Thursday, November 30, 2017

Since high income Americans generally pay the lion's share of taxes...

Why does everyone go into uproar status when tax cuts appear to help the high income Americans? 

The rhetoric is always the same: The tax cut plan doesn't benefit low income Americans. Therefore that plan is unfair and should be renegotiated. But considering the lowest 40-45 percent of American workers pay no federal income taxes to begin with, it makes sense that lower income Americans will not benefit from a federal income tax cut.

As of 2015:
  • Those making $200K or more paid approx 60% of all federal income tax. 
  • Those making $50K to $200K paid approx 35% of all federal income tax.
  • Those making $50K or less paid just over 5% of all federal income tax. 

The rhetoric that the rich don't pay their fair share, and that the burden always falls on the middle and lower classes has been and always will be debunked by the numbers. But those who want to play their games of rhetoric depend on the idea that most voters are too stupid to seek out the facts, or too stubborn in their false beliefs to believe them.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trump making our courts great again

 Greg Katsas confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 
The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Greg Katsas to the D.C. Court of Appeals, considered the most important court in the country for government regulation outside of the Supreme Court. 
The vote was 50-48, mostly along party lines. However, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted for Katsas' nomination, while Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana voted no. Kennedy had voted to advance the pick out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile... David Stras and Kyle Duncan are now scheduled for hearing for the Eighth Circuit and the Fifth Circuit court of appeals. Stras had had his nomination held up by Senator Franken's refusal to turn in his blue slip, while John Kennedy had withheld his blue slip on Kyle Duncan.

The fact that Chuck Grassley moved forward with these nominations is a good sign for those who want to see Trump's judicial nominations moved quickly through the process.

GDP revised up to 3.3% - Stocks soar and break records

Liberals still upset with the state of the country... 

Matt Lauer fired for sexual harassment complaints

Without knowing the details of the allegations, it is starting to seem to me that the pendulum might be swinging a little too far on this one.  While I think it's good to have much of this exposed, I wonder if perhaps some of this is going a bit too far in terms of repercussions?  NBC is saying they have only had one allegation against him.

Is one allegation really enough to fire someone? Is this a preemptive strike because of expectations of more to come? Is this a modern day Salem witch trial situation?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

North Korea ICBM launch

An unfazed President Donald Trump said Tuesday that an intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea 'is a situation that we will handle.' 'A missile was launched a little while ago from North Korea. I will only tell you that we will take care of it,' Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House a few hours after the missile streaked across Korean and Japanese skies at 745 miles per hour. 'We have General Mattis in the room with us,' he told reporters, 'and we've had a long discussion on it.'

Leandra English denied restraining order...

A temporary restraining order to halt President Trump's pick for acting director of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, has been denied by a judge. 

Apparently the Judge understands the difference between an absence and a vacancy.

A couple of interesting tidbits regarding the CFPB saga

The Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under fire by the Trump administration has been a Democratic Party donor bank, its bureaucrats writing checks to liberals at a rate of 593 to one Republican. Overall, CFPB employees have donated $114,859.61 to various Democrats and Democratic committees. Of the 594 donor entries who listed the agency as their employer, one went to Mitt Romney, the losing 2012 Republican presidential nominee. It was for $1,000.
The fight for control of the U.S. consumer watchdog agency intensified on Monday as Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), imposed a hiring freeze and halted any new regulations.

So basically a bunch of liberal Democrats doing the work of the Democratic Party are now under the direct control of a Republican Trump appointee, who's obvious goal is to simply cut them all off at the knees...

A famous person once said... Elections have consequences.

Another famous person once said... Drain the swamp.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The mess at CFPB

So apparently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has two people today who apparently are behaving as if they are in charge. Both Leandra English and Mick Mulvaney have been sending out memos to employees, claiming to be "acting director".

For a quick recap. The old director resigned, effective immediately and "appointed" the deputy director Leandra English as acting director. Meanwhile the President appointed Mick Mulvaney as acting directory.

The Justice Department believes that the President has the right to appoint the acting director based on laws that provide the President with the authority to appoint acting director in pretty much all agency vacancies under the executive branch. The CFPB General Counsel agrees with the Justice Department. This means pretty much all of the legal representation at this point are recognizing (and ordering employees to recognize) Mulvaney as the acting director.

Leandra English (in true liberal form) has gone to court asking for a restraining order preventing Mick Mulvaney from acting as acting director. The legal argument is that the law that created the CFPB allows the deputy director to act as director in the even of the absence or unavailability of the actual director.  They will find themselves up against the laws that allow the President to appoint acting directors in the case of actual "vacancies".  It would appear (logically) that this is not an absence or unavailability, but rather it's a vacancy. On those ground, the Justice Department and General Counsel are going to be correct.

All that being said, it's sort of an interesting bit of drama to work out.

Two new polls show Moore back up?

Two new polls, one by Atlantic Media and Research and the other by Sky Research show Roy Moore back up. Both polls show Moore up by seven points.  The AMR poll showed different demographic scenarios and determined that Moore was still up by three points under his "worst case scenario" of heavy minority and young voters.

These polls have been criticized by Huffington Post and others for being fairly obscure pollsters as well as "right leaning". Not sure how you can declare both to be true. If they really are that obscure then we have no historical means to determine their particular leaning. If we can declare them historically to be "right leaning" then they cannot really be that obscure. I would agree that neither is exactly Gallup, but they seem to be in line with other very recent polling showing Moore recovering from the allegations. The difference is that these polls they are showing Moore "opening up" a bigger lead. Until more polling comes out, we will not know if these are outliers or part of a trend.

You are starting to see more mainstream conservatives warming back to Moore with logic sort of like this:

  1. Apparently Moore has done nothing wrong in the last 40 years. If he had, we would have heard about it. And if he has been pure for 40 years, or close to that time, he will be the most upright man in Washington, D.C. It wasn’t much more than 40 years ago when Ted Kennedy drowned Mary Jo Kopechne, and it was just under 40 years ago when Bill Clinton allegedly raped Juanita Broaddrick. If those offenses can be forgiven, Roy Moore’s (weakly) alleged offenses should be forgiven, too–especially since, unlike Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton, he seems to have done nothing reprehensible in the decades that have gone by since. 
  2.  His opponent is a Democrat. ‘Nuff said–President Trump was right about this. The Democrats are doing everything they can to block the Republican agenda in the Senate, and giving them another seat would only empower the flakes like John McCain and Susan Collins who seek to mold every vote toward their own eccentric visions. Let’s not weaken the GOP in the Senate any further. The Republic hangs in the balance. 
With still over two weeks to go, I suspect that the allegations will lose influence over many conservative and/or Republican voters. Especially considering the feckless reaction from Democratic Leaders as it pertains to Al Franken and John Conyers and their allegations. Had the Democrats called for (and received) the immediate resignations from both, these allegations against Moore would be harder to ignore. As it stands, apparently allegations (and proven examples) of sexual abuse is NOT disqualifying from serving in Congress. That's good news for Moore.

So Prince Harry is now... oh who the fuck cares?

Let's make the British Royal Family Great Again! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Black Friday - Online sales up 18%

While in store sales appeared to be flat (or off by around 1%) Black Friday saw a huge increase in on-line sales. Just another one of those economic deals where people will give the President credit only because he sits in the oval office.

The economy has nothing to do with Trump?

U.S. retailers raked in a record $7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers, on Saturday.
Retail research firm ShopperTrak said store traffic fell less than 1 percent on Black Friday, bucking industry predictions of a sharper decline.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Franken blows Hillary theory to hell

Hillary suggested that Al Franken should be forgiven, because like her husband, he admitted wrongdoing and apologized.

