Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Years!!!

We are all going to win biggly in 2018!!!

Popadopoulos a main reason for the Russian probe?

Not likely...

It's been suggested by more illegal leaks by unknown sources to the NY Times (aka fake news) that the main reason for the Russian probe was not the Trump dossier, but rather a drunken rant from George Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat in London.

If you believe the NY Times, I have some ocean side Florida property, a couple of bit-coins, and a bridge to sell you.

Factually speaking, this information would have been at best third hand information. It could not have factually been corroborated by the FBI before starting the probe, because they didn't speak to Papadopoulos till February of 2017.

The concept that the FBI would both...
  • Start a huge politically charged investigation based on third hand information
  • Not verify the original source of the information till approximately eight months after the investigation started 
... is nearly impossible to argue as plausible. That being said, it makes almost as much sense as anything else surrounding this probe. When it comes to the Russian Collusion story, the left has made the determination to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief as a matter of fundamental principle.

BTW: This all takes place at a time that the FBI and DOJ are still stonewalling Congress on providing the information used to justify the FICA warrants and justify the investigation.  If the FBI really wanted to show that it was a tip from the Australians, and not the Steele Dossier, well then they could hand that information over to Congress.

But they haven't. Why?

I have not been an advocate of firing Jeff Sessions, but ultimately he can make this call. If I was the President at this point, I would provide Sessions with the ultimatum. Find a way to produce the information to Congress or turn in your resignation.

Big Ten pushing people around...

Big Ten is 7-0 after Penn State and Wisconsin took care of business
SEC 1-3 so far

So the Big Ten picked up two more wins yesterday, bringing their conference record in bowl games to 7-0. They are a Michigan victory (favored by 7.5) away from a perfect bowl season.

After a dominant performance by playoff snub Ohio State two nights ago, the Penn State Nittany Lions rolled up 545 yards on the Washington Huskies even with Barkley just playing a part time role, and the Wisconsin Badger took care of the Miami Hurricanes in typical Badger fashion, holding a nearly 2-1 time of possession advantage

Conference records so far:

Big Ten: 7-0
Big 12: 5-2
ACC: 4-5
SEC: 1-3
Pac-12: 1-8

Certainly the SEC could turn things around on New Year's day, when quite literally every single game played on New Year's day involves an SEC team. I am pretty sure that every player on every SEC team receives a blow job from a random sportswriter as well, as the media still holds a gushing crush on the SEC.

I guess we will see if the SEC lives up to the hype of being the greatest single season conference in the history of the NCAA football, deserving of their first and third place teams being placed in the football playoffs. But so far, their second tier teams have not fared well. We'll see if their top tier teams fare any better.

Friday, December 29, 2017

This just creeps me out...

Subject: Minnesotans Don’t Think Franken Should Resign; Franken Remains Popular, Especially With Women
A new Public Policy Polling survey of Minnesota voters finds that a majority don’t think Al Franken should resign from the US Senate, and that he remains popular in the state, particularly with women. Key findings from the survey include: -50% of voters think he should not resign, to only 42% who think he should go through with his planned resignation. There is little appetite from Democratic voters at the state level for Franken to go, with 71% opposing his departure. A majority of independents- 52%- as well think he should not resign, with just 41% favoring his exit.
So according to a PPP poll, Al Franken's job approval is actually down to a 48-48 split among men after all of the allegations surfaced, but apparently women still approve of Franken by a 57-37 margin.

I cannot imagine a creepier guy, doing creepier stuff than some of what Al Franken pulled. Yet, overwhelmingly, the women here in Minnesota would prefer that he stay on as Senator and by and large believe he is doing a good job.

Who are 2017's winners and losers?

It's about that time again, where we review those who won biggly and those who suffered the agony of defeat! What do our regulars think?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mueller and the Press are responsible for their own actions...

So recently there has been a call for censorship. As it has been with the spoiled rotten self centered liberals for some time, they always feel that it's their right to say what's on their mind, and then their freedom of speech requires that everyone else shut up and listen. The concept of freedom of speech going both ways, seems to escape their attention.

Currently, this attitude is prevalent with both Special Counsel and the Media.  The left would like everyone to stop saying anything bad about Mueller and his probe, and of course they would also like people to stop picking on the press. In other words, they want to censor anyone who would dare criticize or question either.

But the truth of the matter is that both Mueller and the Press are responsible for their own actions, and it is imperative that people call them out when those actions are not on the up and up.

Let's start with Mueller. First and foremost, who Mueller "was" or how you want to "define him" has absolutely zero relevance to his actions as Special Counsel. So whenever you hear someone preface their point with an accompanying resume about Robert Mueller, you can assume that their point otherwise doesn't resonate.  Robert Mueller should be (and for the most part is) being judged on his actions. His reputation or history is meaningless as it pertains to how he is actually running his probe.

Reality. If Robert Mueller didn't want to be accused of running a biased probe, then he should not have loaded up his team with anti-Trump agents, many of whom have obvious ties to Hillary Clinton. That should be common sense.  The fact that Mueller did load up his team with people tied to Clinton is his own fault The criticism that comes from this is his own doing.  It's a matter of censorship to demand that such criticism not be leveled.

If Mueller didn't want to be criticized over no knock raids with cooperating witnesses, or possibly making an illegal grab of (legally defined) private communications, than he should have gone through more reasonable methods to garner his information. He made the controversial moves, and he is responsible for the criticism that comes with that. 

As far as the media goes, this is really simple. They need to get things right. Not 50% of the time. Not 75% of the time. Not 90% of the time. Not even 99% of the time. They need to be right all of the time. If they cannot verify that some big scoop is 100% correct, then they do what the media "used to do" and they wait till they can verify the story as 100% correct, and then they run it.

As long as the media insists on running stories that are not verified, and as long as they are willing to make mistakes to be first on a potential scoop, then they deserve all of the criticism that they receive. All of it.  If they do not want to be criticized for getting things wrong, then they need to get them right, 100% of the time.

The bottom line is that Mueller is running a probe that is garnering a lot of criticism for being potentially biased, and for using questionable means to obtain information. This criticism is valid, and based on Mueller's own actions. The Media is being criticized for reporting news stories that are wrong, and for showing strong anti-Trump bias.  The criticism is valid, and based entirely on the actions of the media themselves.

Defenders would like you to shoot the messengers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

So why Mueller's job keeps getting harder and harder...

So we have a growing number of issues within the FBI and the Special Counsel. The media continues to do it's best to either downplay, or completely ignore these issues, but eventually... reality will catch up to them. To some degree, they already have started to catch up with them.

But I want to start with something that most people don't really don't get quite right. 

According to recent polling, the lion's share of Americans already assume that the President is guilty of at least something having to do with the Russians and the 2016 election. In fact according to a Quinnipiac poll, about two thirds of Americans believe that Trump did something illegal or unethical during the 2016 election, and over 50% believe that there is evidence that either Trump or his members of his campaign directly "colluded" with the Russians.

