One day after Hurricane Michael passed over, residents of Florida and Georgia are still reeling from the devastation. At least six people are known to have died so far, and about a million are without power. Some places, like Mexico Beach, Florida, are described as looking like they were struck by an atomic bomb. This link has more details and video footage. I hope you will please keep the victims of the storm in your prayers and give any amount you can afford to help the first responders at Samaritan’s Purse (https://www.samaritanspurse.org ) and the Red Cross (www.redcross.org ).
The mask is off
I don’t know what’s gotten into Democrats these days, and I don’t just mean all the ones who keep endorsing acting like a torch-bearing mob in an old Frankenstein movie. I mean that they used to be a lot more careful about concealing their true beliefs and intentions.
When I was young, we all knew that Democratic politicians would come home to campaign every two or six years, tell all us yokels how conservative they were and how much they were protecting us from those tax-and-spenders in Washington, then once safely reelected, go back to DC and spend like drunken sailors on a three-day shore leave. At least they respected us enough to lie to us until the election was over. But no more.
Ever since Hillary Clinton called one-fourth of Americans a basket of racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic deplorables on camera before the election, Democrats have gotten notoriously sloppy about hiding their true feelings. The election is still about four weeks away, and already, major Democratic candidates aren’t just letting the mask slip, they’re practically throwing it in our faces.
First example: last week, Tennessee Senatorial candidate Phil Bredesen was assuring voters that he will be an independent moderate in DC and not do whatever Chuck Schumer tells him to. For instance, he would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court (he said that just as Taylor Swift was endorsing him, becoming the latest in a long line of men to disappoint Taylor Swift.)
How inconvenient therefore that the latest undercover video expose by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas is of three Bredesen campaign officials admitting that he was lying about that because he has to attract moderate and rural voters. But rest assured, he "hates Trump," and once he gets to DC, he’ll follow the Democrat playbook “100 percent.”
Meanwhile, in the hotly-contested Arizona race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, some 2011 video has surfaced of Democrat Krysten Sinema badmouthing her own state while speaking at a Democratic event in Texas. She accuses the state legislature of “mainstreaming hatred” for trying to enforce immigration laws that the Obama Administration refused to enforce, and calls Republicans in her state “crazy.” Which is not helpful, considering she’s running as a moderate and trying to appeal to Republican voters.
She also claims to have always respected and supported the military, but someone recently unearthed fliers distributed by an anti-war activist group she once ran, depicting our soldiers in the Middle East as skull-faced terrorists. She also once sent a fundraising email comparing the deaths of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border to the deaths of our troops in battle. Not good PR when her Republican opponent, Rep. Martha McSally, is a retired Air Force colonel with over 100 hours of combat patrol flying time in Iraq under her belt.
If Democrats are serious about retaking power, they’re going to have to look to their forebears as examples and start doing a much better job of hiding what they really think and how much contempt they feel for us hairy, unwashed voters. Frankly, if they can’t do a better job of lying to our faces, they have no business being in professional politics.
Very good read from a surprising source
Here’s something you don’t see every day, but I predict that you will finally start seeing it a little more often as President Trump continues racking up win after win despite the (at latest tally) 92% negative media coverage of him by talking heads who are absolutely certain they’re much smarter than he is but somehow never got elected President.
It’s an article by not merely a liberal Democrat who voted for Hillary, but an adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University and New York University. He bought into the hysteria about Trump’s election likely bringing on the end of the world…but after two years of things going better than they were before, on both the foreign and domestic fronts, he’s finally starting to come around to the unthinkable idea that maybe…just maybe…Trump actually knows what he’s doing.
Maybe it’s just different from what all the smug know-it-alls who used to run things so badly think he should be doing, but it works better. Maybe it’s just a move away from failed globalism and back to the looking-out-for-your-own-nation philosophy that was the norm for millennia. Maybe it’s not “chaos” and “insanity,” but a deliberate Trump Doctrine that achieves the intended results. Anti-Trumpers keep claiming he’s mad, but maybe there’s a method to his madness. If that’s the case, then at some point, the Democrats are going to fall so far behind the trend, they’ll have to shake off their cozy cocoon of smugness and rethink what they’ve been doing and believing for so long.
This is a long piece and a deep slog in spots, but it’s well worth the read. The title alone is such a pleasant thought, it will make you want to read it: “Trump and the End of Smugness.”
Hilarious Taylor Swift Political Meme of the Day:
Rod Rosenstein refuses to testify before Congress; Glenn Simpson, too
Hurricane Michael showed up precisely on time this week (I saw him myself, and witnessed his devastation), but someone else failed to appear as scheduled.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Wouldn’t it be great if Rosenstein had been the one who kept his appointment and Michael had been the one who didn't?
But Rosenstein’s testimony before Congress won’t be happening, at least without a subpoena. He was supposed to come in and answer questions about allegations that he spoke seriously about wearing a wire to secretly record Trump and then rally Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office. James Baker, speaking in a closed-door meeting with congressional committees last week, made it clear that the conversations about this plan seemed absolutely serious, not “joking” as Rosenstein has claimed. Baker’s colleagues, then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who is still being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office) and his legal assistant Lisa Page, had both told told him they took Rosenstein seriously.
