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Friday, June 30, 2017

Self absorbed media believes that Crazy Mika now a martyr...

I watched a little cable news coverage of yesterday's big news events... you know, the travel ban going into place, the passage of Kate's law, and such. Apparently I didn't realize that the big story was the Donald Trump tweet about Mika Brzezinski and how this changes the narrative about cable news.

Yes, apparently Trump didn't understand that making fun of a face lift is insensitive to women everywhere, because women understand the need for face lifts and see any supposed attacks on the procedure as sexist. The very young and pretty woman host on one of those panels explained all of this in great detail, telling everyone that when the time came, she was going to have as many face lifts as necessary to continue to look young. She explained that she was just like women every where.

Women everywhere, huh?  The reality is that a little under 1.5 million women have the cosmetic surgery commonly referred to as a face lift. The average cost of one of these procedures is into the five figure range (about $11,000). What this means is that as a general rule that less than one in a hundred women will have a face lift in any given year, and quite obviously this only includes those who can afford to spend several grand on a cosmetic procedure.

How many of your conservative blue collar Trump voters "really" feel bad for Mika Brzenzinski because Trump made fun of her fact lift procedure? How many of them now see the medium profile television personality as a martyr representing all of those poor, downtrodden, vulnerable face lifted women in the world? How many of them believe that they will be getting as many face lifts as needed to keep looking young?

Once again, I think the media living in their own little cocoon (where getting as many face lifts as necessary is the way of life) is not exactly "relating" to the average American women out there. I believe most people tend to think of face lifts as being for the rich and famous and a sign of vanity and self indulgence.

But I could be wrong...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Funny thing about the Lynch Comey Clinton investigation fiasco...

Didn't every pretty much "assume" that Lynch was in the bag for Clinton, and that the DOJ would do everything they could to avoid any prosecution of Clinton? Does it really come as a surprise that Lynch would have micromanaged Comey on that investigation, even down to how it was talked about?

At least that is the way most of the people "I" know thought about the situation.

The only difference between then and now, is the concept that doing so would actually have been illegal. I don't think anyone really saw it that way prior. You could vote her out (which we did)... but accuse her of criminal actions because she made partisan decisions in her job? I don't know.. the idea that you could accuse an Attorney general of a crime based on the way they handled a politically polarizing case wasn't really something anyone talked about.

But in today's environment of criminalizing political disagreements... anything is possible.

Newspapers lie, retract, and embarrass themselves...
Democrat's confidence in them grows!

The most recent Gallup poll regarding confidence in the major institutions came out this week. Other than a complete reversal of who trusted the Presidency, and a large uptick in trust of the USSC from Republicans, the movement was fairly nondescript.

But what I found very interesting was huge increase from Democrats in terms of their trust in newspapers. Funny, considering Newspapers have never gotten less right and been more wrong. Funny considering Newspapers have never been less objective and more partisan.

Only goes to show that Democrats don't really care how accurate their news is, they only really care if the news tells them what they want to hear. Fake news about Donald Trump and Russia is better than no news about Donald Trump and Russia.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CBO projections in a nutshell...

So the CBO did their analysis and decided that you repealed Obamacare and simply did not replace it, that 22 million people would no longer have insurance.

So the CBO did their analysis on the recent House healthcare Plan, that would repeal much of Obamacare, but spend $375 billion over the next ten years on credits and other help for those people to garner insurance.

The CBO suggested that this plan would lead to 23 million people no longer having insurance.


The CBO hard at work!!! 

So to put this in perspective... the same organization that "just" over predicted Obama care projections by about 50%... has decided that 37.5 billion dollars a year (designed to help purchase insurance) would actually decrease the amount of people insured by approximately 1 million people.

Go figure...

Gorsuch

One of the most important discoveries about Neil Gorsuch is that it would appear that he is not (in any manner shape of form) a stealth liberal, as some have accused many of the GOP nominees to the Supreme Court of being.


As it stands, he seems squarely rooted in the far right (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch). There doesn't (at this point) appear to be much Roberts in him, much less any Kennedy.  As a matter of conservative judicial principals, Trump would appear to have gotten this one right.

I still believe that ultimately Bush did a good job with Roberts and Alito. Obviously, Roberts is more the wildcard than Alito (who is unabashedly conservative)... but both stick pretty well to the conservative ideology of justice.

But one has to be impressed so far with Gorsuch. His behavior should set conservative minds at ease, as it pertains to the many many judicial appointments Trump is making to the Federal Courts, along with any potential USSC pick (this year or next).

So far, the only complaints have been coming from the left.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Let's get back to Russia...

It's been widely reported that the CEO of CNN has been pushing the Russian narrative for "ratings".
“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield is seen saying. “And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia.”
Bonifield also suggested that the "slant" in their coverage is due to the liberal nature of their demographic viewership.
“I think there a lot of like liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized,” the CNN producer is seen saying in the video. “And I think if we would have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we apply to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. I think they would have felt like we were attacking him. And I’m not saying all of our viewers are super liberals, I think there’s just a lot of them.” 
He adds that: “Trump is good for business right now.”
Bottom line here folks... CNN is admitting to a liberal slant, to appease their liberal viewers, and admitting to using their attacks on Donald Trump to push ratings. More to the point, CNN is admitting that such decisions are business decisions and have nothing to do with the integrity of the news. In fact, the concept of the news having any integrity at all is actually being mocked by this particular CNN producer.
“It’s a business,” Bonifield says in the video. “People are like the media has an ethical … But, all the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business. Especially cable news. Cable news isn’t the New York Times, and it’s not even like NBC News. I mean NBC News still gets 20 million viewers a night. Cable news is getting a million. So, they got to do what they got to do to make their money.”
While this may be embarrassing for CNN... it's actually most embarrassing for anyone who is watching CNN and taking what they say seriously.

NY Times Editorial board...

By October, the ban will have expired and the review should be complete. And by then Mr. Trump might conceivably have developed a factual basis for a policy that continues to bar people from certain countries, which would trigger a whole new round of litigation.
Sounds to me that if there was a factual basis for a constitutionally sound executive order... that such litigation would be unnecessary? So the question I have to ask is "why" would it trigger a whole new round of litigation in that case?

Would it be, simply because of which person is actually the President?  

Here is the reality folks...

ACA is creating a world of medical haves and medical have-nots... and the longer it goes on, the worse this situation becomes. The only question I have is given that the implicit goals of ACA are the very the reasons why this phenomenon is happening... was this somehow the plan or did the Democrats simply not think this thing through.

Let's recap:

  • Democrats have always favored a government run single payer. Medicaid provides such an option of such a government run insurance.
  • The ACA does everything in it's power to eliminate low cost health insurance by putting mandatory requirements on what health insurance must cover. Even the lowest level bronze plan can be out of range for a low income earner.
  • The Medicaid expansion is clearly designed to fill that gap, creating an explicit manner to move people off private insurance and unto the government run Medicaid. 

So far so good? Would anyone disagree that the ultimate goal here would be to move as many low income people as possible off private insurance and into Medicaid?

