Bloomberg Report: Mueller Expanding Probe to Trump Business Transactions

Bloomberg released this within the last hour:

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, making the boundaries fuzzy so Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be taking a wide-angle approach to his two-month-old probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

With Trump’s warning that such an investigation would be out of bounds, the speculation that Trump may fire Mueller is bound to explode today.

Consider this your routine warning that a report based on “a person familiar with the probe” is worth nothing until corroborated by something more tangible.

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This Means WAR: The ObamaCare Betrayal by Senators Capito and Murkowski Can Never Be Forgotten or Forgiven

As I mentioned yesterday, I am astounded that so many people want to blame the GOP’s failure to repeal ObamaCare on those who are least to blame: folks like Rand Paul and Mike Lee. As I said, the real villains are the people who voted for the ObamaCare (partial) repeal bill in 2015 — but oppose it today.

Well, Mitch McConnell will soon call for a vote on a reanimated version of that same bill. And now we’re starting to learn who the scoundrels really are.

At the top of the list of giant hypocrites, you’ll find Senators Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — who have both declared their intention to vote against the ObamaCare repeal bill that they both voted for in 2015. As Phil Kerpen said:

They have no excuse for this, and their betrayal will save ObamaCare.

This means war.

Capito and Murkowski are the most worthless type of hypocrites imaginable. They have postured as being against Obamacare, but they never really were. They voted in favor of the (partial) repeal in 2015 — and yet they claim they cannot vote for the same bill today, in 2017.

What is the difference between 2015 and 2017? Yesterday afternoon I sent emails to the press offices of Senators Capito and Murkowski, asking them why they would choose not to vote for the exact same bill they voted for in 2015. I received no response from Senator Capito, and a canned statement from Senator Murkowski that does not remotely begin to address the questions I had asked.

So what is the difference between 2015 and 2017? I’ll tell you what the difference is. The difference is that today, in 2017, we have a president who would sign that repeal bill into law. In 2015, we did not.

Senators Capito and Murkowski knew this. They lied to their voters, straight up.

Now: we all know that there are surely plenty of other cowards hiding behind the skirts of these two senators. (Hi, Rob Portman!) I suspect that Capito and Murkowski were chosen to be the primary fall guys (or fall gals, as it happens) because they’re not up for reelection for four years (in the case of Capito) and six years (in the case of Murkowski). I think the GOP establishment is hoping that you will forget about their treachery in the intervening four to six years.

I, for one, am not going to forget. I will never forget.

I hereby pledge to donate money to the strongest conservative challenger willing to primary either of these senators on the basis of their refusal to vote to repeal Obamacare. I don’t care if I have to wait until 2020 or 2022, I am doing it. And I will vocally support that person against these Senators, and do everything I can to see that these women are unseated.

So if there are others, why pick on Capito and Murkowski? Oh, I’m willing to do the same for anyone who votes against the repeal bill. We just don’t know who they are yet. But yes, I am focused on these two senators, because they are the ones who came out against the bill first, and will give political cover for others to do the same. We have to make an example out of somebody, so we might as well start with them — pour encourager les autres.

So here’s what we do. We primary them. We never, ever forget this betrayal. This goes for anybody else who votes against having this legislation going forward. All of them get the same treatment. No more donations for any of the turncoats. If they appear on the radio, we call in and rip them to shreds for this vote. We confront them wherever and whenever we can. We pull out all the stops.

Some, I expect, will go further. Some will simply stop voting for the GOP or donating money to the GOP. If you choose to go that route, I suggest you tell them exactly why.

One final point: some of you may be asking: why am I not screaming at Susan Collins? Am I mad at Susan and Collins? Well, sure. Of course I’m mad at Susan Collins — for being a complete economic nincompoop who is furthering a disastrous socialistic healthcare regime that is going to drive health care costs into the stratosphere and bankrupt middle America. But she didn’t vote for the 2015 bill. She didn’t pretend to be for repeal when it didn’t matter. (If you want a full list of who did vote for the bill in 2015, together with an analysis of who is still in the Senate today, I did that work for you here.)

