Listen to the rhythm of the words today

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Spin du jure – A tip of the ol’ green eyeshade to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who uttered an apt catch-phrase Wednesday night to describe the Democrats’ unrelenting and unsuccessful preoccupation with Russian interference and alleged high-level U.S. collusion in last November’s presidential election.

Conway called the failing seven months of inquiry the “Russian concussion.” Her comment came during her appearance on Sean Hannity’s FOX-TV talk show.

Conway said that the American electorate is not talking about Russia and its purported role (or lack thereof) in the election.

“You have the Democrats talking about Russia,” she said. “You have (President) Donald Trump and the Republicans talking about America. I’ll take America talk any day over Russia talk.”

Secret? Seriously? — Today, the “secret” is out. Yes, that’s what the mainstream media are calling the Republican plan in the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.

The Democrats have been whining for weeks about the GOP’s work behind closed doors to fashion the bill that already has been leaked to health-industry lobbyists, who then forwarded it to the Washington Post. Is nothing sacred in Washington?

The bill was kept under wraps because it was a work in progress. In the same way, an efficient police department will keep active investigations under wraps. In both cases, the authorities don’t want what’s at stake to be prematurely tried in the court of public opinion.

So, what’s new about keeping secrets on Capitol Hill? Absolutely nothing. The Democrats did the same thing when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi uttered her now infamous statement about the pending Affordable Care Act championed by Barack Obama in March 2010. That’s when she said: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

Keep her around a while – Speaking of Pelosi, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says the voters in California’s 12th District (San Francisco) need to re-elect her at least five more times to keep her around in the U.S. House for the next decade or so.

Gingrich, who appeared on national television Thursday morning, reasons that as long as Pelosi is in the mix, the Democratic initiatives in the House are doomed to failure. Also doomed to oblivion will be the war cry of the Democratic caucus to oppose everything Republican – not on its merits, but because it was spawned by the GOP.

Pelosi is a staunch critic of President Trump and is the firebrand voice of the Democratic caucus in the House. She and Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, have been at odds for years.

In 2008, Gingrich and Pelosi – who then was serving as Speaker of the House — appeared sitting together on a loveseat, making a public-service commercial that addressed the theory of climate change and global warming. Gingrich later said that making that TV ad with Pelosi was “probably the dumbest single thing I’ve done in recent years.”

Please think responsibly, then act accordingly

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Judging by the bucks flying around, you might have believed that a Trump-Clinton rerun was being replayed Tuesday in upstate Georgia. Perhaps it was — but that slant should not have been in the center ring of the political circus.

In Tuesday’s 6th District runoff for a U.S. House seat to represent suburban northwest Atlanta, Republican Karen Handel handily trumped novice Democratic rival Jon Ossoff. Handel (a former Georgia secretary of state) beat Ossoff (a self-described investigative filmmaker) by 52 percent to 48 percent — a margin of nearly 11,000 votes among the 250,000-plus ballots cast.

Most of the media latched onto the hook that the special election reflected the nation’s support (or lack thereof) for President Donald J. Trump, who defeated former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton last November. Indeed, the Handel-Ossoff contest was viewed that way because of the millions of dollars poured into the campaign from beyond the boundaries of the 6th congressional district. At $50 million donated to one side or the other, it was the most expensive political contest in Georgia’s history.

CNN’s report even trumpeted Handel’s victory as “denying Democrats their first major victory of the Donald Trump era.”

But isn’t that view just a little bit myopic? C’mon, you left-leaners. The Handel-Ossoff campaign was about the issues. And the majority of voters in House District 6 favored where Handel stands.

It’s time for reporters and editors alike to put aside the bitterness and acrimony that continue to dominate the fallout from the November election. It’s time to let the influence of social-media bias bite the dust. What the heck has happened to good news judgment? When will we once again read news reports on national politics that reflect not only the truth, but also accuracy and — most importantly — impartiality?

Handel spoke for many in the electorate during her victory speech, when she said voters in both red states and blue states “need to lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements. Because in these United States of America, no one — no one — should ever feel their life threatened over their political beliefs.”

So, let’s get to it, eh?

