The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Crossfire-Hurricane—Revisited

You remember Crossfire-Hurricane, don't you? It's the code name used by senior appojntees in intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies for an operation that had the FBI surveil the Trump campaign using "evidence" that was partially fabricated by Trump's political opponents in collusion with Russian sources and vouched for by the senior CIA officials. It abused the FISA court system and the political process—all because the previous administration and its many supporters in the intelligence community wanted be be 100 percent sure that Hillary Clinton prevailed in the election—by any means necessary. Funny how that worked out. Crossfire-Hurricane is also a scandal that is far bigger and far more dangerous than Watergate.

But if you were to believe the Democrats, it's nothing more than crazy conspiracy theory invented by right wing crazies. Forget irrefutable evidence of wrong doing, naming names, dates, places, monetary transactions, and documents. Forget the implication of that evidence—a true conspiracy to rig an election. The Dems's trained hamsters in the media are working as hard as they can to bury the story. In part, that's why we're experiencing the hysteria surrounding the Helsinki Summit. It's an extremely effective distraction from Crossfire Hurricane. Kudos to the Dems and the media hamsters for getting the job done.

But Crossfire Hurricane won't go away. Kim Strassel continues her outstanding reporting on the scandal focusing on John Brennan:
... the man who deserves a belated bit of scrutiny is former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. He’s accused President Trump of “venality, moral turpitude and political corruption,” and berated GOP investigations of the FBI. This week he claimed on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s press conference in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous.” This is rough stuff, even for an Obama partisan.

That’s what Mr. Brennan is—a partisan—and it is why his role in the 2016 scandal is in some ways more concerning than the FBI’s. Mr. Comey stands accused of flouting the rules, breaking the chain of command, abusing investigatory powers. Yet it seems far likelier that the FBI’s Trump investigation was a function of arrogance and overconfidence than some partisan plot. No such case can be made for Mr. Brennan. Before his nomination as CIA director, he served as a close Obama adviser. And the record shows he went on to use his position—as head of the most powerful spy agency in the world—to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and keep his job).

Mr. Brennan has taken credit for launching the Trump investigation. At a House Intelligence Committee hearing in May 2017, he explained that he became “aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons.” The CIA can’t investigate U.S. citizens, but he made sure that “every information and bit of intelligence” was “shared with the bureau,” meaning the FBI. This information, he said, “served as the basis for the FBI investigation.” My sources suggest Mr. Brennan was overstating his initial role, but either way, by his own testimony, he as an Obama-Clinton partisan was pushing information to the FBI and pressuring it to act.

More notable, Mr. Brennan then took the lead on shaping the narrative that Russia was interfering in the election specifically to help Mr. Trump—which quickly evolved into the Trump-collusion narrative. Team Clinton was eager to make the claim, especially in light of the Democratic National Committee server hack. Numerous reports show Mr. Brennan aggressively pushing the same line internally. Their problem was that as of July 2016 even then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t buy it. He publicly refused to say who was responsible for the hack, or ascribe motivation. Mr. Brennan also couldn’t get the FBI to sign on to the view; the bureau continued to believe Russian cyberattacks were aimed at disrupting the U.S. political system generally, not aiding Mr. Trump.
It's interesting to note that senior appojntees in intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies continue to subvert any investigation into this scandal. They have resisted congressional subpoenas, slow-walked disclosures, heavily redacted documents so they are unintelligible, and otherwise lobbied to make the investigators the villains. They must be hiding really bad stuff, otherwise why the massive resistance? They're hoping to delay and obfuscate until the Dems control the Congress in November. When and if that happens, the investigations will die. That's their goal and they may very well achieve it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Peak Derangement

Every time I think we may have reached peak Trump Derangement Syndrome, the TDS crowd outdoes itself. The aftermath of the Helsinki Summit just gets more weird and hyperbolic by the day. It's as if the TDS crowd just learned that the Russkies (among many bad actors) use cyber-attacks against us. These political cyber-attacks are a concern,* no doubt, but if you were to listen to the TDS crowd, they and Donald Trump's reaction to them are a harbinger of armageddon.

David Harsanyi comments:
This week The Washington Post published an op-ed headlined: “It’s not wrong to compare Trump’s America to the Holocaust.” As with similar examples of this genre, it’s a sickening display of moral relativism that belittles the suffering and murder of millions in the service of some short-sighted and crass partisan fearmongering.

This week Politico published an opinion piece headlined: “Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor,” which demeaned the sacrifice of American soldiers by likening a military attack on American soil that brought us into the bloodiest war mankind has ever experienced to email phishing.

On MSNBC, where illiterate histrionic analogies litter coverage every day, a contributor compared Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht, just to be safe.

