Archive for the ‘Trump, President Donald J.’ Category

America’s political polarization in 4 charts …

April 29, 2021

It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

Biden lays it all off on Trump … totally ignoring the role that he and Obama played.

Let’s look at some inconvenient facts and put them in perspective…

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Way back in 2014, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd observed:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

Todd’s observations were true then, and they’re true now.

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The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Based on the latest Pew data (from 2017), here’s where we stand:

image

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What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

Less than 10 percent in each party overlaps ideologically with the other side.

That’s where we are.

How did we get here?

(more…)

Did Team Biden blunder big on the J&J roll-out?

April 28, 2021

Obvious answer: yes … but it’s unlikely that the MSM will tag Biden with the loss.
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Let’s start with the basics:

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved and launched by the Trump administration.

The J&J vaccine was developed under the auspices of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.

But, the J&J vaccine was approved by the Biden administration (on Feb. 27).

Now, let’s advance the story…

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In a mid-March statement, Biden said:

“You know, when we came into office (Jan. 20), we began working with the (manufacturing) team at J&J to accelerate and add capacity to their manufacturing and production efforts.

Got it? Team Biden was on the manufacturing case.

The outcome: In early April, 15 million doses of the J&J vaccine failed quality control and had to be tossed.

Workers at an Emergent Technologies plant in Baltimore manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines (for J&J and Astra Zeneca) accidentally conflated the ingredients several weeks ago, contaminating up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Source

Nice job, boys.

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Then in mid-April, reacting to 8 reported cases of blood-clotting (out of about 8 million shots administered), Team Biden’s med-science regulators “paused“ the distribution and administration of the J&J vaccine “in an abundance of caution”.

As Paul A. Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told the Washington Post:

If I hear the phrase ‘abundance of caution’ one more time, I’m going to jump out of my window.

After 2 weeks of review, Biden’s crack med-science team got out their calculators and concluded that, perhaps, they were panicking over an apparent one-in-a-million occurrence.

Maybe, there was the proverbial “no there there”.

So, they lifted the J&J  vaccine halt.

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No harm, no foul, right?

WRONG!

As Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University, put it politely:

In the short to medium term, at least, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has taken a reputational hit.

J&J has had major production problems at its Baltimore plant and (given the risk-induced halt)  people (might be) more hesitant to take it. Source

Or, as another med-science pundit put it more bluntly: Team Biden “all but gutted the enthusiasm for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.”

So, how bad is the “reputational hit”? The slide in enthusiasm?

According to a Washington Post poll, only 28% of unvaccinated adults now think that the J&J vaccine is “very” or “somewhat” safe.

Performing a common sense test, WaPo reframed the question and  found that 3 out of 4 unvaccinated adults would be unwilling to take the J&J

Common Sense Test: Raise your hand if you’d line up for a vaccine that you thought was somewhat safe.

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Now, that’s a problem … a big problem.

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What if?

Imagine that Team Trump had:

  • approved the J&J vaccine
  • supervised production of the vaccine
  • encountered production quality issues
  • dumped 15 million contaminated doses
  • halted administration of the vaccine due to health risks
  • lifted the ban (as daily 1st shots started dropping like a rock)

All of which combined to make 75% of unvaccinated people unwilling to take the vaccine.

I’m going to go out on a limb on this one and guess that the media would be publicizing this situation differently if Team Trump owned it.

But, it’s Biden, so …

What do you think?

Is Trump blowing his “vaccine legacy”?

April 26, 2021

That’s a question that Politico is asking after chatting with former Trump aides
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For openers…

Polls consistently report that so-called “vaccine hesitancy” is highest among Republicans and Blacks.

I’m a bit baffled about the GOP numbers since practically all of my Republican friends have been vaccinated … the couple who haven’t been vaxed have very legitimate medical reasons (e.g. immune system disorders).

For now, I’ll put my personal sample aside (as I always advised students to do), and stipulate that a large number of Republicans are vax-hesitant.

Trump hasn’t been visible pitching the “get vaxed” message to his supporters.

As one pundit observes: “We have the odd spectacle of Joe Biden creating a massive PR campaign for the vaccines Trump helped develop, while Trump himself refuses to get in front for his own success. It’s a lost opportunity (for Trump and the Republican party).”

So, why might Trump be staying on the sidelines?

(more…)

Even the MSM is debunking Biden’s claim of “no vaccine plan”…

March 31, 2021

Of course, we’ve been all over this topic for months (links at he end of this post), so it’s delightful to see the Biden-friendly press to  concede the point:

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In the words of ABC News

Biden and his top aides have repeatedly accused the Trump administration of having “no plan.”

Despite calls for national unity and bipartisanship, President Joe Biden and his top aides have declined to give the Trump administration credit on the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout while relying heavily on a system established by their predecessors.

Many of Biden’s public “wins” on the vaccine, including expanding supply and distributing doses to local pharmacies, are tied directly to efforts initiated by policy aides working under Trump before he left office.

While Biden has purchased additional vaccine supply, it was always expected that Pfizer and Moderna would ramp up their supply throughout the year.

Under Trump, the U.S. agreed to buy enough doses for 200 million adults from vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna with “options” to buy more if necessary.

It also had purchased enough J&J vaccine to buy supply for 100 million adults once authorized — enough supply to cover every U.S. adult by summer.

