19 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-29-18

  1. I guess Dems win either way.

    Either they take the seat, or one of their Never-Trump allies does. Win/win for Dems, not so much for R’s and the rest of the country.

    They’re seeking to replace one Never-Trump Flake with another.


    “Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona could play a key role in preventing a Democratic takeover of the Senate in November.

    The former Air Force fighter pilot is leading in the polls (and in fundraising) against her two GOP primary opponents in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, whose sustained criticism of the president made his reelection likely impossible.

    But McSally has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from prominent Never Trumpers and has a long history of criticizing the president, whom she refused to endorse in 2016.

    Even as she has embraced Trump and moved right on key policy issues — most notably immigration— since announcing her candidacy, the sources of McSally’s campaign cash reflect the complicated nature of this purple state battle.

    Billionaire investor and top GOP donor Paul Singer has long promoted McSally, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into her campaigns through his investment firm and political groups, including Winning for Women.

    Singer — an aggressive anti-Trumper— was also behind funding for Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the salacious dossier concerning alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online news outlet funded by Singer, paid the firm to dig up dirt on multiple candidates, including Trump, during the 2016 primary elections.

    But Singer, who once warned that Trump’s election would provoke a “widespread global depression,” has changed his tune since Trump’s election, donating $1 million to the president’s inauguration and making amends with Trump at the White House.”


  2. Community organizers running the country?

    We tried that once. No thanks.


    “Dozens of former Obama administration officials are running for office this year, largely in opposition to President Trump and his policies, NBC News reported Sunday.

    At least 64 former Obama staffers are running for federal, state or local office this year, according to the network, which cited numbers obtained from the Obama Alumni Association.

    The group said it expects that number to rise as more Obama alums contact it about their bids. Some states also have yet to hold primaries, giving more former staffers the chance to announce campaigns.”


  3. More good news for Trump and the US economy, because, well….. it’s the economy, stupid


    “The U.S. has trumped Hong Kong to retake first place among the world’s most competitive economies, thanks to faster economic growth and deregulation that is promoting innovation.

    The Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center, which conducted the analysis, had Singapore, the Netherlands, and Switzerland rounding out the top 5 spots.

    Hong Kong, scoring first in categories for government and business efficiency, held an edge over regional rival Singapore, which kept its No. 3 spot from 2017. Rounding out the top five were the Netherlands, which jumped one spot, and Switzerland, which tumbled three slots as it endures a slowdown in exports and concerns about its potential relocation of research and development facilities.

    The U.S., which reclaimed the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2015, scored especially well in international investment, domestic economy and scientific infrastructure sub-categories while earning below-average marks in public finance and prices.

    The renewed top ranking aligns with the positive U.S. growth narrative over the past year. Growth averaged 2.9 percent in the four quarters through March, versus 2 percent in the prior period.”


  4. Only stupid and amoral people think it is only about the economy. However, that strategy saved Bill Clinton and Americans sure haven’t become smarter or more moral in the last 20 years.


  5. Debra, The lunatic seems now to be starting a new myth that might call the validity of our bet into question. Let’s see if the cult starts to blindly repeat this new theory.


  6. I don’t really see the problem. I get why the press doesn’t like, they can’t have Christians in positions of power and influence, it’s bad for the liberal agenda.

    I also couldn’t help but note that this is who Trump has allied and surrounded himself with, while the supposedly morally pure Never-Trumpers have turned to the anti-God party for allies. Very telling.


    “Lawyers who espouse a conservative Christian agenda have found plenty of opportunities in Texas, suing on behalf of Bible-quoting cheerleaders and defending a third-grader who wanted to hand out Christmas cards that read in part “Jesus is the Christ!”

    But for the First Liberty law firm, the last few years have been especially rewarding: Their attorneys have moved into powerful taxpayer-funded jobs at the Texas attorney general’s office and advised President Donald Trump, who nominated a current and a former First Liberty lawyer to lifetime appointments on federal courts. Another attorney went to the Department of Health and Human Services as a senior adviser on religious freedom.