Social media is teeming with similar hyperbole — “treason,” “traitor,” etc . — and not just from anonymous trolls. It’s difficult to accept anyone with a working brain actually believes this rhetoric, and they certainly don’t act like it. But if well-heeled pundits keep telling everyone The Fourth Reich is imminent before retiring to their townhouses in Capitol Hill every night, some people might actually start believing them. And if email phishing and hacking is truly comparable to Pearl Harbor or Kristallnacht or the Holocaust there’s really no reason why those accepting these analogies shouldn’t also support military reprisals abroad and coups at home.
This stuff brings back memories of a phrase that we often used in my youth as we wandered through the dingy streets of our lower middle class neighborhood in a hardscrabble city in Southern Connecticut. When we saw something that was off-the-rails or utterly outrageous, the general comment was, "This is some crazy sh#t!"

Indeed. The response of the DTS crowd keeps getting more unhinged, more shrill, and as Harsanyi notes, more dangerous. Their deranged drumbeat (albeit cynical political and moral posturing) might be taken literally by many on the hard Left and possibly by a few on the hard Right. If in actual fact, Donald Trump is complicit in a twisted combination of "Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht", the crazies may very well think that he must be stopped by any means necessary including extreme violence. That could spin out of control.

Yet the very same crowd of insipid moral posers who make statements about "treason" while at the same time arguing that the "fourth reich" is nigh, continue to live their lives as normal in their posh locales on the coasts. They party, they posture, and they hyperventilate. There's only one problem. Those same people didn't suggest that Pearl Harbor had occurred when in 2015-2016 Russian cyber attacks came to light and the past president did exactly nothing about them. They were silent.

Their silence then and their unhinged histrionics now lead to only one conclusion—"This is some crazy sh#t!"

FOOTNOTE:
----------------

* It's indicative of the #Resistance and #NeverTrump distain for the electorate that they believe that an email hack and social media trolling were primary influences in the presidential election. After all, in their view voters are too stupid to look at a broader range of information sources. There is absolutely no evidence that Russian cyber-attacks, however nefarious, had any substantial influence on the vote. It's also indicative of the #Resistance and #NeverTrump crowd that they never seem to mention the real threats posed by Russians (and other bad actors). The real threats are cyber-warfare attacks on our electric grid, other core infrastructure, our communication technologies, and the healthcare system—you know, the things that actually matter in our everyday lives. I guess the DTS crowd is either too stupid or too deranged to see the forest for the trees. Besides, SJW "activists" are bored by stuff like infrastructure—doesn't have the emotional impact of say, the "holocaust."

UPDATE:
---------------

In all of the hysteria surrounding the Helsinki Summit, there's the implication that if only Hillary Clinton had been elected, she and the democrats would have handled putin and the Russian with strength and focus.

Really?

The editors of the conservative New York Sun comment:
It is hard to imagine that the Democrats would have been less the appeaser of Russia than Mr. Trump is. Secretary Clinton failed at her own Russian reset. The Democrats shrank from arms sales to Ukraine. Crimea was lost on their watch. Arms sales to Ukraine were finally approved only under Mr. Trump. It was the Democrats who, in the Kerry-Lavrov “framework,” waved the Russ into Syria. It was on the Democrats’ watch that Russia attempted to subvert our election.
Inconvenient truths that simply don't fit the TDS narrative.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Stupid, Sloppy, and Sensationally Wrong

In the hysteria that the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd has cultivated in the 48 hours following the Trump-Putin summit, there have, of course, been hyperbolic statements by the usual suspects. Everyone from Democrat Chuck Schumer on the Left to #NeverTrumpers Max Boot or George Will on the Right have alleged that Trump is a "Russian puppet" (Michelle Goldberg of the NYT prefers the word "lackey"), that the Russkies are blackmailing the president, that his comments were "treasonous," that Helsinki “will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht,” or John Brennan's truly unhinged comment that Trump's statement is grounds for impeachment. In their collective fevered imaginations, Putin and Trump, like master villains in a James Bond movie, are out to control the world. The master villains' weapon—"collusion!!!", hacking the DNC, and using trolls and bots on Twitter and facebook—certainly world-ending actions.

Trump's words matter, that's true. He said some dumb stuff at the conclusion of the Helsinki summit. And because most of the elites on both the Left and the Right only say stuff and rarely accomplish anything meaningful, they get really crazy when they hear words that they don't agree with.

But Trump's actions matter a lot more than his words. And if we look at actions, the Trump administration has been noticeably hard on the Russians—(1) expelling large numbers of "diplomats" from the US, (2) agreeing to serious sanctions against the Russian economy, (3) providing heavy arms sales to the Ukraine, (4) voicing direct and unequivocal condemnation of the U.K. nerve gas attacks, (5) speaking out against the Russian-German gas pipeline (a direct attack on Russia's economy), (6) taking military action in Syria that puts Russians in harm's way. But in TDS world, none of that matters. So ... Let's. Get. Hysterical ... because Trump said some dumb things.

