34 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-17-17

  1. I’m thinking this morning of the story of Chuck Colson. The Holy Spirit can work powerfully when the powerful are humbled. In a couple of years it will be interesting to read accounts of conversions and spiritual battles now taking place in our nation’s capital.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Even a broken, commie clock is right twice a day.


    “Complaining about what he said was “political schizophrenia” in the United States, Putin said Trump was not being allowed to do his job properly.

    “It’s hard to imagine what else these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next,” said Putin, referring to unnamed U.S. politicians.

    “What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans. Either they don’t understand the damage they’re doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt.”

    Russia has repeatedly said Trump’s opponents are trying to damage him and Moscow by making what it says are false accusations about the billionaire president and the Russian government, which initially had high hopes of a rapprochement.

    Officials have told Reuters Trump’s alleged disclosure of classified information to Russia’s foreign minister is unlikely to stop allies who share intelligence with Washington from cooperating.”

    Or a third option….

    They’re stupid, dangerous, and corrupt. With Democrats, you can have all three. 🙂


  3. Misfire.


    “Now, only after Comey was fired, the memo magically surfaces in an inflammatory New York Times report which alleges that Mr. Trump asked Comey to end the Michael Flynn investigation.

    Those who don’t know the first thing about the law immediately began hurling words like “obstruction of justice”, “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “impeachment“. Typically, these people don’t know what they don’t know.

    Here is what we do know.
    Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.

    So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.

    Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case. If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent. Thus, no crime.

    There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do. Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.

    Comey’s memo is being treated as a “smoking gun” only because the media and Democrats, likely prompted by Comey himself, are now peddling it that way.”


  4. AJ, Send Trump your resume to be his new press secretary. I understand Spicer’s position may soon be open.


  5. This is an interesting article by Ross Douthat:


    In it he asks questions that my son asked this morning: Can a child commit obstruction of justice? Can a child commit high crimes and misdemeanors? Douthat’s answers to those questions lead him to propose a 25th Amendment solution.

    Please note the parts of the article where he states that Trump loyalists who work in the Administration have no respect for Trump and recognize his enormous deficiencies. These aren’t liberals; these aren’t members of a hostile press; these are his aides who watch him at work every day.


  6. Breaking: The DOJ has appointed Robert Mueller as a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia Investigation.


  7. Douthat gets it wrong. Again.

    But hey, you NeverTrumpers keep dreaming. 🙂


    “A bad idea, but the doggedness in trying to find a creative institutional way to depose Trump is impressive. I thought the right learned its lesson about that at the GOP convention and the left learned its lesson after the electoral college. Ross Douthat offers a different route for NeverTrumpers: Why not have Mike Pence and Trump’s own cabinet remove him under the 25th Amendment?

    “The point of the amendment, obviously, is to allow for a transition of power when the president is debilitated but not dead — desperately ill, suffering from dementia, etc. Think “late-term Woodrow Wilson.” The “25th Amendment solution” suggested by Douthat calls for defining “incapacity” so broadly as to make immaturity and poor judgment grounds for removal. What he’s imagining here, as Charles Cooke notes, is a coup. And not just any coup but a coup of a newly elected populist president by mostly establishment elites:”

    Well, what would this — an actual coup – represent? And how would that look to the people who would believe that Trump had been removed by the very elites he had set out to vanquish?