Yes, Susan Collins might be an economic illiterate and the functional equivalent of a Democrat. But Susan Collins didn’t lie to her voters with her 2015 vote. Capito and Murkowski did. Capito and Murkowsi lied. They lied — and they must pay the price for lying.

I can’t make them pay a political price by myself. You have to join me. So I ask you:

Who’s with me?

[Disclaimer]

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You Want to Know Who to Blame If ObamaCare Is Not Repealed? I’ll Tell You Who

First, let’s start by talking about who won’t be to blame: Senators Mike Lee or Rand Paul. Last night Brit Hume of Fox News tweeted this:

I have been a fan of Brit Hume’s for years. But I find it astounding that Hume criticized only people like Senators Lee and Paul, who actually would repeal ObamaCare entirely if given the opportunity. If there were 535 Mike Lees in Congress, ObamaCare would have been repealed in January. Where, I wondered, was the criticism of those who voted to repeal in 2015 — but won’t now? Why blame the fiercest opponents of ObamaCare, and give a total pass to people who hypocritically voted for repeal in 2015 only because they knew Obama would veto it?

Let’s review: in 2015, there was a bill sent to Obama’s desk called the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. It didn’t repeal every aspect of ObamaCare, but it did a lot. Exchanges: gone. Subsidies: phased out. Penalty for not getting health insurance or providing it to your employees: gone. “Cadillac tax”: gone. Medicaid expansion: phased out.

Rather than the tinkering we have seen recently, this was a real move towards repeal. It passed the Senate 52-47. But, of course, it was vetoed by Obama — and the people who voted for it knew it would be.

Now, we have a President in office who has said he would sign such a bill. Rand Paul introduced a version in January. But his bill has been stalled in committee for half a year, while Republicans have spun their wheels trying to install a big-government replacement. For the most part, their efforts have resulted in bills that would put the GOP stamp of approval on the basic structure of ObamaCare.

Why hasn’t the GOP passed the 2015 bill? Clearly, because there are people who voted for a repeal bill in 2015 who never intended that bill to become law. Yet nobody in the media has been asking who these people are. And (until now), leadership has not forced the issue.

So when the news first broke last night that the latest repeal effort was dead, I raged at the leadership and the media, for hiding the identities of those people. If I had a full-time job in Big Media (ugh), I would track down everyone who voted for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill to see if they’ll still vote for it.

But it seems Big Media may not have to do the work. Mitch McConnell may do it for them. Events have move quickly since Mike Lee made his announcement last night — and as reported by Joe Cunningham, Mitch McConnell has announced that some version of the 2015 bill is going to be put to a vote:

Hallelujah! This is fantastic.

If the GOP is not full of hypocrites, the bill will pass. Of the 52 people who voted for the 2015 bill, 48 are still in the Senate. (Susan Collins voted against it.) Of the four Republicans who voted for that bill in 2015 and are now gone from the Senate, three have been replaced by Republicans — Sen. Coats (replaced by Republican Todd Young), Sen. Sessions (replaced by Republican Luther Strange), and Sen. Vitter (replaced by Republican John Kennedy).

As long as those three are on board — and long as none of the 48 change their vote, the 2015 bill will easily pass again, with 51 votes.

Now, I heard you laugh when you read that phrase “[i]f the GOP is not full of hypocrites.” That’s OK. I laughed while writing it. I am frankly stunned that McConnell is bringing some version of the 2015 bill to a vote, because I think the GOP is indeed full of hypocrites. And those hypocrites don’t want to be put in the position of voting against a bill they don’t like, but voted for in 2015 because they knew it would never become law. I predict there will be a lot of pressure on McConnell to reverse course and not put the 2015 bill to a vote.

But if he does, we’ll know exactly whom to blame.

Here’s my question: if Mike Lee and Rand Paul vote for repeal, and some other senator or senators change their vote from 2015 and vote against ObamaCare repeal . . .