In the meantime, the Democrats' trained hamsters in the mainstream media continue to beclown themselves by creating and then promoted demonstrably fake news. Reporter Emily Singer of a relatively obscure Mic (Military Industrial Complex) website via C-Span thought she found yet another smoking gun that put a recently arrested 29-year old Russian operative in the oval office at the White House. Becket Adams explains:
Singer found a Getty Images picture from May 2017 showing Trump meeting in the Oval Office with a delegation of Russian officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

If you look at the photo carefully, you can see White House National Security Council staffer Cari Lutkins huddled in the back.
In what can only be characterized as a combination of stupidity and sloppiness driven by TDS, Singer misidentified Lutkins as recently arrested Russian operative, Maria Butina.

She posted the picture and her interpretation on Twitter.

It gets better. Becket reports that leftist darling and supposed journalist, Matt Yglesias retweeted Singer's egregious mistake (without checking the validity of her claim). So did Clintonista Peter Daou and columnist Paul Brandus. Thousands of retweets followed. Of course, all of these serious "journalists" would claim it was an honest mistake. It's odd, though, that hundreds of recent "honest mistakes" by the media all seem to reflect badly on Donald Trump. You'd think that the error distribution would sometimes favor Trump, but you'd think wrong.

Because far too many in the media suffer from TDS, they have become stupid, sloppy, and sensationally wrong. They have ruined their own credibility. Donald Trump is not wrong when he accuses them of promoting fake news. He is not wrong when he states that this brand of "journalism" does a disservice to American citizens. In fact, far too much of the media has become analogous to Pravda—you know, the propaganda organ of the hated Russians when the Left didn't hate them quite so much.

Far too many in the media are too stupid (or is it deranged?) to recognize that they're helping Trump—not hurting him. Their bias is so palpable that it causes millions to disregard their opinions, their reporting and their positions, even when those things are accurate. Their animus is so obvious that it causes millions to rally behind what they perceive (correctly, I might add) as a besieged presidency. The media's desire to see Trump removed from office now is so self-evident that I suspect it will result in Trump being in office for the next six years. Heh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Wheels within Wheels

In what has to be one of the most impressive political manipulations in my lifetime, the Democrats (with extensive help from their trained hamsters in the media and their many supporters within the deep state), have promoted and nurtured a narrative that they think explains their shocking, upset loss in the 2016 presidential election—the Russians, the Russians, the Russians!!!! Add to that their success in getting a special counsel appointed to investigate "collusion" between Donald Trump and the Russians. Add to that the nonstop tsunami of media reports about indictments that have NOTHING to do with collusion. With all of that, the resultant counterfactual implication is that were it not for the Russians, a corrupt, dishonest politician named Hillary Clinton would now be President of the United States.

All of this came to a head in the aftermath of the Helsinki meeting between Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton. As he often does, Trump made a hash of his post-summit comments, suggesting that he believed Putin's ridiculous suggestion that the Russians had nothing to do with the hacking of DNC servers or manipulation (although quite minor by any reasonable measure) of social media. Trump's words caused the usual hysteria from the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd and even from more rational observers on the left and right. Trump's statement was dumb—both politically and factually.

The big question goes to motive and timing. Why did the Russians hack the DNC servers and why did the DoJ decide to release the indictments of 12 GRU operatives three days before the Trump-Putin summit? Both questions are worthy of consideration.

Even the most afflicted members of the TDS crowd would have to admit that Hillary Clinton was assumed by almost all (including yours truly) to be the slam-dunk winner of the presidential election. That assumption was adopted by the Russians as well. Given that, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Russians wanted to do what the Democrats have been trying to do for the past 20 months—delegitimize the presidency of a newly elected American president.

Michael B. Mukasey (former U.S. Attorney General) comments:
At the time of the hacking, virtually no one gave Mr. Trump any chance of winning. Mr. Putin is a thug, but he is not reckless. It seems unlikely he would place a high-stakes bet on a sure loser. Rather, he likely sought to embarrass the person certain to be the new president, assuring that she took office as damaged goods.

Why leave fingerprints? If the only goal was to inflict damage, the new president would have been not only damaged, but also resentful. Even the person who happily posed with a mislabeled “reset” button in frothier days likely would have turned sour.

The point likely was not merely to inflict damage but also to send a warning. Consider the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized and vulnerable email server. It found that the bureau had concluded the server could well have been penetrated without detection. Recall also that some of the people hacked by GRU agents were aware of that server and mentioned it in messages they sent, so that the Russians too were aware of it. The SVR certainly was capable of an undetected hack.

There are some 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton did not turn over, on the claim that they were personal and involved such trivia as yoga routines and Chelsea’s wedding. If they instead contained damaging information—say, regarding Clinton Foundation fundraising—the new president would have taken office in the shadow of a sword dangling from a string held by the Russians.
Makes sense to me! Gosh, you'd think some intrepid "reporter" at CNN or MSNBC or the NYT or WaPo or CBS or ... might pursue that line of reasoning. Nope. Runs counter to the narrative—can't be discussed.

As to the timing of the indictments, Mukasey writes :
The president was told of the indictments before he traveled. Yet the plain effect of the announcement was to raise further doubts about the wisdom of the meeting—and perhaps to shape its agenda. Neither is the business of the special counsel or anyone else at the Justice Department ...

