Facing Down the T00b, II

Face the Nation was all about the Comey testimony Sunday.

I didn’t get to watch Sunday’s episode. Thank goodness for a written transcript.

When all is said and done, Mr. Comey went on record with what Mr. Trump had said all along: Mr. Comey admitted that he told Trump he’s not under investigation. Mr. Comey conceded that the nine one-on-one encounters with Mr. Trump were “uncomfortable, but not impactful.” Mr. Comey also made it very clear several times that Mr. Trump never asked him to stop the Russia investigation. Period. And Mr. Comey acknowledged that Mr. Trump only once said, “I wish you would let this go” about the Flynn investigation.

The investigations continued unimpeded. The conversations were no doubt unusual and likely inappropriate to a politician used to dealing in nuance and undertone and spin and politics as usual but not illegal. As I recall, the current President was elected to run Politics as Usual right out of town.

And how are the Democrats responding?

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told John Dickerson, “The cloud hanging over this administration has just gotten a whole lot darker.”

Uh huh.

Sen. Lindsey “Is this Watergate or Peyton Place” Graham (R-SC) actually talked pretty straight when on Face the Nation he told Donald Trump, “you may be the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you.”

And Mr. Graham had the line of the week:

Donald Trump “can’t [even] collude with his own government. Why do you think he is colluding with the Russians?”


Speaking of Mr. Schumer, he surely loves spin. “To have this issue, which affects a sixth of our economy, tens of millions of people’s coverage — millions would lose coverage, lose preexisting conditions, hurting the elderly, hurting women, to do this in private, without hearings, without amendments, it would be one of the most outrageous examples of legislative malpractice in decades.”

Taz, SpinningI guess he doesn’t remember “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it…”

I guess he doesn’t remember that the House passed the original Obamacare bill on November 7, 2009, on a 220-215 vote. Nobody knew what was in that bill. I guess he doesn’t remember that he and 59 other Senators rushed to pass a similar, although not identical Obamacare bill on Christmas Eve 2009 in a 60-39 vote. Nobody knew what was in that bill, either. I guess he doesn’t remember that when Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special election, it left Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama in a dilemma. They had to have the House pass the Senate bill before Mr. Brown was sworn in because he would upset the Democrat’s supermajority. The House did that and Mr. Obama signed the Un-American Care Act, a law that was passed with not one Republican vote, two days later on March 23.


This turns out to be a story not of “he said, he said,” but of who can spin faster. Mr. Schumer may be ahead on points in a contest only a Tasmanian devil should want to win.

CBS News contributor Ed O’Keefe has it figured out. “Every week there’s probably going to be something like this, some public forum where it gets raised again and attention is put on it. Committee rooms and closed door meetings will be the centers of the drama on The Hill in the next few weeks.” Or months. Or years.

Congress is supposed to be building a budget, changing ObamaDon’tCare into actual health care, punishing Iran and Russia, passing the odd law or two, paying off the National Debt, and all its other duties but instead it chooses to pretend that political oneupsmanship is more important than statesmanship.

Margaret Chase Smith was the junior Senator from Maine in 1950 when she delivered a fifteen-minute speech known as the “Declaration of Conscience” on the Senate floor. She denounced “the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle.” She said McCarthyism had “debased” the Senate to “the level of a forum of hate and character assassination.”

I think she must have seen Face the Nation on Sunday because she was really talking about Congress today.

 

ID10ts

Today is the deadline for the DOJ to turn over any evidence of wiretap activity at Trump Tower or of the Trump campaign.

CNN reports that Congress has pressed the Department of Justice to “provide any documents … that the Obama administration wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower during the campaign.

The House Intelligence Committee has set a Monday deadline for the DOJ to provide the evidence, a source familiar with the matter has told CNN, and has sent letters throughout the intelligence community this week to obtain records related to Russia.”

Most of us expect the answer to be “We found no evidence of legal wiretaps.”

