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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Left’s behavior of late is unworthy of elected officials

Many Democrats and liberals are driving themselves, and everyone else, crazy over Donald Trump, not because he’s so bad, but because they simply don’t like him, and as president good things have been accomplished.

Sure, he’s far out of the mainstream of recent presidents, although there is history on his side of presidents behaving ungentlemanly. And he is objectionably crass, at times, in his public comments on Twitter. His thin-skinned responses are often brattish.

This behavior greatly aggravates what seems the likely basis for the Left’s historic hysterics: Trump, whose candidacy was laughed at and roundly ridiculed, won the election, beating 16 Republican hopefuls as well as the person whose turn it was to be POTUS and the first of her gender to hold that office. They haven’t been able to muster the character needed to accept the decision of the American people.

This reaction to Trump has resulted in at least one dramatic turnaround: Once a major source of fun and comedy – with folks like Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Robin Williams and others – TV, particularly late night TV, has become dismal “one-trick pony” dreck, and humor these days comes instead from a former president who thinks he was the greatest.

The worst thing on this Earth, for the Left, is for Trump to succeed by doing almost the exact opposite of what they want for the country. The economy is good, jobs are being created, worker satisfaction is up, unemployment is down, and people like those “crummy” tax cuts, to name a few things.

And then there is the Neil Gorsuch confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court and now the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

The horror of merely imagining what might happen with two new justices who understand and follow the language and meaning of the U.S. Constitution and our laws is great, indeed, for the Left. This judicial philosophy is a substantial barrier to their desire to transform America into a virtual opposite of its original design, the greatness and originality of which are unmatched in history.

And so, the Left designed methods to disrupt the hearing and delay the process of confirmation.

They scripted disruptive questions by committee members in the first minute of the formal hearing, and then screaming protests from employed protesters, as well as demands for even more than the huge number of documents on Kavanaugh’s past judicial performance already provided to satisfy the Democrat Committee members who, before he had even been chosen, pledged to vote against the nominee. They asked foolish questions and falsely bragged of an “I am Spartacus” moment.

The number of documents “demanded” compared to other nominees: 2.5 times the number for any other nominee had been provided as of Sept. 4. But, of course, if Democrats can’t see everything related to him, he’s not qualified. Conceivably, they would like to see Kavanaugh’s elementary school notes passed to classmates.

Committee Democrats and the hired hands did themselves proud, were perfect clowns in the confirmation hearing, sans the floppy shoes and bulbous noses, behaving like fifth graders (with apologies to actual fifth graders).

But even with the self-satisfaction they experienced, the best was yet to come. There was another trick up their sleeve – the September Surprise – which was needed since their previous plan failed to convince the Republican majority to ditch the nomination, or to delay the process while new obstructions were developed.

Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, delivered the prize. She had a letter accusing Kavanaugh of some sort of improper relationship with a girl in high school more than three decades back. Initially, the accuser insisted on remaining anonymous, and details were not provided. The letter had been in Feinstein’s possession for about three months. Then suddenly, at almost the last possible moment, the accuser agrees to go public.

Feinstein turned it over to the FBI for investigation, and the Committee Democrats, having been given a heart transplant to prolong the life of their desperate attempt, want delays or, better yet, a withdrawal from the nominee.

It is possible there is truth behind this accusation. But this last-minute development raises several questions. If Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior actually happened, why wasn’t it important enough to report it 36 years ago? If it was actually a valid complaint, why provide the letter but not allow its use during the hearing when the Committee was looking for the good and bad things about Kavanaugh? After six FBI background checks on Kavanaugh for federal positions, why did this never come up?

At best, this event looks bad It’s a case of she said, he said, and there seems to be no actual evidence. It supports the idea that the Democrats are in desperation mode. Even Feinstein’s home-state newspaper, theSan Francisco Chronicle, criticized her. 

Before this accusation came along, two of Kavanaugh’s former law clerks enthusiastically supported the way he treated them. And since the accusation sixty-five women from his past have signed a letter of support for his treatment of females.

Whether Kavanaugh is confirmed or not, let us hope that this is the last episode of this circus-like behavior that Americans are subjected to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Corporate deep pockets attract attention in legal actions

Millions of Americans hate big corporations, suspect them of acting in their own best interest, to the detriment of the rest of us, and delight in corporations being put in their place. Sometimes they have good reasons for this; sometimes not. But let’s face it: legal actions against these corporate giants are sometimes justified, and give people harmed by a product or action of a corporation deserved monetary compensation.