But the only thing Franken has admitted to is what was caught on camera. The rest he has denied, and provided back handed apologies for what he appears to be suggesting are all misunderstandings.

After a decent first response, it has gone downhill for Franken supporters

I will be curious if Hillary changes her tune or continues to stand by her men.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Big news regarding Flynn... or not?

The N.Y. Times reported that sources have  revealed that Michael Flynn's attorneys are no longer sharing certain information with "Trump attorneys". The headline screams that Flynn is moving to cooperate.

I garnered the opinion of someone familiar with these sort of cooperating or shared defense situations and it was suggested this typically will happen when an investigation moves into areas where one or some of the clients are no longet involved. It could involve one person turning on the other, but it is not as common as the other reason.

The N.Y. Times article acknowledged this possibility when they suggested that Flynn could be negotiating a plea. Since the potential charges would involve actions that took place prior to Flynn's involvement with the Trump campaign they would not only have no reason to share, there would probably be privilege reasons not to.

Occam's razor. We already know that the rumored Flynn charges are unrelated to anything that involves Trump or collusion. Unless there are other potential charges that we do not know about, the privacy issues are best explained by what we do know.

Does this mean that Flynn couldn't potentially have information to provide? Of course not.  But nearly every charge to every potential dependant  comes with some attempt to come to a plea agreement. Very few actually are 'turning" on anyone. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What are you thankful for?

Two more women

Boobies and butts! Boobies and butts! Boobies and butts!! 

“My mother loves Al Franken. She listened to Air America [on which Franken had a radio show] every day,” the first woman said. ”I saw him and asked if we could take a photo together for my mother, and we stood next to each other ... and down his hand went.” HuffPost spoke to two sources close to the first woman who corroborated her account. One fellow choir member, Sarah, remembers not only being there for the groping incident but hearing another choir member say that Franken wouldn’t stop looking at her chest.
The second woman told HuffPost that Franken cupped her butt with his hand at a 2008 Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested the two visit the bathroom together. She spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear that the allegation could affect her position at work. “My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From Personal Experience... Part I

I have had two distinct situations in my life where I had to defend myself against fairly serious allegations. Fortunately, things (for the most part) went my way, but I can say from personal experience that the whole process can be ridiculously frustrating.

Part I:

The most recent came after my divorce a few years back. Within a week of our divorce becoming finalized, my ex-wife (who was still upset over the 50/50 divorce rules in Minnesota) filed first for an "order of protection" and subsequently for a "restraining order" against me.

The first "order of protection" petition was rejected as both an emergency order, and then by a judge overseeing a hearing. The judge basically told my ex that her complaint did not qualify for an order of protection (because it neither cited any previous, or any threat of future physical harm). When asked flat out if I had ever physically harmed her or threatened to do so, she admitted that I had not. But suggested that I was capable of doing so, and that the fact that she claimed to be afraid of me, should be enough to carry the day. Judge not only disagreed, but offered to my ex that rather than pursue legal action, that she should take me up on my suggestion that we go back to the counseling that we had been going through during the divorce, but that she had opted out of once it was complete. She told the judge (in his own court) that he was wrong, and stomped out and went back to refile again.

Her second attempt (a restraining order that citing stalking) was much more clever.
  • First, she cited several instances where she claimed she saw me following her in my car after she left work. She even included multiple dates where she had seen my car driving behind her, or in some cases just ahead of her. Creepy, huh?
  • The other major complaint she cited was also a good tale. She told a story about how she was meeting her mother at a Green Mill restaurant in the late afternoon. The restaurant not crowded (given the odd time), when suddenly I entered the restaurant, choose a table in the same area, and then sat in such a way where I could view her and her mother. I even walked up towards them at one time (but didn't engage them).  Talk about creepy! I was the classic stalker.
Funny thing is that both stories were entirely true.

Except for the information she omitted.

What she failed to mention was that we actually both worked at the same company, worked the same hours, and for years we carpooled. The fact that we would both leave the office at the same time, and might be driving on the same roads, was hardly unusual and certainly not stalking.

The rest of the story with the restaurant was that we both had traveled to a town about a 100 miles from the twin cities for a Hockey tournament that our youngest son was competing with. I had the boys that weekend, and the team was all staying in the same hotel. She and her gentlemen friend at the time had also chosen to stay at the same hotel and she had made plans for her mother to drop by (because her mother happened to live in that area). The restaurant in question was actually attached to the lobby of the hotel.

I entered with my boys to grab some food before an early evening game (as other families did) and we sat in the bar area (which was the only area open).  Since the boys wanted to interact with their grandmother (who they rarely saw)...  I chose a table where I could keep an eye on them while they interacted and so I could be able to gather them when the food came. (Me approaching and telling the boys that their food was there is apparently when I walked towards them but did not engage) .

Now the frustrating thing was that her petition for a restraining order (in spite of being dishonest) looked bad for me as written, and I was "served" with a temporary restraining order by a local sheriff at my place of business. The order also caused other problems, like  pick up and drop off issues with the boys (imagine a ten year old lugging his computer equipment down the street in winter in Minnesota to my waiting car, because I was not allowed within so many feet of her house).

Meanwhile, my ex was all over social media, telling everyone that I was finally exposed for the horrible person she suggested, that I wasn't to be trusted (especially around children), and that even a Judge agreed and she had a restraining order now to "prove it".  Within a few days, I had lost several Facebook friends, I was shunned by some mutual friends, certain people at work stopped talking to me, and even some people within our hockey community treated me differently.

The restraining order lasted for about 3 weeks, until the court date, when the Judge overturned the emergency order and ruled against her petition for a more permanent one. Not surprisingly, my ex did not share this information on social media.
  • The tangible legal effects of the temporary order were just that... temporary.
  • But the fallout from those events still effect me today, nearly five years later. 
So if there are times when I appear to be more skeptical of allegations, and less inclined to pass judgement until I hear both sides of the story... chalk it up to personal experience. Until you have personally lived with the fallout of being falsely accused and then treated by people as if those accusations are fact and forced to deal with the whole thing still hanging over you years later... don't judge me. 

Now some potential problems with the first Moore accuser...

Leigh Corfman was the first accuser.

Corfman came forward to say that Roy Moore took her to his house, undressed her to her underwear, stripped himself down to his underwear, and proceeded in touching her and trying to get her to touch him.

The situation alleged was that Corfman and Moore met outside the courtroom in Feb of 1979. Corfman's mother had a hearing in court, and Moore offered to watch Corfman while she was in court.  Corfman provided Moore with their home phone number that day, which he allegedly called multiple times to arrange meetings. According to Corfman, the first meeting took place "days later". Moore took her to his home, where he put his arm around her and kissed her. The second meeting (which involved the alleged molestation) took place shortly after that. She alleges that there was an intersection she described as "around the corner from her house" where Moore picked her up for these meetings. Moore allegedly continue to call Corfman, but Corfman then started to make excuses to not see him.

Corfman went on to state that she felt bad about the event, and that she felt like she did something wrong.  Eventually she claims this led to emotional problems, which led to her well documented behavior problems. She is basically blaming Roy Moore for childhood behavioral issues that led to a troubled adulthood as well.

