Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Comment on allegations against AG Jeff Sessions: If there is anything substantive in the allegations about Jeff Sessions, that would be a big deal. Brief discussions are not, but knowingly misleading a Senate Committee would be. Obviously, the attacks are part of a broader Democratic effort to deligitimate the Trump Administration, which is on the edge of a Witch Hunt, but the underlying facts and the truthfulness of Sessions’ testimony will determine.
In any case, it would be wise for Sessions to accede to Democratic demands to remove himself (though perhaps not recuse himself) from any investigation of Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are edging up to asking, “Are you now or have you ever been . . .?” They will ask it now of every Trump nominee.
◆ Stay Classy: Valerie Jarrett has moved into Pres. Obama’s house in DC which “is now the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against President Trump,” according to the Daily Mail.
Comment: As with so much of Jarrett’s activities, this is the opposite of wisdom. Why. First, because it leave fingerprints. Second, because it keeps Obama and his team prominently in the party’s leadership at a time when the Democrats desperately need new leadership . . . after their party was decimated at all levels during the Obama years. Third, because it highlights the Democratic Party’s role as full-frontal obstructionists. Other than that, smart move.
Sad-but-true footnote: CNN has actually hired Valerie’s daughter as their main reporter on the Department of Justice. Are these CNN executives so clueless or so partisan they don’t understand that you cannot do this and present yourself as a disinterested news organization?
◆ Excellent economic news: “U.S. jobless claims near 44-year-low as labor market tightens” (Reuters)
The stronger labor market combined with rising inflation could push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month.
It was the 104th straight week that claims remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. It is now at or close to full employment, with an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent. –Reuters
The offsetting news this week is that economic growth in 2016 Q4 was still sluggish.
Comment: For all the criticism of Pres. Obama’s economic management–some deserved, some not–he deserves praise for nearly all of the 104 weeks of low jobless claims.
◆ North Korea sez: “Heart attack, not nerve agent, killed Kim Jong Nam” (Washington Post)
Comment: And if you don’t agree, you, too, will die of a heart attack.
In other news, Pyongyang is offering going-out-of-business prices on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Non-aligned Sweden is worried about Russia’s Baltic military drills.
In September, a Swedish garrison was restored to Gotland, a big island lying between the Swedish mainland and the three ex-Soviet Baltic states.
Why is this happening?
Ms Nyh Radebo [speaking for the Defense Ministry] said the return to conscription was prompted by “the security change in our neighbourhood”.
“The Russian illegal annexation of Crimea [in 2014], the conflict in Ukraine and the increased military activity in our neighbourhood are some of the reasons,” she said. –BBC
Comment: They aren’t drafting very many (only 4,000), but it’s the thought that counts.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Ed Vidal for Valerie Jarrett story