Politics is so much fun.

Hearing the Democrats howl that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should not allow President Donald Trump to appoint a new Supreme Court justice until after the November election, and presumably until after those elected take office in January, is funny. The reasoning is that McConnell refused to take a vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in 2016.

But McConnell is going to push through Trump’s nominee for exactly the same reason that he held up Obama’s nominee. The American people have given Republicans control of the US Senate and McConnell is going to use that political power to further the goals of the Republican Party. A very key goal is to gain a true conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

If the shoe were on the other foot and Sen. Chuck Schumer was the majority leader instead of the minority leader, there would be no way under the sun that the Senate would take a vote on Trump’s nominee before the November election.

According to our political system the majority has control.

When Republicans complained bitterly about the fact that Obama wouldn’t negotiate with them, Obama said, “Elections have consequences.” It’s absolutely true. Obama was given a huge gift by the American people. Not simply electing him president but also electing a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and a majority in the House. For about 10 months Obama and the Democrats could pass any legislation they wanted and all the Republicans could do was complain.

Obama decided to put all of his eggs in the Obamacare basket and used that vast amount of political capital to pass Obamacare without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate.

That decision cost Obama the House and Senate majorities, but maybe Obama thought it was worth it.

But also it was during that time that Obama thought he needed to remind the Republicans that “elections had consequences.”

So when McConnell held up Obama’s Supreme Court appointment, there may have been a little payback in his actions. Obama paid no attention to the Republicans when the Democrats had the majority and when Republicans gained the majority he shouldn’t have expected any consideration.

*****

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a statement in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that says it all about him.

Rep. Jim Jordan had been giving Rosenstein a hard time and said that, by the redactions in the documents handed over to the House, Rosenstein was hiding something.

Rosenstein said, “Mr. Jordan, I am the deputy attorney general of the United States, OK? I am not the person doing the redacting.”

If I were President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions right now, Rosenstein would be saying, “I am the former deputy attorney general of the United States …”

I’ve been a newspaper editor for 27 years and one thing I accept is that if there are any mistakes in the newspaper, they are my responsibility. It goes with the job. It doesn’t mean I made the mistakes or was aware of them before the paper was printed, but as editor they are my mistakes. I own them and I accept that.

As the deputy attorney general of the United States, that simpering, smiling twit Rosenstein is responsible for those redactions. Of course he didn’t actually black out the words himself, but the people under his supervision did and that makes those mistakes his mistakes.

The very fact that he is not willing to take responsibility for the actions of those working for him means he shouldn’t be in a position of responsibility. He should be fired for that statement alone. Blaming errors on underlings is cowardly.

He and those like him are the reason that Trump needs to drain the swamp. People like Rosenstein should never be in positions of responsibility because they don’t have the moral character to handle the job.

It would not be a disaster for this country if Trump fired everyone in Washington who was appointed by Obama. He should have done it on day one of his presidency and he would not be putting up with the Mueller investigation now.

But it’s never too late.

I have high hopes that on the day special prosecutor Robert Mueller closes his investigation and makes his report, Trump will call Rosenstein over to the White House and tell him that he is no longer an employee of the federal government and not to go back to his office, or get back in a government car, but that Trump in the spirit of conciliation will book a ride home for him with Uber and pay for it himself.

*****

Rosenstein said something before the House Judiciary Committee that seemed innocuous but is deeply revealing about the problems in Washington.

He said that he chose Mueller as special prosecutor because he was a colleague, someone he had worked with for many years and he knew that Mueller would do a good job.

This is the old spoils system for federal jobs that was supposed to have been abolished. As deputy attorney general hiring a special prosecutor that he knew would have an enormous impact on the future of this country and could possibly lead to the impeachment of a president, Rosenstein had a responsibility to look beyond his circle of friends for a special prosecutor. Rosenstein doesn’t know because he didn’t look any further than the numbers in his cell phone, but the best attorney for the job might live in Seattle, Washington, not Washington, DC. The best attorney for the job might be a law professor at Harvard, Stanford or Duke. The best attorney for the job might be any one of thousands of attorneys who are not personal friends of Rosenstein.

It’s a huge problem in Washington. Trump calls it the swamp. If you are in the swamp then you get high profile, lucrative jobs from your friends. If you are not a swamp creature you don’t even get the chance to apply for those jobs because they are handed out to a small insular group of friends. Decisions that should be made with public input are instead made at Washington cocktail parties. It’s nothing new, but it gets worse every year and is particularly bad now because the swamp hates the current president.

