Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Susan Rice, John Brennan, Samantha Power named in new Subpoenas

Investigation starts into "unmasking" of intelligence...
Three of the nation’s intelligence agencies received subpoenas Wednesday afternoon issued by the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News has confirmed, with each of the three demands for documents explicitly naming three top officials of the Obama administration: Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s White House national security adviser; former CIA Director John Brennan; and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power.
This was just a matter of time... Now we get to see which investigation actually has more legs.

Kathy Griffin Fired as host of annual New Year's Eve show...

Politico confuses media spin with reality...

Kushner tries to pretend everything’s normal 
Trump’s son-in-law is back in the West Wing and continuing to lead meetings despite the rising tide of Russia-related questions.
There has been no rallying the troops in the White House, and no open acknowledgment from President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that he has transformed from behind-the-scenes West Wing power broker to its lead distracting story.
Kushner led three meetings in the West Wing on Tuesday — and never once acknowledged the stories about him that have dominated cable news since last week, when it was reported that during the campaign he discussed setting up a secret communications back channel to Moscow.
Let's start with the obvious. Jared Kushner is no doubt smarter than anyone at Politico. He has a degree in Government from Harvard, and has both a Law degree and a Masters of Business from NYU. He also has an Army of attorneys at his disposal.

Given Kushner and his attorneys have actually been in touch with the FBI first hand, it would seem rather obvious that if anyone actually knows the potential legal ramifications, that it would be Kushner and his legal team (not the crack pot reporters from Politico). If Kushner is going about his business as if he is not worried about the FBI, it's probably because he is not worried about the FBI for good reason.

Moreover, if Kushner is not distracted by the media buzz over the story, perhaps it's because he doesn't care enough about the media buzz to let it distract him. Not everyone has Donald Trump's desire to wallow in the latest headlines and trade fire with the media.

I think the writers at Politico should really work on grounding themselves here.  While they may believe that the main stream media can set a narrative and create a news buzz... when push comes to shove that narrative doesn't replace reality. Perhaps if they joined reality for a little while, it might dawn on them why Kushner doesn't appear particularly worried about either the FBI or the media stories about the FBI.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fair and balance leaking

Source: Russians broached idea of back line communications... not Kushner 
A December meeting between Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and one of the senior advisers in the Trump administration, and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower focused on Syria, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News Monday.
During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News. That follows a recent report from The Washington Post alleging that Kushner wanted to develop a secure, private line with Russia.
The idea of a permanent back channel was never discussed, according to the source. Instead, only a one-off for a call about Syria was raised in the conversation.
In addition, the source told Fox News the December meeting focused on Russia's contention that the Obama administration's policy on Syria was deeply flawed.
The source has told Fox News that Kushner is eager to tell Congress about the meeting and any others of interest.

Well, there you go. How will the liberals (who seem very taken with the concept of unnamed sources) react to the unnamed source that is stating that the meeting was all about how flawed the Obama policy was in regards to Syria... and that it was Kislyak (not Kushner) who apparently made the "naive rookie mistake" of suggesting back channel communications?

My guess is that they will demand that unnamed sources are not reliable when they provide information to FOX News. They will demand that unnamed sources can only be trusted when they leak to the Washington Post and Politico. You know, something with the typical liberal hypocrisy attached to it.

Personally, I take it all with a grain of salt. The only thing that we can be assured of is that there was a meeting that took place where Kushner and Kislyak quite obviously had conversations about mutual concerns. What they spoke about and who brought up what will probably never be known to us for sure.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sorry Liberals... you lost your right to any moral high ground...

Here are the facts:
  • James Comey stated that Hillary Clinton was "extremely careless" in handling classified information.
  • James Comey stated that there was in fact evidence of criminal activity, but that there was no "intent" or "Mens rea" to bring charges.
  • James Comey stated in the hearing that an FBI employee acting in that manner would have had security access revoked and would have likely been fired.
  • Hillary Clinton lied repeated under oath during congressional inquiries (in both written and verbal statements). No charges were brought.
  • Hillary Clinton wiped a server clean "after" it has been subpoenaed by the FBI. No charges were brought.
  • The Obama DOJ limited the time the FBI had to question Clinton, and did not allow them to put her under oath at all. 
  • Hillary Clinton charity foundation took money from foreign entities that had business before the State department. This was never even investigated.

After all that...  you voted for her to become the President of the United States. 

Sorry Liberals: You obviously don't think politicians have to follow any rules. 

So at this point in time, you have given up you right to demand anyone from the Trump administration have security clearance taken away, or to demand that anyone obstructed justice, or that there is some sort of security or intelligence crime. Especially not for paperwork errors, vague statements, or conspiracy theories with absolutely zero evidence to back it.

Trumping the Paris deal...

I guess Obama probably regrets not going to the Senate and convincing them to ratify the Paris Agreement. Had he done so, then it wouldn't be possible for the next President to simply "undo" what Obama and his team had worked rather hard to get done.

The lack of Senate ratification, in and of itself, is reason enough for me to support our President deciding to "trump" the previous agreement. Not that I believe the agreement was otherwise in our best interests (it wasn't). But as a matter or principle, future Presidents should now see the folly of trying to avoid Senate ratification when it comes to signing international agreements.

What does Memorial Day mean anymore?

It is a little bit sad how few patriots we really have left in this country. It's even more sad how few people feel that being a patriot is a good thing. You fly an American flag on your front lawn, or put an American flag sticker on your car and many people scorn. To some, it's only one step above the confederate flag. I was told recently that flying an American flag was akin to telling the world you were a Republican (and by default a bigot and racist). She explained in great detail the historical symbolism of the flag and gave every reason why she could never be proud of it. While I have no doubt that more Republicans probably fly flags than Democrats, leave it to an angry 2017 millennial to make the American flag a partisan issue.

My father was Vietnam war vet who fortunately made it home without physical injury. Vietnam was in many ways the beginning of the end as it pertained to military patriotism. With the exception of Desert Shield (liberating Kuwait) we have not had a war since (and including Vietnam) that hasn't torn this country apart. One might think that we could give some deference to the troops and at least pretend to support them (after all it's their lives on the line), but unfortunately the politics will way too often get in the way.

In 2017 we no longer come together as a country. Most every American norm and expectation of unity has been left behind, as partisanship, distrust, and identity politics continue to drive wedges and create silos. There is more than enough blame to go around. This is not the fault of Republicans or Democrats. The fault lies with the fact that we seem more eager to fight among ourselves than fight the bigger fight against our known enemies.

Open Mic -

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Question of the day...

Why would Jared Kushner be asking Russians to create a back channel of communications?

Wouldn't it make sense that they already have one, considering all of that election collusion that they have been able to hide from our intelligence communities?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Do they have it backwards?

