26 – Fake News

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We’re hearing a lot these days about “fake news.” I suppose it was inevitable. The demonization of George W. Bush that began in 2004 and lasted until 2008, then the fawning adulation of Barak Obama from 2008 to 2016, then the idolizing of Hillary Clinton during 2016, now the demonization of Donald Trump that began on November 9, 2016, has taken the American news media—print, audio, and video—farther from the truth each year. Now we’ve reached the point where nothing we see, hear, or read can be assumed to be factual until we verify it ourselves, from independent sources.

My research has shown that there are two forms of fake news. One is a story that’s pure fiction, made up by someone to suit their ideology. Those are usually so outlandish that only the most gullible ideologue would fall for it:

Trump Signs Executive Order to Put All Muslims into Concentration Camps. 

Yes, that story actually appeared on Facebook a few days after the inauguration.


The other form of fake news is much more insidious. It involves taking a kernel of truth and wrapping it in a lie.

(Parenthetical comment: For the past eighteen months, far-left ideologues have repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler—without giving any specifics, of course. You might be interested to learn that this method of twisting the facts to suit an ideology was developed by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, in the Nineteen Thirties. Goebbels often said that, “A lie repeated often enough will eventually be accepted as the truth.”)

It’s this second form of fake news that I want to talk about today.


Exhibit One: President Trump’s “ban on Muslims”

I freely admit I haven’t reviewed every word Mr. Trump said over the past eighteen months. The nice thing about computers and the Internet, though, is that you can search for keywords like “Islamic” and “Muslim.” By doing that, I found that he repeatedly did what Obama refused to do for eight years—he named our enemy in this “War on Terror.” At various times he referred to them as “Islamic terrorists,” “Islamic extremists,” “Muslim terrorists,” and “Muslim jihadists.”

He also talked about the fact that in the war-torn nations of the Middle East like Syria and Yemen, it’s impossible to vet people with any degree of confidence. Most of those nations don’t have things we have in the U.S., like birth records, photo IDs, and fingerprint records. Even if they once had them, they’ve probably been bombed out of existence. If they still exist, they’re probably located in an empty government office, the office employees having fled the ravages of war.

Where these two topics came together is that he promised that when he became President he would stop the flow of refugees from parts of the Middle East that were hotbeds of terrorism until—a very important word—those people could be properly vetted and we could be reasonably certain they weren’t coming here to give us another Fort Hood, San Bernardino, or Orlando.

And—this is also important—he promised he wouldn’t just leave those people twisting in the wind. While they were waiting to be vetted, he would arrange for refugee camps to be built in the Middle East, where they could have food and shelter and not wake up each morning to the possibility that this might be the day they die.

In summary, he said nothing about “banning Muslims.” He only talked about not letting people (whatever their religion) into the U.S. from hotbeds of terrorism until we were relatively certain they weren’t terrorists. The term he used was “extreme vetting,” and I think it’s appropriate.

After becoming President, he did what he had promised. He put a 120-day ban on bringing refugees into the U.S. (from any nation) for the purpose of establishing permanent residency.

He put a ninety-day ban on issuing visas for travel to the U.S. from seven Middle Eastern countries that are rife with terrorism and terrorist training camps.

Finally, he persuaded Saudi Arabia to pay to build a number of refugee camps in the Middle East. Since Saudi is 95% Sunni Muslim, they was glad to help. Obama had just never asked them.

In other words, President Trump did exactly what he promised to do during the campaign.

But the very day he signed that Executive Order, the liberal mainstream media began calling it a “ban on Muslims.” That lie has now been repeated so many times that some people have accepted it as the truth.

But it’s not. It’s still a lie.


One more thing I’ve got to add to this topic, because it illustrates how biased and unreliable the mainstream media has become.

During 2016, Obama authorized bringing another group of Middle Eastern refugees into the U.S. His authorization included an instruction that to as great an extent as possible, Christians were to be excluded from the refugee group. Only Muslims were to be admitted. As a result, of about twelve thousand refugees who came into the U.S. in 2016, only eighty Christians managed to slip in.

Where was the indignation in the media over Obama’s “ban on Christians?” You never heard about it, did you? In fact, I’d bet most of you didn’t know about it until just now. I didn’t find out about it until just a few days ago, when I was researching this entry. And yes, I verified it.


Exhibit two: President Trump wants to get us out of NATO

Let me begin by explaining in simple terms what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is. It’s 27 rabbits, squirrels, field mice, and other small animals who have formed an alliance with an 800-pound gorilla. This is a mutual-defense alliance—that is, it’s an agreement that says if another creature attacks any of the members, the other 27 members (including the 800-pound gorilla) will come to that member’s defense.

Realistically, the deterrent in this alliance is the gorilla. A predator like a bobcat or wolf wouldn’t hesitate to attack a rabbit even if he knew a squirrel would come to the rabbit’s aid. But if he knows he’s going to have to fight the gorilla he’s going to think twice about it.

The U.S. getting out of NATO would be like the gorilla resigning from the alliance. It would leave the other member nations essentially defenseless against predators like Russia and China.