But there appears to be three potential problems with the story.
  • First is the timeline. The court hearing in question was a custody hearing. It took place (according to records) on February 21st 1979. The result of the hearing was that Corfman's father would be given full custody. The change in custody was ordered to take place less than two weeks later (March 4th). Her father did not live in the same town. While this conceivably provides a timeline for everything to have taken place. Several phone calls, two meetings, follow up phone calls and excuses within the 10 day period... it certainly provides for some suspicion. 
  • Second would be the place of the meeting. The intersection described according to those knowledgeable with the town, was more than a mile from Corfman's place of residence. It also would involve passing over a major highway. It's not inconceivable that Corfman would not specifically remember the meeting place correctly, but why provide a detail (much like the phone in the room detail) that is factually incorrect?
  • Lastly, the reasoning behind the change in custody (according to court documents), was due to the fact that Corfman had been suffering from emotional problems that had led to behavior problems. It was believed that a new start in a new town and the input of the father would be helpful. Everyone (including the mother) agreed to the custody change for these reasons. Basically, Corfman is not only accusing Moore of sexual molestation, but also blaming him for the start of behavior problems that predated the event. 
Again, none of this specifically proves that key portions of the events did not take place as described by Corfman. It's still entirely plausible that Moore did in fact take her to his house, and do the things she alleges. But what the historical timeline does show is that there are several details that Corfman either remembers wrong or possibly is being dishonest about. The timeline suggests that her blaming Moore for her behavior problems is factually incorrect, and looks like she is pushing the victim card. Lastly, the fact that she moved to a different town just a few days after meeting Moore, seems like an important bit of information to just "leave out" of the story... especially considering that that move would be the main reason why contact with Moore would have been cut off. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Under Closer examination

According to those who have taken this CNN picture of Beverly Young's yearbook signature, blown it up and did some preliminary analysis. The analysis shows that the writing and (possibly) the ink appears to be different for the: "Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Old Hickory House"  portion of the signature. Take a look see?

If you look a little closer, it doesn't really seem like the first and last name are even in sync, the numbers after Christmas (1977) bear little resemblance to the numbers 12-22-77, and the does anyone really think the writing for the "beautiful girl" portion and 'old hickory house" portion look the same? Moreover, there is speculation that the two portions were written in different colored ink.

Five possible explanations:
  1. That Roy Moore did sign it, but only signed it "Roy".  Beverly Young then (back in 1977) added the Moore, the D.A. (believing wrongly that he was the D.A. at the time), the date, and then name of the restaurant, all for her own reference (in case she otherwise might have forgotten who "Roy" was). 
  2. That Roy Moore did sign it, but only signed it Roy. Beverly Young added the rest very recently, in order to bolster the claim that he did sign it. This might explain why the additional information was written to "appear" as part of the overall message.
  3. That Roy Moore signed it with two different pens, and the difference between the two pens somehow made his penmanship different. 
  4. That someone else signed her yearbook, who's name was Ray or Roy.  Beverly Young added the rest in order to make it look like it was Roy Moore.
  5. That the entire thing is a forgery. A blatantly bad forgery. 
Obviously, nothing can be determined conclusively without actual access to the Yearbook, which Beverly Young and Gloria Allred are basically refusing to turn over to any handwriting experts. It would now appear that their position on this one is motivated by self preservation. 

Meanwhile: A man who claims to have dated Beverly Young at the time, says he does not believe the story from Beverly Young.  In fact, he doesn't recall Young even working at the restaurant in question back in 1977. Not that this "proves" anything. It's just the second person who has come out to question Beverly Young's overall credibility. and specifically to question this story.

Another one bites the dust...

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel tendered his resignation Friday after a report alleged that he sexually harassed women and created a hostile work environment.

Weeee!!! Boooobies!!!

Glenn Thrush and Oliver Stone

Charlie Rose

Accused of sexually harassing eight women
Viewers of “CBS This Morning” often tune in to see the show’s signature “eye opener,” a first-moment montage that recaps the newsy events that took place overnight. They got one of a different sort Tuesday morning: Co-anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell told their audience in stark terms how much they were shaken by allegations of sexual harassment leveled at the third member of their team, Charlie Rose. CBS News said it has suspended Rose from his duties. PBS and Bloomberg, which have long distributed the anchor’s “Charlie Rose” program, have also suspended their association with him.

John Conyers

Michigan Rep. John Conyers settled a complaint in 2015 from a woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances. The website reported Monday that Conyers' office paid the woman over $27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement.

Monday, November 20, 2017

And so it begins...

2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

ST. PAUL, Minn. —
A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching. Lindsay Menz tells CNN that Franken placed his hand on her bottom as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, two years into Franken's first term. The 33-year-old Menz told CNN that the interaction made her feel "gross." 
She says she immediately told her husband that Franken had "grabbed" her bottom. Franken told CNN he didn't remember taking the photo with Menz, but that he feels badly that she felt disrespected. 
Los Angeles broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Franken last week of forcibly kissing her during a USO tour in 2006, before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Franken's office has not responded to Associated Press messages seeking comment Monday.

This has to be the Senate Establishment's worst nightmare.

What to do with poor Al Franken, as things likely start to pile up on him. Oh, and what is poor Al supposed to do personally to rectify things this week? Perhaps another heartfelt apology to the latest accuser will suffice? Send here a fruit basket and a personal note of apology? Toss in a $25 gift card to Applebees?

His other option, of course, would be to deny it. Certainly it would not be out of the realm of possibility that others will step forward with less credible stories, now that he has been otherwise accused. Some may even outright lie, just for the publicity and possible monetary settlements (I hear there is a big old slush fund just sitting their to hand over those who claim sexual harassment from a Congressperson).

But when you have liberals (such as Hillary) suggesting that it's the admission of guilt and heartfelt apologies that makes the difference between moral sexual harassment from Democrats and immoral sexual harassment of Republicans, you can't really start objecting without blowing apart that narrative.

What to do, oh what to do?

Mueller investigating firing of Comey? So what?

We can fan the flames of conspiracies all we want, but at the end of the day the "reports" that Mueller is calling for information surrounding the firing of James Comey falls under the category of much ado about nothing. 

The reality is that Trump had the authority to fire Comey, had proper cause to fire Comey, and had proper documentation to fire Comey.  This was a textbook, c.y.a. corporate firing. Likely the sort of thing Donald Trump has done a hundred times. Whether the firing was considered justified by Robert Mueller, or whether Special counsel might believe there was an ulterior motive carries very little weight. 

Let's start with one simple reality: special counsel's have never had authority to indict or charge a President with a crime. In the case of Kenneth Starr, his report regarding Bill Clinton provided multiple charges that would have otherwise been "indictable" if not for the fact he was a sitting President. But rather than drawing up an indictment and arguing those points before the grand jury, the Starr report became a recommendation to Congress that these actions could be impeachable offenses. 

Moreover, the issues surrounding the President firing James Comey are not so much about the circumstances, but rather about the philosophical viewpoint of the constitutional powers of the Presidency, and the constitutional notion that those in the executive branch serve at the pleasure of the President.  So regardless of what information Mueller uncovers, or how those closer to the situation might have viewed things, it all comes down to Mueller drawing his own conclusions. That is where his authority ends.

The decision to impeach or not impeach is not in the hands of a special prosecutor, or special counsel, but resides solely in the House of Representatives. Which means that Mueller's authority on the matter of "obstruction" is limited to providing his single personal opinion in some form of report. But keeping in mind that we have approximately 230 people with law degrees serving in Congress right now, and that those serving in congress seem to have high opinions of themselves, I doubt many are waiting for Mueller to tell them how the constitution works. If Mueller were to come to the opinion that the firing was obstruction, such an opinion will be flat out rejected as moot by anyone who otherwise believes the firing was well within the President's authority. 

