Probe by the Special Counsel Continues to Broaden in Scope

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The Wall Street Journal recently broke the story that Allen Weisselberg had been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Weisselberg is the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization and also serves as the treasurer of the Trump Foundation.

The CFO has been with the Trump family since 1970, when he began working for President Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump. Weisselberg currently co-manages the Trump businesses along with President Trump’s adult sons.

Weisselberg was called to testify to a grand jury earlier this summer. As the CFO, he presumably has a wealth of knowledge about the Trump Organization’s internal cash flow.

Presently, Weisselberg has been given immunity related solely to the payments that Michael Cohen made to two women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs. However, through use of the same above-described investigation, prosecutors could potentially subpoena additional records from the company, and the investigation could undergo a further expansion.

Through use of the offices of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, it appears as though the legal team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a foothold with which to examine President Trump’s private businesses activities.

A look at how the investigation initially came into existence helps to provide insight regarding the current direction of the probe.

In May 2017, through an order issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller, a colleague of Rosenstein, was appointed to the position of special counsel, following the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Questions about conflicts of interest arose, including those surrounding the situation in which Mueller had unsuccessfully interviewed for the position of FBI director the day prior to his appointment as special counsel. Mueller’s appointment materialized after a push had taken place, primarily on the part of Democrats, for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself, and Sessions acceded to the demands.

The language used in the appointment of the special counsel was broad in scope and essentially gave Mueller carte blanche to investigate without restrictions or limits on length, breadth, and/or monetary considerations.

Mueller went on to assemble what appeared to be a highly partisan team, which included the following individuals:

-Senior prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who attended 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s election night gathering and also sent a congratulatory email to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates after she blocked the so-called travel ban that had been issued in the early days of the Trump administration;

-Jeannie Rhee, a lawyer who represented the Clinton Foundation and also worked for Ben Rhodes, a former Obama administration NSA deputy director;

-Aaron Zebley, who represented the individual who installed Hillary’s private email server and who was also involved in the destruction of some Blackberry devices;

-Peter Strzok, former Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the FBI, who had led the tepid FBI investigation into Hillary’s use of a private email server, and who also initiated the aggressive investigation of the Trump campaign, which led to the Mueller appointment;

-Lawyer Lisa Page, Strzok’s colleague and paramour, who had exchanged text messages that revealed a bias against then-candidate Trump. Both Page and Strzok were removed from Mueller’s team for public relations reasons, according to the testimony of Strzok.

In 2009 Harvey Silverglate penned the book “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.” In the foreword to the book, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz discusses his experiences litigating cases in the old Soviet Union. Dershowitz notes that, due to vague interpretations of Russian laws, anyone could be prosecuted. The professor reminds us that it was Lavrentiy Beria, the infamous henchman of Joseph Stalin, who assured the dictator of the following: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

The investigation was born amid multiple misgivings, which included, among other things, dubious FISA warrants obtained with a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Contributing to the cloud of confusion that continues to surround the investigation is the fact that from its beginnings it had been minus a mandate of a specific crime with which it had been tasked to investigate, and the investigatory team has continued in its growth pattern.

Anti-Trump Media Attempt to Tamper with the Manafort Jury

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Paul Manafort worked as a manager for the Trump campaign for approximately three months back in 2016.

A high-profile trial has been taking place over the last three weeks in the courtroom of Judge T. S. Ellis. Manafort has been charged with eighteen counts of income tax evasion and bank fraud. The jury in the case is presently deliberating.

Still smarting from the unexpected results of the 2016 election, many in the mainstream media have been feverishly covering each step of the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well as the Manafort trial, which they view as the singular most important legal event for Mueller thus far.

However, two recent events that happened during the trial have seemingly generated concern and even anxiety within the mainstream media over the possibility that the trial’s outcome may not be the one for which the outlets had longed.

First, Manafort’s defense team rested its case without presenting witnesses or actual evidence of any kind, making it abundantly clear that the defense lawyers were taking the position that the prosecution had not met its burden of proof.

Second, while still in the process of deliberating, the jury asked four questions of Judge Ellis.

