Despite accusations of falsehoods from the opposition, former Republican Senator, Rick Santorum, called President Trump’s primetime speech from the Oval Office, a “win” for the president.
Speaking on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” immediately after the speech, Santorum described the address as “a win for the president, and on several fronts.” While being met with scoffs by left-wing pundits on the same panel, Santorum spoke over their attempted interruptions explaining that he felt Trump deserved praise for showing “a softer side,” and for making “a more compassionate argument” for his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We need this, the presidential Donald Trump, the Donald Trump who thought through this speech, worked with people, worked with his Homeland Security people and put a presentation together,” added Santorum, before being drowned out by his opposition on the panel.
“A Crisis of Heart and Soul”
Instead of using his first ever address from the Oval Office to declare a “national emergency” as many suspected the president would. Instead, he described the mounting tensions at the southern border as a “crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”
Overall, as Santorum said, we saw a “softer” side of Trump throughout the speech, where he stressed the human cost of what he called the “growing humanitarian and security crisis” of surging illegal immigration.
He also showed a far more willing to compromise on the stalemate that has forced the government shutdown, than his Democratic opposition, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who gave their uninspiring rebuttal to the president, looking like the “murder twins” from The Shining.
Failing to recognize the many points in the speech where the president showed empathy for the families at the border, and a willingness to bend to the will of the Democratic House on specific issues of border security, Pelosi and Schumer stood their ground in their rebuttal presentation. Pelosi opens their remarks by saying, “Much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice…” What followed was mostly a criticism condemning Trump’s rhetoric and what they called his “obsession” with building a border wall.
Incidentally, the president did not mention “the wall,” until close to the end of his speech, and even then, backed off of the “concrete wall,” he had been so adamant about on the campaign trail and talked of a “steel barrier,” such as the Democrats want.
Despite Santorum and many others feeling that the president did everything he had to do in the speech, given the Democratic response to it, it seems it accomplished little more than deepening the divides between the two sides, and drawing still another line in the sand ahead of talks to reopen the government, scheduled for today.
Most analysts agree that when all was said and done, neither the president’s emotional speech nor the Democrat’s stoic rebuttal did anything to move either party any closer to ending the 18-day partial government shutdown.
“Nobody convinced anybody,” tweeted well-known and respected conservative Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, moments after the conclusion of the Democratic response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
On June 9th, 1967, without mercy, a pincer air and sea attack force descended upon an unarmed American naval vessel sailing approximately a dozen miles off of Egypt’s Sinai coast. The name of that vessel was the USS Liberty. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Israeli assault on the USS Liberty.
The attack occurred during the Six Day War or the 3rd Arab-Israeli war, which was fought between the 5th and 10th of June by Israel and the states of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The US was formally neutral during this conflict.
If I were a betting man, which I am, I would be willing to bet that you’ve probably never heard anything about this vicious military attack Israel carried out against our nation. Perhaps, you should question why the lying mainstream media hasn’t covered it one bit? Could it be that they would rather have you not know anything about it? The story indeed runs counter to the commonly espoused narrative that Israel is one of our greatest allies.
The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty is among the worst offenses in history against any noncombatant U.S. naval vessel. Unfortunately, the offense remains shrouded in secrecy, and for a good reason. If the American people were to ever find out about what happened on that day, they certainly wouldn’t be willing to give 3.2 billion dollars in aid each year to Israel any longer. Furthermore, Americans might be a little bit more concerned about the number of dual US-Israeli citizens in our congress, mass media and state department.
During the assault which lasted multiple hours, 34 American servicemen were slaughtered, and 173 more were wounded after Israeli torpedo boats and planes pounded the navy intelligence vessel mercilessly. Audio evidence of conversations between Israeli Air Force pilots and their controllers back at base has confirmed without a doubt that Israel knew just sixteen minutes into the attack that the vessel was indeed American. Quite probably, they knew the ship was American before even beginning the attack.
American sailors who attempted to flee the damaged vessel in lifeboats were gunned down by Israeli torpedo boats who circled the area surrounding the Liberty – a war crime as stated in the Geneva convention.
The attack on the USS Liberty represents the single most significant loss of life by the U.S. Intelligence Community and the second deadliest against a U.S. Naval ship since World War II.
So, why did Israel, our supposed ally, do this to us?
Survivors of the attack have long maintained the view that Israel’s primary goal was to wipe out the entire crew and sink the ship as a means of scapegoating blame for the incident onto Egypt, whom they were at war with at the time.
Okay, but why exactly would Israel want its ‘ally’ the U.S. to think that Egypt was responsible for the attack?
