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Monday, the Seattle City Council defied thousands of citizens who turned out Sunday to back the police (so much for listening to protesters) and voted to slash the budget of the Police Department. All but one voted in favor, and that’s only because she didn’t think they cut the police budget enough. It was a decision so idiotic and destructive that even Mayor Jenny “The CHOP zone is a new ‘summer of love’” Durkan urged them not to do it.

Within hours of the vote, Police Chief Carmen Best emailed them her resignation. For the record, she’s black, and the City Council cares so much about black people that they’d already slashed her salary and sided with protesters who threatened her home (neighbors turned out and defended it.) Now, as Best pointed out, their cuts will mean layoffs of about 100 cops, likely the most recent hires, who are largely minority officers protecting black neighborhoods. Thanks, “progressives!” Although I expect there will be no need to lay off police since so many of them will also likely be handing in their resignations and getting the heck out of town, just like business owners and law-abiding taxpayers.

Best ended her resignation with a message to her fellow police officers that she looks forward to “seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety. I relish the work that will be done by all of you.” Translation: “Goodbye, good luck, and may God have mercy on your souls.”

For some reason, this vote reminds me of something George Burns once said. When he worked with his wife Gracie Allen, they did what was usually called a “Dumb Dora” act. But he had to explain to new writers that normal “dumb” jokes didn’t work for Gracie. She had to say things that weren’t simply dumb, but they had to be SO dumb in such a cockeyed way that they’d sort of make sense to somebody who was totally coo-coo. Watching the Seattle City Council react to violence in the streets and a 525% leap in crime by voting to slash the police budget (because if there are no police to arrest criminals the crime numbers will plummet) makes me wish George and Gracie were still around so that the Seattle City Council could go work as their writing staff and stop destroying a once-great city.

"The Switch"

August 12, 2020

Over the years, I’ve often imagined that somewhere in Washington, maybe hidden under the Capitol dome, there’s a big switch, like the one in the lab in Frankenstein movies. Whenever the Party in power in the White House changes over, someone throws that switch, and immediately, all the standards change to the exact opposite of whatever they’ve been for the previous four to eight years.

Just a few of many examples: Under Democrats, the homeless problem disappears from the news. (Switch!) This uncompassionate Republican President is entirely to blame for the homeless population, even though they were there before he ever got the job…Bush was a “war criminal” for ordering bombing in the Middle East. (Switch!) Obama could order drone strikes that would kill dozens of innocent people and nobody cared…Obama built illegal immigrant detention centers on the border. Democrats yawned. (Switch!) Trump puts children in CAGES!...Obama weaponized government agencies against his political opposition and hey, they had it coming. (Switch!) Trump made a phone call and mentioned the guy who might be running against him in two years. IMPEACH HIM!!

The greatest example may be Hillary Clinton sucking up to Vladimir Putin, then (Switch!) becoming the biggest Russia hawk since Joe McCarthy after losing the election. Democrats who’d spent decades as Russia apologists suddenly started snarkily calling Trump voters “Ivan” and blaming Hillary’s loss on Russian skulduggery instead of her horrible record, awful personality and open contempt for the American people. What made this the ultimate metaphor for the changing double standard is that before the switch, Hillary once brandished a red “Reset” button prop to kowtow to Russia – an actual, physical “switch!”

I bring all this up because we have a new example of “The Switch” that rivals even Hillary’s “switch” from Putin sycophant to 1950’s style Russkie baiter. Throughout the Obama Administration, on my radio and TV shows, I chronicled Obama’s habit of legislating via executive order. Few in the Democratic Party or the media seemed to care, and even Republicans declined to challenge him, beyond public complaining. As one of Obama’s aides put it, “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Pretty cool.”

Except it wasn’t cool: it was plainly unconstitutional. Duties like making immigration law or ratifying treaties are specifically reserved for the people's elected representatives in Congress. Then Trump was elected, and (Switch!) suddenly, the President had no power to issue executive orders. Every EO was challenged in court. He dosen’t even have the power to rescind an Obama executive order (DACA) that Obama repeatedly admitted he had no power to create before he did it anyway.

