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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Commentary on Senator John McCain and his thirty-plus years in Congress.

Link: Senator John McCain claims that Senator Rand Paul has no influence.

In 2008, Arizona Senator John McCain won the Republican nomination for President.  Although I can't recall his GOP opposition, I do remember that I didn't support McCain until after the Republican Convention. I was very unfamiliar with McCain's Democratic opponent, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, but I did a bit of research, and ended up quite happy with McCain as a candidate.  First in foremost, McCain is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and survived over five years of torture and starvation in a North Vietnamese prison camp.  During his incarceration, his behavior was an honor to us all, as he refused to cooperate with the enemy, and dedicated himself to helping others in the prison camp.  Very few people can understand the suffering that McCain endured, during which McCain stayed steadfast and loyal to his country.  Beginning in 1982, McCain served two terms in the House of Representatives, before being elected to the Senate.  McCain continues to hold that Arizona Senate seat to this day.  Until the 2008 election, I believed that politically, McCain leaned to the right.  I may have been correct at the time, but from my view, Senator John McCain of 2017 is not a conservative.  In fact, it seems that the longer McCain stays in Congress, the less conservative he becomes.

I wouldn't go so far as to describe McCain as progressive, or even liberal.  I see John McCain as a moderate.  He is a strong advocate for Veterans and the military, but at the same time he has a sweet spot for big government and a host of entitlement programs.  As far as the environment goes, McCain is in line with many Democrats in Congress.  The folks in Arizona are very happy with the job McCain had done, as he has yet to be seriously challenged in either a Primary or General Election.  Senator McCain is eighty years old, and appears to have no interest in resigning.  In reality, McCain should never have run for re-election, at least not after two or three terms.  The Founding Fathers never intended for our Congress to become an employment agency; I have no doubt they would be horrified at the number of Congressmen and women who have been in office for more than three decades.  Senator McCain is a very intelligent man, but is he also so vain that he believes no one else can do his job?  But the folks in Arizona keep returning him to DC, which is their sovereign right.

Over the last decade, I've been disappointed by John McCain more times than I can recall.  It seems as if he's been co-opted by the unnamed group of Republican Congressmen whose first priority is re-election, and second priority is "business as usual".  Last week I read that John McCain, a strong supporter of the recent Health Care Bill that Paul Ryan cobbled together, does not approve of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's efforts to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, and replace it with something that utilizes the private sector, as opposed to expanding entitlements.  When McCain was asked about Rand Paul's efforts, he responded, "I don't pay any attention, frankly, because he (Rand Paul) doesn't have any real influence in the Senate."  I'm beginning to understand exactly how John McCain views the Senate and its functions.  He, being one of the crusty old guard, one of the old Galapagos Turtles of the Senate, won't consider the efforts of anyone whose nuts don't hang down to their knees just yet (he and Diane Feinstein work just fine together).  Crudeness aside, I have no doubt that McCain didn't bother to read or even examine Rand Paul's Health Care Plan.  How does he manage to convince the voters of Arizona that he has their best interests at heart, when he won't even consider a fellow Republican's efforts?  Not to mention Senator Rand Paul just happens to be a physician.

When I was younger, I truly admired John McCain.  He seemed genuinely focused on the best interests of everyday folks, and went to battle for conservative issues.  I also recall when he began to change.  McCain has always been concerned about his image and reputation amongst his peers.  Although its not fair to say that McCain was ever a true conservative, he usually voted as one.   It was sometime in the late 1980s that I noticed McCain no longer voting with the conservative bloc.  Since that time I think its safe to say that John McCain has been one of the true moderate voices in the Senate.  I don't think McCain considers himself a conservative or a liberal, but because he runs as a Republican, he feels the need to occasionally vote with the Democrats, especially on high profile issues.  At this stage, what else does McCain have to work towards beyond his legacy?  No doubt McCain sees Rand Paul as a representative of the fringe element of the GOP, the same group that celebrated his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008.  He will not support a bill, regardless of its contents, unless it has some level of bipartisan support.

