A Tale of Two Catastrophies

When you really think about it (and I do because I really have no life), the confirmation hearings for potential Supreme Court Justice Brett “the Hitman” Kavanaugh are shaping up to be much bigger than whether Kavanaugh gets fitted for a robe before Christmas and whether he’ll carpool with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There are high stakes here for both sides, and eventually there will be winners and losers. Oddly enough, the Left seems to be full of losers, both in the confirmation hearings and in general, but there’s one loss they haven’t considered yet, and given how much time they’ve spent on it, I’m surprised (well, not really) they have overlooked it.

Over the past several months, Leftists have loudly defended the FBI against attacks from President Donald Trump. According to them, it is traitorous to question the loyalty and competency of the men and women who work for the FBI (Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and James Comey, notwithstanding). You couldn’t swing a dead cat and not hit a Leftist voicing support for the FBI or without getting in trouble with PETA.

For some reason, though, the loud Leftist voices have gone silent. Is it because the issue is dead? Not really. President Trump still has concerns, at least some of them valid, at how the FBI conducts itself. Although the frequency of his Tweets on the matter have decreased somewhat, the animosity is still there. But something else is going on that has to do with the FBI: Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and the controversy surrounding it.

To put it mildly, Leftists have jumped on the allegations against Kavanaugh like Rosie O’Donnell on an all-you-can-eat buffet line. Now, here’s where the plot thickens like the aforementioned O’Donnell’s blood after said buffet. Kavanaugh has had six, count ‘em, six background checks done up to and including the Supreme Court. Who conducted these checks?

If you guessed the FBI, you would be correct. If you guessed anything else, you don’t get to move on to the lightning round, you don’t get a year’s supply of Rice A Roni or Turtle Wax, and you don’t even get a lousy edition of the home game. However, you do get a trip around the world as Regis Philbin’s travel buddy.

Six FBI background checks, and not a single shred of evidence linking Kavanaugh to the sexual assaults he’s been accused of. This leads to two possible conclusions. One, there is nothing there that would support the allegations, and two, the FBI missed the same signs six times. Both have the potential to rock the Left to its core, but the latter makes it harder to operate in my opinion because of the remedy they’ve suggested to address the allegations against Kavanaugh: have the FBI open an investigation on whether he sexually assaulted women.

To put it another way, the Left wants the same people who conceivably overlooked the same issues multiple times to look into a situation they conceivably overlooked multiple times. That’s like trusting Hans Blix to find WMDs in Iraq…oh, wait.

The Left is forced into a Kobiashi Maru of their own making. Either they trust the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh while ignoring the six previous times they did just that, or they have to admit the FBI was right all along, thus negating the need for another investigation.

But let’s not tell them just yet. I want to see the looks on their faces when they watch their pro-FBI rhetoric explode in their faces.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

With Hurricane Florence on the minds of people on the southern Atlantic coast, many eyes are focusing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. To say the men and women who staff FEMA are under a lot of pressure is like saying Nikki Minaj is a talentless hack: it’s accurate, albeit understated. And when you have so many people directly and indirectly affected by what you do, you are expected to perform well under that pressure. Even one screw up can mean you turn into a pariah.

I’m looking at you, Michael “Brownie” Brown. These days he’s managing a Fryalator at the Regional Shanty of Flapjacks (their motto: Try our Possum and Pancake Combo Because ‘Murca.)

Leftists seem to have a love/hate relationship with FEMA. On the one hand, they have an incredible amount of power as a result of tragedy and have people relying on them for help. On the other, occasionally FEMA is run by a Republican, which makes their statist wet dreams a bit less enjoyable, but gives the Left an excuse to exploit tragedy to further their own political ends. So, any day ending in “day.”

Let’s take a closer look at FEMA, shall we?

FEMA

What the Left thinks it means – a competent federal agency that works well when a Leftist is running it, but is a failure when a conservative or Republican runs it

What it really means – a government agency that both fulfills a need and infuriates small government types

And, yes, I am one of those small government types. Having said that, there are some problems that can only be handled at the federal level because of the sheer logistics necessary to resolve them. Imagine renovating a large house. Even if you are a Ron Swanson-level handyman, there are going to be some jobs you are going to need to hire out to do. You know, like if your house is lacking a floor…on every floor.