Also, Biden’s playbook for vaccine distribution has relied heavily on a system created by the Trump administration, including federal partnerships with state officials and agreements with local pharmacies.

In fact, the federal pharmacy program created by Trump aides is what Biden relied on  to expand eligibility to teachers.

And when Biden called for “100 million shots in 100 days” — a pace of about 1 million shots per day — former health officials noted that the U.S. had already hit that pace the week of Biden’s inauguration in mid January.

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What is new under Biden are more than a dozen mass vaccination sites managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with special attention paid to hard-hit and vulnerable communities.

Glad the media is catching on to what we’ve been saying all along:

Biden: “Trump blundered, I’m saving the day”

So, how much vaccine did the Trump administration order?

VAX: Viva mass vaccination sites

VAX: Viva mass vaccination sites…

March 30, 2021

Anybody notice that Biden put “equity” and “essentiality” on the back burner.
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Let’s connect a couple of dots …

Maryland — which had been lagging on ‘shots in arms’ —  has been in a full out sprint the past couple of weeks.

The magic sauce: state-run mass vaccination sites.

In the past couple of days , a couple of friends got shots at Maryland’s up & running mass vaccination sites … one at Six Flags and another at M&T Stadium (where the Ravens play).

Both raved about how organized and efficient the process was. No complaints.

That’s really encouraging news since max-vax has emerged as the primary vaccine distribution channel in Maryland.

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And, Maryland’s not alone.

Coincidentally, I spotted an article headlining that Texas and Georgia — which together account for 10% of the U.S. population — will be opening vaccine distribution “to all comers” in the next week or so.

That means anybody 18 or older (kids aren’t legit yet), no “employment “essentiality”, no jurisdictional boundaries.

Just “come & get it”.

How can they do it? What’s the downside?

(more…)

Bloomberg: Biden is just following Trump’s plan…

March 25, 2021

Hard to accuse Bloomberg of being a right-wing, pro-Trump rag.
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Biden has oft claimed that Trump didn’t have a plan to acquire enough vaccine and that he (Biden) quickly remedied that shortcoming to ensure that all of America got vaccinated fast.

We previously debunked that claim, See Biden: “Trump blundered, I’m saving the day”

Now, a Bloomberg assessment blows holes in Biden’s claim.

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The Bloomberg article concludes:

“The U.S. government, first under Donald Trump and then continuing under President Joe Biden, had already arranged to buy all of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s known U.S. production, assuring hundreds of millions of doses for American arms.”

More specifically, Bloomberg says…

> Both Biden and Trump have been unapologetic that they’ve aimed to vaccinate Americans first.

> The Trump administration wrote clauses into contracts with manufacturers and also used the Defense Production Act, … to prioritize U.S. orders, explicitly requiring domestic U.S. production, exclusivity and continuing “rights of first refusal.”

> The same tools the Trump administration used to keep domestically produced vaccines within the nation’s borders have been employed by Biden’s team.

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As one pundit put it:

Biden deserves credit for recognizing the wisdom of Trump’s plan, and for bolstering it by getting Merck licensed to produce Johnson& Johnson’s vaccine.

But the idea that Biden didn’t get a plan or a reliable supply of COVID-19 vaccines is a shabby lie, one that Bloomberg punctures.

Perhaps Biden will concede the point at today’s press conference.

But, I’m betting the under…

So, how much vaccine did the Trump administration order?

March 16, 2021

Simple answer: over 800 million doses
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Biden continues to denigrate or dismiss Operation Warp Speed and  claim (or least blatantly insinuate) that he and his administration should get credit for the hugely successful vaccination program.

Malarkey!

Let’s do a deep dive, starting with the basics …

Dr. Fauci — Biden’s go-to political-scientist (and highest paid Federal employee) — told the nation repeatedly in 2020 that no vaccines would be available until mid-2021 at the earliest, more likely in 2022 … and possibly later than that.

For the record, the Pfizer vaccine got its Emergency Use Authorization on December 11, 2020 … and, we’re on a track to have the country vaccinated before Fauci — who is always certain, but often wrong —  said the first shot would be available.

In subsequent posts, I’ll be referring back to Fauci’s gross misjudgment.

Spoiler alert: I’ll be arguing that his pessimism gave states legitimacy for procrastinating their preparations for the vaccine rollout … which left many states unprepared (or underprepared) when the vaccines were approved.

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Biden even said in a CNN townhall that there was were no vaccines available when he took office. Source

Apparently, he forget that he got his first dose on December 21, 2020 … and his 2nd dose on January 11, 2021.

Senior moment or intentional fib?

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Biden has backtracked on that remark but…

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Biden keeps claiming, to this day,  that Trump’s Operation Warp Speed was negligent for not ordering enough vaccine.

C’mon, man.

For openers, the Operation Warp Speed team made pre-approval vaccine commitments in mid-2020…

That is, they placed non-cancellable vaccine orders before any of the vaccines were proven effective in clinical trials and approved for use.

Note: These pre-approval commitments mitigated drugmakers’ risks … allowing them to put manufacturing capacity in place “on spec”, instead of waiting to start after FDA approval.

Fact: As part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration entered into contracts with multiple drugmakers … while their potential vaccines were still in clinical trials … and, with no certainty that the respective vaccines would ever be approved.

