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Sunday, February 18, 2018

What TDS does to your hearing...

Rod Rosenstein: There’s no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge, and the nature of the scheme was the kept defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States, so if anybody traced it back to the first jump, they appeared to be American.

What Liberals heard: There is no doubt that Trump associates colluded with these individuals and indictments are just around the corner.

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Rod Rosenstein: The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence and democracy.

What Liberals heard: The Russian conspirators were working on behalf of the Trump campaign.

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Rod Rosenstein: There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.

What Liberals heard: Russian meddling was the reason Donald Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost.

The Rosenstein press conference - full transcript.

Obviously there are already suggestions being made that Rosenstein made statements that he didn't actually make, or that he didn't make specific statements that he actually did.

  • He did not, as some have claimed, make any statement that suggests that there are others (referenced or unnamed) who may later be indicted. There wasn't even the slightest hint of this. 
  • He did, twice in fact, make the plain spoken statement that there is no suggestion in this indictment that any American had any knowledge of the scheme. Had Rosenstein made the statement that no Americans were being "charged" in this indictment, then it would leave open the possibility of more indictments. But he didn't. He stated that no Americans had knowledge. His statement basically precludes the idea that there are Americans who are going to be charged for any sort of conspiracy here. 

Transcript:

The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.

According to the allegations in the indictment, 12 of the individual defendants worked at various times for a company called Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg.

The other individual department, Evgeny Victorovich Posogon, funded the conspiracy through companies known as Concord Management and Consultants LLC, Concord Catering, and many affiliates and subsidiaries. The conspiracy was part of a larger operation called project Lacta.

Project Lacta included multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation, and others targeting foreign audiences in multiple countries. Internet Research Agency allegedly operated through Russian shell companies. It employed hundreds of people in its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas to technical and administrative support personnel, with an annual budget of millions of dollars.

Internet Research Agency was a structured organization headed by a management group and arranged into departments including graphics, search engine optimization, information technology and finance departments.

In 2014, the company established a translator project focused on the United States. In July 2016, more than 80 employees were assigned to the translator project. Two of the defendants allegedly traveled to the United States in 2014 to collect intelligence for their American influence operations. In order to hide the Russian origins of their activities, the departments allegedly purchased space on computer servers located here in the United States in order to set up a virtual private network.

The defendants allegedly used that infrastructure to establish hundreds of accounts on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, making it appear that those accounts were controlled by persons located in the United States.

They used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts, and false identification documents. The defendants posed as politically and socially active Americans advocating for and against particular candidates. They established social media pages and groups to communicate with unwitting Americans. They also purchased political advertisements on social media networks. The Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities for political campaigns and stage political rallies.

The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians.

After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the president-elect, while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election. For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York on the same day.

On September 13 of 2017, soon after the news media reported that the special counsel’s office was investigating evidence that Russian operatives had used social media to interfere with the 2016 election, one defendant allegedly wrote, “We had a slight crisis here at work. The FBI busted our activity. So I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with my colleagues.”

The indictment includes eight criminal counts. Count one alleges a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States, by all of the defendants. The defendants allegedly conspired to defraud America by impairing the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, the United States Department of Justice, and the Department of State.

Those organizations of the US government are responsible for administrating federal requirements for disclosure of foreign involvement in certain domestic activities.

Count two charges conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud by Internet Research Agency and two of the individual defendants.

Counts three through eight charge aggravated identity theft by internet research agency and four individuals. Now, there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.

I want to caution you that everyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court. At trial, prosecutors must introduce credible evidence that is sufficient to prove each defendant guilty beyond any reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury. Special counsel’s investigation is ongoing. There will be no comments from the special counsel at this time. This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet. The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence and democracy. We must not allow them to succeed.

The Department of Justice will continue to work cooperatively with other intelligence agencies and with the Congress to defend our nation against similar current and future efforts. I want to thank the federal agents and prosecutors who are working on this case for their exceptional service and I’ll be happy to take a few questions.

Is there concern that this influenced the outcome of the election?

What I have identified for you are the allegations in the indictment. There are no allegations in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election.

On page four of the indictment, paragraph six, it specifically talks about the Trump campaign, saying that defendants communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign. My question is later in the indictment, campaign officials are referenced not by their name, by campaign official one or two or three. Were campaign officials cooperative, or were they duped? What was their relationship with this?

