The Wolff Is At The Door
by Burt Prelutsky
If you want to Comment directly to Burt Prelutsky, please mention my name Rudy.

As you have no doubt heard, there is a new book out, “Fire & Fury,” subtitled “Inside the Trump White House,” that raises more questions than it can possibly answer.

To begin with, why did Steve Bannon, a newcomer to the Trump Administration, grant Michael Wolff, a journalist of no particular distinction and questionable ethics, carte blanche to sniff into every corner of the White House?

The next question is why Steve Bannon said so many stupid things about Trump, his advisors and his relatives, referring to more than one of Trump’s nearest and dearest as “treasonous and unpatriotic,” although one would naturally assume if they were the first, you’d hardly need to mention the second.

It occurs to me that, as someone once observed about some other double-dealing swine, “With Steve Bannon as a friend, you don’t need any enemies.”

It would seem to me that Bannon’s attempt to portray himself as a kingmaker was every bit as misguided as Trump’s decision to make the lout an advisor. The one thing you can credit Bannon with is that he cost the GOP a seat in the Senate by pushing Roy Moore’s candidacy when Trump already had a man he could count on, Luther Strange, seated in the Senate.

But with this latest betrayal, Bannon will have about as much influence in GOP politics going forward as Chelsea liar-Clinton.

But the biggest question is why Trump and his lawyers are trying to get an injunction against Holt Publishing. The President has no chance of invalidating the First Amendment simply because he’s annoyed with the book’s content. Mr. Wolff has every constitutional right to freely express himself on the subject of Donald Trump. I’m sure Trump won’t be happy with the book. I’m pretty certain I won’t be. But I’d be a lot unhappier if politicians, even those residing in the Oval Office, had the power to censor books or articles that displease them or their followers.

What does upset me is that Trump’s lawsuit guarantees that “Fire and Fury” will top the best seller lists for the next several months. Why give Mr. Wolff such a gift when I’m willing to wager Wolff didn’t even vote for him?

Can you imagine how Trump could have hyped my book sales if he’d even mentioned them, let alone attacked them?!

* In New York City, a black person is 50 times likelier to shoot or be shot at than a white person. And although I’m sure that Mayor De Blasio would prefer to parrot BLM’s contention that it’s because of white racism and white cops, the truth is that it’s because too many urban blacks are raised by street gangs, not by the men who sired them.

In Chicago, more than two dozen black children under the age of 12 were killed in 2017, and not a single one was victimized by a cop. They were all killed by other blacks, generally as collateral damage when young black males were shooting at other young black males over drugs, money or sexual jealousy.

We keep hearing black activists in and out of Congress insisting that it’s high time we had an honest conversation about race in America. I still recall Attorney General scum-Eric Holder claiming that white Americans lacked the courage to have such a conversation. Unfortunately, scum-Holder, Loretta Lynch and Barack liar-nObama, were the ones who lacked the courage to deal with the truth.

The truth is that the main reason that urban blacks are on the bottom rung of society and are doomed to remain there for the foreseeable future is because black men have decided that getting an education, learning a trade, getting married and only then having children and raising them, is “acting white.”

Black men demand respect, but very rarely do anything to deserve it. Then, to top things off, even the small percentage of black men and women who behave responsibly insist on voting for the Democrats, who know that if the welfare gravy train ever stops or even slows down, they will never win another presidential election.

* I believe that the single biggest reason that sex scandals went on for so long is because the law condones non-disclosure agreements. Why should Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein or Mitt Lauer, or their employers, have been allowed to conceal settlements with injured parties, whether the pay-offs were court-ordered or conducted between two sets of lawyers?

For that matter, why should manufacturers who produce a product with built-in problems -- knowing the problems may very likely prove fatal, but deciding its cheaper to pay off the relatively small number of victims than spend the money to eliminate the problem – be allowed to conceal the eventual pay-offs?

* Gordon Strader sent me a video that apparently showed liar-Hillary Clinton in a flowery meadow reminiscent of Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” but instead of singing the title tune, Mrs. liar-Clinton is singing a parody of “My Favorite Things.”

Because I don’t watch videos, Mr. Strader was kind enough to supply me with the lyrics to “My Favorite Excuses,” the work of some wag named Tony Olson.

Feel free to hum along: “Top Secret Data purloined by a gremlin/ Misdeeds exposed with some help from the Kremlin/ Wikileaks published the emails we tossed/ These are a few of the reasons I lost.

“Draft Beer and Vino and Vodka Martini/ All disappear like I’m a friggin’ Houdini/ It’s not a secret I like to get sauced/ These are a few of the reasons I lost.

“Girls in blue dresses, with DNA traces/ liar-Bill has me threaten the girls he embraces/ With my assistance he’s free to accost/ These are a few of the reasons I lost.

Chorus: “When I’m lying, testifying, I concoct a tale/ I look for excuses and others to blame/ And then I won’t go…to jail.

“Tantrums and breakdowns and fake tears with tissues/ Obvious signs of some medical issues/ Fainting and stumbling and eyes that go crossed/ These are a few of the reasons I lost.

“Because of my gender I think I’ve been slighted/ There’s a good chance I may be indicted/ Image as cold as a New England frost/ These are a few of the reasons I lost.”
If you want to Comment directly to Burt Prelutsky, please mention my name Rudy.