And one more thing: In the 6th District race, the pre-election polls  were wrong again. When will the media understand that polls are not news? Poll results do not reflect the broader populace. The results reflect only the opinions of those surveyed. The questionnaires can be “loaded” and/or incomplete, and the sampled areas can be gerrymandered to conform to an expected outcome.

Get it right, or get another job

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Before you join the screaming throngs of leftist liberals calling for more gun controls aimed at assault weapons, take time to get all the facts about Wednesday’s tragedy in Alexandria, Va.

At least two national media reported that “an SKS 7.62 assault-style rifle” was the primary weapon used in Wednesday’s attack. A lone shooter identified as James T. Hodgkinson put several U.S. senators in the crosshairs as they gathered for baseball practice.

But the SKS is NOT an assault rifle, as reported by ABC News and the Chicago Tribune. An estimated 2.7 million of the carbines were manufactured in the former Soviet Union (Russia) during the 1950s. They were mothballed when the AK-47 was developed. As most everyone knows, the AK-47 then morphed into the assault weapon of choice around the planet.

An assault rifle is capable of firing in fully-automatic mode or in a burst of fire, which is a rapid succession of a few rounds.

The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle. It is not capable of burst-firing, nor does it feature a fully automatic selector switch. The SKS — as with many standard rifles — can fire only one round per trigger pull, as opposed to firing continuously when the trigger is engaged. That’s what takes the weapon out of the realm of assault rifles.

Wednesday’s shooter — James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of west-central Illinois — was himself gunned down by security police, but not before he nearly killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was critically wounded. Three others were wounded as well in the mass-assassination attempt, but none of their injuries was life-threatening.

As for the reports that Hodgkinson’s weapon was an “assault-style rifle,” today’s media reporters as well as the amateurs flooding the social-media pool need to get it right the first time. Otherwise, their overblown and disgusting inaccuracy does nothing but fan the flames of bias and vitriol that are tearing this nation apart.

Time to bury some outdated buzzwords

Wouldn’t it be nice if a few on-air TV personalities and scriptwriters voluntarily scratched a some worn-out words and cliché phrases from their vocabularies?

Who are the targets here? Well, for starters: Madison Avenue copycats, entertainment trendophiles, B-movie actors, Neanderthal sports announcers, mindless political wonks and anyone else with an under-educated public persona.

Actually
Ahyte (the ebonics equivalent of “”all right”)
At the end of the day
Athleticism
Boots on the ground
Buzz-kill
Control their own destiny
En route
(just say “going” or “on the way”)
Freshen up
Get what you deserve
(You don’t deserve anything until you’ve earned it.)
Going forward
Ground game
How does that make you feel?
How does everything taste?
(Aka, the waitress cliché.)
Hydrate
I mean, look. You know …
(the preferred preface to buy time as one thinks of an appropriate answer to an intelligent question)
In a perfect world
Kick the can down the road
Left dead
(as in: The blast left 56 people dead. Just say the explosion killed 56 people.)
Like
(as in: So I, like, told him that, like, I was in pain, like, you know, like actually …)
“Moderate to severe” whatever
On a personal level
Paradigm shift
(most people don’t even understand what that means)
Real people
Shoot the A-gap
Stay with me.
(What every hero commands of the bruised and battered guy on the ground who’s bleeding out and dying.)
Take it to the next level
Sucking all the oxygen out of the room
This is how we roll
Totally
Verticality
(newly coined basketball term to note how high white men and black men can jump)
What have you got?
(a detective-show favorite)
Whether or not
(the word whether implies the “or not” part; “whether or not” is an exasperating redundancy)
You came for me.
(Utterance of a damsel in distress who doesn’t have sense enough to stay out of harm’s way.)

The futile hunt for smoking guns

Fired FBI director James Comey is scheduled to testify today before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee regarding alleged links last year between the campaign of Republican President-elect Donald Trump and suspected Russian operatives seeking to influence last November’s national election.

Comey’s seven-page opening statement is already on the public platter. And it’s about as bland as oatmeal. Moreover, his follow-up testimony is expected to contain enough meat to create a big, fat nothing-burger.