There’s no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge, and the nature of the scheme was the kept defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States, so if anybody traced it back to the first jump, they appeared to be American.

Have you had any assurances from the Russians they will provide these individuals for prosecution?

There’s been no communication with the Russians about this. We’ll follow the ordinary process of seeking cooperation and extradition. Thank you very much.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Let's be clear...

Trump is not responsible for the Russians meddling of the election... he never was.

The Obama Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and everyone else responsible for our national security back in 2016 is responsible. Why this seems relatively hard for people to grasp is what is otherwise known as cognitive dissonance. In this case, specifically a belief disconfirmation of a cult-like nature.

Isn't it interesting that the very people responsible for counter-intelligence, preventing our national security interests from being compromised, and protecting the American public, are now the very people trying to pass blame to someone who wasn't even in charge when any of this happened? They all conveniently point their finger at the big, bad, boogie man himself... Donald Trump. He's the one to blame! Oh, and btw... they will all tell you that he is a dumb incompetent buffoon, but it's their argument that he has been outsmarting them all six ways from Sunday. But, hey, maybe they can string him up for something like obstruction.

Moreover, those who were actually responsible for allowing the Russians to meddle, are ironically the very ones doing the lion's share of the investigation. They are in fact investigating their own paid for claims that it wasn't them who was responsible. They would like us to believe that it was an illegal conspiracy. In fact, they've been trying to prove that it wasn't their fault for nearly two years now, and are still drawing a blank.

Interestingly, almost nobody on the left sees a problem with any of this.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Liberals change their tune

From collusion to meddling... 

So the "NEW" talking points memo from the left is that the Mueller investigation wasn't about finding Trump/Russian collusion and that Trump was not defending himself all along...

Apparently the "NEW" talking points memo from the left is that the Mueller investigation was about finding evidence that the Russians meddled, and that Trump was wrong all along to call it a witch hunt. Apparently, Trump wasn't defending himself and his campaign. He was defending the "Russians".

Really. Seems many of these outlets share a brain.

MSNBC
Trump’s “hoax” talking point is clearly dead. The indictment specifically says the accused Russians “knowingly and intentionally conspired” to interfere with “the U.S. political and electoral process, including the presidential election of 2016.”
CNN
Robert Mueller just made it impossible for Trump to call the special counsel probe a 'total hoax'
NBC News
Democrats lashed out Friday at President Donald Trump after the investigation he has called a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" resulted in the indictment of 13 Russian nationals on charges of interfering in the 2016 election.

So, yeah... apparently we appointed a multi-million dollar special counsel to tell us that there were Russian internet trolls, and indict a whole bunch of people who will never stand trial. Go figure.
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If you had asked 100 liberals six months ago if they would feel vindicated if the Mueller investigation revealed that there was Russian meddling, but no collusion with the Trump campaign. How many say yes? Any?


Interesting...

13 Russian nationals indicted for interfering in US elections
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of interfering in U.S. elections.

They are accused of having a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

The 37-page indictment was signed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

They are accused of spreading derogatory information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, denigrating Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio -- and supporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

According to the special counsel, the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

Now all we need to do is get our extradition papers in order, and sent them off to Vladimir, who I am certain will be happy to send them all over for trial. Oh wait, we don't have an extradition treaty with Vladimir.

Obviously I have not read the indictment, nor would I likely understand everything that the indictment is attempting to accomplish. But quite obviously a foreigner interfering in a U.S. election, spreading derogatory information, and attempting to sow discord in our election process... would be a very bad thing.

I guess we should be expecting that indictment against Richard Steele any time now.

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Update: It appears that what Mueller is going after is a couple of long standing internet trolling agencies, that have been spread pro-Russian propaganda for quite some time. Their involvement in U.S. politics goes back at least to 2014.

Rod Rosenstein, in a press conference today suggested that there were no American citizens who knowingly participated in the scheme.  One would have to assume that if there were known American accomplices, that they would have been listed in the indictment as well.

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This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for the Trump/Russia collusion diehards.

Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities for the unregistered interference in U.S. elections.

While Russian operatives may have had a formidable online presence prior to and during the 2016 election cycle, their efforts were not expansive enough to push the needle in any direction.

Not only did the DOJ conclude there was no willing or knowing collusion between any American and Russian operatives, they also concluded Russia’s efforts failed to impact the 2016 election.

During a press conference, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein said, “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity,” adding “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Waiting to get some other opinions on the subject. But it certainly looks like this indictment is moer exculpatory than incriminating for the members of the Trump campaign.  

