Monday's HOT MIC

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Yes, I spent 25 years as a member of the MSM, 16 of them at Time magazine at the pinnacle of its fame and influence. Still, I have to agree with Mr. Newt that it's not the function of the executive branch to spoon-feed the hostile, lazy, anonymice-quoting Washington press corps at a daily briefing in the White House:

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is urging President Trump to follow through on his threat to cancel daily White House press briefings, accusing news media of being "dishonest opponents" of the president.

"What they ought to do is get out of all this junk, they ought to focus on the big goals, they ought to report to the nation on the big goals, ignore all these reporters, close down the press room, send the reporters off [to Starbucks]," Gingrich said on Fox News's "Hannity."

"Maybe say to the American people – send in your questions, we'll take the best five questions and we'll answer them by name." Trump on Friday suggested he might cancel "all future 'press briefings'" in the name of accuracy after his administration struggled to explain the firing of FBI Director James Comey this week.

Works for me. The daily briefing has devolved into a coup-counting sneer fest, with reporters attempting to score points while eliciting exactly zero useful or newsworthy information. Close it down.

Speaking of stupid, how about this story from the Seattle Times, a former newspaper now functioning as a leftist mouthpiece:

Farewell, giant pine: Climate change kills a champion at Washington Park Arboretum

It saw the flight of Boeing’s first jet; the World’s Fair, the founding of Microsoft. It survived the eruption of Mount St. Helens, witnessed the state’s centennial, and the confession of the Green River Killer.

But after 72 years, Pinus rigida 212-45-C, the state’s champion pitch pine, has died and will be cut down at the Washington Park Arboretum.The cause of death was climate change: steadily warming and drier summers, that stressed the tree in its position atop a droughty knoll. Red turpentine beetles, catching the scent of stress chemicals emitted by the tree as it struggled, bored in.

Apparently it's news to the writer of this drivel that all things must pass, and that every living creature dies, even giant Ents. A science blogger retorts:

The big front page story in the Seattle Times today, both online and in print, is about how climate change has caused the death of a 72-year old pine tree in the University of Washington arboretum.  Unfortunately, the underlying premise of the story is false, representing another unfortunate example of exaggerating the impacts of global warming.

... the bottom line of all this is that the climate record disproves the Seattle Times claim that warming and drying killed that pine tree in the UW arboretum.  There is no factual evidence that climate change ended the 72-year life of that tree.  The fact that a non-native species was planted in a dry location and was not watered in the summer is a more probably explanation.

So a guy posts a picture of his 21-year-old daughter modeling lingerie and the interwebs immediately jump down his throat:

 

What's the fuss? The guy happens to be President Trump's lawyer -- Michael Cohen, who's already had a run-in with the brain-dead media. So naturally, since he works for Dr. Evil, he must be some kind of demented prevert himself. Just ask the Telegraph!

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer has defended posting a lingerie-clad photo of his daughter on Twitter, insisting that the image is an artistic celebration of fatherly pride.

Michael Cohen was labelled “Mr Creepypants” after he shared a black and white modelling shot of his daughter, 21-year-old Samantha, with the words: "So proud of my Ivy League daughter... brains and beauty channeling her Edie Sedgwick".

The image, posted on Sunday, quickly attracted a strong reaction on social media. “Yep, she’s gorgeous, however most fathers don’t share lingerie pics of their daughters on social media, Mr Creepypants,” wrote one Twitter user. “It’s cool to take pride in your daughter, but weird to be posting her underwear photos, honestly,” said another.

Another added: “I guess #Trump must be rubbing off on you," referring to Mr Trump’s frequent comments about his daughter Ivanka’s looks.

I guess we just have to wait this media breakdown out, but sheesh.

Mr Cohen replied: "Beauty and brains you a-hole! It's a modeling shot remake from an old Edie Sedgwick photo. #hater" Mr Cohen, who serves as the president's personal attorney, also called one unimpressed woman "jealous."

Only way to handle these people, really.

 

Do those Comey-Trump tapes exist? The White House is refusing to confirm or deny.

The White House refused to say Monday whether recordings exist of conversations between President Trump and visitors to the White House, including fired FBI Director James Comey.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer also refused to say whether the president would comply with congressional requests to produce the recordings.

Facing repeated questions from multiple news outlets, Spicer went back to the same line: “The president has made it clear what his position is.”

Pressed specifically on whether Trump would deny a request to turn over any recordings, the spokesman replied, “I was clear the president would have nothing further on that last week.”

Keeping your opponent off balance is always good politics, so I assume Spicer's coyness on the subject has more to do with keeping Democrats guessing rather than a failure to acknowledge the existence of taped conversations between Trump and Comey.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that there are, indeed, recordings of Trump-Comey meetings. You would hope to God that Trump learned his lesson from Nixon and lit a bonfire on the White House lawn destroying them as Nixon wished to do with the Watergate tapes. Since they are not under subpoena and they probably aren't official government recordings, Trump can do with them what he chooses.

The media and Democrats would go ballistic, of course, but how much more intense can their opposition get compared to today?

 

WALKS IN THE WOODS CONFIRMED.

In other words, the woman from whom Donald Trump so ungraciously stole the presidency has announced her PAC, Onward Together, which will support these groups:

Indivisible

Color of Change

Emerge America

Run for Something

The Handmaid's Tale Foundation (a.k.a. Planned Parenthood)

Okay, I added that last one. But take a look at these groups — they're all rabid liberal advocacy orgs. To counter, I would suggest giving money to:

Americans for Prosperity

The Heritage Foundation

The Competitive Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute

And others, like Concerned Veterans for America, the National Association for Gun Rights, and the National Pro-Life Alliance.

Best Spicier of the day:

This report comes on the heels of an apparent confirmation of this morning's story that through either malice or spite, "an American official said the Western Wall is part of the West Bank," rather than a part of Jewish Jerusalem. So the embassy move looks to be a dead letter, and the Trump Administration at least appears to have shifted towards Abbas on the West Bank -- all right before an "historic" visit by Trump to Israel.

My cynical side can't help but notice that when the Obama Administration treated Israel this badly, at least it was on purpose.

What a mess.

I'm waiting to see this confirmed by a second source, but if true, what an unforced error -- or outright insult.