What the left really needs to remember here is that members of Congress are under no obligation to accept Mueller's opinion on any subject. But most certainly they are not required to substitute his philosophical opinions about the constitution for their own beliefs.     

Ultimately Mueller's investigation into the matter of the Comey firing becomes an exercise in futility unless he first convinces a large majority of Congress that President's do not (under the constitution) have authority to fire those who work for them. Given the large numbers of conservatives and even non-conservative legal and constitutional experts providing the opposite argument, that seems to be a tall order. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What if?

So I have stated (and maintained) that at least some of the allegations against Judge Roy Moore are certainly more believable than not. That being said, now that we have seen some of the "piling on" from other women, it is starting to appear that not everything is on the up and up.
  • First the women who hired Gloria Allred has been under scrutiny over her suggestion that Judge Moore signed her yearbook. There now appears to be at least some real cause to doubt the legitimacy of the signature (as explained here). Given the reluctance of both the accuser and her attorney to turn over the yearbook for professional verification, Occam's razor is starting to logically point to a forgery. Added to this, is that her own step son is maintaining that she is lying for attention (and has a history of doing as much). 
  • Next we had the woman who insisted that she had Roy Moore banned from the mall. This is now being disputed by the former Mall Manager who states that he saw no record of Moore ever being banned (and that Roy Moore was well known at the time so it would not have been something that flew under the radar). 
  • Add to this, that the original woman (the most believable of the bunch) has had certain "details" of her story disputed by her mother. While the mother and father both support the story overall, the small details can cause some overall credibility problems. (In a criminal or civil trial, such small lapses in the truth can allow for a  jury to discount the entire testimony)
  • Lastly, if you actually take the other three "allegations" against Judge Moore, it includes three women who claim that he pursued them when they were between the ages of seventeen and twenty two. None of them are suggesting he did anything other than show interest or ask them out. While this may seem unusual, it was not at the time (and still not today) actually against the law. 
So what if we literally gave Roy Moore the same benefit of the doubt that he would get if this was a criminal trial. First, the allegations are all nearly four decades old. Well past any statute of limitations (which exists for many real reasons). Second, there is literally no non-anecdotal evidence that can be verified. In fact, the only non-anecdotal evidence (the yearbook and the mall ban) at this point have not been verified. In one case, because the witness (and her attorney) refuse to turn over the potential evidence to be verified. In the other, there is actually anecdotal evidence (the former mall manager providing a statement) against the allegation.

What if this actually "is" what Judge Moore and his supporters allege it to be? What if it is a coordinated hit job from the Washington Post and others, who are looking to tear down a Senate candidates with allegations that cannot be adequately rebutted within the time period provided?

Would it really matter to those who are against Judge Moore's candidacy? Would the ends (winning a Senate seat) justify the means (dragging everyone through four decades old sexual allegations that were more hype than truth)?  Would we (as a country) want to see sexual allegations "weaponized" in this sort of manner?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Should Trump step down because "he" was accused like Franken?

Well, let's start with this. It's very unlikely that Al Franken will step down. It's even less likely that the Senate will vote to expel him. But all that being said, there is more "reason" to consider the possibility of Franken stepping down or being expelled than there is to suggest that the President should step down or otherwise be forced out.

Why? Simple. The President was elected by American voters who already heard the allegations brought forth. They heard his recorded statements. They listened to accuser after accuser. They still elected him President. Why? Probably because he never claimed to be a champion of the women's sexual harassment causes and because pretty much everyone figures he took some liberties with women in his life.

Think Bill Clinton. Would he have won a third term, even after the general public figured out he was a womanizer, sexual abuser, and alleged rapist?  Of course he would have. People didn't care.

But Al Franken has run as a champion of woman's rights, even authoring anti-sex-assault legislation. But more to the point, the Minnesota voters never knew about these allegations. Had this been made public back in 2006 when it happened, or anytime before the 2008 election... there is no chance that Al Franken beats Norm Coleman (which he won by 225 votes after the longest recount in history).

Bottom Line:
  • Donald Trump was elected for who he was, warts and all.
  • Al Franken was elected under false pretenses.
It makes all the difference in the world. 

Leeann Tweeden in 2006

Sorry Al

...but when you lost the Strib Editorial Staff... maybe it's time to pack it in.

I was just trying to get her to do this with me
In apologizing, Franken said he didn’t recall the rehearsal incident “in the same way,” although he declined to say exactly how he remembered it. He also used an increasingly tired dodge, saying the photo “clearly was intended to be funny but wasn’t.” Let’s be clear: The photo was never intended to be funny. It was a mean attempt to humiliate and denigrate a fellow USO volunteer who had the temerity to reject his advances. 
We’ve heard the humor defense before. Franken’s initial Senate run suffered over his history of profane and at times misogynistic humor, which included a 1995 proposed “Saturday Night Live” sketch on the comedic “rape” of CBS reporter Lesley Stahl. In apologizing to the DFL Party convention in 2008, Franken resorted to saying he had come to realize some of his jokes “weren’t funny.” The apologies are wearing thin. 
Franken now faces what is sure to be a prolonged Senate Ethics Committee investigation led by Republicans as they try to salvage the candidacy of one Roy Moore, an Alabama Republican who stands credibly accused of sexually assaulting a string of young women, one as young as 14. Franken’s scandal simultaneously provides cover for them and damages his ability to be an effective moral voice for Minnesotans — perhaps too much for him to continue in the Senate.

For many, I am sure this has little to do with Al Franken, and much to do with Roy Moore.  If not for a close Senate race with sexual harassment undertones, there may be more Congress critters (especially Democrats) who might openly stand with Franken on this. But the hypocrisy of supporting Franken for proven and admitted actions, while attacking Roy Moore for allegations is probably too much even for members of a Party build on hypocrisy.

While momentum has surely been "against" Moore since the allegations broke, the events of the past couple of days have certainly moved in his direction. First the Alabama Republican Party decided to circle the wagons and stand by Moore. Secondly, the President did not call on Moore to step down, but instead suggested that it was up to the people of Alabama. Now, with the Franken allegations, it will be extremely difficult for sitting members of congress to continue their attacks, as well as threats to expel or not seat Moore should he win. The fact that they have called for an "ethics probe" regarding Franken's actions is not going to cut it.

Bottom line:  Those who have been demanding Moore stand down, and otherwise suggesting that they would refuse to seat him are in a precarious situation. The choice seems to be that they must either make the same case against Franken, or basically back off the Moore attacks.

Nobody in Congress (at this point) seems willing to demand Franken step down.  That probably makes Roy Moore very happy.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Here is an interesting development...

So the whole yearbook thing has taken an interesting twist.

The signature in the year book from Roy Moore is followed by the letters "D.A." which everyone assumes means District Attorney. Problem is that in 1977 when this yearbook was supposedly signed, Roy Moore was NOT the district attorney. He was just a prosecutor. He did, however, have an assistant with these initials who used to either initial or stamp the letters D.A. behind his name on court documents.

Now the Moore camp is alleging that the signature was lifted from the court document. The fact that the D.A. initials were added to the name, sort of makes you wonder... why would an otherwise "friend" signing a yearbook, add work related initials that don't appear to have any real legitimate meaning at the time?

Perhaps... when you see the court documents showing the same initials stamped behind the name, it makes sense... but only if you are prone to believe that the signature is a forgery. If you are not prone to believe it's a forgery, then I think there is some "splaining to do"? 


