Friday's HOT MIC

Here is your HOT MIC for the day.

This is The Adventures of Tom Swift, Flash Gordon, and Forbidden Planet all rolled into one.

The landing of Falcon Heavy - Space X huge reusable spaceship.

I don't know about you but I'm on the next flight to Mongo.

It's official.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) indicated during an interview on Fox News Monday that his committee would be asking for the transcripts of the four surveillance requests on Carter Page from the FISA Court.

He has made good on that promise according to Fox News, which has obtained a copy of his congressional letter to the court:

Writing to Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Nunes asked for transcripts of "any relevant FISC hearings associated with the initial FISA application or subsequent renewals related to electronic surveillance of Carter Page."

The FISA abuse memo detailed the troubling information that was discovered in the Page surveillance warrant, first granted in October 2016. After HPSCI Republicans released the memo last week, Democrats and the media (BIRM) loudly protested that it was "incomplete and misleading."

Now that Nunes wants to have the entire transcripts of the four surveillance requests released, they'll moan about something else most likely:

As Ace quips: "I'm sure this'll be another case where our Firefighter Media says 'Don't you dare demand information from the government!!!'"

 

Highly recommend this discussion between John Batchelor, former congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy regarding the House Intel Committee's new focus on the State Dept. -- which seems to have "laundered" Clintonworld's slimey oppo research on team Trump to make it palatable for the FBI. The middleman here was one Jonathan M. Winer, former secretary state John Kerryโ€™s special envoy to Libya and his Senate adviser -- and coincidentally, an "old friend" of longtime Clinton fixer Sid (Vicious) Blumenthal.

By the way, the John Batchelor Show is one of the best radio talk shows out there -- you should definitely tune in sometime when you have the chance.

More: If you have 40+ minutes to spare, you should listen to former Clinton adviser Dick Morris wax on and on about the filthy dealings of Hillary's henchmen, Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, in the nineties. Do you think it's just a coincidence that these unsavory characters from Clintonworld have popped up in the RussiaGate scandal?

As Liz Sheld hinted in her Morning Update (below): What if I told you that Steele was just a cover to get the information from Blumenthal and Shearer to the FBI? I'm just speculating here...

Think that's beyond the pale? Listen to Morris describe some of their dirty tricks here. He could probably go on all day.

Nailed it.

If you want to know what Lefties are doing, just listen to what they accuse other people of doing.

Stephen-Klein's post is excellent but, sadly, it could have been written months ago and put on ice until this moment. The GOP fiscal irresponsibility writing has been on the wall in permanent marker for quite some time, as I am sure you are well aware. Here was my response last night to the Republicans on Twitter who were reacting as if this were unexpected behavior from the party:

When I co-founded the first Los Angeles Tea Party in 2009, I had already been a Republican activist for 25 years. My patience with the party regarding fiscal issues was already wearing thin then. That is why I threw so much effort into the Tea Party movement for the next few years. Without saying it, I felt that it was the last stand as far as making the Republicans truly distinguishable from the Democrats on money matters. When I left the party in 2016, people assumed it was about Trump, even though I'd made it clear that it wasn't. McConnell and others in the GOP had done nothing but push back against Tea Party people and our principles. We gift-wrapped two huge midterm wins that they couldn't have engineered on their own and the response was, "Shut up because we know stuff." I knew we couldn't make a lasting impact unless we were able to purge the party leadership almost all at once, and I knew that wasn't possible.

Into political exile I went. I am no longer an activist, and have no interest in being one again. Let the moderate Republicans destroy the party in the name of bipartisanship so they can have The New York Times say nice things about them for an hour. I'll be over here hoarding potato vodka until my former party makes sure I can no longer afford it.

ICYMI:

Hillary Clinton found herself in familiar territory earlier this week: fighting off a massive coughing fit while on camera.

The hack-athon happened on Wednesday when Clinton was streamed on a live feed from New York into a feminist gathering  called "the MAKERS Conference" to give the closing remarks.

It was pretty bad:

"So [cough] let me add my voice," Clinton rasped. "I pledge to continue to speak out. I pledge to never give up. [cough] I will do everything I can -- [cough cough] to keep my voice, number one -- [chugs water, coughs some more] -- to advance the rights and opportunities of women [cough]."

