FBI/THE MEMO: McCarthy – What did Comey say?; York – Why the secrets?; Jackson – Bannon met with Mueller.
HEALTH CARE: Hannity – Josh Umber sites.
LEADS: Hanson – Winners in Korea?; Washington Times – Pretense at budgets; Paul – Mismatched military.
GUNS: French – Conservative gun rights; Sacks – FBI was warned; Durden – Shock, anger; Savage – MH?.
PA: USO Radiothon, Spinelli – Shapiro & injection site; Olson – PA districts.
RECOMMENDED: Mark Levin 02-15-18; Eastwood 15:17 to Paris; Churchill show times.
FBI /THE MEMO:
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: “What Did Comey Tell President Trump about the Steele Dossier?”
“The Rice email outlines Obama’s strategy to withhold key details of the Russia investigation.
“On her way out the White House door and out of her job as national-security adviser, Susan Rice writes an email-to-self. Except it’s not really an email-to-self. It is quite consciously an email for the record.
“Her term having ended 15 minutes before, Rice was technically back in private life, where private people have private email accounts — even notepads if they want to scratch out a reminder the old-fashioned way. Yet, for at least a few more minutes, Rice still had access to her government email account. She could still generate an official record. That’s what she wanted her brief email to be: the dispositive memorialization of a meeting she was worried about — a meeting that had happened over two weeks earlier, at which, of course, President Obama insisted that everything be done ‘by the book.’
“Funny, though: The ‘by the book’ thing about contemporaneous memos is that they are, well, contemporaneous — made at or immediately after the event they undertake to memorialize. They’re written while things are as fresh as they will ever be in one’s mind, before subsequent events motivate the writer to spin a decision, rather than faithfully record it.
“An email written on January 21 to record decisions made on January 5 is not written to memorialize what was decided. It is written to revise the memory of what was decided in order to rationalize what was then done. . . “
Byron York, Washington Examiner: “Byron York: Why are the Comey memos secret?”
“If there is an obstruction of justice case to be made against the president in the Trump-Russia affair, James Comey is in the middle of it. President Trump’s decision to fire the FBI director is often cited as Exhibit A for obstruction, and the foundation for that case is a set of seven memos Comey wrote describing conversations he had with the president between Jan. 6 and April 11, 2017.
“The memos are critically important. Portions of them have been leaked to the press, given to a Comey friend, discussed in congressional testimony, and read by a few Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff. Sometimes it seems the only people who have never had a chance to see the Comey memos are the millions of Americans who are trying to make sense of the daily firehose of Trump-Russia news.
“They’re not likely to see the memos anytime soon. The FBI and the office of Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller have imposed tight restrictions on access to the memos, holding them even more closely than some documents that are classified at a far higher level. Now, with speculation about obstruction ever present in the media, some lawmakers are calling for the memos to be released. It’s time for Americans to know what’s going on, they say. . .”
Hallie Jackson, NBC: “Steve Bannon met with Mueller multiple times over the past week”
“WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller over multiple days this week, NBC News has learned from two sources familiar with the proceedings.
“Bannon spent a total of some 20 hours in conversations with the team led by Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as other issues that have arisen around the probe.
“Bannon left his job as a senior White House adviser in August and returned to a leadership role at Breitbart, the right-wing news site based out of Washington. But he fell out of favor with the site’s financial backers, the Mercer family, after criticizing the president and his family in “Fire and Fury,” a book about the Trump administration published earlier this year by author Michael Wolff.
“After a more than four-week stalemate, Bannon also returned to Capitol Hill Thursday to resume his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, which was halted when he earlier refused to answer key questions in the Russia probe.
He left today after four hours, answering little more than the two dozen questions that the White House had negotiated with the House’s lead counsel. . .”
Hannity: Josh Umber Sites
“Josh Umber free market program: Standard fee: $50/month for an adult, $10 per child; no limit on number of visits; medication is purchased in bulk and sold to the patient at a 90% discount.
