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An Open Letter to Democrats

April 30, 2017

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Dear Democrats:

I know you’re still in shock over the rise of The Orange One to the presidency. I understand, believe me. Not only did he ascend to the office once occupied by Washington, Lincoln and Jimmy Carter, but the man is still 100% Trump: a world-class braggart, con man, serial liar and buffoon with questionable alliances and equally questionable marbles. He hasn’t shown any visible signs of growing in the job, in the manner of Harry Truman or even Calvin Coolidge — other than to confess, in a rare moment of abject honesty, that he preferred life as a simple tycoon.

My one hope for Trump was that he might be crazy enough to turn the system upside down – that he’d make good on his outsider’s promise to “drain the swamp” – to rid Washington of the lobbyists, Wall Streeters and other corrupt players who have turned our republic into an oligarchy. No such luck. He brought in his own team of swamp monsters, and they’ve been busy at work catering to our corporate overlords.

In short, I feel your pain. I deeply sympathize. I’m not enjoying the surreal dystopia of Trumpworld any more than you are. Granted, I’m not wearing a black armband or posting a hundred anti-Trump memes daily on Facebook, but my neck is starting to ache from all the excessive head-shaking.

I’ve been shaking my head at Trump and his Republican minions, of course, but I wish it were that simple. You see, I’ve also been shaking my head at some of the antics on the left. That’s right: your guys have been contributing to my chronic neck spasms on a regular basis.

It’s not the outspoken quasi-socialists like Bernie Sanders who irritate me; at least they seem to crave unity between the underclass and the wounded middle class – a united front against the swamp monsters and plutocrats under the parental gaze of an all-seeing, all-caring, all-controlling government. It’s a quixotic and dubious dream, but at least I can appreciate its honest idealism.

If you really want to know what alarms me, pull up a chair. I’ll give you a fair trigger warning: what I’m about to say might offend you – not fatally, I hope. But I need to say it or I’ll feel derelict in my mission as a diehard moderate.

Here goes: I’ve been observing the transformation of traditional, big-hearted, open-minded liberalism into something more militant, more dogmatic, less tolerant of any departure from left-wing scripture. I’ve watched sadly as liberalism has grown increasingly illiberal. As a result, I’m urging you to watch your unruly left flank and guard against its excesses.

Just as the Republicans have veered madly rightward from the sensible, sensitive pragmatism of Eisenhower’s GOP, your folks have taken a sharp left turn since the days of JFK and Hubert Humphrey — especially when it comes to the escalating rhetoric of identity politics.

Before you report me to the Politburo, let me explain. Of course I favor equality for women, people of color, and our LGBT friends. (OK, I’m still not on board with transgender people using the locker room of their choice, but we moderates tend to avoid jumping on bandwagons.) It pleases me that these formerly marginalized Americans have made tremendous strides in the past few decades. Despite the occasional bumps and glitches, their trajectory is unmistakably upward.

So why do our college campuses currently teem with angry social justice warriors – faculty as well as students — who delight in denouncing everything white, male and heterosexual? Why have campus progressives been allowed to commandeer the vocabulary of outrage, redefining the language so that hatred isn’t hatred if it originates from historically oppressed groups? Why the borderline-insane obsession with cultural appropriation – wait, I believe the correct term now is cultural genocide – when some silly white artist wears dreadlocks or paints Native American motifs? We revere the multiracial cast of Hamilton for turning the Founding Fathers into hip-hop personalities, so where’s the beef? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m getting the impression that progressives happily endorse double standards as long as they’re practiced by members of the right “communities.”

Groups, classes, races, parties, communities – these boutique identities are splitting us into angry, mutually hostile sub-nations. I lament the tendency of extremist ideologues, right or left, to view people as symbols – as representatives of this or that group instead of as individuals. Think about it: do individual white males really need to bear the burden of America’s past sins even if their nineteenth-century ancestors were digging turnips in Poland or Hungary?

Collective guilt is a primitive and baseless concept that should have died with the authors of the Old Testament. I’m sorry, but you won’t convince me that a white coal miner needs to check his privilege — or that the Ivy-educated daughter of a black physician is entitled to lecture that coal miner about his privilege. You’ll have a hard time selling me on the notion that women were an oppressed class while countless young men were shipped off to premature death in brutal, soul-destroying wars. Nobody in this life is immune to suffering.

The social justice warriors on your left flank are alienating millions of decent folks (including moderates like me) who might have supported them in the past. They’re making enemies where they need to be making friends. Those “deplorables” are smart enough to know that the Chardonnay-sipping progressives and their favored minority allies despise them. Maybe that’s why these once-upright Americans have grown so ornery. I can remember the distant days when Democrats actually used to love the common folk and identify with their struggles. No longer.

Democrats like to sing about diversity and inclusiveness, and that’s admirable. I’m all in favor of an inclusive society. But I get the impression that your definition of diversity is based mainly on race, gender and sexuality. Diversity of opinion? Not so much.

Where are the conservatives at our leading universities? Our liberal arts faculties today are essentially bastions of grievance groupthink, and they’re happily indoctrinating a new generation of anti-Western, anti-male clones. (Will anyone still be reading Shakespeare thirty years from now?) Look at the riots that erupt when conservative pundits try to speak on campus. Observe the need for “safe spaces” so that sensitive minds might hide from ideas that challenge their assumptions. Consider the online echo chambers of news and opinion favored by progressives – something they’d be appalled to acknowledge that they share with those “dittoheads” on the right.

How about you? Does your vision of inclusiveness extend to Republicans, evangelical Christians, Southerners, cops, hardhats or Ukrainian-American plumbers? I’d hope so, but I have my doubts.

I live in a leafy, successfully integrated Philadelphia neighborhood where every third lawn sports one of those “Hate Has No Home Here” signs that have become all the rage since Trump ascended the throne. It’s a wise and generous message – but cynic that I am, I roll my eyes just a little at the obvious virtue-signaling. “We love everybody,” the signs tell me. “We’re not like those stupid inbred racist xenophobic troglodytes who handed Trump the presidency.”

Ah yes, love is grand – if only we’d all practice it.

Thank you,

The New Moderate

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate and author of the recently published Lifestyles of the Doomed, available wherever e-books are sold.

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509 Comments leave one →
  1. V Fitz permalink
    April 30, 2017 3:44 pm

    Well said!

  2. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:03 pm

    I predict that the comments will still end up being mostly about Trump and Republicans.

    Even Ricks letter to democrats can not help but spend its time on Trump

  3. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:09 pm

    It has been 100 days, We had little sense of Who Obama was after 100 days.

    We have only clues about Trump.

    I ope for the most part he continues as he started – focused on “deconstructing ” government.

    I beleive that I am glad that moving an agenda through congress is proving hard and slow.

    I would greatly prefer that is was easy to end legislation and very hard to enact it – regardless of the details of the legislation or the party pushing it.

    If Republicans can not advance legislation – even legislation that I might support – that is a good thing, and one that hopefully will continue when the left next has power.

    I also hope that we do NOT succumb to the evil of compromise.

    As an example letting PPACA fail is BETTER, that replacing it with some PPACA lite that sort of works better and continues for another decade or two.

    .

    • May 5, 2017 1:43 pm

      Compromise is an evil? I like the idea that neither faction gets a little of what it wants without getting everything it wants.

      • May 5, 2017 5:47 pm

        Duh! That’s what happens when I edit myself on the run. I meant both factions get some of what they want while neither gets everything it wants.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 1:18 am

        Compromise is quite obviously a tool.
        Sometimes it is a tool for good sometimes evil.

        That should be trivial to understand.

        During WWII The churches – in particular the catholic church compromised with Hitler. They did not speak out against what they knew was going on – but they survived and were not persecuted themselves
        At the same time some engaged in backdoor arrangements saving peoples lives.

        That compromise was evil. The “outcome” might arguably have been “less evil” but it is in no way arguable as good.

        You can beleive that it was for the best – or not.
        But you can not beleive it was good.

        I get really really tired of this stupid “compromise is good argument”

        As that is obvious stupidity.

        The counter I provided is not even close to the best counter, it is just one that happened in the real world and people should be familiar with.

        I do not profess to know what the churches should have done.
        But it is actually possible to argue that they should not have compromised at all. That they should have risked their own destruction.

  4. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:11 pm

    Coolidge BTW was an excellent president.

    Amity Shlaes did a biography of him – though I would recommend the early parts of “her “the forgotten man” which covers Coolidge and Hoover and FDR
    and is the story of the great depression.

    • May 5, 2017 1:46 pm

      He was a smart, decent man. He might have been an even better president, but the unexpected death of his teenage son affected him profoundly. He was probably depressed for a good portion of his presidency. (Of course, we could say the same about Lincoln.)

  5. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:23 pm

    Rick;

    It is way to early to tell – but we have had some very bad presidents too.

    Lincoln acted as unilaterally and imperially as Trump or Obama.
    And Lincoln is revered today.

    Harding, Kennedy and Clinton’s treatment of women was atleast as bad if not worse that Trump.
    Wilson was progressive and overtly racist.

    Johnson was a tyrant and pretty much criminal.

    I can go on and on.

    In a few instances presidents who were bad people, and corrupt proved to be good presidents – Harding was incredibly corrupt, and a womanizer, and yet he handled the Depression of 1921 brilliantly – something Hoover and FDR (and Obama) could have learned from.

    Nixon was criminal (though likely amateur compared to Johnson), and yet Nixon ended the Vietnam War and changed our entire relationship with China and Asia, eased the stresses of the cold war.
    He was anti-semitic and yest his rapid unliateral and unconstitutional actions at the very start of the Yom Kipur War assured israel’s survival.

    We are all worried about Trump.
    But though the world continues to prove a dangerous place Trump appears less worrying with time.

    Already Trump has made clear that the destruction of ISIS does NOT mean support for Asad,
    He has brought Saudi Arabia and other mideastern nations back to the table and there is more posibility of resolution with respect to palestine as well as myriads of other issues than there has been since Clinton’s heroic but failed effort.

    China is behaving remarkably well. Trump backed down on labeling them a currency manipulator
    Which is complete nonsense, and China is behaving better in the South China Sea and actually cooperating with us with respect to North Korea..

    Of course we are scared and things could go to hell in an instant – just as they could have in 2016.

    • May 5, 2017 1:53 pm

      I agree with many of your assessments of U.S. presidents. Lincoln was certainly an imperial president, but he had character and compassion to balance his executive actions. Poor Nixon has been dragged through the mud… Watergate was a minor offense that mushroomed into a calamity as he stonewalled. I think his most serious offense (if true) was subverting the Paris peace talks until he got safely elected. (And then why did it take four more years to end the war?) I think he grumbled about Jews because many of his staunchest critics were Jewish, but then so were some of his most trusted advisors. Complicated man, to say the least.

  6. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:27 pm

    Trump does appear to be mildly “anti-wall street”

    But when he promised to “drain the swamp” Both he and Trump voters were talking about Washington – not Wall Street.

    What he seems to get, what his voters seem to get. What I have argued and what you and the left are clueless about is that all that you loath about Wall Street is the consequence of the power you give to government.

    Regardless the “swamp” is in washington.

    I do not expect Trump to successfully drain it.
    But He might be able to shrink it a bit.

    • May 5, 2017 1:57 pm

      When lobbyists essentially dictate policy, it’s hard to distinguish between Wall Street and Washington. Obama was in bed with Wall Street, too — maybe even more so than Trump. But you can’t deny that Trump brought Wall Street into his cabinet and circle of advisers.

  7. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 4:49 pm

    You are not witnessing the transformation of liberalism.

    It has already occured – it has been over for a long time.

    What you are witnessing is the radicalization of the progressive left.
    Left Liberalism died decades ago.

    You rant about “oligarchy” and yet can not seem to grasp that if you give government power it is going to be used.

    It is going to be used BADLY. Maybe not all the time – but alot.

    One of the things we seem to part ways on is corruption.

    If you are in business – inevitably you must stroke everyone form politicians to bureaucrats to accomplish anything. Sometimes that is small, sometimes it is large – but it is all corruption.

    Lets start towards the bottom. The city and sometimes the local inspectors on their own frequently ignore the local codes and attempt to impose their will on landlords and property owners by fiat, or dictat.

    I am on occasion tried to fight this, trying to force the city and inspectors to follow the law and codes as written. That does nto work. The city and its bureacrats are always capable of making life for those who oppose them hell. Whether it is a property owner that what the city to enforce the actual property maintance code – rather than the one that inspectors, the mayr and city councel have mad up in their heads.

    But fighting them does nto work. It is easier to just give them what they want and increase rents.
    What do I really care? I have no problem renting the place. But my tenants have less and less income for other things.

    That is corruption. It is corruption on my part. I should not act complicit with the City in screwing my tenants. But I do so, and I do not feel that guilty about it.
    It is the nature of business to smooth out problems to find other ways to route arround problems.
    It is NOT the nature of business to champion the law or freedom or the less well off.
    If government wants to screw them so be it.

    But what of higher levels of corruption ? What of the business person who bribes the inspector to get some kind of license that is being held up ?

    I am essentially bribing the city by complying with their extra legal actions. I am saying – I will waste my tenants money and does as you wish – if you will just leave me in peace.

    In some places in the US and in much of the world it is impossible to get things done without “bribery”.

    I know a local lawyer that contributes to every single candidate in all local elections.
    There is no mayor, no DJ, no Judge, no DA, no Sherrif that has not received some small part of his campaign finances from him.
    There is no explicit Quid Pro Quo, but he is well treated by the local government.

    I see nothing wrong with what that Lawyer has done. And the money involved is quite small.
    But It is also obvious that as a result our legal system is atleast more pleasant for some than for others.

    That is relatively benign but what of those that actually take real bribes – or are provided perqs from private parties that they interact with all the time ?

    In the US real quid pro quo bribery is uncommon, but “greasing the wheels” is incredibly common.

    Who is truly guilty her – the public servant that breaches their duty or the private business person that is doing exactly what business demands – improving the outcome for his business ?

    If Political corruption is criminal – then businesses that exchange money for favors commit misdemeanors. While those in government that exchange favors for anything are felons.

    Businesses owe no explicit duty to the public – while public servants do.

    Again whatever power you give government will be rented by someone.

    We have a government corruption problem, not one with business,
    And only one effective means of reigning it in – disempower government.

  8. dhlii permalink
    April 30, 2017 5:08 pm

    There rhetoric of the left has been becoming angrier, more hyped and more vile with time.

    It is clear that in this election identity politics failed.
    While the left and media MAY have somewhat succeeded in Painting Trump as a hateful hating hater. In doing so they portraryed half the country are racist, mysoginist, homophobic.

    By fixating on private rather than public discrimination and painting it as binary they have made cry’s of discrimination nearly meaningless.

    Calling someone a “racist” loses its power when all of us know that the left will call anyone who is in their way a racist to gain power.

    But as you note – many of these “idealists” beleive the nonsense they spout.

    It is a small step from spewing vile epithets to spewing violent rhetoric to engaging in actual violence.

    And the dangerous trend today is that violent language is increasing and we may be at the leading edge of real left violence.

    The left increasingly sound like the leaders of the french revolution.
    They are more and more preaching revolution and violence and slowly violence is building.
    And they beleive that violence is justified.
    More and more the left is talking about doing violence to – executing, imprisoning, confiscating property from those they disagree with – because they disagree.

    Ideology alone has for the left become sufficient justification for the use of force – violence against others. If it can not be done through government, the left is more and more talking of and engaging in violence in the streets.

    Those “idealists” you have sympathy for, increasingly carry bricks and torches, and are preparing to bring back the guilotines – and think they are inarguably justified in doing so,

    While these are mostly on the fringe – that fringe is growing.

    The govenrment has takes a step right at the direction of the electorate.
    But the Democratic party is moving further LEFT, not right.

    I would also note that the LAST thing that the left should want to do is engage in violence with Trump as president.

    We are watching a permutation of Hayek’s road to serfdom in action.

    It does nto matter whether we revolt and get the left – as in the french and Russian revolutions with their blood in the street – or if the violence of the left is put down buy purpotedly right wing tyrants such as Franco, Musolini, Hitler.

    The results are the same – authoritarian regimes. both are bad, though historically left authoritarian regimes have tended to be far worse than right.

    Oppose Trump with well reasoned and argued words. If those fail – the failure is yours. It is likely a failure of your words, your ideas,. your ideology. And you shoudl reconsider them.

    But if your response to failure is name calling, screams of hatred, calls to violence, and eventually actual violence, then you are the problem. You are not some misguided idealist.

    • May 5, 2017 2:07 pm

      I agree with you about the changing nature of the left. Notice that I no longer refer to them as liberals. They’ve forfeited that honorable title.

      As for terrible extremist authoritarian regimes, Hitler is still held up as the gold standard, of course — and he probably should still take top honors. But yes, it’s time we recognized that the leftist regimes in the USSR and China were just as bad — in fact, they were responsible for more deaths of their own citizens.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    April 30, 2017 8:27 pm

    Waiting next to hear your rant about the Republicans. Wondering how long that will take.

  10. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2017 9:33 pm

    I can’t argue with much of this at all. Of course, I enjoyed the letter to the GOP more. But that is partially because I have less personal pain and embarrassment if the right has gone barking dog mad than if the left has.

    I do have one quibble, and its one I am getting no agreement from anyone here on.

    “So why do our college campuses currently teem with angry social justice warriors.”

    Its a broad statement, no qualifiers. It sounds like you feel that all our colleges are one big angry left wing demonstration with intolerant snowflakes and radical professors running amok and in control.

    Which is just what the intolerant snowflakes and radical professors want you to believe.

    I believe that colleges and universities are teeming with people in math, physics, chemistry, biology, economics etc. departments who are publishing or perishing on the faculty side, and partying, studying, and shopping on the student side. They could care less about transgender bathrooms. Some of them are, gasp, conservatives. I’d bet that colleges in solidly red states in the south and west are NOT teeming with gonzo lefties.

    As to what goes on at those east and west coast liberal campuses, Dave used a good word last week to describe what has been going on all too frequently:

    Enablers.

    Too many people, especially administrators, but also faculty and students, parents, and alumni, have become enablers of a rather small number of batshit crazy intolerant and constitutionally ignorant lefties. They don’t want to in any way be caught supporting politically incorrect ideas or getting in the way of battling against them. So, they cast a blind eye, or protest the facism of the left far too passively. I think this may be changing. One sign: Bernie Sanders actually used his weight with the left to condemn their campus behavior. The NYTimes has not minced words either.

    Or, perhaps I am wrong, too optimistic. I looked up that nutty Melissa Click, the one who asked for “some muscle over here” to infringe on the rights of a reporter. So, she got fired, which is good. But the bad side is the reaction of some members of academia: Its the enabling thing writ large and clear:

    “On January 25, 2016, Click was charged with misdemeanor assault linked to her behavior during the incident and accepted community service in exchange for dismissal of the charges.[59][60]
    As of January 5, 2016, more than 100 faculty members had signed a letter in defense of Click.[61] Several faculty members wrote letters of support to local and national news outlets.[62][63][64][65]
    In a new video obtained by the Columbia Missourian in February 2016, Click was shown shouting a profanity at police officers as they attempted to clear protesting students from a road at the homecoming parade. Click defended her actions, saying that she was sorry for her language, but that she was also sorry she had to put herself between the police and the students in order to protect the students.[66]
    Also in February, MU Faculty Council and the UM Intercampus Faculty Council urged MU administrators and the UM Board of Curators to observe the due process enshrined in the system’s Collected Rules and Regulations when dealing with Click’s case.[67][68]
    On February 25, 2016, the University of Missouri Board of Curators voted 4–2 to terminate Click’s employment with the university.[69] As a result of this action, the University of Missouri-Columbia was placed on the American Association of University Professors’ Censure List.[70] Commenting in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Click suggested a minority professor would not have been treated as harshly, stating “I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target.”[71].”

    Oh, cry me a river Melissa and your AAUP enablers.

    • May 5, 2017 2:16 pm

      Roby: You’re probably right (I hope so, anyway) that the campus loonies aren’t as numerous as the noise they make would indicate. I remain concerned about liberal arts departments that have essentially become hotbeds of “grievance studies.” Everything is politicized, including art and literature — and new generations of students are being successfully indoctrinated.

      I love it that Melissa Click — the frothing fanatic of the Black Lives Matter protest at Missouri —
      whined about being an easy target as a “white lady.”

  11. April 30, 2017 11:30 pm

    Nice job, Rick.

    We have joked here that Joe Manchin is the only moderate Democrat left in Congress, but that is very close to the truth. The fight to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair was between a former Nation of Islam member and a leftist former Labor Secretary who has now declared that anyone who holds pro-life views is not welcome in the Democrat Party. Way to expand the tent, Tom Perez…….

    The truth is that, regardless of what one thinks of President Trump, the Democrats have been losing elections since 2010, with the exception of Obama, of course. It’s not Donald Trump’s fault that this is happening. It’s the fault of unpopular policies and identity-based politics that have pushed many people out of the Democrat tent. Maybe they didn’t like Donald Trump, but they sure as hell weren’t going to vote for another Clinton.

    The over the top reaction to Trump has not helped. In fact, I think it’s helped him, certainly with his base, and even with people who didn’t vote for him, but want to see the Democrats get over it already, and get back to work. But all they do is #resist (hashtag not a typo).

    And as far as the campus protest situation? As far as I know, among Democrats, only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren voiced concern over the situation at Berkeley and other colleges, involving rioting and threats of violence to shut down conservative speakers. Sanders called it a result of “intellectual weakness,” and I agree with him. As you noted, there is almost no intellectual or ideological diversity on most college campuses today. It’s a dangerous situation.

    Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that the GOP is a party usually at war with itself, it would be obvious that the Democrats have not only lost their grip on power, but have lost any positive direction. I hope they regain it….we could use a loyal opposition.

    • May 1, 2017 5:38 pm

      “Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that the GOP is a party usually at war with itself,”

      That is what happens when there is no home for many different political positions. I could be that they are at war with themselves, but I think it is because each wing of the party lacks the leadership that the Freedom Caucus seems to have developed. They have one leader, one representative in meetings with opposition members and one voice leading their positions. They have one person bringing back proposals and explaining why those are the best alternatives. I don’t see that in the more moderate wing of the party, so they have mutliple people running around making speeches, appearing on news programs and speaking in multiple voices on the same issue. They also need on leader to make their positions know and negotiate with the freedom caucus so there is one voice on each side negotiating the “infamous compromise”. Paul Ryan is not that person. He is the overall leader of ALL the house GOP members, so he needs someone from each wing of his party working with him and the other wing leaders to come up with a plan for any legislative action.

      Democrats do not have this problem. They are all far left ultra progressive big government politicians, so Nancy Pelosi speaks for all of them when she opens her mouth.

    • May 5, 2017 2:28 pm

      Priscilla: I’ve been especially critical of identity politics for fracturing the country, but you’re right that the Democrats have hurt themselves by harping on this divisive issue. Unfortunately, the Trump regime has only intensified their animosity toward free speech, the white working class (well, white people in general, except for those Chardonnay-sipping progressives), Christianity (not that Trump is a model Christian) and any vestige of American nationalism. They’ve marginalized themselves, and I don’t see them changing anytime soon. As Trump would say in his tweets, “Sad.”

  12. April 30, 2017 11:32 pm

    Rick enjoyed this article. Now we need one in a month or so written to the moderates telling them how to get off their asses and become a voice in politics so we don’t get stuck with the crappy candidates we had to choose from.

    There is something working in America when the best thing we have to vote for or against is what SCOTUS appointments will be made.

    • April 30, 2017 11:33 pm

      Correction last sentence, “there is something wrong in America”………..

    • May 1, 2017 2:16 am

      You guessed my plan. My next piece will be “An Open Letter to Moderates.”

    • May 1, 2017 10:04 am

      “There is something wrong in America when the best thing we have to vote for or against is what SCOTUS appointments will be made.”

      A fair point, Ron, and I’m sure that millions of people voted for Trump because they did not want another lockstep left-wing justice on the top court. In fact the federal court system in general has become so politicized that its jeopardizing the whole concept of checks and balances. The 9th Circuit’s ruling on Trump’s temporary ban on visas was a direct challenge to the constitutional authority of the presidency. I half-expected Trump to defy the ruling, and I half-hoped that he would, but, instead, he respected it, had the order re-written to the court’s specifications, and…well, that didn’t work out either. Judicial activism is wreaking havoc on the Constitution.

      Among other things, that is.

      • Roby permalink
        May 1, 2017 10:53 am

        “I half-expected Trump to defy the ruling, and I half-hoped that he would”

        Uh, how exactly would that work?!? You don’t like a ruling so you just want it ignored? Then complain about the balance of powers?

        I’m not a legal scholar of any kind, but, yeah, Andrew Jackson famously said “now let them enforce it” or words to that effect in response to the Supreme court ruling on relocating Indians. Has such an idea been tried since by a president? With what result? It sounds to me to be radical.

      • May 1, 2017 12:40 pm

        “Judicial activism is wreaking havoc on the Constitution.”

        Exactly. And I am of the view when ultra conservatives are placed on the bench. it is just a step above ultra liberals being appointed. As I have said in the past, SCOTUS needs mostly Kennedy’s and O’Conners so the law is interpreted from a legal standpoint and not a political standpoint.

        But like everything else in Washington today, there may never be another SDO or Kennedy nominated and if they are, most likely not getting confirmed as neither the far left nor the far right would vote for them leaving them short of the needed 51 votes.

      • May 1, 2017 12:46 pm

        Not exactly. The ruling was not based on law, it was based on partisan politics.

        It would have been a radical and divisive move to ignore it, and that’s why I said I “half” expected and hoped. On the other hand it was a radical and divisive ruling, so there ya go.

        Don’t get me wrong ~ on balance, I’m glad that Trump decided not to go head-to-head with the 9th Circuit, despite that court’s outrageous view of executive authority on immigration. Many left-wingers felt similarly when a judge in Texas ruled against Obama’s executive amnesty order.

        I’m in strong support of the balance of power and checks on illegitimate executive actions. But it’s hard to read this passage of federal law, and then claim that the 9th Circuit was not overstepping the president’s power to protect the sovereignty of the US, a power that was upheld by the Supreme Court almost 70 years ago:

        “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

      • May 1, 2017 12:49 pm

        Ron, I actually have high hopes for Gorsuch. He has ruled pretty much down the middle throughout his career, despite the fact that he is considered a conservative. He clerked under Anthony Kennedy, so I imagine that he learned a good deal from him.

  13. Roby permalink
    May 1, 2017 1:16 pm

    I was very impressed by Gorsuch, I believe he will be an excellent justice.

    For several years of my life I was an angry, more or less conservative, activist as a result of an absurd Vt Supreme court decision, Brigham vs. State of Vermont. It was a unanimous decision, 3 Justices were liberal appointees, 2 were appointees of moderate republican Governors. The decision itself admitted that there was nothing in the Constitution about equality of educational funding between towns. It found its justification in some words from a Vt Governor in 1828 about the benefits of education in a speech. The decision turned the whole state upside down for years, it was taken by the legislature and Howard Dean as the chance to institute a statewide property tax with an absurdly complex mechanism that rewarded rich people in “poor” towns and punished poor people and all students in “rich” towns.

    So I understand what it is to be angry about judicial activism.

    Whether the ruling on trumps orders is an example of this is beyond my knowledge to understand. I am not going to claim to be a lawyer (if I did I’d have to hate myself).

    Partisans are always going to believe that rulings should have gone their way and find certain proof of it. Sometimes they may even be correct.

    The very idea of a POTUS simply and bluntly not complying with the judicial branch and forcing a Constitutional crisis is grotesque to me. I’m glad it didn’t happen, it should never have been considered, if it was.

    • May 1, 2017 2:42 pm

      Well, he didn’t. And I doubt that he considered it. But others did, based on numerous comparisons ~some very inaccurate~ that have been made between Trump and Jackson.

      Ultimately, SCOTUS will rule on this issue, and as has happened in the vast majority of the 9th Circuit’s rulings, it will be reversed.

  14. May 1, 2017 2:52 pm

    Just read a commentary article on WaPo and discovered a terrible truth. While everybody knows that POTUS obviously has had a poor showing in his first 100 days, the truth is that the Democrats have fared far worse. Media are quick to point out how Trump has failed to reach out to opposing voters and expand his base. But the Democrats have been even bigger failures at this – even though they as current losers are the ones who need new support. Blatant obstructionism and doubling down on hard line identity politics etc does nothing to reach out to middle class working people nationwide. It gives Trump such an easy target for defending himself.

    Naturally this leaves a big theoretical opening in the center of the field, but then again the system is pretty heavily rigged in favor of the two-party state with all of the first-past-the-post rules. Is there a reason why nobody has thought of proportional representation yet?

    • May 1, 2017 3:10 pm

      “Is there a reason why nobody has thought of proportional representation yet?”

      It has been a thought for some time, but it ends as a thought.
      1. Career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan would end up as possible casualties when complete redistricting would take place.
      2. Super districts would have to be created so that more than one representative represented groups of voters, such as the western district where California, Oregon and Washington were in one district with x number of democrat representatives and y number of GOP representatives.
      3. States like California or Texas where one party dominates political elections would be sharing in those elections with the opposite party.
      4. The constitution would have to have major number of amendments to accomplish this change.

      Since politicians would end up loosing their jobs, districts would cross state lines and local influences would be lost, dominant political control of districts would be lost and major amendments would be required, those “thoughts” are quickly discarded as “brain farts” by leaders and we move on the way its always been done.
      3.

    • May 2, 2017 10:06 am

      As Ron notes, proportional representation runs directly counter to the electoral system as structured in the US Constitution.

      Unlike most here, I would not be in favor of it, in any case. There are as many problems, and many of the same problems presented by proportional representation as by winner take all, and coalition governments often have as much infighting and gridlock as our current Congress.

      Some of the issues which have led to the degradation of our system: partisan redistricting, cronyism, lack of voter education, and more. As a former civics teacher, I think that the lack of voter education has been one of the most significant factors ~ if not the most significant ~that has led to our current situation. Twenty, thirty years ago, it was considered mandatory for all school to teach the Constitution. If you’re familiar with Schoolhouse Rock, a series of animated short films on educational subjects, made in the 70’s and 80’s, you know that the history and government films in this series teach things that the majority of college student today don’t know.

      Like this:

  15. Roby permalink
    May 2, 2017 11:54 am

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/portland-day-protests-turn-violent-demonstrators-hurl-bottles/story?id=47144366

    Ha, arrests, names, mugshots! So that hopefully these thugs are condemned to employment at no where other than anarchist bookshops for the rest of their idiot lives!

    Now, repeat this until the whole repulsive lot have been jailed and outed.

    • May 2, 2017 12:42 pm

      Here, here! (or hear, hear! I keep forgetting which it is). We are in agreement on this, for sure.

      Until states get serious about ending this lawlessness, it will keep happening. Cancelling speakers and events won’t stop it.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    May 3, 2017 6:36 am

    I think Hans might be a bot. Or some form of equivalent, disseminating messages and not reading or interacting.

    Mike Hatcher

    • May 3, 2017 11:37 am

      Well “Anonymous” Mike, he could also be someone that does not check the boxes at the bottom of messages he post, so he never sees any responses to messages he post. One this gets over 50 comments or so, it is impossible to keep up with comments unless you are notified by e-mail of any responses.

    • May 4, 2017 6:22 am

      I think Mike is probably right. Good to see you back, Mike!

      I away for a couple of days. Gonna be in NC ~ maybe I’ll see you, Ron 😉

      • May 4, 2017 1:15 pm

        Where at?

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 4, 2017 7:45 pm

        Ron: notice that Hans did not mention one thing that was directly in Rick’s letter, we often stray topic but most of us at least launch with something from the article.

        Priscilla, I have been keeping up with most all the comments. I loved Dave’s letter from the wolves. It kind of stunned me that Dave could be funny. My work computer blocks me from posting and I rarely have time to type paragraphs with my fingers on my phone. I sometimes email Roby directly if I am burning to say something. Mike

      • Roby permalink
        May 4, 2017 9:22 pm

        And you always crack me up with your great observations Mike!

      • May 7, 2017 9:57 pm

        I was in Wilmington, Ron. Back now. We’re thinking about moving to the area within the next couple of years…. what part of the state are you in?

        Mike, I have given up typing comments on my phone….I’ve tried in the past and then couldn’t successfully post the brilliant thought that I had laboriously typed out, so….the heck with that!

        Maybe if you have a particularly enlightening and/or humorous idea, you can ask Roby to pass it on.

      • May 7, 2017 11:18 pm

        Priscilla, Wilmington is a real nice area, but it is humid as heck in the summer months. But the rest of the year the weather is great for the most part. We are in the Piedmont section (Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point area right in the middle of the state.

  17. May 4, 2017 1:23 pm

    Today we see the same problem being created by Republicans as was created by Democrats when the ACA was originally written. A bill where the other party has not been participating in any writing of the legislation. So when this gets done, we will hear years of how bad “Trumpcare” is and how the democrats need control of congress to fix the problems. They will run for multiple election cycles “repeal and replace Trumpcare” since it will not take effect for a couple years and the only “documentation” into its impact will be left and right talking points.

    And who gets screwed. The American citizens. Most everyone knows there are major flaws with Obamacare. Any time you only have one choice for anything that is not good. Years ago government wrote laws to eliminate monopolies since they were bad overall for the buyers.. So now we are going to get Trumpcare or Ryancare and there are going to be bad pieces in this legislation.

    Maybe if both parties would govern and do what is right by the people, then the problems with Obamacare would be fixed and we might end up with a workable piece of legislation for the foreseeable future.

    • May 7, 2017 10:44 pm

      Ron, I was thinking the same thing. The Democrats saw the Republicans make political hay out of Obamacare, so they’re going to use the same playbook.

      Since Thursday, I have seen so much crap written about “pre-existing conditions,” it makes me want to scream. First of all, there are a bazillion pre-existing conditions, some very serious and life-threatening, some difficult but manageable, others relatively innocuous. But all are lumped into this bucket of things that MUST be covered by all insurance. And, as if that’s not enough, the insurance companies are not supposed to charge someone with a serious, chronic illness the same as a young, healthy person.

      Of course, there must be some way for sick people to get care. And insurance companies should not be permitted to drop people who have developed serious conditions after continuously paying for medical insurance. Subsidized high-risk pools seem to be a logical and workable answer. Charging healthy people more so that sick people can pay less, as Obamacare does, just seems to be a good way to force healthy people out of the market.

      The media coverage on this is generally sensational, inaccurate, or both. If we end up with a decent plan, it will be a miracle.

      • May 7, 2017 11:38 pm

        I was watching Fox News Sunday and one of the panelist was Jane Harmon, a past representative from somewhere in the upper midwest and a Democrat. She is one of the more moderates and made a comment I never heard anyone else say. She said two things. That this bill takes a currently bad bill and replaces it with another bad bill. She also said that had the “conference” bill that had originally been written in 08 when Obamacare was passed been introduced and passed in 08 or 09, then the current problems most likely would not exist as that bill contained many of the things the GOP wanted back then and many of the things moderate Democrats wanted. (Seems like this goes right back to Nancy Pelosi and her far left wing of the party that wrote their own bill). She also commented that since this bill has no Democrat input, the same problems will exist with support in a couple years as now exist with Obamacare. Makes sense to me.

        But what I do see is the Democrats having great talking points, short, to the point and easy to understand…… 24 million Americans losing their coverage, increasing cost for older Americans and lost coverage for pre-existing conditions. (Right or fake news, its hitting home). The GOP continues to run their collective mouths with data that few can understand, overwhelming the average american with data they don’t want to hear and turning off most that would be open to hearing simplified data like cost for seniors currently is 3 times what a young person pays and that might increase to 5 times. (They can spin that as not being a huge increase, but they don’t). There is also provisions for pre-existing conditions that no one is talking about. IE You’re covered as long as you do not let your coverage lapse for more than 63 days. After 8 years of hearing the same talking points about Obamacare, people don’t want to hear that anymore.

        Anyway, I would like to see Collins from Maine and Manchin from WVA write the senate version as that might find huge support from the American voter, but McConnell has already chosen his team to write the legislation. 13 white guys. Now that plays right into the democrats hands so they can bring in the womens issues and add those to the taking points since women are not represented, even though there are GOP women senators.

      • May 8, 2017 8:59 am

        I completely agree that the GOP is pathetically poor at “selling” its health proposals, and the Democrats are very good at cherry-picking simplistic talking points.

        Before Roby chides me for that last statement, I’ll qualify it by saying 1) cherry-picked talking points are not necessarily untrue, and 2) if you can’t pull out a few well-chosen selling points for a health plan, voters are not going to support it.

        The whole “pre-existing conditions” issue is SO much more complicated than either party can explain in a simple or simplistic talking point. But the Republicans are blowing it, at the moment, by not having any talking point at all.

      • Roby permalink
        May 8, 2017 9:26 am

        “The media coverage on this is generally sensational, inaccurate, or both.”

        Here, just for perspective, is an example of a situation that I got interested in last night because I was working with a translation of a paper on “freak waves”

        The idea is that waves in the ocean of an astounding height (on the order of 100 feet high) that no ship ever built could withstand, and which were considered by science to be a almost myth, do actually exist and may even be quite common. One scientist stated that there are 10 in existence in the world ocean at any moment.

        There are some spectacular videos on youtube of freak waves, look them up and you will vow, as I did last night, never to set foot on a cruise ship, or any ocean bound ship.

        The statistic given in one of the videos is that two large ships disappear Each Week and nobody (in the media anyhow) really notices!

        Astounding! Terrifying!

        Then read this link and you see that one or two words change the entire story.

        http://www.actuarialeye.com/2014/03/30/how-many-ships-disappear-each-year/

        Now, apply this distortion principle to something political.

      • Roby permalink
        May 8, 2017 9:52 am

        I know this is sort of a tangent (not a democrat in sight!) but its fascinating and ties into quite a few themes of interest here, globalization, pay for workers, and journalism to name some. I’ll hold that this particular news link is an example of rather good and fact oriented journalism.

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/10/shipping-disasters-we-never-hear-about

        As another component of this I can post the Wiki article on freak waves, it puts some scientists in a pretty interesting light. Its a pretty obscure branch of science with a very small number of researchers, so if they are being inaccurate don’t please tell me that science therefor can’t be trusted. But, the statements of some of the scientists fly against common sense. If there are really so many freak waves, why don’t cruise ships disappear more often? (They do sometimes get wacked. The famous Queen Mary got wacked by a monster wave in 1938 and pushed way off its center of gravity but slowly recovered.)

        I just think this is interesting because its apolitical and gives one a chance to see how the machinery of science, journalism, and public perception work in a case with no political hysteria being attached.

      • Roby permalink
        May 8, 2017 10:15 am

        I realize that this may be my own personal tangent and of no interest to anyone else. But, just imagine if people were as outraged by rogue waves as say, ISIS, and it was a political issue.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_wave

        Mostly, science is behaving well and using technology to gather appropriate data in this article and make sensible statements, but one or two scientists go to a silly extreme (trying to attract funding?) which of course would be used by the right to support the idea that all scientists wildly exaggerate the importance and effects of their research topic if freak waves were a political item, while lefties would be accepting every word, even ones that made no common sense.

        There are a million topics like this where you have people to trying to understand some apolitical issue and still sometimes mucking things up, even without partisan politics and the media being involved. Perhaps in the new internet world there is an evolving subspecies, homus scepticus, that learns to dig for the actual shape of the facts behind spectacular sounding claims: On average 2 ships disappear without a trace every week. Well, no.

        Unfortunately there are those other two evolving subspecies,home rightus and homo leftus, who take every politicized issue and make its most exaggerated form another hill to die on.

        The truth is hard enough to approximate even without the political hoopla.

    • May 9, 2017 8:51 am

      Well, thanks, Roby, now I will never get on a cargo ship ( the chances of which were slim to none to begin with)!

      Certainly the statistic of 2 ships “disappearing” each week is both “sensational and inaccurate,” despite the fact-based information that many ships do disappear, and that “freak waves” are real. I must say that I have never heard of freak waves before you posted this, and it is fascinating. The fact that there is virtually no public awareness of this phenomenon is interesting, because plane crashes get enormous amounts of coverage, while sinking ships get none….I wonder how many cruise lines would be ruined, if people knew about “freak waves?”

      What the media chooses NOT to cover is as influential as what they cover, and how they spin their coverage.

      I enjoyed that little lesson, Roby. Thanks for posting it.

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2017 9:10 am

        Ha! I thought I had put everyone into full science flight! I’m glad you enjoyed it. My point was that teh counting of freak waves could be the counting of college lefties or uninsured Americans who’s life is ruined by the lack, or any other thing who’s numbers could be exaggerated or minimized by politics. And, such things can be minimized or exaggerated Without politics!

        Now, you are just encouraging me. Here is a BBC video that is both sensational, intellectually lazy to the point of fraud and really good and on to something all at the same time.

  18. dduck12 permalink
    May 4, 2017 6:16 pm

    Whoops, I inadvertently posted the following on the Dear Republicans thread. I sincerely apologize for wasting so many pixels.
    “Hi Rick,
    I don’t even know if this is a reply to the “Dear Democrats” letter given the verbal pollution now on this blog, but I agree that the Dems have slipped from loftier heights.
    Your words to the Dems are accurate, but both sides have dragged each other into the muck of tribal politics. No, I don’t know when it started happening, but well before Trump I’m sure.
    At least in the past, politicians “acted” like they were acting responsibly and had some concern for us common folk. Now the masks have slipped and we see Mr. Hyde and not Dr. Jekyll.
    Trump has accelerated the slide into cultural and political anarchy with a large twist of idiocy.
    I don’t yearn for the “good old days” when politicians knew the art of lying but it would be nice if a dose of civility could return.

    P.S. I don’t like rules that restrict freedom of expression, but your blog is being ruined by an excess of “free expression”, at least for me and perhaps former posters that you might not hear from.”

    • May 5, 2017 2:35 pm

      dduck: Your comments are always welcome, even when they’re in the wrong place. It’s a shame, isn’t it, that the current generation of politicians is so nakedly selfish and indifferent to the idea of representing constituents rather than partisan interests. The degree of factionalism is unprecedented in my lifetime.

      As for the “free expression” of the folks who leave comments here, I usually don’t intervene unless the attacks become too personal. I don’t expect everyone here to be a moderate, just polite.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 6, 2017 12:09 am

      Can we get of this crap that the past was somehow more civil.

      Here is a youtube video that uses the the actual campaign rhetoric of the campaign of 1800

      Sorry dduck – currently politics is boring and tame compared to our founders.

      But you are correct in some ways – our confidence int eh institutions of govenrment is about as low as it has been since the founding of the country.

      Where I disagree with you is that I see that as a GOOD thing.

      We should inherently distrust government. Government is a necescary evil not a benevolent force for good.

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who watches the watchers.

      Or as Madison put it.
      If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

      James Buchanon (the economist) got a nobel prize for much the same idea 200 years later – only he called it public choice theory.

      Regardless, the entire concept of “good government” is nonsense.

      Government is made from the very same people it endeavors to constrain. Worse still the power of government appeals to the worst people.
      Arguably anyone who can manage to get elected to office has in doing so demonstrated that they are unsuitable to weild such power.

      Regardless, we have myriads of historical examples in a variety of contexts – not just democracies, to demonstrate that the power of government attracts bad men like a corpse attracts flies.
      Whether you are bemoaning Trump, or Hitler, Nixon or Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao.
      It is hard to find a politician that is a stellar example.
      They do happen – but they are quite rare.

      All of us should be thinking seriously about the fact that our government is not mostly going to be in the hands of George Washington’s but of often pretty despicable people.

      While I am personally glad that Trump defeated Clinton – I still could not vote for him. Not even as the lessor evil. And I am happy with my vote.

      Regardless, who here did not go to the polls with a sense of disgust at the choices we had ?

      Whether you voted for Trump or Clinton – most of us did so while holding our nose.

      The left wants to say that but for this or that the election would have turned out differently – and they may be right. This was a contest of who was exposed as the most repugnant, and based on the vile words and actions of each candidate – voters made a choice.
      Had they seen more of Trumps misconduct and less of Clintons- enough near certainly voted differently.

      That said – that is a campaign failure – not a conspiracy or the consequence of misconduct on the other side.

      As Clinton was the loser it is here gripes we here.

      The DNC email leaks were damaging – the fix is easy – do not say stupid things in emails.

      The other damaging problem was the entire Clinton private server debacle.
      Again – that is an own goal – do not do stupid things and you will not have to explain them to congress to the FBI and to the american people.
      Even Comey’s late letter to congress. I am not with Nate Sliver. I do not think that tipped the election. But Clinton picked Huma Abedin as he top advisor and life long confidant.
      And Anthony Weiner was Abedin’s choice of mate – again an own goal.

      Late in the election, separate allegations of sexual misconduct with teens involving anthony Weiner resulted in the FBI getting a laptop that was NOT ever turned over to the FBI or courts – as it should have been, containing over 600,000 emails. Most of which involved Abedin in her capacity at State and many of which never should have been on a private laptop.

      Comey PRIVATELY reported to congress the receipt of new evidence – which he had both promised publicly to do, and which he was legally obligated to do so given his testimony to congress. Comey’s letter getting leaked was invetiable.

      I do not honestly beleive that the FBI sifted through 600,000 emails in the few weeks before the election and established tat ALL of them were ones they already had or that were not germain.
      Though I do beleive than MOST likely were.

      Regardless, again it was an “own goal”.

      I do not know much of Abedin – maybe she is a wonderful person.
      But her choice of spouse was incredibly poor – and Hillary has payed for that repeatedly.
      But I have no sympathy for Clinton – as she picked Abedin.

  19. dhlii permalink
    May 6, 2017 12:56 am

    I do not normally link to Heritage reports as people either accept them as gospel or reject them eas fraud – solely because they come from Heritage – BTW Heritage was ranked as the 13th most trustworthy of all Thinktanks in 2016.

    http://www.heritage.org/poverty-and-inequality/report/big-government-policies-hurt-the-poor-and-how-address-them

    Regardless, certain portions of this study make exactly the same errors that those pushing the Income inequality meme do – certain fo the statistics are accurate, and look daming, but with sufficient thought are not nearly as troubling as they first seem.

    I suspect the Heritage people constructing this paper know and understand that.
    I worry that maybe they don’t.

    Regardless, whet they did was accept the same false premises that progressives have done with their Income Inequality arguments.

    can obliterate certain parts of this heritage paper – but accepting my proof that the Heritage paper is flawed in certain areas requires accepting that the entire Income Inequality nonses is flawed for exactly the same reasons.

    Heritage has essentially done an inductive disproof of Income Inequality – but stopped just short of saying that is what they have done.

    They have taken advantage of a point I make constantly – that progressivism is one massive self contradiction.

    In logic if you put forth an argument that has an embedded self contradiction, so long as that contradiction remains – you can prove anything. That is why rigid conformance to rules is so critical in logic.

    Anyway Heritage did not go so far as to prove anything – but they demonstrate that government causes, and aggravates income inequality.

    I would further note that while some of Heritages argument here is as I said an inductive disproof of Income inequality claims.

    Much of the rest of the Heritage paper makes the same error that is often made in Minimum wage arguments – presuming there is one specific way that a progressive policy will fail
    Heritage is correct in their assertiont hat these policies will fail, and that they will and do harm the poor. But the specific ways they claim that harm will be caused – is probabilistic.
    Actual harm is always certain. Specific actual harm is not.

    As an example the traditional right claim for the harm of the minimum wage is that it will decrease employment – and we have more than 40 years of data that fairly strongly demonstrates that is nearly always the result. But Card & Kruger did demonstrate that in atleast one instance of a very small increase there was no statistically significant change in unemployment.
    Card & Kruger did NOT demonstrate there was no harm.

    I have repeatedly noted that playing games with money is very dangerous – that money is not wealth.

    Lets assume that MW increases NEVER cause unemployment – one possible way to have an MW increase – without an increase in unemployment is to have prices increase.

    If McD’s increased the price of burgers – they could absorb the wage increase.
    But If McD’s increases the price of burgers – the laws of supply and demand (and real world data) tell us that sales (demand) will drop – and that will ultimately result in increases in unemployment.
    So since we are assuming – per the left that we are going to increase the MW and NOT increase unemployment – not only must the price of burgers increase – but the increase int he price of burgers must cascade through the entire economy – the price of everything must increase – approximately as much as the MW increase.
    And the net result is that those paid the MW are no better off than when they started – they have more money, but everything costs more so they are only able to buy the same amount

    I want to note – which Heritage failed, that my example is only one of MANY ways that some bad government policy can screw those it was intended to help. My suggestion is not the most likely.
    Replacing unskilled worked with fewer skilled workers or find a way to need less labor are the most probable means the economy will adjust.

    But the most important point is that whatever policies govenrment imposes – the economy WILL adjust to them – and never in only the way govenrment intended.

  20. dhlii permalink
    May 6, 2017 1:19 am

    In assorted posts here by various other posters – including not Just Moogie – but Ron P who should know better, the argument that putting more money into the hands of ordinary people – or the poor, is a means to improve things for all of us.

    This is the primarly fallacy of keynesian economics generally carried far beyond where even Keynes would take it by politicians.

    This argument has been used here – by those arguing for giving more money to the poor.
    In support of tax cuts for the poor and middle income, and as a reason why production moving to a different country that can produce more cheaply is bad.

    All of these run completely afoul of the law of supply and demand.

    The argument is that more money will mean greater demand (correct) which will mean more spending (sort of correct) which will mean more goods purchased and therefore more goods produced (and there is the big error).

    Increasing the money in the hands of consumers – without a prior increase in supply ALWAYS results in “too much money spent chasing too few goods” – inflation.

    As Friedman noted – inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.

    Whenever you increase demand – the immediate effect is an increase in prices.
    This is unavoidable. This is why to great an increase in money supply causes inflation.
    We appear to be getting an example of money supply hyper inflation in venezeula at the moment – with inflation over 700%/year.

    When the money supply is fixed or nearly so – as is normal in a free market – an increase in demand will result in a temporary increase in prices – until supply and demand normalize – but because there was no increase in money supply the price increase is not sustainable – and when supply rises to meet demand prices must fall.
    When changes in the available money are the cause of the increase in demand – the price increase will remain after supply increases – and infact supply may never increase.

    Anyway this is why all demand side efforts of government economic policies fail.
    They increase prices nothing more.

    It does nto matter whether we are talking about Minimum wage increases, subsidies for housing, education, food, lower class or middle class tax cuts …. It does nto matter whethter you subsidize business or consumers – the result is that if you increase demand by increasing available money you create inflation – NOT sustainable growth.

    Conversely Supply side stimulus – things that cause increased investment, and therefore increased supply cause prices to DROP. All things being equal a price drop is always an increase in standard of living. All things being equal a price increase is a decrease in standard of living.

    The point is that demand side monetary stimulus produces inflation, while supply side monetary stimulus produces deflation.

    Mild deflation is increased standard of living.

  21. Anonymous permalink
    May 8, 2017 12:18 am

    How is this even close to being relatively moderate? A problem with both political parties today is the backbiting, name calling, and radical embellishment of facts that distort reality into a personal agenda. If this message represents what would be the ‘moderate party’ let’s stick with the two-party system currently in place as opposed to adding a third voice that is frankly as extreme as the others.

    • May 8, 2017 8:46 am

      The two party system can and should produce moderates. A Moderate Party would have to have an ideology and platform that would produce in its members a passion to fight for its goals (fight in the electoral sense, that is).

      Most people who call themselves moderates try to stay away from ideology, and they often go to great lengths to position themselves as centrists. Centrists tend to be compromisers and skeptics of passionate poltical activism. That’s fine, but it’s hard to run a campaign by saying “Hey I’ll play it straight down the middle, and I’ll try to get these other guys to agree on some consensus legislation!”

      Sounds good, but wouldn’t play well on the stump. Every moderate here, whether or not they consider themselves a “true moderate,” ~ and we have argued that definition many, many times~ has strongly held views; views that tend to line up, at various times with the platforms and policies of one or the other major party.

      One of the reasons that the Democratic Party is struggling, is because they have purged the Party of moderates. Their leaders are currently either passionate leftists, such as Tom Perez, or washed up old pols, such as Nancy Pelosi. You could say that moderate liberals need a third party to represent them, or you could say that they need to take back the party that is supposed to represent them. I believe that the latter solution is the moderate one.

  22. May 9, 2017 6:56 pm

    Well a couple days ago I commented about the messaging of the GOP and the Democrats. Not sure if it was under the letter to the Democrats, or the letter to the GOP. That,s not important. What is important was my comment that the Democrats where going to pick up on the 13 members of the senate chosen to draft the new senate healthcare bill, those all being white males. Well today, by about mid day I must have heard 10-15 different comments by different individuals commenting about those members and how women were being left out of the process. These were radio comments, TV comments, both on MSM and on local talk shows.

    O’Connell, in a remark following a question concerning this issue, just laughed it off and said these members were well qualified to draft this legislation that his party will be happy to support.

    Once again many witnessed just how out of touch the leadership of the GOP is when it comes to middle America. Yes these individuals may well come up with the same legislation that having 2-3 women members included. But the optics just look bad. And the Democrats can draft campaign material that will go along way to swinging some undecided voters to the Democrat candidates. They already have a treasure trove of information on the House bill to use for the 2018 election to swing control to the democrats and now O’Connell has handed them a gift horse to use in their run to capture the Senate.

    With the lack of messaging to garner support for the healthcare repeal and offsetting the Democrats extraordinary ability to spin news in their favor, O’Connell is either senile and can not see the outcomes of his actions or is such a pompous ass where he doesn’t believe the voters are smart enough to understand anything other the “Obamacare is failing”. Ether way, giving the Democrats the play book to use against your game plan is total stupidity.

  23. May 10, 2017 12:50 am

    Any opinions on the Comey firing? Yes, the timing is highly suspect, and it’s reminiscent of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre — worse, really, because it’s clear that anyone who threatens Trump, directly or indirectly, gets the ax. He’s an autocrat, and he’ll replace Comey with a loyalist.

    But I have friends on the left who are posting Facebook memes calling for (get this!) the EXECUTION of Trump and most of his administration (along with a handful of the more reviled GOP representatives in Congress) for treason. This is madness, and I said as much. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to explain to them that it’s treason only if you’re actively aiding the enemy — and that no matter how much we dislike Putin, Russia is not our enemy. Not yet, anyway.

    I’m afraid I got more irate than usual over those execution memes, and I’ll probably lose a few friends in the process. But the degree of polarization over Trump has driven us to the point of lunacy.

    I’m sure those Democrats would have been elated if Obama had fired Comey for derailing Hillary’s campaign. And I’m sure my Republican friends will defend Trump for making a sound judgment call in dispatching an FBI director of questionable competence (despite the fact that he had praised Comey effusively last year).

    One final question: even if Trump and his henchpeople talked to Russia during the campaign, how exactly is Russia supposed to have tilted the election in Trump’s favor? Did they hack individual voting booths? Did they run anti-Hillary commercials? With all the talk of collusion, I still haven’t seen any concrete evidence that these private talks affected the outcome of the election.

    • Roby permalink
      May 10, 2017 10:11 am

      Are you seriously asking how Russian agents hacking the Clinton campaign and DNC and feeding the dirt that they hacked up to Assange (the Russian useful RT idiot who believes that Russia “has a vibrant democracy”) to use for his own personal war on Clinton that got released at critical moments and obviously was inflamatory to progressives could have influenced an election that was decided by a like, 100,000 votes in a few swing states? (Yes that sentence is a bit rambling.) But, seriously you are asking that? I hope my sarcasm is having a clarifying effect.

      The Russians influenced the election. Period. So did BLM activists, so did the stench of the 2 candidates so did transgender bathrooms and dozens of other things. But… all of the latter are legitimate American campaign fodder. The Russian influence by hacking and using assange to generate terrible news for only one side, the side they favored, is clearly a very, very big deal and even sane republicans/conservatives recognize that!

      What a world we have landed in, where Assange and Putin have had a popularity spike among conservatives! following their election antics (and if we are somehow pretending that putin-assange did NOT influence the election then why, pray tell, did assange and putin suddenly become so freaking popular with quite a few conservatives?). A world where an American general who became a significant part of trumps campaign and administration has loose cannon and at the very least highly inappropriate ties to Russia, and many conservatives Defend that and say its just some nothing burger invented by fiendish democrats to scuttle our democracy! putin is pulling every covert and overt string he has to weaken the west and has so far succeeded in sowing much more chaos than I would have thought he could using transparent lies. Flynn is one of his useful idiots, along with Flynn’s apologists and denialists. Well, this is a world I never expected to land in and I am appalled by it.

      Yeah, the execution meme is as repulsive as the throw her in jail meme. One side riles up the other with “throw her in jail”. the other comes back with “treason!” the first responds that Flynn et al, is nothing and pretends that their new political friend putin and his Russian security (read disinformation) agencies, were merely meddling and trolling to no effect… ad nauseum. Descent into madness/hell. putin has reason to be think he really found a great new button to push, American political madness.

      France at least did not loose its mind completely, so maybe there is hope that sanity will return to America someday. But, not while the trump administration plays out.

      • May 10, 2017 10:33 am

        I hadn’t thought about the Assange connection, which definitely worked against Hillary. But we’d have to believe that Trump’s people persuaded Putin to persuade Assange to release the damaging info about the e-mails. It seems like the ultimate “strange bedfellows” relationship: a renegade hacker being willingly used as a tool to put an autocrat like Trump in power.

