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Friday, November 30, 2018

TOLD YOU SO!!!!

Updated at 4 p.m. ET
Editor's note: An earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017 about the prospective projects his family was negotiating with people in Moscow.
The story reported that Trump Jr.'s response — that negotiations on one project concluded by the end of 2014 — contrasted with the version of events as laid out in the guilty plea by Michael Cohen on Thursday. In fact, Trump Jr. and investigators were alluding to a different set of negotiations — not to a deal that Cohen was reportedly pursuing. Trump Jr. did acknowledge in his testimony that Cohen and another man were exploring a possible deal in Moscow in 2015 or 2016.
Trump Jr. did not address what Cohen has now admitted — that talks about such a deal continued at least into June 2016, longer than previously known and well into the presidential campaign.

Actually Trump Jr. "DID" address that.
Q. It’s been reported that in late 2015 or 2016 when now President Trump was running for office the Trump Organization was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. Is that accurate?
A. Yes.
Look for another Editor's correction sooner rather than later.

Did Trump Jr lie?

Actually - it looks like the media is lying
Q. It’s been reported that in late 2015 or 2016 when now President Trump was running for office the Trump Organization was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. Is that accurate? 
A. Yes. 
Q. In this same time frame, 2015 or 2016, when Mr. Sater and Mr. Cohen were exploring a possible deal, do you know if anyone else was also exploring a deal simultaneously with the Trump Organization to build in Moscow? 
A. I don ‘t believe so. 
Q. We’ve discussed the Agalarov family, Emin and his father Aras. Do you know if they were also exploring building a Trump Tower in Moscow? 
A. We had looked at it earlier than that, but it sort of faded away I believe at the end of ’14.Q. But not in 2015 or 2016?A. Certainly not ’16. There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.
________

So according to the actual transcript, Donald Jr agrees that in 2015 or 2016 that his father was pursuing a deal to develop a "Trump Tower" in Moscow. That would be consistent with both Cohen statements, and what the written Trump responses apparently look like.

What he denies, is that the Trumps worked specifically with the Agalarov family. He suggests that they had looked at working with them back in 2014, but that there was no exploration with that family in 2015 or 2016. 

So it would appear that NPR and others... are transposing answers, to suggest that Donald Trump Jr said something that he never said. What is the reason for this? To trigger those suffering from TDS into another crazed frenzy. 

Pantless former Hillary campaign aide goes bonkers!

Hill told The Daily Caller that Reines said, “You’re just as much of a jackass on TV as you are online” and that Hill needs to “stop hiding behind [FBN anchor Trish Regan’s] skirt.” “We chirped back and forth, and he said, ‘You’re not half the debater you think you are.’ To which I said, ‘That’s probably the lamest, most D.C. diss I’ve ever heard,'” Hill told The DC.




So if Cohen lied, then Trumped lied too?

That seems to be the illogical logic on the left

In recent interviews, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani stated that at least one of the questions that special counsel asked Trump was in regards to his business dealings with Russia. Giuliani suggested that Trump had stated in his written response that there was some talks between Trump Organization and various Russian businessmen, and that he was aware that Cohen took part in those talks. Apparently Trump also admitted that these talks did take place during the campaign, with the logic being that he needed to continue his business ventures, on the remote off chance that he might not win the election and become President.



Giuliani insisted that the questions from Mueller did not ask about any timelines, and that Trump provided only general timelines that probably would neither have directly repuded or directly reinforced what Cohen stated. Giuliani also suggested that the President denied that there was any legal contracts, or that the project ever took place, while acknowledging that there was a non-binding letter of intent. Giuliani insists that the only reason Mueller even knows about Cohen, and his talks with the Russians, was because of the information provided to special counsel from the President's legal team.

It is beginning to sound as if the President's answers to these questions involved a lot of broad general answers, with very little tangible details, predicated on the basic concept that the answers were to the "best of his recollection".  These questions appear to have been answered very specifically to keep the President out of any perjury traps.

So the idea that Mueller waited till the President answered his questions before charging Cohen is being promoted (by the left) as an obvious suggestion that he hoped to catch the President in similar lies. However, it could be that the President's own statements (previous as well as the recent written responses) regarding Cohen's involvement might have actually reinforced Mueller's decision to charge Cohen.

Either way, the idea that Trump was looking at doing business in Moscow, and then folded the tent when it became clear he would be President is not illegal. Not in any sense of the word. Because it was not illegal, it also does not provide (as some have suggested) with some sort of Russian leverage over Trump. There is also no indication that the President and Cohen were in cahoots regarding a mutual "story" about these business ventures. If there was such a conspiracy to commit perjury, Cohen ended up in cahoots with nobody but himself.

Btw... the other debunked theory was that Cohen was being charged because of his denials that he ever went to Prague (which was part of the conspiracy offered by Richard Steele and his infamous dossier). Many believe (and many media types have reported) that Mueller has evidence that Cohen did take this trip. This would be an important revelation because it could "confirm" something from the Steele dossier. However, there was nothing in the charging statement that has anything to do with this trip. All of the allegations were entirely in regards to these business dealings. Had Cohen lied to congress about Prague, it surely would have been part of this charge.

Who's got the biggest vertical? LaBron? Kobe? Michael?

How about Pete Townshend? 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Manafort's "lies" were about his business dealings

(not anything to do with Trump)

It is now being slowly (but surely) reported (and can be confirmed when all of the filings become public) that Manafort is being accused of lying about his business dealings rather than anything to do with Trump. This throws a wrench into the conspiracy theorists latest blockbuster sure fire at long last smoking gun piece of evidence that will expose the grand collusion story.

