After Alexandria, fairy tales are still more important than facts to MSM

Yesterday, James T. Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter, almost committed a massacre by shooting at Republican congressmen and staff at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. Fortunately, Capitol police prevented the massacre by killing him.

One would think it is reasonable to evaluate whether the toxic political environment had anything to do with encouraging leftists such as Hodkinson from taking violent action against Republicans. Must we remind ourselves of the Kathy Griffin beheading “art”, Snoop Dog assassinating Trump in a rap video, and Madonna dreaming about burning down the White House?

Alas, it appears that for the mainstream media, it is far more important to maintain the fairy tales in their minds than to understand the facts for what they are.

In the interest of brevity and sanity, I will focus only on three examples of the mainstream media pursuing herculean efforts to maintain their narrative. At least what’s left of it.

MSNBC

First, let us turn to MSNBC counter-terrorism analyst Malcom Nance, who attempted to turn the shooting into a gun control issue.

“The most important thing we need to understand from this is this is what happens when you have an over proliferation of guns,” Nance told Brian Williams, “and it is to be expected to a certain extent.”

There are two obvious problems with Nance’s argument. First, as I’ve mentioned before, but for the Capitol police shooting Hodgkinson, the situation could have been far, far worse. Second, Nance has personally contributed to the toxic political environment when he tweeted that should ISIS should send a suicide bomber to a Trump property in Istanbul.

That tweet alone should disqualify Nance from commenting on political violence in the US.

Washington Post

Next, we turn to an opinion piece written by Stephen Stromberg in the Washington Post, in which he attempts to use content-free rhetoric to paper over a clearly partisan attack.

Headlines are calling it the “GOP baseball shooting.” But when James T. Hodgkinson III opened fire Wednesday morning on Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and a group of other GOP members of Congress, he was not just attacking Republicans. He was attacking the republic.

Early reports suggest partisanship may have motivated Hodgkinson. He apparently campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and hated the way Republicans have been running the government. These are not remarkable characteristics. What made Hodgkinson different from thousands of other Americans was his apparent conclusion that his feelings justified a treasonous assault on the legislative branch of the federal government. This deranged conviction seemingly led Hodgkinson to turn his back on civilized society and embrace the cruel barbarism of force.

More than perhaps any other institution in the country, the legislature represents the notion that

Ok, I’m just going to stop right there. He is clearly attempting to portray Hodgkinson’s shooting as an attack on the legislature, and using high-falootin’ rhetoric to do it. However, eyewitness accounts clearly indicate that he wanted to attack Republicans.

A GOP lawmaker said Wednesday that the alleged gunman in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice that wounded five asked whether “Republicans or Democrats” were on the field shortly before the attack in Virginia.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told CNBC that a man came up to him and Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., at the practice and asked if the players on the field were Republicans or Democrats.

“We both agreed that that individual who came up to us and asked if it was Republicans or Democrats … is the same individual police have identified,” DeSantis said. “That picture is the same guy that we saw.”

The man approached him and Duncan in their car and asked who was playing, and Duncan responded that they were Republicans, DeSantis said.

“We both kind of shrugged it off, by the time we got back to the Hill when news broke we immediately called each other and said that guy was … we’ve got to report that,” he said.

It is simply irresponsible for Stromberg to ignore a central fact and attempt to whitewash a clearly political attack against a particular political party. What makes this all the more galling is that he is attempting to do so in one of the nation’s leading newspapers.

I mean, if one didn’t know any better, it’s almost as if the Washington Post had an agenda or something.

New York Times

Now we save the best, or worst, for last.

Simply put, the New York Times published one of the slimiest editorials that I can recall reading. It accomplished the never-never land trifecta of insisting on moral equivalency on the flimsiest of circumstances, arguing that gun control is still relevant, all while maintaining the air that liberals still hold the principled high ground.

No wonder Paul Krugman writes for them.

I will address each of my charges in turn.

Moral equivalency

The editorial attempts to make a parallel between the Alexandria shooting and the shooting of Gabby Giffords in 2011.

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. But no connection to that crime was ever established.

Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Liberals should of course be held to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.

