There is a lot of big news happening, but before I get into any of that, I want to make note of the most important story of all: Today, May 25, marks exactly 44 years since I married a strong, wonderful young woman named Janet McCain. We were both still a couple of months' shy of our 19th birthdays. On that happy day 44 years ago, neither of us two naive teenagers could ever have predicted the incredible roller coaster ride that lay ahead for us. It almost seemed over before it began when Janet faced a harrowing battle with spinal cancer in our first year of marriage. But she beat that disease, and we went on to share so many adventures together: raising 3 children; enduring changes of careers in broadcasting, the pastorate, then the brutal world of politics and ultimately back to broadcasting.
We’ve been so broke, we literally ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and canned soup every day. And we’ve been so blessed as to build a house of our dreams and be able to give away far more than we ever dreamed of earning. We are unbelievably blessed with six awesome grandkids that you will surely agree are beautiful, and two faithful and loving dogs, who do absolutely nothing. But they do give us joy and laughter. Janet has put up with a lot, but she has been a steadfast, loving, and wonderful wife and mother.
We got good advice at the beginning of our marriage—never consider divorce as a means of solving our problems. And in the 44 years since, we never have. We’ve considered murder a few times, but never divorce! So to my wife, here is the top headline of the day: I offer you my love, appreciation, and best wishes for another 44 years!
This is Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you all have a fun, safe holiday. Enjoy the beach, pool, family picnics, sales or whatever festivities you have planned. But please don’t forget that this is much more than just the “unofficial start of summer.” Memorial Day is first and foremost a date set aside to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that all of us could continue to enjoy the freedom to celebrate this weekend in peace and safety. It’s a time to visit graves and memorials of the fallen men and women of the United States military, from the birth of America to today, and to offer prayers and thanks to all those veterans for what they did for us.
I’ll have more to say on this on Memorial Day, but I just wanted to start the holiday weekend off on the right foot, and that foot is wearing a combat boot.
In the United States of America, one thing that’s not supposed to happen is the FBI spying on a presidential campaign, which we now know they did. But do you know what’s really, REALLY not supposed to happen?
The CIA doing it.
The FBI deals with malfeasance within our borders, and it’s supposed to respect the rights of American citizens –- at least in theory, which appears to have gone horribly wrong. As for the CIA, it isn’t supposed to do domestic spying; it’s in the national security business and deals with intelligence gathering internationally. It doesn’t have to go before judges and get warrants to spy on people. It’s not intended to be weaponized against Americans here in our country, and to use it that way would be a serious abuse of power. When it comes to the investigation into the Trump campaign, though, there appears to be a disturbing blurring of lines. It’s way past time to take a closer look at former CIA Director John Brennan.
The first thing to say about Brennan is that he is out of his mind, as is obvious to anyone who has read his tweets since Trump settled into the Presidency and, item-by-item, started reversing Obama’s many executive orders, saving us from ridiculous agreements such as the Iran deal and the Paris Climate Accord, appointing judges who actually respect the Constitution, and otherwise dismantling the Barack Obama “legacy.” Brennan and his cohorts just can’t stand it. And Brennan’s unfettered tweeting gives us a scary glimpse into the sensibilities and political motivations that must have driven him when he headed Obama’s CIA. The man is so filled with hate for Trump, he makes Peter Strzok and Lisa Page look like FOX News contributors.
Speaking of FOX News contributors, Monica Crowley has a great column in The Hill in which she examines the role likely played by Brennan in the “Russia” investigation. She calls him “the apparent ringmaster of the ‘deep state’ resistance” and explains how the groundwork was laid for the CIA to be able to go after Americans –- indirectly, so whatever they turned up wouldn’t have their fingerprints on it.
In 2011 (before Obama’s re-election campaign), the U.S. intelligence community gave itself vastly expanded powers, allowing itself to surveil Americans who had even just once mentioned a foreign target. And all those communications by Americans that former CIA Director James Clapper said were “unwittingly” scooped up (lie) were saved in a searchable database, ripe for the unmasking.
Combine this with Brennan’s “modernization” program, which cut back on the CIA’s human intelligence capability and started depending more on relationships with foreign intelligence services such as Britain’s MI-6, and it’s easy to see how such outsourcing offered them more flexibility to obtain intelligence on Americans that our own spies weren’t supposed to be gathering. They could distance themselves from the actual spying and dirt-digging, just as Hillary did with her law firm and Fusion GPS.
Crowley notes the variety of foreign sources and contacts involved in gathering the so-called “intelligence” that was used against Trump: the imaginative Russian “dossier” put together by British former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele; the Kremlin-linked sources used by Steele; former MI-6 chief Richard Dearlove, who has a close association with “informant” (spy) Stefan Halper (who is a U.S. citizen but teaches at Cambridge in Great Britain).
In addition, there’s Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat who reportedly also has links to British intelligence (and also to Hillary); he’s the source for the tale of George Papadopoulos’ drunking bragging about Russia having Hillary Clinton emails. And where did that allegedly happen? London.
it’s easy to see that with this kind of international spider-web, the CIA can put itself in the domestic intelligence-gathering (spying) business when it comes to American citizens it wants to surveil (spy on). With Trump in the Oval Office, the whole contrivance is threatened with exposure, and we’ve probably just scratched the surface. You can bet that’s why they’re going insane trying to bring him down before we can find out what they’ve been up to.
