About Those Ongoing Investigations

I have studiously avoided saying much about the ongoing Russia probe and the accusations of spying by the FBI on the Trump team. Why? Because it’s all so up in the air when it comes to actually knowing what happened and whether any of it makes any difference.

To be sure, there were contacts made by some of Trump’s people with Russians. Trump Jr. is a solid example. He went to a meeting expecting to get dirt on Hillary and was disappointed when nothing came of it. So, is he guilty or not? Trump supporters say that since nothing happened, it’s a moot point. Others will note the intent—after all, God looks at the heart.

Some people see the Russia probe as just an attempt to get Trump by whatever means possible, especially Democrats who continue to play with the idea that somehow Russia determined the outcome of the election. This particular probe seems to be going on forever.

After a while, the public loses interest, but congressional leaders, even Republicans, after viewing some of the evidence at a closed hearing, believe it should go on. I agree. Let’s find out the truth, wherever that may lead.

Then there’s that spy thing. There is certainly evidence that some FBI people hated Trump and wanted Hillary to win. Yet, on the other side of the argument, Trump kept hiring shady advisors, particularly Paul Manafort (who ran his campaign for a while), who has made his living being paid by Russian entities.

At the very least, I can understand why the FBI might want to know more. Yet we now know the name of the so-called “spy,” a respected academic from Cambridge who never had access to anyone high up in the campaign.

Is this really spying? Of course, it would be nice to see an evenhanded approach to fact-gathering.

And by the way, wasn’t it James Comey’s reopening of the Hillary investigation right before the election that drew attention once more to her underhanded activities? While I have little to no respect for Comey, if he had been “all in” for Hillary, why would he have done that?

You can’t watch CNN or MSNBC if you want a balanced understanding of what is real or imagined in these investigations. As far as those outlets are concerned, Hillary was cheated and Trump was the cheat.

Neither, though, can you get a fair and balanced presentation on some of the Fox News programs. There are some that are so pro-Trump that you never hear a negative word. We have dueling networks, each with an agenda of its own.

So I’m still withholding judgment on what is true and what isn’t. I would advise others to do the same. Conservatives, don’t just accept anything Trump says as being lily-white truth. He’s not usually comfortable offering that; it goes against his entire personal history and character.

Yet, liberals (assuming there are any who read my posts), you have to be willing to accept that all these investigations may not go where you want, simply because there may be no foundation to the main accusations.

Democrats thought they had a winning approach for the upcoming congressional elections. Now, some aren’t so sure.

There was all this happy talk among Democrats about a Blue Wave this November. Polls are now indicating that might not be in the cards for them after all.

If Republicans do manage to maintain control of both houses of Congress, they should breathe a huge sigh of relief and then get down to business. If they can ever figure out what their business is.

Last Night’s Debates–An Overview

I watched both debates last night. What a blessed difference from the CNBC debacle a couple of weeks ago. The moderators at Fox Business Network didn’t use their moment in the limelight to focus on themselves or cause unnecessary turbulence with their questions. Instead, the questions were direct, short, meaningful, and fair. Congratulations, Fox Business, for bringing back professionalism to these debates.

The first debate, with the so-called “undercard” candidates, was quite good, primarily because there were only four debaters. All had plenty of time to express their views without having to resort to quick sound bites to make news. All four—Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum—were articulate and focused on their desired messages.

My only concern about that first debate was Jindal’s approach. I’ve always liked Jindal, and most of what he said last night was what I believe. Yet he came across as so pugnacious in attacking the others that I fear he lost ground. I was disappointed with the attitude he displayed; it came across to me as a desperate attempt to be noticed. While it is important to point out the differences among the candidates, he almost made the others seem like the opposition when the real opposition is in the other party.

The main debate was substantive, thanks primarily to the honest questioners. There were only a couple instances of the back-and-forth threatening to go off the rails, but even those were rather entertaining and allowed us to see how the candidates can handle themselves in a tense situation.

Wisconsin Debate

I won’t go down the list of all the candidates and even attempt to point out the strengths and weaknesses—it would fill this post so full you wouldn’t want to read to the end.

I do, though, believe there were some genuine “winners,” in the sense that they came across as the real adults on the stage. In my opinion, the following helped their cause the most (in alphabetical order): Cruz, Fiorina, and Rubio. Carson held his own and had a good moment with his humorous response to the criticisms he has had to endure about his life story.