So many people are justifiably upset at all of the high level leaking that has been going on pretty much since the election was completed... Many of these same people are justifiably upset at what seems to be either illegal spying on American citizens, or the unmasking of American citizens caught up on otherwise legal spying of foreign agents.

Reality here folks:

  • All of the leaking is unethical and a decent portion of it is illegal.
  • Any spying of Americans without valid reason or warrant is illegal.
  • Any unmasking of American citizens is illegal if this information is leaked. 

But not only do many people on the left feel that these unethical and illegal activities are justified, they feel that somehow the intelligence community has some sort of "right" to do this. 

Such would be the only explanation for any outrage over the recent anonymous reports regarding Jared Kushner working with the Russians to try and establish a means of communications that would otherwise fall outside the scope of what they currently know as being monitored.

Now assuming this report is true (although it's likely not) who would blame the Trump administration for doing so. The reality here folks is that nobody within the IC has the right to monitor the communications of the President or the President's advisers. Not unless they have a legal warrant, which would require some form of probable cause to spy on them. 

But it certainly seems that the IC has been keeping close tabs on the President and his advisers, and have been quick to break the law in leaking a variety of information to the press. 

Yet... by the reaction of the left... they seem to believe that it must actually be illegal for the President and his staff to want to communication in a manner that doesn't get caught up in what is actually quite illegal behavior by our intelligence community.

The reality is that the President should be able to communicate with whoever he has to communicate with (foreign or domestic) without having those conversations monitored and leaked to the Press. It would be unfortunate if the President and our IC ended up playing some sort of cat and mouse game. But let's not lose sight of the fact that it wouldn't be because the President is acting unethically or breaking the law... it would be because the IC is.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gianforte slams Quist

So the final total looks to be between six and seven points. Obviously nobody knows for sure how the WWE beat down effected the race, but to the degree that it didn't actually swing the race to the Democrat (as many people speculated) just proves that partisanship is still ruling the day for most people.

Nate Silver and gang suggest that this particular margin provides the opportunity for a lot of different "takes" on what happen. In other words, there can be a legitimate argument made here for pretty much all points of view. It could easily be argued that this result proves that the Democrats are running ahead of normal expectations. Or it could be argued that even under circumstances that seem to be aligned by the gods that Democrats still come up short when it counts.

Moreover, there is at least as much evidence out there that suggests special elections mean very little as there is evidence that suggests special elections are always a indicator of how the next election will go.

What we know for sure is that the Democrats did not pick up this seat, and the chances of them picking it up in 2018 is next to nothing. Moreover, the Democrat once again "lost". One can sense that there is a growing frustration by many Democrats with the concept of "moral victories".  They would like a real one for a change. I would suspect that anything short of an outright win in Georgia 6  would be very damaging to the morale of the rank and file Democrat.

*Photoshop by Ethan Johnson

Pew confirms... way fewer refugees admitted under Trump

Seems that I was right once again when I suggested that the admission of refugees had been slowed considerably since Trump has become President. (although there is not a national breakdown on where they come from, Minnesota numbers confirm that there are almost no refugees coming here from the seven countries on the travel ban).

While there was already a downward projection in late 2016, you can see how drastically things were cut once Trump took over at the end of January. The March numbers are truly amazing compared to the October numbers of last year.

The reality is that it doesn't really matter what the "ceiling" is... there is no requirement to meet that ceiling, just a requirement to stay under it. So when the State Department raises or lowers that ceiling, it doesn't automatically produce neither more or less refugees. It's a guideline, nothing more.

Meanwhile, the concept that some judge can overrule the Administration on how many refugees are admitted into the country borders on the advocacy of a constitutional crisis of sorts. The "separation" of powers is such that certain matters are just not allowed to be determined by someone just because they wear a robe and are called "your honor".

Need to get to the bottom of the leaks

Now that our alliance of intelligence community felons and left wing media outlets have damaged our credibility with our allies... will something be done? 

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said this morning that key surveillance programs won't be reauthorized by Congress until questions about intelligence "unmasking" are answered.
That would be one way to get to the bottom of this. The "deep state" may feel a little invincible lately, but how good would they feel if they were not getting funded? I believe it's time to step up the game and hold some people accountable. Otherwise, the actual elected officials might start to become irrelevant.

Meanwhile the deep state continues to cause tangible harm with loose lips:  ‘Furious’ British Police Suspend Intelligence Sharing with United States Following Manchester Bombing Leaks
The world’s closest intelligence sharing arrangement is in jeopardy after key details and photographs from the Manchester bombing were apparently leaked by United States’s law enforcement sources to domestic journalists, leaving Manchester Police and the British government — who are collecting and analysing the finds — “furious”. The United Kingdom has now stopped passing intelligence gathered as part of the investigation into the Manchester bombing to the United States according to claims made by the British state broadcaster BBC.The world’s closest intelligence sharing arrangement is in jeopardy after key details and photographs from the Manchester bombing were apparently leaked by United States’s law enforcement sources to domestic journalists, leaving Manchester Police and the British government — who are collecting and analysing the finds — “furious”. 
The United Kingdom has now stopped passing intelligence gathered as part of the investigation into the Manchester bombing to the United States according to claims made by the British state broadcaster BBC.
Later further leaked intelligence including detailed crime scene information, and photographs of shrapnel, a backpack, and a battery were released by The New York Times. The BBC report states the “likely” culprit of the leaks are U.S. law enforcement officials who will have received access to the data through the transatlantic ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence sharing agreement, rather than the White House.

I am a whiny liberal who is proudly claiming I got my ass kicked by a 56 year old conservative...

Beautiful snowflake claims he was body slammed
and it caused him to spilled his latte 

Formerly a different story

Now  (by popular demand) an open thread about a Montana congressional candidate who was cited for misdemeanor charges of assault after altercation with reporter!

Political reporter says Montana candidate ‘BODY SLAMMED’ him

Footage from the scene... 

  • Reporter claims there was choking, body slamming, and punching
  • Campaign claims reporter was instigator, made first contact, and both fell to the ground
  • Local police found probable cause to cite Greg Gianforte with misdemeanor assault, but no cause for felony assault   

Bottom line: I couldn't give a bigger rip one way or the other. And I have almost zero faith in the ability of any reporter to actually tell the truth anymore. Sorry. I prefer to believe the local police and will wait till the facts are out there.... then I will still not give a bigger rip.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Obama budgets projected 5% to 6% growth...

