79 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-27-17

  1. Of course this looks very bad. I am sure HRW will interpret it in a nefarious way as will many.

    However, remember one of my basic maxims of politics, which is particularly true for this Administration:

    ‘Never underestimate the probability of mere stupidity.”

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  2. Of course, then the question becomes: Was the stupid idea Kushner’s or Trump’s?

    This last Kushner revelation may help explain why Trump took such apparently desperate and suspicious steps to try to end or limit the Russia investigation including:
    1. The dinner with Comey where there were repeated requests for a pledge of loyalty to Trump;
    2. The request to Comey that he let Flynn off the hook;
    3. The repeated questions to Comey about whether Trump was a target of the investigation.
    4. The silly “tapp” Tweets which were intended to distract from and deligitimize the FBI investigation.
    5. The firing of Comey.
    6. The lies about the reason Comey was fired.

    I always assumed that in his ignorance Trump was inadvertently framing himself for obstruction of justice for no reason at all, but maybe he felt he needed to take desperate steps to protect Kushner or himself.

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  3. Ricky I “channeled” you last night. There is a local brewery that my husband likes to go to occasionally. Due to a quirk in Alabama law they aren’t allowed to serve food so they skirt around this by allowing people to bring in food or having food trucks park outside.
    Last night the food truck was Mexican food. I talked to the owners while I was ordering our food. Then she and her husband brought it in to Mr P and me. She grew up in Texas on a border town. Her mother is Mexican and her father is WASP American. She spent summers going from Mexico to here and lived in Texas. She and her husband decided a while back to move here. They are close to her father. We talked for quite a while. I assured her we are happy to have her here because THAT was the best Mexican food I have ever had. In the conversation somehow we talked about the two white women in Portland being put out of business for cultural appropriation. She rolled her eyes and thought it was crazy.
    Oh, she just started doing this. Her aunt is a teacher so she came here for the summer to help with the food truck and get the business started properly. They moved here from the DFW area because it was just too congested. They love it here.
    So, I guess I have acquired one of your people and will keep her. I also know where to find the food truck on Tuesdays and Fridays. 🙂

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  4. Keep in mind there has been no evidence of any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. My position has always been that the Russians are far too smart to have done this since such collusion was likely to have been discovered (and revealed) by US intelligence agencies.

    Famous liberal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz has taken the position on various TV shows that even if it could be shown that Trump and/or his campaign had engaged in such collusion, such actions (by Trump or the Trumpkins) would be politically damaging, but not criminal. For this observation, Dershowitz has been excoriated by his liberal friends. Who knows? He may now be excluded from the guest lists at all of the best parties in The Hamptons or at Martha’s Vineyard.

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  5. Kim, That lady was right about D/FW being too congested. Our metropolitan area now has approximately the same number of people as live in Alabama and Mississippi combined. Houston is the same size and just as congested, and Austin/San Antonio are growing together and are not far behind.

    I’m glad you liked the food. I really like our Mexican food in Texas. There are a few pretentious people (Yes, we have them even in Texas.) who prefer the Mexican food of Santa Fe, but I like ours and my two favorite places to get Mexican food in New Mexico are in Ruidoso and Las Vegas. However, I am sure that RKessler can straighten me out on that matter.

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  6. Last night I compared the attorney pre-approval of Trump’s Tweets with the cancellation of Get Smart. One of my Facebook friends sent me this clip. Maybe this was what Kushner had in mind.

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  7. Hillarious! It’s a Trump meeting in the Situation Room, with the press announcing every detail. We need to all need to watch the series again to find out how our political drama ends. Art imitating life imitating art. What a world. :–)

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  8. Ricky,

    Comey deserved to be fired, even if for no other reason than his politicizing the FBI, and warrantless spying on Americans.

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

    And the more time that goes by, the better the decision looks.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/05/26/cnn-comey-knew-document-accusing-lynch-protecting-clinton-fake-last-julys-emailgate-press-conference/

    “The latest in a story that’s been built brick by brick for a month. The NYT laid the foundation in late April with a long piece on why Comey took such a visible role in the Emailgate investigation last year, culminating in the presser he gave last July when he accused Hillary of having been “extremely careless” in handling classified info. One key influence in his thinking, per the Times, was a hacked document the FBI had obtained early in 2016 which contained a political bombshell — if it was true:

    The document, which has been described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far, according to several former officials familiar with the document.