But pot-stirring Democrats with Trump impeachment proceedings on their minds are expected to squirt kerosene on the fire as they seek to grill Comey about the mythical Russia-gate, about the campaign-era activities of Michael Flynn (Trump’s former national security adviser) and about whatever other ill-advised “issues” they can bring to the fore.

Of course, Comey’s testimony is set to happen in two parts – a public hearing in the morning, followed by a second hearing behind closed doors in the afternoon. But given the record for leaked information in Washington these days, it won’t take long for the public to learn what was said in the closed session. Hopefully, Comey’s closed-door statements won’t matter and won’t deviate from what will be learned in the morning Q&A.

It’s time to put all this political hooliganism to rest. U.S. voters want their elected (and so far overly paid) representatives on Capitol Hill to focus on issues that can make a difference to the general populace – such as tax relief, better highways and bridges, more and better-paying jobs, and reducing the federal budget deficit.

How about it, you swamp rats? Or will you be making a concerted effort to ignore the interests of us “deplorables”? The challenge goes double for the national news media.

If it walks like a duck, and if it talks …

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Kyle Olson, writing online in The American Mirror, asks: “Has Nancy Pelosi completely lost her mind?” The simple answer is: Yes.

Olson poses a follow-up question: “Or does she just have to complain about everything President Trump does?” Again, the simple answer is: Yes.

The all-but-rhetorical questions come in the wake of the U.S. House minority leader’s criticism of Trump’s travel agenda abroad. The president screwed up, Pelosi maintains, because he did not visit the five nations on the planned itinerary in alphabetical order. She hints that to have done so would have shown a more neutral approach and less of an appearance of favoritism. After all, it’s form and not function in these foreign trips that matters most in the mind of a former mechanic shop beauty queen. 

The five nations on Trump’s first visit abroad as president are (in alphabetical order): Belgium, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Sicily and Vatican City. If you’ve been paying attention, Trump stopped first in Saudi Arabia and wound up in Belgium — a logical and nearly straight-line route that consumed less jet fuel than had he and his entourage followed an alphabetical itinerary.

If this is the best that Pelosi, a California Democrat, can do to challenge her fellow lawmakers across the aisle, the naysayers need to gird themselves for more bad news news as we draw closer to the mid-term elections in 2018. Take, for example, Republican pacesetter Greg Gianforte, who just won a special election to represent Montana in the U.S. House after engaging in a physical confrontation with a pushy news reporter. In the incident, the most damage done was that the reporter’s eyeglasses were broken. The left-leaning media covered the incident like it was a presidential felony deserving of the electric chair. When Geraldo Rivera — a veteran reporter and a veteran of confrontation — heard about the incident, he laughed, indicating it was much ado about nothing. (With a tip of the ol’ green eyeshade to William Shakespeare.) Apparently the majority of voters in Montana’s special election agreed. 

Olson winds up his article with a third gem of a question: “Is Nancy Pelosi really advocating for a Sesame Street strategy to boost foreign relations?” Again, the answer quite possibly is yes. It’s what you would expect from a demanding member of Congress who advocates for a floor vote before she has read the bill to understand what’s in it.

All that being said, I am guilty of Ding Dong School blogging for having spent this much time and ink on answering such Sesame Street concerns. Mea cupla.

Think Congress is spinning its wheels?

If you take the time to read the daily summary of the Congressional Record, chances are that you will be overwhelmed before you know it. Now, think of all the activity and uncoordinated initiative it took by a bunch of busy little elected bees and their over-worked, appointed office staffs to hatch the content of the Record daily.   

For certain, it appears that almost everybody on Capitol Hill is doing SOMEthing — introducing a bill, debating a measure, attending a subcommittee or a committee meeting, casting a vote on a resolution. And that doesn’t even begin to count activity in which our elected representatives engage themselves beyond the walls of the congressional chambers — such as meeting with visitors, conferring by phone on political strategies, reading the mail and e-mail that has been filtered and forwarded by the front-office staffs, dictating and approving press releases, and so on.

If you read every word of what’s in the daily Record and click on the hot buttons that take you to the devil in the details, what’s most daunting is the seeming complexity of actions taken. Some of it comes off as redundant. Some of it appears to be unnecessary. Some of it reflects ding-dong school thinking — makes you scratch your head and wonder what the heck prompted THAT?