So why is this a problem? Simple... because depending on which medical survey you read, somewhere between a third and half of doctors are no longer taking Medicaid patients and a large chunk of other doctors are no longer taking "new" Medicaid patients. The reasons are simple. To keep costs low, Medicaid generally underpays significantly what private insurance pays, and requires doctors and hospitals to write off a significant portion of the bill. In other words, they make less money (significantly less money) treating a Medicaid patient. Now most doctors have been willing to take on a certain amount of Medicaid patients, but quite obviously there becomes a limit.

So just because you add more people to the Medicaid rolls, doesn't necessarily mean that there will be enough doctors to treat them. We are already seeing a doctor shortage with Medicaid participants, and the doctors that do see them are obviously not always the top of the line. You may end up at teaching hospitals, working with interns, first year residents, and others who have not otherwise established a client base. Worse yet, is that many times it is hard to find a high level specialist, if you end up needing higher level health services.

Meanwhile, for those who can afford private health insurance, they can see pretty much any doctor that is in their network. No doctor will turn away a patient because they have private health insurance. Not only do they understand that they will be paid (most of what they bill) through insurance, they know they can bill the patient for what is left over and generally receive payment.

Now the kicker in all of this is that this damages the Medicaid program for those who it was originally designed to help. Those who had expensive long term medical needs who did not have the means to pay for it. Now they suffer with the doctor shortages and lack of quality care, because Democrats decided to expand Medicaid into a form of single payer for the poor.

I tend to believe that things like this are done with the best of intentions. Like many other things that had to do with the ACA law, it doesn't appear that it was well thought out.

Monday, June 26, 2017

High Court reinstates Trump travel ban !!!

... will hear arguments


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration mostly enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it.
The action Monday is a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.
The court did leave one category of foreigners protected, those "with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," the court said in an unsigned opinion. The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.
Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts. The ban would apply to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The Trump administration said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

This is big news for the Trump Administration. Not only did the court agree to hear the case, but they reinstated the travel ban while they take up the review. According to the concurring opinion of Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch - the Government is likely to win on review:

The Government has satisfied the standard for issuing a stay pending certiorari. We have, of course, decided to grant certiorari. See ante, at 8–9. And I agree with the Court’s implicit conclusion that the Government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits—that is, that the judgments below will be reversed. The Government has also established that failure to stay the injunctions will cause irreparable harm by interfering with its “compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.” Ante, at 13. Finally, weighing the Government’s interest in preserving national security against the hardships caused to respondents by temporary denials of entry into the country, the balance of the equities favors the Government.

More to the point, by the time October comes around, the ban itself will have ended. So in essence, the President garners a short term win on the ban itself. The longer term arguments will be heard at a later day.

Bona Fide Relationship: 

There seems to be some confusion on the term "bona fide relationship" which was the suggested exception to the ban. I heard one argument that "liberal justices" will just rule that everyone has some sort of "bona fide relationship" and effectively wash the ban. But there does seem to be a specific legal term regarding the expression, where bona fide relationship is akin to a provable "engagement" to a U.S. citizen, having immediate family in the United States, or having some form of job or student status. Not sure how broad this meaning could be taken, but it seems unlikely that you can prove bona fide relationship because you have buddy who currently resides in the United States. It will take more than than.

Update:

At this point there appears to be a mixture of opinions on both sides. In other words, conservatives are not 100% satisfied (although some are pretty damned close) and some liberals are hanging onto the "bona fide relationship" clause as a means to argue a partial win.

The one thing pointed out is that there was no dissent offered by anyone other than the one signed by Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch that did not believe the reversal went far enough. That suggests (although it technically doesn't proves) that the Justices were pretty much in agreement to reinstate the ban in the form that they did. (Some are even calling it a unanimous decision). Perhaps it was the sort of compromise necessary to get everyone on board?

But what else would they talk about?

A Harvard University poll has found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the FBI’s Russia investigations are “hurting the country” and a majority believe it is time for Congress and the establishment media to “move on to other issues.”
According to the Harvard-Harris poll, which The Hill obtained, 64% of “voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country” while another 56% “said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.”
In addition, the poll found that that 73% said “they’re concerned that the Russia probes have caused Congress to lose focus on the issues important to them. That figure encompasses 81 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats.”
What's most interesting about this poll is the overlap.  Approximately ten percent of the country believe that the investigations are hurting the country, causing Congress to lose focus, but they still believe that the focus should remain on Russia?  I would like to get inside the heads of one of these people and figure out where this logic comes from exactly.  My guess is that they figure (probably incorrectly) that this is good politics.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

CNN upset that the President is empowering military to make military decisions?

President Donald Trump has overseen a steady transfer of power from the White House to the Pentagon, handing off several warfighting authorities that previously rested in his hands -- and those of past presidents of both parties -- to the Pentagon and the commanders overseeing the US' military campaigns.
The moves are intended to empower the military at a tactical level, bolstering the US' intensifying fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups to praise from several current and former military officials. But those efforts have also raised concerns about whether Trump expects to face the same level of accountability for military decisions he has kicked down to the Pentagon and have drawn attention to the inherent risks of downsizing the White House's role in overseeing the US' escalating military campaign against ISIS and al-Qaeda and its offshoots.
Going forward, the White House will have a diminished role in sounding off on military decisions that could have geopolitical implications as well as political ramifications back home in the US. Trump will be one step removed from more of the military's airstrikes in Yemen and Somalia, decisions that could lead to more civilian casualties and local uproar in countries where the US is not formally deployed. Military commanders have stressed there has been no change to their tolerance for civilian casualties.
So rather than have a former real estate mogul or former community organizer making decisions about troop levels and military tactics, we have four star generals making such decisions... and this somehow bothers CNN?

What appears to be the case, if you read between the lines, is that having the experts in these fields making decisions creates less of an opportunity for the press to question the President and attack him for military actions... which of course has been a long term staple for the liberal media with Republican Presidents.

The other explanation is that CNN is actually arguing that we would be better off placing more trust in the military decisions of President Trump than the military decisions of four star Generals and other military experts. Does that sound plausible to anyone?

CNN detracts and apologizes for unfounded story about Trump associate...

On Thursday evening, CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank published a potentially explosive report involving an investigation of a Russian investment fund with potential ties to several associates of President Donald Trump.
But by Friday night, the story was removed from CNN’s website and all links were scrubbed from the network’s social media accounts.
“That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted,” CNN said in an editors note posted in place of the story. “Links to the story have been disabled.”


I guess when the real leaks start drying up, then you have to go with fake leaks to keep the momentum up. The reality is that it's going to be very hard for the liberal MSM to continue to come up with blockbuster reports as time goes on, especially in regards to their favorite pass time of connecting Trump to Russia.

We are only five months into the Trump Presidency and these people have to be exhausted and maybe starting to realize that landing the knock out blow isn't going to be as easy as they thought. When you unload everything you have in the first few rounds, and your opponent is still standing and fighting back, it must become discouraging.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome...

So how can you tell if someone is suffering from Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome?


Simple...

When you publish a post regarding the FBI conclusions on the recent shooting of Republican Congress members,  the people suffering will demand that somehow this post provides proof of your irrational support for Donald Trump and that there must be something wrong with you.

