What does it take to kill a story?
It’s now six months since President Donald John Trump was inaugurated, and eight months after the election. So far no one has found any evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to affect the outcome of the election. But I heard another report on the ongoing investigation last week.
CNN allowed three experienced journalists to resign because of a story linking a Trump supporter to a Russian investment fund that is being investigated. CNN had to retract the story, which like so many stories about Trump was based on one anonymous source, and has the additional problem of not being true.
This certainly isn’t the first time the mainstream media have gone overboard on a story about Trump. The reporters hear something that they want to believe and, because they want it to be true, they ignore the usual journalistic practices and run with the story.
In fact, the investment fund is not being investigated by Congress, which is the sort of thing that should be a red flag to a journalist. If the less important details from the one anonymous source are wrong, most likely the blockbuster part of the story is wrong also.
But then there is the bigger question: Why was this a story at all? Was there some legal prohibition from anyone supporting Trump to have anything to do with Russia? And where is this pledge that all Trump supporters took not to have any business with Russia? Did President Barack Obama sign a secret executive order stating that no one who worked for, advised or consulted with the Trump campaign could invest in Russia? That would be a huge story if someone would break it.
This whole Russia-Trump thing has gotten way out of hand. If you take a step back, it doesn’t make any sense. The mainstream media have become so fanatic about a Trump-Russia connection that they are grasping at straws.
CNN, of course, also reported that when fired FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress, he was going to say under oath that he had never told Trump that Trump wasn’t under investigation as part of the Russia investigation. It turned out to be completely false. Comey testified before Congress that he had told Trump three times that he wasn’t under investigation.
CNN used to be known as the Clinton News Network because of their love for all things Clinton, but perhaps the better name is the Conspiracy News Network. It appears as if CNN is as into conspiracies as heavily as InfoWars. Both seem to find conspiracies everywhere they look. It just happens that they are looking in different directions.
Then there is the recent videotape released by Veritas, which shows a senior CNN producer saying that all the Russian stuff is BS, except he doesn’t use the abbreviation, and that the reason CNN keeps running the stories is ratings.
It’s really not a news network anymore. CNN has become an anti-Trump conspiracy rumor mill. If you can make up a really damaging story about Trump and Russia, then CNN will run with the story whether it is true or not.
The sad thing is that it’s working. People believe that Trump was somehow connected to the Russian attempt to affect the US elections.
All these folks in Washington who act shocked that Russia tried to hack into computers to have an effect on the US election are doing just that – acting.
The US has certainly tried to affect elections in Russia, and Russia tries to affect elections in the US. Being shocked about that is like being shocked that Russian naval ships are in the same bodies of water as US ships, and for the same reasons.
There is nothing new here. The Obama administration and Obama knew about the Russian hacking attempts long before the election. Obama didn’t sound the alarm before the election because he was convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to win and he didn’t want to do anything that would cast doubts about how she was elected.
It was only after Trump shocked Obama, and the rest of the folks who believe the mainstream media, by winning the presidential election that Obama decided to raise doubts about Trump’s election by promoting the Russian interference story.
Looking back, it is now unbelievable that the Hillary Clinton campaign was so certain that she was going to win in a huge landslide that in the final days of the campaign they had Hillary Clinton campaigning in states she had very little chance of winning, rather than in states where it was close.
One telling fact about the Hillary Clinton campaign is that they didn’t send her to Michigan in the final days of the campaign because her campaign staff thought it would hurt, rather than help, her chances in Michigan for her to campaign there.
It says volumes that the campaign staff thought she made such a poor showing that they were better off to keep her out of some states, but the campaign still thought this terrible campaigner, who hurt herself by going out on the campaign trail in person, was going to win.
It’s what happens when you believe the mainstream media.
What I love about Trump is that he keeps plugging away at doing what he said he would do as president.
Look at all the hoopla. Everybody and his brother is testifying before Congress. There are now investigations of the investigators of a previous investigation. The White House press corps behaves every day like sharks when there is blood in the water. And, through it all, Trump keeps tweeting and keeps meeting with people, talking to people and pushing for what he wants to get done.