Trump foolishly thought these long-term federal employees would work for him, not against him, because the people elected Trump president. But he misjudged their level of animus toward him for defeating a true swamp creature, Hillary Clinton.

*****

Fired FBI Director Jim Comey’s recent behavior reminds me of some folks I worked with in Washington who had worked at the White House. They said that when they left, it was shocking that people didn’t immediately come to the phone to speak with them, their calls were not returned promptly and sometimes not returned at all.

According to these guys, you can call just about anybody in the country and get them to phone if they are told it’s “The White House” calling; and it’s easy to forget that they aren’t calling you back, but calling “The White House” back.

Comey was the director of the FBI. Everyone was either scared of him or at least wanted to be on his good side. Now he is just regular old Jim Comey and nobody really cares what he has to say.

But Comey has an even bigger problem than being inconsequential. Just about the entire country is mad at him. About half the country is mad at him for what they think he did to Hillary Clinton and the other half is mad for what he actually did to Donald Trump. So not only do people not care what he has to say; whatever it is they don’t like it and don’t believe it.

The Hillary Clinton people are convinced that he sabotaged her campaign and that without Comey she would be president.

The opposite is actually true. If Comey and his minions hadn’t put the fix in on the Hillary Clinton email investigation Hillary Clinton would have been put on a trial for a string of felonies. Comey did everything he could to protect her, including reopening the investigation when it was about to be leaked to the public that the FBI had been sitting on an additional 350,000 Hillary Clinton related emails that they hadn’t bothered to look at.

It made sense to Comey and his buddies at the FBI: Why waste time looking at 350,000 emails when they had decided before the investigation started that she had not done anything wrong? Besides that would take time away from the investigation of Trump colluding with the Russians and that was the investigation where they were going all out to find any particle of evidence that Trump or someone in the Trump campaign saw a Russian, spoke to a Russian or perhaps rode an elevator with a Russian during the campaign.

The Trump folks have good reason to be mad at Comey because Comey caused the whole special prosecutor investigation.

Reports are that Rosenstein was furious when Trump fired Comey and the result of that fury was that after writing the memo supporting the firing of Comey, Rosenstein called for a special prosecutor to investigate among other things if Comey was fired to stop the Russian collusion investigation. Rosenstein says that is not a conflict of interest, but for Attorney General Sessions to meet with the Russian ambassador as part of his job as a US senator is a conflict of interest.

It makes no sense if you don’t believe in the deep state and that the career employees in the Justice Department don’t have it in for their boss President Donald Trump. If you do believe that then it all makes perfect sense.

*****

I keep reading about families being separated at the border, but what I can’t find is how this is different from what happens every day all over this country to American citizens who are detained by police.

If the police come and take you downtown for questioning, even if you aren’t arrested, you don’t get to take your kids with you. If you are arrested there is no question that you don’t get to take your kids.

The people who have entered this country illegally when they are apprehended by or turn themselves in to the Border Patrol have broken the immigration laws by the very fact of being in this country without obtaining permission first.

Trump said they were going to be sent back without a hearing, which is also legal. If they want to claim asylum as refugees in the US then they should go to a port of entry and tell their story. But it is illegal for them to cross the border without the proper documents, so they are detained and in the US we don’t have family jails, prisons or detention centers.

But how is this different from any US citizen who has committed a crime in front of a law enforcement officer?

I don’t see how person who entered this country illegally has more rights than an American citizen.

I also think that anyone who leaves Guatemala, Nicaragua or some other Central American country and travels through Mexico to enter the US illegally and then, when they are caught, says that they are scared of the gang violence in their neighborhood should be sent back because if that was the real reason they would have stopped in Mexico. They want to come to the US because of jobs and because we give away so much free stuff to poor people. It’s economics.

They want to better themselves and their families by moving to a country with a far better economy and more freedom. There are people all over the world who would love to immigrate to the US for the same reason, but they don’t live in the neighborhood and would have to fly into the country, which means they would be sent back home.

*****

The recent decision by the Supreme Court that government employee unions cannot force nonmembers to pay dues makes perfect sense, but also from all the howling and gnashing of teeth on the left, it is obvious it was the correct decision.

If what the unions said were true, that these people were only being charged for the cost of negotiating their contracts, then the left would not be lamenting the tens of millions of dollars it is losing for political activity.

If what the unions and the mainstream media said were true, it would be a wash. The unions wouldn’t have as much money for their negotiation team, but would still have all of that money available for leftwing causes because that money comes from members.

It was a huge benefit to the left because no matter how rightwing an employee was, he or she had to pay the union, and we now know that the money was being used for political activity.

