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Friday, July 28, 2017

Priebus...


CBO breaks it down... choice is harmful

The CBO finally admitted what conservative critics have suggested all along.  According to the most recent CBO report of the "skinny" repeal of Obamacare, such a repeal would raise the number of uninsured by 16 million Americans.  Of those 16 million, 15 million would be people who would no longer choose to purchase insurance if the individual mandate was no longer in effect.

This is probably worth repeating... of the 16 million Americans who would "lose coverage" 15 million of them would "lose coverage" as a matter of their personal choice.

Considering the repeal of the Individual mandate has been in every repeal and replace bill... that means that the first 15 million of every other estimate (22,23,32 million) is made up of people who would be deciding on their own to no longer purchase the same insurance that they are currently mandated to purchase.

So when you saw the  headline that 22 million people would lose insurance... what that headline should have read was that seven million people would lose insurance, while 15 million would be given the choice to not purchase what they are currently required to purchase.

The CBO acknowledges that many of the 15 million would probably purchase some sort of low cost insurance (as they previously had prior to Obamacare mandates). But that those insurance plans do not live up to the new criteria as to what is considered "coverage" and therefor those who chose this option still show (by CBO standards) as "losing insurance".

You know the liberal mindset has gone full scale socialist when they consider it a government "benefit" to take away our choices on healthcare insurance, and consider it to be a "benefit lost" when we, as American citizens, are given back that choice.

I guess our liberal friends just don't trust their own ability to make choices and think for themselves.

Anyone surprised by this?

GOP should shelf Repeal Effort and campaign on it (again) in 2018...

The reality appears simple.  The Republicans either need a different make up of 52 Senators or a larger majority in the Senate to pass a health care repeal. They simply do not have 50 Senators who appear willing to stand by their previous votes to repeal the doomed health care law.

While there may be a growing idea that some Republicans Senators would be willing to work with Democrats to "improve" Obamacare...doing so with represent a 180 degree back stab on the rank and file GOP voters who supported them.  I doubt anything like that would make it through the Republican House.  It probably never even gets to a vote there.

Better to allow things to simmer for another year or so. Let's wait and see how many people end up with no Obamacare choices in the exchanges come 2018.  Let's have everyone go through another year of double digit increases in premiums. Let's see how many other insurance companies decide to drop out.

Contrary to popular belief, the 2018 election could be good to the GOP (at least in the Senate where they are struggling to put together the votes for repeal).

In the past few weeks, there have been polling showing Sherrod Brown down eight points to his presumed challenger in Ohio, and even a recent poll showing Debbie Stabenow trailing Kid rock in Michigan. Given Democrats are defending in deep red states like South Dakota, Montana, Missouri, and Indiana, it is not inconceivable that the Republican actually gain a tangible amount of seats in the Senate. I would argue that chances are good (even now) that the Republicans will gain in the Senate (even as they likely lose some seats in the House). Depending on how many seats that they pick up, it could put repeal and replace over the top.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to make something fairly trivial sound "really, really bad"

“There was no mystery of who Natalia Veselnitskaya was. A simple Google search would have shown that she was the main in house lawyer for a high level Russian government official whose son was accused by the US DOJ of money laundering from the Magnitsky case in the US,”
So let's decipher this back into plain speak english?
  • Main in-house lawyer - Veselnitskaya's firm handled the case of Denis Katsyv.  She played a role in that criminal case. But in terms of the much publicized civil case here in the United States, Veselnitskaya is not even license to practice law in the United States. So she could not have been officially part of that legal action, much less the "main" attorney. 
  • lawyer for a high level Russian government official whose son was accused - Huh? Why would you represent a family member of a guy accused of a crime?  Reality - the firm actually represented Denis Katsyv (accused of money laundering). They never actually represented his father Petr Katsyv, who was never even named in either the criminal or civil case. 
  • High level government official -  If Petr Katsyv was really "high ranking" they would refer to him by his "high rank" (you know like "defense minister" or "intelligence director"). As it is,  Katsyv is currently a Railroad executive who used to be a Moscow regional transportation official. Perhaps this term would be accurate if you replace the words "high level" with the word "former". 
So it might be better to look at this like one of those seven degrees of Kevin Bacon situations. Natalia Veselnitskaya was part of a firm that once represented someone who's father was a regional transportation official for Moscow.

So all you need to do is switch some phrases around, add some important sounding words and suddenly you have - "close ties to the Kremlin".

Certainly... nobody "really" believes this bullshit?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

No Trans...

It's no secret that many military leaders were against the policy of allowing transgenders into the military. This was exactly why they pushed so hard to "stall" the implementation of the previous executive order to require the military to accept them. I generally believe that the six month time frame to study the impact, was never more than a stalling tactic to come up with a good reason to justify the preconceived decision. Military leaders originally wanted two years delay.



Keep in mind that transgender people have always been technically banned from serving (at least since transgenderism has become a thing). There was just an order to "change" that policy, that had been stayed pending more study. So technically this is not so much a "change" in policy, as it is a decision to continue the existing policy and to "not" change it to allow transgenders to openly join and serve in the military. 

I would think there is a compromise for this. Certainly, you cannot simply allow people to join the military, force the Government to pay for the surgery, have them out for an extended period of time (recovering), have to monitor the after surgery steps (including ongoing medications), etc... 

If the military can deem someone ineligible for military service  for having eczema (because it's a burden to carry and apply cream in active combat conditions) then certainly you can ban someone for military service who is going to be going through a major elective surgery.  In fact, the list of conditions that disqualifies a person for military service is extensive. Pretty much anything that requires daily medication disqualifies you (as it would create an undo burden on the military to have to provide such medications under combat situations). Obviously you do not want to see a diabetic die in a combat environment because they ran out of insulin. 

