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While reading this article that announced that Hugh Hewitt was getting his own show on MSNBC, I read something that almost made me start laughing uncontrollably.

The article said “NBC News chairman Andy Lack is known to favor hard news, and has programmed the network to feature a broader range of editorial opinions in addition to traditional newsmen like Brian Williams.” Since when is Lying Brian Williams a “traditional” newsman? Have industry standards dropped that low?

For instance, this article highlights “Choppergate.” That’s where it said “During the January 30, 2015, NBC Nightly News broadcast, Brian Williams referred to “a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Williams later said he was not in the helicopter that was hit by an RPG, but in a helicopter directly behind it. The pilots of Williams’ helicopter say their chopper was not directly behind the hit Chinook, but in a different company altogether.”

Based on the things other anchors have said, perhaps Williams is a traditional news anchor. Compared with Scott Pelley’s recent accusations against Steve Scalise, Williams’ statements don’t seem that terrible. Williams’ statements are just verifiably dishonest. Pelley’s questions are downright offensive. Here’s a reminder of Pelley’s disgusting outburst:

It’s time to ask whether journalists have any integrity left. I’m not betting they do.

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After going O-fer on this year’s special elections, Democrats aren’t in a good mood. Let’s fix that. They’re mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Simply put, they’re in the mood for a lengthy round of circular firing squads.

That’s especially obvious in this article. Early in the article, it says “Many were upset that Democrat Jon Ossoff blunted what was arguably his greatest asset — antipathy toward President Donald Trump — by going relatively easy on the president and avoiding controversy at all cost. Others, however, countered that Ossoff was a fine candidate who was the victim of a party that is too cautious and has lost its ability to connect with voters.”

I’d be lying if I said I thought Ossoff was a good candidate. He isn’t. He tried being something he isn’t. He isn’t a centrist, which is how he tried portraying himself. The ads were right. He’s a Pelosi hardline liberal. It’s just that he couldn’t admit that in GA-06 because he would’ve gotten obliterated if he’d been honest.

The Democratic Party needs to be rebuilt. The proof comes in this paragraph, which says “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the party’s rising stars, said Democrats have been distracted by the investigation in Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and need to focus more on making a concrete impact on voters’ lives.” Watch this video, then tell me this guy is talented:

It’s apparent that Sen. Murphy is part of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party. He just knows that he can’t admit that and attract the contributions he’d need for a presidential run. This paragraph is definitely true:

Democrats also have an “authenticity” problem, he said, noting, “I think that there are a lot of people who look at the Democratic party and aren’t sure that we aren’t also captive by special interest, and that’s not true.”

Sen. Murphy has an authenticity problem and an honesty problem. When was the last time Democrats sided with blue collar miners over the environmentalists? I can’t remember. President Obama sided with the environmentalists over the pipefitters on the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s that simple.

With all of the articles pontificating about the meaning of Karen Handel’s victory in Georgia’s Sixth District, it isn’t surprising that Newt Gingrich’s article provided the most enduring insight. Newt said “Meanwhile, Republicans rose to the challenge. Handel was their champion, and they went all out to win. I have a friend who lives in the district and visited every home in her neighborhood on Election Day to ensure not a single voter failed to turn out.”

While it’s true that this loss has to sting Democrats, it’s important not to overlook the blocking and tackling part of winning elections. Without enthusiastic foot soldiers making calls and knocking on doors, victories are harder to come by.

Footnote: This feels a lot like 2004 in that Democrats were fired up about John Kerry and put together a pretty good GOTV operation. What people didn’t talk about until after the election was that Republicans put together a pretty good GOTV operation, too, and defeated the Democrats’ GOTV operation.

It isn’t that Democrats weren’t fired up for this runoff. It’s that Republicans were pretty fired up, too. This shouldn’t be overlooked:

Throughout the race, the elite media was consistently negative, but Trump’s use of social media ended up reaching a larger audience than the three major networks combined. In Georgia, a similar situation occurred. The longer the race went on, the more vicious the leftwing media became, the more Handel grew, and the more Ossoff shrank.

I’m more than a little skeptical of this article. Here’s why:

In Washington, Representative Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, moved to calm the party overnight, circulating a memo that outlined in detail how Democrats aim to capture a majority in 2018. In the document, which was sent to lawmakers and staff, Mr. Luján wrote that there was “no doubt that Democrats can take back the House next fall” in the midterm elections.

Acknowledging that the Georgia result was a setback, Mr. Luján wrote on Wednesday that there were between six and eight dozen seats held by Republican lawmakers that would be easier for Democrats to capture than Georgia’s Sixth. He said the next few months would become a “recruitment blitz” for Democrats as they enlist candidates in those elections.