“The map below contains a listing of public addresses and website links to 607 DPC practice locations in 47 states + DC (we still have not located any DPC practices in North Dakota, South Dakota, or Iowa,). Website readers should note that these practices met our three part definition of DPC, although they may not always self-describe as DPC. Both “Pure” DPC practices and DPC hybrids are included in the mapper, and they are now color coded! I’m happy to report that over 70% of the practices in the mapper are known to be pure.
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: Who’s Really Winning the North Korea Standoff?
“Kim Jong-un may seem to have the upper hand, but the U.S. is quietly proving otherwise.
“There have been wild reports that the United States is considering a “bloody nose” preemptive attack of some sort on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Such rumors are unlikely to prove true. Preemptive attacks usually are based on the idea that things will so worsen that hitting first is the only chance to decapitate a regime before it can do greater damage.
“But in the struggle between Pyongyang and Washington, who really has gotten the upper hand?
“With its false happy face in the current Winter Olympics, North Korea thinks it is winning the war of nerves. Yet its new nuclear-missile strategy is pretty transparent. It wants to separate South Korea’s strategic interests from those of the United States, with boasts — backed by occasional nuclear-missile tests — that it can take out West Coast cities.
“Pyongyang could then warn its new frenemy, Seoul, that the United States would never risk its own homeland to keep protecting South Korea. So it would supposedly be wiser for Koreans themselves, in the spirit of Olympic brotherhood, to settle their own differences. A failed but nuclear North Korea ultimately would dictate the terms of the relationship to a successful but non-nuclear South Korea. . .”
Washington Times: “The pretense of budget control”
“The Trump budget looks a lot like the budgets Barack Obama drew up. There’s no way an economist with his head on straight would defend the indefensible maneuvering of Congress and the president over the past several days.
“We first got a two-year budget that drove through the Budget Control Act caps like a runaway 18-wheeler, to the tune of $300 billion. The hard-won sequester and budget caps negotiated between the Republicans and Mr. Obama on the edge of a cliff in 2011 are gone with the wind. Everyone has split for the Wild West.
“President Trump’s budget, presented Monday, is no kin to his first budget that set out to get rid of fat, gas and bloat, to terminate scores of unneeded programs, introduce overdue reforms in how Congress spends money, and to show a credible path to a balanced budget within 10 years.
“This year’s budget celebrates new multi-billion spending priorities, with a little half-hearted lip service to fiscal discipline, all with the faked sincerity of Barack Obama. The executive summary of the Trump budget boasts of additions, not subtractions, promoting more spending for infrastructure, cyber security, opium addiction, strengthening Medicare, veterans’ health care, disaster relief and other things. Where do we get relief from the budget disaster relief?
“Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky warns of a return to $1 trillion deficits, with a reminder that this is ‘the kind of behavior we as Republicans denounced in the Obama years.’ The New York Times exults that ‘the Tea Party party is over,’ and The Wall Street Journal groans that Trumponomics is a return to the belief ‘that budget deficits don’t matter.’
“Liberals, who turn out to be not so progressive after all, mock conservatives that the price of the $1.5 trillion Trumptax cut demonstrates that the Grand Old Party is now the grand old deficit party.. .”
Rand Paul, Breitbart: “EXCLUSIVE–Rand Paul: Is Our Military Budget too Small, or Is Our Mission too Large?”
“. . . Most conservatives believe welfare should be temporary, and that ultimately the able-bodied must stand on their own. Foreign assistance is no different. If the U.S. coddles and comforts and does all the fighting, the Afghanis will never become self-sufficient. People argue that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan. Not if the Afghanis stand and fight. We’ve given them 15 years of training and billions of dollars of the most sophisticated weapons known to man. Surely, the time for them to step up and fight is now. . .”
