Talk of a "blue wave"
If November is going to bring a “blue wave” of voters clamoring for the Democrats to take over again and bring back the good old days of high taxes, slow growth and working three part time jobs to afford a gallon of gas, then Tuesday’s elections didn’t show many signs of it.
The left’s greatest symbolic hopes for a return to national power are still teetering on a too-close-to-call 12th district congressional race in Ohio (and just stop and think for a moment what that says about how far the Party’s fortunes have fallen.) After a ridiculous amount of national jawboning and outside campaign donations, at this writing, Republican Troy Balderson is leading Democrat Danny O’Connor by 1754 votes (50.2%-49.3%) with about 3300 provisional and absentee ballots still to count.
The bad news for Republicans: this seat has been Republican for nearly 35 years and should have been safe, which shows that Republicans had better turn out and vote in November if they want to keep their majorities. The bad news for Democrats: even with all that money, publicity, celebrity endorsements and media help on his side, even if O’Connor manages to pull out a win, it will be by half a drop, not a wave. And he’s a candidate who promised not to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, which is hardly representative of the hard-left candidates the Party is saddled with elsewhere.
Some other tea leaves, if you want to read anything into them: in the statewide races in Kansas and Missouri, the kind of non-solid blue states where the Democrats need to score wins, Republican turnout was substantially larger than Democratic turnout. And every candidate endorsed by socialist media sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lost or is on track to lose, showing that the brave, new socialist “wave of the future” is embraced by, at most, only about one-third of the most engaged Democratic voters.
At this writing, the only candidate endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders who is even within grasp of winning is Kansas Congressional candidate Brent Welder, and he’s trailing Sharice Davids by about a point with 30% of precincts yet to be counted. He’s only that high because the vote was split six ways, and if the trend of “progressive” support holds, he’ll probably end up with about the same one-third of the vote in a run-off election.
Welder ran on the usual “progressive” platform of “Medicare for All” (estimated cost over 30 years, according to a new Manhattan Institute study: $218 trillion) and the kind of big hike in the minimum wage that’s putting restaurants out of business and young people out of work wherever it’s imposed.
I think it’s foolish to draw any conclusions about the general election from the primaries, but if I were forced to, I’d say Democrats do seem charged up to take back Congress, but Republicans are charged up to stop them. If Republicans avoid getting complacent, I don’t expect Democrats to surf to victory on a giant blue wave.
Also, the claim that “Democratic” socialism is rising in popularity with Mid-American working class voters reminds me of those stories that roll around every few years, assuring us that the next big trend in men’s fashion will be skirts for dudes. Just as there will always be some men who wear dresses, but it’s a rare few, the number of Americans who embrace socialism seems stuck on the same one-sixth or so of the population that will always vote for anybody who promises them enough free stuff.
Another “unsettling sign” that’s worrying Democrats is that they’re apparently sensing that calling Trump a racist who hates immigrants might not be scaring Hispanic and Latino voters as much as the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate in history is impressing them. And this trend must be pretty hard to deny if CNN is reporting it!
Getting your statistics wrong
“Democratic” socialist media darling Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez gets tons of fawning media coverage and puffball questions, but every time she opens her mouth on serious subjects, she gives the impression that her degree in economics came out of a Crackerjacks box. Her latest headscratcher came when she complained to an interviewer that the older Democrats in Congress don’t understand how appealing socialism is because they’re stuck in the ‘90s, “when we had more of an American middle class. This upper middle class is probably more moderate, but that upper middle class does not exist anymore in America.” I guess she thinks Americans are all either uber-rich or sleeping in their cars, and that’s only true in Silicon Valley.
At the link is a handy chart that I hope she will print out and carry around to prevent future such embarrassments. It shows the relative changes between the numbers of poor; lower, middle and upper middle class; and rich Americans from 1979 to 2014. The percentages of Americans who are poor, lower middle class or middle class all shrank, while the percentage of those who are rich increased slightly, and the percentage of those in the upper middle class grew by a whopping 16 percentage points, the biggest change in any income group.
If it helps, she can always claim that capitalism is wiping out the poor and middle class in America. Just don’t mention that it’s doing that by turning so many of them into the upper middle class. At least then, she’d be half-right about something.
Real "hope and change"
Here’s some real “hope and change”: Crowds are filling the streets in Iran, chanting “Death to the dictator,” but it’s not the kind of anti-American chanting we’ve heard from Iran for years. The dictators they want to get rid of are Iran’s President Rouhani and the mullahs. One chant translates to English as “Islamic regime must get lost!” This is in response to hardships suffered by the Iranian people due to President Trump reimposing sanctions that Obama lifted, with the intent of cutting off the Iranian leaders’ funding of terrorism and forcing them to negotiate a real deal to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
It should be mentioned that the protesters might also be emboldened by knowing that America now has a leader who will back them and stand up to the Islamic hardliners and not leave the people twisting in the wind, as happened the last time an uprising looked possible. The regime is now under pressure from all sides, and while the Trump Administration says they are just trying to make Iran change its ways, not its leaders, it would be a great day for the world at large and especially the Iranian people if the current government were finally banished to the ash heap of history.