When you publish a post regarding a recent election result. the people suffering will demand that somehow this post provides proof of your irrational support for Donald Trump and that there must be something wrong with you.

When you publish a post about the FBI investigation, the people suffering will demand that somehow this post provides proof of your irrational support for Donald Trump and that there must be something wrong with you.

In fact, no matter what the topic of conversation is, those suffering cannot help themselves from doing everything in their power to change the subject to be about Donald Trump and then personally insult you for what they demand is your unwarranted and irrational support of Trump.

Oh, and whether or not you actually support Donald Trump is irrelevant. If you don't hate him as much as they do, it means you must have an unwarranted and irrational support for him and this is something that they need to continue to point out regardless of the conversation. It is literally impossible to engage in any other topic, it's all Trump all the time.

Why?

Because they cannot help themselves... they suffer from TDS. The proof is there for everyone to see.

FBI - no credibility?

So this is what the FBI found out about James Hodgkinson (the Steve Scalise shooter):

  • legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”
  • modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,
  • rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,
  • was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,
  • had mapped out a trip to the DC area,
  • and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office.
  • took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up, three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,
  • lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,
  • routinely raged against Republicans in online forums,
  • had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,
  • asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,
  • ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting,

And they still conclude that they could not come up with any motive for the attacks. Just a down on his luck guy, who just randomly happened upon a baseball field, and spontaneously shot up the place because he had anger control problems that had absolutely nothing to do with his politics, and certainly had nothing to do with who was on the field itself.  This from the same crackpot organization that has investigated Russian collusion with the Trump campaign for nearly a year, without uncovering any evidence of anything. 

Regardless of what Political Party you affiliate with, you have to see the negative effects of having a major investigative arm of the Government appear to be blatantly politically partisan. I believe anyone associated with this report should be fired on the spot.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Democrats wring hands...

The major consensus within the Democratic Party is that something has got to change, but they are just not exactly sure what it is that has to change.
“We have to figure out how we are going to speak to people’s economic anxiety. We’ve failed at doing that.”
“Democrats will not win back power merely by serving as an alternative to Trump and Republicans.”
We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent not a smaller one. Focus on the future.
Part of the larger problem for Democrats is that the message that the lion's share of the Party believes is the "correct message" isn't a message that is resonating with voters outside of the core liberal constituencies.

It's difficult to go into the areas where Democrats have to win to take back the house (purple and red districts) and talk about abortion rights, global warming, amnesty, tax increases, while attacking police, churches, and telling everyone that Trump supporters are deplorable bigots.

So what you get is someone like Ossoff who tries to talk like a Republican, but has the burden of being represented by the ultra-liberal coastal Hollywood and San Francisco elitists. While he can talk about lowering taxes, fighting terrorism, and other Republican-lite issues, the problem is that everyone knows he is going to caucus with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the liberals in Congress. If you want someone who is serious about those sorts of issues, then you vote for someone who is part of the Party that represents those issues.
"Close is only good in horse shoes. A loss is a loss...We can't just dismiss it. We need to review it together."
“We’ve been hyper-confused for the past five years. Some of the time we’re talking about economic growth, some of the time we’re talking about economic fairness.”
The reality here is that the Democrats are waking up to the fact that they are the minority Party right now, and for good reason. They have lost seats at every level, and put up a Presidential candidate in 2016 who couldn't defeat Donald Trump. This didn't happen in a vacuum. This wasn't a one election fluke. This has been slowly building, while being obscured by the mere existence of the Obama administration sitting at the top, making liberals feel like everything was fine.

It wasn't fine and it's not fine. It won't be fine  as long as the Party continues to play identity politics, shame politics, division politics, and remain the Party of hate. They cannot continue to try to "force" their ideas unto others and they cannot protest, riot, or sue their way into electoral success.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Three reasons why I don't believe Mueller will ever officially investigate "obstruction" against Trump...

Let's start with the semantics here.

Some media reports are claiming that the Special Counsel investigation has moved into whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction over statements he made to James Comey regarding General Flynn. We can safely assume that such reports are tied to General Flynn and not the overall investigation, as the FBI Directory, the Director of National Intelligence, and the NSA director have all testified under oath that there was never any pressure from Trump to stop the probe into Russian interference. In fact, Comey testified that Trump encouraged him to find out if any of his associates were tied to any Russian interference. So that only leaves the Flynn situation as a possible area of investigation.

However, Trumps attorneys stated that he is "not" under investigation over possible obstruction charges, or anything else for that matter.

So how can you reconcile the two? Simple. Whatever it is that the media has heard from their unnamed sources obviously does not include any target letters, warrants, subpoenas, or anything else that would "officially" put Trump under investigation. I believe it is doubtful that it would ever come to that for three specific reasons.

First... what exactly is there to investigate? The facts of what happened don't appear to be very much in dispute. The only disputes comes from whether or not there is constitutional grounds to say a President can obstruct justice by making suggestions to a subordinate, as well as the larger questions as to what "motivation" the President might have had at the time he made the request. Short of President keeping some incriminating notes with ulterior motives spelled out, or fantasizing that he might confess under questioning to some corrupt motive, I don't know what you are going to get from officially targeting the President.

In other words, if you want to figure out if there was a motive for the President to end the investigation into General Flynn, then you will find that motive by continuing your investigation into General Flynn. As has been pointed out by many people, there is a requirement to prove a corrupt motive for obstruction before you can really prove obstruction. That won't be found specifically by going after the President, but by figuring out what (if anything) about the Flynn investigation that the President would not want uncovered.

Secondly... opening up an official investigation of obstruction by the President would put Mueller into dangerous territory in terms of conflict of interest. There are already questions from the right in regards to the team that Mueller is setting up.  But if he were to specifically open up an investigation into "obstruction" then his friendship with Comey comes into play, as well as his own interview with Trump for the possible replacement of Comey. As it stands, if Trump provided Mueller with any information as to why he fired Comey and what he was looking for in terms of a replacement, then Mueller could effectively be a witness in any obstruction case that involves the firing of James Comey.

I simply do not believe that Mueller would put himself into a position where he would be questioned over this, and possibly provide Rosenstein with justification to remove him as the Special Counsel. It isn't enough for Mueller to demand he can remain neutral, but rather all it would take for Mueller to be asked to recuse himself (or step away) would be "the appearance" that he could not be neutral. When investigating obstruction charges that might boil down to who you believe, I would think that having a friendship with one of the parties qualifies as providing that "appearance". Ultimately whether that appearance exists could be the call of Rosenstein (or whoever is in the chain of command), if Mueller himself refuses to make it.

Lastly... there is a longstanding legal standing that Presidents cannot be indicted while in office. The constitutional means to prosecute a President for high crimes and misdemeanors is impeachment proceedings from the House and subsequent removal by a two thirds vote in the Senate. This doesn't mean that special counsel would not be allowed to investigate and report to Congress on it's findings, but we all know that impeachment has become more of a political than a legal process. More to the point, obstruction in this case seems more like a philosophical constitutional question, as well as ultimately a judgement call. With as many lawyers there are in Congress, I doubt Mueller's opinion would sway many of them, making the rate of return for this sort of investigation pretty low.