Jeb Bush did better than in the other debates, but I don’t think he did what was needed to put himself back in the top tier. Rand Paul is always good when talking about limiting government, but not anywhere near what I want when he weighs in on defense and terrorism.

Trump is trying to be more civil, but you can see the snarkiness seeking an outlet. It turns out he was substantively wrong in his answer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; he included China in it, but China was not a part of it.

Kasich needs to go home and be a good governor. Sorry, but to me he is more than a little annoying.

As I watch these debates, I simultaneously watch the Twitter feeds from National Review and Townhall. The comments are often amusing, and I enjoy the immediate feedback. What I noticed, however, is the wide swing of opinion about the candidates’ performances, even among those who call themselves conservatives. A glowing report from one person is followed immediately by a negative report from another about the same incident or comment from one of the candidates.

Not all conservatives see these candidates in the same light. I’m hoping the field winnows down considerably in the next weeks, but we’ll probably have to wait until after Iowa and New Hampshire in February.

In the meantime, listen carefully to each one who is telling you why he or she should be the next commander in chief. This is a critical decision.

Unfair Debate?

Fox Debate ModeratorsThe conspiracy theories about the first GOP debate abound, mostly centered on the questions posed by the moderators. I’ve read that Fox was conspiring with Jeb Bush or with the GOP establishment or with the Democrats or with . . . well, you fill in the blank.

In my view, Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly, and Bret Baier did a valuable service for all the Republican candidates on that stage. They made them come up with answers to some hard questions that they will have to face throughout this campaign. In one instance, there was some unfairness, but not where you may think. I’ll come back to that.

The first question of the debate, in my view, was a masterstroke and unquestionably fair. Asking the candidates to pledge support for the eventual nominee and not to run on a third-party ticket that would ruin the chances for that nominee was essential. Was it targeted at Donald Trump? To be sure. But he’s the one who has been hinting all along that he might bolt and do the third-party thing if he’s not nominated. Putting him on the spot to make a public declaration was a significant moment.

That he refused to take the pledge was quite informative. And if you listened carefully to his answer, he was pretty much saying he has no respect for any of the other candidates. When asked later when he became a Republican, he never gave a straight answer to the question.

Donald Trump at DebateTrump was not singled out. Each candidate was confronted with either controversial statements made in the past or with views that he would have to defend. Only Trump, afterwards, went into whining mode, accusing the moderators of being “unfair.”

As is his habit, he let fly with the “loser” designation freely; during the debate, he also loved to use the word “stupid” with regularity, always referring to almost anyone in the government with whom he disagreed.

When the Frank Luntz focus group afterward revealed that he had lost significant ground with them, he attacked again, having his people call the group a “setup” designed to derail him.

Further, he descended upon Twitter to unleash other comments, specifically calling Kelly a bimbo and saying Fox should fire Charles Krauthammer, who had the audacity to say that the debate was the beginning of the end for Trump’s run for the White House.

Scott Walker GOP DebateNow, let’s contrast Trump’s responses with how Scott Walker handled what I consider an uninformed, misleading question. When Kelly challenged him with being out of touch with 83% of the country on abortion because he didn’t include a “life of the mother” exception, he stayed calm and answered directly, correctly noting that there was no need for that dichotomy—either kill the baby or let the mother die—because there are all kinds of ways to keep the mother alive during a crisis pregnancy.

The Association of Pro-Life Physicians clarifies:

When the life of the mother is truly threatened by her pregnancy, if both lives cannot simultaneously be saved, then saving the mother’s life must be the primary aim.  If through our careful treatment of the mother’s illness the pre-born patient inadvertently dies or is injured, this is tragic and, if unintentional, is not unethical and is consistent with the pro-life ethic.  But the intentional killing of an unborn baby by abortion is never necessary. [emphasis mine]

Kelly needs to be better informed on this specific topic, but it’s one that many believe because of pro-abortion propaganda.

Walker simply stated his strong pro-life position and concluded by alluding to the atrocities of Planned Parenthood, against which he has stood as governor of Wisconsin.

After the debate, no one heard one word of whining from Walker. He praised the moderators as tough but fair, as have all the other candidates.

If Trump’s antics at this debate didn’t convince a person to stop supporting him, I don’t know what will. Yet I will continue to appeal to conservatives to recognize that he is no true conservative, and I will exhort my fellow Christian believers not to be deceived. Donald Trump is not the Christian conservative candidate we need. He is a disaster in the making.

Identifying the Truly Stupid Voters

I think we’re now at six videos of Jonathan Gruber talking about the stupidity of the American voter and how to pull the wool over their eyes . . . and counting.

