Monday, August 20, 2018

Drizzle

Not really a lightning round. Just a few random things:

  • So the DFL is going to try to brazen it out on Ellison. They'd better hope Karen Monahan doesn't have a tape. I expect Tina Smith and maybe even the never-to-be-challenged Amy Klobuchar will get to answer a lot of questions in the coming days. The DFL will have a chance to do some message testing at the State Fair and if it breaks badly, you may yet see some maneuvering.
  • We're getting ready to travel again, as Fearless Maria will begin studies at Saint Louis University next week. SLU has been in the news lately because it will be the first school to put an Amazon Echo Dot in every residence hall room. Is it Big Brother? Is it necessary? I'm guessing students will use the devices here and there, but it would not surprise me at all if most of them are unplugged and thrown in a desk drawer before too long. It's not particularly difficult to get information from other sources, so I'm guessing it won't be a big factor in FM's life.
  • I get the sense that our favorite president (he says so himself) is about to flip the chessboard on the Russia game. That September 1 deadline his attorneys gave Robert Mueller has a larger meaning, I suspect. It could get interesting.
  • The NFL has to figure out their rules about hitting the quarterback. My stance on the Anthony Barr hit on Aaron Rodgers was that it wasn't illegal, but it was unnecessary. The penalty called on Vikings linebacker Antwione Williams in Saturday's preseason game was frankly bizarre. Either you get to tackle the quarterback, or you don't, especially if he still has the ball. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ellison in the spotlight

Keith Ellison may be about to get Torricellied:
“I was listening to my podcast and he walked in, he said, ‘I need you to take the trash out.’ And I kept, I was on my stomach, I heard him and I … shook my head [in acknowledgement]. And he looked at me [and] goes, ‘Hey! You f—— hear me?’ And then he looked at me, he goes, ‘B—-, get the f— out of my house!’ and he started trying to drag me off the bed. That’s when I put my camera on to video him,” Monahan said.
That's Karen Monahan, the former girlfriend of Ellison, looking right at the camera. And there's more:
The two broke up, but Monahan claims they met before he announced his attorney general run in June. He was allegedly concerned she would go public about the incident that she says happened in 2016.

“At this point in time, I’m grounded and I know who I am. I have healed for a year and a half. I looked straight at him, I said, ‘I never ruined your career, I didn’t choose to do the things you did, I didn’t choose for you to drag me off the bed, call me a b—-, tell me you hate me. I didn’t choose that,'” Monahan said.
She has chosen to come forward and tell her story, and the DFL apparat is nervous:
With just 82 days left until the November election, DFL party leaders say they are still looking for answers from their candidate.

“The DFL party takes any allegation of domestic abuse seriously. It’s a fluid situation, it’s still developing,” said Minnesota DFL party chair Ken Martin. “We believe that Keith Ellison should answer the questions that have been posed to him, and he should address those questions head on.”
It's worth remembering there are earlier allegations against Ellison from another woman. Could a third woman be out there? If so, that would be the end of him.

The DFL has held the AG's office for over 50 years. Ellison could lose the election and damage the entire ticket. Do you think Tim Walz wants to spend his time talking about Ellison? How about Tina Smith? Watch what happens at the DFL central committee meeting this weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

One brief thing to call to your attention this morning

One thing about the infamous Steele Dossier has always puzzled me, which is the early support of the effort to get dirt on Republican candidates, especially Trump, by the Washington Free Beacon, which is largely a conservative website. It's also puzzled me why The Weekly Standard, which has long fancied itself a bulwark of conservatism, Beltway-style, has always been so supportive of taking Trump down, even now, nearly two years since the election.

We may have an answer, thanks to this report from Julie Kelly, writing for the website American Greatness, discussing the recent support from Bill Kristol's publication for the odious Peter Strzok:
So, what’s with the fanboying between the Standard—an allegedly serious publication dedicated to advancing conservative principles—and a corrupt government bureaucrat who embodies everything the conservative movement fought against for decades?

I found an article in the Standard archives this week that might explain why. On July 24, 2016, just days before Strzok helped launch a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign, Kristol gave Strzok and the Obama Justice Department a big assist from the anti-Trump Right by posting a flawed and questionably-sourced article. “Putin’s Party” is compelling evidence that Kristol and the Standard were far from mere sideline observers as the Trump-Russia collusion scam took shape in the summer of 2016.