 

I never thought I'd be a "Kids these days!" kinda guy, but I also never imagined Millennials being so... well... like this:

MillerCoors launching fruit-flavored cheap beer aimed at millennials.

A study last year found that people in their 20s are increasingly turning down beer and reaching for wine and spirits, instead. But MillerCoors new Two Hats light beer is hoping to hook the younger generation with something cheap and fun.

โ€œThe goal is to enlist this generation of legal-age drinkers to beer from other offerings,โ€ according to a MillerCoors blog post. โ€œSome 40 percent of beerโ€™s volume losses are occurring among drinkers aged 21 to 24.โ€

Yeah, about those spirits Millennials are supposed to be turning to, let's not forget this gem from 2017: "Whiskey's Next Wave Is Lighter, Mellower, Made for Millennials."

If you're old enough that you don't drink so much that you throw up, maybe these stories will do the trick.

#MeToo comes back to bite.

Liz put this in her Morning Briefing, but I think it needs more attention. A female lawmaker who helped start the #MeToo movement has been accused of sexual assault, by more than one male former staffer. The Daily Caller's Amber Randall reported:

Daniel Fierro, a former legislative staff member, accused assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of drunkenly trying to grope his genitalia, stroking his back and squeezing his butt in 2014, reports the Sacramento Bee.

While Fierro told two of his close colleagues what happened shortly after the incident, he did not make an official complaint to his former boss, Assemblyman Ian Calderon, until January 2018.

Another man also accused Garcia of harassing him, but was only willing to tell his story on the condition of anonymity for concern of retribution. The Sacramento, Calif. lobbyist alleged Garcia, who seemed intoxicated at the time, accosted him while at a fundraiser for state Senator Josh Newman in 2017, grabbed his genitalia and swore she was going to โ€œfuckโ€ him.

โ€œShe came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone. She looked at me for a second and said, โ€˜Iโ€™ve set a goal for myself to fuck you,'โ€ he told Politico.

Garcia cast herself as a prominent member of the #MeToo movement, even appearing on the Time magazine cover on an article dedicated to women fighting against sexual harassment and assault. In a statement, Garcia said she had no recollection of the events.

Can #MeToo get women in trouble for sexually assaulting men? As commenter reaalistx pointed out, many college men have been accused of sexual assault because they had sex with an intoxicated woman. This woman was intoxicated โ€” does that mean she wasn't responsible for her actions?

Is feminism about equality or does it only go one way? (A Yale student even suggested that women can exclude men from groups, but men can't be trusted to be alone with other men, lest they make rape jokes...)

Importantly, nothing has been proven in this case โ€” Garcia is accused, with Fierro and the unnamed man are accusers. Innocent until proven guilty.

On a separate but partially related note, a new survey reported that male managers are three times less likely to mentor women in the workplace after the #MeToo movement. I wonder why...

Nice work.

Slain American's mom reacts to capture of alleged ISIS executioners.

More:

The mother of slain hostage James Foley said Friday that she wants two British men who were part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cell that killed her son to be tried and imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Diane Foley welcomed the capture of the men who were part of a group, all of whom had lived in London, known as "The Beatles" because of their British accents.

Foley told the BBC on Friday that the arrests announced Thursday won't bring her son back, but "hopefully it protects others from this kind of crime."

She said "their crimes are beyond imagination. They really have not done anything good in the world, so I think they need to spend the rest of their life being held."

James Foley was killed on Aug. 19, 2014, after being held hostage for several months.

U.S. officials confirmed this week that the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had captured the two notorious members of the ISIS insurgent cell commonly dubbed "The Beatles," which was known for beheading hostages.

I'd rather they face SDF-style justice than British.

This is interesting -- in addition to being a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch, Senator Warner's secret correspondent Adam Waldman served as counsel to a very highly placed Russian official -- none other than Sergey Lavrov, Russiaโ€™s foreign minister, who, it should be noted, is not a fan of President Trump.

Huh! As Senator Grassly said last month: "who was actually colluding with Russians? Itโ€™s becoming more clear."

