Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have no good martinis to serve on Presidents’ Day. They shake their heads as two survivors from last week’s school shooting label the NRA “child killers” and insist the group be disbanded and blast CNN for the leading questions that led to those statements. They also groan as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicts the GOP will lose seats in the House and Senate, which would suggest he expects to be in the minority after an election map that couldn’t be better suited for Republicans. And they slam CNN again for horribly biased questions to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is now demanding something be done about guns while scrubbing his website of language describing how he is a champion of the Second Amendment.

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Mueller Indictment of Russians for Illegal Political Activities

 

It appears the Ruskies began a general plan to sow discord long before Trump was a candidate. In the primaries, that meant going after the establishment candidates on both sides, in favor of Bernie and Trump. Consider Section 10 e:

By in or around May 2014, the ORGANIZATION’s strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

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FBI Ignored Specific Warning That Parkland Killer Could Attack School

 

The FBI admitted today that it didn’t investigate a specific tip that Nikolas Cruz might conduct a school shooting.

On January 5, a person close to the 19-year-old shooter provided information about “Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social-media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” The FBI ignored the warning.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer will run for the U.S. Senate in North Dakota, and even though he’s not as conservative as we might want him to be, by all accounts Cramer gives the GOP its best chance to defeat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Jim also details his frustration with the constant demand for a national conversation on gun laws when so many gun control activists have little grasp of the facts and little idea what the existing laws are. And they react to Ronan Farrow’s column detailing Donald Trump’s efforts to carry on a months-long affair and keep it a secret, all while he was married to Melania and just months after their son was born.

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America wade through the details of another horrific school shooting. This time 17 people are dead at a high school in Florida. They honor the heroes who saved students’ lives, including a football coach who died shielding kids from the gunfire. They’re also frustrated that warning signs about this shooter were abundant, including expulsion and a ban from campus, yet little was done by law enforcement to address the problem. And they discuss the tiresome Twitter rage in the wake of tragedies like this, with David pointing out that Twitter often proves that the supposed experts on an issue are actually quite clueless in their supposed area of expertise.

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Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer Michael Warren and deputy online editor Jim Swift discuss gun control efforts in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, whether or not the Senate’s open-ended immigration debate will yield any results, the White House’s security clearance problem, and Mitt Romney and the future of the Senate GOP caucus.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a new Politico/Morning Consult poll showing more Americans now plan to vote for a Republican congressional candidate than for a Democrat, which is a big swing since in recent weeks. They also roll their eyes as Democrats and pundits fret that President Trump hasn’t given specific orders for the FBI to thwart Russian attempts to meddle in the midterm elections, when FBI Director Christopher Wray says they are on the case because it is their job after all. And they look at the Valentine’s Day tradition of columns by liberal women blaming men for their own relationship frustrations and the decline of modern romance.

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Steele Dossier Intrigue

 

In August 2007, it all seemed so easy. Barack Obama announced on the campaign trail that, if elected president, he would banish backroom intrigue with an unprecedented commitment to transparency. By 2016, that promise had been abandoned, as the Obama administration erected barriers to public access to information that surpassed those of previous administrations. That veil of secrecy has been only partially lifted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election allegedly in collaboration with the Trump campaign.

On this score, I agree with the Hoover Institution’s Paul Gregory, who has extensively studied Russian propaganda tactics, that the Russians knew that they could not influence the outcome of the election with a few well-timed tweets. But they understood that a disinformation campaign could raise the specter of collusion with either party, which would then weaken the presidency no matter which candidate won. So far, this strategy has worked brilliantly. We now know that the Democratic National Committee, through the research firm Fusion GPS, financed the efforts of British spy Christopher Steele to dredge up dirt, contained in his famous dossier, on a supposedly deep Trump-Russia connection in the run-up to the 2016 election. Opposition research is part of the grand American political tradition, and this tidbit from the opening line of Steele’s dossier was an intended bombshell: “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.”

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Recipe for a Wedding Cake

 

In his famous poem “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley describes the head of the tyrant’s statue lying in the desert sand:

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the family leave plan pushed by Sen. Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump to allow parents to tap their future Social Security checks to cover the weeks surrounding the birth of a new baby in exchange for waiting extra weeks when they reach retirement. In addition, Alexandra rebuts the liberal insistence that family leave must be a whole new entitlement. They also slam Republicans for effectively surrendering the option to use budget reconciliation for the next two years as part of the horrific budget deal with Democrats. And they fire back at Republican lawmakers who spent Thursday trashing Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster as a waste of time, when those GOP members are really just mad that Sen. Paul called them out for their blatant hypocrisy on deficit spending and not wanting to take a vote on restoring budget caps.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America relish enjoy watching the credibility of the Steele dossier implode even further now that disreputable Clinton fixer Sid Blumenthal is being implicated for feeding information to Steele. They also shake their heads as President Trump says he would love a government shutdown unless he gets his way on border security just weeks after Republicans successfully convinced Americans that funding the government should not be contingent upon passing an immigration bill. And they have no problem honoring the U.S. military with a parade as President Trump wants to do, but Jim says there are more pressing national security concerns, including long-term funding and pay raises.