Well, duh.

Why on this green Earth does anyone — inside the Beltway or out — think illegal wiretaps would have been done legally?

If NSA or Central Intelligence or the Plumber’s Union did break the law to surveil the campaign, there is absolutely no good reason they would obey the law to get a FISA (or any other) warrant.

Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides
 

The Legacy

Today is Barack Obama’s final day as President.

Politicians like Mr. Obama have get out front to talk about their legacy because they fear more than anything else that even their True Believers might hear the truth. On his last full day as President, here’s the truth. It is a Legacy of Failure.

The Legacy of Shame
• Aleppo. Benghazi. China. Iran. Iraq. Israel. NATO. Russia …
• Mr. Obama drew the line in the sand to Bashar al-Assad over his use of chemical weapons, then ran away. He spoke forcefully to Vladimir Putin, then ran away. He spoke harshly to Iraq in 2011, then ran away (that precipitated the rise of ISIS).
• Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Mr. Obama will someday look back on his Syria policy “with deep sorrow and some shame.”


The Legacy of Broken Dreams
• “We [don’t have] an energy policy in this country that makes sense,” Mr. Obama said in remarks on the American Jobs Act in 2011. There is still no coherent energy policy. Sadly, the coherent energy policy is to bankrupt any energy producer not on the “friends” list. FAIL.
• The cost of college has increased faster than the rate of inflation. FAIL.
• China devalued their currency to make their goods cheaper and our goods more expensive. The Obama China policy was never to challenge them. FAIL.
• Health care policies have failed to lower health costs. FAIL.
• In 2008, Mr. Obama claimed his investments in green energy would create 5 million new jobs. FAIL.

The Legacy of Bankruptcy
• In 2008, Mr. Obama said that adding $4 trillion to the national debt was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”
• On Jan. 20, 2009, the debt held by the public was roughly $6.307 trillion. Intragovernmental Holdings added 4.32 trillion bringing the total national debt to $10.63 trillion on the day of Mr. Obama’s own inauguration. The national debt stands today at 19,961,179,000,000 (>||< close to TWENTY TRILLION DOLLARS) and counting.

The Legacy of Ill Health
• About 9.1% of people in the U.S., or around 28.6 million, were uninsured in 2015.
• “If you’ve got health insurance, we’re going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2500 per family per year.” The average family premium increased by $3,065 from $12,680 in 2008 to $18,142 this year, a 43% increase.
• U.S. health care spending grew 5.8% in 2015 alone, reaching $9,990 per person. Health spending accounted for 17.8% of the Gross Domestic Product. It is now $10,384 per person.

The Legacy of Joblessness
• 86,591,000 men and women, young and old, either don’t have, don’t want, or can’t do a job. The Obama administration does not count them as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey.

The Legacy of Lies
• “We will pursue the housing plan I’m outlining today. And through this plan, we will help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can afford-avoid foreclosure.” Uh huh.
• “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” Okey dokey. (Obamacare alone is a legacy of deception unlike any previous government program.)
• “I cut spending by over a trillion dollars in 2011,” Mr. Obama said in 2012 on Meet the Press. Right. (Spending actually increased by $147 billion in that period.)
• “As president, I will work to solve this energy crisis once and for all.” How’d that work out for us?

The Legacy of Overreach
• The Environmental Protection Agency is the poster child for Administration overreach. The Supreme Court had to smack down the EPA over and over again including the EPA’s first limits on coal-fired power plant emissions, Sackett v. EPA, and more.
• EPA head Gina McCarthy was not concerned about the power plant emissions ruling. The regs went into effect “three years ago,” she said. “Most of [the plants] are already in compliance, investments have been made.”
• The EPA would send armed agents to incarcerate landowners for a spill similar to the Animas River in Colorado but now won’t pay $1.2 billion for the damages it itself caused.
• Now, the EPA has madly pushed through new regulations, not because they think they will work, but to create a mass that Mr. Trump’s EPA will have to correct, allowing the Far Green to decry a “rollback.”
• The EPA is not alone. In 2011, after Boeing had hired 1,000 new employees to work at its new factory in South Carolina, the Obama administration ordered the company to shut down the factory, because the factory was non-union.
• Armed SWAT agents raid the Gibson guitar factory, ordered the employees to leave, and seized guitars and other property from the factory, all without warrants or charges filed. It was later revealed that Gibson had not broken any laws.