    Read one way, it was standard Washington political chatter. Read another way, it suggested that a political operative might have insight into Ms. Lynch’s thinking…

    If Ms. Lynch announced that the case was closed, and Russia leaked the document, Mr. Comey believed it would raise doubts about the independence of the investigation.
    Was the document real or a Russian fake? And when exactly did the FBI obtain it? The next brick was laid a few days ago by WaPo, which reported that the Bureau had concluded that it was in fact Russian disinformation, not a real email. Supposedly the comment about Lynch suppressing the Emailgate probe was made by Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a message to someone who worked for one of George Soros’s organizations. Wasserman Schultz and the recipient insist that they don’t know each other and have never communicated, and by August, the FBI had concluded that the document was “unreliable.” Alas, that was too late for Comey, who’d given his infamous press conference a month earlier.

    But now here comes CNN to lay the latest brick. WaPo is wrong, they claim: “Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false,” before he gave his press conference. Allegedly, he kept that fact from Congress too:

    In classified sessions with members of Congress several months ago, Comey described those emails in the Russian claim and expressed his concern that this Russian information could “drop” and that would undermine the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department in general, according to one government official.

    Still, Comey did not let on to lawmakers that there were doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to sources familiar with the briefings. It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting.

    Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn’t matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods.”
    ——————–

    An FBI head who lies and omits to Congress is one that needs firing.

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  9. AJ, Let’s test the consistentcy and rationality of the Trump Cult’s current position on Comey.

    1. If Comey deserved to be fired for “politicizing the FBI” and “warrentless spying” on Americans, why was Trump’s first response to Comey to invite him to dinner at the White House and repeatedly ask for his personal loyalty?

    2. Why did Trump have his staff trot out two false stories on the reasons for the firing, before blurting out to Lester Holt that he decided to fire Comey while thinking about the Russia investigation?

    Last year, poor Comey was dealing with his own staff investigating the two primary presidential candidates. One candidate was foolish and completely unethical. The other was an unethical buffoon. I think he handled the Clinton investigation perfectly: He knew that her email disasters would not likely lead to a criminal conviction. He knew that Loretta Lynch was a politicized lightweight, so he severely scolded Clinton for her gross negligence. Maybe that made the difference in the election; maybe it did not. In any event, I consider Comey’s actions to be courageous. But Comey was in a lose/lose situation. The foolish criminal lost, but that meant that the unethical buffoon won.

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  10. What AJ’s story reveals is the dilapidated state of online security in the White House and Cabinet in the Obama administration…and now. Governmental cyber-security is not a small issue, especially since the NSA collects so much of our personal data. Millions, billions and probably trillions are being funneled into military projects to defend the homeland while the keys to the back door are being duplicated and distributed at will.

    We need good teams of homegrown IT professionals to increase cyber security. It’s unfortunate that we have undercut our own IT profession in this country by allowing companies (like Disney and many, many others) to empty out their American IT workforce and replace them with foreigners.

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  11. Interesting, Tychicus. And the poll by the Economist shows that the Russia conspiracy is favored most by Democrats. But I think we already suspected that. :–)

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  12. Who needs proof when you have jokes and innuendo. Apparently that’s good enough for the press, who continue to run countless stories on it.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-26/trump-s-allies-convicted-of-high-crimes-without-a-trial

    “Well it’s nice to see our elites are in such good humor about something so grave. If there truly was treason, it’s no joking matter. If there was not, then this man’s name is being tarnished unfairly. Ha. Ha.

    After all, Flynn has yet to be charged with a crime. If there is evidence that he betrayed his country, it has yet to be presented. None of the many news stories about Flynn’s contacts with Russians and Turks has accused him of being disloyal to his country. And yet a decorated general has already been tried and convicted in the press.

    None of this would be happening without some very dirty business from the national security state. It’s a two-pronged campaign. First there are the whispers. Anonymous officials describe in detail elements of an ongoing investigation: intercepts of conversations between Russian officials about how they could influence Flynn during the transition; monitored phone calls about how Flynn had lied about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to his colleagues; how Flynn failed to disclose his payment from the Russian propaganda network on his official forms. This prong of the campaign is at least factual, but the facts don’t speak for themselves.

    The second and more insidious element here is the innuendo. Yates never says Flynn was a spy for Russia. But her public remarks to Congress and the media appear designed to leave that impression. As she told Lizza, Flynn was “compromised by the Russians.” This sounds far more sinister than Flynn’s explanation when he left his post in February. Back then he said he had forgotten elements of his discussion with the Russian ambassador that covered a wide range of issues.

    Yates’s innuendo is nothing compared to that dropped by former CIA director John Brennan. This week he treated the House Intelligence Committee to a feast of ominous suggestions. “Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late,” he warned. Contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian individuals “raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.” This cooperation could be “witting” or “unwitting,” he cautioned.

    Notice that Brennan did not accuse anyone in Trump’s orbit of espionage or treason. He didn’t say the Russian plan worked. He just said that when he left office he had questions. A definite “maybe.”

    Now, it’s entirely possible that the government will charge Flynn and other Trump associates with high crimes. This would be a political disaster for the president. But at least if the government does present such charges, Flynn will have the opportunity to defend himself. In the interim, if that day ever comes, Flynn must follow the advice of his lawyers and keep quiet.”

