45 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-26-17

  1. Still no evidence Trump colluded with Russia. But here’s further evidence that Comey deserved to be fired, and that Obama used every govt agency at his disposal for political purposes and gain. That’s the real story that should be further investigated, but instead they’re chasing imaginary Russian squirrels.

    http://circa.com/politics/declassified-memos-show-fbi-illegally-shared-spy-data-on-americans-with-private-parties

    “The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.

    In his final congressional testimony before he was fired by President Trump this month, then-FBI Director James Comey unequivocally told lawmakers his agency used sensitive espionage data gathered about Americans without a warrant only when it was “lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked.”

    Once-top secret U.S. intelligence community memos reviewed by Circa tell a different story, citing instances of “disregard” for rules, inadequate training and “deficient” oversight and even one case of deliberately sharing spy data with a forbidden party.

    For instance, a ruling declassified this month by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) chronicles nearly 10 pages listing hundreds of violations of the FBI’s privacy-protecting minimization rules that occurred on Comey’s watch.

    The behavior the FBI admitted to a FISA judge just last month ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight the bureau promised was in place years ago.

    The court also opined aloud that it fears the violations are more extensive than already disclosed.

    “The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI is engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported,” the April 2017 ruling declared.”

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  2. I see that the Republican won in Montana.
    After seeing the situation, I would have voted for him too.
    Same reason I voted for Trump.
    Better than the alternative.

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  3. Some of you may have see Gianforte’s “interesting” explanation for his assault. It seems another candidate has issued a statement about a similar encounter:

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  4. Kim, a few days ago you asked, in relation to a story about a racially motivated killing, how this could still be happening. I was thinking about your question, as I have noticed the rising anger of young men of European descent. The shootings at the mosque in Quebec were perpetrated by a young French-Canadian man with far-right leanings. When ISIS first raised its hideous head, I observed to my mother about the pure joy they seemed to take in killing people, that they seemed to enjoy violence, like sociopathic criminals, and that their recruitment seemed to most successful among the angry young men raised in the West. Knowing some angry young men among my peers, including the young man whose indulgence in conspiracy theories has led him to question the Holocaust, I observed that I could see a counter movement rising among young men of Western origin, equally violent and denigrating to women. Well, this story just came through my FB feed: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/25/neo-nazi-islamist-terror-narratives-upside-down?CMP=fb_gu. Another piece of the puzzle of your question. The anger fueled by hatred is an all-consuming fire. It cannot be contained, and will leap boundaries, which is why the Proverb warns us, “Make no friendship with an angry man, and do not go with a furious man.”

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  5. After seeing what Trump considers a good budget proposal, I’m not sanguine about anything Republicans are passing. It seems to me like it’s the same old stale Republican thinking. They’re not working across the aisle at all as far as I can tell. And they don’t consider healthcare as part of the infrastructure yet….not that it would change much if they did, since the only infrastructure they’re willing to invest in is in India. :–/

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  6. That says nothing.

    This actually does. And what it says is much ado about nothing. But I guess if you were looking for a reason to get your panties in a bunch over Trump, this is enough. 🙄

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/world-leader-shoved-aside-by-trump-brands-incident-harmless/ar-BBBy8Kh?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “Markovic himself, however, shrugged off the slight.

    “It didn’t really register. I just saw reactions about it on social networks. It is simply a harmless situation,” he told reporters after the summit.

    Instead of being insulted, he took the opportunity to thank Trump for supporting Montenegro’s membership in NATO. The small former Yugoslav republic is slated to become NATO’s 29th member next month.

    And in any case, Markovic said, “it is natural that the president of the United States is in the front row.””
    ———————–

    And Trump knew that. Appears everyone did, except those looking for something to complain about.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The members of the North Korean dictator’s Cult are not more loyal or more mindless than the Trumpkins. Yesterday, as if on cue, we got the distorted version of the Gianforte assault from the Trump Cult. The Democrat defense of Bill Clinton 20 years ago looked like Goebbles. The Trump Cultists make Clinton supporters look as wise as Jefferson and as honest as Washington.