I guess you could say that I'm concerned about Senator McCain's legacy as well.  I hope he chooses to retire after this term, otherwise Arizona will have an eighty-six year old man running for the Senate, and in all likelihood, winning.  I believe John McCain is a good man.  He allegedly has a temper, and expects a certain amount of deference given his lengthy years of service.  If true, he's not the only Congressperson with a short fuse, and I support showing extra consideration to the political veterans of Congress.  On the other hand, I'm disgusted when a powerful Senator rudely dismisses the efforts of a less-established member of Congress, based upon his/her lack of influence.  Interestingly enough, the critical issues that our nation faces in 2017 have continually intensified under Senator McCain's watch.  Although entitlement abuse already existed when McCain was first elected, he was a sitting member of Congress when government waste and largesse became the monster that now seems impossible to control.  In 1982, McCain was elected to the House of Representatives representing the First District in Arizona, and in 1987, he successfully ran for the Senate, replacing conservative hero Barry Goldwater.  Federal spending became a runaway train during the time that John McCain represented the good people of Arizona in Congress. 

I am grateful to Senator John McCain for the tremendous sacrifices he has made for our country, and I thank him for his personal courage and his dedication to government service.  I have a list of complaints to hand to Congress that can't be blamed exclusively on any one member, and certainly not McCain.  He is not to blame for Congress becoming a lifetime gig, although McCain has been a fixture on Capitol Hill for thirty-five years.  Its a shame that he didn't retire years ago, and given another citizen a chance to participate, because the nation can survive without John McCain in Congress.  Another statistic that gives me a rash is the number of millionaires on Capitol Hill.  The average Senator is worth $2.8 million and the average Representative $843,507.  I can't blame this reality on McCain either, but he is a member of the club, no doubt.  Imagine for just a moment, if the Senate and House of Representatives existed as originally intended by the Founding Fathers, where political power was shared by farmers, lawyers, soldiers, carpenters, home builders, teachers, etc., who would serve for two terms at most, then return to regular life.  We have no one to blame but ourselves that the situation has evolved in this manner, because we elected and continue to elect people who believe that the job is a lifetime position, if they can find the right amount of financial support for campaigning.  I am convinced that the great majority of members of Congress begin campaigning for re-election the day after getting elected. Because John McCain entered politics with so much national goodwill, he could have set a powerful example, and challenged his peers to do the same.  The key is to leave DC before it starts to feel like home.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How the French Socialists "Bait and Switched" the French people into ensuring that another Socialist wins the Presidency.

Links: A. Macron, Le Pen to face-off in French Presidential Election.
           B. Sarkozy investigated over illegal campaign financing.

I followed the 2017 French Presidential Election very closely, as I was interested to see just how the powerful Socialist political machine was going to accept defeat.  Back in 2012, Socialist Francois Hollande moved into the Elysee Palace on a wave of optimism and confidence as a member of the Socialist Party (PS).  Although Republican President Nicolas Sarkozy continued to maintain a surprisingly high level of popularity, it wasn't enough to overcome an untimely investigation into illegal campaign funding.  Sadly for Hollande and his supporters, it didn't take long for the wheels to come off.  The reality is, the French economy can't support Socialist policy, and we all know how much the French enjoy despising the politician that they just put in power.  Bad policy begat high unemployment and economic stagnation, as the Unions tightened their stranglehold over Hollande.  Everytime it seemed that he was considering a bit or reform here and their, maybe deregulation and privatization to feed the economy, the leftists took to the streets to remind him who was boss.  Then the terror attacks started in earnest, with Hollande talking tough on one hand, but emasculated on the other by the EU's refugee and open-borders policy.  Hollande's approval rating was languishing somewhere around fifteen percent in 2016, when the PS big shots met to discuss the 2017 election.