It seems to me that this isn't so much "discrimination" as the left will argue, as it is that the left is crying "discrimination" in order to force the military to make a medical exception as it pertains to Transgenders who likely require daily hormone and other medications to fight possible medical complications from a sex change operation.

So either the person agrees not to have the surgery while in active duty, or enlists after their medical issues have been resolved (and no longer require daily attention).  Then I would believe that there would be little reason to ban individuals who agree to those conditions. 

Liberal Logic...

We should have the FBI investigate, hold two congressional investigations, and call for a special prosecutor to look into unfounded allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump in regards to possible election meddling. Meddling that has not been proven to have altered the vote count, corrupted the voting process, prevented one person from voting, allowed one ineligible person to vote, or directly changed the results of the election.

Even after  spending over a year investigating these allegations (between the FBI, the House, the Senate, and Special Counsel) without coming up with any proof or evidence of any such collusion what-so-ever.

and keeping in mind that this has "always" been a conspiracy theory with no evidence backing it...

liberals feel it necessary to "expand" said investigation into prior business dealings of the President and his associates... some of which is going back 10 years... in order to try to find "something".

Al of this is done under the mantra surrounding the critical importance of election integrity.


However, even as there is resounding evidence of thousands of dead people voting, thousands of ineligible felons voting, people voting in multiple locations, improper registrations, empirical evidence of people able to walk in and vote illegally....

These same people who demand election integrity is of critical importance argue that even an initial analysis of election data should be ended at "all cost" because such a study is "scam".  They are so against "any look" into this, that they demand States refuse to turn over any of the data that would be needed for just the initial analysis.

These same people argue (ironically) that the federal government having this information would be an invasion of privacy... even though anyone who files a tax return, has a driver's license or state ID, or basically lives a real life as an American citizen already provides the Federal Government with access to 99% of that information and more (the only thing that this information would reveal is voting patterns).

There is simply no cognitive argument "against" someone looking into possible voter fraud, unless of course election integrity is of "no" importance to you what-so-ever.

Bottom line:  Liberals should "pick a side". Either election integrity is so important that we need to follow every rumor, every conspiracy theory, and every allegation and throw everything but the kitchen sink at it... or we need to let it all go because all of it is unnecessary and an invasion of privacy.

But you can't have it both ways. You cannot logically argue that unfounded conspiracy theories should investigated till the end of time (because it involves allegations against Trump), while proven election fraud should be ignored because your personal opinion is that it's probably not relevant enough to have changed anything in past elections and probably won't change anything in future elections.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Liberals should join the call to fire Mueller...

So the dishonest pile of crap lies argument from the left is that they honestly want to find out about any and all possible Russian influence on the election but only to the degree it harmed Hillary because it's a matter of national security and election integrity.  Liberal will demand that everyone should agree that getting to the bottom of Russian election influence is one of the most important issues we currently are dealing with. We should stop at nothing to take down Donald Trump at all costs  get to the truth.

I have read dozens of articles from the left very similar to the following:
Here's the main point that Kushner (and Trump and everyone else who peddles this bait-and-switch argument) misses: A foreign adversary launched a broad and well-resourced campaign against our political system last year; this should be a matter of bipartisan concern and outrage. Period.
But even if one takes Team Trump at its current word (and there have been several, each evolving as more facts have dripped out), the Russia attack is a big, big deal. In other words, even if one buys that there was no meaningful collusion or cooperation with Russia (not for lack of interest!) and that Russia didn't have any effect at all on one of the closest, most unlikely elections in U.S. history, the mere fact that a hostile power tried to disrupt our political system merits a strong national response. That's not "fake news," and it's not a "witch hunt." It's fact.
The more nefarious explanation of course is that Trump and company are trying to dismiss the smoke because they want to cover up the fire. The truth is for Robert Mueller, the independent counsel, to sort out.

So taking liberals at their word here... and assuming that is not just some transparent manner to disrupt and discourage the Trump Presidency... then why would we want to take this important investigation out of the hands of the FBI (which was focusing solely on Russian involvement in the 2016 election) and turn it over to a guy who hired a bunch of pro-Hillary lawyers and according to all sources is currently investigating Paul Manafort's old money laundering allegations and 10 year old Donald Trump business dealings?

Unless people on the left are willing to admit that this has absolutely nothing to do with Russian meddling in the 2016 election... and everything to do with trying to undermine and take down President Trump... then they should be coming out guns blazing demanding that the Deputy Attorney General fire Mueller for taking his eye off the ball, and either appoint someone willing to take on the "most important question of our generation" or hand it back to the FBI.

But we all know the truth, don't we?

The Party of Science loses their bid to withhold voter data for analysis...

A federal judge on Monday rejected complaints that President Trump’s voter integrity commission was breaking the law by requesting and storing states’ voter data, saying that as long as the panel is just advisory, it doesn’t need to meet strict standards that would apply to government agencies.
Commission Vice Chairman Kris W. Kobach welcomed the ruling and told The Washington Times that they’ll soon reach out to states to renew their request for information, which he had put on hold while the judge was deciding.
“Several states have already said they’re standing by ready to send in the publicly available voter rolls,” Mr. Kobach said.
A number of states have also balked at sharing their voter data with the commission — even though many of them make the same information available for purchase by campaigns, political parties, researchers or even the general public.
Mr. Kobach said his latest count is that about a dozen states are saying they’ll refuse, though he said some of them may reconsider. Meanwhile, more than 30 states have indicated they’ll cooperate to varying degrees.
He said some of those states have laws that do require payment for the information, and he said the commission will comply with those laws.
“Sometimes the left-leaning media was trying to spin that into a state saying no, and that’s not the case at all,” he said

Make no mistake... the "Party of science" only wants objected data driven analysis when they can control and manipulate the data to say what they want it to say.  One has to wonder what exactly these states (who are refusing to comply) have to hide?