I bet more people from Capitol Hill have visited the White House for meetings with the president in the first six months of Trump’s presidency than in an entire term of Obama, who wasn’t much on lowering himself to meeting with mere senators or representatives.
It certainly isn’t that all this extraneous stuff doesn’t bother Trump, but he doesn’t let it distract him from his work; he simply tweets about it and moves on.
People who evidently can’t learn from their mistakes keep saying that Trump should stop tweeting. These are some of the same people who said he could never get elected president unless he stopped tweeting. They were dead wrong about that.
According to one unreliable source, Hillary Clinton tweeted as much as she possibly could during the campaign. Her problem was that she didn’t have enough campaign money to tweet effectively because of the difference in temperament of Hillary Clinton and Trump.
During the campaign, when Trump wanted to communicate with his base, he pulled out his phone, tapped out a message and hit send.
Hillary Clinton was a different kind of candidate, according to Shattered, a book about her campaign.
Based on the book, this is how a tweet from Hillary Clinton might have happened.
First, as the candidate, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have stooped to having an idea for a tweet, but let’s say one of her campaign staffers in Brooklyn had an idea – something novel and original like, since Hillary Clinton was going to be speaking at some university somewhere in some Southern state, why not find out the name of the school mascot and send a tweet out just before she arrived, “Go (name of school mascot here)”? The idea being that it would be cute and make Hillary Clinton seem down to earth and approachable.
So, according to Hillary Clinton campaign protocol, the idea would get kicked up the chain of command.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign had management issues, so the entire campaign was run by a committee called the Super Six, which goes a long way toward explaining why she lost. Campaigns have to be nimble. Committees are not nimble.
But we’ll say this idea made it up the ladder after 30 or 40 emails to the Super Six committee, and there was not consensus on it, so they decided to focus group the idea and see how it tested, particularly with Southerners.
So the idea of the tweet goes out to the focus group people who try it on a focus group in Greenville, South Carolina, and this group loved the idea.
The idea for a tweet goes back to the Super Six with a glowing recommendation. Someone with real leadership skills on the committee says, “I was against this tweet because it seems like it could be interpreted as sexist, racist or favoring those wealthy enough to send their offspring to college. But if the people of North Carolina like it, I’m all for it.”
Once cleared by the Super Six committee, it was passed back down the line as a go, but someone had to actually write the tweet. That could only be done by Hillary Clinton’s team of writers.
Once the team of writers got the tweet down to 140 characters, that particular tweet had to be sent to a focus group. Then it went back to the writers for tweaks to shorten the tweet and then the Super Six committee had to approve it and get final approval from Hillary Clinton herself.
All that was accomplished, and so a month after Hillary Clinton spoke at UNCG, she sent out a tweet that read, “Go Aggies.” It seems no one had suspected that a small flyover town like Greensboro could have two state universities.
And that is a story based on the book about how Hillary Clinton’s campaign was run by people who were there and seems entirely possible.
It appears the congressional Republicans have hired the Hillary Clinton campaign staff to take care of their public relations. One of Hillary Clinton’s huge problems as a candidate is that she had no message. She was great on wonky statistics but couldn’t figure out how to relate that to people.
The Republicans have been talking about repealing Obamacare for seven years, but they seem to have forgotten why they want to repeal it, except that it’s Obamacare.
All this hype in the press about how many more people won’t have health insurance if Obamacare is repealed is reported like it’s a disaster, but isn’t that what Republicans want?
Shouldn’t they be embracing the fact that more people won’t be forced by law to buy health insurance that they don’t want? Isn’t one of the big reasons Republicans opposed Obamacare because it forced people to buy health insurance?
Isn’t one idea behind repealing Obamacare to give people the freedom to choose whether they want to buy health insurance or not? Doesn’t the freedom to choose also mean the freedom to choose badly?
As a young man, I chose not to spend money on health insurance and I was injured playing rugby. I paid the price and I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t play rugby without health insurance.
If a person chooses to drop out of high school, that high school dropout is not going to be able to enter the job market at the same salary level as the student who chooses to stay in school, go to college and get an MBA.
Is that fair? Up until recently people have always thought so. But it seems with health care everyone is supposed to get the best care money can buy whether they have good health insurance, poor health insurance or no health insurance at all.
