Newsless Media…or…The Eye Witless News

Ya know…back in the days when there were only the original 3 TV networks…you could depend on the nightly news to actually…provide you the news. They would tell you the facts of whatever happened and the anchors rarely offered an opinion on anything…leaving that to the occasional commentary at the end of the news. There was political news reported…but again it was just the facts without bashing either side. You would never have known it from his reporting for instance…but Cronkite was pretty far left for those times, although he would be just center left these days.

No more though…the news media…no matter whether it’s on the TV, internet, or on paper…these days they’re just political mouthpieces who are more interested in being the news than reporting the news. There are very few news organizations these days that try to maintain a lack of political bias and just report the facts.

What is worse than politicking though…is the complete abandonment of either putting a headline on the article/piece that actually reflects what the blathering is about and of any attempt to include actual truth in the piece…it was bad enough when they just started to only include facts that supported their political slant while ignoring contrary facts…but lately it seems that they just completely make stuff up…I would call it lying.

A few examples…I will leave the links off this time so as not to give the liars any of those profit generating clicks. 

You might remember seeing a week or so back there was a shotgun attack on a church in Texas where a nutcase came in and killed two people during service…then was promptly shot dead by one of the church’s armed security volunteers. Now me…I would call the guy a hero since he prevented more loss of life…the nutcase was angry because when he came to the church for help (he was indigent and homeless apparently) they gave him food instead of cash…because he would have just spent the cash on drugs or alcohol. Anyways…while most of the press correctly recognized the “good guy with a gun” as being a hero…there was a USA Today opinion piece that was primarily intended as an anti-gun screed. According to Elvia Diaz…the NRA and pro 2nd amendment folks are using this incident as PR for why we need the 2nd amendment…but according to her it is about much more than that. She says “he wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner…he is a firearms instructor, gun range owner, and a former reserve sherif deputy…exactly the kind of person that you want around with a firearm when things go south”. However…as she elaborates…”we know nothing of the other 6 worshippers who also drew their weapons…and that is terrifying”. Now none of the other 6 engaged the bad guy as he was dead already…but then she goes on to make the point that people should not be allowed to carry guns wherever they want to…and how Texas has very nonrestrictive gun laws. She agrees that the 2nd amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms and that the amendment is not going anywhere…but then goes off the reservation by saying “that constitutional amendment doesn’t spell out the types of firearms Americans should bear, nor does it give Americans the right to sell them to anyone to carry anywhere”…even though of course it does…she needs to go back to junior high civics and look up the meaning of “shall not be infringed”…it means that it does give them those rights.

Me…I’m all for the anti gun crowd trying to overturn the 2nd amendment…but the founding fathers provided a process by which the constitution can be amended…but they deliberately made it very, very hard. Rather than trying to do things the right way…there is this continual push by anti-gun people to nibble away around the edges, move the goalposts, or whatever other analogy you want to slowly over the years change the constitution via state or federal legislation instead of the proper way.

According to Business Insider…the President broke the law withholding funds from Ukraine. Now it doesn’t matter whether you are for or against the President or the Congress in this case…this is a lie designed to advance a political agenda. The article says that the President “ignored numerous warnings from the Defense Department that withholding the funds was illegal” and that he “violated the Impoundment Control Act”. If that is true…then clearly the President broke the law…but it is simply not the case. The way that things is happen for the government to spend money is that the Congress must both authorize spending and appropriate the money…and the money comes from a particular budgetary year with requirements on when it must be spent by. In this case…the funding was what is called Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and is required to be spent by the end of the fiscal year which is September 30. What actually happens is that the dollars get spent by the DoD on weapons that are then given to the foreign country designated to receive them when they are delivered. What the Impoundment Control Act says…is that funds can only be spent for the purpose that was authorized and appropriated by the Congress and not on anything else…and that if the funds are not spent by the end of the requisite fiscal year they are returned (impounded) to the Treasury and do not get spent.

The Defense Department was told several times in July and August to get all of the paperwork in place in case the hold on the funds was released…which apparently they failed to do. Neil used to be in the procurement bidness for the DoD so has some insight into this…if the paperwork is in place then funds can be obligated in pretty quickly. So the administration is authorized under the appropriations rules to delay spending funds until later as long as they get actually spent on the designated things before the end of the fiscal year. And ya know what…that is exactly what happened. The funds were released on September 11 and obligated…well, most of them anyway…the DoD didn’t bother obligating $35M of them because they didn’t get the paperwork ready early as they were told to. That $35M was returned to the Treasury unspent under the Impoundment Control Act…so despite the headline and the article…no laws were broken here. Nonetheless…the hysteria in the media over this continues and at least according to Mr. Schumer “proves that additional witnesses are needed for the Senate trial”.