“Let’s look outside of the traditional mold to keep recruiting local leaders, veterans, business owners, women, job creators and health professionals,” Mr. Luján wrote. “Let’s take the time to find people who fit their districts, have compelling stories, and work hard to earn support from voters.”

The hard left won’t like that. They aren’t looking for “people who fit their district.” They’re looking for the next Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Footnote: this is a picture of Ben Ray Lujan, the man tasked with restoring Nancy Pelosi to her speakership:

First, I’m skeptical that there are between 75 and 100 seats across the U.S. that are easier for Democrats to win than Georgia’s Sixth. It’s more likely that there’s a maximum of 25 toss-up districts in the entire U.S. This sounds more like Lujan attempting to entice reluctant politicians into being willing to run in 2018. Further, it takes a wave election to have that many competitive districts in an election cycle.

This headline should frighten Democrats. It says “Jon Ossoff’s Georgia special election loss shows Democrats could use a substantive agenda.” The article wasn’t written by George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Jim Geraghty or Jonah Goldberg. It was written by Matthew Yglesias and published by Vox.

First, Yglesias attempted consoling fellow depressed progressives by saying “To win in 2018, Democrats will have to find opportunities to do better, but it’s certainly an achievable goal. The fact that the district was competitive is a sign that the GOP majority is at risk; the question is simply what can Democrats do to put themselves over the top?”

Next, Yglesias tried telling Democrats a hard truth, saying “One thing they might want to try is developing a substantive policy agenda to run on. They came close this time, and they’ll just need to put forth an attractive package for voters in the 2018 midterms.”

This is a sobering defeat for Chuck Schumer. I’d include Nancy Pelosi but I’m certain she’s too stubborn to learn from this defeat. From a structural standpoint, Democrats have rejected blue collar workers. The other thing is that Democrats still think health care is a winning issue:

With the political world, and the president himself, transfixed by multiple Russia investigations hanging over the White House, Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that movement on Republican legislative priorities will fly under voters’ radar.

This week, Democrats are adjusting their focus — and, they hope, that of the public — toward GOP-led efforts in the Senate to repeal Obamacare, an issue party strategists anticipate to have more sway in next year’s midterm elections than myriad investigations. As Senate Republicans aim for a vote on yet-to-be-finalized legislation by the July 4 recess, Democrats are employing tactics to slow their progress and spotlight the process.

This comes ahead of a highly anticipated special election Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District that Democrats hope will serve as a referendum on President Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.


Then there’s this:

“I think it’s time we start focusing almost all of our attention on health care. This is a red alert moment, this bill is speeding to the floor,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy told RCP last week. “Bob Mueller is going to continue the Russia investigation, and I’d be advising Democrats for the time being to put a little pause on the high-profile Russia hearings and focus all our energies on a health care bill that could ultimately ruin our nation’s health care economy.”

Health care isn’t the winning issue that Democrats think it is. The truth is that each time Democrats try hitting Republicans on the American Health Care Act, aka AHCA, Republicans can hit Democrats with their vote for the ACA, then finish them off by tying Democrats to Bernie Sanders/single-payer health care.

The Democrats’ obstruction tactics will hurt them. Eventually, Resistance will die or Democrats will pay a heavy electoral price in November, 2018. Right now, Democrats are only against Trump. They’ve repeatedly shown that they aren’t for the American people. That won’t work.

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Rep. Kathy Lohmer’s editorial on what Gov. Dayton did to precipitate the government shutdown should be considered the definitive truth on Gov. Dayton’s bad faith negotiating. Let’s dig right in.

In the third paragraph of her op-ed, Rep. Lohmer wrote “Last year, Gov. Dayton said he would approve a tax relief proposal if the Legislature agreed to some of his proposals. After lawmakers did that, he went back on his word and vetoed the plan.”

This squares with what Phil Krinkie said last week during the Almanac roundtable. Later, Rep. Lohmer wrote “To avoid the usual last-minute negotiating headaches, this year the Legislature set historically early deadlines and approved not one, but two rounds of budget bills. The governor did not engage in compromise discussions during the first round, approved a month before session ended, and only began to take an interest as the final days approached.”

Rep. Lohmer is right. Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t like cutting Minnesotans taxes. In 2013, the DFL legislature passed the biggest tax cuts in Minnesota history over the objections of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, aka MnCoC. After the session, the MnCoC spoke with DFL legislators. Suddenly, DFL legislators loved cutting taxes.

This time, Gov. Dayton and the DFL are whining that Republicans “inserted a poison pill” into one of the bills to force him to sign the tax relief bill. Excuse me? It’s the bill he agreed to. He might not’ve liked it but he agreed to it. Gov. Dayton, part of compromising is not getting everything you want. Then there’s this:

The reality is this: Gov. Dayton, not to mention his commissioners, negotiated these budget bill compromises from start to finish. They either knew the provision was there and didn’t think it was worth haggling over, or they were inept when it came to proofreading the final proposals before giving them their blessing.