The answer is simple and lies in what is known as a ‘false flag’ attack. In attacking the USS Liberty, Israel looked to shift public blame for the incident onto Egypt as a way to provoke President Lyndon Johnson and the U.S. public into declaring war on Israel’s sworn enemy and Egyptian Arab Nationalist, Gamal Abdel Nasser. This was clearly in Israel’s interest.
Following the attack, the Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings were held in closed sessions. All survivors who were on board the USS Liberty were given gag orders which forbid them to speak about what they went through on that day.
Retired Admiral Thomas Moorer, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairpersons, spent a year investigating the ambush as a part of an independently formed panel which was composed of former military officials and US ambassadors. Admiral Moorer described the attack on the USS Liberty and the political response to it as, “one of the classic all-American cover-ups.”
At a news conference, Moorer asked, “Why would our government put Israel’s interests ahead of our own?” Everyone who’s reading this should be pondering the same question.
A former Navy attorney who helped to lead the military investigation of the attack stated that former President Lyndon Johnson along with Robert McNamara, his defense secretary, ordered the that the probe conclude that the event was an accident.
A senior Israeli lead pilot who was ordered to attack the naval vessel held many interviews with former Congressman Paul N. McCloskey where said that he had immediately recognized the Liberty as American and informed headquarters. After being ordered to ignore the American flag and to carry out the attack, he refused and returned to base where he was subsequently arrested. Damning evidence, indeed.
A dual citizen Israeli major who was present in an Israeli war room during the attack said that he heard the pilot’s radio report and that the attacking pilots and those in the war room all knew that they were attacking an American naval vessel. Later the same man recanted his statement after he reportedly received threating phone calls.
An in-depth analysis of the attack which was described as “most detailed and accurate account of the Israeli attack,” was published by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, John Crewsdon in the Chicago Tribune. Just a year later, Crewsdon was fired from the paper after having worked there for 24 years.
Even though Israel apologized for the destructive offensive against the Liberty, it has continuously maintained that misidentification of the ship caused the attack.
Should we believe them?
Well, considering the evidence at hand, wouldn’t it be utterly naïve and silly to do so? With all of this in mind, perhaps it’s time that the US reconsider its cozy relationship with Israel?
To find out more information on the USS Liberty attack, check out “The Day Israel Attacked America,” by award-winning British filmmaker, Richard Belfield.
Ahead of President Trump’s address to the nation on border security, the anti-Trump press were already analyzing and rebutting that THEY said he would say. Put simply, it would be old news and a pack of lies. The anti-Trump press went to great lengths to argue against his right and power to call for a national emergency – even though he had no intention of doing so and did not. These pre-emptive attacks based on baseless conjecture are what I have dubbed the PREsponse.
For his part, Trump gave a decent presentation of the facts and his positions and policies. He presented accurate statistics on the number of crimes committed by illegal aliens. He fairly described the humanitarian crisis the is ongoing at our southern border and the suffering of crime victims. He called out Democrats for being hypocrites for their past support of border barriers – a wall by any other name. Trump made good use of his eight minutes. It was not a home run, but a solid two-bagger.
Conversely, the response by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a three-pitch strikeout. Their response responded to nothing Trump said. It was a reiteration of the PREsponse – and articulation of shop-worn talking points and dubious accusations.
The left-wing media response was as anticipated. It was another example of how Trump-hatred has undermined the news folks’ sense of journalism, fairness, balance and honesty. They lavishly praised the mediocre – at best – Chuck and Nancy Show and viciously and maliciously repeated the concocted PREsponses of the day before. One has to wonder if they even bothered listening to Trump’s address.
In the past forty-eight-hour news cycle, something very disturbing has arisen, however. That pernicious Trump-hatred over at CNN and MSNBC was elevated to a new and frightening level.
Heading Into the address, the left-wing media raised the notion that the news networks should not agree to Trump’s request to speak to the nation in prime time. They argued that there was no national crisis, he had nothing new to say and he would just spew a pack of lies. Therefore, his request should be denied. I should be noted that Trump has not abused the national address option. It was the first time he even requested it.
While the networks have the right to refuse the request, it is almost never done. It is not the role of a free and honest media to determine when it is appropriate for a President to talk to the people directly. It is ALWAYS appropriate. It is up to we the people to determine what we think of what a President tells us – not up to the press to censor the communication.
Even after the address, the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement press pundits continued their displeasure with the networks’ decision. They argued that in the future the networks should deny such requests. Some even proposed that the networks use the rolling text at the bottom of the screen to “fact check” the President’s remarks in real time – essentially rebutting them before any official rebuttal.
