Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Handel wins handily, Democrats 0 for 5, pollsters wrong again

By Dr. Rich Swier


In an article titled Heavily Funded Democrat Falls Short as Georgia House Seat Stays Republican The Daily Signal’s Rachel del Guidice reports:
Republican Karen Handel soundly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s closely watched, historically expensive race for the congressional seat once held by GOP superstar Newt Gingrich.
Handel, 55, a businesswoman who was Georgia’s secretary of state, had 127,021 votes or 53 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Ossoff, 30, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide who does not live in the House district, had 114,390 votes or 47 percent.
Polls had the race going down to the wire.
Additionally, conservative businessman Ralph Norman (R-SC) defeated liberal Archie Parnell (D-SC) in the special election for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th district.
There are four takeaway points from these five races:
1.   Trump and his make America great again agenda is a winner for Republicans.
2.   Money is no longer king when it comes to winning elections (see 1 above).
3.   The political pollsters still can’t get it right when it comes to predicting election outcomes (see 1 above).
4.   The Democrat Party is in big trouble and needs to rethink what it is doing at the local level. They are out of touch and out of office (see 1 above).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why Should We Trust Mueller?

By Kurt Schlichter


What really stinks is that Robert Mueller may very well be as squared away as people say he is, and it doesn’t matter. The guy is a Purple Heart, Bronze Star Marine, and not a soldier-trashing fraud like John Kerry either. He’s served his country and may be trying to do it again in the context of a fake scandal that has degenerated from “Trump made a pact with Putin BECAUSE TREASON!” to “Trump almost made Comey cry BECAUSE OBSTRUCTION!”