The first three questions dealt with relatively trivial matters concerning forms, exhibit lists, and such. However, the fourth question, which requested that the judge “redefine reasonable doubt,” set off waves of nervous discussion within mainstream newsrooms.

In this case, the burden of proof that rests on Muller’s shoulders is to present sufficient evidence so that the jury will be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Manafort is guilty of the crimes with which he has been charged.

By inquiring about the “reasonable doubt” standard, it could well be the case that the jury had been wrestling with the issue of whether or not the evidentiary burden had been met, which could indicate that a possible hung jury, or even an acquittal, is forthcoming.

Either of the above results would constitute a major blow to the already sinking reputation of the special counsel probe. The partisans that populate the newsrooms of the mainstream media would not be able to tolerate such a result.

This may explain why CNN, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, the New York Times, NBC Universal, and the Associated Press sprang into action and had their lawyers file a motion to seek the release of the full names and addresses of every one of the jurors.

The timing of the request is extremely suspicious, and there is little, if any, newsworthiness in obtaining this type of information. The mainstream media were apparently unconcerned with the names and addresses of the jurors when they were selected weeks ago, yet they rushed into court to seek the unveiling of the jurors’ names and addresses on the day after the same jurors inquired about the meaning of “reasonable doubt.”

Fortunately, Judge Ellis ruled against the motion, and in the process revealed that he had personally received death threats and therefore had to be guarded by federal agents.

Judge Ellis also indicated that he was convinced that the jurors could be placed in harm’s way if their names and personal contact information were released. He additionally told the courtroom that the jurors were “scared” and “afraid.”

This jury has not been sequestered. The media outlets that filed the motion are fully aware that there is a high probability that the individual jurors will find out that a host of wide-reaching news organizations were seeking to expose their names and locations.

Manafort has a constitutional right to a trial by a jury of his peers. The jurors, who are fulfilling a civic duty, should have their personal privacy respected during the deliberation process. Outing the names of jurors would be an unethical and egregious interference with due process.

The Digital Threat to Free Expression

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Recently, in a series of unprecedented moves on the part of four major social media platforms, free expression was deliberately brought to a halt.

That the thwarting of the free expression in question took place on the same day adds to the alarming nature of the action by the digital powers that be.

Alex Jones’s InfoWars content was banished from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify. The move appears to have been a coordinated effort.

The removal of the content was evidently motivated by a desire to rid the platforms of supposed hate speech. However, the same platforms continue to display pages that have far more incendiary and/or offensive content than InfoWars posted.

Provocateur Jones’s site was a convenient quarry for tech companies to begin their purge of content that they subjectively deem undesirable.

However, tech giants have laid down a track record that indicates they cannot be trusted to maintain a fair venue for the marketplace of ideas.

Approximately 70 percent of the people within our country now obtain their news from Google and Facebook. Additionally, the major tech concerns have a virtual stranglehold on the manner in which billions of people around the globe communicate.

Truth be told, there has never been a more massive concentration of media power than that which is squarely in the hands of Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and a smattering of other internet companies.

As digital companies go about the business of justifying censorship, many are looking for solutions via regulation.

Restraints on speech imposed by private companies are not protected by the First Amendment, and companies do not have a legal obligation to provide freedom of speech to their users. While internet companies were once fierce advocates of free expression, this is unfortunately not the case anymore.

Being larger than many governments of countries throughout the world, the tech giants act in a quasi-governmental manner when they eliminate or limit speech within their internet province.

Some have proposed turning the big tech giants into public utilities. Others have urged breaking up the companies through the use of anti-trust law, a logical idea when considering that the major tech firms have essentially become a monopoly with no significant competition, e.g., Google’s dominance of the internet video market and Facebook’s rule over the social media sector.

British Prime Minister Theresa May recently suggested that social media platforms be treated like news organizations, which would render them responsible for content appearing on their platforms.

Rep. Steve King has recommended revisiting the law that shields internet companies from being treated as the publisher of content users’ posts, thus restoring legal responsibility for defamatory and other tortious or criminal content that is published. The Iowa congressman is referring to a statutory provision that made the current internet social media landscape possible: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Publishers of content are typically liable for the material they disseminate, even when the content originates from individual unpaid contributors, such as a “letter to the editor.”