There are two rather obvious objections to these two paragraphs.

First, if Palin’s map had nothing to do with Jared Lee Loughner’s attack, what is the point of the bringing it up? The only reason would be to somehow show an equivalence between the attacks, when none can be made.

In fact, the editorial board of a major American newspaper was so intent on demonstrating that link, it overstepped its bounds, resulting in the following correction:

Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.

Second, to what liberal standard of decency are you referring? The left’s rhetoric during and after the election has been nothing but personal and virtiolic. To characterize the liberals’ need to be accountable in the same manner they hold the right accountable is downright laughable.

Gun control

The editorial also argues that the shooting somehow demonstrates the need for gun control.

Was this attack evidence of how readily available guns and ammunition are in the United States? Indisputably. Mr. Hodgkinson, by definition, should not have had a gun, but he was licensed in his home state, Illinois. And in any event it would have been easy for him to acquire a weapon in Virginia, which requires no background checks in private sales, requires no registration for most weapons and has few restrictions on open carry.

It’s pathetic how flimsily the New York Times constructed this strawman.

Let’s put aside the fact that someone had to shoot Hodgkinson and Loughner to prevent their respective attacks from being worse than they actually were.

Every human being has a natural right to protect themselves. If someone believes that carrying a concealed weapon would provide that protection, so be it. If someone were to harm someone else with that weapon, intentionally or not, that person should be held accountable through the law. Otherwise, the second amendment simply codifies the natural right each and every American has.

However, the New York Times attempts to portray that natural right as some nefarious attempt by gun lobbyists to increase sales. Such a strawman may work on idiot liberals who don’t know how to think for themselves. However, it doesn’t stand under reasonable scrutiny.

What moral high ground?

Finally, the tone of the editorial is that in which the editorial board attempts to demonstrate that the left still has the moral high ground. Hence, its nods to liberal standards of decency.

However, one can make a reasonable assumption that the Times knows that the Alexandria attack shatters any illusions the left may have about the ground on which it stands.

In short, the left knows they are in hot water. They just don’t know how to spin this yet. And unfortunately, they seem to be more interested in maintaining the narrative than constructing a dialogue.

Conclusion

If Hodgkinson ends up being the only one who dies from the Alexandria shooting, we should count ourselves incredibly fortunate. Now would be an excellent time for everyone to slow down, and do some soul searching.

The rhetoric has been running too hot for too long. In fact, there have been suggestions that we have been building towards a civil war in the US, and I can’t say that those suggestions are wrong.

Nevertheless, we have an opportunity to slow down and evaluate how we have been communicating.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it does not appear that the mainstream media will be assisting us in this necessary exercise.

Anger over new gas tax gives California Republicans a chance for revival

While Ronald Reagan was a governor of California before becoming President, the Republican party has been a weak political minority here for decades. The last time Republicans won the Golden State during a presidential election was in 1988. However, public anger over new gas taxes may give the GOP an opportunity to increase its presence in the state.

As John Meyers of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Less than seven weeks ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping $5.2-billion package of proposals to fix California’s roads and highways. To pay for it, the base excise tax on gas goes up by 12 cents a gallon in November. Diesel fuel taxes will rise by 20 cents a gallon.

There’s also a new annual vehicle fee the DMV will charge to help fund the transportation projects, based on a vehicle’s value and ranging from $25 to $175. Brown has made a frequent point of defending the necessity of the transportation plan, which won a supermajority vote in both legislative houses and earned the support of business and transportation groups.

While Governor Brown may have convinced the Democrat-controlled California legislature over these additional taxes, he doesn’t appear to have convinced taxpayers. And therein lies the opportunity for the Republicans.

Californians hate bad roads. But they may hate taxes even more. In a new statewide poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, 58% of voters surveyed said they oppose the tax-and-spend transportation plan.

The California GOP is making two moves against the gax taxes. First, they have organized a recall effort against Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), a freshman legislator who voted for the tax increase. Second, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) is seeking an initiative to repeal the tax increases.

This initiative could alter significantly the 2018 state elections if it makes the ballot.

