Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, December 14, 2016



Hey, we have some actual news on the local front today:

  1. State Rep. Merrill accused of misconduct in office, violating state ethics law — The other shoe has finally dropped in the investigation arising from the Bobby Harrell mess. Or perhaps I should say another shoe, since Pascoe says the probe continues, and we have no idea how many feet this critter has.
  2. Fed Lifts Rates, Signals More Increases Next Year — A story like this is like Christmas for the WSJ; they gave it the equivalent of a six-column headline.
  3. Aleppo battle: Raids on Syria city ‘likely a war crime’ UN says — Thank Goodness for British media, else we’d forget the rest of the world is out there. This is leading the BBC.
  4. SC Gov. Haley fires Richland Recreation Commission chair, vice chair — Better yet, she let one of the good-guy members stay on instead of firing everybody. So good one, governor.
  5. Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets — Part two of the NYT’s series on what the Russians did to undermine our electoral process.
  6. Legendary jewel thief Doris Payne, age 86, caught stealing diamond necklace — A change of pace, for the mix. Maybe she should take a page from Cary Grant’s character in “To Catch a Thief” and retire. Don’t you think she’s earned it at this point?
Grant's character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

Grant’s character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

13 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, December 14, 2016

  1. bud

    There are a number of reasons the electors should disavow their pledge to vote Trump

    He was involved with a hostile foreign power to influence the election
    He has massive conflicts of interest both here and especially abroad
    He’s a serial groper and probable rapist
    He’s mentally ill to the point he’d be very dangerous with our military assets
    He’s committed fraud on many occasions
    He’s violated fair housing laws

    If the electors fail to do their duty to protect the country then congress should impeach him.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      All faithless electors will do is pound a final nail into the public’s faith in elections. It’s also not going to work, as the House will simply elect Trump in the contingent election.

      Calling for the Electors to vote against their pledge signifies that you want to cast aside law and custom to throw a fit of spite. To demand that the Electors reject Trump now is to say that Americans can’t govern themselves. In tyrannies, at least they have the courtesy to make up vote totals that no one really believes, but at least give the tyrant a fig leaf. Here, there wouldn’t even be the fig leaf.

      All this calling for faithless electors has already done damage in that it has created a new legitimate political strategy to lobby/confront/pressure the Electors.

      I’d rather have a bad POTUS than to toss our system of government, laws, and customs into abyss from which there is no return.

    2. Claus

      I was wondering why Putin was standing behind Trump when he came out with his family after winning the election.

      Trump has until January 20th to move away from his business. He hasn’t been sworn into any office as of yet.

      Has anyone noticed that the women who accused Trump of sexual advances have all dried up now that the election is over? Why aren’t they after him like they are with Bill Cosby? Is it because the DNC stopped the checks and Gloria Allred has moved onto other headline creating clients?

      Trump came out as being mentally sound per his latest physical. Does Hillary still have her doctor standing behind her now that the election is over?

      Where are all the fraud lawsuits against Trump? Every multi-billion dollar company is constantly sued, a good friend of mine is chief council for one of the largest construction companies in the world, it’s a slow day if they have less than a dozen lawsuits filed against them.

      Did Trump refuse to allow Mar a Lago to be used as Section 8 housing?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Trump has until January 20th to move away from his business.”

        So does that mean you’re going to regret supporting him if he fails to do that?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        OK, Doug, aside from making a joke at Bud’s expense, what do you mean by that?

        Do you mean that having Donald Trump as president is no worse than having Bill Clinton? That could easily be inferred from what you said.

        But surely you don’t mean that.

        Remember: I adamantly called for Bill Clinton to resign after his lying about Monica Lewinsky was revealed. I support the House’s impeachment.

        That said, the difference between them is night and day, in terms of qualifications to be president. The nation would be infinitely better off with Bill Clinton, a gifted man with a brilliant grasp of policy, than with Trump, the nightmare.

        If I’ve got to have a groper, give me the one who knows how to do the job, and isn’t bound and determined to betray the country’s interests to the Russians.

        There’s just not even a contest here…

        1. Doug Ross

          I was only attempting to show that bud’s ravings should be put into context. Bill Clinton did things that were far worse than Trump did when it came to women – the allegations of rape are more plausible, the number of affairs are pretty much general knowledge, and the Monica Lewinsky situation pales in comparison to anything I expect Trump to do in office. And Hillary stood by Bill’s side the entire time…

          The chasm you see between Trump and Hillary isn’t there in my view. Either would likely be a terrible President. So far, nothing Trump has done since he was elected has disturbed me. He has the right to name people to cabinets as he sees fit. Hillary would have selected her own versions of her own philosophy (except with carefully planned gender and racial makeup regardless of ability).

