“Progressive” Thinking 101:
Illegal immigrants with violent criminal records? “Welcome to San Francisco!”
Plastic straws? “Get out, you threats to humanity!”
DC: A city of glass houses
It would be embarrassing enough for them simply to be hurling that rock through their hothouse walls if it weren’t for these two pieces of breaking news. Satellite photos show that North Korea is dismantling a launch site used to test long-range ballistic missiles…
And on Friday, they are expected to return the remains of 55 service members to the US, as Kim promised Trump…
Luckily for Trump’s ever-ready boo chorus, those embarrassingly positive stories were drowned out by others, both empty scandal stories like the Cohen tapes and Trump’s meeting with a European Union delegation. Unfortunately for his critics, that meeting was followed by his announcement that they had agreed on a framework to avert a trade war. European officials agreed to increase imports of US soybeans and liquefied natural gas, to work toward the goal of "zero" tariffs and subsidies on non-auto industrial goods, to reduce bureaucratic obstacles, work toward reform of the World Trade Organization and limit unfair market practices and to "resolve" recent tariffs that both sides have imposed. Or to put that last one another way, Trump held firm and the EU caved. Trump said, "This was a very big day for free and fair trade.”
I admit that even I was concerned about some of Trump’s tariff threats possibly sparking a trade war that would hurt consumers, but I also understood what he was doing and that it might require toughing it out through a transition period. The same type of self-proclaimed experts who allowed other nations to impose unfair tariffs on American goods for years assailed Trump for using the same tactic, accusing him of undermining free trade.
But in fact, we didn’t have free and fair trade; we were playing with the deck stacked against us. Trump made it clear that that was going to stop, and despite all the sneers from abroad and the howls here at home, he stuck to his guns. As he told the Europeans, he would love to see no tariffs at all, but we’re no longer going to tolerate tariffs largely stacked against the US. And it appears that he’s won the European round. In response to the news, stock markets soared.
I wonder how many of the people attacking Trump for not knowing how to conduct trade talks were also attacking him for not knowing how to deal with North Korea? You’d think his critics would at least grudgingly come to admire his resolve in ignoring their bad advice. It’s as if he just won a high-stakes poker tournament, even while his mother-in-law was standing behind him, screaming, “You’re bluffing! You’re going to lose! Fold! Fold!”
Might I politely suggest that all the people who’ve been screwing up trade deals and foreign policy for the past few decades stop going ballistic every time Trump tries something different than what they did that failed? Let him finish playing poker with China now. He’s good at it. Maybe you could go play bridge instead. That’s a game that requires dummies.
Facebook suffers consumer backlash
In my essay on socialism and why it stinks like last month’s leftover halibut, I noted that when the government provides services for you, you have no choice; but under capitalism, even the biggest corporation can be brought to its knees by its customers if it doesn’t please them. Little did I know that within 24 hours, I’d have an example of that.
Wednesday, Facebook warned of weak revenues, and its stock price dropped by as much as 24% before it recovered enough to close down 17%. There are various reasons given, such as the effects of new privacy policies on revenue. But it boils down to consumer choice: Facebook is struggling because it got too big for its britches. It decided that as the almighty social media platform, it could violate your privacy, mess around with your news feed, snoop on your friends, decide which type of political speech was allowed and which type was taboo (guess which was which?), and so on. They never imagined that users would respond by simply leaving, migrating to other social media sites or even going outside, squinting into the sun, and doing something else with their lives.
It’s too early to tell whether this warning shot will put the fear of consumers into the self-anointed demigods of Silicon Valley, but if not, then they’re in for more rude awakenings. Two of the greatest things about capitalism are that it can make a pauper with a great idea into a billionaire; and that if said billionaire forgets that the customers are the boss, he can become a pauper again.
If you’re wondering why there’s not much weeping in conservative circles about Facebook’s stock bloodbath – or if you’re wondering why they are suffering some of the problems that led to that stock bloodbath – then maybe this story will offer a clue.
News media outrage
News media outlets are expressing outrage against President Trump (yeah, I know, and it’s also Thursday, what else is new?), this time over the banning of CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from an afternoon Rose Garden event. Even Fox News expressed “strong” solidarity with CNN to protect a “free and unfettered press,” with the rest of the media joining the usual chorus in claiming that Trump is trying to destroy the First Amendment and crush freedom of the press.
Before we all set our hair on fire and run around in circles any further, let’s discuss what actually happened. Like too many reporters, Collins was being a bit too unfettered. She acted disrespectfully and unprofessionally, shouting irrelevant questions about the Michael Cohen tapes at President Trump while he was trying to hold a joint press conference on trade and tariffs with the EU’s representative. I’m sure her anti-Trump antics were very impressive to her fellow “Democratic operatives with bylines” (as many journalists are referred to on the Instapundit blog), but what she did was not “journalism.” It was “heckling.” Even at a comedy club, that’s considered intolerable behavior. If you do it anywhere but the White House, you get thrown out, and nobody frets over whether your free speech was being violated. In fact, people usually applaud your ejection.
Was CNN or any other media outlet actually banned from the Rose Garden event? No, the White House made it clear that they were free to send anyone they wanted who was professional enough to know how to behave in public. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s too much to ask, unless CNN simply doesn’t have anyone like that on the payroll anymore.
I’d find the media’s protestations that they are just being watchdogs rather than partisan attack dogs more believable if they’d ever acted like anything other than lapdogs during the Obama Administration. Back then, the White House Press Corps understood and even enforced the rules of professional conduct. Sean Hannity dug up a rare tape of a reporter asking tough questions of Obama, and fellow journalists were so outraged, they acted as the bouncers themselves.