    However, there will be a day of reckoning. The Democrats are taking notes on how Trump, Trumpkins and certain other Republicans have absolutely no regard for the truth. They will return the favor and none of us are going to like it one bit.

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  8. Tychicus, Like I said, Trump and his Cult have taken dishonesty to an entirely different level. If you get your infomation from Cult press organs (Fox, Rush, Drudge, Breitbart, etc) you are blind to this.

    Actual intelligent, well-informed writers (Charen, Stephens, Stephen Hayes, Williamson, Matt Walsh, Lowry, Pannuru, etc.)
    all know that Obama functioned within established norms. He fudged here or there, but probably no more than Little Bush.

    The Ridiculous Right press as described above plus the Trump Cult plus Trump himself operate in their own bizarre reality where Obama was born in Africa, Hillary and Podesta ran a child porn ring out of a pizza parlor, an assault witnessed by three Fox News employees really wasn’t an assault, every absurd Trump Tweet is accurate (though maybe by accident), Hillary murdered Seth Rich, Hannity and Trump know more about the hacks of the Democrats than do the FBI, the CIA and every Western intelligence service, and Trump’s sexual assault confession (confirmed by victims) was actually the one time Trump lied.

    My liberal and moderate friends think that every Trumpkin has literally lost his/her mind. I did too for a long while. Only recently have I concluded that Trumpkins have been brainwashed by the Ridiculous Right press, and that brainwashing started long before Trump.

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  9. Hillary Clinton needs to shut up, retire, and quit stirring the pot o’ poo.
    A very wise woman once told me the more you stir the poop the worse it will stink.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I was in and out of my car today and heard Rush off and on for about an hour. It was priceless. He had a whole show complaining about how cable news— Fox in particular— roused people to pointless anger and frustration with all their ranting. There were a number of callers who said they had or were going to disconnect their cable. He said that would be okay and they would still be well informed just as long as they continued to listen to his show. I kid you not. You can’t make this stuff up. :–/

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  11. If Drudge has a show, I have not heard it. The Drudge Report is just an aggregation site with a nice selection of links at the bottom. Sometimes the headlines linked are to the NYT or WaPo or other mainline media sources. But the headlines have become more and more misleading—-like clickbait. So for the last couple of years at least, I’ve found it to be pretty much a waste of time.

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  12. Debra, During the campaign, I read an article by a person who had left Breitbart. This person said that every morning there was co-ordination between Drudge editors and Breitbart to pick the ridiculous (but pro-Trump) headline of the day. Then Rush, Fox and all the little Trumpkins fell in line.

    Cults are well organized and uniform in message. Every Mormon church in the world teaches the same Sunday School lesson every Sunday morning, dictated from Salt Lake City. Whenever there is a scandal or new story, we get to hear the official Trumpkin response, however bizarre. Yesterday’s denial of the Montana assault was a good example.

    Conservatives need to admit that this is largely our problem. Clearly there is liberal bias (largely on domestic policy) in the major papers and TV networks. However, there is no liberal Hannity on TV accusing Trump of murder or saying Pence was born in Macedonia. The media has been largely anti-Trump, but they have done this by commenting on his own Tweets, or his responses to reporters or fights with Australia, Nordstrom, Rosie O’Donnell or Schwarzenegger.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ricky, that does not surprise me. There are very few truly independent publications in the US. Most are owned by a few corporations. And they are remarkably coordinated too. That’s why if you’ve always received your information primarily from WaPo, NYT or even WSJ, you will have been pretty much in the dark about the reality facing regular working citizens and the very real dissatisfaction over this state of affairs. The rise of Trump would seem inexplicable, and you might well chalk it all up to the “stupidity” of voters. But you would be wrong—well, partially wrong anyway.