But this whole thing proves several things. First is that the media is bound and determined to report all activities surrounding special counsel under the "assumption" that everything Mueller does is tying back to a yet to be released, leaked, or implied bombshell mountain of evidence of conpiracies and collusion. They twist and turn everything to make you believe that this is "finally" the big one... only to be eventually let down. (Got WMD anyone?).

But ironically, once the story begins to change and the more facts come out, the mainstream media seems woefully uninterested in clarifying or reporting on the actual facts. They just move on to the next bit of information that still allows them to manufacture the story that they want to tell.

I find it ironic how many people made the determination that it was unprecedented, unethical, and possibly illegal that Trump and Manafort attorneys were still talking (as they can legally do when both parties are being investigated for the same thing). Because, after all, Manafort and Mueller came to terms and Manafort was cooperating. Once cooperation was in play, the joint legal efforts should stop. Right?

Now even though (the quiet but accurate) reporting was that Manafort had agreed to cooperate in regards to who else might have been involved in the very things he was charged for (tax evasion, failure to register, etc), most everyone in the MSM assumed that Manafort was providing Mueller and his team information on Trump.

Earth to liberals. Nothing Manafort was charged or found guilty of had anything to do with Trump, Russia, or the 2016 election. There is no logical reason to believe that his cooperation with authorities would have anything to do with anything "other" than what he was being charged with.

So the fact that the two legal teams are coordinating would not be unprecedented, unethical, or even remotely illegal.

Occam's Razor - when troubleshooting something, the theory or hypothesis with the least amount of assumptions is generally the correct theory. It takes approximately zero assumptions to conclude that the reason that the Trump and Manafort legal teams are still talking is that Manafort's agreement with Mueller has to do with the crimes he was charged with. The theory that Manafort is cooperating with Mueller about Russian collusion exists "entirely" on unfounded assumption. 

Did you hear the one about the two old white guys who became irrelevant because of demographics?

Yeah! That was a good one!

A very interesting read

Why we stopped trusting elites
The first, “special access lies”, may be better termed “insider lies”. This is dishonesty from those trusted to truthfully report facts, who abuse that trust by failing to state what they privately know to be true. (The authors give the example of Bill Clinton’s infamous claim that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman”.)
The second, which they refer to as “common knowledge lies”, are the kinds of lies told by Donald Trump about the size of his election victory or the crowds at his inauguration, or the Vote Leave campaign’s false claims about sending “£350m a week to the EU”. These lies do not pretend to be bound by the norm of honesty in the first place, and the listener can make up their own mind what to make of them.
What the paper shows is that, where politics comes to be viewed as the domain of “insider” liars, there is a seductive authenticity, even a strange kind of honesty, about the “common knowledge” liar. The rise of highly polished, professional politicians such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton exacerbated the sense that politics is all about strategic concealment of the truth, something that the Iraq war seemed to confirm as much as anything. Trump or Farage may have a reputation for fabricating things, but they don’t (rightly or wrongly) have a reputation for concealing things, which grants them a form of credibility not available to technocrats or professional politicians.
At the same time, and even more corrosively, when elected representatives come to be viewed as “insider liars”, it turns out that other professions whose job it is to report the truth – journalists, experts, officials – also suffer a slump in trust. Indeed, the distinctions between all these fact-peddlers start to look irrelevant in the eyes of those who’ve given up on the establishment altogether. It is this type of all-encompassing disbelief that creates the opportunity for rightwing populism in particular. Trump voters are more than twice as likely to distrust the media as those who voted for Clinton in 2016, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, which adds that the four countries currently suffering the most “extreme trust losses” are Italy, Brazil, South Africa and the US.
This is a long winded, but interesting article that states more boorishly what many people have been saying in less sophisticated way. That there are two types of lies, important ones and unimportant ones. While you can get away with making the occasional unimportant lie, the real credibility gaps come from the concept that those who actually have the important information are not providing it, or not providing it accurately.

This is why it's so perplexing for so many of us how liberals can still be losing sleep nearly two years later over Trump claiming he had a larger inauguration crowd size than he did, but will forever excuse and defend "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance" or "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor".

It's probably got too many words and not enough pictures for some of you out there, but for the rest of you... it's worth the time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From $745.50 to $6.55

"An Evening with the Clintons" – projected gate $120 million – with tickets topping out at $745.50 per seat, depending on the city. Joint conversations to share "stories and inspiring anecdotes that shaped their historic careers," as per the event PR bumpf.
I'll give you a bite of my candy bar for your ticket?
Even though curtains were erected cutting the arena in half, the vacant seats far outnumbered the occupied ones. The U.K. Daily Mail reports that 3,300 tickets were sold in the Scotiabank Arena, which holds 19,800, 16.6% of capacity.
Perhaps even more humiliating, while ticket prices began at $53 (Canadian), the U.K. Daily Mail reported that "[o]ne ticket was going for $6.55 in the final minutes before the event."

What does the 53-47 Senate Majority achieve?

Obviously, with a Democratic majority in the House, there will no major conservative policies being passed into law over the next two year. So what to concentrate on? Well the answer from most everyone in the White House and Senate is obvious. Confirm Judges! 
Currently, there are 112 district court vacancies and 11 appellate vacancies on the federal bench. Going into this election, the Senate had confirmed 84 Trump judges.
If Trump fills all of the current vacancies, nearly one in four federal judges will have been appointed by Trump. This does not take into account any additional vacancies that could come up over the next two years. This could have a transformative effect on the judicial branch, and will likely figure heavily in the 2020 election as Trump will tout judges as a leading example of how he delivered for conservatives.