Ultimately, considering most of this data is available to the general public (or should be) it will be difficult for states to refuse to even "sell" the data to the Federal Government as they would a campaign or political party. Imagine if states were allowed to pick and choose who they provided data to and who they didn't. How long would it be till a state with a Republican Governor and Republican congress decided to only sell their voter data to the GOP and not the Democrats?

When the Democrats are done looking for collusion...

Maybe they can help O.J. find the real killer?

"Whoever wore these had small hands... you know, like Donald Trump."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Such smug arrogance in being completely wrong!



Heilemann doubts that Trump telling the truth about Schumer blaming "themselves" and not the Russians for the election loss. His cohort finds the idea equally amusing.  Even the introduction came with a mocking grin. So what did Schumer actually say?
"When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don't blame other things — [James] Comey, Russia — you blame yourself ... So what did we do wrong? People didn't know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that."
Do these media idiots from CNN and MSNBC ever get tired of being dead wrong? More to the point, do they really believe that anyone (other than themselves) are actually "falling for" the rhetoric that Trump is President because of Russia??

Schumer's statement is common sense. Something that the left wing media has little of these days.

Kid Rock Leads

Okay - technically they both trail "undecided/refused to answer" - but it sort of tells you just exactly how weak Stabenow is in Michigan. https://delphianalytica.org/kidrock-stabenow-michigan/

Kid Rock - 30%
Debbie Stabenow - 26%
Undecided - 44%

Democrats struggle for a message...

There was literal mocking when the Democrats came up with their most recent "better message" for 2018.  I doubt it will be the last attempt at a "better message".  But to a large degree, the quest for a "better message" has been an ongoing issue for the Party who always believes that their ideas (and ideals) are big winners, but that they never have the correct messaging or messenger to sell it.


Here is a  clue... when you are a Party in search of a message, that would suggest that you are a Party in search of direction. If you knew exactly what you stood for, then the message should be pretty simple.

Believe it or not, the whole "Make America Great Again" was not just a clever piece of semantics. Neither was "Hope and Change".  Not to say that those were not clever generic statements that allowed individuals to sort of create their own definition. But both attached themselves to something that many were "longing" to hear.

Even if you do not agree with the core direction of Donald Trump of putting America first, restoring staple values, and putting a halt on the sort of "change" that was offered by Barack Obama... it's very difficult to pretend you don't see it. Pushing back against globalism, making tangible efforts to revamp and restore core American industries, while re-cultivating our relationships with our traditional allies is all part of "making America great again".  Attacking it as racism misses the entire point, while dismissing it as somehow being afraid of the future is simply the cause and effect of unbridled arrogance. This is a byproduct of people who simply cannot believe that it's possible for liberalism to "ever" take a wrong turn.

The question you have to ask yourself is simple. What (good or bad) does a "better deal" really bring to mind as it pertains to politics? Is it little more than a backhanded swipe at the GOP's apparent inability to get things done? If so, it seems highly specific and still focuses on the GOP and Trump.

Either way, if there is some underlying message out there that tells me where Democrats would like to take us moving forward, I am not hearing it. Perhaps because at this point in time, the loudest voices are all screaming about impeachment, Russia, and focusing on the semantics of questions and meetings that took place months ago. That's not a message. That's an obsession.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Isn't that his job?

So the Russian Ambassador discussed policies important to Russia with a U.S. Senator...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Spicer gone! Huckabee Sanders in?

She's better... and there is no caricature of her on SNL

Going golfing with an old friend who I haven't seen in a while...

My friend can never find a golf glove that fits quite right!

2018 may be difficult to project...

So the consensus is pretty clear. The unpopularity of Donald Trump spells doom for the GOP in the upcoming 2018 election. In fact, according some... this could be an electoral blow out of epic proportions.

Perhaps... but there are some significant differences between this particular midterm and the midterms what showed true wave election for the Party out of power.

2016 wasn't normal: Let's start with the fact that President Trump wasn't exactly wearing a coat with very long tails during the 2016 election. One of the main reasons you see a midterm loss for the Party in power is that it's a natural reaction to the previous cycle. The Party that  wins the Presidency usually wins quite a few seats in both chambers of congress (Democrats gained 8 Senate and 21 House seats in 2008). In essence they are pulling that pendulum pretty hard in their general direction. Of course, given the nature of elections in what is basically a 50/50 country, a swing back is inevitable. Usually in that first mid-term.

The problem here for Democrats is that there was not any pulling of that pendulum to the Republican side. Not only did the President not win the popular vote, but Republicans lost seats in both the Senate (2) and the House (6). To some degree, the results of the election were more in line with a Democratic Presidential win. Certainly had Clinton won the Presidency, it's very likely we would be talking about significant GOP gains. But there is little reason to believe that there will be any natural gravity pull towards the Democrats based on a course correction from the previous election.

The last time we had a President lose the popular vote as well seats in congress was 2000 with President Bush. In 2002, the GOP managed to win small margins in both the House and the Senate, avoiding any mid-term crash.