Apparently, Prof. Gruber is not a shy individual; he has been broadcasting his views about pulling a fast one with Obamacare for a number of years. So why are we only now hearing about this, when so many videos are available to view? Might it have something to do with the media blackout on the dysfunctional nature of the misnamed Affordable Care Act?

Melissa FrancisMelissa Francis, formerly of CNBC, and now with Fox Business Network, has come forward to tell her tale. She says when Obamacare was being pushed she ran the numbers on it and saw just how phony it all was—it couldn’t really work. She started talking about that on the air—it’s called real reporting—but then was taken to the woodshed by her superiors, who told her that her critique of Obamacare was “disrespecting the office of the presidency.” She had to curtail her honest reporting from that time on. Fortunately for her, she’s now at a network where she can tell the truth to the American people.

Meanwhile, our president, who has a superb track record of throwing people under the bus—Bill Ayers was just someone in his neighborhood; Jeremiah Wright was like the crazy uncle and he never heard him say such things in the twenty years he sat under his teaching—has now tossed Prof. Gruber under the same vehicle.

When questioned about Gruber, the Obama response was one that anyone who has paid any attention to him over the past six years could have guessed ahead of time. You see, he just found out about all this controversy, he hardly even knew Gruber (just by name as he sat around a table with many others), and he was “some adviser” who wasn’t on the president’s staff.

Goodbye, Mr. Gruber, it was nice not really knowing you all that well:

Professor Friend

Ignore, of course, that Gruber was paid nearly $6 million in taxpayer money to be merely “some adviser.” Don’t mention that he was “on loan” at one point by the White House to Congress to spread his wisdom there also. No, don’t pay any attention to those distractions; just believe whatever we tell you:

I'm with Stupid

Yes, many voters were fooled, but they were lied to repeatedly and wanted to trust their governmental leaders. That’s not the same thing as being stupid. If we truly want to tag that label on any voters, how about the ones who didn’t find any problem voting for a law they hadn’t read?

Critical

Now, there is the prime example of outright stupidity. Keep in mind that not even one Republican signed on to this monstrosity. This wasn’t bipartisan stupidity; it’s “owned” by one party only.

The Media & the IRS Scandal

I have to comment on this before it becomes too old news. Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa tried to hold another hearing into the IRS scandal. Once again, the primary suspect in this abuse of conservative organizations, Lois Lerner, was supposed to testify. She’s the one, in case your memory needs a jog, who took the Fifth last time after making statements that she was innocent. By doing so, she might have voided her right to take the Fifth, but who cares anymore about following the law. Certainly not the IRS. Certainly not the DOJ, which is responsible for investigating these misdeeds.

Lerner repeated her earlier performance. Issa asked her seven questions; she took the Fifth on each. Clearly, this hearing was going nowhere, so Issa officially adjourned. After doing so, the minority leader, Rep. Elijah Cummings, said he had a procedural question. Issa, even though the hearing was over, gave him liberty to ask his question. There was no question. Instead, Cummings launched into a denunciation of Issa and the committee for holding biased hearings. At that point, Issa called for his microphone to be cut; the hearing was over.

That led to an eruption from Cummings, who went nearly apoplectic over his supposed ill treatment. All of this was caught on camera. His outburst made the news. And later, he made an accusation against Issa that he was . . . ready for it . . . racist. Of course. The last refuge of modern scoundrels.

Issa’s decision to end the hearing, his cutoff of the microphone, and the charge of racism were the highlight of the mainstream media’s coverage. Never mind that Cummings was out of bounds and that racism played no role here. Ignore the actual issue—the political sabotage by the IRS—and emphasize the false accusations against Issa instead.

Won't Talk

This is the usual media ploy: make the Republican into the bad guy, even though all he’s trying to do is get to the truth about a clear abuse of power.

Being Rude

Almost from the start, the media have tried to derail the IRS story. Evidence shows, beyond any genuine doubt, that only conservative organizations were targeted, yet that doesn’t seem to bother them. There are always other things more important on which to focus:

Worried Sick

Again, the only network that has stayed on the IRS story consistently is Fox, which naturally makes this network the recipient of criticism from those who want the scandal to go away. There is a pattern here:

Another Story

The mainstream media doesn’t like to be reminded of its total lack of objectivity in reporting the news.