This is what FEMA does, in essence. They are the people who get hired to handle the big jobs we can’t do ourselves. And just like with every job, there are people who will go the extra mile, and there are people whose greatest effort of the day is walking over to the coffee pot. Think Congress with tool belts.

We saw the impact of this recently in Puerto Rico. Although President Donald Trump called FEMA’s reaction to Hurricane Maria “an incredible unsung success,” the visuals make it hard to take the President’s word for it. Many parts of Puerto Rico are still without power, people are sick and dying, and food and water isn’t getting to the people who need it. Even though Trump has a point about the successes of the response getting overlooked in light of the devastation, we can see where there are areas of improvement.

Therein lies one of my problems with FEMA: we keep seeing these areas of improvement without seeing anyone addressing them. Whether it was the FEMA trailers going unused and the misuse of federal funds to subsidize porn (you read that right, kids) after Hurricane Katrina to case after case of bottled water and food going unused because they weren’t distributed, you would think FEMA would be better at the logistics than they appear. Granted, whenever you deal with people, there are inefficiencies built in, but when your job is literally to help get areas affected by natural disasters up and running, the expectation is that you should be good at it.

This issue isn’t made any easier by adding politics into the mix, as the Left is wont to do with, oh, everything. It always amazes me how inept FEMA is when there is a Republican President and how exceptional that same agency is when there is a Democrat President, at least according to the Left, even though we keep seeing the same problems regardless of the party of the President. Pointing fingers may help the party, but it doesn’t matter to someone whose house was destroyed by a hurricane.

What we need is accountability at FEMA. Considering we are still cleaning up after Katrina in spite of the fact it occurred over a decade ago tells me there is room to improve, but that won’t happen in the current environment. America deserves a FEMA that not only delivers on the expectation of addressing issues after a disaster, but does so with an attention to the money being spent and how it’s being spent. And there has to be follow-through. When Puerto Ricans are dying because they don’t have access to bottled water, it shouldn’t take a year to find out about it and address it.

Maybe it’s time for a FEMA for FEMA. Instead of assuming the next disaster will be the one FEMA gets right, let’s prepare for success before it happens. Weather is unpredictable, but the response shouldn’t be. Figure out how non-government entities address disaster responses and replicate that at the federal level. Maybe take a cue or fifty from insurance companies who do at a smaller level what FEMA does on the federal level.

But perhaps the best thing we can do to help FEMA is to be thankful they’re there. Flaws and all, FEMA does a lot right and it shouldn’t be overlooked in the name of political points or personal drama. Let’s make it easier for FEMA to do their jobs without the hoops and bureaucracy that make the simplest tasks an exercise in futility, red tape, and forms in triplicate. The easier we make it for FEMA, the better the responses will become.

And if you’re in Florence’s path, stay safe.

Gotcha Day

Today is my dog Chico’s “gotcha day.” This is the term for when a pet gets adopted from a shelter and becomes part of the family, but it feels a lot like a second birthday for my little buddy.

My wife and I were looking to add to our family, but with my wife’s allergies, we had to be careful. After a couple of failed attempts to find the right dog, we went to our local Animal Rescue League to check out two Bichon Frises named Freddie and Fannie. (At the time, I worked at a mortgage company that will remain nameless, but can be identified as one that has a billion dollar fine hanging over its head, so the idea of having dogs named after two major players in the mortgage industry.) As we walked by his pen to see Freddie and Fannie, Chico jumped and caught my attention. Little did we know it was at that moment Chico jumped into my wife’s and my hearts.

We spent a little time with Freddie and Fannie, but they didn’t seem to take to us very well. As we thought about leaving, my wife suggested we check out Chico. And am I glad she did! Spending time with Chico showed us he was fun, lovable, and above all else the piece of the puzzle my wife and I needed to find to make a whole family. Even though he was 9 at the time, it didn’t matter to us. The three of us bonded in the time we spent with each other. An hour later, we walked out of the ARL with Chico and started our new lives together.