This is not necessarily hard to understand when you think about it:

Start with the rhetoric that has taken place over the past year or so from the Democrats, with each of them practically crawling over the others, trying to make the most authoritative claim possible that there is no doubt that the President colluded and that the special investigation will uncover it. Even members of the Congressional investigations, who have to admit that "they" found no evidence, still insist that the Mueller investigation will find what they cannot. You cannot interview a Democrat about any subject, without them making some comment about how Trump colluded with the Russians. Many literally treat it as if it's a fact. Many of their supporters are sympathetic to a fault to the argument.

Meanwhile, the MSM have been parroting the Democrats, distorting the truth, flat out misreporting, and continuously playing up the concept that evidence of collusion is a forgone conclusion. They seem to find any excuse they can to put the name Trump together with the country Russia, just to reinforce the notion.  It has gotten to the point, where they have actually convinced certain gullible liberals that it was illegal for General Flynn to have talked to anyone Russian during the transition.

So why is this polling statistic important?

Well at first glance, it seems bad for the President if people believe he is guilty of criminal or unethical behavior. But ultimately, those sort of opinions (at least for some people) can be changed if the facts bear out a different reality. More to the point, it could be a hidden blessing (or at least a reason to believe that the President's standing is not as bad at it could be).

What I mean is that... for all practical purposes the concept of Robert Mueller finding some evidence of Presidential wrongdoing is already "priced into" the general political market as it pertains to the President, his approvals, his credibility, and his ability to lead the nation. After all, how much confidence would you have that President Trump can continue to lead us, if your assumption is that he is guilty of a crime, that evidence exists, and that Mueller will (or has) found it, and that it is just a matter of time before special counsel will be coming forward with some sort of formal recommendation of charges or impeachment against the President.


Imagine the collective egg that would be on everyone's face if Mueller's investigation eventually ends without offering any evidence or proof that Trump or his campaign actually "colluded" with the Russians? What will their new talking point be? Will they accept the finding of no collusion?  Will they demand a new investigation? Will they apologize? Will they admit that they were wrong?

Imagine the sustained attacks by the President on everyone who made those accusations against him. Imagine him demanding apologies. Telling everyone that they were lied to by the Democrats and that Robert Mueller cleared him. Imagine how much more credible his attacks on the media will suddenly become if their biggest story of the 2016 election ended up being nothing more than "fake news".

Meanwhile, General Inspector General Michael Horowitz is quietly (behind the scenes) apparently uncovering all sorts of evidence of FBI bias against Trump. We may eventually actually find out that the entire investigation was driven by a bunch of anti-Trump Hillary backers in the FBI, pushing the Fusion GPS opposition research hoax as an excuse to go fishing. We may further find out that all of this was well known to people like James Comey, or even people higher in the Administration. The reality just might be that the investigators are actually the ones who should be investigated.

Wouldn't that be a fun turn of events?

Big holiday season!

Fueled by high consumer confidence and a robust job market, U.S. retail sales in the holiday period rose at their best pace since 2011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending.
Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard Inc. MA 0.21% unit, which tracks all forms of payment. E-commerce continued to drive the gains, rising 18.1%.
“It started with a bang in the week leading up to Black Friday,” said Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president of marketing insights at Mastercard. She added that retailers benefited this year from Christmas Day falling on a Monday, giving shoppers a full weekend to scoop up last-minute purchases. Dec. 23 ranked next to Black Friday in terms of spending, according to Mastercard. 
Of course, the naysayers will figure out a way to demand that all of this was either bad news, or is not a fine of an otherwise thriving economy.  But reality is reality, people are spending money, consumer confidence is on the rise, and we've made the economy great again!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

An example of a great misinformation campaign...

30. Do you approve or disapprove of the Republican tax plan?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    
Approve              25%    60%     4%    20%    30%    20%    
Disapprove           52     15     81     54     49     55    
DK/NA                23     26     15     26     21     25    

31. Do you think the Republican tax plan will increase your taxes, reduce your taxes, or will it not have much impact either way?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom   
Increase taxes       35%    16%    54%    33%    31%    40%    
Reduce taxes         16     33      8     13     20     13     
Not much impact      36     43     27     41     39     33    
DK/NA                12      9     11     13     10     14     

This polling question is taken from the Quinnipiac poll that (along with others) made some headlines. 

Now I read an article the other day by a University of Minnesota psychologist, who had a whole slew of reasons why people might not like a tax cut (or specifically the GOP tax cut). He went into these psychological concepts about envy, suggesting that people are against the plan because someone else might benefit more than they do. He went into the concept that people inherently care more about fairness, than they do about personal gain. The argument being they would gladly give up any potential benefit to themselves, if they believed that others would not be so lucky. He had several little psychological explanations that by themselves, might otherwise make sense.

But  overall, the viewpoint was overly complicated, and generally didn't do the two things that I believe would have given it more credibility. The first would have been to explain why these psychological phenomenons have never undercut support for previous tax cuts. Certainly the human psychology hasn't changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. The second would have been to take a little bit of time to acknowledge the overwhelming influence of partisan politics, as well as the seething contempt felt for Donald Trump by most everyone left of center.

I would offer that the main reason why most polling showed that people didn't like the tax cuts was self explanatory based on these two specific questions from Quinnipiac. Democrats, along with their echo chamber of MSM, told the American public that the Trump/GOP tax cuts were actually income redistribution to the rich. Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi specifically told their faithful that the middle class would see a tax increase, and that the only people benefiting would be corporations and the rich. The MSM reported the Schumer Pelosi rhetoric as the truth, and abracadabra, you have convinced 80% of the Democrats and 74% of Independents that they will not see a tax cut. Moreover you convinced more than half of Democrats and more than a third of Independents that they would be paying more taxes, apparently in order to fund tax breaks for corporations and the rich.

Quite obviously, it would be a difficult proposition to convince people who are not seeing any personal benefit, or even paying more... that a tax cut for other people would be good.

But the truth is that every single independent tax agency that has studied the tax bill suggested that as many as 80% of taxpayers would get a tax break. The objective determination is that among the middle class, the average tax cut should be somewhere between $1000-2000. Now, since the bill has passed, you see more and more acknowledgement of this.

I would argue that a fair, thorough, and honest media, covering this tax bill fight as an objective observer, willing to provide the facts (rather than political propaganda disguised as facts) would done wonders for the support of the tax bill from the general public. In fact, and objective news reporting of this bill probably would have put support fairly close to that of other tax bills.

While there is some inherent truth that many on the left will simply oppose anything Trump or Republican as a knee jerk response, I hold the belief that the broader electorate is still willing to be swayed at least a little bit by the facts of the debate. The real reason why this tax bill has so much less support than previous bills, has nothing to do with the merits of the law, or new found psychological reasons. The real reason deals primarily with the fact that most of our country was duped by a heavily coordinated disinformation campaign between the Democratic Party and their echo chamber in the MSM.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Politico Obama Hezbollah conspiracy story quietly ignored...