With that in mind, this item from farmfutures.com tells about “Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper whose doctors didn’t think he’d live long enough learn the verdict, prevailed Friday in San Francisco state court after jurors deliberated for three days” on his damage suit.

The story went on to say that the “trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating thousands of other claims” over Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

Johnson got less than he was asking; being awarded only $39 million of the $412 million he sought in damages. An additional $250 million was added to punish Monsanto after finding it liable for a design defect and failing to warn consumers of Roundup’s risks. Monsanto has said it will appeal the award in this the first trial over claims that the Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

Roundup is the world’s most popular and widely used herbicide, and its main ingredient – glyphosate – was approved for use way back in 1974. Monsanto defends the ingredient as perfectly safe, however, a cadre of opponents of glyphosate that includes environmentalists, regulators, researchers, and lawyers, hotly challenge that claim.

The Wall Street Journaladded some important information to this story. An editorial described the plaintiff’s attorneys’ approach to persuading the jury of Monsanto’s responsibility in Johnson’s cancer, as “junk science.”

The Journalwent on to explain that “the problem … is that there’s overwhelming scientific evidence that glyphosate does not cause cancer,” and quoted the Journal of National Cancer Institute study of 45,000 licensed pesticide applicators exposed to glyphosate which found “no evidence of an association between glyphosate use and risk of any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

The editorial further cited the Environmental Protection Agency as concluding that glyphosate is safe. “In December 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency released the draft human health risk assessment for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup,” according to North Carolina State University’s Patrick Maxwell, M.S. and Travis Gannon, Ph.D. “The human health assessment concluded that ‘glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ and found ‘no other meaningful risks to human health’ when used in accordance with label instructions,” they wrote.

This seems to be a classic case of “he said, he said.” Both sides have advocates with solid credentials who advocate each position.

Sometimes, however, emotions trump factual evidence. And who isn’t sympathetic to Lee Johnson, whose cancer may end his life early. And there is also the factor of which legal team did its job best.

But then there’s the very real factor that big companies have deep pockets, and therefore are prime targets. A good example of this is the current rampant overuse of drugs, and the blame often being laid at the feet of Big Pharma.

Pharmaceutical companies’ business is identifying serious medical problems affecting lots of people, and working to develop drugs to help them, not to hurt them, and our government has implemented a long, slow process to require drugs to meet strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards before they are approved for use.

Even the government, however, cannot prevent the misuse of items for sale, and virtually everything can be dangerous under the right circumstances. Step ladders, baseballs, automobiles are all sometimes dangerous.

It also cannot guarantee that drugs might not end up in the hands of someone who is allergic to one or more of them. People are allergic to milk, vitamin C and sunshine, and nearly everything else.

A single drug getting to market on average results from100 or more formulas developed for testing. Promising formulas must get through a process that takes on average 12 to 15 years, and costs one-to-two billion dollars. And they only get patent protection for a maximum of 20 years from the time it is applied for, which frequently occurs early in the testing process.

This leaves a relatively short time to recoup the sky-high research costs, so that the company has money to invest in finding the next needed drug.

Why would companies send out millions of doses of an expensive product, as they are accused of, without someone ordering and paying for it? Yet, state attorneys general and other attorneys are suing drug companies, blaming them for the drug epidemic.

It seems more reasonable to look at prescribing physicians, drug distributors, and outright criminal conduct for how and why these drugs are available to people to use them improperly, resulting in much suffering and needless death.

All of which is not to say that large companies don’t sometimes do things wrong. And when that happens, they should be punished.

But they should not be an automatic target of lawsuits, as they often are.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Many on the left are cheating; tipping the scales in their favor


Why is it that those on the left feel it’s necessary to put their fingers on the scale to tip it in their favor, or will work to change the rules to achieve their purposes, and have little or no hesitation in doing so?

We saw this when the Obama IRS punished conservative applicants for non-profit status with a grossly slow and difficult application process.

Activist judges often reinterpret the Constitution and laws to mean something more to their liking than what was originally intended.

We are now learning how the Department of Justice misused procedures in an effort to influence the 2016 election.

We have seen how so much of the media ignores positive stories about President Donald Trump and the good things that are happening, and instead favors stories that benefit Democrats, ignoring their duty for balance and objectivity.