When my wife and I adopted Chico, we didn’t know a lot about his history, so we had to learn by trial and error. From what we were able to gather from his mannerisms, Chico had a tough life. His previous owners gave him up after only a week because they felt he wasn’t potty trained right. He also came into our home with a distrust of men, which made things a little awkward for me since, well, I am one. I also had a slight fear of dogs stemming from a childhood incident where a dog scratched me on my forehead when I tried to pet it.

After months of trying to figure each other out, Chico finally got comfortable enough with us to start playing and being more outgoing. He still has issues to deal with, but my wife and I keep those issues in mind and act accordingly. Now, four years later, Chico is a happy little guy.

Aside from celebrating Chico’s “gotcha day”, I do have a serious message. Don’t overlook the older animals looking for homes. Sure, they’re not as cute as puppies and kittens, but they’re no less loving, no less deserving of a good home. They may have issues as Chico did, but they need love and understanding. And, as Chico did for me, they teach us to be better people.

So, if you’re looking for a pet, adopt, don’t buy. You will save a life and experience a whole new understanding of love in the process.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Remember when the Left was obsessed with President Donald Trump’s connections to Russia waaaaaay back a whole week or so ago? Well, this past week has blunted that enthusiasm now that there are alleged connections between Russia and the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Now, they want us to ignore their possible crimes to focus on the crimes they’ve alleged President committed.

What is at the core of both of these situations? Leftist double standards, for one, but I’m referring to Russia. The Left’s relationship with Russia makes Sybil look well-adjusted. One day, they’re our ally and we can trust them when they have information that hurts Donald Trump. The next day, they’re our enemy and we can’t trust them to tell the truth when they have information that hurts them. Complicate is hardly the word for this kind of Jeckyl and Hyde relationship.

Let’s take a closer look at the elephant, or bear in this case, in the room.

Russia

What the Left thinks it means – a country that has aided Donald Trump in stealing the 2016 election and is, therefore, our enemy. Also, a country that wasn’t our enemy when Barack Obama was President.

What it really means – our worst frienemy

There was a time when the Left looked up to the Russians. Usually, it was when the Russians were communists, but that admiration never quite went away. Now, the Left tries to relive the wonder years of the former Soviet Union while making tons of money in the pursuit of it.

Let that sink in for a moment.

On the other side of the aisle, the Right adopted Ronald Reagan’s approach of “trust, but verify.” For a while in the mid 80s and early 90s, the US and Russia had a burgeoning relationship, but that changed when hardcore communists hung around and kept just enough power to remain relevant. Then came the rise of Vladimir “Rudy” Putin. A former KGB member, Putin didn’t want the former Soviet Union to die out completely and adopted many of the same draconian ideas that were popular in the Soviet Union. (Oddly enough, college Leftists are adopting those same ideas today.) As a result, the Right went back to not trusting Russia.

This conflict of approaches came to a head during a 2012 Presidential debate between Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. While Romney warned people of the threat Russia posed, Obama brushed it off with a comment about the 80s wanting their foreign policy back. Good times. Of course, that was before the Left lost the 2016 election while collaborating with the Russians, so naturally the Russians are bad guys now, right?

Well, actually, they are, but unlike the Left, my distrust of Russia isn’t situational nor political. Call it my Cold War Spidey Sense, but whenever you have a former member of the KGB heading up a former enemy turned fairweather friend, it tends not to end well. And unfortunately our foreign policy has been slow to pick up on this. Then again, when you’ve had Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, two of the most ineffective and unintelligent Secretaries of State in recent memory, heading up foreign policy, I’m amazed Russia hasn’t already taken over the country. (Note to the Leftists who think this has already happened, respond to this column so I can send you money to buy a clue.)

Meanwhile, we still have the Russian threat to address, and they have friends. I’m speaking of China, another geopolitical thorn in our side. China and Russia haven’t always gotten along, but in recent years they’ve found a common enemy in America. Let’s just say these two countries wouldn’t be too heartbroken if we got knocked down a peg or 20, and both countries have a means to do just that with enough provocation. China owns a lot of our debt, and Russia has a significant oil reserve. Combine those two, and you have the makings of an America economic disaster that would make the mortgage crisis of 2008 look like you lost a nickel down a sewer grate.