Yeah, yeah... I know. Obama is no longer President, so why bother?

But isn't this sort of a major deal? Shouldn't we actually bother to look into the charges that a criminal drug trafficking plot, that was used to fund an international terror organization was protected by our own Executive branch in order to secure an agreement with Iran?

We all realize that there is a statute of limitations on criminal activity. But those limits are not automatically reached when a President is out of office. This could be a huge criminal scandal that would have even larger political ramifications....

Why do you suppose everyone (other than Fox News) is ignoring it?

Another court victory for Trump

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought by one of the organizations claiming that President Trump’s continued ownership of his businesses create conflicts of interest that violate the Constitution.
The Clinton nominated alt right conservative
  ideologue who ruled in favor of tyranny!!
The judge, US District Judge George B. Daniels, also ruled that it is up to Congress to decide whether there are any valid concerns raised by foreign governments doing business with Trump’s businesses and, if so, what to do about those concerns….
Daniels ruled that CREW lacked standing because it could not point to an injury it suffered due to the alleged constitutional violation and that the hospitality industry-related plaintiffs could not show that their claim of “competitor standing” could be redressed by the court — or even that the emoluments clauses were intended to protect competitors.

Well the Democrats still are looking for a reason to impeach the President. Perhaps they will take the Judge's lead in addressing if there are any valid concerns. So far, I would be curious as to the arguments that Trump's business interests are affecting his job performance in any unethical or criminal manner. Not like he has been accepting several millions in contributions to his charity from foreign governments he is doing official Presidential government business with. Now had he been doing that... well...

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Liberals "generally" love to listen to European countries?

Germans fear huge loss of jobs from US tax reform

German investment in the US is expected to rise by €39 billion because of lower US corporate taxes
While Americans are anxiously awaiting full details of the tax bill now being finalized in Congress, German economists are warning that the changes sought by President Donald Trump mean that significant amounts of new investment and jobs will shift from Europe to the United States
“The tax competition will have a new dimension,” said Christoph Spengel, chairman of the corporate tax department at the University of Mannheim. Mr. Spengel, who is also a research associate at the Center for European Economic Research, and a group of tax experts at the university have done a detailed comparison of the two countries’ tax systems and published a report under the heading, “Germany loses out in US tax reform.”
So according to a source that Liberals generally accept as gospel, the new tax bill will spur European investment to the United States, and move new jobs to the United States along with it. While the "sky is falling" liberals around here, just see a giant "corporate giveaway" - Europeans understand that this will have the tangible effect of giving the US Corporations a competitive advantage in the global economy.

So now what?

In this sweeping legislation the GOP and the President can claim that they:
  • Simplified the tax code
  • Lowered taxes
  • Repealed the Obamacare Individual mandate
After the failure of congress to either pass a clean Obamacare repeal or an Obamacare repeal and replace bill, it's a major accomplishment that came just in time to feel like 2018 was somewhat of a success. One only has to think about how things would be if the GOP had fallen short on this bill, to see the importance of it passing. 

Politically, it finally looks like those who voted for Donald Trump, have something to show for it. While the President has been busy lifting regulations, undoing Obama executive rules, and getting conservative Justices confirmed in important places, Trump and the GOP were missing a major piece of legislation. 

Now they have it. 

The question is, what comes next?  Do they revisit Obamacare? Do they move on to infrastructure? Do they try to put together a comprehensive immigration overhaul?  Feels like they should push something forward in the near future, now that they have some momentum. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Riddle me this...

After eight years of low GDP growth under Obama, liberal politicians, liberal economists, and liberal pundits scoffed at the idea that GDP growth would hit 3% under Trump.

But now that it appears that 3% growth might be the new normal... these same people want to give all the credit to Obama and his economic policies. The argument being that Trump is simply riding the "Obama wave".  One has to wonder, why they didn't project that the "Obama wave" would produce 3% growth?

Of course, pretty much from day one of knowing Trump won the election, the market exploded, consumer confidence has gone up, and pretty much all economic indicators are rising. From deregulation, to the promise of (and delivery of) tax reform, as well as some undercutting of the economy killing Obamacare, there are distinctive and very clear differences between "Obama policy" and "Trump policy".

But only in the liberal political world of 2017 can such obvious intellectual dishonesty and cognitive dissonance reign supreme. These people will argue (today) whatever it is that makes them look good (today)... as if whatever they argued yesterday is irrelevant.  Unfortunately, none of their faithful followers are willing to hold them to task for their previous mistakes (if they even acknowledge those mistakes). They just keep listening and parroting these views as if the people peddling hem have been right all along (rather than flat out wrong).

For liberals, whether a pundit is right or wrong always takes a back seat to whether or not the pundit tells them what they want to hear.

Tax reform bill passes both chambers...

Democrat claim people will die?

Don't kill us!!!

A second vote with some minor adjustments expected in the House this morning. But make no mistake, Trump will sign this bill into law.... and according to Chuck and other Democrats, the GOP will "rue the day" that they allowed people to keep more of their own money!

What people have to remember here folks, is that it's been a long time since the GOP has actually had control to do anything. The Democrats have been pushing their ideas since taking the House and Senate back in 2006. For many millennials, this is probably the first time they have had to put up with a new GOP law that didn't fit their personal idea of how things should be.

Their maturity level is truly a sight to behold.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Democrats desperately fight the tax bill...

I always find it amusing when one side accuses the other of committing some form of political suicide, while simultaneously attempting to talk them out of it. As power hungry and partisan as Politicians are these days, they would never "fight" something that aligns them with their political goals of power and control.

Reality? If the Democrats really thought that the GOP was committing political suicide by passing the tax bill, they would probably shut up, let it pass, and then reap the benefits in 2018. Then when they win the Presidency back in 2020 (citing bad tax policy) they can undo the tax bill before it causes too much damage.

Problem? There will be a tangible reality to the tax bill. As much as it's a hypothetical debate right now, with both sides spinning the "potential" of what the end result might look like, complete with competing analysis, competing opinions, and competing narratives... if the bill passes, we will know in 2018 whether or not it raises taxes (as Democrats suggest) lowers taxes (as Republican suggest) or pretty much stay the same (as nobody is suggesting).

In other words, the proof "will" be in the pudding as they say.

Once the bill passes, the changes take affect, and people's paychecks are effected one way or the other... then you take a poll and find out what people think. Because then it won't matter who is suggesting what, or what side the media is taking, or anything else. The only thing that will matter is whether or not the bill puts more or less money in the pockets of Americans.

Bottom line. Polling today might have some effect with how politicians vote. But polling does not determine how the bill ultimately works. The bill will either raise or lower taxes completely independently of what the public "believes".  If the bill (as I suspect) actually lowers taxes for most people, the suggestions of it being a tax "hike" will no doubt be one of the biggest examples of "fake news" we have seen to date.

Chirs Matthews feels a thrill up his leg..

Matthews accused of assault with a deadly thrill.... 

Ninth Circuit Appeals Court opening..

