Interesting Bits

10/20/2017 9:05

College Students are Cllueless

After watching student after student expressed their disapproval of the plan, we then asked those same students what they thought of Senator Bernie Sanders’ new tax plan.

Immediately, they expressed excitement and support after hearing the details of the plan.

The only problem for them? There was no tax plan for Senator Sanders. The plan they loved was actually President Trump’s.

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10/19/2017 7:15

Mueller may not be very interested in justice

Much has been written about the prosecutorial prowess of Robert Mueller’s team assembled to investigate allegations of Russia’s involvement in the Trump campaign. Little has been said of the danger of prosecutorial overreach and the true history of Mueller’s lead prosecutor.

What was supposed to have been a search for Russia’s cyberspace intrusions into our electoral politics has morphed into a malevolent mission targeting friends, family and colleagues of the president. The Mueller investigation has become an all-out assault to find crimes to pin on them — and it won’t matter if there are no crimes to be found. This team can make some.

Yet Mueller tapped a different sort of prosecutor to lead his investigation — his long-time friend and former counsel, Andrew Weissmann. He is not just a “tough” prosecutor. Time after time, courts have reversed Weissmann’s most touted “victories” for his tactics. This is hardly the stuff of a hero in the law.

Weissmann, as deputy and later director of the Enron Task Force, destroyed the venerable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs worldwide — only to be reversed several years later by a unanimous Supreme Court.

Next, Weissmann creatively criminalized a business transaction between Merrill Lynch and Enron. Four Merrill executives went to prison for as long as a year. Weissmann’s team made sure they did not even get bail pending their appeals, even though the charges Weissmann concocted, like those against Andersen, were literally unprecedented.

Weissmann’s prosecution devastated the lives and families of the Merrill executives, causing enormous defense costs, unimaginable stress and torturous prison time. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the mass of the case.

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10/19/2017 3:47

Sen. Schumer Wrote Off $58,000 Using Deduction He Wants to Save

Schumer wrote off $58,000 in state and local taxes last year, according to his publicly available federal tax returns. The amount Schumer wrote off is roughly equivalent to the median household income of $59,039 in 2016.

A report from the Tax Policy Center found that eliminating the deduction would save the federal government $1.3 trillion over 10 years, and would hit wealthy taxpayers the hardest.

“Taxpayers with incomes over $100,000 would have the largest tax increases both in dollars and as a percentage of income. Those taxpayers would pay 90 percent of the tax increase from eliminating the deduction, and 40 percent of the total would be paid by just taxpayers with incomes over $500,000,” the report stated.

 

 
 

 

 

That includes Sen. Schumer, whose income topped the half million mark last year, according to his tax returns.

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10/19/2017 7:33

Light in the Darkness

Studio C, a sketch comedy troupe out of Brigham Young University, has become an internet sensation, despite—or perhaps because of—its super-scrubbed brand of humor.

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10/19/2017 6:37

Blue States Getting Redder

FL Rs net +61,857 Since the election, Republicans have seen a net shift of nearly 62,000 in their direction. This represents a further net gain of about 6,000 since my last report, meaning that Republicans are gaining ground at the rate of about 6,000 per month. If this were to hold through 2020, Florida would be a Republican state.

*IA Rs net +70,801 Democrats can pretty well forget about Iowa, a state Obama carried and George W. Bush lost. This massive level of change bodes extremely well for neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota, where we cannot track these changes, but which have some of the same demographics.

*NC Rs net +61,752 This is up another 1,000 since last month, and shows the Tar Heel State continues to turn back to the Republican Party as the Democrats are losing significant registrations. When combined with the 2016 3% black voting shortfall, North Carolina presents another bleak picture for the Democrats in the near future.

In short, among the truly contested states in 2016, the only ray of hope for the Democrats is Colorado, and even there, the trends have flattened some. They have stabilized New Jersey and Delaware, but Republicans continue to gain significant ground in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and above all, Pennsylvania. If these trends continue through 2020, Florida would be have a slight Republican registration edge, North Carolina would be nearly even, and New Mexico would be close enough that it could never be taken for granted. Moreover, Pennsylvania and Iowa would be solid Trump states.

The remarkable thing about the Republican trending states is that they have moved steadily ever since last November, in almost every case without a single break. Democrats continue to lose voters, and they are not becoming independents. All of this appears to be due to Trump and Trump alone, as the Republican Party has not offered any reason to embrace it.


(The stats look solid here. The study is an indication that both political parties have lose touch with middle America.)

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10/19/2017 5:53

Sort of Symbolic for our Times

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10/18/2017 10:39

Team Obama’s stunning cover-up of Russian crimes

It turns out the Obama administration knew the Russians were engaged in bribery, kickbacks and extortion in order to gain control of US atomic resources — yet still OK’d that 2010 deal to give Moscow control of one-fifth of America’s uranium. This reeks.