    Intelligent and well-informed writers at these publications have been busy doing what everyone in power does: messaging the organs that keep them there. Meanwhile, Rush, Hannity, Drudge and many like them, did their part for many years to ensure that the ‘intelligent and well-informed’ kept their positions of power by rallying the working voters. I don’t recall complaints then. Maybe if the intelligent and well-informed had given more exposure to the inequities and outright lies of globalist free trade, a populist movement could have been averted by addressing the legitimate concerns which have developed over several decades of de-industrialization. But I guess we can’t know that.

    So here we are pointing fingers at each other over whose lies are worse or more corrosive. And I’m still trying to care.

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  14. I have always admired the organization and cohesiveness of the Mormon community. I have observed that the Jewish community is similarly organized and loyal. In part, it is this cohesiveness and loyalty that intrigues me regarding the Benedict Option. :–)

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  15. Debra, Ever since the rise of Trump, the major newspapers and magazines have spent a great deal of effort trying to understand working class people. All the reporters went back and read Coming Apart and Hillbilly Elegy.

    My wife and I base most of our views on our 30 years of experience teaching teenagers at church. The first 15 years we were at a church where 75% of the kids were upper middle class.The last 15 years we taught at a church where 75% of the kids were lower middle class. My wife and my son say I am unobservant, and sure enough, I really didn’t notice any difference in the two sets of kids until they were pointed out by my family.

    Our conclusions are:
    1. The poorer kids can succeed but they have no room for error.
    2. Parents with high expectations really help.
    3. A poor kid who signs up for regular classes in the 7th grade has chosen a path with limited opportunities.
    4. A poor kid who signs up for advanced classes in the 7th grade has chosen a hostile environment, but one with great opportunities.
    5. Poor kids with really good grades can do college cheaply, since 1. the vast majority of financial aid is needs based; and 2. Being poor and really smart makes a student very desirable, almost as much as being black or a Mexican.
    6. Pitfalls (drugs, alcohol, unwed pregnancies, bad friends, worthless college majors) are everywhere.
    7. Bad financial temptations (cars, tattoos, Ponzi schemes, expensive vacations, ridiculous college loans) loom everywhere.

    The rich face many of the same temptations as the poor, but they have that margin for error. If they screw up once or twice, their parents or grandparents often bail them out. Once in a while you find that driven poor kid who has the bit in his mouth and will not be stopped. That kid will succeed, but after he has succeeded, he may tend to be a little judgmental toward his peers who made bad choices. He will understandably be completely judgmental toward the rich kid who had so much handed to him and blew it.

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  16. Here is a funny thing about “working people” or our “working class voters”.

    I spend a lot of time around the lower middle class and the upper middle class. There are definitely exceptions, but generally the upper middle class work longer hours than the lower middle class. They are also much less likely to call in sick than their poorer counterparts.
    That difference starts in the 7th grade, if not before. The kids in the advanced classes do about three times the homework of the kids in the regular classes.

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  17. One last thought, Debra. I have seen a lot of kids succeed and a lot of kids fail and quite a few fail temporarily and then succeed. I have seen kids fail because of drug addiction, fights with family, DWIs, lack of intelligence, the divorce of their parents, poor financial management, poor choices concerning schools and majors, bad luck, the influence of bad friends, and many other reasons. I have never seen one of our kids fail because of globalism or free trade. Every single one of them has enjoyed a tremendous increase in purchasing power compared to their parents because of free trade.

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  18. Mona Charen and I are roughly the same age. She was a champion of conservatism and decency in the 1980s and she has never changed.

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  19. I would agree that personal drive and attentive, intelligent parents make up for much poverty. And those things are within a family’s control to a certain extent. This knowledge, along with the adherence (or at least the attempt to adhere) to traditional Christian values, has been the best thing Conservatism has going for it. It covers a multitude of sins—though maybe not enough, particularly as the Christian values have become more faint while some decidedly un-Christian values of free trade have ascended.

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  20. Allahpundit on potential the White House shakeup. Of course, the worst news is that a group of lawyers would have to pre-approve Trump’s Tweets. This reminds me of when Get Smart was cancelled.

