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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Arizona Special Election

In an Arizona special election for Congress yesterday, the GOP candidate won by 53 to 47%.  It's a heavily Republican district, so that result is not a surprise.  It's also an election without an incumbent so the closeness is also not surprising.  Finally, it's a special election, so the turnout is lower than normal, even in a midterm election. In addition, groups from outside the district poured money into ads and campaigning on both sides, so the normal dynamic of the district was distorted.  In the end, however, things turned out pretty much as expected.

Now that the election has passed, I am somewhat surprised by the things I've heard said about it.  I've seen a pundit, a supposed political expert, at CNN say that the results were a bad sign for the GOP because they were much closer than those of the last election in the district for Congress.  That sounds fine on the surface until you realize that the Democrats did not run a candidate in the district in 2016.  Congressman Franks won re-election with 100% of the vote.  No matter what the results were yesterday, the results would have been much closer than in 2016.  CNN is broadcasting a pundit who has no idea what she is talking about.

Much of the coverage has been of this sort.  Most of the mainstream media types are busy declaring this result a "win" for the Democrats even though they lost.  If this trend continues, the GOP could pick up seats in 2018 and the pundits would talk about the Democrats' great victory.  To say the least, it's bizarre.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Some Crazy Correction

Here is a correction from today's New York Times:

"An article on Sunday about Campbell Brown’s role as Facebook’s head of news partnerships erroneously included a reference to Palestinian actions as an example of the sort of far-right conspiracy stories that have plagued Facebook. In fact, Palestinian officials have acknowledged providing payments to the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis or convicted of terrorist acts and imprisoned in Israel; that is not a conspiracy theory."

This correction tells us a great deal about the Times.  Simply put, the reporter and the editors do not pay much attention to current events, the very news about which the Times supposedly reports.  On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Taylor Force Act.  That law requires the cessation of certain US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until such time as that authority stops making payments to terrorists who attack Israelis as well as pensions to the terrorists' families.  Taylor Force was an American serviceman who was killed by terrorists while he was a tourist in Israel.  Before the passage of the law, there were many articles, TV debates and the like about the effect such law would have and the efficacy of its passage.  The idea that both the reporter and the editors involved in the original article had never heard that the Palestinians reward terrorists and their families is astounding.

The correction also tells us that the reporter and the editors are prepared to see Palestinians only as the victims of oppression and any criticism of them as nothing more than a conspiracy theory.  Remember, the original article did not just dispute the accuracy of the actual fact of Palestinians rewarding terrorists, it called the very idea of such payments a "far=right conspiracy story".  In other words, the idea was something that only a far-right crazy person would put forward in the view of the reporters and editors.  Nevertheless, it was the truth and the fools at the Times couldn't even conceive of that possibility.


 

Media Idiocy -- The Latest Chapter

There is discussion that President Trump may issue a pardon to Jack Johnson.  For those who don't know, Johnson is a former champion heavy weight fighter who was convicted of criminal acts long ago.  Many believe that his conviction was the result of Johnson's violating the norms of his day by being a black man dating white women.  The move to pardon Johnson began in 2004 and was pushed mainly by senators McCain and Reid.  They argued that the pardon would erase a historical misdeed.

Here's why that is all relevant.  Don Lemon, the most idiotic host on CNN, actually ran a segment on his show discussing whether a pardon of Johnson would be a signal by President Trump to Michael Cohen and others not to "flip".  The panel discussed this for about five minutes.

Think about that.  Lemon is considering if a posthumous pardon (yeah, Johnson died many decades ago) to an historical figure being pushed by a bipartisan coalition is actually just a "signal" in the ongoing Russia-Trump investigation.  How dumb is that?  Imagine Michael Cohen sitting at home thinking "I better not flip.  President Trump will pardon me fifty years after I'm dead." 

Lemon, of course, is the host who four years ago wondered if the missing Malaysian airliner was sucked into a black hole.  That question demonstrated that Lemon didn't understand physics or even know what a black hole actually is.  He hasn't learned much since.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Democrats Buckle on Pompeo

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted this evening to send the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State to the Senate floor with a recommendation for approval.  The vote was 10 to 9 with senator Coons of Delaware voting "present".  There's much more to the story than just the numbers, however.

First, the Democrats decided a while ago to kowtow to their rabidly anti-Trump base and to oppose the Pompeo nomination.  That was silly since Pompeo was approved as Director of the CIA last year by the same senators with a vote of about 65 to 35.  The general consensus is that Pompeo has done an outstanding job as head of the CIA.  That meant that a whole host of Democrats had to come up with reasons why the supported Pompeo for CIA director but now would vote against him being Secretary of State.  Some of the excuses were lame, to put it mildly.  For instance, Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire said she would not vote for Pompeo this time because of his pro-life positions.  Huh?  Pompeo held the same positions last year when Shaheen not only voted for him but praised him as an outstanding choice.  It was all posturing for the base, however.  The Democrats were sure Pompeo would be approved and they could just oppose him without affecting his confirmation.