. . . will Brit Hume still blame Mike Lee and Rand Paul?

[Disclaimer]

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A Ringing Defense of Donald Trump from a Very Unlikely Source

No matter what you think of Donald Trump — not much, in my case — all sensible people agree that he has been the subject of many unfair attacks from the news media and elsewhere. A few days ago, a long list of such attacks was compiled by a very unlikely source: Snopes.com, which is usually absurdly left-leaning when it comes to political issues. The surprising and excellent piece is titled The Lies of Donald Trump’s Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas. The deck headline reads: “An in-depth analysis of the false allegations and misleading claims made against the 45th President since his inauguration.”

Dan McGuill, the author of the piece, selects four categories of calumny against Trump. I’ll give you a short excerpt from each category to whet your appetite for the full piece:

  • Donald Trump: International Embarrassment

Take, for example, the claim that Trump was the only world leader at a G7 summit in May not to take notes, based on a photograph posted to Twitter by French President Emannuel Macron. Here Trump was portrayed as unprepared and out of his depth on the world stage, with a “ten-second attention span”. However, the claim was entirely untrue, with other images and video of the meeting showing that Trump did indeed have notes and a pen. Not only that, but the very image used to make the false claim clearly shows two other world leaders sitting with no note-taking paraphernalia. In this case, even the cherry-picked evidence chosen to make the point undermines it.

  • Trump the Tyrant

Then there was the satirical article that reported Trump had signed an executive order declaring himself the popular vote winner in 2016’s presidential election, or the claim that he had imposed martial law in Chicago, using a video of a police tank which has been in use since 2010.

  • Donald Trump: Bully baby

Sometimes these claims seem plausible enough to gain even more credibility and traction. In April, Trump met the public at the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. A teenaged boy asked him to sign his “Make America Great Again” hat, and the President obliged, but appeared to toss the hat in the air.

This was presented as a callous act from a bullying, villainous Donald Trump by observers such as the Resistance Report web site, which wrote ” Trump Just Ruined This Kid’s Day at the Easter Egg Roll.” However, another camera angle clearly shows that Trump was playfully tossing the hat back to the boy, who happily receives the hat and walks away. This video was posted to Twitter 42 minutes after the original:

But even without the second camera angle, Occam’s Razor comes into play once again. Does it make sense that Donald Trump, asked by an enthusiastic young man to sign a hat bearing his iconic slogan, would sign the hat and then, smiling, deliberately throw it away from the boy? Or is it more likely that Trump was being playful with someone who acted admiringly towards him, and tossed the hat in the air with the intention of giving it back to the boy?

  • Trump the Buffoon

Almost instantly, Trump was mocked for citing as an Irish proverb a poem written by a Nigerian man.
[]
The entire episode is a remarkable example of something bordering on collective hallucination, most likely brought on by confirmation bias. Here hundreds of thousands of people — including professional journalists working for influential news organizations, and a chat show host with more than three million nightly viewers — literally heard Trump say something he never said, in most cases probably because it confirmed a pre-existing image of the President as a poorly read, culturally ignorant buffoon.

Of course, one thing that feeds these falsehoods is the fact that Trump has aspects of his personality that are embarrassing, tyrannical, bullying, and buffoonish.

It has to be acknowledged that since January, many of Trump’s opponents, and even lukewarm supporters, have found considerable fault with his policies and behavior, based on accurate facts. There have been many occasions when Trump himself, undistorted and unfiltered, contributed mightily to the four personas we have outlined.

Indeed, even if you are a fierce opponent of the President, you should be an equally fierce opponent of manufactured stories designed to make him look bad. Because those stories undercut the genuine criticism he often deserves — and give his supporters a lazy way to dismiss as exaggerations even valid points about his character or behavior.

Snopes.com has a deserved reputation for left-leaning political bias. This piece undoes some of the damage the site has done to its own reputation for honesty … honesty which ought to be, and in this case is, integral to the brand of a site built to debunks myths and lies. This is a win for them and for us. And for integrity.

Fact-checkers of the world, take note. This is how you do it.