All that’s left of Felonia von Pantsuit’s original lie, created to ease the searing pain of her utter rejection, is the establishment’s wishcasting that Trump somehow obstructed an investigation of nothing.
Regardless, I don’t want to be cynical, though bitter experience compels it. I hope Mueller is as honest as people keep saying he is. I hope he has the integrity people keep telling me he has. I hope that not everyone who has ever held a position of responsibility within the Beltway is an establishment agenda-driven hack trying to squelch Trump and the voices of all those peons who voted for him.
But hope isn’t enough.
The establishment is praising Mueller up and down. They tell me he’s honest. They tell me he’s incorruptible. But they also told me Jim Comey was a towering paragon of virtue instead of a towering pile of Harry Reid.
Everything else the establishment tells us is a lie, so why not this? How has the establishment earned our trust on Mueller when it has lied to our faces for decades?
The establishment demands our trust, so it bears the burden of proving this isn’t just another scam.
What, exactly, is the evidence that the fix is not already in, that no matter what, Robert Mueller isn’t going to come out with some bunch of nonsense and innuendo that will give the impeachment-addict Democrats and the puff-boy Republicans, who don’t really want to drain the swamp they prosper in, the green light to go along with the soft coup the establishment’s been dreaming of?
Why should we believe this isn’t rigged? Because people in D.C. promise us that “Hey, this guy is honest?”
I guess we’re supposed to think “Yeah, well this time they’ve got to be telling us the truth. They’re totally due.”
But here’s the problem – we now have lots of new facts that change the original picture of our esteemed special counsel.
Yes, as the Democrat steno pool that is the media has pointed out as we got woke to what’s happening, a lot of conservatives (including me) were initially satisfied with Mueller when he was appointed to investigate the Trump/Russia connection that everyone now admits doesn’t exist.
But then came some troubling revelations which – whoa! – made us re-evaluate our prior understanding. So we – brace yourselves! – changed our minds in the face of new evidence.
Let’s look at all of the evidence.
Mueller seems like a good guy. War hero. No scandals as FBI director. Not a known scumbag or skeevy perv. In Washington terms, the last one alone puts him miles ahead of the competition.
But now we find out that he’s Leaky Jim Comey’s bestest buddy there ever was. These guys are pals, and now Mueller is going to investigate the dude who fired his amigo? Does that seem cool to you?
If the HR Department at work is investigating you, do they pick as the lead investigator the guy you go drink Budweiser with?
Sure they do, unless Chet the Unicorn is free, because the only thing more unlikely than picking a key player in the investigation’s friend to do it is picking a damn unicorn to do it.
So, Jim Comey – whose hurt feelings seem to be the only thing left of this Schumer-show of a scandal – is the key guy in the pseudo-scandal, and he’s got a motive to shaft the president, yet his friend is investigating it and somehow that’s supposed to be A-OK?
Didn’t Comey admit that he leaked info after getting fired in order to get a special counsel appointed?
And didn’t Comey say he’s been meeting with Mueller and they’ve been chatting it up secretly? Did Mueller read him his rights? Why not?
Sounds super above-board.
And Comey says Mueller is awesome. So do the Democrats.
I’m feeling pretty confident this isn’t rigged.
What do you think, Chet the Unicorn?
What’s that, Chet?
You have your doubts?
Bad, wicked, cynical unicorn, listening to fake news!
Oh, and it gets better.
My intrepid fellow Townhall columnist and friend Derek Hunter dug up the fact that Mueller did exactly the same thing as Trump is accused of doing with regard to the Waco massacre. Of course, in the case, such as it is, of Flynn, no one barbecued any children.
Hey, if someone accuses me of a bogus non-crime (because what Honest Jim says Trump did is not remotely a crime), can Derek investigate me? If not, why not?
But let’s put aside that the pal of a potential perjurer is heading the investigation of something he himself did.
Let’s look closer.
Hey, who’s helping Mueller out?
I bet it’s another bunch of pros with no agenda we can put our confidence in because elite insiders are incorruptible.
Well, Mueller’s hiring some folks and their donation histories are on that helpful Federal Election Commission web site.
Now guess what they are.
Go ahead. Guess.
Well, luckily there’s so little partisanship these days that this makes no difference, say the people who support their party.
After all, these are public servants of impeccable integrity and stuff who won’t let party get in the way of blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Let me offer you a complete list of non-conservatives who have stood up against this fascist witch hunt and the Deliverance-esque canoe trip that liberals are taking with the concept of justice:
Alan Dershowitz. Jonathan Turley.
That is all.
Hmmm.
Nope, neither one of them is on the Mueller Team.
What’s up with that?
But hey, I’m sure that a president who has made a point of attacking the establishment will get a fair shake from a special counsel who is as establishment as establishment comes and who is a close friend of the main accuser and who heads a team that is composed entirely of establishment Democrat donors.
Seems legit.
Well, D.C. legit.
Mueller needs to resign – that’s what a guy with unimpeachable integrity does when he realizes his personal relationships give the appearance of impropriety.
It’s also what someone who conforms to the applicable regulation does.
That regulation is 28 CFR 45.2, and it says that Justice Department employees cannot participate in a “criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with …Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution.”
I hope this is merely the appearance of impropriety, though that is enough to trigger the regulation, and that this isn’t just another Deep State scam designed to subjugate forever the half of the country that, in desperation, sent Donald Trump to Washington to try and break the establishment’s death grip on power. Because if this is a scam, we’re going to know it, and if they try to cancel out our votes what follows is going to make my recent novel’s dystopian vision of America torn apart look like Happy Bunny Meets Fluffy Puppy at the Hugging Factory.
Mueller’s simply got to go, because there’s simply no way they can satisfactorily answer the question, “Why should we trust Robert Mueller?”
I don’t know him. You probably don’t know him. All we know is he was a heroic Marine, which is a plus, and which is frankly my only source of hope that he’s not just another loathsome establishment tapeworm.
But he is also a Washington insider, one who just happens to be besties with the guy his crew of freaking Democrat donors would be fitting for an orange jumpsuit if this wasn’t just another establishment okey doke.
Worst of all, the media hacks and politicians tell us we have to trust him. That’s pretty close to case closed right there.
Here’s the conundrum. If Mueller is honest, he quits because of his massive conflict of interest, and we lose an honest investigator. And if he doesn’t quit, we know the fix is in.