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  13. What’s wrong with this picture?

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/british-government-funded-manchester-bomber.php

    “Can a Western welfare state defend itself against Islamic terrorism? Perhaps, but it will require fundamental changes. The Telegraph reports that last week’s terrorist attack in Manchester was funded by the British government:

    The Manchester suicide bomber used taxpayer-funded student loans and benefits to bankroll the terror plot, police believe.

    Salman Abedi is understood to have received thousands of pounds in state funding in the run up to Monday’s atrocity even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training.

    Why? What qualified a terrorist in training for state aid? I suppose the answer is, anyone can get state funding these days, no serious questions asked.

    Abedi’s finances are a major ‘theme’ of the police inquiry amid growing alarm over the ease with which jihadists are able to manipulate Britain’s welfare and student loans system to secure financing.

    One former detective said jihadists were enrolling on university courses to collect the student loans “often with no intention of turning up”.

    Abedi was given at least £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company after beginning a business administration degree at Salford University in October 2015.

    It is thought he received a further £7,000 in the 2016 academic year even though by then he had already dropped out of the course. Salford University declined to say if it had informed the Student Loans Company that Abedi’s funding should have been stopped.

    Time out! British universities aren’t required to advise the government when students who are receiving loans drop out of school? Apparently not. The student gets to keep the cash that was intended for tuition.

    Then there is Britain’s generous welfare system. The fact that murderous imams have been supported by the British government for years has been widely reported.”

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  14. An affront to the rule of law.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/the-4th-circuits-travel-ban-decision-an-affront-to-the-rule-of-law.php

    “Yesterday the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court order that found President Trump’s second travel ban to be unconstitutional. This is one of those news stories that make me sad rather than angry.

    The decision is ridiculous. The court’s majority relied heavily on candidate Donald Trump’s stump speeches in which he talked about a ban on all Muslim immigration. The court found that this “context” demonstrated a discriminatory intent. The decision’s implication is that a different president could have issued the same order, and it would have been constitutional. The ACLU’s lawyer made this explicit during his oral argument, saying that the order under attack may well have been constitutional if it had been issued by Hillary Clinton.

    This is idiotic. For a court to say that a presidential order may or may not be constitutional depending on who the president is–constitutional if issued by a Democrat, unconstitutional if by a Republican–is the ultimate repudiation of the rule of law. Moreover, the president’s order didn’t ban all Muslim immigration. It is absurd to condemn the order the president issued by arguing that he really wanted to issue something different.

    It is also worth noting that the idea that a president can’t “discriminate” with regard to travel to the U.S., or immigration, is ridiculous. Of course he can, and so can Congress. For most of our history, our immigration policy has been explicitly discriminatory. It arguably still is. Under federal law, the president has blanket authority to suspend immigration or travel, wholly or in part, from any country or group of countries, on the ground that it is in the national interest. The suggestion that a random Yemeni has a constitutional right to enter the United States is untenable, and flies in the face of all precedent.

    Decisions like those we have seen on Trump’s travel orders can’t be viewed as legal rulings. As such, they are absurd. They can only be understood as part of the establishment’s war on the Trump administration. The Democrats (the 4th Circuit is now heavily Democrat) simply refuse to accept Trump’s authority as president.”
    ————————–

    There seems to be a lot of that type of denial going on.

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  15. Yes, it appears the fun is over. Some adult has been assigned to control the Presidential cellphone.

    For a week, there has been no mention of “councels”, or Nordstrom, or Rosie O’Donnell, or “tapps”. The comedy appears to be over. I don’t know where CNN will go for their programming. Well, it was great while it lasted.

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  16. Not to worry Ricky. There’s always the trivial bio-fiction that passes for news at WaPo: lookie here did you see Melania swat Donnie’s hand! Whoooooo. Or lookie how the leader of the free world jumped in front of the guy with 3 goats in his entouage for a photo-op. Oh wow, did you see the Trump ladies unveiled in Saudi, yet veiled for the Pope?! Now there is the special counsel circus to look forward to. So there is no lack of entertainment news for those of us inclined to it. :–)

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  17. I have been away from here for a couple or three days. No change; All Trump all the time!

    I ‘ll try again next week.

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  18. Bob, You elected the guy to serve for four years. We’re only 1/12 of the way through. You can check back next week, but I don’t think he will have quit by that time.

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  19. I think it’s possible that some of our closest allies are also beginning to see that the extremes of globalism are not good for nations.

    Prime Minister Theresa May is offering voters a retreat from globalization in one of the most significant developments in recent British political history, former finance minister George Osborne said on Saturday……

    May rejected “untrammeled free markets” and promised to rein in corporate excesses in pre-election pledges earlier this month. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has pledged to nationalise water, mail and rail companies.

