Archive for politics

3/29/2017: Obfuscation and other deceit

Washington Examiner: Democrats muddy the waters around Devin Nunes – “The striking part of his revelation was not that there had been surveillance but that information gleaned about Trump campaigners, supposedly of no intelligence value to the federal government, may have been shared illegally throughout government without concealing the identity of the Americans involved.”

Democrats and their media allies have refused to address this serious allegation on its merits. Their related call for Nunes to recuse himself from the panel’s separate investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election is a non-sequitur and has nothing to do with the issue he brought up.

Democrats are trying to compound media confusion between the Russia investigation and apparent but unrelated lawbreaking by the feds before Trump took office.

Democrats have responded to Nunes by throwing up a smokescreen, which suggests they are worried about possible wrongdoing against Trump, not about hinted wrongdoing by his campaign.

The issue is not the surveillance, but what was done with the information.

Nunes is right to demand answers quickly by going to the source. Democrats’ calls for him to recuse himself from a completely separate investigation are not just disingenuous, but are intended to confuse the public.

The issue is not the surveillance, but what was done with the information.” – The Snowden Argument confused these concepts. Its presumption was that having information was the same as using information and, therefore, any attempt to obtain information was a nefarious invasion of privacy. There is a struggle about this in commerce as knowing about a customer is a means to better be able to cater to a customer’s needs and interests. That is why the mail is filled with ‘privacy statements’ so customers can know what to expect.

When it comes to government and public security, the stakes are higher. Nunez is being smeared by misrepresentations based on compartmentalization of security information. This is one technique to preserve integrity between ‘using’ and ‘having’. The laws regarding concealment of innocent parties in intelligence reports is another such precaution. The leaks outside of secured compartments that reveal the identity of innocent parties is the kind of governmental breach of trust that Snowden and his ilk were worried about. That is why it is the leaks that are serious as they are not about a single event or person but rather about the relationship between the government and its people, a relationship that is necessary for the government to do its proper job.

Scott Johnson says A Times source outs herself – “Evelyn Farkas is the former Obama administration deputy secretary of defense — and now an MSNBC analyst.”

I have lifted the video and slightly modified the transcript of Farkas’s response from the post here by Sundance at the The Conservative Tree House site. Sundance has more in the way of commentary in an update that may or may not be on point or withstand scrutiny. I agree with Sundance on this point: “Looks like Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee ha[ve] a new person to bring in for testimony.” Yes, indeed, let us hear more from Ms. Farkas regarding “the Hill people” and her underlying project under oath.

John Hinderaker describes another one: Leaked DHS Document Is Another Democratic Party Scandal – “At Breitbart.com, Michael Patrick Leahy has what strikes me as an explosive story.”

So it appears that what happened here is that Democratic Party activists in the Department of Homeland Security either created a bogus document or dug up a poorly-researched draft document that had never been issued, and fed it to Democratic Party activists at the Associated Press. The Democratic Party activists at the AP published a story based on the anonymous document, which two Democratic Party activists on the bench used as a pretext for orders enjoining the president’s travel order.

Those orders should be viewed as purely political acts that have no basis in any valid judicial reasoning or authority.

The campaign continues …

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3/28/2017: Tell a Lie Often Enough … Obsession!

Paul Mirengoff: Trump administration blasts Russia’s handling of weekend protests – “Since taking office two months ago, President Trump has taken no action that can reasonably be viewed as favoring Russia.” Yet the headlines today are replete with the Democrat Party’s conspiracy theories that Trump colluded with Russia to win his election. The desperation is showing in the heated personal attacks on any target they can find, repeated and insistent calls for people to step down from important posts based on figments of their imagination, and other irrational behavior. Meanwhile. Russia illustrates just why the hyperbole about Trump as a Tyrant is so off base as well as the ridiculousness of the Russia Collusion Conspiracy ethos.

The size of the protests wasn’t large by U.S. and Western European standards. On the other hand, in the U.S. and Western Europe, one does not risk arrest and worse by participating in peaceful protests.

Readers may recall that Medvedev was the official to whom then-president Obama made his promise of greater “flexibility” towards Russia once that pesky 2012 election was over.

The Trump administration has condemned the arrest of Russian protesters. The State Department issued this statement: …

White House press secretary Sean Spicer read the State Department’s statement to the press. Thus, the White House is on the record as condemning Russia’s action in no uncertain terms.

Perhaps one of the reasons the Democrats are exposing such behavior is that the putrid pile that was swept under the rug for the last eight years is being exposed. An example: Schumer goes off on Trump supporter at NYC restaurant, witness says. Schumer has convinced himself that Trump is a Liar. That, like the Russia Collusion Conspiracy is something they repeat so often to themselves via their propaganda machine that they believe it true. The belief is so strong that no evidence, no reality, no logic is going to change it.

Glen Reynolds is one of the few that get the name right. It’s not a nuclear option. “Go full “Reid Option” and nuke the filibuster. Because the last several years we were told repeatedly how outdated and undemocratic the filibuster is.” The Democrats’ names should be applied to identify their destruction of traditional protocol in the Senate.

Herschel Smith: Homeowner’s Son Shoots And Kills Three Would-Be Robbers With An AR-15 – “He did one thing right, and one thing very wrong.”

This is impossible. We all know that no one needs that awful high capacity magazine, and no one needs an AR-15 for self defense, even against multiple intruders. And we all know that it’s more dangerous for the homeowner to have a gun than it is for the assailants. Guns take on a life of their own and turn and shoot the innocent like they have an evil brain. The report must be mistaken.

First, what he did right. … If an intruder is in your home, you must assume they are armed, and armed with more than you can see in the instant you are making your decisions of life and death.

Now to what he did wrong. He talked to the police. Boys and girls, don’t ever talk to the police. Not even if you shot in self defense, not even if you have nothing to hide, and not even if you’re an honest and decent human. Don’t talk to the police.

Ever.

Even the police don’t talk to the police in shooting situations until the situation is settled and proper procedure can be assured.

Eric Worrall on Florida: The Sun State with Hardly Any Household Solar – “If the raw economics of solar made any sense, buyback schemes would not be needed to make household solar attractive.” Yet here we go in Nevada again as Left rears its ugly head in their war on the poor (re Las Vegas Sun).

Another falsehood that won’t quit meets reality described by Mark Perry: Evidence of employers paying women 20% less than men for the exact same work is as elusive as Bigfoot sightings – “this year’s Equal Pay Day will publicize the 20% unadjusted difference in median annual earnings for women and men in 2015 (most recent data available) when absolutely nothing relevant is controlled for

Despite the widespread acceptance of the frequent “66/77/80 cents on the dollar for the same job” claims documented above, there is rarely ever any specific evidence presented showing that specific organizations are in violation of federal law by paying women 20% or more less than men for doing the same job. What politicians like Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, and gender activist organizations like the NCPE and AAUW are really implying is that firms and organizations across the country are rampantly and illegally violating the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by paying women 66/77/80 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men, and those deliberate, flagrant and ongoing violations are somehow going undetected. If there were such ubiquitous gender wage disparities in violation of federal law, why are there not extensive investigations by the Department of Justice, the Office of Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or by Governor Edwards’ office? And why isn’t there a cottage industry of law firms specializing in representing women who are victims of the supposed pervasive gender discrimination, the way there are hundreds of law firms representing mesothelioma victims who were exposed to asbestos on the job in previous decades?

And Nevada Leftists are celebrating because they finally got state acceptance of the ERA – just 32 years too late. The facts just don’t matter and they’ll even go so far as to forget the calendar to make themselves feel good.

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3/27/2017: Bad Mitigation Math and other delusions with 1968 deja vu

Patricia McCarthy: Are the Trump Haters Creating 1968 All Over Again? – “The students then opposed the war because they opposed the draft.” They don’t know why they are in opposition now, either.

Today our police, National Guard and our military in general are constrained by rules the police and guardsmen of 1968 could not have imagined. The pendulum has swung very far from 1968. The police today figuratively have their hands tied behind their backs, their use of defensive weapons constrained to the point that they are sitting ducks, and their ability to enforce both state and federal law restricted to the point of absurdity. Almost any act of defense of the citizenry is subject to investigation if an official complaint is made by a perpetrator, a family member or witness wielding a cellphone. And that complaint, no matter how ridiculous, carries the day.

But not everything is so different from 1968. Those protests, all that violence displayed on television, despite the small numbers of Americans they represented, ensured Nixon’s reelection. The folks in flyover country, then as now, were repulsed by the behavior of what seemed like, thanks to television, tens of thousands of young people. The students then opposed the war because they opposed the draft. They had no idea of the barbarism of communism; they embraced the counter culture because it was the hip thing to do. Many of them were manipulated into the “movement” just as so many young people today have been maneuvered into anti-Trumpism without actually knowing anything about him.

Daniel Greenfield says The Civil War Is Here – “The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule.”

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

Democrats have become radicalized by the left. This doesn’t just mean that they pursue all sorts of bad policies. It means that their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology.

There is no sign that the left understands or is troubled by the implications of the conflict it has initiated. And there are few signs that Democrats properly understand the dangerous road that the radical left is drawing them toward. The left assumes that the winners of a democratic election will back down rather than stand on their authority. It is unprepared for the possibility that democracy won’t die in darkness.

The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws and its elections. Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the sixties has come of age. A civil war has begun.

This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.

The Democrats do see this and it is evident in what psychiatrists call projection. Aaron Klein: Latest Establishment Talking Point: Trump May Be Guilty of ‘Treason’ – “Over the past week, numerous Democratic Party operatives and establishment pundits have used the word “treason” in a seeming attempt to smear President Donald Trump over unproven claims of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.” After many months of investigation, including what appears to be improper spying on an opponent’s campaign, no evidence of any such collusion has been found. Not having any evidence means nothing if reason does not guide and that is indeed a realm for psychiatrists.

Juan Williams illustrates why it is so difficult to have any kind of reasonable political discussion these days. Juan Williams: If Obama had acted like Trump… – “The Journal abandoned efforts to make sense of President Trump’s outright fiction that Obama wiretapped him.” Outright Fiction? After the wiretapping was headline news in the NYT and the WaPo? Williams says “That’s the message I got” in order to arrive at this “outright fiction” idea. Perhaps he should check his perceptions? And now he wants apologies? Oh how typical of someone buried in the Left. There is an obsession here that leads to blindness and that leads to a dark alley. Williams is one of the regulars on Fox News The Five as the representative of the Left. The show is nearly destroyed when these representatives get in on the discussion and the discussion ceases to be informative and becomes a harangue.

 

Taylor Millard understands Aggies. Something odd happened and the Energy Secretary weighed in. The “nontroversy” of Rick Perry questioning A&M election of gay man as student-body president

It certainly doesn’t appear Perry is saying Brooks shouldn’t be SGA president because he’s gay, but is concerned about the electoral process (something Democrats have been whining about over the November presidential election). He’s not the only person who believes dirty tricks may have been involved in getting Brooks elected.

As for those who are wondering why the U.S. Energy Secretary is even bothering with a university election, you’ve got to understand Perry is a Texas A&M grad. Aggies are cult-like (in a good way) in their devotion to the school. One friend of mine, who was in his first semester in Aggieland, once said he couldn’t get the A&M Fight Song out of his head when he was off campus. It’s hard for others to understand the love Aggies have for their school, so this is why Perry’s decision to comment on the election seems odd to others. Perry just loves Texas A&M, and there’s nothing wrong with that, even if he is Energy Secretary.

Dirty tricks to get a Leftist elected? At Texas A&M? Say it ain’t so! But then, that school only had 2,000 students back in ‘68 and they were white, male, and ROTC. Now it’s one of the largest University systems in the U.S. with a diverse everything but, as Perry illustrates, still a tradition that is significant and important to alumni. So far.

Paul Mirengoff: Anti-Trump Protesters Use Pepper Spray On Pro-Trump Marchers – “Some of the marchers fought back. They chased a man with pepper spray. When they caught him, they punched and kicked him.” So far, it is still asymmetric warfare.

it’s disingenuous to claim you don’t want “to start something” when you try to block a march. There is also a credibility problem when you wear black masks to a protest you say is supposed to be peaceful.

There have been anti-Trump marches all over in America. I haven’t seen reports of Trump supporters, with or without masks, trying to block them. It certainly didn’t happen at the various marches here in Washington, D.C.

Bad Mitigation Math (BMM) is the topic for Robert Bradley Jr. Mitigation Math: Is Climate Activism Futile? (Judith Curry thinks so) – “Curry has not only documented the fact that estimations of climate sensitivity to the enhanced greenhouse effect have been coming down, and tie-in’s of climate forcing and extreme weather events remain unproven. She has also explained why the large majority of climate scientists have cut intellectual corners to be activists in a cause that is futile politically and economically unattractive (these two are tied).”