David French, NRO: “No, It’s Not Cowardly to Be Conservative on Gun Rights”
“Defending the Second Amendment takes courage, gun-control advocates’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
“. . . Angry voices take an extraordinarily complex social, cultural, and political phenomenon, boil it down to preferred progressive policy provisions, and then declare everyone who opposes their ideas a craven weakling in thrall to the NRA. Yesterday was no exception. . .
“One of the worst aspects of the modern gun debate is the presumption that Republican politicians vote the way they do not out of conviction but out of craven compliance — that they care less about school shootings than they care about NRA campaign dollars or NRA votes. It’s a sentiment that plays very well on Twitter (note the retweets and likes), but it’s detached from reality.
“In fact, those making the argument either don’t know or don’t care about the extent to which courage is a cornerstone of gun culture. After all, what good is a firearm if a law-abiding citizen doesn’t have the courage and self-discipline to use it in self-defense or in the defense of his family and neighbors? Countless permit holders don’t just take the time to get carry licenses, they spend hours at the range. They take classes. They aspire to be brave.
“Moreover, these insults ignore the fact that conservative politicians consistently advocate government action that they sincerely believe will make a positive difference. Leftist pundits mock the notion that we should arm teachers, yet time and again armed civilians have stopped mass shooters in their tracks. It’s not cowardice to argue that more civilians should be given the chance to arm themselves.
“Nor is it cowardice to argue that we should better enforce existing laws. This is a problem that transcends mass shootings and impacts “regular” gun violence. Prosecutors are notoriously reluctant to prosecute purchasers who lie on background checks, including straw purchasers. We’ve also seen background-check systems fail and multiple instances where law-enforcement officials failed to effectively follow up on leads provided by private citizens that could have prevented an attack.
“Conservatives are keenly aware of these failings, and rightfully wonder why there is such confidence that the next legal reform will be more effective than the last — especially when the practical effect is often to inconvenience the law-abiding without offering any meaningful corresponding public-safety benefit.
“Finally, it’s not cowardice to note in response to calls for increased gun control that America has seen a sharp decrease in gun violence even as gun laws have liberalized from coast to coast. Given that mass shootings are often the most premeditated of crimes, they may well be the least susceptible to a gun-control solution. A person can easily plan around assault-weapons bans (as the San Bernardino shooters did) and circumvent magazine restrictions. Mass shootings are sometimes planned months and years in advance. “Moreover, one shooter inspires the next, creating a contagion that’s hard to control. The terrible reality is that we don’t have good solutions to this problem . . .”
Brianna Sacks, Buzzfeed: “The FBI Was Warned about a School Shooting Threat from a YouTube User Named Nikolas Cruz in September”
“Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” said a user named Nikolas Cruz.
“The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment to the bureau’s tips account. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video.
“Agents with the bureau’s Mississippi field office got back to him “immediately,” Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.
“‘They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,’ Bennight told BuzzFeed News. ‘I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.’
“FBI agents contacted Bennight again Wednesday, after a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people. . .”
Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge: “Shock, Anger after Florida Teen Charged with 17 Counts of Murder; FBI Was Warned”
“Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old orphan with a troubled past, a fascination with weapons and resistance groups, and an AR-15 rifle, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.
“Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the AP reports.
Nikolas Cruz, still wearing a hospital gown after being treated for labored breathing, and weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, was ordered held without bond and booked into jail.
“Cruz’s former classmates thought they were having another drill Wednesday afternoon when a fire alarm sounded, requiring them to file out of their classrooms. That’s when Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets.
“It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. . .”
Michael Savage: “SAVAGE SAYS GUN CONTROL NECESSARY AND REOPEN MENTAL HOSPITALS, CLOSED BY GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN’S LIBERAL FATHER”
Mr. Weiner-Savage had a brother die in Willowbrook, an institution shuttered by public reactions to Geraldo Rivera’s investigations. Savage wants MH hospitals reopened and medications reexamined. . .
USO Radiothon: Donate!