The bill was also posted for 39 hours before it received any legislative debate. Yet the governor’s office said nothing – before, during, or after negotiations had concluded – until the proposal arrived at his desk for his signature.

Simply put, Gov. Dayton is a sore loser. Further, he’s been on the wrong side of issue after issue, which is why he’s had to shut down government or call special sessions so often. Finally, the DFL has essentially lost outstate Minnesota over the last 4 election cycles. The DFL’s bench in Alexandria, Little Falls, Brainerd and Aitkin is about the size of a stepstool.

Over the next 2 years, the DFL better re-examine their priorities and alliances. They’ve essentially discarded their blue collar allies in favor of big campaign contributions from environmental activists. If the DFL keeps making that decision, they’ll keep losing.

During his testimony, Jim Comey admitted that President Trump had the right to fire Comey. Comey also admitted that President Trump had the right to instruct the then-FBI Director to stop his investigation into Gen. Flynn. We know from this transcript, during Sen. Rubio’s cross-examination that Sen. Rubio said “He said, ‘If one of my satellites’ — I imagine, by that, he meant some of the other people surrounding his campaign — ‘did something wrong, it would be great to know that, as well”?

At that point in Mr. Comey’s testimony, it’s pretty clear that President Trump wasn’t interrupting the FBI investigation. Later in Mr. Comey’s testimony, Mr. Comey admitted that he’d sent some information to friend of his so his friend could leak the information to the NYTimes and trigger the appointing of a special counsel.

Here’s what I’m questioning. President Trump wasn’t attempting to hinder Mr. Comey’s investigation. Further, Comey’s a skilled litigator so he knows that many elements of obstruction of justice aren’t present. Gregg Jarett wrote comprehensively about the required elements of obstruction in this article. Specifically, Jarrett wrote “Felony obstruction requires that the person seeking to obstruct a law enforcement investigation act ‘corruptly.’ The statute specifically defines what that includes: threats, lies, bribes, destruction of documents, and altering or concealing evidence. None of that is alleged by Comey.”

I’m questioning Mr. Comey’s integrity because he’s testified that President Trump acted within his authority when the president terminated Comey and because the required elements of obstruction don’t exist.

If that’s true, then what’s Mr. Comey motivation for pushing for a special counsel? President Trump acted lawfully. He certainly didn’t threaten or bribe investigators. He certainly didn’t destroy documents or conceal evidence. At some point, shouldn’t people admit that there’s nothing here? Alan Dershowitz seems to think that we’ve reached that point:

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By now, it’s clear that Scott Pelley’s short career wasn’t distinguished. It was a portrait in mediocrity and partisanship. What type of political hack insinuates that a politician that was shot by a deranged partisan activist had it coming? According to this article, that’s what Pelley did.

Pelley said “It’s time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress, yesterday, was foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted. Too many leaders, and political commentators, who set an example for us to follow, have led us into an abyss of violent rhetoric which, it should be no surprise, has led to violence. Yesterday was not the first time.”

I suspect that Mr. Pelley wishes he hadn’t said anything. At minimum, I suspect he wishes he hadn’t said that. The reason why the media isn’t held in high regard is because buffoons like Pelley have, too often, said foolish things like this.

Earlier in the day, Rep. Tom Reed said that Pelley shouldn’t work on TV again. Later, Rep. Reed said this:

Reed called Pelley’s commentary “despicable” and says his departure from the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News came a day too late.

I totally agree.

Joe Concha is right in coining a new phrase. The MSM isn’t involved in “oneupsmanship.” They’re involved in “onedownsmanship.” Their race to the gutter is frightening and destructive.

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Tom Emmer’s statement on President Trump’s Cuban policy is as disappointing as it is misguided. In the opening paragraph of Rep. Emmer’s statement, he said “I am extremely disappointed with President Trump’s announcement he is going to ‘roll back’ the progress made in improving our relationship with Cuba. Through today’s actions, his Administration claims that he is honoring a campaign promise and fighting for the Cuban people. Yet, by returning to the failed policy of the past 55 years, the Administration moves no closer to helping improve the human rights situation in Cuba and stands to violate the President’s number one campaign promise and constitutional responsibility- to keep the American people and our homeland safe.”

It’s disappointing to read Rep. Emmer’s statement. As long as one of the Castro brothers is the head of their repressive regime, human rights will be terrible. Period. While it’s likely true that the Obama Cuban policy helped the U.S. (and Minnesota) economically, I question whether it was a significant improvement. The underpinning of true human rights improvements is religious freedom. To that end, this report includes some troubling information:

On August 9, a few days before US Secretary of State John Kerry was to attend a ceremony to mark the opening of the US embassy in Havana, 90 people—including an estimated 50 Ladies in White—were arrested and detained after Sunday mass in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar during a peaceful march against political repression.