And then came this weekend’s executive orders to extend coronavirus relief when Congress deadlocked (remember, Obama justified his DACA order by claiming that if Congress wouldn’t act, he had to.) And what was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reaction? She was fine with Obama's end-runs around Congress, but now, she’s threatening a legal challenge because Trump's orders are “Absurdly unconstitutional!” (FYI: Trump had the DOJ vet his orders and determine that they are constitutional under the President’s power to allocate relief funds in the case of natural disasters.)

So (Switch!) now, the Constitution that was ignored for eight years suddenly must be followed to the letter, according to Nancy Pelosi. How long do you think it will take for the switch to be flipped back the other way if Joe Biden is (shudder!) elected President? Considering that he’s vowed to reverse Trump’s protections of First Amendment religious liberties in his first week in office, I think we all know the answer to that.

We’re sad to report that veteran character actor Wilfred Brimley died last week in Utah at 85 from several ongoing medical issues.

Instantly recognizable by his gruff voice and iconic walrus mustache, Brimley played many roles in movies and TV over the years, from “The Waltons” to “Seinfeld,” and from menacing villains in films like “The Firm” to crusty but loveable grandpas in movies like “The Natural” and “Cocoon.” He was famous as a commercial pitchman for Quaker Oats and for PSAs for diabetes (or as he called it, “die-a-beetus.”) He was also active on social media, interacting with fans and poking fun at his image, such as suggesting his pro wrestler name might be “The Under-Quaker” or the “DIE-a-BEASTUS.”

Here’s a bit of surprising trivia: like Cliff “Charley Weaver” Arquette, Brimley began playing old coots when he was still relatively young and aged into the part. Brace yourself: when he played the retired grandpa in “Cocoon” in 1985, Brimley was 51. As a blogger friend of mine noted, Tom “Still Doing His Own Insane Stunts” Cruise is 58.

I always urge people not to pay attention to any polls this far out. But since the media are pointing to polls with Biden in the lead to practically declare him President already (and poor Joe might believe it), I think it’s only fair to use this poll to pour a little castor oil into their Kool-Aid.

A stunning daily tracking survey last week by Rasmussen Reports found that President Trump’s approval rating has risen to 51% (at this point in his first term, Obama was at 44%.) But that’s not the most jaw-dropping part. Trump’s approval rating is 49% among whites, 48% among blacks and 63% among other non-white minorities. How is this possible with all the bad news he’s dealing with, like the coronavirus, the economic shutdown and the riots?

I’m sure the media will dismiss this as an outlier, and maybe it is. They’ll claim that Rasmussen is unreliable, even though it was one of the most accurate polls in 2016. And it would not be wise for Republicans to put too much faith in it. Still…maybe this poll is picking up early trends that tend to form as people start paying more attention to the election. Maybe it’s different from the other polls because they are just so inaccurate. This is a poll of likely voters, not “adults” or “registered voters” or “whoever was actually willing to answer the phone,” like those pro-Biden polls.

Or maybe people just aren’t swallowing the efforts by the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) to blame Trump for a virus unleashed by China or for far-left radicals burning down Democrat-run cities. Maybe they see through all that and realize that Trump was creating record jobs and rising wages for all races before the coronavirus hit, and that he’s far more likely to get the economy running again than the people who kept it sputtering for eight years under Obama, and now insist that China isn’t a threat and we need to keep everything shut down even longer.

Or maybe minorities realize that Trump has done more for them in three years than the Democrats have in decades; that Democrats have let their neighborhoods burn and shielded the arsonists and gangsters while taking away their police protection; and that the only argument they have to keep voting for them is that they’ll call you a racist or say you “ain't really black” if you don’t.

Or maybe the poll is entirely wrong, and there’s nothing to see here. I hope the Democrats believe that, and I hope that Republicans just keep working toward the election as if they believe that.

Constitutional Rights For Me, But Not For Thee: The city of Dallas, which was perfectly okay with allowing mass anti-police demonstrations, shut down a planned convention by the conservative group Young Americans for Liberty just three days before it was set to begin, citing the spike in coronavirus cases (and I wonder what caused that?)

Politicians claimed it was the hotel’s decision, but that hotel is run by the city. Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who was scheduled to speak at the event, called it “surprising, coming from Texas.” But unfortunately, the left has made big inroads in Texas, at least in urban areas. The major cities are all run not just by Democrats but by far-left “progressives” (recall the similar situation in Houston, which allowed mass protests but canceled the state GOP convention.)