As with all authoritarians, the American political left wants to control the means of communication even more than they already do. It may have been a slip-of-the-tongue – but very telling – when MSNBC’s Mike Brzezinski blurted out on Morning Joe that it was their job (the media) “to control what people think.”
The very idea that any news network – or any news oligopoly – would deny a President access to the people is a hideous and dangerous concept. Yet, it is what they do every day. THEY decided what we should hear AND what we should think about it.
That part of the media conversation has been largely lost in the din of the main narratives, but it should not be overlooked or forgotten. It represents yet another step in taking “news” further down the path of left-wing propaganda. In terms of our personal freedom, that is even scarier than those currently crossing our border.
So, there ‘tis.
If ever there was a time to pity House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this may be the time. It is a case of being careful what you ask for. She got her speakership through the election of some of the most rabid left-wing radicals in America. They are not small-d democrats. Much like the Nazi experience in Germany, these folks want to use the legal political process to gain a foothold, but they will push aside democratic traditions and institutions to gain permanent power. That is their goal. It is part of the far left’s political genetics.
The radical left’s ideology is both a threat to the Republic and a major headache for Speaker Pelosi. More than anyone in Washington, she must deal with them, their nutty demands, their foul mouths and their ability to dominate press coverage. While Pelosi and her leadership team attempt to show America a positive agenda of actions and legislation, these folks are consuming most of the oxygen in the room and tarnishing the Democrat brand.
While the more moderate liberal Democrats understand that impeachment FOLLOWS the findings of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the newly empowered radical left sees impeachment as a means of overthrowing a legal government by an unbridled political force-of-will – constitutional requirements be damned.
Already, three legislators have introduced “bills of impeachment.” The fact that there are yet no grounds for such action is immaterial. These radicals now have their call-to-arms in the proclamation of the most radical of the radicals, Representative Rashida Tlaib, “We’re gonna impeach the mother****er.”
Keeping impeachment fever from engulfing the Democratic Party is only one of Pelosi’s challenges. The Democratic Party has long depended on the Jewish community as significant part of its base. Part of the new diversity of the Democrat caucus is the election of legislators clearly opposed to everything Israel. They consider our strongest ally in the Middle East to be a terrorist state. Their sympathies are clearly with the Palestinians and Hamas.
They favor the BDS program against Israel – which stands for Boycott, Divest and Sanction. These are the kinds of actions that America usually imposes on rogue adversarial regimes, like North Korea and Iran, not allies.
These newbies on the Democrat side of the aisle undermine one of the favored anti-Trump political narratives – that he is a divider. As the untoward consequence of identity politics, the entire political strategy of these newly empowered radicals is founded on division. They are the promoters of all the “-isms” – with exaggerated-to-phony claims of racism, sexism and homophobia as the mainstays of their propaganda campaigns. Without seeing the irony of their own intolerance, they speak openly of the toxicity of the white male and express hostility toward people of faith.
Pelosi, as the leader of the Democratic Party, is an unabashed liberal, but she is also a pragmatic political realist. She well understands that her Party has drifted to the left just about as far as the American public will tolerate. If she is to lead her party to victory in 2020, she knows that there will have to be accomplishment on a popular legislative agenda. She will also have to establish that her Party can unify the nation.
That strategy became enormously more difficult – if not impossible — as the extremist elements dominate the news and brand the Democrats as the big government, tax-and-spend, cultural warrior and anti-patriotism party. Strident hatred of all things Trump, Republican and conservative is already wearing thin and producing a yet underappreciated backlash in fly-over America.
In is increasingly likely that it is the Democrats who will have to cave on the issue of border security. As along as Trump hangs tough – and if there are insufficient Senate Republicans to override a veto – the only way that all those government workers will be back on their jobs is for House Democrats to crack – just enough to support a Republican bill to fund Trump’s wall, barrier, fence or whatever one wants to call it.
If that is how it all plays out, Trump will become a triple-crown winner. He will get his funding, congressional Democrat unity will shatter like a dropped Ming vase – with the radicals going ballistic – and his prospects of re-election will increase. All this gives Trump very little incentive to cave.
I had written a previous commentary arguing that conservatism has become a divided movement within a divided Republican Party within a divided nation. The issue of the border wall has every prospect of dividing liberals within the Democratic Party and foster the re-emergence of the currently kowtowed moderate and conservative Democrats – and they are out there.
The radicals do not yet have enough power to drive the agenda in Congress, but they can cause incremental shifts. They will also have the benefit of a news media that will give them more than deserved coverage. The radicals will serve as foci for the scattered leftist rabble population. This was already seen in the publicity Tlaib received for her low-life remark and the praise she received from the radicals on social media – AND the surge of money into her campaign coffers.