And now, a little Friday cheer.

You're welcome.

The thing about bubbles is, eventually they all pop.

Paul Tudor Jones: "This Market Feels Like Japan In 1989 Or The US In 1999."

Here's the key quote:

โ€œWe are replaying an age-old storyline of financial bubbles that has been played many times before,โ€ Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corp., wrote in a Feb. 2 letter to clients.

โ€œThis marketโ€™s current temperament feels so much like either Japan in 1989 or the U.S. in 1999. And the events that have transpired so far this January make me feel more convinced than ever of this repeating history.โ€

Mieno โ€œwas ultimately blamed for pricking a bubble over which he had no control,โ€ Jones said.

โ€œWhile the messenger always gets the blame, the real fault lies at the feet of the policymakers of the late 1980s who allowed systemic imbalances to build up in the Japanese stock and real estate markets.โ€

In the US, we've been making a different mistake, but it's been going on for almost twenty years now -- and the bubble effect is just the same.

The problem is all this cheap money from the Fed.

ASIDE: There are other policy problems, too -- but cheap money is the one I'm going to address this morning.

Prices, as any economist will tell you, are information -- and I get lots of information every month from American Express.

(Rim shot.)

Any economist will also tell you that in the absence of information, people make dumb decisions.

And anybody, economist or not, can tell you that when there's free money to be had, people go crazy. Just look back in history at any gold or silver rush, and you'll see what I mean. People went nuts when they learned that they could get significant amounts of free money just by scratching at some dirt or panning in a stream.

Well, the Fed has been handing out next-to-free money in various ways since the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was put into place in the panicky days after 9/11. Of course, the Fed didn't have to cut very much to get down to zero, because prior to that, the Fed had spent years cutting rates closer and closer to zero, going back to about the mid-'80s.

The evidence seems to be that at a certain point, maybe around three percent or lower, people just go FREE MONEY CRAZY.

One result was the Dotcom Bubble. Then we got the Real Estate Bubble. And we've watched for years as the Stock Market Bubble inflated and inflated and inflated. Let's not forget the Debt Bubble that Washington sits on -- $20 TRILLION and growing, and it won't be long before the just paying the interest on the debt grows to an annual sum larger than our defense budget.

And as I said above, the thing about bubbles is, eventually they all pop.

Now, yes, there were plenty of other bad policy decisions factoring into all these bubbles. But the fact remains that cheap money exacerbates the effects of bad policy by denying investors and consumers (and policymakers, for that matter) good information about the true cost of their decisions.

What we need is solid information. What we'll get, if recent history is any guide, is another popped bubble -- followed by a panicked return to ZIRP.

Followed, of course, by another bubble.

Lather.

Rinse.

Repeat.

SHOT:

CHASER:

An addendum to my previous post: If we had a national press corps that was any damn good at its job, we probably wouldn't have needed a Tea Party.

Internet to shake up snail mail.

That's right, Jeff Bezos is taking on UPS and FedEx. And the stock comes a'tumbling down...

As Americans shifted from snail mail to email, Amazon is ramping up deliveries. Will the age of snail mail return? Or is this proof that the Internet will disrupt everything?

The bitter truth from Philip Klein.

Republicans repeal the Tea Party.

The initial zeal for cutting government in the Reagan Revolution of 1980 and the Gingrich Revolution of 1994 faded over time. But starting in 2010, as underdog candidates toppled established Republicans and virtual unknowns unseated incumbents, the Tea Party seemed like it was something different.

The renewed fervor for shrinking government combined with the ability of activists to mobilize and harness new technologies meant, for the first time, many Republican politicians were feeling more heat for rubber-stamping spending increases than they were when opposing it. This led to high-profile confrontations between congressional Republicans and former President Barack Obama that largely stymied his legislative agenda for the last six years of his presidency, while failing to unravel the sweeping laws he signed in his first two.

Despite many setbacks, the Tea Party had one tangible achievement to show for all of the havoc it caused: the enactment of spending caps that resulted from the 2011 standoff over raising the debt ceiling.