It's likely that with the House on a subpoena rampage, that McConnell will have a whole bunch of time on his hands. What better way to use that time, than to continue with Judicial appointee hearings and debate.

Of the 84 confirmed Judges from Trump's first term, many of them were appellate court nominees (which by nature are more important and take a little longer). This time around, Trump will be concentrating on those district court vacancies, where these cases garner their original decisions. It would be nice to see a few more District Court decisions go the "right" way, so that these appeals are having to come from the left (or wrong) side.

I suspect that McConnell and gang can rattle through those 123 vacancies in an expedited fashion.

It's official: GOP 53-47 in the Senate

In another race where the left pulled out all the stops (including many "just in the nick of time" nasty things coming out on Hyde-Smith) - the Republican won 54-46. This was probably a closer result than it would have been had it been during a normal election, but still a "long ways away" from an upset.

Cindy Hyde-Smith newest Senator 
We don't know for sure if some of the criticisms and attacks on Hyde-Smith were justified or even true, but by now we should expect that every Republican running anywhere in any special election will end being portrait as the second coming of Attila the Hun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Talk of Manafort Pardon heating up again?

Manafort accused of lying
Prosecutors with Mueller's legal team told a judge Monday that Manafort breached his cooperation agreement and lied to investigators, a new court filing showed. Manafort’s legal team has disputed that charge, telling a federal judge that the embattled former Trump adviser “believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement.”
In other words, Manafort isn't providing special counsel with the information that they would like to hear, so they are threatening him with a longer prison sentence. I think this provides a major hole in the rhetoric that Manafort is singing about Russian Collusion. The truth, as it has been reported by people in the know, is that Manafort's cooperation is in regards to bringing other people who committed similar crimes to him (rather than anything to do with Russia).  He had other business partners and associates who the Government would like to charge.

Either way, this seems to be a bad sign for Mueller and company. Anyone else getting a sense that the days of special counsel may be numbered?

Will the press corps dare challenge the rules?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Running? Sure sounds like it

“Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out”
"btw... Do chickens have large Talons?"

Border problems escalate

On Sunday, one of those protests, peaceful at first, turned chaotic when several hundred migrants broke away, overwhelming Mexican federal police officers before rushing a border fence and attempting to illegally enter the U.S.
In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers shut down both south and northbound traffic at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego for nearly six hours. The closure disrupted one of the busiest border crossings in the world at the tail end of a holiday weekend when border crossings are typically packed with travelers.
CBP officers also fired tear gas after some migrants threw projectiles at them, U.S. officials said.


So the President has offered that we just may need to shut down these border crossings more often or for longer periods of time. Permanently seems a bit drastic, but I certainly the "concept" has been tossed around. 

This, of course, would disrupt normal legal travel between the US and Mexico and likely piss off a lot of people. While my best guess is that many would be pissed at authorities, the Fed, or the President for taking the actions, the problem here is the "caravan". This is the added piece to the puzzle that doesn't otherwise fit. 

I will give credit where credit is due and say that Mexico has been doing their part in keeping events from getting further out of hand. They have been keeping them away from these border crossing areas as much as they can. 

The problem comes from those who are willing to suggest that members of the caravan should circumvent the laws and law enforcement and come across by any means necessary, and then once in America they can seek asylum and just sort of mingle into society.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Now what?

The Ohio State University? 

Puts up 567 yards and 62 points on College Football's best defense (and number four ranked team) and put themselves in the Big Ten championship against Northwestern (a game they should win). Dwayne Haskins lead the way with five touchdown passes giving him forty one for the year.

Best QB out of big ten since Drew Brees? 
Assuming Alabama wins out, Clemson wins out, and Notre Dame wins out, that leaves Oklahoma, UCF, and Ohio State really in the running. With the McKenzie Milton injury for UCF, hard to imagine that they will be placed in the Playoffs. Obviously things change if Georgia beats Alabama. Then everyone from the SEC will scream for two spots (again). While that may seem possible if Georgia and Alabama are both one loss teams, I think you would see a total meltdown by most everyone if the Selection Committee placed a two loss Georgia or LSU over both Big 12 champs Oklahoma and Big Ten champs Ohio State.

But assuming Alabama beats Georgia, Oklahoma seems to have the inside track with a higher ranking and basically the same record as OSU. Both teams have struggled to put teams away. Oklahoma won three of their last four games by five, one, and three, while the Buckeyes have struggled against Maryland, Nebraska, and had an embarrassing loss to Purdue (they seem to have one game every year in the Big Ten where they lose to a team they should beat - last year it was Iowa).

That being said, Ohio State was ranked number two before dropping 111 spots after their only loss. They played like a number two team today. Will the College Football playoffs end up with another year where the Big Ten champions are not represented? That didn't sit well last year for a conference that went 7-1 in bowl games in 2017.

Wishful punditry

Mueller and a Blue House Could Bring Down Trump
President Nixon started in a relatively weak position. His misdeeds came to light during a period of opposition-party control, with Democrats able and willing to wield Congress’s investigative powers to the fullest. Prior to the hearings, Nixon enjoyed approval ratings: in the mid-50s among all Americans and well over 80 percent among Republicans. By August 1973, the Watergate hearings had dragged them down to just 31 percent nationally and a paltry 58 percent among co-partisans.
On August 9, 1974, with bipartisan articles of impeachment hanging over him, Nixon resigned.
President Donald Trump has thus far had a very different experience. For the past two years, Republican control of Congress has protected him from the public exposure Nixon and his staff had to endure. Now that the Democrats have taken back the House, the Trump administration will face a challenge from which it has been immune thus far: a far-reaching, aggressive, and highly public investigation of the kind that brought down Nixon.
So this is someone who actually believes that the difference between the investigation into Trump and the investigation into Nixon is about who is conducting it? Sorry, ace, but the real difference between the investigation into Trump and the investigation into Nixon was that Nixon was guilty as sin of what he was accused of doing, and there was plenty of evidence available to hang him out to dry.