    “Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are offering, in very different ways, a retreat from international liberalism and globalization,” Osborne, who now edits the Evening Standard newspaper, told the BBC.

    “And that’s quite a development in British politics, and I think there are quite a lot of people who are uncertain whether that is the right development,” he said.

    May last year praised free markets and free trade in a speech to party activists but also said that she would be prepared to intervene where markets were dysfunctional or where companies were exploiting the failures of the market……

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-election-osborne-idUSKBN18N0Z4?il=0

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  20. I’ve always been of the opinion that Trump really didn’t want to be president — he just wanted more bargaining leverage to renew the Apprentice, sell a few more books, and increase brand exposure. Now that he’s president, we should expect he will run the gov’t the same way he ran his own business which is not a good thing. Anyone involved in real estate, housing, construction and local politics knows the petty corruption and corner cutting that occurs. With Trump and family at the helm we should expect the same at the White House. Its not treason but corruption of the type you would expect of a realtor and construction company. Establishing close links and direct access to Russia (bypassing normal gov’t channels) makes sense for the Trump family business and isn’t much different than any municipal real estate family. The stupidity or idiocy that Ricky refers to comes into play when its apparent that the Trump family doesn’t realize that you can’t run the nation’s business and the family business the same way and without a conflict of interest. I would also like to know the extent of Trump business interest in Russia before I pass anymore judgement on their intellectual acumen. I would also like to know the connections between Flynn, the Russians, the Trumps, etc. There’s far too much smoke and evasiveness. The Comey firing is also bizarre especially the timing. Again Trump treated it as an internal business matter — not understanding basic civics — and simply fired someone who’s loyalty he began to question. If you are running Trump Enterprises it makes sense, but not if you run the US gov’t. Again, we see a business mentality that is not serving the national interest. Is it treason?? No and it may not even be illegal but it does indicate a complete lack of understanding of government.

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  21. AJ — I don’t view the UK as a western welfare state. The UK welfare system was torn up by Thatcher and never repaired. The US probably has an equal or better welfare state than the UK. The amount of aid or loans the bomber received was probably less than the subsidies the 9/11 bombers received as students in the US. In all likelihood, the Saudi’s probably funded the 9/11 and Manchester bombers with more money than the welfare system.

    Debra — yeah, the press was a bit silly with the Melania rejection bit (although I do suspect their marriage is a sham — then again so is the Clinton marriage). Trump’s behaviour at the NATO and G7 conferences although not worthy of huge amounts of press are problematic. Pushing past other leaders to be in the front of the photo, lecturing the other leaders, etc. were probably not a good idea. Then again the Europeans already see him as a buffoon so it probably didn’t make relations worse.

    — the British election features populists in Labour and the Conservatives. I suspect May’s populism isn’t genuine but rather a political turn to prevent any right wing support bleeding to the UKIP. Corbyn is a genuine a left wing populist who is quite suspicious of globalism and basically sat out the Brexit referendum. He has the support the Labour rank and file but not “new” Blairite Labour.

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  22. HRW, You know that times are strange when Jonah Goldberg today agrees with some of the points made in your post. Here is what he said:

    I’ve been writing about Chesterton’s fence for years. For those of you who don’t remember because they lost most of their memory after waking up in that dumpster handcuffed to a horse’s severed leg (or for some other reason), here’s the relevant passage:

    In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

    I reference Chesterton’s fence all the time, usually in the context of progressives who are imbued with the fierce arrogance of now. They have special contempt for tradition, custom, etc.

    And that is basically the context Chesterton had in mind. But I think there’s a lesson here for Trump as well. Trump’s glandular approach to every situation is a kind of lizard-brain version of progressivism. Tell Trump he can’t do or say something and he almost instinctively does it or says it. It’s like there’s a homunculus in there screaming, “You’re not the boss of me!” 24/7. His fans love this blunderbuss approach. And whenever you criticize it, the immediate response is some version of “It got him elected!”

    And it’s true: Trump has been an improviser in the grand tradition of underachievers his whole life. His entire, spectacular, run to the White House was like a running spontaneous jazz performance. And he hasn’t stopped improvising. The problem is that the White House and Washington in general are a vast maze of what might be called Chesterton’s Invisi-Fences. Unlike the original Chesterton fence, these fences cannot be seen, but they exist all the same. Some of them, of course, should probably be gotten rid of — but, again, you have to know why they’re there before you try.

    Trump simply didn’t know, or at least he didn’t fully understand, that you’re not supposed to fire the FBI director to thwart an investigation into your activities or the activities of your campaign. And, even if he did know that, Trump didn’t know that you’re not supposed to admit it.

