You Can’t Complain About Liberal Media Bias Again, Ever

Without fail, every day I post about the Russian government’s propaganda campaign to influence voters, I am told:

“There’s no evidence of a single changed vote.”

When I clarify I never claimed a vote was physically altered, they counter:

“There’s no proof of a single voter changing their vote because of it.”

If propaganda and misleading information have no effect on voters, then all political campaigns, dishonest advertising, and even the “liberal media bias” has no effect whatsoever, on anyone. This also means that logically-speaking, all campaign finance laws are moot, since they needlessly try to avoid something that has no effect on voters.

Right?

The featured photo above is beyond ironic, in that case.

So, don’t ever complain about bias again, ever. If you do, I’m going to ask you:

“Is there evidence of a single changed vote?”

When you object to the question, I’m going to clarify:

“There’s no proof of a single voter changing their vote because of ‘fake news.'”

If this is true, what are you worried about then?

But Trump Hires The Best People

Either he’s powerful, or he’s gullible. Either he’s a great manager, or a bad one. He cannot be both.

For what it’s worth, Trump doesn’t appear to regret his hiring choices, but his cult base seems to think he’s being played.

Yet, if he hires the best people, why did he lose Michael Flynn, one of his closest aides and National Security Advisor? Reince Preibus? Ryan “Puerto Rico Lineman” Zinke, Tom Price, Steve Bannon… and Paul Manafort, or Rick Gates? And what the heck happened with Scaramucci?

The list of those he’s hired, then had to fire is no longer just a chyron of cable news, it’s an actual list.

Today, the President told the world that the Mueller indictments announced this morning are for crimes from “years ago,” and says Manafort’s role in the campaign was a small one.

This is simply untrue. No one likes the word “lie,” but call it what you want: the indictment includes crimes committed last summer, during the campaign, and Manafort’s role was a large one. He was hired March 29 to run the campaign. In every way.

Here’s what Trump said at the time:

“Paul [Manafort] is a great asset and an important addition as we consolidate the tremendous support we have received in the primaries and caucuses, garnering millions more votes than any other candidate. Paul Manafort, and the team I am building, bring the needed skill sets to ensure that the will of the Republican voters, not the Washington political establishment, determines who will be the nominee for the Republican Party. I look forward to winning the nomination, and ultimately the presidency in order to Make America Great Again.”

And here’s what I said at the time:

“The man doesn’t hide that he plays the card tables across the globe. His digital rolodex swerves the topographical surface of earth from French presidential candidates and African rebel force commanders to Ukrainian oligarchs and American senators. He doesn’t just rub shoulders with dictators and arms dealers, or lobby on behalf of Saudi princes, he runs PR for their organizations – when he’s not fraternizing with them. Think: OLIVIA POPE WITH A BLACK HAT – the Lord of War, and masseuse of criminal legacies. This is the master of Donald trump’s machine today.”

Manafort’s greatest asset was to network the world’s most powerful with the world’s most degraded, and to run PR and campaigns for them. But somehow it was overlooked that his resume’s crown jewel was to elect a pro-Putin Ukrainian president through questionable means. Or, perhaps that’s why he was hired. First, as campaign chairman, then, as manager when he pushed Corey Lewandowski aside to take over the entire campaign a month later.

At this exact moment, trump was teasing the Russians to hack servers on national TV. Donald, Jr., Kushner and Manafort were meeting with Russians about “adoption.” A now-dead GOP operative was communicating with Wikileaks about finding Hillary’s emails. And Roger Stone (Manafort’s longtime business partner and friend) was messaging Guccifer 2.0 about the Wikileaks dump that month. This isn’t “liberal fake news.” It’s on FoxNews. It’s not denied.

The only Russia-connected hires he still has on board are Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Rosneft/Exxon oil field) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Bank of Cyprus). Both of which stand to earn billions among their small circles if sanctions are lifted in the Arctic.

Yeah, it’s all coincidence. And it’s not Trump’s responsibility that he hired all these “great people.” Nah. This is all Hillary.