Trump's Tweet Is Right: The Obstruction Of Justice Story Is Phony



Op-Ed
June 20, 2017

Let’s Not Get Carried Away
By David Brooks
 
I was the op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal at the peak of the Whitewater scandal. We ran a series of investigative pieces “raising serious questions” (as we say in the scandal business) about the nefarious things the Clintons were thought to have done back in Arkansas.
Now I confess I couldn’t follow all the actual allegations made in those essays. They were six jungles deep in the weeds. But I do remember the intense atmosphere that the scandal created. A series of bombshell revelations came out in the media, which seemed monumental at the time. A special prosecutor was appointed and indictments were expected. Speculation became the national sport.
In retrospect Whitewater seems overblown. And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington.
But as the Trump-Russia story has evolved, it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians. Everything seems to be leaking out of this administration, but so far the leaks about actual collusion are meager
...
In the politics of scandal, at least since Watergate, you don’t have to engage in persuasion or even talk about issues. Political victories are won when you destroy your political opponents by catching them in some wrongdoing. You get seduced by the delightful possibility that your opponent will be eliminated. Politics is simply about moral superiority and personal destruction.
The politics of scandal is delightful for cable news. It’s hard to build ratings arguing about health insurance legislation. But it’s easy to build ratings if you are a glorified Court TV, if each whiff of scandal smoke generates hours of “Breaking News” intensity and a deluge of speculation from good-looking former prosecutors.
The politics is great for those forces responsible for the lawyerization of American life. It takes power out of the hands of voters and elected officials and puts power in the hands of prosecutors and defense attorneys.
The politics of scandal drives a wedge through society. Political elites get swept up in the scandals. Most voters don’t really care.
On June 15 [Trump] tweeted, “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story.”
Unless there is some new revelation, that may turn out to be pretty accurate commentary.
To read more, click here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why Obama’s presidency didn’t lead to black progress

By Jason Riley


Since the 1960s, black leaders have placed a heavy emphasis on gaining political power, and Barack Obama’s presidency represented the apex of those efforts. The assumption — rarely challenged — is that black political clout must come before black social and economic advancement. But as JASON L. RILEY argues in this excerpt from his new book, “False Black Power” (Templeton Press), political success has not been a major factor in the rise of racial and ethnic groups from poverty to prosperity.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was followed by large increases in black elected officials. In the Deep South, black officeholders grew from 100 in 1964 to 4,300 in 1978. By the early 1980s, major US cities with large black populations, such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, had elected black mayors. Between 1970 and 2010, the number of black elected officials nationwide increased from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.
Yet the socioeconomic progress that was supposed to follow in the wake of these political gains never materialized. During an era of growing black political influence, blacks as a group progressed at a slower rate than whites, and the black poor actually lost ground.

In a 1991 book, social scientist Gary Orfield and his co-author, journalist Carole Ashkinaze, assessed the progress of blacks in the 1970s and ’80s following the sharp increase in black officeholders. The thinking, then and now, was that the problems of the cities “were basically the result of the racism of white officials and that many could be solved by black mayors, school superintendents, policemen and teachers who were displacing white ones.” The expectation, they added, “was that black political and education leaders would be able to make large moves toward racial equity simply by devising policies and practices reflecting their understanding of the background and needs of black people.”

But the integration of these institutions proved to be insufficient. “Many blacks have reached positions of local power, such as mayor, county commission chairman or superintendent of schools, positions undreamed of 30 years ago,” they wrote. Their findings, however, showed that “these achievements do not necessarily produce success for blacks as a whole.” The empirical evidence, they said, “indicates that there may be little relationship between the success of local black leaders and the opportunities of typical black families.”
When Michael Brown was shot dead after assaulting a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, a large fuss was made over the racial composition of the police department and city leaders, which supposedly explained the subsequent civil unrest.
A Justice Department report responding to the incident noted that although the city’s population was 67 percent black, just four of its 54 police officers fit that description.
“While a diverse police department does not guarantee a constitutional one, it is nonetheless critically important for law-enforcement agencies, and the Ferguson Police Department in particular, to strive for broad diversity among officers and civilian staff,” said Justice.
But if racial diversity among law enforcement and city officials is so “critically important,” what explains the rioting in Baltimore the following year after a black suspect there died in police custody?
At the time, 63 percent of Baltimore’s residents and 40 percent of its police officers were black. The Baltimore police commissioner also was black, along with the mayor and a majority of the city council.
Contentious relations between the police and ghetto communities are driven mainly by high crime rates in those areas, something that the political left doesn’t like to acknowledge.
 