    The Invisi-Fences are like the security lasers in some ridiculous heist movie.
    I have no problem with the president firing Jim Comey. I have no objection, in principle, to Trump declassifying information. I loved his counterprograming to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But the way Trump does these things and so many others is counterproductive precisely because he doesn’t know how to do them to his advantage — and that’s because he doesn’t know where the lines are. The Invisi-Fences are like the security lasers in some ridiculous heist movie. Every time Trump crosses one, he gets cut and bleeds a little more political capital, in part because his missteps undercut his image as a mastermind who thinks six steps ahead.

    Liberals are still convinced Trump is some kind of autocrat-in-waiting. And he may well be in his heart. But the would-be autocrats who actually become real-life autocrats only achieve success because they are popular and know how to manipulate the system from within — and because they did their homework. That’s not Trump. Yes, he’s violating democratic and political norms, but he’s not doing it according to some master plan like an Erdogan or a Putin, he’s doing it more like a weird hybrid of Mr. Magoo and Chauncey Gardiner.

    It may not sound like it, but this is actually a powerful defense of Trump against his harshest critics. I listened to Chris Matthews last night and he was giddy to the point of orgasmic about the Jared Kushner story. He so desperately wants the Trump-Russia stuff to be like Watergate, where the dots get connected to reveal some grand intricate pattern of well-conceived skullduggery and treason.

    But the Trump presidency is in reality turning out to be much more like the story arc of Battlestar Galactica. It began with a lot of talk about how the Cylons had some grand plan to achieve interstellar domination. But as the seasons ticked by and the plot became more convoluted, it turned out the writers never had a plan and they were winging it all along.

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  23. Something occurred to me as I read the snippet below in the Washington Times: what if all of the outraged targeting of advertisers on conservative (or liberal) tv shows resulted in just less advertising overall. I wonder what effect that might have on our culture in the long run. I happen to think that much of our social problems come from being so materialistic and consumption oriented. And nothing drives consumption like advertising. I have been somewhat skeptical of boycott movements, but this might not be a bad thing if it were to catch on. At the least it could result in fewer strident wing-nuts on either side.

    USAA reportedly plans to drop its television ads from liberal network MSNBC after an outcry over its decision last week to stop advertising on Fox News conservative host Sean Hannity’s program.

    Roger Wildermuth, spokesman for the military financial-services company, told the Associated Press that USAA would pull its ads on MSNBC opinion shows, describing its failure to do so previously as an oversight.

    “We will continually review our ad placements to ensure we are consistent with our policy,” Mr. Wildermuth said in a Friday report.

    The military financial-services company said Wednesday that “advertising on opinion shows is not in accordance with our policy” after a backlash over its decision to withdraw its Hannity ads, which followed an anti-Hannity campaign led by left-wing Media Matters for America.

    Two days later, however, the conservative Media Research Center pointed out that USAA had failed to pull its ads on shows hosted by liberal MSNBC commentators Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews.

    “Do they somehow think ‘Hardball’ is not an ‘opinion show’?” asked Tim Graham, MRC’s director of media analysis, on NewsBusters.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/may/27/usaa-will-pull-ads-msnbc-after-dumping-foxs-hannit/

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  24. One of my first tasks as White House Advisor was to locate the President’s cellphone (which had been hidden in the bottom of a drawer by disloyal aides) and return it to the President.

    Mission Accomplished!

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  25. Better than ever! Get Smart is back on the air!

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  26. Ha. I’m glad to see you’ve kept the President focused on the truly important matters while in Europe. Though publications like to emphasize his business interests everywhere he goes, I suspect he has actually lost money since he ran for president.

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  27. Wow Ricky, that’s low, even for you.

    Now you’re comparing them to mass murdering criminals? Just what have they done to draw such an unfair and quite frankly, childish response from you? We get your penchant (yes Mumsee, I used it correctly this time) for childish rants concerning all things Trump, since you’re obsessed with him, but really, get a grip. Stop being such a drama queen. Idiotic statements like that are low class and uncalled for, and you know it.

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  28. Debra, Thomas Friedman’s new book “Thank You For Being Late” makes the point that not only will modern young people not generally do the same job for the same company for their entire careers, they will have to adjust and retrain every five years. Many of the changes are not in manufacturing. Retail is completely changing.

    I went to a wedding and reception last night and visited about 30 kids I had taught or coached. I was very encouraged. They are used to changing the way they shop, read, get their news, movies, music, etc, and don’t seem at all intimidated by the fact that they may have to change careers or change the way they do their jobs every few years.

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  29. On the other hand, Ricky, that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Although not the way it came about, maybe.

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  30. Only a globalist like you Ricky would be upset that someone might actually have to “take it’s fate into it’s own hands.”

    Oh, the horror, no more freeloading off the US and others in NATO. 🙄
    They’ll still have the EU of course, minus the UK, to push around.