This accusation is one that many dispute, of course, not wishing to give any credence to such complaints. Trump angers Democrats and a large portion of the news media by labeling the practice “Fake News.”

The Media Research Center provides some detail to illustrate this behavior with three examples.

First up: “On Aug. 8, Republican congressman Chris Collins of the Buffalo, New York, suburbs was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI. ABC, CBS and NBC played this story to the hilt, with 18 minutes and 24 seconds of coverage in just the first 24 hours.” 

Then, on Aug. 21, “prosecutors indicted California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter on charges of wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The morning and evening newscasts on ABC and CBS spent a total of 4 minutes and 44 seconds covering the story in the first 36 hours. In contrast with Collins, Hunter was ‘lucky’ that there was breaking anti-Trump news – the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former longtime Trump confidante and lawyer Michael Cohen to charges of campaign finance violations.”

But then, “These very same three networks, these champions of public integrity, were bored to tears by the indictment and trial of former Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia. During the year and a half between his 2015 indictment and 2016 conviction and sentencing for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening programs offered a measly 68 seconds of ‘news.’”

An actual conviction of a Democrat got barely more than a minute combined among the three networks over 18 months, while unproven charges brought against two Republicans earned more than 23 minutes of air time in just 36 hours, roughly 22 times more, not counting the differences in the time frames of the cases. And Collins by himself received 16 times the attention that Fattah got.

Facebook and Twitter control posts and tweets and of people who express ideas their employees disagree with, mostly conservative ideas, although they cloak this by saying these items do not comport with their community standards. Google searches produce results that reflect the left’s positions at the top, rather than a non-political set of results.

These things occur because those in charge disagree with conservative ideas and values, and work to keep people from seeing and discussing them.

America, being the Land of the Free, is a place where contradictory ideas exist and are encouraged, and where they are freely debated. Persuasion is the method by which ideas and values achieve dominance; force and coercion are against the rules. Or they used to be.

But when the Left can’t win the debate or gain support for its ideas through civil debate and discussion, and then won’t accept that its positions failed to gain traction with a huge number of people, it then resorts to other means.

Their ultimate goal is control, therefore no method is off limits: the ends justify the means. Cheating and unfair practices is now the preferred methodology of the increasingly socialist left.

And if they gain control of the Congress, the presidency, and the courts, they will be in the position to impose all manner of control over the people.

The left has already proposed some wild ideas, one of which would have made Trump’s victory impossible, had it been in effect. It wants the presidency determined by the popular vote, not through the Electoral College, which has been the process since the early days of the country, and for good reason. “It didn’t work for us in 2016,” they say, “so let’s change the process.”

Even more absurdly, they say, since this guy we really don’t like named Trump won, let’s do away with the presidency.

Other unworkable ideas include: A college education for all is no longer an option; it is now a right. Free health care, which is so expensive it would bankrupt the country, must become reality. People with no skills or training who work in the lowest level jobs must be paid $15 an hour.

This is the type of thinking that produced those wondrous and desirable places like Castro’s Cuba and today’s Venezuela, the antithesis of what America was created to be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another American is murdered: immigration reform is essential

Which of the following situations is worse? 
1. A woman and her child cross the US/Mexican border illegally, and as a result the mother is separated from her child.
2. A man enters the country illegally and remains in the US for several years, and then kills an American citizen.

Undeniably, the first situation is unpleasant and unfortunate for the mother and her child, but the mother created that situation herself by entering the country illegally. 

However, her situation is not even on the same planet as that of the mother of a young woman citizen who is senselessly murdered, and the person charged with her murder, and who led police to her body in a cornfield, is an illegal alien who has been in the country for years. He also fathered a child, an “anchor baby,” with one of the dead woman’s schoolmates. 

Someone trying to paint a picture of the horrors of illegal entry to our country due to a hopelessly inadequate border security system would face a stiff challenge to create one more horrific than the recent murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, or the similarly brutal killing of Kate Steinle in 2015.

But some prominent Democrats and liberals do not see it that way. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, was not able to say that a murdered citizen is far worse than a child temporarily separated from its mother. After saying she was “so sorry” for the family, she then said, “One of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.” And then she added, “Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers,” and described how horrible that situation is.

She did not comment on Mollie Tibbetts being permanently taken from her family by her killer.