At Christianity Today Caryn Rivadeneira explains How to Escape America’s Anger Problem – “In this rancorous post-election season, some women are turning to tried-and-true solutions.” There is some of the usual bias in asserting that it is Republicans who are angry, not Democrats so much and confusing anger with disappointment, despair, concern, and other emotional states that do not lead to violence as anger tends to do: “many of us are still getting red-faced about these and many other issues, as evidenced by the recent events at Middlebury and other free-speech squabbles.”

While it’s easy to blame Trump for the rise in anger, his presidency is a reflection of our rising anger and not the cause of it. Moreover, there are larger forces at work, beyond economic and political ones.

For those of us who still faithfully participate in church communities around the country, we still face the same problem of anger and partisan rancor that marks the American zeitgeist, albeit for different reasons and at varying levels.

As people of faith, we have a name for this kind of excessive anger—sin—and we also have a script for how to respond to it. The Bible is replete with warnings about over-the-top anger. Proverbs 29:11 tells us that fools give in to their fury.

What Rivadeneira misses is the prohibition about false witness, separating the person from the sin, and the need for self awareness. The Bible has much to say on these human frailties. Anger is personal and that is what makes it dangerous. An example is on display in that the Left is protesting Trump the person and not any specific behavior or position. This is also seen in the fears about Trump (=Hitler) and in the violence that often accompanies the protests. Excessive anger leads to sin. It is not sin until the person allows their anger to become sinful behavior. Those with anger are in a struggle with God. Those who express their anger with sinful behavior escalate that struggle to one with society. That puts a burden on others in that society to figure out some means to quell the destructive behavior and that is why there are police and armies and legal systems.

Herschel Smith: The Role Of Guns In Home Defense – “It’s fashionable right now for the gun controllers to parrot this notion that it’s a fiction, a myth, just outright falsehood, that guns actually help in self defense.” This is another of those Juan Williams tyoe self delusion examples.

They will cite some questionable statistics taken from the inner cities of, say, Chicago, Atlanta or St. Louis, where blacks are killing blacks, to try to convince you or others that you shouldn’t have a gun. But you’re not in inner city Chicago or Atlanta, and you are an otherwise peaceable man or woman. So there argument doesn’t apply to you. … Terry McAuliffe and his ilk are all liars in the superlative degree.

 

Worried yet?

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3/26/2017: Anarchy? And the churn below the surface

Mollie Hemingway explaines Why Nunes’ Obama Spying Revelations Are Such A Big Deal – “House Intel Chief Devin Nunes revealed Obama’s intelligence agencies may have been improperly spreading significant information about Trump’s transition.” Neo-Neocon says It’s not the tapping, it’s the leaking. The Public seems to be aware of this but the Left’s Propaganda Machine does not.

Many of the reporters present didn’t seem to grasp the significance of what Nunes revealed. You can — and should — watch that press conference here. …

  1. Information was collected on the Trump team by Obama administration agencies.

  2. This information had no reason to be shared in intelligence reports to Obama officials.

  3. Obama officials may have flouted legally required attempts to minimize and mask personal identifying information.

  4. This had nothing to do with Russia.

… When an administration is spreading around reports of political and personal discussions, failing to mask that information, and the information itself isn’t of foreign intelligence value, you have the makings of a huge scandal.

Many of the reporters at the press conference didn’t seem to know the significance of what they were being told, with many asking questions about Russia or the physical wire-tapping of Trump Tower, two issues Nunes had already specifically ruled out. Finally, a reporter asked whether Trump and his team were being spied on by the intelligence community.

While the media might be laser-focused on whether Obama personally wiretapped Trump, as Trump seemed to claim in his tweets a few weeks ago, the American public is not keen on the idea that other techniques or forms of electronic surveillance were used on Obama’s political opponents. Further, the media attempts to deflect and downplay and run interference for Obama officials and other Democrats regarding this significant information reveal a journalistic complex seeking not truth nor protection of civil liberties, but partisan point scoring.

Roger Simon explains why We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now – “The detective story of our times is unspooling before us and the MacGuffin could affect all of our lives for years to come and the very nature of our republic.”

Who unmasked Michael Flynn and — so it seems now — others and why did he, she or they do it? Who later leaked (selectively) President Trump’s conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico? Is this the same person or are there several?

More importantly, who is watching the watchers and why was their work — this raw data that supposedly is never seen except on the most extreme “need to know” basis — apparently so widely distributed? Who inspired this? And who ordered what is known as a “tasking” to enable this to happen in the first place?

These questions are as or more important than healthcare, immigration, taxes or even how long ISIS will survive because they speak to the very nature of our society and the values for which we stand. Are we still a democratic republic or have we drifted so far into a high-tech Orwellian nightmare that we will never emerge from it again?

No, this is not about the Russians, nefarious as they may be. As Pogo said many years ago about an entirely different matter, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Illegal surveillance of Americans by Americans — whether “coincidental,” deliberate or something in between — is our problem, and we have to correct it.

VDH describes what happens when Law Takes a Holiday – “In the 1934 romantic movie Death Takes a Holiday, Death assumes human form for three days, and the world turns chaotic. The same thing happens when the law goes on a vacation.”

Rules are unenforced or politicized. Citizens quickly lose faith in the legal system. Anarchy follows — ensuring that there can be neither prosperity nor security.

The United States is descending into such an abyss, as politics now seem to govern whether existing laws are enforced.

There is one common denominator in all these instances of attempted legal nullification: the liberal belief that laws should “progress” to reflect the supposedly superior political agenda of the Left.

And if laws don’t progress? Then they can be safely ignored.

But when the law is what we say it is, or what we want it to be, there is no law. And when there is no law, there is not much left but something resembling Russia, Somalia, or Venezuela.

Betsey’s Page Cruising the Web takes a look at the Gorsuch hearings. She cites David French explaining the Democrat’s Filibuster Problem, Kimberley Strassel highlights on what Senator Schumer is really doing when he threatens a filibuster against Gorsuch – “The slow-rolling nature of the process has nonetheless masked the extraordinary new standard Mr. Schumer is setting, and the damage to the Constitution” – and a bit of history. Several other issues are noticed as well. She also cites Krauthammer about checks on power. Newmark shares a personal distaste for Trump with Krauthammer and both fail to see that Trump himself is a part of “James Madison’s argument that ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” What is becoming very clear is that it is a fear of what Trump might do that is at issue for them. This is remarkable as there is no basis for this fear yet a lot of evidence that the fear was justified and reasonable with regard to the previous administration. Trump, via the election, is providing a check and balance to the real and actual scandals and incompetence of the President he replaced.

Scott Johnson notes that Charles Murray Edits the SPLC – “The Souther Poverty Law Center has become a scam operating as a left-wing hate cult.”

I don’t think the SPLC has made a constructive contribution to anything in a long time, but it has played a particularly malign and malicious role in the case of Charles Murray. He has let it go until now; now he talks back. … AEI has posted Murray’s contribution to the enlightenment of the ignorati under the heading “Charles Murray’s SPLC page as edited by Charles Murray.” Please read the whole thing.

On the Obamacare fracas, Steven Hayward wonders if there are Still Trump Cards to Play? – “The present question, which has been on my mind since inauguration day, is whether Trump might flip the script for his presidency in just the same ways he did with his campaign.”

Democrats control so little territory that they can’t act literally on their secessionist impulses—though note deep blue California, where Democrats are actually talking about secession. But you can swap out “resistance” today for “rebellion” in 1861 and capture the Democratic Party mood accurately.

I’ve thought from January 20 that the lack of a traditional political honeymoon might serve Trump well in the long run. Scott Adams of “Dilbert” fame, who has been right about Trump since the escalator ride back in June 2015, thinks something similar. He notes in his latest blog post that the new media narrative is that Trump is no longer Hitler, about to fasten the dark night of fascism on us, but is instead suddenly Trump the ineffectual incompetent. But he thinks this will flip back by year end

Trump breaks all the standard rules of politics. His current abysmal approval ratings—levels never before seen in a president in his third month in office—constitute a floor from which he has only one direction to go. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Trump has the trump cards to play in this story.

This goes back to the renewed confidence of Krauthammer and Newmark noted above that there are checks and balances after all and Trump won’t run roughshod over everything as the Hitler meme fears. What we are really witnessing is cognitive dissonance thrashing about trying to come to grips with reality. Adams thinks the Trump-is-Hitler hallucination has been squashed by Congress and the next phase will be the routine politics about the other side being bumbling incompetents.

We just went from an extraordinary risk (Trump=Hitler) to ordinary politics (The other side=incompetent). Ordinary politics won’t spark a revolution or make you punch a coworker. This is a good day for all of us. It just doesn’t look that way because the news is distracting you with the healthcare issue, which is also important, but a full level down in importance from electing Hitler (in your mind).

Newmark’s Cruising the Web found other evidence in this line from Sowell on education to the Gorsuch nomination to historical precedent to “Democrats are going to have trouble picking off independent and Democratic supporters of President Trump.” It’s like watching the reservoirs in California and Nevada. The spring runoff has really started yet the water masters are trying to keep the expected flood under control and the pressure on the system mounts.

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Who is dangerous,now?

A Republic, if You Can Keep It by Kevin Cee:

Today, the leaders and soldiers of the left have declared war on their fellow Americans and on our republic. They have declared war on anyone who disagrees with them. They will not accept any view of government other than their own. In fact, the left are so completely convinced of their own infallibility that they are prepared to resist and disobey any and all laws not conforming to their own views. Those who have not seen the light that they espouse are to be vilified and silenced. Therefore, they vociferously deny the unenlightened the right to express their opinions. Any who are suspect, in their minds, are a danger to our country and do not deserve the right to express their views. Anyone who disagrees with their vision of a just society is publicly denounced.

Goals that they cannot achieve by means of the ballot box, by propaganda from their coconspirators in the press, by indoctrination in the nation’s classrooms, by under-the-radar edicts from the shadow government bureaucracy, or by leftist judges are condemned. They are absolutely determined to eliminate any and all disagreement, including anyone who opposes them, by means of constant and aggressive intimidation.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a republic, one of the most successful governmental systems in the history of the world.

Can we keep it?

‘You’re Fired, Judge’: Sanctioning Federal Judges for Bad Behavior by Robert Barnes (Impeachment is not the only option)

If private lawyers had acted the way these judges did, they could be sanctioned and could lose their license and livelihoods, be thrown out of court, or even charged with a crime. That is why Judge Alex Kozinski authored two amendments to his prior dissent to specifically criticize the basis of the Hawaii judge’s ruling.

What can Trump or Congress do about it, if they believe these federal judges exceeded their authority and engaged in disreputable conduct?

These judges disrespected the rule of law they promised to protect. The Constitution says they can be fired. It is time to return the balance to the balance of power the Constitution always intended. Obama hired them; let Trump fire them.

There’s a problem and its ugly.

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Trying to have it both ways. At the same time.

George Neumayr: Yes, Obama Did Investigate Trump – “After all the parsing at the Comey hearing, that remains the bottom line.”

Straining at the tweet and swallowing the camel has become Washington’s favorite pursuit, and it was on tiresome display at Monday’s Congressional hearing with Jim Comey. Out of it came two clashing headlines: “Comey Denies Obama Ordered Wiretapping on Trump,” “The FBI is Investigating Trump’s Links to Russia.”

In other words, the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?

Notice that even the shorthand of the media’s headlines bears out the shorthand of Trump’s tweets. Some of them say that the FBI is investigating “campaign associates,” but others say that the FBI is investigating “Trump.” For all the partisan angling, blather, and word games, Trump and these newspapers finally agree: Obama was investigating him.

Roger Kimball: The Nothing Burger Gets Flipped – “I did learn something about the possibilities for political grandstanding that such meetings afford.”

Democratic representative after Democratic representative used his or her time not so much to ask questions but to deliver little sermons on the perfidy of Donald Trump and various people associated with his campaign or administration …

It wasn’t quite “Are you now or have you ever been . . .” but it was close. …

My own feeling is that the Dems must be very, very worried to go down that street. And what did it all add up to? Nada. Which is to say, rien. Nichts. Zilch. Nothing.

There actually was one bit of news. If you are looking for a crime in this whole scenario, the one crime we know was committed was when someone “unmasked” Mike Flynn’s name and leaked it to the press in connection with a couple of exchanges he had with the Russian ambassador. That, as was stressed by Republican interlocutors as well as by James Comey, was a felony punishable by up to 10 years in the slammer.