My favorite argument for this signature "not" being lifted was provided on twitter by Steven Nelson
Roy Moore's team is suggesting Beverly Young Nelson lifted his signature from a court document. But they don't look alike...
Well Steven... it it was actually his signature, wouldn't you actually expect that they "would" look a like? How is the fact that they do not look alike make it "less" likely it was forged?

I am curious here folks. What explanation would someone prone to believe the accuser provide for why a prosecutor would put initials behind his name? Do you simply see the court document (with the initials behind it) as a very odd coincidence?

Now everything else said about Moore might be 100% accurate. But without any expert handwriting analysis, this revelation might add some serious doubt about the yearbook signature.

In other news

House Passes Tax Reform

Yay!!! Something sort of got half done!!! 
House Republicans on Thursday passed a monumental bill to cut taxes on businesses and individuals, the biggest step yet in the GOP's once-in-a-generation effort to overhaul the American tax system. The tax reform plan passed the chamber with 227 votes in favor and 205 against. To pass the bill, the House GOP had to overcome opposition from several of its members who live in high-tax blue states. Those lawmakers objected to the proposal's curb on popular state and local tax deductions.

We will see how all of this reconciles with the Senate. While there seems to be some things to hash our (and Ron Johnson created a buzz when he said he might be a no) - somehow this feels a little closer to getting done than not.

Senator Franken Bombshell?
Or just something the MSM will ignore?

Update: Apparently it's a bombshell! 

Now some might suggest  that this was all a "joke" - because Franken is such a funny guy. Some might even say that the picture only shows him grabbing armor (not her actual breasts). But certainly the "joke" itself is degrading. Degrading was sort of the point.  

But along with the other allegations this woman is making, it seems like the combination is pretty hard to discount.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time
The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.
It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.
I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated

UPDATE:  It's become a lead story across the board. Good for the MSM. Even leads the headlines locally in the Star Tribune on line.  Already legal analysts are saying the picture (in and of itself) is considered an act of "sexual humiliation" especially since it was done in front of people and without consent. It could have been prosecuted.

Franken and the Senate have a tough choice to make here. Either they make some sort of public move on this (and fast), or they will look like hypocrites in their quest to block Judge Moore from becoming a Senator (even before his election).

You don't get to forgive one of your own for something that is basically proven and admitted, while simultaneously taking action against an outsider for allegations that are unproven and denied. This logic holds true regardless of how you view the seriousness of the real and alleged transgressions.

UPDATE II: So McConnell, Schumer, and very oddly Al Franken himself, are all calling for a Senate Ethics Probe of the situation. I am curious as to what exactly there is to "probe" considering Franken is basically admitting to most of the allegations, and there is visual proof of said actions to back up his admissions.

It would appear that this is a chance for the Senate leadership to push things off for a few days, likely hoping the buzz will die before they are forced to make any real decisions.

All of that being said, it certainly puts them in a precarious situation if they continue to "attack" Judge Moore as if he is guilty without a chance to even prove innocence.  Hard to reconcile that behavior when they refuse to accept the "guilty plea" from a sitting member of the Senate.

Looking Forward: Since we know this event is pretty much true, and sexual predators generally are not one and done... it's almost inevitable that there will be "more" allegations coming out against Franken. Hard to imagine this would be the only time in Franken's life he behaved this way?

Liberals believe that the wrong Clinton is now guilty?

So I have now read about a half dozen different pieces from liberal journalists who have come to the conclusion (backhanded as much of these conclusions are) that Bill Clinton should have been held accountable for his sexual actions two decades ago.

Well how convenient for you?

The argument (of course) is that had Bill Clinton been held accountable (forced to resign in shame) then they could fully expect two things:
  • That Trump would resign in similar shame due to allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • That any politician accused of sexual misconduct (no doubt all Republicans) should be held equally accountable.
Part of this is the frustration of the media bringing forth wild allegations against the President and others, and having the general public largely yawn and vote for these candidates anyways. There is certainly an argument to be made that the MSM actions in first covering up, and then apologizing for Clinton's actions makes it difficult for them to be moral warriors today. But I think they miss the two bigger points. 
  • That they have become the boy who cried wolf. In this case, the opposition research that cried "old allegations of sexual abuse". It happens so often (and without any real means to prove it) that it looks more like a dirty ploy than a legitimate attempt to break real news.
  • That retroactively claiming that you wish Bill Clinton had been held accountable, does not change your hypocrisy today. If you want to prove yourself to be objective and willing to hold your own accountable, then there are plenty of opportunities to do so today when it counts. 
In other words. If the Washington Post wants these stories to matter (to everyone) then they have to start working to bring down Democrats. Nobody seriously believes that only Republicans have sexual improprieties. Nobody seriously believes that there are not women out there willing to make similar claims against Democrats. It literally took Anthony Weiner getting caught on film with his pants down to make anyone in the media actually turn on him. The media needs to stop making this a one sided game.

Secondly, the same media needs to let the obvious be obvious and stop making stupid excuses for the Clinton's. Yesterday it was Bill didn't really mean any harm, so stop being so unfair and leave him alone. Today it's Hillary didn't really mean any harm, so stop being so unfair and leave her alone.  If the Press wants to atone for their over the top defense of Bill, then perhaps it would be to treat Clinton (and allegations against her) with the same zeal as they treat Trump (and allegations against him). Stop declaring that when Clinton hires someone to go talk to the Russians about Trump that it's opposition research, but if Trump is even suspected of having any contact with Russians about Clinton that it's collusion and we need at least "one more" investigation. 

Sorry liberal media. But claiming in 2017 that Clinton should have been held accountable in the nineties shows us nothing that isn't a pure transparent attempt to lend more credibility to your 2017 hit jobs. It's self serving and irrelevant. You want to gain your credibility back? Then come out and demand that your Democrats (starting with Clinton) need to be treated the same way you treat Trump and the Republicans. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

College Football Playoffs?

Russia, Judge Moore, Uranium one, Mueller, Clinton, Trump... yawn...

The real tension and drama is happening in College football, where the positioning over the next couple of weeks is going to provide for more opinions and opinion shifting than Carter has liver pills.

Let's start with this. The best four teams won't always get into the playoffs, nor should they. If your belief is that college football (unlike any other sport) should replace winning games when it counts with computer stats or sportswriter opinions, then why have a football playoff to begin with?

In the general overall sports world... there are always going to be teams playing well that miss the playoffs, teams that are favored that lose right off the bat in the playoff, and teams that get on a roll and win the whole thing after just squeaking in. This is part of the beauty of sports. Think low seed Cinderella stories in the NCAA basketball tourney or years where a Wild Card won the Super Bowl. Winning when it counts is ultimately what winning really is. Nobody suggests that a first round seed should get a second chance if they lose early, simply because they had some big wins earlier on.

This is why I strongly believe that if you lose your conference championship game, then you simply should not move forward. It's also why I strongly believe that every conference needs to have such a game. There simply isn't "enough" separation between the top few teams (or the power conferences) to give one team a "second chance" just because opinion writers believed they had a better season.

You have five so called "Power conferences" and every year there seems to be a team like Notre Dame (or some undefeated none-power conference team) that is lurking around the top. With only four spots in the playoffs, I find it hard to justify half of those teams coming from one conference. It simply leaves out too much of the country.

Now there are situations (as what happened a few years back with the National Championship Buckeye team) where the best team in a power conference didn't play in a conference championship (where tie breaking rules determined the seeding). But there was not two Big Ten teams in the playoffs that year. Ohio State replaced the conference champion and that made sense.