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  21. The ‘virtues’ of greed, materialism, and continuous consumption are the life-blood of free trade as we know it. You seem like a smart fellow. I’ll bet you can figure it out from there. ;–)

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  22. Debra, I live in the 4th biggest metropolitan area in the country. We have a GM plant, a Lockheed plant and a number of smaller manufacturing companies, but manufacturing is a tiny part of our economy.

    In 30 years of teaching youth, I never had a single one want a career working in a factory. A few worked in manufacturing to make money for college, but they got out as quick as they could. They have become teachers, preachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, nurses, coaches, youth ministers, policemen, firemen, waiters, salesmen, entrepreneurs, realtors, housewives, scientists, oil field workers, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, missionaries, professors, programmers, managers, child care workers, plumbers, cowboys, farmers and car salesmen. I see how free trade helped many of them in their careers. I really don’t see how free trade has hurt any of them.

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  23. Now, I am truly confused. Debra, I thought you believed the middle class and the lower middle class are just barely getting by. All economists agree that free trade has greatly increased the purchasing power of all Americans. Are you saying that is bad? Do you want the middle class and lower middle class to have fewer material items?

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  24. Ha. So if we see the President walking around talking into his shoe, we’ll know his phone has been confiscated and he’s trying to find an alternate route to Twitter. :–)

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  25. @8:45 I want people to have access to plenty of jobs that don’t require large amounts of money for training. Manufacturing the goods our country needs can supply these jobs. I don’t see how else we can have a stable country.

    Most people are not going to be doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs….more likely the modern day equivalents of the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. But with a little apprenticeship and you should be able to support your family—maybe not with 2 brand new cars in the garage, but decently. That’s not the case at this time. I know too many people with college degrees who are stuck working in low wage jobs, simply because they listened to and believed the ‘free trade’ hype about good jobs. What they have to show for it is low wage menial work and massive student debt.

    This doesn’t work, and politicians need to stop propping up this failed strategy. Give people REAL information. But the fact is there are too many people making money off of student debt and low wage workers for DC to tell the truth to Americans. So people wander without the information they need to make intelligent choices in a very complicated economy. It’s about being a country—not just a loose collection of individuals who happen to inhabit a given geographical area. :–/

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  26. Interesting post, Debra.
    1. I agree with you about needing good jobs that don’t require a lot of money for training. I agree with you about apprenticeship and vocational training in high school. This has zero to do with free trade. It has to do with the false premise of Little Bush/Kennedy’s No Child Left Behind Bill. That law was a waste of money, but it was also built on the false premise that all kids should go to college. In most other developed countries, about half of the kids go to vocational/apprenticeship programs in their mid teens.

    2. You are absolutely right about kids getting worthless degrees while running up huge debts. If we eliminated or substantially cut federal student loan programs, the cost of college would drop like a rock. Colleges would have to drop prices or lose their consumers. Again, this has nothing to do with free trade. It has to do with our foolish government supporting loans to pay for worthless degrees along with clothes for interviews, Spring Break trips, etc. Yes, that all happens.

    3. The people who are making money off of student debt are employees of colleges and universities. Yes, they are overpaid because of federal subsidies just as people in the health care industry are overpaid for the same reason. Once again, this has nothing to do with free trade.

    You have made a great and accurate indictment of our high school and college systems. You don’t really trust our government to give students REAL information, do you? This is an area where the rich have an advantage (their parents probably went to college and know which degrees lead to good jobs) and it is an area where my wife and I really spent a lot of time talking to poor kids whose parents might be interested, but were not able to give good advice about college and careers because they lacked experience and/or knowledge. Individual Christians, youth workers and mentors have a huge role to play here.

    But again, not only is free trade not the problem, it is a big part of the solution for the lower middle class. The poor may be overpaying for their education which is all produced in America, but they are getting great deals on food, cars, clothes and electronic devices which come from all over the world.