Joel B. Pollak finds a different nugget in the hearings.

The mainstream media have been doing a victory lap since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA) confirmed on Monday in testimony before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee that President Barack Obama did not wiretap Trump Tower. But that was already known.

There was only one new revelation at the hearing, and it was a bombshell: senior Obama administration officials could have known the identities of surveillance targets.

Monday’s hearing “debunked” Trump’s wiretapping tweets, but left his underlying claim intact: that there was surveillance of the Trump campaign; that the results were shared throughout the government — even possibly reaching the Obama White House; and that intelligence was leaked, illegally, to the mainstream media.

John Sexton notes a Putin critic to Democrats: Don’t let the Russia story become a ‘crutch’ – “Democrats have already posed a whole string of unworkable solutions to undo this election—from recounts to Russia.”

Politico Magazine published an interview with Masha Gessen Monday. Gessen is a journalist who has written a book critical of Vladmir Putin, but today she warns that Democrats seem to be heading down a dangerous political path in their attempts to resist the Trump administration. Interviewer Susan Glasser asked Gessen about falling into “the conspiracy trap.”

On misdirected debates, consider NEA funding (now that the Meals on Wheels Fake News is fading). Jazz Shaw says The Left remains confused about why there is opposition to NEA funding – confused it may be but it is definitely trying to argue a debate by changing the subject.

The arts, like everything else in society, can rise and fall on their own merit. The reason that we don’t have tremendous federal funding supporting the creation of blockbuster Hollywood movies is that such offerings tend to be popular and the business of making them is profitable. Creating paintings, sculpture, poetry or theatrical performances may not be as profitable, but if it has value to sufficient people, patrons may be found to support the work. If no such patronage is forthcoming then perhaps the “art” is better left to the lonely artist toiling away in their studio.

If we are going to have to have this debate all over again perhaps we could leave Robert Mapplethorpe out of it this time. It’s really not about him or the “piss Christ” or Andy Warhol’s paintings of soup cans. It’s about the government’s responsibility to handle taxpayer dollars with care and in an appropriate fashion.

It also looks as if the ‘Anita Hill” gambit is being pursued on the Gorsuch hearings. Ed Morrissey says Of course: “Former student” attacking Gorsuch also former Udall aide – “Margaret Hartmann’s article neglects some important context — as do the quotes themselves.”

This has become part of the tradition in Senate confirmations generally, and in judicial confirmations in particular — finding any remark that can be twisted out of context into making a nominee look bigoted or biased. Perhaps that propensity in judicial nominations comes from the heavy reliance on colloquy using hypotheticals in legal education, but it also appears in other confirmations as well. It’s part of a disturbing trend since Robert Bork that requires presidential nominees to be as bland and opinionless as possible, rather than focus on achievement and perspective in a healthier manner. The unending “gotcha” games have turned the confirmation process into a character-assassination endurance arena that leaves everyone damaged in the end, not the least of which is the American public.

The contradictions in what is in plain view are incredible.

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Poverty in many forms

Mark A. Hewitt: What African Airports Taught Me about Obamacare – “During a 2010 Corporate Council on Africa convention in Washington, D.C., I delivered a 15-minute presentation on what it took to take Roberts Field, an airport that had been effectively dismantled and shut down, to a post-war “functional and safe” airport” and learned about poverty and racism.

In Zimbabwe, the government led a racially driven land grab solely for redistribution to blacks. The South African black-majority government will also lead a racially driven land grab solely for redistribution to blacks. In America, Obama led a racially driven insurance grab solely for redistribution to minorities and illegals.

Republicans in Congress should vigorously reject this racist-motivated law and repeal it with extreme prejudice.

Well, No, But I Did Fly Over It Once – “Princeton economics professor emeritus and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton has been running around making an extraordinary claim: “Being really poor in America is in some ways worse than being really poor in India or Africa,”

This claim was qualified—Deaton is referring to those who live in extreme poverty. But The Scrapbook did once spend two months following around economists from the U.S. Agency for International Development in the slums of Asia, and we can say with near-scientific certitude that Deaton’s claim is so idiotic it could only have been uttered by a Nobel Prize winner.

And if you’re still confused about how Donald Trump got elected, the patronizing ignorance of Ivy League professors about life between the coasts offers a clue.

Andrew Malcom says What’s important about Trump’s budget is not what you think – “For years Washington budget bees on both sides have hoodwinked Americans by announcing annual budget “cuts” that were not real cuts at all.” Trump has shifted the paradigm and the usual referents for discussion are no longer a solid base for prognostication and analysis.

Trump’s budget is only important for its political messaging. Which is still very important but has nothing to do with actual spending.

His budget sets out his goals and priorities. It tells Americans – supporters and opponents alike – that the new chief executive actually intends to follow through on major campaign promises – to rebuild the depleted military, to reduce foreign aid giveaways with dubious results, to launch a major infrastructure rebuild, to steer considerable authority back to states. It sets bargaining parameters with Congress.

Thomas Lifson: Oops! CNN accidentally confirms story that Brit intell passed along Trump communications to Obama admin – “Courtesy of Grabien, here is a disastrous interview in which the guest, Larry Johnson, confirmed the story that Judge Andrew Napolitano told on-air about British intelligence passing along surveillance data involving the Trump administration.” The general rule is that the more upset the Left gets about some Trump statement, the more likely it is that Trump was substantially correct.

Roger Kimball has a bit of a slog in describing A Government of Laws, Not Men but the conclusion is worthy of note.

Thus we see another way in which the principle of “a government of laws not men” can be violated. It used to be that we were on the lookout for individuals arrogating to themselves the power of the law. Now we find individuals denying our lawfully elected representatives the legitimacy to exercise their rightful authority.

We know from history that the first sort of violation is an invitation to tyranny. Some otherwise intelligent people seem not to appreciate how the latter is an invitation to anarchy and mob rule.

It is too early, I think, to say how this will end. Perhaps, as I hope, the odor of insurrection will dissipate and President Trump can go about the nation’s business with the presumption of legitimacy he deserves. But that may not happen. In which case, this observation from Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (1962) is pertinent: “Enforcement crises must be resolved by the use of the minimum force necessary, but above all decisively and promptly, so that the futility of resistance is never in the slightest doubt. Those who pass from litigation and political obstruction to overt insurrection must not be led to expect that will be negotiated with.”

An invitation to tyranny” is something to worry about. That is what leads to poverty.

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Sunshine politics and misuse of the third branch

This Is What Is Wrong With The American Judiciary picks up on a problem noted earlier:

Article III judges are protected by lifetime tenure in office and salary which cannot be reduced by Congress. They are not supposed to be insulated from “intense public scrutiny.” Nor should judges instruct litigants before them to limit their constitutionally protected out-of-court speech, and to encourage such limitations under the threat of what is or is not “effective advocacy.” That Judge Bybee, along with Judges Kozinski, Callahan, Bea, and Ikuta, who joined Bybee’s dissent, think otherwise is more than a problem: it is an American disaster.

It picks up on the complaints in the dissent as preceding the issue in importance as they “chill constitutionally protected speech.” The ‘lifetime tenure” idea is another way of saying that the judges are in a protected and, hence, elite class and that the complaints about public scrutiny and civility are an expression of hubris.

The fact is that both the decision that is the topic of the dissent and the complaints in the dissent are worrisome as they exceed the authority of the courts and impinge on constitutional rights rather than protect them.

Dershowitz provides an explanation of this concept: Courts Essentially Saying If Obama Issued Trump Travel Ban, It Would Be Constitutional – “If Obama had issued the very same order with the same words it would be constitutional, but if Trump issues it it’s unconstitutional.” Dershowitz notes that the law is not supposed to work this way.

From Trump’s side of things, go to the Nashville Speech: “ Trump, of course, blasted the judge. Then he surprised this Trump skeptic – he quoted law. Verbatim.”

All this to say, we are engaged in a great legal war. Blue states, like Washington state and Hawaii, are suing to keep America open to immigrants while red states, led by Tennessee, are engaging legally to protect their people – their persons and their pocketbooks.

Meanwhile in Europe, mass immigration has disrupted society.

What needs to be kept in mind about this is that judicial over-reach and the use of the courts by the Left to impose an oligarchy was a campaign issue based on long standing public concerns with Roe v. Wade being an early marker. In that light, Trump is addressing a campaign promise in one of the most effective ways by avoiding direct confrontation but instead shining a light on the corruption in such a way as to stymie its growth. A long term solution won’t be found by passing laws or using other instruments in the governmental heavy hand. It will be by turning the public perception in such a way that the corruption is acceptable by a smaller minority. Right now, judicial over-reach along with riots and other violence, slander, libel, and similar practices are accepted by, promoted, and engaged in, by one of the major political parties.It will take sunshine to change this towards the kind of civility Judge Bybee was looking for.

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3/18/2017: civility and flawed logic

Instapundit cites Matthew Continetti: Charles Murray’s Attackers: – “What happened to Charles Murray at Middlebury was an affront to academic freedom, democratic norms, freedom of speech, and basic manners.” … “The left will miss civility when it’s gone. They’re happy now while its disappearance is one-sided. That won’t last.”

And the following post is another example. David Harsanyi: Chuck Schumer’s Indecent Attacks on Neil Gorsuch.Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.” Then there is Orrin G. Hatch on What to expect in Gorsuch confirmation hearing – “At its best, the confirmation process provides an open venue for careful questioning and reflective deliberation; at its worst, the process can quickly devolve into partisan spectacle, killing the chances of even the most qualified nominees.”

Notwithstanding Gorsuch’s superb qualifications and principled approach to judging, Democrats and their liberal allies strain mightily to find plausible grounds to oppose his nomination. They misread his opinions, misstate his reasoning, and in general paint a picture of a man who simply does not exist. Unfortunately, we can expect more attempts to misrepresent Gorsuch’s record during his confirmation hearing. In particular, we can expect to hear over and over again the false and frankly ridiculous claim that Gorsuch is outside the “judicial mainstream.”

Liberals will tie themselves in knots claiming that Gorsuch is some sort of fringe jurist, that his views place him on the far flank of the federal judiciary. But any honest observer will concede that these accusations are complete bunk. Opponents will claim that his decisions say things that they very clearly do not say, or stand for propositions that even a generous reading cannot substantiate.

Ultimately, Gorsuch’s opponents will fail because he is so clearly a man of integrity and so clearly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.

Perhaps the most important take-away from comments like this is that the Republicans are beginning to accept the nature of the political opposition they face.

Or, back on Instapundit, CRICKETS:Bow Wow slurs Melania Trump in the nastiest way possible. Three guesses how reporters responded to the message.

Jonathan H. Adler quotes The most important part of Judge Bybee’s dissent from denial of en banc review in Washington v. Trump – “Five justices dissented from the denial of en banc review, arguing that the panel decision made multiple legal errors and should be vacated.” The dissent is tainted by a complaint that is, perhaps, a dig at the President and others who have a low opinion of the court due to opinions such as the one at issue. Do note, though, that the complaint also applies to both the judge who issued the restraining order as shown in his decision and in those seeking the restraint as shown by how they based their request.

The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.

This confuses several issues. Ad hominem is about the personal characteristics of an individual, not about an institution such as the court nor is it about a decision or other specific behavior of that person or institution. The kind of “civic and persuasive discourse” that one expects inside a courtroom proceeding is different from that in the political or social arenas. The topic of civility is an important one but it does not belong here. The topic at hand is that of the role of the courts in regards to the law and established practice.

Read Hawaii Judge’s Flawed Aloha Akhbar Logic by Daniel John Sobieski.

Judge Watson’s logic belongs in a parallel judicial universe where judges are allowed to regulate foreign policy, clearly a presidential prerogative defined in both law and the U.S. Constitution. Judge Watson cites no law and, in the case of the Constitution, says the travel ban violates the Establishment Clause which forbids favoring or disparaging a particular religion. By that logic, you could never restrict any immigration from any Muslim country for any reason. Judge Watson strays outside the four corners of the executive order and ignores explicit U.S. law to cite President Trump’s campaign statements, which are totally irrelevant. Motive, even if correctly discerned, is irrelevant here. Only the law and presidential authority should apply.

A first requirement for civility is intellectual integrity. When a group of people dismiss integrity in thought and action, the rest of the people have a difficult problem to address. 

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Pushback: a logical outcome of too much push

Andrea Noble and Stephen Dinan: Lawmakers warn judges ruling on travel bans against exceeding power – “Rulings seen as political.”

“As tempting as it is to use the judicial power to balance those competing interests as we see fit, we cannot let our personal inclinations get ahead of important, overarching principles about who gets to make decisions in our democracy,” Judge Jay Bybee, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in a dissent Wednesday. He said his colleagues erred in not agreeing to rehear Mr. Trump’s defense of his original executive order.