    It’s a remarkable rise for a modest-sized law firm near Dallas with 46 employees, and it mirrors the climb of similar firms that have quietly shifted from trying to influence government to becoming part of it. The ascent of the firms has helped propel a wave of anti-LGBT legislation and so-called religious-freedom laws in statehouses nationwide.

    “First Liberty just struck gold with a Republican president and the Texas attorney general. It’s pretty incredible and definitely unusual,” said Daniel Bennett, a professor at John Brown University in Arkansas and author of a book on the conservative Christian legal movement.

    Since 2015, First Liberty and a conservative Christian law firm, the Alliance Defending Freedom, have moved prominent lawyers to top jobs in attorney general’s offices in Texas and elsewhere. In the process, they have shifted from outsiders suing government to insiders pushing religious-freedom issues. Their influence is widening under the Trump administration as it attempts to deliver on his pledges to evangelicals and other religious supporters.

    Their work includes a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple and another case involving a rural Texas high school whose cheerleaders were prohibited from writing inspirational Bible verses on banners during games.

    The organizations have also drafted bills introduced by Republicans in state legislatures. The proposals include a bill to allow government clerks who object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds to deny marriage licenses.

    It’s not unusual for legal nonprofits to lose key staff to attorney general’s offices. California’s Democratic attorney general, Xavier Becerra, has former ACLU attorneys among his top leadership. And outside groups often work with lawmakers to shape agendas or draft bills. But few have expanded their footprint in recent years like First Liberty.”

    More here…….



  7. DJ, The ‘Evangelical Paul Revere’? That could go wrong in so many ways, but at least it’s a ministry and not a church with denominational leadership responsibilities. I wish him well….


  8. Sing it with me now…..

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Watergate…….


    “The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

    In both cases, the incumbent administration regarded the opposition’s unorthodox nominee as undermining the nation’s long-standing foreign policy and therefore dangerous to the country. McGovern renounced the Democrats’ traditional Cold War policy. Trump expressed skepticism about George W. Bush and Obama administration policies on NATO, Mexico, Iran and (forgetting Barack Obama’s ridicule of Mitt Romney on the subject) Russia.

    The incumbents’ qualms had some rational basis. But their attempts at surveillance were misbegotten. Back in 1972, my brief experience in campaigns left me skeptical that you could learn anything useful by wiretapping the opposition. If you were reasonably smart, you should be able to figure out what a reasonably smart opposition would do and respond accordingly. Subsequent experience has confirmed that view. It’s a different story if you face irrational opposition. It’s hard to figure out what stupid people are going to do.

    Similarly, it’s hard to figure out what the Obama law enforcement and intelligence folks had to gain by spying. Candidate Trump’s bizarre refusals to criticize Vladimir Putin and Russia were already a political liability, criticized aptly and often by Hillary Clinton and mainstream media.

    But neither the Obama informant/spy nor Robert Mueller’s investigation has presented additional evidence of Trump collusion with Russia. None of Mueller’s indictments points in that direction, and Trump’s foreign policy over 16 months has been far less favorable to Russia than Obama’s.

    Both the Watergate wiretap and the Obama appointees’ investigator/spy infiltration were initially inspired amid fears that the upstart opposition might win. The Watergate burglary was planned when Nixon’s re-election was far from assured. A May 1972 Harris Poll showed him with only 48 percent against McGovern. It was only after the Haiphong harbor bombing and Moscow summit in early June made clear that US involvement in Vietnam was ending that Nixon’s numbers surged — just before the June 17 burglary.”


  9. Someone should ask Mueller and Comey this question……..


    “The Obama administration blatantly politicized the government’s intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus.”

    “‘Isn’t it a fact that you’re a scumbag?”

    Our contretemps over the nomenclature of government informants has me unable to shake this arresting moment from my memory. In Manhattan, about 30 years ago, I was among the spectators basking in the majesty of Foley Square’s federal courthouse when we were suddenly jarred by this, shall we say, rhetorical question. The sniper was a mob lawyer in a big RICO case; the target was the prosecution’s main witness, the informant.

    Until this week, I’d always thought the most noteworthy thing about this obnoxious bit of theater was the reaction of the judge, a very fine, very wry trial lawyer in his own right.