It is no secret that the Democrat radicals desire and intend to change the Democrat Party to something more like the European left-wing socialist parties. They openly admit that much.
For the next two years, it is less likely that Pelosi will be leading a unified party than trying to keep it united – less the leader of the band and more the cattle herder.
So, there ‘tis.
Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez may think she is something unique regarding a precocious, feisty left-wing New York congresswoman. Many may see Rashida Tlaib’s profane remark in conjunction with impeaching President trump as a breach of longstanding tradition. Ilhan Omar may see her campaign to end the House ban on wearing headgear (hijab) on the floor as a unique effort. But … they may only be channeling the all but forgotten Bella Abzug, who did all those things – and she was only one woman.
Bella means “beautiful” or “gorgeous” in Italian. Those are adjectives that neither foe nor friend would apply to Abzug. She was the daughter of Russian immigrants – a short but husky bull-dog of a woman with the personality of a rabid pit bull.
Like Ocasia-Cortez, Abzug was a product of the Bronx, although she won her first congressional race in the tonier neighboring Manhattan district. Like Ocasia-Cortez she secured the seat by similarly defeating a seemingly powerful seven-term congressman, Leonard Farbstein, in the Democrat primary. It was a very liberal district that assured her victory in the General Election. She had the support of Republican-turned-Democrat Mayor John Lindsey – the historical political prototype of Republican-turned-Democrat Michael Bloomberg.
In the liberal populist traditions, Abzug took what she called an oath for the people on the steps of the Capitol Building – suggesting that upholding the constitutional right of the people was insufficient. The publicity garnering stunt could be compared to Ocasia-Cortez participation in a demonstration outside the office of Nancy Pelosi during congressional freshman orientation.
Like the aforementioned ladies of the radical left, Abzug came to Congress with her agenda. On the first day of her incumbency, Abzug introduced legislation to end the war in Vietnam and end the draft – and she called for an investigation of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for his abuse of power and politicizing the agency. (It is about this time that I recall Yogi Berra’s famed comment, “Its déjà vu all over again.”)
Known for her trademark wide-brim hats, Abzug defied convention and the rules by wearing it on the floor of the House as part of a publicity stunt to have the ban overturned for her benefit. Unlike Omar, Abzug did not have a religious argument. It was merely her personal and political fashionista desire. Her stunt and campaign to ban the headwear ban failed – as did most of her other pet issues.
With her old district re-drawn for the 1972 election, Abzug opted to run in the Bronx district. She lost the primary, but her opponent, incumbent Congressman William Fitts Ryan, died shortly thereafter and Abzug was picked to replace him on the November ballot.
Ocasia-Cortez’, Tlaib’s and Omar’s campaign pledge (albeit broken) to dump Nancy Pelosi as Speaker was like Abzug’s pre-congressional effort to dump the leader of her party, President Lyndon Johnson. The modern three sisters folded in their opposition to Pelosi, but Abzug was given some credit for Johnson’s decision to not seek re-election in 1968.
Abzug was a tough-talking feminist with a style and vocabulary that even many women did not like. While Abzug’s language was short of the “motherf***er” with which Tlaib described President Trump, she was responsible for contributing a coarseness to the political rhetoric of her time. She described her mission as figuring out a way to “beat the crap out of the political power structure.” That may seem rather mild by today’s standards, but in those kinder and gentler times, such talk – especially from a woman — was quite bold.
Her non-feminine demeanor and locker room talk made her the butt of jokes on Capitol Hill. One member of Congress opined that Abzug never wears a mini-skirt – the rage of the day — because her balls would show. Author Norman Mailer wrote that Abzug’s voice would “boil the fat off a taxicab driver’s neck.” Not sure how that bit of literary license all fits together, but we can assume it was not a compliment.
Abzug’s Joan-of-Ark approach to legislation made her unpopular even within her party. It was said that any bill with her name on it would automatically lose 30 to 40 votes of those who might otherwise support the legislation.
Abzug gave up her seat to run for the United States Senate. She lost. Subsequent efforts to become mayor of New York City and several attempts to return to Congress were all unsuccessful. Her flamboyant manner and ineffectiveness as a legislator made her unpopular with the electorate. She understood that and later said that she was “at heart an activist more than a politician.”
So, to all the newly minted firebrand radicals in Congress, let Abzug be a lesson to you. You may burn brightly based on your new-found celebrity, but you may one day look a back on a life that was short on accomplishment. Your place in history may be no greater than that of Bella Abzug. Bella who?
So, there ‘tis.
It would appear that the partial shutdown has forced the IRS to lay off almost all of their employees considered as none essential.