Conservative legal scholars said whatever the political motivations, the judges who have ruled against Mr. Trump botched the law.

That assessment included a decision handed down early Thursday by a federal judge in Maryland, even though it only enjoined enforcement of the portion of the order restricting travel of foreign nationals from six countries.

“In none of those decisions did the judges actually discuss the legality or constitutionality of the federal immigration statute at issue,” said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “This is an indication that the judges were looking at this as a policy question: Did they like or not like the policy?”

Curt A. Levey, a constitutional law scholar with FreedomWorks, said the rulings against the executive order are of particular concern because of the degree of judicial activism.

“They are not inventing a new rule of law; they are ignoring their own precedent because they are personally opposed,” Mr. Levey said.

House Republicans had scheduled a hearing Thursday on splitting the circuit, and the judges’ dislike for this president was a key piece of evidence.

“Some of the courts in your circuit are playing a dangerous game here,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican. “I understand there’s antipathy in our country that is reflected on some of your courts for the current president. But that is not enough of a reason to wade into some of these sensitive matters of national security.”

“I think the courts, while they think they’re saving the day, from some people’s perspectives, I think they may end up in the long run undermining their proper role,” he said.

Of course the Democrats are happy about the judicial activism:

“I’m grateful for the judiciary system,” said Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, California Democrat. “It’s a checks-and-balance system that we have in this country that is meant to provide the oversight when you have a president who is doing whatever he wants to regardless of the law.”

The problem the Democrats have is that what they consider ‘The Law’ is what they fantasize about what they want it to be and not what is written as established by due process.

See also Gregg Jarrett on 4 things you need to know about the rulings against Trump’s latest travel ban – “Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban with separate, but similar, orders blocking the main provisions of his executive order which limits travel and immigration to the United States from six predominately Muslim countries.” The comments to the posting are also worth scanning for a view as to the public perceptions about the phenomena.

David Harsanyi has more on Democrats’ contempt for law as written in describing how Chuck Schumer’s Attacks On Neil Gorsuch Are Un-American – “If Democrats want to filibuster Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, they’re entitled to do it.”

Democrats are free to try and stop the Neil Gorsuch confirmation for any reason they desire, whether ideological, personal, or no particular reason at all. There is nothing in the Constitution that compels senators to vote on judicial nominees the president forwards.

Make no mistake, though; Chuck Schumer now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.

It’s up to communities and government to show empathy. It’s the job of judges to rule on law. Schumer is arguing that the impartiality of the courts should be ceded to the identity of the participants. That’s un-American.

Thomas Lifson picks up on another Field of Fantasy of the Left: Obama’s outgoing US attorney blames Chicago violence on… – “the reason Chicago is so violent is…social media!”

Forget about open borders and the gangs that flood in and engage in open warfare. Forget about the hateful rhetoric of Black Lives Matter and the White House visit that honored those cries of hatred. And pay no attention to the ACLU and Justice Department’s halting of most stop-and-frisk action by the Chicago Police Department.

When the real causes of Chicago’s violence are taboo to mention – fatherlessness, the ideology of racial victimization, the failure of schools, the glamorization of violence and lawlessness in the culture, and all the other products of progressives’ dominance of culture, bureaucracy, and the courts – the left looks to curb constitutional rights as a solution.

Trump is just one indication of a pushback to this nonsense. It’s what happens when lawyers and representatives abrogate their responsibilities and agreements with the people, including the law.

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A Judicial Coup

Among a lot of competition in the news and commentary, it is John Hinderaker who breaks the ice. He says A Liberal Coup Is In Progress.

I have not yet read Watson’s opinion, and will comment on it in detail when I have done so. But I have read Trump’s order, and the idea that it somehow can be blocked by a federal judge is ridiculous. The order is absolutely within the president’s constitutional discretion.

What we are seeing here is a coup: a coup by the New Class; by the Democratic Party; by far leftists embedded in the bureaucracy and the federal judiciary. Our duly elected president has issued an order that is plainly within his constitutional powers, and leftists have conspired to abuse legal processes to block it. They are doing so in order to serve the interests of the Democratic Party and the far-left movement. This is the most fundamental challenge to democracy in our lifetimes.

Others have noted that the injunction only cites campaign speech as its support to accept a freedom of religion argument – not the wording of the order itself or any other evidence normally considered acceptable in a court of law. The conclusion is that the injunction would not be issued for any president other than Trump. Any judge who signs on to this sort of decision abrogates their primary duty and responsibility to the law and to the people they serve. He attempts to usurp the constitutionally defined authority of the Executive and Legislative branches

Eugene Volokh notes that the vestiges of the last EO are still present in that Five 9th Circuit judges dissent, arguing for vacating panel decision on President Trump’s immigration executive order

On Wednesday, the call for rehearing was denied, because it didn’t get a majority vote of the 9th Circuit judges; but five judges — Judge Bybee, joined by Judges Kozinski, Callahan, Bea, and Ikuta — issued an opinion arguing that rehearing should have been granted, and that the panel decision was wrong and should therefore be vacated. The opinion is worth reading, I think (alongside the panel opinion, if you hadn’t read that yet), and strikes me as pretty persuasive.

There are two very significant issues at hand here. One is the ability of the executive to respond in a reasonable and timely manner to security risks as per his defined duties. The other is the responsibility of the judicial branch to police itself. If the president is constrained from acting in a timely and prudent manner as defined by law, the consequences could be tragic. If the judicial branch embraces oligarchy and a lack of accountability to law, it will either find it imposed from outside the branch or it will destroy that which is its basis for power.

William A. Jacobson says the Hawaii TRO and 9th Circuit En Banc Denial effectively strip Trump of executive powers – “At this point, only the Supreme Court can restore presidential powers.”

The federal district court in Hawaii issued a TRO and the 9th Circuit denied en banc hearing of the first appeal. Both Orders are embedded in full at the bottom of this post.

The net result is that Trump has been stripped of his constitutional and statutory powers to protect the nation through control of who is permitted to enter the country.

As discussed in prior posts, the power to control who enters the country is uniquely a presidential power. Not anymore, unless the Supreme Court acts to restore that power.

The fallacy being promoted by these judges is in treating every word in a social and informal conversation as if it were the wording of written law or court brief. Context and mode of communication are being dishonestly distorted and twisted to rationalize an indefensible outcome.

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3/15/2017: Conspiracy theories

Remember stories about artillery guns that could fire several rounds at different trajectories so they’d all land on the same target at the same time? The news today seems like that.

Tammy Bruce: Send in the bullies – “Now out of power, Democrats deploy aggression toward high-profile targets.”

Watching White House press secretary Sean Spicer get verbally attacked at an Apple store by an unhinged activist was bizarre, but not entirely surprising as the left continues its meltdown over being rejected by the American people. It also may not have been a coincidence, but another organized effort to intimidate not just their target, but anyone else who does not pay allegiance to the leftist agenda.

Even stalwart liberals understand the problem with this bizarre nonsense of physically impeding and attacking people with whom you disagree politically.

Despite liberal leadership efforts to keep the real nature of their activist base underground, their creation of ignorant bullies highlights why they still have no clue why voters have stripped them of power not just in Washington, but also in statehouses across the country.

In the same week that Mr. Spicer was attacked, a man vandalized Trump Tower by throwing eggs at the facade. … In another incident in Los Angeles, vandals destroyed a portion of the grass at a Trump golf course.

Even a casual observer would find surprising the aggressive and sometimes criminal behavior of liberals and leftists since Mr. Trump was elected. Consider these bullies hail from the same crowd that for years has been baying for “safe spaces,” puppies and kittens during midterms, and an end to “triggers” that disturb their personal sense of well-being.

Meanwhile, Sanctuary Cities, a bullies safe haven concept, have increased to a count of 500 according to The Ohio Jobs and Justice Political Action Committee. Why? Due to bullying, of course. In further disregard for law and order …

Cheryl K. Chumley tells the tale of theft of Trump tax returns: Rachel Maddow, done in by her own ‘fake news’ mouth – it appears the administration was anticipating this which is not odd considering that there have been rewards posted seeking felonious release of privileged personal data. It’s almost as if it were a setup and MSNBC took the bait (see Ed Morrissey for more on this idea in Backup theory: Trump leaked his own tax returns?).

By the time Maddow got to that information, she had moved from the arena of “scoop” into one of “confirmation.” Her highly promoted exclusive turned into little more than a “yes, that’s right” to a formal White House release of data.

“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” a Trump spokesperson said in a statement.

That’s the big story, though, isn’t it? Maddow tried to paint Trump as a tax-dodger, as a thief and robber baron who refused to release his tax records to the public because he had something to hide. But paying that many millions of dollars in taxes?

The Daily Caller points out that the new information disproves the premise of a major NYT story on Oct 1 and says “NYT Eats Crow After Trump Tax Return Proves Major Story Wrong.” But no crow eating is likely as reveals of the Fake News Pattern like this just tend to stimulate digging deeper holes. There have also been several references to the opening of Al Capone’s vault in the punditry to place the story in perspective …

William Layer: The Second Amendment as an individual right – “For the grammarian and the historian, the meaning is crystal-clear.”

Since San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Columbine et al., the “progressives,” the media and their acolytes have beaten their chests calling for even stricter gun restrictions, although the most restrictive states and cities that have the highest crime. They insist that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals, but only to the National Guard, even though the modern Guard did not come into existence until the Dick Act of 1903. To them, the Supreme Court decisions in Heller v. District of Columbia and McDonald v. Chicago affirming an individual right are mistaken, a conclusion reachable only by abjuring grammar and history.

The Founders’ classical education made them realistically fearful of government power. They knew well what had befallen the Roman Republic and that tyrannies were only possible when the people lacked the means to resist. The chaos and oppression of the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution’s short-circuiting of the Stuart’s divine right ambitions were fixed in their minds as was the English Bill of Rights (1689) which, although limited to Protestants, secured an Englishman’s right to arms. However, the roots go even further back, to the “Trained Bandes,” locals called up to defend the realm as Elizabeth I did when the Armada threatened England. Englishmen provided their own accouterments according to their station. Likewise, the chronic war with France in which for over a century frontier settlements were attacked, settlers massacred or carried off into Indian slavery meant colonists had to protect themselves.

The left’s assertion that America’s creators couldn’t foresee a firearm beyond a flintlock is the logical fallacy of presentism — we know better today.

What of the Second Amendment, then? It is most certainly individual, but more importantly, it does not grant a right; it affirms an existing one as surely as natural law recognizes every man’s right to self-defense.

On the Fallen Stars front, consider Douglas Ernst: Petraeus, retired generals fight NRA-backed gun bill for vets deemed ‘mentally defective’ – regarding opposition to “H.R. 629, which would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from labeling veterans “mentally defective” if they use a fiduciary to navigate the system.” Hire someone to help with your taxes and be deemed mentally ill and therefore denied basic rights?

Jazz Shaw: The Dakota Access protest camps end as they thrived… a giant, expensive mess – this is about the “sacred land at the heart of the Dakota Access pipeline protest” and the $1.1 million needed to clean up the mess not to mention the animal rescue efforts for abandoned pets and the tribe’s lost revenue as access to its Casino was blocked.

If more reasonable people wish to hope for a truly positive outcome it should be to ensure that the developers live up to their word, employ best practices to prevent any spills or natural disruption and allow the surrounding land to return to its natural state. One pipeline running through the area after the vegetation is regrown in the animals return is going to be far less disruptive than thousands of coastal intruders dumping their trash everywhere and setting fires.

For a comparison and contrast, consider Burning Man. Not only are they charged an arm and a leg for 60k+ people dry camping on the desert, the organization polices its area after the activity on a strict no trace remaining basis and contributes to the local community to compensate for the disruption of the local lifestyle.

On the Russian collusion front, several stories are implicating the British. Allahpundit: Judge Napolitano: Three sources tell Fox News that Obama used the British NSA to secretly surveil Trump – “The president of the United States using a foreign intelligence agency to spy on the other party’s presidential candidate, for the obviously illicit purpose of erasing any domestic paper trail of his actions?” The conspiracy oriented folks have got something to chew on a bit more important than a birth certificate.

Sean Davis thinks this is a game of telephone gone bad inspired by the “Trump dossier,” which was compiled by a British ex-spy. … It wouldn’t be surprising if the Brits had offered some information related to the probe into Trump staffers’ relationships with Russia. It would be surprising, and big, big, biggggg news, if it turned out Obama had secretly sought access to Trump communications intercepted by the NSA by asking the Brits to access the system and then hand them over to the White House.