        I’m so fed up with our political climate that I’m fast approaching zero tolerance for the sowers of discord on both the right and the left. I’ll probably be making plenty of enemies in the coming months, God help me, because my gloves are off.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2017 11:07 am

        I have no idea what, if anything, trumps people said to putin’s people. The most likely conversations would have been about future policies that convinced putin that trump was his horse in the race. I have not heard anyone who believes that trump somehow called putin and asked him to hack hillary and the DNC and feed it to assange, that is a screwball theory if anyone has it. Its more like trump and his campaign went out of their way to woo putin, even inappropriately out of their way. Remember trump on Crimea, for example? He was just a bumbling idiot running a campaign that was to be the future base of a reality show and mouthing off. Some of his associates on the other hand, would have known exactly what they were doing.

        We will see over the upcoming months and years how deep and serious it was, many if not all, facts will resist being hidden, .

    • May 10, 2017 1:43 pm

      Rick, the first thing to do in this political climate is tell yourself that responding to people on social media will do no good at all other than to get your own blood pressure elevated. It is one thing to comment on a site like this were mostly civil discussions take place compared to social media where people with no idea what is going on and do not follow politics enough just regurgitate MSM talking points in a way they would never talk to someone face to face.

      So now for the Comey issue from my perspective. I believe Trump wanted to fire Comey earlier, but due to the fact he did not have a AG or an assistant AG to give him information from the justice departments point of view, he refrained from making that move. It was just a couple weeks or so ago that the new assistant AG took office after his April 25th confirmation vote and got settled in. The Deputy Attorney general is the person who oversees day to day operations of the Justice Department and is the one directly associated with the cases that are active in that department. It appears to me that once Resenstein obtained all the information concerning the cases that had dominated the news, he decided that the actions taken by Comey were incorrect and in fact detrimental to the FBI and Justice Department. He then went to Sessions and they both recommended that Comey be fired. With his two top legal advisers recommending this action, Trump acted.

      Now we will find out if all the talking points that the right has put forward concerning Clinton are correct or not. If they are, then this case will be reopened. If is was just some more hot air coming from their mouths, then the case will be left as it stands now.

      But as a moderate and someone who has concerns with Trump (but not anywhere close to my concerns about Clinton), not until an independent investigator is put into position to review this issue and the Russian connection will this country be able to move forward. Just think about what will happen when the GOP loses 24 or more seats in the House in 2018 and Pelosi and her tribe is in control of the wing of the government responsible for investigating governmental wrong doings. They will tie up House proceedings so nothing gets done for two years and will make “Fake News” look like scripture when it comes to the reelection of Trump.

      Tax cuts, immigration reform, entitlement reform, health care reform, infrastructure funding, job growth and trade reforms will continue to be secondary or worse all while the Democrats work to make Trump a one term president. Much like we saw with the GOP with Obama as president.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2017 2:03 pm

        I disagree with some significant parts of this, as a left leaner like me would, but all the same, its a very reasonable statement from a right of center perspective. Would that you were the prototypical conservative/libertarian.

        Now, if trump were really trying to unite Americans and get real things done that Americans who are not far removed from the center of gravity want done, is this how one would do it? He is in over his head and he has the likes of bannon coming up with the political strategies. They want this circus. Its good show biz, not good government.

      • May 10, 2017 4:56 pm

        Roby, Please note Priscilla’s comment that Rosenstein was confirmed 94-6 (and that is a remarkable feat in this day and age of congress that votes against anyone nominated by an opposing party president) and my comment that Rosenstien was the one that decided Comey had to go and Sessions and Trump agreed. Please also look back at all the negative comments made about Comey and how the Democrats wanted him gone long ago.

        http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/flashback-schumer-was-against-comey-before-he-was-for-him/article/2622608

        Now they are saying there was no reason to fire Comey.

        There never was a good time to fire this guy. The Democrats would have spun this in a negative light no matter what the facts were in the case. There are not enough people like myself that thought he should have been fired when he said that Clinton broke the law by having a private server with classified information on it, but no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges. That to me was not his responsibility. His responsibility was to investigate, report findings to a prosecutor and to let that person decide if Clinton should have been charged, He played politics with the FBI and according to a lot of reports, there were many agents that lost confidence in him as their leader.

        I would hope the next director has learned from this mans mistakes and stays out of the news and allows all investigations to take a normal path to being resolved . He should have made a recommendation to Loretta Lynch, if not to a prosecutor and let them make the announcement in a political way so his hands and that of the FBI were clean.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2017 5:16 pm

        Having a politicized FBI and/or CIA is a very, Very bad thing.

        There may never have been a good time to fire Comey, but trump picked the worst of the worst times, unless of course that was the idea, drama and political firestorm used as a strategy. I don’t claim to be able to read minds so I don’t know, is it my paranoia or the way that the trump administration works? Time may carry some answers.

        It wasn’t the burglary that brought Nixon down, it was the aftermath, the coverup. If something brings trump down, the coverup is going to be a big part. This clearly smells bad, which itself is not impeachable, but it raises the level of the invective and anger.

      • May 10, 2017 11:33 pm

        Well this is why there is disagreement between people on different issues. I see this very different than you do and I guess that is because we come in with different beliefs on many different issues from a political agenda. I believe even if Trump is impeached and we get Pence to complete the term, we are better off than getting Hillary and the bleeding heart liberals half baked ideas for running the country. If Hillary’s positions where anywhere close to Bill’s, my thoughts would be very different, but she was one brick short of Berney Sanders social democrat positions which this country can not afford.

        You say this was the worst time to fire Comey. Now, what would be the result of Rosenstein and Sessions recommending Comey’s resignation based on the reasons stated by Rosenstein, then have Trump ignore that recommendation and have the recommendation to fire Comey leaked by someone in the FBI to the press like so many leaks from the FBI lately?

        Schumer would have been the first to come to the lectern, open his prepared comments and say something like “Trump’s reasons for ignoring his top justice department officials are based on the fact that Comey must have information detrimental to Trump and as long as Comey is an official of the FBI, top secret information can not be shared unless he wants to break the law”. Then he would go on about an independent investigator like he is today and we would be in the same position.

        Like you said, there was no good time to fire him other than Trump’s first day in office. But since that did not happen, there was no worst day from my perspective as the Democrats were ready to fire all their weapons when and if that happened. Not until an independent investigator is in place will this issue go away. If Trump thinks he has any chance of a second term, it must happen now to get it over with and let the chips fall where they may.

        I still think he was getting bad advice to carry Comey as long as he did and then when Sessions and Rosenstein recommended termination, Trump had to choose between White House advisers who probably convinced him to keep Comey on and his top legal advisors that said “your fired”.

      • May 10, 2017 11:44 pm

        Roby. I misspoke when I said “Like you said, there was no good time to fire him other than Trump’s first day in office. ” It should have read, ” “Like you said, there was no good time to fire him”. I think other than his first day in office there was no good time to fire him….

        Hard to not make errors when thinking faster than the brain can function.

    • dduck12 permalink
      May 10, 2017 5:37 pm

      I not slightly nauseous, I’m very nauseous at the thought that everyday I would say to my self “well, he can’t do anything more stupid than what he did yesterday”. I knew he was stupid and venal, I just didn’t know I as a moderate could not foresee how much. Although I wasted my vote (I live in Manhattan) by voting for Hillary, it was not enough. Little did I and millions of people that DID NOT come out and vote for Hillary (damn that Electoral College and the DNC, would be so severely conned.
      I can just hear Trump saying: “Who knew it would be so hard to get some of these Washington types to pucker up and kiss my ass.” “Thank goodness for the meetings with the Russians today they know what a good guy I am. Did you listen to their accurate comments to the press after the meeting?”

  24. May 10, 2017 8:50 am

    Rick, as far as the Comey firing: I believe that this is a hill to fight and die on, if in fact, Trump is going to die on this hill.

    For decades, political prosecutions have targeted those on the right, but not the left. Remember the Valerie Plame investigation, during the Bush administration? That was all over the fact that someone leaked to the media that Valerie Plame was a covert operative ~ something that she had previously admitted to in public, anyway ~ and Dick Cheney’s chief of staff ended up in prison for it ~ not because he leaked the information, but because he lied to the FBI about what he knew. The Valerie Plame affair was a political witch hunt, and absolutely paled in comparison to what Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and maybe even other members of the Obama administration did by mishandling classified info and lying about it.

    What’s happening to General Flynn is a similar situation. I’m not saying that he didn’t make mistakes, or even violate the law by not declaring himself a foreign agent, because he was doing work with Turkey. What I’m saying is that his is clearly the scalp that anti-Trump forces have wanted, to “prove” that Trump colluded with the Russians to deny Hillary the presidency.

    Comey did basically everything wrong. He listed Hillary’s crimes, and then declared that she would not be prosecuted (even though he is not a prosecutor). He announced the closing of the case, and then the re-opening of it, right before the election. He publicly stated that there was an investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia, then refused to say if Trump himself was a target. According to Senator Grassley, he has not submitted documents requested by the Senate Judiciary Commiteee.

    I think Trump should have fired him right away, but I understand that there were reasons why waiting was, perhaps, more prudent. Maybe Comey was once a good guy, but I think that he became power hungry and overly political, and he damaged the reputation of the FBI. Democrats who were literally calling for his firing or resignation are now condemning Trump for firing him. I so sick of this crap.

    • Roby permalink
      May 10, 2017 9:25 am

      You are leaving too much out Priscilla. The narrative that democrats were calling for Comey’s head and now hypocritically are pissed that it rolled founders upon the inconvenient facts that the Sally Yeats testimony just occurred one day previously and the Russian influence investigation was just gathering steam. Now, I think he seriously &^%$ed up and this will only make that situation worse, but that is beside the point that yes, this is Nixonian. I’m not getting purple in the face because I smell a deep self inflicted injury. Not a clever man.

  25. Roby permalink
    May 10, 2017 9:19 am

    Under Putin, Russia is our adversary. I certainly don’t like to think of Russians as the enemy, but their soft dictator for example is now oozing Russian aid into any gap left by China finally addressing N. Korea. A man who see opportunity in Kim il Jung to profit by making the process of restraining North Korea’s nuke program even harder, thats not an enemy?

    Legally I am pretty sure that if, hypothetically, trumps campaign passed intelligence back and forth to Russian agents, that IS treason.

    As to trumps decision to fire Comey, I am of the opinion that he made a mistake he will regret, but I will not rant and rave, I will just wait and see how it plays out.

    • May 10, 2017 1:09 pm

      I get that many Democrats feel that way, Roby, but I disagree for many reasons.

      In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, Jim Comey deserved to be fired. He’s lost the trust of both parties, as well as many within the rank and file of the FBI. As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, he’s been very arbitrary and political in his decisions. Claiming that reckless and illegal behavior by Hillary and her aides was not prosecutable because there was no criminal “intent” was not only dishonest, but ridiculous. Most children know that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” and no one believes that Hillary was ignorant of the law.

      Comey also declined to investigate the Clinton Foundation, despite many allegations of quid pro quo involving tens of millions of dollars in foreign donaltions. Under his leadership, the FBI failed to follow up on terror suspects such as Nidal Hassan, the Tsarnaev brothers, and Omar Mateen, who later slaughtered many Americans. After San Bernadino, the FBI tried to force Apple to give it a “backdoor” to break into the suspect’s phone, despite Apple’s refusal and the belief of many that doing that would backfire, when the backdoor method got into the wrong hands.

      Oppostition to Comey’s firing is based on the timing and hatred of Trump. It may well be that Trump is trying to stonewall the Russia-collusion investigation, but I don’t see how he can do that. It may be that this firing is the move that Trump will regret. But I hope not.
      The bitter partisan divisions in the country have reached a serious point. If the Democrats, who have been badmouthing Comey all along, and calling for his head, now use his firing as a way to try and impeach Trump, there will be serious blowback.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2017 1:35 pm

        “The bitter partisan divisions in the country have reached a serious point. If the Democrats, who have been badmouthing Comey all along, and calling for his head, now use his firing as a way to try and impeach Trump, there will be serious blowback.”

        There was a lot of (justified) anger and cursing about Comey’s timing by democrats on the Hillary investigation, but if there has been an actual unified democrat led campaign to remove Comey I have missed it. So, that is a red herring.

        Yes, Comey had lost the trust of both parties. the POTUS does have the right to fire Comey, but his timing was terrible, incompetent, that is where this went south. Unless of course one takes the opinion that the trump administration uses this kind of event purposefully in a Machiavellian calculation that it will provoke left anger that trump can use to make people like yourself pull in with him in loathing of the left reaction. Which is possibly their aim, to make the conflict as extreme as possible to unite the GOP under warfare conditions.

        Using the firing in itself to impeach trump would be a gigantic mistake. Is there any meaningful idea of doing that being promoted? If you are going to go after the king, don’t miss. This would be a clear miss if they tried. There is no way that the firing in itself is sufficient to attract any more than a party line vote and there is no way its an impeachable offence unless it turns out to be part of a larger swamp. Much, much further along it could possibly be one of many articles of impeachment, but only if and when the Russian meddling investigation has run its course and found real evidence of prosecutable actions that directly implicate trump.

        You pretty clearly are of the Hillary to Jail belief, and are complaining about democratic excesses of rhetoric! Back to our separate universes!

      • May 10, 2017 2:00 pm

        Well, as a disclaimer, I will say that I am NOT of the “Hillary to Jail” belief, although I do believe that a grand jury should have been convened to investigate and indict her, if the evidence showed that she had possibly committed crimes. It was not up to a compromised AG, who had met secretly with Bill Clinton during the investigation (keep in mind that the only reason we know this, is because an ABC reporter happened to see him going into Lynch’s plane. And it was certainly not up to the FBI Director. So, that is my position.

        Also, keep in mind that, if Hillary HAD been indicted, and forced to withdraw from the presidential race, Joe Biden would likely have run in her stead, and he would almost certainly be our president right now. So, Democrats should be careful what they wish for as well. Certainly, many Republicans did not think that the next GOP president would be Donald Trump.

        I don’t know if firing Comey in the way that it was done was a mistake or not. I suppose only time will tell. But, I think that Democrats and even some Republicans believe that this was a mistake.

        My own opinion is that Comey was political and incompetent, and Trump is the president with the right to replace him, and he did the right thing by getting rid of a polarizing and self-serving Director.

        I guess we’ll all have to wait until the screeching and wailing and gnashing of teeth is over ~ if it ever is~ to see if it was the right call.

      • May 10, 2017 2:09 pm

        By the way, I think that it’s of some value to note that the Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, is not a Republican and is a career Justice Dept. professional, confirmed on a 94-6 bipartisan vote. He has no axe to grind, yet it was on his recommendation that the firing took place. The letter that he wrote is very damning and very persuasive, citing many legal professionals on both sides of the aisle, who agreed with him.

  26. May 10, 2017 5:05 pm

    Some comic relief:

    • Roby permalink
      May 11, 2017 8:38 am

      Meh. Boring. Humor? More like right wing sarcasm that leaves out all the inconvenient parts of the right narrative.

      If I post Trevor Noah’s comic take (which I haven’t seen but it exists) I bet you won’t be laughing at left distortions any more than I am at this.

      • May 11, 2017 8:53 am

        Interesting. I didn’t think it was particularly partisan, just a sardonic take on Washington’s obsession with investigations. Would not have posted it otherwise.

  27. May 11, 2017 12:06 am

    Roby, after my comments in response to your post, I was on Facebook and came across this article. Thought you might be interested in this point of view based on someones more educated positions than mine since they had better data to form an opinion. Again it is an opinion, but the supporting data is much better than my “personal beliefs”.

    https://patriotpost.us/alexander/49008

    • Roby permalink
      May 11, 2017 8:12 am

      Jeez, Ron, I am surprised. That link was nothing I could respect at all, some kind of right wing gossip columnist was my impression. The issue of the interest of the Clintons in Comey, is A, irrelevant at this point and B probably they have gone on to other concerns.

      In my opinion Hillary’s politics were closer to Bill’s and are really pretty far from Bernie Sanders’. Which is why the true progs hated her.

      This is a case of you and I being from different ideological camps I am afraid.

      Again, I will say that this was the worst time to fire him, right after he asked for more resources for the Russian meddling probe. I think history is going to bear that out.

  28. Roby permalink
    May 11, 2017 8:04 am

    “By the way, I think that it’s of some value to note that the Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, is not a Republican and is a career Justice Dept. professional, confirmed on a 94-6 bipartisan vote. He has no axe to grind, yet it was on his recommendation that the firing took place.”

    No. Just no. Fake news. He was asked AFTER THE FACT of trumps decision to draft a memo to justify the decision. Apparently he is not a happy camper today about being used as the fall guy.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39882016

    This rationalization was supposed to provide cover, but like all the pathetic lies of the trump admin, its already collapsed.

    • May 11, 2017 9:05 am

      I think this story still suffers from the “fog of war” syndrome, Roby. The mainstream news media is furiously spinning against Trump. “Furiously” in both senses of the word.

      I doubt that anyone other than Rod Rosenstein knows what transpired in his conversations with President Trump and Jeff Sessions. Certainly not the anonymous leakers talking to BBC reporters.

      I read the entire letter, and I suggest you read it too. James Comey was distrusted by almost everyone is Washington. His behavior was outside of the norm of any law enforcement official, let alone the head of the greatest law enforcement agency in the world.

      The Russian probe will continue. That is the “concern” of the Democrats, no? A new FBI chief will be nominated, and no matter how good a man ~ or woman~ s/he is. s/he will be treated with suspicion and fear by the Democrats and the liberal media. This story will continue to dominate the news cycle, because it’s what the news media wants. The coverage will be driven by anonymous sources and reported as gospel truth, as long as it’s negative toward the president.

      That’s just the way it is. And I think that, if Trump had fired Comey right after the inauguration, it would have been the same. He decided to give the guy a chance. That was a mistake.

      • May 11, 2017 9:56 am

        Roby, I don’t mean in any way to suggest that you are “wrong” and I am “right,” about any of this. We do come from different perspectives, and we’re going to disagree.

        What makes me angry is the near total lack of journalistic ethics in our news media ~ the reliance on anonymous sources, reporting leaks as if they were fact (when they are often just gossip and hearsay, from people that are not even close to the figures being leaked about), misleading headlines, refusal to retract inaccuracies, or issuing retractions long after the incorrect information has been accepted, etc. It’s dangerous.

        I suppose that I’ve accepted the fact that the current state of news media is black and white, with no shades of gray. And that Americans are increasing consuming their news from agenda-driven sources, which serve more to reinforce biases and inaccuracies than to inform with facts. I’ve accepted it, but I don’t have to like it.

        You did say something the other day about attacks on Trump causing his supporters to become more defensive and protective of him, and I totally agree with you on that point. I believe that Obama supporters similarly jumped to his defense, every time that he was criticized, especially if that criticism came from Fox News. This sort of thing encourages news stations to persist in opinion journalism and biased, inaccurate reporting, because it builds audiences and drives ratings.

        Donald Trump has been a boon to the ratings of all of the cable news stations. Rachel Maddow, whom I can barely stand to watch for 5 minutes, probably seems fascinating and insightful to liberals. Similarly, Sean Hannity, who defends Trump, is a hero to right-wingers and despised by liberals. This phenomenon is getting worse rather than better, and one of the reasons that I like to comment here, is because most of us recognize that there is a middle ground.

    • Ron P permalink
      May 11, 2017 3:29 pm

      Roby, couple comments.

      You said that the information I shared from the Patriot Post was Fake News. I find it interesting that someone from your political viewpoint read this from the Clinton standpoint and how ridiculous the writer was in tying the Clintons to Comey’s firing. I, on the other hand, read over the Clinton connection and only looked at the information concerning other issues that supported my previous comments about Trump’s timing and how there never was a good time to fire Comey, but it had to be done. I am not saying either is good or bad, it is just the difference in the way one reads information and processes that information.

      As for the BBC article you linked, it is getting to the point that “unnamed sources” are just a way for news agencies to make up whatever they want to say, so they make a statement and then say “according to unnamed sources”. And when one reads this article the same as you and I read the Patriot post, I don’t see anything additional in this information that has not already been said by Schumer hundreds of times since November.

      Now, my belief about Trump and Russia. There are two reasons why an independent council would not be appointed. (1), Trump and his campaign have something to hide about Russian ties. (2), Trump has something else to hide that is not even tied to Russia. I think #1 is not the reason, but I do think there is something that an IC would uncover if an investigation began that would be uncovered unrelated to the Russian investigation. If memory serves me right, Clinton appointed an IC to look into something like White Water or some other issues and those came back negative, but Kenneth Starr uncovered other issues unrelated to the original investigation that almost brought Clinton down. Given the years in business, I believe Trump has something to hide that would be very detrimental to him personally if it were found and he wants no part in anyone looking into his past dealing with anyone, not just the Russians.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 3:48 pm

        I don’t believe that I called anything in your link to the patriot article fake news.

        Anonymous sources are obviously prone to being discounted. Its not the most powerful argument and many will believe its a fiction or an unweighty or inaccurate source.

        I do not believe that reputable news organizations with histories going back a hundred or more years just make things up.

        As to anonymous sources Remember Woodward and Bernstein? “Deep throat?

        “William Mark Felt, Sr. (August 17, 1913 – December 18, 2008[1]) was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent who retired as the Bureau’s Deputy Director in 1973. After keeping secret for 30 years his involvement with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Felt acknowledged on May 31, 2005 that he was the Watergate scandal’s whistleblower, “Deep Throat”.”

        Should he have done it? Was he a criminal or a hero or something else?

        This is how we keep our leaders somewhat honest some of the time. Eliminate this kind of journalism and something powerful will have been lost.

        I’m Not saying that you to want it to be eliminated.

        I think that there is a less than 50% chance of trump being impeached but its a damn good thing that possibility exists and hangs over him and every president. He is certainly the prize example of why that option exists.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 11, 2017 7:26 pm

        OK, not fake news. Specifically “some kind of right wing gossip columnist was my impression”.

        Yes, the issue of impeachment does hang over each president as does the possibility of a Special Investigator or now they call them Special Councils, what ever they want to be called.

        I think there is one huge hole in the SI or SC legislation. A SC can be appointed by the President, the Attorney General or his Deputy or by congress. Now if the Senate was controlled by the Democrats, there would be an SI/SC in place now. But since all three wings of the government are in GOP hands, there is little chance this will happen.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if the legislation (and only this legislation) had been written where this could happen if the minority party had the ability to name an SC themselves (say with 40 votes or 45 votes for naming a prosecutor). That would mean a President and congress of the same party could not block an investigation and maybe it would shut the mouths of those like Chuck Schumer who could be using this as spin knowing it will never happen.

        I still believe the senate intelligence committee will get the truth since Warner is a Democrat that has never acted like someone with an ax to grind and Burr has already said this is his last rodeo. so he can evade politics and get the answers, no matter where they lead. He does not have to worry about reelection.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 4:04 pm

        This topic is fascinating. Here is one view of the watergate scandal:

        “The Washington Post created a morality play about an out-of-control government brought to heel by two young, enterprising journalists and a courageous newspaper. That simply wasn’t what happened. Instead, it was about the FBI using The Washington Post to leak information to destroy the president, and The Washington Post willingly serving as the conduit for that information while withholding an essential dimension of the story by concealing Deep Throat’s identity.”[83]

        Political scientist George Friedman.

        Doesn’t seem to ring true today but its one way of looking at it, a way that is Very sympathetic to presidential power.

        This goes back to John Adams and his attempts to throw journalists in jail, the Alien and Sedition acts.

        The war between politicians and the media via whistleblowers is a dirty little theater and only after many years have passed does the drama seem to have a clear good and bad guy.

        Most people probably would not support Friedman’s view of watergate today. But regarding today’s events, partisan people can become Freidman very quickly if its their side being investigated. (goes for me too).

  29. Roby permalink
    May 11, 2017 8:46 am

    Oh my God! A genuinely good idea out of the trump admin, if its true!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/national/latest-trump-spokeswoman-suggests-rosenstein-lead-probe-article-1.3155739

    • May 11, 2017 10:02 am

      Here’s another interesting idea (The Daily Caller is generally considered a conservative source, although I would say it leans toward more moderate):

      http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/10/the-case-for-merrick-garland-as-fbi-director/

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 10:51 am

        Beautiful. Tom Keane would be great too.

        If trump and the GOP are smart they will do this in a way that satisfies everyone who is not just being impossible that an actual determined unhindered investigation is taking place. Garland or Rod Rosenstein would be great picks who who put out this immediate fire, if that is something the White house is interested in doing.

        i have a pretty deep belief in the journalistic integrity of the NYTimes. If they said it, they have a real source. That is how they work.

        The source of the “Rod Rosenstein was the force behind the firing” story is Sean Spicer, the White House, the administration. How many conservative outlets are questioning the idea that Rod Rosenstein was the impetus beind the firing and how many are just blindly taking the White House version as the facts?

        Our very dear and very brilliant Russian friend believes everything her president and has subordinates tell her. It boggles my mind.

        I’ll believe Spicer and trump when they tell me that water freezes at 32 degrees. Other than that…. I do not Believe the White House version of the Comey firing. The people I would believe are searching for the actual data are the best outlets of the MSM. I do not have the MSM is nothing but liberal propaganda outlook, its does not reach me. They are the best we have and I doubt if there is any media in the world that does its job better than the American MSM, liberal bias or no. I adjust for their bias, but I don’t believe they invent lies.

  30. Roby permalink
    May 11, 2017 11:00 am

    “The “asking for more resources” story has been categorically denied, in no uncertain terms, by the Justice Department spokesperson.”

    OK, thats nice.

    “It is false,”

    Good God! Why, because its been denied by the Justice department? You are close to having my Russian friend’s level of trust in the administration if you are really thinking like that!

    One cannot just believe what the powers that be say about themselves! That’s why we have a Media!!!!!!! Sorry, you don’t like them but they are pretty damned valuable all the same.

    We believe in the integrity of very different sources of data, so we live in very different universes.

    • May 11, 2017 12:20 pm

      The vast majority of the Justice Department is made up of career professionals. People like Rod Rosenstein.

  31. Roby permalink
    May 11, 2017 11:26 am

    Since we are talking about who to believe and why, this is now relevant.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/voters-call-trump-idiot-and-liar-in-disastrous-new-poll.html

    I wasn’t going to mention this but this conversation makes it valid. I have been pretty good I think about not venting about trump every day, I’ve kept it I believe, pretty reasonable and I take it as a given that everyone here knows my opinion of trump, so there is no need to hammer it. But I am posting this link about a Quinnipiac poll (Quinnipiac has an A- rating from Nate Silver.) When asked as one of many questions in a lengthy poll to mention the first word that came to mind when the name donald trump is mentioned the three most frequent choices. (not from any predetermined list) were Idiot, Incompetent, and Liar. This was a broad poll of Americans. Unqualified, Ignorant and Arrogant were also close to the top. There were every few positive words, the top one was Strong.

    “And that’s not even the poll result that would most enrage Trump. This is: When it comes to who Americans trust to tell them the truth, 57 percent say the media wins out over Trump.”

    That does not mean that Americans have suddenly fallen in love with teh media, it means that most people see trump for what he is. This is not a man I am going to take the word of, or the word of his (weird) administration.

    • May 11, 2017 12:33 pm

      I trust the NYT less than many other sources, when it comes to domestic politics, because of its extreme editorial bias. I do read the Sunday NYT, because I like the arts & leisure section, as well as some other sections. So, I do read the front page news and the magazine, and can compare it to what I consider more balanced sources.

      It takes an effort to overcome bias in the media. Anyone who gets all of their news from the NYT is going to understand one point of view. Anyone who restricts his/her reading to conservative sources will only understand the right’s perspective. More and more that is our reality.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 12:39 pm

        Its a good point.

        All the same at the top sits Sessions and above him trump. Teh spokesman is closer to the political side than the everyday side of the operation.

        Did you believe the statements of the Justice department under Obama-Holder? I believe you did not.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 12:41 pm

        That went to the wrong place. The good point was:

        The vast majority of the Justice Department is made up of career professionals. People like Rod Rosenstein.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 12:48 pm

        Hopefully this goes in the correct place:

        “I trust the NYT less than many other sources, when it comes to domestic politics, because of its extreme editorial bias.”

        Sure, I get that as a conservative the obvious liberal bias of the NYT editorial board is obnoxious to you (and even to me).

        But the topics we are on are news. Different operation of the paper. If anyone has higher standards of fact checking or of having a real source if they say they do, I do not know who they are. I consider that the WSJ has the same standards on their news operation, in spite of the frequently obnoxiously conservative tone of the editorial page. I don’t believe the WSJ or the NYT deliberately lie about facts in their news coverage.

        And that, to me. is one of the best things about America.

        In a fact or truth contest between the trump administration and the NYTimes the NYTimes has much, much more credibility with me.

      • May 11, 2017 2:18 pm

        Ok, fair enough.

        But here is a question for you: many of the more left-wing biased news organizations, including the NYT, have advocated for the appointment of a “special prosecutor,” of the Ken Starr/Patrick Fitzgerald type, who would ceaselessly work toward the prosecution of someone (Clinton in Starr’s case, Rove in Fitzgerald’s case, although he had to settle for Libby)

        The question is how, exactly, do you prosecute someone, if no crime is alleged? In the case of Clinton, it was perjury. In Rove’s case, it was leaking classified information. Those charges were clearly understood BEFORE a special prosecutor was named.

        The Russia probe is a counter-intelligence investigation, launched nominally to discover if any Americans colluded with any Russians to interfere with the election. The IC has already publicly stated that Russia attempted to interfere with the election ~ no surprise, really, since they have been doing so since the 1950’s ~ but the allegation that associates of Trump or Trump’s campaign, or Trump himself colluded with Russians is, as of now, a purely political one, put out there only by the political party that lost and its media allies.

        So, until there is evidence of a crime (and as of right now, the only crime has been the illegal unmasking of Michael Flynn’s name), no special prosecutor can be assigned to the case.

        Yet, that hasn’t stopped Democrats (most of whom are lawyers and know perfectly well that this is the case) and the mainstream press from incessantly calling for one. It could be ignorance or bias.

        I would say it’s both.

      • Roby permalink
        May 11, 2017 2:48 pm

        “So, until there is evidence of a crime (and as of right now, the only crime has been the illegal unmasking of Michael Flynn’s name), no special prosecutor can be assigned to the case.”

        That was too easy. Throw me something more difficult! You are flat out wrong. If you read that in some conservative opinion piece they are wrong and it is they for whom “It could be ignorance or bias. I would say it’s both.”

        From Wiki:
        “A special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel) is a lawyer

        —-> appointed to investigate and possibly prosecute <—-

        a specific legal case of potential wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority. …

        ….The first federal special prosecutor, John B. Henderson, was appointed by Ulysses Grant in 1875 to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. After attempting to stifle Henderson's investigation of the president's personal secretary, Grant fired Henderson on the basis that Henderson's statements to a grand jury regarding Grant were impertinent.[7] Following criticism, Grant appointed a new special prosecutor, James Broadhead, to continue the investigation.
        James Garfield appointed the next special prosecutor, William Cook, in 1881 to investigate the Star route scandal. Cook continued his investigation into the Chester Arthur administration. Under the Theodore Roosevelt administration, special prosecutors were appointed to investigate two scandals. In 1903, Roosevelt appointed two special prosecutors (a democrat and a republican) to investigate allegations of bribery at the Post Office department. In 1905, Roosevelt's attorney general, Philander Knox,[8] appointed Francis Heney special prosecutor to investigate the Oregon land fraud scandal.
        Calvin Coolidge appointed two special counsels, Atlee Pomerene and Owen Roberts to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal. This appointment was unique in that it was made under a special Congressional resolution, and was subject to approval in the Senate.[9]"

        And so on. Seriously, the right is running out of excuses and rationalizations! No special prosecutor because its Thursday and its rainy in DC and the dog ate donalds homework and Ryans wife ate a bad fish…

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_prosecutor

      • May 12, 2017 8:46 am

        What is the evidence for a specific case of wrongdoing? As of yet, none.

        Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any prosecution arising from the FBI and Congressional investigations of Russian interference in the election. But Rod Rosenstein has not, and, as far a I can see, he has no conflict.

        The call for a special prosecutor in this case in specious, and Democrats are calling for it, because it would allow a “fishing expedition” into other possible misdeeds of Trump or anyone associated with him, before, during or after the election.

        This is not to say that evidence may arise at some point regarding some unsavory connection between Russia and a Trump associate. I might guess Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn. But, as of yet, there isn’t any.

        A special prosecutor must be tasked with a SPECIFIC charge of wrongdoing, and there must be a “conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority,” i.e. the AG or Deputy AG. The AG is recused in advance. The Deputy AG has no such conflict.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 2:43 pm

        It is not just a special prosecutor – but US law enforcement that must be tasked with specificity.

        We can not have a general investigation of the Trump campaign looking for problems without initial evidence to begin with.

        This is something most of us do not seem to grasp – atleast not until it applies to us personally.

        We not only have a presumption of innocence in a criminal proceeding
        we start with a presumption of innocence.

        The FBI can not say – I think today I am going to investigate joe blow.

        There are specifc allegations that have been made with regard to Trump.
        It is arguable whether any of them actually rise to the level of reasonable suspicion necescary to start an investigation.

        The mere fact that a few Trump People met with a few Russians is arguably insufficient to actually create the legal suspicion of wrong doing needed to start an investigation.

        But then the left presumes that just by virtue of not liking someone – they have sufficient suspicion to tear their lives apart.

        I want to take special note that tendency to presume the govenrment can intrude into anyones life to whatever extent it please permiates the left in pretty much everything and every way. The mere fact that the world is less that perfect is sufficient evidence to investigate and convict those who disagree with you. It is the left that nearly uniformly see success as a crime that comes at the expense of harm to others.

        Anyway if we presume that the allegations that have been raised are sufficient to investigate – that does NOT mean they are sufficient to subpeona, to get a warrant.
        Again we are not permitted to tear peoples lives apart just because we have reasonable suspicion. To go further we must have probable cause.

        And even with Probable cause we are STILL limited to investigating the initial allegation.
        We can only go further when the results of our initial investigation produce credible evidence that something else can also be justifiably investigated.

        It would be my guess that the Trump investigation is “stalled” because nothing is leading anywhere.

        I have noted and will continue to note that the more we investigate Trump the more bad things we learn about the Obama administration.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 4:00 pm

        There are alot of investigations that we need at the moment.

        I do not think a special prosecutor is a good idea.
        But if we do that – then they need narrowly tasked and they need not be be able to unitlaterally expand their scope.

        I would prefer to see congress put together its own special committee.
        Possibly a joint house senate committee broadly tasked but operating mostly in public.
        Congress DOES have the power to conduct broad investigations, but it has nearly no power to prosecute. Regardless, do the preliminaries broadly in public and where sufficient evidence is found refer things to DOJ for prosecution.

        I would also like to see this FAR broader than an investigation for Trump/Russia.
        Another reason for doing this through congress.
        There are BOTH prosecution implications AND changes in law and procedures.

        As an example what do we need to do to preclude any cabinet official from conducting their communications in a way to remove them from government control – as Clinton did (and BTW so did lehrner). And though less broadly so did Powell.

        We need either new federal law or teeth to current federal law that dictates that those communications conducted on behalf of government are the property of government and the people and can not be removed from government control.
        This is beyond just classified material. No government official should be able to conduct their job such that only they will ever have access to the record.

        We have an issue regarding “unmasking”.

        That term is deceiving. It means spying obliquely.
        Our government needs broad ability to spy. BUT gathering information on US Citizens must be more tightly controlled. I think it should be a crime to “unmask” a US citizen absent a warrant. FISA warrants are far to easy to get.

        It also appears that US Intelligence consumers were using foreign intelligence services to circumvent US guides and restrictions on spying on US Citizens.
        If that is not illegal, it needs to be. If it is – people need prosecuted.
        Cooridination of foreign intelligence in the US needs to go through US intelligence producers. I.E. The CIA and NSA can be supplied with intelligence from foreign intelligence services. But the state department, the NSC and the whitehouse can only receive that intelligence through US producers subject to the same restrictions on information about US citizens as would apply if the intiligence had been gathered by US sources.

        Congress needs to be at the top of these investigations because the sufficiency of our laws is a major question.
        If laws were violated – the DOJ can prosecute.
        If they were not – then laws need changed.

        That is the legitimate role of congress.

        With specific respect to Trump, the actual consequence of malfeasance would be impeachment. There is no other remedy.
        That is why the investigation into campaign coordination with Russia needs to be as public as possible. If the evidence leads there – the result will NOT be an ordinary prosecution.

        And if this dies as I fully expect – it must die publicly.

        In the end I highly doubt all people will be convinced.
        But most of us need to be.

      • Roby permalink
        May 12, 2017 9:27 am

        Sorry, Priscilla, this time you were simply flat out wrong in you assertion that a special prosecutor is not an investigator. Your whole point went away, poof. Usually you are better about this when you can be shown to be in error.

        The actual evidence is not in the hands of you and me, its in the hands of our intelligence agencies. Asking me what it is is pointless, its in phone logs and the like. The circumstantial evidence (and circumstantial evidence has convicted many a criminal) is right in front of your face, piles of it. No I am not going to frustrate myself again trying to use a pile of words to make it suddenly clear to you (and Dave when he joins in!). But, I predict that there were never, ever will be any evidence, no matter how clear, that you will accept. Its like arguing with an OJ is innocent or Cosby is being persecuted adherent.

        I am not going to argue this till the cows come home, we will let the wheels turn.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 4:42 pm

        Ron,

        I am not looking for an argument.

        I think I have stated my view that I do not think the requiste evidence exists.

        But to be clear – if it does – Trump must be impeached.

        Personally I keep hearing the same stuff over and over.
        It is extremely rare that I learn of some new alleged contact between Trump people and Russians.

        Overall the extent of contact between Trump people and the Russians appears to be minimal. And it is inarguable that Trump has had long standing business involvement with Russia that explains it all.

        If we are to conclude that any politician that has any involvement with Russia is engaged in criminal misconduct – that standard will ensnare Hillary far earlier than Trump.

        In fact as more emerges there is more damning information on Hillary.

        More recently it has been reported that the Steele Anti-Trump Dossier was first paid for by a Jeb Bush PAC, and subsequently by a Clinton PAC.
        That Steele was being provided the information in the Dossier by the Russian intelligence community.

        That makes the Bush and Clinton PAC’s guilty of exactly what Trump is being accused of.

        It also casts further doubt on the Putin wanted Trump to be elected meme.
        If so than why was Russian intelligence feeding Steele damaging – but apparently false nonsense on Trump ?

        Anyway, as noted I am not looking for a debate on this.

        I do not thus far see the evidence as even making a weak circumstantial case.
        Mere contact is NOT enough.

        If the NSA has something we have not seen it.
        And BTW both the NSA and CIA directors have testified publicly that they have no evidence that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia.

        These are the same people who claim Russia was trying to influence our election.
        And they are out of office now and have little reason to lie.
        While I think they are wrong about many things.
        And in fact I think they are engaged in a coverup of their own misconduct.
        I do not think they are lying about this.

        Regardless, my question still is what is the circumstantial evidence that is actually out there that you beleive is compelling ?

        Not what do you hope to find. But what exists now ?

        I am not disagreeing with you – I actually want to know.

        I am not going to impeach Trump on suspicion, or anything I have heard thus far.

        But I absolutely will impeach him in the event there was actual coordination with Russia over the election.

        And I will do so EVEN if I beleive that Clinton did worse.

        I want all the wrong doers in this mess prosecuted.

        I want people leaking classified information – jailed.
        I want those unmasking US citizens punished to whatever extent the law allows.
        If as seems true Obama was engaged in a political use of the intelligence agencies of the US and foreign governments then his reputation should be ruined.

        Whether it is Trump or Rhoads or Obama or Lehrner, I want the abuse of power for political ends to be severely punished.

        But I also want to be sure when I do that I am RIGHT.

      • May 12, 2017 11:21 pm

        Dave, I believe I said in a comment to Roby that Trump does not want an SP based on one of two reasons. 1) Russian issue or 2) something else that would get uncovered.

        You ask “Regardless, my question still is what is the circumstantial evidence that is actually out there that you believe is compelling ?” I believe I said in that same comment I do not believe anything that has to do with Russia would be found, but I thought that this investigation by an outsider could lead to something else like it did with Bill Clinton.

        But I do believe Trump started out with very bad approvals and he continues to decline based on his actions since taking office. The House passed a Health Bill (that will die in the Senate) and House members are catching hell when they return home based on “reports” on what it does to coverage. He topped off a bad week with an action the left jumped on that further feed the lefts spin that there was something Trump was hiding. They have had a wonderful week in spinning the news. McConnell could take lessons since there is a good possibility they will make Trump a one term President, where he failed in his attempt to do the same to Obama.

        Now you said in another post “But then the left presumes that just by virtue of not liking someone – they have sufficient suspicion to tear their lives apart………….I want to take special note that tendency to presume the government can intrude into anyone’s life to whatever extent it please permeates the left in pretty much everything and every way.”

        When you enter public life, your private life changes completely. Your kids life should be private and your wife’s life, unless she actively participates in the public domain, should also be private. But once you enter yourself, everything becomes fair game, especially for the president. Right or wrong, that is what happens and it will never change.

        So the president (any president)has two choices. 1) try to keep everything hidden and allow months if not years of rumor and innuendo ruin any chance to improve overall conditions in America, or 2) open up to everything that comes their way, make everything public and show there is nothing to be hidden. Call the oppositions bluff!!!!!!!!!!!

        Right now Trump is feeding the oppositions fury. In government you can not silence your opposition. In business you can silence your competition in many different ways. And maybe that is what Trump is afraid will come to light, how he silenced many competitors over the years.

        I have no idea what he is hiding, but he is hiding something or he would not be so stupid to stand on some stupid principle and allow his presidency to collapse before it even gets started.

        All I can say is he makes my vote for Johnson look more intelligent every day. (No Roby, a vote for “the Bitch on the Left” would not have been better, even though you may believe that to be true)

      • dhlii permalink
        May 13, 2017 11:00 pm

        Historically Special Prosecutors are the end of a presidents effective ability to govern.
        They consume all of the oxygen.

        I do actually think we should institute a “4th branch” of government.
        A public integrity branch – with extremely broad ability to investigate the other three branches,

        But with extremely strict rules.

        Then we get rid of house ethics panels, and DOJ public corruption units.

        This 4th Branch has NO OTHER PURPOSE than investigating public corruption.
        It must work entirely in secret. You can refer investigations to it, but there are no press conferences. No outside knowledge of what they are up to.
        They can investigate – using the same rules as would normally apply, but even more stringent requirements for non-disclosure.
        The only way you find out who they are investigating is when they indict.
        And when they indict and prosecute – everything that is said is said in court – no press conferences, no public statements.

        How you construct this group is problematic.
        But so long as the scope of their work is very narrow, and they are large enough and politically diverse enough many other factors do not matter.

        But special prosecutors have proven to be a historical mistake.

        Regardless, there is nothing here to investigate that requires a special prosecutor any more than Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the VA Scandal, Benghazi, The Clinton Email debacle.

        Specifically the Trump/Russia investigation is sufficiently well defined that congress is the appropriate body to look into it.

      • May 14, 2017 12:51 am

        Well guess what Dave, I agree with you 100%. But you know what? There is no way in hell that anything like this would ever fly. When one party proposed it, the other party would say that we have policies in place to take care of things like that. “That is taking powers away from the House”. “You can not take the power to investigate improprieties away from the senate” (Voices of the party that did not propose the legislation).

        Then, just imagine the fights in congress when leadership of this department would be chosen. Who would be responsible for picking the director? OOPS, now it becomes political. No longer separate and independent. Maybe a panel of judges from the federal district courts would be responsible for choosing the director. And then, who is the investigation referred to for prosecution. can’t be the justice department since the decision would then go through a political figure.

        But just think, if Comey had done his job the way it was suppose to have been done, we might still have the party debates about Trump and his Russian connections, but the FBI would still have its integrity (1/3rd of its motto) which was lost when Comey went public with all the investigations starting in June or July before the election. Other than testifying under oath to Congress concerning any Clinton or Trump investigations, he should have kept his mouth shut.

        But I think we need to take a step back from all our comments made so far and asked” who are the winners and losers with this situation?”

        My take: Winners: Russians
        Losers: Americans.
        They accomplished exactly what they wanted. They have weakened our government where no one can agree on anything, politicians will spend most of their time fighting about this issue and they can use this to show other countries how screwed up democracy is and how their form of government is so much better since they don’t have all the infighting and can make snap decisions with no ones input. Their desire, just like in France, is to disrupt democracy, and so far I bet it has exceeded their most wild expectations as to the outcomes they are seeing in America. And our politicians fell for the trap, hook line and sinker.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 8:54 am

        If I inadvertantly suggested taking any power from the house or senate – that was a mistake.

        Though I would note – the House STILL and ALWAYS has the power to impeach.
        The Senate STILL and ALWAYS has the power to try and remove.
        Aside from those Neither the House nor senate have EVER had the power to prosecute – except for their own members.
        I do not care whether they retain that.
        I think the congressional ethics committees are a stupid joke.
        Their have always been a partisan tool.

        BTW I have also not claimed my proposal is completely fleshed out.
        But I think approx. what I listed could be accomplished without a constitutional amendment.
        Though it would sort of be a “fourth branch”, I would structure it more similar to the Federal Reserve – limited task, and as independent as possible.

        BTW the House and Senate would STILL be free to “investigate” whatever they want.
        They have always been so – we would still have Benghazi committee

        Even today aside from excercising its power to impeach – congress must refer actual prosecutorial investigations to DOJ

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:02 am

        Politics are unavoidable. But we have ways of minimizing them.
        We sort of manage with the Fed, and with some other quasi independent parts of the federal government.

        You probably do not have a single head – but a set of 5 directors.
        Normally these are 2 from each party – and 1 from the party in power.
        I would suggest 1 selected by the president, 1 by the house, 1 by the senate 1 by the supreme court and 1 by those 4.

        Regardless, there are ways to deal with it.
        You also probably want to qualify them in that they can not be politicians – i.e. can not have held elective office.

        Your biggest political problem is that politicians as a whole DO NOT want independent investigators they can not control – not republicans or democrats.

        If you want to kill Trump special prosecutor probes – all you have to do is make it so the special prosecutor can investigate congress too.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:09 am

        What I am imagining is sort of the equivalent of a permanent special prosecutor.
        But subject to a gag rule. They can investigate and prosecute.
        Other branches of govenrment can refer alleged government misconduct to them for investigation and prosecution.
        Only they have the authority to prosecute official misconduct.
        Basically they have the exclusive role of criminal prosecutions of individual misconduct in government.
        Authority for investigation into all non-criminal issues, audits reviews, policy investigations, remains as it is. But all criminal allegations are refered to this entity.
        Conversely this entitiy is bound to act as non-politically and non-publicly as possible.
        They do not disclose anything about ongoing investigations to anyone. Actual prosecutions are public – but without press conferences – the prosecution occurs in court. All of us find out from what is in court and nothing else.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:15 am

        I really do not want to digest Comey.

        I actually think he is a decent and honorable person.
        But I think he was put into an impossible position – and made the mistake of accepting it.

        I think the Clinton investigations were handled badly from the begining.
        DOJ refused to give the FBI sufficient authority to subpeona witnesses and evidence,
        That resulted in compromises in the way this was investigated.
        Then DOJ itself became sufficiently politically discredited that it transfered the decision to prosecute to Comey – who never should have accepted.
        And frankly given the evidence – should have recomended privately to DOJ to prosecute.
        But some errors were made as far back as Jun 2015.

        One of the biggest problems is that by protecting Clinton in 2015 – they raised the stakes impossibly high by 2016.

        Recomending prosecution of Clinton in 2015 would have allowed democrats to come up with another nominee.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:33 am

        Ron.

        I do not value government agreeing on things.
        I think a high degree of disrespect and mistrust of government is a very good thing.
        While there are SOME things Trump and Republicans seek to do that I favor – I am perfectly willing to see those go down the tubes – if the result is more gridlock.

        I think our govenrmnent is too big and needs shrunken radically.
        But I do not think there is much positive or knew that it needs to do.

        In fact I think partisan dysfunction in congress would be excellent.
        It would leave Trump ONLY able to do what he can do unilaterally.
        And that mostly is shrink government and regulation.

        No I do not think Russia won anything in this.

        Frankly I think the ENTIRE Russia stole the election meme is idiotic nonsense.

        Not only do I NOT think there is collusion between the Russia and Trump.
        I do nto think Russia had any consequential impact.

        I do not think that Russia had anything to do with the wikileaks dumps.
        I also think that the best way to keep from getting in trouble like that is to NOT treat your own voters as idiots and to NOT conspire to fix the primary.
        There is absolutly nothing that harmed clinton in this election that could not have trivially been prevented by merely not behaving politically corrupt.
        Most of the what if nonsense boils down to
        “What If, Trump had been caught in every nefarious and corrupt thing he ever did, and Hillary had not been caught in anything she did”

        Maybe you can honestly claim – that scenario would have had a different result.
        But you can not claim any other outcome is somehow more evil or corrupt.

        Further there is increasing evidence that Clinton PAC’s were funding the Steele dossier – and paying RUSSIAN spies to do it. That The Obama administration was using foreign spies to circumvent US safeguards against political spying.
        More and more what I see is more harmful to the left than to trump.

        Finally at the very bottom – if we could clear all the negatives from each candidate – if somehow “st. Hillary” ran against “st. donald” – likely st. donald would have won.
        And even if he did not – washington SHOULD have taken note.
        A huge body of people does not trust our government – for GOOD REASON.

        I would say further that if Trump was NOT elected in 2016 – the odds are excellent that this same revolution was occurring sometime soon no matter what.

        One of the fundimental flaws with majoritarian government is that if you pass 10 major laws on 51/49 basis – in the end you do not have 49% of people opposed to government – you have nearly 100% because it si never the same 51/49 majority that passes each thing.

        This is why we need supermajorities to legislate.
        This is why we need to morally justify law – not merely because we like it.
        This is why individual liberty – with very few exceptions MUST be a near absolute right.

        Government does not exist without the consent of the governed
        And activist majoritarian government eventually alienates most everyone for one reason or another.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:38 am

        Ron,

        We are not a democracy.
        Nor is the goal to have a strong government.

        While our founders did give the federal government more power than that of the articles of confederation. They gave it FAR less power than today. Further they made that power quite difficult to use.

        “That government is best which governs least”
        Thoreaux.

        “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things. All governments which thwart this natural course, which force things into another channel, or which endeavour to arrest the progress of society at a particular point, are unnatural, and to support themselves are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical.”
        Adam Smith.

        “Any government powerful enough to give the people all that they want is also powerful enough to take from the people all that they have.”
        Pres. Ford

        That is good government – not democracy, not activist government, not strong government.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 13, 2017 11:08 pm

        Your comment that this would lead to something else – as it did with Clinton is telling.

        You may or may not be right.
        Regardless, that is a good example of why a special prosecutor is WRONG.

        I dislike Bill Clinton – I think he “deserved” what he got from the “Special Prosecutor”,
        But overall he was not a bad president.
        Further, regardless of whether he “deserved” it or not, we do not have a special provision in the constitution that some people – Clinton or Trump should be investigated – regardless of what evidence exists.

        John Adam’s “The rule of law, not man” requires that the same law – and legal protections apply to all of us – even “stupid” presidents.

        Where there is reasonable suspicion – there can be an investigation.
        Where there is probable cause – that investigation can include warranted searches.

        At the very best what we have on Trump surrogates MIGHT constitute reasonable suspicion. Nothing more.

        And we only have very narrow reasonable suspicion.

        If and when you come up with evidence of other Trump wrongdoing that reaches “reasonable suspicion” – then and only then can an investigation start.

        We do not want a permanent investigative body pursuing anyone without reasonable suspicion.

      • May 12, 2017 11:33 am

        A special prosecutor is a prosecutor. The FBI is an investigative body.

        Detectives investigate, lawyers prosecute. Prosecutors need investigators, to gather evidence. Don’t you watch TV, lol?

      • May 12, 2017 1:21 pm

        No need to debate “words”. The Special Investigator or prosecutor legislation (title interchangeable) is an attorney appointed to “investigate” legal issues where conflict of interest may exist and based on the investigative findings, prosecute the case if the findings warrant that level of attention.

      • May 13, 2017 1:41 pm

        I’ll accept that, Ron…if a conflict exists, a SP would be in charge of any further investigation. If no conflict exists, the appropriate prosecutor and FBI director are the people who are in charge.

        I tend to agree with you that Trump doesn’t want a SP, because something would be found. This is the problem with SP’s in general. Once appointed, they operate pretty much independent of the normal chain of command, and can expand a probe into areas far removed from the original allegations. So, in the case of Patrick Fitzgerald, the original allegation was leaking of classified info to the press, the original target was Karl Rove, but, in the end, Scooter Libby went to jail for lying to the FBI….about the investigation of Karl Rove. Democrats went nuts over Ken Starr, who was largely responsible for discovering Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

        Special Prosecutors generally don’t stop until they find something to justify their appointment. Starr has expressed regret over some of the things that he had to do as SP, and said that it would be a mistake to appoint a SP on this Russiagate thing, simply because no evidence linking Trump has been found. The idea is not to “get a scalp.” it’s to discover the truth. I’m sure Trump has many things to hide ~ and I’m equally sure that treason is not one of them.

      • May 13, 2017 5:09 pm

        Whatever happens going forward. the Democrats have been given the ultimate campaign gift that I give a 75% chance of turning the house and 50-50 chance of turning the senate. If that happens, then any further Trump agenda that has not already stalled will be dead in the water, and any SC appointments will get the Merrick Garland treatment for 24 months, not the “election year” treatment that Garland received. Then look forward to Elizabeth Warren as our first woman president and god only knows what liberal government she will oversee with control of the House and Senate.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 2:14 am

        We shall see what happens in 2018.

        But I think you are completely off.

        Short of actually catching Trump on Tape plotting against Hillary with Vladimir, Republicans are going to hold the Senate. In a favorable environment they will make substantial gains in the Senate. The Senate map in 2018 is horrible for democrats. nearly all the GOP senate seats up are “safe seats” nearly all the democratic seats up are in States Trump won – many by double digits.

        It would require incredible luck to flip the senate.

        I am less familiar with the house. The long term demographics favor republicans.
        But a significant portion of Red house seats are Pink rather than red.
        a 3-4 point nationwide swing would tip the house – as it did in 2008.
        But absent another recession I think that is highly unlikely.

        The economy is still going to be the A #1 factor.
        If growth reaches 3% by 2018 – the GOP gains in the midterm.

        Too many people think that districts swing far easier than they do.

        The Republican takeover has taken more more than 5 decades.
        It started as the democrats ceded the south. And still – 50 years later – the GOP does not have total control of the south yet.

        The big demographic thing is really urban vs. Suburban and Rural.

        The urban parts of this country are 70% democratic. Republicans have a small majority in suburban areas and dominate in rural areas.

        This has actually been getting worse. Even as people leave the cities and turn suburbia pink – they also become less progressive and less democrat when they move.

        Single people – particularly women – are more likely to be democrats.
        Married people – even women are more likely to be republicans.
        Married people with children even more so.

        You urban progressives still get married and have kids and move to suburbia and slowly become republicans.

        The left thinks that racial demographics favor them – but only if minorities remain poor.

        Past immigrants were extremely democratic, and have over decades become republican as they rose in class. Modern immigrants are no different.

      • May 14, 2017 1:05 pm

        “The Republican takeover has taken more more than 5 decades.
        It started as the democrats ceded the south. And still – 50 years later – the GOP does not have total control of the south yet.”

        You forget one important detail. Using North Carolina and Georgia as examples, one of the reasons the GOP does not have complete control of the south is because of all the asinine liberals that have moved in from the liberal north and brought their political views with them. As an example, where all of NC was conservative to very conservative (even with blue dog democrats being elected), we now have high concentrated population centers like Charlotte and Raleigh that have turned NC from a red state to purple. Large financial institutions have made Charlotte their home along with other national companies, while Raleigh has many tech companies and others that have moved in. The same goes for Georgia and all the growth in cities in that state due to companies moving in from the north and west. On a local level, NC is still controlled by the GOP in the senate and house, but that is why we get democrat governors and senators since the population as a whole is more evenly divided.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:43 am

        Large urban population centers throughout the country – including the south are strongly left leaning – blue. Everywhere else is pink or red.
        This is not new.

        In most of the country outside a very few states this results in Red or Pink states.
        This is why the house is likely to remain republicans and the Senate to become more republican over the long run.

        This will not change until democrats distance themselves from progressivism.

      • May 15, 2017 11:29 am

        Dave, I think if I said water was wet, you would come back with a remark that contradicts that statement.

        You said “Large urban population centers throughout the country – including the south are strongly left leaning – blue. Everywhere else is pink or red.
        This is not new.”..in response to my comment about the south changing due to liberals moving in from other states and changing the voting patterns from red to purple.

        In 1980 NC’s population was 5.9 million. Georgia’s was 5.4 million.
        In 2016 NC’s population was 10.1 M, Georgia’s was 10.3 M

        Now I know there is a belief outside the south that we like to keep our women barefoot and pregnant in the south, but I don’t believe that even this could double the population since there are also people dying off at the same time births are increasing.

        Most of this growth came from inward migration of people and jobs, not natural population growth from births and deaths.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 12:51 pm

        First we are “fighting” over reading crystal balls.
        I have nothing invested in this argument – it is just my view.
        If I am right – it does not prove the points I actually care about.
        If I am wrong – it does not disprove them.

        In 1980 the “US” population was 220M today it is 330M.

        You are correct that the urban rural distinction has been with us for a long time.
        There are myriads of demographic changes going on.
        Among these a shift of population from north to south, from the coasts to other regions, and from the cities to the suburbs.
        But these shifts are not absolute – we have seen each of them reverse for short periods.
        We have also seen rising standard of living.

        Every single one of these trends favors PINK.
        Democrats moving to the suburbs DO NOT suddenly become social conservatives – but they do shift RIGHT slowly.
        The population is aging – that represents a RIGHT shift.
        Increasing standard of living moves us RIGHT – even in minorities.

