Mattis Scolds America

Jim Mattis’ restrained criticism of President Trump, and American politics generally, is more devastating than a hundred MSNBC polemics.

President Donald Trump has had a rough week. The top story this weekend was the departure of his longtime executive assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, after she revealed personal details about the President’s family to the press. Then there was his spat with FOX News, which employs Trump allies like Sean Hannity and reports from a center-right perspective but also doesn’t shy away from criticism.

Neil Cavuto excoriated him, saying, “First of all, Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you. Call balls and strikes on you. My job, Mr. President, our job here, is to keep the scores, not settle scores.”

But for me, the most devastating criticism Trump faced was from his former Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Mattis resigned in December 2018 over a disagreement about troop withdrawals from Syria. He’s also releasing a new book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, which while critical of Trump’s foreign policy and leadership style, apparently isn’t openly critical enough for the left.

One Vanity Fair headline even read “Mattis Says He Loves America Too Much to Call Trump a Moron”. Sorry, Vanity Fair, not everyone is a partisan hack who views everything as a political litmus test.

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Does President Trump Want to Build Steam-Powered Aircraft Carriers?

Business Insider publishes wildly biased and misleading news story about Trump’s recent visit to Japan.

An unusual-sounding headline popped up in my news feed today. “Trump tells troops that future US supercarriers are ‘going to use steam’ in a weird rant about an obsession he can’t seem to shake.” Written by Ryan Pickrell for Business Insider, this alleged news story and its misleading headline is rife with opinionated and obviously biased descriptors and characterizations.

When I read this headline, it conjured an image of President Trump advocating a return to late 19th Century steam-powered ships. After all, that would be a “weird rant” about future US supercarriers using steam. You have to read past the headline to find out what actually happened.

In an address to sailors and Marines on the USS Wasp in Japan earlier today, President Trump mentioned he might issue an order for the Navy’s new Ford-class supercarriers to use steam-powered launchers to catapult aircraft off the flight deck, rather than the planned Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System. “The US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers have used steam launchers for decades,” the article explains.

Trump is concerned the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System is much more expensive without any added benefit. It also appears the majority of Naval personnel support continued use of the simpler steam launchers. So Trump is bringing up an issue to win favor with the troops, hardly something “weird” or controversial.

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CNN Reporter Pushes Feverish Delusions as “News Analysis”

“Is American democracy on the brink?” asks White House Reporter Stephen Collinson

Just when I thought I politics couldn’t get any weirder, I read this piece of “news analysis” by CNN White House Reporter Stephen Collinson published earlier today. Filled with dramatic hyperbole and wild assertions, this “journalist” has apparently shed all pretense of objectivity and flown from propaganda artist straight into raving lunacy.

What does it mean to call something “insane”? If you saw a person on the street corner raving about pink elephants lumbering down the street, you would probably say that person is insane. There is no substantive difference between what Stephen Collinson is writing on CNN and that person raving about pink elephants.

What new threat menaces our republic? A battle over a report that was, until recently, available to the public to read, aside from some redactions that would be illegal to make public.

Attorney General William Barr has released everything he’s legally allowed to publicly release when it comes to the Mueller Report. He’s even provided a special room to twelve privileged members of Congress, six Republicans and six Democrats, to view a nearly complete version of the report (zero Democrats have bothered reading it). And yet, in an act of political theater, Congressional Democrats intend to hold Barr in contempt anyway.

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Collusion Delusion

Piers Morgan savages news outlets for “an obsessively unrelenting campaign to bring [Trump] down as President”

Whether the mainstream news media has any shred of credibility left after the dust settles from the Mueller Report remains to be seen, but right now, it looks bad for the hundreds of journalists and pundits who staked their careers on the Russia collusion conspiracy.

To be completely fair, a negative result of an investigation doesn’t necessarily repudiate the investigation itself. If prosecutors bring evidence to a grand jury, but the jurors aren’t convinced a crime was committed and the case is dropped, we don’t attack the prosecutors for simply doing their job.

There was a legitimate case to be made that the Russian government, or at least elements or agents of it, tried to disrupt and influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s investigation uncovered mountains of evidence to support that and appropriate indictments were handed down.

But actual Russian interference in the election was a secondary concern to many journalists and political pundits, who seemed to have an unusually personal stake in proving President Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They were all-too-eager to report speculation, rumor, and innuendo as fact, with none of the usual qualifiers.

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After 22 Months: Robert Mueller Finds No Collusion!

Why every American should celebrate.

The Mueller Report finally dropped, and the most shocking revelation is how little it actually changes what we already knew about the 2016 presidential election. What it does do, however, is finally put to bed an insidious accusation that led millions of people to question the integrity of our democratic institutions.

Nearly every day for over two years, news outlets like CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Vox, Daily Beast, BuzzFeed News, and more have been insinuating and sometimes outright accusing President Trump of “colluding” with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.

I said it two years ago and I’ll say it again: the collusion conspiracy has always been about undermining the election results, casting Trump as illegitimate, and yes, getting revenge for Trump’s embrace of the Obama “birther” conspiracy.

Hillary Clinton supporters were so certain she would defeat Trump in a landslide, they literally couldn’t believe Trump actually won by legitimate means. There had to be another explanation besides Hillary was a lousy candidate whose scorched earth campaign against Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary cost her crucial votes in the Midwest.

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Media Bias on Full Display in Buzzfeed Debacle

Mainstream news outlets rush to promote an unverified tabloid story, seriously undermining their credibility at a time when a majority of Americans are skeptical about news.

One of the most incredible displays of foot-in-mouth I’ve ever seen unfolded yesterday as jubilant media figures pounced on a BuzzFeed story purporting to reveal that President Donald Trump ordered his former lawyer to lie to Congress. If true, this would constitute the grounds for impeachment, and possible prosecution, Trump’s opponents have been looking for since the day he entered office.

There was only one problem: it wasn’t true. Special Council Robert Mueller’s office took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement denying the report.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office

Taking a break from publishing lists of “cringeworthy moments” and celebrity gossip, BuzzFeed based the bombshell off anonymous sources. The usual suspects in the mainstream news media gleefully and uncritically spread the story as if it were fact. You could almost hear the collective cry: “We’ve finally got him!”

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White House Employees Warned About Violating the Hatch Act

A reprimand for engaging in politics on official accounts shows the importance of distinguishing between official and personal social media.

Last summer, in what seemed like an eternity ago as new scandals and outrage constantly emerge, there was a brouhaha over news outlets treating President Trump’s Twitter posts as official White House statements. Despite a contrary statement from then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, I still believe Trump’s personal Twitter feed should not be treated as official statements from the White House, and this latest incident shows why.

According to CNN, six White House officials were sent letters of reprimand from Office of the Special Counsel to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder for violating the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials, from engaging in political activity while acting in an official capacity. Most relevantly, the Act allows federal employees to express opinions about candidates and issues, but prohibits them from engaging in political activity while on duty, in a government office, wearing an official uniform, or using a government vehicle.

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