In 2011 Obama's proposed budget included the following projections for GDP growth
  • 2012 16,203
  • 2013 17,182 = 6%
  • 2014 18,139 = 5.6%
  • 2015 19,190 = 5.8%
  • 2016 20,163 = 5%
Those numbers were later revised to:
  • FY 2012 15,602
  • FY 2013 16,335 = 4.7%
  • FY 2014 17,156 = 5%
  • FY 2015 18,178 = 6%
  • FY 2016 19,261 = 6%

Meanwhile the left is going crazy with exasperation over the fact that Trump's budget is projecting GDP growth of 3%... with some liberal critics demanding such projections of growth to be insane and the equivalent of "putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "na na na."

Apparently if Obama couldn't reach his growth goals by promoting damaging economic regulations, raising taxes, taking over the healthcare insurance industry, and deficit spending to the tune of a few trillion dollars... then the concept of a Trump economy achieving approximately half of that same projected growth would seem sacrilegious.

Or more to the point... the left cannot possibly fathom a world where Trump economic policies might actually exceed Obama economic policies.

Report: Leak sources identified
People to be fired

According to Trey Yingst of One America News Network, Team Trump has identified three sources of the leaks flowing so liberally from the White House. He also reports that “multiple people” will be fired when President Trump returns from his trip abroad. Yingst also says the possibility of criminal prosecution is on the table.
This is obviously an unsubstantiated report at this point, but unlike many of the unsourced stories out there, this seems more than plausible. If you assume that even a fraction of the leaked stories are true, then identifying the source of the leaks would be a matter of simple deduction and process of elimination. I would suspect that they are fairly certain about three, wonder about others and will no doubt fire "more" than they should rather than "less" than they should.

As far as criminal prosecution goes, I see no problems with putting some law enforcement into the mix. As pointed out by the Powerline, leaking embarrassing information is not a crime. Reading the contents of classified documents to reporters would be.  Certainly there is enough investigating of things currently going on that are nearly impossible to prove and may or may not even be crimes. We can afford to actually investigate a known crime with a limited amount of people who could possibly be involved. If it can be proven, then they should prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. The incoming FBI director should be making a similar pledge to the country that they will fire and prosecute leakers as well.

Now here is my prediction surrounding all of this.

Assuming all of this goes down as suggested and Trump fires a bunch of people and orders investigations... the media will be besides themselves with indignation. After all, where would they be without their "unnamed" sources? So they will offer one of two narratives (or possibly both).
  • That the firings somehow represent more evidence of obstruction 
  • That they are being done to simply deflect attention from the Russian collusion narrative
Anyone think I am wrong?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump's first big trip...

So far so good! 
This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between Good and Evil.

Liberal Logic...

  • Hillary Clinton deletes 30,000 emails, then wipes her server clean "after" receiving a federal subpoena to turn it over. 
  • The AG met in secret with Bill Clinton just before announcement regarding the investigation. 
  • All of the aids that were thought to potential co-defendants were given criminal immunity by the AG. 
  • The AG made sure that the FBI was never allowed to question Clinton under oath.    
  • The evidence gathered by the FBI was never allowed to reach a Grand Jury for possible indictment. 

But it's Donald Trump who should be charged with obstruction of Justice? 

Harvard Study exposes media...

I had a recent conversation with a Trump supporter I know. We talked about accomplishments and failures of the first few months. When asked point blank if he was happy with how Trump was doing, he responded that yes... he was happy with what he was doing. Some of the things he cited:

  • Neil Gorsuch
  • Firing James Comey
  • DJIA at all time highs
  • Consumer confidence rebounding
  • Jobs 
  • Renegotiation of trade deals
  • 70% drop in border crossings
  • 50% increase in ICE arrests
  • huge reduction in refugees from the middle east
  • Undoing of "job killing" environmental policies
  • Instructing prosecutors to prosecute
  • Undoing restrictions on police
  • Bombing of ISIS
  • Bombing of Syria

There were probably more, but I don't recall them off the top of my head. Overall I tend to agree with the assessment that these have all been "successes" by the Trump administration, even though they may not all be reported that way. At the very least, they are considered successes to those who voted for Donald Trump. The only negative he had was that the "wall" was not being built, but he blamed that on Congress, not Trump. When pressed on the travel ban, he attacked the courts, but pointed out that from a tangible standpoint, that they were accomplishing 90% of what they wanted to anyways.

When I asked about all the generic controversy he blew it all off as "fake news" from a media who are collectively on a mission to "bring down the President".  While he blamed the media first, and the Democrats second, he seemed "most" angry with the behavior of certain Republicans who have been anti-Trump. Number one on the hit list was John McCain, with Paul Ryan not too far behind. 

I recently read something that caught my eye on the Scott Adams blog, but this confirmed it for me. Nearly all of Donald Trumps successes are tangible actions that have brought about actual changes in the country.  Neil Gorsuch vs Merrick Garland is a significant difference. Economic numbers are tangible. Border crossing decreases (to the degree they are happening) will have significant long term effects. Reversing many of the Obama regulations will have a real impact. Changing our attitude regarding Police vs Criminals will have an impact. No question the bombing of ISIS and Syria was real actions that have real effects and consequences for everyone involved. 

On the flip side: start listing the things that are going wrong:
  • Allegations of Russian Collusion
  • Allegations of Obstruction for firing James Comey
  • Allegations of inner circle turmoil
  • Allegations of dishonesty
  • Too many leaks in too many places in the Government
  • Opinions that he tweets too much
  • Opinions that he doesn't study details 
  • Opinions that he doesn't understand how Washington works
  • Opinions that he criticizes Judges, media, FBI too much
  • Healthcare reform not passed first time
  • Wall not built
  • Travel ban still in court

Basically, with the exception of the fact that Congress (not Trump) has not funded the "wall" and did not pass Health Care reform on the first try as well as the ban being in court (which hasn't prevented the flow of refugees from those areas to be reduced to a trickle)... nearly everything negative out there about Trump has been either allegations that remain unproven, opinions about his behavior, and the overall concept that it all logically adds up to Trump being crazy and needing to be removed from office by any means possible.

"I believe everything I read"
In other words, nearly everything positive about the Trump Presidency has been a tangible action. Nearly everything negative is a media driven narrative. When you look at it from these regards, the fact that your major networks devote more time to unproven allegations, unnamed sources, and their own opinions, than they do to both tangible news and positive opinion put together... it's clear that our media is obsessed with themselves, their own opinions, and ultimately their own agenda. 

There is an old saying that it is prudent to believe only half of what you see, and none of what you hear. For liberals, who find themselves wrapped up in believing every thing they read... and even for people like me (a consumer of political information)... it would seem very odd that there are people out there that see the Trump Presidency as a major success.

There is a good argument to make that they are the ones who see things clearly... while those wrapped up in the wall to wall media barrage are willingly being misinformed and ultimately being played for fools.