The field of candidates for the 2017 promised to be full of heavy-hitters.  The Republicans could count on former President Nicolas Sarkozy and Mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppe to fight for the party nomination, and far-left politician Jean-Luc Melanchon, who won eleven percent of the vote in the first round of the 2012 election, had announced his candidacy.  Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front (FN), was considered to be a candidate ever since coming in third with just over seventeen percent in 2012.  During the primaries, the Republicans surprised most analysts by shelving Sarkozy and Juppe and choosing Francois Fillon, who had served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2012 under President Jacques Chirac.  The Socialists, who played the part of the lame-duck party to perfection, nominated Benoit Hamon from the far-left wing of the party.  In fact, Hamon was so left-wing that he resigned from Hollande's cabinet because he felt that Hollande wasn't being true to the Socialist agenda.  Once the primaries were complete and the campaigning started in earnest, it appeared as if Fillon was the man to beat.  The French voter seemed determined to sideline the Socialists, and Le Pen, because of her policies of ending refugee resettlement in France and moving France away from the EU, was considered unelectable.  But just as soon as Fillon settled in to being the front-runner, a scandal descended upon his campaign involving corruption and his immediate family.  When I think of the scandals and accusations of corruption in French politics, I can't help but marvel at the timing.  Jacques Chirac was hounded by such accusations, as was Nicolas Sarkozy.  Its not so much an issue of false accusations as much as it is a question of timing, and no doubt Francois Fillon wished that his troubles had been presented by the media earlier on, when the issue had initially been discovered.

At about the same time that Fillon found himself mired in accusations of corruption, another candidate was beginning to gain traction.  It wasn't Le Pen, or the erstwhile grumbling leftist Melanchon, it was Emmanuel Macron, who eschewed running in the Socialist primary against Hamon, and started his own political movement, self-named "En Marche" (best translated as "working").  Surprisingly Macron, a long-time Socialist politician who had served in Hollande's cabinet until 2015, started the political season with an experienced staff and financial support basically already in-place.  One would have expected Macron to run in the Socialist primary, but that was a dead-end.  It was obvious that even the resurrection of Francois Mitterrand himself could not bring victory to the PS banner in 2017.  Macron was not the kind of politician to knowingly sabotage his future by staying true to the party and losing, which Hamon seemed more than willing to do.  Macron, heretofore a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist, realized that the French electorate would not vote for a candidate of the left, so overnight he evolved into a self-labeled CENTRIST.  Since the arrival on the scene of his "En Marche" movement, I've tried to determine exactly what it means to be a Centrist, as far as French politics are concerned, and I've come to the conclusion that a Centrist is a Socialist who wants so badly to keep the left in power, that they are willing to adopt a new political description.  All Macron had to do was self-identify as a Centrist, and twenty years of involvement in Socialist politics would magically disappear.  The creation of the En Marche movement certainly helped, especially as it gave young voters something new under which to rally.  From the beginning, the French media adored the youthful, handsome Macron, whose policy positions seemed almost exclusively molded to support France's connection to the European Union. He didn't sound like a Socialist in his campaign appearances, but neither did he come across as anti-left.  With Fillon on the ropes, Le Pen spending most of her time fighting the continual media-driven accusations of anti-Semitism and bigotry, and Hamon never really considered a legitimate candidate, Macron had little difficulty moving to the front of the pack.

The French people were determined to provide a bit of suspense, even if Macron did end up moving into the second round with the highest vote total.  Le Pen earned a spot in the second round as well, finishing just two percentage points behind Macron.  Fillon started to get his act together late in the game, but it was not enough to make it beyond the first round.  He finished with almost twenty percent, and right on his heels was the far-left candidate Melanchon, with nineteen percent.  I was absolutely shocked at the accuracy of the French exit polling, which came within percentages of picking the exact totals for the top four candidates.  The Exit Polling also made it clear that Marine Le Pen has little to no chance of winning on May 7, conjecture which is strengthened by the fact that all the losing candidates except Melanchon, followed the now-familiar script by encouraging their voters to support Macron.  From my perspective, the "anyone but Le Pen" refrain is not very French, and runs the very real risk of antagonizing an electorate that values independent thinking.  Its dangerous to count out Le Pen, especially when you take into account that she won 46 out of a total of 107 Departments.  As for my strong suspicion that the Socialist political apparatus in France created Macron as a "fake Centrist" in order to keep the Socialists in power, I can offer no concrete proof.  I guess its possible that Macron had a change of political heart and no longer supports the Socialist agenda, but at this stage, it doesn't really matter.  As far as I'm concerned, though, if Macron wins as expected, France will be embarking on another five-year period with a president from the left. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Guest blogger: Zach, an eleven year-old from Georgia, considers the issue of transgender people and public restrooms.