Then a comment from the former spokeswoman for the Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, campaign. Symone Sanders tweeted “Mollie Tibbetts was murdered b/c she told a man to leave her alone while she was jogging. Her murderer happens to be undocumented. This isn’t about border security. This is about toxic masculinity. Mollie Tibbetts lost her life b/c a man couldn’t take her saying no. Full stop.”

Leftist political pundit Sally Kohn also complained, but not about the crime and the tragedy for the family, but instead on the fact that Fox News was covering it: "#1 story is about undocumented immigrant who is *SUSPECT* for murder of a white girl," she tweeted. "Way to stay predictable, Fox." 

An MSNBC guest, Fordham University Professor Christina Greer, also criticized Fox rather than condemn the circumstances that made this murder possible: "Fox News is talking about, you know, a girl in Iowa," she said on MSNBC, instead.

And no crazy story would be complete without the Hollywood crowd weighing in. Author Stephen King tweeted: “Mollie Tibbetts may well have been killed by an undocumented alien, and that's a terrible thing. But we might remember that Stephen Craig Paddock was an American citizen. He killed 58.” So, it’s a shame that an illegal alien has been charged with murdering an American citizen, but that’s not important because a white guy killed even more people?

And, of course, others had to criticize those who denounced this incomprehensibly horrible act. They are using the murder of a citizen for political purposes because the suspected killer is an illegal alien.

There is great confusion among the Democrats/liberals/socialists about immigration in general, and about the terminology for those that are in the country illegally. 

Merriam-webster.com defines an “immigrant” as “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” In the United States, there is a process to immigrate. Those who do so by that process are “immigrants.” 

The dictionary defines an “alien” as one “relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government.” An alien in the country without following the process is not here legally, and therefore is an “illegal alien.”

Those in the country illegally are not “immigrants,” and while they possess no documentation, they are not “undocumented,” they are “illegal aliens.” 

Playing word games for any reason only complicates things. Honesty is best, however cruel or inhumane it may seem to some. Those who like to twist words so that the message sounds better are doing harm by masking reality.

It is generally agreed that most of these illegal aliens come here to find a better life. If so, they can find that better life by following the rules for entering the country, and by becoming a true American after they are granted legal status.

We must not forget or ignore that tens of thousands of Americans have been robbed, assaulted and murdered by illegal aliens over many years. This must stop. Our borders must be made secure, for the protection of all Americans, including those who illogically prefer open borders, citizenship for all, and other ideas that are dangerous and poorly thought out.

America is at its best when it sets and observes standards, and that includes controlling who enters our country.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Left’s rejection of American values is a very real threat

A recent poll reflects that 53 percent of Democrats now view socialism favorably, while 47 percent view capitalism favorably, almost an exact flip from a 2012 poll.

This should be no surprise to those who pay attention to things political, given the relative success of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary campaign in the 2016 election, and the unexpected arrival on the scene of the unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a Democrat incumbent in a New York congressional primary. Both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are openly socialist.

Democrats prominently display their dissatisfaction with America’s capitalist success, sometimes embarrassing themselves in the process. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo drew broad but deserved criticism when he stated, “We’re never going to make America great again. It was never that great.”

"We have not reached greatness," he said. "We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone, and every woman's full potential is realized and unleashed, and every woman is making her full contribution."

Cuomo is confused on this issue, as he is on many others. Greatness to him is perfection, as he said, an impossible goal to achieve. Heaven knows he has missed that mark by miles.

Next up is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The 2017 tax cuts helped tens of millions of Americans, and as Cato’s Chris Edwards explains, those making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year saw a 46 percent reduction in taxes paid. The tax cuts also allowed companies to raise wages and give bonuses.

Pelosi, however, calls these benefits “crumbs,” and pledged to take them away if Democrats regain control of the House. You see, millionaire Pelosi, one of its wealthiest members, knows better how to spend people’s money than they do.

And then there is former CIA Director John Brennan, complaining that his free speech has been infringed because President Donald Trump rescinded his security clearance.

This seems much ado about nothing: He no longer works for the government, and Trump does not value his input and will not ask him to consult on matters requiring a security clearance, so he does not need one. 

In case you are wondering, the president has the authority to remove a security clearance from any administration employee who has one.

Furthermore, a security clearance has nothing to do with one’s right to free speech. In fact, having a security clearance may actually cause a sensible person, which Brennan plainly is not, to be more careful about what they say than someone without a clearance.

Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, let the cat out of the bag regarding security clearances held by former government employees, and this makes it clear why so many former and present government employees rushed to Brennan’s defense.

“One of the reasons you’re going to see a lot of pushback and a lot of screaming on this issue of security clearances is that it goes to the heart of their ability to cash in,” Schweizer said on Fox News’ “Hannity” program. “If they don’t have a security clearance, they cannot cash in with [government] contractors in this way,” he said, referring to the revolving door between government workers who move to employment by government contractors.

A former government employee with a security clearance can work with private sector contractors on classified government projects; a former employee without one cannot. Both Brennan’s feelings and pocketbook have been hurt.

And Brennan’s shadowy and possibly criminal behavior while a government employee, and since, justifies taking away his clearance.

The brilliant columnist Wesley Pruden puts the increasingly socialist mindset of Democrats into perspective: “The latest polls show that Democrats now prefer the socialism that wrecked the economies of Europe to the capitalism that built America. Capitalism is an imperfect economic system, too, as Winston Churchill famously said, but its lasting virtue is that it is better than all the others.”

From the very beginning of the American idea, our Founders expressed concerns about how it all would end. Both our first and second presidents, George Washington and John Adams, had concerns.

Washington used his farewell address to warn that partisan "factions" could tear the country apart. "Democracy never lasts long," said Adams. "There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide."

And James Madison, president number four, was afraid that liberty could be lost by "gradual and silent encroachments of those in power."

Everyone who thinks socialism is better than capitalism should be required to spend a month in Venezuela, once the crown jewel of South America, now a place with bare store shelves, a starving population, and the highest rate of inflation in the world at 27,364 percent on May 31.

Here at home, the fascist Antifa protestors chant “NO borders NO wall NO USA AT ALL” at their demonstrations.

Is all of this a signal of deliberate abdication of founding principles and ideals, or merely illustrate gross ignorance of them?

If you really want to complete America’s suicide and turn it into Venezuela, vote for radical socialist Democrats.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Training school shooters; election oddities; fires; and the media

Did you see anything in the news of the compound in New Mexico where 11 young people ages one to 15 years old were being held in squalid conditions, and at least one of them was being instructed on how to shoot up a school? This is not just speculation; the information came from court records filed last week.

News reports – which were fewer in number than the situation called for – said that one of the five “extremist Muslims” arrested at the compound, which had neither electricity nor plumbing, was training one or more of the children to commit school shootings. And, the children and captors are all related.

Prosecutors allege that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the New York Post.

One report noted that Taos County officials became tired of waiting for the federal government to act against the compound, and took matters in their own hands. Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the children “looked like third world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes … and basically dirty rags for clothing.” The remains of one child were found at the compound.

*******

Ohio’s U.S. House special election featured Republican Troy Balderson versus Democrat Danny O’Connor in a race Balderson was expected to win handily, as O’Connor had been trailing Balderson in the polls and early vote counts.

And then, “Ohio election officials on Wednesday found 588 previously uncounted votes in the hotly contested special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District,” The Hill reported, narrowing the lead to only 1,564 votes.

Still left to count at that time were 3,435 provisional ballots and 5,048 absentee ballots, meaning the final result was sure to change.

Some wondered where these votes had been hiding since Election Day, and it was explained that “the votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” at the polling place, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections. No one explained how or why this irregularity occurred.

Further casting a shadow on the legitimacy of the vote from this Buckeye State district was the revelation that there are 170 registered voters over 116 years of age still on the rolls of the 12th District, and 72 of them cast ballots in the 2016 election.

This raises legitimate questions of how many votes are still floating in electoral space, waiting for someone to discover them, as well as how many other voters are on the roles improperly.

*******

The horrible wild fires in California are inflicting misery and causing great damage to thousands of state residents. Unfortunately, this tragedy has once again been used by the politically motivated Left to push one of their favorite themes: Climate change/global warning.

With an estimated 600,000 acres already destroyed by fire, and thousands of residents displaced because their homes have been destroyed, or face that very real and urgent threat, the radical environmentalists are heeding the words of former Obama White House Chief of Staff and now-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

But someone with actual knowledge of effective woodlands management takes a different view. Forester Bob Zybach said that when President Bill Clinton introduced a plan that was aimed at saving the spotted owl and ancient trees back in 1994 by restricting logging in the old-growth forests, that plan was a mistake. 

