Three Things You Need to Know – March 1, 2018

Due Process Takes Too Long?

If you’re a fan of both President Trump and the second amendment, you might be feeling like the victim of a cheating spouse this morning. Used, manipulated, betrayed… I’m sure the NRA feels the same way you do. Yesterday, the president sat down with Congressional Democrats and Republicans to discuss ideas on how to prevent more mass shootings. Let’s see, how do I describe what proceeded? IT WAS A NIGHTMARE.

Trump took such an extreme hard left turn against the Second, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that it would have made President Obama look like Calvin Coolidge. This is an actual quote from the meeting: “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The president then proceeded to dump on the NRA AND shoot down the idea of national concealed carry reciprocity. If you’re a gun owner, or if you’re just a fan of the constitution, this was the absolute worst thing you would expect a US president to say. You probably expected it coming out of the mouth of Obama, but he would have NEVER even dreamed of saying this in a public forum. You know why? Because every single person in the conservative media, AND every Republican Congressman would have called for his impeachment.

Some people are already making excuses for what the president said. They’re saying things like “yeah but he was talking about the mentally ill!” Remember when we all went went to bat for the President when liberal headlines started saying things like this: “Trump Just Made It Easier For Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns.”

What they were referring to was an Obama era regulation mandating that people receiving disability payments from Social Security, and receiving assistance to manage their benefits, would have to be reported to the federal gun background check system. It locked out tens of thousands of elderly people from buying guns, not based off of their mental capacity but on the basis of being classified by the government in a certain way. Now, I don’t think that was the original intention, but you can see how handling the issue of, who is mental ill and who isn’t, is a very slippery slope.

Mike Pence was absolutely right. We HAVE to figure this issue out, but eliminating due process and neutering the constitution is not the way to do it. Forget, just for a second, that this is about guns. Replace guns with literally any other issue and read back the words “Take action first, go through due process second.” That right there is how tyranny is born.

The good news is that Trump has said strange things in the past, like wanting a clean DACA bill, but it never materialized. So either Trump is pulling off some extreme master negotiating strategy combining The Art of War with his own book The Art of The Deal, OR he was just giving the Democrats in the room what they wanted to hear. Either way, we probably won’t see anything come from this. Due process can’t be waved, and the second amendment isn’t going anywhere. Everyone should be calling the President out on this today. Support him when he’s right, but call him out when he’s wrong. Yesterday, he was very very wrong.

Trump vs. Sessions Part II

President Trump is criticizing Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, again.

Yesterday, Trump wrote a memo – sorry, make that a Tweet – calling it “DISGRACEFUL!” that Sessions is using the Justice Department’s Inspector General to investigate the “potentially massive FISA abuse” in the Russia investigation.

Trump apparently did not like that Justice Department lawyers were not used for the probe instead. The Inspector General is looking into whether FISA standards were abused when the FBI first started investigating Trump campaign associates and their possible ties to Russia. The Nunes memo alleges that the FBI misled the FISA court to obtain a warrant to monitor Carter Page.

Referring to the Inspector General, Trump wrote, “Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy?”

Later, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy released his own statement defending the Inspector General. Gowdy says he has, “complete confidence in him and hope he is given the time, the resources and the independence to complete his work.”

Trump has taken issue with Jeff Sessions on and off almost the whole time he’s been in office. Rumors that Sessions will be fired seem to surface at least once a month. Usually, Sessions just keeps his mouth shut and absorbs the blow. But not this time. He issued a statement saying:

“We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this Department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary. As long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”

You can hear a little irritation in there, like maybe Sessions is finally getting tired of the abuse.

Ever since Sessions recused himself from heading the Russia-collusion investigation, he has been Trump’s punching bag. It’s strange, because Sessions has been a staunch Trump supporter from the very beginning. It’s also weird because Sessions has even offered to resign before, but Trump hasn’t taken him up on it. Yet.

At this point in the marathon Russia investigation, what President Trump thinks he stands to gain by tweeting criticism of Sessions and the Inspector General is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it’s not helpful.

The White House Is All out of Hope

She was never a “Washington” girl.

She didn’t even care for politics.

And yet, she was one of the most powerful people in DC.

Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications director, was one of the longest-serving advisers and arguably Trump’s most trusted aide.

She often had the challenging job of talking him down from an angry tweet, redirecting his attention elsewhere.

She corralled the press department to get on message, even when they were at odds with each other—which was all the time.

And many of the staff viewed her as a protector against Trump’s outbursts…like a child shielding her little brother from her father’s wrath.

But yesterday, Hicks appeared to have enough.

She told the President that she was resigning.

Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee. She told the panel that in her job, she had “occasionally” been required to tell “white lies” but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Her revelation to the panel is not shocking. And I don’t think it was the impetus for her leaving the White House.

She’s a 29 former model who wanted to work in fashion.

I doubt she ever had aspirations of becoming the communications director.

By all accounts it sounded like she took the job in stride, but it just didn’t seem like it was her dream to be there.

The limelight and scrutiny of the House Intelligence Committee and her relationship with Rob Porter made public, appears to have pushed her to end something she really never wanted to start.

When she leaves the White House in a couple weeks, she is going to escape relatively unscathed. She did a good job and didn’t stay to see her reputation get dragged through the dirt like so many before her.

Trump has stated that Hicks is very smart many times.

I believe he is telling the truth.

MORE 3 THINGS

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

Has anybody else noticed how politicized sports have gotten? The NFL is practically three berets away from a socialist revolution. They seem more concerned with dismantling social norms and protesting than with playing football. The Minnesota Vikings announced yesterday they will host a summit and fundraiser for LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

According to LifeSiteNews, the LGBTQ inclusion summit will "include speeches, interviews, and panel discussions with a variety of athletes, coaches, and activists who are homosexual or transgender" and "will be hosted at the team's recently-completed TCO Performance Center."

The summit marks the latest in the NFL's continued advocacy for LGBTQ rights and initiatives. Last year, the league launched NFL Pride, in a bid to "heighten sensitivity to the LGBTQ community" and reinforce "commitment to an inclusive environment in which all employees are welcome."

RELATED: New NFL policy will punish players who protest the national anthem

Fair enough. No one should be harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, but is that really what this is about? Because it kind of seems like there's more going on here. Kind of seems like there's a political, ideological slant to it. At the very least, it's virtue signaling.

The summit is "part of a settlement agreement the Vikings made after [former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe], who is straight, filed a lawsuit against the team in 2014 for allegedly creating a hostile work environment for homosexual and transgender people."

So, yeah, virtue signaling.

Ultimately, the NFL is a private business and, as we saw with the National Anthem kneelers, they can conduct their business however they like, and in turn the consumers can decide whether or not to keep giving them their money.

Mostly, the situation is just strange. Can you imagine how well this partnership would have gone over in the 1970s? Moreover, at what point does being LGBTQ come up during sports? How have we landed in this strange place, where politics and gender and race must be represented within every single interaction?

It's also worth mentioning that most people don't care if an athlete is gay — with the possible exception of transgender athletes, but that's another topic entirely. This tolerance has actually been confirmed by studies and surveys throughout all kinds of sports, in various countries throughout the world. Even countries with, shall we say, a far less tolerant view of the LGBTQ community than we have here in the USA — even people in those countries believe that it doesn't matter. People watch sports to see athleticism, to enjoy the unpredictable fury of sports at its finest.

People watch sports to see athleticism, to enjoy the unpredictable fury of sports at its finest.

Overwhelmingly, regardless of the sport, people do not care about the athletes' sexuality — in fact, most of us would rather not know. We don't watch golf to muse the social significance of gender norms and sexuality. We don't go to a baseball game to meditate on the evils of the patriarchy and the terrors of cultural appropriation. If an athlete is good, who cares what their orientation is? It's certainly not a new idea that LGBTQ can perform in sports. Typically, what sports fans care about is talent. Is the athlete good?

I guarantee that if Liberace rose from the dead tomorrow morning and was suddenly able to play basketball as well as 90s-era Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls fans would not complain if he joined the team. I think it's fair to say that most people like sports better when they aren't swamped with politics. Keep the politics elsewhere, especially these days, when it's nearly impossible to escape the increasingly intolerant politics of the Left.

Perhaps they could learn a lesson from our friends, the Ancient Greeks. It's no secret that the Ancient Greeks indulged in, well, LGBTQ activities. They were quite fond of the various activities. But they also built a civilization of tremendous importance to humanity as a whole. Philosophy, art and, yes, sports. When they were charged off to war, they didn't slap a Rainbow flag bumper sticker on the back of their chariot. Their sexuality did not define their identity. They were multifaceted human beings, able to go to war or to the theater or to the town hall as a citizen, because citizenry was what mattered, personhood and selfhood. More importantly, they lived in a time when people cared about self and tribe over sexuality and gender. Identity was selfhood, not sexuality.

At the end of the day, who cares if the Minnesota Vikings want to host an LGBTQ event? But they should expect to see an increase in shoulder-padded men traipsing across the stage on Broadway.

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

Most people like sports better when politics aren't involved

Breaking down the announcement that the Minnesota Vikings will be hosting a summit and fundraiser for LGBTQ inclusion in sports.


Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

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

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.