At the very least, the timing of the article suggests there was careful coordination between the central players—including the Hillary Clinton campaign—and Bill Kristol to derail Trump’s candidacy just weeks before the election. But the article’s content also serves to raise alarming questions about the claims by many Republicans that “conservatives” had no knowledge of or involvement with the Christopher Steele dossier.
Oh, it's another conspiracy theory! But read on:
A few hours after the Standard piece went online, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook reinforced Kristol’s message in an interview on CNN. Desperate to change the subject from DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s pending resignation, Mook also claimed the Russians were behind the DNC’s computer hack because Putin wanted Trump to win. There were other similarities to Kristol’s article. “Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian,” Mook told Jake Tapper. “And we saw him talking about how NATO shouldn’t intervene to defend our Eastern European allies if they are attacked by Russia. So, I think, when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture.”

The next day, Carter Page received his first text from a reporter and former Wall Street Journal colleague of Simpson’s, asking him about his ties to Russia and mentioning dossier-sourced specifics. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest fielded his first (planted) question during the daily press briefing by an AP reporter, who oddly asked whether the DNC hack was an attempt to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump.

Coincidence? Not a chance.

Kristol would take to Twitter dozens of times before the election to promote the Trump-Russia collusion fantasy, even referring to the GOP as “the Putin Party.” Kristol’s handpicked candidate to challenge Trump, Evan McMullin, also pushed the Trump-Russia narrative. (On the other hand, despite Fusion and Glenn Simpson being covered in the conservative media for more than a year, Kristol has zero tweets about the firm.)

It might be easy to dismiss all of this as mere happenstance, the rantings of a fierce Trump foe determined to do whatever he could to stop Trump from winning. But there is an important sidebar to consider: The Washington Free Beacon admitted last year that they retained Fusion from late 2015 until April 2016 to gather opposition research on Republican primary candidates. The website is run by Kristol’s son-in-law, Matthew Continetti. The Beacon posted numerous negative stories about the Trump campaign in 2016, including hit pieces on Carter Page in March and July.
Rudy Giuliani has been huffing and puffing rather a lot lately about how it's all about to come crashing down and demanding the Mueller write his report now. It's worth remembering that Trump has access to every document Mueller has used up to this point. He also has access to all the information that was used against him. He's been waiting, waiting, occasionally firing a jab at Jeff Sessions, but mostly letting things play out. The game will be on shortly, I think.

More at the link. Worth your time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The obligatory recap

So what happened yesterday? A few thoughts:

  • I was surprised Jeff Johnson won, but in retrospect I should have seen his victory over Tim Pawlenty coming a mile away. Johnson was the GOP nominee in 2014, so he's hardly a newcomer. Pawlenty had a lot of money behind him, but little rationale behind his campaign. In important respects, the dynamic was the same as what happened to Tommy Thompson when he lost to Tammy Baldwin in the senate race in Wisconsin in 2012; the brand name is rarely enough and the politician with the name still has to make the sale. The business about Pawlenty's dissing of Trump was a factor, but Pawlenty's evident disdain in dealing with the state party (he blew off the nominating process and the convention) was far more important. Johnson has been campaigning hard all year. The party activists were out in force and they voted for Johnson. Other than an ad attacking Johnson, Pawlenty was barely visible. Pawlenty thought he was invincible. Guess not.
  • On the DFL side, Tim Walz will be hard to beat. He has a dozen years of experience pretending to be a moderate and he'll tack to the center now that he has the DFL nomination, but operationally he's no different than Erin Murphy. Johnson's task will be to demonstrate that Walz is a phony. As for Lori Swanson, good riddance. We can also hope that Mike Hatch, the éminence grise behind Swanson, is finally gone as well.
  • I wonder how Alliance for a Better Minnesota is going to play things now. They were clearly planning to carpet-bomb T-Paw, but he's gone. Let's see what the big brains do.
  • Keith Ellison is a dumpster fire, but he won the Attorney General's race easily. Can he make the sale statewide? I suspect Doug Wardlow, the GOP nominee, will get some help. Ellison is a deeply corrupt individual and the notion that he should be attorney general is preposterous, but those three letters after his name carry a lot of weight.
  • Ilhan Omar is a fraud, too, but she's almost certainly going to Congress. The good news is she'll be a nonentity backbencher. Betty McCollum will save a seat for her.
Game on!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Herd of Independent Editorialists

Harold Rosenberg, from 1948, and every word is still true 70 years on:
The mass-culture maker, who takes his start from the experience of others, is essentially a reflector of myths, and is without experience to communicate. To him man is an object seen from the outside. Indeed it could be demonstrated that the modern mass-culture élite, even when it trots around the globe in search of historical hotspots where every six months the destiny of man is decided, actually has less experience than the rest of humanity, less even than the consumers of its products. To the professional of mass culture, knowledge is the knowledge of what is going on in other people; he alone trades his experience for the experience of experience. Everyone has met those culture-conscious “responsibles” who think a book or movie or magazine wonderful not because it illuminates or pleases them but because it tells “the people” what they “ought to know.”
We're still all about telling the people what they "ought to know":
More than 100 publications across the US will publish editorials rejecting Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the press.

