House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters’ rudeness to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made so much news yesterday…
…That you might have missed the other news from her Committee: the moment when Waters pressed the heads of major banks on what they were doing to help with the student loan crisis. One by one, the baffled bankers informed her that they don’t make student loans and haven’t in years. That’s largely because President Obama nationalized student loans, and the government took them over from the banks in 2010.
A reminder: Waters chairs the House Committee that oversees banking. That’s starting to sound about as ridiculous as putting Adam Schiff in charge of the Intelligence Committee.
Those “Medicare For All”/single payer fans who point to Great Britain’s National Health Service as a model for “free” government health care in the US fervently hope you didn’t see the story this week about people in the UK losing their eyesight due to having to wait months for cataract surgery, or having it denied to them entirely. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
At the link is a round-up of some more shocking and inhumane results of the rationing and cost-cutting of health care forced onto the British public by the NHS. Brace yourself: they range from 12-hour waits at emergency rooms to doctors complaining of having to practice “battlefield medicine” to patients being told their operations have been determined by the government to be of “limited clinical value,” so they can forget about getting their knee or hip replacements or their hernias fixed. Ouch!
Read it and you’ll understand why the man synonymous with British rock, Mick Jagger, flew to New York last week for his heart surgery. It reminds me of the old joke: “Why can’t America have Canadian-style government health care? Because then, where would Canadians go when they needed an operation?”
Major victory for individual liberty in California: the state legislature has decided that it will not dictate by law how large a soda you’re allowed to drink. For now.
Hey, I said it was a major victory for individual liberty for CALIFORNIA.
I seriously hate bringing attention to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but her Twitter feed has devolved into such a firehose of lunacy that if we just ignore it, we risk it polluting the public intellectual reservoir. So here’s her latest:
“The far-right loves to drum up fear & resistance to immigrants. But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place? Perhaps that’s (because) they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration: Climate change.”
That tweet includes a link to a short animated film on that ludicrous premise from an organization called theleap.org. It’s a Canadian socialist/anti-capitalist/environmentalist group co-founded by Naomi Klein, a leftwing activist/author/filmmaker who wants to use “the climate crisis” to “spur economic and political transformation.” Like AOC’s tweets, the film must be seen to be believed, because it piles so many laughably transparent falsehoods on top of one another, they come thicker and faster than the jokes in a “Naked Gun” movie.
To correct just a few of the jaw-droppers dispensed therein:
Supporting secure borders and opposing unfettered illegal immigration is not the same thing as “fearing and hating immigrants.” Illegal aliens are NOT “immigrants.”
Puerto Rico didn’t get hit by a hurricane because of “climate change.” Puerto Rico has always been in what’s known as “Hurricane Alley.” In 1957, “West Side Story” opened on Broadway, featuring a song in which Puerto Rican immigrants sang about why they "like to be in A-mer-i-ca," and one reason was, “Always the hurricanes blowing.” That was 62 years ago. If Puerto Rico didn’t have to worry about hurricanes, that would be “climate change.”
The vast majority of border crossers are economic migrants fleeing lousy conditions in their home nations that have zip to do with the weather. Many from Central and South America could stay more easily in Mexico, but they press on to the US because of the opportunities provided by capitalism.
One of the largest refugee migrations in recent years is the exodus from Venezuela, which has lost about a tenth of its population due to the economic and humanitarian disaster caused by the imploding socialist government.
If AOC and her fellow purveyors of socialist cartoons really wanted to do something to help save migrants from having to flee their homelands, they should be encouraging those nations to get rid of socialism and other oppressive forms of government and replace them with individual freedom and capitalism.
That’s not likely to happen, though, because the world is currently suffering from an unprecedented mass migration from sanity to insanity, which the left doesn’t want admit is being caused by a climate of economic illiteracy.
In these days of the “Florida man” meme, it’s hard for a Florida man to do something weird enough to stand out from the crowd. But today’s “Huck’s Criminal Mastermind” is truly unique. Florida man Andrew Lippi is facing grand theft charges for allegedly stealing about $300 worth of items from Kmart by buying them, then returning the packages for refunds with something old and less valuable inside. For instance, he’s accused of switching out LED light bulbs with cheaper bulbs, switching a pillow case for a bed skirt, and returning the box from a $150 Keurig coffee machine with a basketball inside. Lippi denied knowing anything about the switching and reportedly told police the clerk was to blame because he should have realized there was a basketball inside the Keurig box by the weight.