Note: Our friendly liberals will prove this point by cutting and pasting media articles citing opinions, unnamed sources, and otherwise unproven allegations in the comment section of this post... without having the first clue the irony of it all. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hillary Supporter and Prominent Constitutional Law scholar agrees with Coldheart...

Alan Dershowitz - "C.H. Truth is right!" 

there can't be obstruction of justice for the President to fire Comey, that's his constitutional and statutory right to do that. Even if the President did say to Comey, let it go when it comes to Flynn. Under the unitary theory of the executive, the President has a right to direct the Justice Department and the right to direct the FBI what to do.

This is sort an obscure argument that I have floated here the past week or so.  It's nice to see that a non-partisan constitutional expert of relevance actually agrees with me. Unfortunately,  I am guessing some people here would simply determine that Dershowitz must now be labeled a "hack" and told to stick to statistics.

The "assumption" hypocrisy argument....

One of my favorite arguments is the old "if things were reversed" argument. It's such an irrelevant argument because the "hypothetical" reaction will no doubt be nothing more than a channeling of the accuser's "own" feelings on the subject. It never "really" tells us how the other person "might" feel (that's pure speculation). But if certainly cements what we know about how the accuser thinks.

So with that in mind, I have one of those great "assumption" hypocrisy arguments that I will toss out there as a question, allowing people to prove me wrong. Admitting full well that my own feelings on some of this will be brought to light.

At Issue: The subject of Obstruction

  • So what would happen if the Trump Department of Justice made the decision to provide many of the very Trump aids the left believe are targets in this probe "criminal immunity" to testify. What if, in exchange for the testimony that on top of the "criminal immunity" provided them, that any tangible evidence they turn over to the authorities will actually be destroyed. 
  • What if things start to look like the main culprit in all of this becomes "Player A". What if the Trump Department of Justice cuts a deal with Player A that the FBI will be given a limited amount of time to question them (one time - a matter of a few hours) and that any interview would not be given under oath. 
  • What if the person calling the shots (say Rod Rosenstein) was caught having a secret meeting with influential people very close to Player A? 

At what point, would those of you on the left decide that the DOJ was stepping over the line and actually working to hinder, interfere with, or even "obstruct" a criminal investigation by the FBI. Then ask yourself, at what point in time did you believe that the Obama/Lynch DOJ was stepping over that same line?

  • How would you feel at that point if in spite of what most people believe was valid evidence of a crime, that no grand jury was formed, and no neutral court was provided with any of the evidence... that the powers to be in the case decided to simply end things with the statement that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges" (even though many reasonable prosecutors argue that the would have brought it to a Grand Jury). That was it. Nothing more to be done. All of Trump's aides are free to go. Move on. Nothing to see here.

Then ask yourself if this would constitute any sort of obstruction or interference if it was done by the Trump DOJ?

Lastly, ask yourself why you viewed the actions of the Obama DOJ entirely differently than you would judge the same actions if it was the Trump DOJ... How log before you realize that the only obvious reason is partisanship and hypocrisy?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reality check

So an unnamed source suggests that Donald Trump told the Russians that he felt relief over the firing of James Comey and specifically stated that it was because the firing would ease the Russian probe.

Simple fact: An allegation printed in a newspaper would not be considered evidence in any criminal investigation. If that reporter was willing to testify to his or her belief that the source is telling the truth, it still would not matter. If the unnamed source stepped out of the shadows and was willing to testify to his or her beliefs that the statement is true as implied, it would still be inadmissible (unless that person was a first hand witness to that event). Even if the source witnessed the statement personally, the testimony of that witness would be subject to the many legal pitfalls of hearsay.

It is the job of the judge or jury in a court proceeding to determine whether evidence offered as proof is credible. Three evidentiary rules help the judge or jury make this determination: (1) Before being allowed to testify, a witness generally must swear or affirm that his or her testimony will be truthful. (2) The witness must be personally present at the trial or proceeding in order to allow the judge or jury to observe the testimony firsthand. (3) The witness is subject to cross-examination at the option of any party who did not call the witness to testify. 
In keeping with the three evidentiary requirements, the Hearsay Rule, as outlined in the Federal Rules of Evidence, prohibits most statements made outside a courtroom from being used as evidence in court. This is because statements made out of court normally are not made under oath, a judge or jury cannot personally observe the demeanor of someone who makes a statement outside the courtroom, and an opposing party cannot cross-examine such a declarant (the person making the statement). Out-of-court statements hinder the ability of the judge or jury to probe testimony for inaccuracies caused by Ambiguity, insincerity, faulty perception, or erroneous memory. Thus, statements made out of court are perceived as untrustworthy.

I think it would be wise to garner some understanding of what is and is not admissible in a criminal investigation. When attempting to piece together a criminal case of "collusion" ask yourself how you would prove much of the media pushed allegations in court.

  • Do you have actual tangible evidence of the allegation. 
  • Do you have someone who witnessed the so called evidence firsthand? 
  • Would that person be willing or could that person be compelled to testify in court?

Just a quick "for instance" - If you were trying to prove that a conversation between a Trump associate and some random Russian diplomat was about hacking and election collusion... how do you go about it? The fact that there was a conversation itself proves nothing. You cannot "assume" something out of thin air. Recordings would have required a warrant. So would someone listening to the conversation in clandestine. Foreign diplomats generally have blanket immunity to things like subpoenas. An American being investigated or charged with a crime, cannot be compelled to answer questions or testify against themselves. So the only reason anyone would testify would be to deny the allegations.

Bottom Line:

Convincing a bunch of Trump haters that their preconceived notions about Trump are true, can quite easily be done with unnamed sources, unproven allegations, innuendo, and poorly reasoned circumstantial evidence.

But none of that actually makes a criminal case.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Unintended consequences...

Lots of stories and speculations about the possible effects of the ongoing FBI investigation now being taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A good portion of them may NOT actually work out so well for those interested in scoring political points.

The first problem is that the Democrats can no longer "call" for anything. They cannot legitimately call for an independent prosecutor now that one is assigned. They cannot respectfully call for impeachment now that their allegations are under investigation. As it pertains to their "allegations" the only true politically legitimate play is to wait for the investigation to conclude. Doesn't mean that some will not continue to beat the "impeachment drums" - it's just that most Americans will be more content to wait till the investigation has been completed.  More to the point, playing that card  may backfire (which is why Democratic leadership is encouraging rank and file to back off).

The second problem is that they can no longer demand that the Administration is trying to hide anything, or otherwise hampering any investigations. By appointing a special counsel the Administration has done "more" than necessary to make sure there is full accounting of what took place. Compared to the previous administration (who found no conflict of interest in investigating their own candidate for President in house) - many will see this as a refreshing change. 