A statement by Bacon & Gendrean (a tax preparation firm) informing their clients on December 28th that because of the government shutdown, “the IRS has furloughed all but 12% of its employees across the country.” Because of that, the IRS “will continue to process electronically filed and paper returns with payments” but they “will not issue any refunds.” Besides, the agency “will not perform audits or process returns requiring further examination.”
Which means for the immediate future taxpayers will not be receiving those dreaded notices in the mail regarding a calculated mistake on their filing or worse yet a previously-filed tax return audit.
However, said Bacon & Gendreau, those layoffs don’t affect “essential employees such as IRS law enforcement agents.”
Due to recent budget cuts the IRS now employs about 24,000 fewer full-time agents than it did back in 2010. The cuts bring the agency down to around 76,000 full-time employees compared to the 100,000 agents it once employed. Moreover, the 17,000 cut comes from the law-enforcement arm of the agency.
In a special 18-page report by a liberal investigative group called ProPublica cites how the IRS was gutted. The statement issued in December chronicles “An eight-year campaign to slash the agency’s budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung, and operating with old equipment. The result: billions less to fund the government. That’s good news for corporations and the wealthy.”
ProPublica also cites, “As of last year, the IRS had 9,510 auditors. That’s down a third from 2010.” And a lot of those still working are likely to take early retirement next year: “Almost a third of its remaining employees will be eligible to retire in the next year, and with morale plummeting, many of them will.”
Adding, “For the country’s largest corporations, the danger of being hit with a billion-dollar tax bill has greatly diminished, for the rich, the IRS has become less and less of a force to be feared.”
However for conservatives who witnessed and perhaps personally experienced the willful misuse of the IRS under the Obama Administration, and those IRS operatives like Lois Lerner and John Koskinen who used their collective power in directing their staff to target conservative groups seeking tax exemptions, paring down this agency and reducing their influence is a positive step in the right direction
For those who might have forgotten, it was Koskinen who hid Lerner’s emails after the scandal went public and later deleted them and then lied to congress
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the committee chairman, said that Koskinen “failed to comply with a Congressional issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”
During a shutdown, the IRS will:
• Continue to process electronically filed returns up to the point of refunds
• Process paper tax returns with payments
• Process disaster relief transcripts
• Complete and test new computer systems and forms for the upcoming tax year
The IRS will not:
• Issue any refunds
• Process paper returns without payments
• Process amended returns
• Process non-disaster relief transcripts or Income Verification Service requests
• Perform audits or process returns requiring further examination
• Provide taxpayer services such as phone support and online functions
The IRS maintains that the filing season will open on time. Wait times for processing and services may be longer as they clear any backlog. The April deadline for filing will remain unchanged regardless of a lengthy shutdown.
If your devotion is to all, what is the value of your love? Are such displays of emotion not useless if any member of the horde on the other side of the hill holds the same space in your heart as those who have built their lives around you, who have celebrated and suffered by your side? Is it not pathological to care for strangers more than those next to you? Shockingly, such a standard has become politically correct in much of the Western World.
Be it African or Middle Eastern migrants smothering Western Europe or the demand in America for illegal aliens to be immune to American law, the message from the mainstream media is clear: foreigners are more deserving of Western society than those who value and preserve the ideals that made our countries successful in the first place.
Now, many will say that American foreign policy – especially the last eight years of failed nation building coups in Libya and Syria – have created the crisis in which the migrants are fleeing. And, while this opinion contains a partial truth, belief is such rhetoric would require ignorance of pre-2010 migration.
The red herring of Syria provides the pro-migration movement with a flashy distraction, forcing the world’s eyes away from the over 1 million migrants illegally flooding into the European Union every year. In fact, all the way back in 2010, Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi was holding the EU ransom for billions by threatening to “turn Europe black” by refusing to stop African migrants from crossing into Italy. In recent months, six years after Gadhafi’s death, Italy has agreed to pay $5 billion to build a greater resistance to the threat. If we do not address the actual reality of migration into Europe, as people who allow Syria to monopolize their discussion of these topics, how could any correct response be mounted?
While much of the media’s blame for migrants and illegal immigrants is directed towards the West’s foreign policy, the true cause is the welfare systems ingrained into our domestic policies. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits, which is 41 percent higher than the $4,431 received by the average native household. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography states that the average Mexican household (3.5 people) makes $10,116. To put simply, a full-time job in Mexico will earn about the same as not having a job in America. Is there any wonder why people want to join the hand-out party?
