Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trey Gowdy on FBI Integrity

Congressman Trey Gowdy on FBI Integrity

Bob Corker Celebrates Democrats Winning Alabama Senate Special Election

Senator Republican Senator Bob Corker celebrates Democrats winning Alabama Senate Special Election

To What End Does The Mooch Diss Bannon Some Moore (sic)?

Anthony Scaramucci on the Alabama Special Election

"The Mooch's" animus against Steve Bannon and sticking the Establishment in the eye is nothing new. During his ten day tenure in the White House communication shop, Anthony Scaramucci angled to distance President Trump from the likes of Steve Bannon.

After the GOP defeat in the Alabama Senate Special Election, and with Republicans holding a slim one seat majority in the Senate for the remainder of the 115th Congress, perhaps "The Mooch" is trying to guide the Trump Administration to work work cooperatively with Wall Street Democrats to get things done. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

'Tis the Season for Resistmas?

Hillary Clinton Chistmas Tree Topper for Resistmas

Women to Look Up To, a London based company, is producing some eye catching tree toppers in an effort to give tree toppers a feminist makeover.  Among the choices of real women their voters deemed "worthy of wings" for their 3D printed ornaments is Hillary Clinton. 

As a puckish political animal living in the District of Calamity whose W.C. is a Political Room adored with cheeky tchochtki, a Hillary tree topper might be welcomed for the Federal Christmas Tree.  However, this tree topper costs eighty quid, which can tot up to $120.    If I were inclined to air grievances between the beltways, it would be more economical to erect an aluminum pole for Festivus.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Senator Al Franken on Allegations of Inappropriateness

Senator Al Franken on Allegations of Inappropriateness

The national attention was drawn to the Senate floor for remarks by Senator Al Franken (D-MN).  After the eight woman accused Franken of inappropriate sexual misconduct, with a damning photo from a 2005 USO tour, much of the Senate Democrat caucus urged him to resign. 

Al Franken on 2005 USO Tour

Yet during Franken's speech, he neither sounded contrite nor did he really resign

Franken's joke resignation was promised to be in a few weeks. Franken then proceeded to cudgel Republican President Donald Trump and Roy Moore over unproven allegations of sexual misconduct as well as as touting his progressive feminist political stances. 

Perhaps Franken's decision depends on whether Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL) wins the December 12th special election and is seated in the Senate.  When the heat is off, Franken may choose not to hurl himself into the fire. 

Franken's resignation was intended to give Democrats the high ground and to echo Fox News' Brit Hume: "Make Roy Moore into a Republican hood ornament".   But will offering a scrappy defense and not immediately resigning accomplish that political objective? 

Franken insisted that he would be vindicated of wrongdoing during his service in the Senate by the Senate Ethics Committee.  That is a good bet because that body never expels members. It is a place to bury allegations of wrongdoing. 

Time will tell if the delayed departure will accomplish the Democrat political objectives or it will cloud their campaigns against their electoral opponents. 

Seeing the Attack on Pearl Harbor Through New Eyes

When the Japanese attack on the American naval base on December 7, 1941, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Elizabeth MacIntosh wrote an account of the attack that was so graphic that it was not published.  The Washington Post has now published this first hand reportage.

Her editors assigned MacIntosh to cover the Emergency Room in Honolulu–

The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.
The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.
Bombs were still dropping over the city as ambulances screamed off into the heart of the destruction. The drivers were blood-sodden when they returned, with stories of streets ripped up, houses burned, twisted shrapnel and charred bodies of children.
In the morgue, the bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died. Fear contorted their faces. Their clothes were blue-black from incendiary bombs. One little girl in a red sweater, barefoot, still clutched a piece of jump-rope in her hand.
Firefighters from the Hickam Air Force Base carried the victims in. The men had a red T marked on their foreheads, mute testimony of the efficiency of first-aiders in giving tetanus shots to ward off lockjaw. The body of a man with a monogrammed shirt, H.A.D., was marked DOA (dead on arrival), trundled off to make room for victims who were still breathing.

MacIntosh’s piece is worth reading in its entirety to show how the reality of what Europeans had faced in World War II was immediately understood by this first hand witness to expansionist aggression by Axis forces on America.