Peter Schweizer got onto part of the scandal in his 2015 book, “Clinton Cash”: the gifts of $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, and the $500,000 fee to Bill for a single speech, by individuals involved in a deal that required Hillary Clinton’s approval.

But now The Hill reports that the FBI in 2009 had collected substantial evidence — eyewitnesses backed by documents — of money-laundering, blackmail and bribery by Russian nuclear officials, all aimed at growing “Vladimir Putin’s atomic-energy business inside the United States” in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The bureau even flagged the routing of millions from Russian nuclear officials to cutouts and on to Clinton Inc.

Hillary Clinton, again, sat on a key government body that had to approve the deal — though she now claims she had no role in a deal with profound national security implications, and during the campaign called the payments a coincidence.

The Obama administration — anxious to “reset” US-Russian relations — kept it all under wraps, refusing to tell even top congressional intelligence figures.

And when the Obamaites in 2014 filed low-level criminal charges against a single individual over what the FBI found, they did so with little public fanfare.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns,” one veteran of the case told The Hill.

Yet the administration let Moscow move ahead — publicly insisting that there were no national security worries — and no evidence of Russian interference, despite many lawmakers’ concern at the time.

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10/18/2017 7:36

Trump Defeats ISIS In Months

Nine months after President Trump promised to defeat ISIS "quickly and effectively," U.S.-backed forces captured Raqqa, which until Tuesday had served as the ISIS capital. The battle now is over who deserves credit: Trump or President Obama.

Trump, not surprisingly, claims it for himself: "It had to do with the people I put in and it had to do with rules of engagement," Trump said in a radio interview.

Before dismissing this as typical Trump self-aggrandizement, consider that for several years Obama insisted that a quick and decisive victory against ISIS was all but impossible.

After belittling ISIS as a "JV" team and then being surprised by its advances, Obama finally got around to announcing a strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the militant Islamic group.

As his strategy dragged on and seemed to go nowhere, Obama kept telling the country that this was just the nature of the beast.

"It will take time to eradicate a cancer like (ISIS). It will take time to root them out."

"This is a long-term and extremely complex challenge."

"This will not be quick."

"There will be setbacks and there will be successes."

"We must be patient and flexible in our efforts; this is a multiyear fight and there will be challenges along the way."

And he kept insisting that winning the war against ISIS has as much to do with public relations as it did weapons. "This broader challenge of countering extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas."

What Obama didn't say is that reason defeating ISIS was taking so long was of how he was fighting it.

A former senior military commander in the region told the Washington Examiner that the Obama White House was micromanaging the war "to the degree that it was just as bad, if not worse, than during the Johnson administration." Johnson, you will recall, once bragged that "they can't bomb an outhouse in Vietnam without my permission."

Contrast this with Trump. Rather than talk endlessly about how long and hard the fight would be, Trump said during his campaign that, if elected, he would convene his "top generals and give them a simple instruction. They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS."

Once in office, Trump made several changes in the way the war was fought, the most important of which were to loosen the rules of engagement and give more decision-making authority to battlefield commanders.

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10/18/2017 7:09

Dignified silence is the proper response on presidential condolence calls

As I recall, former President George W. Bush came under criticism, from journalists and Democrats, for supposedly not calling family members of military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq more than a decade ago. The subtext was that he was callous about the tragic human cost of the military actions he ordered. It turned out that Bush did communicate and even meet with family members, only without any public mention.

It is only because the number of deaths in military action are an order of magnitude lower than in previous American wars that this question could even be raised. Something like 450,000 American military personnel died in World War II. By my calculation, if Presidents Roosevelt and Truman had made consolation calls to family members, they would have had to make a call every 4.3 minutes, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, in the 1,371 days between Pearl Harbor and V-J Day.

Even now, with far fewer deaths, it surely is, as Trump said, a difficult duty making such calls. He, like his two predecessors, knows these men and women died carrying out their orders. You have to be very cynical—more cynical than I am—to think that Bush, Obama, and Trump would not find these conversations emotionally draining.

So let’s allow this president, as most of us allowed or should have allowed his two predecessors, write these letters and make these calls in private. Let journalists and others quit bombarding him with questions about whether he’s done so.

(Dignified silence may be the moral response but the press is neither dignified nor, alas, silence)

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10/18/2017 6:58

Not A Bad Decision

White House Places CNN, MSNBC In The Back Row Of Presser (Which is where they should be)

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10/17/2017 10:38

A Major Improvement

Draining the Swamp - EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Issues Directive to End EPA "Sue & Settle" (Good, this was nothing but judicial extortion.)

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George L. Duncan
George L. Duncan