And here are some comments on the situation in Iran from National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The anti-Trump show
I don’t really think it’s worthwhile to spend too much time talking about Monday's big Rosie O’Donnell-led, anti-Trump show tunes sing-in outside the White House -- especially since Trump didn’t even hear it because he was in New Jersey (thus creating the previously-unknown concept, “a great time to go to New Jersey.”) After all, Rosie and her Broadway pals have a perfect right to sing protest show tunes if they want, although it doesn’t seem like a very productive use of an adult’s time. Still, if you’re going to demand the public’s attention while you make crazy statements to the national media, whether while singing on street corners or ranting on CNN, you have to expect some comment on it (aside from, “Didn’t you promise to move to Canada if Trump won?”) So I thought I’d put mine in the form of a multiple choice quiz:
What is the craziest thing Rosie O’Donnell believes this week?
A. That Trump “swore his allegiance to Russia” in Helsinki, and his press conference was evidence of impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors.”
B. “The country has never been in worse shape than it is now.”
C. “The economy is doing good if you're a multi-billionaire. It's not doing good, and the tax cuts didn't do good for the average American.”
D. Russia didn’t merely try to interfere in the 2016 election, they actually changed the votes to steal the race from Hillary.
E. There are not tens of thousands of people at Trump’s rallies, but if the arenas are full, it’s only because people are paid to attend.
F. It's a good idea for Rosie O’Donnell to sing show tunes in public.
Bruce Ohr emails and texts confirm the Steele "dossier" plot
As recently noted, the purpose of both the FBI investigation and the special counsel probe always was and still is to GET RID OF TRUMP. Now, it turns out that everything we’ve suspected about the anti-Trump connections between FBI investigators and top Obama DOJ officials such as deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former associate deputy AG Bruce Ohr –- married to Nellie Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS, who hired (through Hillary Clinton, the DNC and law firm Perkins Coie) the anti-Trump British ex-spy Christopher Steele to write the unsubstantiated “dossier” –- has just been shown to be true. The story emerges in hundreds of previously unreported emails and memos that show Ohr’s close association with those who were clearly out to get Trump, both inside the government (the FBI and Obama’s DOJ) and outside (Hillary and the DNC).
These documents show a friendly relationship among people who met often. Notably, Ohr and Steele met at the Mayflower Hotel on July 30, 2016, the very day before FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok opened the FBI investigation into “Russia” and Trump.
Ohr, then the fourth most powerful person in the Obama Justice Department (under Sally Yates, who signed the FISA application for a warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page), seems to have been the central figure, the coordinator of this group; he had contact with Christopher Steele through notes, emails and texts over 60 times, most of which were during the 2016-2017 period surrounding the investigation of candidate Trump and, later, President Trump. Apparently, Steele was being paid by both the Hillary campaign (through Fusion GPS) and the FBI, which seems oddly appropriate considering they were essentially one and the same.
Even after Christopher Steele’s relationship with the FBI was officially terminated over charges of misconduct –- speaking to the media and lying about it –- Bruce and Nellie Ohr continued to function as conduits for him to continue digging up salacious gossip against Trump and funneling it to the FBI –- even after Trump was elected, and inaugurated. (Why admit defeat just because the people have spoken?) Obviously, the FISA judges were kept in the dark about this. Reporter John Solomon, in his opinion pieces for THE HILL, has been all over this story for months, and there’s little I can add to his new report, so, please, just read it because he lays it all out so well. But a warning: it’ll make you so mad.
Such outright corruption surely has enormous bearing on the legality of the original FBI investigation and, by extension, the special counsel. There was never any evidence of a crime, nothing to show probable cause. Was the appointment of Robert Mueller by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein even remotely constitutional, especially since Rosenstein had major conflicts of interest that should have forced him to recuse himself? Should any of this special counsel garbage be going on at all? A U.S. attorney's office could be looking into Russian "meddling," as well as old tax and loan fraud cases like Paul Manafort's. And what right does this bureaucrat (who never went through the confirmation process required for a position of such authority) have to make the President of the United States, on whom no evidence exists that he “colluded” with Russians, take time out of his busy schedule to answer even one stinking question?
The President should not stand for this. He’s been willing to cooperate because he knows he didn’t do anything wrong, but surely he also knows that in this investigation, his innocence doesn’t matter. Rudy Giuliani has said his team is still “leaving the door open” for an interview with conditions. But anyone testifying under oath can be unwittingly caught in a perjury trap, which undoubtedly is the goal here. So, in the end, I'd say no interview, Mr. President. But maybe it's good that I'm not your lawyer, because if Mueller tried to serve you with a subpoena, I'd have a hard time not suggesting a convenient but rather uncomfortable place for him to put it.