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Rand Paul, ObamaCare, and the “Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good” Argument

It has become accepted wisdom in Washington that the most we can do about ObamaCare is tinker with it around the edges. Make marginal improvements. Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good, we are told.

One man, and one man alone, has consistently made a strong and public case insisting that Republicans keep their promise to repeal ObamaCare. That man is Rand Paul.

I think he deserves some praise and support, for being (as far as I can tell) the only Republican vocally demanding that the GOP do what it promised to do.

Once, Ted Cruz had a plan for dealing with ObamaCare. I talked about it in detail in this post from March. But today I want to concentrate on the first point he made:

First, begin with the 2015 repeal language. . . . Virtually every Republican in Congress voted for that language, and the parliamentarian has already ruled it as permissible. We should begin with that previously approved repeal language as the baseline.

Today, Cruz has given up on that goal. Mike Lee, whom I respect deeply, has given up on that goal. They are apparently willing to retain the ObamaCare subsidies that are doomed to drive up premiums, just as any government subsidy drives up costs (hey, has anyone noticed that higher education is a tad expensive these days?). They are apparently willing to retain most of the basic structure of ObamaCare, as long as insurance companies can offer non-ObamaCare compliant plans in addition to ObamaCare-compliant ones.

We know this isn’t their ideal solution. Cruz’s ideal solution is what I described in the March post linked above. But it is what they are settling for.

And that’s too bad. Do I blame Cruz and Lee? Only a little. There’s plenty of blame to go around — from a dishonest news media that pretends that even Cruz’s proposal is draconian, to an electorate that increasingly wants goodies without responsibility, to an education system that fails to teach basic economic principles, to a President who loves him some big government and decries even the most lily-livered tinkering as “mean.”

But I’ll be damned if I am going to be lectured by people who tell me we have to settle because hey, at least this bill is better. It’s a surrender. Don’t talk to me about Medicaid cuts. They aren’t happening. Cuts to government programs in the out-years are always phony. Always always always. The whole edifice has to be dismantled. (The details of that dismantlement are described in detail in my March post.)

I can already hear people saying: but you can’t do this to people. I commend my entire March post to you, but let me quote a couple of paragraphs for the non-clickers. The “too long, didn’t read” answer is that economics is about allocating scarce resources, and most resources are scarce:

What about the people who can’t afford insurance (or who are simply irresponsible and do not buy insurance)? Well, first of all, with the above reforms, there would be far fewer people in that situation than there were in 2008, before ObamaCare was passed. But in the end, this is a separate question from the basic policy of how to repeal ObamaCare. There will always be the less fortunate in society who can’t afford some of the basics of life: housing, food, health care, and the like. And there will always be people who are irresponsible and don’t plan for their future, whether it’s in the area of health insurance, life insurance, retirement, their kids’ education . . . the list goes on.

For these groups of people, there will always be a tension between people like me, who recommend that such issues be taken care of by charity and the private sector when the problems to be addressed are serious or life-threatening, and leftists who want the government to take care of everybody. Either way, the reality of the world is that resources are scarce, and not every need can be met. This will always be true under any system. Government cannot simply decree that everyone will receive the best possible care for every illness. Any system, whether public or private, will result in some people not being able to access scarce resources. No government health care system is a panacea, and anyone who keeps their eyes open and watches for stories of people being mistreated under socialized health care will find them. The VA is just the tip of the iceberg.

But the solution is not to give ideal care to people who could have bought insurance but chose not to. Imagine doing that with any other type of insurance: Gallant buys a fire insurance policy and Goofus does not — but Goofus knows that government will buy him a new house if his house burns down. Goofus is not going to buy insurance in that scenario — and Gallant won’t either. The concept of insurance is destroyed by such an arrangement. Some Goofuses are going to suffer in the free market — but again, no resources in this world are unlimited, and Goofus will never have all his needs met without contributing to society.

Rand Paul’s position, and my position, are lonely positions to hold. There’s this thing called electoral reality, we are told, that should prevent us from advocating we think actually ought to happen, and should force us to settle for tiny chimerical improvements.