Partisanship becoming stronger: The Democrats essentially own nearly all of the Senate seats in states considered Blue or Democratic. There are simply not any opportunities in this election cycle to pick off a blue state Republican. The closest thing they have is Nevada, which was won by a marginal margin by Clinton. Arizona is next in line, where Trump won by just under four points. With partisanship as strong as it is in 2017, the concept of convincing Republicans to vote Democrat (or visa versa) is a difficult prospect. Considering how many red state Democrats are defending their seats in 2018, the Democrats will be required to spend a lot of resources playing defense.

Moreover, there have been multiple polls showing that Trump is still popular (or at least over 50%) in congressional districts that he won. If this holds true through next November, then Democrats picking up seats in Trump congressional Districts may be harder than some might think. Once again, there are limited opportunities in districts won by Clinton. Let's not forget to weigh in the very large advantages of incumbency in House elections.

Republicans are still enthusiastic: There have been some very recent polls suggesting that there simply isn't any enthusiasm gap for the Democrats, which is somewhat unusual for a the Party out of power. But I think this comes from the very aggressive "resistance" strategy being played by the Democrats and liberal community.  By thwarting everything that the Republicans are trying to accomplish, it keeps the GOP base fired up. While they may be somewhat frustrated with their own Party, they still want to get stuff done. The reality is appearing as if they need "larger"  majorities (at least in the Senate) to do so. At least that will be the argument.

Contrast that with the first couple of years under Barack Obama, where they had 59-60 Senate seats and a large House advantage. They were able to get a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package passed, as well as Obamacare. To some degree, there was satisfaction among the rank and file Democrats. Few things are worse for motivation than satisfaction or complacency. You will find neither satisfaction or complacency from the right. They are fired up.  At the end of the day, the "resistance" movement may be working as matter of blocking policy, but it may not be the best electoral strategy.

Bottom line: What you tend to see from those arguing that 2018 will be a big win for the Democrats is a lot of "looking back" at previous elections (excluding 2002) and the citation of electoral "norms". In other words, you hear a lot about Party out of power, Presidential approval, and other generic arguments as to why the Democrats will win big. What you will not find is many people making the argument of a big Democratic win based on the specifics of the 2016 election results and the specifics of the 2018 election breakdown.

If you put a gun to my head and asked me to make a prediction, I would offer a mixed bag. I believe that the Democrats should consider something close to a "wash" as a win in the Senate. I think it's more likely than not that the GOP picks up a seat or two. On the flip side, I would expect at least some moderate gains in the House for the Democrats. Probably not enough to make Nancy Pelosi speaker, but enough to make it even harder for the GOP to govern.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Latest CBO Report...

Every American would lose insurance under the latest GOP health care plan, 50 million would instantly drop dead, and 26 million more would receive a sharp stick in the eye.

John McCain - terminal brain cancer

Sen. John McCain revealed Wednesday that he has a primary brain tumor. The cancer was discovered during cranial surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye. In a statement from Mayo Clinic, McCain's doctors described the tumor as a glioblastoma.
The American Brain Tumor Association describes glioblastoma tumors as typically malignant and difficult to treat because they contain many types of cells.
“It’s a very aggressive tumor,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix not involved in McCain's treatment. “In general, it is a tumor that has relentless force. You can slow it down but not stop it.
This is sad news, regardless of your political affiliation. Make no mistake, this is a terminal form of cancer and at best Senator McCain has not much more than two years to live, and it could be much shorter. The nature of the cancer is also one that will likely effect McCain's cognitive abilities, probably rather quickly. His departure from the Senate is inevitable at this point, and at the age of eighty will probably happen sooner rather than later.
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Note: for those of you who only see the potential political ramifications: Under Arizona law the Governor (a Republican)  would appoint someone to fill McCain's seat until the next general election (where a special election would be held to serve out the remainder of his term). That "could" conceivably mean that there would be two Arizona Senate seats open in 2018.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Latest on the Travel Ban legal nonsense.

So to recap the latest chain of events:
  • On June 26th The USSC stayed the multiple lower court decisions that declared the travel ban unconstitutional, effectively allowing the Government to implement the travel ban. To that main degree, the court was unanimous.
  • However, the USSC determined that the ban could not include anyone with a "bona-fide relationship" within the United States. Three Justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch) dissented, suggesting that the ban should be allowed without conditions. 
  • The Government put the ban into effect, and the DOJ restricted a "bona-fide relationship" to immediate family members: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and in-laws of the same relation. 
  • The State of Hawaii went back to court (to the original Hawaii Judge who order the ban unconstitutional), asking that Judge "clarify" the "bona-fide relationship" portion of the USSC ruling. They argued that the DOJ restriction were a violation of his original order and that the DOJ was not following the intent of the USSC ruling. The Justice refused to clarify, saying it was not his place to clarify the USSC order.
  • The State of Hawaii appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit Court, who remanded it back to the original Judge with the opinion that if the plantiffs asked for an injuction (rather than clarification) that the lower courts did have authority to clarify the USSC ruling. They made it quite clear that if this Judge didn't act to do so, that they would. 
  • The State of Hawaii went back (again) to the District Judge asking for an injuction, providing the Judge with a variety of areas where they believed the DOJ got the defintition of "bona-fide relationship" wrong. The District Judge ruled in their favor on two of the areas, ordering the DOJ to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as part of "bona-fide close family relationship"  as well as declaring that those refugees who were working with a refugee group had a "bona-fide relationship" with that group. 
  • The Government sent an appeal to both the 9th circuit court as well as an expedited appeal to the USSC asking them to stay the "new" court order of the District Judge.
About an hour ago, the USSC handed down a very short order that refused to "clarify" their own description of "bona-fide relationship" (as it pertained to close family), while also ordering a stay of the District Court's order that refugees working with a refugee group had a bona-fide relationship. The same three Justices dissented, believing (again) that the entire District Court order should have been stayed. 

