Tag Archives: Al Franken

Word games

Al Franken…what can I say. The words he says here make grammatical sense, but taken as a whole, what he’s saying is nonsensical.

2017-03-29

I would love to hear how Franken defines “consensus,” because it must be quite different from how I define it.

In point of fact, Merrick Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit by a vote of 76 to 23, although honesty forces me to note that at least some of the “no” votes were probably motivated by the belief that the 11th seat was unneccessary.

Neil Gorsuch, on the other hand, was unanimously confirmed to the 10th Circuit by a voice vote of 98-0. He was so non-controversial that 12 current senators, including vocal opponents Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray, voted for him. Call me crazy, but that seems very consensus-like to me.

Democrats like to play word games. They change the meaning of words and repeat lies until they’re ground into the public consciousness and internalized as truth. If you don’t believe that, consider that at one point, 52% of Democrats believed Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.2017-03-29 (2)Gosh, that couldn’t have had anything to do with the constant repetition by Democrat politicians and pundits that the election was “hacked.” Could it?

Word games. Al Franken is playing fast and loose with the meaning of consensus. He wasn’t a senator in 2006 so he won’t be a hypocrite like Patty Murray, but he’s still a shameless partisan hack.

 

 

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Just how successful was Trump’s SOTU?

675px-jeff_sessions_official_portraitHave you heard? Jeff Sessions perjured himself during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Yeah. No.

It didn’t happen and here’s an excellent explanation of why not.

Here is the key exchange: Franken asked about “a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Sessions answered: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” Anyone reading the actual exchange can see Sessions was referring to no communications “as a surrogate” just as the question’s very long pre-amble specifically referenced the focus of the question to that subject matter. Nothing about Sessions’ answer was false, nor could it be construed to be materially false or willfully false, or even false at all.

PolitiFact has a video of the exchange, as well as a transcript, to provide, as they say, “context.”

Franken:CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, ‘Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.’ These documents also allegedly say quote, ‘There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.’

“Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

Sessions: “Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

I’m guessing that PolitiFact added the emphasis on Sessions’ answer to make it appear that Sessions lied. That’s bad enough, but I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t give Sessions a “Pants on Fire” for failing to answer the question that Franken is now pretending that he asked.

It’s not just Franken who’s living in an alternate reality – a reality where the question was “Did you ever, in the course of your duties as a U.S. Senator, have any conversations with anyone representing the Russian government, about any topic whatsoever?” Most media outlets are unsurprisingly running with an abbreviated version of the question that eliminates the context of the actual question.

Many of Sessions’ former Senate colleagues are piling on with Franken, including Claire McCaskill and Elizabeth Warren. I hadn’t thought it possible that I could loathe this trio of political hacks anymore than I already did, but it turns out that it was possible after all. They all know Jeff Sessions and I’m pretty sure they know he’s not a liar.

It’s especially surprising, though, that McCaskill is willing to call for the resignation of a member of Trump’s cabinet on so flimsy a pretext. She’s up for re-election in 2018, and Trump won Missouri with nearly 57% of the vote. Why would she risk it?

trump-at-sotuHere’s why. This spurious attack on Jeff Sessions is a direct response to the President’s State of the Union address. According to CBS, 76% of the people who viewed the speech had a positive reaction to it, and even a third of Democrats viewing thought he seemed knowledgeable. I’m 100% sure that if Trump had gone off the rails during his SOTU, if he had sunk, as he often does, to petty attacks on individuals or the press, or if he had in any way projected the cartoonish figure that many believe him to be, we wouldn’t be hearing about Jeff Sessions and Russia today. The Democrats would have held the story back for a rainy day.

If you say you believe otherwise, you’re either disingenuous or terribly naive. There is no doubt that the Democrats had been sitting on this non-story, waiting for for the right moment to release it and Trump’s unexpectedly good performance Tuesday night was the right moment. They applied it like a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding away of doubt surrounding the Trump presidency.

Remember, the only hope for Democrats is to leave the Trump Administration in ruins. The more people who come to believe that Donald Trump is capable of handling the many issues our country faces, the harder it will be for them to tear him down effectively. So every decision he makes, every word he utters, every appointment makes must be called into question.

So to answer the question posed in the headline, Trump’s first SOTU seems to have been extremely successful. So successful that Democrats are willing to risk Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat, Warren’s potential bid for the presidency and whatever small amount of credibility Al Franken has somehow, against all odds, managed to accrue.