The move is part of a coordinated effort by the Boston Globe's editorial board to denounce the president's claim that the media "is the enemy of the American people". Each newspaper involved in the campaign will publish their own unique editorial refuting such criticisms, to arrive on newsstands Thursday, 16 August.

In a statement calling on other newspapers to join the effort, the Boston Globe wrote, "We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration's assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date".
Put another way, in a stellar example of how Twitter can illuminate:

Blinded by the light
Of course, Trump didn't say the media in its entirety is the enemy of the people. Trump's own tweet calls out some organizations, but certainly not all:

He left out the Star Tribune, much to its disappointment


Never mind that.


"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." I'm certain Sunday's newspapers will be nothing short of legendary.

Monday, August 13, 2018

In case you'd forgotten

The message from Keith Ellison? MeToo, but not me. But Pepperidge Farm remembers:
On Wednesday afternoon, another of Franken’s Minnesota congressional colleagues, Rep. Betty McCollum, said the growing number of allegations make it “impossible for him to be an effective senator for Minnesota.” Rep. Keith Ellison also called for Franken to resign.
That was December 6, 2017. Now?
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison on Sunday denied an allegation from an ex-girlfriend that he had once dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities at her — an allegation that came just days before a Tuesday primary in which the congressman is among several Democrats running for state attorney general.

The allegation first surfaced Saturday night from Karen Monahan after her son alleged in a Facebook post that he had seen hundreds of angry text messages from Ellison, some threatening his mother. He also wrote he had viewed a video in which Ellison dragged Monahan off the bed by her feet. Monahan, a Minneapolis political organizer, said via Twitter that what her son posted was "true."
Question for the audience -- should Franken call for Ellison to step down?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More fun than a screen door on a submarine

Keith Ellison gets blown up on the eve of his election:
Rep. Keith Ellison, who is currently running for attorney general of Minnesota, is being accused of domestic violence against his former partner Karen Monahan.

Austin Monahan, Karen Monahan’s son, aired the allegations in a Facebook post Saturday night. According to Austin Monahan, Ellison put his mother through “pure hell.” In the Facebook post, he claims to have seen a video of Ellison dragging Karen Monahan off the bed by her feet while screaming expletives at her. The alleged incident is just one of several, Austin Monahan warned.
That report is from Alpha News, a right-leaning website. The rest of the local media is trying to protect precious, of course. But it might not work. Karen Monahan has been hinting at Ellison's issues for quite a long time now.

Hmmm.

No, it's not going away
We have early voting in Minnesota. It's safe to assume ol' Keith has a lot of early votes in the bank, but will it be enough? Tomorrow should be even more fun. And no, we haven't forgotten about Lori Swanson's problems, either.

Friday, August 10, 2018

To the point

Kurt Schlichter, making the point that needs to be made, yet again:
The post-war order did not start out as a massive scam, but we’re really far post the war today, and different times require different arrangements. Back in the late 1940s, with Europe in ruins and America relatively unscathed – actually, ascendant – it made sense for us to pick up the slack to help our allies get on their feet again. It was a hand-up, not a hand-out. The Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe, was genius – it created a bulwark against communism while ensuring prosperity.

But that was 70 years ago. Things change. The USSR is gone (a spectacular victory of the postwar order). Germany and the rest of Europe are no longer smoldering piles of rubble (another success). In fact, they are now prosperous and complacent, and of course they don’t want the American subsidy to end. It allows them to pay-off their barren, soul-dead populations via their bloated welfare states with the money they don’t have to contribute to their own defense. America snapping a ball and chain around its ankle in the form of the noxious climate pact lets them virtue signal, while unequal trade arrangements let them take advantage of our markets while blocking access to theirs. They can posture by importing half the Third World because our generosity (and gullibility) gives them the flexibility to do it.
It's rarely about virtue any more. It's always about virtue signaling. More at the link.

Real Socialist Candidates of Genius

As the Democrats try to figure out their new generation of leadership, we're learning plenty about the intellectual acumen of our putative betters. The new face of this generation might be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-avowed "Democratic Socialist" who offered this pearl of wisdom concerning our healthcare system:
So, we’re paying for this system. We — Americans have the sticker shock of healthcare as it is, and what we’re also not talking about is, why aren’t we incorporating the cost of all the funeral expenses of those who died because they can’t afford access to healthcare? That is part of the cost of our system.
No ma'am, it isn't. Then again, perhaps she's right, as this Tweet makes the connection (h/t Instapundit):

Volume, volume, volume!
It's quite cost-effective.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