        I can go on and on. “moderates” should like this. The long term political shift favors the RIGHT – but it also favors a more moderate right.

        AS this last election should have demonstrated Democrats MUST move the the center if they expect not to be marginalized.

        They have been counting on increasing minorities – which is NOT serving them well.
        For Two big reasons – minorities shift right as they prosper too.
        Minorities concentrate in already left cities.

        It is increasingly likely that the left will win the popular vote.
        But if Cities go from 70% democrat to 80% that will NOT change the house – and may not change the senate, and will not change the president.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 1:00 pm

        Just to be clear – I agree with what you are asserting regarding the changes in the south.
        I only disagree that they are the ONLY changes occuring.

        The south is absolutely becoming LESS democratic in the Robert Byrd, Sam Nunn fashion, and more in the urban progressive fashion.
        There is alot going on concurrently.

        I would also note that AT THE SAME TIME – myriads of states that were Blue are turning purple or pink. Part of that is because of the very minorities that are migrating to southern urban areas – but it is more than that.
        Trump won by picking off states that have not gone red in a presidential election in a long time. That were supposed to be 6 point Clinton favorites and not in play.

        I correctly guessed Trump’s strategy very very early.
        I still thought that if he was going to win – it was not going to be PA, MI, WI, But NH, NV that would do it. I was wrong.

        Trump actually changes everything for the GOP – because he has flipped a block fo voters that alters Republican policies and strategies.

        I would say he changes everything for democrats too – except thus far they are clueless doubling down on what failed.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 2:28 am

        While I do not share your apocalyptic vision – so what ?

        Garland has BTW been proposed as a possible FBI head – even by a few republicans.

        I do not think absent the tape of Trump and Putin plotting against Clinton that Trump is in the trouble you think.

        I actually hope the democratic party regains its sanity and shifts back towards the middle – as that would be the best for the country.

        That will also require the GOP to shift toward the middle.

        Alot is made of the polarization of our politics.

        Unlike most I blame that on the Left not the right.

        Sorry but Ted Cruz is far closer to the center than Sanders or Warren.

        Regardless, the ability of either party to support “extreme” candidates requires the other party to NOT move to the center. The democratic party has shifted itself far to the left.
        So long as it remains there, republicans can dance all over the political spectrum and get elected.

        But addressing your apocolypse now.

        I think the GOP retaking the house in 2010 was premature and harmed them.
        I think that two more years of Obama with a democratic house would have cost democrats the presidency in 2012.

        I think the biggest danger to republicans in 2018 is the PPACA replacement plan.

        Contra the media and many republicans – the GOP was given control of government to Kill PPACA. While “replace” was expected. I think voters expected that to be the 2ND step, with healthcare reform getting the attention of both parties in a way it did not in 2009.

        And if we can not come up with something with broad support – that we do nothing.

        But that is not the danger to republicans – the dangers is that AHCA looks to too many conservative voters as PPACA lite.

        It does not take too many republicans to be disgusted with their own party to flip an election.

        Both parties are somewhat controlled by satisfying their extremes.
        Neither party can win if the voters at the fringe of their party do not vote.

        The power of the Tea Party has always been its ability to deny Republicans seats.
        That is not going to change in 2018/

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 1:30 am

        Trump does not want an SP – nor do most republicans because it will consume all the oxygen for the rest of Trump’s presidency.

        When is the last time any SP quietly went about their business ?
        When is the last time any SP stuck to the narrow thing they were supposed to investigate – and quickly reached a conclusion and stopped ?

        I would also note that the question of conflict is NOT can the DOJ or FBI investigate Trump. It is when the DOJ or FBI can not investigate themselves.

        There really needed to be an SP in several of the Obama scandals – because they intimately involved DOJ – Fast and Furious, The IRS scandal (Lerhner emailed tax returns to people in DOJ).

        The Clinton investigation was very badly handled – but should not have needed an SP.
        DOJ/FBI should have been able to investigate Clinton and the Clinton foundation.

        There is zero reason to beleive that an SP would have been able to do better.

        The failure with respect to Clinton is that the DOJ chose to interfere with investigations.
        And lost credibility, and both DOJ and Obama were forced to inflate Comey from investigator to investigator/prosecutor – which NEVER should have happened.

        For Trump killing the Comey mess is simple – find a way to end the Trump/Russia meme.

        I do not really think that is a DOJ/FBI matter.

        There really should be no “investigation” here.
        There are specific allegations – bring those people forward, make them testify, test their credibility – verify that their testimony is consistent with all the facts we do know,
        and then reach a conclusion.

        That is something easily inside congresses abilities and could be done quickly if we wished to.

        Contra Ron – we do not go further – unless something actually leads us to something new.

        We do not ever investigate people to see if they have done wrong.
        We investigate specific accusations of wrong doing, and unless those specific allegations either prove true or lead us to more specific allegations then we are done.

        That is how our system of justice works.
        That is the rule of law.

        Any thing else is a police state.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 1:51 am

        And I have a problem with the Fitzgerald/Libby thing.

        I do not think that ANYTHING you do with respect to law enforcement should even result in a criminal prosecution ABSENT proof of an underlying crime.

        One of my huge problems with Sessions is he is big on Asset Forfeiture.

        I am sorry – no the government does nto get to confiscate the procedes of your criminal venture – unless they prove you committed a crime.

        BTW several fo Clinton’s aides inarguably lied to the FBI in the Clinton email investigation,
        None of those were prosecuted.
        Many in fact had greater culpability than Clinton. People on her staff who knew better faxed classified documents over insecure faxes to Clinton’s home when she was not there to be collected and delivered by her maid who had no clearance.

        Regardless, you can prosecute Libby for lying to the FBI – WHEN you establish that another Crime actually was committed that he was covering up.

        You noted Starr’s investigation.
        I think that is helpful.

        Starr has written of this – until Monica Lewinsky none of Starr’s investigations lead to misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton.
        That does nto mean they found nothing – Starr beleived that he had more than enought o convict Hillary of numerous crimes – if they were tried anywhere but DC where he did not beleive he could get a conviction.

        But until Bill Clinton stated under oath in the Paula Jones deposition that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky Starr had nothing on Bill Clinton.

        As much as Hillary should have been investigated and prosecuted THEN.
        We do not appoint special prosecutors for that purpose.

        I think Ken Starr was an honorable man.

        I think Bill Clinton is a worse misogynist than Trump.
        But in the end the only thing that was “there” was something that occured because of the investigation.

        At the time I did not believe the Supreme court should have allowed the Paula Jones case to proceed while Clinton was president.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 1:56 am

        I think Trump has plenty of things he does not want trotted out on MSNBC.

        I would not want a hsotile media analy probing me either.

        Regardless, there is really nothing that he has done in his life that is not either public record, or filed with government – or that the other involved parties do not have records of.

        A contract is between two people. Trump is only one. if there is any evil involved – the other party is harmed and has the incentive to speak out.

        Trumps tax returns may not be public – but the IRS has them.

        What secrets is it that you think Trump might have – that we are entitled to know ?

  32. dduck12 permalink
    May 11, 2017 12:32 pm

    Just gets stupider and stupider. Not to worry, Trump will nominate a “great” guy/gal and he/she will not get approved.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 12, 2017 2:12 am

      There are lots of rumors. There are few that would “put this behind us”.

      At the same time – Comey has been done for from before the election.

  33. Ron P permalink
    May 11, 2017 11:39 pm

    http://truepundit.com/fbi-deputy-director-snaps-in-anti-trump-tirade-mccabe-professes-hatred-for-u-s-president-to-fbi-colleagues/

    This popped up on my Facebook feed. Fake News, incomprehensible babble, “unnamed sources”, true story? Not sure since I know nothing about the website and I am not going to spend any time checking it out.

    Only one thing to say, if there is any truth to it, then I would suspect the FBI will keep investigating and if this guy resigns, then the Democrats will have more fodder to throw at Trump.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 12, 2017 2:11 am

      Whatever investigations are going on at the FBI will continue without Comey.

      What will change is that there will be an opportunity for the FBI to rebuild its credibility.

      It is not the investigations that were Comey’s downfall – but his public handling of them.

      A problem partly created by Obama, Lynn and the Obama DOJ.
      DOJ had become so politically compromised during the Obama administration that it chose to delegate critical decisions regarding the Clinton investigation to the FBI.

      Early in the investigation – when there was a possibility of credible results and less political carnage – DOJ refused FBI’s request to expand the Clinton investigations. They refused through to the end to provide subpeona power. That protracted the investigations, stressed those in the FBI politically, and created a very bad taste and relations between FBI and DOJ.

      If the investigation had been pursued vigorously at the begining – even if no decision to indict Clinton had been made – she would NOT have been the democratic nominee.
      Had a DOJ DAG made the same statement Comey made in June 2015 instead of 2016 other credible democrats would have run. The Democratic party would have been better off. We would not likely have Trump as President.

      Because over time the public confidence in DOJ was destroyed – it had been declining through the Obama term. DOJ openly transfered the decision regarding Clinton to Comey.
      – without giving FBI more power to properly investigate.

      The net result was Comey ended up wearing two hats – that of the nations Top Cop, and in this instance that of the nations Top Prosecutor.
      There is no job description for that role, and though I think he tried Comey was never able to figure out how to two both.

      Post Trump’s election Comey remained in the same position regarding the Trump investigation – with equally bad results.

      We do not normally conduct investigations in public – there is good reason for this.
      Everything that people do that is not criminal is NOT something that should be made public. In both the Clinton and Trump investigations people who have not committed crimes have been destroyed by information that has been made public.

      But there are only two ways to have confidence in an investigation:
      To have confidence in those conducting it.
      To do it in public.

      Even those will not satisfy 100% of us. May beleive Clinton was whitewashed, and many just as ferverently believe she was crucified.

      Regardless, confidence in Comey on both the right and left was such that he could not continue. This is not about the FBI – it is about Comey.

      And the root problem is the dual role of prosecutor and investigator he was put into.

      I think the Trump investigation is an obvious nothingburger.
      If there was something there – it would have been found by now – and at a minimum it would have been leaked.

      That has not happened.

      One of the things to remember is that we can not investigate the vague notion that Trump may have done something wrong. That is wrong. It violates the 5th amendment.

      We MUST investigate SPECIFIC allegations of wrong doing.
      WHERE provide probable cause we can expand the investigation.

      In the instance of Trump there is a collection of specific allegations of inappropriate contact between Trump surrogates and the Russians.

      Thus far NONE of these have produced anything beyond the suspicion that some of us had when they started. They have however lead to a SMALL number of other contacts.
      Regarldless, we can follow the evidence we have where it leads.
      We can not go from the non-specific allegation to an investigation of all aspects of the lives of anyone associated with Trump in the past two years.

      Unlike the Clinton private email server fiasco – the Trump investigation has NOT snowballed. Pursuing what can be pursued has NOT resulted in ever increasing lines of inquiry.

      We have a handful of meetings between half a dozen Trump surogates and various Russians. Anyone who was been following this closely might knwo that over time we have found even more contact between The Clinton Campaign and Russians than the Trump campaign.

      Contact creates suspicion – but there are legitimate reasons for contact. Both Clinton and Trump had lots of legitimate ties to Russia.

      Regardless, if any of the contacts between Trump surrogates and Russia had produced anything significant – we would know that by now.

      As this investigation has spread the additional suspicions that have been raised have been of others – NOT trump.

      There is not reasonable suspicion that the Obama Administration – probably through the NSC was using FOREIGN intelligence agencies to spy on US politicians including democrats – as far back as 2012.
      With certainty we know that “unmaskings” of US citizens picked up incidentally to foreign surveilance increased from about a dozen in 2012 to almost 6000 in 2015.
      That is a BIG deal. Regardless of why. It is wrong. We compartmentalize that information for a reason. Foreign surveilance is done broadly – without a warrant and without justification. We can surveil the Russian ambassador BECAUSE he is the russian ambassador. But no government agency can investigate ANY US Citizens without meeting constitutional requirements.

      The information on US citizens gathered incidentally to foreign surveilance has significant value – and that is the problem. This is no different from Nixon’s efforts to use the IRS to intimidate enemies – in fact there are almost no legitimate uses for information on US citizens gained through foreign surveilance WITHOUT A WARANT.
      The normal process is that when incedental seruveilance generates probable cause to investigate a US citizen a FISA warrant is obtained.

      That was not done here – and that is damning.

      Lastly we know that current and former members ot the Obama administration with access to unmasked foreign surveilance have been leaking it.

      This is a serious federal crime. In a perfect world these people would be prosecuted EVEN if that information lead to Trump’s impeachment.

      In the real world “if you strike the king you must kill the king”
      Should the leaks result in Trump’s impeachment the leakers will go free.
      But in all other circumstances they must go to jail.

      We can have sympathy for politically motivated leaks of classified information that exposes actual criminal misconduct that would not otherwise see the light of day.
      We can not have sympathy for politically motivated leaks of classified information that does NOT result in exposing clear criminal conduct.

      Regardless, my point is that the longer this has gone on the more information we get, the more that information is about the Obama administration malfeasance and NOT Trump.

      Almost nothing new has been learned about Trump in a lang time.

      Yes, the FBI should investigate what there is to investigate.
      I honestly can not see why the investigation of Trump is not complete at this point.
      The lines of inquiry are specific and clear.
      If they had been productive – we would know.

      At somepoint the FBI must step forward and say – we have followed all the leads and found nothing.

      We need someone who can finish this and end it quickly – one way or the other.

  34. dhlii permalink
    May 12, 2017 1:19 am

    A very solid real world demonstration of the idiocy of minimum wage increases.

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2017/05/why-monopsony-power-may-be-irrelevant-to-the-effects-of-a-minimum-wage-increase.html

  35. dhlii permalink
    May 12, 2017 2:36 am

    Ron;

    The reason for appointing a special prosecutor is that the departments normally charged to investigate are sufficiently conflicted as to be unable to do so.

    Otherwise we trust the ordinary investigative arms of the government to do their job.

    So the first question is Do we Trust the FBI to investigate Trump ?
    Frankly I think this is a no brainer.
    Of course we do. These are the same people who investigated Clinton, to the extent that anything went wrong there – it was that DOJ deprived them of Subpeona power and failed to authorize the investigations they requested.
    Comey ending up in the dual role position that ultimately got him fired was the consequence of not trusting DOJ.

    So that is the next question – do we trust DOJ to investigate Trump ?

    But the last issue is that Congress is also free to investigate here – and that is always a reason for NOT appointing a special prosecutor.

    The Trump allegations are such that there really is no need for a broad investigation.
    There are specific allegations on possible inappropriate contact with Russians.
    That is all there is here. Unless investigating those results in evidence fo further suspicious conduct – then the investigation is DONE.

    We do not want and are not entitled to “investigate” the general proposition that Trump collaborated with Russia to influence our election.
    We do not start with a claim – and then go looking for evidence.
    We follow the evidence that exists as far as it leads.

    So far it has lead no where. You can choose to beleive there is reason to continue to be suspicious – but again we can not investigate suspicion. We investigate allegations of specific actions that meet the standard of “reasonable suspicion”

    From what we have today – this means dragging half a dozen people into the house and senate and having them testify under oath.

    Unless something leads to more – the Trump investigation should end with that.

    There are however numerous other investigations that have been triggered by this – and those are NOT of Trump, and the FBI is perfectly capable of pursuing those – hopefully relatively quietly.

    Most of the past instances of special prosecutors were circumstances where the people who would have conducted the investigation were implicated.

    Regardless our past experience with special prosecutors has NOT lead to a reason to beleive they are a good idea.

    The Nixon Special Prosecutor was NOT necescary.
    Most of these special prosecutors have come up with very little that would not have come up otherwise that was of significance.

    There were plenty of justifications for a special prosecutor in the Obama administration – Fast and Furious, the IRS, the VA, The Clinton email server,
    Republicans were not for the most part calling for one.

    The public integrity unit of DOJ needs to be headed by someone of impeccable trust and someone who can do their job QUIETLY.

    Leaks are a realtively normal part of government.

    But leaks within the FBI and within the Intelligence community are different.

  36. May 12, 2017 9:05 am

    A general question: with the Democrats turning the volume on everything Trump, in particular the Comey firing (which they previously called for), up to 11 on a scale of 10, what happens in the case of a genuine crisis?

    When a President fires an FBI Director, it should be big news. But, seriously, weren’t many people surprised that Trump did not fire Comey on Day 1? Hillary most certainly would have, and there was a hell of a lot more evidence of criminality on her part than on Trump’s.

    With the opposition in permanent Defcon 1, I think that the public is gradually being trained to ignore all accusations against Trump, or at the very least, to assume those accusations are based on rumor and innuendo.

    If Trump is really the second coming of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, all rolled into one, perhaps the Democrats ought to pursue charges of his crimes more quietly, amass the evidence and call upon the DOJ to prosecute. Democrats were fond of claiming that the charges of lying to the public about Benghazi were merely political, despite substantial evidence……now they take a baseless charge and turn it into the Greatest.Scandal.In.History.

    Is this “crying wolf”, and will it backfire, or are Democrats always innocent, and Republicans always guilty?

    • Roby permalink
      May 12, 2017 9:31 am

      “If Trump is really the second coming of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, all rolled into one, perhaps the Democrats ought to pursue charges of his crimes more quietly, amass the evidence and call upon the DOJ to prosecute.”

      Judging by your hyperbole, you have gone off the rails yourself. Not that you are alone by any means. Its been a year at least that everyone has been going off the rails.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 4:48 pm

        Roby

        Trump brings out the worst in people.

        But sorry no, noting that the left and media have totally whigged out is not “going of the rails yourself”.

        The left lives in a strange world.

        Hint that maybe the department of education should not be threatening to yank federal funding from schools if they do not allow transgendered teens to use the locker room of their choice and you are a transphobic racist – how dare you disagree with our black president.

        Yet, we must toss molitiov cocktails, and call the orange one an evil racist nazi for demanding that cities conform to ACTUAL laws or lose funding.

        I am sorry – even when I agree with the left on issues regarding Trump.
        They are still frothing at the mouth batshit crazy.

    • May 12, 2017 9:31 am

      So, shortly after posting this, the website Axios posted an article that indicated a similar phenomenon’

      “More clearly than other recent Trump-induced uproars, the reaction to the Comey firing illustrated how many conservatives now justify their defense of the president as part of a fight against a rising tide of overreaction and manufactured hysteria by the left. Mr. Trump … has helped stoke those resentments.”

      “On Facebook, Republicans shared the 1993 C-Span footage of Bill Clinton’s announcement that he had fired William S. Sessions, the only other F.B.I. director to be dismissed … [H]e had abused his federally funded travel privileges.”

      I just wonder if hysterical overreaction has become the substitute for actual reaction; that the news media, so biased to whatever side they’re on, mostly liberal (but not all), have fed this overreaction to a point where no one even knows how to consume news data and evaluate it in a rational way…….

      • May 12, 2017 9:37 am

        “Judging by your hyperbole, you have gone off the rails yourself. Not that you are alone by any means. Its been a year at least that everyone has been going off the rails.”

        Roby, I have told you before that I admire and often learn a great deal from your opinions, and that is true. I would respectfully request, however, that you stop accusing me of irrational bias. When~ and if~ I go off the rails, it will be far more extreme than anything that I’ve said in this thread. Hy “hyperbole” was merely the kind of crap that I read and hear about through news and social media every day.

        I am no more biased than you ~ sometimes less.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 5:04 pm

        I have not seen since the election much evidence that the right is “going off the rails”.

        Trump is prone to coarse tweets – so what. Every president has their own style.
        I do not like his.

        But he has
        1) Tried to keep his campaign promises.
        2) Done so in a more reasonable way than I would have expected.

        The Comey firing does not bother me at all.

        Frankly I think Trump should have fired ALOT of people when he took office.

        He is famous for firing people – what do you expect.

        He has a reputation as a demanding boss.

        That is a part of why he was elected.

        I think it is a good message to send to the federal government.

        4-8 years of federal employees thinking they need to do their jobs or lose them might be incredible for the country.

      • Roby permalink
        May 12, 2017 10:17 am

        If Trump is really the second coming of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin

      • May 12, 2017 11:28 am

        IF is the operative word there. Granted, I used “perhaps” instead of “then.” There are certainly those who DO think that Trump is a fascist ~ I hear it all the time. There are many in the media who believe that he is the second coming of Richard Nixon, and that firing James Comey is his Watergate cover-up.

        I was attempting to make a point and get reaction to it. Perhaps my style is not to your liking. I will try to be more plain spoken and less metaphorical in my writing.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 5:08 pm

        Is there anyone out there who actually beleives that if Trump coluded with Russia that he can successfully cover it up ?

        I am sorry that is total nonsense.

        One of the reasons I beleive he did not – is because in a conspiracy like the one alleged – if it is true things snowball over time.

        With watergate every month brought new actually damning evidence regarding Nixon.
        Further the evidence produced did NOT result in even more evidence pointing back at others.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 12, 2017 4:59 pm

        Prior to his firing there was a near universal lack of confidence in Comey.

        BTW I am not so sure the “disengenuous” claim regarding Trump’s firing of Comey is all that true.

        I think Comey bungled the Clinton investigation – in some ways harmful to Clinton and others helpful.

        I do not think there was alot of faith on anyones part that Comey would handle the other politically charged investigations he is dealing with any better.

        I do not think Comey was arguably politically biased.
        But I think he was making investigative decisions based on his own political calculus – which was NOT necessarily partisan, but still wrong.

        My Guess is that Comey did not recomend prosecution of Clinton because it would have predetermined the outcome of the election.
        At the same time he did not want to let her off – because he really would have prosecuted others in similar situations and because there had to be some price.

        I think that Comey’s subsequent actions were all a form of trying to have the FBI put its thumbs on the scale of the election in what he saw as the proper way.
        He had a binary choice – prosecute or don’t – and he was trying to send voters a message somewhere between “innocent” and “guilty”

        I think that he was right – meaning the answer regarding Clinton falls somewhere between innocent and guilty. That a consequence is necessary but it is not jail.

        But it is NOT Comey’s job to decide that.

        Having done so he could not continue as FBI director.

        Amoung other reasons because we need an outcome different from that with respect to Trump, and because no one was going to have confidence in an outcome from Comey.

        If Comey had found nothing regarding Russia – would the left belive him ?

        Getting echonerated by the FBI and not beleived by the public does NOT help Trump.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 12, 2017 4:12 pm

      I am not entirely sure that Trump has not deliberately fanned many of the flames.

      While Trump’s approval rating has dropped and is pathetic for a president.
      That of the media, the democrats, the left, government and congress is actually MUCH lower.

      Overall as badly respected as Trump is he is the most respected part of our govenrment today.

      Further this entire mess EMPOWERS him.

      I keep noting that though the Trump allegations remain as sketchy as ever – more and more and more evidence of misconduct on the part of the Obama administration arrises.

      I do not really think the Comey firing is all that big a deal.

      We elected Mr. “Your Fired”. Cleaning house is what we want.
      I do not dislike Comey. I think he tried to work with the hand he was dealt.
      But I think the corrupt nature of the Obama DOJ thrust him into a dual role that was inappropriate – if not of his choosing, and that once in it the only way to end it was to remove him.

      I do not personally beleive there is enough there there for the FBI to actually investigate Trump. I do not know if Comey actually told Trump he was not being investigated.
      Regardless, the allegations we have thus far regarding Trump produce about 5 min of investigation and die. The FBI can not engage in fishing expeditions.
      It can only follow the evidence that actually exists.

      Only congress (not even a special prosecutor) should have the power to conduct an investigation just because they want to look into something, without sufficient specific evidence of wrong doing.

      Anyway I think this entire left war with Trump is slowly empowering him to clean house at state, at the NSC, at NSA, at CIA, at DOJ, at FBI.

      It is quite clear that politics are driving decisions in the federal government where that is entirely inappropriate.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 12, 2017 4:23 pm

      There is another significant issue with respect to the left’s war on Trump.

      Tyrants empower themselves but empowering government.

      While Trump has a scary authoritarian streak MOST of his actions are to DISEMPOWER government or to force it to enforce the laws already on the books.

      That is not tyranny.

      I get into this all the time as a libertarian.

      Somehow shrinking government is FORCING my views on others.

      Sorry, No it is not. Reducing the level of force – even against the objections of a majority is NOT the use of force. It is NOT imposing my will or views by force – it is REMOVING views imposed on us by force.

      Even in those instance Trump is imposing force that I disagree with.
      He is doing so consistent with existing Laws.

      Amit Pai responded with regard to that on the Colbert investigation.

      He essentially said the FCC should NOT be involve in issues of Free Speech.
      He thinks that is wrong.
      But he is head of the FCC and the LAW requires investigating complaints – and he has received complaints, and he will follow the law – until we change it. Which he thinks we should.

      I agree. IF even as a libertarian I was put in the position of enforcing laws I disagree with.
      I must either resign and change the law, or enforce the law as written.

      “The rule of law” is important.

      The law should be enforced as written WITHOUT discretion.
      Equal before the law – means equally likely to be prosecuted for violating a bad law.

      Discretion deprives us of the impetus to get rid of bad laws.

      If I were FCC chairman I would be trying to make Colberts life a living hell.
      In the hopes that doing so would push us to get rid of a bad and stupid law.

  37. dduck12 permalink
    May 12, 2017 3:05 pm

    I don’t think any of those three dictators was as stupid as Trump. Benito was closest to Trump’s attitude towards the integration of private and government “Mussolini’s National Corporatist system”, but I doubt long range planning is Trump’s plan, if he ever had the brains to develop one. I don’t think so.

    • May 12, 2017 7:08 pm

      Well, now dd12, if we are talking about stupid, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

      There is stupid and there is “stupid.” While I don’t think that Trump is lacking in raw intelligence, he does some stupid things. Ok, lots of stupid things. Certainly, the way in which he fired Comey seemed to be stupid. He could have done it in a less dramatic way, a way that would have been less humiliating and shocking. A classy, conventional way. He could have told his communications team to be ready for a nuclear blast of liberal fury, but he apparently didn’t.

      I mean, I don’t like how he did it, but, then, I haven’t liked a lot of what the guy has said and done, going back to the GOP primaries, and what appeared stupid to me turned out to be pretty smart ~ or, if not exactly smart, certainly savvy.

      I think he has made things worse for himself by firing Comey in the way that he did, and that would certainly be stupid. But, I think that Comey has been pretty stupid, as well, first putting his own career at risk to save the sorry political hide of Hillary Clinton, and then pissing her off by re-opening the investigation.

      I think that the sound and fury will last through the weekend. If Trump can somehow right his ship by Monday and get back to working on health care, the economy, and other things that people actually care about, it may be that he’s not as stupid as we think.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 13, 2017 10:30 pm

        There was no good time to fire Comey.
        The only time that might have been better was Day 1.

        I think Trump says lots of stupid things, or says things that are atleast partly correct stupidly.

        I am more concerned about what he DOES.

        What has he done since taking office that is “stupid’ ?

        He has taken a scythe to government.
        Inarguably those on the left think that is stupid – but it is what he was elected to do.
        And it is not inherently stupid. Arguably it is smart.
        He is trying to dminish the regulatory burden on the country
        again there is ideological difference on the merits of that.
        But he was elected to do that.
        BTW both of the above have solid arguments for being smart – not stupid.

        He has issued a pretty tame EO on immigration that has very narrow effects, is not much broader than what Obama himself had done and has the support of a large majority of people.
        And the left has gone ballistic and our courts have lost their way.

        He has issued an EO targeting cities stating that you can not take federal money without aiding in the enforcement of federal laws.

        You might disagree – I think we should just quit poviding aide to cities or farms or ….
        the cities (or any other groups) shoudl be getting their financial support from those they serve – who can vote with they feet or their pocketbook if the cost is too high.

        Regardless, Obama was engaged in the same blackmail over different issues.

        Trump being “stupid” seems to be defined as Trump acting differently from the left’s preferences.

        I think we are all scared of a nuclear north korea.
        Trump did not create that.
        The best opportunity we had to confront the North was during the Clinton administration.
        Confronting them becomes more dangerous with every year.
        Confronting them now is far more dangerous than 8 years ago.
        But less than 8 years from now.

        I do not like Trump’s sabre rattling in that context. But I do not see things getting better.
        Further Trump has miraculously gotten China on board.

        Despite Trump’s confrontational approach to China – they appear to be cooperating on more than ever.
        Overall in foreign affairs that seems to be the sense. Trump blusters and threaten’s
        and backs down – but he gets something when he backs down.
        More positive appears to be happening in foreign affairs than in a long time – and mostly for the good.

        PPACA was a disaster. I think we should either have let it fail or just straight repealed it BEFORE working on a replacement. I am not sure that a replacement is possible (or a good idea). I think as bad as things were before, that more government attention will make it worse not better.

        All that said – Trump and republicans committed to repeal and replace.
        I think they may regret the bill they are passing – if they manage to pass it.
        I think it is stupid – but still not as stupid as PPACA.

        Regardless, I am hard pressed to see it as a demonstration of Trump’s “stupidity”

        Outside of increasing our military – which I disagree with, Trump appears to be pretty uniformly DIMINISHING the power of the federal government.

        Trump has declared war on the press.
        I would ordinarily have said that was stupid – but he did it from the first day of his campaign. Frankly I think his “stupid” war on the press is harming him less than the press and may even benefit him.

        Anyway, my point is outside of his inarticulate use of words the “trump is stupid” meme, mostly boils down to Trump is doing what he promised.

        The ultimate measure of how stupid he is, will be what the economy does.
        Not what the press or the left say.

        As noted I disagree with some of his actions. But what president uniformly does everything I think is wise.
        I do not think he is more stupid than any prior president.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 13, 2017 10:38 pm

        Priscilla;

        If Trump said “tomorrow is Sunday” he would have gotten a full blast left wing fury no matter what.

        I honestly think the general outrage of the left serves him.

        On many issues most of us do not see the basis of the outrage.

        I do not agree with his immigration EO. Neither does Alan Dershowitz.
        But we both think it is constitutional and not a departure from the actions of past presidents – including Obama.

        When the left goes frothing mad over tiny things – over Trump keeping his campaign promises – mostly int he most mild and benign way possible – that makes them look bad.

        Trumps negatives are high – but those of the people out to get him are far worse.

        I have no problem with the left opposing Trump, But there is a difference between opposition, and bat shit crazy.

        Trump is constantly compared to Hitler and labeled as authoritarian – and to an extent he is.

        But he is not looking to expand the power of the federal government but to reduce is.
        That is NOT Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao.

        The talk of violence, the actual violence and the talk of revolution – that is stupid.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 13, 2017 9:53 pm

      I think Trump is wrong about many things.
      But I am sorry – your claims regarding him are completely detached from realtiy.

      There is a difference between Trump being wrong – and your being quite clearly wrong about him.

      The left’s hysterical response to Trump’s election is beyond belief, they – and you are doing exactly what they accused the right of with respect to Obama – they presume he is evil and that everything he does is rooted in evil no matter what it is.

      If Obama did A – it is good because Obama did it. If Trump does A it is evil because Trump did it.

      And you have completely allowed yourself to be sucked into that.

      With respect to Trump:

      He is incredibly misogynist – more overtly but not as badly as Bill Clinton.
      I do not think that is arguable. Though I am surprised that there has been no whitehouse sex scandal since his election.

      He is an idiot on Trade. But then 3/4 of the country is in some form or another.
      There is little that Trump says that is different form what much of the left says.

      All arguments against producing greater value at lower cost are inherently economic idiocy – that is arguments against outsourcing, against free trade, for minimum wages, and the labor related arguments against immigration,
      They are ALL the same fallacious argument that Adam Smith disposed of more than two centuries ago.

      Those arguments are crap – whether they come from Obama, Clinton, Trump or other Republicans. Anything that allows us to trade less of our own effort for greater value raises our standard of living and is GOOD.
      I do not care whether you are on the left or the right if you are spouting that nonsense – you are stupid.

      To that extent Trump is stupid – but no more so that pretty much everyone on the left and much of the middle. The fact that you pick different permutations of the same stupid fallacy to subscribe to does not make you any smarter.

      Trump talks too much and inarticulately.
      Sorry, just not the end of the world for me.
      Obama was more articulate – but no less stupid.

      Most of what I see says Trump is pretty smart.
      He has been very successful.

      You say you voted for the lessor evil.
      Well enough people felt differently that Trump won.

      I agree that we had an abysmal choice.
      But if I had been forced to pick ONLY between Trump and Clinton and shooting myself was not an option – the choice would have been easy – Trump is not even close to the greater evil.

  38. dduck12 permalink
    May 12, 2017 7:43 pm

    Nah, this story has legs with calves the size of cantaloupes. I’m basically tired of calling up historical figures and saying contemporary folks are like this and that. Trump is no H,M or S, and in the past I have called out many people out for this rhetorical easy way out.
    I’m sorry, but stupid is my frame of reference for Trump, since I don’t know of anyone that pays no mind to tactics, optics or common sense. Jeez, my beloved dead cat, could run the presidency better than him. 🙂

    • dhlii permalink
      May 13, 2017 2:09 am

      Dduck12

      Trump is president, Clinton is not.

      I thought through the entire primary he was tanking tomorow.

      Didn’t happen. You may not like what he says or how he says it.

      You may think it is stupid – but it has worked.

      We will see if any of this has leggs.

      I doubt it. I do not think most of the anti-trump memes would survive long but for the pheonemal amount of hate on the left.

      We spent the past years with the left constantly telling us all that because we disagreed with the president – we were all hateful hating haters – and racists.
      I find the “Obama had a scandal free presidency meme hillarious”.
      No he did not – he just got treated by both the press and republicans with kid gloves.

      Regardless, the left has spewed more hate at Trump in 100 days than Obama saw in 8 years.

      I would also suggest that you consider the fact that the left’s animus actually empowers Trump.

      There is likely a long way to go to the end of a Trump presidency – but if it continues as it has started – it could be impressive.

      More positive things have happened in the mideast during Trump – than during Obama’s entire tenure. The Saudi’s are talking to us again – as is Israel and the possibility of some kind of Arab Israeli deal exists again – which has not been true for almost 2 decades.
      Probably die – but there is activity.

      ISIS is collapsing – though that does appear to have started under Obama.

      We are talking to the UK, Canada and even Mexico in positive ways we had not in a while.
      We are talking with the Philipines again.
      China is working with us on North Korea – as is Japan.

      There apears to be on huge difference between Trump and Obama.
      Obama was a multilateralist. He had to put his finger in the wind and cajole other countries to go along before he would do most anything.
      Trump is a unilateralist. He actually beleives the US is Great and we should just “do it” and the rest of the world can follow or not.

      That is more dangerous. It also is more likely to accomplish something.

      Trump has also cultivated a reputation as brash and dangerous – and it appears to be a successful negotiating tactic.

      You seem to fixate on the fact that he says stupid things and sends out stupid tweets – I agree, though I do not give them the weight you do.

      He has effectively demonstrated that the press says stupid things too.

      The world is not coming to an end because of PRes. Trump’s tweets.

      Maybe the wishful thinking of the left will prove true and real evidence of collusion with Russia will emerge and Trump will be impeached.

      Honestly, if that is where this was headed – we would see a growing body of evidence and the process would actually speed up. The reverse has been happening.

      There is very very little new on this Trump Russia connection.
      Slowly some democrats are trying to distance themselves from it
      The more we look for Trump the more misconduct by the Obama administration keeps popping up.

      As emerson wrote – if you strike the king you must kill the king.

      If Trump is not impeached – it is the left that is going to take the hit.

      Regardless, absent the solid evidence necescary to impeach Trump – the most critical thing will be where the economy is in 2018 and 2020.

      If we have another 2 or 4 years of sub 2$ growth – the left is vindicated and Trump and the GOP are in trouble. If we hit so little as 3% – it is going to be a long time before democrats control any part of the federal govenrment again.

      I think there is alot wrong with Trump’s policies. But he is mostly trying to take a scythe to the federal government. I strongly support that.
      Alone it may be enough to spur growth.

      You say you cat could do better ?
      Well growth is going to be what matters.

      If Trump manages 3% growth – that pretty much by definition makes him less stupid than Obama.
      Even if he only manages 2% – that pretty much makes him no more stupid than Obama.

    • May 13, 2017 10:04 am

      I know that I sort of function as the apologist for Trump here on TNM. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

      Imho, here is why Trump’s supporters stick with him: Trump is navigating a political mine field, in addition to having guns of both parties trained on him, as he attempts to storm the beach (yes, this is sort of a Normandy metaphor ~ sorry Roby!)

      He has chosen not to play it safe, but to go all out, running as fast as he can and to hell with the fact that he could be blown up at any minute. So far, he has made it. Almost everyone, including me, thinks that his luck can’t hold out much longer, and he will soon be a smoldering carcass. But there are those who see it differently, and view him as a heroic figure. I will admit that, as time has gone on, I have come to understand this view, and to sometimes ~ not always ~ agree with it.

      I know that many will say that the idea of Trump as heroic is ridiculous, even horrifying. But, if you think of it, a guy who runs into a burning building to save an old lady can also be considered stupid ~ why risk your life, against terrible odds, to save someone who is at the end of her life, particularly if you have a wife and children at home who need you? But, if he saves her, he will be called a hero.

      Again, my own opinion of the president varies on a scale from 1- 10. Well, more like 2- 8. But, the Democrats have been so vicious, so unreasonable, and so stupid in their own way, that I often choose Trump’s side, just based on my disgust with them.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 12:43 am

        Outside of the Trump/Russia meme – which if actually true is the end.
        The entire rest of this is all close to meaningless political theater.

        I keep saying this – but if the economy grows – Trump and Republicans will get the credit.
        Every single other thing that is going on is mostly meaningless – except its possible economic impact.

        I do not think Trump is a victim of the left. I think he is enjoying this political war, and honestly winning it.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 14, 2017 1:17 am

        I would also note something the left – and far too many of the rest of us do not get.

        Business is inherently about Trust.
        I have had this discussion before and too many even here think that the absence of their idea of perfect integrity is corruption.

        If I buy something – whether from Criagslist or Ebay or China, or silk road – I have no clue whether the person I am buying from is a socialist or a pedophile of a money launderer for a drug king pin.

        What I do know – is whether I will get the value I expect for what I provided.
        That is what reputation systems are about.

        Trump has continuously been able to find people to invest with him.
        He works in a high risk part of the market – and sometimes those investments fail.
        But he has consistently been able to borrow money or get investors.

        Those who invest with him or lend to him, for the most part have done their due diligence and know the risks they are getting into – and still they invested.
        That does not mean the investment is guaranteed – it means that they trust that Trump will deliver what he promised.

        In the real world of business – failure is actually extremely common.
        There are rarely lawsuits when things succeed.
        But where there is failure we tend to be litigious.

        Winning (or losing) a lawsuit, says very little about ones trustworthyness – particularly people with a long track record, it say alot about risk, and something about communications.

        The point is that Trump is brash, uncouth, arrogant, mysoginist,
        but he is actually inarguably honest in ways that politicians and most of the public just do not understand.

        The left confuses motive with integrity. Absolutely Trump was motivated by money.
        Contra the left that says nothing about his integrity. It may mean he will do things I would not do or they will not do for money. But it does not mean he will lie, cheat or steal.

        Businesses can not legitimately use force. The left particularly constantly forgets that.
        And government can legitimately punish businesses that do use force.
        The use of actual force in business is unbelievably rare – particularly in the developed world outside of completely illegal markets – like drugs and prostitution.

        Why do I raise this – because it relates to Trump and the “allegations” against him.
        It also relates to some of his language on these issues, and to his frustrations.
        And to the fact that he has actually tried to keep in some form his campaign promises.

        The left does not believe business integrity exists – much less that business is the most ethical thing that the vast majority of us do.

        You say Trump is “storming the beach”, That he is engaged in high risk conduct.

        What is the risk to Trump of any of the things he has done – if there is no Trump/Russia arrangement ? What fear does he have from his prior and current conduct if there is no there, there ?

        How is it playing safe to go on the attack – when there is nothing to protect or hide ?

        If there is something there on the Trump/Russia thing – it is almost certain to out, and Trump will be absolutely destroyed.

        If as is more likely there is not – the left will not come out of this well. A few will believe no matter what.

        One of the things we are seeing is that Obama and his staff like most leftists, do not understand business and business integrity and clearly went looking for the Trump’s malfeasance – presuming it was there.
        What they failed to grasp – and not to many of you seem to grasp that is in doing so they demonstrated their own lack of integrity.

        I do not think this ends badly for Trump. I think there is a huge risk this ends badly for the left.

        I come here an post – I make frequent assertions that what someone else posted is false.
        Whenever I do that I bet my integrity and reputation.
        Some of the time what is true and what is false is difficult or impossible to establish.
        Most of the time we are unwilling to do the effort needed to follow something where it leads. Far too often those I disagree with reframe differences as just being differences of opinion.

        Regardless, when you make claims about someone else – you bet your own integrity.
        It is unlikely there will ever be conclusive proof Trump did not conspire with the Russians – it is damn near impossible to prove a negative.

        It is however highly likely there will never been much more evidence than there is now. If there was there has been sufficient time for it to surface.

        If Trump does not go down – the media, the left, the former Obama administration that drew long knives to get him – lose. Some of that is already happening.
        When you say Trump supporters continue to support him – that would be why.
        Someone is winning and someone is losing. And Trump has figured out something no recent politician has managed – how to bypass the press and speak directly to most of his supporters. That significantly disempowers the press.

        I would also note – I do not have to agree with Trump on numerous issues, to disbelieve the hysteria on the left.

        I would think that someone actually moderate would grasp that – which is part of why TNM is not that moderate.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 13, 2017 10:49 pm

      Given that pretty much the entire left had vocally expressed no confidence in Comey – sorry, this has no leggs.

      I have read myriads of legal scholars – many who are unhappy with this.
      No one says it is unconstitutional.
      Few say it was not justified.
      Most say what will matter is who replaces Comey.

      The “leggs” of this really depend on whether the Trump/Russia story has leggs.

      While it has not completely died yet – there is nothing new being added.

      In this mess Trump has publicly stated that Comey told him that he was not a target.

      Indirectly Andrew McCabe and Sen’s Grassley and Feinstien just confirmed that.

      Sen. Blumenthal aggressively questioned McCabe trying to get even a hint that Trump was a target and McCabe refused to say anything about targets EXCEPT that he had privately told Grassley and Feinstein who the targets were.

      Grassley then said he was NOT told Trump was a target and Fienstien said that she had been told the same thing as Grassley.

      There are about a handful of specific allegations about specific contacts between Trump surrogates and Russians.

      All of these are explainable by Trump’s business ties.
      Clinton has substantially more and more nefarious ties to Russia.

      Unless one of these people flipps on Trump, or some recording is produced or some other evidence that their interactions were not business related – this dies.

      Frankly it should have died already.
      This does not require the FBI.
      This can easily be handled by congress – put these people in front of congress under oath and question them.
      Then look to verify or discredit what they say.

      I am sure that if this does not go as the left hopes – that they will never let go. But most people will.

  39. dduck12 permalink
    May 13, 2017 4:21 pm

    @Dhlli: Drop the Dem meme, I have voted exclusively for Reps since 1956. EXCEPT in 2016, when I voted for “the lesser of two evils” Hillary Clinton. Trump is dragging the Rep party even further down in to whale s—-. As a Manhattanite, I have abhorred him for decades.

    @Priscilla. Going long with my stupid theme, see this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/opinion/how-trump-may-save-the-republic.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

    • dhlii permalink
      May 14, 2017 1:59 am

      dd12

      What Dem meme ?

      Abhor Trump all you want – I do not care much about your personal feelings – you got to express those at the ballot box.

      After that you are free to speak your mind. But there is a difference between expressing and opinion and demanding action.

      • dduck12 permalink
        May 14, 2017 3:23 pm

        Dhlli, you are too much. 🙂

  40. dhlii permalink
    May 14, 2017 3:59 am

    Here is a different view of the Trump electorate. I think this article is excellent.
    Not because it is true, but because the attitudes of the author and the misperception of reality and history make clear chy the left lost the last election.

    I get the idea that the author is well read, but has never actually talked with anyone who does not live inside his progressive bubble.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/trumpism-its-coming-from-the-suburbs/#TB_inlinepcd_login?width=600&height=550&inlineId=login-content-id-pcd_login

    • May 14, 2017 4:29 pm

      Oh my lord, this article is exactly why so many people voted for Trump.

      First: “Even according to pundits on the traditional right, one can find the reason for Trump’s success festering in lower-income white communities, the enemies of racial and social progress, where reactionary politics and redneck racism run rampant. ”

      Throwing around phrases like “redneck racism” and “enemies of progress” to casually describe the lower-income whites…..it’s white-ophobia!

      Oh, and Trump’s success “festers” ~ like a wound. That is how working class whites are viewed by Democrats, who used to be their champions.

      “Fascism develops over hands of poker in furnished basements, over the grill by the backyard pool, over beers on the commuter-rail ride back from the ball game—and in police stations and squad cars. ”

      Racism has apparently lost all emotional power, so white suburbanites need to be accused of fascism. And Roby thinks that I am being hyperbolic, when I say that these people think that Trump is H,M and S all rolled into one.

      And this is The Nation, not some fringe publication……..

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:51 am

        I think there were a number of very good observations in the article.

        At the same time the article was so dripping with loathing it was clear why democrats lost – and why they very far from recovering.

        The left continues to make this identity politics argument – everyone not on the left is a hateful hating hater.

        This loses for several reasons.

        The levels of racism etc are NOT all that high on the right (and really not different right to left according to studies).

        Labeling 80% fo the country hateful hating haters does not win elections.

        It is increasingly clear that the LEFT is far more hateful and intolerant than the right.

        This is why all the Trump nonsense is not nearly as effective as I think many here seem to think.

        It does nto matter how low Trump’s negatives go – so long as the press and the left are also viewed as credulous, nasty and intolerant.
        If everything degenerates to a spitball fight – Trump wins

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 9:57 am

        The more hyperbolic the rhetoric is the less effective it is.

        The other thing I would note is that the Nation (and the left) are increasing painting huge swaths of the electorate as vile.

        Identity politics is losing its power – mostly that is a very good thing.

        ALL of us are racist – including minorities – NEARLY all of us are not so much so that it is a serious problem.

        I have said here before that the left BADLY needs to move towards the center.
        IF it does not – the vitriole is going to get worse – not better.
        The less power the left has the nastier it is going to get.
        Unless the left moves towards the center we are headed for violence.

  41. dhlii permalink
    May 14, 2017 5:18 am

    Why we dont have flying cars.
    Or why innovation has been limited in the past 40years.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/05/12/technological-progress-stagnation-regulatory-explosion-1970s-column/84225066/

  42. May 14, 2017 11:52 pm

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/14/clapper-trump-comey-firing-238374

    Well at least one other person thinks like I do.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 15, 2017 9:59 am

      Sorry, Clapper is a liar and an idiot.

      He has openly and publicly lied to congress.
      He should have been dismissed long ago.
      I am glad he is gone.

    • May 15, 2017 12:04 pm

      I agree/disagree with both of you. Trump seems to be screwing up in ways that indicate that he is losing focus on why he was elected. It’s not too late to right his ship, but he’d better start remembering that 1)Democrats will oppose him no matter what he does and 2) Voters want him to do the things he said he would do ~ or at least spend his time trying. If he keeps up the way he is, he’ll waste what political capital he has. I tend to think that his early screw-ups have a lot to do with his total lack of political experience, but he needs to start taking advice from people who understand what he’s facing.i.e. not his daughter and son-in-law.

      Clapper has lied under oath and is an opponent of Trump, and his opinion needs to be viewed in that context. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s wrong, but I don’t quite get his point. The FBI Director can be fired by the President for any reason or for no reason. How firing Comey, of all people, threatens any of our institutions, I don’t know……..

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 2:28 pm

        Trump made a media name with “Your Fired!”

        Firing Comey only hurts him – if someone actually makes this russia nonsense stick.

        Another problem with the Russian meme is that it requires Trump voters to beleive that the Russians caused them to vote differently than they would have otherwise.

        I think alot of Trump voters were reluctant to admit who they were voting for.
        I think some on the fence might have been trying to figure out who stunk most.

        I think Trumps approval ratings are low – because many many Trump voters think they voted for the lessor evil.
        They do not Like Trump. They just Like Clinton and the left even less.

        But persuading those voters they are Russian dupes is highly unlikely.

        Regardless, as the “nation” article pointed out – even when the left sort of gets Trump voters – they are still clueless. As is the media. Frankly I do not think most of us get parts of what occurred.

        Interestingly Charles Murray seems to have had a big clue
        This is from BEFORE the election.
        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2/

        Trump connected with these people
        Much of what is going on in DC is not interesting to them.
        Firing Washington elites does NOT bother them.
        It is what they expect.
        Trump’s contact is not likely to bother them – if there is no “there there”.

        I also find it interesting – the left thinks – often correctly that the less educated are prone to irrational beleif in conspiracies – and yet that is exactly what is going on now regarding Trump.

        I would also not that though I do not think Trump’s speach patterns are “practiced” – there is evidence that Bush’s were. At the same time he speaks as these people do.
        When you and the media complain about how inarticulate he is or how he says stupid things – they perceive it as criticism of THEM – because he speaks like they do.

        One of the things that was noted – is that Trump’s particular brand of pretentious wealth – is pretty much the way a working class person spends if they win the lottery.
        Trumps fascination with gold plated everything – is garish to most of us.
        It is exactly like what the working class would do if they got rich.
        Trump is not just a billionaire – he is a working class person become billionaire.

        I think most of us misread the connection Trump has with these people.

      • May 15, 2017 5:12 pm

        Guess I read this from a different perspective, that being the winners and losers.

        Like I said earlier, I thing the winners by a long shot are the Russians. And the losers by a long shot are the American people. They far exceeded their expectations in the impact of their hacking.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 15, 2017 7:29 pm

        If the wish of the Russians was to reduce the faith of americans in our electoral process then they succeeded.

        If their wish was actually to have an impact on the election – they failed.

        How many Trump voters do you think beleive they were duped by the Russians ?

        No one beleives they were decieved in any election.
        Whenever we talk of that kind of election fraud – we all always beleive – some other stupid person was decieved.

        At the moment the left seems to absolutely beleive the russians deceived OTHER voters.
        But the left constantly suffers from this cognative disonance between their absolute beleif in the sanctity of democratic majorities and their elitist disdain for ordinary voters.

        Libertarianism is NOT majoritarian.
        We have very limited legitimate reasons were are allowed to use force to breach the rights of others – in all other things – smart or stupid, we are free to do as we please.

  43. dhlii permalink
    May 15, 2017 12:22 pm

    Interesting demographic observations regarding the 2016 election from the US census that run counter to many current memes.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/classic-apps/that-big-wave-of-less-educated-white-voters-it-never-happened/2017/05/10/fa4c8282-35f4-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?utm_term=.c4a5943205c0

  44. dhlii permalink
    May 15, 2017 3:20 pm

    Here is a more interesting analysis.

    There are a few things missing that I would note:

    First Clapper – though exhonerating Trump repeatedly, has also repeatedly asserted there was evidence of Russian interference in the US election.
    Now suddenly he was out of the loop.

    My perception is that he was never “out of the loop”, but that he is now affraid of getting tied to the leaks and unmaskings and is changing his story.
    It is OK to flip on Trump now – because of what he now knows – but he must pretend to know less in the past – because that could get him in trouble.

    Gates is much better. And more plausible. Russia did not give a damn whether Clinton or Trump won. All they cared about was deligitimizing out election – so that we would have less grounds to complain about theirs.

    That is an argument I can beleive – and if jibes with the fact that Russia appeared to be doing things FOR Clinton. The goal was not to elect Trump or Clinton – but to get either the left or the right to view the election as corrupt.

    Gates analysis of the Flynn situation is also more credible.

    You can not blackmail someone easily for something minor that they can trivially fix.
    So Flynn did not tell Pence all the details of his conversation with the Russian ambassador – at the very worst Flynn looses his job. You have to beleive Flynn who has been fired for being outspoken before woudl suddenly be gun shy, and that a US military 3 star General is very easily blackmailed.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/these-two-former-intelligence-chiefs-differ-sharply-russia-20668

  45. Roby permalink
    May 16, 2017 8:29 am

    Speaking of idiots and liars who need to go….

    Trump gives highly classified info directly to the Russians. Ho hum, nother day at the office.

    Denials, rationalizations, deflections, and every other kind of empowerment of our dunce president on today’s menu from loyal republicans.

    The GOP brand is in the shitter.

    • May 16, 2017 8:48 am

      One of my problems with this stuff, Roby, is that so-called news organizations like WaPo and CNN now have a Trump outrage du jour. It’s exhausting, and inevitably, the stories end up being less than what is reported.

      H.R. McMaster has denied the story, on the record at a press conference, and he was in the room. Unless he was also the source of the story, McMaster’s denial should be front page news as well.

      Before you get angry with me for calling the Washington Post and CNN “so-called news organizations” ( it’s similar to “fake news”, while acknowledging that in the minds of the people in these organizations, they are doing journalism), keep in mind that, prior to Trump’s election, it was considered essential to responsible journalism, that any publication reporting such an inflammatory and defamatory story, ask for a response from the subject, i.e.,in the case, the White House.

      But, in today’s world of yellow journalism 24/7, denials are rarely reported until the damage of the original story is done. The MO is: 1) use anonymous sources to get the story 2) report it as fact and front page news and 3) report retractions and/or denials days later, if at all, on page 16, with no social media dissemination.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:43 am

        As I have noted – this is “fake news” – or better “fake outrage” even if true.

        The entire story is ludicrously stupid.
        While McMaster’s is denying it – it would not matter if it was True.

        The disclosure of classified information by the president to a foreign power is NOT a violation of the law. The president has the unilateral authority to disclose anything to anyone. The president can not violate national security.

        That is why President is the only job Hillary Clinton remains qualified for – it is the only job in federal government that does not require a security clearance to review or diclose classified information.

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 2:48 pm

        “H.R. McMaster has denied the story, on the record at a press conference, and he was in the room. Unless he was also the source of the story, McMaster’s denial should be front page news as well.” …”But, in today’s world of yellow journalism 24/7, denials are rarely reported until the damage of the original story is done.”

        Because there WAS NO denial by McMaster than trump shared this info!

        “McMaster refused to confirm whether the information the president shared with the Russians was highly classified.”

        But he did say that trump shared info. Here is what he said:

        “In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he’s engaged,” McMaster said. “It is wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary to advance the security of the American people. That’s what he did.”

        Well, surprise of all surprises a member of the administration said that is was appropriate. Powerful stuff. All the papers that I have read have said it was legal because he is the president. Legal does not mean smart or wise or appropriate, for reasons that have also been explained this latest trump improvisation may be harmful to US interests.

        If there is a denial by McMaster out there that trump shared highly classified intelligence with Lavrov, I have failed to find it.

        And, as usual trump’s own remarks convict him.

        This daily outrage would not be happening if we did not have an unfit person as POTUS. The fault lies with trump and all his supporters and enablers.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 5:03 pm

        This is your idea of something damning to Trump ?

        It is possible there was some explicit denial by Trump or the whitehouse – my quick google search does not find that.

        What I do find is Trump saying he did nothing wrong.

        Though frankly the entire thing is complicated – under the circumstances – it MIGHT be appropriate for Trump to deny providing the Russians anything – not because of US factors – but because it may be in the interests of national security NOT to publicly say too much about what was provided to Russia.

        “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” – Winston Churchill

        Regardless, what we DO have once again – is a leak that is likely criminal.
        Whatever source provided information to WaPo pretty clearly broke the law – the same law Clinton broke.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 16, 2017 9:39 am

      So ?

      Having dealt with the Clinton mess for over a year – you should understand this by now.

      After her disasterous handling of classified information there is one and only one job in Government that Clinton would not be disqualified from:

      President.

      Why ? Because the president can not violate national security.
      Ultimately the president determines what can be told to whom.

      Though McMaster’s is denying this event took place. It does not matter.

      There are myriads of legitimate reasons to disclose classified information to foreign powers. But ONLY the president (directly or indirectly) can make the determination to do so.

      I do not know whether this disclosure happened or not.
      But ultimately it does not matter.

      BTW we can and do frequently disclose classified information to foreign powers.
      Including the Russians.

      What we do not do, is disclose classified information without the direction of the president.

    • May 16, 2017 1:40 pm

      Roby, here again is why I said the winners in the Russian issue are the Russians and the American public the losers. Here is an example of unproven information leaked by some “unnamed source” and printed before any confirmation or denial was asked for or any comment was made.

      The president can tell another representative of any country “secret” information if there may be an impact on that country or their citizens. This issue had to do with laptop computers being on a plane coming from Europe into the United States. That impacts Russians flying from Europe to the US. If he did say anything, like why we were doing that, it would be information that any president would provide to other country leaders that were affected as long as they were not those making the ban a requirement.

      It will only take a handful of votes in each state in the next election to shift the presidency to the Democrats. Keep the “unnamed” source information coming and it won’t take long before that happens. I bet if it were held today given the same conditions as before combined with the information since January, Hillary would be president and you would be a much more happy camper.

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 2:54 pm

        “I bet if it were held today given the same conditions as before combined with the information since January, Hillary would be president and you would be a much more happy camper.”

        Well, yes, but that damning Hillary with faint praise and is water under the bridge, time moves forward. Pence being president is the thing that still Could happen that would make me a much happier camper. And if somewhere in the future a Bernie like lefty is POTUS I will be an unhappy camper. I want a moderate and a competent one who can name the important foreign leaders, among many other things.

        I’ll tell you who I’d like as POTUS: YOU or someone who in my long acquaintance is very much like you. But you and people like yourself, are too smart to get into That shitstorm.