There simply isn't any evidence out there that Trump has committed any crimes, much to the chagrin of his critics.

Moreover, while I am not sure how things were back in when Nixon was President, here in 2018 almost nobody takes "congressional investigations" seriously. Certainly nobody believes that congress can investigate "better" than the FBI or a special counsel who has been appointed (with an unlimited budge) to do nothing but investigate something. If, in fact, it was the case that people trusted congressional investigations, then there would not have been any call for a special counsel in the first place. It was always the position of Trump critics that a special counsel was needed to get to the bottom of the 2016 election.
Democratic control will bring two new advantages in the war on Trump. First, congressional committees hold an arsenal of investigative tools that can be called on with only majority-party assent. Chief among them is Congress’s subpoena power—its ability to compel the production of documents or the sworn testimony of witnesses in furtherance of a congressional investigation. That power can be exercised to produce anything from Trump’s much-discussed but as yet unseen tax returns to public testimony from his senior staff and family members (especially those who fit both descriptions). Moreover, due to a 2015 rule change pushed through by House Republicans, most House committees can now issue subpoenas on the authority of the chairperson alone, including three of the committees most likely to go after Trump: Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs.
Well this is actually almost entirely false. While Congress has subpoena power, they are provided no more authority than the FBI or Special Counsel. If neither the FBI or special counsel has found any legitimate reason to subpoena the Presidents tax returns (for example) - then certainly Congress cannot do so. There are still fourth amendment protections involved, and Congressional oversight does not extend to what a President may or may not have done as a Private Citizen prior to him being President. In fact the authority of the Congressional oversight would fall far, far short of what the authority of Special Counsel would have. At least that was the argument from the left when they called so venomously for such an appointment to be made.
Second, Congress has the power to draw the results of any investigation into the harsh light of public scrutiny. The Watergate hearings were instrumental in bringing down Nixon because they forced Republicans to contend with damning testimony from the president’s closest aides, broadcast in prime time. Since Democrats today don’t control the Senate—let alone hold the two-thirds majority required for conviction on House impeachment charges—it’s all the more important for them to erode the president’s base of support before attempting impeachment.
This is "actually" what this is all about. Or at least it is in the world of wishful punditry. While Mueller is conducting an investigation behind the scenes, in a normal DOJ manner, Congress could demand that many of these witnesses testify publicly.

But again, the problem is that if Robert Mueller has not found any of these witnesses useful, and fails to tie the President or any of this close aides to Russia, then having these same witnesses testify publicly is not really going to turn public sentiment. The "assumption" that there is "damning testimony" just sitting out there if they call them before Congress is likely 100% back asswards wrong.

Now assuming that House Democrats would not start any competing investigation while Mueller is still doing his thing (and Congress would be silly to attempt to do so), whatever the House attempts will take place "after" Mueller has issued his report. By this time, I would believe that most of the country will want to put 2016 and Russia meddling "behind them" (especially if Mueller determines that there was no collusion). You are not going to change public opinion by having a bunch of House Democrats preening and chest thumping in front of the camera (which is what it would boil down to).
Republicans’ impeachment of Bill Clinton increased his approval rating as those on the left rallied around him. Today, Democrats would do well to keep their fingers off the trigger until the president’s approval has begun to crumble.
I think it would be more accurate to state that it was the entire concept of investigation after investigation over things that most of the country no longer cared about was what caused the backlash in Clinton's favor. The actual impeachment was just icing on the cake.

If the Mueller report comes up short, then the Democrats in the House stealing the baton and taking it for a run will likely just harden support with Trump voters, and probably create backlash from independents. The Democrats obviously have failed to learn from their experience with the Brett Kavanaugh fiasco, where they seemed to push way too hard over something that was dubious to start with. Time will tell if they make the same mistake of pushing more investigations into the Trump White House, at the expense of working across the aisle to solve problems.

Friday, November 23, 2018

About those emails

Nolte: 11 Reasons Comparing Ivanka’s Emails to Hillary’s Is Stupid

  1. Ivanka did not know she was doing anything wrong. Hillary did.
  2. Ivanka did not engage in a cover up by deleting her emails, which means no laws were broken regarding the Presidential Records Act. Hillary deleted 33,000 emails.
  3. No classified information passed through Ivanka’s personal email account. According to the FBI, Hillary sent or received over 100 emails containing classified information.
  4. Ivanka did not set up a secret server in the bathroom of her private home. Hillary did.
  5. Ivanka did not lie about her emails. Hillary lied repeatedly.
  6. Ivanka did not use BleachBit. Hillary used BleachBit to ensure no one would ever read the 33,000 emails she deleted.
  7. Ivanka did not use a hammer to smash phones as a means to ensure no one saw her emails. Hillary used a hammer to destroy multiple mobile devices.
  8. Ivanka did not deliberately attempt to hide her emails from the public and government. Hillary set up a secret server in her bathroom, deleted 33,000 emails with BleachBit, and took a hammer to her phones.
  9. This is the first time Ivanka has worked in government — which lends credibility to the fact she did not know she was violating policy. Hillary installed a secret server after serving for two decades in government.
  10. Ivanka was not properly trained on the use of government and personal email. Hillary was and signed a document to that effect.
  11. Hillary claimed those 33,000 deleted were related to children and “yoga routines.” While she has not made this claim, it would be more believable coming from Ivanka.
This sort of thing should be obvious to everybody, but unfortunately in this day in age, it's not.