    I have for a long while believed that Trump is unfit for office, and, as such, I do not disagree with all — or even most — of Douthat’s characterizations. In addition, I continue to think that this president is his own worst enemy: The press is hostile, yes, but Trump seems utterly hellbent on making things difficult for himself. Nevertheless, at this point in American history — a point at which large numbers of voters in both parties believe that the system is “rigged” – for the president to be undone by a small group of establishment Republicans and replaced with a career politician would be disastrous for the culture. If it turns out that Trump has done something terrible while in office, he should be impeached by the usual process. If he finds that he no longer likes or wants the job, he should resign. But a legalized coup on the nebulous grounds of “witlessness” would be an invitation for discord the likes of which we have not seen in a while.
    Quite so. The best you can say for this idea is that those voting to remove Trump would at least be intimates, his own VP and advisors, which wasn’t the case with the Republican delegates at the convention or the electors in the electoral college. It’s one thing for some anti-Trump schmo from a state Republican party to tell you Trump’s unfit to govern; it’s another for a loyalist like Mike Pence, who sees Trump operate behind closed doors every day, to tell you. The irony of NeverTrumpers pushing a “25th Amendment solution” to Trump’s presidency, though, is that he’s behaving exactly as we thought he would, and many of us haven’t been shy about reminding Trump fans of that over the past 10 days. This is who he was during the campaign. There have been no surprises. Nothing has changed. That being so, what’s the argument for using the 25th Amendment, which was enacted to deal with sudden, dramatic changes to the president’s health? Even if you agree with Douthat about all of Trump’s deficiencies, the fact remains that they were apparent last year and Americans chose to elect him anyway. As Kevin Williamson said to Republicans the day after the Indiana primary, warning of the chaos to come, “Remember, you asked for this.” We asked for it and we’re getting it. Voters have rendered their verdict on whether Trump’s behavior is fit for office. By what right do Mike Pence and the cabinet deny us our reward?

    Another thing. The standard for permanent removal under the 25th Amendment is higher than the standard for impeachment and removal. Impeachment requires a simple majority of the House and conviction by two-thirds of the Senate; the 25th Amendment requires a vote of two-thirds of both houses to deem the president incapacitated. By going this arcane route, you’re undertaking a heavier procedural lift than you would via the traditional route. Removal under the 25th Amendment is more dubious politically too, as Cooke notes, since incapacity is more of a judgment call than whether the president committed a crime. How would you even litigate it? Pence’s team submits testimony from a bunch of doctors asserting that Trump has a dangerous personality disorder, Trump’s team submits testimony from a bunch of doctors countering that he doesn’t, “he’s just really shallow,” and then what? You’d have an easier time selling the public on removal for obstructing justice than you would on removal for “immaturity” or whatever. And, as I say, you’d need fewer votes in the House to boot. So why mess around with the “soft coup” option?”


  8. It looks like all the breathless whining from Dems and the press is taking a toll.

    But not on Republicans like you’d expect. Democrat stock has been dropping since November of last year, and I’d argue it’s their treatment of the president that’s causing some of it.



    40% view Democratic Party favorably, down from 45% in November
    GOP rating basically unchanged at 39%
    Both parties are below historical average ratings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ opinions of the two major political parties are now similar after the Democratic Party’s ratings slipped to 40% — from 45% last November — while the Republican Party’s image is essentially unchanged at 39%.

    The latest update on the party’s images is based on a May 3-7 Gallup poll, which asked Americans whether they have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of each party.

    Throughout last year’s contentious presidential election campaign, U.S. adults rated neither party highly. In fact, more rated each party unfavorably than favorably. But Democrats maintained a slight edge in favorable ratings, including 45% to 40% in Gallup’s prior measurement, conducted last November after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.

    So far, Trump’s unpopularity as president has done little to erode Americans’ views of the GOP, perhaps because they were already quite negative. However, Americans are now less positive toward the Democratic Party than they were last fall.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “What’s the number one threat to the United States today? Today I would say it’d this assault on President Trump. It’s beyond belief now, and has become a national security threat to us in itself.”

    Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History and Politics, NYU and Princeton

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tychicus, The answer to the question is: “President Trump”. See Douthat’s article. If one of the drivers at the Indianapolis 500 was a 7 year old, that driver would be the biggest threat to the other drivers and fans on the infield. A minimal level of competence is required for race car drivers, Presidents and certain other occupations.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. AJ, This quote is from your article @ 6:14.

    ‘I have for a long while believed that Trump is unfit for office, and, as such, I do not disagree with all — or even most — of Douthat’s characterizations.”

    I agree with the writer’s contention that the 25th Amendment was aimed at someone with a severe disability. Woodrow Wilson after the stroke was given as an example. I would like to hear from a Presidential historian like Jon Meacham or Douglas Brinkley if they think Trump is more competent than Wilson after the stroke.

    The writer’s strongest argument seems to be that though Trump is an infantile moron, he is the same infantile moron that we just elected. He has not deteriorated. This leads to the interesting question:

    Does the 25th Amendment apply in an Idiocracy?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ron Rosenstein is trying to restore his reputation. He appointed Mueller with little or no warning to his orange boss. Reports on TV indicate Trump is in shock. I anticipate an exciting few days on Twitter.