The ruling also suggested that they are still expecting a ruling from the 9th circuit court as well. Not exactly sure what can possibly come of that... other than to agree with the District Judge on the point that the USSC didn't stay.  

I find the entire matter to be an exercise in logical futility. 

The one analysis I have seen is suggesting that the Government will push for a quick ruling from the 9th circuit so that the 9th circuit ruling can be appealed. This would imply that the court's refusal to "clarify" their own ruling was somehow tied to not finding it a strong enough case for expedition? Which would then suggest that the idea that refugees could have a bona-fide relationship with a refugee service was something that the court found to be a much stronger cause to expedite? 

I don't read anything like that in the two paragraph long decision. But then again, I don't understand why they made a point to suggest that they were still expecting the 9th to rule either. 

At the end of the day, the efforts of the state of Hawaii has forced the DOJ to expand their list of "close family members" to include Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. All of their other requests (and there were several)  have been shot down either by the District Judge or the USSC. 

I still believe that as a matter of fundamental constitutional legal principal that the entire District Court decision should have been stayed, simply because it chose to re-rule on a case that the USSC had already ruled on. I think the Roberts Court (with one eye constantly on the politics of everything) is opening up a big can of worms by allowing this sort of circular chain of lawsuits to take place. Once they ruled, the entire thing should have ended. I believe that was the most important point that the Roberts Court could have made here. Their own credibility as the "Supreme" Court is at stake.

Be careful what you wish for...

Democrats are applauding (today) that the GOP was not able to muster up 50 votes to repeal/replace/modify/rename/or otherwise do anything to change the current Obamacare status quo. The President's first response in all of this seems to be to remind Americans that this shit-storm of a law was not created on his watch, and that he will push back against anyone suggesting that the fallout from Obamacare problems are his to burden.



What many people forget is that while this President has had some serious issues acclimating himself to the Washington culture, in the bloodbath that has ensued between the Administration and the left wing media, the media certainly looks to be taking the brunt of the damage.

Yes, Trump has taken numerous hits, and his approvals appear stubbornly stagnant in the 40% range. But when you look at the demise of credibility for major media outlets like CNN, NY Times, and The Washington Post there is certainly a pretty good "you should see the other guy" defense that Trump and his administration can play in all of this.

Trump is still a master at framing and tying issues around the necks of his political adversaries like albatrosses. Has anyone forgotten that very concept of "fake news" is primarily a byproduct of Donald Trump and his ongoing war with the media? The argument that Trump is deeming any and all negative stories about him as "fake news" in an attempt to delegitimize the media is a pretty valid argument. More to the point, it seems to be working in his favor, as approval and trust in the media hits all time lows. Trump supporters (and many other people) are now taking most every story they hear or read with a grain of salt. Or as the kids are saying now... is that true, or did you hear it on CNN?
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So why does this matter? Because it appears at this point that the Trump strategy will be to remind the public (likely in an over the top fashion) that Obamacare is not a Republican law, and that any and all failures of the bill should be blamed on those who created it. It's clear this will be an optics war with Democrats, who are looking to shift the burden of Obamacare failure onto the President and the GOP.

The underlying issue is that Democrats are convinced that this is a political argument that they can win, which is why they are probably happy (today) that the GOP attempts to repeal and replace are falling apart. But the problem with these expectations is that so far, they have been the only people playing the blame game. The President and the GOP have been focused on their own task on hand (trying to repeal and replace). When the time comes (and it looks like it will come) that the GOP simply gives up and moves on, then the finger pointing war will start full scale. The President seems to be suggesting that he is willing to move into that debate sooner, rather than later.

The reality here is that once you get out of the abyss that is "Washington insider politics" and into the game of persuading the public... you move out from the world where Trump is a fish out of water and move into what has basically been Trump's world since Trump has been Trump.

You can attack the President for policy problems, rookie mistakes, and other issues that has left him open to much criticism. But it would be a mistake to believe that he suddenly has lost his ability to campaign and convince his supporters (and plenty of leaners) of whatever it is that he wants them to believe.

And let's be honest. The "facts" are on his side here. The Democrats are trying to build a pretty large bridge of bullshit from reality to spin by trying to suggest that problems with the law that they created all by themselves, that they have protected around every corner, and that they continue to support - should be blamed on Trump and the Republicans. For a master persuader like Donald Trump, this should be pretty low hanging fruit.

Previously undisclosed absurdity

Shortly after this, he changed channels and watched reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Riddle me this...

So you are an American investigative reporter, investigator, or busy body who is looking into the inner dealing of a political campaign you feel is corrupt. You have uncovered some information that would likely be of significant relevance to an upcoming election, and would likely sway voters to vote against this particular candidate.

But... you have personally donated the maximum amount of money to the campaign of the opposing candidate to the one you are investigating.

Now if, providing "information" or "dirt" on a political candidate is to be defined as something "of value" - wouldn't be true that you would not be allowed to report on this subject or otherwise make the information public, because you would be presenting "something of value" to the campaign and thus would effectively put yourself over your donation limit?

Considering Federal election laws prohibit someone who has contributed the maximum amount of money to a candidate in one election cycle from giving money "something of value" to someone else to give... that would also preclude you from using any sort of intermediary to get such information out to the campaign. Effectively if "information" was "something of value" then the only legal thing to do would be to keep it to yourself in this particular case.