From The Guardian…an article about federal judge Loretta Biggs who blocked a voter ID law in North Carolina last week. Now…me, I’m all in favor of voter ID laws…you need an ID to buy booze, cigarettes, get on a plane, borrow a book from the library, drive a car, cash a check, enter most governmental buildings, get government assistance, and what have you…and nobody has a problem with requiring a person to present an ID in any of these situations. Apparently though…asking for an ID to prove you are a US citizen before voting is an unconscionable act designed solely to suppress Democrat votes. This is the second law that NC passed to require a picture ID to vote and it provided 11 different IDs that would be acceptable…both were passed in response to a citizen approved state constitutional amendment requiring voter ID from the 2018 mid term election.

What is most galling here…beyond the unsubstantiated opinion of one federal judge to overrule the citizens of the state…is her reasoning for invalidating the law. She stated that “discriminatory intent was likely a factor in passing this law”…because it was similar to the first one she invalidated but was changed to meet her objections to the original law. She also said that not allowing the public assistance ID that is necessary for receiving welfare benefits was discriminatory to people of color because they’re more likely to be on welfare…when the real problem with using that ID is that non-citizens are allowed to receive welfare benefits and the welfare processing folks do not make any attempt to confirm citizenship before issuing those ID cards. Hence…sure, they are a photo ID…but they do not prove US citizenship which is what is required to vote. So she substituted her feeling that the law might have discriminatory intent for the will of the population as expressed by the vote for the state constitutional amendment. Luckily her decision will be appealed and likely overturned.

An article on Yahoo news which parroted The Guardian contained this quote…”This is particularly relevant to African Americans, who – contrary to popular perception – actually have rather high voter turnout, higher than other minorities, but are disproportionately affected by voter suppression (including incarceration).”. Go read that sentence again…it has two clauses that contradict each other…if African Americans have a higher voter turnout than other minorities…how the heck can they be disproportionally affected by the alleged voter suppression…that just don’t make a lick of sense…but you read it on the internet so it must be true, especially if it supports your political agenda.

The trouble with both sides on the voter ID/voter suppression debate is that both sides are full of crap. Voter fraud is not nearly as high as the Republicans say it is…nor is it as low as Democrats say it is. The problem is that only citizens are legally allowed to vote…and if there is not requirement to prove citizenship to vote and you can sign up to vote on Election Day…then there are potentially 11 million cases of voter fraud possible. Now I know that most of our illegal immigrants are not voting illegally…but that doesn’t really matter…what matters is that they could if they wanted to…and that is just plain wrong not to mention illegal. Republicans are accused of voter suppression when they demand a voter ID…but if you tell a Democrat that giving every illegal alien a drivers license and registering all drivers license issues to vote at the same time…heck, that sounds like ballot box packing to me and that is just as wrong as suppressing votes.

The National Interest has an article in which the author makes the claim that the US Navy should bring back battleships because they can take a lot of damage before being sunk. The problem with that is that the age of the battleship is over. Their main guns have a range of about 25 miles which means that they can threaten just a small area of the enemy country with their 2,000 pound shells. In the days of anti-ship supersonic sea skimming cruise missiles…a battleship would never get close enough to shell the beach. There is some merit in taking a bulk carrier or tanker type hull design, adding some armor, and packing it with a metro buttload of Tomahawk cruise missiles for shore bombardment…but at a million bucks plus each that’s an awful expensive way to soften up the enemy beach. Dumb bombs…or even smart bombs…are a lot cheaper than that and can be delivered by aircraft launched by carriers out of range of most shore based armament. A heavily armored ship with a large amount of offensive firepower is conceptually a good thing. The author quotes the fact that the largest battleships ever afloat…both Japanese vessels…took 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs in one case and 11 torpedoes and 6 bombs in the other case before they sunk. However…in the days of saturation launches of 30-50 cruise missiles…it’s just not realistic that a battleship would survive close to the beach.

On Yahoo…there is an article stating that there were “more mass shootings in 2019 than there were days in 2019” claiming that there were 417 mass shootings (defined as more than 4 people being shot outside of the attacker). While there are way too many nutcases engaging in mass shootings…that number seemed unlikely to me, but it is based on statistics from the non profit Gun Violence Archive which is the other end of the spectrum from the NRA. According to USA Today however…the number of mass shootings (using the same definition)…while it did set a record in 2019…was 41, not 417. So much for truth in media.

According to Bloomberg…”One Certainty for 2020: Conservatives Will Lose”. Actual article…it was written by two Bloomberg talking heads (one from each side of the political spectrum) and they did not agree…imagine that. However, the headline is just clickbait.

In updated impeachment news…Mr. Schumer is demanding witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial…this is the same Mr. Schumer who was vehemently opposed to witnesses in an impeachment trial of a President of his party. Mr. McConnell wants to use the same rules that were used in President Clinton’s trial. In addition…Mr. Schumer said back before the Clinton impeachment trial that it was the job of the House to investigate and the job of the Senate to conduct the trial…exactly what Mr. McConnell is saying today and exactly the opposite of what Mr. Schumer is now saying.