This low rate of return has to be weighed against the probability that such a side investigation could have overall negative political consequences to the broader investigation taking place, up to and including recusal for Mueller himself . I could be wrong, but I don't see the motivation.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Now the fun begins...

The post-mortum is already beginning.

What did Ossoff do wrong? What could the national Democratic Party have done differently? Should they made it "more" about Trump? Did they have the best candidate? How much did all of the out-state support matter? Was there some sort of backlash to all of that?  Where is the Democratic "momentum" that liberals want to believe is out there?

I heard a pundit on CNN actually say the one thing I have been thinking... the Democrats don't have a real message. They want to make everything about their "resistance" to Trump. Seems to me that this is really little more than a lazy strategy spurred by late stages of TDS.  It's obviously that those who live in the bubble of liberalism simply don't understand that while Trump may not be incredibly popular right now, most people (like me) don't see him as a monster who needs to be stopped at any cost.
_______

If I can explain it in the simplest of terms -  the fact that Donald Trump has struggled to gain traction as President doesn't change my core beliefs about politics. It doesn't make me want to vote for someone I don't agree with, just because I am not always happy with how Trump is handling himself.

More to the point, Trump has been President for less than five months. He's done some things that make me believe he could be consequentially a good President for the overall conservative cause. The over the top "resistance" hasn't convinced me of anything other than to view the "resistance" as over the top.

I believe that most Republicans in Georgia 6 (and across the heartland of the nation) see things primarily the same way I see them. The fact that coastal/urban liberals don't get that is understandable, and probably the reason why the Democrats probably won't win back the House in 2018.

_______

Perhaps the liberals out there can tell us where their line would be drawn on this situation. How unhappy would they have to be with a particular Democratic administration where it would come to them voting for Republicans across the board as a matter of mutiny? Is there a conceivable situation where they would vote for someone they do not fundamentally agree with on issues like abortion,  taxes, minority rights, immigration, gun control, etc... just to send a message?

South Carolina 5 called for Republican Norman
Georgia 6 still too close to call

Handel ☑



8:59 PM CST - Some people are starting to call the race for Handel....  NYT computer now shows a range between 4.7% and 0.9%.  Not even sure you can call this a moral victory?

8:55 PM CST - Ossoff just picked up a bunch of votes (mail in ballots), and his chances went down. Even the boys at 538 admit that it wasn't good enough. Handel was under 10,000 for a bit, but now is back up by 11,000. Over 220,000 votes have been counted.

8:45 PM CST - Handel's lead has expanded to just under 14,000 and the NY Times has moved their computer projection to 2.7% - with a range from a 5% to a 0.1% Handel victory. It's not over till it's over... but the fat lady might be warming up.

8:35 PM CST - Current Totals show Handel leading by just over 12,000 and 53% of the vote. About 195,000 votes totaled so far (including in-person early votes). That would seem to be about 75% of what is expected to be counted.

8:30 PM CST - Currently the NY Times computer is projecting a 1.5% win for Handel - but that number has been jumping up and down all night. Nate Silver and gang are still hedging, but if you read between the lines, they are starting to concede that Handel is in better position than Ossoff.

8:25 PM CST - Called the race in South Carolina. Not much drama, but it will end up being much closer than most thought it would. Very very low turnout, likely because everyone stayed home to keep up with Georgia 6. Democrats will certainly refer to this another "moral victory".

Misinterpreting the "twenty point swing"

Many pundits on the left have been pointing out that Tom Price won this seat by twenty three points back in November, and now we have a neck and neck race for his replacement. They have argued repeatedly that this swing is in large part because of Donald Trump's lack of appeal.

I think, however, it misses the larger point... especially when you bring the rest of the information into play.

Yes, Tom Price (a popular incumbent) won by a staggering amount, but Donald Trump only defeated Hillary Clinton by one point. While the left loves to suggest this is somehow a weakness for Trump (did they already forget that he won the Presidency)... there is an alternative conclusion that could be reached.

Perhaps, what we see here is the significant advantage a well known incumbent has someone new trying to step in and win a purple district seat. Perhaps the twenty three points was because Tom Price was popular and because Tom Price had all the advantages of incumbency?

The problem with this logic (for many) is that it would actually play "against" the concept that 2018 is a possible wave election for the Democrats. Many pundits would like to believe that there really has been some sort of big huge swing in favor of the Democrats, and that races the GOP have won comfortably will suddenly become competitive.

While that theory is possible, it's also very possible that if Tom Price was never asked to join the Trump administration, that he would be looking at another twenty point victory next November? Of course, that would suggest that many of the well established GOP incumbents that the Democrats need to pick off to get to 218 would also be tough to beat. I don't think many of these pundits want to believe that.

Liberal media writes about the self destructive Donald Trump

So pretty much every member of the liberal media believes that the Trump meltdown is "just around the corner". They believe in their heart of hearts that it's only a matter of time until he "self-destructs". Many believe that the "only" available outcome of all of this is that Trump will be removed from office.

Take this example:
However, never underestimate Trump’s capacity for self-destruction. I don’t have a crystal ball. But given all of the items in play, I think the odds are that sometime between now and the end of 2017, a delegation of senior Republicans will pay a call on Trump and suggest that he either resign or face a formal removal process.
Or the more blatant:
There is also the fact that Trump is plainly insane. We can argue about the diagnosis—serious people have proposed everything from dementia to neurosyphilis—but this is clearly not a man in his right mind. Trump will go sooner or later—either his obstruction of justice, corruption, and plain treason will become so flagrant that some of your Republican colleagues will begin breaking ranks.
The main point that seems to be forgotten here is that Donald Trump has only been president for about six months. He is quite literally only one eighth of the way through his first term as President. There isn't enough history here to make any "judgement" regarding any sort of "pattern of behavior" when it comes to President Trump. He simply hasn't been around long enough to establish that.

So they must see Trump's inevitable self destruction from his previous life examples. Like when he self destructed when he came up against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton political machine in the general election? Like when he self destructed when he went up against probably the most stacked field ever assembled in a GOP Presidential primary? Or how he self destructed as star and producer of one the most successful and longest running reality television shows? Or perhaps how he self destructed his way to being worth 1.4 billions dollars?

I hate to break this to the liberal media, but there is actually no pattern of Trump self destruction other than what has been concocted in your heads. Perhaps there will come a day when Trump finally gives in the excessive, non-stop, pounding by everyone from the Democrats, to the deep state, to the media. But until that day comes, I would fully expect Donald Trump to behave as Donald Trump always has in real life, not how the left portrays him to be.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Last minute movement towards Handel?

WSB-TV/Landmark - Tie
 - Previous - Ossoff +2
   (Handel gains 2)
Trafalgar Group - Handel +2
- Previous - Ossoff +3
  (Handel gains 5)
FOX 5/Opinion Savvy - Ossoff +1
- Previous - Ossoff +2
  (Handel gains 1)
WXIA-SUSA - Tie
- Previous - Ossoff +7
  (Handel gains 7)

Not enough to make me switch my projection. Still think Ossoff if favored. Just too many early votes in, and it feels like too much energy for Ossloff. But I think I might be more inclined to see this as a real nail biter, rather than a more comfortable win for Ossoff.