It could force Democrats in battleground legislative races to defend the tax. The California Democratic Party might have to open up its sizable war chest. Perhaps even Brown, by then on the homestretch of his political career and facing questions about his legacy, would dip into his $15 million campaign bank account for the transportation plan he helped craft.

Even vulnerable GOP members of Congress might benefit, giving them something other than President Trump to talk about. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently suggested that the unpopular gas tax could fuel strong Republican turnout next year.

Strong Republican turnout could be strong for no other reason than to punish Governor Brown for his calling Republicans “freeloaders” during the gas tax debate. While Republicans aren’t anarcho-capitalists, the vast majority of them vote for the GOP because they don’t want the government to burden entreprenuers.

While it’s too soon to tell how the 2018 election will play out, at the very least the prospect of a gas tax repeal initiative ought to put state Democrats on the defensive.

Given how active – and destructive – the Democrats have been in the state, that can be nothing but a good thing.

 

California Senate passes single-payer health care bill

The level of dumbassery in California politics knows no bounds.

By a vote of 23 to 14 (with three abstentions), the California Senate passed a bill that would set up a single-payer health care in the state.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Lara’s bill would provide a Medicare-for-all-type system that he believed would guarantee health coverage for all Californians without the out-of-pocket costs. Under a single-payer plan, the government replaces private insurance companies, paying doctors and hospitals for healthcare.

There’s only one minor problem with the bill.

No one knows how the hell to pay for it.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), one of the key sponsors of the bill, admits that the bill will have to be “further developed”, and he hopes that a consensus will emerge on how to pay for it.

Lara proposed the bill while President Trump and Congressional Republicans are working to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“Despite the incredible progress California has made, millions still do not have access to health insurance and millions more cannot afford the high deductibles and co-pays, and they often forgo care,” Lara said during a floor debate on the bill.

In other words, the bill is virtue signaling writ large.

The Times has analyzed the various ways single-payer health care could be financed; none of the options look pretty. While a portion of the funds could come from existing federal and state sources such as Medicare and Medi-cal, it would require additional taxation. Among the tax proposals include a 2.3% business receipts tax and an additional 2.3% sales tax, or a 15% payroll tax.

Health Care

Such massive taxes would supposedly pay for a program that is twice the size of the current state budget.

“We don’t have the money to pay for it,” Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) said. “If we cut every single program and expense from the state budget and redirected that money to this bill, SB 562, we wouldn’t even cover half of the $400-billion price tag.”

Fortunately, even if the state Assembly were to pass the bill, there are several significant roadblocks preventing the bill from being implemented.

Even if the bill is approved, it has to go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been skeptical, and then voters would have to exempt it from spending limits and budget formulas in the state Constitution. In addition, the state would have to get federal approval to repurpose existing funds for Medicare and Medicaid.

Nevertheless, such impediments should not discount the reckelessness with which Democratic leaders are pursuing this bill. State finances are fragile enough as they are, given the state’s huge debt load and weak pension plans for teachers and other government employees.

However, such a bill would truly take the state down the road to Venezuela. The fact that state leaders are even considering such a brazen move simply shows how out of touch they are.

Fortunately, a backlash is beginning to brew within the state. I’ll address that in an upcoming post.

 

 

California Lieutenant Governor concerned about “job-killing robots”

The beauty about being a liberal politician in a liberal state is one gets countless opportunities to be concerned about the negative consequences of previously-implemented policies.

For example, an inevitable outcome of California’s minimum wage law, under which the wage will rise to $15 and hour by 2022, is businesses dependent on manual labor will seek to automate those tasks as much as possible. However, because the memories of liberals are those of gnats, politicians can point to the symptom and call for ACTION against such a pernicious trend.

In the case of the minimum wage, Brietbart points to a Guardian article that reports Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s concern that the increased use of technology is killing jobs:

The graduating computer science students at the University of California at Berkeley had just finished chuckling at a joke about fleets of “Google buses, Facebook shuttles and Uber-copters” lining up to whisk them them to elite jobs in Silicon Valley. The commencement ceremony for a cohort of students who, one professor confided, were worth around $25bn was a feel-good affair.

Until, that is, Gavin Newsom took to the lectern and burst the bubble.