The Legacy of Poverty
• In 2009, 42.9 million people had income below the poverty line. That was 14.3% of the U.S. population. The official poverty rate is now 14.5%. That means 45.3 million people in poverty, up by over 8 million since 2008.

The Legacy of Terror
• In December, Mr. Obama told us that “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.” Uh huh.
• He called the 2009 Christmas Day bomber an “isolated extremist.”
• The Fort Hood shooter who shouted “Allahu Akbar as he pulled the trigger” committed “workplace violence.”
• He called the 2013 Boston marathon bombing a “vicious attack” and directed the full resources of the government to Boston to find the source of that “terrorist act.”
No terrorist attacks?

The Legacy of Theft
• Mr. Obama stole General Motors from its stockholders — the government took a 60.8% ownership of the company and fired its CEO — then delivered ownership of the company to reward his voting block.

The Legacy of Wimps
• Even NBC’s Meet the Press questioned his manhood.


The Wrap Up
Mr. Obama brought a legacy of inadequacy and fear to America but he didn’t do it alone. There are still about 2,700,000 Executive branch civilians, 535 Congress critters, and about 65,000 people working for Congress in place and ready to keep on keeping on.

Mr. Trump has promised a clean sweep would start tomorrow but he has a lot to overcome.

 

Big Hack Attack

The Electoral College convenes in every state today, the last Monday before the start of Winter.

A friend found this meme:

“I’m outraged at the lack of outrage, especially on my side.” former Rep. Joe Walsh said on CNN. “I get that the country’s divided, but my God, a foreign government interfered with our election. That should piss everybody off!” Mr. Walsh is a talk radio host from Illinois who served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

If a foreign government hacked our election, that’s an Act of War and I will indeed be outraged.

If the Obama Administration is making up the hack, that’s a Criminal Act and I will indeed be outraged at that.

Here’s all we know for sure so far:

• Ms. Clinton and the DNC conspired to commit election fraud and I am already outraged over that.
• The DNC leaks have been thoroughly dismissed the Obama Administration, by the DNC, by most pundits on the Left, and about half of social media. “It’s been non-news for months. I don’t understand the continual flogging of that dead horse,” one friend said. That’s outrageous.
• The Department of Homeland Security tried to hack Georgia‘s voter data computers. CA, CO, CT, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OR, RI, VA, VT, WA, and DC allowed DHS in without a hack attack (note that I’ve been unable to confirm that list). This is only a little outrageous, right?
• There is a sudden “consensus” among intelligence agencies that the Russians committed election fraud (but that Ms. Clinton did not). And no one has seen the proof. Outrageous.
• The president has ordered the Office of National Intelligence to conduct a review of the Russian interference. The Director of National Intelligence said Friday that they conveniently could not brief the Electoral College because of the review. Another outrage.

Apparently the Administration thinks election fraud by a foreign government is not actually an Act of War. (“I told him to stop it,” Mr. Obama claims he told Mr. Putin in the strongest possible terms.) That is outrageous, as well.


There’s more to this story.

Democrats committed enough election fraud to get Ms. Clinton nominated but couldn’t pull off enough to get her elected. I cited the Daily Kos because it is a fake news source that Democrats quote wholeheartedly.

Pressure on members of the electoral college to select someone other than Donald Trump has grown dramatically in the weeks since the election. (If this all sounds too too familiar, recall that Democratic operative Bob Beckel plotted to kidnap Bush 43’s electors to push the election into Congress. Mr. Gore himself tried to flip “faithless” electors.)

