21 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-10-17

  1. DJ, Thanks for posting the NYT update on the Little Trump/Russia story last night.

    I believe it is the same song, tenth verse. As with everything before on the Russia front, the actions of Trump and his aides and progeny seem to be more dumb than criminal. It is only the cover-up lies told by the Trumps and the stupid defenses/explanations/excuses spread by The Trump Cult and Trump himself that make their actions seem nefarious.


  2. Dreher wrote a very thoughtful piece on Trump’s Poland speech and the response it created from liberals. Ignore the header from The American Conservative which is deceptive. The article is harder on liberals than Trump. It distinguishes Western Civilization from Western culture. It may explain the thought process many of you went through before voting for Trump.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The globalist disliked Trump’s Poland speech, for obvious reasons.

    “Donald Trump Struck a Righteous Blow against Universalism

    It’s a false ideology, a burden and a cancer on our body politic. It defies reality.”


    “But declaring that previous presidents disagreed does not make previous presidents right. They’ve been wrong. Dangerously wrong. And Trump’s “sin” here isn’t racism but rather calling out the false god of post–Cold War establishment utopianism. Ross Douthat is right. Trump’s speech wasn’t white nationalism, it was a rejection of universalism:

    The ideas that define and govern our nation come from a specific culture, and that culture comes from (and has defined) a specific place. The Founders were heirs to a specific intellectual and religious tradition — one that is both alien and superior to many competing cultures and faiths.

    The fiction of the universalist Left and the universalist Right is the notion that the best human values, including that alleged “longing for freedom,” are somehow transcendent and universal. It’s one reason why so many otherwise-smart people fell head over heels for the Arab Spring. They thought the “longing for freedom” was emerging, as opposed to a will to power and a thirst for vengeance. Instead, the Arab Spring brought forth the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, ISIS in Syria, and a vicious war in Libya.

    This universalism is a reason why both previous presidents made serious mistakes abroad. As I’ve written before, President Bush was idealistic about our alleged friends — believing they wanted liberty more than they wanted to settle old scores — and failed to adequately plan and prepare for the Iraq that would emerge after the American invasion. President Obama was idealistic about our enemies, believing that if you addressed their “legitimate grievances” against the U.S. and Israel, then the alleged universal values would have a chance to prevail against the forces of hate.

    Yes the experience of immigrants (and a select few allied democracies across the globe) shows that men and women from every tongue, tribe, and nation can embrace and build societies dedicated to constitutional governance and that also protect individual liberty. At the same time, millennia of human experience shows that entire societies and cultures have rejected those values and actively work to suppress human freedom. How do we deal with these twin realities?

    The realistic response is that while the “longing for freedom” is the product of particular ideas from a particular place, it is of course not inherently limited to that place or the residents of that place. If, however, you want that culture and those ideas to persevere and even to spread, you have to protect those ideas and the place from whence they came. You cannot, for example, import en masse people from other cultures and simply assume that the fictional universal “longing for freedom” will take hold. You cannot, for example, denigrate the source of these ideas — the “dead white male” Founders, Judeo-Christian civilization more broadly — and assume that these ideas will endure.

    The best Western values, in other words, aren’t the result of universal virtue bursting forth but rather a centuries-long and uneven process of acculturation and education — one that’s often at odds with human nature and specifically designed to suppress our worst impulses. In this context, Judeo-Christian ideas have a specific value. The family as a core building block of the culture has a specific value. Constitutional governance has a specific value. They are not necessarily interchangeable with Islam, with alternative family arrangements, or with statism. Thus, a call to protect faith, family, and limited government is a call to protect the culture that has birthed freedom at home and abroad.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I guess Comey had to let Clinton off. After all, he did the same thing.

    So who watches the watchers?


    “Comey insisted in his testimony he believed his personal memos were unclassified, though he hinted one or two documents he created might have been contained classified information.

    “I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership,” he testified about the one memo he later leaked about former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

    He added, “My view was that the content of those unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”

    But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents.