Every now and then, as you wade through the weeds of make-work and blind-man’s-bluff, you stumble over a gold nugget that invites you to dive into the meat of an issue.

If you’re NOT reading the Congressional Record online summary daily, you ought to give it a try. Here’s where to start. Just click on the Web link below, or copy and paste the link address into your browser:

https://www.congress.gov/crec/2017/05/22/CREC-2017-05-22-dailydigest.pdf

 

The long road to national perdition

More and more Republicans in the U.S. House are being threatened physically by angry constituents in their respective districts, according to a report in The Hill. U.S. representatives such as Arizona’s Martha McSally, Tennessee’s David Kustoff and Virginia’s Tom Garrett have had occasion to fear for their safety.

Scores of GOP lawmakers have been subjected to videos going viral this year, showing constituents shouting their disagreement on support for President Donald Trump and policies such as the GOP’s health-care bill. Some of the rabble rousers even went so far as to boo God during one town-hall meeting.

Meanwhile, NBC-Washington TV-4 reports that Paul Irving, sergeant at arms for the U.S. House, has asked for at least $2 million to beef up security at representatives’ offices in their home districts. The upgrades would include so-called panic buttons and video surveillance equipment. Unfortunately, even that kind of spending might not prevent a repeat of the shooting in Arizona in 2011 that forced Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords out of her seat in the House.

On Saturday, Democratic activists rallied in Sacramento, Calif., to declare the Golden State to be the epicenter of liberal resistance to President Trump, according to the online Gateway Pundit. At one point, things got out of hand and infused the fingers – the middle fingers, to be exact, of outgoing California Democratic party chairman John Burton. Addressing the frenzied crowd, Burton jammed the air above his head with the double bird and reportedly hollered, “(Expletive deleted) Donald Trump!”

Seriously? First Amendment rights aside, is this the way we conduct ourselves here in the USA as the rest of the world watches?

We apparently are witnessing the beginning of the end of political civility. The last time that happened and was carried to its furthest extreme, this nation descended into civil war. Hopefully such a violent and bloody conclusion will not befall us again in these enlightened times, will it?

As someone said recently: Donald Trump’s election did not cause liberals to hate. It revealed their hate.

In the long run, the haters will be despised and ignored — or, worst case, wind up behind bars. Apparently to them, such outcomes are worth it. (Sigh.)

Whiners win; another good leader is out

Fringe-stream interests, fake news and political backbiting once again have run off a well-qualified candidate chosen to serve in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

On Friday, Tennessee state senator and former U.S. Army doctor Mark Green withdrew as President Trump’s choice to be secretary of the U.S. Army. Green cited false and misleading personal attacks, mischaracterization of his years in public service and acrimony over his Christian beliefs — to the point that he did not want to distract from the president’s aggressive agenda to make America great again.

Green was eminently qualified for the post. A retired Army flight surgeon, he is a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point. Green also has roots in Christianity, being a self-described “creationist” who is at odds with the secular theory of evolution. 

According to CNN, Green faced rising opposition from LGBT activists and Democrats over past comments about transgender individuals. In 2013, Green blasted President Barack Obama for supporting what he said were “‘transvestites in uniform.” Three years later, Green reportedly told a Tea Party group: “If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.” 

The era of political correctness should be over by now, especially when it involves naysayers representing social abomination. Before we can make anything right, we’ve got to deal with and reverse what’s wrong. Wouldn’t we rather have an individual who speaks honestly and with candor in a position of authority, rather than a “yes” man who cloaks his words in political correctness and opportunism?

Oh, the words we choose to use

Former CBS News president Andrew Heyward has offered his own take on the loyalty of FOX News cable/satellite viewers in the wake of the dismissal of prime-time ratings king and conservative political analyst Bill O’Reilly.

“There’s vulnerability in that FOX’s biggest star is gone,” Heyward told The New York Times. “There will be resentment among his loyal base. What mitigates that, of course, is that FOX’s success is tied to being sui generis.”

Sui generis? Sounds like something a redneck farmer would say about the birth of a pig.

Why didn’t Mr. Heyward just say “unique”?