In 1996, when the web as we know it was still in its infancy, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. An amendment to the original bill, Section 230, stated, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

The statute protected Internet providers from being deemed news organizations and gave legal immunity to the tech companies, ostensibly to foster industry growth and freedom of speech.

The U.S. Supreme Court stripped away much of the bill in 1998, but Section 230 was left unscathed.

Later precedents interpreted Section 230 broadly so that digital platform companies could grow exponentially, without serious concern for illegal speech placed on their platforms. And grow they did, to become the gargantuan companies that they are today, complete with secret algorithms that render selected users invisible. At the start, the young companies would not have been economically feasible minus the provision.

The law also prevents liability in the event “objectionable” material is removed. If the companies do choose to eliminate offensive user-created content, their immunity is not forfeited.

These massive companies are essentially being treated by the law as if they are still mere startups. Although many in the tech community see Section 230 as sacrosanct, i.e., not to be touched, the provision was modified by a bi-partisan coalition in Congress earlier this year. President Trump signed legislation amending Section 230 in April 2018, denying some legal immunity to internet platforms in order to fight sex trafficking.

More carve outs of the statute, or the threat of such, will get the attention of the tech giants and perhaps motivate them to return to the free and open platforms they once wanted to be.

Social Media Memes Obscure Bombshell Revelations in Strzok Testimony

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Peter Strzok is the former Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the FBI. He is the same individual who led the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit use of a personal email server.

Strzok became Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest position within this division. He led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and was part of the investigative team on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel probe.

Strzok recently testified before two House committees about the explicit and clear animus that he expressed toward then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. He did so while simultaneously showing his utter devotion for then-candidate Hillary Clinton, via tens of thousands of text messages with his then-paramour FBI attorney Lisa Page.

Under the oversight function with which Congress is charged, it must determine whether the manifest bias exhibited in Strzok’s text messages influenced his work on three very important investigations, ones that rank among the most serious in modern history.

After the testimony of the FBI agent had been completed, the social media was abuzz with memes that consisted of pictures and video footage showing some rather bizarre facial expressions and body movements on the part of Strzok.

The memes had a potentially negative effect in that, rather than enlightening the public, they served to detract from the substance of Strzok,s testimony.

Meanwhile most of the mainstream media avoided acknowledging points made by GOP representatives and continuously painted Strzok as a victim of Republican persecution.

As if they had torn a page from the Alinsky playbook, Democrats did their best to obstruct and disrupt the hearings with rapid fire interruptions, incessant points of order, and countless motions, timing their outbursts to those moments when Strzok was asked a probing question.

Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen had the gall to talk about a desire that Strzok be given a Purple Heart for his work on the investigations, which was a serious insult to members of the armed forces who have received this distinguished honor.

The Democrats, their media allies, and broadcast television’s late-night hosts portrayed Strzok as a hero, ignoring how he attempted to explain away as mere joshing texts that called residents of Loudoun County, Virginia “ignorant,” and that the smelling of Trump supporters in a WalMart merely meant that he was aware of their presence.

The “we” in “we would stop Trump from getting elected” was supposedly a reference to all of the American people, and according to his testimony, Strzok wrote and sent tens of thousands of texts in which he did not say what he meant.

Even though Strzok was taken off the Mueller investigation for bias, according to Sztrok’s answers bias did not exist, but instead he was removed because of the “appearance of bias.”

Lost amid the strange footage of Strzok, which rapidly spread across the social media landscape, two bombshell revelations were unearthed that were new to the public and the press. The first occurred during questioning by Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert and came immediately after an exchange in which Democrats went into hysterics over Gohmert questioning Strzok as to whether he wore the same grin when he lied to his wife about having an extramarital affair.

Although the outburst by the Democrats sounded rather rehearsed, it did manage to distract from the pertinent information that was about to be exposed. Via his questions to Strzok, Gohmert revealed that the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) had informed Strzok that forensic analysis of metadata from Hillary Clinton’s email had indicated that over 30,000 of Clinton’s emails had been forwarded to the email address of a known hostile foreign entity, and that this entity was not Russia.