The smooth-talking Democrat, and frontrunner to win California’s gubernatorial race next year, warned the students that the “plumbing of the world is radically changing”. The tech industry that would make them rich, Newsom declared, was also rendering millions of other people’s jobs obsolete and fueling enormous disparities in wealth. “Your job is to exercise your moral authority,” he said. “It is to do the kinds of things in life that can’t be downloaded.”

No, Lieutenant Governor, their job is not to exercise moral authority; their job is to find a job.

Honestly, it takes a tremendous amount of guile for a grown man to whine to a bunch of smart kids that their career paths may lead to the next political crisis. That is especially the case because his party’s policies have created the very conditions for their future success!

Don’t believe me? One of the companies that irritates Newsom to no end designs robots … for the fast food industry.

[Newsom] frequently complains about Momentum Machines, a secretive San Francisco startup promising to transform the fast-food industry with robotic technology. The ambition, according to the company’s founder, is to “completely obviate” human workers.

“There’s an empathy gap,” Newsom said. “I really feel intensely that the tech community needs to begin not just to solve these business problems but to begin to solve societal problems with the same kind of disruptive energy that they put behind developing the latest app.”

So let me get this straight. Out of empathy, California passes a law that keeps more and more low-skilled people out of the work force. Businesses look to automating previously affordable manual work just to stay in business. So businesses lack empathy because they are trying to solve a problem government policy created.

If this is what it means to show empathy, keep it far, far, away from me!

So what is Newsom’s “solution” to the “empathy gap”?

Serious thinker that he is, he doesn’t know. However, one possibility is what socialists call “universal basic income”.

He is “not opposed” to universal basic income, an idea popular among Silicon Valley utopians that would see all citizens receive some kind of regular and unconditional payment, and is interested in a proposal from Bill Gates to tax companies when they replace humans with robots.

But Newsom said he was not ready to endorse either policy. Adopting politician-speak, he said his team was “starting to lean in to create the tenor of a policy approach” that will involve rethinking the education system and massive investment in apprenticeships.

Then he reverted to a more frank response. “I’m struggling to figure it out,” he said. “So I don’t have the damn answer.

May I offer a suggestion, Lieutenant Governor?

Perhaps you can look at the state’s minimum wage law for a clue about what to do next?

California pension liabilities skyrocket 22%

Breitbart reports that new accounting rules have required California to report that its unfunded pension liabilities have skyrocketed 22%:

The State of California is notorious for predicting spectacularly high pension investment returns, and then admitting lousy performance. But Governor Brown’s 2017-18 May Revised Budget admitted for the first time that the state’s and UC’s long‑term pension and healthcare liabilities jumped by $51 billion in the last year to $279 billion, “due to poor investment returns and the adoption of more realistic assumptions about future earnings.”

The Brown administration’s willingness to be more forthcoming with the cost of granting unions spectacular benefits was not voluntary. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which sets the accounting methodology for all government entities, issued Statement 85 in January 2016. The new mandate required pension plan audits to include postemployment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, such as retiree healthcare.
The State of California’s first GASB-compliant audited financial balance sheet revealed that unfunded retiree healthcare liabilities substantially exceed pension liabilities. The 2016 calculation of unfunded employee pension liability for the state was $59.141 billion, and $15.141 billion for the University of California. But the unfunded state retiree health liability is 36 percent greater, at $76.533 billion; and the UC unfunded retiree health liability is over 44 percent greater, at $21.719 billion.

The big jump in unfunded liabilities means a bigger burden on future California state budgets. The May Revised Budget reveals that the state’s contributions to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) “are on track to nearly double from $5.8 billion ($3.4 billion General Fund) in 2017‑18 to $9.2 billion ($5.3 billion General Fund) in 2023‑24.

State pension plans provide returns that are woefully under the 7.5% rate used to discount the value of their future pension obligations. For example, CalPERS earned just 0.6% during its last fiscal year. Further, CalPERS was only 65% funded as of June 30, 2016.

Between the high level of obligations, low returns, and unrealistic earnings expectations, pensioners and California taxpayers need to prepare for a bumpy ride over the next thirty years.