When I see pro-immigration activists flooding the streets, demanding more immigrants and more amnesty for those already here, I wonder why there is no care about veterans, our elderly. Why do they have no comment about inflation constantly increasing while wages continue to stagnate? Why is new infrastructure not being built? Why is the middle class trapped in a state of funding both poor and rich? The answer, quite simply, quite sadly, is because the news doesn’t tell you to be outraged about those things keeping food out of your family’s mouths. The news tells you to feel sorry for the brown people you are causing to suffer.
In the West, white people don’t have enough children to support the welfare state. With Americans and Western Europeans having fewer children than ever, there is simply not enough money to pay for the desires of those unable to pay their way: free health care, college, younger retirements, nanny service, etc. Unable to pay for these things, citizens fall into the politician’s trap, accepting that they can vote for their wants instead of work for them.
Those who desire big government will always want more immigration.According to Pew, the majority of Latinos have not voted for a Republican since the early 80s. Those who have come to America for free services will never vote away those services – or opt out of future services. For that reason, regardless of race or culture, Americans who value our Republic, not some dream of a mob rule democracy, must strongly, aggressively condemn Immigration of every potential dependent. We will slip deeper into the ever-failing socialist black hole with each new dreamer.
Soon after the fanfare of seating the new Congress died down — now that the Democrats control the House — the inevitable talk of impeachment began. The most visceral such call to impeach the president came from freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a practicing Muslim who made a profanity-laced vow to remove him from office. In a video she made after being sworn in she said, “Now we can impeach the Motherf****er.” She subsequently defended her remarks, saying she will “always speak truth to power.”
Without directly referring to Tlaib or her video, Trump fired back, tweeting:
“How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?”
“They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win.”
While Democrats have shown a propensity to toss around the “I- word” it is not so easy to remove a sitting president. To do so requires a conviction by the Senate on “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The impeachment process would require the consent of both the House and two-thirds of the Senate, which still has a Republican majority.
Nancy Pelosi, who has been sworn in as the House Speaker for a historic second time has been cautious about whether her new Democratic majority would ever impeach Trump, but at least two of her members are ready to move forward. California Rep. Brad Sherman and Texas Rep. Al Green introduced articles of impeachment against Trump on Thursday, the first day of the new Congress. Sherman and Green pushed to impeach Trump in 2017 and 2018, but the House blocked those resolutions twice, with the help of Democrats who said the effort was premature.
Pelosi hasn’t ruled out impeachment but has called it a “divisive activity” that needs support from both parties.
For his part, President Trump has said that Democrats “only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!”
The Washington Post has taken upon itself to be the scorekeeper on President Trump’s rhetorical accuracy. They currently claim more than 7000 of what they call “lies” That, in and of itself, is a stretch of the truth.
To visualize their score of presidential veracity, the folks of the Fourth Estate have literally tossed one gumball into a large jar for each alleged lie by the President. They further claim that the frequency of these prevarications is increasing exponentially. In his prosecutorial brief, Victor Blackwell, of CNN, presided over several jars of brightly-colored gumballs like they were evidence in a murder trial. To maximize the visual impression – and in what can be described as visual hyperbole — I noticed that they used the over-sized “jawbreaker” gumballs. I suspect that they would have used bowling balls if it were not such a logistical challenge.
One cannot deny that Trump seems to make more inaccurate public statements than most past presidents, but we have no comparison. No one in the media has ever meticulously tracked the lies, misstatements, mistakes or bullsh*t of past Chief Executives. If they were to apply the same standard and diligence to those past occupants of the Oval Office as they do to Trump, I would bet there would be untruths by the thousands. It all depends on how picayunish and petty one wants to be – and when it comes to Trump the media has no bounds picayune and pettiness.
Why does he do it?
Unfortunately, Trump provides his critics with too much ammunition. There is no good explanation for Trump’s propensity to proffer challengeable claims in machine gun fashion. But the hyperbolic media narrative that Trump is a pathological liar and an imminent danger to the Republic may be their bias-driven political narrative, but they are bending the truth to the breaking point, to put it politely.
While the Post makes its claims, it is not into transparency when it comes to providing the raw data – the list of those 7000-plus “lies.” It would be interesting to be able to analyze their list, but they are not willing to publish it in its entirety in their publication.
A lie by any other name
A lie is an intent to deceive when one knows that the statement is grossly inaccurate. We know that many of Trump’s misstatements are based on what people told him or he read or heard in the media. He can certainly be criticized for not being a more cautious consumer of off-hand information and for not checking out the facts before blurting out the statements.
In an effort to pile on, the media will declare lies when they are merely matters of opinion or differing interpretations. They take advantage of Trump’s maladroit manner of expressing his opinions.