History buffs should also be interested in seeing a  documentary “Pearl Harbor Declassified”  for  the Military Channel (now known as the American Heroes Channel) which uses modern stabilization techniques to give a frame-by-frame account of the first 15 minutes of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The stabilized images more clearly shows the carnage and the tactical successes of the Imperial Japanese attack.  However, Admiral Chester Nimitz pointed out many of the missed opportunities of the surprise attack.

The timing of the attack spared many American lives.  The Japanese attack was at 8 AM on a Sunday morning, so nine out of ten sailors were on shore leave.  Had these same ships been at sea and sunk, the casualty count would have been 38,000 instead of the 3,800 servicemen.

Japanese bombers targeted the battleships which were arrayed in a row.  But these Imperial Japanese attackers never bothered to destroy the dry docks.  Had the docks been bombed, it would have required towing each of these ships to sea to repair them. But since the ships were in shallow water and could quickly be raised rather than requiring them to be towed to America.

It is ironic that the attack may have been prompted by an American oil embargo to the Japanese but the Imperial air attack failed to target the Pearl Harbor fuel depot.  If Japanese bombers strafed the tank farm near the submarine base, which were just five miles from the docks of Pearl Harbor, it would have destroyed every drop of oil America had for the Pacific Theater.

[The piece originally ran on District of Calamity on December 7, 2014]

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

John Thune on Establishment Politics in the District of Calamity

Senator John Thune on the prospects of GOP Alabama Senator Roy Moore

 One week before the Alabama Senate election to replace Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who left the comforts of the Senate to be President Trump's Attorney General,  there are still Republicans who are trying to manipulate the race.

The appointed replacement Senator Luther Strange (R-AL), who had the backing of Beltway Establishment and President Trump, was defeated in the primaries by former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R-AL).    

Since then, the Washington Post has been printing bombshell reports that Moore had indecent relations with minors and had a penchant for dating teenagers when he was a 34 year old Assistant District Attorney. Even though Moore had been in the spotlight for nearly forty years and never had such allegations come to light, partisans on both sides agitated over these accusations. 

Democrats saw the Moore allegations as a way to make trouble and pick up an unexpected Senate seat.  They will paint Moore's continued presence in the race with Republicans being creepy child molesters and pair him with Donald Trump.  Alabama Law does not allow for substitute candidates, so if Moore dropped out at this point (or there was a write in effort), it creates trouble and still gives Democrats a chance to have virtual control of the 115th Congress (with a united 49 seat Democrat minority).

Republican Party partisans fear that they might lose an otherwise dependable seat, so they sought to either have Moore drop out or have a credible Republican write in option.  The latter strategy would have party bosses choose the candidate thereby mooting the voice of the voters in Alabama.  There are few instances in successful Senate write in candidates, and the exception to the rule was Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2010,  an incumbent who had plenty of time to run as a write-in. Even so, there were problems with misspelling and discerning voter intent. Centrist Republican media personality Hugh Hewitt suggested that if Senator Strange resigned, it would preclude the 12/12 special election and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) could appoint another substitute Senator until November 2018.  That did not happen.

The Republican National Committee and the Republican National Senate Committee had withdrawn support from Roy Moore to disassociate themselves with the candidate and possibly nudge him to step aside.  But the Alabama GOP and Governor Ivey stuck by Moore, even with the unsavory allegations.  At first, President Trump just did negative campaigning against Democrat Senate candidate Doug Jones (D-AL). One week before the special election, Trump gave full support.  Senator McConnell relented as did the RNC.

Senator Thune's (R-SD) cri-de-coeur on Cavuto epitomizes the Establishment's animus against Roy Moore.  Even before he is elected, the  GOP leaders threaten an ethics probe.  Does the Republican Senate leadership  just want to maintain a whiter than snow aura to them? Could Roy Moore's social conservative politics have anything to do with last minute appeals discouraging voting for the firebrand.  Perhaps Moore's vow not to continue support for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have something to do with the cable TV hit?

Roy Moore may be a lightning rod in the District of Calamity in 2018.  Democrats will want to run on character assassination and majority ineptitude.   Establishment Republicans want to keep power but not rock the boat, thus it is to the GOP Senate leadership's advantage to keep a firebrand out of office, even if it means having a virtually divided Senate.