That’s not how real change happens. It’s the kind of thing, frankly, that ObamaCare proponents were told. You can’t remake health care. People have tried. It’s too big a task. But they actually cared about ObamaCare.

The GOP once claimed to care about repealing ObamaCare. Again, just about every Republican in Congress voted to repeal it. Yet they are not being asked, again and again, why they aren’t simply implementing what they claimed to want to implement in 2015.

Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good? No, I’d characterize the GOP’s proposal in a different way. Like this: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the chance to take joint responsibility for a socialistic program that will ruin 1/6 of the economy. Or this: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the concession that this tiny meaningless improvement to the status quo is the best we’ll ever do.

[Disclaimer]

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Tucker Carlson and Max Boot Face Off

Tucker Carlson has a knack for creating viral content in his often aggressive interviews. This time, however, he lets the sneering and snide side of his personality completely take over, as he takes on Max Boot, who gets down in the gutter with Carlson to create a nasty exchange that I find embarrassing for both parties:

The two men repeatedly interrupt each other, snipe at each other, and generally act like an old married couple who have been cooped up in the same tiny house for far too long. Three cheers to you if you can keep watching after Carlson sneers: “Maybe you should choose a different profession. Selling insurance. House painting. Something you’re good at.”

The only thing that could make the clip more unbearable would be to have Jon Stewart materialize between them to start lecturing them both.

I see people all over the Internet saying that one of these men “destroyed” the other . . . although opinions seem to diverge widely as to who was the destroyer and who was the destroyee.

Me, I think they both come out of it looking a little smaller.

But hey, it’s great for ratings.

[Disclaimer]

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Stephen Hayes: Trump Caved to Putin

So yesterday a wily former KGB agent got over two hours to have a crack at a simpleton who knows the nation’s most prized state secrets. What could go wrong?

Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard says, a lot went wrong. Indeed, he says that Trump caved to Putin yesterday.

Hayes complains that Trump let Russia skate entirely on its efforts to interfere with the United States presidential election. But where Hayes really hits home is in his criticism of the meeting as it related to Syria:

The embarrassment wasn’t limited to interference in U.S. elections. There was Syria, too, where Tillerson claimed that American and Russian “objectives are exactly the same.”

It is absurd to claim that our objectives in Syria—where the United States has called for the end of the Assad regime that Russia is supporting—are exactly the same. Forget being identical; in most cases, they aren’t even coincidental.

. . . .

[I]n April the U.S. government accused Russia of complicity in an unprovoked chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. And on Friday, the secretary of State claimed that America and Russia have exactly the same objectives in Syria.

And then Tillerson went even further. On matters where the United States and Russia have different views, he said, it may be that the Russians (who are actively backing a dictator slaughtering his own people) have got “the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.” Imagine for a moment the reaction from Republicans if John Kerry had made such a claim.

At PowerLine, Paul Mirengoff says that Hayes’s “Trump caved” characterization is “unfair.” I found Mirengoff’s argument less than fully convincing, though — especially this part:

Hayes also complains about what he thinks went down between Trump and Putin regarding Syria. He cites Tillerson’s statement that American and Russian “objectives are exactly the same.”

The statement is, as Hayes says, absurd. But there’s little reason to think that Trump, or even Tillerson, believes it.

Color me skeptical when your argument is: don’t worry about the “absurd” thing our Secretary of State just said. Probably neither he nor the President actually believes it.

But there’s a ceasefire! Isn’t that a good thing? Sure — if you think Vladimir Putin is a honest fella. Garry Kasparov, who knows a thing or two about Putin, has this to say:

To Hayes’s analysis above, I would add the shameful spectacle of a man who has ordered journalists to be murdered pointing at a group of journalists and asking Trump: “These are the ones who insulted you?” Not only is this apparent confirmation of the prediction before the meeting that Trump would whine to Putin about “FAKE NEWS!!” but it is also, to put it mildly, creepy and chilling given Putin’s history. Putin might have Trumpers fooled — but he knows that at least some of the journalists know what Putin did to journalists like Anna Politkovskaya.

