A Photo Opportunity With Speaker Ryan Becomes a Chance for Parents to Use Their Kids for Politics

When I was in the 5th grade, our class wrote “get well soon” letters to President Reagan after he was shot by David Hinckley in 1981. I know my parents were not Reagan supporters, having voted for Carter the year before. I remember them being supportive of the efforts and I remember being thrilled when we got a letter back from the President, thanking us for the kind words.

Considering it was an assassination attempt, it’s hard for me to imagine my parents telling I couldn’t write the letter but I also never felt driven by their politics. One thing I do know is if there were an opportunity to be photographed with the President or Congressional leaders I’d be told to behave and be respectful.

Times sure have changed and not for the better.

I read the story in the Washington Post, and it had me shaking my head:

Matthew Malespina, one of the students who stayed away, said in an interview Sunday that he chose not to be photographed with Ryan because he disagreed with the policies the speaker and his party are pushing on health care, among other things. He called Ryan “a man who puts his party before his country.”

He said he and the others stood across the street while Ryan posed with their peers. Their act of civil disobedience was picked up by a local news website, the Village Green, and drew attention from larger media outlets.

“I don’t like to take a picture with somebody that I can’t associate with,” Matthew, 13, told The Washington Post. “Let’s say somebody is not nice to me at school, for example. I wouldn’t take a picture with them, probably.”

Does anybody believe a 13-year-old kid understands the intricacies of what Speaker Ryan does, day in and day out? It’s obvious he’s echoing Mom and Dad’s sentiments, and Mom is happy to brag about it:

Matthew’s mother, Elissa Malespina, a public-school librarian who was not on the trip, said she was surprised but pleased to hear of the students’ protest action. She posted about it on her Facebook page.

“I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of the other students that chose to exercise their constitutional rights and did so in a respectful manner,” Malespina said Sunday.

Her explanation is even more stupefying:

She said that while politics are a frequent topic of discussion in their household, criticism that she or other parents “indoctrinated” the kids involved is unfounded. “Teenagers, honestly, do they listen to their parents anyway?”

First of all, “indoctrination” is a harsh word. Kids just tend to pick up their parents words, not understanding much of the context of what the parents are discussing. My son was ten years old when Barack Obama won in 2008, and he was “disappointed.” Why? Because I was disappointed. It’s natural for kids to react similarly to how Mom and Dad respond to a given situation.

But if my son or daughter were taking a class trip to Washington DC and had the opportunity to be photographed with then-Speaker Pelosi? I’d tell both of them to smile big and be on their best behavior. If they organized a “protest” with other little snots, I’d be sure to make them write letters of apology for being disrespectful to both Nance Pelosi and the office of Speaker of The House of Representatives.

Don’t use kids to express your politics. It’s demeaning to them and makes you look ridiculous.


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VIDEO: With Just Eight Words, James Mattis Cements His Reputation as “Mad Dog”

James Mattis was on Face The Nation today. Host John Dickerson asked him one question. Mattis’s answer is one that will be quoted for a long time.

Check it out:

Somebody said Mattis went “beast mode.” It is hard to disagree.

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President Trump Is Back Stateside and the Panicked Tweets Are Flying

When he was overseas, Donald Trump didn’t have access to Twitter, and it must have killed him because as of this morning, Trump is back at it. The tweets are as frantic and panicked as ever.

Check them out:

It is a direct appeal to his base supporters who will go all in and believe him. This morning, somebody tweeted at me they wouldn’t bother to read a story simply because it appeared in The Washington Post.

Trump’s accusation is absurd.

Don’t get me wrong; enough evidence exists of journalists making up sources, even entire stories. Stephen Glass’s fabrications at The New Republic come to mind.

That said, Trump is not playing the skeptic, here. What he’s doing is a classic attempt at misdirection. The stories about Jared Kushner no doubt have the President spooked and thus his little rant this morning.

Again, Trump is playing to his base. It’s what’s keeping him from going below 38 percent in his job approval ratings.

I suspect we will see more of this in the next several days.

