we don’t do it?

To Mr. Vargas, I like most United States Citizens would be more than happy to have you “earn the box.” Sorry if we are not willing to scrap our system just to help you or anyone else in your situation out. You have to EARN it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Best of Smerc

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right – Michael Smerconish – (Temple University Press)

Before making the shift to morning drive, when I was doing an afternoon talk show, I would spend some time dialing in Michael Smerconish’s show based out of Philadelphia; WPHT had a big enough stick (radio lingo for powerful enough signal) to reach Erie. I always liked his show because he proved that you could talk politics, have an opinion, but still talk about a whole world of other things. Smerconish also proved that with his newspaper columns where he covered a full range of things in and out of politics.

I also admired Smerconish for his steadfast take on the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, the convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Falkner. Smerconish is out with a new book, Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right, which collects a diverse and interesting group of 100 of his columns. To pare down from a collection of more than 1000 columns over time had to be a difficult and daunting task, especially when most writers think of their words on paper as children.

Since I tend to like my talk show hosts/writers steeped in conservatism and hard to the core, I was puzzled by Smerconish’s flip flop to the mushy middle of things a few years back, because it seemed so self-serving, notably his endorsement of Barack Obama. I guess I can chalk it up to the knowledge that before law school and radio, Smerconish had his fingers in politics and actually ran the Philly portion of Arlen Specter’s 1987 re-election campaign, after all Specter was the ultimate self-server.

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right is full of easily digestible, roughly 800 words each, columns that cover everything from politics, to family life and Smerconish’s oddly outsized obsession with the progressive rock band Yes. I give Smerconish big points for taking the author proceeds from this collection and donating them to the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, which serves children who are victims of trauma. This is not the first time Smerconish has donated the profits from his book sales to having donated his take from Murdered by Mumia to a charitable trust in Falkner’s name.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Dog Whistle or Dose of Reality

Messing With The Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News - Clint Watts (Harper)

Author Clint Watts serves up a dynamic book that is part autobiography, part call to arms, the makings of a high tech thriller and a bit of a political screed, in the form of Messing With The Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News. This is all based on his real world interactions with dirtbag terrorists, hackers and his meandering career path that has included stints in the U.S. Army, the FBI as an agent (twice) and as a cyber security guru/expert/blogger.

When he writes about playing high tech cyber-tag with terrorists as he tracks them around the wild frontier of the world wide web he offers up close insight into how the evil doers have transformed their game; transitioning their recruitment efforts from dodgy audio and video pronouncements to a steady diet of social media outposts and content. He paints a truly chilling portrait of this almost wholly un-policed realm.

While he clearly has first hand knowledge of the nefarious dealings that are ongoing in this online world and he paints a detailed if albeit scarry portrait of the new global jihad, it is when he shifts to politics that the book devolves into a bitter liberal screed, bashing Fox News, conservative media and the President.

He questions the level of expertise to be found in the current administration, which leads me to wonder what exactly so-called “expertise” of prior Washington leaders has gotten us? Never-ending wars on poverty and drugs that clearly aren’t working. Add to that terrible and expensive government healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid/VA), not to mention failing schools and infrastructure. So much for expertise.

Watts should stick to what he knows best; sound the warning bell on the negative impact of social media and offer up some insight into how to address the problem.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Peace Through Strength

War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence – Ronan Farrow (W. W. Norton)

President Ronald Reagan famously summed up his foreign policy doctrine by saying that America’s mission was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” He, likely many strong leaders before him, dating back to Roman Emperor, Hadrian in the first century AD had a stated policy of “peace through strength.”  This policy of military might drove Reagan’s naysayers in the Democrat party and the media to the brink of their sanity as they often labeled him a cowboy or much worse. Yet the results speak for themselves with the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and around the globe attests.

Writing for the CATO Institute, Doug Bandow summed it up with the simple line “peace was the end and strength was the means.” Since Reagan, U.S. foreign policy has been a mishmash of failed policies that focused on trying to chit chat, or buy our way to influence around the globe with failings like the Clinton era of having former President Jimmy Carter negotiating a nuclear deal with North Korea, to Clinton’s failure to deal with international terrorists like Osama bin Laden; who famously dubbed the U.S. as a “paper tiger.” George W. Bush couldn't quite wrap his arms around whether or not he wanted to be a nation builder, and don’t even get me started on Barack Obama’s international apology tour and utter failure to deal with American’s held hostage around the globe, best summed up by his trading of five terrorists for an Army deserter. Then there is the debacle of the Iran Nuclear deal.