In fact there has not been two team from the same conference yet. While many from the SEC might disagree with the logic, I say why start now?

As it stands, two loss Notre Dame is close but no cigar. Without a conference championship game to bolster things, they seem out. Same with USC and the Pac Twelve. With two losses and no high ranked opponent to play in their conference championship, there doesn't appear to be a way to leapfrog the teams necessary.

That leaves the SEC, ACC, Big Twelve, and Big Ten. Without a conference championship and assuming Oklahoma wins out, they should be in. Clemson and Miami will play the last conference game of the year, so even if they do not meet in the conference championship, there is a manner to settle this. One will be in and one will be out.

Where the controversy will come is with the SEC and the Big Ten. The SEC has three teams with a legitimate chance at still winning the league championship, leaving two possibilities for a one loss Alabama team -  a loss to Auburn would knock them out  the conference championship game or they could beat Auburn and lose to Georgia in the conference championship game... not coming out with a conference championship. Assuming whoever wins the conference championship is in, do you leave Alabama out?

If an undefeated Wisconsin team were to beat a two loss Ohio State team in the Big Ten playoffs, then few would be able to justify a one loss Alabama team displacing them. The optics of a national championship playoffs not including an undefeated Big Ten Champion would forever taint the system. But what happens (and it's probably more likely than not) "if" Ohio State Jekyll and Hyde's their way to a Big Ten championship (possibly with a dominating performance like they put on over Michigan State). Does the two loss Big Ten Champion displace the previously number one team or do you leave out another power conference champion in order to make way for two SEC teams?

I know it's not necessarily a popular opinion within College Football fans, but winning games down the stretch, when they count, is more important to me than computer rankings, sportswriter rankings, or general opinions. Settle it on the field. The three SEC teams seem to have their destiny in their own hands. Anyone of the three can win out and take the conference championship. If they lose, then they lose. You had your chance. Now let another conference champion take a shot at your champion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Senate Tax bill to include Individual mandate repeal

So this (according to the CBO) will reduce spending by approximately $340 billion, thus allowing the GOP to use that $340 to create tax "cuts" rather than just tax adjustments (that end up just slicing the same size pie differently).

Of course, there is almost no way that $340 billion will be saved by the repeal, but it does allow for the tax cuts that Republicans want. Ultimately they believe that the tax cuts will "pay for themselves" but the CBO doesn't provide for any such thinking.

Now the Democrats are between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, to demand that millions will lose insurance, then they admit that the $340 billion is a legitimate number. If they want to argue that the tax plan is not deficit neutral, then they have to declare that the CBO estimates are bogus.

Either way, they lose...

Btw... of the Obamacare "features" the only one that is by and large unpopular is the individual mandate. Upwards of 66% of the public and over 80% of Republicans are not fans of the individual mandate and wouldn't mind seeing it repealed.

Secondly, when the CBO (or Democrats) declare that the repeal of the individual mandate will make 13 million "lose" their insurance, it will be proof positive for most Americans that the CBO and the Democrats are substituting the reality of the  "choice" to not purchase insurance with the political rhetoric of people "losing" their insurance.

The Keurig about face

Hannity buried the hatchet on air with Kuerig after they issued an apology to pretty much everyone (including their own employees) for their decision to stop advertising on the Sean Hannity show. Hannity suggested that people should stop shooting their Kuerig machines (or in the case below, practicing their wedge play)... and that Kuerig was going to be continuing their advertising.

Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort on Monday apologized to employees for any negative attention that may have come after the company publicly announced on Twitter that it was no longer running ads on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News — a move that led to Hannity fans smashing their Keurig coffee machines en masse.
“The decision to publicly communicate our programming decision via our Twitter account was highly unusual,” Gamgort said in a memo reported by The Washington Post. “This gave the appearance of ‘taking sides’ in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent.”
“I apologize for any negativity that you have experienced as a result of this situation and assure you that we will learn and improve going forward,” Gamgort added

Sessions considering Special Counsels for Uranium One, FBI handling of email probe

“The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote.
“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General [Rod Rosenstein], as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel,” Boyd wrote.
The letter specifically mentioned allegations related to the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, including allegations that DOJ and FBI “policies or procedures” were “not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to” then-FBI Director James Comey’s public announcement to close the Clinton email “matter” on July 5, 2016, or the letter he sent lawmakers on October 28, 2016, about newly discovered Clinton emails, and that those “investigative decisions were based on improper considerations.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

Holes in the Moore accuser's story?

EXCLUSIVE – Mother of Roy Moore Accuser Contradicts Key Detail of Daughter’s Sexual Misconduct Story
Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71, says that her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the period that Moore is reported to have allegedly called Corfman – purportedly on Corfman’s bedroom phone – to arrange at least one encounter.
Look, little details may or may not be relevant when you are looking at allegations of this sort, especially when the details you are trying to remember are 38 years old. My only problem with this is that many times people who are embellishing stories are "more" prone to provide specific details because they believe it bolsters their story. However, remembering "specific details" that turn out to be wrong, is more damning that simply not being able to remember specific details.

But the bigger problem is that this is the sort of slip up that Moore supporters (or people leaning towards Moore) will use to justify their vote. Any inconsistencies will be seen by some as absolute proof that the allegations are completely false.  Personally I was more prone than not to believe the story. But I can honestly say that the specific memories of details that are factually untrue provide me with doubt.

Bottom line: There is no legitimate reason to believe things that didn't happen if you are telling the truth. But here are reasons to embellish things that didn't happen if you are not telling the truth.

As stated by John Hinderaker:
I agree with Paul that the Washington Post’s allegation that Moore tried to seduce a 14-year-old girl 38 years ago is more likely false than true, particularly given the gaping hole in the accuser’s story that has been attested to by her own mother. Beyond that, I question whether a newly-surfaced, 38-year-old allegation should ever–short of murder or something nearly as heinous–be grounds for defeating a political candidate.
There is a reason why our criminal laws include statutes of limitation. After decades have gone by, it is often impossible to prove (or disprove) an allegation. The accuser in the present case remained silent for 38 years, during most of which time Moore was a prominent figure in Alabama politics. Now, a few weeks before a U.S. Senate election, at the importuning of a team of reporters from the Washington Post who are obviously determined to bring down the candidate, she sees fit to accuse Moore. One of the kinder words we apply to this sort of conduct in the law business is “estoppel.” It is much too late to dredge up an accusation from the 1970s.

One could argue that even if true, this is an unfair attack. If someone were to go over my behavior from 30 years ago, it would no doubt disqualify me from any political office. However, who I was when I was 25 is a far cry from who I am today.

Judge Moore has been married for over 30 years. Many of those judging the judge on his relationship behavior are on their second or third marriage. Many of those demanding we damn Moore for unproven allegations from nearly four decades ago, probably supported Bill Clinton, when he was being accused of sexual misconduct at the time he was President. They probably supported him, even as he settled a sexual harassment complaint with a payout of nearly a million dollars. They will probably even tell you that allegations of trading employment favors for blow jobs doesn't relate to what you do as President.


I have seen five polls since the news hit. While there is no doubt that the allegations harmed Judge Moore, it doesn't appear that it entirely turned the race around either.

A four point lead is certainly dangerous for a Republican expected to win in double digits. But the polling suggests that many voters went from Moore to undecided, rather than Moore to Jones. They appear to be taking a "wait and see" attitude. Unless another shoe drops, it seems unlikely that enough of those undecided (mostly Republicans or Republican leaning independents) will move to Jones to the degree where he can make up even a four point deficit.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

So you expect "everyone" to have blind faith in what they are told?