Now they have a “new” program they hope we don’t recognize.

Can o' Industrial WhoopassUnlike Republicans who questioned Mr. Obama’s credentials and fitness to serve as president in 2008 and 2012, the “Just Say No” Democrats have used the hack attack to try to “turn” half the Electoral College.

It’s time for something actually new.

I agree with the Democrats but they don’t go far enough. It’s time to open up that can o’ whoop ass. It’s time to rend both parties asunder. It’s time for the Electors to buck the parties and go rogue.

Democrats want the Electoral College to subvert the democratic process and pick an “acceptable” candidate? I agree. They should cast all 538 votes for Ellen Kullman, or Ryan Lance, or Alan Mulally, or David S. Taylor for President and they should cast 538 more for politician and businessman Jon Huntsman for V.P.

 

How to Lose an Argument with the Left

The Water is Rising
Let us not forget: South Florida, like New Orleans, is a swamp.

In Uber Tides, I made the point that the Man-Did-This Community would assert that Anthropogenic Global Warming caused the high tides we experienced last week, not the spring tide conjoined with a Supermoon.

Here’s an example.

Dissenter: But of course rising sea levels wouldn’t have anything to do with a super high, high tide I’m sure.
Me: It would be good to actually read the piece and the comments before quoting your mantra.
See, I live right in the middle of where I have to worry about my pedicure in this unusually high tide. Want to tell me how much the rising sea levels have raised the water at my sea wall? I want an actual number. Did actual mean sea level rise an inch or a foot? Did it rise a tenth of an inch or ten feet? Actual sea level, not the height of the tide.
Dissenter: You know, if you bothered to read something other than what suits your prejudice, you’d know that the coastal communities in many parts of Florida are busy raising the level of the streets because storm surge is a lot higher than it used to be. The ocean isn’t a bath tub.
Me: Data please. How much has the mean sea level risen? An inch or a foot? Did it rise a tenth of an inch or ten feet? Actual sea level, not the height of the tide, not the amount of storm surge.
Dissenter: sad…you can’t figure out this is the same thing….I’m not your librarian, go find out for yourself. You don’t want to know. You’ve already got your gospel.

Braaaaap. Typical wrong answer.

Calvin ArguingSee, folks making this kind of argument make an assertion. They refuse to back it up with data. They blame the other guy for not being willing to do their homework.

That’s not the way to play. If you claim rising sea levels partly cause a super high tide, you must have data on rising sea levels, right? You do have the data, right?

OK, I guess not.

It shouldn’t be hard to find, particularly for a scientist. But all I have ever seen from the general AGW argument is “the sea is rising.” I have never seen anyone say “the sea in the Florida Keys has risen by x inches since 1991.”

I do have some interesting data from climate.gov but finding a definitive measurement of sea level value has escaped me.

That seems odd. I can tell you with certainty that Lake Champlain is exactly 94.18 feet and a chilly 47 degrees as measured at the USGS gage in Burlington Harbor. I can tell you with certainty that Lake Okeechobee‘s current lake level is 14.98 feet. And I can tell you with certainty that searching for “Atlantic Ocean Water Level at Miami” or “Florida Straits Ocean Water Level at Marathon” or any of a number of other terms turns up 4-500,000 results warning of Tidal Flooding and Sea Level Rise but not one single actual data point for the current average sea level at Sombrero Key (Hawk Channel), or Miami Beach, or any other coastal location.

I can only posit that the AGW alarmists are afraid to publish the data because it would contradict their story line. Because it wouldn’t sell newspapers. Because it wouldn’t fund government grants.

And that’s how you win an argument today: make up a crisis and then tell the other guys to prove you’re wrong.

Show me the numbers. Until then, let us not forget; South Florida, like New Orleans, is a swamp. Storm surge, high tides, and other weather events will continue to inundate the land we humans kind of stupidly live on.