Lippi declined to talk to reporters, claiming the situation “has to do with a commercial dispute” and is “very complicated.” But wait: here’s where it really gets complicated - and weird. This same Florida man who was allegedly bilking Kmart out of petty cash, light bulbs and coffee makers already made the news last week by buying a private island and estate for $8 million. He also owns a 12-bedroom resort in Key West that was the setting for the 2006 season of MTV’s "The Real World" and that rents for $1800 a night on AirBnB.com.
Maybe this proves the old adage is true: “Watch the pennies, and the dollars take care of themselves.” And if the AirBnB listing says the rooms come with top-of-the-line coffee makers, it might prove that's true, too.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (who certainly knows all about making “unfounded, irresponsible claims”) also tried the “I’m shocked at the suggestion that Trump’s campaign was spied on!” act, and Sean Davis of The Federalist gave him a dunking from the ice bucket of reality:
The same liberal politicians and media figures who told us Trump was crazy when he said he’d win the Presidential race (he did), and that he was crazy when he said Trump Tower was wiretapped (it was), and that he was lying about not colluding with Russia (he didn’t) are now claiming that Attorney General Barr is crazy for saying it’s possible that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
I’ve written about the hysterical “methinks they doth protest too much” responses from several anti-Trump stalwarts such as Chuck Schumer, Jerry Nadler and James Clapper elsewhere today, but here’s a late entry into the Denial Sweepstakes:
Eric Holder (the only Attorney General ever held in contempt of Congress over his stonewalling of the Fast and Furious scandal) tweeted that Barr’s comment was “outrageous.” He called the idea of the Obama DOJ spying on the Trump campaign a “rightwing conspiracy theory” for which there is “zero evidence” (as long as you ignore the mountains of evidence, and those are just the personal text messages sent on government time.) He also lectured Barr, who hardly needs any Law 101 lessons from Eric Holder, that "when there is a predicate, a legitimate basis, it’s called 'investigating,' not 'spying.'”
Okay, but what is it called when there is no legitimate basis, but you lie to FISA judges to get warrants to do it anyway? The word “felony” comes to mind.
There was also an excellent point brought up in an online comment thread that I read. These panicked Democrats are right; “spying” is the wrong term because spying is a passive action. It implies that they were merely monitoring the opposition campaign inappropriately, not taking actions to influence events. A more accurate term for what appears to have happened would be “sabotage” or “entrapment.”
If they’d like to agree to some bipartisan compromise, I promise not to call what happened to the Trump campaign “spying” if they’ll agree to start calling it “sabotage” and “entrapment.” Deal?
AG BILL BARR: “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal.”
COMMITTEE MEMBER: “So...you’re not, you’re not suggesting, though, that...spying occurred.”
BILL BARR: (long pause)...”I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I’d need to explore that.”
First of all, anyone old enough to remember Watergate (count me in) knows that spying on a political campaign IS a big deal. The Watergate scandal –- which changed history in incalculable ways –- began as a low-tech, early-’70s version of political spying on a presidential campaign, a simple break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, to install a wiretap. Keep in mind, this was in the Jurassic Period, before the age of digital communication, so the physical installation of listening devices (“bugs”) was necessary. But it was the same thing that happened in 2016: SPYING.
At Barr’s use of that term, Democrats suffered seizures and grabbed their smelling salts. (I’d say it made them go insane, but they already are.) When they objected to the connotations of the word “spying,” Attorney General Barr pulled back a bit and used the term “unauthorized surveillance.” That's still SPYING.
Doesn’t matter –-- ever since Barr said that, Democrats have been trying to discredit one of the most straight-up individuals we’ve seen in government in a long while. Not that they were pleased with him before he said it; since he was a Trump appointee (as any current AG would have to be), he was automatically under suspicion from the moment he was nominated. And they sure didn’t like the four-page conclusion he wrote about the Mueller report, which they had hoped would be an immediate take-down of President Trump. Nancy Pelosi said Barr had gone “off the rails” and called him “the attorney general of Donald Trump,” whose words “undermine our Constitution.” Barr was “trashing his reputation in the name of Donald Trump.” He was even labeled a “hatchet man.” (Have you noticed that hacks for the Democrat Party NEVER pull back on words that might come across to the rest of us as too strong?)