While the left keeps demanding that there is some sort of hypocrisy involved because nobody on the right wants to "lock her up" (her being Ivanka) - the reality is that Hillary Clinton was never charged and deemed by liberal hero "James Comey" to have done nothing that any reasonable prosecutor would attempt to charge her for.

So the question because... if no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary for her email behavior, why would anyone believe that "any" prosecutor would demand that Ivanka Trump was breaking the law?

More to the point, in Government there are policies and laws. You can break policies and not necessarily be breaking law. While it may be against certain policies to conduct business on a personal email, rather than through your secured government issued email, it is against the "law" to send classified information over personal email.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A couple of past President celebrate Thanksgiving

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form  of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.

G. Washington


I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

A. Lincoln 


"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.

The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.

F.D. Roosevelt 

Happy Thanksgiving




Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Does anyone "actually" believe this?

More to the point, does anyone expect us to believe that the Chief Justice of the USSC doesn't understand that Republicans and Democrats nominate very different Judges?  Making this sort of statement is an insult to the collective intelligence of the United States citizenship. 


My bad... I suppose certain people actually might believe this and might spend a bunch of time repeating it all over the place like it means something tangible. But you cannot fix stupid.

Nate Silver redefines wave to declare that 2018 was a wave election...

Generally when you think about the concept of a "wave election" you think about one Party winning a whole bunch of seats, possibly flipping both chambers, and basically leaving the other Party openly licking their wounds.

In this vein, there has been some liberal criticism of the President for not acknowledging his awful defeat in the midterms. People point to George W Bush's acknowledgment that Republicans took a "thumping" in 2006, and Barack Obama's acknowledgement that his Party took a "shellacking". Certainly many on the left would like to hear Trump say something similar.

But does what Trump does, and in this case Trump is claiming victory. In his mind, the increase in Senate seats (thus an easier path for him to nominate cabinet members and Judges) was a win "for him". He also seems pretty happy with himself for his the success of Senate candidates that he stuck his neck out for. The reality is that Trump may not actually see this like the left does. This obviously has rankled liberals to the point of another fit of rage.

_______

But let's be clear. In 2006, the Democrats took over both the House and the Senate and claimed a clear majority of the Governor's seats. More to the point, the thumping was so overwhelming that not a single Democratic incumbent lost a race in 2006. Like 2018, Republicans lost over 30 seats in the House, but they also lost 6 Senate and Governor's seats.

In 2010, the Democrats lost an amazing 63 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate, and 6 seats in the Governor's races. They also lost 680 seats in state legislative races. This was one of the most lopsided midterms in history. According to a metric created by Sean Trende, only the 1994 contract with America Gingrich revolution was a larger wave.

Drilling into the metric set up by Trende, a wave would come in at around 40 points (which is an objective complicated formula to measure gains by one party or the other). By Trende's definition, there have been only  five "wave" elections. This would sort of make sense, as you have to make some distinction from a "wave" election to something that was just a "good result". Certainly everytime a chamber flips,  you cannot demand that it was a "wave".

In fact, according to Trende's definition, the 2006 thumping fell short of being a "wave" calculating out to 30 points and placing 8th in terms of election results for one Party or the other. While some may quibble whether or not that election should be defined as a wave, Trende is being objectively consistent. By that measure, certainly if 2006 is not a wave, then 2018 isn't one.

By this same metric, the 2018 election scored a 24. It didn't even penetrate the top ten for election success. Much of this falls to the simple point that the Democrats lost four incumbents in the Senate and lost Senate seats overall, allowing the Republicans to increase their majority in that chamber. Moving down the ballot, while there were losses at the state legislative level, they were approximately half of what we saw in 2010.  Certainly 2018 remains a good outcome for Democrats, but falls far short of previous elections, and likely short of many expectations going in.

_______

So how did Nate Silver determine that this was a "wave election"? Basically by ignoring the underlying concept that wave elections are about net results. Like everything that is Nate Silver, he decided to redefine traditional parameters and traditional methodology. For example, attempting to declare that voter turnout can be seen as one parameter, and then total votes as another parameter (as if they are not actually the same parameter). He cites things as voter turnout among hispanics, voter turnout of young people, as well as the fact that Independent broke for Democrats as being responsible for making 2018 a "wave" election. At the end of the day, Silver's opinions sounds more to me like a normal analysis of why Democrats had a "good" year, and fall way short of explaining why a Party that lost seats in one chamber, fell well short of expectations, but still had a historical "wave" result.

This is nothing new to the twenty first century political gamesmanship. If you cannot claim something is what you want it to be, you simply do away with the old definition and replace it with one you made up on the fly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Get Ready for WWIII ??

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Retire from the US Supreme Court in January, 2019
While the Nation is preoccupied with the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, it appears there will soon be another vacancy on the US Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had a re-occurrence of malignant melanoma, she has told her law clerks. Ginsburg was treated in 1999 for colon cancer and had surgery in 2009 for pancreatic cancer.
She has told key Democratic members of the Senate about her medical condition, including ranking Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein. This explains in part the "take no prisoners" attitude of the Democrats during the Kavanaugh nomination, carefully orchestrating weak 37 year old allegations against Kavanaugh by Women he barely remembers knowing in High School and College.