    The prosecutors, of course, screamed, “Objection!”

    The judge calmly shrugged his shoulders and ruled: “He can answer if he knows.”

    Did he know? I don’t remember. I was laughing too hard to hear any response.

    The court’s deadpan was not just hilarious. In its way, it was trenchant.

    The judge was not insouciant. He was a realist. The witness had done what covert informants do: He pretended to be someone he wasn’t, he wheedled his way into the trust — in some instances, into the affections — of people suspected of wrongdoing. And then he betrayed them. But that’s the job: to pry away secrets — get the bad actors to admit what they did, how they did it, and with whom they did it, until the agents and prosecutors decide there is enough evidence to convict the lot of them.

    The judge understood that. For all the melodrama, whether the informant was a hero or a villain hinged on how one felt not about him but about the worthiness of the investigation.

    And just as the mob lawyer served his case, the government lawyers served theirs, portraying the informant as noble — or at least as noble as you can be when your job is to deceive people into confessing things they shouldn’t.

    Alas, whether we’re talking about criminal investigations or intelligence operations, the search for truth is a study in contrasting hyperbole and euphemism.

    In the courtroom, the prosecutors are referred to as “the government,” but they swell with pride — I know I did — at any opportunity to tell you they actually represent “the People of the United States of America.” The defense can have its vaunted presumption of innocence; the unstated presumption in a criminal trial is that the prosecutor is the guy in the white hat. He’s the earnest public servant, just trying to show what really happened — he’s not there to sow doubt, to trick you like those sharks over at the defense table. And if, by reputation and manner, he manages to convince the judge and the jury of his probity and competence, the prosecutor gets to set the narrative.

    The ability to set the narrative is the biggest advantage in any public controversy. And prosecutors are not alone in exploiting it. It is the métier of government officials. As progressivism has magnified the administrative state, the self-image of federal bureaucrats has become technocratic altruism: Let us explain what’s going on; after all, we’re just selflessly looking out for you, calling agenda-free balls and strikes. Think of Barack Obama, dyed-in-the-wool leftist, insisting he’s just a pragmatic, non-ideological problem-solver.

    Is this bureaucracy “the deep state”? That’s an exaggeration — try, say, China or Turkey if you want to see what a real deep state looks like. Nevertheless, our modern form of government does make technocrats a force to be reckoned with, and they abide supervision and oversight only by other progressives. When a constitutionalist has the temerity to observe that technocrats are subordinate to executive political leadership and must answer to the legislature that created and funds their agencies, they brood about their “independence.” In their minds, they are an unaccountable fourth branch of government — at least until their fellow non-ideological pragmatists return to power.”


  10. Sure sounds like perjury to me.


    “The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is accusing Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson of giving “extremely misleading” statements, if not telling “outright lies,” during Senate testimony in 2017.

    Simpson may have lied when he denied working for clients to investigate President Donald Trump after the 2016 election, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a May 24 letter made public on Tuesday.

    Fusion GPS, which Simpson started in 2011, worked for the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Trump’s possible ties to Russia. The opposition research firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele, who would go on to write a dossier alleging Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

    Grassley noted that in his Aug. 22, 2017, testimony, Simpson claimed after the election, he was not working for a client to continue his Trump work.

    “So you didn’t do any work on the Trump matter after the election date; that was the end of your work?” Simpson was asked during the interview.

    Simpson responded, saying: “I had no client after the election.”

    Grassley said Simpson’s denial was false.

    “As we now know, that was extremely misleading, if not an outright lie,” the Republican wrote to his fellow Judiciary Committee member, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.

    “Contrary to Mr. Simpson’s denial in the staff interview, according to the FBI and others, Fusion actually did continue Trump dossier work for a new client after the election,” Grassley said.”

    Time for Sessions to get off his butt and do his job, for a change.


  11. Whatever their public pitch may be, this is the argument the Democrats will be making this fall to educated independents. The Republicans can make a counter-argument about regulatory reform and judicial appointments, but they need for Trump to catch a 5 month case of laryngitis and break his Twitter finger.


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