Furthermore, the congressional investigations may for all practical purposes be coming to an abrupt halt (if not complete end). By all accounts, they were running out of things to "investigate" as it was, and were down to subpoenaing witnesses to testify. The first (General Flynn) has refused. Now that he is also under investigation by the Special Prosecutor, his attorneys have legitimate claim to refuse to testify before Congress. It's likely that the other players in the mix (Manafort, Stone, and Page) will likely also refuse for the exact same reasons. Since members of both Parties and in both Houses have all admitted that they have found no evidence so far of any collusion, the chances to make political points with these investigations seems long gone. 

Unlike Patrick Fitzgerald, it doesn't appear the Robert Mueller is the sort of person who would grandstand and attempt to continuously work his way into the news cycle. Since there really hasn't been any "leaks" coming from the FBI investigation to date, it's unlikely that leaks will "begin" now that Mueller is in charge. We literally may not get any substantial news from this investigation for months.

Lastly, the Administration now has ample reason to deflect any and all questions regarding anything to do with the Russian probe, collusion, Comey, or pretty much anything else that has happened to date. Look for a bunch of "we cannot comment on that" (because there is an ongoing FBI investigation) in response to these sorts of questions. This will likely frustrate many in the media who seem interested in almost nothing else.

It actually begs the question? Were the Democrats and the media "really" interested in an objective investigation into their allegations, that left their own shouting at the moon out of the equation? Be careful what you wish for...

Sworn Testimony - May 3rd 2017

COMEY: Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something like that -- without an appropriate purpose. I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that we don't see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it. But I'm talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It's not happened in my experience.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What if...

  • Donald Trump is caught lying to the investigators in upcoming Mueller Special investigation. 
  • What if, on top of his personal perjury he is also caught trying to influence other witnesses into making false statements. 
  • What if that influence bordered on threatening, by calling on government attorneys to personally visit and attempt to coerce these witnesses into signing statements pre-written by Trump's legal counsel? 

What would be the fallout? Would it all go away if he simply apologized? 

RIP - Roger Ailes

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning," the statement read. "Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back."

Democrats - Special Counsel not good enough

Some Democrats are already suggesting that a special counsel is not good enough.

  • Nancy Pelosi suggests that what we really need is an "outside independent commission". Which is to say that Pelosi wants another congressional investigation on top of the House and Senate intelligence investigations. Her argument is that Mueller will be under the chain of command of Trump and subject to "meddling".  Of course, by definition, the special counsel works outside the chain of command and would not be subject to any meddling. But when have the facts ever mattered?
  • Eric Swalwell is in favor of creating legislation (which has been tried and failed) that would create another independent commission within Congress to further grandstand investigate. Swalwell demands that there are "urgent" and "important" concerns that still require a "separate special commission". Specifically, he believes there is a strong need for what he describes as a "longer-term investigation". 

Be careful what you wish for?

I find the reaction of the Democrats  to be a little odd.  One would have expected a little more excitement from the group now that they got what they had been asking for. 

If I didn't know any better, it almost seems to me that some Democrats believed that they could have scored more political points attacking the "lack of investigations" than they will get from actually having the investigation that they have been calling for? Perhaps they never quite believed that Rosenstein would pull the trigger, and now that he has, perhaps it's not really what they wanted?

The overall buzz from both sides is that the congressional investigations are accomplishing very little. Apparently there are questions about where they go once they interview the main players (General Flynn and Paul Manafort). If these rumors are indeed true (and who knows at this point) then the conclusion may be that there really isn't much there. 

If that turns out to be true, then the worse case scenario for the Democrats would be to have the special counsel they called for to confirm the same thing. It would be nearly politically impossible for the Democrats to push back against Mueller if he doesn't deliver the goods. Their biggest talking point would be dead to everyone other than their most rabid backers. Not to mention the hit to their credibility. 

Meanwhile,  its extremely unlikely that the White House will continue to answer any questions on the subject... as technically it should all fall under the blanket of "we cannot comment on matters currently under investigation".  This should give them some breathing space to move onto more substantial subjects such as agenda and governing. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Special Counsel appointed in Russian probe?

A bold move by deputy director Rod Rosenstein... considering we never saw a Special Counsel for any number of events that should have warranted it over the previous eight years. Clinton email, Lerner IRS, etc...

The odd part is that Rosenstein suggested that there is no finding of any crimes at this point (which after ten months would tend to suggest there is no need for special council). Generally special counsel is appointed to investigate specific allegations of specific crimes. In this case, the only "crime" that anyone has been accused of is the actual hacking of the emails and by all suggestions was not done by any American who could be prosecuted.

Was this a move done to undercut the claims from the left that Comey was fired because he was investigating too hard? Obviously a special council being appointed makes much of that argument moot now.

All that being said, most everyone suggests that Robert Mueller is a good choice. I personally don't believe that there is such a thing as a "good choice" for this unnecessary appointment.

Some Updates:  A handful of people on the right have applauded this as good politics. Not sure I wholly agree, but for sake of argument I will present those cases:

  • Tucker Carlson suggests now that there is a special counsel overseeing the investigation, it should seriously dampen the growing calls for impeachment or any other manners in which to remove the President. Supporters of the President can make a strong case that impeachment talks (or any other talks of removal) would now be considered "premature" as long as there is a special counsel investigating any and all accusations. Considering the past two special counsel investigations lasted four (Whitewater) and two years (Plame)... it could easily still be going on next November. Can Democrats squelch their cries of impeachment for that long?
  • The appointment of a special prosecutor allows Trump to look for someone to run the FBI that will fit the way he wants the FBI run. He will no longer have to worry about the concept of appeasing the Democrats because his choice for a new director would have been in charge of this particular investigation. Powerline
  • Even as they appointed special counsel, the man to be in charge is more of a counter-intelligence wonk than a criminal wonk (according to Fox News). Several people have suggested that Mueller's experience in international counter-intelligence may dictate that this will actually continue as a counterintelligence investigation (as it's currently being called within the FBI) rather than the normal criminal witch hunt excursions that these special counsels generally bring.
  • Lastly...  Mueller is a considered a no nonsense man who runs a tight ship. Most believes that his allegiance will be to the truth, and not the politics. More to the point, he will be removed from the current infighting between the Administration and the FBI. He is not a man who will put up with the leaks that have been happening right under the nose of Comey. If they continue to happen, you may see heads roll. (this comes from multiple sources)

2017 Political Reporting - innuendo and embellishment rule the day

What percentage of the recent stories damning President Trump have actually had a known source, direct quotes attributed to a real person, or some form of publicly seen documentation backing up the claim.

In just a couple of days the Washington post came up with two whoppers, based on anonymous sources that were contradicted by both the people in question, as well as the documentation involved.