*****

You can’t get much farther apart politically than the Democrats and Republicans on immigration issues. There is a growing movement in the Democratic Party to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and have open borders. The Republicans want a wall.

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders, the darling of the far left, is being criticized because he has said that ICE needs to be reformed not abolished.

It’s hard to imagine how many people from around the world would flock to the US if the Democrats get their way and the US has truly open borders. Flights to Mexico and Canada would be booked solid for months, not to mention the vast numbers of people from Central America and Mexico who would travel by land. The southwestern United States would be overrun with illegal immigrants.

Then there is the whole customs part of ICE. Without any customs officers, anybody could bring anything they wanted into the country.

*****

NATO counties are complaining bitterly that mean old Trump is once again reminding them that they are supposed to pay their fair share of defense costs to defend Europe from the United Soviet Socialist Republic. But of course the USSR doesn’t exist and what is left is Russia.

That raises the question: Is NATO really necessary? Or more to the point: Is it necessary for the US to defend Europe from a threat that doesn’t exist?

According to the International Monetary Fund, the US has the world’s largest economy followed by the European Union, which isn’t a country so it makes you wonder why it’s even on the list. The second country on the list is China, the third Japan, the fourth is Germany and the fifth is the United Kingdom, France comes in at seventh, Italy at ninth, Canada 10th and Russia is 12th.

So the US is spending billions to defend Germany, which has an economy over twice that of Russia, and Great Britain, with an economy about one-and-a-half times that of Russia, from their much poorer and therefore less powerful neighbor.

Russia did take Crimea from Ukraine, but only with the acquiescence of Obama, who ignored a US agreement to defend Ukraine and cowered in a corner when Russia marched in and took over.

What that proves is not that NATO is needed but that without a strong US president it doesn’t matter how many agreements there are to defend countries.

*****

The US economy is improving. Unemployment is the lowest its been since 2000. Economic growth was 2.9 percent in the last quarter of 2017, nearly hitting the Trump’s target of 3 percent after languishing around 2 percent during the Obama years. Personal income growth for May was 0.4 percent.

Trump and the Republican Congress should get credit for the improving economy. The tax cuts plus deregulation is spurring the economy the way they said that it would. When the tax cuts were proposed, the Democrats said that the tax cuts had to be paid for on the assumption that there would be no economic growth and the result of tax cuts would be lower tax revenue. Economic growth cancels that out because more people and businesses are paying taxes. It’s like a sale at a retail establishment. They make less money on each product because of the lower price, but sell more products and bring in more revenue.

North Carolina has the 13th fastest growing economy in the country. The state has added over 440,000 new jobs since 2013, has been able to pay off the billions of dollars of debt run up by the Democrats and put over $2 billion in a rainy day fund in preparation for the next economic down turn.

Teachers and state employees have received raises. In fact, teachers have received raises every year since 2014. It was the same song in North Carolina; the Democrats said that lower taxes meant less revenue, not more revenue, and they were wrong.

Lowering taxes spurs the economy. Corporations have moved to the state because of the lower tax rates, and companies that were already here had money to expand because less of their money was going to the government.

But despite the facts, the Democrats still claim that lower taxes are bad for the economy and will result in the government not having enough money to pay its bills.

It’s hard to argue with success, but the Democrats keep doing it. They are still, at the national level and the state level, in favor of raising taxes. Why, unless they want the economy to falter and more people to be on the government dole and fewer people working and paying taxes.

In fact, that is what they want because people on the government dole tend to vote for Democrats.

*****

Seattle has banned plastic drinking straws. It appears this is one of those ideas that will sweep the country. The move in Seattle was based in part on research done by a 9-year-old. The figure used by the straw banning contingent is that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day. That means that every single American would have to average almost two plastic straws a day. Nobody knows where the figure came from, it is simply the accepted figure.

Banning an otherwise legal item based on research done by a 9-year-old and a figure of 500 million per day, which nobody can source, seems a little much.

I don’t like straws and when I’m handed a drink with a straw and immediately take the straw out. I know that I don’t use 1.75 straws a day. I doubt if I use 1.75 straws a month.

Maybe someone should check and see if it is true that 182,500,000,000 – that’s 182.5 trillion straws – are sold in the US every year. It seems like a lot.

*****

It sounds awful having parents separated from their children, but it happens to thousands of American citizens every day who haven’t been convicted of anything. If you are arrested, you are innocent until proven guilty, but you are still separated from your children and put in jail until bond can be set. And if you can’t make bond, there you sit, not convicted of any crime but separated from your children. All the people in prison men and women have been separated from their children.