From a law-enforcement standpoint, there was nothing urgent about these indictments. All 12 defendants are in Russia; none are likely ever to see the inside of a U.S. courtroom ...

It has been argued that the objective of last week’s indictments was not to prosecute the defendants but to “name and shame” them. They were named, and even their military intelligence units disclosed—but shamed?
I agree, but I also think there's more to it. The timing of the indictment was to make the meeting all about Russian interference in the election, and as a consequence, to further the Russians did it! narrative that explains HRC's loss. Yes, Russian interference is an important topic, but is it more important than: (1) nuclear proliferation and associated treaties between Russia and the USA, (2) half a million dead in Syria with another 2 million refugees swamping Europe, (3) the annexation of Crimea, (4) the threat to the Ukraine, (5) the future of oil and gas revenues to Russia, and many other topics? In a way, the Dems and their Deep state buddies turned the indictments into a "look, there's a squirrel!" moment. Media attention was all about the Russians and their interference in the election. Every else—nada.

In this continuing drama, there are wheels within wheels. The hysteria generated by Trump's stupid comments is just as fake as the spurious claims that the Russians were a primary reason for Hillary Clinton's loss in the 2016 election.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Nothing at All

For about a microsecond, the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd within the four constituencies much have felt a tingle run down their collective legs. After all, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that he would hold a press conference to announce indictments that have come out of the now infamous Russia investigation. OMG, some of the TDS crowd must have thought, our dreams have come true, our deepest desires have been achieved—here come the indictments we told everyone—absolutely everyone—were in the offing. Except ... nope.

Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian nationals for hacking DNC computers. He specifically noted that there was no evidence that the hacking affected the results of the 2016 Presidential election (you know, the election that Hillary would have won hands down were it not for Trump "collusion" with Russia). To quote the deputy AG:
"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result."
Hmmm. Last time I checked, everyone working on the Trump campaign was an American citizen and everyone working in the Trump White House is an American citizen. And the result of election itself—unaffected.

Of course, the Democrats love to trot out the fact that 17 or whatever indictments have arisen out of Robert Mueller's investigation (a.k.a, "witch hunt") but not a single one is even remotely connected to Russian collusion or the election. But Mueller's evidence-free "investigation" will grind on endlessly, ensnaring members of the GOP who, like most of the Washington elite working for both parties, have enriched themselves and their friends by influence peddling. Of course, Hillary Clinton and her crowd were above all that. It's just through hard work, intelligence, and moral superiority that Bill and Hillary Clinton went from "near bankrupt" 20 years ago to a net worth in excess of $150 million today. And all that without working in the private sector for a single day. Amazing!

Funny, though, that Rosenstein, the DoJ, and Mueller, with all the resources they can bring to bear, haven't indicted a single solitary person connected to Clinton, or any other Democrat for that matter. You'd think that Clinton's effort to affect the election by paying (through her law firm) for the creation of a phony anti-Trump dossier in cooperation with the Russians might cause Mueller's eyebrows to arch upward. But noooo. You'd think that when Clinton turned the dossier over to the FBI who knowing its provenance, still used it as evidence to get permission from a FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign, might cause Mueller's intrepid band of lawyers (most Clinton donors) to squint their eyes. Noooo.

All of that is just business as usual. Nothing for Mueller or his team to see there, nothing at all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Hey Hey, Ho Ho"

What do John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, William Rehnquist, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy all have in common. For one thing, they were appointed by GOP presidents. For another they were victims of the Chicken Little strategy. With each of their nominations to SCOTUS, the Left predicted an apocalypse—women's rights and health would degrade, constitutional protections would disappear, minorities would be relegated to a trash heap, and of-course, Roe v. Wade would be overturned. There's only one problem—none of that happened.

Each of those jurists applied their view of the law and the constitution in their own way, but each recognized the nexus of constitutional rights and a consideration of public sentiment and judicial precedent. Despite the "hey, hey, ho ho" idiocy of protesters who would have readily rejected Thomas Jefferson had he been a nominee, Brett Kavanaugh will do exactly what his predecessors did—apply the constitution and the law to make decisions that matter.

The Chicken Little strategy creates a boogieman who, if you are to believe the Dems, will destroy the rights of everyone, disregard precedent, and run roughshod over democracy. But like a boogieman in a bad dream, their claims are fantasy and their predictions simply haven't come to pass. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, William Rehnquist, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy did NOT relegate women to backroom abortions; they did NOT trample the rights of minorities; they did NOT usher in an authoritarian state—in fact, they largely opposed one.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
Democrats will also claim that a new conservative 5-4 majority will mean the rollback of American rights from abortion to voting. Don’t believe it.

The change we expect would be a Court that returned to the role it played before the 1960s when the Justices became an engine of progressive policy. The American left is distraught because it fears losing the Court as its preferred legislature. A conservative Court won’t overturn liberal precedents willy-nilly. But we hope it will be inclined to let most political questions be settled where they should be in a democracy—by the political branches.