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political podcast number 161 it’s the Devin Nunes, Man of Steele edition of the show with your humble hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and nanophysicist Mike Stopa. In this week’s edition we dissect, trisect, septasect the Nunes memo, the Steele dossier (yichh!) and the FBI cabal that is working night and day to take Trump down.

This is a serious discussion. Of course the legacy media on the left (did I repeat myself?) are doing nothin but “debunking.” They call it fact checking but they set out with the clear and unvarnished objective to cut the Nunes memo down to size. Newsweek’s treatment is particularly egregious in its one-sidedness. But is the right a bit unhinged as well? Stopa thinks so, Todd is unconvinced. Is there really a conspiracy in the FBI? or is it simply partisanship that has gotten excessive? We will discuss.

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A Comeuppance for Obama’s Presidential Center

 

When Barack Obama was President of the United States, he eagerly used his “pen and phone” to achieve his grand environmental objective of locking up public lands to keep them from private use. In January 2017, he used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate 1.3 million acres of land in Utah as a National Monument. The month before he mounted an all-out resistance to both the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline—two projects that offered more reliable delivery of oil and fewer adverse environmental effects than the railcars and trucks that they displaced.

Citizen Obama uses a different playbook now that he is embroiled in his own personal land-use controversy. The Obama Foundation is in a fierce struggle over its proposal, now before The Chicago Parks Commission, to locate the new Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in the high-rent district of Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. The park is now a scenic area near Hyde Park, originally designed by the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Many compelling objections to the Jackson Park location are outlined in an excellent group letter (to which I added my name) by over 200 University of Chicago professors, as well a powerful letter to the Chicago Tribune by Professor W.J.T. Mitchell, one of the leaders of the opposition, who rightly blasts the Tribune’s architectural critic Blair Kamin for his defense of an ungainly project, which is just too big for its proposed home.

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Happy Reagan’s Birthday everyone! Today, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Vice President Mike Pence for bringing Otto Warmbier’s father as his guest to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea and keeping the focus on North Korean repression in the midst of the communist regime’s charm offensive during in the games. They’re also exasperated as President Trump gives his political opponents and the media new fodder for criticism as Trump flippantly suggests Democrats were treasonous for not applauding good news during his State of the Union address last week. And they’re deeply frustrated as an illegal immigrant previously deported for drunk driving is now charged with the death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver – once again while drunk and in the U.S. illegally. They also slam the media for biased coverage of the immigration debate, dismissing stories like this and focusing almost exclusively on the success stories of young people in the nation illegally.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of National Review welcome transparency about our government, most recently the disturbing revelations about the FBI’s allegedly sloppy and politically charged approach to obtaining a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign figure Carter Page. They also roll their eyes as partisans on both sides react to the memo, including Democrats who see nothing wrong with the FBI allegedly using a dossier as evidence without confirming its veracity and not telling the FISA court it was paid for by Democrats and Republicans insisting this means the Mueller investigation must be shut down immediately when the memo’s author says that is not his conclusion at all. And they’re thrilled to see the New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl, but shake their heads in disgust as Philadelphia fans destroy property, flip cars, and engage in other revolting behavior.

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On this week’s episode of Banter, new AEI visiting fellow Naomi Schaefer Riley discusses how big data might contribute to efforts to reform foster care bureaucracies. Naomi published a piece in the February 2018 edition of “Reason” magazine on the issue. The article describes how predictive analytics might be used to assess whether children are at a heightened risk of abuse or neglect based on available data. You can access the full article at the link below.

Learn More: 

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The Trump Growth Machine

 

I discovered my genuine confidence in the sustainability of the current economic growth cycle when I recommended to my 27-year-old Uber driver that he invest some portion of his wages in a diversified index fund. Although the stock market will surely ease off its current pace, it nevertheless should prove far more profitable than standard money market funds with their puny returns. The good news is that the current trend likely will not fizzle out anytime soon thanks to several key factors, including lower taxes and deregulation.

Igniting economic growth, as the Trump administration’s policies are doing, is not as straightforward as it sounds because it is easy to make spectacular mistakes in judgment if caught in the grip of Keynesian economic theory. A day after Barack Obama’s 2008 election, the Dow plunged by almost 500 points. On the day of Trump’s election, the economist Paul Krugman wrote with his legendary overconfidence: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” The Federal Reserve, he added, could not cut rates again to forestall the anticipated recession—and the Trump administration would only make matters worse because it was “ignorant of economic policy.” But the Dow soared by 250 points.

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