What about the men and women serving in the military? For those who aren’t up on the latest military weaponry, there are no nurseries on Naval ships. There’s plenty of room but the powers that be haven’t allowed families on ships, which means the government is separating mothers and fathers from their children. You can claim that is voluntary, but if it is your career and you turn down assignments because you want to be home with your kids, your career is pretty much in the tank.

The Trump administration is being raked over the coals for enforcing the law. The Obama administration chose not to enforce the law and is being praised for that decision. Aren’t we supposed to be a nation of laws? Isn’t everyone supposed to be equal under the law? It’s not equal if the president decides that some laws won’t be enforced and decides that other laws will be. We might as well have a king.

Congress, not the president, creates laws. If Congress thinks this law is so terrible then Congress should change it. Of course, considering the current level of competency in Congress, to pass a law that says parents at the border won’t be separated from their children would probably require about 1,000 pages and nobody would read it.

*****

It’s hard to believe that there isn’t more news about the email server for the House Democratic Caucus being missing. All the emails of the offices of 40 Democratic members of Congress have likely been stolen.

The server was evidence in the investigation of Imran Awan, the information technology and email server administrator for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The server was evidence in an ongoing investigation of Awan and his family, who were working for numerous Democratic members of Congress and had been replaced with a server similar in appearance.

It has been reported that Awan and his family accessed the server over 7,000 times between 2015 and 2016 without authorization.

Awan’s wife fled to Pakistan but Awan was apprehended at the airport before he could leave the country.

Imagine what the mainstream media would be saying about this story if all the emails for 40 Republican members of Congress had been stolen by a foreign national whose wife had already escaped the country and possible prosecution.

*****

I was listening to NPR on Thursday, June 28 – something I try not to do too often to keep my blood pressure down. But I found a discussion of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy incredible because the host and guest were discussing when Kennedy went on the bench.

This is not a matter for discussion. It is a fact that anyone with internet access can look up in a matter of seconds. I expected one of them to say no, he was sworn in on Feb. 18, 1988, but they both acted like it was a topic where all opinions were valid.

In their defense, they were so horrified that Trump would get to make another appointment that they couldn’t think straight. But still, if you’re going on the air to talk about a Supreme Court justice, doesn’t it seem like you’d have a little bio of him in front of you?

*****

An article in The New York Times on Sunday, July 1 begins, “For 14 years, as partisan gerrymanders across the country grew more extreme …”

In other words, as Republicans took control of more state legislatures and “partisan gerrymanders” no longer favored Democrats is how it should read.

The most egregious partisan gerrymander in the past 30 years was, by most accounts, not a Republican gerrymander but the Democrats who drew the infamous 12th Congressional District in 1992. The original district stretched from Durham to Charlotte along I-85; in places the district was no wider than one lane of the interstate. The Supreme Court ruled that original district unconstitutional and the Democrats revised it to stretch from Burlington to Charlotte and allowed it to bulge our in a few places.

After the 2000 census, then Democratic state Sen. Brad Miller was the driving force behind the redistricting and Miller drew the 13th Congressional District for himself. It went north from Raleigh up to the Virginia border and then came down to pick up a good portion of Greensboro. At the time people said that Miller drew it for himself, and the fact that he won it is pretty good evidence that was true. Some pundits said that without that peculiar district there was no way Miller could ever win a congressional seat.

But according to The New York Times, partisan gerrymandering has been getting worse. That is simply hogwash. The difference is not that gerrymandering has become more partisan, it has always been partisan – and a district as wide as one lane of the interstate is about as bad as you can get, as is a state senator drawing a district specifically for himself. But all that was acceptable; it was when Republicans started winning control of the state legislatures and drawing partisan districts that favored Republicans that things got out of hand according to The New York Times. So The Times is rewriting history to fit with its political bias.

One thing that biased news organizations like The New York Times like to ignore is that in North Carolina and other states, the Republicans won control of the state legislatures in districts politically gerrymandered by the Democrats to favor the Democrats. The problem the Democrats couldn’t overcome is that they became so unpopular at the state level that they couldn’t win even when they got to draw the districts.

In North Carolina, the Democrats drew the districts for over 100 years. After the 2010 census, for the first time in over a century the Republicans had control of the legislature and got to draw the districts to favor Republicans. According to the Democrats and the mainstream media, which are one and the same, this is when the problems started.

This article is a great example of why I cancelled my subscription to The New York Times. The old gray lady has become so partisan that it is no longer honest. It’s a sad state of affairs.