Specifically, pre-approval commitments were made to 6 vaccine manufacturers:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Moderna: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • J&J: 100 million doses (one-dose regimen)
  • AstraZeneca: 300 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Novavax: 100 million doses (two-dose regimen)
  • Sanofi-GSK: 100 million doses (one- or two-dose regimen)

If all 6 vaccines were to make it through clinical trials and the FDA approval process, the amounts agreed to under these pre-commitment contracts would total about 800 million vaccine doses, or enough to fully vaccinate more than 450 million people. Source

Of course, not all of the vaccines have been approved (yet) … and, some may never get approved.

So, let’s focus on the vaccines that have been approved…

(more…)

Support impeachment?

January 14, 2021

That’s the question that a couple of pollsters asked Americans … with predictable results
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According to a Hill-HarrisX poll taken before the Congressional vote:

  • 44% support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office
  • 18% think that Trump should be censured
  • 38% said no action should be taken toward him.

  • 79% of Democrats said Trump should be impeached and removed
  • 71% of Republicans said no action should be taken
  • 38% of Independents think that Trump should be impeached & removed; 36% think that nothing should be done; 26% think that Trump should be censured.

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A Politico-Morning Consult poll had similar findings:

Overall, 44% said ‘yes’; 41% said “no”; and 8% said “what?”

Digging into the details:

81% of Dems said ‘yes’; 84% of GOP said “no

> A plurality of Independents (44%) said “no”; 41% said “yes”.

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So what happened?

Consistent with the surveys’ partisan findings:

> 222 Dems voted for impeachment

>  10 GOP voted for impeachment

> 197 GOP voted against impeachment

Depending on political leaning, the vote is being headlined as either “bipartisan approval” … or “party line vote”.

You decide.

Regardless, Biden’s First 100 Days just got a bit more complicated.

Vive la Unité!

America’s political polarization in 4 charts …

October 21, 2020

It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

Obama is hitting the campaign trail for Biden.

I expect that Obama will lay blame for the political polarization on Trump and his band of ignorant deplorables.

In anticipation, let’s look at some inconvenient facts and put them in perspective…

=========

Way back in 2014, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd observed:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

Todd’s observations were true then, and they’re true now.

=========

The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Based on the latest Pew data (from 2017), here’s where we stand:

image

=========

What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

Less than 10 percent in each party overlaps ideologically with the other side.

That’s where we are.

How did we get here?

(more…)

Here’s the key takeaway from the NY Times tax “bombshell”…

September 29, 2020

Trump’s low taxes were courtesy of an “unwitting gift” from Obama-Biden !
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It didn’t surprise me that Trump paid virtually no income taxes for the past decade.

But, I was surprised to read an under-hyped part of the story:

Starting in 2010 (Trump) claimed, and received, an income tax refund totaling $72.9 million — all the federal income tax he had paid for 2005 through 2008, plus interest.

(The $72.9 million refund) was “an unwitting gift from an unlikely source — Barack Obama.” Source

      image

Say, what?

Here’s the relevant part of the story…

(more…)

Trump’s 2nd Term Priorities

August 24, 2020

Pre-convention, Team Trump released the President’s “core” priorities for his 2nd term.
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Here is the initiative in each category that caught my eye:

  • Jobs: Provide “Made in America” Tax Credits
  • Covid-19: Launch vaccine by end of 2020; nationalize all critical medicines and medical supplies.
  • China: No Federal Contracts for Companies who Outsource to China
  • Healthcare: Cover All Pre-Existing Conditions and Protect Social Security and Medicare
  • Education: Provide School Choice to Every Child in America
  • The Swamp: Pass Congressional Term Limits
  • Police: Fully Fund and Hire More Police and Law Enforcement Officers
  • Immigration: Block Illegal Immigrants from Becoming Eligible for Taxpayer-Funded Welfare, Healthcare, and Free College Tuition
  • Innovation: Win the Race to 5G and Establish a National High-Speed Wireless Internet Network
  • Foreign Policy: Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home

Here’s the full list…

(more…)

Yipes: Less than 1/2 of likely voters say Biden doesn’t suffer dementia.

July 1, 2020

More specifically, a recent Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters found:

38% think Biden is suffering dementia … the breakdown: 66% of GOP, 30% of Independents, 20% of Dems

48% do not think Biden is  suffering dementia …  apparently, they think either (1) he’s sharp as a tack, or (2) he’s just “Joe being Joe”, or (3) there’s no dementia, he just started long ago at a low base

14% said they didn’t know or were unsure …  or were, themselves hopelessly confused.

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Drilling down on the survey’s results….

(more…)

Did Trump pull a Br’er Rabbit on the Governors?

April 15, 2020

Let’s start with a refresher course on the story of Bre’r Rabbit:

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Br’er Rabbit was constantly being pursued by Br’er Fox, who had personal dinner plans for the rabbit.

One day, when grabbed by Br’er Fox, the helpless but cunning Br’er Rabbit pleads, “Do any thing you want to me, but please, Br’er Fox, don’t fling me into the brier-patch.”

That prompted Br’er Fox to do exactly that.

But, Br’er Rabbit was born in this brier patch, and was  at home in thickets.