With the resignation of Alex Kozinski, the infamous Ninth Circuit now has a fifth opening at the appeal's court level. Assuming Trump can fill these openings in the near future, nearly 40% of the Ninth Circuit Court will be made up of Bush 43 or Trump nominees.

Forced to step down amidst sexual harassment allegations 

It's plausible that Trump could put a reasonable dent in the "liberal" nature of the Ninth Circuit court, or at the very least give prudent mature legal ideals a fighting chance. There is some talk of "breaking up" the Ninth, adding a few more Judges and creating another circuit. I am sure such a move would really "chap the collective asses" of the left... who basically rely on heading off to Hawaii, or San Francisco every time something politically happens that they don't like.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Here is the official memo regarding the Trump Transition team records:

Sorry to not rely on opinions here: But this objectively explains the legal status of the transition team records based on Transition Team statute. As stated in the memo (and highlighted):

  • Certain portions of the records are considered Private. 
  • Certain portions of the records would be considered Federal Records. 

This suggests that under the current record keeping statutes, that the GSA did not have blanket authority to simply turn over everything. The information should have been separated between what was considered private materials, and what would be considered Federal documents.


AC 09.2017

November 16, 2016

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY RECORDS OFFICERS: Guidance Relating to President-Elect Transition Team Materials

The President-elect’s Transition Team (PETT) represents the President-elect during the 2016-2017 Presidential transition. The materials that PETT members create or receive are not Federal or Presidential records, but are considered private materials.  However, transition briefing materials created by a Federal agency and agency communications with the PETT are Federal records and must be managed in accordance with an approved agency records schedule.

If a PETT member is appointed to an agency position as part of the new Administration, the status of PETT materials that the individual brings to the agency may change at that time.  If PETT materials are incorporated as agency working files, they become records under either the Federal Records Act (FRA), for individuals working at Federal agencies, or the Presidential Records Act (PRA), for individuals working in PRA creating entities of the Executive Office of the President.  If the PETT materials are kept separate from Federal agency files or from files of a PRA entity, then they remain private materials.

If you have any questions concerning this guidance, please contact the  appraisal archivist assigned to work with your agency.

Chief Records Officer
for the U.S. Government

Will GDP hit 4% in fourth quarter?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Federal Reserve on Friday raised its estimate of U.S. gross domestic product growth for the fourth quarter of 2017 closer to 4 percent, based on revisions of prior data that suggested stronger economic activities.

The regional central bank’s “Nowcast” model calculated the economy was expanding at an annualized pace of 3.98 percent in the fourth quarter, quicker than the 3.92 percent rate calculated a week ago.

Now that it's no longer politically convenient...

Franken urged to reverse his resignation
At least four senators are urging Al Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment.
You knew this was coming. Politicians are all about paying lip service to the issues, but when push comes to shove, they generally refuse to follow through with tangible action.

Franken was a scapegoat who was used by his Party to help win a Senate seat in Alabama. Now that the Democrats made their point with Roy Moore, I guess that settles everything once and for all. It was unfair (in retrospect) to "use" Al Franken for those means. After all, he's such a nice guy!

There was a reason he didn't "resign immediately".  Can anyone think of a good one "other" than leaving open the possibility that he would change his mind after the Alabama race was over?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Questions about Mueller's reputation and objectivity start to grow...

Trump allies say Mueller unlawfully obtained thousands of emails
Career staff members at the agency “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the Special Counsel’s Office,” according to the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. It said the materials included “tens of thousands of emails.”
Trump’s transition team used facilities of the GSA, which helps manage the U.S. government bureaucracy, in the period between the Republican’s November presidential election victory and his inauguration in January.
The Trump team’s accusation adds to the growing friction between the president’s supporters and Mueller’s office as it investigates whether Russia interfered in the election and if Trump or anyone on his team colluded with Moscow.
“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” said Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s office.

There are three possible explanations for the special counsel's claim.
  • The first would be that they got the permission from the Trump transition team to take the emails. Obviously they didn't. 
  • The second was that they got some sort of warrant. But certainly the Trump team would have been served with or otherwise made aware of such a warrant. 
  • The third is that the Mueller team made the distinction that the emails were under the "ownership" of the GSA, rather than owned by the Trump transition team... and therefor requested and received all of the Trump transition emails without notifying the Trump team (or any of the Trump attorneys) that they had received them. 
But it seems unlikely that it's legal to obtain electronic information behind the back of the person or people who wrote the electronic correspondences, especially if those emails would contain privileged information (attorney/client, etc). Mueller and team might try to argue that executive privilege does not extend to President elects, but unless there is already legal precedent, such an argument should have gone before a Judge.  

Furthermore, if fourth amendment rights extend to what a person keeps in a rented apartment (and it does), then those same privileges would extent to communications that are housed on a rented (or contracted) server. Just as the police or investigator cannot simply ask the owner for permission to search a rented apartment, you cannot simply ask the person housing electronic communications to turn them over.

UPDATE: The issue is that Mueller went directly to the GSA (and ignored the PTT) in grabbing the information... and did so against the legal advice of the GSA General Counsel. GSA's own General Counsel made a determination that the emails belonged to Trump for American (transition team) and had notified Special Counsel of such.  Here is a letter from attorney Korey Langhoffer to the Senate oversight committee:
In order to comply with congressional document production requests, TFA ordered from the GSA electronic copies of all PTT emails and other data. Career GSA staff initially expressed concern that providing copies of PTT emails to TFA might violate a document preservation request that the GSA had received from the Special Counsel’s Office. This issue was resolved decisively on June 15, 2017 after a series of emails and telephone calls between TFA’s legal counsel and Richard Beckler and Lenny Loewentritt, the newly appointed General Counsel for the GSA and the career Deputy General Counsel for the GSA, respectively. After discussion and consideration of the issue, Mr. Beckler acknowledged unequivocally to TFA’s legal counsel, in the presence of Mr. Loewentritt, that TFA owned and controlled the PTT emails and data pursuant to the Presidential Transition Act, and that the GSA had no right to access or control the records but was simply serving as TFA’s records custodian. Mr. Beckler assured legal counsel for TFA, again in the presence of Mr. Loewentritt, that any requests for the production of PTT records would therefore be routed to legal counsel for TFA. In the meantime, Mr. Beckler agreed to maintain all computer equipment in a secure, locked space within GSA facilities. There are multiple surviving witnesses to this conversation, including me. 
Additionally, we understand that the following day, June 16, 2017, Mr. Beckler personally informed the Special Counsel’s Office that PTT records are not owned or controlled by the GSA, and that the Special Counsel’s Office should communicate with TFA if it desired to obtain PTT records. 
It is our understanding that Mr. Beckler was hospitalized and incapacitated in August 2017. Notwithstanding Mr. Beckler’s June 16, 2017 instruction to the Special Counsel’s Office concerning the ownership and control of PTT records, the Special Counsel’s Office, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), sent to the GSA two requests for the production of PTT materials while Mr. Beckler was hospitalized and unable to supervise legal matters for the GSA. Specifically, on August 23, 2017, the FBI sent a letter (i.e., not a subpoena) to career GSA staff requesting copies of the emails, laptops, cell phones, and other materials associated with nine PTT members responsible for national security and policy matters. On August 30, 2017, the FBI sent a letter (again, not a subpoena) to career GSA staff requesting such materials for four additional senior PTT members. 
Career GSA staff, working with Mr. Loewentritt and at the direction of the FBI, immediately produced all the materials requested by the Special Counsel’s Office – without notifying TFA or filtering or redacting privileged material. The materials produced by the GSA to the Special Counsel’s Office therefore included materials protected by the attorney-client privilege, the deliberative process privilege, and the presidential communications privilege. It is our understanding that Mr. Beckler passed away without returning to the GSA, and that career GSA staff (including Mr. Loewentritt) never consulted with or informed Mr. Beckler or his successor of the unauthorized production of PTT materials. 
The unauthorized production of PTT materials by career GSA staff violates (a) the GSA’s duties to TFA pursuant to the GSA’s previous acknowledgement concerning TFA’s rightful ownership and control of PTT materials; (b) the statute requiring the GSA to “ensure that any computers or communications services provided to an eligible candidate . . . are secure,” 3 U.S.C. § 102 note 3(h)(2)(B)(ii); and (c) the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on a government actor (e.g., Mr. Loewentritt), or a private actor working at the request of a government official, failing to obtain a warrant for the search of seizure of private property in which the owner has a reasonable expectation of privacy, see Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 489 (1971).
Let's be clear, this is not a recent event. These emails have been in Mueller's possession for some time. It became apparent to the Administration when certain questions had been raised by investigators that had to do with information that could only be garnered by the emails. The argument between the Trump team and the Mueller team at this point seems to be more a matter of principal than a real tangible fight to recoup the information that can't really be "unlearned".