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  31. Kizzie, It depends upon your perspective. I have said for a while that Trump’s election would mark the end of The American Century.

    The 19th Century was the British Century. The British Navy ruled the seas. British missionaries spread the Gospel all over the World. British colonialism brought free trade and the rule of law all over the world. The ministers of Queen Victoria and other British monarchs operated with wisdom. By the early 19th Century, theological liberalism had permeated the Church of England. Perversion and other moral problems were on the rise. Nevertheless, as of 1900, Britannia still led the world.

    Then out of nowhere came World War I. Great Britain lost a huge portion of a generation, its best and brightest. The War left the country virtually bankrupt. Yet, the US was there to take the baton. In World War I, US intervention was decisive. Though we returned to isolationism and went through the Great Depression, by 1941 we were ready to lead.

    Historians agree that the 20th Century was the American Century. American missionaries spread the Gospel around the globe. We had the world’s largest economy, and traded with partners on all continents. The US led the Allies to defeat the Nazis and Imperial Japan, then rebuilt both countries and turned both into powerful democratic allies. For decades, the US contained international communism. Then Ronald Reagan defeated communism and showed the world how free trade, free markets and the rule of law could lift billions out of poverty.

    However, the American church and the American culture were sick. We exported bad music, bad movies, bad theology and promoted abortion, radical feminism and perversion around the world. In 2003, the US invasion of Iraq further destabilized a fragile region leading to many wars, political problems, the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the flight of huge numbers of Christians and other refugees from the Middle East. This was followed by the 2007-2008 financial crisis where our foolish governmental and banking policies nearly caused a global depression.

    Yet, as with Great Britain in decline, inertia was powerful. Obama was weak, but rational. He cooperated on trade and military issues. He didn’t exactly inspire confidence among our allies in Europe and Asia, but he wasn’t regarded as an imbecile or a clown. Then we elected Trump, a man singularly unprepared to be President, a man who lacks the knowledge, wisdom, discipline, morality, courage and manners to be the Leader of the Free World. Ms. Merkel recognized Trump is exactly what she feared he was. We have the Trump Cult in the US. The rest of the world is not so blind. Others will follow the lead of Merkel.

    So now we will see what nation or nations God will raise up to lead the world. The US had a good run.

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  32. I saw this on FB so it must be true.

    I figure it might turn my hair red again (something nuclear bonds with conditioned hair and — zoom)

    FEMA: If exposed to a nuclear blast, take a shower and soap off but DO NOT use hair conditioner.

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  33. The President of the Council on Foreign Relations comments on what has happened.

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  34. @2:48 That’s what Ben Sasse says in his book too—people will change not just jobs but industries 3 times before age 30. Doesn’t sound like future generations will be living stable lives. We’ll see….

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  35. This is one of the problems with constant job changes: you can’t buy a house. Banks want more than good credit and a down payment; they also want to know you’ve been at your job for a few years (at least 2 in my experience). If Sasse and others are correct, we can expect this problem to get worse not better.

    With tight housing inventories pushing prices higher and squeezing out would-be homebuyers, millennials hoping to buy a place of their own may need to save up for more than two decades before they can afford to make a down payment – and that’s just to afford a condo.

    A new annual study published Friday by housing hub Apartment List found that 80 percent of apartment-dwelling millennials born between 1982 and 2004 would, in a perfect world, want to purchase a house or condo of their own rather than fork over monthly rent payments.

    Whether they can afford to do that, though, is another question entirely. Researchers surveyed 24,000 renters across the country and found that nearly 70 percent of millennials have less than $1,000 set aside for a down payment. Only 15 percent had stashed away at least $5,000, and only 29 percent are consistently saving at least $200 each month to eventually go toward a down payment.

    So at their current rate of saving, millennials looking to put 20 percent up front for just a median condo down payment would need to save for at least 19 years in pricey real estate locals like San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin and San Jose.

    “A millennial in San Jose, the metro with the longest wait time of almost 24 years, wouldn’t be able to afford a 20 percent down payment on a condo until the year 2041. Millennials in Kansas City need the least time to save for a down payment: five and a half years,” the report said. “Even if we assume a smaller down payment of 10 percent, just over one in three millennials will be able to save the required amount in five years or less.”

    https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2017-05-26/prices-unrealistic-expectations-barring-millennials-from-homeownership?int=news-rec

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  36. Debra, Of those thirty 25-30 year olds I talked to at the wedding, about 25 already own their own homes. My son (Mr. Frugality) thinks that most of them over-bought. Most bought homes that required two incomes while my son bought his house (with no help from us after only 6 months on the job) based on his income alone, then got married to my DIL who also has a good income.

    Our real problem here in D/FW is a shortage of homes under $200,000. Homes below that threshold that are in good school districts get snapped up real quick. Many of our young people are moving further out where the homes are more reasonably priced.