Dan Spinelli, Inquirer: “Shapiro announces drug bust, bashes Philly safe injection sites again”
“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office announced Tuesday the seizure of 250,000 bags of fentanyl-laced heroin worth $2.6 million and again criticized Philadelphia’s approval of so-called safe injection sites.
“I want people to understand what it’s like to use heroin and fentanyl: It’s like playing Russian roulette,” Shapiro said at a news conference at his regional office in Tinicum Township, Delaware County. “You shoot this poison in your veins and you have no idea whether you’re going to live or whether you’re going to die.”
Laura Olson, Morning Call: “Wake-up Call: Plenty of maps to parse on Pa. districts; Trump postpones next week’s western Pa. rally”
“There are lots of maps from those involved in Pennsylvania’s redistricting fight — here’s a handy Twitter thread with the color-coded versions. The attempt from Gov. Tom Wolf includes a separate list describing why the districts were drawn to incorporate the locations they include.
“But none of these are (sic!) the final version.
“That map is set to be available from the state Supreme Court by Monday, according to the justices’ timeline. They have a Stanford law professor assisting them, and now can review proposals from each side of the court case. So it might have some familiar portions in it.
“Need more maps? FiveThirtyEight did a rundown of how all sorts of different criteria would affect the shapes and boundaries of Pennsylvania’s districts, showing just how tricky it is to define what is ‘fair.’
“Stay tuned to see how the next chapter in the saga unfolds. It also isn’t the final chapter — Republicans are expected to sue over a court-drawn map, saying the justices have no constitutional right to draw a map. . .”
Mark Levin, 2-15-18
“On Thursday’s Mark Levin show, We need to ignore the usual hysteria from the leftist politicians. They do not have the experience or knowledge to provide solutions. Evil killers do not represent America. Instead, we should look to the heroism of Aaron Feis, the high school football coach who sacrificed his life to save his students. The answers to this mass shooting in Florida is not in Washington but are local.
“We can’t control all the evil in the world, but we can do some things. How about protecting our babies in the womb and protecting our babies who go to these government schools? How about we get into the safety, health, and protection business? If we want to protect our children in these public schools, we need to put people in these public schools who can protect our children.
“Later, the Democrats are all out special pleaders for foreign countries and their citizens. Now they are demanding amnesty for people here illegally and for people who may come here in future.”
Eastwood: Roger Friedman, REVIEW Clint Eastwood’s “15:17 to Paris” Is An Eclectic Mix of Patriotic, Christian, and Cutting Edge — And Will Resonate in the Heartland”
“. . . You know, I’m Jewish and liberal, so “patriotic” and “Christian” aren’t two of the things I warm to in movies necessarily. But Eastwood’s take on these real life heroes is not simplistic. The real life people playing themselves as heroes on the train from Amsterdam to Paris– I was braced for a bad movie. And I will say, it starts slowly and it’s totally not what you expect. Nevertheless, if you’re patient with it, you quickly realize several things.
“First of, the real guys are not bad. I’ve seen worse. Compared to Louis CK’s unreleased “I Love You, Daddy,” the acting and writing here is Shakespearean.
“Second, Eastwood– as he did in ‘American Sniper’ and ‘Sully’– lays out their stories and backgrounds objectively. I’m already seeing in some reviews some idea that Eastwood is pushing a religious agenda or whatever. Nonsense. He’s accurately depicting these people. The mothers of the guys are religious– this is what they believe, it’s their right. No one is mocking them or judging them. This is who they are. And kudos to Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer for finding the mothers’ dimensions.
“If there’s a problem with “15:17” it’s that it’s almost filmed like cinema verite, certainly as the story unfolds. There’s a lot of exposition and it seems slow. Again, a little patience wouldn’t hurt anyone. Because when the kids’ backstories switch to the main guys, Eastwood finds a groove. Forgive him if the entry seems clunky. . .”
Churchill film: “The Darkest Hour.”
Regal show times at https://www.regmovies.com/movies/darkest-hour/B00472806”867