California Democrats kill licensing reform

Reason’s Steven Greenhut reports that a California Senate committee killed a bill, by a party-line 6-2 vote, that would have eliminated licensing requirements for a range of activities, including fitting and selling hearing aids, barbering, and performing custom upholstery services.

While licensing requirements are supposedly designed to promote public safety and health, these rules are rarely relevant to the job at hand. Additionally, such restrictions are usually supported by parties that benefit from barriers preventing newcomers into their respective lines of work.

What’s worse, such requirement require poor Californians to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to work, which leads to fewer of them being employed.

California has the nation’s highest poverty rates, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau standard that includes cost-of-living factors. A good starting place to address that problem is to chip away at unnecessary barriers to work. Trade groups, however, recognize that the best way to inflate their members’ pay is to raise the cost of entry for others—and the more fields regulated this way, the more it keeps poor people in the welfare lines.

“One out of every five Californians must receive permission from the government to work,” explained a 2016 report from the state’s official watchdog agency, the Little Hoover Commission. “What once was a tool for consumer protection, particularly in the healing arts professions, is now a vehicle to promote a multitude of other goals. These include professionalism of occupations, standardization of services, a guarantee of quality and a means of limiting competition among practitioners, among others.”

Consider the freedom issue there too. We need to ask the government for permission to work?

The Little Hoover study found that the laws succeeded mainly in keeping “Californians from working, particularly harder-to-employ groups such as former offenders and those trained or educated outside of California, including veterans, military spouses and foreign-trained workers.” The problem is particularly acute for ex-offenders who often are barred from entering a variety of fairly low-skill professions by licensing rules that forbid them from entering the market.

However, when the Hearing Healthcare Providers of America and the California Nurses Association tell state Democrats to jump, don’t expect them to think about the little guy before they ask “How high?”

 

Did you know libertarianism is incompatible with Catholicism?

Me neither!

Fortunately, Holy Inquisitor Mark Shea has cleared it up for us:

Libertarianism is the religious superstition that individualists don’t need the help of society, that the state only does evil, and that your average FOX brainwashing victim on a fixed income will be fine because the 1% totally care about him and certainly will defend him when the Party of Trump robs him of Social Security and Medicaid.

He writes more, but it’s at the same level of detritus as the above.

There are three points I’d like to make about the above gordian knot of silly accusations disguised as a series of indignant j’accuses! against the demon spawn known as libertarians.

First, to claim that individualists don’t need the help of society is hogwash. If anything, the opposite is true. Civilization flourishes through voluntary interaction, not coercion. The economy, which provides the material support for a civilization, flourishes through the division of labor, the nexus of exchange, and the accumulation of capital. Libertarians simply believe that none of these three functions require the state, which is a monopoly of violence in a given society.

Second, regarding the nature of the state, need I remind Mr. Shea of Augustine’s observations on the matter in the City of God?

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.” (Book IV, Chapter 4)

I’ll address Shea’s accusation about how libertarians view the state once he addresses how Augustine views it.

Finally, where in the hell does Shea get the idea that Trump wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicare? Because Shea clearly knows, or at least ought to, that Trump has no intention of getting rid of either.

When Donald Trump was elected president in November, it was on the heels of numerous campaign promises. One of those key promises was that he would leave Social Security and Medicare as is. Trump has suggested that America has an obligation to its seniors to honor its commitment to pay their Social Security benefits.

And yet Trump’s assurances about both programs don’t prevent Shea from conflating that a) Trump really really does want to eliminate them, and b) libertarians control Fox (if only), and 5) the 1% really want free markets, when more and more of them have become rich through crony capitalism.

(By the way, Mark, crony capitalism means that big companies use government connections to create laws and regulatory burdens that reduce competition and increase profits. For them. Just so we’re clear.)

Beyond the ridiculousness of the above sentence, there’s one particular string of words, which when written by a more charitable writer would be called a paragraph, I want to address.

Libertarianism is Murray Rothbard’s belief that a child is a parasitic invader with no right to life because it cannot pay its parents for the property and labor it demands in order to be carried to term and raised to adulthood. If they choose to do so, they may. But if they decide to abort it or drive the child to a remote location and abandon it they may do that too. They owe it nothing.