Occasionally I am fortunate enough to have a guest blogger provide commentary on one of the issues that we Americans face in 2017.  Today my guest blogger is Zach S., from Maysville, Georgia, and he is eleven years old.  He chose the topic, and with the exception of a bit of editing from your truly, the post is his creation and his alone.  I thought the choice of topics was timely and appropriate, given that we don't hear much on this issue from the young folks who will be directly impacted by the end result.

Hi, I'm Zach and I would like to talk about the Transgender Movement.  What is Transgenderism?  According to Wikipedia, Transgenderism occurs when people have a gender expression that differs from their assigned sex.  In New York City, they have accepted twenty-nine genders, excluding male and female, though they remain options.  According to one survey that I read, fifty-nine percent of people believe that transgender individuals should use their birth-gender bathrooms.  Most people seem to think that it would be awkward to share the bathroom with a transgender person, but some people argue that it should be the choice of the transgendered person and not open for debate.  The forty-one percent who believe in transgender choice with regards to bathrooms are working super-hard in an effort to get more acceptance for transgender individuals.

My thoughts on transgender individuals are that they should use the bathroom of their birth gender and not be allowed to chose what they want.  In the study of Biology, its clear that gender is not a choice to be made at birth or afterwards; its something you are born into.  I think its absurd how many genders there are, according to some in society.  We started out with two, and now we have sixty-three???  I also feel that you can chose your religion because that's a choice, but not gender because that's biological.  How are people supposed to reproduce?  Eventually Humanity will die out because of the lack of people choosing to remain in their true, biological gender.  However, there are better ways to express both feelings.

In closing, we should keep in mind that transgender individuals are still people and therefore we should treat them equally.  Some people will argue that not letting them pick their bathroom is not treating them equally.  However, my solution would be in the creation of a third-bathroom option.  This will allow for transgender persons to have equal rights without having to be in either male or female bathrooms.  Finally, while I don't think transgender people should be able to have their choice of bathrooms, I do believe that they should be treated with respect.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

With the French presidential election days away, let's have a quick review....

When French President Francois Hollande was elected in 2012, he was faced with an unenviable task.  Unemployment was nearing ten percent, terrorism had become a normal topic of conversation around French dinner tables, and the economy demanded reforms that the French Unions were loath to accept.  Hollande attacked each problem by staying faithful to his Socialist philosophy, which, not surprisingly, made everything worse.  The French people love nothing more than to cheer a candidate all the way to the Elysee Palace, then wake up the next morning screaming for his/her head, because the problems have yet to be addressed.  Be that as it may, Hollande ends his one-term as arguably the most unpopular President in memory.  The Socialist Party (PS) candidate to replace Hollande, Benoit Hamon, never had a chance.  Instead, behind closed doors, PS movers and shakers were instructing the faithful to support one of two other leftist candidates.  Emmanuel Macron, a youthful, attractive former Hollande cabinet minister, created his own political movement "En Marche" (translated as "working"), which was picked up early on by the media, and pushed right to the front of the pack before he reminded everyone that he resigned from the Hollande government in 2015 (a move which earned him the "Titanic; last seat in the lifeboat" award for 2015). As the left let out a sigh of relief at the immediate success of "En Marche", an unexpected, additional candidate elbowed his way into the left-wing political conversation.  Jean-Luc Melanchon is an old-school French Socialist, whose policies and politicking remind older French folks of the deceased but still-popular former President Francois Mitterrand.  For the average French voter on the left, they must choose between the PS standard bearer Benoit Hamon, the youthful newcomer Emmanuel Macron, and the traditional, "familiar" Socialist, Jean-Luc Melanchon.  For the record, the once-powerful French Communist Party has endorsed Melanchon, but no one paid any attention.