  • The first was the reports that Rod Rosenstein threatened to quit because he was being blamed for the firing of James Comey.  The implications was that Rosenstein (popular on both sides of the aisle) would have understood the folly of firing Comey and would have privately been against it. Not only did Rosenstein deny the claims, but it turns out he wrote a very in depth employment review on James Comey that clearly provided his opinion that the FBI would benefit from a change of leadership. 
  • The second was the reports that James Comey had requested additional funds for the Russian probe just before being fired by Trump. The implications of course was that this request prompted the firing, because Trump was trying to shut down the investigation. Not only did the Deputy Director and others in the FBI deny such a request was made, but there was also no available record of such a request.

This moves us to the Washington Post reporting another story based on anonymous sources claiming that during a meeting with Russian diplomats, President Trump gave away sensitive national security secrets,  putting international relations at risk, and intelligence sources in grave danger. 

There were four Americans in the meeting, including Donald Trump. The other three all have stated that no such sensitive materials were discussed. General McMaster went a step further when he explained that Trump couldn't have possibly put sources in danger, as he wasn't briefed on any sources for any of the information discussed.

Note: By all accounts, the highly sensitive information being discussed was the recent ISIS threat of laptop computers being turned into bombs.  I hope I didn't just expose national security secrets by including this. 

So we can be assured that none of the sources in question were at the meeting. In fact, the Post described one of the main sources as being a "former" member of the intelligence community. By nature, it would be impossible for a former member of the intelligence community to have any first hand information.

  • So how is it that a former member or the intelligence community has information on what took place in a meeting that is described differently by everything in attendance?  
  • Why is it that we are supposed to believe that everyone in attendance, McMaster, Tillerson, Powell are all lying? 

New "speculation" by those defending the story suggest that someone (most likely McMaster) went to members of the intelligence community after the meeting and dropped the bombshell about the highly sensitive national security information being given away by the President. The information was then passed from that meeting to the former member of the intelligence community, who then passed the information to the Washington Post. 

This would also suggest that at least one of the sources got information from someone else who got information from someone who was at the meeting. Now in general, many people are prone to believe these sorts of anonymous sources. regardless of how far removed they may be from a situation. But after the Washington Post provided two false stories based on anonymous sources, and everyone with first hand account is rejecting the claim....

why do we still give them that benefit of the doubt? 

Simple... because in 2017 we no longer worry about facts, proof, or evidence of anything we read. We are only concerned about whether or not it fits our preconceived notions. 

I would write about the Comey Memo...

Donald Trump caught shooting President Kennedy? 
But I am sure if I wait another hour or two, there will be another source close to the President who will step into the shadows and anonymously declare he has undocumented evidence that Trump was the second shooter on the grassy knoll.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Donald "smarter than Barack" Trump...

We watch as the brains of liberal reporters turn to mush...

The Law Can’t Stop Trump. Only Impeachment Can.
Shortly after the Washington Post’s devastating report that President Trump “revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador” and “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State,” Republicans in Congress began to weigh in. “We certainly don’t want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that,” insisted Senator John McCain. “It’s no longer classified the minute he utters it,” explained Senator Jim Risch.
The argument was eerily familiar. Trump, as his supporters pointed out, had a legal right to fire FBI Director James Comey. Likewise legal, Trump’s decision to hold on to his vast and non-transparent business empire, the value of which he can increase through his powers as president.
The president has a massive amount of leeway because the system is set up with the unstated presumption that the president is a responsible person who will act in a broadly legitimate, competent fashion.
The system is designed so that the only remedy for a president who cannot faithfully act in the public interest is impeachment. For the moment, that course of action — the only one that can save the country from the dire risk of its man-child president — is unfathomable to the Republicans who have a hammerlock on government.

Let's start with a couple of questions:
  • Do liberals like Jonathan Chait understand that impeachment is a tool that the constitution provides congress to deal with a President who has broken the law? 
  • Do liberals like Jonathan Chait understand that impeachment is not a tool that the constitution provides to remove a President that liberals don't believe is acting in public interest? 

Obviously Mr Chait doesn't understand. Unfortunately this simple reality seems to have disappeared along with objectivity and logic in most liberals these days. One can only assume they are the effects of late stage Trump Derangement Syndrome. 

So no Jonathan, unless the President actually breaks the law... the constitution does not allow you to impeach him. The law and impeachment are fundamentally connected. There cannot be the latter without the breaking of the former. 

Impeachment actually requires Congress to draw up the "articles of impeachment" which must include the "high crimes or misdemeanors" committed.  If everything the President does (that you don't like) is technically legal, then their are no "high crimes or misdemeanors" being committed. Alas, he cannot be impeached. I know this must be frustrating and all. But it is what it is.

Your actual only recourse is simple. You vote against him if he runs for reelection in 2020. 

Meanwhile, he is the President, and as President he has the same "leeway" as any other President and the constitution provides him with the same so called "unstated presumptions" as any other President. 

That means he can fire the FBI director if he wants. That means he decides who replaces the FBI director and what qualities and priorities that director should have. If the President wants to hire an FBI director that will investigate internal leaks with the threat of criminal charges, then that is what he will get. As President it's his call. If there is political fallout, well then there is political fallout. 

That fallout (or lack thereof) takes place at the ballot box every other November. It doesn't come with "impeachment hearing" on whether or not liberals like what he is doing. 

Was the Washington Post lying or embellishing?

So the Washington Post unveiled another "headline" about "highly classified information being shared" that was not actually backed up by the underlying story. Or at least it was not backed up by anything evidence of anything that anyone can agree on.

Sharing intelligence with Russia is fine if you are Obama
But it's a national crisis if you are Trump

The story was given a quick rebuke by the White House, as well as the National Security Adviser and the Secretary of State (both who were at the meeting). According to the non-anonymous sources who we actually know were in the meeting, nothing of substance was discussed that could be declared to be "highly classified".

After reading some of those I consider to be the rare adults in the field of political reporting, and by parsing everyone's statement to find what actually exists "between the lines" from all sides... it starts to become clear that the "highly classified" information was more of a "generic" discussion about the fact that intelligence has been gathered on a possible threat.

The Washington posts uses language suggesting that such generic discussions on their own constitutes a grave offense (it doesn't) then provides in remarkable amounts of bluster that everything else was dwarfed by the fact that the President revealed the name of the city where the intelligence originated.

The fact that the President revealed the City is being seen (by critics) as an opportunity for the Russians to avoid the source, or to go find the source and mess with our national security. Short of the city actually being a village with a population of thirteen, it seems more than a little far fetched to me that the Russians can find our source (if they even wanted to).

But I guess anything can be seen as possible.

That being said, was it prudent for the President to offer the name of the city where the threat was detected? Perhaps not. But I would argue at this point that the "political dangers" of dealing with another negative news cycle probably outweigh the "real" potential for any actual national security harm (if any such potential actually even exists).