Now to be clear... this is not being "widely reported" - and the Santa Monica Observer is not exactly Reuters, so it's unclear exactly how accurate this report is. Heck, it's not even made it's way to the Drudge Report as of yet. And Drudge is not exactly shy about linking to dubious sources if the story is interesting enough. So my gut feeling is that this may not actually be a real "scoop".

But it would explain why the underlying attacks on Judge Kavanaugh seemed so over the top and oh so desperate. It also is something extremely interesting to casually "chat about" in a non emotional manner.

There is no question that if Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires from the USSC that the collective liberal psyche will explode.

Presidential approvals "quietly" sneak back up

So, most certainly, Trump has never seen the approvals that Obama enjoyed during his first few months of his Presidency. Shortly after taking office, Obama's approvals had been over 65%. But on this exact date eight years ago, Obama's approval rating sat at 46%. By the end of November, Obama's approvals had fell to 45.4%.


On the flip side, Trump's approvals started out under 50%, has never been higher than 50%,  and has dropped as low as 37%. But here he stands heading into Thanksgiving at 44.5%, within a single point of where Obama was.

Now that the election is over, the political rhetoric has calmed down a bit, it is time for people to start to expect actual action and results from their political leaders. This will likely help the President moving forward.

On the objective action and results front, Trump's Presidency has far exceeded that of Obama's at the same time. Had Obama not been such a "darling" of the media, while Trump being a target of relentless negativity from that same group.... there is little doubt that the person in charge today would have had much higher approvals than the person in charge eight years ago.

Either way, I think I would prefer to be the guy who has seen his approvals improve to 45% rather than be the President who dropped from 65% to 45%.

New "Acosta" Rules.... Media complains!

The new White House rules of Press Conference decorum:
  1. a journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then yield the floor
  2. a follow-up question will be permitted at the discretion of the President or the White House and then the journalist must yield the floor
  3. "yielding the floor" includes if necessary physically surrendering the microphone
  4. Failure to abide by any of the rules (1-3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.
_______

“These rules would enable any even half-competent speaker to avoid answering any and all questions posed to them by the press. The @WHCA should strongly oppose this move by the White House.”

“This looks like they’re creating rules that are very easy to break and are likely to go unenforced until the government decides they want to make an example of somebody,” 


"So now the WH is telling reporters what they can and can't do. I hope the reporters do not play ball."

"would love to see MSM press unite and boycott- no trump on tv, basic coverage by AP and let the room be empty and no reporters following him around. an empty room and plane and zero tv coverage and he will go bananas."

_______

Well I think certain people miss the point. The President doesn't speak at these press conferences everyday, the Press Secretary does. If the Press Secretary decided to just provide statements, rather than Press conferences, why would the President care?

Moreover, people like Jim Acosta "live" for these events. In fact, while these press conferences are a small part of what the White House does, it's one of the most important factors of being a White House correspondent for a news outlet. What good is being a special correspondent to the White House if you don't have any special correspondence with the White House?

The reality is that it has been the President and the White House who have suggested on numerous occasions that they would simply stop holding Press Conferences, if behavior didn't improve.

And let's be clear here folks. If CNN and MSNBC decided to boycott Trump (and stopped their non-stop attack coverage on the President), Trump's ratings would go up, while CNN and MSNBC would watch their ratings fall below your average public access channel.

Will these rules be evenly enforced? Maybe and maybe not. But if the media wants to complain about the new rules of decorum, perhaps they should take a look in the mirror, instead of pointing the finger elsewhere.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Trump will kick out Acosta or stop press conferences

So in the Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, the President was asked about the Jim Acosta ruling. Trump sort of let it roll off his back as no big deal, but suggested that they were already addressing the concept of creating a "code of conduct" for Reporters.


He suggested that moving forward, that it will be possible that Acosta would have to be removed again, or that Press conferences may have to end.

It's almost as if the White House is treating this like you might treat an outbreak of bad behavior by a bunch of children. After the children prove that they cannot behave without set rules, the adults in charge end up having to set up a list of rules, with consequences, along with the promise that if things don't improve that the whole activity might have to end.

Already, many media outlets are suggesting that the CNN/Acosta lawsuit, and the subsequent ruling might be a short term victory, with serious long term consequences for everyone in the media.

How anti-gun liberals are made!

Democrats will believe anything... even if nobody is claiming it!

So let's take a close look at this poll question by Economist/YouGov.

Did Russia "tamper with vote tallies to get Donald Trump elected".

We could start by asking why anyone would even "ask" this question. There is no serious accusation of this. Neither the FBI or Mueller has ever made any suggestion that vote tampering has been even considered as a subject of investigation, much less made any suggestion that there is any evidence of any tampering of our vote. In spite of not even a credible allegation of vote tampering by anyone at all, the poll asks whether or not our election tallies where tampered with by a foreign entity.

The suggestion itself is ludicrous.



Yet here we are, looking at a poll that suggests that literally two thirds (67%) of Democrats believe that the Russians tampered with the vote tallies. Two thirds of Democrats believe a fairly random allegation, in spite of the fact that such an allegation has not actually been made by anyone with any credibility.

I can only guess that the question was added to see just how gullible and paranoid the American public is when it comes to Russia and the 2016 election. Democrats provided proof positive that they are over the top on both accounts.