The right side of the dial is much less of a headache.  Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN) has been running for president since coming up short against Hollande in 2012.  Le Pen never had a serious chance of winning that election, even though she received the most votes in the first-round.  As was predicted, all of the other candidates urged their supporters to vote for the Socialist candidate
Hollande, and Le Pen was swamped.  Subsequently, Marine Le Pen made changes within the FN which are meant to make it appear more inclusive.  Le Pen took important steps to distance the FN from the ideology and pronouncements of its founder (and her father), Jean-Marie Le Pen, who seemed to hate everyone who wasn't white, male, Catholic and French.  She molded the FN to suit her political agenda, which focused heavily on lower-income Frenchmen,the working class, crime and immigration.  Le Pen should have little difficulty banging out twenty-five percent, which makes her much more likely to qualify for the second-round as opposed to the Republican candidate, Francois Fillon.  After surprising many by earning the Republican nomination by beating former President Nicolas Sarkozy and mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppe, Fillon was crippled by a scandal involving his family and government money.  Everyday the scandal appears less and less significant, but when it first hit the headlines, the left played it for all it was worth.  But the Gaullist Conservative bloc in France tends to stay loyal, and lately Fillon has shown some life in the polls.  Analysts are trying to determine if he has enough gas to either join Le Pen in the second round, or topple her, and make the election an old-school right versus left affair.

With less-than one week to go before the election, Le Pen and Macron appear steady at between twenty-three and twenty-five percent each, with Fillon and Melanchon both inching up to roughly twenty percent.  As many as thirty percent of French voters are either undecided or open to changing their mind.  At the end of the day, the safe bet has Le Pen moving on to the second round vote on May 7, and her opponent being the next President of France.  No matter the opponent, polls show Le Pen losing the second round by at least fifteen percentage points.  French polls have a tendency towards being accurate, but if Le Pen manages to show thirty percent or more in the first round, I think she can win.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


 Link: Author chased from the stage by Black Lives Matter protesters at Claremont McKenna College.

I've been writing this blog for just over a year, and from the beginning, I was prepared for disagreement.  I recognized that each time I made someone angry, I had succeeded in penetrating the other side, so to speak.  For any of us who write blogs, letters to the editor, or even simple Facebook comments, the goal should always be to impact persons who have a different perspective.  What is to be gained by preaching to the choir, as they say?  So I've always welcomed expressions of disagreement, polite or otherwise.  Last year, as the GOP Convention drew near, I made the decision to support Donald Trump for President.  A simple review of my archived blog posts will illustrate clearly that I did not support Trump during the majority of the GOP primaries.  Early on, I went back and forth between Dr. Ben Carson and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.  I did not appreciate Trump's penchant for personal insults, nor was I impressed with his communication skills.  But once the Convention opened, I jumped in line with the millions of Conservative voters who had decided long ago that the carcass of a dead housefly would get their vote over Hillary Clinton.  I didn't anticipate having trouble writing blog posts in support of Donald Trump, because even if I didn't like his campaign style, I agreed with everything the man promised to do.  Before the Convention, I wrote a number of posts that were very critical of Hillary Clinton, and occasionally I would receive a negative comment in reply, usually on Twitter.  The critical messages I received were usually mild, at least until Trump won the Republican nomination.  When I began writing posts in support of Donald Trump, it was as if I had run down a group of nuns escorting young orphans across the road, and each orphan was carrying a kitten.

By now, the amount of animus that Donald Trump manages to engender in people should come as no surprise.  Donald Trump is hated, reviled and despised, and that's from Republicans!  Before Trump jumped into the political arena with serious intentions, I think most people were either indifferent to the man or respectful of Mr. Trump's business success.  He started giving folks the red ass early-on in the primary season by flavoring his political criticisms with the odd personal attack.  Trump made quick enemies of the candidates who had yet to establish any traction by flatly telling them to stop wasting everybody's time, and get off of the stage. His attacks on Florida Governor Jeb Bush created ill will which is still palpable in Crawford.  In fact, the Bushes came out in support of Hillary Clinton, and it wasn't because they agreed with her platform.  Donald Trump had collected a sizeable group of haters long before he sent Hillary packing, which set him up to be the most despised man in America.  Its not difficult to understand why I would receive threatening phone calls, hateful emails, and nasty twitter messages.  My defense of Trump's political positions is akin to an endorsement of Trump as a person, and there is nothing that can be done to alter that reality.