Alabama was one of the states which rocketed candidate Donald Trump to the Republican Presidential nomination.  This conservative state filled with old time religion embraced the flawed character of Mr. Trump.  Pollster George Barna postulated that SAGE-Cons (Spiritually Aware Governmentally Active Conservatives) looked beyond the human flaws of Trump to see someone who now embraces their core beliefs and one who is willing to shake up the system of get things done.

On December 12th, Alabamans will make their choice.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

McConnell: McCain Won't Mutiny Against Trump Tax Reform

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Denies that John McCain will Scuttle GOP Tax Bill

Geraldo Rivera Sticks Up for Matt Lauer as News is Flirty Biz

Geraldo Rivera Defends Matt Lauer as News is a Flirty Business

NBC News fired Matt Lauer for sexual misconduct on the job shortly before exposes were published by the New York Times and Variety.  Although after his termination Lauer expressed contrition for some of his actions, the long-time former anchor of the Today Show had a high profile special pleader with a newsworthy defense.

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera took to twitter to defend Lauer, claiming that the newsroom is a flirty place and has resulted in many good relationships.  Geraldo's employer quickly distanced themselves from this unique apologia.

Geraldo later tried to walk back some of his defense of Lauer.  This did not fool astute pundits on social media.

Linda Sarsour on the Media

Linda Sarsour on the Jewish Media and Anti-Semitism

During a symposium on "Anti-Semitism and the Struggle for Justice” at the New School in New York City,  progressive political agitator deigned to comment on Anti-Semitism.  Sarsour tried to mitigate mainstream perceptions of Muslims in America by blaming "the Jewish Media".

Her prepared remarks at the New School did little to dispel myths about how her faith is practiced.

Denzel Washington on Black Incarceration

Denzel Washington on Black Incarceration

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Repelling Ersatz Indian Indignation

When President Donald Trump was honoring the surviving Navajo Code Talkers from World War II, he made an off-prompter quip about Pocahontas in the Senate.  Mr. Trump was referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who gained her position at Harvard Law School via minority status by claiming that she was 1/32nd Cherokee because her Oklahoma papi (grandfather) had high cheek bones.

Democrats decried Trump's comment as being clearly racist.  When  Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay was asked about this controversy, he dismissed Democrat's claim that this was a racist slight by recalling his time with the United States Marine Corps. 

Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay's Take on Ersatz Indian Indignation

Does Hope for "A Better Deal" Scuttle Bipartisan Budgetary Cooperation?

Trump Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders Denonces Democrat Intrisigence on Budget Talks

Hitting Home on Net Neutrality?

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai condems at home tactics of Net Neutrality protestors

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced last week that the Commission was rolling back Obama era regulations on Net Neutrality, which sought to expand the reach of the 1934 Federal Communications Act to the Internet towards an end of making the it a regulated media.  Net Neutrality critics, like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), liken it as Obamacare for the Internet which promise to lower price and improve delivery but do the opposite and make Uncle Sam the undisputed middle man.

Proponents of Net Neutrality, which were protesting a repeal in May at FCC Headquarters moved their protests to Chairman Pai's suburban Virginia home and used signs which proclaimed "Dad murdered democracy in cold blood."

Such an in-your-face political protest calls to mind the 2012 stunt in which the SEIU used 14 buses to move 500 protesters on a bank executive's front lawn in suburban Maryland to denounce bank foreclosures.  This tactic seems straight out of Saul Alinky's Rules for Radicals (1971) playbook.

The Net Neutrality home invasion comes at the same time that Keith Olbermann is stepping down from giving the GQ daily podcasts for "The Resistance".

It is worth contemplating if this mark a divergence in tactics amongst Leftists, or if more entrenched progressives are getting out of activism while the getting is good.

Nonetheless, it is reprehensible to harass public officials living in private residences about policy disputes. Mob mentality following people home discourages civic minded civilians from serving a stint in office and needlessly involves innocent family members.

Net Neutrality may have legitimate public policy merits, but the fascistic manner which these progressive activists pursued their policy wins neither hearts nor minds. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trump Takes Ingrate UCLA Father to Task

Donald Trump Takes Ungrateful UCLA Father to Task on Twitter

The Flakey Conscience of a Conservative?