President Trump doesn’t want to get us out of NATO, but he describes NATO as a “dysfunctional organization.” He’s right, for two reasons. The first has to do with how NATO is funded.

The original NATO Treaty, signed by twelve nations in 1949, called tor each member nation to make an annual contribution that was a small portion (two percent) of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That was agreed to be fair, since it didn’t saddle any nation with a cost that was out of proportion to its means.

Without going into a lot of boring detail, the summation is that for years now, only five of the 28 member nations—the U.S., Greece, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Estonia—have paid the minimum amount called for in the NATO Treaty.

So 23 nations pay less than the agreed-upon minimum. Who makes up the difference? Uncle Sugar, of course. The U.S., which is to say, the American taxpayer.

Another assumption of the original treaty was that during peacetime, each nation would pay for its own defense. It would bear the cost of a standing army. A navy and/or an air force if it so desired. Weapons systems, equipment, training and all the other costs associated with defending its borders.

But from the beginning, most of the member nations didn’t pay for their own defense. Pleading that they were too small and weak to stand against the threat of the Russian Bear, they begged the U.S. to protect them. We did, and we’re still doing it.

And by the way—to show their gratitude for the thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen we stationed on their soil to protect them, and the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars we paid for their defense, they charged us exorbitant lease fees for the land our army posts, naval bases, and air bases sat on. They’re still doing that, too.


The second reason NATO is dysfunctional, at least from the U.S. perspective, is that there have been seven military operations in the 68-year history of NATO. For each of those operations, each member nation was required by the original treaty to send troops. But every nation except the U.S., Britain, and Australia specified that their troops were to be used only in non-combat roles—supply clerks, cooks, that sort of thing.

In other words, if France, Germany, or Italy was attacked by Russia or some other predator, they expected other nations (like the U.S.) to bleed and die defending them—but they weren’t willing to bleed and die for the other member nations.


President Trump’s message is not that NATO needs to be disbanded, or that the U.S. needs to withdraw from it. The world today is far more dangerous than it was in 1949. Then, only the U.S. and Russia had nuclear weapons. Today there are nine nations with nukes, including one (North Korea) in which I believe the leader is certifiably insane.

It seems likely that Iran will have a nuclear weapon in the predictable future, which will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The end result could be that the nuclear “club” might grow to as many as twenty nations in the next decade or two.

Organizations like NATO are needed today more than ever—but they must be functional. They must be made up of member nations that are serious about carrying their share of the mutual-defense burden.

That was Candidate Trump’s message during the campaign, and it’s President Trump’s message today. The member nations of NATO—or any other mutual-defense organization the U.S. participates in—must be willing to pay their pro-rata share of the costs. They must be willing to pay for their own defense during peacetime. And they must be willing to carry out their obligation to other member nations without reservation, should the need arise.


Exhibit three: We’re a nation of immigrants—or are we?

Okay, this isn’t something that just popped up since the election. We’ve been hearing it since 2012, when Obama and the liberal Democrats started trying to give amnesty and “a path to citizenship” to somewhere between twelve and twenty million illegal aliens in the U.S. Obama also tried to open the southern border, essentially turning the U.S. and Mexico into a “North American Union” similar to the European Union, where citizens of either nation could come and go at will—not to mention drug traffickers, terrorists, and other criminals.

Anyone who opposed such a plan was called a xenophobe, which is a person who hates or fears foreigners and their culture. “After all,” the liberals said, “we’re a nation of immigrants. Only the Native Americans have any original claim to this land.”

Now that President Trump has vowed to close the southern border to illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, terrorists, criminals, and other undesirables we’re hearing the same silly litany from the liberals again. “We’re a nation of immigrants.” That statement is wrong on so many levels that I’m amazed even the most radical ideologue could repeat it, much less believe it.

The legal definition of an immigrant is, “A person who is born in one country but migrates to another country with the intent of establishing a permanent residence in the new country.”

Were you born in another country? Did you migrate to the U.S. to establish a permanent residence? I’d guess the answers are no, and no. There are currently an estimated 320 million people in the U.S. (not counting the illegal immigrants). How many of those 320 million people would you estimate that legal definition applies to? A million? Maybe two million? So what are the rest of us?

How about this: “A native or naturalized member of a nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection.” Sounds about right to me. That’s the legal definition of a citizen, and that’s what the vast majority of us are. Somewhere back down our lineage—maybe two generations ago, maybe ten or more—someone migrated to the U.S. from some foreign country. They were immigrants. Every generation since then have been citizens.


In summary…

As I said in the opening paragraph, it’s gotten to the point that we literally can’t trust anything we read, see, or hear from any “news” organization. In the time it took me to write this commentary there was at least one item a day, sometimes two, that turned out to be fake news. Each one was breathlessly reported by several liberal Websites and two or three TV news channels—and the reports weren’t corrected or withdrawn when it became known that they were fake news.

Here’s another legal definition for you to ponder: “False information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, or government.” That’s the definition of propaganda. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of our modern “news” organizations. They learned his lesson well.