Second, Pompeo is in the middle of negotiations with Kim Jung Un of North Korea about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  This is perhaps the biggest foreign policy issue currently facing the USA and the Democrats' games with the Pompeo nomination could have weakened the US negotiating team and hurt the American people.  The Democrats all thought that Pompeo would be confirmed anyway, though.

Third, when the vote came in the Foreign Relations Committee, senator Wicker of Georgia was not present.  He was in Atlanta attending a funeral.  That meant that there were equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats present for the meeting.  The first vote taken was ten to ten, a tie.  A tie is not en endorsement, so Pompeo could have been sent to the Senate floor without a recommendation in his favor.  Such a result might have made the Democrat base happy, but it would have hurt the US position with North Korea and it would have annoyed all those independent voters who would have seen it as the Democrats playing political games rather than advancing the cause of the USA.

The result was that senator Coons agreed to change his vote to "present".  That meant that the Democrats did not have to undergo scrutiny for their obstructive behavior.  They can tell their base that they did all that they could (which is not true), but Pompeo would still get approved.

The obstruction by the Democrats of all the nominations made by President Trump is unprecedented.  It has harmed the federal government's ability to respond to problems.  That actually seems to make the Democrats happy.  They would rather have the federal government fail to accomplish some goal than to help achieve something positive for the American people. 

Terror Traumatizes Toronto

A white van sped down a street in Toronto this afternoon.  The driver aimed for pedestrians walking on the sidewalk or standing at the corner and hit many of them.  Initial reports say that about 15 people were hit, although these are very preliminary.  After hitting the pedestrians, the van sped off.  It has not yet been found nor the driver caught.

So is this a terror attack in Toronto?  It certainly seems like it although it could still turn out to be something else.

Toronto is a large peaceful city in a large peaceful country.  It's very sad to think of terrorism hitting there.  Let's pray for the victims of these events.

Obstruction of Justice?

The concept of obstruction of justice has been much in the news this last year.  For the media and the Democrats, nearly everything that President Trump has done with regard to the Russia-Trump campaign investigation has been called obstruction.  If Trump met Bob Mueller at a dinner and said hello, there would be twenty stories the next day screaming "OBSTRUCTION!!!!"  Now, however, Andrew McCarthy has written a column which details a very different type of obstruction.  McCarthy's focus is on the conversation between Andrew McCabe and the deputy attorney general about the investigation of the Clinton Foundation in 2016.  The Obama Justice Department called the FBI deputy director and made clear that he was to shut down any investigation into the Clinton Foundation.  The call devolved into an angry mess since the FBI investigation was being done quietly with no public knowledge as was required by the FBI's internal rules.  There was no basis to stop that investigation other than the Obama desire not to allow such an investigation to torpedo Hillary Clinton's campaign.  This was the phone call about which McCabe leaked information to the Wall Street Journal and because of which he is now the subject of a criminal investigation and likely indictment for lying to the FBI and perjury.

Think about it.  When President Trump made a remark about General Flynn to Jim Comey saying that he hoped Comey could let the matter go after Flynn was fired by the White House, the media and the Democrats went crazy.  It was obstruction according to them even though Comey said that he did not feel ordered to drop the investigation of Flynn and did not do so.  When Obama sent word that the investigation of the Clinton Foundation had to be dropped, McCabe did stop that probe right away.  The media has ignored this as obstruction and hasn't even talked about the subject.  That can't be.  If what Trump did is obstruction, then what Obama did with McCabe is ten times worse.

What Now People?

Over the weekend, a man in Tennessee shot and killed four people with an AR-15 in a Waffle House restaurant.  The points covered by the media are first that the shooter was naked except for a jacket and second that a patron inside the Waffle House rushed the shooter and wrestled his weapon from him after which the shooter fled.  The reports usually say that the shooter was "known" to the police.  But here's what few reports mention:  the shooter was mentally ill.  In the past, he claimed that Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his various devices; he showed up at the White House and entered a restricted area and refused to leave; etc.  As a result of all this, a court ordered that all of the shooters weapons be taken from the man.  The court acted under one of the laws the supposedly prevents the mentally ill from getting weapons.  The police took the guy's guns.  So the Waffle House murders were a good example of just how the gun control legislation that has been discussed much of late is not an answer for ending all gun crimes.  The shooter got an AR-15 anyway and used it to kill four people.

This outcome is neither an argument for or against the legislation in question.  It is, however, a clear answer to those who think that simplistic marches for what they call "common sense gun safety legislation" is an answer.  It isn't.  This is a much more complex problem that deserves serious discussion, not marches and boycotts.