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Hillary Clinton Wallows in Bitterness Knowing She Will Likely Never Be President

The New York Magazine profile of Hillary Clinton is worth reading. The reason being it is a more intimate look into her mindset, which is one of a person who believes she deserved to be elected President and not that it was something to be earned.

Naturally, the piece loads up with quotes from mean guys saying mean things about the Fair Lady with all of the pushback one would expect. Such as:

Later, Amanpour would tell me how surprised she was by the negative reaction. “The idea that she shouldn’t mention the Comey letter when the entire nation and the most respected statisticians are considering its impact is so strange,” she said. “If she were a man, would she be allowed to mention it? As a woman, I am offended by the double standards applied here. Everyone shrieks that Hillary was a bad candidate, but was Trump a good candidate?”

Unfortunately for Amanpour, not a single statistician can connect the Comey letter directly to Clinton’s loss. Nate Silver says he believes it’s possible but only pointed to trends which take place in almost all elections. The bottom line is nobody can prove causation; they can only show correlation. The Comey letter is a crutch, and that should offend Amanpour more than anything else.

Even the author of the piece, Rebecca Traister, doesn’t seem to comprehend why Donald Trump won. Foisting her loss off on the idea people feel threatened by the notion of women in power, she writes:

But postmortems offering rational explanations for how a pussy-grabbing goblin managed to gain the White House over an experienced woman have mostly glossed over one of the well-worn dynamics in play: A competent woman losing a job to an incompetent man is not an anomalous Election Day surprise; it is Tuesday in America.

The “pussy-grabbing goblin” line is precisely how the Clinton campaign went after Donald Trump. The last two months of the campaign, team Clinton decided the best route to go against Trump was to paint him as a knuckle-dragging troglodyte who did not have the necessary experience or mindset to be President. After the first four months of the Trump Train Wreck, it is hard to argue they’re wrong. But people, particularly in the rust belt, were concerned with issues related more to the economy than they were Donald Trump’s personal behavior.

Clinton saves her sharpest attacks for the “right-wing media” she blames for making minor issues ones of national importance:

Piecing together what happened, with six months of perspective, Clinton says she thinks she “underestimated WikiLeaks and the impact that had, because I thought it was so silly.” Those hacked emails, dripped out over weeks, says Clinton, “were innocuous, boring, inconsequential. And each one was played like it was some breathless flash. And so you got Trump, in the last month of the campaign, talking about WikiLeaks something like 164 times; you’ve got all his minions out there, you’ve got the right-wing media just blowing it up. You’ve got Google searches off the charts.”

Clinton has been looking at where some of the Google searches for WikiLeaks were coming from. “They were from a lot of places where people were trying to make up their minds,” she says. “Like, ‘Oh my God, I kinda like her, I don’t like him, but she might go to jail. And then what about all this other stuff?’ It was just such a dump of cognitive dissonance …” Clinton trails off and then smiles and nods to herself. “I have a lot of sympathy for voters in a lot of places I didn’t win,” she says. “Because I can see how hard it was.”

If I had a paper copy of the magazine, I’d be able to feel the condescension dripping from the pages. For somebody who is “woke,” she still has the inability to recognize her sense of self-importance and the disdain she has for the very people she claims to represent. Her comment about sympathy reads more like, “I feel so sorry for you stupid yokels who didn’t vote for me.”

She goes on:

“The cable networks seem to me to be folding into a posture of, ‘Oh, we want to try to get some of those people on the right, so maybe we better be more, quote, evenhanded.’ ” When I mention MSNBC’s hiring of conservatives including George Will, and the New York Times’ new climate-change-skeptic opinion columnist, Bret Stephens, her brow furrows. “Why … would … you … do … that?” she says. “Sixty-six million people voted for me…”

Remember, everybody. It is all about her. As an aside, Traister’s description of Stephens as a “climate-change-skeptic” is completely false and proof she is another who never read Stephens piece. What Hillary fails to understand is people like Will and Stephens are hired by more left-leaning outlets because they are part of the handful of conservatives who haven’t bought into Donald Trump’s con-game.

