Top US General: Southern Border Crisis is Existential Threat

Turns out leaving your southern border largely unprotected is a national security threat. I know, I’m shocked too. If only someone had been saying this for many, many, many years. But then that person would almost surely be a racist.

Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has asked Congress this year for more money, drones and ships for his mission – a request unlikely to be met. Since October, an influx of nearly 100,000 migrants has made the dangerous journey north from Latin America to the United States border. Most are children, and three-quarters of the unaccompanied minors have traveled thousands of miles from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in the hemisphere with the associated drug and [undocumented immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly told Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

In spring hearings before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Kelly said that budgets cuts are “severely degrading” the military’s ability to defend southern approaches to the U.S border. Last year, he said, his task force was unable to act on nearly 75 percent of illicit trafficking events. “I simply sit and watch it go by,” he said. But the potential threats are even greater. Kelly warned that neglect has created vulnerabilities that can be exploited by terrorist groups, describing a “crime-terror convergence” already seen in Lebanese Hezbollah’s involvement in the region.

Talk of Hezbollah exploiting weak border security has been around for years. Those who brought it up previously were alarmists. Those who warned of the open southern border being a national security threat were labeled nativists and compared to the Soviets building the Berlin Wall. And Democrats were hardly the sole offenders.

Now the massive problem is staring us in the face. Now top leaders and even pro-amnesty Democrats are recognizing we have a serious issue. And now the United States government will act out of panic because we waited so long to deal with an entirely predictable crisis. Hat tip to Hot Air for the story.

Depressing Quote of the Day

In the context of reforms underway in Ukraine post-revolution:

Yet each time this happened in the past, all they really did was change the players… not the game. They just ended up with a different set of criminals in charge.

This time around there seems to be serious effort to at least change the rules.

Many are talking about major revisions to the Constitution (leading one local journalist to ask– “Why don’t we use the American Constitution? It was written by really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and they’re not using it anymore…”)

Ouch.

Putin whines to America: I want better treatment

That’s nice. You know what I want? Ukraine to have Crimea back. We all want things we’ll never get.

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin called for an improvement in ties between Russia and the United States on Friday in an Independence Day message to Barack Obama, urging Washington to treat Moscow as an equal partner.

“The head of the Russian state expressed hope that … ties between the two countries will develop successfully on the basis of pragmatism and equality despite difficulties and disagreements,” the Kremlin said in a statement, outlining a telegram sent to Obama on the July 4 holiday.

“Vladimir Putin also highlighted that Russia and the United States, as countries carrying exceptional responsibility for safeguarding international stability and security, should cooperate not only in the interests of their own nations but also the whole world.”

Invading and annexing neighboring countries is in direct conflict with all of those stated goals.

Moscow thinks the Obama Administration is stupid, and sadly Moscow may be right. Don’t be surprised at all if the administration interprets this bullcrap as an authentic peace offering. We’re talking about the same people who were caught off-guard by Russia’s invasion of Crimea because, hey, Vladimir Putin promised he wouldn’t.

Russia wants, or rather demands, a respect that doesn’t come with destabilizing peaceful neighbors and then using the opportunity to steal regions. There isn’t much Washington can do to directly stop Moscow’s aggression, but we sure as hell shouldn’t reward it with “equality” and “respect” in our dealings.

The Dangerous Consequences of Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten”

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the “right to be forgotten” is a newly-recognized right in the European Union to have internet search results about you removed. Basically, you have the right to force the deletion of information about you from the internet.

It’s a concept that sounds great when we’re talking about children or other vulnerable members of society. But there are dangerous consequences to this infringement on the free flow of information. The new “right” is already being abused in entirely predictable ways.

BBC News economics editor Robert Peston reports that this has already started happening because apparently Google has removed his 2007 article about former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal from its European search results. The article in question detailed O’Neal’s disastrous tenure running the firm, which got sold to Bank of America after suffering massive losses from overexposure to subprime mortgage derivatives. There was absolutely nothing factually incorrect about the piece, which was a harbinger of even worse things to come in the 2008 financial crisis.

“There is an argument that in removing the blog, Google is confirming the fears of many in the industry that the ‘right to be forgotten’ will be abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest,” Peston writes.

One thing is clear: If the “right to be forgotten” is allowed to expand from private citizens to public figures such as politicians, businesspeople and celebrities, then it will be a massive loss for our ability to find important information. You can bet that Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner, among many others, are watching this case very closely.

Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner nothing. The big problem isn’t when it comes to widely-discredited figures whose names have become national punchlines. The problem comes when politicians, businessmen, and other public figures abuse the removal system to hide lesser-known transgressions.

It would be one thing for Google to have an appeal process to remove results in cases where exceptional circumstances make it the right thing to do. But the government forcing information sources to toss previously-public information down the memory hole is downright Orwellian. In fact, disappearing information and altering the historical record was literally Winston Smith’s job. Now Europe has made that very concept a “right”.

Teenage Cheerleader Executed in the Street in New Jersey

Horrid.

Cheyanne Bond wanted to be a nurse, but the money her family had saved for the 17-year-old’s college tuition is now being spent on her funeral.

The cheerleader, who graduated from high school just two weeks ago, was shot dead in Newark Sunday night, and police haven’t identified a suspect or a motive.

“They told her to get on her knees and they shot her in the head execution-style,” her uncle tells CBS New York. “Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Cheyanne was walking with her ex-boyfriend, who was also shot but survived.