Anyways…we’ll see what happens on that front in the days to come…but essentially each chamber has one sole right in impeachment…the House to impeach and the Senate to have the trial. Beyond that…it is largely like the rules for parking over in Ireland in that the first rule is there are no rules. The House gets to run the impeachment their way…and in this case the Democrat majority was unfair in the opinion of the Republican side…but it is a matter of majority rules. Now that it is over to the Senate for trial…the Republicans are in the majority and they get to set the rules…yet Mr. Schumer and his caucus are stamping their feet and demanding that the majority do things their way…which is exactly what happened in the House and was essentially ignored by the Democrats because they have the majority…I expect the same thing to eventually be the case on the Senate side. 

Connie just found this tweet from Hoda Katebi (her twitter profile says that she is the angry daughter of immigrants, a political fashion writer and creative, and an abolitionist and organizer…anyway Hoda tweets that US Customs and Border Protection has been ordered to detain and report all Iranians entering the country regardless of citizenship in the wake of our killing as an anti-terrorist strike of the head of the Iranian Republican Guards the other day. It has 40,698 retweets and 58,105 likes since being posted yesterday. The only problem with her tweet…is that…you guessed it…it is a lie. Jason Hopkins…an immigration journalist in Washington DC reports that Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that the tweet is untrue and that they are not detaining either Iranians or US citizens of Iranian heritage. 

Speaking of Mr. Soleimani…good riddance to him. It is illegal under international law to assassinate a head of state. Fortunately…in this case…he is not a head of state but just the former head of the Iranian Republican Guards…a confirmed terrorist organization…so there was no violation of law involved. He was responsible for the deaths of great numbers of both Americans and innocent civilians…and had flown to Baghdad to meet with the head of another known terrorist organization. Unfortunately for him…US intelligence found out about it and a conveniently located drone took out both of them. It is true that Congressional leaders were not informed ahead of time about the strike…because it would have been leaked by the President’s political opponents and the chance to take him out lost…but Congressional leadership was notified within 48 hours as required by the War Powers Act. So when you read about how the President violated the law as announced by Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer in the news today…just remember it ain’t true just because they said it was. The law was followed…and no matter how many times they put out their sound bite…it is still a lie.

I guess the next move on that front is up to the Iranians…and given the extremely poor state of their military…I really think they should think twice before starting a fight with the US. They have been fighting proxy wars ever since the 1974 revolution against the US and our interests…have repeatedly violated every agreement they ever made with anybody…and even their own people are demonstrating against the government recently although the regime will use this incident to incite the population and coverup their own conduct. Don’t worry though…Bernie says that when he is president he will do everything in his power to prevent a war with Iran because he was right about Vietnam and right about Iraq…I guess he’s a legend in his own mind. Naturally…all the Democratic candidates have jumped on the “this is illegal and unjustified” bandwagon…and are pointing out how Mr. Biden supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq so that clearly demonstrates that he isn’t qualified to be elected. 

As I said…people will say anything true or not in order to advance their political agenda…half truths and outright lies are perfectly acceptable as long as you get to trumpet your political agenda.

OK…movin’ on.

Today…January 6…is Epiphany which is the official end of the Christmas Season and celebrates the arrival of the wise men “from the east”…at last that’s what the historical documents tell us. However…it also says they were following a star that rose in the east from their homeland to Bethlehem…and it seems to me that if they were from the east and the star rose in their east they would be going the wrong way…but whatever.

‘Round these parts…we have the wise men set up on the west side of our fireplace top and they gradually make their way over to the manger scene on the left. Here are photos to prove it.

Back on Christmas…the baby showed up right on schedule…he’s back there under the overhang in the manger.

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Then gradually the wise men made their way to Bethlehem following the star that rose in the East.

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Until finally arriving with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…well except for the fourth wise man who showed up with fruitcake and was sent away…but he wasn’t in any of the pictures of them on the way so it was actually the 3 wise men who sent him away and not Mary and Joseph. It was a fruitcake after all.

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Tomorrow…having been warned in a dream…they’ll depart for their homeland by another way and not report back to King Herod.

Apparently there will only be a single eaglet produced this year…E14 is now 17 days past hatching and since the second egg was laid 2 days after the first the second egg is 15 days past the hatching interval and is non-viable. No telling how long the adults will incubate it before removing it from the nest. Here’s a shot of E14 on the nest…Harriet is sitting on the attic above the nest out of sight and M15 is off hunting…as you can see he has grown tremendously since hatching from the first egg that was the same size as the non-viable one. Looks like it is taking a nap…and dreaming of a future catching prey as in the live view you can see the talons opening and closing.

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Interesting stuff found on the net.

This buoy…

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washed up over on the east coast of Florida at New Smyrna Beach on Christmas Eve…it broke loose from it’s mooring up in South Carolina earlier in the year and eventually washed up down here. Neil is really confused by that  as the Gulf Stream flows north along the east coast of Florida at 3-5 miles per hour 24x7x52…so how a buoy drifted 400 or so miles south and then ended up on the beach is a mystery…at least to me. I suppose there might bar some sort of eddy inshore of the Gulf Stream…but if Neil recalls correctly from his days back in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club the current is pretty close inshore until well north of the Charleston SC area.

I think my wife loves me.

ThinkMyWifeLovesMe

NeitherTimeNorCrayons

ManagementPotential

Cyas.

About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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