So, the resourceful Br’er Rabbit used the thorns and briers as a safe haven and the threatening fox was thwarted.. Source

OK, what does the story of Br’er Rabbit have to do with the coronavirus, the governors and President Trump?

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In this Monday’s press conference, Trump went off on his “total authority” to determine the start and speed of the country’s re-opening.

I found that odd since Trump resisted calls that he order a nationwide shutdown.  Rather, he was steadfast the the Feds could provide guidelines, but that the ultimate decisions were in the hands of the governors. Why the change of heart?

Predictably, the press went wild on “King Trump – the authoritarian despot”.

Governors (think: Gov. Andrew “Not My Fault” Cuomo) started shrieking “unconstitutional” … asserted that they were in charge … and threatened to sue to maintain control over the re-opening.

Then at the Tuesday press conference, Trump did an about face, saying that governors would be in charge … that Feds would just provide support … and. most important, the governors would be held accountable.

The press reported: “Trump folds under pressure from Governors”.

BINGO! The light bulb went on.

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A friend of mine has long opined that “Trump is playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers”.

I used to think that was a long reach, but over time, I’ve started to think my friend is right.

Think about it.

For the past couple of months, Trump has been held totally accountable for the coronavirus response.

Even when unjustified, the press and governors laid every stumble at his doorstep.  Why are the test kits late and few? Why doesn’t NY have enough ventilators? Etc.

My view: Re-opening the economy is going to be long and messy. There will be stumbles, retreats and disappointments.

Why would Trump want to “own” that whole process? Why would he want to be the only person held accountable things that happen — large and small?

Answer: He wouldn’t.

But, if his opening position had been that the governors own it and they’ll be the ones held accountable, he would have been accused of shirking his buck-stops-here responsibilities. The press and governors would have rebelled.

Instead, he pulled a variation of Br’er Rabbit’s “get what you want” gambit… getting the governors to deprive him of the authority … and  demand that they get the authority (and accountability).  They united to throw Trump into the thicket patch.  So there, Mr. President!

Now, when things large or small go haywire, Trump can simply point to the accountability-demanding governors.

Check … and CHECKMATE!

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Addendum: A loyal reader alerted me to a similar analogy – Tom Sawyer tricking his buddies into painting a fence for him. See Trump Whitewashes the Fence

WaPo: Nope, Trump didn’t call coronavirus a hoax …

April 13, 2020

Biden said he did … and it got him 4 Pinocchios.
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Seems like this one just won’t go away…

Fortunately, the fact-checkers at the Washington Post — not exactly a right-wing, Trump-loving rag — looked into the “said it was a hoax” claim when Crazy Joe started running it in a campaign ad.

What did they find?

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Let’s start with the ad’s “manipulation”:

The video shows a montage of intentionally unflattering clips of President Trump.

So far, it looks like a standard Internet campaign ad.

At the 10-second mark, the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying “coronavirus” and then cuts to a wide shot where he says, “this is their new hoax.”

What’s wrong with that?

The fact-checker explains….

(more…)

Dr. Birx (and a majority of Americans) approve of Trump’s handling of coronavirus crisis

March 29, 2020

Last week, White House coronavirus response coordinator (and media-certified truth-teller) Dr. Deborah Birx praised President Donald Trump’s attentiveness and ability to analyze and integrate data, linking his capacity to do so with his business background.

Asked her perspective on Trump’s performance both with the public and “behind the scenes”, Dr. Birx responded in an interview:

He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data.

And I think his ability to analyze and integrate data, that comes out of his long history in business, [has] really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.

Because, in the end, data is data, and he understands its importance.

And that all comes from the president seeing the data and then really directing these policies and the guidelines that go out to the American people.

Not bad for a guy who the media tags to be anti-science (and stupid).

And, based on the latest polls, the public seems to agree with Dr. Birx, not the media.

Here’s the data…

(more…)

India to Trump: “Macho, macho man”

February 25, 2020

Trump is despised by internationally, right?

Well, don’t tell the folks in India.

Over 100,000 packed a stadium rally for him.

Instead of the Star Spangled Banner or Hail to the Chief, the Indians ushered him into the rally to Village People’s classic Macho, Macho Man.

This clip – which, for some reason, isn’t being looped on many stations – is hysterical … well worth viewing.

When you click the link, be sure to ‘unmute’ the video (by moving your cursor over the video and ‘unchecking’ the x next to the speaker icon)  … and watch the Trump-hatted crowd dancing.

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India plays “Macho Man” by Village People as Trump enters Sardar Patel Stadium

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By end-of-day, I expect MSNBC to charge the Indians with election meddling …

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Shocker: Gallup says Obama, Trump Tie as Most Admired Man in 2019!

January 3, 2020

Who’s the man that Americans most admire?

According to Gallup — the most trusted polling organization — it’s a dead heat between former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump.

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Photo source: Gallup

Both are “most admired” by 18% of Americans.

Trump’s score increased by 5 percentage points from 2018.

Obama’s inched down by a point over that period.

Pundits say that Trump’s increase is mostly attributable to the continuing economic boom

I’ll take that…

Obama’s decline?

In 2018, Obama was “most admired” by 39% of Dems … that number dropped to 35% in 2019.