Ed Morrissey: Former Dem rep: I got wiretapped during Obama admininstration – “While Congress gears up for an investigation into Donald Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration had tapped lines at Trump Tower before the election, one former member of the House warns not to be too skeptical of the claim.”

Retired Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Bill O’Reilly last night that he discovered that a phone call with one of Moammar Qaddafi’s sons and himself got tapped and recorded, even though that violated the separation-of-powers doctrine. Kucinich even holds up redacted transcripts of the call as evidence that the intelligence community had gone beyond its boundaries on at least this occasion — which Kucinich only discovered after a recording of the call leaked to a media outlet

Kucinich is correct that any conversation with a member of Congress that doesn’t involve a criminal investigation should have been off limits to intelligence operatives. They should have disconnected at that point and referred the matter to the DoJ, which could have discussed the contact directly with Kucinich if they felt it was important enough to investigate. Instead, not only did they stay on the line, they retained the recording, transcribed it, and archived it — and eventually leaked it to the media while identifying Kucinich. That is a swipe at the separation of powers and the concept of co-equal branches, treads dangerously close to political interference, and it closely resembles what happened to Flynn.

The lesson here is that broad powers of surveillance will get used broadly, and the risk of abuse for political purposes is high. Congress should investigate Kucinich’s allegations along with Trump’s to see whether those abuses have happened, who knew about them, and whether agents had permission or orders to conduct it from political appointees in their organizations.

Another conspiracy idiom is described by John Sexton: Martha MacCallum vs. Ferguson documentary filmmaker – “I keep coming back to this story because we’re seeing the creation of a new progressive conspiracy theory before our eyes, one that could result in some very bad real world consequences.”

Jason Pollock, the director of the “documentary” Stranger Fruit has been all over television, literally screaming that the authorities failed or lied about Michael Brown’s murder. As you’ll see in this clip from Fox News, Pollock is now including the FBI and the Obama Department of Justice in his claims. None of them, apparently, ever wanted to get to the truth.

Pollock is doing a pretty good impression of Alex Jones here in more ways than one. The shouting, the body language, the paranoia and the suggestion that the real facts are being hidden by authorities with an agenda. All that’s left is for him to strip off his shirt.

This case has been looked at carefully and the the FBI, DOJ and prosecutors did not fail. We have the truth but some people, including Pollock, seem more interested in stirring up conspiracy theories.

Jazz Shaw says It’s come to this: High school basketball team apologizes for USA themed shirts – “it was the interviews with the students that really had my jaw dropping.”

If we’re to have a chat with anybody over this it probably shouldn’t be the players. Somebody needs to talk to the teachers. Obviously something has gone very wrong at that high school if this is the response that the site of an American flag elicits.

John Hinderaker : A Pro-Environment Judge Is a Bad Judge – “The role of a judge is not to be a “friend” or “foe” of the environment. It is to apply the facts of the case before him to the laws that Congress (or a state legislature) has enacted. Does the Associated Press really not understand this?”

There is no “but” about it. A competent judge will rule for or against a party based on the law and the facts, not the identity of the parties. Only a corrupt judge–we have several such liberals on the current Supreme Court–will ascertain a political narrative and vote to advance it.

The AP inadvertently confers high praise on Gorsuch: “He follows the law,” said Merrill Davidoff, the landowners’ attorney. “And in this case the law favored the plaintiffs — the landowners — not the government or the government contractors.”

There is one major contemporary issue on which judicial philosophy bears strongly. That is the legitimacy of the administrative state.

Our Constitution does not establish rule by “experts,” it establishes rule by the people. I hope that soon-to-be-justice Gorsuch understands that.

The Coyote wonders about the Media, too. The Continuing Climate Disconnect and the Climate Bait and Switch – “This is just tremendously frustrating, in part because climate alarmists (at least in the media) don’t seem to understand their own theory.”

I am at an impasse. Here is my dilemma: I don’t know if the media is purposely obfuscating the climate debate or whether they are just ignorant and scientifically illiterate. For now, because I am a happy soul that does not like making dark assumptions about other people’s motivations, so I am going to give the media the benefit of the doubt and just assume they are ignorant. But it is getting harder to reach this conclusion, because for it to be ignorance, it has to be serial ignorance lasting many years and crossing thousands of people.

There is a third alternative. It is one many miss but shows up in stories such as cited today. It is the psychological hypothesis that considers denial, dissonance, cognitive bias and related behavior. I takes effort to lift perceptions and judgment out of the emotional swamp and to be aware of the influence of desires and fantasies lead. To not consider this realm is to avoid an hypothesis that can aid understanding of what might otherwise be puzzling behavior.

On the Trump front, IBT notes the Biggest Untold Story Under Trump: The Surge In Optimism After 8 Years Of ‘Hope-n-Change’ – “We’ve been cataloging the sharp upturn in optimism since Donald Trump won the November election, and the Business Roundtable has just added a new one to the pile. Not that you’d know about from the endless media dirge.”

The recent surge in optimism among job creators should be a clear enough rebuke to Obamanomics. And it should serve as a loud warning to those Democrats who are determined to stop Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

It should also be front page news.

You might think, from all the noise, that you are the target of an artillery barrage. More likely it is like close fire support hitting the ‘enemy’ on the front lines. The rounds are armed with transparency and information exploding the bulwarks of Fake News, conspiracy theories, and delusion. They do appear to be hitting vulnerable targets.

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The Trump the Propaganda Machine hides

Benny Johnson says I Had Dinner With the Afghan Ambassador. What He Said About the Differences Between Trump, Obama Is Stunning.

President Trump is already turning the world upside down in international diplomatic circles by taking a markedly different approach to global politics than his predecessor.

the administrations bombastic drumbeat of ‘America First’ and its swift deployment of American troops, without apology, to terrorist war zones is already proving consequential for those who live and die by the health of these troubled regions.

Enter the current Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Hamdullah Mohib. Friday night, Mohib hosted a dinner at his residence for Gold Star wives, the wives of American soldiers who gave their lives fighting in his home country.

Dr. Mohib wondered how his post could better serve those in the military community who gave so much for his country. During this Q and A, the ambassador was asked about the current American administration and how the people of Afghanistan viewed President Trump. His answer stunned those listening, not only for its candor but also for its rare insight into how the president approaches foreign policy. His full response to the question:

“I’ve personally met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and the president has had two phone conversations with President Ghani [The president of Afghanistan].”

“Trump would listen intently after each question, often asking follow-ups.”

Trump-era diplomacy is very much in its infancy. Yet even in his first few days as America’s chief diplomat, the president is doing what he promised; making big, big waves.

This is the story that is creeping out from under the covers. The new President is listening to those out doing to job to find out how to solve problems and move efforts forward in fruitful directions. This isn’t the kind of person described by Patterico’s Pontifications which assumes the ‘normal politician’ as the Left has defined the meme. That creates notable dissonance all along the spectrum from Patterico to his subject Tapper.

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3/12/2017: Twisted in knots

Thomas Lifson has two observations: Trump-hating media’s stupidest trick yet? – an example of rationalization by the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy.

But the wizards of propaganda know that the key to persuading the masses is repetition. Keep generating memes that Trump isn’t that hard working, that he is stupid, that is reckless…that everything he does is bad and the good stuff isn’t real.

My gut reading is that the obsessiveness of these media attacks on Trump is backfiring and will continue to backfire. Instead of destroying Trump, the obsessed haters in the media will destroy their already diminishing sway over the public.

Then there’s the ‘sly tricks’ comeback as Ted Cruz may have discovered a way to totally change Obamacare without 60 Senate votes – “there are some really smart and creative legal minds on the GOP side, and now that the GOP runs the Senate, the sauce for the Democrat goose also flavors the Republican gander.”

Sure there would a storm of outrage and claims that the Cruz interpretation, as voiced by VP Pence as presiding officer of the Senate, was illegitimate. Yet, the passage of Obamacare by reconciliation stands as an example of how the rules can be flexible. The arcana of Senate rules and precedents are not the sort of thing to stir up a mob. Try getting activists to turn out for a cause whose justification that puts them to sleep with a boring law school lecture.

As for the notion of changing the way the Senate works, that is inevitable. The Democrats have not demonstrated any fealty toward the filibuster, having junked it for judicial appointments to the federal bench below the SCOTUS.

Jeffrey Lord describes Time Magazine’s Schizophrenic War on Trump – “The President of the United States made it all up, says Time magazine. … But then again, he was right – says Time magazine.”

In other words? Time is saying that that crazy Trump falsely accused ex-President Obama of using the government to surveil a political opponent – that being Donald Trump. Time was palpably outraged at such nonsense. Until, of course, in the same story – make that the very next paragraph – the magazine said this:

In other words? Time asserts that the government of the United States was eavesdropping in some fashion on candidate Donald Trump.

Got that? Let’s follow this liberal media schizophrenia. Trump is nuts to say that he was wiretapped – surveilled – by the Obama administration. But there are “Revelations of contacts between Trump aides and Russian officials…” that clearly could not be obtained without surveillance of some type – by the Obama administration. Which, of course, never did any such thing. Except that it did, which is how Time and the rest of the mainstream media knows about these “revelations of contacts” in the first place.

Clarice Feldman explains why reasonable people can accept the idea of Obama wiretapping without too much of a stretch in DC Secrets and Lies – “A quick look at Obama’s history reveals he has always had the inclination, motivation, and opportunity to snoop on and disseminate information about his political opponents. It’s how he made his political career.”

Wikileaks revealed that under Obama, the NSA intercepted conversations of numerous foreign officials, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Silvio Berlusconi, and Nicolas Sarkozy.

So it is rather astonishing that so many disregard Trump’s claim that Obama and his aides spied upon him and his staff.

So there probably was surveillance on Trump and his associates, although no connection with Russia was established with them. Instead, all the connections to Russia were with Clinton and her closest associates.

Really, it’s impossible to parody Democrats these days. It would be too unbelievable.

Charles Krauthammer is one of those who can’t believe what is in front of his eyes and worries: Obama Wiretapping? Trump Colluding? We Are Headed Down a Rabbit Hole – “Heat and energy will be expended on investigations likely to leave us where we started.” The effort to stymie investigations of the past few years is a contributor to the outcome of the last election. While there have been citations for contempt of Congress, the extreme reluctance to divulge records, such as the thousands of new-found IRS documents, and the solid resistance of Democrats in Congress, has resulted in many voters being frustrated at seeing corrupt behavior with nothing done about it. Krauthammer displays his ‘establishment elite’ bias right away by name-calling and prognosticating.

Who are you going to believe now? I can assure you that some enterprising Trumpite will use this revelation to claim that the whole storyline pointing to Russian interference in the U.S. election was a fabrication. And who was behind that? There is no end to this hall of mirrors. My rule, therefore, is: Stay away.

Hard to do with Washington caught up in one of its periodic conspiracy frenzies. Actually, two. One, anti–Donald Trump, is that he and his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence. The other, anti–Barack Obama–CIA– “deep state,” is that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower to ensnare candidate Trump. The odd thing is that, as of today, there is no evidence for either charge. That won’t, of course, stop the launch of multiple all-consuming investigations.

But then he get’s into the Time Magazine problem after asserting no evidence but then acknowledging that sufficient evidence exists to warrant allowing for a more pleasing hypothesis.

The bugging story is less plausible than a zombie invasion. Nevertheless, one could spin a milder — and more plausible — scenario of executive abuse. It goes like this:

What a waste. There is a major national agenda waiting to be debated and enacted. And there is trouble beyond the cozy confines of the capital that needs to be confronted. Self-created crisis can leave us distracted, spent, and unprepared when the real thing hits.

What Krauthammer is missing is that governmental misbehavior is a valid concern and the people have voted that sweeping it under the rug or minimizing its importance is not acceptable. That is the major national agenda. It is the source of much of the “unquiet out there” Krauthammer worries about and the people want the source fixed in order to promote better solutions.

The routine replacement of political appointees in the DoJ is showing the propaganda machine as Democrats “replace” while Republicans “oust” AG’s. John Hinderaker: Memo to Jeff Sessions: It’s Time to Clean House – “Judge Smith is one of a growing list of federal judges who have blown the whistle on Barack Obama’s Department of Justice.”

Of all the Obama administration scandals, what Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did to the Department of Justice is one of the worst. Two manifestations of the depths to which DOJ has fallen emerged today. First, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the highly partisan Democrat who selectively prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a felony and tried to send him to jail because he contributed too much to a Senate campaign, loudly announced that he refused to resign his position as requested by the Attorney General, his boss. Instead, Bharara insisted that he be fired. This was silly grandstanding, but it got Bharara what he wanted–headlines beneficial to a future political career–and it gave reporters what they wanted–an opportunity to pretend, for one more day, that there is something sinister in the routine replacement of political appointees.