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  27. Debra, There was a time when the vast majority of Americans earned their living from agriculture. Except for a small number of plantation owners, most were relatively poor. Then came the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing economy. Millions left the farms for factory jobs. There were problems, but the overall standard of living greatly increased and fewer farmers were able to produce more agricultural products as they mechanized.

    The entire developed world is now moving from a manufacturing economy to a service/information/mixed economy. There are and will be problems, but there is no going back just as there is no going back to the agricultural economy that Jefferson romanticized.

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  28. Jay Nordlinger of National Review asks a good question:

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  29. @9:58 Well, Ricky, I agree that our educational system could use a fundamental overhaul. But it’s hard to see how the supply of jobs can be increased by improving our educational system. It will improve our labor supply, but how does that increase the job supply?

    @10:11 Then maybe Mark Zuckerburg is on the right track with minimum guaranteed income.
    [ http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-basic-income-harvard-speech-2017-5 ]
    However, I foresee some problems with that, unless there is also guaranteed work. I think work of some kind is a fundamental human need. That is why governments have an interest in jobs and labor supply.

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  30. @10:28
    Surely a reporter has no right to invade a private space and disrupt an interview?!

    If a Fox reporter entered a room (uninvited) where the candidate was prepping for a private interview with Huffpo, shoved a recorder in candidates face, was told to get the info from candidate’s assistant outside the room, but reporter refused to move—-I would hope very strong body guards would lay hands on said disruptive reporter and drag/remove him/her from the room. I would not hope the candidate would grab the reporter around the neck and beat him—and fortunately, that is not what happened—not quite. Though apparently what did happen was bad enough to warrant a misdemeanor assault charge.

    Overall, the absence of big strong “manly” bodyguards is regrettable. They could have spared us all an embarrassing news cycle. Then again, since Trump is no longer Tweeting regularly, I suppose this debacle has rescued us all from the unbearable ennui we would have suffered in its absence. :–)

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  31. Debra @ 11:37

    1. First, right now there are a great number of jobs (many of them in manufacturing) that are unfilled because the employers cannot find workers with the skills that are required to do the job. The vocational/apprentice education system you suggested would help produce workers who have those skills much better than would a gender studies dept. at a university.
    2. Second, it is wrong to think that there are only a certain number of jobs in an economy or that the government or some entity must “create” jobs. If you train several great chefs in a town, some will create new restaurants and create jobs for themselves and others. Same with beauticians. There is not just a certain fixed dollar amount that residents of a town are willing to pay for food or a fancy hairdo. This is where the activity of the Asian immigrants in North Fort Worth was so instructive. They were very entrepreneurial. You didn’t see them working in a store, a school or a factory. They started their own small businesses using whatever skills they had developed. Your vocational/apprentice system could not only train students in a trade; it could teach them to be entrepreneurs.

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  32. Debra @ 11:39 I saw an interview with Fox’s Alicia Acuna yesterday on Martha McCallum’s show. The assault was worse than you described. The New Jersey carpetbagger grabbed the reporter with both hands on either side of his head (probably either by the collar or shoulders near the neck (as I said yesterday, she had no instant replay), SLAMMED HIM TO THE GROUND, then proceeded to beat him. My first impression (before I heard the audio tape) was much like yours (that the reporter had stayed there for some time after being told to leave). The audiotape revealed:
    1. It all happened very, very quickly (the reporter was given very little time to back off); and
    2. The carpetbagger obviously had it in for reporters from The Guardian from the beginning.

    Please understand, I really don’t have a dog in that fight. The reporter was probably also from the Northeast, and I generally think as little of reporters from The Guardian as I do carpetbaggers from New Jersey. Nevertheless, the assault was outrageous. The lies issued by the carpetbagger were even worse, and the knee-jerk defense of the assault by Rush, Ingraham and others was worst of all.

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  33. Bill Kristol has encouraged competent foreign policy pros to continue to work in the Trump Administration for the good of the country. Thomas Ricks came to a different conclusion regarding McMaster

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