Hypotheses include:

  • Out of sight, out of mind … happens to all former presidents.
  • Way more “hope” than “change”
  • Not progressive enough for 2019 Dems.

Gallup didn’t offer a point-of-view as to whether impeachment boosted or dampened Trump’s scores.

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Want to win a bar bet?

October 7, 2019

Whose approval numbers were higher – Trump’s or Obama’s?
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Well, at this stage of their presidencies, Trump and Obama had approval ratings that were statistically equal.

Can’t be right … can it?

Below is the composite chart from RealClearPolitics — the bible of poll-of-polls aggregation.

Trump’s numbers are the bolder lines  – black for approval, red for disapproval.  Obama’s are the fainter lines – same color scheme.

Focus on the end-points — where the black lines converge.

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That may be a little hard to read, so let’s zoom in to the summary box at the top…

(more…)

What if Warren wins?

October 3, 2019

“Resist” may be alive and well … with the tables turned

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Yesterday we ran through a couple of scenarios if Trump did end up getting bounced from office.

The scenarios assumed that Trump would still run in 2020, probably against Warren, maybe with a “moderate” independent jumping in.

My bet: Trump would be be re-elected.

Why?

Largely because Trump supporters would turn out in droves, angry that their votes were overturned by flimsy political machinations … and because:

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“In recent interviews of several big-money Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community, CNBC has found that this opinion is becoming widely shared as Warren surges against Joe Biden.”

Specifically, big bank executives and hedge fund managers that electing Warren would be tantamount to “shutting down their industry.”

And, oh yeah, there’s that wealth tax that she has been proposing.

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Even while pulling back their support, some Wall Streeters are strategizing for a possible life under President Warren…

(more…)

NY Times: Schiff aid advised whistleblower … and tipped Schiff.

October 2, 2019

Big new from today’s New York Times

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Here are my takeaways (with emphasis added):

The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.

The early account explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy.

Note:: Schiff had said publicly (on tape)that neither he nor his staff “have spoken directly to the whistleblower” before the complaint was made public.

Oops.

The entire NYT article is worth reading … especially since it’s from the Trump-adverse New York Times.

Draw your  own conclusions.

Ah, the plot thickens.

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About the 2020 Presidential election…

October 2, 2019

Impeachment imbroglio raises some very interesting scenarios.

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Over the weekend, mused about possible outcomes for the Dems impeachment offensive and the impact on the 2020 election.

My current bet:

  • House will approve articles of impeachment on a straight party line vote (regardless of any evidence or legal logic) … a couple of GOP reps jump ship, allowing Pelosi to position the vote as bi-partisan.
  • A majority of Senators will vote to remove Trump from office but the vote won’t be close to the 2/3s threshold that’s needed, so Trump survives.
  • Biden will be toast, so it’ll be Warren versus Trump … and maybe an Indie will jump in.
  • It’ll be Nixon vs. McGovern 2.0 … as pro-Trumpsters come out of the woodwork in droves … and Dem fat cats reject Warren’s brand of socialism.

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But, there are a couple of other interesting “what if” scenarios…

(more…)

Is Wile E. Coyote is alive and well … and working for the Dems?

September 23, 2019

Russiagate, the Mueller fail … and now the Ukrainian whistleblower fiasco bring back memories of legendary cartoon character Wile E. Coyote.

First, some background for younger readers.

Back in the olden days, there was a cartoon series called Looney Tunes.  One of the main characters was a clever, ground-running bird named Road Runner.

Road Runner’s nemesis was a wannabe clever coyote named Wile E. Coyote (get it?).

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Wile E. spent every waking hour crafting devious plots to “get” and eat the Road Runner.

Invariably, the plots failed … and often boomeranged … inflicting deserved pain and anguish on Wile E. Coyote.

For 3 minutes of flashback entertainment, see “Wile E. Coyotes Top 10 Fails”

Looks to me like Wile E. is on the Dems payroll these days.

Evidence: the unraveling of the Ukrainian “bombshell”…

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Using Federal whistleblower statute for cover, an “intelligence officer” files a workplace complaint that President Trump threatened to cut off foreign aid to the Ukraine if the Uke Prez didn’t restart an investigation into corrupt activities by Hunter Biden — Sleepy Joe’s son.

It’s alleged that Hunter’s firm rallied some dough from the Chinese, laundered it, and plopped it into Uke energy companies.

When the Ukes started poking around, then VP Biden stepped in and threatened to pull the plug on a billion dollar loan guarantee for the Ukes unless they called off the investigative dogs who were nipping at Hunter’s heels.  They did.

Want evidence?

In a classic video appearance:

Joe Biden brags about how he threatened to pull $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

The prosecutor, who was fired, was leading a corruption investigation into a company that employed Biden’s son, Hunter.

Trump admits that he told the Uke Prez — in a top-to-top classified phone call — to re-open the probe.

The whistleblower toots to an Inspector General that Trump pulled a no-no and the impeachment lobby rallied to the cause.

But, the case seems to be unraveling.

Some reports say that the alleged incident isn’t even covered by Fed whistleblower statutes, so the process is compromised.

But, Trump offered an illegal quid pro quo … that’s a big deal and needs spotlighting, right?

Well, some folks who were listening in on the call are saying that Trump didn’t offer a quid pro quo or threaten the Uke Prez.

Did you notice the nuance?