More to the point, with all the other questions that have been raised over the objectivity and problems with the Mueller probe, it would have been a bone head move to pull something like this today. It only provides the Administration and other Mueller critics with ammunition for their claims that his probe is biased, out of control, and basically an investigation in search of a crime.

Unless of course, Mueller lives in such a bubble, that he doesn't see it?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Full GOP Senate Support for Tax Bill

According to multiple sources, the GOP has full support in the Senate, which is enough to pass the bill even if McCain and Cochran are unable to make the vote.

This would appear to be the first major legislative victory for the GOP since Trump was elected. We'll see if it leads to more to come.

Three more Circuit Court Justices confirmed....

Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Jared Kushner's grade school transcripts, interviewed Donald Jr's cub scout leader from 4th grade, and is looking into whether or not Ivanka had any cavities had during a previously undisclosed dental appointment in 1992. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Unexpected good economic news? Go figure?

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, pointing to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
Remember, just because it didn't happen during the eight years of the Obama's administration, doesn't mean that he won't try to take credit! 

After all, nothing much left of his "actual" legacy.

Rosenstein grilled at hearing...

As pointed out by Gowdy and others during the hearing... the entire purpose of a special counsel or special prosecutor is to appoint someone independent and neutral... because it has been deemed that there is a conflict of interest within investigative arm that was in charge.
In the United States, a special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel) is a lawyer appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a particular case of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority. wiki/Special_prosecutor

If you watch Gowdy here, he goes into specific detail in explaining the obvious examples of the very conflict of interest that a special counsel is designed to remove. His observations are both very in depth, and very compelling.

Rosenstein's answers are neither specific or compelling. He basically seems to make the argument that the only relevant conflict that matters is whether or not there are specific "actions" that are outside the boundaries of professional or legal standards. He seems to be implying that the optics of the investigation are irrelevant.

This proves that Rosenstein apparently doesn't understand the historical use of special counsel. Rosenstein appointed Mueller in spite of the fact that there was no specific known criminal activity that was being investigated. To the degree that there was any possible conflict of interest came from the fact that the Attorney General was supposedly of interest to the investigation. The recusal of Sessions from the probe, should have allowed the FBI to continue their investigation without any conflict. Especially considering the sworn testimony of the outgoing FBI director that the President was not under investigation.

More to the point, the Special Counsel in question raises more questions about conflict of interests, than we would have had if the FBI had continued the investigation. What is clear here, is that Rosenstein appointed special counsel for political purposes, and quite possibly because of the public pleading of James Comey to do so. Because it was a political decision, the current Mueller investigation will continue to be tainted by politics and conflict.

Rosenstein has supplied us with a road map as to how "not" to go about appointing and overseeing a special counsel. Rosenstein has proven himself to be incompetent in his job. If you watched his responses at the hearing, it becomes impossible to not come away with the conclusion that he is simply not in charge of any part of this. He is Mueller's pawn.

House and Senate reach agreement on Tax bill

One of the the key parts of this compromise, is that the repeal of the individual mandate (a popular measure by all calculations) will be part of the final bill. While this will lead to some squawking over at the CBO over how many people will "lose insurance" - that number being tied directly to what amounts to a choice, will dampen that particular claim. People will instinctively know that nobody is being "forced" out of their insurance. They are simply dropping insurance because they no longer will have to purchase it.

“I see no need to wait for Doug Jones to become a senator.” 

Moreover, it's almost assured that once this passes, that the CBO estimates will prove to be wildly wrong... as they have been for nearly everything associated with Obamacare. Also, considering the lion's share of the insurance "losses" calculated by the CBO generally came from the individual mandate, any future attempts to repeal or otherwise change Obamacare, will not come back from the CBO with the massive numbers they have been otherwise suggesting.

The votes appear to be there in both chambers, with the fence sitter Susan Collins giving a thumbs up, and pushing for a vote prior to the Senate seating Doug Jones. This looks like it will pass both chambers and signed into law before Congress goes home for the holidays. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Biggest loser in Alabama upset?

Look, obviously the GOP tangibly loses a Senate seat, making it all that much harder to actually govern.  They will have through this session (Jones will probably not be certified the winner till late December, or early January) to push through the tax bill. After that, it will be rough sailing.

Furthermore, this opens up a tangible possibility of the Senate flipping to the Democrats in 2018. They would have to pretty much run the table on all close races, but at least there is a path that doesn't have to go through Ted Cruz in Texas.

On the flip side the Republicans in Congress are not having to apologize for or explain away a Senator Roy Moore, which was a trade many in the Party were obviously willing to make. In spite of the President backing Moore at the end, and the Party reinstating funding down the stretch, most of the prominent Republicans in Congress were openly against Roy Moore.

The President's gambit was unsuccessful. Yeah, he originally backed Strange, and only recently backed Moore. Furthermore, he never "really" gave a full throttle endorsement of Roy Moore, other than to say that a Republican (even Roy Moore) was better than a Democrat. Quite frankly an understandable view in the eyes of many partisans. But ultimately this was still a bit of a black eye on Trump. Knowing what he knows today, he probably would have stayed on the sidelines.