All in all... it seems that once you cut through the embellishment of the situation by the Post and take the statements by the officials who attended the meeting, it becomes clear that both sides appear to agree on the events, just not the description or seriousness of them.

As far as scandals go, in the scandal a week atmosphere we live in today... I'd say this one was little more than a change of subject. (Didn't you used to be James Comey?)  Perhaps if every little thing wasn't reported as if was the end of the world, then it might be easier to know exactly what we should and should not take seriously.

Monday, May 15, 2017

RCP 2018 Senate Simulations...

Sean Trende & David Byler from Real Clear Politics have created another nice interactive tool for the upcoming 2018 Senate Races. It allows you to make a determination as to which seats are considered safe (or unsafe) as well as taking into consideration the Presidents Job approval.

Using the current rankings from Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball to determine "safe seats" and using the RCP average of 41.1% for the President's approval rating, the 10000 simulations came up with this:

As you can see, according to the chart, the chances of the Democrats taking back the Senate is less than one percent, and requires that the Democrats win every single race that is not rated safe. 

Sabato currently shows the following states as unsafe:
  • Three toss up states: Donnelly (D) IN, McCaskill (D) MO, Heitkamp (D) ND
  • Seven Leans: Flake (R) AZ, Heller (R) NV, Tester (D) MT, Baldwin (D) WI, Brown (D) OH, Manchin (D) WV, Nelson (D) FL
  • Six Likely: Cruz (R) TX, Klobuchar (D) MN, Stabenow (D) MI, Casey (D) PA, Kaine (D) VI, Menendez (D) NJ 
So the Democrats would have to win all three toss ups, all seven races that are leaning, and then would have to win Ted Cruz's seat in Texas (a Seat that many other projectionists rate as safe). I would offer that 0.7 percent is probably generous, as there are other factors (direction of the country, consumer confidence, etc) that will also play heavily into the mix come next November. Short of an economic collapse over the next year or so, it seems unlikely that the field would change so much as to make Ted Cruz and other Republicans rated as safe as suddenly vulnerable.

How the left has "altered" the facts on the email hacking...

I have read more and more articles from liberals who simply find it impossible to understand why exactly there is still support for the President. The one conclusion that they all seem to come to is their belief that Trump supporters must be influenced by untrue propaganda tossed around by the deceptive right wing media. Talk about transposing your own problems onto others?

From a purely objective viewpoint, it's actually impossible to draw any other conclusion than it's the left that is using deceptive means to alter the facts, and make them more in line with their own wild-eyed allegations derived from the total meltdown associated with acute D.T.S.  What appears to be happening here is that the facts are being drowned out by rhetoric... to the point where many on the left have forgotten the facts.

So let's review:

Election hacking: There actually was no hacking of the election. Any and all attempts to show that voting machines, counts, or anything actually associated with the election itself have been dispelled. No evidence exists of any "election hacking". There were failed attempts to hack the email servers of the RNC and the Trump. There were successful attempts to hack the email servers of the DNC, and Clinton campaign. None of these servers are government property, and they technically are not election related. So the correct term to use in this situation, would be "campaign hacking"... not "election election". A very important distinction. But of course, it sounds more malicious and criminal to suggest that it was the "election" and not the "campaigns" that got hacked. It's also 100% dishonest.

Russian hacking: The left seems to have forgotten that it was the consensus opinion of the intelligence community that Russian hackers were behind the breaches. This was not a unanimous opinion, nor was it ever declared by anyone within the intelligence community as a provable fact. While this may not matter much in the politics of things or as it pertains to counterintelligence, it would matter "very much" from an actual criminal sense. You first must find evidence that proves (beyond all reasonable doubt) that the Russians were behind the hacking, before you could charge anyone with any crimes. They have never offered that they have such evidence.

Collusion: If you cannot prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that it was the Russians that did the hacking, the how could you charge anyone with conspiring with them? Furthermore, even as the consensus is that it was Russians behind the hacking, there has never been any indication from anyone within the intelligence community that they have any specifics as to the actual identities of the individuals responsible. There are nearly 150 million Russians. Should we assume that all 150 million are in on it? Since we literally do not know the specific people who actually did the hacking of the campaigns, how can you prove anyone colluded with them? The truth is that you can't. So the left dishonestly promotes any contact between anyone associated with Trump with anyone associated with Russia as collusion (such as a GOP Senator meeting with a Russian Ambassador), even though it wouldn't come within light years of being considered collusion from any legal standpoint.

Election interference: Moving past the whole "Russian" thing, the second bit of semantic dishonestly is the using the word "interference". Using this term suggests that someone tried to prevent the election from taking place, tried to prevent people from voting,  tried to prevent the votes from being properly counted, or tried to prevent the results from being implemented. Unless you believe that Hillary Clinton had some legal right to be President, and her legally deemed victory was "interfered with"... the correct semantic word to use would be that the hackers were looking to "influence" the election. It might actually be better to suggest that the hacker's intent was to embarrass the Democrats and Clinton. This would be no different than any number of things brought up during the election that were designed to "influence" voters by embarrassing the candidates, including the release of some older Donald Trump tax returns showing large amounts of asset depreciation, or the "Hollywood access" tapes. Again, there is a huge distinction between "interference" and "influence". From a semantic standpoint, a very powerful distinction.

Bottom line:  From what we know for sure.... some computer hackers (who we believe to be Russian) hacked into the DNC and Clinton campaign websites and released unflattering emails with the likely intent to embarrass the Democrats and Hillary Clinton and possibly influence the election.

We quite literally have no more provable information.

But instead of sticking with the facts, the left dishonestly tells us that the "election was hacked". They dishonestly act as if Russian involvement is "proven". They dishonestly demand that this constitutes broad election "interference". Then they suggest that any contact between anyone associated with Trump and anyone Russian is somehow proof of "collusion". Based on those dishonest narratives... they demand that we start a fourth investigation into their own fantasy of collusion created entirely by altering the facts to fit their unconvincing narrative.

And they claim Donald Trump is the one who is crazy. Ahem.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Here is a question...

What would the "collusion" between the Russian Hackers and Trump campaign actually look like?

To me, there are only really three actual situations where one could offer some proof of collusion that would measure up to any standards of criminal behavior:
  1. That someone from the Trump campaign "helped" the Russians hack the Clinton emails. 
  2. That someone from the Trump campaign "payed" the Russians to hack the Clinton emails.
  3. That someone from the Trump campaign "knows" the true identify of the actual hackers. 
Otherwise, what exactly would the FBI, the Senate Intelligence, or the House Intelligence committees really be looking for?  