 

Trump Admin Not Enforcing Russia Sanctions Passed by Congress

The Trump administration is not implementing the sanctions passed almost unanimously by Congress in July, and the leaders of the Senate Armed Services committee are not happy about it.

The bill, passed in the wake of proven Russian meddling in our election last year, was signed under strong opposition from the President. Sens John McCain and Ben Cardin sent a letter to the President 12 days after the deadline, urging him to follow through on identifying which entities were going to be sanctioned. That was 13 days ago. The president is now four weeks overdue on this providing this list, and is not responding to requests for an explanation of the delay.

The sanctions go much further than the ones ordered last December in response to initial awareness of Russia’s meddling, primarily because of the detail of that meddling that became public during GOP-led investigations into the election.

The bill outlined for sanction entities that:

  • undermine US cybersecurity on behalf of the Russia government
  • invest certain amounts in Russia’s energy export pipelines
  • conduct “significant” transactions with Russian defense and intelligence agencies (though this will come into effect six months from now)
  • commit, or assist in, serious human rights abuses
  • commit acts of “significant” corruption
  • provide support to the Syrian government to acquire arms
  • invest, or facilitate the investment of, $10 million or more in the Russian government’s privatization of any state-owned asset in a one-year period that could unfairly benefit government officials or their associates.

The sanctions went further to detail a dozen types of sanctions which should be imposed upon such entities, once identified, including the revoking US visas, restricting exports and freezing money or property.

 

 

 

“NevertRump” is SO 2016 – I’m Just a Conservative

It never fails… one word of opposition in a political group, I’m labeled. If I bear a tone of negativity during a discussion about the (current) president, epithets flow. And the most egregious: if I share a link from an actual news organization, I’m branded a “sheeple.”

How ironic.

For the last 18 months, a scarlet hashtag of political exile has become my Château d’If; I am called “nevertrump,” as though I’m a gentile in a land of puritans.

But seriously, the election was nearly a year ago. The height of the #NevertRump movement was last summer, and frankly, it’s SO 2016 – find a new line.

Give me a hyphenated label if you wish, or call me the opposition. But still, I’m just me: a conservative.

And so are millions of others. Including those who held their nose, closed their eyes, tore off their nametags and quietly voted for the most evil of two lessers last November. We are all STILL conservatives,  even if we criticize the president. And refusing to tow the line and “respect the president” after eight years of unified oppugnancy does not make us the polar opposite of our lifelong convictions. We aren’t “liberals” because we speak up for the same principles we once stood for on capitol lawns and in town halls across the country.

I called Obama – scratch that – YOU called Obama “arrogant,” a “liar,” “authoritarian,” and “secretive.” Now, each of those things are ok, because… “GORSUCH!”

How far we’ve come from the simplicity of the original Tea Party Movement. Now, being a consistent conservative is tantamount to being a Democrat. I’ve been called a traitor, and I bet you have too. Some days, it’s easier to be conservative at Berkeley than in a group of trumpublicans.

I have always been a conservative because of the beliefs that fall under its umbrella: small government, personal responsibility, federalism, republican representation, a moral society.

It was never defined by a single man, nor a single party. It wasn’t prescribed by my single mother as she raised me (she’s more moderate than I am), nor did my friends impress their philosophy upon me (I spent my formative years in Portland, OR). I am a conservative because it is my conviction. Therefore, why must I redefine it because of something less significant? He’s just a man.

Whether Donald Trump finishes four years, is impeached after the midterms or resigns sooner (please?), he will one day disappear.  Perhaps some other equally divisive figure will arise, but generally, such populists only come around every 40 or 50 years.

But conservatism is timeless. The principles that this nation were founded on are at least 400 years old. They will never go away,  because human nature is to progress, and conservatism works.

If my intellectual consistency, which occasionally pits me against even fellow conservatives in debate, gives you heartburn, that’s ok. It’s making it a personal attack and rhetorical fistfight that bores me. I get along more with my liberal friends at times because there are no pretenses. We debate methods more than results, and can usually move onto funny movie references or sports talk while “Tea Parties United” folks are still wishing for Senator McCain’s early death or screaming about procedural terms they never knew about before 2014, like “cloture.”