That’s what folks who were listening in report.

Turns out that the whistleblower wasn’t even on the call.

He was simply blowing his whistle on the basis of a rumor that he heard.

Say, what?

Oh, and did I mention that the whistleblower is alleged to be a Democratic political hack?

Or, maybe it’s Wile E. Coyote.

I guess we’ll eventually find out.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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China adopts “calm attitude”…

August 30, 2019

This week, we’ve been highlighting China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.These principles are excerpted from a book titled  The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

Principle #1 – Don’t provoke a powerful adversary – was evident this week in the apparent escalation in the tariff dispute.

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Let’s recap the bidding….

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China: Playing the long game in tariff war…

August 29, 2019

This week, we’ve been highlighting China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.

Note these principles are excerpted from a book titled  The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

Quite an appropriate title given CNBC’s observation regarding the current escalation in the tariff dispute.

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Let’s dig a little deeper…

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The Chinese theft of Intellectual Property…

August 28, 2019

Earlier this week, we outlined China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.

Excerpted from The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

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Today, let’s focus on #4 — Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology — and drill down on … the Chinese theft of intellectual property..

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Did Trump spur a Baltimore clean-up?

August 9, 2019

Last week — following Trump’s tweet calling out Baltimore — we reminded readers that:  Once upon a time, Baltimore was thriving…

Noting former mayor William Donald Schaefer’s positive leadership and attention to detail, concluded:

imagine a mega-initiative to clean-up the inner city — haul away the garbage (and maybe some of the rats).

Hire Baltimore’s notorious squeegee boys (and other unemployed residents) to attack the problem.

It wouldn’t fix all of Baltimore’s problems, but it would be a conspicuous step forward.

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Well, the city administration didn’t rally the notorious squeegee boys (nor anybody else, as near as we can tell).

But, some people did step up…

(more…)

Trump versus “The Squad”

July 16, 2019

Unforced error or political brilliance?
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These days — with the S&P over 3,000 and all politicians proving to be incompetent idiots — I’m finding politics decreasingly interesting, save for its entertainment value.

And, there’s plenty of that, for sue.

Cue Trump’s shocking (?) weekend tweet … and the nationally televised press conference by the self-named “Squad”.

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Let’s run through that …

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WaPo: Trump approval at highest point ever…

July 8, 2019

5 point surge in past couple of months.

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If it were Rasmussen, we’d have to dismiss it as right-side bias, but this is an ABC-Washington Post Survey that’s reporting that despite a constant barrage of negative media coverage and a majority feeling that he acts unpresidential:

Aided by a strong economy and perceptions that he has dealt with it effectively, President Trump’s approval rating has risen to the highest point of his presidency.

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Specifically, his approval has gone from 42% in April to 47% in July … a 5-point gain.

He’s still underwater by 3 points — 47% to 50% … but that gap has closed from the 12 point deficit in April) 42% to 54%).

How can this possibly be?

(more…)

With Mexican agreement Trump gets the last laugh … again.

June 10, 2019

Pelosi spews silly-talk; GOP Senators outted as border-indifferent.

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OK, Trumps threatens Mexico with tariffs unless they help with the border crisis.

Think “wallets” and you’ve variant of a Teddy Roosevelt negotiating principle: “If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

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Mainsteam media made fun and lambasted (“won’t work”)  Dems cried foul (”abuse of power”); some GOP Senators jumped ship (opting to side with corporate donors).

But, within a week, an agreement is reached with Mexico agreeing to militarize its southern border and hold asylum seekers in Mexico.

Not a bad week, right?

But, there were some losers…

(more…)

The worm may have turned…

May 14, 2019

DOJ focus shifts to counterintelligence effort that Barr called ‘spying’

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According to the NY Times…

AG Barr has assigned a top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation.

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John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials.

Opening a DOJ investigation is “a move that President Trump has long called for but that could anger law enforcement officials who insist that scrutiny of the Trump campaign was lawful.”

Now, there are 3 related investigations…

(more…)

Nadler calls off Mueller testimony … hmmm.

May 13, 2019

GOP gambit makes Mueller’s testimony less appealing (to Dems)
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After weeks of hyperventilating about the need for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler abruptly cancelled this week’s planned inquisition.

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Note: The story isn’t that Trump wouldn’t let Mueller testify – he said it was up to Barr and Mueller.

So, why did Nadler suddenly back off?

(more…)

Re: Mueller Report … the Washington Post nailed it.

April 22, 2019

I rarely quote from the far left-leaning Washington Post – which has trumpeted the Russia Collusion narrative for about 2 years, day-in-day-out.

But, I think an article appearing on WaPo’s editorial page last week got it right:

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Quoting from the opinion piece …

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NYT: “A vindication of the rule of law.”

March 23, 2019

“It may be that Mr. Trump has kept repeating his mantra of ‘no collusion’ because it’s true.”
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That’s a conclusion the the NYT editorial staff reached.

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But that conclusion was apparently tough for the Times to swallow, so the editors pulled a Comey in their editorial.

Remember when Comey said: “Here’s a list of all the laws and policies that Secretary Clinton violated, but no reasonable prosecutor would indict her”?

Well, the Times – apparently still grateful for the memo that Comey leaked to them to get the special counsel rolling – styled their editorial after his Clinton ruling.