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was caught on a hot mike opining that if Republicans continued on a political path towards anti-Establishment Donald Trump that the GOP was toast.

This personal animus against President Trump did not go unanswered on Twitter.

Earlier in the year, Senator Flake was hawking a book "The Conscience of a Conservative" (2017) which echoed the title of  his Arizona predecessor (1960) Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ).  This sort of self promotion is often the precursor for a politician who is seeking higher office.  Yet Flake was convinced not to run again in 2018.  Since then, Flake has reveled at being a gladfly against the Trump Administration.

While it would be hard to quibble with Flake being a Republican, it is egregious to appreciate him being a quintessential conservative.  Senator Flake's hot mic moment might better be understood how Establishment Republicans see how the comfort of being go along to get along hacks who talk a good game on the hustings but become docile in the District of Calamity. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Remembering the Gettysburg Address

 On November 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address to dedicate the battlefield in the bloodiest skirmish during the war between the States as a resting place for the fallen.

Photo of President Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Battlefield, November 19, 1863


 Lincoln was said to have written his brief remarks on the back of an envelope, yet those scribbling still resonate today.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The acclaimed PBS Civil War documentarian Ken Burns has been promoting  "Learn the Address" by inviting 58 prominent Americans to recite those solemn words of President Lincoln from 150 years ago.

It is worth noting that the only person amongst the nearly three score of cynosures who failed to read the speech as delivered at the cemetery in Gettysburg was President Barack H. Obama.  The 44th President omitted the words "under God".  Perhaps there was a teleprompter glitch.  More likely, it is conscious return by Mr. Obama to conveniently edit seminal American documents to suit his tastes. Such a cavalier approach to what Ken Burns called pure Presidential poetry seems to be what honest historians want to avoid.   

In addition, President Obama chose not to travel the 75 miles to Gettysburg for the Sesquicentennial, despite having a light official schedule.  This is an odd omission as Mr. Obama declared his Presidential run at the steps of the Lincoln statehouse in Springfield, Illinois and adorned the White House with many Lincolnesque trappings. Yet  President Obama will be in the forefront in ceremonies commemorating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Despite this historic slights, this should not stop us from actualizing Abraham Lincoln's exhortation:
[T]hat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

When Swamp Rats Are Dirty Rats

The revelation of sexual misconduct by Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein has transitioned to the District of Calamity.  Accusations of sexual impropriety threatens to swing two Senate seats and effect the balance of power on Capitol Hill.

Much has been made about  allegations of skivvy conduct by Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL).  These accusations stem from conduct nearly four decades ago that were unreported to authorities, but came to light in the closing days of a special election to fill the seat vacated by now Trump Administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  The alluvia of allegations sound bad, but are past the statute of limitations, based she-said-he-said allegations with little to no corroborating evidence and relies upon the court of public opinion. 

From a political standpoint, Democrats are anxious to make Roy Moore a poster child for Republicans in 2018 and use the hermaneutic that Republicans condone sexual harassment as a cudgel to impeach President Donald Trump if Democrats regain the House of Representatives.  In the near term, the muck about Moore put the White House in a box.  On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, establishment Republicans did not like a loose cannon like Judge Moore to be in the Senate chambers, when it endangers the clubby atmosphere of the Upper Chamber and he could help shake up the leadership.  So many GOP party loyalists were quick to condemn Moore for the alleged but unproven misconduct.

There are concerns that Republicans might lose this previously considered "safe" seat, as Moore is polling with a double digit deficit after these allegations have been publicized.  Since candidate Moore refuses to step aside due to this scandal, the DC GOP suggested writing in another Republican. Apparently, this did not test well and was dropped.  After a careful reading of the Alabama state statutes, centrist Republican Hugh Hewitt claims that the problem could go away if   Senator Luke Strange (R-AL) resigned, creating a new vacancy which would cancel the shaky December 12th election, and Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) could appoint another caretaker Senator until the next general election (in November 2018).  Considering the shaky ground Jeff Sessions is in at the Department of Justice, it is possible that Sessions be appointed back to his own seat.