 

I understand that some of my conservative brethren made a decision to quietly support Trump against Hillary a year ago, even though I thought it was the wrong choice. Millions of us could not do so. But, saying I have an obligation to support this president after years of opposing a liberal one is ridiculous. I haven’t changed. While Trump was still a registered Democrat, donating to Harry Reid, Kamala Harris, and Chuck Schumer, and declaring Democrats as better stewards of the economy, I was the same as I am now: a constitutional conservative.

And I will be in every election forward.

I’m not #NevertRump anymore. That was then. I’m #NeverDishonest with myself. Im consistent. I’m a conservative.  The question should be, after all this, are you?

Hillary Clinton: “Creep” Trump Made My Skin Crawl




‘This is not ok,’ I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him bragging about groping women. Now, we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.

“It was one of those moments you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on, as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’ I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder though whether if I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have over-learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”

It’s been 10 months since the most shocking election in recent modern history, and Hillary Clinton is saying now what she wanted to say then. We all knew she’d have something to say in the limelight of a wall-hitting political career, but this was a doozy.



On October 7, 2016, America was treated to the raw video of a man who thought he was alone with a buddy, joking about and admitting the sexual assault of women he came across. There was hardly a single person to be found defending it. Heck, even Reince Preibus quietly suggested Trump drop out of the race. But, two days later, Hillary Clinton faced him in the second of three presidential debates, making for some of the best made-for-tv political drama in history. Now, after almost a year in relative exile, she’s speaking out about the campaign, and she’s holding nothing back. Perhaps she realizes she has nothing left to lose. Literally, nothing.

70,000+ votes in three pivotal, traditional blue states sent Hillary Clinton packing after an election she felt entitled to win. Everything had been lined up, and Donald Trump was arguably the most obnoxious, offensive and unrestrained candidate to ever run for president. But, the results went the opposite way, and now she’s working on explaining her own process, before and after the election. She must feel intense depression for having lost an election against someone like Trump. I mean, it takes an amazingly bad candidate to lose such a race. I suppose there will be those who want to hear her personal debrief, but I’m not one of them.

However, calling the president a “creep” may sell a few more books for her.

In a seven-month presidency that has been filled with Russian collusion investigations, crowd sizes, Muslim bans, staff “resignations,” failed repeal bills, more Russian investigations, saber-rattling with North Korea, profane speeches to Boy Scouts, more staff “resignations,” Nazi equivocation, riots, and more Russian investigations, Trump’s history with the other gender (yes, there are just two) has been a footnote. At least, so far. Now, it may come back to the surface, as the news constantly churns out new developments of a chaotic presidency.

Then again, why give him the headline? The adage “he who controls the microphone controls the conversation” means we’re facilitating his instability by covering it. But how can we not?

I don’t know… Maybe I’m just getting tired – because it’s not passivity – but I’m not sure I want to go that route again. We already know he’s a creep. We already know he’s the stereotype of spurned high school bullies. It’s clear that his defenders don’t care. I’m not interested in making them care anymore.

I suppose I am interested in cataloguing, and not forgetting every single abrasive, angry, hateful, childish, uncivil, obsessive trait this president shows. Someday, it may be needed for either a big election, or a big impeachment trial. So, I guess take note, file it away somewhere, and remember this election when the next one comes along.

Hopefully, America will do a better job than nominating the two worst candidates on the planet, and forcing us to choose which creep we want as president. Because for people like me, who voted for neither one, it brings no joy to watch America beat each other bloody and senseless (sometimes literally) over why they picked one liar over the other.

At least some of them will have their legal bills covered.

 

Reminder: Democrats Would Cancel Elections Too




Yesterday, I reported on a disturbing poll from the Washington Post that found that more than half of Republicans would be willing to postpone the 2020 election if Trump proposed it in order to make sure no non-citizens vote. The Constitution allows for no such act by the president and U.S. Code as passed by Congress has delegated such decisions to states, but what is most concerning is the trust that Republicans appear to have in a particular man, whether personally or for partisan reasons, rather than our constitutional system. It is the sort of trust in politicians and government uncharacteristic of Americans, and which could put freedom and limited government in jeopardy.