Immigration deal dead?

Looks that way, at least in the Senate. Several bills got support, some even majority support. But nothing came close to the 60 votes necessary. The closest bill to 60 votes was probably the bill least likely to make it through the House and be signed by the President.

The reality here... and it is reality even if it sounds partisan... is that the GOP was willing to upset their base and actually offer amnesty to get something done. Ironically I read in the Washington Post that the problem with cutting the deal is that the GOP insisted on making changes to chain migration and the visa lottery, which they called a "toxic" request for the GOP to make.

I find it amusing  that when the GOP requires something that the public wants (but the base of the Democratic Party doesn't) - that it's considered toxic. But if the Democrats require something (like amnesty) that the general public wants (but the base of the Republican Party doesn't) there doesn't seem to be much of an issue with it.

In other words... the media continues to argue that the far left views are mainstream (even if the general public disagrees).  Meanwhile they continue to argue that GOP views (even when the general public agrees) are radical and toxic.

Moreover, it seems fairly obvious that the media has forgotten who actually was elected to run the executive branch and both chambers of congress. The majority is under no obligation to cater to the wants of the minority.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

So why is it that...

Every time some crazy monster goes to a place that doesn't allow guns... takes out his own gun and mows a bunch of people down. The solution for so many people is to double down on the concept of not allowing guns?


Perhaps if we just posted a few more "no guns allowed" signs or possibly clarified what we would like to accomplish with those signs... that would do the trick?

Immigration deal? Too many cooks in the kitchen..

So we have the Susan Collins, the King/Rounds, the Gardner/Bennet, the McCain/Random Democrat plans... we have a variety of House plans in the making, and of course we have the President's four pillar plan. It sounds rather confusing, but it would appear all very simple.

The President claims he will not sign anything that doesn't include the four pillars. Democrats will not entertain any plan that includes all of the four pillars. So, what we have is a classic political "stand off". Which is to say that we can look for people to spend more time spinning blame, than solving the issue.

Some points:

  • All polling shows that the general public wants overall immigration reform. The more areas that are addressed, the more popular the reform will be. While the Democrats seem to believe that they can push a clean DACA fix, or a fix with some limited changes and a few bucks for border security, that is not what the general public wants. 
  • The President's four pillar plan is popular. Each individual piece of the puzzle (DACA, chain migration, visa lottery, and border security) is popular on their own... and by a two to one margin the American public believes that the four pillar plan is reasonable and responsible. 
  • A plan being bi-partisan does not make that plan either good or fair, especially when bi-partisan is a bunch of Democrats and Lindsey Graham or a bunch of Democrats and John McCain. The issue will still be what is included. Less is not more in the eyes of the American public.
  • The dreamers will not be deported if the plan falls apart. There will be very limited tangible effects, but very many political effects. This is more of a political piece of mind, and an expectation deal with many Hispanics and immigration supporters. They have been offered a pathway to citizenship.  
  • Fair or not, the President and conservative have created a negative stigma regarding chain migration and the visa lottery system. Defending these programs is a risk. Allowing the dreamer deal to fall apart defending them, is very dangerous.

Both sides run the risk of being blamed if this whole thing falls through. But ultimately, the President is on record with the American public as offering a reasonable compromise that includes the one thing that the Democrats have been clamoring for.

The media will certainly spin this as the GOP demanding too much for something that the public is in favor of. But that is an argument that is only half right. The mainstream public does not just see this as just an issue with the dreamers. They also are in favor of the things that the GOP is asking for.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

GOP edges in front in latest Generic Ballot poll


Republicans have erased the Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that, for the first time since April, also shows President Donald Trump’s approval rating equaling the percentage of voters who disapprove of his job performance. Fully 39 percent of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, are undecided.

Make up your mind?

So everyone has probably heard about Adam Rippon. You know, the very first gay figure skater (ahem) to ever compete in the Olympics.

Anyways, Rippon wanted to make sure everyone understood he was gay, decided to attack Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter, made sure everyone knew he would be boycotting any Olympic trip to the White House, and basically brought a whole bunch of politics to the situation by his own choice...

Adam Rippon: First gay figure skater in history!

But now that he has won a medal in the 2018 games (kudos to him), Adam Rippon is upset that people are focusing on his sexual preference and his associate to Mike Pence... rather than his performance. Go figure.