The sharp rise in violent crime in our inner cities coincides with the increase of black leaders in many of those very same cities, which makes it hard to argue that racist or indifferent authorities are to blame.
What can be said of Baltimore is also true of Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans and Washington, where black mayors and police chiefs and city councilmen and school superintendents have held sway for decades.
In her 1995 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream,” political scientist Jennifer Hochschild examined data from the late-1950s to the early-1990s — an era that covers not only growing black political clout but also the implementation of the War on Poverty and two full decades of affirmative-action policies in hiring and college admissions.
Hochschild reported that between 1959 and 1992, poverty fell from 55 percent to 33 percent for blacks and from 18 percent to 12 percent for whites, which means that the “ratio of black to white poverty has remained at 3 — hardly a victory in the war on racially disproportionate poverty.”
The absolute numbers, she added, “tell the same story: there are now about 4 million fewer poor whites than 30 years ago, but 686,000 more poor blacks.”
‘Germans, Jews, Italians and Asians saw economic gains precede political gains in America.’
Moreover, low-income blacks lost ground to low-income whites over the same period. Between 1967 and 1992, incomes for the poorest fifth of blacks declined at more than double the rate of comparable whites.
This history should have served to temper expectations for the first black president. Without taking away anything from Barack Obama’s historic accomplishment, or the country’s widespread sense of pride in the racial progress that his election symbolized, the reality is that there was little reason to believe that a black president was the answer to racial inequities or the problems of the black poor.
The proliferation of black politicians in recent decades — which now includes a twice-elected black president — has done little to narrow racial gaps in employment, income, homeownership, academic achievement and other areas.
Most groups in America and elsewhere who have risen economically have done so with little or no political influence, and groups that have enjoyed early political success have tended to rise more slowly.
“Group cohesion, expressed in political pressure and bloc voting, is often regarded as axiomatically the most effective method of promoting group progress,” explains the economist Thomas Sowell.
But historically, “the relationship between political success and economic success has been more nearly inverse than direct.”  Germans, Jews, Italians and Asians are among those who saw economic gains precede political gains in America.
Similarly, the ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, the English in Argentina and Jews in Britain, among many other examples, all prospered economically while mostly shunning politics.
A counterexample is the Irish, whose rise from poverty was especially slow even though Irish-run political organizations in places like Boston and Philadelphia dominated local government. The Irish had more political success than any other ethnic group historically, according to Sowell. “Yet the Irish were the slowest rising of all European immigrants to America. The wealth and power of a relatively few Irish political bosses had little impact on the progress of masses of Irish Americans.”
Even if a group has the ability to wield political influence, they don’t always choose to do so.
German immigrants to the US in colonial times were not lacking in numbers. In Pennsylvania they were one-third of the population, a situation that was not lost on non-Germans. “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shorty become so numerous as to Germanize us instead of us Anglifying them?” wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1751.
Nevertheless, Germans, many of whom arrived as indentured servants and focused initially on paying off the cost of their voyage, had other priorities and were well known for avoiding politics. Germans began entering politics only after they had already risen economically.
Viewed against this history, many blacks were expecting Obama’s presidency to deliver more prosperity than political clout tends to deliver for a group — in the US or anywhere else.
The black experience in America is of course different from the Irish experience, which in turn is different from the Chinese or German or Jewish experience. Indeed, we can’t even generalize about all blacks in the US, since the experience of black natives is different from the experience of black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. But that doesn’t mean group cultural traits that show patterns of success or failure should be ignored.
Even if we can’t make perfect apples-to-apples comparisons, it doesn’t mean we can’t make any comparisons or draw any conclusions. Many different racial and ethnic minority groups have experienced various degrees of hardship in the US and in other countries all over the world. How those groups have dealt with those circumstances is something to study closely and draw lessons from going forward — even if the only lesson is to manage expectations.
One of the clear lessons from this history is that human capital has proven to be far more important than political capital in getting ahead. And that reality helps to explain why blacks fared the way they did not only in the Obama era but also in the preceding decades.
Obama’s election was the end product of a civil-rights strategy that prioritized political power to advance blacks, and eight years later we once again learned the limitations of that strategy.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pence, Rubio praise POTUS on Cuba




In their speeches, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio praised the Trump administration’s commitment to freedom for the Cuban people.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Since the hour of our nation's birth, the United States has stood for the proposition that all are created equal. That we're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As Americans, we believe these rights belong to the entire human family. But, for 58 years, the people of Cuba have labored under a repressive regime that has stifled their liberty, and with it, their future.

For generations the sons and daughters of Cuba have come to our shores in search of the freedom that their friends and family at home are denied. But, while you came to the land of the free, you never forgot home.