President Trump won the election with a promise to drain the Washington swamp. No swamp is more in need of draining than the Department of Justice, horribly corrupted by eight years of misrule. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his work cut out for him. Bureaucrats and lawyers at DOJ will fight him every step of the way as he tries to reform the department.

The press will fight him, too–especially when it comes to efforts to restore professionalism to the Civil Rights Division. That division is now a cesspool of bias and incompetence, but reporters will imply that every effort Sessions makes to reform it is “racist.”

Sessions faces a daunting task, but he is the right man for the job. Conservatives need to be prepared to support him, aggressively, as he begins to clean the Augean stables of the Department of Justice.

It is twisted in knots.

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Kitty litter

You know, when a cat gets done in the litter box he tries to cover up the mess and often ends up sending the kitty litter flying everywhere?

There is the Russian Collusion thing as one example. AJStrata About That Infamous “Trump Server” – “We have a serious problem in this country with the cavalier misuse of resources that were put in place to protect us from outside attack. These resources have no business getting involved in Presidential campaigns.”

Then there’s Jamie illustrating the problem in intellectual integrity. He says EPA Head Denies Basic Climate Science Facts but then shows he doesn’t read very carefully.

Pruitt told CNBC this week that he didn’t agree with the fact that carbon dioxide is warming our planet. … Asked his views on the role of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels, in increasing global warming, Mr. Pruitt said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

Jamie (and the NYT) are spouting religion. Pruitt is explaining science.

The Coyote Blog provides a takedown on another example So Skeptical Science Is “Correcting” Me – “I always start climate discussions by saying that supporters of climate action are frequently sloppy with the way they frame the debate.” Meyer points out something about his critic that Jamie illustrates as well. Both of these climatistas use ad hominem and appeal to authority rather than properly supporting their criticisms with data, evidence, and effective logic.

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3/0/2017: The Lynch Mob

Luboš Motl breaks the barrier this morning with his post on The climate lynch mob at MIT. He sets the scene with the Murray Middlebury fracas.

Jay Parini and other professors at that college realize that some basic rules of Free Speech 101 were grossly neglected. However, the wild young people keep on calling themselves “college students” and they are basically dictating the atmosphere – and what is possible and what is impossible – on that college.

A zoo would be a much more appropriate place to keep these young people than a college. Let me emphasize that I recommend this habitat to the participants of that protest regardless of their race, gender, or ethnic background.

Sadly, not just gangs of politically radicalized young people may be described as marginally brain-dead inhabitants of the U.S. universities these days. Whole faculties sometimes behave in nearly equivalent ways.

Two weeks ago, Richard Lindzen – a retired MIT professor of atmospheric physics – penned a letter to Donald Trump that urged him to withdraw from the UNFCCC … Note that the petition hasn’t attacked anyone at all … Unfortunately, a “counter-letter” authored by Lindzen’s MIT climate colleagues was different in character.

22 signatories of this “counter-letter” include full professors … Needless to say, the fact that 10 members of the faculty at that program refused to sign wasn’t mentioned by anybody, surely not by the left-wing press that promoted the counter-letter. Another “detail” that no one mentioned is that none of these people is impartial.

It’s ludicrous for them to pretend that they are giving an independent testimony about some external problems. They’re not witnesses. Obviously, they are the defendants now.

They are denying this fact – and their extreme left-wing comrades in the media are denying, too

Those of us who have read the communist propaganda press (and those of us who are somewhat familiar with 100 Authors Against Einstein) recognize the style.

I am telling you, Kerry Emanuel and other 21 members of the MIT climate lynch mob. You are violating the rules of decent interactions between the scientists. It is getting out of control, many people are watching what’s happening, and because of your similarity to the immature leftists at the Middlebury College I have started with, the opinion is strengthening that the problem of your presence at scholarly institutions deserves a vigorous solution.

The Coyote picks up on the same theme: Global Warming is Killing Environmentalism – “I have written many times that someday we will look back on the early 21st century and decide that the obsessive focus on Co2 and global warming gutted the environmental movements effectiveness for a generation.”

Twenty years ago, the clean air and water acts enjoyed tremendous public support, even grudgingly among Republicans. No one, even in the Left-hated Reagan Administration, ever made a serious effort to impinge on them. However, over the last 20 years, environmentalists have overreached themselves. Their obsession on climate and other crazy overreaches (like the Waters of the United States rules) have caused a lot of people to starting thinking all environmentalism is bullsh*t. Yet another way the global warming obsession is undermining the environmental movement.

Mark Perry: Wednesday evening links, all charts and map edition – pictures (graphs) can make a point. The Map of the Day shows the relative sizes of stock market capitalization, Trade freedom is compared to GDP per capita, exports are compared to imports, the newspaper jobs history graph shows a remarkable reversal, college costs have risen much faster than inflation, and gender differences in colleges have also flipped.

Just wondering though, with all of that admirable and demonstrated success at dominating academically in higher education, do we really still need thousands of women’s centers and commissions across the country at almost every college and university? Perhaps they were necessary before 1980 to help women succeed in college, but their superiority over men in earning college degrees for more than three decades might suggest they don’t need any special or extra help today that isn’t also available and offered to men?

The 60/40 flip in colleges favoring women seems to be correlated with the overwhelming bias and activism on campus. This might be something to examine. Medical school graduates are now close to gender parity but still do not show the overall campus feminine bias. Might this have something to do with the hard STEM emphasis in medicine?

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3/7/2017: A bonfire built by the Left

Ed Feulner: Eradicating election fraud – “It’s common sense that voters should show an ID.”

Efforts to enact even the simplest reforms of voter laws — not only in New Hampshire, but elsewhere nationwide — are met with bitter opposition from liberals. Every proposal is greeted with hysterical and baseless accusations of racism and disenfranchisement.

Indeed, Ms. Young notes, liberals try to compound the problem. They “open the door to more fraud by championing changes to the process like mandatory voter registration, all mail-in voting, same-day registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and not requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration.” You almost expect every box of cereal to carry a voter-registration form these days.

President Trump has wisely called for an investigation into voter fraud: “You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They vote twice.”

Richard Berman: Minimum wage resistance – “Localities are fighting back to save collapsing businesses.”

The stories of job loss and business closures caused by big wage hikes are a far more powerful check on policymakers considering starter wage increases than basic economic logic. Personal stories tap into the anger and sadness — emotions necessary to change perspectives — whereas another economic study usually doesn’t register.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to share some recent stories of minimum wage harm with the hope of convincing policymakers to join the resistance. Sadly, I don’t have enough room to highlight all the recent consequences. What I have chosen to illustrate are examples of the recent fallout in only two states — Arizona and Washington. (For a more complete list of stories, visit Facesof15.com.)

And these lost jobs (as well as those that will not be created) are opportunities that go beyond the loss of a paycheck. They cut off the valuable first rung of the employment ladder that propel people with low skills toward careers and away from government dependency and violent crimes.

It’s often said you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. If you want to be part of the latter, forward this article to your friends and peers. Only with a more informed electorate can we expect rational economics to be the political default option.

Andrew Follett notes that New York Won’t Allow Cost Of Green Energy Mandates To Appear On Power Bills – “New York regulators shot down plans to list on utility bills how much extra customers will pay under the state’s new Clean Energy Standard (CES).”

Green energy subsidies in New York are worth more than double existing federal subsidies. Federal green energy tax credits are worth $23 per megawatt-hour of power, while state subsidies are valued at up to $47.24 per megawatt-hour.

New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the state’s power grid regulator, sharply criticized Cuomo’s plan to boost state green energy use, saying it could cause blackouts and would make it hard to ensure reliable electricity.

Solar and wind power get 326 and 69 times more in subsidies than coal, oil and natural gas for the comparative amount of energy generated, according to 2013 Department of Energy data collected by Forbes. Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear energy according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Kelly Riddell: Five reasons why Trump’s wiretapping claims aren’t crazy – “There are many reasons to question Mr. Trump’s charges, but still, there are many reasons to take them seriously. Below is a list of why some Republicans are wary at the Democratic response so far, and why Mr. Trump may have a point.” Richard Fernandez has an interesting analogy for Trump’s tactics in a story of Long Knives – “The most singular thing about Donald Trump’s wiretap accusation against Barack Obama is how he’s refusing to play the game of extremities…”

The story illustrates how in a sword fight, as in politics, the combatants often attack each other’s extremities (sword hand, extended foot, arm) first before venturing into body strike range. To get into killing range you must often risk being killed yourself. So sword fighters usually wait for their foes to weaken or an opening to develop. … Trump’s gone right past Schumer, ignored the surrogates and gone straight for the former president himself.

This escalation represents a real threat to Obama. Suddenly everything is out of control. Nobody would have minded much if Trump had gone after one of Obama’s henchmen — which is probably what was expected — but none can foresee how an exchange of blades between principals will end. It is safe to say, however, that unless the combatants disengage, someone will get hurt. It will be a terrible moment for American political civility when a king lies on the political floor. The whole point of a peaceful transition of power is to prevent a clash between kings. Yet the very tragedy the electoral process is intended to prevent is happening before our eyes.

VDH has more in this vein on The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences – “Eight years of a fawning press have made the Left reckless.” It is an important, if rather lengthy summary, of the leadup to a bonfire built by the Left.

Something like hubris incurring Nemesis is now following the frenzied progressive effort to nullify the Trump presidency.

“Fake news” was a term the Left invented to describe the ancient practice of propaganda

Thus “fake news” seemed a proper if belated summation and clarification of years of liberal bias in the media that were supposed to be our custodian of the truth.

Is “fake news” also the proper description for nonfactual accounts of “hate crimes,” an increasingly percentage of which prove to be pure inventions (at the University of Louisiana, in North Carolina, in Santa Monica, etc.) fabricated to accord the “victim” media attention, compensation, or sympathy?

Illegal immigration offers another Nemesis moment. Media outrage now surrounds almost every effort by ICE authorities to detain an illegal alien on deportation lists compiled during the Obama administration. Activists, Democratic politicians, and Mexico itself allege that the Trump administration is hounding the blameless, as if there were neither immigration law nor a concept of deportation for violations of it.

the subject of election-time courting of Russia suddenly reopened the question of past Democratic electioneering gymnastics with foreign powers,

But Nemesis was not done. It is now reported that the Obama administration during the campaign went to a FISA court to tap the communications of Trump-campaign officials and unofficial supporters.

But then Nemesis again appeared. It turned out that almost everyone in Washington — especially Sessions’s Democratic accusers — had met with the Russians

Finally, after Democrats, Obama officials, and the media massaged the leaks from surveillance of Team Trump, in Samson-like fashion, Trump pulled down the temple on everyone — by tweeting groundbreaking but unsupported accusations that a sitting president of the United States and his team were the catalysts for such unlawful tapping.

We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.

Behind the collapse of the ‘Russia Hacking’ narrative, is panic spreading in the Obama camp? by Thomas Lifson – “Make no mistake: the Saturday morning tweet sent out by President Trump alleging tapping of phones in Trump Tower has changed the political calculus on both sides.”

The mainstream media obsessively calls his charge “unsupported” by evidence, and denigrates it as imprecise and incomplete. Yet, as Andrew McCarthy – a former Assistant US Attorney – explains in National Review, “While You Weren’t Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just Collapsed.”

By his tweet, President Trump forced the purveyors of this narrative to fiercely deny that any wiretapping took place at the Trump Tower. It is a no-win situation for the president’s enemies: either they repudiate their narrative of the last several months about Russia, or they admit that under President Obama, a spying effort was launched against the candidate of the opposition party.

Once again, Donald Trump is playing Road Runner to the Dem-media establishment’s Wile E. Coyote. His “rash”and “unsupported” tweet has decisively changed the game.

Lifson also thinks “that a trap has just sprung on the Democrats, and they need a fall guy.”

Now, the investigation will include the Watergate-like probability that conversations of Trump campaign officials were being listened to and the conversations leaked to the media. There is criminal liability to consider, and the need to pin responsibility on someone. All skillful criminals (the ones that stay out of jail for the big crimes) understand the need for a fall guy.

Which brings me to something truly extraordinary: an attorney general, just weeks out of office, posted a video calling for “marching”, “blood” and “death.”

It is still too early to have a lot of confidence in this reading of the murky waters of the Democrats’ internal power plays, but it does fit the pieces together pretty well.