      • May 16, 2017 6:18 pm

        Well Roby, someone like me would never come close. I even refused a couple times to apply for the CFO job where I worked because I would not play the employer political games. Much like #2 on the Starship Enterprise (Star Trek, next Generation), I was very happy to stay out of the limelight. And I would have been fired before a year was out since I would have told some egotistical SOB board member to go…….

        Oh well back to reality. Pence will never be president unless some miracle happens between now and 2020. He may not even be the VP candidate if Trump runs again. He may say his reputation is more important than what he would have to go through. And the democrats will not do anything to remove Trump as they have him right where they want him. Under fire, unable to accomplish anything other than dodging bullets. He might attribute age and health and decide not to run again himself.

        I will be very interested if we ever hear what was actually shared with the Russians about travel to the US. Even Israel, who developed the data, said it was no big thing. And the President is someone who can share anything he wants with anyone anytime. unlike the Secretary of State, which does not seem to worry the Democrats that much. If she can share info, then why can’t Trump?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:43 pm

        We shall see what happens – but my read of the current situation is NOT the same as yours.

        Trump is under fire – but I am seeing few except the left care.

        You said Clinton would win if the election was held today – I would have guessed so too – but atleast some of the people who do exactly those sort of things think Trump would likely win the Popular vote today.

        What is it that you think Trump can not do that is relevant ?

        His EO’s will eventually make it to SCOTUS – explect they will be upheld there.
        When even Derschowitz thinks the courts turning them down are nuts, they are unlikelyt o hold water.

        With respect to a “different” president – given that we are NEVER getting exactly what we want as president, What is it that is important that you want that you are not getting ?

        The biggest issue I disagree with you on – Trade – you are on the same side as Trump.

        So Pence would not tweet as much ? Is that such a big deal ?

        I think Trump is a pretty combative president – but that is what those who voted for him expected. Trump has managed to become president and STILL be seen as the ultimate washington outsider.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:32 pm

        The people who want to get elected to anything are the people you do NOT want running government. That is near universal.

        Apparently the entire Russia hacked the election meme is coming apart.

        Clapper’s recent testimony is:
        No 17 intel agencies did not agree – a carefully selected panel from CIA, NSA and FBI put out the assessment.
        That assessment was requested by Obama.
        The people doing the assessment were carefully selected.
        It was NOT based on evidence – but the “logic” that Putin favored Trump.

        i.e. there is actually NOTHING – no substance at all to it.

        As I think Ron is noting – the Russia hacked the DNC meme is slowly coming apart – as wikileaks has consistently claimed – it was a DNC insider – who has subsequently been murdered.

        I would suggest that one of the reasons these allegations do not get any meat added to them – is there is no meat.

        Lets assume for a moment that the above actually proves to be true.

        Do you grasp that if that is so what you ACTUALLY have is criminal misconduct WORSE than Trump is being accused of by the Obama administration and a cadre inside the intelligence community.

        I do not understand why it is so hard for the left to grasp.
        There really are only two choices here:

        Trump did engage in political malfeasance, OR
        The intelligence apparatus of our govenrment was illegally used for political purposes.

        Increasingly there is no “safe” way out.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 4:56 pm

        Ron.,

        Interesting comment. I can not find the link but there was a recent story on the 2020 election – and why it is likely that Trump will win easily and why if the election were reheld tomorow – Clinton would lose worse than before – despite Trump’s rising negatives.
        That Trump would actually win the popular vote now.

        There have been several analysis of Trump voters that suggest that relative to Clinton they got what they wanted.

        Several analysts have noted that Trump’s negatives are not as important as many claim.
        He won with high negatives – higher ones I beleive than Clinton.
        That approval ratings only loosely reflect how people vote.
        That you can dislike Trump – and still dislike the alternatives more. That you can dislike Trump more – and still want him over the alternative as president.

        On November 9th, everything changed relative to Trump polling and future elections.
        From this point forward he starts any race as “the incumbent”
        No matter how badly he does as president – he is still the devil we know.
        If we arrive at November 2020 and he has not been impeached or started a nuclear war – he will not be viewed as the same potentially dangerous choice he was in 2016.

        I would further note that a Team of RCP’s political analysts put together a model for the 2018 senate and if that election were held today the odds are Republicans would pick up 2 senate seats. Models have lots of problems – Hillary did not win, Britian voted to leave the EU. The model could be fubar. But it is still an indication of how horrible the 2018 map is for democrats.

        Personally I think Trump needs to fire several more people now.

        That signals that Comey is not all that unusual – that Trump is cleaning house.
        That is what he was elected to do.
        We did not elect Obama. We did not elect warm and fuzzy. We elected someone whose slogan is “You’re fired!”.

      • May 16, 2017 6:24 pm

        Well they need to find out who they “hired” and is in the White House where they hear stuff and then leak it to the press. I don’t ever remember a White House anywhere close to the one we have today that is hell bent to destroy a president. The only leaks that came out where the authorized leaks.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:52 pm

        You seem to operate under the presumption that when Trump become president all 3500 whitehouse staff and all 3.5M govenrment employees were immediately replaced by Republican Trump loyalists.

        The opposite is pretty much true.
        Nearly all the people in government are the same ones who were there this time last year.

        A few people at the top of some departments have been replaced.

        Many of the “political” appointees in the whitehouse have been replaced.
        But the majority of the staff at the whitehoouse and throughout government are the same as were there in 2016

      • May 16, 2017 11:49 pm

        sorry, I was under the assumption that when a top level adviser comes in, he comes in with his own staff. So, when they had meetings with an ambassador and the president, 4-5 top advisers and a handful of staff members were present as described by a number of media outlets, I assumed that those few staff members were new. I was unaware that the new advisers retained the prior administration staff that they would trust enough to attend meetings like this, especially when there have been so many leaks already.

        If what you say is true, then I will have to agree with Roby that Trump is a 5 alarm fire and add he has 4-5 screws loose to allow staff members that were not his people nor his advisers people to attend these meetings.. The first thing any sane individual would do when leaks ran rampant from your location would be to close all top level meetings to just you, the person you were meeting with along with whoever they brought to the meeting, the advisers needed and one or two others needed for staff type work. And then rotate those staff members so the same ones never attended the same time again for awhile so whoever is leaking could finally be identified. And then hang them with the most severe legal penalty possible.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 10:24 am

        I do not know the exact makeup of McMaster’s staff as an example or whether everyone present for the meeting with Lavrov was “new”.
        That is not being addressed by the media.

        But the vast majroity of the administration is holdovers.
        Most are part of the permanent government – those are overhelmingly democrats.
        Though that does nto inherently mean untrustworthy.

        At the same time it is common for political appointees to seek to become permanent non-political government employees.

        Louis Lehrner worked at FCC as a political appointee – her job was strictly tied to Democrats controlling the whitehouse.
        When she transfered to IRS she sought and got a permanent non-political job.
        Clearly no one would consider Lehrner to be neutral.

        What I would say with respect to this particular story is:

        It is highly unlikely that ANYONE in the whitehouse – not Trump, not McMaster’s not staff – former or current, was provided with information that revealed the source of intel.
        That does nto happen unless it is requested – and even then usually only when an in writing order is provided.

        The three MOST likely scenarious I see are:

        Trump and McMaster’s deliberately fed Lavrov disinformation to get ISIS to turn on itself and some stupid whitehouse staffer misunderstood and leaked what we areally a disinformation effort.

        Some whitehouse staffer just made this up entirely.

        Some non-whitehouse intelligence operative fed information to Trump/McMasters that was DELIBERATELTY not cleaned of source information and then leakeed to the press that Trump had revealed sources after the meeting with Lavrov.

        But there are dozens of other possibilities.

        But what we can be absolutely certain of is that – we will never know what actually happened.

        I have not even covered the possibilities that:

        somewhere along the line a mistake was made (not by Trump but elsewhere, and source identifying information inadvertently reached the whitehouse)

        That the Russians are not stupid and would be deeply suspicious of anything we told them that appeared to reveal sources.

        Put most simply there are so many reasons why anything about intelligence information could be a lie, that the truth is unknowable.

        During WWII Canaris’s US spies got accurate information on US war production and it was provided to Hitler – who declared that it was clearly deliberate disinformation as the US could not possibly produce that much that fast – in the end we produced more than 3 times what Canaris had ferreted out.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 10:33 am

        Ron

        Why do you presume that you know where the source of the leak is ?

        First Trump must run the government on the people he has.
        The whitehouse has about 3500 people I beleive – most of whom are permanent.
        Most of whom have security clearances.
        Yet every whitehouse leaks like a seive.
        Sometimes deliberately – sometimes not.

        Regardless, the leak could be completely a lie.
        Why does it have to have come from someone who was in the meeting with Lavrov ?
        Why does it even have to come from the whitehouse ?

        The only requirement for this leak is that the reporter beleived the source.

        I think Priscilla made a big deal that Trump demanding loyalty from McMaster’s would be wrong – yet you are claiming that Trump is irresponsible if he does nto have a staff that he is sure is loyal ?

        When Trump says he is finding out how hard being president is, I think one aspect of that is that everyone has an agenda, and it is impossible to fire them all and put into place your own people who have been given some loyalty test.

        While I do not think this leak was from a “republican” source, there is no good reason to beleive that many republicans will not leak information damaging to Trump – but helful for them personally.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 10:37 am

        Lets say you limit meetings.

        The information Trump may or may not have told Lavrov came from somewhere.
        Everyone who handled that information knows the information, and many know Trump met lavrov.

        You seem to be operating under the assumption that the leaker knows what was said.

        Ypou can not even operate under the assumption that they know what Trump was told.

        The only assumption you can make about the leaker is that the reporters trust them.
        that is it.

        There is no other part of this story that is knowably true

  46. Roby permalink
    May 16, 2017 11:00 am

    Perfect scores, as I 100% expected! Didn’t happen, wouldn’t matter if it did, its the media that is the problem! Been there!

    “The Washington Post created a morality play about an out-of-control government brought to heel by two young, enterprising journalists and a courageous newspaper. That simply wasn’t what happened. Instead, it was about the FBI using The Washington Post to leak information to destroy the president, and The Washington Post willingly serving as the conduit for that information while withholding an essential dimension of the story by concealing Deep Throat’s identity.”[83]

    Political scientist George Friedman on watergate.

    History will judge.

    • May 16, 2017 11:25 am

      No, not at all. If this were true, and named sources went on the record to confirm it, it would be a YUGE story, and Trump supporters like me would turn on him in droves. Not Trump worshipers, of course, but there are partisans, on both sides, that are dug in.

      I consider General McMaster a more credible source that an anonymous leaker.

      The fact is that, according to on-the-record sources who were present at the Trump-Lavrov meeting, what the Washington Post reported was untrue. WaPo’s sole source or sources, were anonymous. The President can de-classify anything he wants, that is also fact. Obama did so on a number of occasions , and the press did not have a cow.
      https://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/22/headlines/obama_to_declassify_records_on_dictatorship_during_argentina_visit.

      Interestingly, a largely unreported story, ignored by all but Fox right now, is that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich had multiple contacts with WikiLeaks before his death, and both on-the-record and anonymous sources are claming that he was the leaker of 44,000 DNC emails. His family is denying this. Rich’s murder remains unsolved.

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 12:05 pm

        Denial. Deflection. As expected.

        The saddest thing I ever saw in baseball was Jim Fregosi having to explain why he stayed with Mitch “Wildman” Williams after Toronto won Game 6 of the 1993 world series with a walk off home run. “you have to stay with the horse that brought you here. The vast majority of republicans are going to stay with trump, no matter what, there will always be a rationalization. How do I know that? The events of the last year have proven it. In your case, you abandoned trump once in disgust and then found a way to return. You and 80% of GOP voters are not going to leave him. But, trump is mentally unfit, in blinding neon lights, for a dozen clear reasons, nothing could be clearer.

        And after its all played out, the George Friedman explanation of what just happened will get repackaged and come to my mailbox from GOP central (the national GOP sends me their playbook in bigly envelopes with identity cards declaring me a loyal trump supporter etc. for some reason, probably my involvement in Vermont politics as a GOP sympathizer).

        What the dems have to bring when it comes to be their turn to bat will most likely will be quite wretched as well, but with trump to compare themselves too, it may seem like an improvement to many people.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 3:09 pm

        Roby,

        Is it possible for all of us – right left or whatever to support Trump when he is right, oppose him when he is wrong, and when he is only slightly wrong – not pretend it is the end of the world ?

        I do not like Trump’s immigration EO – but it is clearly constitutional.
        I mostly do not like Sessions policies at DOJ – that does nto BTW mean I think he is a liar or a racist.

        I think Trump and several here are nuts on Trade – fortunately mostly so far Trump has not tried to DO what he says with respect to that.

        There are things Obama did I agreed with.
        There are also things he did that I did not think he was constitutionally allowed to do – but that I think were good things.

        Is it possible that Trump, Obama, … are not absolutely wrong about everything ?

        Is it possible to get through a day without 1/2 the medai declaring a constitutional crisis over nonsense ?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 3:04 pm

        Wikileaks has REPEATEDLY claimed the DNC hack was an inside job and had nothing to do with the Russians.

        Many of the Trump Gotcha stories that have run since the election – are just that – little in the way fo substance, large amounts of uproar.

        “Oh God No! Grab your Che Tee! We must take to the Streets, Trump the autocratic Tyrant has struck again! – He is once again imposing a totalitarian state on us by ….
        shrinking government! Oh, The horror!.”

        I am spring loaded to not like Trump – and I do not.
        I disagree on several of the things he tried to sell during the campaign.

        But I am not going to go full bull moose goon loon, over things he is actually right about, or things he is at worst only marginally wrong and are not a big deal.

        Yet the left and the media are frothing.

      • May 16, 2017 6:24 pm

        “Denial. Deflection. As expected.”

        Is it “denial” to point out,that WaPo cited only anonymous sources? Is it “deflecting” to point out that an active duty 3-star general, who has one of the most stellar reputations in Washington, and who you roundly praised at one time, has said, and repeated, that the story is false? Is it denial to assert that any president can choose to share classified information, and is it deflection to say that other presidents have done so in private meetings with foreign ministers?

        Trump Derangement has struck you hard. It should be possible to discuss the latest scandal-du-jour , and disagree these kinds of accusations. For example, if revealing that Israel was the source of our intel on laptop bombs was so damaging to national security, why did the NYT just reveal that to the world, and why is the Israeli ambassador saying that Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship. Seems counter-intuitive, right? Not to mention that ~ hello?~ is it a big surprise to anyone that Israel shares intel with the US on terrorism?

        Bush Derangement, Obama Derangement, Trump Derangement….3 administrations in a row now. It’s dangerous, and moderates shouldn’t buy into it. And no one, on the right, left or center, should be tolerant of classified leaks, even if they feed into their personal derangement syndrome. Obama prosecuted them as if they were a danger to the nation, not just his administration. He was right about that.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:48 pm

        I understand that McMaster’s rounding denies this.

        But I still do not get why it is a story ?
        Trump can not “mishandle” classified information.
        Absent literally conspiring with Russia to harm the US, he is president and in matters of national security he has nearly a unilaterally free hand.

        If he actually disclosed information that got agents killed.
        He would have to be impeached, and even with respect to that, he could make an argument that his actions were still necescary.

        I do not understand this story – because if True – there is nothing there.

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 8:12 pm

        Watergate was based on a leaker. How that leaker is seen by individuals is one thing, how he and Nixon and Nixon’s crew of jailbirds are seen by history is something else. This leaker or leakers seem to part of the trump administration itself! All part and parcel of the extraordinary character of this administration.

        Priscilla, I remember the strong offence you took to my statement that you and JB had Obama derangement syndrome (and, you both did, though JB’s case made yours look relatively tame). Rick had to come put out the fire after my comment.

        However, I find myself completely unoffended by your diagnosis of my condition. For one thing, its silly. trump is a genuine 5 alarm fire. From my perspective pretending that he is just a normal person and fit to be president is trump derangement syndrome. I have no sympathy at all about the treatment he or the GOP is getting from the dreaded media. You’ll wait an eternity for me to feel that pain. trump and the GOP in all its levels are getting what they have asked for, a fight with the MSM.

        I actually do not think that the latest gaffe was any larger than the other trump gaffes. Its all just part of the general pattern of a man not fit to be president mucking around in over his head. As well, its inevitable that it would get the reaction it is getting after 8 years of loud adn out of control Obama/Hillary derangement, with some of the worst of it coming from trump himself. The blowhard bully now is in the position to take the abuse himself. What goes around comes around. Cry me a river.

        Its hard to be president, there have been few really good ones, and trump is at the bottom of the character heap. To you he’s even heroic. Now, I think THAT is trump derangement syndrome.

        Imagine how the old partisan liberal version Priscilla would have reacted to a trump presidency!

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 10:04 pm

        Roby;

        I do not have any sympathy for Trump either.

        I think he is getting what he asked for.
        I also think that has is mostly accomplishing what he wants with it.

        Yes, he harms himself – but he is very effectively harming the press and democrats at the same time.

        That said – Trump is not even close to a “five alarm fire”

        How is it that Trump is “the end of the world” ?

        He was preceded by Bush and Obama – two of the worst US presidents ever – he has a very low bar to live up to.

        Nor is he there to make those who did not vote for him happy.
        You are likely right – the people who did not elect him, think EVERYONE ELSE, made a mistake. that is not going to get us anywhere.

        Given the campaign that he ran, what is it that you expect of Trump that is consistent with his own campaign that you are not getting ?

        Far to many people see to be saying “oh its horrible, Trump is not Obama, or Hillary or Sanders!”

        of course not.

        Anyway, what is it that you expected would be different ?

        And aside for style what is it that you think must change ?

        I am not asking what is it that would make Trump into a progressive.
        He did nto run as a progressive.

        I am asking what – consistent with the election he ran, should he be doing different ?

      • May 16, 2017 8:54 pm

        I did not like Obama, nor did I agree with 95% of his policies or politics. But I did not say that he was a Muslim, nor did I subscribe to birther conspiracies, nor ever write anything personally defamatory about him or his family. You have called Trump a traitor, an insane person and a liar. That’s what I call TDS. If you want to say that I had ODS, fine. We’ll agree to disagree on that.

        I believe that Trump is endangering his own agenda, which is a serious criticism. I’m willing to give him a lot of latitude, because he is not a politician, and I’ve also been surprised over the last year, to see him rebound from political disasters that would have destroyed any other Republican.

        But he’s got to stop with the self-inflicted injuries to his presidency, or he will lose my support. Perhaps what you mean, when you say that that he is mentally ill, is that he has not seemed to learn from his mistakes so far. I get that, and it concerns me, although I do not think that he suffers from some psychosis. I think he is undisciplined and undignified, and I think that, if he would listen to people who tell him, to stop tweeting, and focus on his priorities, he would be a whole lot better off right now.

        I also believe that he should aggressively go after the media sources that are leaking classified information, which is a felony The Washington Post and the NYT should not be allowed to protect felons, and there should be a concerted effort to find out who these people are and prosecute them under the Espionage Act, which is exactly what Obama did, going after leakers and reporters relentlessly.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 16, 2017 10:12 pm

        I liked Obama.

        But I think he was a bad president.

        I do not care if he was muslim.
        I do not care if he was not born in the US.
        I do beleive there is something hinky going on with his birth certifiate – but I also beleive he was born in hawaii.
        But all of that is irrelevant.

        Trump is undisciplined and undignified.
        I do nto think there is a chance in hell that is changing.
        Further for about 70 years he has made that work for him.
        It would be a mistake to try to change now.

        I have accepted that he is going to be an undifnified president.

        I lived through monica Lewinsky Felating Bill Clinton while he was ont he phone to Arrafat.
        I can live with Trump’s uncouth nature.

        I agree with you that Trump should crack down on leaks. Though I think the NYT and WaPo should try to protect their sources.

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 9:48 pm

        “You have called Trump a traitor, an insane person and a liar.”

        I consider his post election behavior of siding with putin’s version of events over those of American intelligence agencies regarding Russian hacking and interference on trumps behalf and generally his bromance with putin (which is strangely the habit or various far-right politicians in Europe as well) to be traitorous, yes. Its my opinion and I’m allowed it.

        Insane? I don’t remember using that word, but I could have, I suppose. Mentally ill, paranoid, narcissistic, childish, and unstable, hell yes.

        Liar. Hell yes! Dozens of time a day at times. Can you really seriously complain that anyone calls his a liar? I could easily generate a long list of conservative people I believe you respect who have faced his issues with continual lying forthrightly. So, complaining about That is hilarious. He is a liar, a stupid and clumsy but continual liar. Not “taking him literally” is another way of saying that the man can’t stop lying so one just has to try to ignore it on the conservative side.

        I have (a lot!) more to work with in the case of trump’s character flaws than you had in the case of Obama. All the same, while I don’t have the time to do a search of the history, your comments at times were way over the top with Obama and your tolerance for even much further over the top comments about him from JB was clear, which is how I came to pin ODD on you along with JB.

        I am not saying anything about trump that a huge number of people, including lots of conservatives and conservative media, have not said about trump’s character. You are making like this is just political business as normal. It isn’t.

        No president ever had trumps disapproval ratings from the get go. There are very good reasons for those abysmal ratings, and they go directly to trump not some farcical unfair treatment of him.

        Eh, OK, I’m just a liberal of some sort, so discount people like me if you wish. dduck is a lifetime republican, How do you explain him and the large number of like minded not liberal people who say the same things I do about trump? Ross Douthat savaged trump’s character last week after the Comey firing, you likely read it. My favorite excerpt:

        “It was, instead, a window into an essentially sub-rational and self-sabotaging mind (as were the tweets that swiftly followed), whose obsessions make it impossible for Trump not to act on impulse, whose grievances constantly override the public interest and political self-interest both.

        But it was not a new window: This same self-destructiveness was evident at every turn in the campaign. So the only mystery is why otherwise-rational Republicans persist in hoping for anything save chaos from a man who celebrated clinching the nomination by accusing his rival’s father of having had a hand in killing J.F.K. ”

        So, not all conservatives have lost the ability to see trump’s flaws clearly. But the one’s who have, and I do count you as one, are never going to understand the opinions of someone like me on trump’s character and fitness.

        We are still in utterly different universes on politics and we are going to remain in them.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 7:53 am

        To my knowledge Putin has not provided a “version of events”.
        Russian Intelligence appears quite content to have Americans believe that our election process is corrupt – in fact there is substantial evidence that their entire objective we NOT to “hack our election” or to favor Trump or Clinton, but to undermine confidence in our election.

        Further the testimony of the very intelligence individuals whose assessments you seem to regard heavily is increasingly suggesting that the assessment was purely political – that they did not have then and do not have now any actual evidence.
        That their conclusions were based on their BELEIF that Russia sought to discredit our elections and that Russia logically favored Trump – rather than any actual evidence that either of those are true.

        There remains – more than 6 months after these allegations started no corroboration for any of them.

        I would further note that the historical credibility of US intelligence agencies is incredibly poor. That is not a partisan issue – they have done badly under Reagan and Bush.
        That said US intelligence has historically been heavily influenced by two significant factors – the biases of the current administration, and the desire to increase their own power and influence.

        Any evaluation of any US intelligence agency under any president that confirms the views of the administration and works towards increasing the power of those agencies should be highly suspect. Regardless, of what the assessment is.

        One of the conflicts playing out in Washington right now – reflected in the attack on Flynn is a conflict over the role of intelligence agencies dating back to the early Obama administration. Flynn was brought in specifically to change the direction of US intelligence. To shift it to better serve the “war on terror” as opposed to other political goals.

        McMaster’s continues the impetus for tat shift in focus. Much of the conflicts currently going on that manifest themselves in this nonsense over Russia are reflections of power struggles within the intelligence communities over substantial issues regarding the focus and emphasis of US intelligence.

        In other words this is about Issues involving Iran, and collapsing policy initiatives of the Obama administration as much or more than it is about Trump.
        It is not accidental that the highest profile people suspected as having leaked information are strongly affiliated with the Obama Iran initiatives nor accidental that Flynn a very vocal dissenter regarding Iran was targeted.

        The credibility of Trump’s tweets leave a great deal to be desired – as do the front page stories of the NYT and WaPo – to me that plays out as a draw.

        Given that I am not fixated on Trump’s latest tweet and that Obama’s scripted remarks were equally rife with error, and given that most of the attacks on Trumps tweets fixate on details not their overall meaning.
        As an example it appears unlikely that in the narrowest technical terms Trump himself was “wiretapped” – as he tweeted and NYT and WaPo had previously reported.
        It is however absolutely true that he, his campaign staff and Trump associates were “incidentally” surveiled, and that they were unusually unmasked, and that surveilance information regarding them was circulated such that the claim that the surveilance was “incidental” rather than targeted lacks credibility.
        There is also building circumstantial evidence of a much larger politically motivated use of US intelligence for political purposes.

        Personally, I think Trump needs to clean house within the US intelligence community.
        They are not doing what we need from them, and they are far too political.

        Finally Robby, I would repeat my warning:

        We are more than 9 months from the impetus of this Russia nonsense.
        We know little if anything more than we did then.

        Unless that changes and soon, it is increasingly UNLIKELY that the Trump conspiracy story is true, and increasingly LIKELY that our intelligence community and the american people are being duped for political gain.

        From the begining this has been an extremely dangerous story.
        On the one hand it carries a serious risk of impeachment should any consequential evidence support the story.

        But I would strongly encourgage you to consider that the converse is true.

        That there are really only two possibilities:

        Trump did conspire with Russia,
        or that the Obama administration was engaged in large scale political misuse of US intelligence.

        There is not an Innocent middle ground here.
        It is possible for BOTH of those possibilities to be true.
        It is NOT possible for NEITHER to be true.

        You seem to be unwilling to face the fact that the dangers in this are very high for both sides.

        I am not sure that it is possible to demonstrate to your satisfaction that Trump did not conspire with Putin – no matter what the evidence might be – it is nearly impossible to prove a negative, and conspiracies are appealing.

        I think that because you are never going to be able to let go of that, you are going to be unable to grasp the political misconduct of those who have pushed this.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 8:10 am

        Roby.

        If we restrict ourselves to considering what Trump and Obama have DONE – to their actions, or possibily their words in furtherance of their actions, I do not think you have much of a case.

        Trump shoots off his mouth constantly, and speaks inarticulately – and gets judged by the press (and you) to a standard fo precision that is unmeetable.
        But for the most part I really could care less about his rhetoric.

        In terms of actions – Trump has in his first 100 days taken specific steps to attempt to deliver on the majority of his key campaign promises.

        He has NOT necescarily delivered on all of them.
        Nor has he done EXACTLY what he promised.
        Still he has the strongest record of any president I have ever seen of taking his campaign promises seriously – even promises that I disagree with.

        Obama in converse during his first 100 days did almost nothing on any of his major campaign promises, and frankly through to the end of his 8 years has attempted less than Trump has attempted in 100 days.

        There are some important differences – with a few exceptions such as closing Guantanamo, Obama promised change – meaning an EXPANSION of the power of the federal govenrment – that is harder to accomplish.

        While Trump has for the most part promised to weaken the federal government – that is extremely hard, but it more legitimately and constitutionally possible unilaterally.
        Put more simply most of the promises that Trump has either kept or attempted to keep could be accomplished or atleast started unilaterally.

        Many of Obama’s promises required congressional cooperation or atleast presumed it.
        Obama only resorted to unilateral action later.
        HOWEVER Obama DID NOT do much to accomplish any of the promises he was able to do unilaterally.

        I am sorry but in a contest of Character Trump wins – easily.

        I know this is uncomfortable for the left – but character is keeping commitments to the best of your ability.
        Politicians do not do that. Business people do.

        Character is not what you say. It is not “good intentions” it is what you do. It is the extent to which people can trust you to do what you commit to doing.
        It is NOT the extent to which others do what you want them to do.

        You can not distinguish between “I disagree with Trump and agree with Obama” and “Trump is more likely to try to do what he promised than Obama”
        The latter is character – the former is merely emotional bonding.

        Holding the same views as you do is NOT a reflection of character.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 8:17 am

        One thing I would agree with you regarding is that Trump has said some stupid – and often nasty things about people in public – though I would note that Hilary Clinton ha a reputation for incredible vindictiveness and a long memory in private.

        Trump continues his attacks on John McCain. and While I am increasingly at odds with McCain on political issues and I am increasingly displeased with McCain’s involvement in much of what is going on – McCain delivered the Steele Dossier to the FBI, as an example.
        At the same time Trumps personal attacks on rivals and others have been highly inappropriate – and ultimately harm his ability to govern.

        For the most part Trump says these kind of things – unlike Clinton who does not speak openly about her animosities, but he does nto appear to use the power he actually has to do anything about them – i.e. he is full of bluster. Clinton on the other hand has a reputation for serving revenge cold.

        Regardless, Trump should refrain from the stupid personal attacks.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 8:46 am

        Roby;

        Outside of the context of Trump and Obama what is it that you think character is ?

        Obviously it is made of many things, but which are more important ?

        Is what you say more important that what you do ?

        Does your view of character require someone to share much of your ideology ?

        My in-laws as an example belonged to a church that was just slightly to the left of the Westboro baptist church. These people beleived and said things that were completely repugnant to me. But when my in-laws (and others that I( know of) were in need – they were there – they did not have to be. They went above and beyond.

        I think that “pastor tom’s” views on just about every issue are thoroughly repugnant to me.
        I hope never to have to here him “preach” again.
        But I consider him to be someone of good character.

        I have a friend – he says incredibly outragious things. Frankly I think he has some serious mental health issues (and physical health). He often says “racist” things.
        But he treats my asian children as equals – and in fact in the real world he treats everyone he encounters decently. When people need help – he is there for them.
        I would not lend him anything – I will never get them back. but I will give him things.
        I consider him to be of good character.

        I know someone else – I had considered him a friend. His manners are impecable, he speaks articulately – he has been very successful. But I have been in positions where I needed to trust him and found that I can not. He says all the right things – but then does as he pleases. His choices often harm others – but he always sounds reasonable and always has a rational explanation. He lies – usually in ways that he can not easily get caught.
        He has done so in court under oath. But if you were to hear him speak – everything he does and says would “sound” reasonable. When he misrepresents things and is caught – he always has some reasonable explanation. It takes alot of dealing with him before you gather that he is not making honest errors or forgetting, that he really is just doing whatever he pleases, and saying one thing to your face while doing the opposite.
        I consider that bad character.

        What to you is good character and bad character – and take this outside the context of Trump and Obama please.

        I would also like to know – do you separate character from agreement on values ?
        I share almost no values with “pastor tom”. I share a great deal of values with the person I identified above as having bad character.

        Where are you on this ?

        Is character tied to ideology for you – or is it about conduct ? Is it about keeping commitments ?

        My first friend above tells what I would call absolute whoppers – about little things.
        While the last person tells small and difficult to prove lies about very big and important things. Which is more representative of bad character to you ?

      • Roby permalink
        May 16, 2017 10:56 pm

        “Yes, he harms himself – but he is very effectively harming the press and democrats at the same time.

        Dave, It seems to me to be a more or less zero sum game. Hurting himself and the GOP helps the democrats. I think the election outcome did harm the press, but I believe that the whole fake news brou-ha-ha has slowly rebounded to their favor and recent polls I have read seem to bear that out.

        In about 18 months we will know if the trump is harming the democrats. The democrats are certainly good at looking dumb independently and the attack of the Bernie Sanders is very wounding as well. Future elections look like which dysfunctional party will win. I have no clear answer, and neither do you or anyone.

        “That said – Trump is not even close to a “five alarm fire”
        How is it that Trump is “the end of the world” ?”

        Our different views of the world explain why we see that question very differently. I see him as an incompetent in a terribly important job that is difficult enough for a person who is competent and has a decent character. The damage his chaos may do in any number of arenas, foreign policy especially scares me. There is some chance trumps particular unorthodox flavor could unexpectedly improve the situation with N. Korea and some aspects of our China issue, such as currency manipulation, I will grant that. But it equally possible that it will make it much worse in N. Korea.

        The stock market bet that lots of money will be made under trump united with a GOP majority. The predictions about policies that pleased the big stock players do not particularly seem likely to to come to pass at this moment. That bet will have to be paid for, if and when it becomes clear that stock market elation was a poor reading of the future. No sane person would hope for a stock market collapse, but I’m just saying that this level of turbulence carries serious risk.

        In my world an incompetent US president is a 5 alarm fire.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 9:23 am

        Roby,

        From what I can tell – Trump is NOT hurting himself among his supporters.
        And that is part of what I was saying with respect to noting that numerous of these political analysts seem to think that Trump would do BETTER against Clinton today – than in November.

        At the time of the election we all grasped that Trump is a misogynist.
        And that he engages his mouth – often without engaging his brain, that he speaks inarticulately – blunt is not really the right word – though he is blunt.

        We knew that on Nov. 8.

        That has not changed. I do not think those who voted for him expected it to.

        Prior to Nov. 8 – the press and the left hated him.
        They still do.
        Prior to Nov. 8 – most of the major stories – the Russia nonsense, etc. were all out there and had about as much flesh as they do now.

        What has changed ?

        Trump was elected.
        Contra the left he has not stepped on his Dick.
        He has not started a nuclear war,
        Tanked the stock market.
        Killed any babies.
        He has not turned into someone different.
        He is no better nor worse than before.
        He has done much as one would have expected.

        Frankly he has tried fairly hard to impliment a relatively reasonable version of MUCH of what he promised. I do not agree with some of what he has done – but I can not say he has lied, or is doing different than he promised.

        He has done everything that he can do as president to get his “wall”.
        I think it is a stupid idea – but not the collassally stupid idea the left thinks.
        I think we can find some other stupid idea to defund to pay for this stupid idea.

        I do not agree with his immigration EO – but it is a reasonable act compared to what I expected of him.

        Most of his cabinet appointemnts were highly capable OUTSIDERS – as he promised.
        Those who criticise them are either attacking their ideology – while it is fair to attack an ideology you disagree with and to oppose someone because of ideology – these are ideologicallly the people Trump promised to put in.
        They are also criticised for lack fo government experience.
        Again that is exactly what Trump promised – people with a record of accomplishement OUTSIDE government.
        You can oppose his nominees – but they are exactly what he promised.

        He nominated Gorsuch to the Supreme court. Again – you can be at odds with that ideologically or politically – but it is PRECISELY what he promised.

        I am personally trying to decide if I am with Priscilla on the “Trump makes his own problems” meme.

        This Russia thing has grown to consume all the air.
        Trump is as committed to it as the left.

        But I still see it as incredibly dangerous to the left.

        Bill Clinton avoided getting impeached because we grew tired of the story.

        This Russia nonsense to me seems like a “nuclear” option – it is likely to result in a big winner and a big loser. IF trump survives – and it is highly likely he does, it does nto leave him weakened – it leaves him obviously RIGHT and his enemies obviously WRONG.

        I will agree that the GOP is in an odd state.
        But they have been since Trump won the nomination.

        Republicans are still trying to figure out how to deal with Trump.

        Republicans do have a problem regarding Trump.
        He is president, but his agenda and the republican agenda are not in perfect alignment.

        It is also normal for the president to be the leader of his party.
        And Trump is really not the leader of the GOP.

        But republicans have been fighting for power between factions since 2000 atleast.
        This is not new for them. They are not united – except in opposition.
        But they are also not divided in the sense of risking fracture.

        Democrats are in disarray – to the extent they are in anyway united – it is in heading exactly the wrong way.

        I did not expect them to work with Trump or Republicans – but they have chosen not to in most of the worst possible ways.

        They are not only tacking left – they are doing so quite publicly.

        Opposing Trump and turning to marxist lenonism are not the same.

        Trump is dragging everyone’s negatives down. But I see him as winning that fight.
        If we are not happy with Trump – we are angrier at the Press the left and washington too – and MORE.
        The GOP is suffering – but so are democrats.

        I guess one difference between us is that I see the errosion of confidence in government as a BIG net positive.

        The stock market is a short term barometer of politics and all kinds of factors – over the long term it reflects the fundimentals of the market – not the nonsense in washington.

        I expect a long term weak positive trend in the market and in the economy – a better economy than Obama – but not a good one.

        If the economy remains at Obama levels – Trump and the GOP are in trouble.
        If it rises – even slowly – Democrats are in trouble.

        All the political theater is mostly subordinate to that.

        I beleive that activist government of any flavor is net economically negative.
        Trump is shrinking not expanding government power – that should proove positive over the long run. He is already doing alot there unilaterally.

        There is alot more that could be done with the cooperation fo congress.
        But republicans are as capable of making things worse as better.

        I am still not sure whether I think that AHCA is an improvement over straight repeal or letting PPACA fail.

        Everybody fixates on “who benefits” directly – almost no one considers that this one size fits all top down nonsense is expensive and ultimately fails – even when republicans do it.
        I am not sure that an Obamacare lite that takes ten more years to fail is an improvement over failing PPACA quickly.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 10:06 am

        Addressing this “Trump leaked to the Russians” story.

        This aspect of foreign relations is complex beyond beleif.

        First, I think there is no chance in hell we will EVER know the truth here.

        To those who say McMasters might be lying – that is absolutely possible for an infinite number of reasons.

        The “purported” claim is that Trump revealed information to the Russians that indicates that the Israeli’s have a spy in ISIS. And that Russia will likely reveal that to Iran and it will get back to ISIS.

        We do not know – and will never know what Trump told Lavrov.

        It would be HIGHLY unusual for Trump to have intelligence that would reveal a source.
        While the “unmasking” stories have not covered that specifically they have made clear that there is a deliberate disconnect between intelligence consumers and intelligence producers in the federal government.

        Producers do not share SOURCES or informationt that identifies sources, they do not share the identity of US citizens that are not targets.

        When intelligence is passed up the food chain with is “cleaned” as it goes through each level. McMasters is NSC chief – HE should not have access to sources.

        McMasters could therefore likely say with certainty that Trump did not (and could not) know the source of intelligence – because McMaster’s himself should not have known the source.

        It is very very very rarely necescary for intelligence consumers to know where intelligence comes from.

        All that said there are an infinite number of OTHER possibilities.

        In the 90’s the CIA ran an operation against Hezbolla – well known CIA operatives met publicly with 2nd tier Hezbolla members. The result was Hezbolla executed nearly its entire 2nd tier.

        It is possible – though not likely. That Trump knew source information and accidentally revealed it to the Russians putting an agent at risk.

        It is possible that Trump did not – but that Trump – possibly steered by McMasters fed the Russians false information in the expectation that it would get back to ISIS and result in a purge.

        It is possible the information is correct – but did not come from human intel.
        It is possible the information is deliberately false.
        It is possible that Trump really made a mistake.

        It is possible that Trump did NOT make a mistake – but that whatever the source in the whitehouse – did precisely what they accused Trump of by leaking this to the media.

        It is possible (though unlikely) that the leak itself is a disinformation plant to get ISIS to turn on itself.

        There are an infinite number of permutations of deliberate and unintentional lies here.

        What is certain is that there is likely no circumstance under which McMaster’s would say that Trump leaked source information to the Russians.

        Among other reasons because that implicates him – Trump would not get source information except through McMasters and McMasters should not be asking for source information himself.

        Again no matter what the truth is – there is no possibility we are ever going to be told the truth.

        I would say that the odds strongly favor that Trump did not reveal actual sources – because doing so requires McMaster’s and Trump to be given information on sources that they would not ordinarily be given.

        The most likely scenario is that Trump provided the Russians with intelligence that did not reveal sources and that the leak is false.

        But even that is complex – it is unlikely that Trump or McMaster’s knew sources.
        It is therefore unlikely that the leak knew sources either.

        It is also possible that someone in the IC deliberately fed information to McMaster’s and Trump that could potentially reveal sources and then blew the whistle after the LAvrov meeting.

        Like I said this is intelligence work and it can make your head explode,

        “In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”.
        Churchill.

    • May 16, 2017 6:25 pm

      disagree *without* these kinds of accusations

  47. May 16, 2017 11:03 am

    Thanks for this. I set out today to understand why Liberals aren’t being more inclusive to moderate conservatives. There is a great opportunity here, but they can’t get out of there own way. They should be wooing the MODERATE MIDDLE and not just the MIDDLE CLASS.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 16, 2017 2:56 pm

      They should. They are not.
      Nor are they wooing the middle class.

      To gain traction with either they have to move right – towards the center.
      If the left moves towards the center – the right will have to also.

      The further left the left goes the further right the right can go and still win elections.

  48. May 16, 2017 6:47 pm

    And now we have a “Comey Memo,” supposedly read to a NYT reporter over the phone, by an ~surprise!~ anonymous “associate of Comey, claiming that in a ~surprise!~ private conversation, just between Trump and Comey, Trump asked Comey to let the investigation of Mike Flynn go, because Flyn was a “good guy.” Apparently, Comey wrote a detailed memo of their conversation after dinner, and has now given it to a buddy to read aloud to the Times. Trump has disputed Comey’s version of events, of course.

    Working hard to get a Congressional subpoena for Comey to testify in public, no doubt.

  49. dduck12 permalink
    May 16, 2017 6:49 pm

    Recently disclosed tape of meeting between Trump and McMaster:
    “Now H.R. I want your vow of complete loyalty to me, er, and the Constitution (wink) of course. I want you to outshine and outdo (wink) Obama’s National Security head, that Susan Rice broad and that schnook Flynn that Bannon foisted on me.”

    • May 16, 2017 9:54 pm

      If he makes McMaster go on all 5 Sunday shows and say that this was all because of offensive Russian video that Comey made him watch, then I’m out!

  50. dduck12 permalink
    May 16, 2017 10:30 pm

    H.R. is not in the same league as SR. 🙂

  51. May 17, 2017 7:48 am

    Roby, let’s just say that you may have recalled some comments that JB made, that I did not vigorously defend,simply because we are all permitted our opinions here. I agreed with him most of the time, just as you agreed with Jay, who I found to be consumed with Trump hatred.

    So, boorish and undignified is not a deal breaker for me. I found Obama to be much less honest, but in the manner of a smooth politician, who says things like “You can keep your plan and keep your doctor,” while promoting a health insurance plan that he knew would force many people to have to give up their plans and doctors. A politician who claimed, with a straight face, that 4 young men fought and died in Benghazi because of an offensive video. A man who negotiated a treaty with our worst enenmy (not our worst geopolitical foe, whom he did not consider a foe at all, until very late in the game) which has given them a fast track to developing nuclear bombs, with which to destroy the Great Satan, i.e. us. An ex-president, who is still actively leading a silent coup against his own successor, using intelligence gathered through police-state style surveillance, and pep talks delivered personally to his media allies (he got a standing ovation in the news room of WaPo on Thursday. A president who encouraged illegal immigration, and used the DOJ to after border states like Texas and Arizona, who tried to enforce federal law. I could actually go on, but you get my point, I’m sure.

    Yeah, so “shooting from the hip,” while undisciplined, is much better for me, than an ideological agenda-driven president who ignored constitutional boundaries and pursued an agenda that I believed ran counter to American ideals. My ideal candidate would have been a stronger, tougher Marco Rubio (maybe without his interventionist tendencies), but Trump was the guy that won the election, fair and square, and on his own terms. He now faces headwinds that are unprecedented in presidential history. Granted he is often his own worst enemy. But I think he’s still got a shot to prevail and pull the country back to some semblance of a constitutional republic. For a guy you consider to be incompetent, he’s accomplished a great deal in 4 months.

    If the media and the deep state succeed in driving him from office, there will be millions of Americans who will feel that they have truly lost their country. I do not say this lightly, and I fear for the consequences, which many be far worse in both the short and long term, that liberals imagine.

    • May 17, 2017 7:58 am

      One more thing: enough with the anonymous sources. I don’t believe anything I read or hear in the media anymore, unless it is confirmed by someone actually in a position to know.

      The Comey Memo was read over the phone. Let’s see it. Frankly it sounds more like a plea for prosecutorial discretion to me, than an attempt to “shut down” an investigation, but let’s see Mr. Comey’s actual memo. If he is now joining the active resistance, let him show the courage if his convictions and come out and say it, rather than rely on anonymous “associates” who call the NYT at 5pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 1:26 pm

        I posited a couple of things regarding this purported disclosure of classifed information to the Russians.

        Another posibility I thought of is that the Russians are the source.

        I would remind everyone that Even Clapper’s analysis was NOT that the Russians wanted Trump – but that they wanted to discredit the US electoral process so that we would have less ability to complain about theirs.

        The objective was nto to elect Trump but to portray our elections as corrupt.

        In that case Russian operatives could have BOTH provided clinton with the information in the Steele dossier – it does nto matter much whether that information tarnishes Trump or Clinton or both.

        This entire “the Russian hacked the election” meme serves THEM.
        They do not care about being the bad guy – so long as we look weak and corruptable.

        Anyway Lavrov could have already known the Iraelies had someone in ISIS.

        Lavrov meets with Trump, leaves and leaks to the media that Trump provided the Russians with classified information.

        That is a win win for them.

        One of the problems with this particular dodge is that there are far too many possibilities.

        I would further note that the entire story is extremely harmful to Trump’s ability to act.

        In the future not only does he have to be extra careful about what he says, but now he is suspicious of his own people, More suspcious of foreign dignataries.

        He is essentially handcuffed in his ability to act.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 1:38 pm

        AS reported – I think that Trump’s purported remarks to Comey are inarticulate – maybe inappropriate, but as Comey purportedly wrote it not all that troubling.

        Surely not nearly what LBJ told Hoover regarding Oswald – which was essentially go to Mexico, conclude that Oswald acted alone and wrap this up right away.
        When Hoover said he could not investigate that quickly LBJ said – who said investigate ?
        This has to be wrapped up immediately and the american people have to believe that Oswald acted alone.

        One of the things I find with all these attacks on trump is that the left keeps expecting to find a smoking gun – the proof that Trump is evil and corrupt.
        They do nto ever get that.
        But Trump is not articulate – and they can always find something he does say that they can spin into – “see, see ! that is somehow proof”

        Anyway If Comey felt Trump’s remarks were an actual violation of the law – as FBI director and a former US Attorney he was obligated to do something about it IMMEDIATELY.
        Not months later after he was fired.
        Comey has testified before congress repeatedly since,
        Yet this never came up.
        Either it never happened or Comey never thought it was important.

        I don’t.

    • Roby permalink
      May 17, 2017 9:38 am

      “If the media and the deep state succeed in driving him from office, there will be millions of Americans who will feel that they have truly lost their country.”

      Guess what Priscilla, there are always millions who feel like they’ve lost their country. Get in line. In particular just to take one of a dozen aspects of trump that makes it clear to decent people that he is unfit to be president is his words and actions regarding women. You have accepted this stuff as long as he is effective in carrying a program you like. The only thing that make you lose faith is if he is not effective at delivering the things you want.

      Here is your “heroic” figure our President:

      You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

      New York Times columnist Gail Collins recalled: “During one down period, I referred to him in print as a ‘financially embattled thousandaire’ and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and ‘The Face of a Dog!’ written over it.”

      Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred,” Trump said about himself one time. “Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money.”

      I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”

      “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”

      “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

      “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

      Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it,” he said. “You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good.”
      “You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody okay?’” he continued. “And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.”

      And that is only one side among many that makes him unacceptable to millions. Imagine if someone said that the Clintons are heroic figures and that calling them liars means that the person has a disorder. I think you know what reaction you are going to get from me for defending this idiot jackass, you expect it, and you like it. It adds to your sense of GOP martydom.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 1:45 pm

        You are correct Roby – there are millions on both sides of this.

        But the sides are not of equal merit.

        The one side is middle aged middle class americans who rarely raise a stink about anything. In generations past these are the people who revolted against England.

        These people rarely engaged in violence and when they do only at extreme provocation and even then they still see violence as a responce to taking their rights by force.
        They want they rights back nothing more.

        The other side is made of people who use any justification to impose their will on others by force. they are seeking to restrict freedom not enhance it.
        They are angry – because they lost power – not because they lost freedom.
        Historically they have a long standing tendency to resort to violence and there revolutions are long bloody affairs full of recriminations.

        AGAIN those angry today are people seeking POWER over others – not seeking freedom.
        And they are people who will regain power by any means necescary.
        They are dangerous people.

        Further they have no moral ground to stand on. They have not lost anything that was ever theirs in the first place.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 1:51 pm

        I agree that Trump is a mysoginist.

        To me that is not an acceptable characteristic in a president.
        But neither is a slut shamer and that was the Clinton choice.

        One way or the other we were getting a president with a serious character flaw.

        Further the left insisted in 1998 that any president that was effective – regardless of character was acceptable.

        I do nto agree. But the left is still stuck with that position regardless.

        Opposition to Trump because he is a mysoginist is incredibly hypocritical post Clinton.

        So here is my question – Should Clinton have been removed from office for lying under oath ?

        If your answer is yes – then we remove Trump – when he makes a similarly egregious violation – which he has not yet done.

        If your answer is no – then go away you are just being hypocritical.

      • Roby permalink
        May 17, 2017 5:03 pm

        “Further the left insisted in 1998 that any president that was effective – regardless of character was acceptable.
        I do nto agree. But the left is still stuck with that position regardless.”

        If “the left” were a single person or even composed of exactly the same persons, you would have a consistency point. But, it isn’t. And, it is not only the left that has my reaction (and yours too) to trump’s misogyny. Its all kinds of people and they do not have to be constrained by what some people did in 1998. That is absurd.

        My point, which I did not completely connect the dots on, is that among the various people who feel like they have lost their country and perhaps their civilization, are tens of millions of people who will never accept that a person with such ideas about women is fit to be POTUS. They are not all bomb throwers, they are not all wackos, and they are not even all of the left by any means. Any they have a very very strong point.

        To top trump’s unfitness to be POTUS based on misogyny, previous misogynists hid theirs behind fine words, whereas trump is bluntly proud of his ideas and actions and has flaunted them forever. And its only one of the reasons he is unfit.

        If and when enough conservatives/republicans see a clearer path to their policies with trump gone, then there will be an impeachment. Until then, its chatter. He does the dem. cause more good in office until the mid terms. If impeached it should not be done lightly, it should be done with proper decorum. Personally I doubt he will be impeached.

        Many things can happen by 2018 since both parties are in a race to see who can destroy their brand faster and its impossible to tell who is winning that dismal race.

        Unfortunately, if the two major parties both utterly suck, what does that imply about America?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 5:48 pm

        Whether the left is monolithic or not – the major flaws in Bill Clinton’s character are the same or worse than Trump’s. After a grueling several years the verdict – relying far more on the left than the right of the country was that Bill Clinton’s character was NOT an important issue with respect to his presidency.

        The left is not monolithic – regardless, you can not argue that verdict was driven by the right. That verdict was of a majority of americans – with a substantial portion of the right disagreeing. It not only was near unanimous on the left, but required suport fromt he majority of those in the middle.

        It is VERY disengenuous to now claim that character matters.

        While I beleive it does – I did so in 1998 and I do now.
        I did not vote for clinton because of his treatment of women.
        I did not vote for Trump for the same reason.
        I did not vote for Hillary because of her slut shaming of Bill’s victims.
        In all three instances I had other reasons too – but those were important.
        Further I would have impeached Clinton over Monica Lewinsky.
        AND I would have removed him in the senate Trial – but because he lied under oath about it. Without lying under oath his condict was sufficient for the house to impeach but not for the senate to remove.

        If you personally consistently held Clinton’s feet to the fire for his misconduct – AND you are holding Trump to the same standard – I have no argument with you.

        But if you are holding Trump to a different standard than Clinton – I am not interested in this “the left is not monolithic” argument.

        And no it is not the slightest absurd to expect that individuals and ideologies judge similar misconduct by the same standards.

        It is precisely what I expect and what I argue for constantly. It is a form of “The rule of law”.
        It is why we DO NOT excercise discretion in the enforcement of laws.
        If we define an act as illegal – it is illegal – regardless of motives.
        We do not want police, prosecutors, courts saying – “oh he is a nice person who did something bad for a good reason, we will let him off or go easy”

        The left makes a big deal about statistical variations in law enforcement and sentencing.

        I DO NOT subscribe to statistics as being determinative of disparate treatment.
        There MAY be legitimate reasons why there is some statistical variation that do not reflect disparate treatment. In the case of race and law enforcement – police investigate crimes that are reported – and there are twice as many reports by minorities of crimes committed by minorities. That said – if there is a real disparity in law enforcement – and there does appear to be evidence that minorities are sentenced more harshly for the same offences – that is NOT the rule of law.

        A BIG difference between us is that I am NOT going to factor ones motives in.
        An ACT is either criminal or not. If it is criminal, it should be punished.
        The rule of law means NOT looking into peoples hearts.
        We suck at that – and in fact the worst of us are very very good at deceiving people into beleiving they have good intentions.

        Nor do I care what your intentions are when you craft bad laws.

        With respect to your so-called point – quite honestly I do not think Trump’s “bad character” is anything but an excuse for the left. I not only have ZERO doubt, but frankly it is well established that if Trump was a democrat – those same people would ignore his conduct.
        Personally I think that Hillaries treatment of women is WORSE than Bill’s.
        I think the person who slut shames the victim’s of a mysognist and rapist is worse than trumps mysoginy. I would note that several of the CREDIBLE allegations against Bill Clinton involve the use of force – this is women who have come forward, and been named.
        With the exception of one credulous allegation all of the claims against Trump fall into the catagory of “not here, or not now” or were leverage in other lawsuits.

        I have Zero doubts Trump is a sexist pig. But he is FAR from the sexual predator that Bill Clinton was. I can tolerate Hilary standing by Bill. I can not tolerate her attacking his victims.

        These among many others are reasons I did not vote for either of them.

        But anyone who is trying to distinguish Bill Clinton’s conduct from Trump’s in some way that makes Trump look worse – is deluding themselves, and is not someone whose oppinion I am going to value.

        It there are tens of millions of people who think Trump’s character disqualifies him as president who do not think that Clinton’s also disqualified him – then I have a problem with those people and I think it is clear that character is NOT the basis for their judgement.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 5:49 pm

        So your argument is that Clinton lies about his mysogyny and therefor Trump is worse ?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 5:53 pm

        Yes, there are people who are not on the left who can not vote for Trump because of his character – I am one of those.

        George Will and Jeff Goldberg remain in the never Trump camp – and I respect them for that.

        I only differ from them in that while I can not vote for Trump – he was elected and I can live with that – just as I would have had Hillary been elected.

        But the vast majority fo those judging Trump based on his treatment of women – have not held democrats – such as Clinton similarly accountable.

        Biden as an example engages in conduct more similar to Trumps – Biden is a groper. Trump appears to have been, too. Yet most of the left wishes he were president now.
        That is fine – but argument that is because of character is hypocritical.

        Hypocracy is one of the worst sins.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 5:59 pm

        Impeachment is about conduct – not policies.

        Demonstrate serious misconduct – especially as president and I will impeach Trump.

        Being about as accurate in his tweets as WaPo and NYT is not “misconduct”.

        If you ever actually provide concrete evidence of colluding with Russia to alter the outcome of the election – I will shove him out of the bus, regardless of who replaces him.

        But I think you have a snowball’s chance in hell of that.

        I think that the entirety of the left and media attacks on Trump as president constitute ludicrous wishful thinking.

        There is far more “there, there” in Fast & Furious, the IRS, the VA, Benghazi.
        When you hold your own to the same standards as others – I am interested in what you have to say.

        One of the more positive attributes of the right is that they are more likely to hold their own to tough standards than the left. will.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 6:18 pm

        Republican factions are and have been for a decade fighting for power – control of the GOP. The GOP has never been close to self destruction or fading to irrelevance.

        WHILE that power struggle has been publicly going on republicans have taken over the house, senate, presidency and 2/3 of state governments.

        If that is your idea of self destruction – I think Republicans will want more.

        Democrats do not seem to be in a real battle for power. To the extent there was a battle in the DNC over power – it was not a battle of ideas – but a battle of PEOPLE.
        Was HILARY or OBAMA the standard bearer for a left leaning president.
        Was Bernie or Hillary ?

        There appears to be very little understanding of large parts of the left – why they lost this last election.

        Frankly I get annoyed at all the appologist explanations
        Yes, Hillary had alot of baggage.
        Comey absolutely mishandled things – though frankly he should have conducted a real investigation in 2015 and then recomended prosecution.
        Yes Wikileaks happened.
        Yes, Hillary ignored the wrong states.
        Yes, to any number of things.

        Absolutely if a different random chain of events occured the outcome might have resulted in Clinton winning.

        Whether Clinton could have narrowly won or not is not the point.
        What is the point is nearly a majority of voters said “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more”. That is a really big deal.

        The fact that a similar number are equally unhappy with Trump is NOT the same.
        There is a big big difference between being unhappy that you have lost power over the lives of others, and being unhappy that power over your own life has been taken by force.

        While I have no problem with the left protesting Trump
        They are not just unhappy about Trump.
        They are unhappy about no longer controlling the lives of others.
        And they do not understand that is a major factor in their loss, and will remain a major factor until they cease demanding to control the lives of others.

        This is part of the idiocy of the Trump Facist claim.

        Absolutely he is a mysoginist.
        Absolutely he is inarticlulate
        Absolutely he is a populist.
        Absolutely he is wrong on trade and immigration.

        But he is not a totalitarian. He is not a facist. He is not an authoritarian.

        Tearing down, shrinking government is ANTI-FACIST.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 17, 2017 6:19 pm

        “Unfortunately, if the two major parties both utterly suck, what does that imply about America?”

        http://i3.cpcache.com/product/1315836049/extremist_libertarians_oval_car_magnet.jpg?color=White&height=460&width=460&qv=90

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 12:31 pm

        Of the subset of the population that is opposed to Trump because of his behavior towards women, what portion of those ALSO opposed Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton for the same reason ?

        Because I do not honestly give a rats ass about your views if you can not accept Trump because of his misogyny but are telling me that Bill Clinton was acceptable to you and Hillary Clinton would be acceptable to you.

