BY JOHN SHAFFER
The Most Important Election of the Year is over, and so we can go back to using lower case letters to denote it, because it didn’t turn out the way the progressive, anti-Trump groups thought it would. Yes, the run-off election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was supposed to be the election that marked the success of “the Resistance” to President Trump. (Ooops! We almost forgot that the term used to name the President is “Trump.” The “never Trumpers” almost never call him “President” Trump or use the honorific “Mr.”). Anyway, the candidate of the hour in the 6th, Democrat Jon Ossoff, was eager, capable, young, attractive, committed, and was a sure thing to take the House seat that had been in Republican hands since 1979. He almost did so a few weeks earlier when he nearly attained 50% of the vote in the first election. That is vital to the story, for had he exceeded the 50% threshold he would have won the seat and we wouldn't have needed the run-off. Maybe the Revolution would have started right then, but we will never know, because he came up a little short. Still, there was nothing to worry about. The experts said, given President Trump's unpopularity, Mr. Ossoff was the likely winner and those positive feelings helped him to rake in the dough attract substantial funding. The total for all the candidates in both the first election and the runoff could exceed $60 million. Over half of that was spent by the Ossoff campaign or on his behalf, but the eventual winner, Republican Karen Handel, was no slouch herself, taking in at least $21 million. Here is something to make us all pause: All that expense for a job that pays $174,000.
By John Shaffer
Remember those low-budget horror flicks from the 1950s and 1960s that had titles such as The Thing That Couldn't Die? There were movies and TV shows and radio programs in which the hero confronted a monster, that was as resilient as it was horrible - no matter what happened to it, it would come back to pursue the hero? Well, the Special Counsel's investigation into "Russian Collusion" is the modern-day version of that theme. The major difference is that the "thing" in those stories appeared to die, only to be revived; the Russia investigation thrives no matter how much life is squeezed out of it.
To begin with, long, long ago - in the spring of 2016, the Obama Administration somehow determined that "Russia" was meddling in the US election process. It kept this news private and claims to have confronted Russia over its interference by - get this - asking them to stop. That's right - they didn't stop - that is, if they were doing anything in the first place, for there is no credible evidence that they had been. As far as is known, the extent of their interference was to be a conjectural source of the hacked and stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton/Obama operative John Podesta. Of course, there is no evidence that it was "the Russians" who did this is, which is why we use the word "conjectural."
For reasons good or bad, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and Mr. Comey testified to Congress earlier this month. He said things that pleased and upset critics and defenders of President Trump alike, but he also said that after eleven months of investigating the FBI could find no evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia. MSNBC's Chris Matthews, a fierce critic of President Trump, said that Mr. Comey's testimony means that the "collusion" story "falls apart." What's more, former President Obama, former Vice President Biden, James Clapper and John Brennan, respectively the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA Director in the Obama Administration and Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein earlier all had declared that the Russians did not "hack the election" and there was no evidence of collusion.
By John Shaffer
America has freedom of the press, which the Supreme Court interprets to mean freedom of expression. But just because someone has the Constitutional right to say or do something does not mean that it always is wise or fitting or proper to say do that thing. For instance, the largely unfunny comedienne Kathy Griffin had herself photographed holding a replica of the bloody, severed head of President Trump. She was fired – not immediately, but within a bit more than 24 hours – from her gig as co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast. For what it’s worth, for the previous two New Year’s Eve events, Ms. Griffin has skated the line of outrageous salaciousness and came close to being released from that job both times. This time, she crossed that line, and Ms. Griffin herself realized that fact herself, making an abject apology and about the most profound mea culpa that a member of the entertainment world has made recently. She even did it sans makeup, looking all the more pathetic for it. Sadly, about 24 hours later she held a press conference, accompanied by legal counsel, and tearfully claimed that President Trump “broke her.” Yes, we all know how CNN eagerly does the bidding of President Trump. It seems in the world of semi-talented entertainers, those who take offense at being ridiculed or insulted or slandered are the villains, and those who did the original insulting are heroes of expression – unless they perceive themselves as slandered or insulted, because anyone who does that to them are wicked folks who can’t take a joke and who are trying to stifle free discourse. Gosh. It seems to us that had Ms. Griffin not held up what appeared to be the severed head of the President, none of this would have happened, so who really is responsible?
By John Shaffer
We didn't think anything could divert or distract the progressive left from its death-grip on the alleged "Trump-Russia collusion," but we readily admit that we were wrong, for if "Russia" was a ton of dynamite, the President's withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change was the "full Bikini atoll" of outrage. Now the Paris Accords were a wish list of aspirations and targets and pledges for reductions in "greenhouse gases," and apparently mean everything to those who "love the planet," which, they say, Donald Trump obviously does not.
Of course, the progressive left has a habit of crying wolf on the climate change story. In the first place, guess when Pres. Obama signed the Paris Climate Accord. Well, it was way back in April 2016. Just think, our planet is so fragile that one president could "save" it merely by signing an "executive agreement" and then another could "destroy" it by rescinding that agreement a year later. Who would have thought the pen was so powerful?
We have lost track about exactly when the polar ice caps were to have melted; was it 2000, or 2004, or 2016? It was all of these, according to various predictions by Al Gore and his fellows. Actually, the polar ice cap right now is as thick as it was in 1940, and the island nation of the Maldives still exists, despite warnings that it would have been drowned years ago. Each year since New Orleans reeled from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, Al Gore and his fellows have warned that we would be plagued with more hurricanes and more powerful hurricanes, due to climate change (We guess we should capitalize those latter two words, to indicate their central importance). Actually, in the years since Katrina, America has experienced one of the mildest stretches of hurricanes in history.
Now we don't expect everyone to make correct predictions, and certainly not all the time, but after a couple decades of predictions being spectacularly wrong, why do people continue to put stock in any predictions those people continue to make? When have they been right? We think there is powerful evidence that much of the powerful evidence for the powerful evidence of "global warming" can be assigned to the fact that so many of our temperature readings are taken in urban sites or a heavily paved airports. Why do the people who put so much faith in the theoretical laboratory experiments of "the greenhouse effect" also ignore the easily provable "heat island effect" of concrete?
By John Shaffer
The economist John Maynard Keynes is supposed to have warned, “never predict anything, especially the future.” We know how difficult or risky it is to predict the weather, or the winner of the World Series, or almost anything, but few prognosticators get it wrong as often as the US government offices that “score” various proposals.
For instance, when Obamacare was passed in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office made a prediction about how many people would be covered under the insurance exchanges set up under the legislation. They said 23 million would be so covered by the year 2016. Do you know what the actual number was – go ahead, guess. That’s right, 10.6 million, less than half the projected number – and as we remember it, that original projection was used as justification for several of the “yes” votes for Obamacare. But that wasn’t the only prediction that the CBO made about Obamacare in 2010. The CBO estimated that the cost of Obamacare would be $948 billion for the first ten years of the program. Here’s a good place to insert a note that several members of congress had stated that the cost of O-care “had to be under a trillion dollars” or else they wouldn’t vote for it. Well, we for one weren’t worried, because we knew that one way or another the number would be conveniently under the trillion dollar figure, and lo and behold, it was. Of course, by 2014 the CBO had (ahem!) “revised” its cost projection to somewhere north of $2 trillion. For the record, that means that the original cost estimate and the original estimate of number of insured both were oceans away from the actual figure. Fewer than half the number signed up and it cost over twice as much as the first projection. To use a technical term, that’s a pretty lousy prediction