Look... just because you are willing to believe everything you are told by certain people in authority, doesn't mean you can expect everyone to share that belief. A group of known liars (such as James Clapper) demanded that our election was "hacked" by the Russians.  They provided little actual evidence of the claim, but demanded it was a consensus belief among those who "have access to the information".

So far what we know is that certain hacking into the RNC, DNC, Clinton, and Trump websites and email systems was done through certain levels of IP addresses that our intelligence suggests are tied to Russian hackers. Most IT security experts disagreed that any inference could be made from that information, mush less that it implicates Putin or the Kremlin. Resources have determined that Russian interests spent money on social media advertising. They have not shown us that any of this makes it to the Kremlin.

There is a lot of buzz, a lot of speculation, and a lot of innuendo. Even James Comey admitted that the FBI's conclusions were based more on "deduction" than they were on evidence.

At the end of the day Vladimir Putin is denying it. Obviously he would deny it whether or not he was or wasn't involved... but the point is that without hard evidence that points directly to Putin and the Kremlin.... he is sort of allowed to deny the allegations and even mock us a little.

As President of the United States, Donald Trump does not have the sort of actual evidence that he can show the world to prove Putin wrong. Considering we need to move forward with a relationship with Russia, what can Trump be expected to do? Continue to internationally accuse him without providing tangible proof of the accusations?

But... thank god:

we have a crack pot special investigator on the job. Robert Mueller is investigating the Russian hacking and whether or not there were Americans colluding on the hacking. He is said to have a team of investigators at his disposals along with 17 of the best investigative prosecutors in the land at his disposal. Estimates that thousands of hours and millions of dollars have been spent investigating the Russian involvement.

Since Robert Mueller's job was legally defined to investigate any Russian meddling and any collusion between the Russian Government and U.S. citizens... one must assume that we have uncovered much in relation... especially considering the cost of this investigation and reports that he is "just getting started".

Certainly Robert Mueller will come back with solid evidence of high level Kremlin backed tampering in the election, so we can show the world, show Putin, and wipe that smug grin off his face? If there was Americans helping, then Robert Mueller will show us that as well.

Or will he?

We can all await his report and we will know what actual evidence there is. Either he finds tangible evidence or he doesn't. Either way we can put some closure on it. The great thing is once Mueller enlightens us with what he uncovered in his exhaustive investigation...  we will no longer have to rely on the "trust us" answers from people like James Clapper.

Won't that be nice?

Friday, November 10, 2017

About Roy Moore IV

A new poll was released today by Opinion Savvy that was taken entirely after the scandal broke. Of those participating only 9% said they had not heard about the allegations against Roy Moore. Of course, had they not heard up to that point, they were certainly informed that those allegations existed during the questioning.

The results showed:

Moore - 46.4%
Jones - 46.0%

The previous survey from this pollster showed Moore ahead 50-45 meaning that the support for Moore dropped between 3-4% while the support for Jones went up only 1%.  This isn't too far off from what I figured we would see. Obviously any traditional October surprise shows a bigger "initial" impact than a long term one... which is why these scandals generally pop up in the last two or three weeks. Enough time so everyone hears about it, but not enough time for people to forget about it.

One thing to consider is that two other polls taken around the same time as the first 50-45 Opinion Savvy poll was taken showed Moore up 22% and 8%  - meaning the Opinion Savvy poll was more favorable to Jones at that time than others.

I would expect (assuming no other shoes drop on Moore between now and then) that the allegations are "recoverable" for him. It may not be the cakewalk he once expected, and of course he could still lose (funny things happen in special elections)... but based on what this poll is showing, Moore probably remains a slight favorite.

About Roy Moore III - Personal Opinion

Just for the record, I believe that the woman's story is plausible, if not probable.  As much as I want to provide the benefit of innocent until proven guilty... the allegations are alarming and more believable than other recent last minute election time allegations.

Moreover, I would have a difficult time (personally) casting a ballot for Roy Moore. Of course, I would have probably said this with or without the allegations. Moore does not strike me a the sort of man I want representing me, or even living next door to me. In my humble opinion, he certainly appears like a man capable of these allegations.

All that being said I have some major concerns with the allegations.

As a parent, I find it difficult to believe that you allowed a 32 year old man to spend any "alone time" with your 14 year old daughter. From the allegations, there was at least three times that Moore and the girl spend time together, and (at the very least) the first time it was with the Mother's blessing. By all accounts, this alleged relationship is confirmed by both parents. They make it sound as if they possibly even knew about the "touching" but did nothing... for thirty five years. This strikes me as more than just a little "strange".

I also believe that the timing of the allegations cheapens those allegations (even if they are 100% true). It provides ammunition for Moore (and his supporters) to go after the girl for obviously revealing the allegations at a time where it has political and electoral consequences.  It now becomes impossible to separate the allegations from the politics of the situation. If Roy Moore wins (in spite of them) it cheapens them even more.

Bottom Line: These allegations deserved their own scrutiny completely detached from the 2017 political debate and certainly detached from the Alabama special Senate election... when the only person facing consequences for those actions would be Roy Moore. Because others (his supporters and his political party) face consequences for these allegations, it adds a whole other layer to this, that simply didn't need to be.

About Roy Moore II

Just a quick thought...

The one thing to keep in mind is that we are talking Alabama... not California or New York. They passed an amendment banning gay marriage a few years back with over 80% of the voters voting for it. Talking against transgender rights is no doubt very popular.

In Alabama, the age of consent today is 16. At the time of these allegations, there were places down south where 14 was the age of consent and it wouldn't legally matter if you were 16, 21, 26, or 34. You could have sexual contact and even intercourse with a 14 year old (as wrong as that seems to most of us).

While it might be seen as unusual for a guy in his thirties to pursue a 16 or 17 year old girl, even today it's not technically illegal by the laws of Alabama (much less back at the time of the allegations). Who knows how it is actually viewed (socially) in that part of the country.

Even in traveling back and forth between Minnesota and Seattle Washington, there are serious differences between general attitudes and social formalities.  Technically both the greater Twin Cities area (where I live) and Seattle are liberal. The difference is that one has "Midwestern values" while the other has "Coastal values".

Who knows how much of this is liberal coastal attitudes being projected to people who simply may not see things the same way. Between those who don't necessarily believe the allegations and those who would perhaps see it as a possible alleged mistake, to those who may actually not see much wrong with it (even if they think it's true)... it might not hurt his chances as much as we might think in a special election in a place like Alabama.

All those allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump didn't bring him down. Moreover, many of the same Establishment Republicans made similar demands that Trump step down or that he be replaced when those allegations came out against him. That was a national election. I think we need to caution ourselves as to how much this will actually matter down in Alabama.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

About Roy Moore

So, just a few weeks from an election, you have several women all coming out for the first time to make allegations against a candidate. (where have we seen this before?).

The political response (if you are a Republican officeholder) is to pretty much say that these are horrible allegations and (if true) that Moore should step down. The caveat is to make sure you are not putting yourself into a position where you are seen to think it might be okay for any man to sexually molest (or sexually proposition) underage girls (much less one running for Senate) but giving yourself the "semantic" ability to suggest that you still want some proof before making any sort of real judgement.

Of course, it doesn't help much that Moore is a Bannon guy who defeated the "establishment" choice. So many Republican Senators are not too high on him anyways.