    While the Comey memos have been previously reported, this is the first time there has been a number connected to the amount of the memos the ex-FBI chief wrote.

    Four of the memos had markings making clear they contained information classified at the “secret” or “confidential” level, according to officials directly familiar with the matter.”

    “FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property.

    “Unauthorized disclosure, misuse, or negligent handling of information contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI or which I may acquire as an employee of the FBI could impair national security, place human life in jeopardy, result in the denial of due process, prevent the FBI from effectively discharging its responsibilities, or violate federal law,” states the agreement all FBI agents sign.

    It adds that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”

    Comey indicated in his testimony the memos were in his possession when he left the bureau, leaving him in a position to leak one of them through his lawyer friend to the media. But he testified that he has since turned them over to Robert Mueller, a former FBI chief and now spearheading the investigation about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Ricky. Still grasping at straws. I see it’s gotten so bad you’re breathlessly quoting the NYT and believing anything they publish now, as long as it’s anti-Trump. Seek help, this is just another big, fat, nothing burger from The NY Times.


    “The news was delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars:

    “President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

    To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: So what? A third response is unprintable.

    Just as the “Russian collusion” fantasy — a resentful smear cooked up in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s stunning defeat last fall — was finally fading from the fever swamps of the “resistance” and its media mouthpieces, along comes the Times with a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.

    They first reported that Trump Jr., along with Paul Manafort (then the campaign manager) and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer “linked to” the Kremlin, back in June, shortly after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. The second claimed she’d promised dirt on Clinton and the Democrats in order to entice Trump Jr. and the others.

    According to the younger Trump, the Clinton angle was just a ruse: “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he told the Times.

    The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human rights violations. In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

    And that’s what all the fuss is about? No campaign in its right mind would turn down an offer of information on their opponent. That is what opposition research is all about. You can bet Hillary wouldn’t have hung up on the person who claimed to have dirt on The Donald. After all, the Clinton campaign lobbied the comedian Tom Arnold two days before the election to release potentially embarrassing footage from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” Arnold declined.

    But in the end, the lawyer had nothing, gave nothing, got nothing in return, in a meeting that lasted 20 minutes. This is a scandal?”

    Only to those desperately seeking to justify their behavior. They desperately need validation, for their own piece of mind.


  6. And the Trump team weren’t the only ones drawn into this by FUSION. They were behind the effort to widely disseminate the false info. McCain and other Republican’s also fell for their shenanigans. Don’t forget, it was McCain who sent a team to retrieve the debunked “Russia Dossier” to use as opo research.



    “A new dossier making salacious claims against President-elect Donald Trump was published online by BuzzFeed on Tuesday — even though the site’s editor admits he has “serious reason to doubt the allegations” in it.

    The documents — compiled before the election by a former British intelligence agent at the behest of a group of anti-Trump Republicans — purport to detail sordid links between Trump and Russian agents.”


  7. Here’s some good news.


    “Then the legal maneuvering started in earnest. Bergdahl asked Obama for a pardon and got nothing. Then his defense team started throwing stuff against the wall in hopes some of it would stick. They claimed unlawful command influence because candidate Donald Trump had called Bergdahl a traitor at least 65 different times. This gambit has been denied for the simple reason that the “unlawful command influence” has a specific meaning.

    Another hearing was held in June before a military judge to decide if the charges were supported by the record or if they should be modified. Bergdahl’s team was really aiming to have the “misbehavior before the enemy” charge reduced or dropped altogether. If Bergdahl is tried on the misbehavior charge, whether or not he’s convicted of it, the evidence given to support that charge will ensure a court martial panel returns a really stiff sentence for desertion.

    Last week, the military judge overseeing the trial rendered two adverse decisions. First, he decided that Bergdahl will stand trial on all charges. Most damaging, though, was his decision that if Bergdahl is convicted that the jury would be allowed to hear about the injuries suffered by an Navy SEAL and an Army NCO while specifically searching for Bergdahl.

    Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier.

    The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn’t have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his sentencing if he’s convicted of misbehavior before the enemy at trial in October.
    I suspect we are heading for a guilty plea and Bergdahl taking his chances with a military judge. Any court-martial panel Bergdahl draws will be composed of officers with combat tours. Bergdahl can demand that a third of his jury be composed of noncommissioned officers senior in rank to him–but he’d have to have a profoundly incompetent defense team for them to think that senior NCOs are going to be very sympathetic to his case.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is getting more interesting.


    “A federal investigation into a land deal led by Jane Sanders, the wife and political adviser of Sen. Bernie Sanders, has accelerated in recent months — with prosecutors hauling off more than a dozen boxes of records from the Vermont college she once ran and calling a state official to testify before a grand jury, according to interviews and documents.

    A half-dozen people said in interviews in recent days that they had been contacted by the FBI or federal prosecutors, and former college trustees told The Washington Post that lawyers representing Jane Sanders had interviewed them to learn what potential witnesses might tell the government.

    The investigation centers on the 2010 land purchase that relocated Burlington College to a new campus on more than 32 acres along Lake Champlain. While lining up a $6.7 million loan and additional financing, Sanders told college trustees and lenders that the college had commitments for millions of dollars in donations that could be used to repay the loan, according to former trustees and state officials.

    Trustees said they later discovered that many of the donors had not agreed to the amounts or timing of the donations listed on documents Jane Sanders provided to a state bonding agency and a bank. That led to her resignation in 2011 amid complaints from some trustees that she had provided inaccurate information, former college officials said.

    The land deal, the officials said, became a financial albatross for the 160-student school, contributing to its closure last year.

    The questions from government investigators, as described by those who were interviewed or received subpoenas for documents, suggest the investigation is focused on Jane Sanders and alleged bank fraud, and not on her husband. But the inquiry could nonetheless create a political liability for the senator, who was a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and is the progressive movement’s most popular leader. “


  9. Question for those who may know:

    Saw a thing on Facebook that says that many of us are against single-payer healthcare because of the astronomical hospital & medical bills we have had or seen. It points out, rightly, that those procedures don’t really cost as much as they are billed for. But then it goes on to say that under a single-payer system, we’d only be paying the actual (smaller) cost.

    My initial thought is that this is naive, that costs go up when the government pays. Then I wondered – Do Medicaid & Medicare pay the same full costs that insurance companies are billed? (I know that self-payers often have up to 40% cut off their bills.)


  10. “Then I wondered – Do Medicaid & Medicare pay the same full costs that insurance companies are billed? (I know that self-payers often have up to 40% cut off their bills.)”

    No they do not pay the same. That’s why doctors dislike the govt insurances. They pay about 80% of what private insurance pays, and for some procedures, far less than that.


    Wonder why some doctors grumble when a Medicare patient walks in the door? It’s likely because the government program typically pays only 80% of what private insurers do.
    Medicare has the bad rap of being a big, bloated government program, but it’s not because it’s overpaying doctors.
    CNNMoney analyzed the “allowed charges” for five common procedures, using data provided the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Truven Health Analytics, a research firm.
    The differences can be stark. Private insurers allow an average of $1,226 for low-back disc surgery, while Medicare will only permit $654, for instance.
    And the gap can grow wider depending on where the patient is. In New York, insurers allow $1,352 for a gall bladder removal, compared to $580 for Medicare.
    Some services are more comparable. For office visits by established patients, for instance, Medicare will allow 92% of what insurers do.
    Overall, Medicare’s allowed charges are roughly 80% of the charges allowed by private insurers – about the same as they have been since 1999.”

    More here.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Last night I compared Trump and the Trumpkins to Inspector Clouseau. Brit Hume compared the Trumpkins to The Keystone Cops.

    As I said at 7:21 this morning: “more dumb than criminal”.


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