Either way, I am sure these most recent polls have to be making the Democrats fairly nervous.

Ossoff will probably win, but does it matter?

All of the apparent signs point to the Democrat Jon Ossoff defeating Republican Karen Handel in tomorrow's special election in Georgia 6th district.
  • Polling shows a narrow lead for Ossoff - although they have tightened over the past ten days or so.
  • Polling shows that early votes are being cast heavily in favor of Ossoff.
  • They are projecting at least forty thousand more votes than the first special election. High voter turnout generally helps Democrats. 
My gut tells me that Ossoff may end up winning in the three to five percent range. Based on how far the Democrats have to move the needle to realistically have a chance to retake the house in 2018, a number around that range is probably necessary. Anything less is probably a problem for  them.

That being said, there are a myriad of different ways to view this race, and I am sure the post-election spin will be dizzying. 

The thing that strikes me about this race, and the historical reason that special elections are rarely a good indicator of the next election results, is the uniqueness of what is happening in Georgia. While most special elections garner extra attention, this one has been record setting, with money and voluneers pouring in from all over the country. Moreover, the current news cycle could not be better for Ossoff or worse for Handel. Lastly, it seems rather clear that as of June 2017 that Democrats are simply more motivated (hate does that to you) than the Republicans are. Losing tends to motivate more than winning does. 

So how does any of this factor into the 2018 midterms? It probably doesn't.

Short of another devastating loss by the Democrats or a devastatingly large defeat for the Republicans, it's unlikely (despite the claims by some pundits) that the results here will drastically change the strategy moving forward.  After all, a Democrat win will allow them to say that they picked up a seat, while the GOP will still point to the fact that they won elsewhere when some suggested they could lose. 

More to the point, the tangible meaning is even less significant. There will not be hundreds of volunteers from all around the country and tens of millions of dollars pouring into Georgia 6 next November. It will go back to being a normal swing district with local volunteers and a much smaller pool of money, and there will likely be a reasonable chance of this seat switching hands regardless of who wins. 

Open Mic


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Attorney for Trump: President not under investigation...

So the first question would be, how would the Trump attorney know what the FBI is and is not investigating? Isn't that done in the semi-private catacombs of the deep state, where the only people in the know are the reporters with unnamed sources?

Jay Sekulow - Trump not under investigation

Well, the attorney seems to be suggesting that Donald Trump has not been sent any sort of target letter, or any other form of legal notification. A target letter is sent out (by federal investigators) when an investigation becomes serious enough that it would require investigators to issue any summons, subpoenas, search warrants, etc.

Is it possible that someone in the Mueller team is doing some cursory research on the matter? Of course it's possible.  But in order to move forward with anything that required them to call in witnesses, or ask for documentation related, they would send a target letter. In theory, that letter would likely come prior to any subpoenas or warrants, but they could come together.

More to the point, much of what they know is probably the same thing we know. So it's not so much a matter of "investigating" anything, but rather a matter of deciding if there are facts there that can truly justify looking at it criminally. I would offer that the lion's share of objective (non-media) legal scholars are steadfast that such a case would be difficult, if not impossible to bring.

What we can generally believe to be factual is (that as of today) nobody from the Trump legal team has been notified, summoned, subpoenaed, or been provided with any warrant or other legal requests in relation to any investigation of any sort that is specific to Donald Trump.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

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Mistrial


Friday, June 16, 2017

Behind the scenes...

Happened to be walking by the Court House as the Yanez verdict was being announced. While this may not be as big as the Cosby verdict, it was a big deal here in Minnesota. He was found not-guilty as cops generally are in these situations.

To refresh your memory,  Jeronimo Yanez is a St Paul police officer who shot Philando Castile in the front seat of his car, as Castile had supposedly reached for his pistol. Castile had a permit to carry a firearm.  What made this case unique was that his girlfriend used her cell phone to create a video of him bleeding to death. That video went viral. You probably remember it.

So here was the series of events. There was literally more press people than anyone else. The spokesperson came out to speak, but was stopped by a couple of people who apparently wanted her to wait.

They then gathered from the crowd a group of people to stand behind her, obviously mostly friends and family, but it also appeared that some others were whisked into the background for effect. By some others, I mean those who were gathered around who happened to be a particular race.

Then you have the camera panning in, as a means to make it appear that there is a large crowd surrounding the spokesperson.

I was able to find this by going "back" on the "live feed" from the Star and Tribune. But these still shots do a decent job in reflecting what I witnessed.

Now this is no way should suggest that I mean to diminish what the family of Castile is going through. I have no idea if the verdict was just or wrong. I just thought it was odd to watch how the scene was manipulated to make it look like there was some large public outrage going on... when in fact most people were like me.  Random people walking by stopping to ask someone with a camera what was going on.

A separation of theory, opinion, and reality...

So this morning I read this piece written for "Slate.com"
What you don’t know can hurt you very badly, and there is a great deal that Republicans do not know about Donald Trump. From shady business dealings to questionable tax schemes to potential Russian collusion, the president is dogged by scandals whose depth and significance remain unclear....
In fairness, we still know little about what potential misconduct investigators are scrutinizing. But we know nothing they find is liable to be good news for Trump. The Post revealed that, in addition to exploring obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team is “looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.” The Times elaborated that Mueller’s investigation “was looking at money laundering” among Trump’s inner circle in the form of a “financial payoff” from Russian officials routed “through offshore banking centers.”
Let's be perfectly clear about one thing. So far, the FBI, the Senate, The House, and Special counsel have been collectively investigating Donald Trump and his associates for nearly a year. The only thing we know almost for a near certainty is that nothing has been uncovered so far that actually rises to real scandalous, much less real criminal behavior.

Oh, there is a lot of speculation. There is a lot of innuendo. There is a lot of perfectly legal activity that has been reported as if it was scandal because it's not normal. But I believe it would be quite fair to say that the President has not been so much "dogged by scandal" as he has been dogged by "allegations of scandal"... none of which at this point have been proven true.

Separate it out:  

I would offer that we have three potential areas where the media is looking for some sort of "scandal".
  • Activities that would be considered illegal. 
  • Activities that would be considered unethical but not illegal. 
  • Activities that are considered politically unusual or outside of normal political protocol. 
With Donald Trump, I think it's fair to say that there are theories of the first, accusations of the second, and plenty of examples of the third.

With the interactions between the President and James Comey, for instance, we have a situation that illustrates this splendidly. Comey complained (apparently to a lot of people) that Trump was not following normal protocol in terms of communication, supervision, direction, etc... What's being reported or alleged by innuendo is that because these actions were outside of normal protocol, that it would follow that they must be unethical, and quite possibly even illegal.

Election campaign:

The larger problem is that one can make a fairly strong argument that Donald Trump was elected largely on the concept that he was not one to follow normal political protocol and behave like a normal politician. Certainly nobody wants a President who breaks the law, or acts in a fashion that would be considered unethical. But for those who voted for Donald Trump, they did want a President who was willing to bypass the typical rules of a Government official. They wanted someone who spoke off the cuff, was willing to ruffle feathers, and was not afraid to wake the sleeping dog that others would chose to let lie.