I'd say it's getting to the point where you need to get yourself some treatment.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Shocker

Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes Submits Resignation
Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount on Sunday, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation. “It is true. She did send it,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Recount over in Florida

BILL NELSON TAPS OUT! 
 (officially concedes) 

Original Totals:
Scott - 4,097,689
Nelson - 4,085,086
Margin - 12,603

New Totals:
Scott 4,099,505 (+1816)
Nelson 4,089,472 (+4386)
New Margin - 10,033 (-2570)

So to say it bluntly. This recount has proven what most people already know. Democrats cannot follow basic instructions and properly fill out ballots. According to recount statistics, liberals are approximately two and a half times more likely to fill out their ballot in a manner that does not get picked up by a scanner.

Florida will be introducing a new law where all Democrats must be accompanied by a Republican when they fill out their ballots, to make sure they do it right!

In spite of only winning fourteen counties Nelson picked up more new votes than Scott in fifty eight out of sixty seven counties. Scott only picked up more votes in six counties (the largest being seven votes), while there were three counties that were a complete wash.

Broward led the pack with an net increase for Nelson of 627 votes (and they apparently did use their original machine counts rather than the recounts). Miami Dade netted 355 votes for Nelson. Orange county was a plus 345 for Nelson. Hillsborough found an additional 168 (and also did not use their recount totals), while Palm Beach came with a net 148 votes.

Either way, the manual hand recount only added an additional 6202 votes, or approximately 0.075 of a percent of the overall vote total of 8,188,977 votes. They went 70/30 for Nelson.

The overall over/under votes counted was 93,310 (more than originally suggested). This means approximately 6.6% of them ended up being actual votes, which is even less than the 10% originally offered as the realistic high end possibility.

When you know you are about to get fired anyways

Broward County’s ballot recount hit yet another snag Saturday with 2,040 ballots lost or misplaced.
The county’s eternally beleaguered Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said they either misplaced, misfiled or mixed in with another stack.
One thing she said she was sure of: “The ballots are in this building.”
“There would be nowhere else for them to be,” Snipes said. “The ballots are in the building. The ballots are in the building.”

So this appears to goes back to the fact that the recount numbers showed less votes than the original count from election night. Originally it was thought to most likely be an issue where they double counted something on election night (by resorting counted ballots into a group of ballots still to be counted).

But now they are arguing that they must have been "lost" between the original counts and machine counts. They are apparently bound and determined to "find them" and according to some, Snipes isn't wanting to submit Broward County's totals until they do.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that either Snipes does not want to submit totals that hurt Nelson (or more specifically the Democrat in the State Agriculture commissioner race which is very close) or she is looking for a way to push off today's deadline to avoid having the Secretary of State declare Rick Scott the winner.

I guess the longer you delay, the better chance there is that you can figure some way out to steal this election. One thing is clear, Snipes is on her way out and is acting like she has nothing to lose.

Sunday Funnies

















Saturday, November 17, 2018

NY Times get it - just a matter of time

Acosta will need to either curb his behavior or accept he will lose his pass 
(no constitutional right to be a total douchebag)

More on the Acosta decision

This is one of those things that is oh so confusing for liberals. They simply don't understand how it is that a Trump appointee could rule against Trump. The expectations from the left, of course, is that Judges are just an extension of politics, and that it's a conservative Justice's job to vote in favor of Republicans, just as it's a liberal Justice's job to vote in favor of Democrats.

But in this case, as silly as it might seem to many, the Trump appointee did exactly what you would probably expect. Judge Kelly is a member of the D.C. Circuit. There was already a fairly solid (albeit not perfect) D.C. ruling previously made on this exact subject. Kelly made his ruling almost entirely based on that precedent.

The ruling did not (as some suggest) address the first amendment arguments made by CNN and Acosta. Rather it stuck strictly (as did the precedent) that these sorts of moves cannot be just be arbitrarily made, but rather must be made within the scope of some sort of set process and right of appeal. It was addressed entirely as a due process issue.

To be clear, no such process or right to appeal has ever existed. But I would expect that to change.

While Trump could appeal this to the D.C. Circuit court of appeals, it's unlikely (given the way that the ruling was written) that they would be successful. Their better option would be to create a new code of conduct for any and all reporters who come to these press conferences. They (for instance) could create a policy that demands that only Reporters who are called upon can ask questions, and that a Reporter who is asked a question can only ask a limited number of follow up question regarding the same subject. In fact, they could write this code of conduct with the obvious intention of preventing the exact behavior that Acosta is known for.

They could then create a process whereas those who violate the code of conduct is subject to a variety of disciplinary actions, such as a suspension of their pass for first offenses, a longer suspension for second offenses, leading up to a revocation of the pass for too many offenses. Reporters would know the rules, and understand the consequences. It would no longer be "legally" seen as an arbitrary decision.  Obviously they would have to allow for some sort of appeal policy (although it probably wouldn't have to be very robust). It would just have to exist.

Then they simply refuse to call on Acosta press conference after press conference. Effectively "freeze him out". They would simply wait for him to have his temper tantrum, then hit him with the disciplinary action. At this point I would doubt even CNN would bother fighting it in court.

Trumponomics prompt record setting revenues!

As Predicted, GOP Tax Cuts Prompt Record Tax Revenues
And now from all that increased economic activity, the federal government has just reported historic record tax revenues in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, of $252,692,000,000.
That’s more than $11.4 billion above revenue for October of last year, which was the previous record tax revenue for an October.
The new revenues were the result of increased business taxes because of increased business. Here’s how much different it was:
Corporation income tax receipts to the U.S. Treasury this year in October were a whopping $8,000,000,000. This compares to the previous October’s $3.8 billion.

So to be clear, tax cuts cannot prevent an increase in spending, which has been the culprit in why our deficits have continued to rise (even as revenues are hitting all time highs). So if someone wants to criticize our Federal spending, then have at it!