I know many will say: hey, but Trump said tough stuff and took tough action regarding Russia before the meeting. Well, sure. Trump is fundamentally a coward who caters to his audience. He talks about “radical Islamic terrorism” in Warsaw, but not Saudi Arabia. He says in Warsaw: “We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression” — but when he speaks face to face with Putin, a man who kills journalists who engage in free speech and expression, he tells him he won’t meddle in Putin’s domestic affairs.

This cowardice sends a message to someone like Putin, who has sized up American leaders before. Putin determined that Bush and Obama were weaklings, and he has no doubt come to the same conclusion about Trump.

Expect aggression from Putin during Trump’s presidency. Yesterday’s meeting assured it.

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Report: Trump and Putin to Bond Over “Fake News”

The following passage, from a New York Times article yesterday, does not seem to have stirred much discussion — but it should:

The biggest concern, people who have spoken recently with members of his team said, is that Mr. Trump, in trying to forge a rapport, appears to be unwittingly siding with Mr. Putin. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin has expressed disdain for the news media, and he asserted in a recent interview that secretive elements within the United States government were working against the president’s agenda. Two people close to Mr. Trump said they expected the men to bond over their disdain for “fake news.”

“Two people close to Trump” might say anything, of course, so I don’t put a lot of stock in the notion that this will actually happen. If it does, however, it will be monstrously disgusting. Would you like to know why? Because when Vladimir Putin doesn’t like what he sees in the news, he doesn’t whine on Twitter or post a GIF.

Putin kills the journalist.

It is (somewhat dubiously) claimed that Stalin said: “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” So, I won’t dwell at length on the statistics that show that, as of January 2016, at least 34 journalists had been murdered since 2000 in Russia. (By comparison, only two journalists were murdered in China during the same period.)

Instead, I will remind you of the story of one journalist about whom I wrote here at RedState in January, in a review of Garry Kasparov’s book Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. That journalist’s name is Anna Politkovskaya.

“How come I am still alive? When I really think about it, it’s a miracle.”

These are the words of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, as quoted by Kasparov. He describes her as a fearless journalist who exposed Putin’s atrocities in Chechnya, and who had relentlessly criticized Putin and the FSB (the successor to the KGB). In 2004, on the way to help negotiate with the Chechen terrorists holding children and others hostage in Beslan, she was poisoned but did not die. (Yet.)

Here is a video of Politkovskaya talking about how Russia under Putin has become a Neo-Soviet state in which there is no freedom of speech.

How could someone like Politkovskaya say something like that and be allowed to live? you might ask. The answer is: she couldn’t. She was murdered in a contract killing at her apartment building on October 7, 2006.

Here is former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko (more about him in a moment) saying that Vladimir Putin was responsible for Politkovskaya’s death:

Litvinenko says he had been a friend of Politkovskaya’s, and that she had told him that she had been threatened by Putin and had wondered whether Putin and his confederates could actually kill her. Litvinenko told her they could, and advised Politkovskaya to leave the country. He says he had evidence that the Kremlin had her killed, but that it was seized by police. He says Politkovskaya could not have been killed without Putin having ordered it.

Litvinenko was the fellow murdered by Putin in London by the use of polonium 210, for offenses including helping to reveal Putin’s role in deadly Russian bombings attributed to Chechen rebels.

Putin never commits the act himself, of course. When a journalist is thrown off the roof of an apartment building in Moscow, Putin isn’t holding the right leg and counting “adin, dva, tree!” as he and Sergey Lavrov swing the body over the roof’s edge. But Putin orders such things to happen. It would be supremely naive to believe that Putin is not behind the murders of journalists in Russia. Nothing significant to Putin’s standing in Russia happens without his say-so.