He knew how ecosystems thrive, flourish, die and are reborn. “We knew exactly what would happen if we just walked away,” he told The Daily Caller. Years of mismanagement have served to turn the forests into a ticking time bomb. 

Zybach said that when Native Americans lived on the land and practiced human management of forests, they used controlled burns to clear pastureland and undergrowth for hunting. Without human management, nature will do the pruning, and we see now how that works. “You take away logging, grazing and maintenance, and you get firebombs,” Zybach said.

*******

The news media in general may not be the “enemy of the people,” as President Donald Trump’s words have been twisted to suggest by some in the media, but many in the industry are the enemy of the president. The troubled Boston Globeis working to organize a “day of editorials” on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a ‘‘dirty war against the free press.’’

And then there’s the opinion piece by Tina Dupuy in USA Todaysuggesting amending the U.S. Constitution to abolish the presidency. She wrote that since this president is a tyrant who will not be removed through the constitutional process of impeachment, the presidency must be abolished.

The only way to get rid of Trump is to get rid of the presidency itself?

Clearly, many in the news media have abandoned journalistic ethics, and now believe it is just fine for them to become the story rather than to merely report the story.

More and more one word is becoming especially applicable in politics today. That word is “unhinged.”

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Manafort trial gets underway; the special counsel circus continues

The trial of Paul Manafort for long-ago allegations of criminal behavior is now underway. Manafort served a weeks-long stint in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. He may as well have drawn a target on his back, his front, and all around his head. And because of his choosing to join the campaign, he is facing a 32-count indictment alleging he moved more than $30 million in overseas income to his U.S. accounts.

“These are serious charges,” anti-Trumpsters say, hoping against hope that something – anything – will lead to President Trump’s being exiled to a tiny island hundreds of miles from shore. However, the comment that the charges are serious is correct. More on that later. 

But it’s more than just mildly relevant to note that the charges are unrelated to the Trump campaign, the principle members of which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been trying to connect to law breaking for well more than a year, without success.

This pitifully inadequate result has not dampened the enthusiasm for the much hoped-for proof of criminal misconduct by the campaign among all those who still suffer from Mz. Hillary’s stunning, and prediction-defying defeat.

Here is a dose of reality for these champions of the highly flawed special counsel situation: “There really is no Mueller investigation without Manafort…take away Manafort and everything kind of flitters away,” explains Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton.

As stated here before, anyone who takes on a high profile special counsel assignment like this one is either crazy, has a large ego, is very talented, or will resort to the gutter. The jury is still out on Mueller, as so far all he has are a bunch of indictments against foreigners who will never stand trial on them, and years-old accusations against Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates.

“Oh, that’s not correct,” you say. “Mueller’s managed to find out about Manafort’s crimes from years ago. That takes a real pro.”

Not so fast. Everything Mueller has on Manafort was known by the FBI way back when, so why wasn’t Manafort tried for those crimes then? Because the FBI lacked sufficient evidence to go to trial.

Here is the analysis of former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano: “Paul Manafort was investigated by the federal government by a team of federal prosecutors and FBI agents for all this stuff eight years ago and they exonerated him.”

Napolitano went on to identify the prosecutor going after Manafort back then as none other than the current Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of this operation for the DOJ, due to the recusal of AG Jeff Sessions. And Napolitano also added this interesting possibility: “Well, now [Rosenstein] runs the Justice Department. And [defense attorneys] have threatened to call Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein as their first witness and have him give to the jury all the reasons why he declined the prosecution of these charges eight years ago.”

We also must not forget that it was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller as special counsel, and gave him a blank slate for what he was supposed to investigate, a blank check to pay for it, and no termination date. Rosenstein literally handed Manafort to Mueller on a silver platter, insufficient evidence and all.

Helping to illustrate just how open to abuse the special counsel mechanism really is, here is Harvard Law professor emeritus, life-long liberal Democrat, but objective legal expert, Alan Dershowitz: "They aren't interested in Manafort, they're interested in Manafort testifying against Trump or providing information," he told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."

"You have to worry not only about squeezed witnesses singing, but about them making up stories, elaborating on stories. The better the story, the better the deal they'll get."

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, who is the judge on this case, agrees. “The vernacular is to 'sing,' is what prosecutors use. What you’ve got to be careful of is they may not only sing, they may compose,” Ellis said.

Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova believes that Manafort cannot get a fair trial in D.C. on these charges because of the highly political nature of this case and the pervasive bias against President Trump.

“Paul Manafort cannot get a fair trial in the District of Columbia,” diGenova told host Laura Ingraham on “The Laura Ingraham Show” recently. “We now know from the Scooter Libby case and the interviews with jurors after that case that two-thirds of the jurors in the Scooter Libby case hated the president of the United States, hated Dick Cheney, wanted to know why Cheney wasn’t in the docket along with Scooter Libby.”

Is this the slime that “justice” in America has been dragged down into? 

Manafort could spend the rest of his life in jail for alleged crimes the FBI knew it couldn’t prove way back when the charges were first brought, but with the actions of the special counsel, he might yet be convicted, despite the lack of evidence.

This is the nature of special counsels: Do what you must to convict your target. If that’s not possible find someone guilty of something, otherwise you will look bad.

This is politics at its worst.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Our Founders saw freedom of the press as a vital national element


The U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of important rights is a major factor in making America a great nation. The First Amendment is especially important, as it guarantees us the right to free speech, religious beliefs, and a free press, among other things.

One of the lesser well-known Founders, John Dickson, wrote in detail about its importance. For the Founders “freedom of speech was a commodious right,” he wrote. “It is a truth-seeking right. It inheres in the nature of man and is essential to his pursuit of happiness.”

Freedom of the press is perhaps the most commonly mentioned these days, and its importance was very high on the Founders’ list. During the run up to the creation of the Declaration of Independence, in a “Letter to the Inhabitants of Quebec,” Dickson addressed the freedom of the press: “The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated, into more honourable and just modes of conducting affairs.”

He goes on to write, “Men prefer to commit their sins in private, to deny, dissimulate, deflect or defuse. But freedom of the press is a rod on those in authority so that they will put aside their passions and conduct themselves as true representatives of the people.”

The news media, especially print journalism or "the press," was christened “the Fourth Estate,” equating it with the three official branches of the federal government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. That illustrates the importance of the job of informing the American people.

A free press must keep the public well informed so that the citizenry is adequately prepared to encourage and effect sensible, constitutional government.

And because of this extreme level of importance, the press must remain focused in doing its job correctly, no matter whose chain it may yank in the process. Every right and duty carries with it an equivalent responsibility.

Freedom of the press is a two-way street; because it is so important to the constancy of the nation, it cannot falter, and its practitioners cannot allow themselves to fail the high standard they accepted with their job. If they do, they have compromised their claim to freedom of the press.

Freedom of the press therefore is not absolute; it is not a blanket justification of whatever a reporter, editor/producer, newspaper, network, etc. decides to put forth: professional rules and ethics still must control.

The press is expected not to drift off into personal bias, but to remain loyal to its sacred duty to stay on the straight and narrow path of objective truth, accuracy and balance.

What, then, can and must be done when the press generally, or particular elements of the press, shirk, flaunt, ignore, or abandon their requisite duty to the American people through false reporting, biased operation and other activities that fall short of their solemn duty?

One would reasonably expect the press to police itself and issue appropriate sanctions to those wayward practitioners and organizations that slide off the straight and narrow path. Professional ethics should be sacrosanct and inviolable.

Alas, today they are not.

No matter how much media functionaries may hate President Donald Trump, no matter how much that hate may have been justifiably created by Donald Trump through his words and deeds, that does not excuse them from the ethical boundaries in reporting factually and accurately, and without personal bias.

When Dickson wrote, “Men prefer to commit their sins in private …” he means that the press is supposed to make these sins known to the people, but it does not mean the press may join in committing its own sins.

Covering government officials may indeed be difficult at times, but that does not excuse media people from behaving appropriately.

When the president and a head of another country open themselves up to the press to talk about the reason for their meeting and the results, for example, those are the questions the press should ask. If offered the opportunity to ask other questions, fine.

But when the presser ends, shouting questions at the participants should be off limits. Especially when the question is more for the benefit of the questioner than for the people whose interests they serve.

Worse is the large proportion of “news” that is poorly sourced, based upon anonymous sources, which is not adequately confirmed, or in some cases is actually incorrect. Getting the story first is frequently more important than its accuracy, as is producing a story that attracts a large audience.

And worse, still, is the high degree of anti-Trump bias, which is so painfully obvious these days.