Just be sure that if you want to complain about deficits (and by proxy spending) then make sure you have a solid plan to reduce both. Realistically, that simply does not happen unless you (gasp) cut into entitlement spending. Of course, cutting into entitlement spending is not happening anytime soon, especially while the Democrats control the house.

The concept that reducing taxes will reduce revenues is a theory that has been proven wrong over and over and over and over and over again, and then disproven once more. Democrats always attempt to link deficits with tax cuts, when one literally has nothing to do with the other 100 times out of a 100.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Congratulations to Senator Rick Scott!!!


Broward County / Miami Dade Hand Count Update

Fat lady sings! 

In Critical Broward County, Hope for Bill Nelson Fades as Hand Recount Begins 
Last Saturday, Marc Elias, an election attorney working for Nelson, told reporters on a call that he expected the hand recount to give Nelson the lead. “We expect that when we get to a hand recount, we’re going to see a significant jump in the total number of votes counted versus the machines,” he said. “Based on just the demographics and the partisan breakdown of various counties, I think you’re going to see a significant increase in the Nelson vote share.”
But in Broward, that does not appear to be happening. People circulating among the tables observed the same thing. Two observers, one for each party, both estimated that 90 percent of the ballots being recounted were “no votes.” An hour and a half into the hand recount of thousands of ballots, the work appeared almost done.

Wow... isn't that amazing? I suggested that only about 10% of the over/under votes would end up being counted as votes. And look what happened in Broward County? Only about 10% of the ballots were found to include votes.

On top of that, it would appear that a good portion (over half) of the 54K under/overvotes are from Broward county. That leaves probably around another 20,000 more under/overvote ballots to count statewide.

No need to tell me I was right.

10000 Miami Dade under/overvotes yield just over 500 new votes (or just over 5%). Nelson picked up a net gain of 181 votes.
Miami-Dade made short work of some 10,000 undervotes and overvotes, combing through them all in a matter of hours to determine that Nelson gained 348 votes to Scott’s 167. Christina White, the county’s appointed elections supervisor, shared the manual recount results shortly before 1 p.m.

That pretty much mathematically seals the fate.

Will Republicans help Nancy Pelosi become speaker again?

Rumor has it that some in the Republican caucus believe that it might serve Republicans well to have Nancy Pelosi (rather than some younger more politically favorable candidate) win the speakership.

Nancy may not have the votes from Democrats, but what if Republicans help?

Apparently certain GOP members are thinking of voting "present" in order to lower the threshold for Pelosi to win, or even vote in her favor if must be (gasp). After all, she may be a political asset for the Republicans.


More bad news for Nelson

So apparently the machine recounts in Broward, Hillsborough, and Palm Beach all came up short of the totals that they reported on election night. All three of these counties missed the deadline, and so these discrepancies were not counted in the official machine recount totals. Broward county's machine recount yielded a net gain of 767 votes for Scott.

The smallish gain Scott received (0.15 to 0.154) from the mandatory machine recounts came from other counties.

But according to Florida officials, those new machine count totals will be included in their manual recount totals... or so it would seem. Obviously you cannot allow counties to pick and choose whether to submit a new vote total based on whether it helps or hurts a candidate. So it would seem fundamentally illegal that Florida would use Broward's original vote count of the machine counted ballots, simply because a new one was sent in 2 minutes late. Especially when another recount was ordered after the first one. Otherwise every county would play that same game of deciding whether or not they should submit a new vote total. Everyone would wait till the last possible moment.

There isn't a Judge in the state of Florida or in the Federal court system that would allow this sort of tomfoolery to stand.

So basically (one way or the other) Scott starts the manual recount knowing he has already banked a net gain of 767 votes in Broward County. Scott is also expected to see a net vote gain in Hillsborough after they also came up 846 votes short of their election night totals. Lastly, Palm Beach county is said to have had "missing ballots" that left both candidates short of their election night totals. Although officials in that county believe it was more likely a machine failure during the second recount that explain the missing votes, rather than the possibility that they too may have counted more ballots on election night than they actually had.

Either way, the counties that Nelson would have expected to find most of the votes necessary will start in the hole. Based on previous recount experiences, it is unlikely that Broward will find anything close to the amount of extra votes from under/over and mismatched provisional ballots to offset the 767 votes that Scott has already banked. Hillsborough will be in the same boat, and who knows if Palm Beach county will find the "significant" amount of lost ballots that would likely cost Nelson more votes. Palm Beach may have to rerun their entire machine recount a second time, or face the very real possibility of having their original vote totals be their final vote total.

_______

It's been reported that there are a reported 53769 under and overvotes statewide. While this sounds like a lot of potential votes, the operative word is potential. Let's say (for argument sake) that half of these votes were actually mistaken as either under or overvotes. Let's say that for whatever reasons, Nelson carries these votes by a resounding 70/30 margin (40%).

53769*0.50 = 26885  
26885*0.40 = 10754

In this case (which would be a result that would far exceed any and every statistical anomaly that Nelson could ever hope for)  Nelson would pick up 10754 votes and Scott still holds a lead of about 1850 votes. That doesn't even count adding back in the Broward or Hillsborough machine recounts, which would add an additional 800 votes or more to Scott's total. 

A more likely scenario is that only about 10% of these votes will be found to be valid votes, and at best you will see one candidate win those votes by a margin of 55-45 (10%). 

53769*0.10 = 5377
26885*0.10 = 538

Given this scenario, the 538 votes would represent a significantly larger than average (300) net vote total change for a hand recount. So by that standard, even the 538 vote might be a little high.

Either way, Nelson is not going to win this recount.