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Political Cartoons by Tom Stiglich


 Will  Tea Party Hand The Liberals Their Ass On Election Day? 

It was this week two years ago that Hillary Clinton’s victory looked assured, when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault appeared all but certain to end his campaign.

Jesse Ferguson remembers it well. The deputy press secretary for Clinton’s campaign also remembers what happened a month later.

It’s why this veteran Democratic operative can’t shake the feeling that, as promising as the next election looks for his party, it might still all turn out wrong.

“Election Day will either prove to me I have PTSD or show I’ve been living déjà vu,” Ferguson said. “I just don’t know which yet.”

Ferguson is one of many Democrats who felt the string of unexpected defeat in 2016 and are now closely — and nervously — watching the current election near its end, wondering if history will repeat itself. This year, instead of trying to win the presidency, Democrats have placed an onus on trying to gain 23 House seats and win a majority.

The anxiety isn’t universal, with many party leaders professing confidently and repeatedly that this year really is different.

But even some of them acknowledge the similarities between the current and previous election: Trump is unpopular and beset by scandal, Democrats hold leads in the polls, and some Republicans are openly pessimistic.

FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76.9 percent chance of winning the House one month before Election Day. Their odds for Clinton’s victory two years ago? 71.4 percent.

The abundance of optimism brings back queasy memories for Jesse Lehrich, who worked on the Clinton campaign and remembers watching the returns come in from the Javits Center in New York.

“I was getting texts after the result was clear – including even from some political reporters and operatives – texting me, you know, ‘Are you guys starting to get nervous?’ or ‘What’s her most likely path?’” he said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean, starting to get nervous? What path? They just called Wisconsin. We lost.’”

“People were so slow to process that reality because they just hadn’t considered the possibility that Donald Trump was going to be the next president,” he continued.

Lehrich said he sees similarities between 2016 and 2018. But he said he thought Democrats were cognizant of the parallels and determined not to let up a month before the election, as many voters might have two years ago.

Other Democratic leaders aren’t so sure. Asked if he thought his party was overconfident, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton responded flatly, “Yes.”

Democrats could win a lot of House seats, he said, or could still fall short of capturing a majority.

“The point is that we’ve got to realize that this not just some unstoppable blue wave but rather a lot of tough races that will be hard-fought victories,” Moulton said.

If Democrats are universally nervous about anything after 2016, it’s polling. The polls weren’t actually as favorable to Clinton and the Democrats as some remember, something 538’s Nate Silver and some other journalists pointed out at the time.

But Clinton’s decision not to campaign in a state she’d lose, Wisconsin, and the failure of pollsters everywhere to miss a wave of Trump supporters in red areas are mistakes Democrats are still grappling with today.

“Clearly last cycle, polling was off,” Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters last month. “There were a lot of predictions that were made last cycle that didn’t come to fruition.”

Lujan emphasized in particular how pollsters missed the rural vote, calling it a “devastating mistake.” He said the DCCC has taken deliberate steps since 2016 to get it right this time around, but underscored a congressional majority still required a tooth-and-nail fight.

“So I’m confident with the team that’s been assembled, but I’m definitely cognizant of the fact we need to understand these models and understand the data for what it is,” he said.

One Democratic pollster said the data he’s seen makes plain that the party is favored to win a majority — but that it’s still not a sure thing. He said even now it’s unclear if the political environment will create an electoral tsunami, or merely a good year where Democrats might still fall short of a House majority.

“We’ve all learned a lesson from 2016 that there are multiple possibilities and outcomes,” said the pollster, granted anonymity to discuss polling data one month before the election. “And if you haven’t learned that lesson, shame on you. That 20 percent outcome can happen. That 30 percent outcome can happen.”

This year, Democrats have history on their side: The incumbent president’s party historically struggles during midterm elections. That wasn’t the case in 2016, when Democrats were trying to win the presidency for three consecutive terms for the first time in their history since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (The GOP accomplished the feat only once in the same period, with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.)

Some Democratic leaders say the reality of Trump’s presidency — unlike its hypothetical state in 2016 — changes the dynamic entirely.

“Democratic energy is at nuclear levels,” said Steve Israel, a former DCCC chairman. “Democrats would crawl over broken glass to vote in this election.”

Israel said he still has concerns about November (political operatives always have concerns about the upcoming election). But he waves away the notion that the party might fall short of a House majority.

“Most Democrats and a heck of a lot of Republicans I speak to believe that Democrats will have the majority,” he said. “The real question is, by how much?”

Ferguson is, of course, of two minds: He thinks the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the day-to-day reality of Trump’s presidency fundamentally changes how voters will see this election.

But he’s also gun-shy about what could change in the next month, after the multitude of surprises that occurred during the last month of the 2016 race, whether the “Access Hollywood” recording or then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the investigation into Clinton’s emails was re-opened.

Many Republicans argue the 2018 election has already seen its October surprise, with the confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh finally motivating conservative voters to vote.

“I don’t know what the October surprises will be,” Ferguson said. “But we make a mistake if we assume that what we’re seeing today is what we’ll see for the entire month. We lived through it two years ago.”

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