CNN Analysts Clash
This week, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan acknowledged that Republican concerns about the objectivity of the FBI investigating alleged collusion are justified. "I started out angry at the aspersions being cast upon this venerated law enforcement agency, but the deeper I probed the more substantive the Republican claims became," Callan said.
"Take this FBI agent Peter Strzok," Callan began. "First, there's this trail of texts between him and fellow FBI agent Lisa Page indicating a definite covert scheme during 2016 to undermine the Trump candidacy and an 'insurance plan' to undermine his presidency in the event he wins the election. It turns out that Strzok was instrumental in pushing FBI Director James Comey's decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified emails."
"Then there's the $700,000 in Democratic Party funds paid to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's wife for her senate campaign," Callan continued. "Clearly, McCabe should have recused himself from any investigation involving Clinton and the Democratic Party, but he didn't. Instead he apparently collaborated with Strzok and Page in their scheme to undermine Trump. These are not the behaviors one should expect from impartial law-enforcement officials."
Later on, CNN legal Analyst Michael Zeldin rejected Callan's concerns asserting that "my colleague has fallen into the web of Republican deception. The job of the FBI is to protect this country from those who would undermine our form of government. It couldn't be clearer from both his campaign rhetoric and his actions as president that Donald Trump is as big a threat as there has ever been in this regard. The actions of Strzok, Page, McCabe, Comey were the actions of patriots willing to step outside the lines of legal impartiality for the greater good. Suggestions by the likes of Rep. Rooney (R-FL) that these heroes should be 'purged' from the FBI for trying to engineer a 'coup d'etat' are the real threat."
In related news, it now appears that Special Counsel Robert Mueller met secretly with former FBI Director Comey prior to his June 2017 testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in which he admitted asking "a friend" to illegally leak a memo he wrote "because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel." As luck would have it, that leak led to the appointment of his long-time friend Mueller as the Special Counsel.
First Year Presidential Approval Ratings for Trump vs. Obama
The 2017 Rasmussen year-end poll of presidential approval ratings for President Trump of 46% approve vs. 53% disapprove matched those of his 2009 year-end presidential approval poll of President Obama. In polls taken shortly after each man's inauguration, Obama's approval rating was 67% while Trump's was 59%.
Considering that Trump's first year had to endure an unrelenting barrage of negative media coverage while Obama received relatively little criticism makes the Rasmussen results all the more amazing. According to the Pew Research Center, Obama received 42% positive coverage vs. only 20% negative coverage. In contrast, Trump received only 5% positive coverage vs. 62% negative coverage.
Trump's tweet hailing the latest Rasmussen poll numbers was airily dismissed by CNN: "Our weighted average of the polling data shows that Secretary Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election by a landslide. This one Rasmussen poll is clearly an outlier with little credibility or connection to reality."
NY Gov Says Trump Tax Cut Unconstitutional
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is weighing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill on the grounds that "it has a partisan impact. On paper, the legislation says nothing about political parties. In effect, though, the new law reduces the exemption for state-levied taxes. This hits high-tax states like New York especially hard. Since all the high-tax states are run by Democrats the new law is unfairly discriminatory toward states controlled by Democrats."
Cuomo brushed aside the suggestion that his state could escape the negative impacts by lowering state taxes, calling it "a less desirable option. Keeping state taxes low is the Republican way of doing things. Mimicking their policy would derail us from our long-term progress toward shifting the control over the nation's resources out of the hands of selfish individuals and into the unselfish hands of government experts dedicated to social justice. The idea that it is individual people who produce resources through their work and investment is a myth that was convincingly disproved by President Obama when he pointed out that no one builds their own business. Someone else made that happen. That 'someone else' is the government. Using tax policy to try to feed that individualistic fantasy is unfair."
Even before the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill New York has been losing residents to low-tax states. In the last seven years more than one million people have left the state—making New York the number one state in net out-migration. E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center, a fiscal watchdog group in New York, cited "lack of economic opportunity upstate and the high cost of living downstate and in New York City. High state and local taxes on income, sales, and property are major contributors to the state's negative economic environment."
In related news, French President Emmanuel Macron has been roundly criticized by his country's left for proposing that unemployment benefits be denied to those who refuse to accept jobs. Under his plan, those who refuse two reasonable job offers or who refuse training will have their benefits halved for two months. Alexis Corbiere of the France Unbowed Party denounced the proposal "as pure capitalistic exploitation. We socialists have worked hard to free our countrymen of the burdens of wage-slavery. We will resist this backward step with all our might." Under the current French unemployment benefit program 9.6% of the working age population has been more or less permanently relieved of the scourge of wage-slavery.
Congresswoman Bumps Passenger
On a United Airlines flight from Houston to Washington, DC, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex) added another bumped passenger to her growing list. When the passenger complained Jackson labeled her a "racist."
Jean-Marie Simon, the woman Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee called a racist, is a photojournalist who helped document human-rights abuses in Guatemala during the 1980s. She currently teaches in a private school and is a registered Democrat.
"All that stuff about what she did in Guatemala doesn't change the fact that she is white," Lee argued. "All whites are racists. She was probably trying to atone for her whiteness by going to Guatemala. And registering Democrat doesn't mean anything. It was Democrats who manned the firehouses in Selma. It was Democrats who made the Jim Crow laws. It was Democrats who fought the Civil War to defend slavery. The key thing is that she objected to a black woman taking her seat instead of realizing that it was a small reparation for all the suffering her kind inflicted on my kind over the centuries."
In related news, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei praised Black Lives Matter for "their heroic opposition to the wanton murder of black men, women, and children" and urged them "to join the jihad against the Great Satan who oppresses their people."
Differing Attitudes about Vote Fraud
A study by New York University Professor John Kane, published in the latest Public Opinion Quarterly found that Republicans have different attitudes about vote fraud than Democrats do.
"The gist of the findings are that Republicans are more concerned with election integrity while Democrats are more concerned with winning," Kane said. "In the battery of survey questions we asked, Republicans consistently came down in favor of integrity regardless of whether this would benefit their Party's candidates. In contrast, Democrats were less interested in integrity if it would mean fewer of their candidates would win."
J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation contends that "Kane's study understates the difference between the Parties. Democrats aren't just 'less interested' in integrity. They are flat out in favor of winning by whatever means necessary."
One of Kane's Democratic poll respondents appeared to confirm Adams' contention by pointing out that "strict adherence to majority rule should not impede the transformation to a progressive government. Lenin didn't balk at overthrowing a democratically elected government in order to achieve true socialism. If freely cast ballots stray from the path necessary to accomplish our goals supplementing them with correctly marked ballots is a less bloody method that our reactionary opponents ought to be more thankful we are using."
In related news, in an interview conducted by England's Prince Harry, former President Obama came out strongly against "the political anarchy spawned by the Internet and social media. It used to be expensive to communicate your message to millions of people. The cost excluded the masses from injecting their opinions into the stream of information. Now any yahoo with a phone and a finger can spout off whenever he wants. We need a way to cull the herd, so to speak, so that there's a more realistic opportunity to develop a universal source of information and opinion. Only then will the common people be united in support of those of us who govern them."