I say that it is uncharacteristic of Americans, but perhaps it isn’t anymore. The instinct to trust “our guy” over a system of the rule of law (not men), check and balances, separation of powers, federalism — in short, our Constitutional system — is present in dangerous doses on both sides of the aisle. Erick was right when he wrote about this bipartisan problem yesterday and pointed out that these headlines about polls like WaPo’s are all the rage now because “they focus on the Republicans right now because of Trump.” So let’s focus on Democrats who do the same.




A little over a year ago, the polling outfit WPA Research found that 67 percent of Democrats “would cancel the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump if it meant President Obama could serve another term,” as The Hill reported. Fascinating here was the dislike not only in Trump — predictable coming from Democrats — but the comparative dislike of Clinton compared with Obama.

The usual caveats about the reliability of this poll in terms of question ordering and wording should be mentioned; they apply to both this poll and the WaPo poll of which the shocking results from Republicans were reported. That said, let me pose two questions that I posed elsewhere in response to criticisms of the WaPo poll yesterday.

First, if you believe this poll is incorrect, how far off do you think the results are? Second, how far from the truth do the results need to be before you’re comfortable? If only 30 percent of Republicans would postpone an election because Trump said non-citizens would vote, would that not concern you? If only 40 percent of Democrats really favored canceling the 2016 elections and letting Barack Obama serve a third term, would it no longer be scary? Where do you think the number really is, and is it a number that makes you comfortable?

Now, it appears that Republicans have a better excuse for postponing an election — and they were asked about postponing it, not canceling it, as Democrats were in the WPA Research poll. Republican responses correlated with concerns over the number of non-citizens they believed had voted in past elections. The assumptions about the extent of vote fraud were based on wildly speculative survey results, the methodology of which, as I mentioned yesterday, has been thoroughly criticized and can’t hold up to common sense — but at least there was a reason.

That said, I’m willing to bet that the crossover between the Democrats who responded that they would cancel the 2016 election and give Obama a third term and the Democrats who think that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.” According to a YouGov poll, that’s 55 percent of Democrats, even though there is no evidence that hacking of vote tallies occurred. Democrats can come up with concerns about the validity of election results just like Republicans can, and they can be just as bad.

That said, the real reasons for these responses is probably tribalism. To understand what I’m getting at, here’s another test: if your reasoning for postponing an election or holding a do-over is that it is likely fraudulent — say because of non-citizens voting or because Russia hacked voting machines and changed votes — then you will be okay with doing so regardless of which party proposed it. Republicans: if Barack Obama had postponed the 2016 election because he said illegal immigrants were going to vote in large numbers, would you have supported him? Democrats: if Donald Trump said intelligence reports confirmed a risk that Russian hackers could change votes and postponed the 2020 election until the danger was dealt with, would you support him?

That’s what I thought.

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” North Korea’s bellicosity may be grabbing the headlines this week, but if the American system of government continues to lose priority in comparison with a preferred strongman, it would be just as destructive to the Republic, if not more completely. Perhaps before we call the next election the most important in our lifetime, just like the last four, we can recognize that our country does not rise or fall from a single election, but by the continued effort of its citizens to preserve it beyond Election Day. It is time to relearn the lessons of history and liberty.

Apparently Mayor Bill de Blasio Likes To Nap At Work




Is this some sort of new, 21st century office routine I’ve yet to hear about?

According to former aides, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes daily naps in his office.

The Democrat does not even show up to work on time to begin his sleep fest. After his morning exercise, the mayor arrives at City Hall an hour after the standard workday is supposed to begin and immediately goes to sleep on his couch.

“He would arrive at 10:00am after working out and then would be napping,” according to one ex-staffer.



de Blasio also seems to have no shame in the routine. His habit is “pretty widely known within the building.” He uses a newspaper to cover his face and block those pesky office lights from disturbing his slumber.

“He would tell his front-office staff: ‘Don’t bother me for the next 30, 45 minutes. I’m going to take a nap,’” a source told the New York Post.