Obama’s Inconvenient Problems

I know President Obama wants all the problems he and his minions have created just to go away; they’re too inconvenient to his goals. He’s doing his best to act as if they’re inconsequential, but the news doesn’t really get better for him as time passes. Take Obamacare, for instance. This past week, the Congressional Budget Office—always referred to in the news as the nonpartisan CBO—revised its figures of the impact of Obamacare on jobs. It seems it will be instrumental in the loss of about 2.3 million fulltime jobs in the next few years. That’s not what the CBO said when the legislation was pending. Have you noticed how economic and jobs figures are seemingly in constant revision?

Let’s review the myriad disruptions to normal life caused by Obamacare:

Side Effects

But when these side effects are presented to the president, he makes light of them and declares his signature legislation to be a resounding success:

Light Dusting

Then there’s the IRS controversy, the ongoing investigation into the unfair targeting of conservative groups, representatives of whom testified yesterday in Congress as to the strains and pressures they have faced from that federal agency. Obama’s claim that there’s not even a smidgen of corruption connected to the scandal is becoming as infamous as Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.” Will this fly with the informed part of the public?

Not Even a Smidgen

The president’s constant fallback when confronted with these issues is to blame others. For years, he has solemnly asserted most of his economic hiccups were caused by George Bush. Now, five years into his presidency, that’s got to be wearing thin with anyone who possesses even a smidgen of brain power. Another favorite scapegoat has been Fox News, which is merely following the evidence on these various scandals and not allowing them to be swept under the rug. Obama’s tendency to blame Fox surfaced again this week in his interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Fox News

And then there’s the always-reliable excuse of racism. Who can ever counter that one? Well, perhaps Martin Luther King, were he still with us today, might have a few choice words about using that excuse:

Content of Character

Amidst all the controversy, though, Obama has one faithful ally that will always do its best to come to his rescue:

Swan

And that’s what makes it so difficult to have an informed public.

Duck Dynasty & Double Standards

Duck Dynasty CastLast Thursday’s post on Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty controversy received more “likes” than any post I’ve ever written. It’s because this whole episode has touched a nerve, particularly in the evangelical community. Ever since President Obama declared his support for homosexual marriage and the Supreme Court refused to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, our society has begun a mad rush toward Sodom. Now along comes Phil Robertson, who gets to the root of the problem: homosexuality is sin. Denizens of progressivism nearly faint, then react with outrage—how dare anyone use that word “sin.” What century does he still live in?

Part of the outrage, at least superficially, was Robertson’s rather colorful language in describing why a man should prefer a woman over another man. Let’s be clear: he used the correct anatomical terminology. He just made homosexuality sound so . . . well . . . disgusting. In doing so, though, he merely mirrored Scriptural descriptions of homosexual acts. Yet those same progressives have no problem with raunchy actions and vile terminology on their side. As Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal noted, “It is a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

I also mentioned in my previous post that media people, even at more conservative organizations like Fox News, scarcely know what to do with the controversy. That’s because so few of them agree with Robertson—and the Bible—that homosexuality is truly sinful. They kind of defend him on what they deem to be his First Amendment right of free speech and freedom of religion, but one gets the impression they still believe he’s some kind of loony anachronism for holding to those outdated views.

Yet even that defense isn’t strictly correct in this case. First Amendment protections are shields against government action; the A&E network is a private enterprise. As such, it can hire and fire as it chooses. I agree. It has that right. Those who then disagree with A&E’s choice have just as much of a right to express their disagreement.

I find this kind of funny, in a non-funny kind of way. A&E’s defenders cry out for the right of a business to make its own decisions, yet many of those same defenders of this particular private business are on the front lines of the battle to force Christian charity organizations, evangelical colleges, and Christian-owned businesses to bow to the government’s mandates via Obamacare that violate their religious beliefs. Ask Christian bakers and photographers who are sued for not wanting to participate in homosexual weddings if their right to run their business in accord with their principles is being upheld. The hypocrisy and double standard are appalling.

Gay Wedding Cakes

That’s why I ended my other post with a concern that we may be entering an era of persecution of Christians in a way never experienced before in this country. I repeat what I asked then: what will be the response of the church to this new reality? Will we stand for truth or fall in line with the tenor of the times? I know many will hold firm, but the real question is how many. When you hear someone more concerned about Robertson’s descriptive language than the moral precipice upon which we’re teetering as a nation, that person is already sliding toward accommodation with Gomorrah.

Oh, by the way, since Phil Robertson is supposed to be such an awful, hateful person who cares nothing about others, let me leave you with another of his quotes, and you decide just how hateful he is:

Phil Robertson Abortion Quote