Gohmert stated that Frank Rucker, an ICIG investigator, presented the forensic findings to Strzok but no action whatsoever was taken by Strzok to pursue the significant intelligence matter. Strzok acknowledged having met with Rucker but claimed that he could not recall the “specific content.”

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, telling Strzok, “You were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

What possible explanation could there be for a highly placed FBI official failing to diligently pursue such a significant intelligence breach? Bias appears to be the most sensible explanation.

Still, there is an even more important revelation that arose during questioning conducted by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. The revelation deals with a fundamental question: What exactly was the basis for launching a major counterintelligence investigation that targeted the Trump campaign?

Strzok acknowledged under questioning by Jordan that the fourth ranking official at the Department of Justice, Bruce Ohr, supplied the FBI with documents that were the basis for the counterintelligence investigation. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, conducting opposition research against then-candidate Trump, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The material Ohr provided was compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and consists of documents that are known as “the dossier.”

“This is the first time, to my knowledge, the FBI has admitted they got parts of the dossier from Bruce Ohr, a fellow DOJ employee,” Jordan told Sean Hannity during a Fox News appearance.

The revelation confirms the fact that an unverified, unreliable dossier, which was purchased as opposition research by Clinton’s campaign, formed the basis by which a counterintelligence investigation against Clinton’s opponent in the presidential election, namely now-President Trump, was launched and was soon used to obtain FISA warrants to surveil members of her opponent’s campaign.

Back to the Future for the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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U.S. District Judge Richard Leon recently greenlighted the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, while failing to impose any conditions or restrictions upon the massive media consolidation.

The merger, about which reports have circulated since late 2016, was publicly opposed by President Donald Trump as well as by the Department of Justice, which in the fall of 2017 went to court to stop the transaction.

After a six-week trial, Judge Leon ruled that the merger could move ahead, belittling the government’s legal arguments.

In an unusual expression for a jurist, Leon, who also presided over the Comcast-NBC-U mega-merger in 2011, went so far as to urge the government not to appeal the decision.

Antitrust law exists to prevent monopolies that could potentially stifle competition and harm consumers. When the same company owns the means of media production as well as the means of distribution of media content, antitrust issues arise.

This is not the first time that media companies have been met with legal challenges over simultaneous ownership of content and the means by which the content is delivered. In the 1940s, Hollywood studios produced motion pictures while owning the theaters in which the very films were being displayed.

In a 1948 decision, United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., the Supreme Court ruled that Hollywood studios would be required to sell off movie theater holdings.

The landmark decision essentially ended the studio system of the “Golden Age” of movies, while fundamentally altering the way in which Hollywood movies were produced, distributed, and exhibited. It also fostered the idea that “vertical integration” should be restrained by courts and, based on antitrust principles, barriers should be put in place between corporate ownership of both distribution and content.

With regard to the AT&T-Time Warner merger, the Trump administration had argued that the resulting conglomerate would create the same vertical integration-dual ownership issue that the old Hollywood studio system faced, and as a negative consequence consumers would end up paying more for their television viewing.

This was the same position with regard to the proposed merger that then-candidate Trump held during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition to potential risk to consumers’ pocketbooks, the entertainment business will be significantly affected by the AT&T-Time Warner combination. Allowing the merger to proceed in its present fashion will have profound ramifications for the manner in which entertainment companies compete with one other.

Owners of news, movie, and/or entertainment cable television channels, who wish to be well placed on the AT&T-Time Warner system, will be beholden to a company that has control over the delivery system while simultaneously owning competing channels.

Producers of content that competes with that of AT&T-Time Warner may need to have the content distributed via the merged company’s delivery system.

It is certainly within the realm of possibility that the merged company would advertently or even inadvertently favor channels and content which the enterprise owns.

The court’s decision in approving the merger may also embolden other Hollywood studios to pair up with telecommunications companies in order to effectively deal with the cash-rich tech companies that have invaded the entertainment space of late, e.g., Apple, Amazon, Google, and Netflix.