Incidentally, our vaunted news media is predictably missing the point. Responding to the report that Putin and Trump planned to bond over “FAKE NEWS!!” (never forget the ALL CAPS and the exclamation points!) CNN’s Jim Sciutto responded: “Remarkable as Mr Putin’s Russia has weaponized fake news against Mr Trump’s own country.”

No, Mr. Sciutto, that’s not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is that when Vladimir Putin sees what he considers “FAKE NEWS!!” in Russia, he simply orders the journalist to be murdered. And then, when a critic accuses Putin of killing the journalist, Putin calls that “FAKE NEWS!!” as well. And then kills the critic. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

So the idea that Trump, who has been engaged in a petty pissing match with whiny overreacting journalists in the U.S., would commiserate with Putin about so-called “FAKE NEWS!!” is not just “troubling” or “concerning.” It’s repulsive — and should make all aware citizens feel sick to their stomach.

[Disclaimer]

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New York Times Falls for Absurd Tweet from North Korea Parody Account

As the President of the United States and Big Media compete for the title of “Last Credible Entity in America,” chalk up yet another loss for Big Media. First there was CNN’s overwrought reaction to the Trump wrestling tweet — capped by Andrew Kaczynski’s not-so-subtle threat to the GIF creator. And now this: a New York Times story that reports as “news” a laughable tweet from a blatant parody account.

Last night the New York Times reported:

The Trump administration on Tuesday confirmed North Korea’s claim that it had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it told Pyongyang that the United States would use “the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat.”

The administration followed up that warning with a joint military exercise in which United States and South Korean forces fired missiles in the waters along the Peninsula’s east coast as a show of power.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said the North’s missile launch earlier in the day was a milestone in its efforts to build nuclear weapons capable of hitting the American mainland.

On Twitter early Wednesday, the North Korean government belittled the joint exercise as “demonstrating near total ignorance of ballistic science.”

The source for the claim about North Korea’s Twitter ramblings? A parody account. Here is the tweet that fooled the New York Times yesterday:

The “DPRK News Service” Twitter account is run primarily by “Patrick Non-White,” a sometime blogger at Popehat.com who has been pulling the wool over the eyes of Big Media types for years. In April 2016, the Washington Post interviewed the authors in a piece that began:

The statements that come out of the North Korean propaganda machine often seem like parody, with denunciations of “imperialist puppets” and “running dogs” and threats to turn enemy countries into a “nuclear sea of fire.”

That means that many people fall for the outlandish statements put out by DPRK News Service, a satirical Twitter account with an uncanny ability to replicate the tone and peculiar vocabulary of Pyongyang’s agitprop department. (DPRK is the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.) A bunch of media outlets have also fallen for the account, including Newsweek, Fox News, BuzzFeed and, ahem, The Washington Post.

You can add the New York Times to that list.

The New York Times story published last night has since been corrected, but the version quoted above — published at 8:08 p.m. Eastern time — was preserved at the indispensable NewsDiffs.org web site. According to NewsDiffs, the line was removed at 8:53 p.m. At 10:08 p.m., the editors fessed up and added a correction:

Correction: July 4, 2017
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article attributed incorrectly a Twitter statement to the North Korean government. The North Korean government did not belittle a joint American-South Korean military exercise as “demonstrating near total ignorance of ballistic science,” that statement was from the DPRK News Service, a parody Twitter account.

Layers and layers of editors!

It is interesting that it took them from 8:53 p.m. until 10:08 p.m. to issue the written acknowledgment of the error, even though the article had already been edited to remove the reference to the parody tweet. Were they waiting to see if anyone had noticed?

It should be child’s play to demonstrate that you are more credible than Donald Trump. But these days, Big Media is losing that fight.

[Disclaimer]

The post New York Times Falls for Absurd Tweet from North Korea Parody Account appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State


Hospital Issues Update on Scalise’s Condition

It’s pretty grim but let’s remain hopeful.

Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations. We will provide periodic updates.

It was an attempted assassination, and Rep. Scalise faces a tough road ahead. Best to him and his family.

[Disclaimer]

The post Hospital Issues Update on Scalise’s Condition appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State