The fact that this President would fail to see eye to eye with someone like James Comey (who is a stickler for protocol, established his own set of rules, and saw his department as something that it probably wasn't) is not surprising. But it's also not unethical, and also not illegal.

I expect that this will not cease anytime soon. The political insiders, those with partisan interests, and the dishonest liberal media will continue to find everything Trump does that is outside the norms to be unethical or even potentially illegal. After all, he is interfering with their "status quo".  Why shouldn't that be considered criminal?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reality

When Charles Murray was supposed to give a speech at Middlebury College, dozens of student rioters marched, threw bricks at cars, literally chased Murray and others associated with the speech, and ultimately assaulted a faculty member to the point of hospitalization.

Berkeley riots provides mindset

The students in question were given a letter of condemnation to be placed in their school file, which the school administrators agreed to remove if they were not involved in any other incidences.

There was a time when harassment, destruction of property, and assault were criminal matters. In 2017 those actions are deemed to be protected free speech by many on the left.  They are even seen as acts of valor by many.

You cannot pretend that there is no correlation between a systematic applauding of these sorts of actions across the country (in the name of the "resistance") and the escalation of said violence in the name of politics. What constitutes taking this sort of resistance "too far" should not even be a question that has multiple opinions. Common decency in following the laws of society should be the line we all draw (regardless of political affiliation). It shouldn't take a mass shooting.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Can't beat em... shoot em...

Congressman Steve Scalise, Four Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field

This is the new norm in 2017 politics... unless we start prosecuting those cowards who wander around in black suits and ski masks, using violence in the name of politics, we can expect more of this.

The quiet shift of narrative that the left hopes nobody pays attention to...

Let's start with the obvious...

  • There is zero evidence of criminal collusion between the Trump team and the Russians. 
  • Trump himself is not even considered a person of interest in such a probe. 
  • In spite of nearly a year of investigation, in spite of two congressional investigation, and in spite of special counsel overseeing the probe... there remains two chances of finding any criminal collusion: minute and none.

As this becomes increasingly obvious... the Democrats and their cronies in the media are attempting to slowly but surely "shift" the narrative from collusion to obstruction. While I am sure the mindless drones on the left will fall for such an obvious ploy, and the powers that control will keep them distracted from reality... there remains a long uphill battle to move this from narrative to substance.

The question that is now being asked is when is enough, enough? At what point does the left admit that there is no "there there" and decide to move on to how we move the country forward, solve the problems that need to be solved, and work to make people's lives better?

The answer from the conspiracy theorists on the left seems to be that we will move on when we find something else to distract us. Right now, that distraction seems to be that Donald Trump somehow committed a crime by firing James Comey, or that he committed a crime for telling James Comey that General Flynn is a good guy and he hopes he isn't prosecuted, or that he committed a crime because he believed that the general public had a right to know that the President himself was not under investigation.

In the eyes of the left... the new threshold for criminal behavior appears to be anything Donald Trump does that they don't like. The problem, of course, is that the law is not decided by bloggers, media hacks, polling numbers, or a count of how many articles you get during a google search. In the case of the President, the law is even more complicated than that. The end game is to prove a criminal act so blatant and obscene that you can get a considerable amount of Republican Senators to vote to convict him.

Bottom line: the left is playing an obvious game of move the goal post. Now that they know that the President himself is not even a target in the collusion investigation (much less guilty of any such collusion), they find themselves in need of a new narrative. They are hoping to move to this new narrative as seamlessly as possible, without admitting that they were wrong about everything they have claimed since November?

Who would fall for this?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jeff Sessions Testimony

UPDATE: End of hearing - I thought Sessions was a good witness for the Administration. I believe his opening statement cut much of the liberal red meat off at the knees. Where there was a difference between what Comey stated and what Sessions said, I am predisposed to believe Sessions, since the DOJ has offered actual proof that Comey was either lying (or mistaken) about a couple of these things. If Comey was lying/mistaken on some of it... it's hard to demand he was the one telling the truth about the rest of the differences.

The Democrats (and liberal media) will claim that Sessions' lack of answers regarding communications between Trump and himself is somehow proof of something. But this was neither unexpected or unprecedented.

UPDATE: 3:44 CST - How many times are the Democrats going to ask the same question regarding Sessions not answering questions that might be considered privileged information? One might think that they have more to ask than one question over and over and over? Apparently not.

UPDATE: 2:54 CST - This is not going well for the Democrats. Feinstein was obviously frazzled, and whoever it was who just yelled at Sessions looked like a fool. I have never really been a "big" Jeff Sessions fan, but he has been a very solid witness.

Short of Jeff Sessions admitting he leaked information to the press for self-serving reasons, he should be seen as more objective than James Comey.

_____________

Unless there is an extremely odd change of events, the Sessions testimony today will likely be even a bigger "nothing burger" and the Comey testimony was. In fact, based on what people close to Sessions are saying is that he wanted a public hearing so he could dispute some of what James Comey has stated.

Other than the Democrats asking the "high drama" questions about Jeff Sessions (when he was a Senator) speaking with the Russian Ambassador (which is what Senators and Ambassadors do)... there doesn't seem to be much earth shattering that hold much potential damage for Sessions. There does, however, seem to be a lot of chance that his testimony might undercut things that James Comey stated last week, or at the very least muck it up.

I originally projected that the Comey testimony might do more to help the Administration than harm it. While there is definitely a partisan split on how that testimony went, there is no question that there are many who came out that testimony with that very opinion.

I am projecting something similar today.

Perspective...

Lets say the following actually took place during the FBI investigation of the Clinton Email.
  • The investigation never found any classified materials on the server in question. Every email was either personal or non-classified business related.
  • The investigation never found any classified materials within any personal emails of any of the Clinton aides that were part of the probe.
  • In spite of no evidence of any classified information on any of the servers, the investigation went on for nearly a year, in the middle of the election season.
  • In spite of the investigation moving off from Hillary Clinton several months previously, James Comey never stated this publicly, and allowed the illusion that she was still under investigation. 
  • There were fairly regular leaks from FBI people working on the case that were politically damaging to the Clinton campaign. 
  • Some leaks involved classified information and would constitute a felony criminal action. James Comey made no attempts to stop or investigate the illegal politically damaging leaks.
  • James Comey himself admitted leaking information to the press himself that was politically damaging to Secretary Clinton.  He also admitted that he specifically leaked information to try to force a special prosecutor to be appointed. 
How do you suppose the left would see James Comey?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Obamacare coverage falls...

Democrats love to listen to people who keep being wrong! 
The number of Americans insured under Obamacare fell by nearly 2 million people between Jan. 31 and mid-March, according to new CMS data that found about 10.3 million still were covered through health law exchanges.
The decline reflects customers failing to pay premiums after they selected plans during the most recent open enrollment period. Roughly 12.2 million people had selected private plans through the federal HealthCare.gov exchanges and the state-run marketplaces that operate in about a dozen states as of the Jan. 31 deadline to sign up.
CMS said high costs and lack of affordability were the most common factors individuals cited when asked why they didn't keep their coverage. A separate report on enrollment trends attributed the drop-off to other factors, including securing a job with employer-sponsored insurance.
So now only 10.3 millions are covered by ACA. This is actually a decline from the 11.1 that were enrolled a year ago. The CBO still projects this number to be well over 20 million sometime in the near future (that extra 10 million is part of the 23 million they say will lose coverage if the wonderous ACA is repealed). Of course they have been projecting that since the beginning. As it stands, the number is decreasing (not increasing).