One relevant case in point is that of Comcast, which has jumped into the bidding for 21st Century Fox’s assets that Disney had already been in the process of negotiating to purchase.

Consumers generally have very few options when it comes to cable, satellite, and broadband services. AT&T provides broadband and television via a cable media delivery service, U-verse. It also owns a major satellite television provider, DirecTV.

By acquiring Time Warner, the company obtains a major movie and television studio, which includes the DC Comics’ franchises, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, along with television programming on TBS, TNT, CNN, and HBO.

By owning content and delivery, the newly merged company has the same kind of vertical integration that the Court broke up years ago, when it forced movie studios to divest in the Paramount case.

 

The Fourth Amendment Is Worth Protecting

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The New York Times recently published an extensive article that attempted to shine a positive light on an appallingly scandalous set of facts.

However, even with its extravagant spin efforts the newspaper could not exclude the information that the FBI employed secret counterintelligence tools to spy on the Trump campaign, including the use of a paid confidential informant who sought to extract damaging information from several people associated with the campaign.

It is a grave situation when, through the use of counterintelligence powers, a presidential administration targets officials associated with the campaign of the opposition party.

The same Obama executive branch engaged in a series of extraordinary actions to step-up government intrusions, including the following:

-The NSA was allowed to obtain private data on American citizens;

-Members of the press were spied upon;

-Hundreds of individuals were “unmasked” by the ambassador to the UN and the national security adviser;

-An unreliable dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants, and the parties submitting the applications failed to disclose key facts to the FISA court.

After all of these expansive actions were taken, the FBI counterintelligence probe, code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” placed then-presidential candidate Donald Trump under surveillance.

It is the height of irony that in early 2017 President Trump was derided for his tweet that claimed he was being surveilled.

As these and other troubling facts emerged, the mainstream media did their dutifully best to rev up the spin engines.

The New York Times characterized the actions taken by the FBI during the above-referenced period as focused on Russia rather than spying, while the Washington Post attempted to twist the narrative into asserting that the FBI was “protecting” President Trump rather than targeting him.

In an appearance on CNN about the spying on the Trump campaign that had taken place via the hands of the government, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper channeled Martha Stewart as he indicated how the spying was a “good thing.”

Seemingly lost in the media coverage as well as in the continuing discussion is the damage being done to the fundamental principles of individual privacy rights, which are set forth in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Framers sought to protect citizens from unreasonable intrusions by the government. It was indeed a breakthrough notion by the Founding Fathers that the privacy of our persons, houses, papers, and effects are off limits to interference by government, unless and until a judge has signed off on a warrant that authorizes a search, seizure, or surveillance.

Judges may only issue warrants after finding probable cause to believe that the invasion of privacy or surveillance will produce evidence of criminal behavior. In addition, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to specifically describe what will be seized and where a search will take place.

The norm in the Colonies during the pre-Fourth Amendment era was that warrants were issued in secret by British courts, without the inclusion of probable cause and/or specificity. In other words, the government could conduct a search without any legitimate judicial scrutiny.

It is now known that secret FISA warrants for surveillance on the Trump campaign were issued, based on an unreliable dossier purchased by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and that the FBI failed to disclose key information to the FISA court.

The use of so-called national security letters to gather documents on Trump campaign figures, however, constitutes a whole new level of government action that flies in the face of Fourth Amendment precepts.

According to the New York Times, the FBI “obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters – a secret type of subpoena…”

Several federal statutes allow intelligence officials to request certain business record information using national security letters, which are documents that compel the production of private materials.

National security letters are a type of administrative subpoena, which must be used solely in connection with national security investigations. The documents require individuals or organizations to provide materials that typically involve telephone, email, and/or financial records.

The national security letters include a gag order mandating that those responsible for complying cannot disclose the existence of the document or its content. When used in the manner in which the New York Times describes, national security letters are de facto warrants.

Simply said, phone records and other documents were compelled by a government agency from individuals connected with an opposing political party’s campaign, without a court, probable cause, or any judicial oversight whatsoever.

