I rarely write about myself. I don’t want to be one of those people who fill the internet with the boring minutia of their daily lives. Sometimes something happens that might be of interest.
Late last year I went to an orthopedist because of back pain. He said I would need to have both hips replaced and ordered an MRI. Something that shouldn’t be there showed up. The oncologist said I had a tumor the size of a volleyball. Further tests revealed it was an uncurable lymphoma and I was in Stage 4.
Fortunately, lymphoma is the most treatable of all Stage 4 cancers. I began chemotherapy. There were few side effects. Currently I am in remission and continue to have maintenance chemo.
Obviously, I wish this had never happened. However, there have been some positives. I’m strong enough to handle anything life throws at me. Helping cancer patients is now an important cause. I’m working on a book on dealing with cancer from a patient’s perspective. The outpouring of support from family and friends has been tremendous. I now understand how fragile life is and the importance of making each day count. I am more patient and get less upset over minor things.
If a dark cloud comes your way, try to find the silver linings. They don’t make up for the cloud but they can have a positive impact on your life.
The term “Deep State” has been around for some time. Usually it refers to the military using undue influence on a civilian government. Recently, it has been used by some Republicans who have charged that an organized element in the executive branch has formed to hurt the Trump presidency.
Does it exist? The idea that there is a conspiracy so vast that it is a government within our government is absurd. However, there are a number of individuals either working together or separately against the Trump administration.
We have seen ample evidence. Some within the Justice Department and FBI have conspired to hurt Trump’s chances of being elected. Peter Strozk and Lisa Page even talked about an “insurance policy” to prevent his election. There have been numerous leaks of classified information. A former FBI agent was just sentenced to prison and a Treasury employee has just been arrested for leaking.
Americans of all political stripes should be outraged that there are those within our government are plotting to harm a presidential administration. Unfortunately, it looks like many on the Left no longer believe in democracy. Instead, they want a Democratacy, in which only one party rules.
We have seen the rhetoric between the parties become more and more hostile. This is especially true of the language Democrats are using. Some, like Maxine Waters, are advocating hassling government officials when they are in public.
This hostile language had been limited to the Far Left but is now going mainstream. Hillary Clinton recently said “You can’t be civil” to Republicans. Former attorney general Etic Holder used violent imagery. He paraphrased a Michelle Obama quote “When they go low, we kick them”.
They are not condoning violence. But when they talk about not being civil and kicking Republicans, they do not mean engaging in a spirited debate. They are adding fuel to a roaring fire. Nobody can predict where this might lead.
Some of this is political. Many Democrats have latched onto a strategy of attracting votes by encouraging hate and anger toward Republicans. Personally, I think this is incredibly stupid. Everyone who is angry is already voting Democratic.
I have to assume that this reflects their personal beliefs. I can’t get in their heads (nor would I want to) to know what they are thinking. My best guess is that they see the country divided into two groups; good and evil. They assign people to these groups solely based on how they vote. It is not fair that the evildoers are in power. Therefore, any measure taken against them (presumably nonviolent) are justified. I guess that means that fairness trumps democracy (no pun intended).
Certainly, they are entitled to their views. I believe they are harmful to the country and their own political future.
Today I complete this round of political analysis by taking a look at the House of Representatives. Democrats need 24 seats to gain control.
I started by looking at what the experts were predicting. There were 42 seats in which at least half of them predicted it to be a tossup or a flip to the other party. All but 2 seats are currently held by Republicans. I looked at the district, incumbent (if one) and the experts’ predictions. In some cases, I looked at polls. I have 18 seats flipping to the Democrats and 2 going to the Republicans. If correct, the GOP would keep control of the House. However, this is a very imprecise process. I am 60-65% confident that Republicans will hang on to the House.
My gut is telling me the same thing. Democrats have recruited many fine candidates. At the national level their message is almost entirely based on demonizing Republicans. People need a reason to vote for a candidate. Being told to vote out of anger is not enough. Those people are already voting for Democrats.
No matter how it turns out, the Trump legislative agenda is likely dead. The most conservative members are unwilling to compromise. Even if Republicans keep the House, it will be by a thin majority.