    My son’s sister-in-law may be taking a job in Lubbock. For my money, that is a great place to live. You can get a nice starter home (10-15 years old) in a safe neighborhood with good schools, 10 minutes from downtown, for $115,000.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I’m curious, Ricky. Is your son actually planning to change his job/industry every 3-5 years the way everyone else is being told to do? How is he planning to manage those changes in career focus?

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  38. Debra @ 10:09, These youngsters are sharp. When Travis started practicing with me three years ago, he told me that our marketing was already years out of date. He is constantly pushing for innovation. I don’t always agree, at least not immediately, as our other employees are over 50 and a little resistant to change. However, many of his ideas are very good. Doctors, lawyers and most professionals will probably still be in the same business 10 years from now, but the economics of our industries are constantly changing.

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  39. Debra @10:06, It is really working well all over Texas. Our cities are booming and our farmers and ranchers are also doing well. Of course they support NAFTA as they sell a big portion of their cattle and crops to other countries, particularly Mexico.

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  40. Thank you Michelle for the suggestion.

    michelle | May 28, 2017 at 10:28 am

    By the way, I like the picture of you and the hat. Now I suppose I will have to put up my picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. The one part of our boom that may not be sustainable is that a big part of the urban growth comes from upper middle class Yankees fleeing down here from whatever is going on up North. I guess if Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and the rest ever run out of Yankees to send us, the growth will slow down.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. A conversation as we eat breakfast at Denny’s:

    Me: Half of the adults in here are Anglo; half are Hispanic. Every one of the 20 children in here is Hispanic.

    My wife: Like I have always said, we marry people of the opposite gender and we don’t kill our babies.

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  43. So it seems like upper middle class professionals are exempt from the 3-5 year job/industry turnover expected for working class Americans. If general employment continues to be unstable, I would expect to see Socialism make a big comeback in the next few years. And if it is handled with wisdom, it might even be broadly beneficial. But that will be a moot point if people don’t broadly value work—that is to say, see the value in doing it, and in paying fairly for it.

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  44. Ricky, many of those Yankees are retirees–at least in our area. They come with fat retirement checks. Many are former teachers and bureaucrats. But the lucrative pensions have been cut in most of those Northern cities, so I don’t expect future new-comers will be coming with cash in hand.

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  45. And to be fair to the Northern cities they are doubly handicapped by being forced to pay out big bucks in exceedingly handsome retirements, without getting anything in return. The retirees are spending the money here, and not in the original communities. I have thought that some cities might try to get some of that money back eventually by taxing non-resident retirees. Couldn’t blame them for trying, as the burden is very heavy in some areas.

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  46. Debra @ 11:30, You are probably right. If not, I can learn to be a waiter again. We seem to have a shortage of those.

    Debra 11:41 Many of our Yankees are also retirees. Their kids came to Texas to get jobs and then the retirees moved down to be close to grandkids. Some were teachers and state bureaucrats, but others are retired military officers or businessmen. Like you, I don’t think the trend can continue forever. Many black families who moved to the North 50-100 years ago to work in Northern factories are now coming back to the South. At some point I would expect some of the Yankees to go home.

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  47. If we move out of California, the state will continue to pluck taxes from my husband’s military retirement–we used California as our home of record during the 20 years of his service. Our rationale was if CA was our home of record and our kid wanted to attend the University of California (which 3/4 did), they would qualify for instate tuition no matter where we lived if he was still in the Navy.

    You’ve just reminded me, however, of the consequences of leaving the state–which becomes more and more wonderful sounding as thing disintegrate.

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  48. Michelle, I have clients who are mid-level executives who have relocated from New York to Texas. The State of New York has employees who monitor their travel (the handful of times they travel to New York for corporate meetings) in order to impose New York State income tax. Those things remind me of Zimbabwe or early Nazi Germany where people may be allowed to leave, but not with all their possessions.

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  49. Trump overseas reminds me of my C+ students. Trying to have middle school students relate to literature and make intelligent observations of author’s theme and purpose is one of my main goals. The point of having children read fiction is to create empathy and perspective. When I ask students to make a connection to their current novel an A student will mention the similarities between two different novels and how the main character is coming of age and both demonstrate different ways to mature or overcome adversity. A C student in discussing the book “Holes” will link the novel to their summer in which they dug holes on the beach or how the warden’s bossiness reminds them of school (that will get them a C+ maybe B-).

    Trump is very similar — he is sitting down with some very brilliant people from various countries yet his only connection would be building a golf course in Europe. He can’t get past his personal knowledge to see the big picture and how the issues relate to not just him and his business interests but to the nation’s interest and to other individual’s elsewhere, Perhaps he should have read more novels as a child.