And it’s not like this is a new phenomenon, either. Russia and China have been getting chummy for a few years now, including when a certain President mocked Mitt Romney’s prescient warning as being an outdated concept. Yeah, now the party of that President now thinks Russia is a bad guy because they believe (falsely) Russia cost their 2016 candidate the Presidency. (Yeah, it totally has nothing to do with the fact she was unlikable, inept, and couldn’t seem to find Wisconsin on a map…of Wisconsin.) Now that their own connections to Russia are coming to light, the Left isn’t so keen on digging into the situation further, but they are totally on board with continuing the investigation into the Trump-Russia connection to the point Don Quixote is telling them to seek help.

And while all of this political theater is going on, Russia is biding its time, waiting for the moment when they can drop the hammer. And possibly the sickle, too.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

I had originally intended this week’s Leftist Lexicon to be something lighthearted and fun (there’s a first time for everything), but the events of the past 24 hours have changed things just a bit. For those of you who haven’t been following the news, a group of white nationalists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and members of Antifa held a counter-protest. And, as you might expect when two combustible elements get together, there was violence, hate, and even fatalities.

And, also as you might expect, the Left is trying to make hay out of the connections between President Donald Trump and the white supremacists. To some, you’re automatically responsible for Charlottesville if you’re white, and to other more sensible types, you’re responsible if you’re white and voted for Trump. See? Totally more sensible!

Meanwhile, what exactly is white supremacy? Let’s find out!

white supremacy

What the Left thinks it means – white conservatives who have taken over the Trump Administration, also associated with the alt right

What it really means – the photo negative version of Black Lives Matter

Right now, the Leftists reading this are either angrily typing up responses, scratching their heads in disbelief, or asking for money. But when you think about it, the only thing separating Black Lives Matter and white supremacists is the color of their skin. At the heart of both of their philosophies is a belief their experiences are the result of “others” oppressing them. They both believe they are justified in striking back against those who are causing them strife. They both are fine with using violence to achieve their vengeance…I mean goals.

And they’re both wrong.

The fact of the matter is white supremacists aren’t being oppressed by anyone but themselves. If you believe your skin color gives you any type of superiority, you’re already handicapping yourself by limiting your perspective. Every race has its share of extremists, but they also have their share of brilliance. To deny that fact is to deny yourself a wider experience full of wonder. And in America today, it’s getting harder to avoid “cross-pollination” as it were.

So, white supremacists, what are you going to do? If yesterday was any indication, you’re going to look like assholes. And possibly unemployable ones at that.

But that doesn’t excuse antifa here, either. You guys already look like assholes after the Berkeley riots, but since you don’t seem to have jobs, you don’t have to worry about being unemployable since you were already unemployable to begin with. You guys are provocateurs, just like the white supremacists you claim to oppose. But since this blog is about white supremacists, you’re off the hook for now.

The Left is making the connection between President Trump and white supremacists because, well, the white supremacists are saying they’re connected. Adding fuel to the fire was Trump’s tweet trying to spread out the blame for the hate shown in Charlottesville to everyone. Yeah, not a good move there, Mr. President. Not only does it appear you’re clueless about the situation, but you’ve given the Left more ammunition with which to attack you. Then again, they tend to invent evidence when needed, but this one was the political equivalent of an “own goal” in soccer.

White supremacists may think Trump is their key to regaining power after 8 years of Barack Obama, but it’s not. If you put all your faith in someone who looks like you, but doesn’t share your values, you’ll wind up even more disappointed than you were before you anointed that person the Great Whites Only Hope. And let’s not forget Trump dumped you guys during the campaign. You voting for him doesn’t change the fact he’s just not that into you or your racist ways.