There is more in the piece about the election and it how it played out and steps she took after the election-night loss, but there is one other part that stands out:

But this was an election that was, in many ways, about anger. And Trump and Sanders capitalized on that.

“Yes.” Clinton nods. “And I beat both of them.”

Except, she didn’t beat them both. 

Clinton barely beat back a challenge by a socialist Senator from Vermont and needed coordination between her campaign and the DNC as well as the strange superdelegate system the DNC utilizes. For example, Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the West Virginia primary, 51% to 36%. Sanders walked away with 19 delegates while Hillary got 18 thanks in part to superdelegates.

As for the race with Donald Trump?

Nobody is saying, “Madame President.” 

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Having Lived Through Part of The Cold War, The Attraction To Putin By Some Conservatives Is Odd

I remember when Rocky IV debuted in November 1985. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and most people had no idea how close we were to the conclusion of the Cold War. Rocky Balboa, after watching his friend Apollo Creed get killed in the ring against a juiced up Russian boxer, made the trip to Russia to fight Ivan Drago. Not for money and not for a championship, but instead for a personal debt.

The main story for the audience, however, revolved around the blatant pandering to a Cold War era audience. Rocky was going to beat the Commie bastard on his turf, and we were all invited to watch. Stallone rubbed it in by having the Russian crowd turn against Drago and become pro-Rocky towards the end of the fight.

The memory surfaced when New York Times reporter Nick Confessore asked the following on Twitter:

I happen to agree with that sentiment. The only surprising part of this is finding out Nick is less than five years younger than me. I had him pegged in his mid-30’s. He expanded on what he meant:

From that perspective, it is odd to see this strange respect some conservatives now have for someone like Vladimir Putin. As Nick says, Putin wasn’t just the average Russian. He’s ex-KGB. The KGB was a ruthless spy agency and state-security for the former Soviet Union. Growing up in the 1980’s, the pop culture references, particularly in movies and television, was often front and center.

Films such as WarGames, Red Dawn, The Falcon and The Snowman, Firefox, and Rocky IV played into the Russian threat. The TV movie The Day After gave people a glimpse of the aftermath of nuclear war. The destruction, death, and effects of a nuclear winter were a stark and frightening reminder of the threat we faced.

As Nick points out, it was the far left who attempted to paint a flattering portrait of the Soviet Union even at the height of the Cold War. They said conservatives overhyped the Soviet threat and accused President Ronald Reagan of conducting a military buildup based on lies about the same threat. People who now occupy elected offices, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, offered tacit support to the Soviets via his open support of the communist Sandinista thugs in Nicaragua.

Fast forward to 2012, and it was once again the left who downplayed Russia’s influence. Everyone remembers President Obama mocking Mitt Romney for saying Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe. In one of their debates, President Obama said to Romney, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Two years later, President Obama looked silly as he referred to Russia as a “regional threat.” Trying again to downplay their influence in the world. It was as if President Obama was willing to antagonize Russia and risk national security, rather than admit he was wrong.

Three years later and we’ve entered a bizarro world where Democrats are invoking memories of the 1980’s, while some conservatives shrug and play down Russia’s influence — if only to echo the sentiments of President Trump, who for reasons we can only guess, wants a cordial if not friendly relationship with Russia.

But to what end and to what risk to our national security? They are important questions and those on the right who hold the same affinity for Vladimir Putin as Donald Trump does should be prepared to give answers.


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Perhaps James Comey Was Not Duped By A Fake Russian Document

On May 24th, The Washington Post reported on how James Comey supposedly relied on a false document made up by the Russians to bypass protocol, going around the Justice Department to make his announcement about Hillary Clinton.

I must confess that I smiled at people who breathlessly tweeted the article, exclaiming, “Haha! James Comey got duped!” The irony of so many Trump supporters accepting the narrative laid out in a story based on anonymous sourcing was lost on them. Still, I didn’t entirely dismiss the account, nor did I wholly accept it. The story seemed too good to be true. James Comey may be a lot of things, but he’s not dumb. The notion that he was taken in by a false document agents within the FBI knew was false, seemed like a big stretch.