This is a stunning allegation, one that Rosenstein surely would want to set straight, unless it’s true. Rosenstein had reportedly been expected on Thursday, but no longer. Come on –- formal testimony under oath, with every word transcribed? He didn’t agree to that! He’d assumed this was just a casual get-together over coffee, with perhaps a few notes taken but no verbatim record and certainly no swearing in.
An aide for the committee told the Washington Examiner that a date had never “officially” been set, as details were still being worked out. But it was certainly the understanding of Rep. Matt Gaetz that the interview would be Thursday; he flew to Washington from Florida just for the occasion. “Chairman Goodlatte has been playing hide-and-seek with some of us on the interview scheduling for several weeks now,” he tweeted. “You’d think that after the former FBI top lawyer said the current deputy attorney general was serious about overthrowing the President that we might issue a subpoena...hold a hearing...conduct oversight...actually do our job. That would be a refreshing change for Congress.”
So far, Rosenstein has only issued a statement denying the allegations, which were first reported in The New York Times: “I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”
Okay, now let’s hear that under oath. With follow-up questions.
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, who leads the House Freedom Caucus, responded firmly. “The choice before [the Justice Department] is clear: show up, answer questions, and be a part of the solution; or refuse transparency and continue being part of the cover up,” he said in a statement. “At this point, if the deputy attorney general will not show up voluntarily, it is abundantly clear we need to subpoena him. Failure to compel testimony would amount to a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress.”
Likewise, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs accused Rosenstein of stonewalling and called for a subpoena. “His obstinance should not be rewarded with more delays,” he said.
“He owes us answers,” said the equally frustrated Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday. “He’s not coming tomorrow, which I think should be very telling...He needs to testify under oath.”
But Trump seemed easygoing about the whole thing. (This was a change in tone from his reaction to the news last week, in which he referred to the “lingering stench” at the FBI and Justice Department.) “I’m a little surprised that Rod wouldn’t do it,” he said on FOX & Friends Wednesday. Trump didn’t put himself in the middle of the dispute but did say he and Rosenstein discussed the allegations during their in-flight meeting on Air Force One. “He mentioned certain things to me that you know are very positive about that event,” Trump said. “I would imagine you would want to put that down. And, frankly, whether you were under oath or not shouldn’t matter. But he mentioned things to me that I think it would be fine for him to testify.”
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani underplayed it as well, noting to FOX News that Rosenstein had told Trump his comments were “sarcastic.” He said Trump didn’t think Rosenstein had gone so far as to plot to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Curious. We’ve got a significant discrepancy between Rosenstein’s story and the one told by James Baker under oath. If there was a fly on the wall listening to the conversation between Trump and Rosenstein aboard Air Force One, I sure wish the Senate Judiciary Committee would find that fly and subpoena him. On the other hand, Trump’s cavalier reaction supports my previously expressed theory that the President already knows plenty about all this and is satisfied that it will come out, so he’s going to sit back (at least till after the midterm elections), pop some popcorn and watch the show.
There does appear to be animosity between Rosenstein and McCabe, with the Washington Post reporting Wednesday that in a meeting with Trump in May of 2017, right before Mueller was appointed, each called for the other to recuse himself from the Russia probe. (My thought: they were both right!) One reason they’re taking Baker’s testimony seriously is that it’s from the days right after Trump had fired Comey, when tensions ran high and they thought Trump’s motivation was to obstruct justice. Never mind that Trump has most emphatically NOT done that, but has instead taken his attorneys’ advice to heart and stepped back to let everything play out.
Baker reportedly testified that the idea was quickly dismissed as implausible and never pursued, according to one source for CNN (for what that’s worth). That same source said another person in the room besides McCabe and Page heard Rosenstein’s remarks: then-associate deputy Attorney General Scott Schools. That’s a new name to those of us following this story; Schools has not yet spoken with Capitol Hill investigators, but it may be assumed that his name will come up again. As for Page, she reportedly wasn’t asked about this during her testimony earlier this year; questions mostly focused on James Comey, Peter Strzok and McCabe at that time.
Some other potentially explosive interviews have been in the works, both involving the “opposition research” company hired by the DNC and lawyers for Hillary to “find” whatever they could use to smear candidate (and, later, President) Donald Trump. Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson was scheduled to testify this coming Tuesday after being subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee, but has refused to cooperate in a letter sent by his attorney, which says he will "instead invoke his constitutional rights not to testify under the 1st and 5th Amendments of the Constitution.” The stated reasoning is laughably bogus; take a look if you care to.
Again, wouldn’t it have been nice for Glenn Simpson to show up as scheduled and for Hurricane Michael to have not?
Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, wife of then-DOJ top official Bruce Ohr, is scheduled to appear next Friday. At this writing, as far as I can tell, the interview with Ohr is still on, but who knows what will happen between now and then?
In more unintentional humor, Sen. Chuck Schumer has issued a statement on Rosenstein. “This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the President to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation,” he said. “Generals Kelly, Mattis, and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the President without being fired.” Wow, where to start? How about this: Did any of THOSE officials perhaps discuss a plan to unseat the President and then refuse to talk to Congress about it? I don’t think so.
Of course, Schumer would like nothing better than for the President to fire Rosenstein. And Trump knows it. No wonder he’s acting like he simply doesn’t care. He’ll deal with all of this in due time.
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