Well done, Mr. President.

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A Strategy For GOP Success

It appears as though Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has won reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court over challenger and union darling Joanne Kloppenburg after a reporting error was discovered in Waukesha County. The correction represented a net gain of over 7,500 votes for Prosser in a race where only yesterday Kloppenburg was leading by 204 votes. Cross your fingers that the lead is outside the margin of fraud.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save in her computer and consequently report 14,315 votes cast in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday’s election. The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser from Brookfield and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg, she said. Smaller discrepancies turned up in two other communities as well.

If Prosser’s new lead holds, – and there’s more than a good chance it will as a Democrat canvass watcher confirmed that the votes are legitimate (H/T @Jake_W) – it will be cause for hope for Washington State conservatives, whose electoral failures in close contests have occasionally garnered national attention. The “keep ’em counting” strategy employed during the 2004 gubernatorial race that resulted in Christine Gregoire winning the governor’s mansion over Dino Rossi served as a template for Al Franken’s win in Minnesota in 2008.

Now it appears that Kathy Nickolaus has inadvertently hit on a strategy that can be used as a template in states like mine where one densely-populated and heavily liberal county (do you hear me, King County? I’m talkin’ to you!) wags the political dog. Each of the other counties can simply withhold the vote totals from one (or two!) of it’s most conservative precincts, thus confounding those tasked with “finding” the votes needed to squeak out a win in a close race. Imagine the confusion! How many is enough? How many is too many?

Just kidding, of course. (Or am I?)

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A Double Edged Sword

I’ve been watching the Minnesota Senate recount with a depressing sense of déja vu. After all, we had our own recount fiasco here in Washington in 2004, when King County stole the gubernatorial election for Christine Gregoire, which is the long way of saying that I had very little hope from the beginning that this election would turn any other way than with Al Franken being declared the winner.

Today, however, I chanced upon an interesting tidbit of information. There were two “third party” candidates in the race along with Franken and the incumbent, Norm Coleman. The Independent Party candidate, Dean Barkley, won over 437,000 votes. Speculation is that those votes would have been divided between Franken and Coleman, with the edge going to Franken. The Constitution Party candidate for the Minnesota Senate seat, James Niemackl, won somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 votes. Unlike the votes for Dean Barkley, however, those votes likely came straight out of Norm Coleman’s tally.

Niemackl’s statement from the Minnesota Constitution Party’s website:

Our actions are the measure of our character. What we say is meaningless without following up our words with action. Those who say one thing to our face and do another behind our back cannot be trusted with the awesome responsibility to serve us in office. Our nation has come to the breaking point because we continue to tolerate the deception and corruption within our government.

It is time for drastic change. A movement has begun in America to bring about change and to return our nation to a land of liberty. That movement crosses party lines and demographic differences. People that were once in conflict with each other are joining together in a common cause, to restore the rights and liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We must seize the opportunity to restore our rights.

Please join us in reclaiming our Constitutional Rights. Together we can transform our government so that it is once again a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

James Niemackl is obviously a man of character. Running a senatorial campaign is no small commitment and any person who undertakes to do so out of love for this country and our freedoms is to be commended. We need people who are willing to stand on principle and protect our Constitutional freedoms.

On the other hand, where has Niemackl’s candidacy brought us? Closer to our goal of preserving our freedoms? Probably not if Al Franken is eventually seated in the U.S. Senate. If Niemackl’s 8,000 votes had gone to Coleman, we would not be considering the appalling prospect of Senator Franken today.

And this brings me to the double edged sword. Principle can cut through the opposition like a scythe or it can pierce you through to the marrow. Now more than ever, when state and national elections can be won or lost by a relative handful of votes, we must unite every “right of center” voter. Niemackl undoubtedly shares more beliefs about the role of government with Coleman than he does with Franken, yet his principled stand may have cost Coleman his Senate seat.

We cannot afford what has become a luxury: the luxury to stand on principle when compromise is the only realistic option. Even a moderate Senator is to be preferred over a liberal buffoon such as Al Franken. The best course of action for would-be third party conservative candidates is to work from within the Republican party structure and to work to sway public opinion to their values. To do otherwise is to split the vote and and invite defeat. I hope that James Niemackl and his supporters are finding comfort in their principles today.

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