Lastly: how much... exactly... would this information be worth and who would decide it's worth? What if someone considers it worth more than the $2700 you are allowed to donate to a candidate? Does that information become an automatic violation of campaign donation limits, even if you hadn't donated anything in the past? What if you had $27,000 worth of information that would be beneficial to a campaign, wouldn't you be limited to only providing 10% of said information?
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Reality for those trying to argue that information is "something of value".  You cannot argue that it would be "something of value" if it came from a foreign source, unless you are also willing to concede that it's "something of value" for an American who provides the same information. After all, the "something of value" would always be defined as "something of value". Where it came from would not increase or decrease the value.

What a truly frightful concept... that the Government could simply deem "information" to be "something of value" in order to regulate (and criminalize) the release of that information.

But I have a guess here. My guess is that our Courts would offer that the first amendment would prevent "information" as being deemed "something of value" for the purposes of criminalizing the exposure of such information as a violation of campaign finance laws.

Anyone want to argue I am wrong?

Mysterious eighth member of Don Jr illegal conspiracy meeting revealed...

Ike Kaveladze has been identified as the eighth member of the treasonous meeting in question. The man is a U.S. Citizen and businessman (a vice president who works with real estate and financing for a firm) and thought he was there to act as translator. Obviously an elaborate lie to prevent any additional exposure to the horrifying depths of this grand evil plot.


This is definitely the straw that breaks the camels back, because (get this)... he works for a Russian based real estate company. He is an immigrant from Russia. On top of all that, he apparently speaks Russian.

If this doesn't prove that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to hack and ultimately release DNC and Clinton campaign emails, I don't know what would. Seriously, are those silly cynics actually asking for real evidence or something?


McConnell - Repeal now, replace later...

After arguing from the beginning that repeal and replace had to take place "together" the Senate Majority leader suggested last night that he would put forward a clean repeal.

Most people expected that the Republican Senate leader would follow through with his threats to "work with Democrats" if the latest efforts failed, but it looks as if that was another bluff (at least for now).

I expect this is the actually the "last" last chance for the GOP senate to come together and do what they have promised for the past elections... which is to repeal Obamacare. If they cannot muster 50 votes for exactly what more than 50 of them have voted for multiple times in the past, then I would certainly expect McConnell to drop any further attempts to undo Obamacare.

But of course, this is the Senate. The world of the never ending positioning and grand standing. It would not surprise me in the least if at least three GOP Senators who voted for repeal in the past (when it didn't matter) will no longer support the same vote today (when is actually does matter). It's just the nature of the political beast.

It would certainly make for an interesting political atmosphere over the next year or so, if indeed Obamacare was repealed. Would the Parties work together? Would the Democrats try to sabotage anything new for political purposes? Would Republicans who were against these repeal and replace plans, actually support these same plans in the future, if Obamacare was not still the law? The questions abound.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trump Russia collusion story - not important to many Americans

So a recent YouGov poll shows that only 12% of Americans believe that the broader issue of Trumps relationship with Russia is considered to be one of the issues that is of most importance to them . This includes 20% of Democrats, and only 2% of Republicans.  Based on the question, this 12% includes pretty much our relationship as a whole to Russia. So it's likely that the Russian Collusion story is even a lower priority than this survey suggests.

What "was" deemed to be the most important issues?  By significant margins, it would appear that health care, the economy, and immigration top the list.

When it comes to the GOP,  the Trump Russia story fell behind every issue on the list other than the environment (also a top concern for 2%). This includes things like foreign policy, gun policy, the way things work in Washington, and infrastructure. With independents, there were five other categories of more importance. More actually chose "not sure" than chose Trump/Russia.

So the first major take-aways from this poll would be that the media is obviously spending a lot of time on something of great interest to them, but of nominal interest to the country. The second major take-away from this poll would be that it doesn't appear to be of any major concern to Republican voters. If the Democrats believed that this Trump/Russia thing would discourage GOP voters, they apparently are barking up the wrong tree.

(Couple this with the recent WaPo poll showing that only 6% of Republicans buy into the collusion thing, and we have a trend here).

All that being said, I don't expect that either the media or the Democrats will stop beating the dead collusion horse any time soon. They obviously don't see the forest for the (constant drip of) trees here.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

MORE BREAKING NEWS FROM CNN


Who needs idiots, when we have a "genius" here...

Our resident self proclaimed 'genius" is at it again, with comments fit for a straight jacket. Yesterday the "genius" proclaimed that illegally leaking damaging information on the President was a matter of Patriotic duty.

In a scope of a few paragraphs the "genius" explains that this all okay because Trump is running an incompetent administration, that he doesn't have the correct political experience, that he says the wrong things to foreign powers, and quite possibly will cause WWIII.

(Another TDS example where the "genius" feels all arguments need to include him telling us what he doesn't like about Donald Trump)

He follows it up with the amazing non-hypothetical hypothetical.
But let's put it this way if Hillary Clinton had won the election and somebody had leaked out major information on who knows Benghazi emails whatever that were not supposed to be released. I don't think you would be protesting this one little bit.
I hate to break it to the "genius" here - but someone did leak out major information on Hillary Clinton's emails. In case the "genius" hasn't noticed, we have THREE investigations going on, more than a year after the fact, including a Special Counsel investigation.

So when someone breaks the law for the means of damaging a Democrat it would be fair to say that the "genius" demands that it is addressed as criminal. Apparently the duty to provide the truth doesn't apply in those cases. Moreover, these investigations are pretty much all this "genius" wants to talk about. What is truly amazing about this is that the "genius" somehow seems to have forgotten about the root cause of those investigations.

But ultimately the "genius" doesn't feel that Donald Trump is entitled to the same legal protections, because the "genius" doesn't think Trump is a very good President. Apparently the "genius" feels that there is a new layer or criminal defense that includes the perpetrator believing the victim is not very good at his job?