Obviously Roy Moore himself is done. This is the third time that Moore has made an unsuccessful state wide run. Quite obviously, there is no place in Alabama for Moore, and I doubt if what little popularity he has would translate well to relocation. Time for him to "ride off into the sunset" so to speak.

Also, I am sure that Senator Al Franken is cursing the result as well. Now that he will have zero company in the accused of sexual assault Senate club, whatever hopes he might have had to hang on to his seat seems to have slipped away. This morning, Governor Dayton announce a replacement for Franken (even though Franken has still not officially resigned). I think that might be a bad sign for poor Al.

But the real loser in all of this, and the guy with the most egg on his face is Steve Bannon. My how the mighty have fallen. Just a year ago Steve Bannon sat on top of the political world, with many giving him credit for orchestrating the Trump Presidential victory. Today, his influence within the Party has dwindled down to almost nothing. Nobody likes a loser, and in the case of Moore in Alabama... Bannon not just backed the loser, but became one as well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jones wins Alabama

Senate now 51-49

Jones - 49.7
Moore - 48.6

Mueller required "ethics waiver" to allow for role as special counsel...

Justice Department won't disclose details on Mueller ethics waive
The Justice Department is refusing to reveal details of the process that led up to former FBI Director Robert Mueller being granted an ethics waiver to serve as special counsel investigating the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
In response to a POLITICO Freedom of Information Act request, the agency released a one-sentence memo Friday confirming that Mueller was granted a conflict-of-interest waiver in order to assume the politically-sensitive post.

Given the questions, as well as the questionable behavior or Robert Mueller, it seems almost unreal that the Justice Department is hiding this information from the public. But then again, between the Justice Department and the FBI, they seem to be hiding a lot of stuff relating to their investigation of Donald Trump.

Mueller, the FBI, and others are already being accused of gestapo style politically motivated smear of Donald Trump and his Administration. How could knowing the full truth in all of this be any worse than the allegations?

A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
You can't make this shit up.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

Competing Polls in Alabama

  • Emerson released a poll showing a nine point lead for Roy Moore. This was up six points from their previous poll last week. 
  • Fox News released a poll showing Jones up by ten points. Very similar to their November poll showing Jones up by Eight.
  • Gravis released a poll showing Moore up by four points, after previously showing Jones up by four points. 
  • Strategy Research released a poll showing Moore up by seven points. Which was a five point increase from their poll in late November. 
Overall, three of the polls have moved in Moore's favor by an average of seven points, while the other moved in Jones' favor by two. But probably most interesting is the fact that we have is a nineteen point difference between the poll most favorable to Moore, and the poll most favorable to Jones. This is highly unusual for even a off year special election.

Lord knows exactly what will happen. 

Terror malfunction?

NYPD makes arrest in explosion near Times Square
Commuters said they felt a blast in the Subway tunnels underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal around 7:30am. The bus terminal is a major transit hub for people commuting to and from New Jersey by bus, and is located just a block from Times Square.
Police have taken one man into custody, who was carrying a pipe bomb with a battery back, a source told the New York Post. He was injured when the bomb malfunctioned, but is alive and in stable condition, according to the FDNY.
The FDNY says a total of four people were injured and that the injuries were non-life-threatening. The injured count includes the suspect.
This reminds me of why Trump was right to suggest that these people are not "terrorists" per sea - but rather they are simply a bunch of losers. There is no reason to glorify what happened with this guy, by suggesting he is anything more than an abject failure, probably both in life and in his attempts to create a terror event.

Doesn't exactly inspire anyone to run out and join the cause? What's the rallying cry? "Hey come be a big fuck up like me!"

How much better would the economy have to be...

before naysayers accepted that it's doing pretty damned good under Trump? 
Although President Donald Trump’s overall approval ratings have dropped to the lowest point of his presidency, he is getting significantly higher marks in one important area: his handling of the economy.
With the U.S. unemployment rate holding at a 17-year low, hiring strong and the stock market hitting regular records, Mr. Trump is getting stronger reviews from the public on the economy, with 42% approving and 37% disapproving, according to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, conducted in late October.

I can understand not liking what Trump is doing on social issues. I can understand not liking what Trump is doing on the international front. I can understand that some people just don't like Trump.

But exactly, are these 37% disapproving of?
  • The 3% plus growth? 
  • Nearly full employment? 
  • Manufacturing jobs coming back? 
  • Wage increases? 
  • Home values rising? 
  • Investment portfolios rising? 
My best guess is that some people simply don't like Trump to such a degree, that they simply cannot (and will never) accept that "anything" is going well, as long as he is President. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Don't Judge them, liberals just want to be popular kids...

The debate rages on about Donald Trump, his actions as President, and his effect on the country. 

To say there is disagreement as to whether or not Donald Trump is doing a good job or a poor job is an understatement. To say there is disagreement as to the direction of our country, is probably a bigger understatement.

For the past couple of decades, the Economy and Terrorism have consistently been at or near the top of the list of National priorities.

  • Economically (and isn't it the economy stupid?) we are doing stellar. We are seeing the recently deemed impossible 3% growth, wages have been going up, we are approaching what economist consider "full employment", manufacturing is rebounding, and tangible wealth (in terms of home values and market investments) have been growing like a weed. For the first time, in a long time... our national economy, personal wages, and personal wealth are all growing, rather than just crawling along on life support. 
  • Meanwhile, what happened to ISIS? Almost all of their caliphate has been uprooted, they are in shambles and on the run. Apparently it took little more than turning over strategic control to the military experts to seize back control in the region (go figure that Military experts knew better than the Obama administration how to fight a military battle). The media doesn't much report on this, but to a large degree when the media is not reporting on ISIS and coordinated ISIS terror attacks, that's a pretty good thing.

But none of this will matter to the left. They pay lip service to the things that are supposedly important, when they are allowed to complain about it. Even when Obama was President, complaining about the economy and terrorism was just more reason to elect someone who would follow his footsteps. Now that the economy and the war on terror has made a turn for the better, they no longer believe such things are important.

What matters... apparently... is optics. Liberals want (and quite possibly need) the approval from European elites and random Arab leaders and they are upset that these people don't like Trump. They want (and quite possibly need) the approval from coastal elitists, Hollywood, and academics, and of course find validation when these people also don't like Trump.

Apparently they need everyone to think that our President is "cool" (at least in the liberal sense). 

Why fret over whether or not you can pay your mortgage, if you get laid off at work, or if you are killed in a terror attack? It's much more important to worry about what the President might tweet, and who might somewhere be offended by it. 

Oh my god, he pulled out of this Obama agreement, ended that Obama resolution, and apparently he isn't honoring Obama's deal with so and so about such and such.  But let's be clear here folks. If these agreements, accords, and resolutions were so important, then they would have been ratified as treaties or passed as laws by Congress. The fact that they can be undone by a Trump decision, shows just how fragile and unimportant they actually are.