This still preserves for the Court a large role in protecting fundamental rights and the structure of the separation of powers that is a bulwark against tyranny. The Court has become far too embroiled in politics, which has undermined public faith in the law and Constitution.

We firmly believe that liberals have much less to fear from a conservative majority than they imagine. A genuinely conservative Court might even help progressives by liberating them to focus once again on the core task of self-government—persuading their fellow Americans through elections, not judicial fiat.
The coming war against Brett Kavanaugh will be ugly. It will attempt to use hysteria, dishonesty, and hyperbole to defeat the nomination of a respected judge. The Democrats will, in the process, hurt themselves, and far more important, erode respect for government institutions. But that's what they've been doing for the past two years.

We'll see what happens.

UPDATE:
----------------

Law Professor Glen Reynolds comments:
As a lawyer messaged me on Facebook today, Kavanaugh will be Hitler, because whoever Trump nominated was going to be Hitler.

But, of course, when everyone’s Hitler, nobody’s Hitler, and the Democrats have been slinging the H-word around rather a lot for the past couple of years. When you have the hysteria turned up to 11 all the time, it has less traction when you need it. (As comedian Dennis Miller tweeted: “Just to keep things in perspective, or not, Trump could nominate either Amy Coney Barrett or Vladimir Putin tomorrow and the headlines would be exactly the same.” He’s not wrong).

Still, brace yourself for a lot of hysteria. But here’s a parting thought: If so much hangs on the appointment of a single person to the Supreme Court that it matters more than almost anything else in our politics, then maybe the Supreme Court matters too much. In a healthier republic, it would matter less.
The reason it matters so much is that Democrats want the court to circumvent their failure to enact left-leaning legislation through the congress, by cretaing law from the bench. Part of the Dem's legislative failure has to do with the simple reality that they have failed to win congressional elections during the past decade. A more introspective party might ask why that might be, why their policies and proposals don't resonate with the electorate. Instead, they blame the Russians.

A left-leaning SCOTUS would undoubtedly be more activist. That can't happen until the Dems win the presidency and the congress. And that won't happen if the Dems drift ever-further to the left.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Connection Diagram

In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election and on into his first term, some on the Right wrongly contended that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. If that allegation were true, it might disqualify him as president. Based on all available evidence, the claims were false. It's worth noting that there was no formal allegation offered by senior members of the losing party (the GOP), there was no special counsel appointed to investigate, and after a time, the story died away, only to be revisited by Obama's own party as an example of "racism" run amuck.

During that time, Obama's Praetorian guard in the media leaped into action, calling any such allegations unhinged conspiracy theory. The media worked hard to find exculpatory evidence and did just that. Fine.

This weekend, left-wing writer Jonathan Chait in a once prestigious media outlet, New York Magazine, penned a long screed entitled "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?" Without going through Chait's tortured logic, his repeated claims of guilt by association, and even more unhinged allegations, Chait believes that Trump is a Russian agent and has been one since -- 1987!!

In Hollywood, the visual image of an obsessed, deranged conspiracy theorist is of a person who draws large connection diagrams on the wall—you know, pictures of events and people connected by lots of strings and pins that PROVE an evil conspiracy is afoot. It is, literally, a cliche image. Of course, Chait can't resist providing us what I'm sure he believes is irrefutable proof that Trump is a Russian agent and that the 60+ Million people who voted for him are unwitting accomplices:
In the fevered imaginations of some who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, Chait's diagram is undoubtedly proof-positive that Trump is a Russkie tool. For those who are more grounded in reality, it's an example of peak—TDS.

I wish I could argue that Chait's piece is the apex of the TDS crowd's lunatic hysteria, but I can't. Just wait until the SCOTUS nominee is named tonight.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Shots on Goal

Nearly two years after the upset of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, we still hear Clinton, her supporters, and most Democrats tell us that she won the majority of all votes cast nationally and therefore, Donald Trump should not be president. It's a meme that has become as tiresome as it is ridiculous.

Following the illogic of that argument, the people of Brazil should be outraged at the fact that Belgium recently beat their national soccer team to advance in the World Cup. After all, although Belgium prevailed 2 goals to 1, Brazil had 9 shots on goal to Belgium's 3, therefore getting a clear majority of shots; Brazil possessed the ball 59 percent of the time and had a clear majority of time of possession, its passing accuracy was higher and it made more passes, meaning it won the majority of passing stats.

So we should forget the FIFA rules—Brazil really did win and Belgium is a fraud. Umm, I'm not sure FIFA or the people of Belgium would agree.

Since the Dems actually believe that the constitutionally mandated rules of the election (a vote of the electoral college) are irrelevant and that their claim of a win out of a loss is meaningful, they've decided to go a step further along the same rule-changing path. Jenna Ellis comments:
As liberal fury over Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement continues to escalate, there's a clear mindset behind the Left's opposition tactics: "If we stop winning, we want to immediately change the rules." In the week after Kennedy’s retirement was announced, some Democrats have revived their calls to “court pack”— increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court and fill those seats with justices sympathetic to their social agenda. This is something they also called for during the confirmation hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch ...