When Trump calls the media “the enemy of the people” he, of course, gets hammered. But if the news media fails in its solemn duty of truth, accuracy and fairness, does that not put our freedom and future at risk, as enemies do?

The press is supposed to hold officials accountable, and now must start holding itself accountable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Oh, my goodness! Trump is now smashing American foreign policy


One thing about President Donald Trump that almost nobody would argue about is that he leads the nation in the number of critics he has, which many say he has rightfully earned. Be they from the Left or the Right, Trump has more than his share of critics, and it is painfully obvious that the Left, especially, doesn’t like him.
Last week one of those critics, columnist Michael Gerson, opened an op-ed with this statement: “Setting aside the issue of whether the president is wittingly advancing the interests of a hostile power – a qualification that is only imaginable in the Trump era – what is happening to the direction of American foreign policy?”
He sets the stage for this perspective by citing some history, going back to “1952 when the Republican presidential frontrunner, Senator Robert Taft, expressed a lack of enthusiasm toward the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] alliance. This alarmed NATO's Supreme Commander, [Gen.] Dwight Eisenhower, enough to enter the race and beat Taft soundly.”
Gerson notes that Eisenhower’s up close and personal experience with the “disorders” European nations had experienced gave him the better understanding of how Taft’s idea of leaving them to take care of themselves could open the door to more world wars resulting in enormous death and destruction.
Eisenhower’s ideas of  “Atlanticism” and collective security for all members carried the day, and became the ruling philosophy. Until, according to Gerson, Trump came along.
Along the way, in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, his view of “a system of economic and political freedom that delivered better lives and fulfilled the deepest human longings” took hold.
Reagan, he said, “was firm, but not foolhardy. He was willing to negotiate. But he believed that the American creed gave our country a tremendous, practical advantage. By standing on the side of freedom fighters, dissidents and exiles, Reagan was clarifying a moral choice – not just between two political systems, but between good and evil. And this, in his view, tilted the tables of history in favor of free nations.”
Having made the strong case for the situation encountered by Eisenhower and then Reagan, Gerson then turned to the damage done to that perspective by our current commander-in-chief: “So let us take an account of what is being smashed by Donald Trump,” said he.
Gerson seems to think it is okay to evaluate the differences in the way this American President has changed the way America treats NATO since the days of Eisenhower, and then Reagan. But he but does not evaluate the way NATO countries have behaved, how they have taken advantage of the nation that is responsible for providing the strength NATO projects, and which has been and will be what discourages or defeats rogue nations from their notions about taking on NATO members. That nation is the United States of America, far and away the largest and most powerful of the 29 countries NATO claims as members.
Reagan said that “NATO is not just a military alliance, it's a voluntary political community of free men and women based on shared principles and a common history. The ties that bind us to our European allies are not the brittle ties of expediency or the weighty shackles of compulsion. They resemble what Abraham Lincoln called the 'mystic chords of memory' uniting peoples who share a common vision."
Back in 2014 each NATO member pledged to contribute a minimum of two percent of its GDP to funding the organization’s operation. But of the 29 total members, only five — or about 17 percent — have been meeting that requirement: the United States, Great Britain, Estonia, Greece and Poland. And the U.S. pays approximately 3.6 percent of its GDP to NATO.

Trump, contrary to Gerson’s evaluation, is not smashing NATO and its member countries; he is exposing their dishonesty. In fact, most NATO allies rely on America’s defensive strength while not paying their share of the funding for their own defense. All the while many of them are stirring anti-American sentiment within their borders. 

Trump took withering criticism for using the term “foe” to describe actions of some of our allies. If his critics were less interested in finding something to criticize and more interested in understanding and communicating what he means with his comments, they would recognize that what he means is that these countries are working against America with their high tariffs on American products, by not paying their share to NATO, and fomenting anti-American sentiment among people whose backsides the U.S. protects.

Rather than smashing NATO, Trump is strengthening it. If and when the majority of the insubordinate nations start paying their proper share, NATO will have more resources to apply to providing a proper defense against the challenges of today. Things in the world have changed since the times of Eisenhower and Reagan.

First Eisenhower, then Reagan, and now Trump have been there to act when conditions required action by an American president to maintain the NATO alliance’s noble goals. We should be thankful Trump cares.

It’s really not that difficult, once a critic climbs down from his or her high horse and actually think a little.