In 2017, for the first time in the post-Tea Party era, Republicans finally gained unified control of government. They spent months blundering on healthcare, and ultimately reneged on their eight-year promise to repeal Obamacare. They have now agreed on a deal with Democrats that would blow up the spending caps that were a legacy of the Tea Party movement โ€” to the tune of $300 billion over the next two years.

Another bitter truth: Had the GOP lived up to its ideals, there never would have been a Tea Party.

Good Friday morning.

Here is what's on the President's agenda today.

  • In the morning, the President receives his intelligence briefing
  • Afterwards, the President meets with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • Later in the afternoon, President Trump will meet with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

The government shutdown

At the time of this writing, 4:15am ET, Congress has failed to fund the government and unless they come to agreement in the House, it will remain closed. The Senate approved (71-28) another temporary funding package but not before midnight. Reuters tells us, "the U.S. Senate approved a budget deal including a stopgap government funding bill early on Friday, but it was too late to prevent a federal shutdown that was already underway in an embarrassing setback for the Republican-controlled Congress." Yes, right, "embarrassing."

According to Fox News:

While the government's authority to spend some money expired at midnight, there weren't likely to be many clear immediate effects. Essential personnel would remain on the job regardless, and it appeared possible -- if not likely -- that the measure could pass both the Senate and House before most federal employees were due to report for work.

The House has been working on the legislation since 2:30amET. The Freedom Caucus is not expected to sign on to the bill. Some Democrats like clown Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) are also not going to support the bill: โ€œSo today, they are going to bring over from the Senate a proposal, they are going to lift the caps and they're going to say, let's vote on our budget. Well, I say to everybody -- don't collude with this administration,โ€ Gutierrez said. โ€œVote against the budget.โ€ Maybe he should leave office, because his job is to work with the administration and it looks like he doesn't want to do that job.

Developing...

EDITED TO ADD: The House passed the bill, it's about 5:40amET.

George W. Bush has some feelz

This guy is a bigger disappointment out of office than he was while he was in office. He kept his mouth shut while Obama weaponized the government and targeted conservatives. He kept his mouth shut when Obama paid Hezbollah Iran almost $2B and basically green-lighted the Iranian nuclear program. He kept his mouth shut when former AG Eric Holder ran guns to narcoterrorists in Mexico. But during the Trump administration, he's going to open his yapper. Overseas.

"It's problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system because democracy is only as good as the people trust in results," Bush said at a Milken Institute summit in Abu Dhabi. He added, "There's pretty clear evidence that the RUSSIANS meddled."

"Whether they affected the outcome (of the election) is another question, but they meddled, and that's dangerous for democracy," Bush continued.

"The RUSSIAN government has made a project of turning Americans against each other," he said at the time, adding that while RUSSIAN interference will not be successful, "foreign aggression, including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated."

You know who is helping the RUSSIANS with their goal of American political chaos? The Democrats and the media. The RUSSIANS want chaos and discord, and the media is ginning up the public, delivering agitprop and #resistance against  President Trump. I don't mean legitimate policy debates or difference, I mean things like telling voters that Trump policies are ARMAGEDDON, that they will kill you, and that they are RACIST.

The Porter Affair

When the media isn't freaking out over the parade, they are freaking out over the former White House staff secretary, Rob Porter. Porter, it was discovered, likes to beat and abuse his wives. The media got excited because he is said to be dating Hope Hicks and the media is really no different than the E! Entertainment network. The media's sights are now set on Chief of Staff John Kelly. What did he know and when did he know it?

Porter was working under a provisional security clearance, which is not that unusual when a new employee goes into the White House because it takes almost a year for the FBI to complete a thorough background check. Plus, FBI agents are busy smashmouthing Trump via text messages and attending meetings at "Andy's office" during their work days.

According to Politico:

White House chief of staff John Kelly was told several weeks ago that the FBI would deny full security clearances to multiple White House aides who had been working in the West Wing on interim security clearances.

Those aides, according to a senior administration official, included former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who left the White House on Thursday after reports that he physically and verbally abused his two ex-wives.

But we don't know what he was told about why Porter wouldn't get a clearance. Was he told he beat his wives up? Was he shown the pictures? We really don't know those things which are important before we start saying he blew off Porter's wife-beating and abuse. There is a climate now that treats an allegation as a statement of fact followed by the expectation of immediate consequences. If Kelly did know why Porter wasn't going to get a security clearance and looked the other way, then yes, that is a problem.