I don’t know if this is because even Texas allowed leftists to take over schools and indoctrinate children, or if so many people fled blue states but brought the policies with them that they fled from. But you can certainly see the results. Not just in the blatant partisanship and disregard for First Amendment rights, but also in the spiraling crime. US cities are disproportionately run by Democrats, so it’s hardly surprising that murder is up in 36 of our 50 largest cities. But it might surprise you to learn that at #1, with a 64% increase in murders in one year, was Austin, Texas.

But when you realize how liberal the “Keep Austin Weird” government of the Lone Star State’s bluest city is, then maybe it’s not so surprising after all.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin –- hey, that rhymes –- has just subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray in the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s investigation into the origins of the “Russia” probe.

The subpoena, issued Monday, requires Wray to turn over “any and all” documents related to Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. Johnson said he issued it because “transparency in government is essential and...the American people have waited too long for the truth.” No kidding.

The FBI has said they would cooperate.

But over the weekend, Lindsay Graham accused Wray’s FBI of deliberately misleading the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018. (Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.) They essentially stuck to their (fake) story and told the same lies about the Steele “dossier” to the Senate that they had told the FISA court in their application to spy on Carter Page, testifying they “had no reason” to distrust the dossier or its sources. Heck, we know they’d been aware for at least a year that the dossier was unverified political oppo research and that Steele’s sub-sources had disavowed it.

Why would the FBI keep lying? So they could keep investigating Trump, of course, and also to keep the focus off what they themselves had done.

Legal analyst Jonathan Turley has been following the media’s “pattern of willful blindness” about the FBI’s apparent falsification of evidence and subsequent lies. The transcript of that 2018 hearing Sen. Graham referenced has been declassified, and, in Turley’s words, “It is hard to read the document...and not conclude that the FBI misled the Congress on the subject.”

The FBI told Congress that the primary sub-source “did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier to the extent he could identify it.”

But we know from the declassified transcript that the sub-source, in his 2017 interview that took place over three days, had expressed very significant concerns. He’d said he had “no idea” where some of the information in the dossier that was attributed to him had come from. Some he'd specifically denied giving Steele. What he told Steele had not been meant seriously; he’d just repeated some stories told in jest after a few drinks.

Though Steele’s allegations were discredited by early 2017, the FBI kept right on using them. Even Peter Strzok had said there was no evidence of any members of Trump’s campaign being in collusion with Russians. Didn’t matter.

The media were obsessed with the “Russia” story, but not in finding out whether it was true or not. To them, it WAS true. As Turley said, “the media spent years exploring every possible claim of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which was found to be baseless.”

But they’re conspicuously silent now on the exposure of the FBI’s dishonesty. The “Trump/Russia” story has been going on for so long that even many Republicans have forgotten how serious it was for Obama’s administration to spy on the presidential campaign of the opposing party. Watergate started with the attempted bugging of one office, that of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The firestorm over that was so great, it ended up toppling an entire administration. Where have Woodward and Bernstein been this time? We sure won’t find their equivalent at the WASHINGTON POST.

WAPO’s most recent contribution to this area of investigation was a laughable op-ed written by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal accusing Sen. Johnson of “perpetuating Russian disinformation in the U.S. Senate.” Thanks, WaPo! (The piece is behind a paywall, but here’s a link to Sen. Johnson’s refutation.)

Even when it was confirmed that the FBI had used its intel briefing with the new President to SPY ON HIM and his new national security adviser, Michael Flynn, the media refused to pay attention. What they did was imply a kind of (to use the cringeworthy new expression) “new normal” in which it’s not even noteworthy for the FBI to target the President, as long as it’s Trump. Why he’s a Russian agent! NATURALLY, they’re investigating him!

And now, as Turley sees it, “The problem is that there seems a virtual news blackout on the new evidence being declassified. After using tanker loads of ink on the unfounded collusion theories, the media seems unwilling to use a drop of ink on the evidence of misconduct in pursuing that investigation.”