Barr and those who believe him were immediately characterized as tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists. Actually, Barr was stating a FACT: you and I have known for a fact for a long time that members of the Trump campaign were surveilled. This was even reported in The New York Times, though they ridiculously tried to walk it back in their headline: “FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims.” Of course, so-called journalists from CNN and MSNBC call this “a phony-baloney story.” They assume that if Barr expresses a thought that Trump happens to agree with, he’s doing it not because of the supporting evidence but only because of politics. So, are we all supposed to be like the populace in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and pretend the spying didn’t happen? That’s what they're doing.
In other words, until now, these media outlets have simply ignored the story, even laughing at Trump when he tweeted that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. Now that they can’t ignore it, they’re trying desperately to discredit it, reacting with shock and horror to a story we’ve known about for a long time. But that won’t work, because it really happened.
So the question now is, was the spying done for a lawful reason? Were the FISA application and the three renewals made in accordance with the law, or were they knowingly based on a work of fiction known as the “Trump dossier”? Of course, it’s possible (at least theoretically) that the FBI had an acceptable reason to SPY on the Trump campaign; that’s what Bill Barr plans to look into. In the meantime, Democrats are making it clear that he’s not supposed to say out loud what we know actually happened.
Liars such as James Clapper are making it easier for them to stay in denial, at least for now. So is former Chuck Schumer aide Chris Hahn when he calls human informants who spied on the Trump campaign “Americans who are doing their job.” (Yes, he actually said that, on Laura Ingraham’s show.) Chris, I hate to break this to you, but some of them weren’t even Americans.
Ex-CIA chief John Brennan (who has called the President a traitor) went on MSNBC on Wednesday and said Barr “acted more like a personal lawyer for Donald Trump today rather than the attorney general.” Obviously, that’s going to be the main talking point going forward. I find Brennan’s words especially interesting considering that Barr said other investigative agencies besides the FBI might have been involved. Can you say “CIA”?
So, given that Russians were trying to influence our election (and they were), what would legitimize the FBI’s spying on Carter Page (and, by way of him, the entire campaign)? Under almost any imaginable circumstances, it would seem more appropriate for the FBI to have warned then-candidate Trump personally and worked with him to find out what was going on if they had legitimate suspicions of Russian infiltration. After all, that’s what they did with Dianne Feinstein when it was discovered she had a longtime employee who was a Chinese spy. Note this exchange with Lindsay Graham:
Graham: “Would it be odd that the candidate was never really briefed by the Department that ‘your campaign may be targeted by a foreign entity’?”
Barr: “That is one of the questions I have, is --- I feel, normally, a campaign would have been advised of this.”
Graham: “And, can you think of a good reason, right now, why they wouldn’t have been?”
Barr: “Uh, I’m interested in getting that answer. They had two former U.S. attorneys in Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani involved in the campaign, and I don’t understand why the campaign was not advised.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, in an appearance on Wednesday’s Tucker Carlson s how, pointed out that we’d know more about why this wasn’t done if Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence, had released transcripts of the House Intelligence Committee of closed-door testimony from James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and John Brennan. According to Gaetz, it’s been four months since over 50 transcripts have been voted out of the House Intelligence Committee to be declassified. (I assume this was before Adam Schiff took over the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee!)
Incidentally, Gaetz made a great case for Schiff being removed from his chairmanship. He said having Schiff in charge of the House Intelligence Committee after telling so many demonstrable lies is like having Lori Loughlin in charge of the College Board, or Jussie Smollett in charge of the Hate Crime Division of the FBI. Gaetz gets the James Woods Award for Quote of the Day.
More that’s new: Georgia Rep. Doug Collins has released additional congressional transcripts from former top FBI attorney James Baker (the lone voice arguing in vain for Hillary to be indicted), which reveal there was talk of appointing a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign sooner than we thought. The timeline keeps getting earlier and earlier.
Recall that James Comey said in testimony that he leaked the personal notes of his meeting with Trump (which, incidentally, were not his property to give) in the hope that a special counsel would be appointed. Guess he knew that another anti-Trump headline in The New York Times would be just the thing to get that going.
In a developing story, Collins has also released a transcript of testimony from Peter Strzok. More on this as soon as we have it.