Show Prep December 8th, 2017

QUICK HEADLINES

  1. Congress Passes Short-Term Spending Deal
  2. Roy Moore says America is “the focus of modern evil in the world.”
  3. Trent Franks Resigns from Congress

#1 Al Franken Resigns

In a stunning close to his congressional career, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Thursday announced that he will resign amid multiple allegations that he touched women inappropriately, becoming the second lawmaker to step aside over such accusations in three days.  Yielding to pressure from other Democrats, Franken said he will leave Capitol Hill in the “coming weeks,” but he continued to deny allegations of groping and unwanted advances from more than a half-dozen women.

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Al Franken’s Farcical Resignation Speech…Al Franken’s resignation speech made no sense. If he is innocent as he claims (he says some of the allegations were untrue and he remembers the rest differently than his accusers) and if he is as confident that the Ethics Committee would vindicate him as he says, he shouldn’t be resigning. Indeed, a duly-elected senator wrongly accused owes it to himself and his constituents to fight on — lies and mis-remembered accounts shouldn’t chase anyone from the Senate…READ MORE

Democrats seize the moral high ground…Now, there’s no question that Democrats are dumping Conyers and Franken in order to regain the moral high ground on the #MeToo movement: they want to be able to point at Moore and President Trump and suggest that Republicans don’t have women’s backs. But that doesn’t mean that Democrats are morally wrong to dump Franken and Conyers. They’re right, even if they’re cynically motivated. Meanwhile, Republicans are granting Democrats the political high ground on an obvious moral issue. And they’re not just granting the high ground: they’re throwing it at Democrats with both hands…READ MORE


 

#2 FBI Head Defends Agency From Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency Thursday in his first public appearance since President Donald Trump said the bureau is “in tatters.”  Wray told the House Judiciary Committee his agents work hard “protecting the American people and upholding the rule of law in all 50 states and in about 80 countries around the world.”  “Let me start by saying that it is for me the honor of a lifetime to be here representing the men and women of the FBI,” he said. “There is no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart.”

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The incredible tale of a reckless/partisan FBI agent…This agent, Peter Strzok, also worked with FBI director James Comey on the Clinton email investigation. In fact, he was so deeply involved in the Clinton investigation that he is said to have interviewed Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and to have been present when the FBI interviewed Clinton. According to CNN, he was part of the team responsible for altering the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in handling classified emails (a finding that could have triggered criminal liability) to “extremely careless” — a determination that allowed her to escape prosecution entirely…READ MORE
Wait for the evidence…It is certainly worth revisiting these indefensible episodes. It is very much worth comparing this kid-gloves treatment of Clinton to the scorched-earth tactics of the Mueller investigation. It is completely appropriate to probe the extent to which law enforcement and intelligence collection were politicized during the Obama presidency, and to ask whether Strzok was driving that train or just along for the ride. But if you’ve made up your mind that Peter Strzok is responsible for tanking the Hillary Clinton case, and that he was putting his thumb on Mueller’s scale against the Trump administration, you are way out ahead of what we actually know — and you’re probably wrong…READ MORE

 

#3 Bitcoin Mania

Bitcoin mania reached new highs Thursday as the price of the digital currency jumped about 40% in 40 hours, smashing through five separate $1,000-barriers and surging past $16,000.  At one point Thursday, the price briefly jumped above $19,000 on some exchanges, before quickly retreating. At 5 p.m. in New York, bitcoin was trading at $16,109, up 17% for the day, before it bounced above $17,000 again in evening trading.  Even for bitcoin, which is notoriously volatile, the upward lurch was jarring, astounding outsiders and thrilling those who have piled into the digital currency in recent weeks.

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Is it time to regulate Bitcoin?  Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies are getting too big for regulators to ignore much longer. Aside from a change of heart on consumer protection, there are two decent reasons for them to interfere, both of which would have potentially catastrophic results for the survival of bitcoin and other digital currencies.  The first and most important is the danger to the financial system as it becomes increasingly entangled with bitcoin. Those links are just starting to be developed, with dozens of new funds pitching bitcoin to mainstream investors, while futures contracts will next week open bets on bitcoin to ordinary speculators…READ MORE

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