        I am not interested in the “feelings” of people who are so hypocrticial they are not even honest with themselves.

        I just watched a CNN clip where Denis Praeger pointed out that 99% of the supposed post Election Trump driven anti-semitism claims were from only two sources – one a jewish teen in israel who phoned in over 100 bomb threats to Jewish community centers in the US, than about 20 from some guy who was trying to frame his ex girl friend.

        Praeger was excoriated by his CNN hosts – because he was diminishing the validity oif the “feelings” of all those who after the election “felt” like anti-semitism had gotten much worse.

        I see this here to.

        Absolutely meaningless information about feelings somehow trumps reality.

        It is so bad that our feelings about our feelings is more true than actual data about our feelings.

        And yes, if you do not wish to be exposed as a hypocrite you do have to compelling explain why you were willing to tolerate much worse misogyny in 1998 and not today.

        And possibly more important if you want me to beleive that you actually give a damn about misogyny – then you need to convince me that you care about the mysogyny of people other than Donald Trump.

        Regardless, you still seem to think that “feelings” are a rational basis for making decisions about the justifiable use of force.

        If you “Feel” that brocoli is evil and asparagus is good – you can eat all the asparagus you want.
        You can NOT ban Brocoli for the rest of us.
        Feelings are only an acceptable basis for you to make decisions for and about yourself – not for our about others.

        I do not actually care if you are hypocritical in your feelings – inside of your own life – there is no requirement for logical consistency, but you may not impose your hypocritical feelings on others – nor may you demand that I care about your feelings – particularly when you are hoirribly inconsistent about them.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 12:37 pm

        Most people on the left are not bomb throwers.
        Most bomb throwers today ARE on the left.

        At this moment large numbers of people are essentially calling for a coup.
        Those people are on the left.

        We have a rule of law definition of what constitutes the qualifications for the president – and like it or not Trump meets those.
        We have a constitutional process for removing a president from office, that process ONLY empowers congress to do so.

        I have zero problem with people talking about impeachment – the constitutional definition of the criteria for impeachment is – pisses off congress enough.
        The check on impeachment – is that representatives must face voters every two years.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 12:51 pm

        You actually prefer a lying misogynist to an overt one ?

        You are elevating hypocrisy to a virtue !

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 1:34 pm

        Trump’s fitness to be president was determined on Nov. 8 2016.

        I may agree with some or many of your arguments regarding his fitness.
        I also beleive those arguments should have applied to others and that it is hypocracy to apply them only to Trump.

        Regardless outside the specific constitutional requirements for fitness there are ONLY two other ways fitness for office is lawfully established.

        The will of the voters on election day.
        The determination of the House and Senate who will be subsequently answerable to voters with regard to impeachment

        All other expressions of “fitness for office” are merely opinions without force.
        Your personal opinion post election MIGHT inspire your congressmen,
        but only they can act.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 1:45 pm

        Republicans may make their choices on Trump with regard to their efforts to advance policies.

        But their judgement on that is still subject to review by voters at the next election.
        Given that Trump’s policy objectives and republicans policy objectives are not the same, there is a great risk for republicans.

        Regardless, you keep framing this in all the wrong terms.
        First feelings, and then policies.

        I do not pretend to know precisely what it is that those voters who voted for Trump expect.
        But that is the relevant measure.
        Those voters who elected Trump are entitled to everything they believe they were promised that is also constitutional.
        I personally have a far narrower view of what the constitution actually permits than you.
        But even my narrow view permits nearly all of what Trump campaigned on.

        Those voters who DID NOT vote for Trump:
        Are entitled to expect their constitutional rights will be respected – would that those on the left would do the same for others when they attain power.
        They are entitled to expect that the administration of government will conform to the rule of law.
        They are entitled to obstruct the implimentation of Trump voters policies by any means consistent with the constitution and rule of law.

        They are NOT entitled to more than that.
        They are not entitled to use extra constitutional means to interfere.
        They are not entitled to a coup.
        They are not entitled to have their feelings respected.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 2:03 pm

        The parties loosely reflect real divides that exist within the country.

        While neither side fully appreciates that – the right has a better appreciation than the left.

        Alot of the conflict today is completely driven by the left – and probably by the fact the most of those in the left live in communities where 70% plus of people think exactly as they do.

        BTW i am refering specifically to the MODERN polarized nature of politics being the fault of the left.

        Why ?

        Because though the overwhelming majority of us share a core of common values, We do not broadly share values outside that core – no matter how monolithic our personal community might appear.

        And because the US is the most diverse country in the world the set of near universally shared core common values is smaller.

        We are NOT as a mater of principle, and as a mater of the rule of law permitted to impose by force values outside that comon core of values shared by a super majority of us.

        TODAY it is the left that is primarily intent on imposing its will by force through government on others.

        Our conflicts are all about attempts by one group or the other to reach outside that overwhelmingly shared common set of values.

        PPACA is a beautiful example – in 2009 without any doubt the overwhelming majority of us wanted health insurance reform.
        That said no specific reforms had even plurality support.

        I can tell you that you can not impose law on people without super majority support as a matter of principle.
        And you can try to argue otherwise.
        But it is also true that you can not do so as a matter of practice.

        Every single law you pass creates a few more people who get screwed by government, and who do not feel the trade off was worthwhile.
        Given that there is not perfect overlap between those screwed by one law, and those screwed by the next you can still pass 10 laws with the support of 90% of the population and still end up with the majority of people prepared to overthrow the government.

        The left (and to the lessor extent the right) do not understand that ever new law passed, every further restriction on liberty undermines the legitimacy of government as a whole.

        And that is what we are seeing.

        Though they are inarticularte about it, and grasp what I have just written more in an emotional sense than an intellectual sense – an awful lot of Trump voters get that.

        The left in particular does nto understand that there is only so much government that we can afford at our current standard of living.
        That beyond that more government makes us worse off – that is nearly always true, but when standard of living is rising we will not miss it if bigger government cuts into some of that improvement.

        We will miss it when more government decreases standard of living – which is about where we are at.

      • May 17, 2017 8:07 pm

        Oh, stop already. Roby. You glorified Hillary during the election, and she is married to a man whose deeds are far, far worse than anything Trump has said. And she stuck by him, defended him and defamed and persecuted the women whom he abused and raped. Not to mention her dearest and closest aide, Huma, now reconciled with her pervert husband, the husband who had access to all of Hillary’s deleted emails.

        Cherry-picking some crude language from years ago, really?

        Your side has got its special prosecutor now, to try and find an impeachable offense. No doubt Mr. Mueller will find something that the Democrats and the cowardly DC Republicans can use to put the stake through the heart of Trump’s presidency. I’m sure of one thing ~ even if it’s a parking ticket, the excuse that Mr. Comey used to get Hillary off the hook “no intent to break the law” won’t be applied to President Trump.

      • Roby permalink
        May 17, 2017 9:00 pm

        “Cherry-picking some crude language from years ago, really?”

        Utterly amazing. Complete and total denial.

        You are the only one here in it regarding trumps character. It certainly puts us at complete odds.

      • May 18, 2017 9:09 am

        I’m not defending Trump’s character. I have expressed concerns about his impulsiveness and his stubbornness. He has been both misogynistic in his language ~ at least in the past ~ and very much a champion of women in his business and political decisions.

        What I object to, is exactly what I said: cherry-picking some offensive language that he used years ago, in a different world, and declaring that it makes him unfit to serve as president. If you can explain why you believe that, but not that Bill Clinton or Barack Obama were unfit due to their misogyny and abusiveness to women (Clinton) or their illegal cocaine use (Obama) before they became president (actually, it didn’t end for Clinton, but whatever) maybe I can understand where you’re coming from.

        Otherwise, you sound like an extreme partisan, condemning Trump for things that you forgive in any liberal Democrat.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 4:35 pm

        That is what is the problem with this entire mess.

        We now have a special prosecutor – what is he investigating ?
        We still have the fundimental problem that we have an unsupported allegation chasing nonexistant evidence.

        Can we investigate unicorns ? or Martian spies ?

        We have one actuall incident of political conspiracy to influence an election – that is the conduct of the DNC reveal by wikileaks.

        The actions there are real. I think Bernie was losing regardless, but there is zero doubt that Clinton operatives in the DNC used their power to alter the election.

        There is absolutely zero doubt this occured – there is no investigation, no charges, no nothing. But there is a real crime – very nearly exactly the crime that is being alleged regarding Trump and surogates.

        With respect to Trump – Clapper’s recent testimony even took the legs out of the assertion that the Russians actually did anything.
        Clapper is not high on my list of trustworthy people.
        Still he testified that the so called 16 agency report (which was only done by 3) did not conclude the Russian DID anything, it concluded the Russians WOULD WANT to do something.

        I asked this elsewhere and got lots of links to russian hackers stealing from US banks.

        Absolutely true – we have a massive problems with Russian Criminals who are atleast being given a blind eye by the Russian government engaged is cyber crime.
        The FBI has had a very unsuccessful task force looking at that for years.
        They actually took people OFF that investigation -where there is about 30B dollars a year being stolen and put them onto Silk Road at the request of Sen Schumer to Get “dread Pirate Roberts”.

        There is a libertarian bumper sticker – “do not steal, the government hates competition”.

        Regardless, what we have now is a special prosecutor to look into the wet dreams of the left.

        We have people on both the left and right – hoping that Pence ends up as president.

        To the rest of you – Trump was elected because he was NOT part of the establishment.
        To those who elected him – Pence is NOT a substitute.

        I have been following a few more right and libertarian blogs today.
        Alot of the establishment republicans are breathing a sigh of releif.
        The Lindsey Graham’s, the McCain’s …. But the anti-establishment republicans – the limited government law and order people are totally appoplectic.

        To them this is a coupe. They “beat” the left fair and square in an election.
        Trump was elected to drain the swamp.
        To them this is “the revenge of the swamp people”.
        Trump has been neutered – he is not going to be able to continue to threatened to reign in the rest of government.
        Trump was elected to fire people – and apparently it is now illegal for the president to do that.
        They were content to watch the left throw bombs and brick and rant and rave – so long as the results of the election stuck.
        Now to many of them – the election has come undone – the left is litterally celebrating that.
        I listened to NPR talk incescantly about impeachment.

        They do not see – and frankly neither do I – anything except a versions of Goebels – if you repeat a lie long enough and loud enough it becomes the truth.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 4:55 pm

        Let me ask all the moderates here – how is it that voters can reign in the federal government ?

        Whether you agree with it or not – that is what Trump voters, voted for.
        They voted for draining the swamp.

        How is it that the people who voted for Trump should see things now as anything less than a victory for the swamp people ?

        Some of you here seem to think that with elections comes power.
        If that is so – then why are Trump voters being denied the results they voted for ?

        We have been through a building cycle of elections since things swung in 2008.

        Starting in late 2009 voters have been slowly not only giving republicans – but those republicans most of you consider extremists – greater and greater control of the nation.

        I wish in 2016 they had picked someone besides Trump as their standard bearer – but they did not. Further they picked him for many of the very reasons he is in hot water right now.

        Several of the moderates here want a tamer more couth president – probably I do too.
        But that is NOT what they wanted.
        Why are the losers aloud to to change the outcome ?

        I have zero problems with political minorites obstructing – but this is not obstructing.
        This is not an attack on policies – this is a direct attack on his legitimacy.

        This is a loud and clear message to those who voted for Trump – you can not have the president of your choice – even if you manage to get them elected – because we will not let you.

        This is the media and the political left essentially doing exactly what King George did in 1776.

        You can not govern yourselves – we the elite know better.

        I was worried about the rising violence on the left to this point.
        I am now worried about violence from both sides.

        But there is a difference – the violence of the left is illegitimate.
        You may not use violence to impose your will on others by force.

        The violence of the right – that occur is legitimate – it is legitimate to resist force with force.
        It is legitimate to use force to resist efforts of elitists to take over government.

        But lets skip my fears – lets just say that this crises somehow passes without violence.

        Please explain to me – how we change government when playing by the rules and winning does not work ?

        I repeatedly keep telling you all that government is NOT about perfection.
        The left can not argue – that socialism would work if only we would elect the perfect socialist. That makes socialism a unicorn.
        But that also means that whether it is I as a libertarian who hopes to someday elect people more favorable to my values – or whether it is Trump voters – who elected Donald Trump knowing who he was and knowing pretty much everything they know now.

        How is it that they are to take the message that – even if you win elections – you still will not allowed to have government run by your prefered president.
        You will not be allowed to allow your polices to prevail ?
        There MIGHT be an argument if Trump was actually abriging the rights of real citizens – but he is not. He is to some small extent expanding them.

      • Roby permalink
        May 18, 2017 9:36 am

        Fail. I have condemned Bill Clinton as a rapist (although not proven I believe it) who was unfit to be president here probably a hundred times over the years.

        Cocaine use makes W unfit as well I believe. I don’t care about the cocaine use but I DO care about the misogyny and unless you are completely oblivious I made that clearer than clear regarding Bill Clinton with monotonous redundancy years ago. Bill Clintons ideology fit mine pretty well and I rejected his as president while he was president. His rape allegations only surfaced, practically as rumors, during his impeachment, but I was on to him prior to that. I don’t care about the cheating, we would have to disqualify damn near every president for cheating, and that is what the impeachment was about. I believed both that the impeachers went too far and that Clinton was actually a scum.

        Moreover, my main point was that among those who feel like they have lost their country are all the people who think that a president should be at least a decent role model and who don”t believe that trump’s comments (not to mention his beliefs and actions!) about women are acceptable for a POTUS. Its many tens of millions of people who feel like that. Of course you and Dave will be happy to simply lump them all together together as liberal hypocrites, very neat and easy.

        You made the choice to rationalize trump’s character away to a few more or less minor faults, thats up to you. Millions of other people did not and yes, they feel like they lost their country. Not that you or Dave give a rat’s ass about those people, they are all hypocritical liberals, not Your tribe. It is commendable to me that Dave sees trumps misogyny and stated that for him that makes trump unfit. Then he tried to rationalize that good opinion away by explaining that all liberals are hypocrites and do not get to judge trump.

        So, you guys are not going to understand this. But, its real all the same: millions of people are in honest anguish that a man of trumps character is POTUS and feel like they have lost their country.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 5:44 pm

        First – good – overall you do not personally seem to be much of a hypocrit.

        But there is no argument that most of the left is.

        Regardless, you can argue abotu what constitutes good character.
        I would likely vote against someone who had used cocaine.
        But I do not think that disqualifies them as president – if voters elect them.

        While I have personally never used an illegal narcotic in my life – I am prepared to buy prescription antibiotics without a prescription.
        Regardless, I do not think that disqualifies someone for office.
        I do not KNOW that GWB used cocaine.
        But I would be shocked if Bill, Hillary, All, George, Barack, and Bernie has not all used cocaine once.

        You also raise the quite important question of what constitutes PROOF.

        As individuals acting in our own lives – such as voting, we get to decide our own standard of proof.

        I can refuse to vote for you because I beleive you are a rapist – and you have no recourse.
        As an employer I can refuse to hire you because a past employer told me you stole – and again you have no recourse.
        I can accuse you of stealling and fire you – without recourse.

        So long as I do not use force against you I can refuse to interact with you for whatever reasons I please. I can use whatever standard of proof for my suspicions I choose.

        In the context of current events there are specific standards of proof for different things.

        There is a very low standard required to initiate an investigation.
        A credible allegation is probably enough.
        But a credible allegation DOES mean a specific person attaching their name and their reasons for knowing to a claim.

        An anonyomous phone call that you are beating your wife – will get the police to your door – Alone it will not allow them in without your consent.

        The entire set of Russia allegations AT BEST gets a prosecutor to the door.
        An investigation requires a love standard of proof.
        A higher one is required to search.
        An even higher one to get a warrant.
        Higher still to indict and the highest of all to convict.
        But even a criminal conviction does not require certainty.

        If Mueller plays by the rules – he can investigate – he probably can not search of get warrants or subpeonas.
        It is likely that the FBI never got farther on Russia – because they can’t.
        They do not have the basis to dig further than they have.

        This was also a serious problem in the Clinton email server investigation.
        The FBI was mostly precluded from calling a grand jury, subpeoning and most searches.
        Much of what the FBI got in the Clinton email case came from:
        Voluntary interviews.
        Material subpeona by Judicial Watch in their FOIA lawsuit against Clinton (where she lied under oath).
        Material that was government property in the first place and therefore did nto require warrants.

        I hear thwacks and cries from my neighors.
        I call the police and report than someone is being beaten.
        The police arrive at my neighbors and hear nothing, know on the door and the neighbor refuses to allow them in.
        The police are DONE. They can sit outside and “investigate”, but absent anything further this dies.
        Maybe my neighbor is beating his wife.
        Maybe they just read 50 shades of gray and are spicing up their love life.
        It does not matter. The private conduct of people is private – until they allow government in.

        If Kushner or someone else met with Russians – you can ask them about it.
        You can ask the Russians – if they will talk.
        But that is probably where it dies.

        And that is why the house and senate have done little.
        Because there rally is nothing here.
        And actually “investigating” will hit a dead end fast.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 5:59 pm

        My grandmother though the president should be the most handsome candidate.
        You are allowed whatever criteria you want for president – you impose that criteria when you vote.

        If you do not get what you want – all you are left with is persuading others.

        The constitution imposes very few qualifications on the president – a lack fo past cocaine use is not among those.

        You fixate alot on what people “feel”.
        That is dangerous – the “feelings” of those you think have lost their country – are no more valuable than the feelings of those who think they have just had the results of an election they won STOLEN from them.

        BTW Clinton was impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice.
        Not for sex scandals. I think lying under oath in particular IS a good justification to remove a president from office.

        Do you have anything on trump that rises to the level of compelling evidence that he lied under oath ?

        I think the president should be a decent role model – and I think that precludes most of the presidents in my life time.

        Regardless I did not vote for Trump.
        The argument over all these criteria you are using regarding fitness to be president is over – it ended with Trump’s election.
        Fit by my measures or NOT – just like Obama he is president.
        He is so – because tens of millions of people thought he was fit – or fit enough.

        He has not become someone different.
        You can list numerous criteria that trouble you.
        You need something that is both legally significant and was not known at the time of the election.

        My hypocricy charge is different.
        Hypocracy is when the values you profess are a sham.
        That would be when you hold Trump to standards different than Obama or Clinton.

        Trump’s style is more coarse than Obama’s – but his actual actions are no different.

        As I keep noting – you lefties keep making decisions based on “feelings” – Prof. Haidt’s work confirms that.

        That is fine – inside your own life.
        It is not an acceptable criteria for public choices.
        The rule of law means Trump is judged for acts by exactly the same standards as Obama.
        And the left does not do that. That is hypocracy.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 6:04 pm

        Roby;

        You keep trying to re-argue the last election.
        You got your vote – I got mine. We both voted against Trump.
        He still won.

        I will listen if you have an argument that Trump has actually abridged one of your rights.
        Obama did abridge lots of our rights.

        But absent that – you are arguing against the rule of law.
        You are argue for rule by force.
        You are arguing that elections do not matter.

        I am not rationalizing Trumps character flaws away.
        I am aware of most of them – and I voted.
        That was my opportunity to express my preference on that.
        Regardless, the election is over.
        I can remain irratated by his character.
        But I can not demand that it be changed.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 6:12 pm

        Roby;

        No matter how you construct government our leaders will NOT be those that every one of us FEELS should be our leaders.

        I can have sympathy that you or others “feel” they have lost their country.
        In fact I agree that they have.
        This election was a rejection of the american of Obama and the left.
        I would expect the left would be upset – feel loss.
        Had the results gone the other way – Trump voters would (and do feel essentially the same). You seem to think that the “Feelings” of YOUR tribe “trump” all others.

        That is the point. When electing someone – you have infinite room for whatever criteria you wish.
        Once elected, they are bound to act inside the scope of the constitution – the rule of law, and so long as they do so – our “feelings” do not control anything until the next election.

        I will discuss removing Trump for actual lawlessness.
        You do not have that.
        You are right – I am not going to take you or your tribes hurt feelings into account – nor those of any other tribe.

        You get to judge Trump all you want.
        You do not get to change the result of the election.
        You do not get to make the law up as you go.
        You do not get to impose different criteria for legitimacy on Trump than on your own tribe – until the next election.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 18, 2017 6:16 pm

        Roby

        I do not know of anyone questioning your anguish.
        I am questioning your right to ACT. To impose feelings as the criteria for choices in any context besides elections.

        I expect that with respect to the constraints on Trumps power as president and the legitimacy of his actions that your actions will be based on the rule of law – and that requires consistency and disallows discretion.

        You can feel as you wish.
        It is your actions I have problems with.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 17, 2017 1:18 pm

      I loved your post.

      I think it captures many of my sentiments.

      I did not vote for Trump and I do not agree with him on many things.

      But I trust him far more than Obama.

      Obama came painting himself as the messiah.
      Whatever he accomplished – he did for himself.
      I have a hard time contemplating that Obama beleived in anything. – except himself.
      While his ideology was different from mine – I do nto even think he belived in his own ideology. I think he was eloquent and well spoken. But I do not think he cared abdiut even the things he talked about caring about.
      Obama was purportedly on the ideological far left, but I do not think in the end he was about anything but Obama. I think the left should feel betrayed – and yet most of them worship him. His failures are all purportedly the fault of evil republicans.

      Trump is different. I think that Trump thrives on the adulation of “his people”.
      I think he has a desperate need for people to like him.
      I think he has a chip on his should about the elites – of course they earned it.
      Some pundit noted that Trumps tastes – are exactly those of some working class white that suddenly became rich.
      I do not think Trump is that ideological.
      He does think his job is to “make america great again”
      I do not always agree with him on the way to do that – but I do not doubt his conviction to do so. But I am not sure that matters much – I do not think he is tied to any ideology religiously. But he is driven to succeed.

      After much thought I do not think Trump is either as brilliant or as stupid as often portrayed.
      The stupid Clinton line applies better to him – he is persistent.
      He does not give up, he does not go away, he delivers on his promises in some form.

      I do think in terms of people we are approaching a cross roads.
      His election represents an “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” cry from a large mass of the electorate that is not going to be ignored.
      They are dangerous – in the sense they have found their voice.
      Had clinton won the election. They would have been loud and angry and pushy for years.
      And in the long run they were going to prevail.

      Conversely Clinton’s loss has turned the world upside down for the left.
      Now they are angry. Unlike the Trump supporters, the Tea Party, etc.
      The left is not so civil about their anger.
      More important – they do not care about rules.

      The angry right was slowly working on a reveolution within the system.
      With few exceptions they were going to play within the rules so long and that was possible.
      The left does nto care about rules, about the rule of law.
      They have lost and that is the wrong outcome and must be fixed – by whatever means are necescary.

      Groups like Judicial Watch attempted to reign in Trump through hostile courts using the law.
      The left has convinced government employees to join the resistance.
      The left is not playing by any rules – except winning. These are the people who stacked the deck against Bernie – and have successfully deflected attention to their malfeasance into outrage at the Russians and Trump – :”how dare you show the world we have no clothes ?”
      Those on the left that have lost will engage in any tactic to reverse that.
      There is no morality beyond winning – BY ANY MEANS necescary.

  52. May 17, 2017 11:29 pm

    Well the democrats and people like myself got what they ask for. A special council, one that is going to be hard for anyone to destroy in the press like other that came before him. Mueller is a top notch cop and he has complete authority to investigate the Russian issue and all “related” issues that come up.

    So now everyone can breath for the next few years and when he has completed his investigation, we will then know the outcome as he is not like Comey that made sure the press knew what was happening every step in the process.

    And when they gave him “related” authority, would it not be a hoot if one of his grand juries was against Clinton and her classified material issue on her computer. And don’t think for a minute this is not part of the complete issue he will be looking into since this goes back to last spring.

    So looking back, Iran Contra SP took 7 years, Whitewater took 4 years and Paula (whatever her name) took two years. This seems to be in the area of an issue like Whitewater, so now we are looking at 2020 for completion. SURPRISE!!!! Election Year!!!! Maybe with all the crap going on for another 3 1/2 years people will be so sick of both Dems and Reps that the Libertarians will be looked at as a good alternative. OH Well we can dream!

    I do think I have some compasion for the House and Senate investigation members. All their work will be for naught. People like Flynn who may have receive immunity and testified before the senate committee most likely will lawyer up and shut their mouth since Mueller would have to also give immunity (from my understanding of the issues) and I suspect he would be very reluctant to do that just so the House and Senate can have an interview with these people.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 17, 2017 11:46 pm

      I really do not care much about the special prosecutor – except that you are deluded if you think the purpose ever was to “investigate”. The role of a special prosecutor is to stunt the administration.

      I find it odd that with Fast & Furious, The IRS scandal, Benghazi, the Clinton foundation, the Clinton email scandal, the VA Scandal, …..

      That we have a special prosecutor to investigate something that should take about 10 minutes in front of a house or senate committee.

      And yet serious allegations that we have alot more evidence of – The Obama administration use of foreign intelligence services to spy on americans.
      The wide spread unmasking of americans the continuous leaks of classifed information,
      The use of a Jeb Bush super PAC to fund foreign intelligence operatives doing OPO research using Russian assets. Teh subsequent funding of the same OPO by a clinton PAC.

      These ? There is little effort to pursue.

      Regardless, the purpose of all of this is NOT to investigate anything – it is to neuter Trump.

      Frankly I think he fired far too few people.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 17, 2017 11:52 pm

      I really do not understand the fixation with Flynn.

      He has almost no connection with the Russians his actual links are with the Turks.

      Is anyone actually following the FACTS of any of the stories here ?

      Or is everyone smoking this left wing nut fantasy that something is actually going to turn up – though nothing has yet ?

      BTW a special counsel does NOT preclude house/senate investigations.
      But concurrent house/Senate investigation and a special prosecutor make for a real mess.

      BTW where were you on Special counselors when all this nonsense was going on in the obama administration ?

      Why is it we need a special prosecutor to chase down an allegation that to this day has not resulted in any evidence – when the FBI and DOJ were perfectly acceptable to stonewall absolutely everything during the Obama administration ?

  53. May 18, 2017 9:29 am

    “Why is it we need a special prosecutor to chase down an allegation that to this day has not resulted in any evidence – when the FBI and DOJ were perfectly acceptable to stonewall absolutely everything during the Obama administration ?”

    No reason at all. It is purely political.. Rod Rosenstein caved under the intense political and media pressure that he was subjected to , after the Comey firing. Trump handled that very badly, and one of of the things that he did wrong, was to use Rosenstein’s letter condemning Comey’s actions as a fig leaf to cover his own reasons, because he knew that he would be accused of wanting to “shut down” the never-ending investigation of “collusion” for which there is no evidence.

    Trump will regret that he barrel-assed ahead and fired Comey summarily, humiliating him in the process. He probably already regrets it, although he does not seem to be a man who admits to regret. It is a source of his strength, as well as one of his weaknesses.

    So, we have a former FBI director now leading the investigation. Everyone says he is a serious, stand-up guy. They said that about Jim Comey, as well. So, excuse me for being skeptical.

    I hope that he proceeds with the goal of finding out the truth, and doesn’t feel obligated to take a scalp, or destroy the administration. I have little confidence that this investigation, which should proceed without leaks and without political pressure, will actually do so, but, I suppose, if anyone can do that, it’s Mueller. The Democrats, the media, and the IC will continue their soft coup. Perhaps Obama will show up at the NYT for his next pep rally.

    • Roby permalink
      May 18, 2017 10:20 am

      Bleh, your daily GOP propaganda show continues.

      The funny thing is that Ron and you occupy a pretty similar place in the ideological spectrum I would say but his approach to politics is one I hugely admire while yours is in the same category as Moogies for my tastes, fixed obliviousness to all but the narrow point of view of your tribe. You have been completely captured by your tribe’s narrative. Its not your ideology that drives me crazy, its your approach to politics, pretty much identical to the one I get in my weekly GOP fund raising letters.

      From you I will get stuff like the bitter comment that “my side” and cowardly republicans will be happy with this special prosecutor. I guess that must be a snide reference to people like McCain, Collins, and Lindsey Graham, (who, you felt the need for some reason to mention a while back, you believe is gay while he and McCain were obstructing some of the actions of your heroic trump, which was of course very relevant). Or conspiracy theories darkly hinting at murder by someone connected to the DNC or Clintons.

      Why have a special prosecutor? In your world its all a big scam. You have already rendered your verdict here, the charges are baseless. You have that knowledge. Because its in the interests of your GOP tribe to believe that. This whole process is all just the unfair result of “vicious democrats” and “yellow journalism.”

      A fair and profession investigation will occur without the obvious political overtones of the House and Senate, headed by a man who is a respected professional. trumps chance to be exonerated is here. If he fails the test, we will get a very conservative POTUS who is not nearly so polarizing and who is much more qualified to be POTUS. That to me is very appropriate and satisfying choice. But this choice of two paths is not to your liking. You will have lost your country to the “deep state” if trump comes out unclean. Oh, well, again I say, get in line, its a long one.

      • May 18, 2017 11:25 am

        Well, Roby, as usual you attack and mock me for having opinions different than yours.

        FWIW, I was not referring to McCain, Graham or Collins. I dislike McCain, he is one of the worst hypocrites in Congress, but he has good reasons to hate Trump, so fine, I get him. I like Graham and I have said so many, many times. You and I agreed on our good opinion of him not long ago – I suppose you forgot about that. And Susan Collins is a bit too “owned” by the teachers union, but otherwise I admire and respect her independence.

        No, I’m talking about the Republicans who publicly support Trump, but stab him in the back when they have a chance. I won’t bother to list them, because there areso many, They want to maintain power; Trump threatens that, because his agenda is to reduce the power of the government. And, because you apparently think that the GOP is the source of all evil, you will find some way to deride me for thinking that politics is driving this witch hunt.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:35 am

        Priscilla – I am far more concerned about the lawlessness of a special prosecutor than the conduct of house and senate republicans.

        They were elected and will be subsequenctly judged by the electorate.

        The extralegal power that Roby wants the special prosecutor to excercise – they can legitimately do – at a political price.

        I do think that some of them are part of the swamp that Trump was elected to drain.

        But only the house and senate have the power to investigate and remove a president without meeting the normal requirements of criminal prosecutions.

        That is appropriate because impeachment and removal are a political process – one that actually meets the criteria Robby is trying to impose into a special prosecutor.

        Criminal investigations must follow criminal law and procedures and respect our individual rights.

        The constitution only authorizes congress to conduct political investigations.

        Roby is correct – that is a polarizing and political process – and it is supposed to be.

        Roby wants an antiseptic political witch hunt – without politics and polarization.

      • Roby permalink
        May 18, 2017 11:45 am

        “Well, Roby, as usual you attack and mock me for having opinions different than yours.”

        You very recently told me that I am deranged for having my opinion of trump. So, cry me a river.

        “And, because you apparently think that the GOP is the source of all evil,”

        Right, so much so that I intensely want Pence as my president and always vote republican in Vermont for 2 decades now. Which you know.

        And yes, I do not like the majority of the conservative or GOP agenda. But there are perfectly rational people in the world and even on this site who are conservatives and/or republicans who just want a balanced budget and efficiency in government without all that other GOP crap and hoopla. Just like there are live and let live religious Christians who do not come after my interests who I am perfectly respectful of. There are all kinds of every basic ideology or religion. Some are nasty and some are constructive.

        I am not of either party and have criticized both strongly.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:39 am

        If you wanted someone other than Trump – you had the opportunity to vote accordingly in the election.

        God no. Not the stupid efficiency in govenrment nonsense.

        Government is not efficient – we do not want power to be weilded efficiently
        I am all for democrats using every bit of legitimate power they have to thwart Trump – even though that is bitterly partisan and inefficient.
        That is how govenrment is supposed to be.
        And that is why government must be limited because we deliberately want the weilding of power to be inefficient.

      • May 18, 2017 11:51 pm

        Did I say you were deranged? Good heavens, I must have been hitting the vodka too heavily ~ I apologize.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:18 am

        I voted for McCain.
        I have a great deal of respect for his past military experiences.
        I think Trumps attacks on that are incredibly disreputable.
        I thought that when he started attacking McCain in early 2016 that Trump was toast.
        My respect for McCain as a politician is not nearly so high though.
        Goldwater did not have that much respect for him either – and I have enormous respect for Goldwater.
        Further McCain got his revenge on Trump – John McCain supplied the Steele Dossier to the FBI.

        Regardless there is a difference between respecting McCain and agreeing with him.
        Increasingly I have found myself on the other side of issues from him.
        I have no bone to pick with Collins – but that does nto mean I agree with her.

        I do not recall EVER having said Lindsey Graham was gay.
        At the same time I do not think there would be anything wrong if Graham were gay.
        What I have said is that Graham is a hawk – he is the only republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election that was more of a hawk than Clinton.
        And no I do not think much of Graham – and have not since the Clinton impeachment.

        I do not think Trump is heroic.
        I also do not think he is satan.
        He is just the president.
        He was elected – as he is. Nothing of consequence has changed.
        Your attempts to change the outcome of the election – absent some significant changes in circumstances are lawless.

        I do not think Trump is king or unilaterlally powerful. Where he is constitutionally obligated to work through congress – he must do so – as Obama should have.
        If McCain or democrats wish to obstruct – that is their prerogative.
        But what is occuring now is not normal checks and balances.

        It is an attempt to disenfranchise those who voted for Trump.
        I have not rendered some verdict – I have asked you to follow the law – not your emotions.
        You may investigate and escallate that investigation as you reach the standard legal burdens for each level.
        I expect you to Treat Trump as you would me, as you would Obama, as you would Clinton.
        I expect you to apply the same law in the same way.
        If you were not screaming “obstruction of justice” when Obama pronounced Clinton innocent of wrongdoing – then you are a hypocrite if you do so now.
        If you were not arguing for a special prosecutor for the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, Fast & Furious, …… then you are a hypocrite if you do so now.

        I expect one law, one set of standard to apply to all presidents and all people.
        You may not investigate merely because you wish to know more about something.
        You may not investigate because you beleive there is more.

        The one buying ludicrous conspiracies is you not me.
        If you actually meet the burdens necescary – and then you find the evidence you think is there – I will join you in impeaching and removing.
        But we do not do so because of “feelings” we do not investigate because of “feelings”.
        We follow the law and what facts we have – that is what the rule of law means.
        We do that because doing otherwise – by not applying the law uniformly to all then we are lawless – and then we are through as a nation. Then we have traded the rights of many for the feelings of some.
        The left has been moving towards this for a long time.

        I do think at the moment we are facing a constitutional crisis – not because of anything Trump has done – but because what the left is doing here.
        I think that many republicans are stupidly trying to placate the left and the media.

        But I think this week has been a constitutional disaster – we have traded the rule of law – for the rule of emotion – you keep returning to emotion constantly in your arguments.

        I do not understand that argument. Even if the “feelings” of those you claim to speak for are important – why do they trump the “feelings” of those who elected Trump ?

        We do not decide issues based on feeling – because that results in exactly the kind of emotional narcisicim you are displaying.

        You fixate on only one set of feelings – those of your Tribe.
        no one else’s feelings – nor one else’s rights rise to the level of the feelings of your tribe.

        I do not beleive the process is unfair – I beleive it is LAWLESS.
        I do not make arguments about “fairness” Trump makes those. That is stupid.
        The rule of law – means applying the law the same to all, That there is not one law for your tribe and another for others. That emotions does nto change the application of the law.

        You can place as much weight as you want on whatever emotions you choose – outside the context of government.
        Equal protection of the law – the rule of law, requires the application of the law uniformly without any emotional factors. Emotions as a basis for decisions exists only in our personal lives.

        I do not care about a “fair and professional” investigation.
        I care about a lawful one. You have at best very limited lawful basis to investigate.
        You have the legal justification to knock on the door and ask questions.
        You do not have the justification at this time to come in, to search to subpeona.
        An allegation is not sufficient for that – you need evidence that thus far you do not have.
        and that given that has not emerged in the past 6 months you are unlikely to get.

        Yes, investigations in the senate and house have political overtones.
        No I am not happy with that.
        But this is not about happy. It is about the rule of law.
        Constitutionally the only investigative body in the US that can subpoena without meeting the constitutional standards is congress.

        With respect to your “test” argument – Trump was “tested” by the electorate.
        If you want a “retest” you need to meet the criteria to do so.
        Again you have not.
        That means you are acting lawlessly.
        You keep admitting that – your entire claim is openly justified by feelings.

        You talk about passing or failing a test – that thus far you have not reached any justification for. If you are allowed to “retest” based only on your “feelings” that there is something worth investigation – this will never end.

        You say Trump could “pass the test” – but he can not. You have already set the criteria such that he can not.
        Your feelings will ALWAYS be sufficient justification for further investigation for further retests.

        You seem to think you are entitled to the POTUS you want.
        None of us are.
        We have the right to cast our vote – that has been done.

        All the attributes you think are critical – less polarizing etc.

        Even if I agree with you – our right to express that preference is by our vote.
        This country elected Trump – not the candidate I voted for. Not the one you voted for.
        It elected the person you think is polarizing an unqualified – and maybe he is.
        But he was elected.
        He may be investigated – when there is sufficient evidence to do so. At this point the available evidence would justify only the most shallow and cursory investigation – and that should have completed long ago.

        The house has the power to investigate as the please and to impeach – for whatever reason they please – and they are answerable politically to the american people.
        The Senate has the power to further investigate, try and remove – and again they are answerable politically to the american people.

        If you wish to remove trump politicallly that is the legitimate process to do so.
        A special prosecutor is a criminal not political process and must conform to the criminal standards of the law.
        But this is a common problem with the left – the confusion of the criminal and the ideological. This is why socialists often prosecute people for ideological crimes.
        The Bankers must be guilty of something in 2008 – because they made mistakes.
        Whenever outcomes are not to your liking – a crime has been commited, and that is what we are seeing now.
        Trump was elected.
        The left is unable to accept that ignoring the random chance effects of a close election, Trump was elected because he received the votes the law required him to to be elected.
        You shock at that outcome does not mean a crime has been committed.

        You speak of tests – this is not a test of Trump – this is a test of US – and you are failing.

        Are you going to be driven narcisictically by your own emotions.
        Or are you going to follow the rule of law ?

        So far what I see is hysteria and emotion.

        With rtespect to journalism – I have ZERO problem criticising the press.
        But I am making NO sugestion that the press be forced to change.
        I get to impose my consequences on the Press for my judgement of their conduct by my choices in my own life. I can read NYT or not, I san subscribe or not.
        I can criticise or not. While I think it is inarguable that the majority of the press is petty far left – I have no problem with that.

        But I am still allowed to criticise their and your hypocracy.

        We spew alot of words here. It is not words that are constrained by law – it is actions.
        What I am concerned about is that our actions driven by YOUR emotions are lawless.

        With respect to your “important and satisifying choice” – that is what elections are for.
        We are outside of an election – that argument has no weight in law. That argument is lawless.

        It is not that the choice of two paths is not to my liking it is that one is lawless.

        I did not vote for Trump.
        I did not vote for Pence either.

        Trump BTW is not a conservative and nor are many of his voters – and that is why he was able to win.
        You keep talking as if I should be satisfied by a conservative.
        I am telling you that I get that choice again in the next election.
        As do you. Absent a process you are unwilling to follow – there is no alternative before that.
        This is not about my satisfaction.

        Frankly I am scared. You talk about the sense of loss of your tribe.
        Your fixation on emotions is narcist.

        What will the world be like if we make our choices based on tribal emotions ?

        If you are entitled to change the government – on your emotional justification.
        Then those who did vote for Trump are being disenfranchised and their well expresses choices disregarded – they are then atleast as entitled to blow up the system as you are.
        Actually they are MORE SO. They not only have the same emotional justifications you do, but added to that they have the FACT that you have lawlessly disenfranchised them.

        Let me express this in a different way.

        Lets say – for the sake of arguemnet that we decide because of temperment or whatever that Trump must go.

        Are you prepared to accept that even though Trump must go that the entirety of his platform must be implimented – as if he were still president ?

        Are you seeking to remove Trump – because of his character flaws ?
        Or are you seeking to block his agenda ?

        You are free to do the latter – but not through this process.
        My guess is that Trump voters would be willing to trade Trump – for the accomplishment of the agenda he promised them
        I doubt that is a deal you are willing to make.
        Because your tribes emotional angst is NOT about Trump’s character flaws – but about his agenda.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:24 am

        Are you being facetious with your “deep state ” remarks ? or are you being honest ?

        Do you beleive that the employees of the federal government are empowered to overrule the electorate ?

        Even Derschowitz got this right on Sally Yates – Trump was elected president – she was not. If she feels she is being asked to do something wrong or unconstitutional – she must resign. As a federal government employee – those are the limits of your choices – obey or resign.

        There are Limits on presidential power – but they are imposed by the courts and the legislature – not the unelected bureacracy.

        If you are a federal employee and also wish to be part of the resistance – resign.
        That is your only moral choice.

        Again anything else is lawless.

    • May 18, 2017 12:36 pm

      Since there are two comments I want to followup on, one from Dave and one from you (Priscilla), I am going to combine it into one comment from myself.

      Dave comments “I really do not care much about the special prosecutor – except that you are deluded if you think the purpose ever was to “investigate”. The role of a special prosecutor is to stunt the administration.”

      Priscilla, you comment “No reason at all. It is purely political”

      Dave has said all of this noise in Washington is not going to make one iota of a difference (not his exact words, but what he was driving at) in who is elected next year in congress or in 2020. Priscilla, you are right in your comment about it being purely political, but both of you are wrong from the standpoint of many independent voters.

      Why? Because those voters that made the difference between three wings of the government being controlled by one party did so for one reason and one reason only for the most part. THE ECONOMY!.

      Those voters expected healthcare reform to pass, tax reform to pass and maybe even infrastructure funding to pass. Few believed in a wall and mexico paying for it, but maybe Trumps core believers did, but they would have voted GOP regardless and Trade, although important, was not high on the list.

      So today, and for the past couple weeks, we hear little about tax reform, healthcare reform and nothing about infrastructure. We hear 24 hours non-stop about Russia, special investigators, collusion, threats of tapes in the white house and now even impeachment in the house. We are hearing very serious doubts that anything on taxes will pass this year and some doubts that healthcare can be passed by year end since congress has few days left before summer break and then a few days this fall to do anything. (They average 138 days a week in the house since 2001 and 162 days a week in the senate since 2001, right around three productive days a week if that ). Many of those days have already been used up.

      So if nothing important happens this year in congress, who wants to bet anything important will happen next year. Its an election year and anything that is a least bit controversial will never happen. Few elected officials will align with anything that has one speck of controversial regulation and compromise, now hard to come by, will be impossible then.

      Now if tax reform does not get passed. healthcare does not happen and nothing happens with infrastructure, the same independent voter that supported the GOP to get something done will have two choices. One. stay home and not vote. Two, vote for the other party. Both choices lead to some democrats defeating a republican.

      So the issue with the SC does one thing. It calms the noise in Washington and possibly brings some air back into a legislative function and away from scandal that might salvage healthcare and tax reform. That is what many independent, moderate, centrist (whatever you call someone not aligned with the two political parties) want so something good happen this year. And if Mueller can get something resolved by fall before the fall session of congress, then maybe tax reform and healthcare will happen.

      But without an SC, there was nothing going to happen between now and 2018 elections other than more investigations and turmoil in congress. One can only hope this will change with Mueller in place.

      • May 18, 2017 12:38 pm

        That’s day a year, not week that congress works. Why doesn’t word press have an edit function??????

      • May 19, 2017 12:21 am

        Ron. I hope that Mueller will be a decent, honest broker. But, I am skeptical.

        Supposedly, Comey was Mueller’s protege If so, will Mueller be able to detach himself as a mentor? Also, the FBI, under Mueller, removed many counter terrorism documents, as “not consistent with the FBI’s core values.”
        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/21/fbi-purges-hundreds-training-documents-after-probe-on-treatment-islam.html

        I question the need for an independent prosecutor, and I question Mueller’s independence.

        What crime has been committed? As far as I can tell, the leaking of General Flynn’s name, the failure of Comey to report what is now being characterized as Trump’s “obstruction of justice”, and the ongoing leaks of classified information are the only actual crimes. At this point, I’m not even open to the possibility of “collusion” between Trump and Russia,to deny Hillary the presidency, because there is not a shred of evidence to suggest it. Did Flynn talk to the Russians? Of course ~ he was part of the transition team.

        We never cut off relations with Russia during the Cold War. There was a “Red Phone” in the Oval Office, that connected directly to the Kremlin. It’s insanity to suggest that any communication with Russia was collusion in the election.

        But, that’s where we are…..

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 4:17 am

        https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/05/18/after-mueller-trump-critics-worry-maybe-theres-no-scandal/

        One of the other things that worries me about this entire mess is that we are playing a gigantic high stakes game of chicken.

        One left wing site has noted that Trump has a paranoid streak and is likely to come unglued – the same site also called him a psychopath.

        Having the misfortune to have one of each in my family – I can tell you they are quite different. Psychopaths do not tend toward paranoia.

        But there is a relevant point.

        I spent the better part of the last three years in a high stakes and destructive struggle with the paranoid and psychopath in my family.

        That is a very very dangerous place to be. Normal people, Good people – often do very stupid things when they are in a pressure cooker. It was extremely difficult for me to avoid making a mistake that made me look like the paranoid or the psychopath.

        The left, the press AND Trump are constantly escalating this war.

        Someone is going to lose big.

        Nor does the party that loses – that makes a stupid mistake have to be the party that is wrong.

        I beleive Trump is far more resilient than he is given credit for – I do not think the current pressures are that unusual for him. But I may be wrong. I certainly could not stand up to what he is putting up with.

        Regardless we will see.

        But the most dangerous factor I am concerened about is Trump voters.

        Roby makes this emotional argument – I am not sure why he thinks that only those on the left have emotions.

        How is it that you expect Trump voters to respond to what they perceive of as the improper destruction of the president they put into office at extremely great difficulty.

        We are obligated to work through the politicial process – while that process works.
        That is the lesson of the declaration of independence.

        Works does not mean – as the left seems to think, so long as we win.
        But it does mean that the process conforms to the rule of law.

        When our system is perceived of as lawless – citizens are no longer obligated to refrain from violence to change it.

        The post election violence of the left was the illegitimate violence of the losers in lawful system.

        The violence of Trump voters if they perceived that they had struggled for the dimunition of the swamp creatures in washington – and having legitimately won had that lawlessly taken from them – they may feel legitimately entitled to resort to violence.

        Regardless, I would strongly suggest to Roby that he contemplate that Trump’s supporters have emotions too.

        That the perception that what is going on is very improper is not all that narrowly held.
        And that any outcome that is not perceived as legitimate by Trump’s supporters has an extremely high risk associated with it.

        Nixon lost the support of nearly the entire nation.
        Myriads of polls show that among Trump voters there is little or no erosion in their views of Trump.

        Roby would probably accuse them of being guilible and stupid.

        I would suggest that maybe they see clearly that there is no “there” “there”
        Regardless, if the left should succeed in harming Trump – they MUST also succeed in persuading a large majority of Trump supporters that result is proper.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 4:21 am

        Condelleza Rice was asked of much of this recently.

        I do not beleive she is a Trump supporter, and some of her remarks were cautionary regarding Trump.

        But she was asked directly about the leaking – and she was very angry about that.
        She noted that government officials at all levels who have some legitimate grievance ALWAYS have numerous effective means of redress.
        That as a last resort they can go to congress. But that leaking – particularly in the national security context is criminal and very destructive.

      • May 19, 2017 12:11 pm

        Well like I have said a couple other times, I suspect that nothing happened with Russia and the Trump campaign, himself or his advisers. I am a little skeptical as to what might be uncovered if the SC goes beyond the scope of the Russians and that is only because Trump has been so incessant in keeping his taxes secret and not wanting anyone looking into the smoke that’s coming from the White House. Just today I read where Flynn has not answered the subpoena from the senate committee looking into this issue. Something to hide or just playing the hide and seek game?

        In other words, if your clean, have nothing to hide and want to move on and get the work of the people done that one was elected to do, you open up, let the investigators investigate, get it over with and move on. If your not clean, your block every attempt and request for investigation in order to protect yourself or friends, all while the country gets no where on any political agendas.

        By the way, Trump was elected to, among other things, to reform taxes, repeal Obamacare, get infrastructure spending, immigration reforms and trade reforms. We also have 535 other members in congress, along with hundreds of staffers, that can not walk and chew gum at the same time. Why is it that 535 people can not do all of these things concurrently, even with the President in political hot water. Why is it the house only works an average of 140 days a year and the senate 160 days a year? MAYBE DRAINING THE SWAMP MEANS FIRING THESE IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!

        Maybe if we had individuals who are interested in working for the people in congress, we could get some of these things done regardless of what happen to the President. We have a constitution that lays out that all wings of government are equal. For the most part, the president has foreign policy responsibilities, the congress domestic responsibilities (along with advise and consent of foreign issues) and the judicial on legal issues. for many years, we have had a government that can not spit tobacco juice when the President is in hot water and that is not right.

        (And most anyone who has ever tried chewing or knows anyone who has chewed tobacco knows it near impossible not to spit when doing that)

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 1:57 pm

        It does not sound like you have had anything to do with criminal prosecutions – or the real world.

        The argument that if you have nothing to hide you would allow your entire life to be thoroughly scrutinized is fallacious.

        You are re-enforcing my point.

        I beleive I used the example of someone calling the police because he thought his neighbor was beating his wife.

        Do you understand that even if the neighbor is doing NOTHING wrong – that does not mean he should invite the police into his bedroom.

        What if the neighbor is into BDSM ? Unless it is non-consensual is that the police’s business, or the neighbors ?

        IF the neighbor is innocent – does that litterally mean the rest of us are allowed into his bedroom ?

        Trump did nto provide his tax returns – he is not obligated to do so.
        You are free to vote based on Trump’s decision.
        That is the end of that issue.

        As a separate aspect of exactly that issue I would note than my state imposed laws decades ago requiring even school board members to provide their tax returns if they took public office. Sounded like a really good idea. The end result was a sudden and very radical change in local school boards.
        Before that local businessmen made the bulk of school boards – now that is very rare.

        School boards used to be made of local people with skills from their work – managing large amounts of money, big construction projects, large labor pools.
        Now school boards are made of political aspirants, housewives, retirees. basically people without any experience in the tasks that school boards do.

        One of the problems with alot of our “public integrity laws” is that ultimately they end up being public incompetence laws. Integrity is extremely important – but running arround bear ass naked is streaking – it is not integrity.

        Just because people are jealous of their privacy – or god forbid even actually have something they wish out of the public eye – does not mean they are criminals.
        That argument is fallacy.

        I am a huge fan of open government – that means GOVERNMENT conducted in the open.
        That does not mean the private lives of people in govenrment subject to public scrutiny.

        Again this is why criminal investigations must meet some standards of proof – just to get off the ground. Unsupported anonymous allegations only take an investigation so far.

        The burden is not on Flynn or others to prove their innocence – it is on those who beleive there is some guilt to prove it.

      • May 19, 2017 4:14 pm

        “The burden is not on Flynn or others to prove their innocence – it is on those who believe there is some guilt to prove it.”

        It is all perception. What does it look like to the common man or woman.

        If you and your wife are caught in the “bad” part of town, your car beaks down and a group of men with tats up and down their arms, tank tops, chains and other metal hung around the bodies, pants hung down to the bottom of their butt cheeks and they come up and ask “Hey whitie wat’s chew do in our hood”, what’s your perception of these people and what the hell are you going to do? They have not done anything wrong, have not committed a crime and might be as fine a person as one could find. How you feeling at that point?

        How about a group of bikers? Long hair, leather cutoffs shirts, gold bling around their necks, beards down to the chest. You may not know that some might be professionals and enjoy riding a motor cycle. But what’s the perception of this group of people?

        So to you, those two groups might be someone you go out of your way to make friends with and stick around their neck of the woods. I do whatever I need to do to get the “F” out of there because my perception of that group of people is far different than what your perception might be.

        Likewise, your perception of what is happening in D>C> is far different than mine. When all is said and done, we will know the answer since it appears the process is in place to find the answers. Unlike the Obama and Clinton issues where they had cover from the democrats in congress and little in the way of investigating them could take place.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 10:12 pm

        Sorry Ron – perception is for our private life.
        The legitimate use of force – government, including investigations of people, are required to conform to the rule of law.
        Not public perception.

        Trump can fire Flynn over perception. Congress can impeach Trump over perception.

        But we can not investigate and prosecute allegations of crimes based on perception.

        With respect to your example – I am free to respond in anyway I wish SHORT of using force. But to use force I must have justification.

        All government is force. If force were not necescary for all government – the functions of government would be performed by churches and voluntary civic groups.
        Government exists solely to accomplish those things that require force.

        And as such everything government does requires sufficient justification to use force.
        When that is not so – then government is not needed.

        My perception of different groups is irrelevant to whether I can justifiably use force against them. Only facts and consistent law justifies the use of force.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 10:46 pm

        Ron,

        I honestly think the probability of having answers of sufficient strength to satisfy most of us are just about zero.

        One of the reasons for that is because far too many of us already beleive total nonsense based on poor to non-existent evidence.

        You make a big argument regarding perception.

        Well guess what – your perception is being manipulated. By all sides – maybe more one than the other.

        And that is why we do not rely on emotions and perceptions.
        We rely on facts, law, evidence. We demand that each step in the process of using force must be justified by evidence with a sufficiently high probability of truth.

        Trying to pretend to know where things will go from here is playing with ouija boards.

        Trump is under an incredibly high amount of pressure – people even honest people often make stupid mistakes under pressure. In fact honest people are in the greatest danger under such circumstances. An honest person typically gets to make one mistake – before they lose there credibility and reputation. Sociopaths manage to lie like rugs and even get caught without much consequence.

        I do not know how Trump fits into that – an extraordinary proportion of politicians are sociopaths – of all parties. I do not know if Trump is.
        BTW many sociopaths make good leaders.

        Trump has substantial past experience in extremely high pressure.
        My guess is that he is going to continue forward much as he has done those far.

        I have been consistent – from the begining – this entire Russia hacked the election meme is unbeleiveably dangerous. Reflective of Emerson’s – if you strike the king you must kill the king.

        It should be increasingly obvious hopefully to you – that if the purported evidence against Trump does nto hold up – that the people who are going after him are then inherently evil.

        Confrontations were the only outcome is the anhiliation of the other side are by far the most dangerous.

        This attack on Trump is precisely that. There is no argument for honest error.
        You do not start threatening impeachment on nothing honestly.

        If Trump is not guilty of a serious offense – then there is ALOT of people, significant portions of our government whose actions are wrong – and criminal.

        Further you have the serious problem that Trump is actually taken down as a consequence of this – and Trump voters are not persuaded that was done so legitimately – then what you have is a coup – atleast that is what they will perceive – and frankly I agree with them.

        That is why the rule of law is so absolutely critically important here.
        And why your “perception” argument is invalid and dangerous.

        We had a real burglary in watergate. We had real payoffs of witnesses.

        We had clear lying under oath with Clinton – and ultimately close to the right result – though the real mistake was SCOTUS allowing the Jones case to proceed while clinton was in office.

        If you were willing to be honest – you do not even have enough to get a subpeona or a search warrant in this.

        We have allegations that lack sufficient credibility These alleged meetings – are not enough. You must have something beyond that over the course of more than a decade Trump surrogates and Russians met under circumstances where there is a plausible non criminal explanation. You must have more than minor inconsistencies.

        Even on the “russian hacking” side – you must have more than you have.

        If I were to guess – we are going to have two years of grilling Trump surogates.
        Enough leaks to keep this in the news.
        Mueller can not stop leaks BTW – among other reasons because as should be evident from what has already happened the media does nto need a leak from a reliable source.
        All they needs is someone who can claim to know what is going on inside the Mueller investigation.

        We might get a few low level scalps – some scooted libby type thing.
        And the left will beleive forever that a great conspiracy stole the election from Clinton.

        Further I do not think that much of the “evidence” we currently have – the NSA assessments is worth the paper it is printed on. The more I learn of it the more it falls into – “we are professionals, we know what the russians intended, trust us” rather than actual fact based evidence.

        In the event you think the intelligence community is so trustworthy, need I remind you they missed the collapse of the USSR, Sadam invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi WMD’s, 9/11, The Yellow cake mess, they created connections between Sadam and Al Queda from whole cloth.

        Put simply the “experts” in our government are not all that expert at anything.

        This problem is not limited to intelligence.
        Regardless, we should not confuse the importance of the jobs we ask them to do for skill in doing those jobs.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 3:03 am

        Political processes are only legitimately engaged in by elected representative properly anointed with political powers.

        If as you seem to accept this is all political – then it must play out in the house and senate.
        Even if that is rancorous and partisan.

        With respect to impact on voters.
        Our crystal balls get tested in 2018.
        I do not share your voter assessment – and my understanding is that despite Trumps slumping approval efforts to gauge whether the election would change if it was held today – result in a larger margin of victory for Trump.
        Those are not my claims.
        Regardless arguments about how people might vote have zero bearing on non-political processes – like criminal investigations.

        With respect to your list of what voters wanted:
        I might quiblle about the list – but the fundimental point – Trump was elected to pursue an agenda. He is answerable to the electorate – not the special prosecutor – nor the bureacracy with respect to delivering that agenda.

        Congressmen and senators were similarly elected and their obligation is to make their own judgement regarding delivering THEIR promises to their electorate.

        I do not expect either the president or other politicians to blindly follow a platform.
        They must each decide what they must do using whatever guides them and then they are answerable to the electorate.

        My beef with Roby and the left is that their problem with Trump is NOT character – it is political, it is his agenda. They are trying to thwart Trumps agenda – which they are free to do THROUGH the political process – where they will be held politically accountable.
        The left is trying to use criminal procedure to acheive a political end.
        That is lawless.