After the obligatory reaffirmation of Robert Mueller as “a man whose name is synonymous with integrity and fairness”, the Times reheated all of allegations about collusion and obstruction that Mueller decided didn’t merit indictment.

The Times conceded (I think) that the investigation was ‘by the book’ and fair.

But, unlike the Clinton-Comey affair,  when the glee-dancing Times said that was time to turn the page, this time – since Trump is center stage – they declare:

William Barr, the attorney general, needs to release as much of Mr. Mueller’s work as he possibly can, and soon.

All Americans deserve the chance to review those findings and reach their own conclusions.

Whatever happened to “turn the page”?

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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Trumps’s approval numbers on an uptick…

February 18, 2019

Last week, we posted Rasmussen poll results indicating that Trump’s approval got a bump after the SOTU.

See Trump approval up since SOTU…

Since Rasmussen leans right and doesn’t use classic interviewing techniques, it’s easy for some folks to dismiss the numbers.

But, Gallup is the gold standard of polling, right?

Well, the Rasmussen conclusion seems to be corroborated by Gallup.

image

The most recent Gallup survey indicates that (1) Trump has more than bounced back from the shutdown dip, and (2) His approval – which is at a high water mark – is double that of Congress!

So, what’s going on?

(more…)

What you need to know about the border wall bruhaha…

February 15, 2019

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve put up a few posts addressing the border wall legislative mess.

To get you ready for weekend cocktail party debates on “the bill” and National Emergency, I’ve pulled together the posts into a sort of border wall primer.

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For openers, Dems like to say that Trump doesn’t have a plan … or that his defacto plan is “a concrete wall from sea to sea”.

Yes, the “build the wall” campaign rhetoric provides fodder for the sea-to-sea claimers, but Trumps plan (yes, there is one) has evolved to about 225 miles of steel slat barriers, strategically placed to slow the inbound flow across the borders and channel border crossers to bolstered “ports-of-entry.

See Cutting to the chase: What exactly is Trump demanding?

But, walls are ineffective and fundamentally immoral, right?

(more…)

Why Trump should feel ok about the border deal…

February 14, 2019

In technical terms. a binary switch got flipped.
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Pro-wall extremists are fretting that Trump got hosed since he only got $1.375 billion towards the border wall/

Not to worry, folks.

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The deal reminded me of an old story that provides some perspective…

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Trump’s next headache: ‘Unrecognized’ tax-cut benefits.

February 12, 2019

We warned about this  a year ago in the post

Will 143 million households notice that their taxes have been cut?

Regrettably, our prediction seems to be coming to fruition.

There have been a flurry articles citing tax preparers who are warning that,  tax refunds will be smaller this year … lower in average, with fewer people getting refunds.

Most recent IRS data support that claim: average refunds are down 8.4% from this time last year.

image

That’s a big deal … and, will be a big headache for President Trump.

(more…)

Trump approval up since SOTU…

February 11, 2019

May put a new paint job on conference committee negotiations.
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First, a disclaimer of sorts.

Rasmussen skews right and its surveys are scoffed at by most traditional pollsters because they’re conducted without human contact … folks just answer questions via touch tone phone responses.

That said, I’ve found Rasmussen to be a good predictor on sensitive issues when people are reluctant to tell somebody what they think, but are willing to interact with an impersonal computer.

Bottom line:  Rasmussen says “Trump’s approval rating among likely voters has soared since the State of the Union and are at an all time high.”

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More specifically…

(more…)

DHS Expedites Border Wall Project in San Diego … say what?

February 9, 2019

MUST READ: Is this the trick that President Trump has up his sleeve? 
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In the last few days, Trump has seemed way too sanguine about the outcome of the conference committee trying to hash out a budget resolution … especially since the best case (from Trump’s perspective) is a token amount of money that is tightly specified so that it’s not to be used to construct a “wall”.

Trump also has signaled that he won’t force another government shutdown and won’t declare a national emergency … and, indicated that he might be able to operate under existing “executive authority“.

So, what’s he got up his sleeve?

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In a prior post, we posed a gut-check question for Pelosi (and anybody else) who says that walls are immoral and don’t work:

Should the border wall between San Diego and Tijuana be torn down?

Well, late Friday afternoon when the media was busy with the Bezos and Virginia fiascos,  the San Diego – Tijuana story took a strange twist.

The DHS issued a press release headlined “DHS Issues Waiver to Expedite Secondary Fence Replacement Project in San Diego“.

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click to view the press release on the DHS site

This may be a signal of what’s to come, so let’s drill down on it…

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“Madam Speaker, thank you for the 1-week delay.”

February 6, 2019

Twas a bad night for the haters, following a very bad week.
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Imagine if Pelosi had resisted the theatrical power-play of delaying the SOTU address.

If she had kept to the traditional schedule, Trump wouldn’t have had these current events mega-talking points…

(more…)

What the hell is he thinking?

January 28, 2019

And. what’s his next move?
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Gotta admit, I was surprised that the self-proclaimed tough man folded so quickly.

Driving around on Friday morning, I heard the the headlines:”Flights delayed at LaGuardia due to air controller absences.”

But, the story didn’t exactly match the severity of the news reader’s tonality as he read that there were 15 minute gate holds and some arriving flights were instructed to take a lap in holding patterns.