For anyone to prove collusion... the first thing that they would need to do is actually know (for sure) who the hackers are. Knowing that they are Russian or making an assumption that Putin must be directing them, does not in any manner, shape, or form rise to the level of knowing the identity of the hackers. You simply cannot prove any sort of collusion without actually knowing the identities of both of the alleged parties that are supposedly colluding.

Like moths drawn to light... Liberals are drawn to conspiracy theories

Moreover, it's very unlikely that any of the Trump people being mentioned as possible targets of the investigation would have the computer expertise to "assist" the high level hackers that got into the DNC and Clinton campaign servers. It also doesn't seem very plausible that these hackers would be paid by the Trump camp while simultaneously being directed by Putin (which is the official U.S. Intelligence stance at this point). 

So that leaves the possibility that someone within the Trump campaign has personal knowledge of the true identities of the hackers, possibly having some communications, and has not turned this information over to the authorities. This could be collusion in the sense of obstructing justice (or possibly an accessory) rather than anyone being an active participant. 

Reality: It appears like most of those on the unhinged left tossing around the allegations have not really reconciled what it is that they are exactly looking for.  They just know that they are hoping someone finds some "ties" (in the most generic term)... that even if they exist... probably don't prove anything even remotely close to actual criminal collusion. 

This is a classic case of someone engaging in some serious cognitive dissonance. They just "feel" like something must be there, and will continue to demand that the lack of evidence found so far is just more proof that we need to ramp up the investigations.

Either that, or the powers to be in the Democratic Party understand that their followers are not quite bright enough to look at this with their eyes open. They know that their supporters (much like a moth drawn to light) will reflexively become all discombobulated at the thought of more conspiracies by the ever evil (and certainly crazy) President Trump.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The last Straw: Impeach the President

Two scoops of Ice Cream from the White House wait staff?
He's obviously insane. We can no longer stand for this... 

CNN calls on panel to discuss President Trump's ice cream consumption

A message for liberals...

Liberals love to follow the media narrative that Trump is inconsistent, incoherent, incompetent and to some degree downright crazy. I would offer that this is largely a media narrative, rather than actual reality. Yes, every new administration will have it's issues. Yes, Trump behaves in a manner we are not used to in a President. But like every President, this one has gotten a lot right as well.

Bottom Line: Liberals literally believe everything written in the NT Times, Washington Post and Politico as if it is gospel.

So I offer a simple recommendation:

Anything you read that starts with "It has been reported that Trump..." or "A key Trump adviser has leaked" or pretty much everything that you did not see on Trump's twitter account, see the President do yourself, or literally hear come out of his mouth yourself... should be ignored. 

If you can follow that one simple rule, then Donald Trump would probably make much more sense to you. While there seems to always be a little controlled chaos with Trump, his actions would seem more consistent and coherent if you simply took them at face value, rather than judge them on what others "report" is happening "behind the scenes" or what others "speculate" to be some other intent or meaning.

I know this would be hard, if not impossible. But if you cannot find cause (based solely on what you can verify to be actually real) to believe what you want to about Trump... then you are simply being manipulated by other people's stories, speculation, and judgement. Most of which is completely unverifiable and generally lacking in the ability to pass the basic smell test.

Off Topic...

Just this week I changed doctors. I didn't have any issues with my doctor other than the fact that both my doctor and I have relocated over the years and the drive was getting to be a little much. I generally needed to take an entire morning or afternoon off, just for something like an annual check up.

So I have been looking into a clinic closer to home (there happens to be one less than five minutes from my house) and it is a reputable national clinic. I called, made an appointment. Got in, answered some questions, got right in, saw the nurse, the doctor was just a couple minutes later, got a shot in the arm, some blood work, and I was back home in about an hour.

So as a new patient they ask you a bunch of questions. In this case the nurse did most of the questioning. When the doctor came in and was going over some thing we had a dialogue that went something like this:
Doctor - So I see you are a former smoker.
Me - No, I have never been a smoker.
Doctor - You told the nurse that you have smoked cigars in the past.
Me - Yes, she asked me if I had "ever used tobacco" and I told her that when I was much younger I had an occasional cigar on special occasions with friends.
Doctor - You also stated that you had a cigar more recently.
Me - I shared a couple of clove cigars/cigarettes with my wife while we were in Paris (when in Rome).
Doctor - Okay. Thanks for the clarification. 
(To be clear, when I state that I have smoked an occasional cigar, we are talking like perhaps 8-10 cigars over the course of my lifetime - but neither the nurse or doctor ever asked me how many or actually how often)

So the clinic sent me information about getting access to a website where I could see test results, etc. While looking through the site, I went over my personal information.
Smoking tobacco use: Smoker
I contacted the clinic, believing this was obviously a mistake. They told me to contact the doctor through the message center. So I sent her a message. Her reply was that while we were talking, that I had told her that I occasionally shared cigars with my wife and friends and therefore I am considered a smoker.

Shared a couple of cloves
with the wife.. 
I replied that my use of cigars (with the exception of the recent Paris trip) were back in my twenties and were very limited. I told her that I had no intentions of smoking anything again  as the Paris thing was a one time deal. (although truth be told I probably would smoke another clove or two if we went back to Paris).

Long story - but the short of it is that my wife is an ex-smoker who no longer likes the taste of real cigarettes, but felt like the nicotine would help alleviate any stress of a wedding, etc...  So she brought a pack of cloves with us to Paris. Plus like pretty much everyone smokes in Paris, so you almost feel obligated!

So anyways... after sending the second message back to the doctor with further information... I waited for a reply. After a while, I also chose to check up on the website to see if the status has changed, and low and behold!
Smoking tobacco use: Former Smoker
So I literally went out to the Minnesota Department of Health and got the official definition of what is considered smoker and non-smoker. The official definition is 100 cigarettes. Smoke more than 100 cigarettes in your life and you pass from never smoker to smoker (current or former). Moreover, it actually states that the occasional use of cigars does not apply to a smoker status, unless the use is fairly consistent (as in more than one a month).

So I sent the definition from the Department of Health, along with the clarification that I have smoked perhaps 10-12 cigars in my life. The doctors reply:
As per your request, you are now listed as a "never smoker". 
As per my request? Ahem. As if she really is just doing it to appease me. Not because it is right.

The moral of the story... when the nurse or doctor asks you about tobacco use. Never tell them the truth. Don't tell them you tried a cigarette once and hated it. Don't tell them you took a puff off your dad's pipe when you were 12. Don't tell them you were a social smoker. Don't tell them you smoked when you drank. Don't tell them you sometimes smoked a stogie at poker night. Don't tell them you chewed when you played baseball. Don't tell them you were once curious about Swisher Sweets. Don't tell them you had a cigar when a friend celebrated the birth of a kid. Don't even tell them you were around second hand smoke.

Just say no...  and leave it at that.