        If Trump has committed a crime – then you can follow normal criminal prosecution procedures to persue that – with their attendant powers and limitations.

        In which case this Russia nonsense would already be dead.

        If as a result of this political conflict – trumps agenda is thwarted – so be it
        So long as that is done through the political process where those doing the thwarting are politically answerable.

        Republicans were obstructionist during the Obama administration – and the electorate rewarded them. If the electorate had disapproved – that would have gone the opposite.
        Democrats can thwart Trump – and we will see in 2018 whether the electorate rewards or punishes them.

        If mueller actually follows the law – he is likely done before he starts.
        I have seen nothing thus far sufficient to grant a subpoena.
        DOJ deprived the FBI od subpeona power in the clinton investigation on much stronger evidence.

        While I share some of your hope for some of the results you seek, I do nto care about them in the same way that you do.

        Among other reasons because quite simply congress was elected to do a job.
        If they do something different – we get a voice in that in 2018.

      • May 19, 2017 12:26 pm

        Somehow I keep commenting why I support an SC and it keeps going over everyones head.

        You say “Congressmen and senators were similarly elected and their obligation is to make their own judgement regarding delivering THEIR promises to their electorate” after commenting on why Trump was elected.

        In the perfect world where many years ago politicians were working people, went to Washington to do the peoples work and returned home to do their work, your thoughts on Congressmen held more water than today. I suspect they were able to do more multiple things at one time than today. Are the same 10-12 members in congress all working on Healthcare, Taxes, immigration, and infrastructure? And if so, what the devil are the other 520 or so members doing?

        Why can’t the President be investigated and congress still pass legislation? They had 8 years to come up with a healthcare replacement bill and keep it on tap for when they took control. Day one should have seen it introduced. The House has had control for a number of years. Why wait until almost 100 days into session to introduce a tax reform package? And now all of that is stalled due to Trump and the investigation.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:26 pm

        Why must congress pass legislation ?

        I am sorry Ron, but I do not think that the federal government is supposed to be a continuous legislation machine.

        I would go back to the past – where congressmen were unpaid and had other jobs and where they did not have much time to legislate.

        Constraints are actually important.
        They are what forces us to decide what really matters.

        Our government does far too much – not to little.

        If investigating Trump means congress gets nothing done – you get to voice your displeasure in 2018.

        Honestly as the world grows bigger and more complex not only do we need govenrment less – but government works worse.

        I would also refer you to the first chapters of John Stuart Mill’s “Essay on Liberty”.

        One of the observations that Mill makes is that men strive to take government from Kings and autocrats and move to self government, but that ultimately democracy becomes more intrusive and less free than autocracy – because people have a natural tendency to want to dictate how others live, and a majority tends to make far more intrusive rules for conduct than a tyrant.

        Regardless, we are not entitled to know everyone else’s business.
        The baseline is not you would dump your life on the public if you had nothing to hide.
        We all have things we do not wish to share with the world. That doesn’t make us criminals.

      • May 19, 2017 4:16 pm

        “Why must congress pass legislation ?”

        Sorry, I was unaware you supported Obamacare and high tax rates that create an environment for companies to move overseas.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 7:57 am

        What I am most opposed to regarding Obama Care is that it does not work.

        I have zero problem with letting it fail on its own.
        If it actually does not fail – so be it.

        I am concerned about the Obamacare lite GOP replacements – because they will take much longer to fail – that is actually worse.
        The longer it takes an entitlement to fail – the larger the failure will be.

        As to tax reform – I think the odds of the current GOP actually doing something good with regard to taxes is low.

        Yes, I would like to see some positive changes from congress.

        But, NO! I am not interested in just any changes with the right label on them.

        I have little problem with Congress doing next to nothing, and Trump “deconstructing government” to the extent he legitimately can unilaterally as president.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 18, 2017 5:11 pm

      Actually everyone does NOT say he is a “stand up guy”.

      I read an editorial today that was mostly about Comey – but Comey was a mueller protege.

      Regardless it was about Comey’s own misrepresentations of himself – and of his own past, and how even some of his purported standup moments were NOT as he described.

      Comey’s testimony to congress nearly tanked Gonzales nomination to be Attorney General.

      Comey showed up at the hearing unannounced – though clearly coordinated in advance with Schumer, to tell his story of being the white night who stopped the extension of the NSA expansive wiretap law that Comey considered unconstitutional.

      Gonzales noted hat the actual facts – were much different from what Comey testified to.
      That even Comey’s own testimony is actually damning too him – as he concurrently claims that Ashcroft was incapacitated due as he prepared for surgery and that he had essentially appointed himself acting Attorney General, while at the same time testifying that Ashcroft demonstrated at the “confrontation” between Ashcroft, Gonzales and Comey, that Ashcroft was fully competent and fully aware of the issues involved.

      So long as the AG is not incapacitated – there was no acting AG.
      Whoever become acting AG while Ashcroft was actually incapacitated – if an acting AG was even needed, would not take that role until Ashcroft was actually incapacitated or relinqueshed the role. Nor would merely faxing the whitehouse make you acting AG.

      Regardless, according to Gonzales Comey’s version of events was false, and self serving. That the only part that was true – is that Ashcroft refused to sign, and that the outcome might have been different had Comey not appointed himself Acting AG.

      I have also come accross more ties between Comey and Schumer.

      With respect to Mueller – Comey was Mueller’s protege. That places a cloud over Mueller.

  54. dduck12 permalink
    May 18, 2017 2:54 pm

    Thank you Rod, win lose or draw, you have restored a little of my lost faith in the “system”.

  55. dduck12 permalink
    May 18, 2017 3:07 pm

    Open question: Are we better off- domestically- with a crazy divisive guy that may not be able to get too much of the “conservative” favorites into law, or would we be worse off if we get Pence like some people are wishing for. Mild-mannered sane looking Pence might actually get “things” done.
    Disclosure, I am a Rockefeller Republican, for want of a better label (I hate labels and tribes).

    • May 18, 2017 6:04 pm

      If anything gets done, Pence will be the one that makes it happen behind the scenes. .
      My thinking is Hillary and Trump are in the same category. Anyone is better then them. And if it were not for the SCOTUS appointments, Hillary and Trump would be in a neck and neck tie for worst. Only because 30 years of legal opinion now rest with the presidency does Trump get and extra credit point.

      • May 19, 2017 12:31 am

        Trump is not as bad as Hillary. He made his money in the very tough world of NYC real estate ~ I’m sure that it was not always on the up and up. Bill and Hill made their millions, by selling access to political power.

        What did ever happen to that great charity, The Clinton Foundation?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 3:10 am

        I know little about Pence.
        I do not think many do.
        People do not vote because of the vice president.
        Trump voters elected Trump – not pence.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 19, 2017 3:08 am

      Wrong question.

      We are not entitled to remove the “crazy guy” we elected but through impeachment or election. We elected him. He has not changed.
      Frankly I do not think much of anything has changed – except the lefts tactics.

      Back to this “get things done” argument ?

      We elected congress to “get things done”. democrats and republicans alike.
      They and Trump can spend their political capital as they please and in 2018 we get to pass judgement.

      That is how it works. Our system makes it deliberately hard to “get things done”
      I strongly support that.

  56. dhlii permalink
    May 19, 2017 9:10 am

    I would remind those pushing this get trump nonsense that the fillibuster no longer exists – because of the short sightedness of democrats.

    That we are most definitely in a tit-for tat political world.

    That whatever standards are applied to Trump now, will be applied to future presidents.

    I keep repeating to you here that there is NOT a special standard for Trump.
    That the rule of law requires that the current president – whoever they are be subject to the same law as prior presidents. That the current resident of the whitehouse be subject to the same standards as the resident of 8405 maple lane.
    None of us can expect better treatment than we are willing to allow the people we hate the most. Usually when I say that I am thinking that we can not expect better treatment than we give suspected peodophiles. But today it also mean than we give to president’s we loath.

    It is difficult to enforce treating Trump according to the same standards as Obama.
    We can not go back and demand a special prosecutor for Fast & Furious or IRS Gate.

    It is trivial to enforce the same standards moving forward.

  57. dhlii permalink
    May 19, 2017 9:18 am

    Some rational words of caution from a George Washington University Law professor.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/333764-opinion-the-comey-memo-offers-zero-proof-to-impeach

  58. dhlii permalink
    May 19, 2017 9:30 am

    On a topic that Ron is more likely to agree with me on.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-economic-headwinds-obama-set-in-motion-1495061510

    • May 19, 2017 12:29 pm

      Won’t let me read it.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 19, 2017 2:32 pm

        Sorry – WSJ has a paywall – but usually editorials are available to all.
        I do not have a WSJ account and was able to read it.

        The gist is the deficit spending of the past 8 years, combined with the vastly increased balancesheet of the Federal Reserve may make economic recovery extremely difficult.

        If the economy starts growing – interest rates will rise and the cost of our debt will skyrocket.
        I beleive a 1% change in interest rates will cost us 4.4T/decade – that is 4 times what PPACA costs.
        Further that our public debt makes it harder to get private financing – and that will get worse if interest rates rise.

        The Fed’s greatly expanded balance sheet has a similar but independent effect.

        Essentially public debt and monetary stimulus have made economic recovery very nearly impossible. That we are now trapped in a different kind of economic bubble that is nearly impossible to get out of.

      • May 19, 2017 4:20 pm

        Yes, I agree with that 100%. But what the heck, I talk about balanced budgets with reduced spending and increased tax revenues to balance the budget and begin paying down some debt and people think I’m ready for the loony ward.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 8:19 am

        If it actually were possible to “increase revenues” no-destructively then I would support that aspect of your proposal.

        We are near certain to be past the “revenue optimizing maximum” tax rate.
        In all probability we can not increase gross federal revenue.

        We might be able to increase revenue as a proportion of GDP – by decreasing GDP.

        BTW we are significantly past the growth optimizing max for government.

        One of the troubling problems with the article was that we may be in a mess that is nearly impossible to get out of.

        The left has been making the argument that this is the new normal.
        And they may be right. Between Bush and Obama and the Fed we may have made structural changes to our economy that make greater growth sufficiently hard to accomplish as to be practically impossible.

        Essentially we may have finally converted ourselves into Europe.

        This is sort of what Reinhart and Roggof’s work of almost a decade ago asserted – regarding Japan – that as a country increased its Debt relative to GDP not only did it slow its growth, but it increasingly made restoring growth harder and harder.

        If we actually increased growth right now – that would drive up interest rates and make the current federal debt problem FAR worse.
        A 1% increase in interest rates would cost us $4.4T/decade in additional interests – that is 4 times the cost of PPACA.

        Essentially more growth would create new problems that would effectively kill off more growth.

        And that is only the debt issue.
        There is a separate issue because the Fed can not reduce its balance sheet without taking steps that would also drive interest rates up and kill growth.

        I doubt all of this is a completely insoluable problem – we thought the stagflation of the 70’s was insoluable – the dominant Keynesian economics of the time did not offer any way out.

        Volker did something that nearly all leading economists of the time predicted would be disasterous – it took several years but ultimately worked.

        In the event there is a similar solution for circumstances today – I do not know it.
        If I did, I do not know who would have the political will to do it.
        And if such a person existed I do not beleive that our current political environment would allow them to do so.

        Regardless, We have one and only one thing that we can do at a federal level that is certain to help and is to any extent at all politically possible.

        That is to reduce governemnt spending.

        That is the LONG way out of the current mess.
        But it is an exit path.

        It will work fastest the more draconian the cuts are.
        But I do not see that happening.

        It will take much longer – but still work, if all we do is manage to keep the rate of increase in government spending BELOW the rate of growth.

        The most certain way to accomplish that is with a president like Trump who is going through the federal government with a scythe and a congress that does absolutely nothing.

        I have repeatedly said I did not vote for Trump and am at odds with many of his “policies”.

        The worst of Trump’s platform requires the cooperation of congress.

        The best of Trump – does not.

        Gridlock remains our least dangerous course of action.

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 19, 2017 6:50 pm

        By Phil Gramm and
        Thomas R. Saving
        May 17, 2017 6:51 p.m. ET
        241 COMMENTS

        Behind every significant postwar recovery has been the same driving force: a sustained rise in private investment and new home building, which increased borrowing and drove up interest rates. In most cases the economy had sufficient momentum to overcome those rising interest rates. But the unparalleled borrowing and monetary stimulus under President Obama may have changed the equation. Now rising interest rates in a full-blown recovery would require the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to compete for available credit with the private sector at unprecedented levels.

        The Obama debt surge was largely hidden by ultralow interest rates and the Fed’s purchases of government securities. So massive were the Fed purchases of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities that the central bank effectively funded 55% of the Treasury debt issued during Mr. Obama’s presidency, as compared with less than 10% of the debt issued during World War II. Although the publicly held national debt doubled as a share of gross domestic product, the cost of servicing it dropped to 1.3% of GDP in 2016 from 1.7% in 2008.

        During the Obama recovery, private investment averaged only 88% of the postwar norm, and housing starts remained at recessionary levels. Both would surge if a robust economic recovery were to ignite now, intensifying competition for credit. Real interest rates would begin to rise as they did in other postwar recoveries.

        The effect on federal borrowing would be staggering. If interest costs simply returned to their postwar norms, debt-servicing costs would rise by $4.4 trillion over the next decade. If those costs were simply borrowed, it would increase debt-servicing costs by another $1.3 trillion. By 2027, federal interest costs as a share of GDP would more than triple to 4.9%, exceeding $1.4 trillion annually—roughly equal to that year’s projected Medicare spending.

        During previous postwar recoveries, annual gross private domestic investment averaged 17.5% of GDP, and yearly Treasury borrowing went up on average by only 1.6% of GDP. But now if interest rates returned to their historic norms, debt-servicing costs in the fifth year of a recovery would cause Treasury borrowing to spiral to 6.6% of GDP. In other words, federal borrowing would represent more than four times the competition for available credit than it did in previous postwar recoveries.

        In addition to these headwinds, a full-blown recovery and a return of normal interest rates would force the Fed to sell assets, increasing further the competition for available credit. Recall that the Fed’s bloated balance sheet is the mirror image of bank reserves, which have swollen as a result of the central bank’s various monetary easing programs. The Fed’s purchases of $3.4 trillion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities have pushed up bank reserves to $13.07 for every dollar they are required to hold. These massive excess reserves have not expanded bank lending or the money supply because the Fed now pays interest on them—sterilizing excess reserves by in essence converting them into interest-bearing Fed securities.

        Once a powerful recovery is under way, demand for loans will rise, increasing interest rates and giving banks an incentive to expand lending. To stop the money supply from exploding, the Fed will have to reduce its balance sheet to soak up the excess liquidity in the banking system. Whether the Fed sells securities, lets the securities it holds mature, pays higher interest rates on excess reserves to stop banks from lending, or borrows against the value of its balance sheet, it will end up competing directly with the private sector for credit.

        Even if the Fed had five years to unwind excess reserves, it would still have to dump $590 billion of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities into the markets each year. The combined effect of these asset sales and new Treasury borrowing would generate a massive headwind for the recovery, driving up interest rates faster and higher than has been the postwar norm.

        In the six decades before 2007, the Treasury borrowed on average an extra 1.6% of GDP a year. The Fed offset part of that by buying some 0.3% worth of federal debt a year, reducing net new public demand for credit to 1.3% of GDP. But by the fifth year of a full-blown recovery with normal interest rates, the Treasury would have to borrow some 6.6% of GDP. At the same time the Fed would shift from being a buyer to a seller of financial assets, absorbing another 2.6% of GDP of available credit. That totals 9.2% of GDP in new borrowing, seven times the postwar average. This would crowd out private investment at a level never before remotely approached in a postwar-era recovery.

        Igniting and sustaining a strong recovery will require not only overcoming the post-Obama stagnation but also overpowering these extraordinary headwinds. As long as the economy has little pulse, the fever of rising interest rates will not be felt. But in a full-blown recovery the extraordinary nature of the challenge will become all too clear.

        President Trump’s tax-cut proposal is a medicine that should be taken at full strength to trigger strong, sustained private investment. The lifting of regulatory burdens—including the repeal of Dodd-Frank—should be pursued relentlessly through executive action, agency rule-making and legislation. Spending limits and entitlement reforms will be critical to sustaining the recovery once it has begun. With Medicaid metastasizing and Medicare and Social Security veering toward insolvency in the next two decades, comprehensive entitlement reform cannot be delayed.

        Failing to ignite a strong recovery in the private sector, or to reduce dramatically the growth of government during the ensuing recovery, will risk making the current Washington-induced stagnation a permanent part of American life.

        Mr. Gramm, a former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Saving is a professor of economics and the director of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University. Michael Solon contributed to this article.

        Appeared in the May. 18, 2017, print edition.

  59. dhlii permalink
    May 19, 2017 10:00 am

    Regarding Mueller and what actually investigating must entail.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mueller-caveat-1495148845

    I would also note that further media speculation by some Comey “colleague”
    Is more damning to Comey that Trump.

    Many questions arrise regarding Comey’s conduct.

    Condellezza Rise was not likely talking about Comey in her remarks about leaking.
    But they still apply to other actions.
    The entire government – from secretaries to Attorney General’s have legitimate means to address conflicts with what they see as improper. Ignoring those means and choosing your own is lawless.

    It is now being reported that Comey considered Trump cray and rogue – and said so to others.

    Memo’s etc. are at best means of protecting yourself when you follow directions you disagree with and do not wish to be held responsible for.

    If my boss tell’s me to stock up on jello at a time the maket is drowning in jello – I would memorialize that in a Memo so that I would not be held responsible for tons of jello that can not be sold.

    If my boss tells me to change the odometer on a used car being sold – a memo is NOT sufficient, I am obligated to report that crime – or I am complicit in it regardless of memo.

    Comey repeatedly testified before congress – he had the opportunity to reveal all that he claims.

    Another source close to Comey speculates that Comey did not come forward or tell the president that some of his remarks were improper – because he was waiting for Trump to do something even more outrageous – that he was setting a trap for Trump.

    That conduct is improper. A MILDER version was addressed with the Yates firing.

    The entire executive serves at the pleasure of the president.
    If you are directed to do something your choices are obey or quit.
    Setting up the president is NOT among them.
    Ignoring the direction is not either.

    The proper checks on the president are the courts and congress – NOT the bureaucracy itself.

    I beleive that it is not controversial that Comey actively sought to keep his job when Trump was elected. Trump purportedly demanded loyalty from him.
    When your personal concept of integrity will not allow you to show loyalty – you resign.
    You do not plot to entrap the president.

    It is becoming increasing apparent that Trump NEVER was a target to the FBI investigations. It is also close to crystal clear that Trump repeatedly asked Comey to state that publicly. That Comey likely – as acting director McCabe has, told the house and Senate committees that Trump was not a target.
    But refused to do so publicly.

    We can argue about whether it was appropriate to do so or not.
    I am not sure that the claim that stating who is NOT a target is improper is correct.
    Regardless, Comey was asked to do so – improper or not, he was obligated to do so or to resign.

    When you beleive that the president (or anyone else) is behaving lawlessly, it is NOT appropriate to take the law into your own hands.

    Comey did purportedly tell some close associates about his “inappropriate” communications with Trump. He did not tell the agents investigating – purportedly as that would predjudice the investigation.

    That is incredibly backward logic. IF there is actual obstruction of justice occuring then those investigating need to know that.

  60. dhlii permalink
    May 19, 2017 10:18 am

    Democrats are now demanding increased investigations within the house and senate.
    I take no position on the structure of such investigations.

    But as I have stated before – matters related tot he conduct of the president are political – and OUTSIDE the realm of the DOJ or a special prosecutor.

    As I have asserted I do not think there is a “there” there. But congress is free to pursue this as they please. Those congressmen involved will reap the political rewards if they are right or the harms if they are not.

    A special prosecutor is a mistake – there are no provisions for one in the constitution.
    Our system of checks and balances relies on Congress and the court to check the executive.

    I have previously proposed an independent branch of government tasked with public integrity investigations.

    I still stand by that – but that is structurally different from an independent counsel.
    It would minimally require law to create and might require a constitutional amendment.

    Regardless, it would have to have a broad scope – any allegations of breaches of public integrity. IT would have to be driven by specific complaints – as law enforcement is, and it would have to investigate and prosecute according to normal procedural rules for criminal prosecutions.

    That is different from special prosecutors and different from congress.

  61. May 19, 2017 12:02 pm

    “Mueller seems well-equipped to do what the country sorely needs right now: Determine if there was criminal collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and hold any wrongdoers accountable. He is not, however, equipped to do what Trump’s most relentless critics seem to want: Launch a wide-ranging and essentially political investigation into Donald Trump and his associates with the aim not of bringing the matter to a resolution, but of creating a steady stream of media frenzies that paralyzes an administration they loathe.”
    https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/05/18/after-mueller-trump-critics-worry-maybe-theres-no-scandal/

    An interesting article, not Trump-friendly, by any means, but straightforward about the real goal of the Democrats, which is political. The truth is not what they want, unless the truth results in bringing down the administration. At the least, hamstringing any ability by Trump to pursue the agenda on which he campaigned. At best, driving him from office entirely, through impeachment or resignation. In other words, as Dave has said, a wholesale disenfranchising of the Americans who voted for that agenda. If Mueller doesn’t do that, the whole Special Prosecutor thing will be considered a failure. No one gives a rip about Carter Page or Paul Manafort, unless they can tie any Russian misadventures of theirs directly to Trump.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 19, 2017 1:39 pm

      If you have not noticed – playing by the rules is important to me.

      While I may personally disagree on an issue by issue basis – there is nothing wrong with democrats seeking to grind the Trump administration to a halt.

      Republicans tried the same with Obama.

      Congressmen will be evaluated on their choice to obstruct by the electorate – either benefiting or being punished as the electorate deems appropriate.

      This is a major part of why the Special Prosecutor is a mistake.

      This conflict is fundimentally political.

      Roby;s own posts make that perfectly clear – Trump needs opposed because many people FEEL they have lost there country.

      The law does not provide redress for hurt feelings.

      Obstruction is a perfectly legitimate political strategy.
      This is where I part company with many here.

      But it is a political strategy and should take place in the political arena.

      This is also what is wrong with much of the bad judicial review of Trump’s actions – those actions are either constitutional – or not. There is no “fair” test for the courts.
      Nor is there a special version of the constitution only for Donald Trump.

      To the extent we have inconsistent treatment – it must be by congress.

      There is a fundimental – and immoral difference between Congress waging war politically against Trump – and the courts and executive staff doing so.

      Trump should be handing out pink slips like candy.

      Everyone here who is capable of being honest with themselves grasps that is what Trump supporters expected.

      I am also getting unbeleiveably peaved at the parsing of Trumps remarks.

      Absolutely – Pence, Spicer, Rosenstien, …. are not perfectly coordinated and on message.

      That has never been Trump’s style.

      I do not see it as a sign of total incompetence that every aspect of the administration is not dot for dot on the same message in the same words all the time.

      I do not think the “discrepancies” between Trumps statements at different times, or Trumps and the administrations are consequenctial.

      I the real world people make decisions for many reasons.
      They do not state them identically from moment to moment.

      It is a common and effective strategy of investigators to seek inconsistencies in peoples statements – they do sometimes expose malfeasance.
      They also sometimes expose that we do not say the same thing the same way from time to time and even that our thinking is not identical from moment to moment.

      As an example a big deal is being made over differences in the way Trump expressed the Russian meeting and the way McMasters did. The presumption being these are at odds.
      I see them as just different perspectives on the same event.

      The same is true of the differences between the whitehouses remarks on Comey’s firing and Trump’s subsequent statements.

      Quite often Trump does nto say exactly the same thing as Spicer or someone else.

      I do not personally consider the administration saying Comey was fired after Rosenstiens report and Trump saying I was going ot fire him anyway to be significantly contradictory.
      I do not think ordinary people do either.

      While it would be nice if people said the same thing in the same way all the time.
      In the real world not only does that not change – but peoples reasons for their actions often change after they think more.

  62. Roby permalink
    May 20, 2017 7:57 am

    Dave there has been a shift in your way of arguing, a good one. You have become noticeably more receptive to other people points and noticeably more generous in conceding that someone else might have a valid point. It makes it much more likely that I will try to read your posts and engage with them.

    Still, there are some elements of your thinking that for me seriously compromise your positions.

    The most obvious one is your war with the left. You take it to an extreme. I have doubts that you can tolerate a single person or idea that is from the left, which you treat as a monolithic group.

    There is always going to be a left. There is always going to be a right. They are two basic impulses, both helpful when done rationally and both destructive when taken to an extreme. Those two basic impulses cannot be destroyed.
    Vermont is run by “the left.” Has been for decades. You’d be surprised if you ever came here. We have low unemployment, low crime, high rates of graduates at every level of education. A long life expectancy, a decent median income. Clean air and water. Noticeably friendlier people than in other places I have lived. In short, a state governed almost entirely by “the left” is an excellent place to live. It would boggle your mind perhaps, but Vermont does not just consist of shiftless lazy people trying to live off the state benefits somehow, or rampaging lefties rioting on campus. A left wing place and yet, oh so normal.

    Because the lefties come in many many flavors, the vast majority of which are sane responsible hard working people who make things work. Given total control of the legislature, enough of the lefties have been forced to behave like righties to avoid insanity. Yes, the left lefties promoted a single payer health care takeover. It failed becasue other lefties had enough sense to torpedo it. And, in the end it was a good experiment actually that disproved a myth.

    I find your total war with the left as a monolithic and evil group to be completely over the top. It gets into practically every post you make and loses me. You seem to have based almost every political thought you have on excoriating and totally defeating the left, down to the last man.

    Eliminate them all somehow and half the righties will have to turn left to keep the world running. We need sensible forms of both right and left impulses.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 20, 2017 3:31 pm

      i have not consciously changed anything.

      If somehow I am manging to connect to the elephant rather than the rider – great.
      But it is not and never was a skill I have.
      My forte is logical argument – not emotion.

      As you should be able to tell from a whole series of recent posts
      emotion is not a legitimate basis for making choices for anyone but yourself.

      If I am somehow being kinder to you – that is at best because at this time there are far too many others on the left who scare me far more.

      Building since BEFORE this election I have been noticing growing anger, and a willingness to use violence on the left.

      No not the entire left. But a growing part of the left.

      I have a nephew who is quite smart and working on a doctorate in philosophy.
      He used to debate economics with me and try to sell Keynes – quite ably, if not successfully.

      He does not discuss economics anymore.
      He does not debate.
      He talks about the coming revolution.
      He talks about confiscating the wealth of those he identifies as oppressors.
      He talks about doing them violence.
      He talks about incorporating this view into government.

      He does not listen – at all, outside of that world view.

      He is not one left wing nut doctoral student, all alone.
      This is slowly growing all over.
      This is manifest in more violent marches.
      It is manifest in the practically riots over campus speakers.

      It was growing during the election year. But it was less violent then – because there was a sense – particularly among the left that victory was theirs.
      Since that did not happen it has gotten worse.

      This “Trump derangement syndrome” we are seeing – is not rational. It does not pretend to be.

      I deliberately try to avoid motives and examining the thoughts of others – but I am going to venture in a bit.

      I have noted that the attacks against Trump do not have a basis in evidence.

      I beleive there is a reason that we have this “derangement syndrome” that is so separated from fact.

      Clinton lost this election. Most of the left beleived exactly as Clinton said – “Why isn’t she ahead by 50 points”.

      These lunatic claims that russia hacked the election and Trump conspired are uncritically accepted – BECAUSE the alternative would require the left to accept that they lost a contest of ideas. That a very large number of people REJECTED the values that everyone they see in their daily lives takes as dogma.

      Clinton can not have lost legitimately – because that would require them to question their values. To accept that voters rejected them.

      The claims that Trump stole the election resonate with large numbers on the left – because there is no other acceptable explanation.

      I noted the CNN show where Prager noted that antisemitism did NOT rise post election, and he was practically boiled in oil.
      It did not matter than the facts did not support that
      It MUST be true! because the alternative falsifies dearly held dogma.

      This is NOT different from the conditions that brought Hitler and other fascists to power.
      This is pretty much right out of the road to serfdom.

      When we are confronted with accepting the failure of own core values many of us – particularly those who beleive strongly will resort to dogma rather than fact.
      Can be sold any story no matter how implausible because the failure MUST be elsewhere than in their own values.

      Trump MUST have conspired with the Russians. The Russians MUST have hacked the election.

      Because the alternative – that people rejected progressivism is unthinkable.

      This is a rewrite of Sherlock holmes’s famous
      Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Arthur Conan Doyle

      into
      Once you eliminate what threatens your core beleifs, whatever remains no matter how impossible must be the truth.

      Contra the left the aftermath of the election was an increase in left not right violence.

      That said this fact free attempt at a coup is greatly angering many on the right.

      As Roby wants to address feelings, They feel that they legitimately won an election and for the first time got a president that reflects their values.
      And they are watching as the losers in the election seek to use lies and made up nonsense to destroy that accomplishment and the hope they had as a result of it.

      This response is not universal. But it is large and the anger is building.
      I would further note that while the response of the left has no basis in fact.
      That of Trump supporters does.
      There is no outcome that disempowers Trump that does not disempower them
      Some of you here are talking about “republicans” taking control – McCain, Collins, Graham, ….
      While those republicans are not obligated to kowtow to Trump – they were not elected president. They can not speak legitimately for the country. They can not even speak legitimately for the voters that elected Trump.
      The argument that saner heads in the GOP must reign Trump in is an attack on Trump voters – not just Trump.

      My point which most here do not get is that you MUST procede conforming to “the rule of law” – mostly that means following the rules, though the rule of law is not the legitimacy of anything that is enacted into law. But that distinction in not significant in this context.

      If you do anything that is outside the “rule of law” what you do will RIGHTLY be perceived by angry trump voters as an illegitimate coup.

      Read the declaration of independence – I can assure you that most Trump voters are familiar with it. That is precisely the circumstances in which our founders have declared that VIOLENCE is legitimate and acceptable.

      You may not beleive that – but many of them are going to.

      This nonsense is racing towards a violent confrontation between elements of the left and trump voters. And it is heading towards circumstances where the justification of legitimate violence arguably rests with trump voters.

      I am trying to specifically use the term “trump voters” because though alot of them are on the right, many are not, and many on the right are not trump voters.

      I have repeatedly said I am not a Trump voter. I agree with those who say he is “not quallified to be president” – though my own oppinion is that Hillary was less so.
      Regardless, I got my opportunity to express that – and I did – despite many on the left and right – even people close to me angry with me because obviously their prefered candidate was by for the lessor of two evils.

      Politically I am far more likely to agree with Jonah Goldberg or George Will – more libertarian republicans who are still ferverent Never Trumpers.

      I disagree with them primarily on TWO points.

      Like it our not Trump is the legitimate president of the United States.
      I was offended by the “not my president” stuff during Obama.
      I did not vote for him and did not agree with him – but he was still the legitimate president of the country. I think he was a poor president – and the additional evidence as well as credible allegations that are arising as a consequence of the attacks on Trump are revising my assessment of Obama down much further.
      Still He, like Trump was MY PRESIDENT – AND YOURS.

      The 2nd place I differ is that post election I pay close attention to Trump ACTIONS rather than words.
      Trump is quite far from a libertarain. But on the WHOLE his presidency has been more libertarian than I have seen since Reagan.
      To be clear – that is not a very high bar.

      Unlike many here – I am happy that alot of outsiders – even wealthy business people have taken the majority of cabinet positions.
      I am happy that they seem to some small extent to be implimenting Bannon’s “deconstructing government” program.
      Many of the things that Trump is doing wrong – he is doing wrong in a small way.
      I do not think he Immigration EO is the end of the world.
      I think it is a giant nothing burger to placate Trump’s base – and I think that the left’s attacks on it are unbelievable political stupidity.
      Republicans took over the house, state governments, the senate, and ultimately the presidency because of their promise to repeal PPACA.
      How smart is it for the left to wage holy war against the Wall and a weak substitute for the Muslim Ban Trump promised ?
      Do you get it ? THEY WON. Throw them a bone. If you want these things gone – do the same thing they did and get someone elected to change things.

      I understand as Roby points out that alot of people “feel” that they have lost their country as a result of this election.
      To some extent that is true – THEY did not own it. At best they were renting it.
      The lease expired and a new tenant has taken possession.
      Engaging in an extralegal eviction is going to end extremely badly.

      If those who want to see Trump gone PROVE – to the same degree as Nixon or Clinton that real crimes were committed by Trump, those who supported him are highly likely to accept that outcome without violence.

      IF you end up getting Trump out without meeting that standard of proof – you may beleive you have done the right thing – but you are risking serious and arguably legitimate violence.

      Even if you are fortunate and avoid violence. You will still have acted immorally.
      Your beleif in your own righteousness does NOT justify lawlessness

    • dhlii permalink
      May 20, 2017 4:09 pm

      Those on the left do come in many flavors.

      Please identify any group – left or right, that accepts that the will of the majority (or some group of elites) does not justify infringing on individual rights and I will exclude them from my attacks.

      Some on the right do not accept the whim of the majority as a justification for infringing on individual rights. I do not know anyone on the left willing to accept that a simple majority is sufficient to use force to infringe on the rights of others.

      Libertarian – someone who places a very high value on individual liberty.
      I am by definition at war with anyone seeking to infringe on individual liberty without clear justification.
      That frequently puts me at odds with Trump.

      That is not changing Roby.

      I am not looking to “eliminate the left – down to the last man” .
      I am attacking that specific attribute of left ideology – and anyone who holds to it.

      Take the most extreme for of left wing ideology – or the most mild,
      Remove that single attribute – and what you have left is some form of libertarianism.

      Libertarians have far less common ground with those on the right than the left.
      The problem is that the left is inherently at odds – from its most mild to its most virulent forms with the defining principle of libertarianism (and real liberalism).

      When confronting conservatives – I have myriads of issues where we may be at odds.
      But conservatives do not universally accept that the majority may infringe on the rights of individuals. Those on the left do. It is probably the ONLY thing libertarians at at odds with the left about. But honestly it is the foundational principle of western civilization.

  63. May 20, 2017 8:13 am

    I will be interested to see what leaks (because, of course, there will be leaks) from Comey’s upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    If Comey testifies that he felt somehow pressured to drop the FBI investigation of Mike Flynn, because the President said the he “hoped” that Comey could “let it go,” and we then get a steady drumbeat of “obstruction of justice,” then I think that it will be extremely unlikely that Trump will be able to function effectively as president going forward. I think that GOP reps/Senators who feel that they are vulnerable in 2018 will abandon him, knowing that the media will portray any ongoing SC investigation as a criminal investigation of Trump himself, despite any evidence to the contrary, and despite the fact that it would be Comey who ould have committed the illegal act of, not only failing to report obstruction, but of testifying, under oath, in May, that there was absolutely none.

    In many ways, Trump has brought this upon himself, by firing Comey in the way that he did. He obviously knew that Comey was his political enemy, but he probably should have heeded the old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Of course, a Democrat would have easily gotten away with something like this, but Trump has apparently failed to figure out that he is surrounded by, not only political enemies, but actual enemies, who hate and fear him personally. The Hill reported yesterday, that a friend of Comey’s (one who actually agreed to speak on the record) said that Comey was “disgusted” by Trump, and tried to avoid shaking his hand.

    What is lost in all of this, of course, is that Comey deserved to be fired, and that, previous to his ouster, pretty much everyone agreed on that. I’ve begun to believe that there is very little likelihood that Trump will survive politically, and that, for the next 2-4 years we will likely have a daily political drama that will not only dramatically weaken us as a nation, but will result in divisions that may never heal.

    Whether or not one supports or opposes the president, he IS the duly elected president. Once that election can be de-legitimized by political, rather than legal, methods, we are no longer a constitutional republic. Remember the media hysteria that greeted Trump’s answer in the final debate, when he was asked if he would accept the results of the election? Skip to 3:15, to get to the relevant statement by Hillary, with which I largely agreed, despite the fact that she was obviously blowing smoke (shocker!):

    • May 20, 2017 11:16 am

      “I will be interested to see what leaks (because, of course, there will be leaks) from Comey’s upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

      So will I. This is all over the internet, but this one is the testimony written to see what he actually said earlier.

      I wonder which one of the three excuses he will pick, or maybe he will come up with a new one. maybe one like “you asked about the attorney general or others in the justice department, you did not asked about the President doing the same”.

      And if that is his excuse, let the roof blow off the capital building from the explosion from members in the hearing hitting the roof.

      http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2017/05/17/did-comey-lie-to-congress/

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 4:48 pm

        Sorry Ron, but the logical inconsistencies in this entire mess are so huge that one more is not going to “blow the roof off”

        After Comey was Fired McCabe confirmed to Grassley and Feinstein that Trump was NOT a target and that no attempts had been made to influence the investigation.

    • Roby permalink
      May 20, 2017 12:47 pm

      Priscilla, First I just was wandering around the previous comments and found your apology about the deranged comment. Which I accept and offer my own apology for my own heated rhetoric. This era puts our old internet friendship under tremendous pressure. It ain’t gonna be easy to stay sweet and kind. (I hope that at least it wasn’t Russian Vodka you were referring to.)

      The idea that trump is being more unfairly treated than any other politician in history as he says and his spporters repeat in various forms, is the one that leads me straight to the Cry Me a River motif, which I have a feeling I will be using so much that I need to make that into the CMAR acronym to save hours. Honestly, when Moogie brings all her dramatic self pity here it just turns me off, she makes her own choices and needs to accept the consequences without all the whining. A POTUS full of melodramatic self pity and whining? Ugg! I am very surprised that many conservatives respond to that. He does not have a skin like a rhinoceros, he has a Horn like a rhinoceros and the skin of a sheltered princess. Dishes out with gusto, whines like a baby when hit back.

      It is completely relevant that trump is the man who said over and over that the election was rigged, that mass fraud occurred and who cast doubts that he would recognize it if he lost. trump was the man who delegitimize Obama with his birther nonsense. And he was the man who openly mocked and smack talked US intelligence agencies before and after the election, preferring putins version of the hacking and leaking to that of the FBI, CIA, NSA etc. Which was traitorous in my book. So, now his loose lips and actions have him quickly in hot water and he feels like the world is treating him baaaad, misery. CMAR.

      I’ve said many times that I don’t believe that trump asked putin to hack and leak, putin decided that without being asked. I say that both because I don’t believe that even trump is so stupid as to ask for help, and because it was unnecessary to ask. But I do believe that while the hacking and leaking was going on trump was being very admiring of putin and even making a bad joke about having putin and his security people look for hillaries lost e-mails. And I do believe that his people were having unprecedented and inappropriate meetings and conversations with Russian intelligence and diplomatic people during and after the election. As well, I find it utterly plausible that trump asked Comey to back off of Flynn.

      This is why there a special prosecutor and will be an investigation, and its far from being over baseless accusations. Those who are putting all their weight behind the “there is absolutely no evidence” basket are, in my crystal ball, almost certainly in for some kind of a surprise. In any case, there is no possible way that anyone can know that there is no evidence or that suspicions and allegations are baseless. That prejudging is flat out wrong.

      It will take the House to impeach and the Senate to try, if it comes to that. But it will take the special prosecutor to investigate. If nothing big is found GOP congresspeople are unlikely to vote against him.

      So its all neat and Constitutional, there is no coup. There is simply trump facing the appropriate consequences of a very long and unwise set of actions. Its going to be highly divisive and no matter what the outcome some very large group of people will feel that a great wrong has been done and the world is not wholesome. But, it never was.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 6:26 pm

        Roby;

        Trump is being treated far more unfairly than any other president ever – it is not even close.

        But I do not care much about fair – as I have stated repeatedly.

        Further he does ask for it – he thrives on media controversey.

        One of the disturbing aspects of this entire conflict – which he is complicit in is that he has made most everything an all or nothing proposition – though so has the left and the media.

        Every controversy is escalated – by both the left. the media and him to nuclear levels.

        The left was celebrating earlier because they appeared to have him on the ropes.
        But he appears to be coming back.

        But one of the big problems is that every controversy is framed so that there can be only one survivor. We are playing winner take all poker
        Either the left and media win – or trump does.

        I would ask everyone to contemplate that.

        There are starting to be a few introspective stories from the left contemplating – what if Mueller finds nothing ?

        I do not hink Mueller will find nothing.
        Special Prosecutors do not like to ever come up empty handed.
        A stupid scooter libby result will resolve everything without resolving anything.

        At the same time think about all of this.
        You can loath Trump, you can think he is evil and misogynist, but are you prepared to bet the farm, to bet your reputation that he has conspired with the russians to defeat Clinton ?

        What happens if you lose that bet ?
        Most of us have little obvious to lose – we are relatively unknown blog commentors.

        The press has a great deal to lose.
        Trump may have nothing to lose – that is where you stand when the otherside is coming after you no matter what.

        BTW that is what I think is the important takeaway from Trumps remarks regarding the press. Trump is at war with the press – and it is mutual.
        That discredits them BOTH.
        The press should know better.

        Absent impeachment or resignation – Trump wins this.
        I would note that Clinton actually won even though he was impeached and was guilty of lying under oath.

        In 3 months or 6, or a year or 2 when there is still no more “there” there – where will you be ?

        As best I can see Trump has only one serious weakness – and that is one we do not want him to have.
        And that is he has put himself in the same position as Hillary – The Russians can shiv him anytime they want.

        If Putin leaked that the Russians had collaborated with Trump – Trump is dead.
        There is no need for evidence in that instance. Despite the fact that Putin has very good reasons to lie – if Putin says it – or it leaks from Russia – it will be beleived without evidence.

        This is particularly dangerous as The Russians play Chess – not checkers.
        With very few exceptions americans are not good at chess.
        We do not think deep enough or far enough ahead.
        We engage in the single layered deceptions that can work in sports.
        Not the multileyered ones that are part of very complex games like Chess.

        Which is again something that most of you should contemplate regarding what we already know.

        The conclusion (correct) of the purported 16 IC agency report was that the Russians sought to discredit the results of the US election.

        Discredit != change.

        They have succeeded – wildly. Not by hacking the DNC or whatever other nonsense
        but getting us to spend 9 months fighting about whether they did.

        I doubt Trump colluded with Russia.
        I think that the claim that Flynn could be blackmailed was laughable.

        But Trump can be. Not because Trump did something wrong – but because we have gotten so nuts that a large portions of us would beleive it – if Putin lied and said Trump had collaborated.

        You do not need the truth to blackmail people – just a lie people will beleive will do.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 20, 2017 8:44 pm

        Just to be clear Roby – you say “I do not beleive that Trump asked Putin to hack and leak”

        I do not beleive that Russians actually interfered –
        meaning they did not hack the DNC or anything else that actually effected the election.

        But I do beleive that Putin wants us to beleive that the Russians might have dones something and that it might have had an effect.

        Finally, To the extent that the “russia hacked the election” meme had any effect at all.
        It benefited Clinton.

        It is more likely that people who lean right would vote for Hillary or against Trump or sit at home if they thought the Russians were helping Trump,
        Than that people would sit at home or vote for Trump or against Clinton because of the DNC crap.
        Nor do I buy that the Comey letter had significant effect.

        Clinton’s Election Day number was 45.5% She only had 2 days from early July that she polled higher. Oct 31, and Oct 18

        The deciding factor was that from Jun 16 to election day – with a few bumps along the way Trump gained 8 points. in a relatively steady Trend.
        On Oct 28 – before the Comey letter was released Clintons +- was the same as election day.
        The biggest drop in poll numbers was a 3 point drop for Trump after the Access Hollywood Tape, Which he had recovered from by the time of the release of the Comey Letter.

        From June to election day Trump slowly closed on Clinton (excluding convention bumps etc)

        That is quite normal for a presidential election.
        Nearly every presidential election in my lifetime has had the Republican rise and the democrat drop From June to Election day.
        In 2016 Trump rose 7 pts in that time.
        But Clinton rose 5.
        Clintons Highest numbers were all in the last few weeks.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 21, 2017 3:09 pm

        Here is Alan Derschowitz – certainly no republican or Trump lover explaining the Special Prosecutor. While he is making a slightly different argument than mine – his dovetails quite well with mine.

        Derschowitz is stating quite bluntly – that at worst there is political misconduct, but there is no crime here. That even if the Allegations against Trump were true – they are not crimes.
        He is saying that Trump could litterally have ordered Comey to Drop the investigation – either of himself or of Flynn and that would not be Obstruction of justice.
        That he could have colluded with the Russians – and that would be political corruption – but not a crime.

        Law enforcement investigates CRIMES. Not undesirable behavior.
        If you want an investigation of Political misconduct – you MUST do that in the house and senate.

        I disagree with Derschowitz on a few points – not som much of law – where I will defer to him, but with respect to reading the ouija board.

        THERE WILL BE LEAKS!
        If Mueller actually manages to completely seal his investigation, The press will still get people claiming to know “leaking” to the press. We already know the press has completely lost any concept of journalistic integrity. NYT, WaPo will run any story from any source who is or was in government or who is close to someone in government who claims to know what is occuring and will do little or nothing to confirm that.
        Most of the current stories are NOT from people actually in current positions to know.

        Mueller will find something, There will be a prosecution for lying to the FBI or some other similar technical offense. The result will be the right can claim victory AND the left can claim victory.

        Trumps war on the press is not ending – nor will there war against him.

        We will continue to have adnauseum stories fixated on minor discrepancies between whatever Trump says or tweets and whatever the whitehouse or Trump cabinet members state. Unlike most here – I think this is completely inconsequential.

        Trump has mostly gottent the cabinet he wants and what he promised.
        Contra the left nearly all seem to be very very good people.
        They are people who get things done – often quietly.

        There is NOT 100% perfect agreement between Trump and his cabinet on various issues.
        Personally I think that is VERY good.
        Trump expect’s his cabinet to do their job well – not necescarily to do exactly what he says.
        He frequently says things publicly that are not perfectly aligned with what he cabinet is saying or doing. At the same time he is NOT overriding them, or interfering.
        BTW he is free to do so. But Trump appears to trust his people to do the RIGHT thing – not his thing. Trump appears to have a really big loyalty thing – but that is NOT insistance to defer to him.
        Like it or not those are GOOD attributes in a president AND in his cabinet.

        Much of this does nto suprise me – it is the way people running large businesses work.
        They do many things themselves. But WHEN they delegate they expect those they delegate to to exercise their own good judgement.

        Another part of this that is a business approach – and not typical in government is that the objective is to SOLVE THE PROBLEM, not to conform to “policy.
        The media and the left continues to paint this as incoherance.

        All this could fall apart. Or it could go completely the opposite.

        I would note that Trump appears to have all kinds of irons int he fire – particularly in foreign policy – though alot appears to be happening quickly – it still took time to put into place.
        Trump spent the weekend in the mideast – that provided the administration an excellent distraction from Washington. But the trip and its accomplishments were all orchestrated long ago.

        A major difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump is a unilateralist.
        Obama was a multi-lateralist.
        Trump is going to work out US foreign policy with Tillerson and with the countries in question. He is not going to work through Nato or the UN or ….
        He sees the US as serving its OWN interests – and the rest of the world can come along – or not.

        This makes negotiating EASIER.

        Prior to the election one of the great fears regarding Trump was in the area of foreign policy.

        We are only a few months into his presidency and we have China working with us on North Korea. We have very serious discussions about PERMANENTLY solving the problem of North Korea – and hopefully doing so without conflict.

        We have improved relations with much of the mid-east – Saudi’s, Jordan, Egypt, Israel.
        We have the first serious prospects of Arab/Israeli peace in a long time.
        Trump has made clear to the Israeli’s that he supports them.
        He has also made clear that the US is not putting its finger on the scales regarding issues – like settlements etc. That Israel must work those out through negotiations.
        It appears that Hezbolla and Israel are talking.

        ISIS is on the ropes – that does appear to be one thing that Obama gets SOME credit for.
        Despite the fact that Trump has gone out of his way to make nice with the Arab nations that Obama pissed off with his Iran deal – there are even stories of the hints of discussions with Iran.

        And in what to me is about the most ballsy thing Trump could do – he is working WITH the Russians on some of this mideast stuff.

        I would have thought that the left attacks on Trump’s relationship with Russia would make Russia toxic to Trump.

        If anything does nto go perfectly or appears off in dealing with Russia – Trump is F’d.

        The left has frankly given the russians enormous negotiating power in dealing with Trump.
        The left has litterally made it possible for Putin to attempt to blackmail Trump.

        Putin could end Trump’s presidency just be saying there was collusion – whether there was or not. Nor does he even have to say there was – he can just leak stories true or not and watch Trump flounder.

        I keep repeating that Trump is a business person. They are NOT committed to specific policies. They get things done. They solve problems, they adapt and do what is needed, they negotiate, compromise, deal and accomplish things. Not always in the way they started, promised or intended. They compromise in entirely different ways than politicians do.

        I still can not personally figure out whether AHCA is a good thing or a bad, one.
        But I think it is near certain that Trump will gets something past that constitutes repeal and replace – and whatever it is he passes he will say it is great. Trump is not interested in the details – he is interested in accomplishing things.

        I would also note that because he focuses on accomplishement – and succeeds – the details are NOT so important. One of the fundimental problems with PPACA is that when it failed it become impossible to fix. While you can blame the GOP – democrats did not even try. Trump is not committed to anything exactly as he initially proposes. I think if he gets something and it does not work – he will try something different.
        Because he is more flexible in negotiating – and therefore gets deals more frequently, he need not focus on the perfect deal. From Trump’s perspective if AHCA has problems – they can be fixed at a different time. He expects whatever he does will need later tweaking.

        I am also strongly suspicious that Trump’s war on the press is strategic.
        The Press, the left are almost entirely rabidly fixated on 1600 pennsylvania ave.
        That is NOT where things are happening. Trump’s policies are being implimented by his cabinet often quietly while the press and the left froth’s over his latest tweet.

        To those of you ranting about Trump as unqualified and incompetent – where are you going to be if his successes build. Maybe they wont. Maybe everything he is up to will fail or fall through. But consider what if it doesn’t ?

        Where are you going to be if in a year growth is working on 3%, ISIS is gone, there are serious efforts towards peace in the mideast and the most progress in 60 years on North Korea ?

        We can spend the next 12 month’s frothing about impeachment – and maybe that will completely grind things to a halt.
        But what if it does not ? What if Trump manages to accomplish alot by 2018 ?

        The left seems to think their road back to power is through this Russia nonsense.
        What if we have a year more of battles and nonsense over it. What if congress accomplishes little or nothing – and Trump accomplishes or appears to be accomplishing alot ?

        I see only one serious problem with that scenario – and that is much of the administration is either Obama holdovers or the permanent state – and those people are hostile to Trump.
        The question will be how much can he accomplish over their interferance ?

        With respect to that I would note – Trumps cabinet is nearly all business people – these are people who are used to accomplishing alot with a little.
        The best business people shrink corporate management as much as possible.
        They work in an environmenmt where decisions and made – with the fewest people possible, and implimented the same way.

        There are large numbers of positions in the state department that remain unfilled – and yet Tillerson is doing very well thus far.

        This is not intended to be some great defense of Trump – much of my remarks are speculation – but it is reasonably informed speculation consistent with much of what has happened thus far.

        The left and the media (and the so called “deep state”) have picked a fight with Trump that is likely to have only one winner.
        Consider the possibility that may be Trump.

        Politicians and the left, and the media, and the government are used the world being about what is said and who said it – not about what is done.
        Little ever gets accomplished in government. So little that most of us are blind to the possibility.

        I would finally note that much of what offends most of us about Trump is style or conformance to protocols or norms.

        Neither he nor his voters care about that.
        Much is made of Trump’s ignorance to the point of plain ignoring most diplomatic protocols.

        But Trump can say whatever he wishes – if at the end of the day he gets things done.

        So where are you going to be if somehow he manages to do so ?

        There is so little substance to the attacks on Trump and it would take very little to completely flip public opinion.

        I would note that right now public oppinion of Trump, the press, the left, the right congress, …. is all in the tank.
        If Trump puts a few accomplishments on the board – his approval will rise – but not that of anyone else.

        Further Trump does nto need to win the support of 60% of the public – he has to win the respect of the right most 51%.

        This is why there are still polls that have Trump beating Clinton Today.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 21, 2017 3:21 pm

        You say trump is facing the consequences of a very long and very unwise set of actions.

        What would those be ?

        What would happen to those consequences if in the next few months there is an Arab Israeli deal – on that includes Hezbolla and Saudi Arabia ?

        What if there is a new Iran Deal. What if Trump manages a resolution to Syria ?
        What if ISIS is defeated ?
        What if something is actually resovled with North Korea ?

        What if growth starts to climb appreciably ?

        Again all speculation. And things could also go to hell instead.

        But my point is that there is only one outcome of what you are fixated on.
        In the event that Trump’s presidency grinds to a halt – or that he is removed,
        There is going to be a very large very angry portion of the electorate.

        Trumps voter’s elected him to drain the swamp. To Make america great again.
        If the left, the media, many in the GOP take Trump down and those things are not accomplished – the current anger of the left is likely to be small.

        Trump may fail – on his own. If that is the case, then his own voters will abandon him.
        They have not yet.

        But most other outcomes result in consequences for the left, for the media, for you – not Trump.

        You did not elect Trump – nor did I, We lost – we do not have the legitimate ability to impose “consequences” on trump because where are unhappy with his “long string of unwise and inapproriate actions”

    • dhlii permalink
      May 20, 2017 4:27 pm

      Comey has very serious problems trying to put forward an obstruction of justice claim.
      There is actually federal law on this. It is not sufficient for him to put what he beleives are Trumps obstructionist efforts into a memo.

      I have not memorized everything I have read on this – but apparently a failure to properly report an attempt at obstruction or coercion is a felony.

      Further alot has been made of Comey’s overt desire to remain as head of the FBI.
      That poses a problem for Trump – it makes anything he does appear more like coercion.
      But it also has the same problem for Comey – it makes it appear that he was soliciting Trump.

      Overall I still mostly think Comey is a decent person – though I am reading more than suggests he is less ethical that portrayed.

      That said Comey – not necescarily by choice, ended up in a position where he was both investigator and prosecutor. And the ethical requirements of those roles are not reconcilable – this is also a problem for special prosecutors.

      Under ordinary circumstances, the FBI investigates. But DOJ determines when an investigation is permitted to conduct searches, DOJ issues subpeonas, DOJ calls Grand Juries. DOJ determines whether the evidence demonstrates a prosecutable crime.

      In the Clinton debacle the DOJ mishandled much of that – Comey can not be blamed for that. The absence of subpoena’s a Grand Jury – falls on Lynch and the DOJ – not Comey
      But DOJ defered and Comey accept responsibility to determine whether to recommend prosecution.

      That was improper. IF DOJ was incapable of doing its job – it could not delegate that job to Comey.

      Clinton should have had a special prosecutor. The actions were criminal. The evidence was far more substantial – even at the start than in this Trump nonsense, and the DOJ was admittedly unable to handle the issue.
      There was never any authority to delegate to Comey.

      When Trump became president – Comey ended up in the same position with respect to the allegations against the Trump campaign.
      The Trump DOJ should have ended that quickly and they did not.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 20, 2017 4:36 pm

      Sorry, but Comey needed to be fired. It was a good thing not a bad one.

      Of course there are some mistakes that Trump made here – presidents are not perfect.
      That is another problem with this Trump is evil all the time press – there are lots of glitches in the Trump whitehouse – so what human management is not perfect.

      One mistake I think that Trump made was that I think he should not have asked, he should have ORDERED Comey to state publicly that he was NOT a target of the FBI investigation.

      Ii know that it is policy for the FBI not to do so.
      But Trump is president and he can order any federal employee to breach policy.

      With Nixon and Clinton it was abundantly clear than the president was the target of the investigation.
      I think it is more important than FBI policy for the public to know whether the current president is the target of an FBI investigation.

      One of the issues in this entire debacle is that those on the left seeking to remove Trump have been able to benefit from every single ambiguity.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 20, 2017 4:38 pm

      You actually have things backwards on delegitimizing the president.

      The president can ONLY be delegitimized by political processes – not criminal ones.
      Only congress can “investigate” the president – and their standard is political, not criminal.

  64. dhlii permalink
    May 20, 2017 9:21 am

    The rule of law requires that there be evidence that an actual crime has been committed BEFORE we can begin an investigation.

    This russia hacked the election and the Rump campaign colluded argument has been going on since July of 2016.

    We have no more substance today than we did then.
    Rumors are not substance.
    Assertions are not evidence.

    To be clear it is not necescary to prove that Trump and company colluded to begin an investigation – but it is necescary to have EVIDENCE that some wrong doing did occur.

    The appointment of the special prosecutor is indistinguishable from your local prosecuter saying – I heard stories that you beat your wife – I am going to open an investigation of you.

    The only good thing I have heard thus far of all of this is Larry Kudlow’s remark that this will shutdown the leaks and he constant gotcha journalism with a new nonsensical media story every night.

    Kudlow beleives this will be the case because leaking about a special prosecutors investigation is a crime.
    All the leaks thus far have been criminal. That has not stopped them.

    I would further note that after nearly a year we still have no substance to back any of these leaks up.

    We can argue the merits of government leakers providing the public with Truth that government would prefer to keep quite.

    But what are the merits of leaks that so far have ZERO substance ?

    Further, why do we presume that the “leakers” are actually people who know something ?
    In the past we presumed that the anonymous sources of journalists were people who knew what they were talking about – because of the integrity of the journalists.
    But that is long lost.

    So why do we expect that Mueller’s investigation will end the “leaks” ?

    Mueller might be capable of completely shutting down any actual leak from everyone participating in this inquiry – I would still bet that leaks will go on unabated.