Geez, that sounds like a pretty normal day at any of the big airports.

When I got to my destination I was pleasantly out of media reach.

Then … BAM!

image
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No way to spin it … the man threw in the towel … proclaiming that he was going to trust Lucy (Nancy Pelosi) to tee up the ball again … and negotiate a wall-inclusive compromise in the next couple of weeks.

Are you kidding me?

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So, what’s really going to happen next?

(more…)

Which is more “authentic”?

January 15, 2019

Ad agencies (and voters) harp on authenticity.

You know, presenting yourself as you really are … rather than exhibiting a  fake persona.

Let’s illustrate the concept…

Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tried to jumpstart her presidential  ambitions (and erase the memories of her laughable DNA test).

At a climatic moment, she expressed her need for a cold one and started to chug a bee.

Authentic or not?

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Her nemesis – President Trump – scored it as inauthentic, noting that it would have seemed more authentic if she had been wearing her native headdress.

Boom!

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Speaking of President Trump…

(more…)

Twas a very entertaining week…

January 11, 2019

Dems and their surrogates snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
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For the record, I’m net positive about both the wall and the gov’t shutdown (or, as I like to call it: “the furloughing of non-essential government employees”).

But, frankly, I’m not very worked up about either.

With that relaxed perspective, I can enjoy the the entertainment value of the hysteria.

And, this was a great week for entertainment.

===============

Let’s jump to the week’s winner: Chuck & Nancy’s rebuttal.

I literally burst out laughing when they did their Bobby Jindal-like hallway entrance … to me, they looked a bit ghoulish … walking in from the catacombs.

Then they delivered their remarks in the fashion of  animated Madam Trussaud wax manikins.

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For laughs, watch the clip with the sound off.

As NBC’s Brian William’s observed: “This Chuck and Nancy visual tonight launched a thousand memes while they were still talking.”

There was an “Angry Parents”, “Gomez & Morticia”, “Space Aliens” and the more serious meme that I think won the prize…

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Even the mainstream media had to reluctantly agree…

January 7, 2019

The economy has been el fuego since Trump took office.
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Last Friday’s jobs report was – by all measures – a blowout.

An exclamation point that the economy – save for the stock market – had a remarkable year.

The headline: 312,000 jobs added in December.

That’s more than the 176,000  that economists expected … and brought the 2018 total number of new jobs to more than 2.6 million.

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Drilling down, the numbers are even more impressive …

(more…)

“Resisters” now think that it’s not fair to resist … say, what?

December 11, 2018

Forrest Grump: “What goes around, comes around”

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For a couple of years, it’s been in fashion among the established, the elite and the folks on the left to use any method to stymy the Trump agenda.

After all, the end justifies the means, right?

Well now, from Madison,Wisconsin to Paris, France … left-leaning elected officials are being thwarted.

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And, many who were touting the graces of the Resist Movement just a couple of weeks ago are squealing like pigs.

(more…)

Liar, liar … pants on fire.

October 30, 2018

What’s worse, lots of inconsequential lies … or a a couple of consequential ones?

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As a Catholic kid, I was taught about the difference between venial sins and mortal ones.

The former are naughty-naughty  … destining you to a few years in a holding tank before admittance to perpetual bliss in heaven.

The latter – mortal sins – are bad-bad … guaranteeing you that you’ll get banished to the fires of hell.

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That lesson comes to mind when former President Obama adopts his trademarked holier-than-thou persona and  lambasts current President Trump as a congenital liar.

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Gallup: Satisfaction with governance increasing…

October 11, 2018

According to a recent Gallup poll, American’s satisfaction with the way they are being governed has bumped up by 10 points in the past year (the green line below).

38% now say they’re satisfied with the way they are being governed.

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Let’s drill down on those numbers…

(more…)

Forensic linguistics: The “lodestar” tell…

September 7, 2018

I thought that the NY Times’ anonymously written I Am Part of the Resistance op-ed  was pretty vacuous.

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I was expecting a bombshell and got “where’s the beef?”

But, as a faithful Forensic Files viewer, I did get some amusement from the op-ed…

(more…)

GOP narrowing the Congressional “generic ballot” gap, but…

August 13, 2018

Will ‘hate trump love’ in the midterm elections?
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Lots of chatter re: a forthcoming ‘blue wave’ in the 2018 midterms.

The usual quantitative metric is the so-called Generic Congressional Ballot …. which queries folks on which parties’ (unnamed) Congressional candidate they’re likely to vote for.

At the end of 2017, the Dems had a 13 point advantage.

That gap has narrowed to under 4 points in the RCP poll-of-polls.

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And, the the most recent individual polls indicate that the gap is continuing to close…

(more…)

CNN: “Trump has no earthly clue what the average person is dealing with day to day”

August 3, 2018

That’s what Jen Psaki, a CNN political commentator says.
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The silly talk (and bias) is getting sillier and sillier.

Here’s the backstory…

At a campaign rally this week, President Trump was pitching the need for voters to show a photo ID.

To illustrate the point, he rattled off a list of places that require IDs: airports, bars, gun shops … and he slipped in: grocery stores.

Obviously out of touch says CNN’s Psaki. Source

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Hmmm.

Let’s drill down on that, Jen.

(more…)