It’s time for the white supremacists to grow up and realize the only ones responsible for their woes are themselves. It may be hard to get over your racism, but it’s well worth it, if only to defang the Left. They can’t call you a racist if you’re not a racist. (Well, they can, but it won’t hold as much weight if you’re not snapping Hitler salutes and carrying Nazi or Confederate battle flags.)

Besides, you can always point to their “leadership” and tell them to get outside of their glass houses.

End of an Era in Iowa

With a vote in the US Senate the term of America’s longest serving governor comes to an end. The US Senate confirmed Monday afternoon that Terry Branstad would be the US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. This ends his role as the Governor of the State of Iowa and his record as the longest serving governor in American history.

Today Govenor Branstad resigns from the Govenorship of Iowa and will be sworn in as the Ambassador to China. In his place Lieutenant Govenor Kim Reynolds will be sworn in as the 43rd Govenor of the State of Iowa.

Governor Reynolds will be Iowa’s first female Governor and she will serve out the remainder of Terry Branstad’s term which ends in 2018. She will most likely run for re-election as the Republican nominee at that time.

Are Needle Exchange Vending Machines a Step Forward?

Las Vegas is about to become the first place in the United States to offer free, clean needles dispensed from vending machines. Each kit will include 10 needles, bandages, addiction treatment information, a tourniquet, alcohol swabs, and a container for needle disposal, and the machines may later offer material about safe sex. The idea behind the machines is to reduce the spread of bloodborne diseases and infections that occur when drug abusers share the same needles, however, many are worried about the fact that it might encourage the use of addictive drugs. Let’s take a closer look at both sides to see if these machines will make a positive impact.

Why Needle Exchange Vending Machines May Be Detrimental

The biggest reason most people seem to oppose these vending machines is the thought that it might encourage the use of the addictive drugs in the first place. Having clean needles available may reduce some of the risk previously faced by drug abusers, which could give some drug abusers a false sense of security. A lowered perception of danger may also entice individuals to start their abuse of addictive drugs. While it is debatable whether the vending machines will actually increase the use of these drugs, it is undeniable that the goal of this program is to focus on harm reduction, rather than address the root of addiction.

Detractors for this program are likely to bring up the fact that it will be funded by government dollars. It is understandable to oppose these clean exchange vending machine for financial reasons, as money will be taken out of taxpayers’ hard-earned paychecks to support other individuals’ drug habits. There is a chance that taxpayer opposition could force the government to either cut back funding on these types of projects or get rid of them altogether.

There is also the opinion that the government would be better off putting money towards ways to actually treat addiction. While it would be unrealistic to set up a program that gives every heroin addict free access to luxury drug rehab centers, there are more modest approaches that could make a positive impact. Putting moneytowards health care coverage, funding for drug treatment, and creating more treatment jobs can all help to prevent addiction itself.

Why Vending Machines for Clean Injection May Help

Although the main focus of these needle exchange programs will not be helping people recover from addiction, they could certainly minimize the risks of drug abusers picking up several infectious diseases. Having these exchanges in place will also help keep dirty needles off of the streets, which can be a problem for police officers and other members of the community who come across them in public. Several medical professionals and police officers agree that these vending machines may be effective in harm reduction. This includes Nevada doctor and public health official Joseph Iser, who said, “Providing clean needles and supplies is a proven method for limiting disease transmission in a community.”

It is fair to question the implementation of these machines due to the fact that they will not help with the addiction itself, yet it is also important to keep in mind that people do not like to be forced into change. The way the program is set up offers a low-risk way to get help while reducing the stigma that tends to follow drug abusers over the course of their addiction. These safe injection sites may actually be a turning point for addicts, encouraging them to decide that they need help on their own, instead of being pushed towards treatment they may not be ready to receive.

There are valid points made by both sides on this issue, however, it is hard not to side with the professionals on this problem. Implementing these vending machines in Las Vegas could protect plenty of addicts from diseases, as 1 in 10 cases of HIV in the area have been traced to the use of injected drugs. Drug injection vending machines will not stop people from abusing addictive drugs, but it is worth taking a chance on them to see if they will reduce the risk of harmful disease and infections.

What’s In a Name?

