Three Things You Need to Know - September 13, 2017

American's Don't Know the Constitution

America has a serious problem --- it doesn’t know who it is. Even worse, it may not even care that it doesn’t know.

Only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of our government. This depressing news brought to you by the annual Constitution Day Civics Survey.

According to the survey, more than one-third of Americans cannot name any of our First Amendment rights. Not a single one. How is that even possible in a nation where you have to attend school by law?

We have less excuse than any previous generation of Americans for not knowing the basic mechanics of our government. We have more tools and resources at the touch of a button than our ancestors could ever dream of. Yet, they would be sad to know how little we know. It’s pathetic that the generation with the most information would be the least informed.

A populace that doesn’t know the basic function of its government, and doesn’t know its fundamental rights, is just asking to be taken advantage of.

Our Constitution has a pretty great track record at 229 years and counting, but that doesn’t make it invincible. It’s still an experiment that requires participation and care from Americans --- a whole lot more than we’re apparently giving it.

This isn’t a scolding --- it’s a plea for action. Let’s help each other learn the basics. Let’s fix this before it’s too late.

The story goes that when Benjamin Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention, some citizens asked him what sort of government the delegates created. He replied, “A republic if you can keep it.”

A New Feeling for Liberals

Our friends on the left have discovered a new feeling: skepticism of government.

Since Trump announced he might rescind DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), there has been growing fear on the left that the information collected under this program might be used to find DACA recipients and deport them.

The 800,000 illegal immigrants who applied for temporary protection under the DACA program gave the government a lot of personal information: where they lived, worked, went to school.

They gave them their photographs and fingerprints.

This is the problem with trusting government when your guy is in.

Power changes between the major parties and on a regular basis.

For those who have preached that the government should not be entrusted with or given access to your personal information --- it’s easy to say we told you so.

But my better angels tell me this is an opportunity for all of us to learn.

There’s a reason for separate but equal branches of government.

There’s a reason for checks and balances.

Power should not be concentrated.

And there’s a reason for healthy skepticism of government. Just ask yourself, “what will the next guy do?”

Apple's Latest Abomination

Facial recognition? Spooky, sure. Better camera? Great.

But 1,000 bucks?

How many people who cry poverty and oppression will have one?

Apple is a domestic phone because people in most countries cannot afford $500 and yet, here, go to some of the poorest sections of town and you will see flat screens and Apple iPhones.

$1,000 for a phone that will be upgraded to an Apple 11 within 18 months says something about how oppressed we really are.

This "best of humanity" company called Apple pits rich against poor, and yet sells the $1,000 phone.

Apple, which is so good and ethical, has suicidal slaves making those $1,000 phones in China paying the workers less than $4,000 per year. 12 months of work has less value than four iPhones.

The great socialist-loving, share-the-wealth company Apple, who tells us how to live, had to admit last year they paid men more than women. They also own $52.6 billion in T-bills, which is more than most countries. They keep billions of dollars offshore to avoid taxes.

But the biggest thing that pisses me off about Apple is their obsession with the clown cars of power cords. Why? Really, I want to know why they insist on making a product that can make Tom Cruise look huge. They make them all freakishly short and unusable while making sure anyone who makes a real power cord can't make one that will work with their Apple made-in-China-by-slaves products.

To me, this screams: don't trust these people --- they may be the spawn of the devil. And yet, in the end, I too will buy one of their stupid phones and love it. Unless I have to use it while it is charging.

MORE 3 THINGS

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?

These days, when Americans decide to be outraged about something, we really go all out.

This week's outrage is, of course, the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration along the southern border. Specifically, people are upset over the part of the policy that separates children from their parents when the parents get arrested.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

Lost in all the outrage is that the President is being proactive about border security and is simply enforcing the law. Yes, we need to figure out a less clumsy, more compassionate way of enforcing the law, but children are not being flung into dungeons and fed maggots as the media would have you believe.

But having calm, reasonable debates about these things isn't the way it's done anymore. You have to make strong, sweeping announcements so the world knows how righteous your indignation is.

That's why yesterday, the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut declared they are withholding or recalling their National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border until this policy of separating children from their parents is rescinded.

Adding to the media stunt nature of this entire "crisis," it turns out this defiant announcement from these five governors is mostly symbolic. Because two months ago, when President Trump called for 4,000 additional National Guard troops to help patrol the border, large numbers of troops were not requested from those five states. In fact, no troops were requested at all from Rhode Island. But that didn't stop Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, from announcing she would refuse to send troops if she were asked. She called the family separation policy, "immoral, unjust and un-American."

There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York all used the word "inhumane" in their statements condemning the Trump administration policy. There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

In a totally unrelated coincidence, four of these five governors are running for re-election this year.

I've made my position clear — separating these children from their parents is a bad policy and we need to stop. We need to treat these immigrants with the kind of compassion we'd want for our own children. And I said the same thing in 2014 when no one cared about the border crisis.

If consistency could replace even just a sliver of the outrage in America, we would all be a lot better off.

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

RELATED: These 3 things need to happen before we can fix our border problem

Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.

Progressives think the Obamas are a gift to the world. But their gift is apparently more of the metaphorical kind. It doesn't extend to helpful, tangible things like saving taxpayers money. Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation upgrades around the planned site of the Obama Presidential Center. The catch is that Illinois taxpayers will have to cover $200 million of that cost. For a presidential museum.

Eight years of multiplying the national debt wasn't enough for Barack Obama. Old fleecing habits die hard. What's another $200 million here and there, especially for something as important as an Obama tribute center?

RELATED: Want to cure millennials' financial woes? Reform the payroll tax.

That's all well and good except Illinois can't even fund its pension system. The state has a $137 billion funding shortfall. That means every person in Illinois owes $11,000 for pensions, and there is no plan to fix the mess. Unless Illinois progressives have discovered a new kind of math, this doesn't really add up. You can't fund pensions, but you're going to figure out a way to milk the public for another $200 million to help cover the cost of a library?

It's hard to imagine who in their right mind would think this will be money well spent. Well, except for maybe Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, "The state's… investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent."

Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

The spending has already been signed into law, even though the Obama library has not received construction approval yet. Part of the holdup is that the proposed site is on public land in historic Jackson Park. That doesn't seem very progressive of the Obamas, but, you know, for certain presidents, you go above and beyond. It's just what you do. Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

Here's the thing about taxing the peasants so the king can build a fancy monument to himself – it's wrong. And completely unnecessary. The Obamas have the richest friends on the planet who could fund this project in their sleep. If the world simply must have a tricked-out Obama museum, then let private citizens take out their wallets voluntarily.

As the Mercury Museum proved this weekend, it is possible to build an exhibit with amazing artifacts that attracts a ton of visitors – and it cost taxpayers approximately zero dollars.