Apparently in the midst of him being thrust into the global spotlight for his investigative journalism on the sexual harassment/assault/#me too front, journalist Ronan Farrow found time to pull together his thoughts on the demise of American foreign policy in the Trump era in the form of War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Farrow tapped into his time working in various advisory roles in the Obama State Department and offers some interesting insight into the inner workings of the negotiations and process of working with globetrotting ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

I can’t help but think there is an almost childlike quality to liberal’s belief that you can somehow talk and buy your way to peace. While it may be a hard lesson for some, peace is not negotiated, it is won. So-called peace negotiations all too often boil down to battling over the size of the conference table for the peace negotiations (see Viet Nam War.)

For Farrow, much like Mark Twain’s death, the reports of the death of American foreign policy and influence are greatly exaggerated. While Farrow’s colleagues in the media will breathlessly speak of trade wars with China, in their eyes wrongheaded Presidential Tweets about “little rocket man” in North Korea and the utter folly of scrapping the awful Iran Nuclear deal and moving on without our European allies, the ends will be the return of a stronger United States on the international stage and the means will be through a position of strength, not kowtowing to thugs and dictators.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Welcome to the Swamp

Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends – Peter Schweizer – (Harper)

Have you ever wondered how a hick from Searchlight, Nevada can go from the comfortable middle class to owning a multi-million dollar condo at the Washington, DC Ritz Carlton? (Harry Reid) Or how a guy from Delaware who never had a private sector job and was always in elective office could own a multi-million dollar house? (Joe Biden) Or how any number of the offspring from elected officials, who by and large are screwups, seem to magically land high paying, high profile jobs or become partners in big firms?

Welcome to the Swamp! Peter Schweizer, the president of the Government Accountability Institute, investigative journalist and bestselling author once again details the inner workings of just how corrupt Washington, DC politicians are in his new book, Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends. Schweizer seems to possess the magical ability to track down the finite details of the sketchy dealings and connect the dots that flesh out the stories corruption, self-enrichment and seemingly free pass these folks get when it comes to acts that would find ordinary folks starring down law enforcement types from any number of Federal agencies.

Schweizer does an incredible job of stringing these stories together and he sets in sites on folks from both sides of the aisle, because neither Democrats nor Republicans have cornered the market on being virtuous. Unfortunately for taxpayers, this kind of nefarious activity is nothing new. Tales of scummy politicians steering business to family members, lobbying and legal firm that employ family members or guiding legislation to the benefit of family member’s business concerns is a time honored tradition. It does take much to find stories of dirtbags like the late Congressman John Murtha steering favorable defense contracts to the clients of his brother’s lobbying firm or Arlen Specter’s son benefitting from legal work at his Philadelphia firm.

Rather than just lamenting these shady deals, Schweizer suggests steps that can be taken to address, correct and eliminate this stuff outright. Here’s the problem; the actions to address the problem would take legislative action, and what’s the likelihood that the swamp would punch their own meal ticket?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Establishment Tantrum

Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic – David Frum – (Harper)

The clues that lead to insight into author David Frum’s thinking about the Presidency of Donald J. Trump aren’t a few stray breadcrumbs spread occasionally along the path through the book; instead Frum lays out a full blown bakeries worth of crumbs that make it clear exactly where he bitterly stands as an establishment, Never Trumper.

This is about what you’d expect from a so-called “conservative” who naturally earns praise from liberals, not because they actually respect his position, but more so because he like they, is against pretty much everything the President has done or will potentially do while in office.

Frum tries, but fails to make the case that somehow Trump is a danger to the Republic. Here’s the problem with Frum’s establishment tantrum and liberals thoughts on Trump Presidency; Donald Trump had less to do with his election victory than Frum’s much vaunted, establishment approach to governing. In a very real sense it was Frum and his ilk that created the Donald Trump victory.

So while he jumps up and down waving his arms about the potential damage to the “system” being done by Trump, it is that “system” that pushed Americans to vote for Trump. Frum and friends seem to forget that the American people, the voters, know clearly the differences between right and wrong and when they saw Hillary Clinton and her band of cronies continue to screw the American people for their own self-enrichment, they got fed up with being dealt the short end of the stick, and Trump became their solution to the problem.