The amount of insulting, hateful and occasionally threatening messages I receive are almost all a reflection of my support for Trump's candidacy and my approval of the actions he has taken since the inauguration.  I am aware that my previous line of work and the memoir I published in 2015 negatively impact my popularity amongst Islamic Extremists and those who excuse their behavior, but fortunately I can distinguish the origin of the threats and insults without much difficulty.  When I wrote a blog post defending President Trump's Executive Order on refugees, I was called a Nazi countless times in many different forms of social media.  Since I'm responsible for announcing the new blog post and its subject matter on Twitter, I know what to expect, although the majority of the responses I receive are usually supportive, thank goodness.  I can't help but be amazed, though, at how easy it seems to label people for the progressives on the left.  I'm a Nazi, a Racist, and a Fascist.  I'm a Bigot, a Homophobe, a White Supremacist, the KKK, and a Bully.  It wasn't that long ago that the Democrats and Liberals were screeching about Conservatives "labeling" people, and name-calling.  The media led the campaign to paint Republicans and those on right as being guilty of bullying people, and abusing them with stereotypical labels and pejorative titles.  But now that Trump is a Nazi, and Rush Limbaugh is a Bully, and I'm a Bigot, name-calling is just fine in the offices of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Last Thursday, April 6th, Author Heather MacDonald, who recently published a book analyzing the conflict between the "Black Lives Matter" organization and various police departments, was scheduled to speak at Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles.  The "Black Lives Matter" organization, which has spoken out against MacDonald's book, decided in advance to disrupt MacDonald's speaking engagement.  Flyers were distributed to all the various progressive groups, including the University Democrats, which labeled MacDonald as a racist, and directed protestors to "SHUT HER DOWN".  MacDonald was greeted by a mob of angry protesters, who succeeded in chasing her from the premises under heavy police protection before she was able to speak.  Controversial Conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos was treated in a similar fashion before a scheduled speaking engagement at the University of California-Berkeley earlier this year.  I realize many young people today seem to have a problem with even basic history, so I guess its up to us to educate them.  From 1933 until 1938, Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist movement in Germany took control by refusing to let opponents speak.  The Nazi's ability to intimidate persons with opposing viewpoints allowed for the eventual domination of public discourse.  Hitler used the SA, a special para-military private police force of sorts, to beat up and frighten anyone who opposed the National Socialists.  This is a tremendously poignant example of why FREEDOM OF SPEECH is so important, young people.  SHUT HER DOWN.  SHUT HER DOWN.  SHUT HER DOWN.  Black Lives Matter is being used to intimidate anyone with a divergent perspective.  This effort, alongside what I refer to as "the branding" of Conservatives as Nazis, Racists and Homophobes, is becoming more and more reminiscent of the actions of the SA and real National Socialists.  No doubt if Black Lives Matter had copies of MacDonald's book, Milo Yiannopoulos' book, Rush Limbaugh's books, and probably even my book, there would have been a book-burning.  Will young people clear their heads of leftist propaganda pushed by academics, pick up a World History book, and figure out for themselves that they are on the wrong side?  Those of us who understand history, and have been around the world enough to understand how easy it is for the monsters of the past to be reborn, can only hope.  


Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Washington Post and New York Times have dropped all pretense, and now see it as their duty to destroy both President Donald Trump and the Conservative Movement in the United States.

This weekend, the NY Times will publish a front-page story on former Donald Trump advisor Paul Manafort.  Can you guess what shocking revelation the Times will be sharing with its readers?  No doubt it will highlight Manafort's long-time business activities in Russia, and close with a comment from another ubiquitous anonymous source, reminding the reader that the justice Department is investigating certain Trump advisors and their "alleged" contact with Russians during the 2016 Campaign.  You can be sure that the Times article will not mention that this investigation, which is becoming more disturbing everyday, has yet to find the slightest bit of evidence indicating wrong-doing on the part of Trump or his staff.  Between the Washington Post and the Times, its beginning to appear as if these two once-respected newspapers are taking turns, publishing stories about Trump advisors or cabinet members, which provide nothing but the same basic allegation, dressed up with the all-important comment from the secret source.  Currently, journalists in DC seem to have an endless supply of inside government sources.  At first, these leakers caused a firestorm by providing the Associated Press and others with the identity of three Trump advisors or confidents who had met with Russian government officials during the campaign.  What should be most disturbing is the willingness of the AP, the Post and the Times, to print information which is obviously classified and illegally obtained.