Democrats insist we should continue to listen to the CBO on Obamacare, in spite of continuously being wrong. Not only wrong, but horribly wrong. Given,Democrats spend most of their time reading stories from the NYT, WaPo, and Politico that are mostly "dead wrong"...  I guess that is sort of par for the course.

Been a while...

It seems to me that we are overdue for one of those juicy stories from the "unnamed source" about some potentially fatal scandal coming out of the Trump White House. Or at least one of those less than important stories from the "unnamed source" about something that the media can attempt to turn into something relevant.


If we don't see something fairly soon... we may have assume that either Trump actually did fire the correct leakers from his "staff", the recent stories about FISA warrants are scaring people off, or the media is a little gun shy after being exposed for being dead wrong about several of their "big scoops".

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Why wouldn't Comey state that Trump was not under investigation?

So if you toss aside all of the unsubstantiated nonsense on all sides, discount the stated reasons stated for the firing of James Comey, discount the conspiracy theories suggested for the firing of James Comey, split the difference... it boils down to one thing everyone seems to agree with.

One of the main reasons (if the the main reason) for the firing was the fact that James Comey refused to state publicly that Donald Trump was not under investigation.

I have read arguments from both sides on this one, taken into consideration the stated reason Comey gave for his decision, and tried to judge this as objectively as I can.. and it seems to always come back to one simple thing.

James Comey was weighing his ability to be seen as independent and neutral against the Presidents ability to be seen as not under investigation. Ultimately James Comey put his own personal interests ahead of the interests of the President.

The question becomes... was this the "right" thing to do?  The answer depends on how you really view the entire concept of the executive branch and the constitutional chain of command.

In the private sector, no department head or vice president would ever be allowed to put their own personal interests or own personal reputations ahead of the interests and reputations of those they report to. This would be especially true if that decision ultimately made it more difficult for their bosses to do their job, which by proxy harmed the overall companies ability to be successful.

This would be Donald Trumps life long understanding of how things should work. He is the leader of the not only his administration, but every department that works for him. He would expect (as a business leader) that everyone that works for him would put the interests of the overall company ahead of any personal interest. I promise you nobody would ever question a CEO for firing a VP or D.H. for putting personal reputation ahead of company reputation.

That being said, James Comey quite obviously (right or wrong) holds a view point that he runs what "should be" an independent organization.  He obviously only saw Donald Trump as a pseudo-boss rather than someone that he ultimately had to take direction from. He saw Trump's request to be a suggestion, and one he obviously felt he had the right to overrule with his own judgement.

It was pointed out by another blogger that James Comey probably didn't want to make such a declaration because of how the whole Hillary Clinton fiasco played out. Having been directed by the AG how to talk about the investigation, eventually stepping up and clearing her, then having to reverse course and say she was back under investigation, and then having to clear her once again, took a massive toll on his reputation. Whether he didn't want to be bullied again into talking about the investigation, or whether (as he suggested) he didn't want to make the declaration that Trump was not under investigation because he may have to publicly state differently if things changed... it was clear that the decision was largely impacted by what had just happened with the Clinton Email probe.

So who is right and who is wrong? I guess that is a question that people will answer (likely based on partisan interests). But I guess at the end of the day, perhaps Comey's mistake was even telling anyone that there was a Russian/Trump probe under way. Once he did, he opened the can of worms, and left himself open to criticism for leaving unanswered questions sitting out there that ultimately did harm the President's reputation and ability to do his job.

My two cents on this: if you want to tell the truth... then tell the whole truth. If you can't tell the whole truth, then maybe you say nothing at all.

 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mad Scramble in the U.K. for control...

Not so fast...

So one of the major talking points on the right was James Comey's testimony regarding the Hillary Clinton Email investigation and his obvious dissatisfaction with the way that Loretta Lynch handled that case.  Some are even suggesting that special counsel or some sort of congressional inquiry should be appointed so the whole matter could be investigated.

Under oath, Comey suggested that Lynn was not objective, that she should have recused herself, and that she probably should have appointed special counsel. He suggested that she may have misused her authority by demanding he not refer to the Clinton probe as an "investigation", but rather as a "matter".

Now, there has been much criticism of how Lynn handled the investigation and many questions as to whether she was being loyal to Justice or loyal to Clinton and her Party. I have made those criticisms myself. But to a large degree those criticisms are, like it or not, largely political. Loretta Lynch had the authority (for the most part) to make the judgement calls she made, even if they are seen by many as blatantly political in nature.

I believe there is a real danger in trying to turn poor decisions (or even blatantly political decisions) into something criminal.  At what point should we judge someone exercising their authority as a criminal act? Where would you draw that line? How obvious are the slippery slope problems here? Our government has become increasingly partisan. I would not want to see our criminal justice become equally partisan, with possible criminal charges against political appointees being determined by the outcome of an election.

To me, this is a matter of consistency as well. I will make the same argument in defense of Loretta Lynch as I do in defense of Donald Trump. You may not like Trump's decision to provide his personal opinion about General Flynn's legal situation to the FBI director. But it's well within his authority to do so. Not only is the FBI director a subordinate to the President, but specifically the President always has the right to end legal jeopardy for any individual with a Presidential pardon... just as the Attorney General has that authority by offering criminal immunity.

Both of those examples offer the opportunity for people to question it as "obstructing justice". A pardon or immunity might be given to someone we would personally like to see behind bars. But by nature, those decisions have to be made by those who have the authority. Turning the second guessing of those decisions into criminal probes would be extremely harmful to our system. We need to be mindful of the larger picture, and not let our current emotional state drive our logic.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Recap: Did not live up to the expectations..

I watched two live blog/tweet sites today. One liberal and one conservative. As expected the two reached different conclusions for the most part...

 but there was agreement on two major things....

The first was that nothing really new came out that would further implement the President or any of his associates. The second was that John McCain is losing his f-n mind.

The liberal site (Politico) offered at the end a couple of opinions: One was that there is a lot to "digest" along with the suggestion that the testimony was "damning" for the main reason of substantiating some of what already has been said. The suggestion was that the right cannot refer to it as unsubstantiated anymore. While another opinion was that the testimony probably allowed Trump supporters to wash it all away as nothing new.

The conservative site (Breitbart) had an entirely different take.  They offered it as a big nothing burger as it pertained to harming the President. Moreover, they are suggesting that the Comey testimony ultimately caused more problems for himself (admitted to leaking material that would most certainly be described as executive privilege) and for Lynch (who he suggested did pressure him in regards to the Clinton email investigation).

My personal take on this is that it offered one distinct clarification. That Comey felt pressured over the specific General Flynn investigation, but could not point to any attempts to obstruct the larger investigation into Russians, Trump campaign, etc...