What I find most incredulous about liberals’ argument is how they feign disgust at conservative originalist justices for “literal interpretation” but then their very own plan recognizes they have to interpret the Constitution literally and textually to achieve their results. In other words, they are actually using the very text of the Constitution to recognize it gives Congress power to set the number of justices on the Supreme Court, and it further gives power to the president to nominate a new justice and confirm with advice and consent of the Senate.
But here's the thing—since Trump lost the national vote and the electoral college is a very, very bad idea, the Dems believe Trump really isn't president. Therefore, he has no constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Ahhh, now I get it.

Friday, July 06, 2018

It's Not Okay

Despite every effort to obfuscate, delay, and resist congressional inquiries, the Crossfire Hurricane scandal involving the politically motivated FBI "investigation" of the Trump campaign in 2016 simply won't die. The Democrats dismiss hard facts (e.g., text messages in the perpetrators' own words, a damning report by the FBI's own Inspector general), panicking because they might taint the Mueller "investigation" (a.k.a. witch hunt); the trained hamsters of the main stream media simply ignore the whole thing, and the FBI hierarchy defies Congress on a weekly basis. Man, with that much effort being expended to avoid releasing information, there must be something really big hiding in the weeds, and all of the constituencies involved do NOT want the public to know what it is.

Kim Strassel is one of the few journalists who has been on this story from the beginning. Her investigative reporting is embarrassing to the past Obama administration and to senior executives at the FBI. She writes:
The FBI and its media allies have waged a ceaseless campaign to lower the bar on what counts as appropriate. We are told it is OK that the government opened a counterintelligence probe into a presidential campaign. OK that it obtained a warrant to spy on a U.S. citizen. OK that it based that warrant on an unverified dossier from the Democratic campaign, and then hid that true origin from the FISA court. OK that it paid a spy to target domestic political actors.

It’s not OK. Not so long ago, the FBI would have quailed at the idea of running an informant into any U.S. political operation—even into, say, a congressman under criminal investigation for bribery or corruption. These are the most sensitive of lines. But Mr. Trump’s opponents, in government and media, have a boundless capacity to justify any measures against the president.

If it turns out that the Justice Department and FBI lied about how and when this all started, that is scandalous.
At every turn, the trained hamsters have worked hard to use their "squirrel strategy" to redirect public attention away from the scandal. It is an interesting coincidence that on the same day that the FBI Inspector General report was released to the public, the Dems began their hysteria over the temporary separation of children of illegal immigrant families. Never mind that the practice had been going on for years, that day seemed to be appropriate. Look!! A Squirrel!

It's an even more interesting coincidence that stories about porn star Stormy Daniels, Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, and various other campaign aides get plenty of air time and column inches, but the Crossfire Hurricane scandal has all but disappeared. And Scott Pruitt of the EPA? His serial scandals (some quite minor by government standards) got hours and hours of air time and damnation, but Crossfire Hurricane? Crickets.

And gosh, it does seem odd that Robert Mueller, who has run far afield in his "investigation" of Trump (think: Stormy Daniels), has chosen not to look into any allegation of FBI wrong-doing, even though it's directly relevant to the whole Russian angle. After all, what possible nexus could exist between the predicate for the investigation and claims of Russian collusion? Nah, nothing to see there, let's look at Stormy's tale (no pun intended) instead. Incredible!

Powerful anti-Trump interests inside the government keep telling us there's no there there. Except there is. We'll see whether the dirty truth ever comes out.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Penumbras

Daniel Henninger argues that the pivotal reason for the Democrats' hysteria over the Donald Trump's Supreme Court nomination can be traced to the court’s 1965 decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, a decision that interpreted the constitution rather broadly. He explains:
Justice William O. Douglas famously explained how this [broad interpretation] could be, arguing that “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.”

Douglas’s “penumbras” decision, though ridiculed, defined the post-’60s era of “judge-made law,” in which achieving a result that reflected liberal values or policy goals mattered more than the legal reasoning to justify it. This results-driven view is what routinely sent Justice Antonin Scalia into eloquent and volcanic dissents.

Though capable of rigor in his reasoning, Anthony Kennedy was willing to swing toward decisions that simply affirmed what he thought were ascendant cultural mores. With the Trump Supreme Court nominations, this long era of judge-made law is at risk, if not over.

First with Neil Gorsuch and now with Justice Kennedy’s successor, Donald Trump is putting a stop to ruling by penumbra. It’s a historic shift, and Mr. Trump’s opponents are going absolutely crazy.

As the Times editorial suggests, the left seems to believe the Supreme Court will virtually cease to exist as a branch of government. That puts liberals in a tough spot, because they had already thrown in the towel on the legislative branch.