What is really at stake is whether or not we will have nonstop investigations and impeachments. The Kavanaugh confirmation paints a good picture of how Democrats would run the House.
Thank goodness the Cavanaugh confirmation hearings are finally over. All of the Democrats’ attempts to derail the nomination have failed. All the hoopla accomplished nothing. Republicans were not going to vote against Kavanaugh when there was no corroborating evidence to support the charges against him.
Obviously this is a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow. However, they should realize that this battle is over. They should focus on the upcoming elections. Much of their response comes from anger. Some groups talk about harassing public officials. Some congressmen have talked about impeaching Kavanaugh. Other tell people to use their anger to vote Democratic. There’s just one problem. All those that are angry are already voting Democratic.
People need positive reasons to vote for a candidate. Gaining power to get political retribution is not enough. They didn’t have a compelling story in 2016 and are showing few signs of developing one this year.
I’m finally ready to finish my review of the Senate midterm elections. Right now, we are all wrapped up in the Kavanaugh confirmation. I don’t see it making much difference in the election. The story will soon be over and those who have strong feelings about it have already made up their mind.
Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority. Previously I predicted that they would only lose Nevada. At the time I predicted that Martha McSally of Arizona would win. It looked like she was moving ahead in the polls. Since then, her opponent, Krysten Sinema has had a small but consistent lead. Once again, I’m changing my mind and giving the seat to the Democrats. That would give them the two seats they would need to take over the Senate. However, they can’t afford to lose a single seat.
Here’s how I see the races in which the Democrats are vulnerable shaping up:
Florida – Incumbent Bill Nelson is being challenged by Governor Rick Scott. All the prognosticators have it as a tossup and the polls bounce back and forth. This one is too close to call.
Indiana – Businessman Mike Braun is trying to unseat incumbent Joe Donnelly. Everyone is calling it a tossup. Donnelly has maintained a small lead in the polls but it’s also too close to call.
Missouri – Claire McCaskill is being challenged by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. Everyone is calling it a tossup and the polls are all over the place. There is no way I can make a call.
Montana – Republicans had hoped to pick up the seat but the trends are favoring the Democrats.
North Dakota – Incumbent Heidi Heitkamp may be in trouble. In recent days five of the seven predictors have moved from tossup to favoring Republican challenger Kevin Cramer. I am comfortable calling this a win for the GOP.
West Virginia – Incumbent Joe Manchin is very popular and should win reelection.
If my predictions come true, the Republicans would lose one seat with three too close to call. If there is a trend, I believe it is going the Republicans’ way. Democrats have no answer to the strong economy and tax cuts. A lot can happen in a month but I see them at least keeping their current 51-49 majority.
I will take another look at these races right before the election.
I never expected to write another post about the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. Then something unexpected happened. A compromise was reached.
Unlike many, I deliberately didn’t watch yesterday’s testimony. By all accounts, the accuser did well. Even President Trump had kind words for her. It looked to me that Kavanaugh would not be confirmed. It had nothing to do with what did or did not happen years ago. This gave Democrats political cover not to vote against him. Republicans could only afford to lose one vote and I expected them to lose two or three.
Several of those on the fence met. Out of that came the agreement to have the FBI do a brief investigation and report back in a week. Some Republicans are criticizing this because they don’t want to concede an inch of ground to the Democrats. Their object is not to win a political battle; it’s to get Kavanaugh confirmed. This will give political cover to vote for him. No matter what happens, Democrats will scream for further delays. It may take more than a week, but I expect he will be sworn in soon.
If my prediction comes true, it will be a real pleasure to see something work as it is supposed to. Government is all about compromise. That’s the only reason we have a country in the first place. Today, both parties are more interested in fighting each other than doing what is good for the country. That’s why I am an independent.
Bill Cosby had it all: a long, highly successful career, more money than he could ever spend and the adoration of millions. He was known as America’s favorite dad.
We have all learned that under the veneer of goodness was something really ugly. He saw women as nothing more than playthings. He felt he could do whatever he wanted and could get with it because of who he was.