This is probably the most important legal point that was made. I think it's awful hard (as pointed out in previous posts) to suggest that the President can be charged with obstruction for offering that a specific person should not be prosecuted. Past examples of other Presidents exercising this discretion, along with the existence of the Presidential Pardon offers both historical and constitutional proof of the authority of the President to make these sorts of determinations.

Comey Testimony...

I am simply not sure that it helps Comey to come out and attack the President as "telling lies" about him. While this may be the sort of preaching to the choir that will excite the left... it will be very easy for Trump supporters to dismiss what Comey is saying as a Personal Grudge.

_______

Biggest exchange of the day: 
Comey admits that there was no obstruction in the Russian Probe.



_______

Donald Trumps twitter feed... zzzzzzzzz

_______

Most obvious tweet:


_______

You know it's turned into a snoozer when you are tweeting something like this:


_______

Comey admits that he orchestrated a leak? 
What was the classification of the material he had leaked?
Guess we know now, why Comey never found the need to investigate leaking.



_______

Comey says anonymous sources many timea "dead wrong"


_______

COMEY FINALLY ADMITS HE FELT OBSTRUCTED!!!
Oh wait... wrong investigation?




Thought of the day...

President Trump would be well within his constitutional rights to provide General Flynn and everyone else under investigation a Presidential Pardon... which would, in effect, shut down any criminal probe.

The President has the power to stop any investigation.
It's called a Pardon
Would anyone try to demand that such a move would constitute Obstruction of Justice?

Perhaps that would have been the better move with Flynn. Rather than make his case to the FBI director that he felt Flynn was a good guy who hadn't done anything wrong, and had been through enough, he could have given that speech to the American public while announcing a Presidential Pardon. It might have been unusual and perhaps not very politically popular... but it would be hard to consider it illegal.

It could be argued that the President was not only in his rights to ask Comey to lay off Flynn, but that he was actually showing restraint in wielding his Presidential power by not just offering a Pardon.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bottom Line:

Besides the fact that it is now confirmed that Donald Trump is not under any investigation...

  • The Director of National Intelligence testified today that there was "no interference or push back" from the President or anyone else in regards to the Russian probe.
  • The National Security Agency Director testified today that he was never directed or pressured by the President or anyone else to do anything "illegal, immoral, unethical, or inappropriate" regarding the Russian probe or anything else.
  • The former FBI director declared in a statement released today that he did not believe that the President attempted to interfere or put an end to the "broader investigation of Russian or possible links to his campaign."

Looks like the left has come up with three strikes as it pertains to their clever narrative that the President tried to obstruct the Russian investigation. I can't imagine that deep down most of the Trump-haters are not at least mildly disappointed by these events. If they are not disappointed, it's likely because they are in denial (or are still more willing to believe anonymous sources than sworn testimony).

But hey, they still have the idea that the President wanted his FBI director to be "loyal" and that he hoped he could "let it go" specifically in regards to General Flynn. I am sure many a liberal will argue that this is somehow Nixonian and should demand immediate articles of impeachment.  But I think this argument falls well short of what it will take to convince Republicans to follow suit.

Comey Testimony Update:

Comey's prepared remarks have been released. What appears to be important is that Comey will suggest:

  • That Trump's statement about "letting it go" was specific to General Flynn and specific to whatever investigation was associated with Flynn.
  • That he did not feel that Trump was not asking or pressuring him in regards to the overall investigation into Russian collusion.
  • That Trump had said that if there were associates of his that did anything wrong, that it would be good to get that out.
  • That Comey had (in fact) told Trump (more than once) that he was not under personal investigation and that Trump had asked him if there was a way to "get that out" because it was creating "a cloud" that made it difficult for him to govern. The so called "cloud" also included the dossier regarding hotel rooms, hookers, etc... and Trump wanted it made clear that these allegations were false.  

So again... none of this is new. The only real allegation is that he felt Trump was pressuring him to drop the investigation on Mike Flynn. While one could make a fairly lame case that this is obstruction... I don't think it's the obstruction (of the Russian investigation in general) that has been played in the media.

Moreover, the "Cloud" was not the investigation (as has been assumed) but rather specific allegations about him, including the now infamous dossier. This seems to put a dent in the whole idea that he fired Comey to stop the investigation. 

If anything, his statement about believing it would be "good do know" if his associates were doing anything wrong, also flies in the face that he was attempting to shut down the larger investigation as a whole.

Comey also spends a lot of time (more than seems natural) justifying his decision "not" to talk to the AG about the conversation regard General Flynn. Comey seems to be suggesting that there wouldn't be enough evidence (based on a non-monitored one on one conversation) to bring it up.  I think that misses the larger point that he is obligated to tell the AG if he feels there is obstruction, not just if he felt he could prove obstruction. A close evaluation of this explanation makes it appears very tortured, and manufactured after the fact. This will simply add to the "credibility" issue for Comey. 

Bottom Line: I am sure that the goalposts will now move... and the concept that he felt bad for General Flynn and hoped that he wasn't facing criminal prosecution will be the "new" horrible crime of the century that is right up there with Watergate... but I doubt that argument can be made with a straight face. 


Coats and Rogers refute alt-left rumors...

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers told a Senate panel Wednesday that they would not answer questions about whether President Trump asked them to downplay possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in last year's election, but they said they did not feel "pressured" to interfere or intervene in the Russia investigation.
"I have never felt pressured to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation," Coats testified in response to a question from Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.
"In the three-plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, unethical, immoral or inappropriate," Rogers said, adding that he has never felt "pressured" to do so.
Well there you... two of the most major players in the IC have now both stated for the record that they were never directed or pressured to interfere or intervene in the Russia investigation. One might think that this would be enough?
Warner said he came out of the hearing "with more questions than when I went in."
Of course... but probably not the questions he "should" be asking himself.  The more likely scenario here is that he did not get the answers he wanted to hear, and therefore wants to ask more questions.
"What we don't seem to have is the same commitment to find out whether the president of the United States tried to intervene with members of the Intelligence Community and asked them to back off or downplay (the Russia investigation)," Warner told the witnesses. "The president is not above the law."
Um, no.... what we don't seem to have is the same commitment to declare that the President of the United States has committed some form of obstruction, based entirely on speculation, rumor, conspiracy theories, and stories from the NYT, WaPo, and Politico that apparently have only a loose connection to the truth.

Moreover, whether or not the President behaved in a manner that would constitute "obstruction" is entirely a question that should be answered by Coats and Rogers. There are no circumstances (legal or otherwise) where a Senator is allowed to question the intentions of the President and the interpretation by heads of the intelligence community, in regards to interactions between the parties.

While I would have been against Trump trying to invoke executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying. I believe as it pertains to what the Senate panel wants to get out of Coats and Rogers... they answered the question that mattered. The specifics of ongoing communications between the President and top Intelligence members should not be made public because some Democratic Senator is disappointed with the answer he got.

Arguing (as Warner is appearing to do) that stories in the media should be taken at face value, while testimony from high ranking intelligence should be questioned... tells us "exactly" where the collective mindset of the Democratic Party actually is.