They say he lied about the size of his Inaugural crowd – the biggest ever. Based on the best information available, that is not true of those in physical attendance, but it is true if you consider those watching on television or via the Internet. In view of his controversial personality and the shock of his victory, it would be amazing if it was not the most viewed Inauguration in history.
One cannot even count the number of times Trump is accused of knowingly lying about Mexico paying for the wall. (Hmmm. I wonder if that is one gumball or does the Post add a gumball for every repetition of the comment?)
And is it really a lie? Trump has said that Mexico would pay for the wall one way or another – direct payment, withheld foreign aid from the United States or some provision in trade agreements. The best one can say about that promise is that the jury is still out. And even if he cannot make it happen – or is blocked from building the metaphoric wall – it is not a lie any more than when Obama said that Syria’s Bashar al Assad’s days were numbered.
Then there are all those lies the media cites that are purely differences of opinion. When Trump said the negotiations over the new NAFTA were going well, a number of media folks declared it not to be true. A lie? That is the arrogance and danger of a biased and propagandized news media. Who would know better the status of the negotiations – the President or the reporters? Yet they call it a lie. Is that another gumball in the bottle?
It needs to be noted that that VAST majority of those gumballs seem to represent misstatements that are of no real importance. As a person who favors Trump’s policies, but not his personality, I could care less about the media frenzy over crowd sizes and all those other petty agonized attacks on his veracity.
Ignoring important lies
Where was the media derangement when President Obama lied about keeping our doctors in order to pass the Affordable Care Act? It was a gross lie that was necessary to get the bill passed in Congress and was admitted to by one of his chief advisors, Jonathan Gruber. There was no outrage when Obama supported gay marriage after saying on the campaign trail that he opposed it – a lie that his top advisor, David Axelrod confessed in his book. There were no gumballs in jars when Obama lied to the Kurds and Syrian freedom fighters that America would have their back. What about the lie that we would have 6 percent growth in less than one year if Congress passed the stimulus package?
Those are the kind of lies that should be of great concern because they are not petty. They affect real lives – and in the case of Syria, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Those are lies with enormous consequences.
But what about the media in this world of fact-checking and lie-accusing? It brings to mind Dr. Seuss’ tale of the community of Hawtch–Hawtch where there was a need to supervise (watch) the bee at work. When nothing improved, they found it necessary to watch the watcher. After a series of watchers watching watchers, Seuss concluded:
And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch–Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who’s watching that bee. You’re not a Hawtch-Watcher you’re lucky you see!”
So … who IS watching the media? Yes, there are media reporters – but guys like CNN’s Brian Stelter is neither a media critic (as we once called them) or an ombudsman. He is a propagandist for the press.
And yes, occasionally the media is caught in such an outrageous lie that they must offer up a retraction. Occasionally, a reporter makes up a story (a lie) and gets fired. That happened to “Morning Joe” regular Mike Barnicle — often introduced with the appellation “the legendary …” He was canned from the Boston Globe for faking news reports. It has happened to the New York Times with Jason Blair. But, for the most part, the media can lie, deceive, spin and censor with impunity. After all, they see themselves as the primary watcher.
And The Beat goes on
Among the most biased hosts on MSNBC – and it is at least a seven-way tie for first place – is Ari Melber who hosts “The Beat.” He also appears as guest host and panelist on virtually all the other MNBC programs. In his year-end show, he noted that many people (an understatement) believe the folks at MSNBC are biased and only dishes out one side of the story. To prove otherwise, he aired a snippet of three interviews is Trump advocates.
In those archival interviews, Melber berated his guests and called them liars. He was not inquiring. He was indicting. What he did not show – and I recall because I had seen those interviews – was the panel discussions that followed, in which three of four “contributors mercilessly” ripped the Trump supporters apart like a McDonalds’ bag in the hands of a child.
If you were to do some stopwatch-research – timing the negative and positive Trump news and opinions on MSNBC – you get a fact-based knowledge that destroys Melber’s self-serving narrative. By my rough timing on one occasion, its negative-to-positive ratio runs about 300-to-one against trump. In one segment of Morning Joe, the hour was 100 percent anti-Trump by twelve talking-head analysts – not including the negative video clips. Not one person with an alternative opinion.
In attempting to demonstrate fairness and balance with these three video clips, Melber offered up a GROSS deception – a misrepresentation that can only be considered … a lie. He was not mistaken. He was not misinformed. He willfully distorted the truth to create propaganda. Yes, Melber lied. MSNBC is not fair and balanced and only zombies of the left-wing base could believe otherwise.