  13. I can only take so much insanity on my time off, so I’m not paying much attention to WaPo and NYT…or Congressional Democrats…or Never Trumpers. In fact, I’m in a time-constrained, hermetically sealed bubble, completely insulated from Trumphobia in all of its manifestations, and the turmoil induced by it.

    What I am waiting for is a well-reasoned discussion of healthcare, which I’m assuming the Senate will have to provide, since the House bailed on the discussion. And I guess I’ll have to hear about it on C-Span or congress.gov, since all the go-to media outlets in the country have lost their collective minds and are, as Putin would say, politically schizophrenic. Sad state of affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. AJ, I just noticed that your article @6:14 is by Allahpundit. I love that guy. Here is the last paragraph of the article:

    I’ll give Douthat this, though. Nowadays there’s a paragraph or two in virtually every story about the White House that pulls you up short and makes you wonder where the line between shallowness and infirmity begins and ends. Exit quotation via Reuters about Trump’s natsec briefings: “National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump’s name in ‘as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned,’ according to one source, who relayed conversations he had with NSC officials.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. AJ, I’m pretty sure Democrats are going to continue to be in trouble with their own party. They still don’t understand why they lost the election. They used to be the party of working folks, but they traded their core constituency in for identity politics. Their cluelessness is the best thing the fractured Republican party has going for it right now.

    As Ricky noted earlier, it will be interesting to look back and see the results of the spiritual battles and conversions taking place right now. It is not a comfortable place to be, but it must be endured. I think it will come out all right in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Until 5:00 today, the next big event in this show would have been Comey’s testimony before Congress. That would have been a bad, bad moment for Trump. Now there is a good chance Mueller may ask Comey not to testify publicly in the near future. Congress often defers to special counsels in order not to jeopardize future prosecutions.


  17. So it has come to this; Republicans and Republican supporters are hoping Putin can clear their president’s name. It was so long ago the rhetoric was about which party and which candidate could best stand up to Putin. And now one party await Putin’s word with baited breath.

    Meanwhile at the Coast Guard commencement, the petulant 7 year old who passes as a president whined about being persecuted more than any president before him. Looks like Trump needs a safe place, I expect the snowflake to run to Mar-a-logo soon.

    I suspect the Democrats decline in the polls has little to do with the president’s incompetence but rather the Democrats continual refusal to listen to and placate the populist left.


  18. hwesseli: “So it has come to this; Republicans and Republican supporters are hoping Putin can clear their president’s name… And now one party await Putin’s word with baited breath.”

    I don’t know anyone who is hoping this – do you?


  19. rw: Thanks for that… Williamson fails to mention CNN, which seems to be the worst of the lot when it comes to fake news.


  20. Tychicus, DJ posted this a while back. It ranks many media sources in terms of quality and place on the left to right scale. I disagree with a few items, but I think it is pretty good.

    It has CNN at the same quality as Fox and slightly closer to the center than Fox. I agree with that. It has MSNBC at a lower quality than Fox or CNN and as far left as Fox is right. I agree with that as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. If you want an in-depth analysis of a complex issue like healthcare (as Debra mentioned earlier) you aren’t going to get it on TV (except for maybe on C-Span) or from sources like USA Today. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post will give you detailed reporting on those issues, particularly when Congressional Committees are working on a bill. The only place to get better info is from various industry trade publications, but their reports will focus on their special interests. With those three newspapers, you have to adjust for liberal bias. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is conservative, but its reporting is not to the right of the NYT or the Washington Post.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Forty years ago, Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report were the three dominant news magazines. US News was slightly right of center, Time was left of center, and Newsweek was the 1970s version of MSNBC. Those three were much meatier than any modern news magazine, and you could even find conservative articles in the two liberal magazines.


  23. Stephen F. Cohen is an interesting guy. I have heard him speak on a few occasions. He has been consistently pro-Russian, before and after the fall of the Soviet Union.


    As a pro-Russian professor who is married to the editor of arguably the most liberal magazine in the US, he would not be my source for the biggest threat to the US.


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