At the end of the day, Barack Obama was more popular with foreign leaders and the liberal elitists, because Obama followed exactly what the those people wanted him to do. He was a puppet. Trump will never be as popular, because Trump will do what Trump feels (right or wrong) is in America's best interest. 

Bottom line:

Obama (and his liberal following) want to sit with the "cool kids" - even if they have to pay homage and follow along to garner that seat. Trump (and his followers) don't even think those are the "cool kids" - they have no desire to sit with them and don't really give a shit what they think.  That's a hard gap to bridge.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fake Fake News?

Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive for the sake of altering the public perception.

So likely in retaliation for the actual fake news peddled by ABC, CNN, and Reuters over the past few days, the left has determined that a Fox News headline suggesting Beverly Young's confession regarding the yearbook message amounts to admission of "forgery" should be considered "fake news". 

Now, what the story stated was entirely accurate. After leading and leaving everyone to believe that Roy Moore wrote every portion of the yearbook message, Young came out and admitted that the last portion (that suggested that the signing of the yearbook took place in the proximity of where she claims she was assaulted) was actually added by her.

Now this is no small issue. There were two major concepts that Young and Allred were attempting to establish. First, that Roy Moore and Beverly Young did know each other. Second, that Roy Moore frequented the diner that Young claims to have worked for. The reason it was important to show that Moore frequented the diner, is because it was at the diner that Moore supposedly asked to drive her home, and then sexually assaulted her. If Moore never actually came to the diner, then he obviously never raped her.

Now the fact that he didn't write the date and place in the yearbook, doesn't prove anything about whether or not Moore frequented the diner.  But the confession that Young wrote it, and attempted (for at least a period of time) to pass it off as the writing of Roy Moore is not a minor issue. Under the strictest definitions of the word... writing, drawing, or otherwise scribbling something and attributing that as the work of someone else is actually considered forgery.

There is no other meaningful definition.

The fact that she later rescinded that implication, and admitted it was her writing does not change the meaning of what she "had" been doing, anymore than someone who forged a signature on a legal document, and later confesses that it was his/her signature would no longer be considered to have forged the signature.

So the only questions really are:

Was Beverly Young and her attorney dishonest about the yearbook message? Did they attempt to pass off the date and place as his writing? Did they do so to make people draw a picture in their head of a 32 year old Moore hanging out at the Diner flirting with the 16 year old waitress, so that people could more easily imagine him driving her around back and attempting to force oral sex on her?

If you believe the answers to those questions are "yes" (which certainly the facts sort of suggest) then there is nothing "fake" about using the term "forgery". In fact, unless you believe Young was actually being honest this whole time, the idea of playing it down with gentle semantics to hide that dishonesty...  is more "fake" than calling it for what it is.

Friday, December 8, 2017

CNN Story Non-Story Story

So does this stuff never end?

CNN broke with a story claiming that Donald Trump Jr received an email with information regarding some unreleased Wikileaks material. CNN reported that Trump was provided an encrypted key to open up this information and effectively get first crack at it. The report implied that this was a recent discovery, and certainly would be leading to something substantial.

Turns out that the email was sent to Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, possibly Baron Trump, pretty much every member of the Trump staff, associates, and apparently many "others". The emails were not a recent discovery, but had been forwarded by the Trump campaign to the investigators along with every other relative email that they turned over several months ago.

Furthermore, CNN acknowledged that they had the date wrong, that they had incorrectly referenced a particular tweet as being relevant, failed to disclose that there is no evidence that anyone even read the email, and that the information that the email supposedly referenced was apparently little more than a PDF of information previously released by Wiki leaks.

They don't even know who the sender is, and he apparently has nothing to do with Wikileaks. Looks more like some guy who copied and pasted the wikileaks information in a PDF format to make it easier to search.

CNN provided this - even as their headline still implies something more devious.
Washington (CNN)Correction: This story has been corrected to say the date of the email was September 14, 2016, not September 4, 2016. The story also changed the headline and removed a tweet from Donald Trump Jr., who posted a message about WikiLeaks on September 4, 2016. 
The new details appear to show that the sender was relying on publicly available information. The new information indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported.
While the correction is well noted. It might be better if they removed the headline that still suggests what they originally were reporting, or simply retracted the entire story.  MSNBC and others had the same story on their front page, referencing the "original" CNN description of events. The last time I looked (about an hour ago) MSNBC was not including any of the corrections.

This is purely a very blatant attempt to slowly but surely poison the well with incorrect information, in order to undermine and discredit the President. Funny how that works. CNN, ABC, MSNBC, all blatantly lie, and it makes liberals distrust the President even more. Go figure.

Moore accuser admits to writing part of yearbook message...

So even after the Washington Post consulted a former FBI forensics expert, who determined that:
“Looking at the yearbook entry,” [Songer] said, “it looks pretty spontaneously prepared — that is, it doesn’t look like the writer stopped and restarted, as though someone were tentative in writing perhaps because they were trying to imitate another writer. It looks very fluid. I don’t see any indications of unnatural writing. The writing seems consistent with one writer,”
Beverly Young came out and admitted that it was her who wrote (at least) the date and the place in question in her yearbook. She is still claiming that Roy Moore wrote in her yearbook at that time, and that it was on that date and at that location (which is why she made the notation). Obviously she is still claiming that she was assaulted.

One has to wonder, why this little tidbit of information was not forthcoming in the original allegations and statements? Did she forget that she wrote part of it? Did she find it unimportant, even as people suggested it was partially forged? Seems like a problem for Ms Young and her attorney (who could be in legal trouble if she knew).

Ultimately one has to wonder if Doug Jones wishes that Gloria Allred and Beverly Young could have just as well kept their collective mouths shut, and it might have actually helped the other allegations against Moore retain credibility.

One also has to wonder out loud how the Washington Post and former FBI agents can be so easily fooled by something most anyone could see from a picture? Trump derangement syndrome is the best possible explanation.

So - it might actually appear that Mueller has a member of his team that is in violation of Federal law?

One of the top attorneys working with special counsel Mueller in the Russia investigation attended Hillary’s election night party, reports the WSJ.
“Federal law prohibits the Justice Department—which includes the special counsel’s office—from using political or ideological affiliations to assess applicants for career positions in the agency. Employees are also allowed to express opinions on political subjects privately and publicly, as long as they aren’t in concert with a political party or candidate for office.
I would believe that attending an election night Party crosses that line in regards to being in concert with a candidate for office. Of course, obviously this law isn't very well enforced (and who would enforce it anyways?)

But the whole idea of an "Independent Special Counsel" is that it is actually independent of political party or political motive. We now have a Mueller team that:

  • Has several members who were Hillary donors, possibly in violation of being in concert with a candidate for office?
  • Had one member removed from the team and effectively demoted for showing blatant anti-Trump bias through text messaging.
  • Had one who is under fire for making statements regarding her support of Sally Yates refusal to follow the President's directive. 
  • Now has one who actually attended the Hillary Clinton election night party. 