Don’t bypass A.C. McCarthy: While You Weren’t Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just Collapsed – “That supposed FBI investigation of collusion with the Russians? Never mind …

But still, the media and Democrats have always had a serious vulnerability here — one they’ve never acknowledged because they’ve been too swept away by the political success of the fantasy narrative. It is this: At a certain point, if compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the election did not materialize, the much more interesting question becomes “How did the government obtain all this information that has been leaked to the media to prop up the story?” The most plausible answer to that question: The Obama administration, through the Justice Department and the FBI, was investigating the associates of the opposition party’s presidential nominee, and perhaps even the nominee himself, during the campaign. Otherwise, what explanation can there be for all of the investigative information — much of it classified, and thus illegal to disclose — that has been funneled to the press?

Ace is the ‘must read’ for the morning titled Charles Murray and the Flight 93 Election. “How far along the decline do you imagine we are? How close to the Point of No Return are we? … Because I guarantee you, your answer to this question largely determines your answer to the Great Trump Question.” He gets into the poles of the debate, the difficulties of the debate, and even “Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs.”

Stated as offensively and provocatively as possible (and I’m cribbing this from a cynical friend): Morality is a luxury good. Rich, prosperous countries breed a value of life. Desperately impoverished people will murder people for a meal.

To have one’s most elemental political needs satisfied and thus be free to think only about our Estonia policy is also a luxury good.

And not everyone has that luxury.

And even without anyone convincing anyone of anything at all, maybe just talking about this fundamental disagreement rationally instead of talking about each other could at least ease the frenzy of the fight.

Ace notes the tendency towards the ad hominem but fails to note that much of what he is describing is behavior. It is a critical distinction to make between behavior and the person. When he looks for dialog, he is looking for people who can discuss their behavior, not people who take any observation about their behavior as a personal affront. This gets into effective discipline and leadership and it also gets into correction of destructive personal behavior such as alcoholism or other drug dependencies. Both the Middlebury Murray fracas and Flight 93 were important because of behaviors, not the people. The Muslim racism charge – assuming Trump is blaming terrorism on Muslims rather than noting the behavior is overwhelming committed by a group with certain beliefs – is another example of failing to distinguish behavior from the person. This gets into the argument about profiling which, from a law enforcement perspective, is looking for specific behaviors while the Left insists it is discriminating against the person. The Voter ID argument falls into similar lines.

A bonfire has been built and it is burning. What will it consume?

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3/6/2017: resisting civility but hoping for same

Robert Knight: Resisting civility – “The Democratic Party and ‘progressives’ of all types are mounting the dangerous ‘resistance’.”

This is not your “loyal opposition” of years past but something new and increasingly ugly.

There’s nothing wrong with tough opposition. Many of us think congressional Republicans were far too easy on Barack Obama and should have pushed back more against his socialist agenda.

But there’s something in between polite (and ineffective) opposition and the kind of outright declaration of war that progressives announced when they learned the GOP had taken not only both houses of Congress but also the White House.

If President Trump’s antagonists are resisting anything, it is the call to civility — the willingness to agree to disagree but to work within the system. Bare-knuckle politics has given way to brass knuckle pounding.

Mr. Sessions may think it honorable to step back from the Russian probe, but it’s like throwing chum off the back of a boat and expecting the sharks to eat it and swim away.

As for Mr. Trump, he should forgo the usual Republican strategy of duck and cover, which is a huge reason why he was elected.

Charles Hurt thinks Jeff Sessions too nice to handle Franken, Leahy, other jackals properly

But these are not decent people we are talking about around here. Or remotely honest. And this sure ain’t church.

We are talking about partisan Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the latter of whom is one of the most dishonest people to serve in the Senate.

Mr. Franken should be investigated for peddling outright lies and fake news during at Senate hearing. Forevermore, Mr. Franken should be required to stand and raise his right hand and take an oath to tell the truth whenever he speaks at a hearing or wants to ask questions.

The Enablers of Obama’s Wiretapping Scandal by Steve McCann – he explains why they may have painted themselves into a corner.

Since 1989 and the election of George H.W. Bush, the vast majority of Republicans elected to national office have chosen to worship the twin gods of civility and compromise rather than vigorously defend and promote liberty, free enterprise and limited government. Meanwhile, their political adversaries, the Democratic Party and the Left (now one and the same) had no such compunctions as they were determined to achieve their ends regardless of the means. Among the means were endless intimidation, extortion and ridicule of the Republicans in Congress or either of the two George Bushes. All this without fear of retaliation or even the slightest hint of a vigorous defense or response.

Having experienced so much success with these tactics, it is little wonder that after nearly three decades the Democrats’ overconfidence could be their potential long-term downfall.

That eventual bridge too far may well be the wiretapping of the Trump campaign by the Obama Administration and the putting in place of the apparatus for the subsequent leaking of hitherto confidential information by the Obama holdovers in an effort to delay, marginalize, or destroy the Trump Administration.

Complicit in this skullduggery is the mainstream media. For the past forty years, they have been virtually unquestioning in their dealings with the Democrats while vilifying the Republicans at every turn. They became, in essence, the Praetorian Guard for the Democratic Party, allowing its members to get away with virtually anything.

The evidence Trump was wiretapped laid out clearly by Mark Levin by Thomas Lifson – “Mark Levin pointed out the evidence already on the public record indicating spying on President-Elect Trump.” Some note that many of the ‘leaks’ that have appeared in print at Trump’s expense depended upon information that needed illegal tapping of communications. That is a conundrum Democrats are having to dance around.

Jazz Shaw: The “moral test” facing Los Angeles over deportation – “In at least one strange way I find myself agreeing with Meyerson here. This is most assuredly a “test of character,” and it is one which the author has completely failed.”

This is not the first time we’ve seen liberal commentators attempting to conflate the circumstances of illegal aliens in the United States today and the Japanese internment camps of the World War II era. Fortunately for us, anyone with the sense that God gave a goat knows that this rhetorical device is complete poppycock. The Japanese who wound up in those internment camps were, for the most part, American citizens. The millions of people living illegally in the greater Los Angeles area who Meyerson refers to do not enjoy the same rights and privileges.

The other bit of all too common mendacity which the author engages in is the standard liberal device of attempting to draw some sort of differentiation between what he refers to as, “law-abiding, productive undocumented immigrants” and gang members. At the risk of becoming repetitive, this is yet another load of poppycock.

Without intending to, Meyerson does provide some thought-provoking material in terms of an actual test of the nation’s character. The real question that each of us involved in this ongoing debate needs to be able to answer is whether or not we have any fundamental respect for the rule of law. If your answer is yes then there is little question as to what we should be doing. If your answer is no, then perhaps a better subject for you to ponder is why you’re in this country in the first place.

Jennifer Harper: Missing their country: 71 percent of Americans say U.S. losing its national identity – what about the other 29%?

The research found that respondents valued a fair judicial system and rule of law the most — cited by 88 percent — followed by individual freedoms defined by the Constitution, cited by 84 percent. The “shared use of the English language’ was in third place, cited by 73 percent.

 

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3/5/2017: A High Stakes Game.

After the start of the Sessions Witch Hunt, the question was about the response. Would it be like Paul Mirengoff “And here I had foolishly hoped that President Trump would let the Russia story simmer down. Here I had foolishly imagined he would follow his fine speech to Congress by focusing the public’s attention on policy and his quest to fulfill campaign promises.” Does he really think the Democrats would allow it to simmer down?

Then there’s T. Beckett Adams who thinks Trump is moving the goalposts on the Russian question, and people need to stop helping him – “The problem with these supposed scoops is that they attempt to rebut an argument no one is making in good faith, and now the president himself is parroting these talking points.” Adams then gets into the weeds trying to rationalize the Witch Hunt theories. As he notes, the argument is not being made in good faith and Trump is not moving goalposts but rather using the existing goalposts to illustrate just how much in bad faith the Democrats efforts really are. Adams should take the care that T.A. Frank did for the Vanity Fair Impeachment Watch describes The Dirty Secret Behind The Jeff Sessions Mess – “It may not be as sinister as it seems.”

With most Russia-related stories these days, especially ones in The New York Times and The Washington Post, the best initial reaction is heavy skepticism. That way you aren’t surprised when embarrassing editorial disclaimers appear above stories that Russia hacked a Vermont utility or spread “fake news” via dozens of U.S. websites from Drudge to Truthdig, and you read past the headline of stories like “Trump Aides Had Contact With Russian Intelligence.”

So the question is simple: did Sessions perjure himself, and was some sort of cover-up going on?

Then I reviewed the tape. And now I dismiss all three [of my original hypothesis about the issue].

The question was not whether Sessions had been in contact with anyone in the Russian government, but rather whether Sessions had been contact with anyone in the Russian government about the 2016 election. Assuming that Sessions never discussed the election with Kislyak—and no one has been able to offer any evidence that he did—then there was nothing false in his response. There wasn’t even anything misleading. Zero story.

As things clear up, we may be seeing a collapsing soufflé. And as with so many soufflés served up by the press in recent months, it emerged from the oven to oohs and ahs

Trump: A Master Tactician Serves Filet After the Russian Soufflé Collapses by Clarice Feldman describes a different response to the Democrats Witch Hunt and Smear Campaign, different from the Mirengoff roll over and hope it goes away typical Republican response that has irritated enough voters to contribute to Trump getting elected. Mirengoff suggested some rationalizations and Feldman cites his article and offers a different take.

How many people, knowing they have their opponents caught red-handed in what now appears to be the worst political scandal of our lifetime, would wait until those people and their press cohorts fell on their faces before acting on it? Not many, I think, but that seems exactly what President Trump just did.

Had the Democrats any evidence to back up the claims of Russian efforts to collude with Trump to throw the election his way, we’d have seen it by now. If you read anything on the subject, read this detailed, persuasive piece at the Tablet.

The author notes, inter alia, that the late Wayne Barrett and his aides had amassed massive files on Donald Trump and had there been any there there, it would be in Barrett’s files and is not …

After waiting for the Russian soufflé collapse, Trump struck back with a real scandal: the Obama administration — which, as we’ve noted, changed the intelligence-sharing rules on their way out of office, had illegally been listening in on Trump and his campaign.

So there’s something to the suspicion that Trump waited this long to level the charge for a good reason. I’m not the only one who thinks this.

If the Democrats were so worried about Trump they peddled the ludicrous Russian soufflé to an incredulous press, how worried must they be now?

The Mirengoff concern is that Trump has much more at stake than the Democrats do, much more to lose. This might not be so. What does tilt the scales is that the Democrats have been able to get away with such scandals for so long with their Propaganda Machine greasing the skids. This has, maybe, perhaps, made the Democrats a bit over-confident. Trump’s set up of the Democrats Propaganda Machine is now followed by choosing the time to insert the very serious scandals from the previous administration into the mix. It is a high stakes game and Trump has significant challenges.

Andrew McCarthy describes one challenge: The Obama Camp’s Disingenuous Denials on FISA Surveillance of Trump – “President Trump’s early Saturday morning tweeting has exploded to the forefront an uncovered scandal I’ve been talking about since early January.”

To summarize, reporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

In any event, the FISA court reportedly turned down the Obama Justice Department’s request, which is notable: The FISA court is notoriously solicitous of government requests to conduct national-security surveillance (although, as I’ve noted over the years, the claim by many that it is a rubber-stamp is overblown).

Not taking no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department evidently returned to the FISA court in October 2016, the critical final weeks of the presidential campaign.

whether done inside or outside the FISA process, it would be a scandal of Watergate dimension if a presidential administration sought to conduct, or did conduct, national-security surveillance against the presidential candidate of the opposition party. Unless there was some powerful evidence that the candidate was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power, such activity would amount to a pretextual use of national-security power for political purposes. …

Moreover, it cannot be glossed over that, at the very time it appears the Obama Justice Department was seeking to surveil Trump and/or his associates on the pretext that they were Russian agents, the Obama Justice Department was also actively undermining and ultimately closing without charges the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton despite significant evidence of felony misconduct that threatened national security. This appears to be extraordinary, politically motivated abuse of presidential power.

There are many things to note. One is that the Left is trying to echo the Right’s complaints that there is a lack of evidence in charges about Trump campaign collusion with the Russians. The problem for the Left is that the FISA court trail is evidence and it is not the only evidence. Then there’s the difference between a campaign and a government. The pot has been simmering and Trump is turning up the heat.

Noah Rothman takes up on Revenge of Obama’s ‘Former Officials’ – “Obama officials are waging war on the Trump White House.”

The Trump team displayed remarkable discipline by refusing to step on the president’s well-received address to a joint session of Congress. A lot of good discipline did them. Just 24 hours after Trump’s address, a series of troubling reports involving links among those in Trump’s orbit to Russian officials reset the national discourse. Those stories make for a trend, though, that has little to do with Trump and a lot to do with his predecessor. The Obama administration’s foreign-policy team seems to be campaigning to rehabilitate itself one leak at a time, and the press is helping.