    Why should anything change ?
    There is nothing to stop the press from printing a leak from an anonymous source that is entirely made up.

    This is again why it is relevant that even to begin an investigation we must have more substance than this.

    A recent Harvard Study found that the media bias regarding Trump was absolutely unprecedented – that even Fox ran slightly more unfavorable than favorable stories.
    And that no one else came close. That on the whole Trump’s media coverage has been 98% unfavorable
    https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/?mod=sm_tw_post

    I absolutely believe in a Free Press – I do NOT believe a free press.

  65. May 21, 2017 8:26 am

    It’s hard to believe anything in the press these days. The tone is so hysterical, and even the headlines are misleading.

    Yesterday, I saw a headline “Trump Stirs Controversy on Mid East Trip,” and I thought “Oh dear lord, what did he do ?” So, I read the article, and it was about the fact that the King of Saudi Arabia had honored Trump with the nation’s top civilian honor. That was mentioned almost in passing, as the real point of the story was that, in bestowing the honor, the King placed a medal around Trump’s neck, and ~ get out the smelling salts!! ~Trump bent forward to facilitate the placing of the medal, and, in doing so, appeared to bow to the King! And that awful Trump creature had criticized dear Obama for bowing when meeting the KIng! He and Melania are such gauche hypocrites!

    This was not The Onion, by the way. But, it could have been………..

    • May 21, 2017 12:52 pm

      I am beginning to think the internet has much to do with the reactions we are seeing today compared to previous presidential crisis. Not from the fact that the internet makes it easier for people to comment, but from the fact that the internet has had a large negative impact on those in the news profession, especially the print media. Readership is down, job opportunities are down and those left in the profession or trying to make a name for themselves are circumventing all accepted procedures in obtaining and publishing stores that were followed in previous generations. One has to wonder how Woodward and Bernstein would have handled the Watergate investigation had they been doing it under the current environment and conduct followed by reporters today.

      Seems like the objective now is to be the first to publish anything, regardless of the facts that may back it up. If your right 50% of the time, then you have a 50-50 chance of getting rewarded and your name becomes the standard for investigative reporting if you are the one that uncovers the story that impeaches a president. That would not fly years ago. being wrong 1/2 the time years ago would have resulted in your being fired. Someone today hears something from person #1, reports it to person #2 who knows an employee (person #3) at a publishing company that tells person #4, a reporter that unnamed sources said “xxxx” and person #4 writes that in a column knowing full well no one can track a source, regardless if it is true or not.

      And then there is just the fact that one can take a complete truth, tweak a word hear and there, make it standout from all the rest of the headlines that attracts readers, and again you have a situation where the truth is the casualty.

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 22, 2017 12:31 pm

      @Priscilla: Worse than the much maligned used car salesman, but more deserving of my anger, are the guys that write misleading and/or pandering headlines.
      The race to beat the other media out and the proliferation of media sites that have lower or no journalistic ethics, has caused a race to the bottom.

      • May 23, 2017 9:24 am

        For sure. It’s one of the reasons that Trump has been such a boon to the news media, in general, excepting the conservative media, which is relatively tiny by comparison to the rest, It’s easy to sensationalize Trump’s administration ~ he too often does it himself.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 12:30 pm

        There is a wide range of “conservative media”.
        I am not a big fan of Fox. They have a relatively establishment republican perspective.
        WSJ has a holy war between left leaning reporters and a corporatist editorial page
        Toward the extreme there is Breitbart and Limbaugh.

        To get sanity you have to go to FEE, or FFE or Law&Liberty or the Federalist or Cato – which are really all libertarian rather than conservative.

        I would also suggest that we are watching a turning point for the media.

        I do nto know about the rest of you, but I do not rely on NYT, FOX, CNN, MSNBC,m WaPo, for much of anything – and less as they erect paywalls.

        I am far more likely to view information closer to sources – such as economics blogs by leading economists, or Think Tanks directly or blogs that specialize in particular facets of some field.

        I would also note that to an increasing extent mainstream journalism even in big organizations, is young inexperiences journalists fresh out of college.
        Why do I want jane Doe GWU school of journalism class of 2012 to tell me about economics or healthcare when I can read Mankew or Barro or …. directly ?

        I think some of the agregators will do fine, but I think that Big Media is failing.
        While this will take time – I think that Trump will be a huge factor in transforming the media.

        You can bemoan Trumps poor connections with the Truth, but he has blatantly exposed that the media is no better. In a spitball contest between much of the media and Trump,
        BOTH lose.

        There are lots of things I am unsure about Trump.
        I do not buy the “he is a stupid idiot” claims – he beat the odds to get elected – and he has done so many times before. At the same time, I am reluctant to buy that he is some incredibly manipulative evil media genius and everything is a strategy 4 levels deep.

        I am deeply concerned because Trump, the media and the left are in all out war.
        The outcome of which is unlikely to be good.
        If this keeps up, eventually it tips one way or another.

        I am trying to get a sense of what is going on, on the right and that is hard to gauge.

        Occaisonally congressional support for Trump seems to be about to collapse – and then it recovers. There is a strong sense – that even the left media is reporting that Trumps supporters are not waivering. That is probably the fundimental big deal.

        If a significant portion of congressional republicans flip on Trump – he is likely to be removed one way or another. But if they do so without a shift in underlying popular opinion there will be a blood bath.

        Congress can remove the president and many other posititions for purely political reasons, but if it does so, it must answer to the voters.

  66. May 22, 2017 9:56 am

    Rex Tillerson, on Fox News Sunday:

    Chris Wallace (noting that Tillerson, Trump and Ross had participated in a sword dance with Saudis) : “And I have to tell you,” Wallace commented, “you looked pretty good while you were doing it – frankly, more comfortable than the President or Commerce Secretary Ross. Had you been practicing, sir?”

    TRex: “Well, I hadn’t been practicing, Chris, but it was not my first sword dance.”

    Indeed. Lol.

  67. Ron P permalink
    May 22, 2017 11:55 pm

    http://www.burr.senate.gov/press/releases/intel-committee-joint-statement-on-flynns-refusal-to-comply-with-sscis-subpoena

    I said on May 17th that people like flynn might lawyer up and refuse to testify before congress for fear of further legal action. Seems like that has happened.

    It also seems to me that you have two choices in issues like this. Nothing to hide, you testify. Something to hide, you plead the 5th.

    • May 23, 2017 8:06 am

      Yes and no. I think that, given the fact that the SC has reportedly claimed to be conducting a criminal investigation, it would be irresponsible for Flynn’s lawyer not to request immunity for him to testify in a Senate hearing. Even if he has nothing to hide, there is a high degree of probability that the Democratic senators on the committee would try to elicit something that might later be used to charge him with perjury. Think about the question that Al Franken asked Sessions in the confirmation hearings ~ the question implied that he was asking Sessions whether or not he had colluded with Russians as a Trump campaign surrogate, but after answering that in the negative, the Democrats said that a meeting with Kislyak that had occurred as part of his Senate role should have been disclosed at that time. I’m not saying that Flynn is guilty or innocent of any crime, simply that taking the Fifth before the Senate Intelligence Committee is not, necessarily, evidence of anything other than that Flynn is not going to voluntarily walk into a trap.

      This is exactly why I believe that appointing a SC was a mistake. Now that Mueller has told members of Congress that he is investigating whether any criminal activity took place, no one will voluntarily submit to questioning, without being offered immunity.

      Again, remember that Scooter Libby’s crime was perjury and misleading the FBI during a SC investigation of classified leaks. He was never the subject of the investigation, nor did he ever leak anything. But he still went to jail.

      • May 23, 2017 8:20 am

        All of that said, I do think that it’s likely that Flynn has something to hide. Probably having to do with lying to investigators about his work for the Turkish government.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 9:37 am

        Whether he has something to “hide” or not – he can not testify.

        The money he received from Turkey was against the law.
        It is an old taw that no one is prosecuted for – but the law nonetheless.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 9:35 am

        Whether Flynn pleads the fifth is between him and his lawyers.

        Regardless, taking the fifth is complicated – as most of us should be aware from the Louis Lehrner debacle.

        If you take the fifth, you say nothing, about anything.
        You can not testify at all, you can not make a statement.

        While I am not sure I like those rules, nor am I sure they are uniform for all proceedings, That is true for this proceeding, and Flynn’s lawyers must be aware of that and he should follow their advice of get a new lawyer.

        That poses a problem for the rest of us as we may wish to see Flynn answer questions unrelated to the issue that is Triggering invoking the fifth amendment.

        I would also note that given the Oliver North case – I think it is highly unlikely you will see congress offer anyone immunity.

        By appointing a special prosecuter we may have effectively stopped congressional investigation.

        I beleive Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI. He was pardoned by Bush.
        I do not think he went to jail.

        I have a serious problem with those types of prosecutions.
        I do not beleive that law enforcement should be able to prosecute any charge that derives from the investigation of the original charge – without prosecuting and convicting on the original charge.

        i.e. you can not be convicted of lying to the FBI – unless you lied in a criminal investigation that resulted in a criminal conviction.

        We bump into this nonsense where the police or prosecutors gain leverage over people because of their conduct during an investigation – or by attacking their resources.

        The entire asset forfeiture nonsense is derivative of this – and one of my huge disagreements with Sessions.

        You can not confiscate someones property because it was used in a crime – unless you actually convict for a crime.

      • May 23, 2017 11:40 am

        A minor point, but Libby was never pardoned. I believe that he did go to jail, and that Bush commuted his sentence as being excessive. Similar to the commutation of Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s sentence by Obama.

        What makes the Libby case significant, is that he was never intended to be a target of any prosecution, and that it turned out that the leaker was known to all, including the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, from the very start of the investigation. But the investigation continued until there was an indictment. The hope was that the indictment would be against Karl Rove, a big scalp. Libby had to suffice.

        The case is often used to point out the uncontrolled nature and unintended results of special investigations/prosecutions.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 12:41 pm

        You are correct – Libby’s sentence was commuted – he was not pardoned.

        Libby’s case is an example in politics – but the principle I am espousing is general.

        I have a major problem with lying to or failing to cooperate with law enforcement being a crime. Law enforcement is free to lie to you.
        Actual perjury is different – and the standard of proof for perjury is fairly high.

        But a large portion of criminal investigations and prosecutions hinge on:
        Depriving defendants of the resources to defend themselves.
        Using the forces of government to go after a defendant in every way possible – rather than just the alleged crime.

        One big one that is encountered quite often is that the police and prosecutors relentlessly go after those who make accusations of police misconduct.
        Because as a rule if you are convicted of anything – even a minor offense in a conflict with law enforcement – you are often barred from filing a civil suit for damages related to the police misconduct.

        We do not want law enforcement trying to create new crimes to protect itself or to gain political stature.

        Regardless the Libby case is not unusual. It is pretty normal.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 12:50 pm

        Lots of things come out as all this progresses.

        I was unaware that the Martha Stewart Case was Comey.

        I really badly did not like Martha Stewart at the time and I really wanted her to go to jail.

        But I hear all the evidence and Stewart inarguably tried to engage in insider trading – and failed. There is not a tried and failed crime of insider trading.

        Comey was also in the infamous Ashcroft hospital room confrontation over NSA wiretapping. I am now reading the accounts of other participants and that apparently did not go down quite as described, and Comey’s own testimony is self contradictory.

        I would also note that Trump has eluded to tapes – raising the spector of watergate and resulting in subpoenas and threats of subpeona’s.

        But Comey has raised his Memo’s and now Memo’s of other matters are being subpoena’d – such as whatever he wrote regarding the Lynch/Clinton tarmac meeting, and who he identified as targets.

        At the moment Flynn is taking the fifth with regard to document production requests not in person testimony.

        Documents could prove to be a big deal.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 23, 2017 9:19 am

      As I understand it the fundimental problem regarding Flynn is that he received money From Turkey (not Russia) essentially for lobbying in a time period during which he was barred from doing so.

      He has broken a law. This is likely why he was asked the resign – rather than all the other nonsense.
      This is also somewhat consistent with Trump’s remarks to Comey regarding Flynn.
      Because the law Flynn broke is virtually never enforced. It is probable that Clinton was in violation of it also.

      Just to be clear I beleive we enforce the law ALL THE TIME. IF as appears certain Flynn broke the law – he should be prosecuted – as should everyone else who also broke that law – unless we decide the law is unconstitutional or we decide it is a bad idea and eliminate it.

      But that also means we prosecute all others who have broken the same law, as well as those who hove broken other laws.

      There is alot of excuses from the right at the moment – and I have on occasion made some of them, that But Obama, or the Obama administration did X too.

      So what. We should still prosecute the current administration if these are crimes, and if still possible we should also prosecute the prior administration.

      We should enforce the laws we have without discretion – without respect for party.

      If the law is a good law – the results of consistent enforcement will be good.
      If it is a bad law – consistently applying it will expose its shortcomings and drive us to repeal or alter it.

      That is what the rule of law means – the same law, for the rich and the poor, the left and the right, the black and the white. For Flynn, for Clinton, for all in government.

      • May 23, 2017 11:48 am

        Exactly, Dave. If Flynn lied, to cover up his own lawbreaking or that of others, he should be punished.

        The problem is that this is a political investigation, and the real aim is to damage Trump politically. The investigation will likely continue until that aim is achieved. Announcing that Flynn will take the Fifth is an effective way to make him look guilty….once the impact of that wears off, he will probably be given immunity, if he indicates that he will give testimony that will lead to more and bigger targets.

        As others have noted, the Democrats circle the wagons around people like Lois Lerner. The GOP forms a circular firing squad.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 23, 2017 1:12 pm

        When I talk of the rule of law – that means the same law for all.

        While there is no tit for tat, and the misconduct of past democrats is no excuse for that of present republicans.

        We can to the best our ability apply the law equally.

        If Trump or his people were engaged in violations of the law.
        And as I understand the circumstances of Flynn’s consulting payments, they absolutely violate a law that dates to the 60’s and almost no one has ever been prosecuted for.
        A law that would likely wreak havoc on the Clinton’s too.

        So Prosecute Flynn.
        At the same time the statute of limitations on the misconduct of Obama officials is not passed.

        When the election was over, I argued vociferously for Obama or Trump to Pardon Clinton – to get us past this.

        But it is clear the left is unwilling to let the 2016 election end.

        In that light – lets prosecute everyone for everything.

        Post leak of the Comey memo I heard one pundit say Comey may himself be guilty of federal crimes. There is a suggestion that the Hope that Comey would leave Flynn alone was a quid pro quo for keeping his job. But Comey ASKED to keep his job FIRST.

        You can read this as:

        Comey: What do I need to do to keep my job ?

        Trump: I am not the target of an investigation right ?

        Comey: No.

        Trump I hope you will leave Flynn alone, he is a good man.

        I think Derschowitz pointed out Trump’s remarks do not even come close to “obstruction of justice” – that they are improper, but they are fully inside the presidents purview.
        That rather than say “I hope you will leave Flynn alone” Trump could have said:
        You Will leave Flynn alone.

        That all the authority of the executive flows from the president.
        That though it is typically delegated and we typically prefer that the whitehouse not interfere, that any choice that can be made anywhere in the entire administration, can be made by the president and ordered. That the checks on what a president does are the courts and the congress NOT the executive branch itself.

        Derschowitz noted that Jefferson had littlerally ordered – over objections that the Attorney General of the US prosecute a political enemy – Arron Burr, and that Jefferson directed the case in detail.

        The constraints on what Trump can do are political more than legal.
        Impeachment is a political not a legal process. That a high crime or misdemeanor is whatever congress decides it is. But that obstruction of justice in the legal sense can not easily be committed by a person who has the legitimate power to order an investigation terminated, to offer immunity, to pardon or commute.

        Essentially there are lots of things the president can do – that he has not traditionally done.
        That he may not be able to do – only because Congress would not tolerate it.

        Trump could personally grant Flynn immunity – tomorow, if he chose.
        He could more broadly grant immunity to his entire campaign apparatus and then insist they all testify truthfully in public – they would still be subject to prosecutions for perjury.

        Or he could do the same regarding Clinton.
        Or he could unilatterally order the FBI to investigate all sorts of allegations – and to regularly report on them publicly.

  68. dhlii permalink
    May 23, 2017 1:36 pm

    Voter ID

  69. May 24, 2017 9:56 am

    Re the scandal du jour: Melania and Ivanka wearing veils when meeting the Pope, but not headscarves when meeting the Saudi King. The veils are a sign of respect for Catholic tradition, the headscarves would have been a sign of submission to the second-class status of women in the culture and laws of Saudi Arabia. Michelle Obama did not wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia either. No American woman should do so, unless it’s as a matter of their own choice.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 24, 2017 11:14 am

      Who cares ?

      The purpose of all the protocol and other nonsense is to avid interferance in negotiations.

      I am not aware of any evidence that The Trump’s attire resulted in any diplomatic Failures in Saudi Arabia. I suspect that the Saudi Royals had no problem with attractive american women.

      Nor do I care that they wore veils to visit the pope.

      From what I can tell Trump’s trip has been incredibly successful.

      He has a win-win deal with the Saudi’s.
      He has sent a message to the entire Mid-East – the same message that ALL republican candidates were pushing (except Graham) – we are here to help if you want. We are here to kill those who wish to harm us, but it is your job to run your own countries.

      I am more interested in actions than speeches – but Trump’s speech was good.

      He also sent a message to the entire Mid-East that this pandering to Iran was over.
      The Saudi’s likely would have fawned over him had he pissed on the Kabba.
      Obama actually managed to do worse in the Middeast than Bush.

      One has to be careful giving Trump too much credit in the mideast. Because he looks so good compared to Obama.
      In fact Obama may get some credit for Trump Successes – much of the mideast was so pissed over (and off) by Obama that they are fawning over Trump.

      Regardless, The left is pissed.
      In the midst of the endless Trump is a total incompetent F’up nonsense
      Trump goes tot he mideast. Looks very “presidential”
      Does not step on his big “hands”
      And there is more hope and progress in the past 100 days than in the past 8 years.

      Trump has been talking about ending the daily press briefings.

      Frankly I think that is an excellent Idea.
      Trump needs to focus on doing the job the best way he knows how.
      Not the way Republicans, democrats, or the media think he should.

      He has been doing alot from outside DC. I think he should do more.
      He seems to like doing these regular “stadium rallies”.
      If he likes them he should keep doing them.

      I know alot of people get pissed over his tweets – but I do not think they are a big deal.
      And I do not really care if their dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

      The press is going to report negatively anyway, I think he should grind the whitehouse press office to a halt and figure his own way to get his message out.

      BTW I do not care if the White House press remarks and those of Trump himself are in perfect agreement – that BTW is a typical tactic of the police, prosecutors and lawyers in general – if you do not say the same thing the same way everytime you are incompetent and a liar. Guess what most of us don’t.

      We all know why Comey was fired – he had become a free agent and loose cannon.
      I do not think that is entirely his fault. But there was only one way to fix it.
      Comey had become the story himself.

      I do nto agree with everything Trump does – but I do not need andersen cooper, Rachel Maddow, or Chris Mathews to explain to me why I should not like what he has done.
      To be clear – I have no more interest in what the talking heads at Fox say either.

      We barely need the traditional media for the facts anymore.
      We can listen to what Former CIA director Brennan says ourselves.
      We can get most of the facts with little varnish ourselves.

      I have some small interest in what SOME of the outside experts say – I care what Alan Derschowitz, or Ilya Somin, or Eugene Volokh say is the law and history regarding civil liberties and obstruction of justice.

      But that is about it.

      BTW I do not care what Michelle Obama wore where either.

  70. Roby permalink
    May 26, 2017 9:26 am

    The highly successful European tour continues!

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/trump-in-brussels-the-germans-are-bad-very-bad-a-1149330.html

    Meanwhile, back in the good old USA trumpitis continues to spread among GOP politicians and voters, Ha, Montana. Attaboy, go get em tiger!

    As it happens, I’ll be in Montana in July, I’ll pack some pepper spray just in case I should get assaulted by any GOP politicians.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 26, 2017 11:54 am

      I have no problem criticising Trump’s understanding of Trade – but that of both parties, and leaders throughout the world are no better.

      Gianforte won by about 8 points despite the “assault charge”.

      I would note that the charge is a misdemeanor – which in my state means – bad conduct under provocation.

      The reporter in question was denied an interview and trespassing at the time.
      He shoved a recorder in Gianforte’s face while Gianforte was turning away.

      I would also note we are talking about a state with a smaller population than the county I live in.

    • May 26, 2017 10:40 pm

      I actually think that Trump’s foreign tour has gone very well. If Angela Merkel is butt hurt over the fact that Trump wants France, Germany and other European nations to pay their fair share of NATO defense costs, too bad. Trump is right to call these leaders out on their failure to live up to their agreements.

      NATO accepts tiny little nations like Montenegro, nations that only want in on America’s protection, and we’re supposed to pledge that we will send our men and women into war if they are attacked? And, forget Montenegro, why can’t Frau Merkel’s own country pay its share of NATO’s defense costs. We STILL have thousands of troops stationed in Germany ~ maybe if the Germans had to pay for their own defense, they wouldn’t be able to maintain their welfare state.

      I think that Gianforte obviously lost his cool, and may need some sort of anger management counseling. I also think that his behavior may have hurt him more if 2/3 of Montana votes weren’t already mailed in before his altercation with the reporter. This is one of the reasons that early voting is a bad idea…..but, in this case, I’m glad that the singing nudist cowboy lost, so it worked out.

      Don’t worry about being assaulted by Republicans in Montana, Roby. You’re more likely to get attacked by Middlebury College students. 😉

      • May 27, 2017 12:03 am

        It was going pretty well until the asshole was walking behind another diplomat, saw the cameras, pulled the other guy back, cut in front, pulled his coat together, stuck his head up in the air and posed for the cameras. What a jerk!

        I might support some of his policies, but as a person, to me he is asshole number 1.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 1:35 pm

        Wow! We should impeach him immediately !

      • May 27, 2017 9:46 am

        Yeah, I think he thought he was pulling some sort of alpha-male move.

        In his defense, I have heard that photographers were asking him to move to the front, which makes sense, since the guy he pushed aside was the leader of….Montenegro. Half the world has never heard of the country, much less the leader (although we are now bound by treaty to send our troops to fight and possibly die for the country!).

        Nevertheless, the way he pushed his way to the front was boorish. I’ve kind of ceased caring about his boorishness, except for the fact that it hurts his own agenda. Obama was very smooth and cool, and certainly never, ever would have done such a thing, even with photographers urging him to the front. But Obama sold us out to the Iranians, and lied about the deal. He also allowed the European NATO countries to chronically underpay their financial obligations to the organization and use American taxpayer money for their own defense. (Except for Poland, which did pay its share, and Obama pulled plans for its misslile defense system).

        Trump can be a real asshole, it’s true. I’d prefer someone with a more pleasing personality and attention to protocol, but he is who he is…….

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 6:54 pm

        Obama had supplicants to push people out of the way for him.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 11:13 am

        “Don’t worry about being assaulted by Republicans in Montana, Roby. You’re more likely to get attacked by Middlebury College students”

        Which is to say that both are totally unlikely in my case unless I choose to go to either place and make a deliberate point of ruffling feathers.

        But both things have happened and both types of events lead to labeling of liberals and college students and snowflakes and rioters and conservative voters and politicians as thugs and nazis.

        Both of which are based on something real but take that grain of truth to an extreme based on a few people or incidents.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 6:57 pm

        Given that gianforte actually had people boo him for appologizing to the reporter, and that the reporter was tresspassing and purportedly shoved a recorder into gianfrote’s face from behind – the circumstances are a bit more ambiguous than berkeley or middlebury.

        But violence is violence and is unacceptable.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 11:25 am

        “It was going pretty well until the asshole was walking behind another diplomat…”

        Well, I don’t think that calling our major NATO ally Germany “bad, very very bad,” was at all helpful to US interests. Its trump being exactly the unfit to conduct foreign policy ignoramus I predicted he would be.

        Our allies find him obnoxious, our adversaries find him delightfully chaotic to American interests and both don’t expect that his tenuous grasp on power will leave him in a position to do much of anything. So, we are in a holding pattern until 2020 unless he is impeached, which is unlikely.

        In chess white is supposed to win a majority of the time because of the small advantage of moving first. Waste any moves in chess and you lose if you play a competent opponent. Our trump foreign policy limbo years will be of the most gigantic benefit to people like putin and little whatsisname in N. Korea.

      • May 27, 2017 12:40 pm

        ” Our trump foreign policy limbo years will be of the most gigantic benefit to people like putin and little whatsisname in N. Korea.”

        As long as McMasters and Mattis are the leaders advising Trump on foriegn defense strategy, I suspect that will be one of the better areas of the Trump presidency. HOWEVER, those two guys will bail in a heartbeat if the other problems surrounding Trump begin to infringe on their personal reputation. And with the problems mounting, I see that as a very good possibility. If that happens and he picks another stooge or yes man, then there will be much bigger problems than we ever imagined.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 7:16 pm

        If Trump calls other world leaders obnoxious things and still manages to negotiate deals that are favorable to us – is he “unfit” ?

        Or would the guy who was polite to everyone and got walked over by our enemies be the one that is “unfit”.

        Criticise Trump’s or Obama’s style as you please, what we elect presidents for is what they accomplish. It is early, but =by that measure Trump is off to a good start – despite a hostile press, hostile left, hostile democrats – alot of hostility within the federal government and even some seething in his own party.

        I am prone to hope our president behave decorously in the beleif that is more likely to get what we want. But the objective is the interests of the US, and that is the measure of fitness. Every other measure of fitness got decided the first tuesday in november.

        As to accomplishments – China, whom Trump has done pretty much everything to offend is working with us to reign in North Korea. There are excellent reasons they should be doing that regardless of whose president – but they were not helpful under Obama and they are under Trump. It seems clear to me that Trump’s conduct towards China has not harmed us.

        Trump has been brusque to Canada, Mexico and the philipines – all of which we have improving relations as compared to under Obama.

        Trump is doing excellent with Sunni mideastern nations – who have been smoldering to almost open opposition in the past 8 years.

        Russia inarguably has not been favored since Trump was elected – and yet they are working with us atleast as well as with Obama.

        We are doing better with Israel – and there are discussions of peace efforts which have been absent for almost a decade. Even Condelezza Rice Gave Trump high marks on th mideast, and many sources are scoring him high on foreign policy and low domestically.

        1Q 2017 numbers have been revised upwards – we appeared to be headed into a recession in late 2016 – that had been predicted since early 2015, that appears to have been forestalled.

        We will have to see whether this continues or strengthens in 2Q2017 or not.

        Regardless the measure of domestic success (or failure) will be the economy.

        Trump can get photographed pissing on the beds in the Lincoln bedroom – and republicans will do well in 2018 and Trump will get re-elected in 2020 – if the economy is running 3% growth or above.

        Further Obama’s historical significance will be negative if Trump succceeds and positive if he does not.

        I am not sure this impeachment nonsense is not as much an effort to halt Trump’s agenda, because should he succeed the left will be discredited for decades.

        Myriads of people are criticising Trump’s budget because his growth projections are implausible.

        If he proves right ?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 7:36 pm

        Chess is an unbeleivably complicated game.
        While computers now beat even the best humans – the play is STILL heuristic not algorithmic. Deep Blue actually beat Kasparov in match play by making a mistake.
        Kasparov freaked out because he could not beleive the computer made a mistake and therefore assumed it had come up with something brilliant that no one had found before.
        He lost the game and was off for the rest of the match.

        Fisher beat Spassky in 1972 much the same way – the entire match was pschological warfare, neither player actually played very well.

        BTW I played Chess in High School. I was an underrated Class D player.
        And I won 87% of my matches as black.
        I played 2nd board on the high school chess team (which I help found), We won our County chess championship my senior year. We placed in the national High School Chess championship and won several regional tournaments.
        I also won the unrated prize in the county chess club in 1973. The last round I was a rook down because I was playing a player I had beaten several times before and got overly cocky. The game went to 2am because I refused to allow the tournament director to adjudicate it, and I had a passed pawn.

        My point is that Chess is incredibly difficult, it is multifaceted, it is NOT an aspectic mathematical game – not even for IBM’s deep blue, and contrary to your perceptions Trump appears to be playing Chess – and doing pretty well.

        I would also suggest treating the lore of chess – such as the advantage of white with a grain of salt. Whites advantage is small, the difference between winning and losing is more psychology than efficiency. Players trade moves (tempo), peices, and numerous other advantages for an attack.

        In my prime in my personal play I was a weak player until I was down. At which point I became extremely aggressive. I have beaten Class B players (rarely) and drawn a master.
        I had a better than even record against Class C players my rating was low because I had a poor record against Class E players (beginners).

        Chess is like football of the mind. It is not calculus.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 1:06 pm

        I agree with you about Mattis and McMasters being the high point of the trump administration. To my thinking, Mattis in particular is all that stands between us and calamity. As one example, I well remember his recent utterly sane statement that a military conflict with N. Korea would lead to an unimaginable tragedy in S. Korea. That kind of understanding of the real consequences of our potential actions is so terribly needed in the insane world of the trump presidency with all its bluster and nonsensical statements.

        I believe that Mattis knows his place in history as the sane man in a crazy administration and has taken on that role selflessly, patriotically. I would be astonished if he were to bail on us. I do believe that trump could fire him of course, but that level of stupidity would be one of the few things that trump could still do astonish me in the area of idiotic decisions.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 10:09 am

        Who appointed Mattis and McMasters ?

        A substantial aspect of competent leadership is putting good people into key positions.

        I have thus far noted regarding Trump and Cabinet level appointements –
        He picks very capable people – mostly outsiders,
        Then mostly he leaves them alone.
        There have been some conflicts – but for the most part he does nothing more than tweet at odds with his appointments.

        That is also a sign of a good leader – though you should not appear to be at odds with subordinates unless you are going to fire them.

        A good manager vetts people, expresses what they expect, selects and then trusts subordinates to do their job and to know their job better than anyone else and does not interfere – aside from providing essentially thematic direction.

        Trump does not do that perfectly but he has thus far done it well.
        Even where his tweets or remarks have conflicted with his appointments he continues to support them and have faith in them.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 10:30 am

        North Korea is a mess – Trump did not make it. Obama did not make it.

        Our best prior opportunity to deal with North Korea was under Clinton.
        Clinton kicked the can down the road.

        At some point we are going to have to confront North Korea.

        That confrontation has a serious risk of violent confrontation.
        Almost no one wants that.

        I am not aware of anyone who has some magic wand that can avoid that occurance.

        We can possibly delay the confrontation – at the expense of raising the stakes in the future.

        The real potential consequences of ANY choices regarding north Korea are bad.

        I have no respect for anyone who thinks there is an easy risk free way out.

        I hope that Trump and Company manage to find a resolution that avoids conflict – or minimizes it. But there are no guarantees.

        The Korean War never ended and troops stationed in korea will tell you that the situation is ALWAYS tense.

        The North Korean regime makes Iran look positively civilized.
        Even absent any EXTERNAL force, North Korea is internally unstable.
        While we know little about what goes on in North Korea – we know that the nation is severely impoverished and constantly dances on the edge of mass starvation.
        Internal stresses could easily trigger violence and/or attacks on neighbors.

        Get a clue. We control our own choices regarding North Korea – we do not control North Korea.

        North Korea is being particularly beligerant at the moment.
        I beleive there are also indications that the risk of mass starvation internally is significantly higher than normal.

        Trump did not cause that. There is no known right answer to North Korea.
        Unlike prior presidents Trump has surprisingly managed to get cooperation of China in dealing with North Korea. That is a huge deal. Maybe that occured because China grasps it is in its interests to work with us. Maybe that would have happened no matter who was president. But maybe not.

        My expectation is that conflict of some kind with North Korea is inevitable, and that as undesirable as it may be sooner is LESS dangerous than later – less dangerous for the US, less dangerous for China, less dangerous for Japan and less dangerous for south korea.

        I believe we would have been better off to confront North Korea during Clinton.
        Now the cost could be much higher. But in another decade it will be higher still.

        Regardless, I do not have alot of respect for those who think there is some easy answer to a nation that is the worlds largest cult, that has nuclear weapons, and that is developing ICBM’s

        Trump is not the danger with North Korea – North Korea is.
        Sitting back and quietly doing nothing means a future north korea with nuclear weapons that can strike the US and a regime that under stress could use them, and a regime that is under that kind of stress.

        So what is it that you wish to do – take a risk today ? Or increase the stakes for your children in the future ?

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 10:43 am

        Roby;

        Where does some of this nonsense come from ?

        Is someone discussing firing Mattis ?

        Why do you think he thinks he is the sane person in a crazy administration ?

        If that is actually what he thinks – then he MUST resign.

        This is part of the lunatic nonsense of the left.

        It is the right of ordinarly people to protest any administration or its policies.
        It is the right of congress to differ with any administration or to try to reign it in.

        But those who actually are part of the administration must either follow the direction from the top or resign.

        There is no legitimate or morel “resistance” within the government.

        If Mattis accepted a position in the Trump administration, then he and Trump must have worked out that arrangement. Whatever that arrangement is – the credit goes to Trump as he appointed Mattis.
        It is NOT Mattis’s job to be the sane man in a circus – and if he feels that is what he is – then he is morally obligated to resign.

        This is one of the stupidities regarding Yates – that Derschowitz pointed out.
        She was an Obama hold over – there is no expectation that she signed on to Obama’s policies. But her choices are to impliment them or resign – there is no middle ground.

        Those in various government agencies at the moment conspiring to thwart Trump are behaving criminally possibly treasonously.

        CONGRESS can change the law and policies. The courts can constrain the administration, but various subordinate parts of thee administration can not.
        You can disagree, you can make your case, but if you are directed to do what you disagree with – you do it, or you quit.

        Each of our ability to question the fitness of the president is constrained by our ability to vote or to write our congressmen.

        You may not be a member of the administration attempting to thwart that administration.

        That is true for Trump, for Obama, for Bush.

        If you think Trump is unfit and you resign – you may have my respect.
        If you do so and you undermine – you are criminal.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 27, 2017 4:12 pm

        We can agree or disagree on aspects of Trumps recent foreign relations.

        But it is not possible to claim he is incompetent at them – Even Boehner has been forced to give Trump credit for handling that well.

        You can disagree or agree over nato – or how Trump handles it.

        I am not personally sure that NATO remains useful.

        But agreement or disagreement on Trumps foreign policies is not the same as questions of incompetence.

        Thus far he seems to be fairly effective.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 27, 2017 4:19 pm

        All forms of “easy voting” are a bad idea. Early voting is just one.

        We want LOW voter turnout. I want to “supress” as many votes as possible.
        Not democrats or republicans, or minorities.

        I want people to not expect that govenrment is the solution to all their problems and therefore not be too interested in treking to their polling place to vote.

        As to Gianforte – isn;t that over ? Isn’t the big hype now than Ossoff might actually win GA6 ?

        Whatever, everyone is trying to find in their crystal balls some evidence that Trump and Republicans are doomed.

        I think each of these elections is specific to their districts and it is hard to find national meaning.

        That said – if there is any evidence in them that Republicans are in trouble, at this point it is evidence of small trouble, not big trouble.

        We are a long way from Nov. 2018.

        Absent littlerally cathching Trump with his hand in the Russian cookie jar which with each passing day seems more wishful thinking on the part of the left than anything else

        what will matter in 2018 is the economy – if it sucks – Republicans are dead.
        It is is growing – Democrats are in trouble.

  71. dhlii permalink
    May 26, 2017 12:15 pm

    Quietly surfacing are two significant and several smaller reports and court orders regarding the mishandling of searches.

    And order from the FISA court culminating nearly 5 years of inquiry notes that NSA is routinely violating the prohibition against “searching” for information on US Citizens without a warrant, atleast 5% of NSA queries violate the rules.

    This is of consequence because the NSA engages in foreign spying. It is NOT a law enforcement agency. It has extremely broad capacility to conduct its inquiries.

    We know that NSA is capturing and storing the metadata of pretty much every cell phone call that touches the US in anyway
    Contrary to centuries of precident we have decided that aquiring that information does NOT constitute a search.

    However the current law treats querying that data as a search. Warantless searches targeting US citizens are prohibited by the constitution.
    And that is what we are talking about.

    This is not the “incidental” unmasking that has been raised already. This is searches conducted by the NSA specifically for information on US citizens without a warrant.

    Related to this is the 2nd report which relates to the NSA sharing of information with the FBI and the FBI handling of that information.

    What we are seeing is the NSA slowly transforming into a search facility for the FBI.
    NSA information sharing with the FBI is supposed to be specifically related to Terrorism or at least national security issues – according to new information – it is not.

    Both of these also build on the prior reports of “unmasking”, noting that compliance to the legal constraints on NSA data are being routinely ignored.

    Searches that are prohibited are occurring, The targets are increasingly US citizens. Queries about US citizens which are supposed to require a FISA warrant – not something particularly hard to get – are being done without warrants, Information about US citizens which is not permitted to be shared between the NSA and FBI without a warrant is being routinely shared, and worse yet, not only is unmasked and warrantless information acquired illegally circulating within the FBI – but it is escaping the FBI – not merely to other government agencies, but to private parties.

    The British temporarily shutdown information sharing with the US – not because Trump was bloviating to the Russian ambassador in the white house, but because British intelligence on the manchester bombing was ending up in the US media through US intelligence community sources.

    We can bemoan Trump, but he was elected.
    There are far too many in our federal government who seem to think the law does not apply to them.

    • May 26, 2017 12:30 pm

      This is what happens when you give away rights drip by drip, thinking nothing further will happen. Just as congress has given the President authority to do certain things over the years that a president was not originally allowed to do and is now greatly empowered to do things on their own, so to is regulatory agencies allowed to do things they were never intended to do.

      One can look at any agency in the government and see how the far reaching government has taken “rights” and no one has recognized that fact. Farmers can no longer plow fields that have been plowed for years because they are part of some wetland (the water pools in the fields when it rains and then dries up in a couple days) and the EPA now says they can not disturb that ecology. And the farmers are no reimbursed, they still pay taxes on the farmland and can not make any money off that section of land.

      So now we have a much larger section of the population impacted by a loss of “rights” and all hell is about to break loose. If your not going to stand up for the small percent of Americans that their rights are taken away, then why worry about the larger percentage of Americans whose rights are being infringed on when the government wants to listen to phone conversations?

      As someone who has problems with government overreach in all parts of society, I can’t get overly upset when government infringes on another “right”. I am upset on all cases of government overreach and not taking the constitution for its words and not its interpretation.

      The only way to fix the NSA issue is another constitutional amendment specific to electronic information as the liberals and libertarians will oppose any government snooping into electronic data while the conservatives will say this is “keeping us safe”.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 26, 2017 1:54 pm

        When the constitution was being ratified there was a fight over the bill of rights.

        Many opposed it – because there would be an assumption that those were the only rights we had, and because the constitution granted the federal govenrment specific powers and it did not matter what our rights were – so long as the federal govenrment remained limited.

        The 9th and 10th amendments – which are toothless, were the response to those criticisms.

        Regardless, though both the federalists and anti-federalists shared the same aim – the creation of a limited federal government, the results are that the fears of the anti-federalists proved true.

        I try not to fixate on rights. I am more concerned with limited government.

        The core principle of our society should be

        Whatever is not prohibited is permitted.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 26, 2017 2:03 pm

        There are two take aways that seem to be coming from the information regarding the NSA and FBI.

        The first is that the federal govenrment does not give a damn about anyone’s rights.

        But the second is that it is increasingly clear than over atleast the past 8 years significant portions of the federal government have engaged in political targeting of enemies.

        We had hints of this in the Louis Lehrner IRS scandal, but what has been going on with NSA/FBI/NSC atleast is extremely disturbing.

        The most recent revalations have not addressed whether the mishandling of surveilance tools was political, but they have made it clear than it was broad, and pervasive.

        Prior revalations have suggested that the Obama administration was making use of the Intelligence community – both in the US and of other countries for political gain – including spying on democrats.

        We have allegations regarding Trump – that have gained no additional substance since July 2016 when they started.

        Separately we have allegations of abuse of power that build in both scope and evidence time progresses.

  72. May 26, 2017 12:16 pm

    What is going on with the Republicans these days.

    I am sick of listening to the twisted facts spouted out by democrats and the incompetent asses on the GOP side of the isle that are incapable to providing information the average individual in America can understand.

    The CBO takes a law that has wording today and compares that law to the new legislation being proposed for the future. (Healthcare). The wording today states everyone will have insurance or pay a penalty. The new law has changes that eliminate the penalty. The current law estimates there are about 20 million or so individuals that will qualify for healthcare. The proposed legislation estimates far fewer individuals will qualify or want healthcare coverage. The current law enforces the penalty and includes over 8 million individuals that paid the penalty as being covered by Obamacare. The new legislation does not include those individuals.

    The CBO includes these 8 million individuals in their 23 million that will lose coverage. So where the hell are the Republicans in explaining these issues???

    • dhlii permalink
      May 26, 2017 2:06 pm

      The original CBO assessment of PPACA was totally off base.

      The assessment of AHCA is not likely to be any better.

      While I respect what the CBO attempts to do – what they are trying is impossible.
      I can not think of a single piece of significant legislation that has been scored accurately.

    • May 26, 2017 10:48 pm

      Ron, I’m with you on most Republicans these days. The Democrats are useless idiots, but the GOP can’t get it together to run the country, even with majorities in both houses of Congress.

      I get that Republicans have always been more ideologically diverse and more difficult to unite that Democrats. But, they need to get something done, besides confirming Neil Gorsuch. Which was a good thing, mind you, but come on!

      • May 27, 2017 12:11 am

        It is not so much the fact they have opposing views (Collins v Paul). In some ways that is a good thing if they can come together and agree on something that works.

        My issue is the fact they can not get communication out to the voters that support their positions. How many people have heard that almost 10 million of the 23 million the CBO says will lose healthcare coverage do not have it today? That is significant as that is almost 50%. These people are the ones paying the penalty and do not want coverage today, so are they losing it or not?

        I bet they could take these 23 million ( now 13 million unexplained) and provide the voters sufficient information that would reduce the number of people against any reforms they develop if they would start communicating.

        This “Obamacare is dying” is a talking point with no meat and nothing that people can understand. Give the people information so they can decide for themselves.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 9:44 am

        “The Democrats are useless idiots, but the GOP can’t get it together to run the country, even with majorities in both houses of Congress.”

        Because they are also useless idiots? Because of democracy? Because the GOP does not have the support of a strong majority of the voters? Because in fact most voters do not support almost any part of the GOP/conservative agenda? Could the trump 15 point underwater polling also reflect the level of support for the trump agenda as well as his character? There are 35-40% of the country who support the trump/GOP agenda, so….. They can’t run the country.

        What we have is a milder form of what happened in 2008, a government got elected that was way out of kilter ideologically with the center of gravity of the voters. In 2008 the Dems won by a “landslide,” they had full control of the House and Senate and Obama won clearly. So, they decided that “the people” wanted what liberal democrats wanted and went all hubris, leading to the mid term slaughter of 2010 (which some GOP members of congress nervously have in their memories).

        This election, there was an absolutely anemic GOP win, they lost the presidential popular vote, hang narrowly in the Senate and, just like the dems in 2008, have all the same gone all hubris and intend to turn the old order completely on its head. Most of their idea are fantasies that won’t work, but the GOP base demands them. There are some GOP moderates in congress from unsafe districts who have to actually recognize reality. The administration itself is laughably incompetent. So…. the GOP can’t govern.

        It all comes down in the end to the fact that both party bases, liberal and conservative, live in fantasy worlds, and in the internet era these party or ideological activists have an amplified voice and enhanced networking power, making a problem that has always existed worse. The loonies are running the asylum, they elected trump this time, next time they will elect a Sanders.

        I don’t think the GOP war on the press is helping them either. The fake news mentality is red meat for the party base, not a bridge to finding a middle ground from which to govern. On top of which the GOP “real news” media itself is in a state of upheaval and is as likely to produce conspiracy theories as actual news.

        “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
        Here I am, stuck in the middle…”

      • May 27, 2017 12:32 pm

        Roby, excellent comment! I agree 100%. The only thing you left out was one important fact that led to Trumps nomination and eventual win. I do not know this to be completely true, but I have strong suspicions had the GOP only had 3-4 candidates to start with, (Trump and no more than 3 others), then the wide ideologies would have been more concentrated and the smaller percentage of people supporting Trump would have had a smaller voice. thus leading to maybe Bush, Rubio or Cruz getting the nomination. I think the fact that Trump came in second in Iowa was an indication he could have been stopped early, but then NH was second and he prevailed and then he began getting more support from those that either were not really interested in politics earlier or switched from the democrat ticket since he was not really a Republcan in his thinking at that time.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 7:47 pm

        We can play whatif with the election of 2016 forever.
        Any number of things could have occured slightly differently to produce a different outcome. But they did not.

        The access Hollywood tape might not have come out – and Trump would have won a landslide.

        I think on Net Comey’s role in the election was neutral – but that means it harmed Clinton some and helped clinton some.

        If he had recommended prosecution as he should have in June the election would have been over.

        The DNC emails were damaging – but they were a self inflicted wound.

        I think the argument that the Russians hacked the DNC is ludicrously stupid – nearly as bad as the collusion argument.

        I do think the Russians “interfered” and I think they continue to do so.
        Their objective always is to discredit our system NOT to get a specific candidate.

        I thought Trump’s remarks about McCain ended things. I thought that coming in as a Birther ended things.

        But I thought wrong.

        Regardless, change one facet of the 2016 election – change one mistake, change one parameter – and you will likely change the way each of the participants run their campaign.

        You can not really predict what would happen – because everything afterward would also change

      • May 29, 2017 11:33 pm

        Dave, I believe you missed Roby’s comment that led to my comment about the number of candidates leading to Trumps win. Yes there are many what-ifs we could lay with the past election, but Roby specifically said Trump now had the support of 35%-40% of those polled and he also mentioned that Trump had a 15% underwater approval.

        I did not verify those numbers as I did not find that important with what I was commenting about. I was reacting to the 35%-40% numbers and how someone with a minority percentage beginning in a crowded field of candidates could get the nomination and still be a minority president in the voters minds. Just because most people are not like me who refused to vote for the lessor of two evils and voted for Trump does not mean they are Trump supporters. It means they may have supported him only because their other choice was so bad and now that Trump is running into some difficulties, they are not hard to sway to the disapproval category.

        And he also pointed out that the democrats had complete control of the hosue, senate and president, they thought they were doing the peoples work and were soundly defeated in 2010.

        This is because we have individuals that are supported by a minority of eligible voters, When 50% plus one of 68% of eligible voters vote for a candidate, that means that only 39% of the eligible voters supported the winner, so our government is really a minority government and why polls can reflect such a fickle electorate. The next election, some who did not vote actually come out and some who did vote, don’t, so the results can lead to elections like 2010.

        One only needs to look at health care. Almost 60% of people a few months ago said we needed to repeal and replace Obamacare. We have a replacement and now almost that number of people say it is a bad decision. Talk about fickle!

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 10:25 pm

        I am not interested in ouija board efforts to replay the 2016 election.
        Addressing the part of your remarks I think are not that:

        If you are saying that no matter who won on Nov. 8, they fact that so many voters were voting for their view of the “lessor evil” inherently meant the elected president would start with very poor support and much of it weak – that I would fully agree with.

        Some large portions of Trump voters were really Anti-Clinton voters.
        It is highly likely they do not think highly of Trump.

        That would be fully consistent with abysmal approval ratings AND polls still showing Trump beating Clinton.

        That also creates a twisted prism to understand approval ratings and support right now.

        Do Trump’s low numbers mean the loss of any support to legislate ?
        Is that still true if as is true the oppositions numbers are even lower ?

        If most of us are just thoroughly disgusted with government what does that mean for the legitimacy of legislative action ?

        I addressed Roby’s assertions regarding the comparision between 2009 and today.

        Maybe Republicans are in the same place democrats were in 2009.

        But my read of the tea leaves would not support that.

        Republicans started winning in late 2009 because of disgust with government – some of that specific to PPACA (but not all of it).
        Republican gains right through 2016 are all based on that same theme.

        Trust in government is LOWER today than in 2009.
        That may not be the right recipe for a Republican landslide in 2018.
        But it is not the right recipe for a backlash.

        Regardless I think it is ludicrously stupid to be placing bets on 2018 now.
        The senate board is heavily stacked in favor of Republicans.
        Even the house board is stacked for at most small losses.
        History tells us that gains are unlikely.
        But everything has been unusual.
        Further we are nearly complete an electoral resorting.
        The left likes to make a big deal that somehow the Republican take over of the south somehow makes the GOP racist – ignoring nearly two centuries of democratic racism.

        But for much of the past 40+ years we have been in the midst of shifting party affiliations.
        The affluent northeast (and west coast) has shifted from Blue to red.
        The greater south has shifted red.
        Rural areas have nearly all gone deep red. Suburban areas are pink, and cities are blue.

        This homogenity did not exist 40 years ago and is not quite complete yet.

        I think the political map is slowly becoming more stable,
        Absent “shocks” like the financial crisis or recessions the majority of house and senate seats are becoming “Safe”.
        I think there is a bit more shifting left – but not much – the GOP should probably have about 60 senate seats based on governourships and control os state legislatures.

        The house is more closely tied to actual popular vote and that shifts it towards democrats slightly – BUT democrats artificially concentrate in large percentages in urban areas diluting their popular strength.
        Regardless the pink nature of suburbs will cause some house seats to swing democrat – occasionally, and leaves us with a collection of purple states – the swing states that are going to dictate most elections.
        Trump successfully turn a few blue states purple winning the election.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 10:32 pm

        Ron,

        I do not find the Obamacare poll numbers even slightly fickle.

        They demonstrate the fundimental problem with healthcare reform and why PPACA never should have passed – it did not have majority support when it passed.

        There is not an likely never will be a majority supporting any specific healthcare reform.
        There is a majority opposed to what we have.
        That was true in 2009 and is true today.

        This is why I say “Just Repeal” or “let it die”

        A theme that is flowing through many of my recent posts is that

        Whatever you beleive the prerequistite to legislate,
        The prerequisite to repeal is NOT the same it is the inverse.

        If you need a 51% to legislate, then if support dipps below 51% you can repeal.
        You do not have to have 51% to repeal.

        I beleive you need a super majority to legislate – that means you need far less than a majority to repeal.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 2:20 pm

        Trump does nto have the support of the majority of people.
        He never has. Nor did Clinton, nor Obama, nor …
        AHCA does nto have the support of a majority.
        PPACA never had the support of a majority.

        I have already argued repeatedly that the support of a SUPER majority is required to make law – to infringe on individual liberty – that SUPER majority support is NECESCARY, but not SUFFICIENT.

        That is true of Republicans and Trump.

        That requirement prohibits Republicans or Trump from EXTENDING the power of government.

        HOWEVER it fully permits them to REDUCE the power of government.
        There is no super majority requirement to increase individual liberty.
        There is not even a majority requirement to do so.

        BTW my constraints above – while Resembling those in the constitution, are rooted in ethics and morality and the lockean social contract – not specifically the constitution.

        If you wish to disagree with my criteria above – we can debate that.

        But what I would note – is that you are arguing that Trump and Republicans do not have the public support necescary to positively govern.

        On that we are entirely in agreement. All that we might disagree on is what the criteria for positive government is.

        At the same time – broad public support is not necescary to NEGATIVELY govern.

        Remember that rights ALWAYS trump the will of the majority.
        Increasing liberty does not require majorities.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 2:53 pm

        We can look into our crystal balls and assess what we have, only time will demonstrate what is correct.

        I do not agree with your comparison to 2008.

        The 2008 election swung artificially on the Financial crisis, and the recession.
        The lectorate responded to immediate events – without deliberation.
        This is one of the reasons we do not have pure democracy as it tends towards emotional and poorly thought out responses.

        By 2009 the electorate had changed – part of what has occured is backlash, but part of it represents a change in the right.

        I keep repeating this and few seem to grasp it. In the 21st century the US Right wing has shifted LEFT. That shift is the cause of all the turmoil in the GOP and much arround the country. It is also somewhat evidenced in the outcome of this election.

        Social conservatives are radically diminished in power.

        Many of the POSITIVE changes that have occurred under Obama are the consequence of changes on the RIGHT.

        Gay Marraige, the rapid and broad acceptance of equal rights for gays, are the consequence of the diminished power of social conservatives.

        These things did not happen because the left shifted – much of the left was already there.
        They happened because some on the right accepted these changes and because others on the right lost their ability to oppose.

        Too often we paint political changes as black and white.

        The left won the argument on certain issues such as gay rights.
        But the changes occurred because people on the right relaxed their oppositiion.

        Anyway I have used Gay Rights as an example – but the shift is more broad.

        I would also note – because it is a reflection of the political miscalulation and error on the left, that this is a fundimentally LIBERTARIAN shift – not a progressive shift.

        The country has not moved left – towards greater acceptance of government intrusion on our liberties. It has moved left AWAY from greater right wing government intrusion on our liberties.

        Obama and the left misread the shifts in the country.
        They misread the temporary nature of the 2008 vote.
        And they misread increased popular acceptance of greater negative rights – liberty is the right NOT to be infringed on by govenrment. Equal Rights for Gays as an example is increased NEGATIVE rights.

        Anyway in addition to being the instrument of removal of infrimentments on our rights.
        The progressive left choose to misread the electorate and increase the scale of government infringement on our rights.

        2009 through Trump’s election is a reflection of the the Left’s misreading of the changes in the american people.

        Hillary was near certainly losing in 2016. Trump’s receiving the Republican nomination oddly gave her the best shot at NOT losing.

        Whether support at the moment for Trump is strong or weak, that does NOT translate into support for democrats or the progressive left.

        There are complications because Trump is not a libertarian. He is not a traditional conservative. Frankly he resembles Bill Clinton in myriads of ways. He came close to following LBJ’s political advice and positioned himself between his opponent and the center. Trump campaigned as slightly LEFT of center.

        I am personally in quandry with respect to him because he is not governing completely consistent with the way he campaigned.

        While he is sticking fairly strongly to “draining the swamp” that he championed as candidate – and alot of what has subsequently occured is little more than the swamp creatures fighting back.

        I find his Immigration EO to be a very weak reflection of his campaign positions.
        Contra the 4th circuit it is not “dripping with racism and religious discrimination” – which oddly the constitution appears to permit as non resident non citizens do NOT have constitutional rights.
        Regardless, I do not support it, but I am not tossing molotov cocktails over it.

        Much of his handling of immigration since being elected is only weakly consistent with the more strident positions he campaigned on – again reflecting the huge mistake the courts are making confusing campaign rhetoric with unconstitutional actions.

        Trade is the other big area where Trump’s campaign promises were completely at odds with my values and what is well understood about trade economics.
        While the protectionist rhetoric continues, thus far Trump has leaned closer to free trade in acts.

        Put more simply – though I can not stand to listen to him, and do not like him much as a person, he has thus far been the most libertarian president in my lifetime.
        More so than even Reagan.

        NOTE I am not saying he is a closet libertarian. He is not. There is a huge gulf between most libertarian and actually libertarian.

        And finally I would note that Trump as president is generally consistent with the shifts in the values of the US electorate.

        While I would agree with you that he does not have broad support.
        He does have broader support than anyone else.
        He still polls ahead of Clinton.
        He still polls more favorably than government as a whole – or congress, or democrats, or even other republicans.

        He does not have a mandate to expand government – but he has a very strong mandate to shrink it.

        And he has my support when he does so.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 4:37 pm

        Roby,

        I am personally very nervous about the war mentality.
        Not so much Trumps war on the press – but the presses war on him which predates it.
        Also the personalized war on him by the left.

        If the “Resistance” chooses to obstruct Trump’s implimentation of new policies – to the extent they have the political power to do so, that action is legitimate.

        But the opposition to Trump is to a large extent not about policies.
        It is about the fact that he won and the left lost.
        It is about the end of the left’s dream of enduring political dominance.
        It is about the inability of the left to grasp that they have lost the support of the electorate.

        The “resistance” is the soul of the democratic party.
        It is NOT reflective of the majority of americans.

        It is not even as large as the core of Trump supporters.

        That is extremely important.

        In the unlikely event the left prevails in this nonsensical attempt to remove Trump – it will still face an electorate that Elected Trump, that wants the policies that he has pursued.

        Trump at odds with most politicians is actually striving to do what he promised.
        He is striving to do what those who voted for him elected him to do.
        Much of that does NOT infringe on any actual rights.

        Neither you nor I may remove him as the means to thwart the intentions of those voters.

        We are free to use the normal political process to do so. That is a legitimate power of minorities.

        So my question to you regarding Trump is what is it you are really opposed to ?

        If it is his efforts to shrink government – then you are on the wrong side of the electorate and opposition to him outside the normal process is outside the rule of law and essentially a coup attempt.

        If it is to his personal characteristics, or his competence – all well and good.
        But his voters are still entitles to see their desire to shrink government fullfilled – regardless of who is president.

        I would finally note that the left is angry – we all get that.

        But if they manage to get their way, the result will likely be a far larger body of much angrier voters – who are legitimately angry at having their will thwarted.

        Remembering that you can disempower government with a mere plurality – or less.
        Empowering it requires a supermajority.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 29, 2017 4:45 pm

        Depending on what polls you follow somewhere between 3% and 14% of Sanders voters may have voted for Clinton.

        While there is great disenchantment with Washington.
        Those on the left at odds with washington and those on the right are NOT voting for the same outsider candidates.

        If Trump is followed by a left outsider it will not be because Trump voters jumped to a Sanders like candidate.

        To the extent Trump took democratic votes – he took them from the center not from Sanders voters.

        Finally, you can dislike Trump’s character, you can dislike his style.

        But those who voted for him were driven primarily by his message – disempowering Washington and “making america great again”.