(Less than) One week out -- Attorney General

While the governor is ultimately more consequential, the attorney general of a state has a lot of power. The incumbent AG, Lori Swanson, lost her endorsement at the DFL convention and decided instead to run for governor. That opened up the door for a bunch of candidates on the DFL side. Of this group, the most prominent is Rep. Keith Ellison, who is giving up his seat in Congress to run for the office. Nearly everyone on the right worries about Ellison, but many do for the wrong reason. Ellison is a Muslim, so some think he'd try to impose sharia law or something like that. That's silly, of course. We have over a decade of evidence to weigh Ellison and it's pretty clear -- the only thing Ellison wants to impose on the people is, well, Keith Ellison. And that is reason enough to oppose him. His dim identity politics and Farrakhan footsie are simply tools in his quest for self-aggrandizement. He wants out of Washington because he couldn't be the big kahuna at the Democratic National Committee. If he can control the power of a state attorney general's office, he can indulge his impulses, including harassing Donald Trump. And he may get his wish.

The other candidates in the field include the guy who won the DFL endorsement, political newcomer Matt Pelikan. Pelikan is a straight-up SJW type and could finish last, because there's no compelling reason for his candidacy. Tom Foley was once the Ramsey County Attorney but hasn't been active in politics for nearly 25 years now, making him well past his sell-by date. Mike Rothman and Debra Hillstrom both come from the more moderate wing of the DFL and would likely conduct themselves in office similar to the way Swanson and her predecessor, Mike Hatch, ran the show. Rothman was Mark Dayton's commerce commissioner and he got an endorsement from the Star Tribune, but he's almost a complete unknown. Hillstrom has been in the Lege for nearly 20 years and has also been a prosecutor in Anoka County. She'd probably do the least harm of the five, but she's not going to beat Ellison in a primary where the key advantage is name recognition. Advantage: Ellison.

On the Republican side, the endorsed candidate is Doug Wardlow, who served one term in the Lege and has subsequently been mostly in private practice. He's a typical Republican candidate -- rock solid on understanding the role of government and more interested in protecting the citizenry than in mounting noisy crusades. He would be great. Wardlow first has to fight off the surprise candidacy of Bob Lessard, who was a big wheel DFLer on the Iron Range since the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch. Lessard is a big outdoorsman/conservationist and well-known in the state, but is remembered mostly by people who are approaching retirement age. People who know who Lessard is will also know he's not actually a Republican, so in the end I suspect Wardlow will win the primary. It will be interesting to see if any of the big money comes into Minnesota to support his candidacy, especially if Ellison gets the DFL nod. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

One week out

Primaries are next week in Minnesota. I haven't written about them yet. Probably should. Quick synopsis, starting with the governor's race:

Governor: I'm not particularly impressed with any of the DFL candidates, but it may not matter because this election is shaping up as a test of the overall strength of the DFL machine and its support system, especially Education Minnesota and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. If you've been watching the ads on television, most of the portside messaging is attacking Tim Pawlenty, who apparently was governor a long time ago, maybe succeeding Karl Rolvaag, but one can't be sure. I would guess Tim Walz will prevail, but there's very little to recommend him. He has spent six terms in Washington as a backbencher, but he's less frightening than Betty McCollum, so he has the institutional support. Lori Swanson must be gaining, because there was a big hit piece in the Intercept about her. This is largely being ignored in the local media, of course, but I suspect Walz will make use of it in the next week. The earlier attacks on Swanson's running mate, crusty old Rick Nolan, were designed to help the endorsed DFL candidates, Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade, who appear to be running a distant third, despite (or perhaps because of) the DFL endorsement. The Erins are a little loony, frankly, and while they carry the DFL endorsement, the party apparat would prefer Walz or Swanson sotto voce, because they (theoretically) wouldn't get destroyed on the Iron Range. The best news about this lineup is Walz giving up his congressional seat, which should be good pickup possibility for the Republicans in November. Advantage: Walz, for no particular reason.

On the Republican side, we have Jeff Johnson, who I personally like quite a lot, against the aforementioned Pawlenty. Pawlenty is probably going to win, but Johnson, who got chloroformed by Mark Dayton in the 2014 election, is giving it a go despite an obvious lack of resources. Pawlenty wasn't a terrible governor, but I'm not sure he deserves another go. Either of these two fellows would be a big improvement over Mark Dayton or the collection of nasties on the other side, but I'm not sure either has what it takes to win an election when ABM and the teacher's union are done with them. Johnson is trying to get nastier, but I'm not sure he's going to be tough enough to stand up to the onslaught. If Pawlenty wins, he'll have all the money he needs, but he'll have a muddled message and an indifferent record to defend, making him the de facto embattled incumbent. Pawlenty barely won in 2006 over the sputtering Mike Hatch, who didn't have the trained assassins of ABM working for him. If Johnson prevails, I'm guessing the big money folks behind T-Paw will take their bankrolls and go home. Advantage: Pawlenty.

Next: Attorney General.