During the visit of Pope Francis in September, police detained some 100 to 150 dissidents to prevent them from seeing him. Miriam Leiva, a freelance journalist and blogger and a founder of the Ladies in White, was invited by the Papal Nuncio in Havana to greet the Pope twice, on September 19 and 20, but was detained for several hours each time, preventing her attendance.

Raul Castro’s oppression feels like Fidel Castro’s oppression. For all of Rep. Emmer’s talk about human rights, nothing has changed.

Here’s Emmer’s entire statement:

I am extremely disappointed with President Trump’s announcement he is going to ‘roll back’ the progress made in improving our relationship with Cuba. Through today’s actions, his Administration claims that he is honoring a campaign promise and fighting for the Cuban people. Yet, by returning to the failed policy of the past 55 years, the Administration moves no closer to helping improve the human rights situation in Cuba and stands to violate the President’s number one campaign promise and constitutional responsibility- to keep the American people and our homeland safe.

With today’s directive, the Administration is limiting our opportunities to improve the human rights and religious liberties of the Cuban people, not expanding them. This policy decision will hurt the United States economically, making it harder for our nation’s farmers to access new markets and cutting the knees out from under our travel and manufacturing industries. Perhaps most importantly, today’s announcement creates a very real security risk for the American people and our homeland by inviting foreign nations into our backyard to fill a void that today’s announcement is creating.

Today is not the end of this discussion; it is yet another chapter in a long and complex history between the United States and Cuba. My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for human rights and religious freedoms, a more secure hemisphere, and new economic opportunities for American farmers and businesses by improving our relationship with Cuba, not retreating.

The voices of our policy makers must represent the voices of the overwhelming majority of Americans who favor improving our relationship with Cuba. I hope as we go forward, the President will remember he was elected to challenge the status quo – not to be part of it.

We will be on the right side of history and lift this failed embargo.

I wouldn’t bet on congress lifting President Trump’s sanctions. That requires a two-thirds majority in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate. The odds of that happening are less than slim.

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Part of Friday night’s Almanac roundtable discussion centered on Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the funding for the legislature. It was interesting that Phil Krinkie said that this fiasco actually started last year when Gov. Dayton initially agreed to cutting taxes before he reneged on that. Krinkie said Gov. Dayton’s renege caused the distrust that led to the legislature inserting the Department of Revenue provision into the bill this year. If that’s true, then Gov. Dayton created the distrust that led to him vetoing funding for the legislature.

There’s more to this than just funding the legislature. In Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary, he wrote “Recall that DFLers in the Senate built a new office building for themselves just before they were removed from the majority in the 2016 elections. That building was financed with $90 million in bonds, which are sold in the private debt markets and are an instrument that comes with rights and obligations. The legislative budget that the governor vetoed contains the regular payments that the state makes on the bonds. Thus, unless and until funding is restored, there is no money to make scheduled bond payments. If those payments aren’t made, the state defaults on the bonds.”

Friday night’s Almanac also featured Sarah Walker and Javier Morillo-Alicea bragging about the structural surplus in the budget. They didn’t want to talk, though, about the downgrading of the state’s credit rating. It isn’t surprising why they didn’t want to talk about that.

If the state’s bond rating drops, every bonding project across the state is immediately inflicted with higher interest rates. Think of how many millions of dollars that would cost the state. Think of how much that would cost each city building a new high school or parking ramp or convention center. Think of how much an interest rate hike would cost taxpayers for state trunk highway projects.

This isn’t a tiny sum. It’s a gigantic amount, all thanks to Gov. Dayton pulling this unprecedented stunt.

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In this article, Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin said “That sense of inevitability led to complacency, which led to our defeat in 2016. We need to not get too in front of this election and do the hard work that we need to do. We can never assume that we are ahead.” That’s the wrong analysis. In fact, looking at the election results for the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate, lots of DFL incumbents got defeated by substantial margins.

Chairman Martin is kidding himself if he thinks that complacency cost the DFL their majority in the Minnesota Senate. Then-Senate Tax Committee Chair Rod Skoe lost by 5,200+ votes. Lyle Koenen lost by 5,700+ votes. Those aren’t examples of DFL complacency. They’re proof that the DFL was utterly rejected by Minnesotans and that the DFL was rejected pretty much statewide.

I understand that the DFL chair has to put the best spin on things but there’s a limit to that. The truth is that the DFL brand is toxic beyond the Twin Cities, Duluth and the Arrowhead. It isn’t that the DFL got complacent in 2016. It’s that the people rejected the DFL’s agenda.

It’s time for the DFL to stop acting like they hate the blue collar workers that the mines employed. It’s time for the DFL to stop letting the environmentalists get everything they want while ignoring the blue collar miners.

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