History demonstrates the danger of granting government agencies the ability to subvert constitutional norms.

Even in cases involving national security, the full requirements of the Fourth Amendment can and should be fulfilled in an expedited fashion, with no intrusions into citizens’ privacy without probable cause that is determined by a court of law, upheld by affirmation or sworn oath, which sets forth precisely what will be confiscated and the location that will be searched.

Tim Allen Is ‘Standing’ Again

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In May of 2016, ABC executives made an inexplicable decision, one that from a business standpoint seemed totally incoherent.

The Disney-owned network mysteriously cancelled its second-highest rated sitcom, which made no sense since the comedy had already received two prime time Emmy nominations and was on a solid upward trajectory.

“Last Man Standing,” starring Tim Allen, was in its sixth successful season at the time of its cancellation, with an average of more than 8 million viewers for the 2016-17 season. It was well on its way to the lucrative syndication level to which television producers, showrunners, and stars perpetually aspire.

Mike Baxter, the show’s lead character played by Allen, is a charmingly crusty outdoor sporting goods executive. He is also a refreshingly vocal and hilariously brazen center-right individual.

One rational explanation for ABC’s exercise in poor judgment back in 2016 may be that the company has an inherent disdain, as many in Hollywood do, for the show’s conservative-leaning content.

The fact that Allen’s actual political views are pretty much the same as the character he plays seems to give credence to the network’s likely motive in terminating the show. Adding possible fuel to the proverbial fire, Allen also happens to be a supporter of President Trump.

The comedic tension in the show comes from the nature of Allen’s character being a married father of three, who as a tried and true male head of the household attempts to safeguard his family fortress against attacks from left-minded relatives and the PC police.

A petition to bring back the show was launched by center-right TV viewers. “Last Man Standing” was described in the petition as a show that “appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values.”

ABC predictably denied that bias played any role in the decision to deep-six the original sitcom. Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, claimed that the reason the show was cancelled was due to high costs as opposed to Allen’s personal politics or the political content of the show.

Considering the fierce competition within the television industry as well as the difficulty of achieving the kind of consistent ratings success that Allen’s show garnered, ABC’s explanation simply does not hold water. As Allen himself told the Hollywood Reporter, “…there is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character.”

After “Last Man Standing” was cut, ABC plugged the adult fairy tale drama “Once Upon a Time” into the time slot, which drew far lower ratings.

Then recently, in a sort of serendipitous Hollywood surprise, along came the refreshing reboot of the 1980s sitcom “Roseanne,” which took the TV world by storm and gave a starving center-right public (which incidentally is a huge demographic) a reason to laugh again.

Fox Television Group, led by chairpersons Gary Newman and Dana Walden, made a wise call and announced that they were bringing back the series.

“‘Last Man Standing’ ended too soon and the outcry from the fans has been deafening,” Newman and Walden said in a statement. “We’ve wanted to put the show back together since its final taping a year ago, and Tim never gave up hope either. Thanks to its millions of devoted viewers and the irrepressible Tim Allen, we haven’t seen the last of ‘Last Man Standing.’”

It initially appeared that key players Nancy Travis and Hector Elizondo were caught up in other television projects. However, in addition to Allen the show has been able to get Travis onboard, along with other original cast members Jonathan Adams, Christoph Sanders, Amanda Fuller, and Jordan Masterson. Hopefully the network can find a way to include Elizondo in the renewed show as well.

As for Allen, he issued a statement asking himself whether he was excited by the announcement that his show was returning to the air.

“Team LMS was in the sixth inning, ahead by four runs, stands were packed and then for no reason, they call off the game. It leaves you sitting in the dugout, holding a bat and puzzled. Now we get the news from Fox that it’s time to get back out on that diamond – hell yes, I’m excited!” Allen said.

In the same manner as his character would, Allen quipped, “When I heard the offer to create more episodes of ‘Last Man Standing,’ I did a fist pump so hard I threw my back out.”

“Last Man Standing” is expected to be part of the Fox schedule in the 2018-19 season, and much to the chagrin of ABC, many viewers will be doing fist pumps as they hand Fox a mega-ratings hit.