Troubling Things about the Las Vegas Shooting

This headline probably already generated a half-dozen ideas in your mind, with one or two standing out from the rest. If you started a list, you could probably come up with a full dozen or more things about the Las Vegas mass shooting that are troubling.

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In the category of “I love it when the same people shower praise on immigrants and then turn around and assume they’re stupid” . . .

The hysteria surrounding vaccines and scheduled vaccinations is well-documented. The term “fever-pitch” comes to mind after reading this article.

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In the category of “if @CNN would always produce objective reports like this, maybe we’d start to trust them” . . .

Ex-spies weigh in on Russian hacking allegations

CNN—this time in a report by Mallika Kallingal—just can’t seem to refrain from shading the truth. They desperately want real evidence that Trump is a Putin pawn, but none has yet come to light. So they get three real former spies to comment on the situation and all of the spies’ comments support a much more relaxed take on the situation, at least implying if not outright saying that it is unlikely Trump or any member of his team actively “colluded” with Putin. CNN must not have been satisfied with that, because their introduction to the spies’ comments throws shade at Trump, but CNN is so good at it, that their shade is strong yet so subtle:

President Donald Trump's campaign and its alleged ties to Russia has been a big part of the political conversation this week.

There are new reports that Trump's associates may have coordinated with Russians before releasing information to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign last year. FBI director James Comey told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI is investigating alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign and the extent of Russian involvement in the American election.

Russia’s interest in the United States is not new. During the Cold War, Russian agents were planted on US soil to spy on the country, and many of them were caught by the FBI. CNN spoke to KGB and FBI agents about the Russia hacking allegations and how espionage has changed over the years.

These comments are innocuous enough, except for two things. First: any kind of positive summary of the three spies’ comments. In other words, the sort of color commentary CNN always gives if the evidence or interviews lean they way they like. Second: the articles linked. Oh, boy, you must read them, if you want to understand the angle of this (somewhat) objective report. Here are the links to the two articles (the links are also included in the quote above, exactly as the CNN article linked them):

It’s imperative that you read them also if you merely desire to understand why CNN—and others—desire so badly for Trump to be caught colluding with the Russians. Ask the questions. Please! Ask the questions. What is CNN trying to accomplish? It is most definitely not mere accounting of the truth—whatever Jake Tapper says.

In the category of “where are the late-night comedians on this one?” . . .

Donna Brazile admits she passed debate questions to Hillary, blames Russians

Donna Brazile, folks:

“By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few,” she explained, “the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton. Despite the strong, public support I received from top Sanders campaign aides in the wake of those leaks, the media narrative played out just as the Russians had hoped, leaving Sanders supporters understandably angry and sowing division in our ranks.”

I did something wrong because I wanted to but now I’m going to blame someone else who actually had nothing to do with my wrongdoing but is an easy scapegoat because, well, Russia. I mean, c’mon, we all know they don’t like gays in Russia, right? You know that, don’t you? And if they don’t like gays, just imagine what else they’re capable of. If they only liked gays we wouldn’t have to be so hard on them. It’s their own fault, really. And it’s their fault anyone found out about me sending debate questions to Hillary. See how terrible they are? See how not liking gays leads to bad things? If Russia only liked gays, no one ever would have found out I sent debate questions to Hillary.

In the category of “if you read this article and still trust @Salon to be truthful, the joke’s on you” . . .

I think that this article makes an important point, that the substance of Donald Trump’s message is the same, despite the change of tone, but the article is so full of “exaggerations, lies, and policy [critiques] that contain no specifics,” that it fails the immediate test of consistency vs. hypocrisy and it will be meaningful only to those who already agree with it. Speaking to your constituency, pumping them up, can be useful, so there’s nothing wrong with taking a tone and making arguments that will convince only those who already agree with you. But consistency, logic, and substance are universal requirements.

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In the category of “here’s a pile of #FakeNews clickbait crap if I’ve ever seen one” . . .

This is the subtitle (which is also a portion of the article):

At the current rate of progress, every media outlet other than Fox, Breitbart, a couple of other white supremacist outlets and a few doolally Christian networks will find itself banned from the building by Wednesday afternoon

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In the categories of “worth noting” and “another mainstream press letdown” . . .

The Democrats who don’t dare face voters at town halls

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In the category of “Dan Rather’s entire career was a ‘real and present threat’ to our system” . . .

