Three Things You Need to Know – March 5, 2018

And the Oscar for Best Hypocrite Goes to...

Ah, another awards show, another chance to display the fake morality of the elite and privileged.

Celebrities chose to wear orange label pins at the Oscars last night to support gun control on behalf of the organization “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The organization is an advocacy group that raises awareness about gun violence prevention.

They stated that the pins are “a reminder that there is more we all can and should do now to prevent future acts of gun violence.”

Here’s a thought, Hollywood. Instead of wearing pins…how about you lead by example and stop promoting gun violence in your movies?

Did the Academy not realize that the majority of last night’s winners ALL featured gun violence?

Here’s just a starting list for you.

Allison Janney won for best actress in a supporting role for the film “I, Tonya.”

That film features a husband and wife who frequently shoot at each other. One time, the husband succeeds.

Sam Rockwell won for best actor in a supporting role for the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His character blows his head off with a gun.

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” won for best original screenplay. That movie literally ends with a murder-suicide by rifle.

And director Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic fantasy, “The Shape of Water” took home the most awards including best picture.

There’s tons of gun violence in that movie. There’s even inter-species gun violence!

The hypocrisy of the Oscars is disgusting.

The Academy Awards need to take the huge plank out of their own eyes.

You can’t be against something if you promote it as “art.”

Gun Control Has a New Backer --- The Ayatollah of Iran

Gun control advocates have a new ally in their quest to upend the second amendment. You might expect this person’s zip code to come from Hollywood, New York or some liberal think tank in D.C., but you’d be just a little off. This person’s pulpit, and support for American gun grabbers, comes from... Tehran, Iran.

The Ayatollah of Iran went on a Twitter rant on Saturday - which is a platform banned by his people but not it’s proselytizing leaders, but I digress - but he echoed every major talking point you’re hearing now from today’s gun grabbers. He wrapped up his twitter sermon with, what he probably considered, the ultimate uppercut to America’s Second Amendment. Quote:

“No one dares apply the clear solution to the promotion of guns and homicide in America. What’s the solution? It’s to make guns illegal.”

If you’re anti-second amendment, you now have a friend in someone that calls himself “Supreme Leader.” And if anyone knows what this argument is REALLY about, it’s him. Guns helped the mullahs of Iran pull off their coup back in the 70’s, but one of the first things they did, AFTER obtaining power, was to take all those guns away from the people that put them in power. Guns are now banned in Iran, and the clerical regime rules with absolute control and unchecked power.

You see, that’s what this is really all about. Power and control. It enabled the Ayatollah in Iran to effectively turn his country into a slave state. They have the power to tell you how to dress when to eat, how to style your hair, and what you can or can’t say. Don’t like it? Well, that sucks to be you… you’ll have to deal with being thrown in a detention camp without due process, without the need of being formally charged, and with no formal date of release.

This is what the founders of our country feared, and this is why they built certain protections into the Constitution to protect us. The Second Amendment being one of the most important. Iran is a perfect example of what’s possible when the government no longer fears their own people.

So, to the Ayatollah standing at his Twitter pulpit in Tehran, thank you for weighing in on America’s gun debate. Thank you for taking a side. But most importantly, thank you for reminding us why we have the Second Amendment to begin with. To protect ourselves from people like YOU.

The Mueller Investigation Just Went Down Another Rabbit Hole

At this rate, Robert Muller’s special counsel investigation is going to take ten years.

Over the last several weeks, Muller’s team has been questioning George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman with close ties to leaders of the United Arab Emirates. Investigators are trying to determine whether the U.A.E. tried to buy political influence during Trump’s presidential campaign and administration.

They’re also trying to determine how George Nader has influenced White House policy. During the first few months of 2017, Nader had several meetings at the White House with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner about American policy in the Persian Gulf.

Nader is something of a Middle East mystery man. During the Clinton presidency, he was a back-channel negotiator with Syria. With Clinton’s permission, he tried to secretly work out a peace deal between Syria and Israel. During the 1990s, he also ran a magazine called Middle East Insight, which sometimes ran editorials by Middle Eastern leaders, like President Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Rabin of Israel, and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Nader fell off the radar for a while, but by 2016 he had somehow become an adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. Just after Trump’s inauguration, Nader met Elliot Broidy, a major Republican fund-raiser who also owns a private security firm. With Nader’s help, Broidy’s security firm landed several hundred million dollars’ worth of contracts with the U.A.E.

Last fall, Broidy had a private meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office. Afterward, Broidy sent a memo of the meeting to Nader at an encrypted email address. In the memo, Broidy said he advised President Trump to have a private meeting outside the White House with the U.A.E.’s crown prince. Broidy also encouraged Trump to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson because of Tillerson’s support of Qatar.

A copy of this meeting memo was sent to The New York Times by, “someone critical of the Emirati influence in Washington.” A spokesman for Elliot Broidy didn’t deny the memo’s contents, but says Qatari agents hacked Broidy’s computer and stole the memo.

What any of this has to do with Muller’s Russia investigation is anyone’s guess at this point. Regardless, it’s yet another rabbit hole in an investigation that has dragged on for almost a year. Sooner than later, Americans want some real answers. For the sake of the country, and our sanity, we need this resolved.

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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.

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?