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  50. Well it looks like the Canadian newsmagazine Macleans agrees with Ricky, its the end of the American century.

    http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/donald-trumps-farewell-tour/?%3Futm_source=facebook&utm_medium=promo&utm_campaign=adhoc-q2

    The German paper Spiegel endorses any way to remove Trump and failing that agrees with Merkel that the adults in the room have to take care of business while they sent the boy to his room

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/donald-trump-is-a-menace-to-the-world-opinion-a-1148471.html

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  51. Thanks for posting both articles, HRW. Contrary to what most people here believe, the major American papers and TV networks have been somewhat gentle with Trump. Those two articles were brutally honest. Reading the Macleans article, I thought that Trump probably will not go back to Western Europe. It is simply not a good fit for him. The Europeans are simply not going to put up with his nonsense. Maybe he will travel to China, Russia or even Japan in the future.

    I admit it was a little disconcerting to read a German saying a dangerous leader must be removed.

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  52. HRW @ 7:15 I think you are a kind-hearted teacher. Kevin D Williamson used to teach English. He has called Trump an imbecile and an ignoramus so many times that I can’t believe he would ever give Trump a grade higher than a “D”. Yes, if I had to take English again, I would want you to be my teacher. If Trump could make a C+, I think I might make a B-.

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  53. “.. the major American papers and TV networks have been somewhat gentle with Trump.”

    Thanks, Ricky – that’s the best chuckle I’ve had on this Memorial Day.

    Of course, the Obama admini never tried to set up back-channel communications with Russia. Surprise, surprise – I guess the door swings both ways, except the liberal Dems and supportive media simply don’t realize it.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2014-12-31/inside-obamas-secret-outreach-to-russia

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  54. Tychicus, You were the one I was thinking of when I typed that sentence, but I challenge you to do two things.
    1. Read both the Macleans article and the Der Spiegel article and see if you can identify any inaccuracies.
    2. Compare those two articles to what we read daily in the American Press.

    Our press is definitely softer on Trump. Our press has lowered the bar. If he goes two days without humiliating himself, the media will say he is starting to act Presidential. Bob Schieffer did that. Even Van Jones did that. They also are loathe to simply label his frequent ridiculous lies for what they truly are. The Canadians and the Germans are more objective.

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  55. In grade 7 and 8, we give percentages and the mean is also listed on their report card so they and their parents can compere them to their peers. I’m well known for having the lowest average in the middle school –around 73% every time. The problem is in K-6 if you give a student a D, the logic of the education ministry is that the student has a learning disability rather than just being lazy or unmotivated hence a D will start a whole process of testing and meetings. Given that most teachers won’t give anything lower than a C-. However, the province wants us to keep the As and Bs legitimate and thus a C- is extremely easy to get but a C+ takes effort and a B- requires a level of understanding. Therefore, under the Ontario grading system Trump deserves a C to C+ depending if he stays away from twitter.

    Setting up back channels to other gov’ts is probably quite common. Its allows for negotiations and relations without the niceties of diplomacy. Even Nazi Germany and the Allies had back channels — through Switzerland. However, the difference between Trump and Bush or Obama is the latter had no business interests in play nor did the convenor of the back channels involve family members, Kushner, who also has Russian business interests. The nepotism and the possibility for corruption is the element which makes the Trump back channel worrisome,

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  56. When I read the headlines on RealClearPolitics, I shake my head. The American press is optimistic and is trying really hard to make him look like a normal president who is having some success. The right wing media — WSJ, FOX, some columnists — are incredibly generous to him. The Republicans eager to maintain their power are quick to forgive and spin his latest faux pas. The truth is he is corrupt, simple, lacks an attention span, and beyond his business interests, he really doesn’t care. The rest of the world is far more critical because they see him for what he is and for the danger her presents to the western liberal democracies — he’s an Italian or Balkan style dictator running a country far more important than Italy. . Within American, the domestic interest of the Republican party and the right wing media will keep trying to use him for their own interest despite the obvious problems he causes.

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  57. HRW, If the discussion in Washington ever returns to healthcare or the federal budget, you and I will be on opposite sides again. I will have Trump’s OMB Director and Secretary of HHS on my side, but you may have Trump himself along with most of his supporters.

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  58. rw: Merkel and the map, for starters. And what in the world is the “Russian scandal”?

    I already commented that the Der Spiegel piece is similar to liberal anti-Trump articles here in the US.

    I guess you agree that European politicians are somehow the “adults in the room”.

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  59. Tychicus, Yes. The Europeans are typical leaders of nations. They have their flaws, but are intelligent, rational adults. As HRW noted, many of them are brilliant. Merkel earned a PhD in chemistry.

    Can anyone not agree that Trump is a child? My wife has been saying that for over a year. David Brooks just made it famous.

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