I guess you don't need an idiot to come up with idiotic arguments.  Or maybe you do?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Question of the day...

If someone from within the Government is willing to break their oath, not to mention break the law to leak information to the press because it is damaging to a politician that they do not like...


What's to logically prevent the conclusion that they would be willing to pass along bogus stories to the press for the same purposes of damaging a politician that they do not like.

Ultimately there is no honor in breaking an oath that is at the core of their profession, and certainly there is no honor in breaking the law. What makes you believe that someone who lacks credibility to this extent is always "telling the truth" when it comes to the information they peddle to the press?

Trump has chance to even the Scales of Justice

One of the big modern day advantages of controlling the Senate is that thanks to Harry Reid and gang, you pretty much own full control of judicial nominees. When you are in power and the President is of the same power, you can confirm Justices by a simple majority vote. When you are in power and the President is of the opposite Party,  you can stall votes and hold vacancies till you decide to fill them. When you are not in power, you simply sit around and complain.


As you can see by the graphic from Bloomberg, there are currently 128 vacancies for Donald Trump to fill. As we know, he has already filled the USSC vacancy and a couple of high level Appeals Court vacancies. Some simple math tells us that if these vacancies are filled by Trump, that the number of Judges confirmed by Republican Presidents will be nearly equal to the amount of Judges confirmed by Democratic Presidents. Given the reasonable certainty of other retirements and resignations, it's very likely that Trump will leave office with the overall number favoring Republican appointees.

Interestingly, Trump inherited approximately double the amount of vacancies that were waiting for Obama when he took office. Make no mistake, this was a calculated move by McConnell, who had nothing to lose by holding these vacancies over to the next election. It is also quite obvious that whoever Trump nominates will get a hearing and vote, and that these vacancies will ultimately get filled as quickly as they can be.  

Bottom line: With the likely chance to fill at least one more Supreme Court vacancies, along with the ability to fill over 15% of Federal Judgeships off the bat, Trump is in a unique position to put his long term mark on the nation. Now imagine how the courts would look if Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency and if Democrats has won back the Senate like most of your pundits assumed. 

No matter what else happens (or doesn't happen) - these vacancies being filled will be a huge legacy... especially given the escalating importance of Federal Court cases. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

CNN REPORT!

Donald Trump Jr owns blue pinstripe suit!!!!

Burn him!!!

Hawaii Judge overrules USSC

Offers mixed ruling on Homeland Security "Bona Fide Relationship" definition

So last week the state of Hawaii went to court trying to challenge that the bona-fide relationship restrictions being used in the travel ban were too restrictive. A District Court Justice from Hawaii rejected their argument, stating that only the USSC had the authority to clarify their own ruling, and that lacking a clarification from the USSC, the interpretation of that was left to the Executive branch.


    State of Hawaii           Homeland Security
    Authority                    No Authority

But as I pointed out Sunday, the 9th circuit court remanded the case back to the District Judge, effectively stating that they believed that lower courts do have the ability to interpret the USSC order, and that if the Court rejected the State's (updated) request for "injunction" that the 9th circuit court would be happy to take it up.

So the Judge in question apparently decided to weigh in himself with a "mixed" ruling in regards to the numerous challenges provided by the State of Hawaii. On several points he rejected the States argument, but on a couple of others, he provided "relief".

What struck me in reading the ruling was that it pretty much granted the benefit of the doubt to the State of Hawaii's desired definition, unless there was something "specific" within the USSC ruling that could be seen as otherwise prohibiting the relief. In other words, pretty much in every specific situation where the USSC ruling appeared to leave the questions to the discretion of the Executive branch, the judge rejected that discretion and replaced it with specifically what the State of Hawaii asked for.

This strikes me as without any constitutional justification at all.

It's as if the Judge in this case believes that in cases of national security, that the constitution somehow provides that the State of Hawaii has more authority than the Federal Government as it pertains to defining the specifics of a Presidential Executive Order regarding National Security?

Seriously, what constitutional authority in this situation does the State of Hawaii actually have over this matter? How many of our intelligence agencies report to the State of Hawaii?

There quite literally was no finding of any constitutional problems with the definition created by Homeland Security. The court did not appear to provide any relative case precedent for why Homeland Security would not have the authority to make these decisions. The Justice simply decided that he preferred the guidelines suggested by Hawaii over the guidelines in place from Homeland Security and therefor summarily decided to rule that Homeland Security must change them what Hawaii wanted?
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The bigger problem here is that the optics makes it look like the State of Hawaii, the District Justice in question, and the 9th Circuit Court believe that the decisions handed down by the USSC are now open to being re-litigated in lower courts. What good is it to have a Supreme Court, if their decisions are actually open to being challenged in district court? What sort of long term circular nonsense would that create? When the USSC rules, that's supposed to the end of the litigation. There is no other means to keep the Supreme Court "Supreme" other than to allow them to ALWAYS have the final say. 

That being said, Clarence Thomas suggested that this would be the ultimate result of what now appears to be another feckless attempt by John Roberts to walk the tightrope between Legal Justice and Politics. What lesson does the Roberts court learn from this will be interesting. The Courts are not where the merits of laws and EO are supposed to be argued. The separation of powers of the Constitution is clear on that. But the Roberts court seems wishy washy as it pertains to these questions, often times offering somewhat conflicting and tortured rulings that seems to allow that concept, at least around the edges. 

Should the USSC been more specific on the bona-fide relationship? Should they have simply offered in the ruling, that the clear authority to make this determination rested with the Executive branch and Department of Homeland Security.  Should they even have to offer such clarification in their ruling, when the constitution appears to clear on the subject? 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

My final word on Trump Jr...