It may come as a mild surprise to Mr. Shea that libertarians, who believe individuals have free will, do not always agree with Rothbard.

I mean, it’s not like Rothbard is a god or anything…

Sure, he wrote profusely, and was a genius when it came to economics and political philosophy. However, my Catholicism (you know, Mark, the thing you claim that I don’t believe) informs my strong disagreement with his view that a pregnant woman has the right to abort her child.

Father Jim Sadowsky, who taught philosophy at Fordham and was a friend of Rothbard, disagreed with him strongly about abortion as well:

But is the infant a trespasser the moment his presence in the womb is no longer desired? Does he have no right to be there? Murray [Rothbard] and Walter [Block] simply assume that the infant has no right to be in the womb. Yet it is by no means evident that their answer is the correct one. To say that x is trespassing is to say that he is somewhere where he ought not to be. But where should a foetus be if not in its mother’s womb? This is its natural habitat. Surely people have a right to the means of life that nature gives them? If the home in which the infant grew were outside the mother’s body, we should all see that to expel him from that home would be to deprive him of the nature-given means of life. Why should the fact that his nature-given home lies within a woman’s body change the situation? What is a woman’s womb for except to house the infant’s body? It is nature that gives the child this home, this means of life. When we cast him out, we are depriving him of that which nature gave him. To do this is to violate his rights.

However, that did not stop Sadowsky from being attracted to Rothbard’s libertarian thinking. As David Gordon wrote in his obituary of Father Sadowsky:

What attracted him to the libertarian point of view was its individualism: libertarianism rejects the notion of a collective interest apart from that of individual persons. In this he found echoes of one of his favorite thinkers among the scholastics, Francisco Suarez, who maintained that political authority rests on consent. If this idea were followed to its full implications, Sadowsky thought, it would lead to anarchism, an implication he fully accepted.

You remember the scholastics, right, Mark? Or did they advocate child killing as well?

Frankly, Shea’s schtick against libertarianism is getting really, really old. It is uninformed, uncharitable, and in the end, boring.

I am going to close this post to repeat my plea.

I don’t mind if Catholics don’t agree with libertarianism. I do, however, reject any attempt to demonize an otherwise compatible political philosophy with Catholicism simply because one decides not to view it and its adherents charitably.

Hopefully, at some point, Mr. Shea will be willing to talk to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who just happen to have a different perspective than him, in the manner they deserve.

Until then, talk to the hand.

 

 

Trump fires Comey. Chaos ensues.

Given the hullabaloo over President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, perhaps it’s best to start this post with a silly joke.

I’ll let Scott Adams of Dilbert fame provide it. After all, he’s a professional:

What do Bernie Sanders’ hair and CNN have in common today? They are both saying, “Comey” every time you look at them.

I feel better already!

Both Republicans and Democrats hated Comey, albeit for different reasons. Republicans were appalled when Comey publicly cleared Hillary Clinton, on dubious legal grounds and inconsistently with DoJ/FBI procedures, of charges that she obstructed justice when the FBI investigated her using a personal server for her State Department email. Democrats called for Comey’s head after he re-opened that investigation weeks before the general election, only to close it days for before it.

In fact, Lifezette reports that a reporter reminded Senator Chuck Schumer of his earlier call for Comey to be fired at a press conference yesterday:

“Sen. Schumer, you told me last year before the election that you lost confidence in Jim Comey because of how he handled the email scandal,” one reporter said. “Do you think that the president’s explanation … has credibility?”

“I never called on the president to fire Director Comey,” said Schumer.

Schumer then said Trump should have fired Comey earlier in his young presidency if he had some of the same concerns as Democrats.

It was a clever ploy. But it cannot hide the fact that Democrats have hated Comey for months. Many blame Comey for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s losing the election. Comey famously released a letter to Congress just before the Nov. 8 election indicating that he was reopening an investigation into how Clinton handled classified emails.

Comey, being Comey, closed the new investigation in record time, ending the investigation two days before Election Day and enraging Republicans by publicly declaring he still would not recommend charges against Clinton.