Obviously, Roy Moore has been a prominent figure in Alabama for some time. None of these allegations surfaced while he was a Judge. None of them surfaced while he was running in the primary. They only surfaced after he was running in the general (and close enough to the election where he cannot technically drop out). It certainly would seem "fishy" at best.

I would expect that after a day or two, when the dust settles, the GOP will start to come to grips that they cannot "replace" him on the ballot or even have his name taken off (according to Alabama election law).

The chances of them winning this seat with some sort of "write in" candidate, while Moore's name stays on the ballot would be slim to none. I would assume that a great deal of Moore supporters would check his box, even if he were to take himself out of the running (just for spite). You are going to have some who will check his box because they don't know any better or possibly believe that the vote "transfers" to the other Republican. You also have an inherent problem with write in ballots being tossed on technicalities because they were not properly filled out. When you add it all up, it would probably lower the bar for the Democrat to win from the normal 48-50 percent down to maybe as low as 40-42 percent of the actual vote.

So after the prerequisite period of acting aghast at allegations many people will assume are probably made up... I would expect that people will start to push back a little and demand some sort of evidence or proof. You will probably even see some actual attempts (by the Moore campaign) to suggest that this is a dirty tactic and try to turn it around on the Democrat.

All you need to know about the CBO

When Republicans were looking at their repeal and replace plan of the ACA bill, the CBO suggested that repealing the Individual mandate law would cause millions of Americans to "lose" coverage.

As a matter of tangible fiscal reality, the CBO had to admit that such a repeal would (because many of those losing coverage would qualify for subsidies) actually save hundreds of billions of dollars.

The GOP is now adding the repeal of the individual mandate into their tax laws, in order to take advantage of the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings. This savings will offset some of the lost revenue from the tax cuts.

But now that the individual mandate is part of the new tax law, the CBO has announced that they have decided to "revise" their calculations regarding the repeal of the individual mandate and specifically how much savings would be gained in doing so.

No doubt, the CBO will tell us that they overestimated how many people would drop their insurance if the mandate was repealed, and therefore they overestimated how much savings would actually be garnered.

The CBO offered pretty much the same analysis regarding the Individual mandate on multiple repeal and replace plans over the past couple of  years. Nothing has realistically changed (over the past couple of months), other than the focus of the repeal. There is literally no reason for any "revision" of the numbers, other than the obvious attempt to undercut the new tax law.

Is there any reason to actually take the CBO seriously anymore?

Some questions for liberals

Let's make three unwise assumptions for sake of argument:
  • That some favored Democrats winning state races, along with some down race success in Virginia represented a radical wave movement for the Democrats. 
  • That despite years of tangible data and analysis from serious election prognosticators suggesting otherwise, you can make a determination from special and off year elections as to how the net regular election cycle will go.
  • That all of this taken into consideration, and even in spite of a low number of pick up opportunities, that the Democrats are poised for big gains in 2018. 
Assuming all of this to be true (and it's very likely not) it would appear that your liberal punditry believes very strongly that what all of this suggests is that it's a rejection of Donald Trump. 

I guess I would wonder out loud why it's important to make this determination? Wouldn't a Party want to take personal credit for the assumed upcoming election successes? Wouldn't they want to say it's their values, their policies, their candidates that Americans are embracing? Instead, it's if they are saying... "hey, with Donald Trump as President, our name calling, identity politics, and finger pointing might actually work to win an election or two."

The best case scenario for this belief is that the Democrats might have at best two good election cycles, Donald Trump loses reelection, and then they are still sitting exactly where they were in 2016 with no new ideas, with no new policy initiatives, and with no candidates to light a true fire of inspiration. Just the negativity that has garnered them the lowest amount of elected officials in nearly a hundred years. 

Why would this be the preferred way of thinking? Do liberals really hate Donald Trump more than they love themselves? 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Experience working on a campaign (with Democrats)

So I spend the past few days (took Monday, Tuesday off work) to do some canvassing and calling on behalf of a local political candidate who I happen to know personally.  To be clear, this was a local non-party-affiliated race, but both candidate happened to be registered and active Democrats.

Moreover, the fact that I am not a registered active Democrat was not discussed. As far as most everyone knew, I was just as liberal as everyone else.

The candidate I was supporting is a lifelong resident of the city. Born, schooled, raised, and currently a new homeowner. A younger kid (thirtyish) who's political ambitions has been well known since he was a young child. He currently works full time for a legislator, doing policy research, campaigning, and other miscellaneous activities. He serves on a local arts and education board, and is an unpaid appointed commissioner to a housing board. He's been involved (behind the scenes) in many elections in many capacities, even managing a campaign. This was his first attempt at being the actual candidate. 

The other candidate was an immigrant who primarily grew up in the city, but had moved away for several years, working and living much of that overseas. He recently moved back to the city, where he has become active in the Democratic Party in terms of attending events, and I believe he served as a delegate at one time. He was described by some as an "activist". Otherwise, he had no policy experience, experience actually working in legislator or government. His argument for his candidacy was simple. He is a minority. He is an immigrant. He worked internationally in business.

The strategies were very different. While our candidate had many volunteers, and personally knocked several thousand doors and made several thousand phone calls, his opponent did far less in terms of personal canvassing, and phone calls. He relied heavily on signage and literature. While driving around, I probably saw as much as a 10-1 signage advantage for our opponent. It felt somewhat daunting, but the experienced campaigners said that signage was an overrated campaign tool.

The blind spot:

But at the end of the day, this really boiled down to a simple choice. A white Christian male, with lots of policy experience, working hard to talk to people at a personal level, against the minority candidate who felt his diversity of being born elsewhere, and having international business experience was his key to being a strong candidate.

Now what I found interesting is that within the campaign, the volunteers I met and family members understood this. They realized that their candidate (a Democrat) was being challenged by someone playing the diversity card. They didn't like it. On paper, there was no contest as to whom was the more qualified candidate. But even one of the volunteers admitted that prior to talking to our candidate, she had been leaning towards the other guy for that very reason (wanted to vote for diversity).

This lead to some discussion as to whether or not we all should be looking past the whole identity thing, and really look at who the candidates were and what they stood for. After all, that was what they were basically asking voters to do in this case. We wanted them to look "past" the fact that our guy was white and their guy was a minority and vote for who would make the better legislator.

But when a discussion broke out at a later time regarding the St Paul Mayors race, everyone quickly agreed that they wanted Melvin Carter to win. Why?  Because he would be St Paul's first black mayor. Did we not just have this discussion? 

Longer discussions:

All of this led later to a one on one discussion (me and a family member of the candidate) as to whether or not the Democrats may be putting less qualified candidate who may not be as capable as others of actually performing the job, because Democrats (in general) really like voting for diversity. Could this be hurting the Party long term, because the candidates are less successful after being elected, because their main qualification is just their background or color of their skin?


Our candidate won rather handily. In fact, it was a double digit percentage point victory. My best guess is that while these two candidates were fighting over who was the better Democrat, likely splitting up the liberal Democrat vote....  being the lifetime resident, and being the experienced candidate probably worked largely to his advantage with independents and Republicans (since there was no conservative in the race).

Afterwards, it was asked what the other guy was thinking, being he got pretty much waxed. Would he feel like he got outworked. Would he believe that he should have done more that put up signs and mail literature. Might he attempt to get more involved to build his resume if he decides to run again.

Am I the only one who understands? Since this guy's argument was that he was qualified because he was a minority and an immigrant and this particular argument was rejected by the voters. Those voters must be bigots and racists, and that's why the white Christian guy won. I guarantee you that was the buzz within his ranks.