Dan Rather reacts to White House media ban, calling the move a “real and present threat to our democracy”

For all who excused Mr. Trump’s rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn’t true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption.

Sadly, Dan Rather has shown that, journalistically speaking, he himself may be beyond any hope of redemption. I pray to God—for Rather’s sake—I’m wrong.

In the category of “now that you’ve heard my pleas for rationality, don’t forget the battle rages” . . .

Straightforward From Here To The Left’s Fascist, Maybe Violent, Endgame

Kurt Schlichter reminds us that there is a battle, and it is intense.

We know where the leftists want it to end, with us silenced and subservient forever, toiling to pay taxes for them to redistribute to their clients as they pick at, poke at and torment us. You look at the things Trump stands for and all of them are about lifting the yoke off of us—cutting taxes, slashing regulations, guaranteeing the Second Amendment, protecting our religious liberty, and safeguarding us from terrorists and illegals. But everything liberals want, everything Hillary ran on, is about clamping the yoke ever tighter around our necks—raising taxes, issuing more regulations, disarming us, limiting our religious freedom, and putting us at risk from terrorists and alien criminals. The whole leftist platform is about putting us down and keeping us down.

In the category of “great piece from @marcthiessen of the @WashingtonPost on political polarization” . . .

Funny — ‘enemies’ wasn’t so offensive when it meant ‘Republicans’

I originally found the article in the NY Post, so I’m leaving that link as the headline link, but here is the link to the original spot in the Washington Post’s Opinions section: The left’s hypocrisy on Trump’s ‘enemy of the American People’ comment. I disagree in some particulars with Thiessen, and some of those are significant, but they are less significant than the main thrust of the article. I recommend reading it when you have plenty of time to read thoughtfully and a few minutes to think reflectively when you’re done reading. We could all use some improved perspective regarding the political climate in America. Here are a few highlights from Thiessen’s article. It is worth reading entirely:

When President Trump tweeted that the news media “is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” the outrage on the left was palpable. That’s how dictators speak, they cried, comparing Trump to everyone from Lenin and Stalin to Mao and Mussolini. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod declared, “No other president would have described the media as ‘the enemy of the people.’ ”

No, not the media, just his Republican political opponents.

He immediately jumps into exactly who Obama called enemies and who Hillary Clinton called enemies.

I don’t recall widespread revulsion on the left when a Democratic president and Democratic nominee made these repulsive remarks. Perhaps they didn’t care, because the remarks were not targeted at the media, just Republicans.

But his point is not to cast aspersions at Democrats. His point is to reconcile Democrats and Republicans.

To be clear, it was an outrage when Obama did it. It was an outrage when Clinton did it. And it is an outrage when Trump does it. The Islamic State is an enemy. Iran is an enemy. North Korea is an enemy. Russia (yes, Russia, Mr. President) is an enemy. NBC News is not an enemy.

Members of the news media may be biased. They may even be an adversary, in the political sense of the word—“the opposition party,” as Stephen K. Bannon calls them. But our political opponents are not our enemies. They are our fellow Americans who disagree with us.

Please read the whole article. It’s worth your time.

In the category of “@HuffPost is at it again” and “no, Mike Pence didn’t cause an outbreak of HIV” . . .

Even the Huffington Post feels their evidence is so weak that the best exaggeration they can muster is “one of several factors that may have influenced.” Nice work there, champ. Boy, you really pulled out all the stops getting to the bottom of this one, didn’t you? I bet the next stop for you is the trash hea—I mean, Pulitzer, yeah, Pulitzer.

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In the category of “well, what do you know? I agree with @oreillyfactor about something” . . .

Bill O'Reilly: The swamp fights back

It’s not against the law for anyone to talk with any Russian. General Flynn had no power other than being a private citizen, when the call with the Russian ambassador to took place. In order for him to have committed a crime, he would have had to attempt to formally attempt to undermine the Obama administration’s Russian policy. So Sharpton is full of it, as always.

Now, there is a report Thursday that says General Flynn may have lied to the FBI. And we've mentioned that. If it’s true, that is a crime. So, we'll see. . . .

When President Trump first mentioned draining the swamp in Washington, I don't believe he understood how extensive the problem really is.

In the category of “@theHill is all serious and supports assertions by citing Twitter users” . . .

Social media users troll Trump over Sweden incident

Trump did not elaborate, but some social media users pointed to a Fox News report on Friday that showed alleged violence by refugees in Sweden.

Social media users quickly responded to Trump’s comments, using the hashtags #LastNightInSweden and #SwedenIncident to mock the president.