From the 1970s onward, modern liberalism increasingly came to rely on filing lawsuits to effect policies that couldn’t survive passage through representative bodies like the House and Senate. Or they deployed executive mandates—which reached an apotheosis with Barack Obama.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ended the filibuster for appellate-court nominees so his party could pack the D.C. Circuit with judges who would affirm the Obama regulatory orders that covered vast swaths of American life.

Having all but abandoned the legislative branch to achieve their goals, progressives now think the Trump Supreme Court nominations will close off the judiciary as a policy tool. Thus, the hysteria.
And hysteria it is. The chicken little strategy is already in full effect and will explode into a new level of vicious opposition once the SCOTUS nominee is appointed next week.

Personally, I prefer a moderate—not aggressively conservative—SCOTUS. I like justices whose votes are unpredictable (hence, I liked Kennedy). Unlike the hard core conservatives and equally hard-core liberal justices whose votes are predictably ideological.

What we all should be looking for is a jurist who interprets the constitution, not a jurist who makes new laws. On the other hand, Justice Douglas was right—any rational interpretation of the constitution should recognize the potential for penumbras, but those penumbras should extend the edges of the constitution only slightly, adjusting it for the realities of modern life, but not using it to eclipse the job of the legislative branch of government.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

#Walkaway

Have you ever heard the old saying, "Moderation in all things?"

Yeah, I know, some would think that it leads to a boring existence. After all, almost everyone professes their desire for an exciting life, filled with cool adventures that somehow energize their own psyche.

But I'll stick with moderation.

In politics, moderation used to be the meme followed by both major political parties. Sure, they differed in their approach to governance, but in the main, they wanted the same things—a strong economy, respect around the world, safety for the country's citizens, and a better life for those who have struggled. One of those moderate parties believed that big government could achieve those things. The other believed that they could be achieved with a more limited government, but again, the approach on both sides of the aisle was relatively moderate.

Today, based on media coverage, you'd think that one party was "extreme" and the other was calm and concerned. According to the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media, Donald Trump and his supporters have an "extreme agenda," institute "extreme policies" have an "extreme" view on race and immigration. Now that SCOTUS appointment is in play, they tell us that Trump et al want "extreme" justices for the Supreme Court (e.g., the chicken little strategy). "Extreme" is a word that is supposed to conjure images of positions that are way outside the mainstream, causing fear and loathing among the populace—all to the advantage of the Democrats.

Yet in the aftermath of the 2016 election, the Dems have become the party of "extreme." They have lurched to the hard-Left, embracing socialist positions that are, well, considerably outside the mainstream. They have adopted positions on immigration that do not resonate with recent public polling (Harvard-Harris poll). They refuse to acknowledge that the economy is doing very well and that African American and Latinos are experiencing record low unemployment—people who want a job can get a job. They insist on telling those same communities that they are "victims" of a racist society. These positions certainly resonate among the #Resistance and within the echo chamber of the Left, but something odd is happening.

Karen McQuillan comments:
Democrat hate speech targeting deplorables has always worked -- on their own voters. Libeling Republicans as racist, homophobic morons has kept Democrat voters in line. President Trump laughs at their insults, and just gets stronger. Suddenly, one more Trump success. The Democrat line is breaking. Our minorities are breaking free.

President Trump’s off the charts achievements on jobs and security are improving the lives of every single Democrat identity voting bloc. A small, but increasingly significant number are noticing. With his MAGA gains on the economy and foreign affairs, President Trump is slowly chipping away at the Democrat Party’s foundations. The white working class already belongs to Trump. Fed up blacks, Hispanics, millennials and gays are starting to follow.

Ordinary people, including our minorities, are focused on the reality of their lives. Most Americans actually care about exactly the two big issues Trump cares about: jobs and personal safety. They notice more money in their paychecks. They notice when they get off food stamps and the unemployment line. They notice when they move from flipping hamburgers to a high-paying construction or assembly-line jobs. Securing our border, supporting cops, defeating ISIS in Syria, pressuring North Korea to “denuke” -- ordinary people get that we are safer than we were under Obama. Democrats can scream as loud as they want, but they cannot drown out reality.
And those Democrats who are still anchored in reality have begun to push back. They are uneasy with the rhetoric of the #Resistance which demonizes half of the country by arguing that those who support another path are "racists, misogynists, bigots, Nazis and white supremacists." Democrats who are still anchored in reality think those are pretty "extreme" allegations. They reject the notion that mob intimidation (proposed by Congresswoman Maxine Waters and supported by far too many Dems) is an American value.

A small minority of Dems and African American and Latinos have had enough. They are disgusted by the viciousness of #Resistance and have decided to #Walkaway. African Americans and Latinos, recognizing the benefits of a strong economy and seeing historically high levels of employment and economic opportunity, have begun to realize that they're not victims and instead, have control over their own destiny. They have decided to #Walkaway.