You raised your voices through the generations to demand that Cuba be free once more, and once again you have a president who hears you and is with you. 

Today President Donald Trump will make it clear that America is with you.
That America stands with the persecuted, the oppressed and the exploited in Cuba.
That this nation stands not with tyrants, but today President Donald Trump will make it clear that the United States of America stands with the courageous men and women of Cuba who seek to reclaim their God-given rights to life and liberty.
Today under the leadership of President Donald Trump, America will say once again, with one voice, “que Viva Cuba Libre. Cuba sí, Castro no.”
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Six weeks ago in the oval office, the President of the United States, gathered with members of his Cabinet, made a very clear decision.

We are going to do whatever it takes to empower the Cuban people so that they can be free and live in a democracy and have economic and political liberties that they deserve, like everyone else in this hemisphere deserves, and he has not faltered in that commitment.

The cooperation, the hard work, the commitment that this White House and that President Trump has shown to this cause I believe has no precedent, certainly in the modern history of this great cause.
 

 
Whether it's in six months or six years, Cuba will be free.
And when it is - and when it is, I believe that the people on the island and history will say that perhaps the key moment in that transition began on this day, here in this theater, with each of you, and with a president that was willing to do what needed to be done so that freedom and liberty returns to the enslaved island of Cuba.

 Compiled by the Republican National Committee

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Obstruct This

 

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz — count ’em — report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller “is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice[.]” The Post adds:

Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

 
The investigation into nonexistent collusion by the Trump campaign with Russian intelligence has thus taken a early turn to obstruction of the investigation into the nonexistent collusion.
The leaks are suggestive of the powerful forces contending against President Trump within the government.
The suspense here is not exactly killing. We can all see where this is going. We all know how this goes. We have a sickening sense of deja vu.
A Marxist might see the repetition this time as farce. A Leninist might ask, what is to be done?

Intel Community Leaders Agree: No Obstruction Occurred

 
To believe that obstruction of justice occurred requires you to ignore the testimony of former FBI Director Comey himself, as well as that of several current and former members of the intelligence community.

Last week, Director Comey confirmed multiple times that neither President Trump nor his staff asked him to stop the Russia investigation.
 
Watch Here 

SEN. RICHARD BURR: Director Comey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI Investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: Not to my knowledge, no.
BURR: Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russia investigation?
COMEY: No.
In May, Director Comey testified that he had never been asked to halt an investigation for political reasons.
 
Watch Here

 SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO (D-Hawaii): “So if the Attorney General or senior officials at the Department of Justice opposes a specific investigation, can they halt that FBI investigation?”
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: “In theory, yes.”
HIRONO: “Has it happened?”
COMEY: “Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something that — without an appropriate purpose. I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that we don’t see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it. But I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It’s not happened in my experience.”
On May 11th, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe gave testimony that bolstered Comey’s statements, in which he said “there has been no effort to impede our investigation.”
 
Watch Here 

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations?”

ACTING FBI DIRECTOR MCCABE: “As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution.”
And on May 23rd, former CIA Director John Brennan testified that no members of the intelligence community shared any concerns with him about President Trump making any effort to impede any investigation.
 
Watch Here 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: “I want today follow up on a comment I made in the opening statement and that is with respect to a number of the allegations that have been made recently that the president or his aides may have sought to enlist the help of members of the IC or Director Comey himself to drop the Flynn investigation. Have any members of the IC shared with you their concerns that the president was attempting to enlist the help of people within the intelligence community to drop the Flynn investigation?”
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN: “No, sir.”
REP. SCHIFF: “Are you aware of any efforts the president has made to enlist the support of intelligence community personnel to push back a narrative involving the collusion issue Mr. Rooney was asking about?”
BRENNAN: “I am unaware of it.”
On June 7th, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers testified that he never felt pressured to do anything inappropriate.
 
Watch Here

ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: "In the three plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. And to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so."
DNI Director Dan Coats echoed Rogers testimony, saying he also never felt pressure in any way.
 
Watch Here 

DIRECTOR DAN COATS:  "And then secondly, when I was asked yesterday to respond to a piece that I was told was going to be written and printed in the 'The Washington Post' this morning, my response to that was in my time of service, which is interacting with the President of the United States or anybody in his administration, I have never been pressured. I've never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship with the ongoing investigation."
Complied by the Republican National Committee