[L] Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) attending [R] Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) swearing in

Recently, after a pleasant Sunday brunch, we chatted about the troubling news about Roy Moore. As the topic expanded to include sexual harassment by elected officials, two ardent feminists insisted that Congress needed to do something about it and make offenders on Capitol Hill as accountable as the rest of us.  I asked who were their bosses.  The obvious answer was the people.  I maintained that voters get to fire their elected officials periodically and they should decide rather than an insider committee.  That viewpoint was not well received.

Well, it seems that when Congress pushed to make the same rules apply to them as their constituents, there were a few quirks.  Regarding charges of sexual harassment with members of staffers, there is 30 day waiting period before pressing charges.  In addition, the victim making the accusation must undergo mandatory counseling.  That sounds munificent, except the counseling comes from the employer whom someone is accusing.  It would seem that it could be made clear to accusers that going public would not be in anyone's best interests.   If I recall correctly, John Batchelor's news-maker interview indicated that this system has paid out $15 million since its advent in the 105th Congress with nary a word making the press.

Congressional Sexual Misconduct payout ledger 

What took party hacks off their sexual harassment game plan was the revelation by a Los Angeles radio personality of Al Franken's inappropriate conduct during a USO mission to the Middle East in 2006, before he was elected as Senator from Minnesota.  The woman reported that she was supposed to do a skit written by Franken that involved a kiss and wanted to rehearse-- she demurred but eventually consented.  During the practice, she alleged that Franken put his tongue halfway down her throat and grabbed her head.  She immediately insisted "Don't do that again!", and she deflected his approach during the skit.

The problem with sexual conduct and Al Franken is about the contemporaneous  photographic evidence. The woman in question wanted to grab some rack time during the 36 hour military flight.  When she was asleep, Franken was seen with a coprophagic grin cupping at her breasts.  No doubt, Franken thought this was funny at the time (and probably a great way to get back at her).  Franken has been known to take outrageous photos for laughs (but the infamous Franken diaper photo was a fake).

Citizen Al Franken takes a picture with a sleeping beauty during a 2016 USO tour.

But this Al Franken moment  was captured on camera. Oops. And the accuser is Leeane Tweeden, a KABC-AM radio personality. Tweeden initially posted #MeToo, but she decided to come forth after hearing Congresswoman Speier's (D-CA 14th)  allegations that members on both side of the aisle have thrust sexual advances while in Congress.

Now this puts a kink into progressive partisans' plans. One of their prominent members stands accused. The public has been primed to always accept the word of victims.  In addition, there is photographic proof. This takes away from the rip the GOP as blanket sexual predator smear.  Rush Limbaugh points out that in this environment, Democrats will have to proverbially throw Senator Franken (D-MN) under the bus to not to seem hypocritical and prospectively use it against their ideological opponents. 

Franken publicly apologized to his victim, claiming that he thought that it was funny.  In addition, Franken submitted himself to scrutiny from his peers.  Maybe this gets it out of the headlines and it gets buried by the press.  If push comes to shove, Minnesota has a Democrat Governor Mark Dayton (D-MN), so Franken would undoubtedly be replaced by another Democrat. 

While justice is a noble pursuit, in this charged environment, the court of public opinion may well condemn non-guilty people just based on innuendo or unproven accusations which are promptly swept under the rug out of convenience.   The reform from the 105th Congress seems to allow members to slide, in a process intended to apply the peoples' law to Congress.  Although there are Ethics Committees to punish members egregious actions, I suspect that the ballot box is still the most efficacious way to punish when swamp rats act like dirty rats. 

Patrick Leahy on Bacon and Judges

Senator Patrick Leahy on Bacon and Judges

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bob Hope on Sacrifice

Bob Hope on Sacrifice

Hollywood comedic actor Bob Hope was renowned for making 57 tours to entertain military troops for the USO  over 60 years, including 79 shows in the Southwest Pacific in 1944.  Writer John Steinbeck, who then served as a war correspondent, wrote of Hope:

When the time for recognition of service to the nation in wartime comes to be considered, Bob Hope should be high on the list. This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people.

By an act of Congress, Hope was named an honorary veteran in 1997. Hope's humble response to this honor was: "I've been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received."

Thanks for the memories and entertaining those who serve to preserve our freedom.