Schumer indicated Comey’s handling of the matter was a deal-breaker.

“I do not have confidence in him any longer,” Schumer said of Comey on Nov. 2.

However, because the wrong president fired Comey, we are now in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Or something like that.

As Reason’s Jacob Sullum reports:

“We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) declared on Twitter last night after hearing that Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt agreed. So did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), although Blumenthal described the crisis as “looming” rather than “full-fledged.”

Yet Sullum points out the obvious; the president has clear authority to fire the FBI Director for whatever reason:

“Under the Constitution,” notes South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman, “the president has the absolute power to fire principal officers, such as Director Comey, at will. In that sense, Trump’s actions were entirely constitutional.”

(By the way, I love it that Democrats were silent when Obama attacked Libya without congressional authorization, thus creating the current refugee crisis in Europe, or don’t see an issue with the TSA routinely violating American’s fourth amendment rights who happen to fly, but become butthurt when a non-Democratic president fires someone.)

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert found it necessary last night to reeducate the sheep known as the Democratic electorate on how to react to the firing:

Tuesday during the taping of CBS’s “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert announced the news that FBI Director James Comey had been fired by President Donald Trump.

Colbert’s left-leaning audience cheered.

Colbert reacted by saying, “Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here tonight.”

However, we now come to the core question, why did Trump fire Comey?

While Scott Adams argues that this was a strong move on Trump’s part that exhibits “some ballsy Presidenting”, such a move only works when we know what Trump is trying to achieve. And if there’s anything that Trump has demonstrated since becoming president (**cough** Syria **cough**), he can change his mind in an instant in terms of what he wants to do.

Sure, folks like Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, and even Hillary Clinton should be feeling more nervous today than they did yesterday. But is Trump really focusing on sending them to jail? Who the hell knows? Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, thinks that Trump most likely fired Comey because he neither liked nor trusted him. Given what we know, that’s as good as an explanation as any other.

While the political world explodes in morally indignant outrage, I’m going to wait to see what Trump actually does before reacting.

In the meantime, I’m going to find some more silly jokes.

UPDATE: Roger Stone gives Alex Jones his take on Trump firing Comey.

 

California bill lets comrades be comrades

Communism

It looks like California will be hosting another coming out party soon, but this time for communists.

Breitbart reports that the California Assembly recently passed a bill that would remove provisions that allow members of the Communist party to be fired. The bill would also eliminate California’s official opposition to communism.

However, the bill would not touch provisions that bar state employees who belong to organizations that “advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of any state by force or violence.”

Should Governor Brown sign the bill, state law would reflect the obvious: far too many government employees, of which there are far too many, are socialist leaning at best, and full on communists at worst.

The Daily Bulletin, a local newspaper for the Los Angeles area’s Inland Empire, ran an article in 2013 about the fact that a significant number of public school teachers who are closet communists:

“[State law prohibiting employees from being communists is] a remnant of the Cold War era and should have long been dropped from the Educational Code,” said Juan Lopez, the California chairman for the Communist Party USA.

Communists aren’t a registered political party in California, but they’re still around, and in good numbers, he said.

“We have more teachers that have joined the Communist Party than any other professions,” he said.

“More than anything, we laugh about it,” said Luis Rivas, a member of the Southern California Young Communists League. “Historically, in the U.S., there’s always been this pretty turbulent tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union.”

Yeah, that is pretty hilarious. I mean, how many communists teach history (or economics) in public high schools, yet somehow avoid discussing with students the fact that communist regimes killed at least 94 million people in the 20th century?

What a hoot.

But that’s ok. At least communists can safely come out of the closet, and they can be welcomed for who they are with open arms.

Meanwhile, those of us who believe in liberty and free markets need to be extremely careful in how we expose our ideas, particularly in the People’s Republic of California, lest we be subjected to ridicule and demands that we’re fired from our jobs.

It’s almost as if we need to maintain online aliases!

Go figure.

UPDATE: Here’s a refresher for the commie history and econ teachers about the enormous death and suffering communist regimes inflicted on their peoples.