As it turns out, there’s another angle making the rounds. Comey acted on the document not because he was duped, but as a pre-emptive measure:

Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email was fake — created by Russian intelligence — but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.

As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over — without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch — while at the same time stating that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

Comey’s actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that this Russian intelligence was unreliable. US officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false.

In fact, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe went to Capitol Hill Thursday to push back on the notion that the FBI was duped, according to a source familiar with a meeting McCabe had with members of the Senate intelligence committee.

Naturally, this raises an important question: Why on earth did Comey take action based on a document he knew was false?

That is explained:

Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn’t matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods. There were other factors behind Comey’s decision, sources say.

In at least one classified session, Comey cited that intelligence as the primary reason he took the unusual step of publicly announcing the end of the Clinton email probe.

The explanation still leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but it sounds a lot more plausible than the notion of Comey being a stooge who got conned by the Russians.

This certainly sets the stage for what promises to be one hell of a public hearing when Comey testifies publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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The Unhinged Attitude Towards The Media? Anything Not Sufficiently Pro-Trump

If there is anything I learned from the Greg Gianforte debacle it’s that a significant portion of the American electorate not only distrust the media, they downright loathe the media.

Distrust of the media is nothing new, and I happen to agree that much of the distrust stems from their sometimes sloppy and lazy work. Reporters and journalists can argue all they want that there isn’t a bias against Republicans and conservatives, but there is. I don’t use the term “liberal media” because that denotes coordination. And while a segment of the public believes it, I don’t.

However, the biases of the reporters sometimes come out in their reporting. Sometimes it is subtle. For example, most journalists will not describe pro-life individuals as “pro-life.” They will more often than not call them “anti-abortion.” On the flip side, they never refer to the opposing side as “pro-abortion.” They are called “pro-choice” or they’re said to “support abortion rights.”

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza wrote a profile of Sally Yates and recalled when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He writes:

Yates faced nine senators, eight of them men, who at times lectured her about her responsibilities.

“Are you familiar with 8 U.S.C. Section 1182?” Senator Ted Cruz asked.

“Not off the top of my head, no,” Yates replied.

“It is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement, and that led to your termination. So it—it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute.”

Cruz read a portion of the law, which vested the President with the authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants,” and gave a self-satisfied grin.

I saw the same testimony. First of all, Sally Yates is a capable and intelligent woman that pretty much ran the Justice Department in the final months of the Obama administration. Surely the fact that men were questioning her has no bearing on her ability to testify. Also, senators of both parties, regardless of gender, love preening for the camera. They were hardly lecturing her. And Ted Cruz always has a self-satisfied grin on his face.

That’s bias. It’s subtle, but it is there.

Bias also exists on how much coverage a story garners from the press. The I.R.S. scandal, for example, was criminally under-reported with conservative media outlets leading the way. That nobody received punishment for what they did is unconscionable, and if they’d gone after that story with the zeal and vigor they’ve covered President Trump, the afflicted parties might have seen justice done.

So there is more than enough reason to distrust the media and be skeptical of their reporting. But what I have witnessed going back to the beginning of the start of the general election campaign in 2016 is a hostility like I’ve never seen before. People at Trump rallies cursed at and spat at reporters. Trump declared the media the “enemy of the American people.” News sources such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post had the “fake news” label slapped on them.

But it wasn’t only mainstream media news sources that Trump fans detested and dismissed. Conservative news outlets became part of the “enemy.” Two outlets in particular, RedState and National Review, were at the forefront of the conservative movement in rejecting Donald Trump as a candidate for President. It resulted in a strong backlash from Trump supporters who started calling authors at both sites, “RINO’s,” “cucks,” “liberals” and many other absurd names. The people who were saying it couldn’t fathom the irony of supporting a long-time Manhattan Democrat while calling others liberals.

My fellow RedState writers, as well as those at National Review, got slapped with the laughable accusation of being anti-Trump for the money. The people who jumped aboard the Trump train cashed in. If anything, being opposed to Trump cost people money.