So you can go ahead and argue that a great percentage of people in the Justice Department and prosecutors in the FBI are Democrats, so you take what you can get. But ultimately that's nothing more than a reason to "excuse" the partisan makeup of the Mueller team. As a matter of fundamental optics (and fundamental fairness) the team should include a fairly equal amount of people considered Democrat and people considered Republican, or better yet... find people who simply are not politically active either way. Just because it's not the path of least resistance, doesn't mean it's not the correct path.

Wouldn't we all feel better if the Special Counsel teams, the Justice Department, and the FBI were all truly a politics free zone? 

One Billion New Jobs!

November nonfarm payrolls rise 228,000 vs. 200,000 est

Okay, maybe not a billion new jobs, but once again the Trump economy "surprised" analysts with better than projected job numbers. The only real surprise at this point is that anyone is actually still surprised.

All I know is that I should have been an economist.

Then I could always just write what I want, and just be surprised when I am wrong. Quite literally Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize in economics for a well imagine socioeconomic projection that turned out to be flat wrong. He once suggested that the internet was a passing phase who's impact would fall short of that of the fax machine. Krugman recently suggested that the DJIA would not only "crash" after the Trump election, but would "never recover". 

Krugman is still is the so called economic expert for the New York Times, and frequents many cable news and Sunday morning political shows to provide our national audience with his economic projections of Republican failure and Democratic success. 

Everything the Democrats do is about bringing down Trump

Does that sound paranoid? 

So Al Franken announced that he would be (sometime in the not so well defined future)  resigning his seat in the Senate. About a hundred million Democrats collectively offered the opinion that if Franken goes, then by all accounts Trump should go too. The facts that the Franken allegations were not aired prior to his elections, and that many of the allegations took place while he was an actual Senator seems lost on these millions of Democrats. But TDS has a tendency to do that to people.

Of course, wasn't that the play here all along? If Democrats could get a couple of their own to fall on the proverbial sword, then the Party could claim the "higher moral ground" and start to selectively attack the Republicans, taking dead aim at the President. Who cares if they once supported a President accused of rape, settled a sexual harassment claim while in office, and who admitted receiving sexual favors from a White House intern who was half his age. That was then. This is now. Democrats have changed, unless you consider they still support Senator Menendez in New Jersey (or at least until the Democratic Governor takes office - then all bets are off).

Here is the reality. There was no Russia/Trump collusion. Only the really off center tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nuts still believe that special counsel is going to uncover some nefarious plot to steal the election. The Special Counsel investigation hacks are now leaking post election transition team actions and making suggestions about which conversations might be covered up, in order to cover up the actual cover up of a crime that nobody suggests can be proven. The original hope of Robert Mueller bringing down some widespread felony conspiracy has been replaced by non-related charges and process crimes, and the hope that more unrelated charges and/or process crimes might follow; with the ultimate goal of finding something that could allow Mueller to recommend that the President "obstructed justice".

But the problem with trying to prove that a President obstructed Justice is the very fact that it's more a philosophical argument than a matter of criminal investigation.  Considering how many experts believe that Presidential authority takes precedent over someone's opinion as to the President's motive, makes it fairly necessary that Mueller can prove bad intent. Moreover, he needs to prove it to the degree that it would convince partisan Republicans. The chances that Mueller can find some smoking gun evidence that proves corrupt or criminal intent to that degree is probably not much better than was his chances of finding the smoking gun evidence of collusion.

While we may not be quite at the point where your rank and file Democrats and Democratic supporters are willing to accept this, that day is probably not too far off into the future. What we do know, is that even if the Mueller probe comes up short on all accounts, that it will not stop the liberal pursuit of undoing the 2016 election and bringing down Donald Trump.

Russian Collusion? Nope. Obstruction of Justice? Nope.
Democrats need something new (or will fairly shortly here).

Why not the sexual harassment allegations that were brought up (unsuccessfully) during the election? Certainly those allegations are prime for reconsideration? Especially after a couple of high profile Democrats have been brought down. What's good for the goose and all that. Does anyone not believe that the real reason to push Franken and Conyers out is to create leverage to go after Trump?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Doug Jones attempts a hail mary pass...

But... it turned out to be this:

 Wow! Now that's not offensive at all? Is it?

Franken Resigns!

Or does he?

December 14th is like April Fools day in certain cultures... 

This was a weak "political" move by Franken. Ironically speaking...  Franken refused to "man up". He didn't even really resign. Just said he was going to. Sometime.

He basically denied the allegations, demanded the accusers were all liars, explained what a great man he was for women and their causes, and states that there was no doubt that an ethics investigation would have confirmed all of this.... at least if everyone could have just heard him out.

Franken basically stated that he was forced to step down because he could not be an effective Senator for the people of Minnesota due to the growing cloud of people demanding his resignation. He caved to the pressure. Nothing more nothing less. If he was truly a man of his convictions, and he was truly not guilty, then he would have stood and fought.

Or at least pretended to stand and fight, rather than make a non-resignation resignation announcement.

Even more ironic was his repeated references to Paul Wellstone, who was well known for doing what he wanted to do, not matter how unpopular it was with anyone. There were more than a few 99-1 votes in the Senate where Wellstone was that "1" vote. Suppose Wellstone would have backed down under pressure, if he believed he was being falsely accused? Not a chance. Franken the coward bringing up Wellstone, as he sort of caved (but not right now) under political pressure was priceless.

This, in fact, is 100% the opposite of what Franken should have done. At least if was even reasonably interested in helping his Party show the very distinction some in his Party are trying to draw. Franken did not accept that he (and everyone else accused of harassment) deserved his fate. If he had then he would have actually resigned (which would have been the right move). Rather Franken makes it painfully obvious that he is being set up as a sacrificial lamb, taken to slaughter so that others in his Party can demand that they are willing to sacrifice their own (as long as the Governor is a Democrat).

In doing so, he is pointing out the obvious political nature of this particular move by his Party and the hypocrisy that all of this reveals.  Franken's honesty in how the politics effected this (as well as not actually resigning) is exactly why this will not carry the sort of weight that some might think it could.

Lastly, and most importantly. Because he didn't resign effective immediately as one might expect. Look for Franken to attempt an end around on his "resignation"...  possibly banking on a change of circumstance with a Roy Moore win in Alabama. Once Moore is seated, Franken can childishly claim that if Moore gets to stay, then he should get to stay too!

Want to bet against the man-child playing that game!?!

Tina Smith likely Franken replacement...

Assuming Al "the groper" Franken does what is expected, Governor Dayton is primed to name his Lieutenant Governor to replace the former SNL comedian.  

As far as we know, Tina has never forcibly kissed or groped anyone!
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is likely to be Gov. Mark Dayton’s choice to replace Sen. Al Franken if he resigns as expected, which would set in motion a cascade of job openings and reshape Minnesota politics.

Initial job numbers... unexpectedly good

Go figure...
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of the labor market. (link)
Why am I always wrong?

While the article sort of uses some cryptic semantics, the fact that the unemployment benefits are falling and the labor market is tightening are both good things.