I don’t even pretend to understand Obamacare, the Republican House bill or the Republican Senate bill. But if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can’t get his bill through the Senate, he either isn’t trying or it’s time for him to go home.
It shouldn’t be a hard sell for Republicans, if they would remember why they want to repeal Obamacare. The question is whether this bill being proposed is better than Obamacare or worse. If it is better then all Republicans should vote for it. If it’s worse then maybe they should all resign.
It doesn’t have to be the best healthcare insurance bill ever written, or even a really good one. It only has to give Americans back the right to make their own decisions about health insurance.
By not requiring people to buy health insurance policies that cover health issues they don’t need or want, and by not forcing people who don’t want health insurance at all to buy it, the Republican bill should be a better bill.
Some conservatives have been lobbying for a constitutional convention for years, largely because they don’t like the way the courts are interpreting the Constitution written 228 years ago.
But would you trust the knuckleheads, Democrats and Republicans alike, who are the current elected leaders in Washington to write the governing document for our country?
Trump was elected to drain the swamp, something that he is not doing fast enough in my book. The people who would be going to the constitutional convention are the same folks that the people of this country elected Trump to send home.
Until we have a group in Washington with some common sense and the ability to get things done, a constitutional convention would be like a special prosecutor – it would simply pay a lot of professional politicians large sums of money for an indefinite period of time to do nothing but cause trouble.
Of all the ideas floating around out there on how to fix what is wrong with this country, this is one of the worst.
The Democrats appear clueless when it comes to flyover country, which is most of the US.
Perhaps in Washington people can understand what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says when she speaks. I guess the listener is supposed to ignore the misstatements and wrong words, and know that when she says Bush she means Trump.
But to the rest of the country, she looks and sounds like an elderly woman who has had far too much facial surgery to look normal and who doesn’t appear to know what’s going on around her.
Politics aside, if you stand Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan beside Pelosi, there is no comparison. Ryan is a relatively young man who looks fit and bright, and sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.
Pelosi looks confused and sounds like she checked with an aide two minutes earlier to find out where she is, who is president, who the young man beside her is and what she is supposed to be talking about.
If she were a Republican, the press would decimate her for her repeated misstatements, gaffes and unfinished sentences. The really bad ones get reported, but they are reported with a light touch.
However, what may unseat her is that Trump is right, and Pelosi is a great gift to Republicans, particularly those running for the House.
The alt-left is accusing Trump of not allowing refugees into the US.
I think most Americans want legitimate refugees to be given safe haven in the US. But what the Obama administration did was in essence redefine refugee as anyone who didn’t like where they were living. People who said there were gangs in their neighborhoods were allowed to enter this country as refugees. People who said they were scared of the increased crime, or couldn’t get the job they wanted, were classified as refugees.
Almost any sad story seemed to qualify someone as a refugee. Real refugees who will be imprisoned or killed if they return home should be allowed to stay. People who say they live in a bad neighborhood controlled by gangs should not, unless we want to grant refugee status to every resident of Chicago and provide them with free transportation to somewhere else in the country.
Johnny Depp made a joke about the assassination of President Trump. Kathy Griffin held up what looked like Trump’s bloody head after he had been decapitated.
What is interesting about these incidents is not what actors, who often seem to know less about politics than your average third-grader, say and do, but the fact that they think it is acceptable to say and do these things.
They think it’s acceptable for the same reason that The New York Times in the last presidential election decided that it didn’t have to conform to the accepted rules of journalism and could allow their reporters to put their own opinions, rumors and unconfirmed information from unnamed sources in articles about the election.
The reason that it is happening is that the people calling the shots don’t see the downside because, as far as they know, everyone hates Trump. Everyone they know hates Trump. No one ever says anything nice about Trump in their hearing and the only people they know of who are in favor of Trump and his policies are crazy whackos and racist rednecks.
Years ago The Washington Post allowed its reporters to violate its policy against participating in political events and let them march in the pro-abortion parade. The Post got called out on it, and the answer from the editors was that they didn’t see it as a political issue because they thought everyone was in favor of abortion.
The folks in Hollywood think that everyone hates Trump, so making a joke about killing Trump is funny.