As this is going on, a troubling percentage of Democrats have decided to double down on "extreme." They seem incapable of recognizing that their flirtation with socialism will not win elections. But at the same time, those Dems with extreme views appear to be taking over the party. More Dems who don't want to walk that path may very well decide to walk away. That's a good thing.

But ... but ... but ... what about millennials and people of color, propagandized over their entire lives to hate the GOP and love the Dems. After all, polling indicates that millennials think socialism is okay.* Right?

Not so fast.

McQuillan comments:
Millennials are growing up, getting jobs and paying taxes. They are still turned off by the Republican Party (as are Trump supporters). They are stubbornly unwilling to give President Trump personal credit. But they recognize his pro-growth agenda is a good thing, and they don’t want Pelosi to wreck the economy.

Millennials are telling Reuter/Ipsos pollsters that they are going to vote Republican in the mid-terms. In 2016, white millennials supported Democrats for Congress by a whopping 47 to 33 percent. No more. Millennial support for Democrats has fallen by almost 10 percent. If sustained, this is seriously bad news for Democrats.

For the first time, millennials will be the largest eligible voting bloc surpassing baby boomers come November. Historically Democrats have relied on the youth vote to carry them over the finish line. This new polling suggests a blue wave may be less likely than previously thought.

Racial appeals are at long last getting old. Race-baiting is less effective delivered by Maxine Waters than by the nation’s first black president. A redpill video by a young black woman named Candace Owens, praised by Kanye West, is credited with creating a fateful first chink in the black voting bloc. Following Kanye’s tweet, President Trump’s approval among black men doubled, to 22 percent, and among all blacks, to over 16 percent.
It may very well be that the Dem's "extreme" positions and behavior over the past 18 months will obliterate any possibility of a blue wave in this year's mid-term election. One thing is certain—if they fail to retake the House, they'll never blame themselves.

FOOTNOTE:
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* It is true that millennials don't have as many qualms about socialism as those of us who have observed its serial (and often catastrophic) failures over much longer lifetimes.

I can't resist quote a comment made by Glen Reynolds on the subject:
Socialism is the Axe Body Spray of political ideologies: It never does what it claims to do, but people too young to know better keep buying it anyway.
I can forgive young people for their position, after all, it all seems so socially just, so utopian, so good for the common people. In reality (oops, that word again), it's anything but.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Diversity

Blue states opt to fund their profligate spending, underfunded pensions, and growing dependency programs by increasing taxes on the rich. In many cases, that means significantly higher income taxes for the very very rich. Politicians argue that the very, very rich account for such a tiny percentage of the populace that taxing them will have little political effect. There's only one problem, and the Wall Street Journal identifies it:
Call it the consummate New Jersey compromise. Governor Phil Murphy and State Senate leader Steve Sweeney have been fighting over whether to raise tax rates on individuals or businesses, and over the weekend they decided to raise taxes on both.

Messrs. Murphy and Sweeney agreed to raise the state’s income tax on residents making more than $5 million to 10.75% from 8.97% and the corporate rate on companies with more than $1 million in income to 11.5% from 9%.

This will give New Jersey the fourth highest marginal income tax rate on individuals and the second highest corporate rate after Iowa. The corporate tax increase will supposedly last two years and then phase out over the next two years, but that’s what politicians always say.

The two Democrats claim this will do no harm because about 0.04% of New Jersey taxpayers will get smacked. But those taxpayers account for 12.5% of state income-tax revenue and their investment income is highly mobile. The state treasurer said in 2016 that a mere 100 filers pay more than 5.5% of all state receipts. Billionaire David Tepper escaped from New Jersey for Florida in 2015, and other hedge fund managers could follow. Between 2012 and 2016 a net $11.9 billion of income left New Jersey, according to the IRS.

The flight risk will increase with the new limit of $10,000 on deducting state and local taxes on federal tax returns. This is why Mr. Sweeney wanted to avoid raising individual tax rates, but Mr. Murphy insisted on it. The new Governor is another progressive who became rich working for Goldman Sachs but seems offended that someone else might also get rich.
Every blue state politician will tell us about the benefits of "diversity," except when it comes to diversity of income. Even the most inexperienced private sector manager understands that an organization must diversify its income sources to reduce risk. A lack of diversity means that you are held hostage to one or more of those income sources leaving/disappearing, causing significant upheaval in your organization. And if you can't diversify your income sources? You'll need to reduce your expenses/spending to improve your bottom line, but that's anathema to blue state politicians.

And when state income taxes go up, and up, and up with spending going in the same direction? In blue states like CT, IL and NJ, over-taxed high income people are voting with their feet, leaving the blue states to move to more tax-friendly red states (Florida comes to mind).

All of this isn't new, but it does represent a level of fiscal irresponsibility that is dangerous, not only on a state level, but also nationally. Just another reason why calls by the left-wing "democratic socialist" arm of the Democratic party to provide "free" stuff by taxing the rich are a recipe for disaster. You don't have to believe me, just ask any objective observer in CT, IL and NJ (or for that matter CA) how it's working out for them.