It looks like both Kelly and WH counsel Don McGahn were made aware of the allegations last fall, writes The Hill. It's not clear what, if any, steps they took to follow up. This has certainly been a PR disaster for the WH.

RUSSIA collusion update

Congressional investigators are looking into a second dossier on the Trump/RUSSIA collusion narrative, "containing uncorroborated allegations about President Trumpโ€™s activities in Russia โ€“ this one compiled by a freelance journalist and shared with a prominent Clinton ally." (Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer.)

What if I told you that Steele was just a cover to get the information from Blumenthal and Shearer to the FBI? I'm just speculating here...

CBS writes, "Some Democrats have taken an interest in this second dossierโ€™s contents as an indication that a separate line of research may have produced similar information to some of the material gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele, while others see the focus on the provenance of the information as a distraction for congressional investigators."

Well, something like that. Anyway, Blumenthal is said to have given his material to State Department employee Jonathan Winer, who has written an oped in the Washington Post defending himself. Winer worked the Libya desk at State. Say, what country is Benghazi in? Who sent former secretary of State "informal" reports about what was going on in Libya during her time at State?

Related:

A second memo is on the horizon as Nunes gears up to launch the next strike in his investigation into the FBI

Another longtime Comey aide leaving FBI

Democrats ask Grassley for public hearings on Russia's meddling

Grassley: Trump Jr. interview transcript release likely to take weeks

IMPORTANT: Devin Nunes May Summon Chief Justice To Testify On FISA Abuses

Our own Deb Heine writes about Senate Intelligence Committee member Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) cavorting with the representative of a RUSSIAN oligarch (banned from the U.S.) to get to dossier author and spy Christopher Steele.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee communicated through phone calls and text messages last spring with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch in order to gain access to Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) texted back and forth with lobbyist Adam Waldman, who runs the Endeavor Group -- which has ties to (surprise!) Hillary Clinton -- while leading the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into President Trump's alleged ties to Russia with his Republican colleague North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr.

All I want to point out here is far less was used to smear AG Jeff Sessions and President Trump with a RED SCARE.

Historical picture of the day:

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 1964 file photo, The Beatles perform on the CBS "Ed Sullivan Show" in New York. Ringo Starr plays drums and playing guitars from left are Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon. An estimated 73 million Americans tuned in, the largest ever for a TV show at the time, or three times the amount of people who watched the latest "American Idol" finale, according to the Nielsen Co. (AP Photo, file)

Other morsels:

Here are the gold-medal favorites for every single event at the Winter Olympics

California lawmaker behind #MeToo push is accused of groping male staffer

Dow Jones drops more than 1,000 points as volatility continues

Stubborn high school refuses to allow โ€˜Malcolm Xโ€™ on studentโ€™s senior sweater despite outcry

At Olympics, Pence keeping heat on North Korea

Paris attack suspect refuses to show up to hearing in Brussels

LOL Twitter executive on fake news: โ€˜We are not the arbiters of truthโ€™

Trump administration may target immigrants who use food aid, other benefits

Amtrak CEO to testify before U.S. House in wake of accidents

Even House Dems wonder: What was the point of the Pelosi filibuster?

House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts

Adam Ripponโ€™s mom says Olympian didnโ€™t โ€˜refuseโ€™ to meet with Pence

Eric Holder: โ€˜Any One Of My Kids Would Make A Better President Than Donald Trumpโ€™

Mattis: 'Dreamers' in military will not be deported

Potential serial killer targeting homeless people in Las Vegas

College student says airline made her flush prized hamster down toilet

School district pulls 2 classic novels off required reading list, citing racial slurs

Tyson Foods announces bonuses due to federal tax overhaul

Hard pass Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner reveal new HBO series to follow 'Girls'

Data trends show no seat is safe in 2018

Biden: Trump hurting country with 'clannish nationalism,' 'phony populism'

Oh yes Amazon is rolling out 2-hour delivery for Whole Foods โ€” here's how it works

And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!

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