Rug Chewing and Other Epithets
In another recent discussion, I mentioned that I did not like it when “a right wing rug chewer” called me a “baby killer” back in the 90s (I’m pro-choice) and that I don’t like being called a “racist” or worse by the anti-Trumpers today.

The first, very first answer? “Rug chewer? Really? No… you’re not a racist. You’re just an as***le.”

No discussion of why the lefty loons love to play the race card for anyone who might (might) vote against Mr. Obama or vote for Mr. Trump. Just an epithet.

Gekko discussed slang, cant, idiom, argot, code words, and the like, the special words that people use to make it explicitly tough for outsiders to understand.

That first answer deliberately took a non-traditional meaning of one phrase to twist the discussion away from the Left consistently playing the race card.

And that’s how you win an argument today: make up a politically correct disparagement and divert all attention from the facts so no one notices how wrong you were.


Invoking Hitler
“Who is posting this crap?” a friend asked. She had found page after page of Obama-and-Hitler-similarities.com links.

Good question.

She had asked after I made the point that there are still a lot of “Trump is Hitler” comparisons floating around from my uber-Left friends and commented that one official corollary to Godwin’s Law is that, once the Nazis are invoked, whoever played the Hitler card has fallen straight into horse puckey and lost.

Friend: “Where do you see this plethora of Hitler? What media do you base this on. Please give references.”
That is the way to run a discussion. I had made a claim. My friend not only hadn’t seen what I referred to, she didn’t really believe it.
Me: “Where? Facebook. Here’s an example from today; there were plenty more before the election.” [link omitted; it’s easily found in this thread]
Friend:, referred to a NYTimes article about Protests of Mr. Trump’s Election: “Read it–very little unruliness. No Hitler references, but I see some parallels on my own…”
Me: “It’s interesting that the ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ NYTimes is so often the ‘All the News That Fits Our Politics’ NYTimes. I found the references to arrests and violence in the Wall Street Journal.
“And, no. You won’t find the Hitler references in the Mainstream Media unless they happen to appear on protester posters. It is very much a social media phenom. In fact, Godwin’s Law specifically refers to Internet discussions (it was formulated back in newgroup/BBS days).”
Friend:Please send links so I can make my own assessment.” [Emphasis added]
Me: “Search on ‘trump compared to hitler on social media’ no quotes. Lotsa cites. [That search turns up about 1,130,000 results in 0.74 seconds, including stories from NPR, the Washington Post, and even the oh-so-politically-conservative Newsbusters.]
“And just read the rest of this thread if you want to see the Hitlerian examples up close and personal.”

Perfect. I had made a claim. My friend wanted me to back up my claim. I did. She looked for other examples. We both learned stuff. The whole discussion could have ended right there.

The thread got away from us, though, as my uber-Left friends

• Blamed the messenger (“are you trying troll liberals, because you think we’ve never heard of Godwin’s rule?”)
• Suggested that “Godwin’s Law does not apply if they really are Nazis.”
• Called me names for bringing it up (no, I’m not going to repeat that part).
• Claimed that no one ever made the comparison.
• Claimed “it was nonsense against Obama” but isn’t when used against Trump. (“The comparisons are too blatant to miss.”)
• And used the perfect counterclaim that “I know a Nazi when i see one.”

One of the great dissents in the thread was, “Well. It *did* start out with several misrepresentations. First, it implied that people on the ‘uber left’ are comparing Trump to Hitler. Not true. People in the middle are making that comparison.”

And that’s how you win an argument on the Left today: make up a diversion or make up some facts or blame the messenger. If you noticed, nowhere in that discussion did anyone actually refute the fact that my uber-Left friends still make a lot of “Trump is Hitler” comparisons.

And all we can do is shake our heads.


I hate hate hate fighting these same alligators over and over again when all I came to do was drain the darned swamp.