 If the FBI or another government entity finds it necessary to surveille and "listen in" to the conversations of foreign nationals, occasionally that effort will pick up the identity and incidental comments of U.S. citizens as well.  Whoever has been given the authority to collect intelligence on the foreign national is required by law to mask the identity of any U.S. citizen who has "inadvertently" picked up in conversation.  Before the FBI or whoever are allowed to start the surveillance operation which might involve a U.S. person, they are required to obtained FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) authority from a Judge.  Trump's nominee for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and advisor Michael Flynn were picked up during a FISA-approved collection effort.  How can we know this?  Because an anonymous source, probably within the Justice Department, provided this information to a journalist.  First and foremost, only a select number of people in Washington DC are supposed to have "unmasking" authority.  One of these individuals unmasked both Sessions and Flynn, which gave the media the opportunity to create a firestorm of innuendo and unproven allegations regarding both Trump and Flynn.  I have yet to hear one Democratic Congressperson express concern regarding the unmasking of U.S. citizens.

Some things in life are guaranteed. Ice is cold, kittens are irresistible, and the American people have no faith in the mainstream media.  Have you noticed that since the GOP has taken over both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the media is anxious to publicize any and all polls that illustrate Congress' low approval rating?  At the same time, you will rarely see poll results on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, or CBS that highlight the complete lack of trust the American people have for the mainstream media.  Regardless, journalists continue to have no clue.  Even after the fiasco of anointing Hillary Clinton as the winner of the 2016 election while the Campaign was still in full-swing, the media remain convinced of their intellectual superiority over almost all Americans (they probably rank themselves somewhere just below tenured Ivy League Professors).  This knowledge burdens them with the heavy responsibility of editorializing every piece of news.  From where they stand, the job of a journalist is not only to report the news, but to do so in a selective and nuanced fashion, ensuring that the audience comes away with the "correct perspective".  For the press, the fact that no evidence exists connecting Trump advisors and staff to alleged Russian efforts to impact the 2016 Presidential Campaign, makes it imperative that the American people are reminded, ad nauseam, that the Justice Department has not completed its investigation into this matter. 

The environment in DC at present is bizarre, to say the least.  From 2008 to 2016, Democrats and the Obama Administration, with the assistance of an active, aggressive media, frightened and intimidated Republicans into playing dead.  Now that President Trump is the White House, and the GOP controls both Houses of Congress, the high-tide of the Conservative Agenda should be sweeping away all sorts of Obama legislative leftovers.  Don't hold your breath, folks.  The Democrats act as if they own Capitol Hill, and Obama is still sitting in the Oval Office.  Why do Republicans continue to avoid serious confrontation with Democrats?  The first reason is fear of being labeled a racist or a Nazi.  The Left can manipulate just about any issue, so that with the help of the press, opposing the Democrats will result in being called a racist and/or a Nazi.  The second reason the GOP has become so non-confrontational is, of course, the media.  You don't want to defend Conservative principles too loudly, just ask Ted Cruz.  Devin Nunes, Head of the House Intelligence Committee, temporarily distracted the media away from the Trump/Russia narrative, by visiting his own source and being shown intelligence which demonstrates how leakers passed classified intelligence, including the unmasked identity of a U.S. Senator, to the press.  Once the Democrats on his own Committee discovered that Nunes had been to the White House and shared information with President Trump (which is authorized), the indignation was palpable.  No one gave a rats ass that the Obama Administration went out of its way to spread classified intelligence about the Trump Campaign before Obama left office, nor did anyone on the Left express even the slightest concern regarding the shocking amount of leaked classified intelligence that regularly ends up in the hands of the media.

I'm hoping that the Trump/Russia issue can be put to bed once the Justice Department Investigation is complete.  Can you imagine how much money has been spent to date?  More resources than were expended investigating Hillary and her special server, no doubt.  Once Attorney General Sessions has finally exterminated all the hold-over rats that seem to be lurking in every nook and cranny of the FBI, State Department, and Homeland Security, we can expect internal and external investigations in numerous Agencies, and hopefully prosecutions.  Leaking classified information for political and ideological reasons is not acceptable justification, and a message needs to be sent so as to avoid this situation in the future.  Throw the book at 'em.  It will be interesting to see just how the Post and the Times attempt to keep the Russia story on the front burner.  I might bother to check out a NY Times headline or two, but I don't like trying to read the paper than lines my cat box.