What they fail to understand, even after the election, is that about half the country supports Trump. The other half supported Hillary Clinton. Trump won that election but somehow the word hasn’t really gotten to Hillary Clinton or to the rest of the left. Hillary Clinton takes the blame for losing, except she doesn’t. She blames Jim Comey. She blames the Russians. She blames WikiLeaks. She blames everyone but the person she should blame – herself.
I was listening to a conservative talk show host this weekend complaining about Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. I’m as guilty of complaining about Hillary Clinton as anyone, but hearing him I started thinking, who cares.
What possible difference does it make now what Hillary Clinton says or does. She has absolutely no power. I would hope that the FBI is continuing its investigation of the Clinton Foundation, but Hillary Clinton had the opportunity to put her ideas before the American people and the American people rejected her. The fact that she can’t survive without being in the public eye is her own problem.
In 2012, after Mitt Romney lost to Obama, he wasn’t constantly in the news.
Sanders went back to the Senate, where he has slightly more power than the Senate coat clerk, or maybe slightly less. Sanders does not have a record of accomplishment in the Senate. Let him stay there and vote against everything the Republicans try to do; maybe he’ll become the new senator no.
What we should be doing is ignoring Hillary Clinton. Sanders doesn’t have much clout, but right now he has a lot more than Hillary Clinton.
However, it would be great for the Republicans if Hillary Clinton ran for president again in 2020, because she has proven to be a loser. It’s always somebody else’s fault when she loses, but she can’t win a big race.
I’m going to try to write about her less, but she is so annoying that it’s difficult.
What Republicans should be talking about is what they are going to do. It’s the future that matters, not the past.
The News & Record ran another long piece on gerrymandering, which has been going on since the nation was founded.
Every 10 years, up until 2010, when North Carolina was redistricted the Democrats gerrymandered the state to their advantage. They even had multiple state representative districts in the state House because it was the only way the Democrats could be assured of victory, and even that didn’t always work. The Republicans would always complain, the mainstream media would run a story about the Republicans complaining and that would be it for 10 years. Now there is a constant drip, drip, drip of complaints.
The Supreme Court is even going to get involved. Drawing districts for the advantage of the political party drawing the districts has always been legal. Now the courts could decide that after 240 years of drawing districts to give the majority party an advantage, that it is unconstitutional.
With a conservative majority on the court you’d have to think that isn’t going to happen. But then Chief Justice John Roberts shocked everyone by deciding that Obamacare was legal – that it was legal for the federal government to force people to buy something they didn’t want.
A good example of the difference in reporting on Obama and Trump can be found in the White House visitor log. The mainstream media report that Trump changed the Obama White House policy of providing the names to the media of people who visited the White House as Trump does not.
That is true but misleading. Obama provided the names he wanted to provide and refused to provide those he did not. It’s actually the same policy, but Trump is more honest about it.
If the president isn’t going to release the names of the people that he doesn’t want the press to know that he is meeting with, then releasing the list has very little meaning.
So Obama said I will, but didn’t, and Trump said I won’t. It could be presented as a more honest White House policy of nondisclosure.
Trump’s proposed budget cuts the contribution to the United Nations from about $1.5 billion to about $1 billion.
I think $1 billion is too high, but cutting the allocation by 30 percent is probably a smart move. What does the UN do for the United States? Where is the UN promoting US values and goals?
Most people would agree that the idea of the UN is a good one. A worldwide organization giving nations a venue to work out their differences without going to war sounds good. But what it has become is a huge international bureaucracy that, like all bureaucracies, has as its primary purpose to survive and grow into an ever bigger bureaucracy.
There is nothing wrong with cutting down on the bureaucracy, and also nothing wrong with the US not supporting programs that are directly opposed to US policy. Let the countries that agree with those policies support them. In fact, the UN would be a far better organization if it couldn’t count on the US to support it, but had to depend on member nations footing their fair share of the costs.
It’s not unlike NATO, which is a vital international organization. But NATO will be stronger if the US doesn’t pay all the bills and the member nations pick up their fair share of the costs.
The US is $20 trillion dollars in debt. There is no reason for US citizens to be paying enormous sums in interest on borrowed money to support international organizations so that our economic rivals don’t have to pay their fair share.