Now that President Donald Trump has started cracking down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, the Left has been working tirelessly to address the problem. And they’ve come up with a great idea.

Rename sanctuary cities to welcoming cities.

And for their next trick, they will cure cancer by renaming it Dick Cheney.

Seriously, though, this is another attempt by the Left to change the language to soften the image of a particular problem, illegal immigration in this case. Illegal immigrant activists have noted the term “sanctuary city” has taken on a negative connotation, which they promptly blame on racism. So, in order to battle the racism of not allowing people who break immigration laws to live without fear, they want to change the name to something more friendly, so the people who break immigration laws can live without fear. And there will be rainbows and lollypops and unicorns farting Skittles!

Meanwhile in the real world, we still have an illegal immigration problem, and putting a new coat of paint on the problem doesn’t solve it.

To me, illegal immigration is a three-tiered problem. The first tier is the illegal immigrants themselves. There are any number of reasons people cross the border into America (freedom, money, premium cable channels), but hopping the border isn’t the way to go about it. There is a process. You may not agree with it, and it may not always be the most convenient, but it’s necessary, if not for us, then for the people who went through the proper channels to get here. There’s a reason there are so many legal immigrants who oppose illegal immigration, and I doubt you want to call them racist for taking the stance they do.

The second tier is a bit more troublesome. We have business owners and companies willing to hire illegal immigrants to do jobs some Americans won’t do (at least for the pay these companies are offering). The prospect of cheap labor means more profits, and that gives business owners and businesses an incentive to bend the law more than Plastic Man on a coke bender. In order to tackle the issue, this incentive must be removed. That can only be done with the help of the third tier, the government.

Before we dive into this part of the equation, I must reiterate I am both a free market and a small government fan, but I am also a believer in the notion capitalism needs a moral core to avoid the pitfalls of the dark side of a free market economy. When business owners can’t or won’t follow the law, government has a role.

When it comes to illegal immigration, however, the government has been slower to react than a sloth on a triple shot of NyQuil. In fact, the previous Administration took a hostile stance against states who dared to follow immigration laws as written. The nerve of some people! With Trump in charge, I see this hostility going away and a new philosophy of trying to secure our borders taking hold. Of course, any action in this direction is going to draw criticism from the Left and from activists.

And I’ll give you three guesses as to which type of activists. If you said “the same bozos wanting to change the name of sanctuary cities to welcoming cities,” you win. If you didn’t, you might need some help.

Illegal immigration is a problem with a lot of moving parts, but painting everyone who opposes it racist or trying to change the name of sanctuary cities isn’t going to work. It may be time to give these activists a visual aid to help them understand.

Move in with them, totally unannounced, and expect them to feed, clothe, and house you. Of course, these folks might call the police and say you’re trespassing, but you can say you were seeking a welcoming home.

Maybe they’ll get the point then, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for confirmation.

The Doctor

Well the news it out. Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the current season. He has been the Doctor since the end of Matt Smith’s tenure and he was the first Doctor to come after the Time Lords of Gallifray enabled him to regenerate again at the end of his 12 regeneration cycle.

It will be sad to see him go. But like always in the decades I have watched and have been a fan of the British Science Fiction program. There will be a regeneration, and a new Doctor to take the title role. Continuing the adventures in time and space and the Doctor’s much loved world of Earth as a second home.

Online Communities

Facebook has ruined online communities. Everyone has flocked to this medium that takes total control away from the community it is supposed to serve and puts that control into the hands of corporate sponsorships aka advertisers.

Back in the early days of the internet there were a multitude of communities. Each community, no matter the subject, had their own forum and chat. The forum was hosted on their domain website while chat was on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Sometimes on a major IRC network, other times on a smaller one that had less crazy controls.

Fortunately some online communities keep their distance from Facebook and other so-called social media sites that force regulations that cannot be controlled by the community on them. These are the communities that will survive the eventual decline of social media sites.

With a forum, you can control who comes, what the see, and your privacy policy doesn’t change constantly forcing the users to change their settings every few months. It is a far better system. And if you have live chat and can’t find an IRC network to your liking, you can always toss up your own.