The anger and hostility towards the media didn’t die down after Trump’s inauguration. If anything, the anger and vitriol only increased. Some people have so insulated themselves by reading only pro-Trump websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit that almost any news originating from other sources is deemed “fake news” and ignored.

The anger comes through on social media. Here is a message I received on my professional Facebook page after using a Hannity meme frequently used here on RedState:


The following is a comment left by somebody on Facebook in reply to an article I posted:


Granted, I laughed at this comment, but it’s indicative of what I see from people all the time if they’re not pro-Trump. It’s why I wasn’t surprised when I saw people defend Greg Gianforte’s assault on reporter Ben Jacobs.

That’s where we are at this point. There is a segment of Trump voters who will not trust anything written about President Trump if the story or article paints him in a negative light. People are free of course, to believe what they want. But Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words remain:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

If that’s too difficult for people to handle, they can continue to ignore the truth for their reality. But it will come back to bite them in the end.

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Montana Special Election Results In Real Time

Thanks to our friends over at the Decision Desk, they’ve provided us with the following tracker for the Montana special election for the US House.

As you can see, there are votes already totaled even the polls just closed. Those are early votes already counted. Continue to watch as the results come in.

Make sure you take a look at the Decision Desk. If you’re somebody that’s looking for election data, news, and tools, they’re a great resource.

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The Era of Tribal Politics: Excusing the Assault of a Reporter Because “Liberal Media”

In February 2016, I sat in the press area for the GOP presidential debate in Greenville. One of the people I met was a reporter for The Guardian, Ben Jacobs. We introduced ourselves and chatted for a few minutes before the debate started. Ben was friendly and engaging. Hardly the “aggressive” type as he’s been portrayed in some quarters.

When the story broke that Montana Republican Greg Gianforte assaulted Jacobs, the reaction from some conservatives on social media was, “Ben is lying.” Ben used the term “body slammed” and people conjured up images of a professional wrestler picking up an opponent and slamming them to the ground.

People assumed because Jacobs is a “liberal” who writes for The Guardian, he either made up the story or exaggerated what happened. Even with audio available of what happened, some people still didn’t believe it, content in being suspicious because of “liberal reporter.”

There was a Fox News team there to interview Gianforte, and they witnessed the incident. Ironically, what they describe sounds worse than Jacobs’ description:

During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

Once the report spread, the narrative shifted in some conservative circles to “he lied,” to “He deserved it,” or “Who cares?”

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center tweeted the following:


Laura Ingraham suggested Jacobs should have jumped up and start throwing punches:

Ingraham, of course, supports Donald Trump who spends a lot of time telling everybody how “unfair” the media is to him.

What happened here is another example of tribal politics getting in the way of reason. There is never an excuse for a politician to assault a reporter for asking questions. There are hundreds of photos to see with politicians talking into a sea of microphones, digital recorders, and smartphones. It comes with the job.

It’s sad to watch some conservatives wave it away because they don’t like the media.

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U.S. House Candidate For Montana, Republican Greg Gianforte, Allegedly Assaults Guardian Reporter (AUDIO)

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was asking Montana Republican U.S. House candidate, Greg Gianforte a question about health care when Gianforte, according to Jacobs picked him up and body slammed him.

Here is what Jacobs said on Twitter:

There is audio of the event, and it’s obvious there is some physical altercation, and then you hear Gianforte yelling at Jacobs who says he is calling the police. Check it out:

More details:

Jacobs was being evaluated in an ambulance at the scene. Gianforte was seen sitting in a vehicle nearby and had been speaking with Gallatin County deputies earlier.

Gianforte left the scene shortly before 6 p.m. without speaking to reporters.

The Hyalite Fire department told the Chronicle that one person was taken from the scene to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said his office will release a statement as quickly as possible.

Alexis Levinson, a reporter for Buzzfeed News, told MSNBC that he had given a statement to the sheriff’s office. In tweets and on air, she said she saw Jacobs go into a room where Gianforte was.

“I heard the crash and saw his feet fly,” she told MSNBC live on the air.

Whether or not this has an effect on the election tomorrow remains to be seen, but Gianforte certainly didn’t want this kind of publicity.




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