Former staffers also complained about de Blasio’s sleeping habits affecting work flow. They said it became hard to get things done when their boss was constantly unconscious.

“We couldn’t plan our days that first year at City Hall. Regardless of what you think of [previous Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, that guy was professional. Now, we’ve got this incompetence,” the anonymous source mentioned.

de Blasio, leader of America’s largest city, has been guilty of sleeping during busy workdays for many years now. A staffer for his successful 2009 campaign for public advocate claims he would leave in the middle of the day to get shut eye – even as his team was working around the clock.

“Two o’clock, 3 o’clock would come around, and he would go home and take a nap,” the source stated.

News of the mayor’s sleeping routine has caught the eye of his political adversaries.

Sal Albanese, de Blasio’s Democratic opponent for the upcoming mayoral election, said revelations about his naps are proof that he is “lazy.”

Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis spotted de Blasio outside City Hall and offered him a Red Bull. Despite her insistence, the mayor declined the pick-me-up.

“I said, ‘Mayor, I got you a Red Bull to keep you up during the work day,’” Malliotakis explained.

“I’m just trying to help him out so he can stay awake during the day — and doesn’t even need those frequent naps,” she added.

 

Trump Tweets Against Obama Handling of Russia Hacking

Yesterday President Trump launched into tweetstorm against Barack Obama’s handling of Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 election. The twitter rant may have been a response to a weekend story in the Washington Post, an outlet that the president called “fake news” in a tweet today, that detailed Barack Obama’s lackluster handling of cyberattacks that were well-known long before the election.

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win,” President Trump tweeted on Monday. “And did not want to ‘rock the boat.’ He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good,” the president continued in a second tweet.

“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!” Trump’s third and fourth tweets said.

In a final tweet on the subject, Trump cited a Fox News story, saying, “From @FoxNews “Bombshell: In 2016, Obama dismissed idea that anyone could rig an American election.”  Check out his statement – Witch Hunt!” Trump did not provide a link to the story, but a Fox News clip on YouTube does show then-President Obama saying precisely what Trump said he did.

The Trump tweets signal an important shift in Trump’s position on the Russian cyberattacks. From the earliest reports of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, Trump has denied reports of Russian involvement. Two months after the election and after being presented with evidence by intelligence officials, Trump released a statement on January 6 that blamed “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people” for the hacking. Since then, Trump has backtracked, calling the “Russia story” a “hoax” and “fake news” on numerous occasions. Now, as information emerges that is damaging to Barack Obama, President Trump changes his tune.

President Trump is on the mark with this series of tweets. While there is so far no evidence that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to throw the election, the scandal of Russian cyberattacks has become more frightening as details emerge about the extent of the Russian hacking which very nearly compromised voting machine software and voter databases. President Obama’s fecklessness in the face of the cyberattack on the core of American democracy is a major part of the story.

Although much of the blame for the response to the attack lies with the Obama Administration, the Trump Administration carries a share of the blame as well. Trump’s denials of Russian meddling in the election have undoubtedly emboldened the Putin regime, which has also attacked elections in European countries. Russian hacking in Ukraine has taken an even more ominous turn where banks and electric companies have been targeted. Russian hacking has been responsible for blackouts in the Ukraine in apparent test runs for malware that is to be used elsewhere.

The Trump Administration response to Russia’s cyberattacks has not been encouraging. While Congress is attempting to pass a new bill imposing sanctions on Russian citizens and organizations tied to cyberattacks and hacking, but there are reports that the Trump Administration is working against the bill. The silence on the hacking from the Trump Administration has been deafening. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has said, “I do not see any indication that Mr. Putin would want a positive relationship with us,” is an exception.

While Trump is correct that there is no evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he is also correct in his admission that there is ample evidence that Russia meddled with American elections in an unprecedented way and that President Obama bungled the response.

The Russian cyberattacks demand a response and American electoral systems, power grids and financial institutions need to be protected from future attacks. The responsibility for a response and protection from future attacks falls on Mr. Trump’s shoulders.