There is an assumption permeating these reports: that those unnamed Obama-era officials are selflessly sacrificing in the effort to prevent the Trump administration from undermining American national security. Some have even dedicated themselves to creating an elaborate Da Vinci Code for future scavenger hunters to decipher. More likely, the Obama administration’s foreign policy professionals are doing their best to retroactively vindicate themselves after leaving office under a cloud of mistrust. In their effort to self-aggrandize at the expense of the current administration, these rogue officials have found willing partners in the press.

Media wants to draw blood from the White House. The Obama foreign-policy team wants vindication. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship.

The ‘Big If’: What crimes could Obama potentially be charged with? by Thomas Lifson – “Yes, it is way too soon to start counting-up indictments that former President Obama could face … Still, we get to have fun once in a while, don’t we?” One of the big differences between such ‘fun’ on the Right and that on the Left is the exploration of actual evidence and actual law rather than speculation, hyperbole, and exaggeration.

Robert Barnes, a trial attorney, expresses all the expected caveats about the paucity of information, and then the laws that may have been broken.

There is quite a bit more finely tuned analysis. It is all speculative. But lots of fun for those who enjoy flights of imagination based on incomplete information.

Trump Hatred: Is It The Message or the Messenger? by Brian C. Joondeph – “Trump derangement syndrome is the new political disease.” With Democrats, it’s a bit easier to understand. But with Republicans?

Is this over-the-top hatred of anything and everything Trump based on Trump’s policy initiatives? Or is it personal, based simply on the persona of Donald Trump?

Could it be his message during the campaign and now into his Presidency? Things like, “The era of big Government is over.” Or the initiative to, “Take our streets back from crime and gangs and drugs.” Or a goal of, “Eliminating 16,000 pages of unnecessary rules and regulations, shifting more decision-making out of Washington, back to States and local communities.” Harsh words from Trump. No wonder no one likes him. Oh, wait! These words were from Bill Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union address.

Clearly President Trump is instituting or reinforcing the policies of his presidential predecessors. When Presidents Clinton or Obama proposed these ideas, there were no protests or riots. No intervention by appeals courts. No calls for impeachment. In fact, the Washington Post heralded Clinton’s 1996 SOTU address as the “3rd most memorable” such speech.

Meaning it’s not about policy at all. Only personality. Democrats will support policy a they propose, but oppose the same policy if it comes from a Republican. How’s that for leadership? No wonder they lost 1,200 elected seats in the past eight years. How about Republicans? If it were President Jeb or President Marco giving the same speech Trump gave, I suspect the GOP would be doing back flips and celebrating like they won the Super Bowl.

But since it’s Donald Trump, political outsider, not part of the establishment, not influenced by the donor class and their money, everyone hates him.

A time for choosing for Republicans. Policy or persona. A last chance to change the trajectory of America, assuming you really want that. Or cutting off your political nose to spite your face. Letting your president dangle in the wind because you don’t like his personality. His style. His tweets. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.

By the way, did you hear anything about the March 4 Trump rallies? In Berkeley there were a few arrests of those throwing things and assaulting Trump supporters. Breitbart also noted the big rally in Nashville. Consider a quote in the Fox News story: “Agree with President Trump or not, he is our president, and I think what I see happening in D.C. and with the Democrats — it can’t stand,” said Gary Taylor, 60.”

Ed Morrissey describes another tradition is being destroyed. Has a brave new world of digital diplomacy arrived?

Until now, diplomacy took place in a mainly cloistered world of the rich and powerful, whose operations could only be glimpsed from afar in most cases. The very purpose of diplomacy has been discretion — allowing nations to say to one another in private what they do not wish to say in public. Even when put on the grandest stages, such as the United Nations, the public display is for public consumption, while the real business of governments mostly take place in private exchanges. Nikita Khrushchev could bang his fist (or, perhaps apocryphally, a shoe) on a table in Turtle Bay, and then have time for a nice dinner in private later with diplomats to discuss issues without prying eyes and ears hampering the process.

Those days could be coming to an end, and not because it’s suddenly become toxic to meet with foreign ambassadors in Washington. The end of the cloister in diplomacy may come, as it has for other previously isolated and elite circles, from the near-universal use of social media and other easily accessed digital platforms. Two days ago, Medium bragged about the use of its platform by politicians, diplomats, and NGOs to conduct policy debates and connect with one another and the world

the overall trend toward transparency in diplomacy could be seen as a positive development, especially from the populist point of view. The problem with trade deals, diplomacy, and politics in general from the populist perspective is a lack of transparency, as well as a lack of honesty. The more those get forced into the sunlight, the more straightforward and accountable it gets. The very first of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points demanded nothing but public diplomacy ninety-nine years ago, even if the technology of the day didn’t lend itself to it …

On the other hand, diplomacy tends to work in some very important ways because of its opacity. It allows for caution and rational thought where passions among the greater population might call for more drastic action. Does public diplomacy conducted in front of the throngs make war less or more likely, for instance?

David Friedman has an economics lesson describing An Interesting Mistake on his exams: – “But this particular example of that problem is important for a wider reason. A lot of people in a lot of contexts take it for granted that games are zero sum, that what benefits one side must harm the other. That is a very dangerous mistake. Consider some examples.”

The zero sum game is a common fallacy and leads to presumptions of conflict where teamwork might be a better model. It is often the result of very shallow thinking that does not properly consider the point of view of the ‘competing’ sides nor the implications of its conclusions. This gets interesting because the Left is playing the win/lose game while Trump is working the win/win idea Friedman was talking about.

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3/3/2017: The Eye of Sauron turns toward Sessions. Insurrection, Sedition, etc.

Wesley Pruden: On the eve of the insurrection – “We must indeed all hang together,” Franklin told his fellow conspirators in Philadelphia, “or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” A number of Republicans haven’t got the message.

The Democrats are trying to pick off the new Republican administration, one officer at a time, and some of the Republicans in Congress imagine that once Jeff Sessions is packed home to Alabama Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the editors of The Washington Post and The New York Times will pat them on the head, say “well done,” and leave them alone to enjoy their privileges of life in Washington and the perks of office.

Mr. Sessions is accused, more or less, of discussing campaign strategy with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and promising him, more or less, that Russia can have whatever American treasure it covets — a case of vodka, the nuclear access codes, even an autographed photograph of Nancy Pelosi, suitable for hanging in Vlad’s parlor.

Facts are never allowed to get in the way of thorough and dispassionate in Washington. The Democrats are armed with the confidence that they can say anything and the media will let them get by with it.

The Democrats call their scorched-earth attacks on the new president “the resistance.” But it is accurately described as “an insurrection.” They’re determined to destroy a duly elected president of the United States, by resignation or impeachment if they can, and if that doesn’t work, maybe something more sinister will be employed. We’ve never before seen anything like this. We’re sailing in uncharted water.

Mercedes Schlapp: In Sessions obsessions, Democrats break out ugly playbook – “Smelling blood, Democrats immediately turned to character assassination tactics against the attorney general, with the clear ambition of taking down another one of President Trump’s closest allies.”

Since Election Day, Democrats have been focused on delegitimizing Mr. Trump’s presidency and obstructing his Cabinet picks. Now the Trump administration and Republicans must stand by the attorney general and not allow the Democrats and the liberal media to dictate the narrative.

it’s telling that the relentless Democrats show no signs of letting up, even knowing full well that Mr. Sessions’ comments were taken out of context.

It’s all part of an all-consuming obsession with the fantasy that the Russians stole the election and Mr. Trump’s victory was not legitimate. It seems the Democrats’ witch hunt will never end.

The NY Post Editorial Board Democrats are starting to sound like modern Joe McCarthys – “Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any investigation involving last fall’s election is prudent — but it won’t satisfy the Democrats now channeling the ghost of Sen. Joe McCarthy.”

Driving it all is the fevered far-left theory that a Russia/Trump-campaign conspiracy stole the election from Hillary Clinton — though few Democrats admit that as they rail over the supposed horrors of any association with the Russians.

When it comes to investigating the election, we’re with Sen. Marco Rubio, who says there should be no “cover-up” — but no “witch hunt” either. No matter how shrill the Democrats’ McCarthyism.

Gregg Jarrett: No, Ms. Pelosi, Attorney General Sessions did not commit perjury – “Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “from the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.” – There is nothing sublime about Nancy Pelosi. Ridiculous, however, is an apt description.”

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi is the one who should resign. For being irresponsible. For leveling reckless recriminations and slurs.

Roger Simon: Jeff Sessions and the Democrats’ Politburo Politics – “our government has descended into the ugliest game of finger pointing and character assassination we have seen in years.”

Our political life is beginning to resemble the Soviet Politburo, where out of favor politicians were suddenly disappeared or, at the height of the Stalin era, simply murdered. We’re not murdering anybody yet, but we’re certainly disappearing them.

The legal case against the AG seems less than paper thin … Nevertheless, calls ring out all over the Democratic Party for his resignation.

Hers [Sen. Claire McCaskill] was Politburo politics at its purest, behavior not all that distant from the purge trials where false accusations habitually sent defendants to Siberia. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ideology or the public interest and everything to do with power. Actually, the Soviets may have been more honest about it. At least when Stalin did away with Trotsky, he had an argument (sort of). Stalin wanted socialism in one country and Trotsky favored world revolution.

Meanwhile, the media is in a frenzy of connecting Trump to Russia, a zeal for the “truth” they did not even approximate when Obama was recorded in flagrante delicto on video … f Trump were caught in such collusion, he might well have been hanged, certainly expunged from polite society, let alone impeached. Was what Obama did a “high crime” against the American people? Arguably. Unquestionably far more than anything Trump has done, notwithstanding the non-stop cries of the various jackals in politics and the media.

Nevertheless, the current behavior of our politicians is terrible for our country and the world,

ONE LAST THING: This attack on Sessions is so sleazy and bogus that Democrats may be getting themselves into deeper trouble than they have bargained on. Notable among them is Jeff Bezos — whose Washington Post has been hugely culpable. Amazon is a great service, but it can be easily copied (indeed has been). If he keeps alienating a growing percentage of the public, watch out.

Trump’s Senate saboteurs by Fran Fawcett Peterson: “By rules, Democrats can request 30 hours of debate for any appointee. Twelve hundred forty-two appointees times 30 hours equals 37,260 hours of debate.” Limbaugh this morning noted that this behavior is a tactic to keep Democrats in power as the previous administration’s appointees stay in position until a new appointment is confirmed. 

Carryn Owens is on Charles Hurt mind thinking that Democrats go off the deep end, can’t conceal their contempt for U.S. military – “isn’t it the Democrat Party that will — literally — politicize anything? President Obama spent his entire career as president looking for ways to toss hand grenades into America soldiers’ tents.” A part of this is about the returns on the raid where Mr. Owens was killed. The question being whether he died in vain. Democrats say yes, reality is starting to show otherwise. Allahpundit says U.S. working to identify hundreds of Al Qaeda contacts discovered from material seized in Yemen raid

The aftermath of the Yemen raid exists in two separate dimensions right now. In the blue dimension, it was a total bust. No fewer than 10 different U.S. officials across different departments told NBC yesterday that no actionable intelligence had been produced by the operation.

Disappointing — except that one official who spoke to NBC completely contradicted that narrative, noting that “the information contained hundreds of contact details from a variety of communications apps, suggesting possible links to the Europe and the U.S.”

There is also this coincidental uptick in operations. See Ed Morrissey US accelerating attacks on AQ in Yemen – “The curious case of the supposed failure of a January raid in Yemen continues to get … curiouser. Initial leaks from sources in the intel community have called it a bust, but subsequent leaks have called it a major success that could lead the US to uncover the whole apparatus of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Which are we to believe?” Deep State speak with forked tongue?

Kelly Riddell: It’s America’s time to heal, but are the Democrats ready? – “Democrats need to stop being the party of resistance and be open to putting the American public first in a Trump-crafted agenda that takes on Obamacare, tax reform and infrastructure.”

Obama, Organizing for Action, and the Death Throes of the Democratic Party by Scott S. Powell cites “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Goodwin asserts the ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’ is no temporarily insane reaction, but rather “a calculated plan to wreck the presidency, whatever the cost to the country.”

Political correctness remains so dominant in language and culture in the U.S., that no one dares utter the word “sedition.” Unbeknownst to most Americans, Barack Obama is the first ex-president in 228 years of U.S. history to structure and lead a political organization, a shadow government, for the explicit purpose of sabotaging his successor — duly elected President Donald Trump.

Ugly.

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