The media have been, and continue to be, complicit. A couple of weeks ago, another of Turley’s columns (four stars –- highly recommended) detailed some of the media’s most blatant coverage lapses, including George Stephanopoulos’ avoidance of a huge breakthrough that seriously undermined the credibility of the dossier: the identity of Steele’s sub-source, who lived not in Russia but America and had worked for Hillary ally Strobe Talbott at the Brookings Institute. Anybody watching ABC News that Sunday would have remained blissfully unaware of any problem with Steele’s claims about Trump. Let’s call this what it is: lying by omission.

FOX News will continue its coverage, of course. And here’s some good news: in the latest TV ratings, FOX News is up, rated higher than any other news source, in fact, and not just on cable. It beat all the broadcast news, too. Even so, it’s going to take the release of the Durham report –- and, especially, some well-deserved arrests –- to create any real stir, and even then, be prepared for it to be downplayed. This has taken so long, they’ll just feign boredom and say it’s “old news,” even though it’s the biggest political scandal of our lives.

Too much involvement now?!?

August 11, 2020

Remember when the big complaint from teachers was that parents weren’t involved enough in what their kids were doing in school? Well, for some teachers, the biggest problem with holding online classes is their fear that parents might be watching and find out just what they’re indoctrinating our kids with.

A Philadelphia teacher let the cat out of the bag by tweeting that “We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse,” and that if parents hear what their kids are being told, it will ruin the “safe space” and “what happens here stays here” environment. He wrote that while “damage can come from the left, too,” his main concern is “conservative parents”: “If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia – how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”

This sparked so much furious backlash that the teacher made his Twitter account private, but not before the comments had been captured. You can see them at the link, along with one from another teacher who agreed that “parents are dangerous.”

As several of the commenters pointed out, the idea of an adult trying to seal children off and tell them things that they shouldn’t let their parents know about is intensely creepy and a giant alarm bell. In this case, the child abuse it signals is mental abuse. This teacher works at the Science Leadership Academy. How about teaching the kids’ science instead of indoctrinating them into leftist identity group/victimology dogma?

The pandemic has been a terrible curse, but at least it’s opening parents’ eyes to what their kids are being "taught" and why they come home from school spouting leftist propaganda that sounds like their homework assignment was to memorize Bernie Sanders’ presidential platform. No wonder so many parents say they’ve decided to keep on home-schooling. This story confirms the wisdom of that decision.

A Political Masterstroke

August 11, 2020

Over the weekend, President Trump issued four executive orders to help Americans cope with continuing COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus lockdowns. They provide relief from student loan payments and help in avoiding eviction for inability to pay rent and mortgages, a payroll tax deferral through 2020 for employers and workers earning less than $100,000 a year, and an extension of expanded unemployment pay at $400 a week extra, a compromise between the $200 Senate Republicans wanted and the $600 House Democrats wanted.

Democrats such as Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi viciously attacked Trump, accusing him of everything from not doing enough or really doing anything at all to violating the Constitution by legislating through executive orders (reminder: these same people fought tooth and nail defending the DACA program that Obama created by executive order after repeatedly admitting he had no Constitutional authority to do so, and that’s just one of numerous examples of his legislating via EO’s, such as the Iran nuclear deal.) And as if it matters anymore whether executive orders are Constitutional (I guess it only matters when the President is a Republican), here’s a Twitter thread by a law professor who doesn’t support Trump or agree with the orders, but who explains why they are constitutional.

I suspect Pelosi and company are really spitting blood because they know Trump has boxed them in big time. Senate Republicans have been trying to get the House Democrats to work with them and pass a relief extension bill, but the Democrats dragged this out as long as possible, making ridiculous partisan demands that had nothing to do with emergency aid, like instituting mail-in voting or abolishing voter ID. If Americans suffered while they fiddled, that was a feature not a bug. Most people can understand that if they'd really cared and worked hard enough, even the math-challenged House Democrats could have arrived at $400 as a compromise between $200 and $600 (well, maybe not AOC.)

Blue state politicians have shut down their economies endlessly because China released a virus on the world, and Democrats are trying to blame Trump for everything from the resulting economic damage to the virus itself. He’s now stepped in and done their job for them yet again, helping Americans and in the same four strokes of his signature, highlighting how the Dems put politics ahead of helping Americans. Whether you agree with the orders or not, they were a political masterstroke. And at least when Trump did something politically advantageous, it helped Americans rather than hurting them.