        That is not loonies running the asylum.
        That is rational people tearing down the asylum.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 1:12 pm

        “but I have strong suspicions had the GOP only had 3-4 candidates to start with, (Trump and no more than 3 others), then the wide ideologies would have been more concentrated and the smaller percentage of people supporting Trump would have had a smaller voice. thus leading to maybe Bush, Rubio or Cruz getting the nomination. ”

        Yep, we will never know, but very likely true. Just one of the uncontrollable variables of fate.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 27, 2017 4:20 pm

        While there are things I would like to see done that require congress.

        I am not that unhappy with continued gridlock.

      • May 28, 2017 11:51 am

        Roby, I have no idea what you mean by this: “Because they are also useless idiots? Because of democracy? Because the GOP does not have the support of a strong majority of the voters?”

        What is a STRONG majority? Do the Democrats have one? Does winning elections not count unless your preferred party wins? We do not and never have had a pure democracy, We are a representative republic. So, I’m not sure why you are coming after me on this, unless you are offended by my calling Democrats “useless idiots.” Sorry, but hey mostly are. And the GOP is not a whole hell of a lot better. But it is marginally better right now, in my opinion (qualifier there). They both suck.

        But it has little to do with democracy.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:38 am

        Amen!

        I would only add that whatever the criteria necescary for government to act, those criteria are higher to increase the use of force and decrease individual liberty than they are to decrease the use of force and increase individual liberty.

        If as an example you need a super majority to restrict individual liberty then it falls to reason that if you no longer have super majority support – you may not longer restrict liberty.

        This is the opposite of the leftish view that once some progressive meme has been accomplished it is forever.
        No! It is only for so long as it can maintain the high political support necescary to sustain it.

      • Roby permalink
        May 28, 2017 12:16 pm

        “What is a STRONG majority? Do the Democrats have one? Does winning elections not count unless your preferred party wins?”

        I’m surprised that there is anything here to argue about. I’m simply making the same point that Dave often makes, although I would not take it as far as he does.

        When 40% of the voters want something and 50% decidedly Don’t want it, (and 10% think they will have another Bud Light) then that thing is not going to get put in place easily, if at all. Dave would place a higher wall of popularity at perhaps 70% to change anything but all the same I agree with Dave in principle and already did long ago, in fact I thought that way long before I ever met Dave, and I would guess most people do. If the GOP (or the Dems) want to do things that have strong support, they will do them and be rewarded with votes. If they want to do things that have only the support of the party base they are going to have to fight a protracted war and probably lose, i.e., they will have a very hard time governing.

        Very little of the trump agenda (which has become the GOP agenda I guess) has strong support outside the GOP base. Stronger vetting of people entering the US is probably the one and only trump signature item that has better than 50% popularity. Thus, little is going to get done by the GOP. If the GOP base wants a wall, they need to convince a lot more people to join them in that by making persuasive arguments, or they are not going to get their wall, tax rewrite, etc.

        Which is just democracy.

      • May 28, 2017 12:53 pm

        “When 40% of the voters want something and 50% decidedly Don’t want it, (and 10% think they will have another Bud Light) ”

        WOW!!! Vermonters sure must be one of a kind. Giving 90% credit for wanting something or supporting something politically is shocking to me. I would be happy with 50% of the people nationally supporting or wanting something politically. And that number is based on about 57% of the public eligible to vote that votes. And when that is split almost evenly, that means 28.5% support each party’s agenda.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:57 am

        While I agree with some of what you claim I have said – your version is not the exactly the same.

        Further your version for all its positive aspects is logically inconsistent.

        First lets agree that there is some threshold necescary to restrict liberty.

        That threshold may have many components – suport majority support, moral justification, and being the most efficient and least restrictive means of accomplishing the goal as examples.

        But for the moment lets not fixate on the details of exactly what constituttes that threshold.

        Just that if you reach it – you have met the criteria necessary to infringe on individual liberty. You are justified in legislating.

        Now lets allow some time to pass, days, weeks, years it does not matter.
        But things have changed – the law still exists but the prerequisites necessary to justify that law no longer are met.

        Just as meeting the threshold was necescary to infringe on liberty, remaining above that threshold is necescary to continue to infringe.

        Even if you beleive the sole threshold is the consent of a majority. once you lose the consent of the majority that EXISTING legislation loses its legitimacy.

        There are two important aspects of the above that your expression ignores.

        The first is the requirement for SUSTAINED support,
        The second and related is that at least a majority is necessary to enact, but a MINORITY is sufficient to repeal.

        Now going past philosophy and theory and into practice
        Trump needs whatever that high threshold of support to enact new restrictions on freedom.

        He may not even need plurality support to remove restrictions.

        The vast majority of what Trump has done since inauguration has been to “deconstruct” government. That does not require high levels of support.

        This is also why it has been stupid for the GOP to buy into the Repeal and Replace nonsense.

        Repealing PPACA is trivial – it will self repeal given enough time.
        There is little argument that what preceded it was flawed.
        But it is trivially arguable that on NET it was superior to PPACA – and less expensive.

        Should we want further changes such as AHCA – they REQUIRE the same high justification and support that PPACA should have had and did not.

        The requiremnts to repeal are low, The requirements to enact new legislation are high.

        This is also important because you do not need bipartisan support to repeal.

        But you near certainly need bipartisan support to enact.
        You will not get bipartisan support for repeal and replace.
        But you likely will get bipartisan support for Replace AFTER repeal.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 12:08 pm

        Just to be clear I am mostly with you that the GOP can not positively legislate without popular support.

        I would still rephrase that as:

        The GOP can not further restrict liberty without strong popular support.
        It can decrease restrictions on liberty without strong popular support.

        Some (but not all tax reform) can be legitimately accomplished without majority support.

        The key point is we forget that government is force. Acts of government are restrictions of liberty.

        Whatever consists of sufficient justification for you. that justification is not a once and done thing.

        We can not the day after some black muslim bombs a synagogue decide to exterminate black muslims merely because on day in anger we had sufficient support to do so.

        ALL Legislation – all restrictions on liberty require continuous justification.

        When that justification drops below the threshold the legislation can be repealed.

        The process is NOT symetrical – repeal does not require the same support as enactiment.
        justification must be sustained, otherwise repeal is justified.

      • May 28, 2017 8:27 pm

        Roby, America is not a “majority rules” nation, certainly not in the literal sense. As a constitutional republic, a representative, rather than an absolute democracy, we derive our strength as a nation from the rule of law, not the tyranny of the majority or of a minority. In that regard, I agree with Dave 100%. In a pure democracy, unrestricted by a constitution, the majority can vote to impose tyranny on themselves and outlaw the minority opposition.

        So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you are correct, and that 50+% of the population is opposed to the policy positions of Donald Trump. I may strongly disagree with you on that point (and I do), and think that on immigration, trade, national defense, freedom of speech and other positions, Trump represents a majority opinion. Either way, Trump is the duly elected president, head of the executive branch of government and commander and chief of the armed forces. The majority in Congress is of his party, and the majority of states have elected GOP governors and legislatures. When it comes to actual elections, the Republican Party currently has a strong ruling majority.

        Ron, I do agree that the Republicans are not good at being the ruling majority, and that one of the main reasons for that is their inability to communicate to their own voters. Personally, I believe that that’s because they are full of crap most of the time, and don’t mean half of what they say. I think his supporters believe that Trump does mean what he says. Whether he is capable of overcoming his own party’s opposition and his own flaws as a leader is another story.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:46 pm

        It is my view – and it has generally been the view of the courts and the law for more than two centuries – though often disregarded by both,

        That while our system of government as defined by the constitution does nto provide an underlying philosophy – a foundation for government (that is provided by the declaration of independence), that it does however define what government – particularly the federal government CAN do, and that all else is prohibited to it.

        I would personally prefer that all government was required to justify all law on the basis that it secured our rights, and that law that did not was inherently invalid.

        I beleive that is irrefutably true, that government outside that fails both philophically and practically.

        But our constitution was not written that way.

        That said regardless of what framework you use to limit government you MUST have one.
        If you do not you have accepted totalitarianism.

        If you can not express concretely the specific limits you use to perscribe government then you beleive in limitless government – the totalitarian state.

      • Roby permalink
        May 28, 2017 10:37 pm

        Well, I thought my point was quite simple and straightforward Priscilla. I don’t actually understand what your disagreement with it is. You can’t possibly be saying that because the GOP holds the oval office and congress they should simply win until they are tired of winning.

        Even by framing the issues very vaguely, for or against some policy, as polls do, the conservative base wants things that appeal for the most part to that core base and are not broadly popular. When one actually gets into the nuances and specifics of any issue the situation is even less favorable to the GOP base because there are not just two variations, pro or con on an issue, there are many variations that split even conservatives (or liberals when its their turn).

        Case in point, a tax cut. For every conservative (or just anybody) who is happy to tell a pollster that they favor cutting taxes, there is a subset who really mean, they favor it as long as it does not mean a wild increase in the deficit, which is not the same pure support.

        If the trump agenda could pass the test of being capable of being made into legislation that pleases a clear majority then his popularity would not be permanently deep underwater, no matter what kind of asshole he is. Clinton was an obvious narcissistic asshole too but people liked his positions, many of which had the support of the middle and sane right and left moderates. He was popular as a president but not as a person.

        That is why the GOP can’t govern so easily as its ownership of the levers of power suggests. It does not have positions that can be transformed into popular actions once the actual details enter the picture.

        I was very afraid that the GOP would be able to run the table with their control of the presidency and congress. The fact that it hasn’t been able to has greatly calmed me and underlined the wisdom of the work of the founding fathers.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:54 pm

        Again I would agree that those currently in power – the GOP, can not increase the power of government against the will of even a significant minority of the people.

        That said they CAN decrease the power of government – with the support of ONLY a significant minority of people.

        Taxes are complicated as tax cuts generally disempower government – which does not require majority support. But tax cuts without spending cuts increase the burden of govenrment on those in the future and therefore can not be done even with a simple majority.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:55 pm

        The power of government can not and should not be easily expanded – not by the GOP – not by democrats.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:57 pm

        What disturbs me most is though our positions here are similar – they are still different

        and that difference is important.

        Your framing of the powers of congress and the president require the same conditions to termninate restrictions on liberty as to create them.

        Regardless of party – it should be HARD to extend government and easy to roll it back.

      • May 29, 2017 11:07 am

        Really, Roby, I wish that you would actually read what I write.

        I disputed your contention that the GOP does not have a strong majority, and tried to clarify that by specifying that I meant “majority” in the ruling sense, not the “popular approval polls” sense.

        I believe that there is a populist movement on both sides of the political spectrum ~ the one on the Democrat side is led by Bernie Sanders supporters and is of a more left-wing socialist variety. The one on the Republican side is a more nationalist (no, not “white nationalist”) variety, and is led by Donald Trump.

        When it comes to the Washington DC establishment, I believe that both sides are out of touch with the popular majority of American citizens. However, I believe that the Democrats are more out of touch. You disagee, I get that.

        The average voter is not well-versed in tax policy. I think that tax-cuts mean something very simple to most people. Less money out of their paycheck, more money in their paycheck. I doubt that more than a tiny subset worry about the deficit. They worry about themselves. Those that support Sander’s brand of high taxes and “free stuff” do so because they believe that they will be better off that way. Why they think that, I don’t know. I assume it’s ignorance…….

      • May 29, 2017 11:21 am

        “The fact that it hasn’t been able to has greatly calmed me and underlined the wisdom of the work of the founding fathers.”

        I am glad to hear this. Were you similarly calmed when the GOP opposed much of the Obama agenda, or did you consider them “obstructionists”?

        I don’t ask that in a facetious sense, but it seems to me that partisanship has created a fascinating ~ and disturbing ~ level of hypocrisy on both sides. Both sides.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 8:02 pm

        I fully support the legitimate procedural obstructionism by BOTH sides to prevent legislation further restricting liberty.

        I oppose all efforts of both sides to interfere with even the right of a significant minority to increase freedom .

        I fully support political protests – of any political posture.

        I fully support a free press – even a highly biased one.

        I oppose the efforts of those in any administration to impede the policies of that administration, and anyone doing so should be fired.

        Conflicts over policy are political and the only legitimate constraints on the political agenda of the administration are from OUTSIDE the administration – congress, the courts, the media and the people.

        I oppose the use of violence against government that conforms to the rule of law.

        I would prefer to overcome lawless government without violence but violence against lawless govenrment is legitimate – that is precisely the message of the declaration of independence.

        To this point Trump supporters have been relatively non-violent.
        Certainly not engaged in organized violence.

        Threats of impeachment without winnign the support of Trump voters constitute an attempted coup – that is an act of violence and it can be responded to with violence.

        Trumps election and his imposition of policies that are within his legitimate constitutional powers are NOT justification for violence.

      • Roby permalink
        May 29, 2017 11:35 am

        “I doubt that more than a tiny subset worry about the deficit. They worry about themselves. ”

        If so, that is a terrible situation. But I don’t believe its so. Ron is not the only one who believes that leaving our huge debt to our descendents is wrong and should not be a partisan issue. I believe that there are many on the left and right who agree and won’t just fall for some simplistic line about having more money in their paycheck.

        If it were so simple as you say we’d be cutting taxes right and left, it would be irresistable. When we do cut taxes the deficit situation gets worse, people have figured that out. It ain’t rocket science.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 8:09 pm

        One of the problems is that it is virtually impossible to poll in a fashion that accurately reflects real world questions.

        Do you support insurance for pre-existing conditions,
        is not a real world question.

        In the real world when we pick “A” that precludes “B”, “C” and “D” because we have limited resources and can not have everything we want.

        Further for each person even where A is the same “B” “C” and “D” are likely different.

        When we ask “do you support coverage for pre-existing conditions, even if it costs you a bit more” support flatlines – and even that is not a truly accurate question.

        The same is true regarding deficits and other issues.

        Candidates tend not to be honest. But voters are not a stupid as they are portrayed.
        They attemtp to factor most of the things polsters do not ask into their votes.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 8:12 pm

        Deficits are complex.

        Leaving a huge debt to our children is a small problem – if that debt is a smaller percent of GDP than today.
        It is a huge one if it is greater.

        Nor is getting to smaller debt a trivial undertaking.

        Cutting spending will work.

        Cutting taxes can increase or decrease the deficit depending on a number of factors.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 8:14 pm

        Taxes are not rocket science – but they are not simple math either

        In fact all prices have non-linear and complex behavior – but taxes are among the worst.

  73. Anonymous permalink
    May 26, 2017 7:25 pm

    Take something that is not so good, but perhaps fixable, replace it with a worse plan with a super death spiral (no penalty) and ignore what we really need: some kind of single payer.

    • May 26, 2017 10:22 pm

      I think that it’s important for conservatives and libertarians to come to terms with universal coverage, which pretty much has to include some public health insurance option.

      I don’t think that it has to be an entitlement, and I think that it can co-exist with private insurance, in the same way that public and private schools coexist.

      The term “single-payer” connotes to me big government healthcare, and I don’t think that Americans will accept that, ever.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 27, 2017 4:07 pm

        Absolutely wrong!.

        Would you support universal home ownership ?
        Universal food ?
        Universal utilities ?
        Universal car repair ?

        All of these are far closer to “rights”.

        But none are.

        I am still on the fence on AHCA.
        Why ? Because there is only one solution. Return to free markets in healthcare.
        My question regarding AHCA is whether it will leave enough free space to get there.

        I can personally think of half a dozen ways the market can provide improved healthcare.
        Every single one of them is impossible in our current environment. Some are illegal others are just impractical with the level of govenrment control over health markets.

        We have discusses subscription medicine – allow doctors to provide medical services the same way your cell phone company and internet provider do – fixed monthly fee for a smorgesbord of services.

        Is that the answer ? I do not know.

        What I do know is that the bigger the role of government in healthcare the less things like that will be tried.

        The more stagnant and expensive healthcare will become.
        Government absolutely chokes innovation.
        For all its other evils that too is one of the tremendous harms of medicare.

        BTW it is not a question of what people will accept.

        In the abstract Single Payer tends to poll well.
        It is the realities that are a disaster.

        While I am vigorously opposed to the entire entitlements state – it is destructive to the very people it seeks to help.

        Liberal Lion Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan eventually concluded that the entire great society anti-poverty programs were one of the worst things we had ever done to minorities.
        It destroyed their families and institutiions.

        But if you want “universal” anything.

        LEts trash the entire entitlements system and replace the whole thing with a single universal basic income.

        To be clear there are specific approaches to this and I am just addressing the general concept of replacing every single program with one that applies evenly to EVERYONE.

        If it is the same amount to every person – then it is not a disincentive to work.
        If it is a single amount then you use it however you please – retirement, health insurance,
        whatever.

        This is an economically bad idea – but it is less bad than what we have and far less bad than growing what we have.

      • May 28, 2017 8:30 pm

        No, none of those things. But, I do think that there is a case to be made that access to healthcare should be universal, just as access to education is.

        I am not in favor of single payer, not at all.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:49 pm

        Because we have thoroughly F’d up education, we should do the same to healthcare ?

        Sorry that is a bit facetious – we have already F’d up BOTH.

        Our failures in education and healthcare should drive us to considering why government should do either.

        BTW why are healthcare and education unique ?
        Why shouldn’t we have universal access to food ?
        To jobs ?
        To cars ?
        To homes ?

        There is absolutely nothing special about either healthcare or education.

    • May 26, 2017 11:59 pm

      Like everything the government does today, it is a nightmare when it could be a day dream. We do not need universal healthcare unless it is a British style system. The system would remove all profit from the equation and all healthcare workers are part of the government system so everyone from the surgical specialist to the ward clerks in hospitals, pharmacist in drug stores and ambulatory care workers are aligned with patient care without regard to costs. You can not have a single payer system where cost control is the major issue and cost are continually reduced, while you have providers aligned with income and increasing their income based on services they provide. It won’t work under any condition.

      I don’t understand why this is such an issue anyway. As a leaning Libertarian, I do not believe the government needs to be involved with healthcare rules unless those providing coverage have desires where screwing the subscribers is the foremost goal, and as in the past, insurance companies are right there with used car salesmen in doing just that. So there needs to be some government regulations that provide basic coverage rules and they need to be national and not state based unless the states require more and not less.

      So based on some basic requirements, then 1) how about removing the requirement that all people have coverage. 2) Coverage begins with employment in employer plans. 3) Coverage begins when self funded plans are contractually agreed to once an individual turns 26. (Prior to that they can be on parents plans) 4) If an individual over 26 has not had insurance, basic healthcare coverage begins when contract begins, but preexisting conditions begin 6 months after the effective date. 5) People with catastrophic or uninsurable preexisting conditions who have reached a lifetime maximum (set by government) will then be placed in risk pools and covered by a government program. 7) People not enrolled in a plan will have to pay their own medical bills. 8) Since medical bills are the last to be collected by collection agencies, regulations should be in place to give the same importance to paying for medical bills as paying for cars, boats and wide screen TV’s.

      Basically the government provides basic coverage requirements, insurance companies provide that coverage and those that are too expensive get coverage by a government risk pool. Otherwise you get some bastardized system like Obamacare that will never work.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 27, 2017 4:46 pm

        Ron;

        Profit is the reward that producers receive for innovation and reducing costs.
        Further it is a temporary reward. The benefits of innovation and reduced costs initially accrue to the producer but ultimately go to the consumer.

        This is the mechanism by which free markets increase standard of living.

        Schemes where there is no profit FAIL – universally.

        The very WORST thing you can do to health care is to take profits out.

        Everyone knows my kids were cyberchartered.

        Technically cyber charters are public schools but run by for profit companies.
        They typically cost about 75% of what ordinary public schools do.

        Cyber charters are not for everyone – but they are good for many parents and kids.

        There have been alot of evolving problems with cybercharters in the past 10 years that my kids have been in them – and in some ways they have declined – because the government has imposed more and more rules and there is less and less flexibility.

        At the same time – there is significant competition in cybercharters.

        Any parent who will remove their kid from a public school, will have zero problems switching to a different cyber charter.

        As a result the quality and offerings have improved.

        Yet cyber charters cost 3/4 of what regular schools do ?
        AND the companies running them still manage to profit.

        Sorry Ron Profit is GOOD, not bad.
        It is what makes things improve.

        If you want to assure that healthcare stagnates and continuously increases in cost – turn more of it over to the government.

        BTW Costs – prices are absolutely critical.

        The most stupid thing that you can do is divorce decision making from costs.

        It is the free market pricing system that communicates through the market peoples preferences and the strength of those preferences and assures that we utilize available resources to their best use – as decided by our personal prefrences as reflected in the cost we are willing to pay.

        Let me try an example – if we decide we like ice cream more tomorow than today – and double our consumption of it.
        Initially the cost of ice cream will increase – because we want more of it.
        But then ice cream makers will produce more – which means they will need more milk – which will increase the price of milk – until more is produced – which will increase the price of beef – because we will slaughter less cows so that we can produce more milk – until we start raising more cows.

        At the same time higher milk costs – will alter our prices for cheese and yogurt

        The effects of our change in preference ripples through the market conveyed by prices to assure that we have the amount of ice cream and yogurt and cheese and milk and cows, and …. that we want – and no more.

        In economic systems with poor or no price systems – first an enormous amout of effort must be directed towards deciding how much ice cream, cheese, yogurt, milk whatever to produce – this is an additional cost that is not present in markets – because prices communicate that infomation.
        Next systems without prices where cost is removed from the equation
        never get production right – they end up with too much yogurt and too little ice cream and the excess typically rots.

        The common attributes of systems that do not use price/cost to allocate resources are

        Pollution
        waste
        missallocation of production
        higher costs
        lower standard of living
        slower growth.

        Is this what you want in healthcare ?

        In the end you can say you do not want choices made reflective of costs,
        but you can not actually avoid that.
        All you can do is transfer the decision up the ladder.
        Even in the USSR someone had to examine costs.

        When you push that decision up you do not avoid it. You just make it less efficient and you remove personal control.

        Anyway, you note a bunch of problems – those are all problems of top down systems.

        Bottom up systems like free markets – do not fix everything. They just work much better than the alternatives.

      • May 27, 2017 6:58 pm

        What I want in health care reimbursement is a system where everyone has their own input and is reimbursed based on their input. If this means a cardiac surgeon that operates on a patient for 4 hours in California bills out that cost at $125,000 and the same operation is done in Omaha Nebraska for $75.000, then that is fine. What I want is an insurance system where you pay premiums and you are covered for whatever illness you may incur. You pay the premiums, you have insurance. I want a system where someone making $50,000 a year for company A and is offered a job making $75,000 for company B and they have insurance with company A, I want a system where that person can change jobs and be covered by company b’s insurance from the day they signup for coverage. Too many people were “stuck” in a job because they had health insurance and a family and when they changed jobs, they were open for huge emergency room bills and other catastrophic costs during the waiting period. So instead of taking a chance on losing everything because of some hiigh medical bills, they stay in the lower paying job.

        What I do not want is a free market system where Dave pays insurance coverage for years and when Dave gets colon cancer and has to go for extended treatments, the insurance companies cancels the coverage and no one else will cover Dave. That happened with most all insurance companies in the past and that is why I put them right there with politicians, dog catchers and used car salesmen.

        Now to make that system more affordable and not create a system that requires all healthy people to have coverage to spread the risk like the car insurance and life insurance companies do, then I believe that the government plays a role in covering high risks pools, instead of the asinine system that Obama created or the idiotic system the GOP was trying to create in the house.

        Just create high risk pools so people that are not insurable can get covered and let everyone else buy on the open market, including national contracts where a company can sell in 50 different states without state regulations creating 50 different sets of regulations they have to follow.

        There would need to be some requirements on getting covered by high risk pools, but doing that would be much simpler than the monster Government created or is trying to recreate now.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:00 am

        We all want more than we can have.

        One of the purposes of the free market is to provide us the opportunity to trade what we have produced for the most of what we want as we can have.

        With meeting our various wants and needs proportionate to the value we place on them.

        I want an Austin Martin DB-10. I also want dinners out with my wife.
        The former is outside the realm of possibility – without radically changing what I produce.
        the latter is inside my capabilites.

        In a perfect world I would want to go to dinner with my wife every night.
        I could probably do that today – but I would have to give up many many other things that I also want.

        All of the above is true of healthcare.

        We can not have everything we want.

        But there is one and only one arrangement that will deliver the greatest portion of what we want – that we can afford – without reducing what we have of other things we want even more, and that is free markets.

        There is no substitute.

        There is no managed form of market anywhere ever that has not substantially underperformed free markets in delivering the greatest portion of what we want.

        Further free markets provide the greatest incentive to deliver more of what we want tomorow more affordably than today.

        I am not even slightly interested in speculating on better arrangements that should be imposed on us by government – because no matter how good any idea might sound – there are no one size fits all perfect solutions that can be imposed by force and work better than those we work out freely on your own.

        I think there are myriads of ways to do better than we do.

        What I want is for government to get out of the way of those.
        Because that is the only way things will actually get substantially better.

      • Roby permalink
        May 27, 2017 8:23 pm

        I can’t find a word here I disagree with. The cost to the government on high-risk pools would be quite a large sum and of course the ins. companies would try to push everyone there, it would need some mechanism to force the ins. companies to be reasonable about who is in the high-risk pool and who is in the regular pool. Or would there be more than those 2 pools?

        Now, I know what you think of politicians, but send this piece of writing to your congressman and senators. Submit it to your local paper as an op-ed. They might surprise you and print it. In each case preface it with something about your own work experiences. You have earned your opinion with life experience; it has weight.

      • May 27, 2017 11:43 pm

        Roby, I have written my legislators on a number of issues and I always get the form letter “Thank you for contacting me concerning XYZ” and then it goes on to highlight the talking point of whatever party they represent. Sometimes it does not even pertain to the issue I wrote about. That is why politicians are so amazed at town halls, they actually hear what the voters think and not what their handlers want them to hear.

        And contacting the newspaper is useless since it is a dying publication as is all print news unless it is the WSJ, NYT or W.Post. For an area with about 1 million that the paper covers, it only has circulation to about 7% of the people. And most of them are older, Republican and accept anything the GOP spoon feeds them. Based on polls and feedback that the paper conducts, the liberals and independents are a small portion of their readers.

        Thanks for the idea though.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:09 am

        Government has never reliably delivered any service of any kind efficiently or cost effectively. There is no reason to beleive that government sponsored high risk pools would be any better than any other mess that government has made.

        Further the mere act of creating a government subsidy incentivizes it.

        If you have government subsidized risk pools then insurance companies are heavily incentivized to push ever more people into those risk pools to capture those subsidies.

        We have had this happen with government subsidized student loans – higher education costs have increased to capture any increase in subsidized loan capactity of students.

        We have had this with medicare – who would have thought that seniors would have trippled their consumption of health care when it became nearly free ? Who would have thought that the cost of healthcare would have increased significantly when medicare significantly increased demand ?

        Many of the constraints that insurance companies place on insurance that we all consider to be evil – have a purpose beyond “profit” – they reduce moral hazard.
        Moral hazard is what occurs when the cost of risk is not born by those making the decisions about the risk.

        Moral hazard – mispriced risk, is the cause of the housing bubble and the subsequent financial collapse.

        So why do you want to introduce more governmnt moral hazard to healthcare. ?

      • May 30, 2017 11:57 am

        Exactly why we have the screwed up mess we have and people blame programs and not the people who wrote them piss poorly.

        “We have had this with medicare – who would have thought that seniors would have trippled their consumption of health care when it became nearly free ? Who would have thought that the cost of healthcare would have increased significantly when medicare significantly increased demand ?”

        1. Seniors have tripled consumption because we are living longer, treatments have improved and cost have increased. In 1990, you had a heart attack, you took blood thinners and died within 2-3 years for the most part. Today you get stents ($25,000+) or bypass($100,000+)and live another 25-35 years. Same with cancer treatments.

        2. Medicare as it is written today would not have had the impact on cost had it been written in 1968 like it is today. Today it is reimbursed on services rendered based on costs that were developed for 15 years and then inflated each year since 1982. Had it been based beginning in 1968 on services rendered, there would not have been 15 years of cost built into the formula like today. Before 1982, Medicare told hospitals, tell us how much it cost to treat medicare patients and we will send you that money back. WOOHOO!!!! 40%-50% of our cost covered right off the bat. That means hospitals only have to cover the cost of wages, supplies ,equipment and profit with 50% to 60% of their other patients. With that hospitals had no incentive to control cost, they went out and bought the latest and greatest. To try and stop that, states came up with certificate of need requirements that meant, you want to be reimbursed for Medicare and Medicaid for those new services, you had to have state certifications. Big deal, doctors went out and bought MRI;s CT Scanners, Lithotripsy machines and other high tech stuff and only used them on third party insurance and private pay patients who did not care about certificates of need. EXACTLY the patients that were providing the “profits” from high tech stuff that hospitals were using to generate income to update those services and cover wages to staff those systems. So the only way to cover those cost due to lower utilization from more profitable patients was to raise rates, and the spiral continued until the government said enough and began paying like the private insurance companies were paying.

        You are correct in your comments that the free market is best and had a program been set up for Medicare like a free market entity competing with other free market entities, the environment would be vastly different than it is today. The problem is the asses that create programs that have no idea what the F they are doing and then refuse to change the program when it fails because that is “cutting entitlements” and will “cost me my career” if I vote to change them.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:03 pm

        Sorry Robby – the problem is with the programs.

        It is not that they are “written poorly” – though that is often true.
        It is that government is inherently less efficient – and should be than private solutions to our problems.

        If a problem does not require force – then it is not a problem that government should address.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:31 pm

        1), Senior consumption of medical services trippled nearly immediately after Medicare took effect – all the other factors you raise are tangential.

        Medicare passed in 1965 – long before 1990
        Life expectance in 1967 was 71 Today it is 78.
        While that increases medical consumption by seniors it is not that significant.
        Medicare has had ZERO impact on the rate of increase – therefore it has provided no actual benefit to seniors.

        Further while I can not get the life expectance of a 65 year old in 1965 – most of our increases in life expectance – have been do to more people making it to 65.

        The risk of a heart attack in males starts climbing at age 45 – it has peaked by 66.

        2).

        The first part of your argument is irrelevant. It might change your baseline it does not change the problem.

        But there is a bigger issue – the huge fallacy of nearly all government programs that have anything to do with the “cost” of a service or good.

        The idea that there is some objective cost is economic nonsense.

        Value is subjective. Housing prices peaked in 2006 and then tanked.
        The “cost” to build a home did not change appreciably.

        Market prices are determined by value as well as supply and demand.

        The entire assumption that government can in any possible way determine the “cost” of anything is just total nonsense.

        Worse still merely by participating in the market government totally distorts the market.

        Heatlhcare cost inflation was the same as general inflation prior to 1965 and has been higher since.

        The only effective incentive that exists to control costs is free markets.
        Nothing else has ever worked – NOTHING.
        Yes, some government tactics work – tempororarily.
        But no matter what process government uses, no matter what rules it creates – it is ALWAYS possible to game the system
        In a free market that very desire to “game the system” works to ultimately constrain costs.
        Every method of generating higher profits in a free market ultimately transforms into lower costs.
        Government is not and can not be dynamic enough to create the same arrangement.

        Put most simply 95% of economists agree that cost controls just plain do not work.
        I am not sure why that is not 100% – as cost controls run completely afoul of the law of supply and demand.

        The mere existance of medicare means you do not and can not have a free market.

        There is no “like a free market” – you ether have a free market or you have a mess.
        How bad a mess may vary, but it can not be good, and it will be gamed.

        PPACA tried to play this nonsense with exchanges.
        These were a stupid government idea of how to fake a free market.
        Pseudo free markets are not free markets.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:38 pm

        Just to be clear better written programs are not actually a good idea.
        Social Security is possibly the least badly constructed of the social safety net programs.
        It mostly did not displace pre-existing markets – though it likely prevented new ones.

        Because it was constructed better – it has endured longer and as a consequence of that when it fails the failure will be larger and more spectacular.

        The great depression was likely caused by a 1% error in the New York Fed’s interest rate.
        The great recession was caused by a similarly small error.

        Volatility in the markets service and extremely valuable purpose – the oscillations make error correction and cancellation easier – the trends still tend to be up – but the jitter prevents sustained small errors.
        But government actions tend not to osciliate, they do not dynamically adjust.
        Big errors are obvious and fail fast.
        Small errors compound and can continue longer without anyone noticing
        until they are enormous.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 28, 2017 12:12 am

        What rules do you need for a used car salesman besides:

        You can not initiate force or fraud
        You must keep your agreements
        You must make whole those you harm ?

        What more rules do you need for health insurance ?

        If insurance companies in the free market do not sell people products worth what they charge – who will buy insurance ?

        While I personally think the current structure of insurance is stupid.
        The vast majority of the cost of health insurance is for pre-paid healthcare.
        That is just plain idiocy and the least efficient way to deliver services.

        If what we want is pre-paid or subscription healthcare – than we should
        but that directly – it is not health insurance, and it should not be provided as insurance.

        But that is my personal view.
        What we should really have – is whatever arrangements end up as a consequence of the normal opperation of free markets.

        That likely is grocery store healthcare – different goods and services for different people to suit their different tastes.

        Something just under 80% of us want coverage for prexisting conditions – but ask if we still want that if it costs more – support drops to in the upper 20%.

        Costs are important – they allow us to get those things we want the most.

        I do not understand why people who have no problems making choices at a fast food resturant, on eBay or Amazon, or in the grocery store are purportedly incapable of making their own choices without special government protections in healthcare.

      • May 28, 2017 12:32 pm

        Dave, your positions on consumer protection is so far out of the norm that even someone like myself who believes in minimal government can not understand your thoughts on the issue.

        If 100% of the insurance companies take your money based on claims they make in advertising and other communications, both written and verbal, to provide a service and then when that service is accessed, they cancel the contract, that is “fraud” in my mind. Maybe not to the law, but to me.

        So when you say insurance companies will not stay in business, maybe you are right. But lets have them come out and say exactly what they are selling. Maybe if one of them would offer a no cancellation policy without lifetime limits and then advertise that policy like Liberty Mutual advertises auto insurance (using examples of piss poor auto coverage), then the consumers would have a choice. Until Obamacare, there was no protections at all, so you pay, you make a claim, they cancel. As long as you paid more into the contract than you filed claims for, you were fine.

        “If what we want is pre-paid or subscription healthcare – than we should
        but that directly – it is not health insurance, and it should not be provided as insurance.” EXACTLY!!!, And that is what the insurance companies were selling under the umbrella of insurance. A self funded medical account that you used until you withdrew more than what you paid in and then they cancelled.

        As for the used car salesmen, the only rules needed are the ones prohibiting sale of stolen goods.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 12:21 pm

        Actual fraud is legitimately within the scope of government to punish.

        No special apriori legislation is necescary for that.

        Fraud is pretty well understood.

        If you are a used car salesman and you turn back the oddometer on a car you are selling – that is fraud.

        We do not need a special law that says – you can not turn back the oddometer.

        Just as we do not need a law that says – you can not fill the transmission with sawdust to get it to work for a few days.

        Contracts are … Contracts. Again it is a legitimate role of govenrment to enforce them.
        That also requires the government to “interpret” them – much as it does laws.

        And we have rules for contract interpretation – that are much the same as the rules we should have for legislation. Contract terms are generally interpreted with all ambiguity in favor of the party they are imposed on. They are interpretted as they would have been understood when written – not years later.

        All that said – breach a contract and the govenrment may intervene and punish you.
        That is NOT regulation. It is ordinary black letter non-administrative law, and it is handled by the courts, not the executive.

        The elements of a contract are offer acceptance and consideration.
        It takes very little to make a contract. It is still binding.
        We have a preference for written contracts with clear terms and we have more problems adjudicating verbal contracts, implied contracts, ….
        But these are all still legitimate – and the purview of common law and the courts.
        They are not the purview of the legislature or administration.

        Equally important they are aposteriori, not apriori.

      • May 30, 2017 2:17 pm

        Dave I understand completely what you are saying about contracts and contract law. Where you and I disagree is to what level of involvement the government should be in the insurance contracts sold to the public. You accept a contract that says we will cover you until you have a catastrophic illness that all insurance companies sell and then we will cancel. I support government involvement where insurance companies would be required to sell at least one policy that continues after a catastrophic illness and employer insurance that covers preexisting conditions from day one of coverage if the employee is changing jobs and had insurance with a previous employer.

        We will never agree on your complete free market position because there is no such thing as “free markets” in this day and age in my book for some things. And when insurance companies all sell the same products with the same “gotcha’s” that screw the subscribers once they begin using them, that is not a free and open market.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:52 pm

        We have had contracts in all kinds of things for centuries.
        Without much in the way of regulation.

        The seller always tries to get terms favorable to them, and the buyer wants terms favorable to them.
        Periodically “offensive” terms manage to creep in for a while.
        But actually consequenctial ones die.

        Because profits are made by delivering value that people want.

        Terms that dimish the value of a product do not survive long – except in highly regulated markets.

        No I do not agree with your example clause – I do not find it acceptable.
        And I will voice that displeasure in my purchase choices.

        Again look at the cereal aisle of the grocery store.
        Providers in free markets ultimately offer people what they want – even when they want 150 different choices.

        If every single insurance company has some term that most of us do not like.
        That creates an opportunity for the first insurance company to offer a product that people like better – say without the offensive clause.

        The only times you will not see that happen eventually and automatically is when it is not possible.

        And typically impossible only means not yet possible.
        Any term that bothers people is a potential market for the company that figures out how to offer a policy without it.

        About the only things that will not change – that might bother people is it is highly unlikely without government pushing (as we saw with the housing crisis) that companies will allow moral hazard to rise. Because getting moral hazard wrong eventually bankrupts you – and fast.

        And as a society we do not want insurance policies with high moral hazzard – even if that is exactly what consumers want.

        We lose our insurance when we change jobs – because government incentivized employer provided insurance instead of individual insurance. In fact there are myriads of problems with insurance that flow from the fact that most insurance is employer provided – and because government has stepped into that and created different rules for employer provided insurance than individual insurance.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 31, 2017 12:00 am

        Whenever you see any market providing very close to an identical product from all providers – you can be absolutely certain that you are dealing with a highly regulated market.

        Again visit the cereal aisle in the grocery store. Homgentiy is NOT a trait of free markets.
        It is an artifcat of stupid economics developed by the people who conceived out anti=trust laws that has no bearing on reality.

        No we do not have perfect free markets.

        But we actually know that from wherever you are in the spectrum – moving towards a freer market will result in more rapid increase in standard of living.

        Your getting hung up on absolute arguments that are inhernetly falacious.

        we do not have to have absolute truth to know that A is far more probably true than B.
        The absence of absolute truth does nto preclude relatitve truth (or absolute falsity).

        The absence of perfectfree markets does not change the fact that moving towards freer markets will always be good and away always be bad.

        China does nto have free markets, but it moved from socialist markets in the nearly pure sense slowly towards freer markets – and raised standard of living hundreds of fold.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:16 pm

        It is irrelevant whether my views regarding consumer protection are “outside the norm”.

        We do not infringe on rights – merely because many people think that is acceptable.

        If two people voluntarily engage in an exchange.
        If those two people are satisfied – which is the case 99,.9999999% of the time.
        If no third parties suffer actual harm.

        Then the fact that 10,000,000 other people do not like that exchange is completely irrelevant.

        The majority does not have a voice in everything. It does nto have a voice in most things.

        There is absolutely no basis at all for law if:
        Both parties to a transaction entered the exchange voluntarily and received what they were promised
        no harm was done to third parties.

        Government is not there to impose the whims of third parties on others.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 28, 2017 12:14 am

        Why should government define the coverage requirements ?

        I explicityly WANT insurance companies to be offering a variety of products and services at different prices

        That is how the market works best – we are not the same, We do not want or need the same health insurance.

      • Roby permalink
        May 28, 2017 11:33 am

        Ron, your thoughts pass two tests, common sense and common decency. They also pass a third test, you have actual deep knowledge from your own long work experience of the issues you are talking about. Thoughtful and very well informed opinions such as your opinion on the health insurance issue are truly valuable.

        I wish you could find a venue for them to reach more than just our small group.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 11:16 am

        Any government solution FAILS all of those tests.

        It is never common sense to have government provide anything that does not require force.

        Government is ALWAYS force. Why is it so hard to grasp that we should not use force unless we need it ?

        If you have a good idea – impliment it your self – or through a business or through a charity or civic organization. The point is impliment it without force.

        If it is a good idea – it does nto require force. THAT is common sense.

        Decency is not something that you IMPOSE on others.
        That would be INDECENCY.

        If you devote some of your resources to the benefit of others – I will applaud you and celebrate your decency.

        IF you use force to compel some to help others – then you are a tyrant – you are indecent.

        Ethics, morality the rule of law do not change because of your emotional response.

        You are ONLY free to use emotions to make choices in your own life.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 27, 2017 3:52 pm

      Why is it that you beleive you are entitled to “what you think you need ?”

      You are entitled to – what you can get for yourself.

      Several states have contemplated single payer – none can afford to do it.
      All were wealthy blue states – it is actually harder elsewhere.

      Medicare our quasi single payer system does not pay its own costs, and is heavily subsidized in multiple ways by private insurance – how do you think that is going to work when there is no private health care to subsidize it ?

      The VA is the other big Single Payer system – is that what you want for everyone ?

      If you can not make SP work for veterans – why do you think it will work better elsewhere ?

      There are an infinite number of reasons that it is critical that Government NOT intrude further into healthcare.

      Consider the mess Social Security has inflicted on us all ?
      Completely ignoring the fact that it is a ponzi scheme that is about to explode in our faces,

      It has also taken Trillions of dollars of wealth that would have been invested in building a better future and wasted it on government.

      We are sitting here today with sub 2% growth with lunatics on the left telling us to accept that as the new norm.

      Our pathetic growth is the natural consequence of growing government.

      I have repeated here over and over than for every 10% of the economy government consumes growth declines 1%. This is robust over the past 50 years.
      Robust over the OECD over the US, over the world – to the extent we have data robust over the past 2 centuries.

      You want to know why growth was 7% in the 19th century and 3.5% in to 20th, and 2% in the 21st. Look at government.

      Social Security alone has stolen trillions of dollars of wealth and investment.

      Today one of the largest sources of capital in the US is IRA’s and private pensions.

      That is where alot of the resources to grow our future come from.

      The money that is paid into social security ? IS economically dead.
      If funds government growth which is a NEGATIVE not positive economic impact.

      Health insurance is NOT a huge source of private investment.
      But it is an actual source.

      Your health insurance premiums get invested until the insurance company needs them to pay for care. That is the primary means by which insurance companies profit.
      Their real business is investing premiums not health care.

      Regardless, convert to Single Payer and you take another couple trillion a year out of growning the economy and put it towards economic destruction.

  74. May 28, 2017 11:49 am

    Roby brings up a good point about the definition of high risk, and the need to restrict that coverage in some way.

    A pre-existing condition is a serious and/or chronic debilitating illness, such as cancer, that a person has on the first day of his/her insurance coverage.

    If I have an insurance policy and I get cancer, that is not a pre-existing condition. If I don’t have an insurance policy, and I get cancer and then go looking for insurance coverage, it is a pre-existing condition. So, the argument over whether or not cancer is a pre-existing condition has everything to do with when I begin to pay my premiums. Health insurance companies should not be allowed to drop people who get sick, any more than life insurance companies should be able to drop people who die.

    The problem arises when we’re talking about older people, people who smoke, people who are obese, people with mental illness. One school of thought says that if you are a smoker, you should have to pay more, because you are more likely to get lung cancer. The other school of thought says that insurance companies should not be allowed to charge more for high-risk behavior or those with high risk conditions that are likely to result in serious illness.

    I don’t want the government to define these things. I want it to regulate the companies that do. But we have now reached a stage of cronyism in our federal government that makes that functionally impossible.

    • Roby permalink
      May 28, 2017 12:22 pm

      Smokers should pay more for health insurance, I’m fine with that! It includes potheads!

      Trouble is, that opens a bigger question of other risky lifestyle issues. Obese couch potatoes, promiscuous people, heavy drinkers? How do you prove it, even for smoking?

      But I am fine with charging people with risky lifestyles more in principle.

      • May 28, 2017 12:55 pm

        Here comes a “Daveism”. Let the free market decide that!

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:38 pm

        What is freedom if it is not the right to make choices for yourself ?

        When government makes the choices for you that is NOT freedom.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 12:10 pm

        BZZZT Wrong.

        The people offering the insurance should decide what risks they need higher rates for.
        Those buying insurance should decide what criteria they are willing to pay for.

        There are no one size fits all answers to these quesitons – which is why they can nto be decided by congress.

    • May 28, 2017 12:38 pm

      ” Health insurance companies should not be allowed to drop people who get sick, any more than life insurance companies should be able to drop people who die.”

      Don’t tell Dave this as he thinks the free market will take care of those that do this. It didn’t for 60+ years or maybe more, but in his world, the free market will correct all problems.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:27 pm

        We have not had anything close to a free market in healthinsurance since Medicare and ERISA – that is over 60 years ago.
        If you think that we have had 60 years of failure – put the blame where it belongs – with government.

        Prior to the new deal – health insurance was uncommon – people paid for healthcare themselves – it was affordable. For the most part laborers could not afford hospital stays – not because hospitals were expensive – they were not, but because they could not afford lost time at work.

        even today we are mostly fighting over nonsense.

        The basic healthcare necescary to raise life expenctance to 80+ years is quite cheap.
        We have had it – if not universally delivered, since the 50’s.

        That is not to say medicine has not advanced since then. It has.
        But those advances have been increasingly expensive and delivered diminishing returns.

        It is fine for any of us to choose to spend enormous amounts of money for a chance at a cure of some dread disease or a statistically low probability of a longer life.

        It is NOT acceptable to impose that cost on others.

        Regardless, if you can say “Health insurance companies should not be able to do xxxxx”
        where XXX is something that is NOT violent or fraudulent, not a breach of an agreement they have made, and not CAUSING actual harm – and you can not CAUSE something through inaction. Then it is not the business of government – any more than it is when you do YYYY that fully meets the same criteria”

        Is it acceptable to you to say “Husband’s should not be able to take their wives to dinner” ?

        It is the same thing. If you can make laws against the one you can the other.

        Justify the laws you want on some basis other than emotion.

    • May 28, 2017 12:46 pm

      “The problem arises when we’re talking about older people, people who smoke, people who are obese, people with mental illness. One school of thought says that if you are a smoker, you should have to pay more, because you are more likely to get lung cancer. The other school of thought says that insurance companies should not be allowed to charge more for high-risk behavior or those with high risk conditions that are likely to result in serious illness.”

      In my comments, I did not mention this and I agree with you that government should not provide these things. I also don’t believe these are the type things that government should regulate either.

      I believe that government should have minimal regulation aimed solely at preexisting conditions and what it is, when it is determine to exist, how it is covered by employer and private insurance coverage, how it is covered when one changes jobs, what is a waiting period for those who chose not to buy insurance and then do, etc and then a government pool is formed to cover those with a documented preexisting condition. To me that is a very limited scope of government regulation along with selling products across state lines so insurance companies do not have to have 50 different set of rules for the same basic coverages sold.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 5:32 pm

        BZZT wrong.

        Government – and government alone is prohibited from discriminating.
        We are entitled to “equal protection of the law”.

        You can discriminate against smokers or the obese.
        Your employer can.
        Your insurance company can.

        But government can not.
        Which is again why government has no business in healthcare.

        We would oppose laws that said smokers can not hold public office.
        Government may not discriminate against smokers (or …).

        It may not circumvent equal protection by compelling a third party to discriminate.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 30, 2017 11:29 am

      Problems of risk DO NOT belong inside of government.

      While I do not disagree with your analysis, that is not relevant.

      We constantly complain because people try to game the system.
      But that is a findimental aspect of human nature.

      The invention of the wheel is just a form of gaming the system.
      It is substituting some thought for a massive amount of labor.

      There is absolutely nothing immoral about waiting until you have cancer to buy insurance.
      If that is an option available to you.
      The mistake is on the part of those who make the offer – if it is even a mistake.

      Whatever arrangment you conceive of some humans will find a means to take advantage of it – that is human nature and it is good not bad.

      Outside of government where unintended consequences or moral hazard are two high – the market automatically adapts – rules and contracts are changed offerings change.

      Government is directed by laws. These take months often years to change – if they can evn be changed at all.

      Government is supposed to be static.

      There is not much that needs to change over time with respect to the justifiable roles of limited government and to the extent change might be needed it can proceed with thought and consideration.

      Those things that require dynamic adjustment do not belong in government

      We do not want constantly changing government.
      We do not want the justifiable use of force to vary constantly.

    • dhlii permalink
      May 30, 2017 11:32 am

      There is no difference between define and regulate.

      Regardless – why do you want government to define or regulate ?

      What is wrong with those offering insurance deciding whether they offer discounts based on the conduct of their customers ?

      There are some auto insurance companies that offer myriads of discounts for different behavior choices – and somet that have few if any.

      Yet both manage to survive – because the wants and needs of people seeking auto insurance are not uniform.

  75. May 29, 2017 9:17 am

    So, let’s get back to the 4th Amendment.

    I have previously been supportive of the need for the Intelligence Community to use whatever means necessary to find terrorists and stop plots against Americans.

    James Rosen has a piece out today, published on Fox and on Real Clear Politics about the extent to which, not only the NSA, but the FBI, broke rules designed to protect the rights of American citizens and how politicians and political operatives, in particular under the Obama administration, encouraged the breaking of these rules, in order to get information on political opponents.

    “Sen. Rand Paul called this an “amazing abuse of power” while a spokesman for former President Obama did not return our request for comment.

    These disclosures are timely though, because Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, one of the primary means by which U.S. citiznes are caught up in surveillance, is up for reauthorization by the Congress at year’s end.” http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/24/james_rosen_new_evidence_obamas_nsa_conducted_illegal_searches.html

    Civil libertarians who opposed the Patriot Act warned of just these kind of police state abuses.

    • May 29, 2017 10:48 am

      The Intercept has also published documents obtained, revealing a more left-wing take on civil liberties abuses: ” As policing continues to be militarized and state legislatures around the country pass laws criminalizing protest, the fact that a private security firm retained by a Fortune 500 oil and gas company coordinated its efforts with local, state, and federal law enforcement to undermine the protest movement has profoundly anti-democratic implications.” https://theintercept.com/2017/05/27/leaked-documents-reveal-security-firms-counterterrorism-tactics-at-standing-rock-to-defeat-pipeline-insurgencies/

      While I tend to believe that there was reason to suspect Dakota Access Pipeline protesters of planning violence, federal and state law enforcement should not be sharing classified intelligence with private security firms.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 7:17 pm

        Why is classified inteligence being shared with Law enforcement AT ALL ?
        much less with private contractors.

        That is the entire point of the FISA court rules.

        The Intelligence community can use intelligence gathered by means that do not conform to our criminal procedures and violate our civil rights – so long ad that information is not used to prosecute, and not used against a US person – because non-US persons do not have civil rights (note person includes but is not limited to citizen).

        The entire purpose of the FISA court is the provide Law enforcement – a means to use the same information available to the Intelligence community in the context of law enforcement.

        The FISA court issues warrants to use intelligence gathered through foreign surveilance processes that are NOT required to respect civil rights, against US persons where civil rights must be respected.

        While this is critical in myriads of instances – the Trump investigation is an example.

        If Trump campaign staff actually “colluded” with the Russians – it is certain that NSA has records that would atleast constitute circumstantial evidence of that.

        The NSA CAN conduct a search for “ISIS Bombing NYC” – without a warrant.
        It can not conduct a search for “Trump colluding with Russians” without a warrant.

        The “unmasking” of US persons is a search conducted without a warrant.

        This also becomes relevant with respect to Flynn and others.

        The evidence gathered against Flynn by surveiling Russians CAN NOT be used against Flynn criminally – unless there is a FISA warrant.

        And If there is a FISA warrant it must layout the basis for Surveiling Flynn.

        One of the issues bubbling to the surface is that it is becoming increasingly evident – even pretty much established that a criminal investigation(that is what the FBI does) was occurring prior to the election. Absent warrants – that investigation is lawless.
        Conversely if there are warrants that proves something that has repeatedly been denied – that Trump was surveiled. AND unless the warrants meet the requirements of probably cause – we are back to using the NSA and FBI in a political witch hunt.

    • Roby permalink
      May 29, 2017 11:20 am

      “but the FBI, broke rules designed to protect the rights of American citizens and how politicians and political operatives, in particular under the Obama administration, encouraged the breaking of these rules, in order to get information on political opponents.”

      I read the piece. Unless I am going blind there was not one word in it about getting “information on political opponents.” Is that just you going off on a tangent or is there some other report that verifies this? Not a Hannity report, a real report.

      From the report on RCP it is completely unclear who the NSA was snooping on. Was it legitimate targets related to real dangers or was it Ted Cruz’s conversations? There is a HUGE difference between what you have alleged and what the RCP report states. IF there were to be real evidence of your allegation I would be outraged and believe it is a scandal that requires getting to the truth.

      The post 911 powers given to the NSA and others to monitor conversations under Bush have never bothered me. I fly. Let them hunt for bad actors and terrorists.

      If and when you have some hard information to back up your statement on Obama abusing NSA surveillance to gather information on political opponents I”l read that.

      I note ironically that you have already long ago decided that there is no evidence whatsoever of the trump campaign-Russian connection and that trump is utterly innocent of wrongdoing there but you swallow this type of story and appear to have greatly embellished it, since your link does not say what you say is does at all. (This goes along with many other nonsenses like that conspiracy theory you were selling here last week on Seth Rich’s ties to WikiLeaks with its implication that he may have been murdered for political reasons.)

      • May 29, 2017 12:05 pm

        Roby, to provide a response to this comment “The post 911 powers given to the NSA and others to monitor conversations under Bush have never bothered me. I fly. Let them hunt for bad actors and terrorists” I offer this post WW2 poem by Niemöller’s .

        “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Socialist.”

        “Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.”

        “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.”

        “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

        One can replace Socialist, Trade Unionist and Jew with any number of nouns representing today’s environment. “Terrorist” would be one.

        But the one you can not replace is “me”

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 8:16 pm

        Amen to Neimoller!

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 7:21 pm

        Roby;

        Lets just accept your thesis that from 2010 to 2013 that the Obama administration something like 1000 fold increase in NSA searches of US persons was not “political”.

        It is still a huge problem. It is still abuse of power.
        If it was “political” that is the motive – and that is a pretty bad motive.
        But warrantless searches are abuse of power regardless of motive – there is no good motive for a warantless search.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 7:42 pm

        Roby;

        Here is what I beleive is the original breaking story from Circa – not FOX.

        You can follow the links to the FISA court oppinion.

        http://circa.com/politics/barack-obamas-team-secretly-disclosed-years-of-illegal-nsa-searches-spying-on-americans

        The point which you go rushing past is that this constituted warrantless searches of US persons.

        The post 911 powers granted the NSA made warantless searches of non-US persons easier. They made warrants for searches of US persons easier.

        They did not and can not make warrantless searches of US persons easier.
        You can not by law authorize violating the constitution.

        There was some twisted logic that I do not agree with that allowed the collection fo data on US-persons without a warrant.

        But that logic essentially was – we can do bulk data collection without a warrant.
        But we can not look at that data in a way that “searches” for information on US persons without a warrant.

        BTW there is no openly admitted capture of voice communications of US persons without a warrant. I beleive that Snowden has provided information that the capture of voices without a warrant is occuring, but it is not admitted

        Next whatever was occurring during Bush – we are talking about a 1000 fold increase from 2010 to 2013.

        That is like Hillary trying to compare herself to Collin Powell who used his AOL account for something like 29 messages that were actually government business compared to 60,000 for Hillary.

        It is plausible to beleive that when 0.005% of all NSA queries are improper searches for information on US persons – this is relatively harmless error.
        When 5% of all NSA queries are searches that the FISA court deems required a warrant and had none – that is not harmless error.

        This also ties into the vastly expanded “unmasking”.

        Even a legitimate warrantless NSA query can expose information regarding a US person.

        So long as that US Person remains “masked” there is no warrantless search. No violation of civil rights.
        That is the procedure by which we protect US persons from what would otherwise be an egregious constitutional violation.

        Unmasking the identity of a US person caught in foreign surveilance without a warrant is a civil rights violation, and illegal search.

        Lets us just presume that Trump really did collude with the Russians.
        The way things sound right now there is no evidence that could be used in a criminal proceeding – it is all tainted.

        I have problems with the Patriot act and the Bush administration conduct.

        This is far worse.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 7:44 pm

        This is now from a FISA court order, not Fox.

        Unless you beleive that Circa forged a FISA court document.

        We can argue about how serious this is – the FISA court thought it was very serious.

        Bjut we can not argue that it was not occuring and not improper.

      • dhlii permalink
        May 30, 2017 7:52 pm

        What is the evidence of Trump Collusion ?
        Thus far the only “concrete” evidence is the steele dossier – compiled by an Ex MI5 agent using Russian intelligence agents as sources.
        As of this time there is not a single allegation that has been corrobated and several that have been demonstrated as absolutely false – people who just were not were they are claimed to be in the dossier.

        What is the Evidence that the Obama Administration was engaged in illegal searches of US Persons and Illegal Unmasking ?

        That would be a 20 page FISA Court order.

        Are you claiming that order is a forgery ?
        Are you claiming that the FISA Court – whose only source of data is information provided by NSA and FBI at the FISA Courts request is making things up ?

        Thus far there is no “there” there with Trump allegations.

        With respect to allegations against the Obama administration.

        Illegal leaks of classified information have inarguably occured on a large scale both before and after the election.

        Very large numbers of illegal NSA searchs have actually occured.
        Unmasking has actually occurred – there is even administration orders authorizing it.

        All that is in question regarding the conduct of the Obama Administration is who were the targets and we already know some of them.