At age 81, he should have been able to enjoy himself and look back on a wonderful life. Instead, he is starting a new life as a prisoner. He is likely blaming others for his downfall. It is entirely his fault.
Along the way he was given all the protections allowed by the Constitution and the laws. That is how it should be. Both the accused and the accuser deserve to be treated fairly.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. They believe in guilty until proven innocent. They believe that a person’s gender should be used to determine their believability. They believe all men are culpable.
These people may get their way. If so, none of us will have the protection the Founding Fathers gave us when they wrote the Constitution.
Earlier today there was a lot of speculation that Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein would be out of a job. So far, he is still there. I’m glad to hear it because he is getting a bum rap.
Rosenstein is the type of person we need in the Justice Department. He is brilliant (graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League school and was editor of the Harvard Law Review). He is talented and bipartisan. He has been part of the last four presidential administrations. President Trump nominated him and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 94-6.
He had barely been on the job when Trump ordered he and Jeff Sessions to produce a memo outlining the reasons why FBI Director James Comey should be fired. The decision had already been made. Trump was looking for some political cover.
Comey’s firing produced hysterical reactions. In that environment, talking to a Russian citizen was seen as proof of a criminal conspiracy. Sessions had a number of contacts with them while performing his duties as a Senator. He recused himself and the whole mess fell in Rosenstein’s lap.
He knew that someone needed to be brought in to investigate the accusations of collusion. He had known Robert Mueller for nearly thirty years. At the time Mueller had a very good reputation. In fact, it was George W. Bush who named him to head the FBI. Rosenstein couldn’t have foreseen that Mueller would have a staff almost completely made up of highly partisan Democrats and launch a witch hunt.
Many Republicans were upset when it was revealed that he signed the FISA warrant on Carter Page based on the infamous Steele dossier. He had to believe what the FBI told him. Obviously, he doesn’t have the resources to reinvestigate the case. Isn’t 20/20 hindsight wonderful?
The latest bombshell was the New York Times report that he was involved in a plan to record President Trump and start a 25th Amendment attempt to remove Trump from office. I find it interesting that those who denounce the Times believe they got it right this time. There was some kind of meeting in which Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page were among the attendees. Who is more likely to conspire against the President? The man who was just hired by him or those who are neck deep in the FBI scandals? Clearly someone was out to destroy Rosenstein and the Times was happy to help them.
There are some Republicans who are no more interested in Rosenstein being treated fair than some Democrats are with Kavanaugh. The country would be well served if those who wish to pervert justice were out of office.
In these times of divisiveness, any confirmation hearing for a potential supreme court justice is bound to be contentious. Right now, we have a three-ring circus.
The process used to be far less partisan. Unless there were strong objections, most senators thought the president was entitled to their choice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg received 96 votes. Now, very few senators will vote for anyone in the opposite party.
If President Trump is able to nominate a successor to Anthony Kennedy, it is almost certain to affect the balance of the Court. Democrats are so desperate that they are willing to do almost anything. They are determined to stall this until next year in the hope that they will then control the Senate. Some see this as the same thing that Republicans did with Garland. There is a huge difference between the majority deciding not to act and a minority thwarting the will of the majority. President Obama once said elections have consequences. Apparently, that applies only to Republicans.
The hearings got off to a raucous start with Democrats constantly interrupting and demonstrators trying to stop the hearings. We had two senators send out videos that were deliberately edited to make Kavanaugh look bad. Cory Booker had his Spartacus moment.
Of course, all that was a prelude for the accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a girl when he was a teenager. Rather than discuss the case itself, I want to focus on how it is being handled. Diane Feinstein deliberately kept it under wraps for two months. Some want a guilty until proven innocent approach. It’s impossible to prove a negative. He would need an hourly diary for both he and the accuser from their teen years. Senator Hirono of Hawaii attacked men in general saying they should “shut up and step up”. Now some are saying they will impeach him if he is confirmed.
These actions may make them feel good and endear them to their base. This is not the way most Americans want their government to operate. These tactics may hurt them in the midterm election.