Painter paints himself into a corner
On CNN – which is biased but does offer up a number of alternative viewpoints – there was a real debate. Taking up the #NeverTrump side was Republican deserter Richard Painter – a man of world-class arrogance and pomposity. His appearance and his raspy scolding oratorical style always reminds me of Waldorf, the angry old man in the balcony in those Muppet shows.
The subject of the moment was Trump’s lies. After hearing from a Trump defender, Waldorf … ooops, I mean Painter … bellowed “Everyone in New York knows that Trump is a liar.” Really? Everyone? Old Painter just told an untruth … a lie. One does not need to do a survey to know that not “everyone in New York” thinks Trump is a liar. To make his point, Painter told an untruth. It could be considered an expression made for emphasis (nice way of saying, “a lie”). BUT … it is exactly the kind of exaggeration that garners Trump another gumball. Using the same standard, Painter gets a jaw-breaker for his jaw-boning.
When those folks on the tube say that Trump wants a “medieval-style wall,” “compare his proposal to the Great Wall of China or say he is relying on 17TH Century technology,” they are … lying. Flat out spewing gumball-earning lies. They use THEIR definition as a straw man even Trump has often explained that the “wall” can be many things in different places. It is a metaphor for border security – walls, fences, barriers and whatever it takes.
Trump hurts himself
I cannot say that I am not chagrined by Trump’s propensity to tweet and say things that are challengeable. He hurts his own credibility and – more importantly – his ability to move the conservative Republican agenda forward. I do not admire his hyperbolic egocentric bragging. I would like to see less c’est moi and more e pluribus unum.
Trump’s greatest strength, however, is not him, but them. It is easy to overlook what cannot be defended in Trump when one considers the alternatives – a divisive left-wing political movement based on identity politics, political correctness and the empowerment of a permanent authoritarian ruling elite presiding over an increasingly powerful and oppressive central government. As it was in November of 2016, Trump, for all his faults, is still the better option for America and the personal freedoms we have come to expect as citizens.
So, there ‘tis.
When it comes to television ratings, it is too often an example of that old adage that figures do not lie, but liars figure. If you surgically analyze all the variables in the rating matrix, almost any slick-sleeve public relations practitioner can make anything look like a winner. This is done by ignoring the basic overarching statistics and manipulating others to concoct a good sounding – if not totally accurate – picture.
In analyzing ratings, the Washington Post suggested that they should be “treated like exposed wiring in a flooded basement. Do not touch.” That caution comes into play when considering the latest chest-pounding claim by MSNBC.
If we are to believe the network’s publicity, their ratings have “surged” past the king-of-the-mountain media giant FOX News for the week of December 17th – a 17-year first. That sounds pretty impressive.
But I bet you are like me. You assume that a week has seven days. Apparently not at MSNBC. They calculated their “surge” on a five-day week – and only on the Rachel Maddow Show. So why would they do that? Because if they look at the ratings for the entire seven day week, FOX comes out on top … yet again.
MSNBC and even CNN can carve out their participation prizes – CNN noting that it had its best midterm election year ever. That begs the question: Compared to what? Previous abysmal ratings. But in terms of the all-important championship round, FOX remains the unchallenged leader in all of cable television.
There also needs to be a footnote on the Rachel Maddow claim. There is no doubt that taking over the time-slot for even one day from the top-rated Hannity Show on FOX is an achievement, but it occurred when Hannity, himself, was on vacation.
Apart from the hyperbolic claims of a surge, it is noteworthy – and scary — that MSNBC has been experiencing a slow ascent over the past few years. Most folks are surprised that MSNBC has long ago surpassed the more famous CNN – the station that the spans the globe and seems to the be the cable news of choice in every medical waiting room, airport and sports bar.
Though still far behind FOX in overall viewership – the most important rating – MSNBC’s growing popularity should be of concern to anyone who believes in the importance of a fair, balanced and honest Fourth Estate. MSNBC is viciously biased throughout the broadcast day. Its only appeal is to those in the increasingly left-wing Democrat base who want news that appeals to their own prejudices – it is spleen over brain, indoctrination over education.
In many ways, MSNBC should be thankful for President Trump. The left-wing elitist media has been able to promote hatred of Trump, Republicans and conservatives into an equally hateful following. MSNBC has aroused the rabble on the left, who now embrace propaganda as their primary source of information. It is one of the hallmarks of authoritarianism. Alternative opinions are not only unwelcome, but they are oppressed by social censorship – the kind we see on campuses, among political activists and in the elitist media. It is the stock-in-trade of MSNBC. Being told what to think is not thinking. It is submission.
The greater the number of people who lock on MSNBC, the greater the threat to an informed public – and that a threat to personal freedom. It is not comforting to see their ratings rise. It means the Philistines are gaining.
So, there ‘tis