          I’m waiting to see what Trump does before I cast judgment. I didn’t vote for him so I don’t have to be blindly supportive. And I didn’t vote against him so I don’t have to be a raving lunatic over every single word that comes out of his mouth.

          Deal with reality.

          1. Doug Ross

            Re-read your words about accepting Bill’s groping. Then pretend you are Monica Lewinsky’s father and say them again.

          2. Doug Ross

            I rode an Uber to the airport yesterday and my driver was a recent immigrant from Uzbekistan. I asked him whether he thought Putin wanted Trump to be President. He got a good laugh out of that. He said Putin and Russians don’t care who the President is. And why would they? What exactly can Donald Trump do to help the Russians? Open up more trade?

            To think that people actually believe that Putin hatched some plan to have hackers break into the DNC’s computers and release the emails through Wikileaks is laughable. Utterly laughable. Putin – the guy who has had his political rivals killed (including exposing one to radiation, I believe) — sat there and said “You know comrades, if we can just get an email that says Donna Brazile fed debate questions to the DNC, we’ve got this election in the bag!!”

            It’s silly, stupid, and reflects complete disregard for reality. It’s really about people who are so far removed from what is going on across America that they have to invent irrational excuses for why Trump won. He won because he ran a better campaign and connected to the right people in the right states. He won because Hillary lost.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Doug, I could not possibly disagree more. What you are calling “laughable” is a high-confidence intelligence assessment (which means it’s probably based on multiple sources) from professionals who know far, FAR more than you, I and everyone else on this blog combined will ever know about Russian capabilities and intentions.

              Your assessment is utterly groundless. And it flies in the face of common sense.

              A separate issue: You actually, truly believe that Trump ran some sort of brilliant campaign? Seriously? In what universe did that occur? He ran an absolute NIGHTMARE campaign, which under normal circumstances would have guaranteed he couldn’t get elected to anything.

              Why do I think he won? Because his insanity happened to mesh with a temporary (Good God, we have to HOPE it’s temporary!) insanity infecting the American electorate. Not even HE thought he was going to win — he was already making his excuses for being a loser with all that talk about the election being “rigged.”

              I just don’t know what election you were watching while I was watching THIS one…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I typed that response just after watching Charlie Rose interview both Robert Gates — a guy I’d like to see as president — and Mike Morell, ex-deputy director of CIA.

                They were informative. I was particularly impressed by Morell’s explanation of how solid the intel saying that the Russians were behind the hacking — and that they wanted to hurt Hillary and help Trump — was, since it was designated “high confidence.”

                Gates was more cautious, saying that can’t be as confident about WHY the Russians did it (such as, to hurt Hillary and help Trump). Motivations are tougher than assessing what has been done. For that reason, he endorses the calls for a thorough investigation.

                Morell calls the hacking “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Among other things, it arose from “a lack of imagination” on our part. We couldn’t imaging al Qaeda would do what they did on 9/11, and no one on our side had guessed that the Russians would do something of the scope of this hacking.

                Gates, by the way, was scrupulously neutral on Trump, although he couldn’t help cracking up into mild laughter when he said that, as a guy who came up under Kissinger, Brzezinski, Scowcroft and other national security heavyweights who had shaped our China policy over decades, he found Trump’s conversation with the Taiwanese leader “a little jarring.”

                More soberly, he urged other professionals like himself to do all they can to help the new administration if it reaches out to them. Remember that Gates recommended Tillerson for secretary of state, after assuring Trump that for his own part, he was uninterested in a job as “I was done building my resume” — another point at which he had to smile.

                Anyway, you can see the Gates interview here, and the one with Morell here

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, that’s what I’m doing. I’m seeing the reality for what it is, and confronting it directly. And I will continue to do so. The moment I go, “OK, Trump’s going to be president and I’m just going to accept that and not challenge the lunacy” is the moment when I should quit blogging…

  2. Claus

    I watched the Doris Payne documentary last night, yeah they just need to lock her up for the rest of her life. She’s nothing but a career criminal who has no remorse for anything she’s done… because she deserves what she takes. But it made me wonder where the money went, she’d steal a ring and get up to $140,000 from a guy who’d resell it or recut it and she’s was constantly broke with nothing more than clothes to show for it. She’d pawn herself off as someone’s wife and steal you blind. I have no remorse for wanting the old lady to sit behind bars.

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