We now know why President Trump canceled the June 12 denuclearization summit with North Korea. It’s because behind the scenes, Kim Jong Un started pulling bad faith power plays and showing disrepect. A White House delegation arrived in Singapore to work out the summit details, and the North Koreans never showed up. Trump’s people also weren’t allowed to attend the alleged destruction of Kim’s nuclear test site. Reporters were, but they didn’t obtain the forensic evidence the White House team demanded to insure it was real. When Kim started attacking Vice President Pence and again threatening a nuclear confrontation, that was the last straw, and Trump told him (in nicer terms) to go pound sand.
Trump’s letter was a masterful combination of “good cop/bad cop” from a single cop, as he thanked and praised Kim on the one hand for destroying his test site and releasing three American captives, while using the other hand to show Kim a fist and remind him that he is vastly outgunned and will be very sorry if he crosses America.
That same deliberately mixed message of “I really love your country, be a shame if anything happened to it” was also conveyed by Trump’s in-person comments, as he made it clear that he hoped North Korea would come around because it would be so good for Kim and his people, while incidentally mentioning a couple of times the size of the US military budget, which was about 24 times North Korea’s entire GDP in 2015, the latest year for which we have figures for North Korea. (Our military budget has gone up since then; I’d guess their GDP hasn’t.)
Liberal pundits and celebrities had a field day mocking Trump, ridiculing the idea of him winning a Nobel Peace Prize, scoffing at his failure at the “art of the deal,” and generally showing an unseemly amount of glee that Kim might continue threatening the world with nukes, as long as it created bad PR for Trump. Bear in mind, these are the people who like to lament that “the adults are no longer in charge,” and by “adults,” they laughably mean themselves.
The ones who weren’t mocking were gnashing their teeth over what one self-appointed diplomacy expert called the “stupendous blunder” of Trump canceling that summit. The general line of “thought” from this crowd was that Trump should’ve done what they would have: kowtowed to Kim’s blustery antics and given him whatever he wanted to get a deal signed. One even claimed we would never be able to force Kim to give up his nukes, but maybe we could get some concessions. You might recognize that leading-with-your-chin tactic from the Iran nuclear deal. It’s also the way Peter Griffin of “Family Guy” negotiates to buy a new suit: “Sir, write down any number on this piece of paper, and I will pay it.”
Gaze upon these hyperventilating “experts” and thank God that they are no longer in charge. If you’re going to exhibit that kind of arrogance and condescension, it’s good to have a record of competence to base it on; yet we all know that their own diplomatic genius is the reason North Korea was able to thumb its nose at us for 20 years while developing nukes and missiles that Trump now has to deal with.
Incidentally, it took all of twelve hours before North Korea realized they’d overplayed their hand, Trump had called their bluff, and they couldn’t roll him the way they’ve rolled all the smug, striped-pants Ivy Leaguers we’ve sent in the past. Their Vice Foreign Minister rushed out a statement reading, “We reiterate to the US that there is a willingness to sit down at any time, in any way, to solve the problem." I’ll bet there is…now.
Sounds as if a number of people made stupendous blunders over the past 48 hours, but Trump showing the backbone to walk away from a bad deal wasn’t one of them.
Very interesting article about why $62 worth of medical tests cost $740 when an insurance company is billed for them. Also, how Obamacare sought to reduce medical costs by making the process even more complicated.
Another way we could reduce medical costs (and vastly improve quality of life) is simply by putting as much emphasis on healthy living to prevent chronic diseases as we do on finding drugs to cure them. For instance, tune into “Huckabee” this weekend on TBN, when one of my guests will be a vascular surgeon and author whose new book about Alzheimer’s disease describes three lifestyle changes anyone can make that can greatly reduce your risk of contracting this devastating disease.
Prayers today for the victims of two violent attacks. In Mississauga, Canada, near Toronto, two unidentified men are believed to have set off a bomb in an Indian restaurant. Fifteen people are hospitalized, three with critical injuries. The bombers fled, and police are searching for them. At this writing, no motive is yet known.
Meanwhile, last night in north Oklahoma City, a young male entered a restaurant on Lake Hefner, took out a pistol and started firing. He struck a mother and daughter who were there celebrating a birthday. They were hospitalized, but fortunately are expected to survive. A third woman suffered minor injuries.
But then, something happened the shooter did not expect. When he tried to flee, he was confronted outside the restaurant by a passerby who was carrying his own pistol and who shot the gunman dead. The armed civilian who intervened is being called a hero by some. I’d call him a “good guy with a gun,” but we know from the anti-gun lobby that those don’t exist: criminals and killers are never stopped by a “good guy with a gun”…except for all the times when they are.
In many cases, simply displaying a gun is enough to scare away someone of ill intent and prevent a crime. By some estimates, this happens about 2.5 million times a year. But since most of those incidents aren’t reported to police, critics refute that claim. They insist on focusing only on the number of crimes prevented by an armed citizen that are actually reported and recorded by the FBI. By that standard, it happens only about 67,740 times a year.
If that doesn’t seem impressive to you, then I’m betting you aren’t one of the 67,740 Americans per year who would’ve been victimized if you hadn’t been armed.