She was the third person murdered in the city in less than 24 hours. Good thing the city and state have strict gun control, otherwise things could turn tragic.

Desperation: McDaniel Now Offering Cash Payments for Evidence of Voter Fraud

They’re looking for something, anything, to affirm their belief that the election was somehow stolen. Now they’ve reached the point where they’re offering cash payments for evidence of their conspiracy theories. Ugly.

A day saying in a fundraising email that incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran stole the election, McDaniel announced he is offering up to 15 bounties valued at $1,000 each. The bounties are being offered “for evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud on or leading up to the June 24, 2014, Republican primary runoff election in Mississippi,” according to a new webpage on the campaign’s site.

And they want you to finance it.

But the email isn’t just about the bounty, mind you. They are trying to raise money, this time $15 at a time.

“Senator Thad Cochran’s campaign allegedly paid $15 per vote to steal the June 24 Republican primary election,” the webpage reads.

The campaign says it is trying to establish 15 rewards valued at $1,000 each, and they are asking people to contribute $15 to help fund them. Neither the email nor the webpage says what will happen to the money if no rewards are paid out.

I’m guessing to help McDaniel feel better about the money his team spent on a losing campaign.

More: Ugh.

Only a fool would dispute that McDaniel is the clear choice of Republicans in [Mississippi],” Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin told Breitbart’s Matt Boyle. “He is, by all rights, the Republican nominee, regardless of what state law states.”

Yeah, that’s not how it works.

This is what happens when people live inside an ideological bubble for too long. They’ve convinced themselves that most everyone agrees with them, so any loss can only result from a mass criminal conspiracy.

Hillary Clinton Still Finding Ways to Embarrass Herself

This woman was Secretary of State and intends to run on her foreign policy expertise.

“It is so special to me, personally, and I think it is very special between our countries,” Clinton said. “There’s just a — not just a common language — but a common set of values that we can fall back on. It doesn’t matter in our country whether it’s a Republican or Democrat, or frankly in your country whether it’s a Conservative or a Tory. There is a level of trust and understanding. It doesn’t mean we always agree because of course we don’t.”

“Conservative or a Tory” is like saying Republican or member of the GOP. This is basic stuff.

Had Rick Perry or George W. Bush said the same, he’d never live it down. But the presumptive Democratic nominee, protected from media criticism, won’t hear a peep except in the recesses of the right-wing blogosphere.

Did Target Ban Guns In Stores?

There’s a story going around today that retail giant Target has banned customers from legally carrying guns in their stores. It’s getting attention thanks to both anti-gun activists claiming victory and pro-gun rights activists outraged by the news. But did Target really “ban” guns in its stores? No, not really.

Rather, Target — not wanting to take a firm stance — would prefer the issue to go away entirely.

As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.

We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.

This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.

Now, I don’t personally appreciate the premise that law-abiding adults carrying firearms is somehow at odds with a safe environment for families. Target did take a step towards accepting the premise of anti-gun arguments. But it’s not a ban. It’s a request that Target acknowledges isn’t legally-binding. For my part, I’ll continue to legally concealed carry when shopping with my family.

Cochran Campaign Slams Joel Osteen, For Some Reason

I can’t claim to be a huge Joel Osteen fan myself, but this seems like an unnecessary slam. Osteen’s appeal crosses political and racial boundaries. And those who respect him really respect him. Why bother with this?

A source on the Cochran campaign fired back in a conversation with Business Insider Wednesday, in which the source dismissed McDaniel as a “clinically diagnosable narcissist” and a scam artist.

The guy is basically Joel Osteen,” the source said of McDaniel in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “He’s such a phony, and he’s taking advantage of these people to stay in the spotlight. This is such a publicity stunt. He can’t stand the fact that he lost.”

Cringeworthy. It comes across as the stereotype of the elitist staffer who views the GOP base as a bunch of dumb, Bible-thumping hicks he mocks around his liberal friends. Via Steve Krakauer.

Tasty Capitalism: North Korea Wages War Against Choco Pies

choco-pie

Let’s face it: Kim Jong-un just wants all of Choco Pies for himself.

Some back story:

There’s a joint industrial complex between North and South Korea, where North Koreans — otherwise starving under communism — are employed by their capitalistic southern neighbors. At this complex, bosses have for years handed out chocolate and marshmallow treats called Choco Pies. The workers, who gladly take the treats home, have created a burgeoning black market in the North. In fact, reports say as many as 2.5 million are traded monthly.

But communism has a natural ideological opposition to all things fun, decent, and delicious. So authorities in North Korea have reportedly banned Choco Pies from the industrial complex. Instead, workers are supposed to get sausages and powdered coffee as treats. Because, you see, tasty capitalism is a threat to the hermit kingdom.

But North Korean officials soon were reported to be spreading anti-Choco Pie propaganda. One rumor: “South Korean authorities have added weird substances,” to the pies, the Daily NK reported. The Choco Pies were planted by the South to “shake our national defense,” according to another. “They are spying and scheming. If the products from the ‘neighborhood downstairs’ are enjoyed unconditionally, the ideology of the people could wither at any moment.”

The cultural bi-products of capitalism have always posed a threat to oppressive governments that keep their people starving and miserable. It used to be products like Coca-Cola and blue jeans. Now, in North Korea at least, it’s Choco Pies. Capitalism. Tasty, tasty capitalism.