I think some of these reporters could use the same kind of time-out we give to five-year-olds who don’t know you’re not supposed to throw a tantrum in public. There’s no shortage of professionals who can do their job even more effectively without tarnishing their employers’ reputations with childish, partisan behavior. Besides, a little time on a non-White House assignment might give them the chance to wash the taste of Obama’s shoe polish off their tongues.
More bad San Francsisco news
Among the many crises in San Francisco that are directly attributable to loony leftwing governance, add the lack of affordable housing. Leaders like to make excuses, like a lack of developable land, but that’s nonsense. There’s plenty of land for housing, but it would easier to saw through a petrified redwood tree with an eco-friendly hemp drinking straw than to hack through all the government paperwork and “no growth” restrictions that keep anyone from building there.
To keep up with population growth, San Francisco needs to be adding 5,000 housing units a year. Instead, they’ve averaged 1500 a year for decades. Result: a recent real estate report found that just to afford the median-priced home in San Francisco, a buyer would need to be making $303,000 a year. No wonder there were so many people living together on the sitcom “Full House!”
This has led to all sorts of other odd problems, like a waiter shortage. The $15-an-hour minimum wage means restaurants can’t afford to hire waiters, and even if a waiter gets a job at that rate, it’s not enough to be able to afford to live there. On the bright side for residents, maybe some of the violent criminal illegal immigrants welcomed to the “sanctuary city” by its leaders will leave when they can’t find a place to live.
There’s more such Bay Area buffoonery detailed at the link. And remember: all you have to do is vote for “Progressive” Democrats in November, and you can enjoy this kind of leadership nationwide!
Story to Make Your Day:
President Trump was speaking at the VFW Convention in Kansas City when he recognized 94-year-old World War II veteran Sgt. Alan Q. Jones of Pennsylvania. Jones had four brothers who also served in World War II, the oldest of whom died in battle in Italy. He’s given 70 years of his life in service to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But Trump didn’t just acknowledge him, he surprised Jones by bringing him on stage and giving him the microphone. Jones used it to make a very special request of Trump. And without a second thought, the President granted his wish. To see what it was, click the link.
Congressional oversight moves towards impeachment of Rosenstein
Whatever makes the Trump administration look good this week, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s spectacular congressional hearing Wednesday in which he slapped down those who tried to politicize it, or the positive meeting on trade with the head of the EU, or perhaps the anticipated Friday announcement of stunning GDP growth, will no doubt by drowned out by mainstream media screams about unintelligible Cohen tapes and/or the pressing need for John Brennan to have a security clearance. For this reason, I even hesitated a moment before writing about the news of congressional Republicans calling for deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s impeachment. Sigh. MORE noise? MORE swamp? MORE scandal?
But every day, I get letters from readers who can’t understand why something isn’t done about the mess at the FBI and DOJ. Now that the 412-page application for a warrant to surveil Carter Page has been released –- mostly redacted, of course –- it’s obvious that the Steele “dossier” was part of a set-up from the start. (One thing that was conveniently left out of that application, ace reporter Sara A. Carter reminds us, was that the DOJ’s Bruce Ohr –- spouse of Nellie Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Christopher Steele –- said that Steele “would do anything to keep Donald Trump from being President.”) We know Rosenstein signed off on the third renewal of the fraudulent application based on unverified material for a warrant to spy on Carter Page. That, along with other huge conflicts of interest such as his authorship of the memo advising President Trump to fire then-FBI Director James Comey, renders Rosenstein unfit for responsibility over the “Trump/Russia” investigation. He can’t oversee it AND be a potential witness for it. So somebody needs to grab a crowbar and pry him from that role.
On Wednesday, articles of impeachment, the real deal, were filed against Rosenstein by a group of 11 congressional Republicans led by Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio. On Laura Ingraham’s FOX News show Wednesday night, Mark Meadows explained that “it’s all about transparency so the American people can decide.”
Ingraham told them that even Andrew C. McCarthy of NATIONAL REVIEW –- one of my favorite go-to legal minds –- didn’t think much of this idea, saying that Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray work for Trump and that by his inaction Trump is allowing them to do what they do. “...The President is empowered to give his subordinates a direct order to comply with Congress’s demands, and to fire them immediately if they fail to do so,” McCarthy said. But the President has been placed in a unique position in which his hands –- at least in the minds of his attorneys –- have been legally tied. Any move Trump makes that’s remotely connected to “Russia,” such as firing Rosenstein, will surely have to be defended against charges of “obstruction,” no matter how warranted it may be. (Remember, that’s what has been done to Trump over Comey’s richly-deserved firing.) I think this is why Trump hasn’t fired the whole lot of them.
Gregg Jarrett of FOX News reported back in February that Rosenstein had threatened House Intelligence Committee staffers when they were just trying to do their job of oversight; Meadows and Jordan stand by the accusation. Jordan brought up another factor: the DOJ has hidden mountains of information from them by way of massive redactions that had nothing to do with national security. “We’re tired of the Justice Department giving us the finger and not giving us the information we’re entitled to to do our constitutional duty. More importantly, the American people are sick of it. That’s why we filed the resolution.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan has not given his consent for the motion, but according to Meadows and Jordan, it could come to the floor as a privileged motion on Thursday without requiring that. Trey Gowdy isn’t backing it, either, at least so far. Come on, folks, get your act together. This is the one way you have of holding the reins on an out-of-control FBI --- charging Rosenstein with contempt will do as much as good as it did with Eric Holder.