Ooh, boy, those are some serious sources you got there, The Hill. That’s some pretty profound insight from some well-researched experts. I’m impressed—and completely convinced. The recitation of pertinent facts is overwhelming.

In the category of “@SenJohnMcCain ‬insinuates @realDonaldTrump is a burgeoning dictator then pretends he didn’t” . . .

One of the problems with politicians today (and throughout history) is duplicity. They say one thing but the context of their actions over time show they mean another. Or they have unequal weights and measures, handing out inconsistent justice. Or they show favoritism, granting favors based on personal preference or—worse—on what they think they will get in return. McCain is a first-class politician in this sense. He is consistently duplicitous. You see it, right? You hear it? Oh, the press is terrible, but I don’t want you to hate me so I’m going to say nice stuff to you, too. And I’m going to say part of what I really believe but then I’m going to walk it back all the way because I’m scared of you and I want you to be nice to me and I care more about myself than I do about the people of my state who elected me and about the American people at large and really I just want people to elect me again so that I can keep up this posh job with its high pay and with all its power, because, boy, I especially don’t want to lose the power. Wow! I really don’t want to lose that. So I’ll say or do whatever I have to say or do to make sure I don’t lose my money and power and if that means one moment waggling my finger at you like a school marm and then the next moment kissing up to you, so be it.

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In the category of “c’mon, now, voter fraud is just a red herring from @realDonaldTrump, right?” . . .

Hundreds of Texans may have voted improperly

The affidavit process was adopted after an appeals court ruled that the voter ID law discriminated against minorities. The change was intended to help voters who could not obtain identification for a variety of reasons, including disability or illness, lack of transportation or conflicts with work schedules.

In the categories of “is this piece from @CNN for real?” and “@StCollinson is almost respectful to @realDonaldTrump” . . .

I think I have it. I think that I would describe the tone of this article, not as respect, but as awe. It’s almost as if the author is at a loss, maybe stunned. President Trump beat the Republican presidential candidates at their own game. Then he beat the Democrats—Hillary and the entire Clinton Machine—at their own game. And all along he was beating the Mainstream Press—including Fox News—at their own game. And this week he took a beating from the Mainstream Press—and from the Deep State (CIA, NSA, FBI, Federal Bureaucracy in general). Just yesterday—just this morning, in fact—some were questioning whether this week’s events signal either the end of Trump’s efficacy or the end of his presidency altogether. And today, in the fashion that we have all come to associate most with Trump’s presidency—unexpectedness—he calls a press conference like this.

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In the categories of “no, who do you think *you* are?” and “I know you are but what am I?” . . .

In the battle of who thinks who is, we must remember that just because someone asks the question doesn’t mean they have the right to ask it, even if they say they do. It can be a valuable question to ask—even of a U.S. President. As in other areas of life, our own behavior often determines whether we have the right to ask certain questions. This is especially true if the question contains an obvious accusation, as the question “who the hell do you think you are?” clearly—and always—does. Sometimes, when someone asks that very accusatory, very insulting question, we must, as a matter of course, of dignity, yes, even of propriety, respond, “Well, who the hell do you think you are?”

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In the category of “nicely reasoned piece in @WSJ by @DanHenninger about sharks circling @realDonaldTrump” . . .

Daniel Henninger: Is This Trump’s Watergate? (Requires a subscription to read at WSJ.com; also available on Apple News here)

If we have learned anything about the Trump presidency, it is that Mr. Trump and his chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, despise the Washington swamp, which includes the city’s lobbyists, all of its bureaucrats, every member of the media, the entire congressional delegation and their staffs.

At the moment, that would cover most of the forces arrayed against them, and a good question is whether they’ll drain the swamp before the swamp swallows them.

Later:

Whether the Pence wedge between him and the inner circle (as of this week) is true hardly matters. Life in the capital wouldn’t be much fun without believing such things. Washington’s most powerful force is . . . the whisper.

Well worth the read.

In the category of “healthy skepticism and balanced perspective from @WashingtonPost” . . .

Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.

Unnamed sources are often critical contributors to important news reports and, as I have noted before, Trump has no problem with them, when he finds their disclosures helpful.

But anonymity invariably promotes skepticism about sources' motives. The Times wrote that "all of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified." That makes sense; it also makes sense to wonder whether these officials have political agendas and to consider what they might not be revealing.

See my previous post for more about reporting rumor as fact.