So many legal (sic) experts on the left have determined that Donald Trump Jr committed a criminal act by agreeing to meet with an unknown person (said to be a Russian Government attorney) who supposedly had some dirt on Hillary Clinton. This argument relies on two specific premises:
  • That under the definition of criminal campaign finance statutes preventing solicitation of any contributions from foreign government... certain "information" could be seen as a contribution because it provides "something of value". 
  • In spite of the fact that the person in question was not a party to the Russian Government and that this person actually provided no information of value, the argument is that Trump Jr could still be charged with "conspiracy" to commit campaign finance fraud for simply agreeing to the meeting with someone he might have believed was a representative of the Russian government.
I would offer several major problems with this logic. First is that in the history of our campaign finance laws, nobody has ever been charged with a crime for receiving information from a foreign agent or foreign government. In spite of plenty of evidence that this has happened before, no prosecutor has ever tried to argue such a case. The decision for a prosecutor to expand the campaign finance law reach to include "information" as a campaign contribution could only be seen as a blatant attempt to create a new standard of legal jeopardy for Trump that never existed before. The political fallout would be enormous, and rightfully so. 

Secondly, the entire concept of "conspiracy to commit" seems a little bit premature, given what little is known.  Logically the actual crime would not be "receiving" the information, but actually "using" the information, as the information would be of "no value" unless it could be used (otherwise you undermine the first argument). The Conspiracy to commit also requires that one of the Parties makes an overt act to initiate the crime (actus reus).  So the conspiracy to commit would require evidence that Trump intended to do more than just meet, but would likely require some specific proof that Trump had a concrete plan to use the information, and that he made some overt act in relation to that action. Ultimately, conspiracy to commit would be another very rare charge to make in regards to campaign finance violations. To have an unprecedented charge being piggybacked onto an extremely rare "conspiracy to commit" charge, seems even a more blatant attempt to simply expand criminal liability in order to "get Trump". 

Lastly, we would still need to use the Comey/Clinton standard of "mens rea". How could you suggest that Donald Trump Jr had intent or knew he was committing a crime, when such actions had never been prosecuted before?  This is a large reason why prosecutors rarely charge people with crimes that are not generally used, and why prosecutors rarely take it upon themselves to loosely interpret a statute to prosecute someone for something outside of what is generally prosecuted. It's difficult to prove intent, when you are carving out new legal ground on the fly. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Is there anything to this?

Natalia Veselnitskaya sits in on Foreign Affairs meeting.
Some claim she must be a guest of Democrat (and anti-trumpster) Michael McFaul as she is sitting directly behind him and right in between his two sons. Of course McFaul denies any connection to Veselnitskaya. 

The burden is criminal conspiracy as it relates to the hacking of emails...

Let's be clear here... the short term "optics" of the Donald Jr E-mail chain story is harmful for the Administration. More to the point, it reignites the media frenzy regarding Russia collusion that had all but waned.

Given the short term attention span of most Americans, and their laziness in terms of not wanting to read past the headlines, it gives the main stream media a good chance to spin this with enormous latitude. Certainly, it's likely to cause those people casually involved in all of this to be more likely to believe the collusion narrative than they probably were last week.

But let's just say that those who are more than casually involved in all of this are not going to be swayed by any of this. You can tell from reading the various pundits since this story broke, that nobody of significance has jumped ship on this. If someone who is vested in this story didn't believe there was collusion before, this didn't convince them differently.

But short term optics aside, the long term outlook for this entire narrative will ultimately be determined by what is eventually found out by the current investigations. I would argue that probably at least 80% of narrative being determined by what Mueller and his special counsel investigation concludes, with the remaining 20% based on what the two congressional committees come up with.

Bottom line: If someone is charged with a criminal act in relation to colluding with Russia then that will be the final say for most Americans. It doesn't have to implicate Trump himself, or even Donald Jr. It could be someone marginally connected, and that will look as though the entire administration was in on it. The general consensus will be that the collusion conspiracy theorists were right all along.

On the flip side, if nobody is charged with a criminal act in relation to colluding with Russia, then ultimately those same lazy casual Americans following this will view that as validation for the Administration's argument that this has all been a big witch hunt. The general consensus will be in line with how collusion critics view this, and the collusion conspiracy theorist will have egg on their face.
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In terms of whether or not this issue pushes the legal argument forward, it would appear based on the overall consensus of  of your legal experts that neither the email chain or the meeting itself has any incriminating value. It's not (contrary to certain arguments) illegal to meet with a foreign lobbyists (even a Russian one), and it's not illegal for you to receive information from a foreigner regarding your political opponent (even from a Russian). 

Depending on nature the information provided and the means that was used to garner that information, there may be legal ramifications if a campaign decided to use that information against their opponent.*  It could very well be the case that certain information ascertained in that fashion should be turned over to authorities. But there is no evidence that any such information changed hands and as a matter of fact the Trump campaign never did release any harmful "Russian" related information about Clinton.

But at this point in time, the only known dirt released on Clinton that would be seen as illegally garnered are the hacked emails. Even our own intelligence community attests to the fact that while they certainly believe it's the Russians who hacked the emails and used them to harm Clinton, they draw this conclusion as much with logic and deduction as they do from hard evidence. Yet, the hacking seems to be the only known crime committed and (like it or not) this meeting with Don Jr and the Russian lobbyist doesn't really bring us closer to tying anyone from the Trump camp to that hacking. 

This is not a "Smoking Gun" as Politico suggests. This is not "treason" as Senator Kaine suggests. This was much closer to business as usual in twenty first century politics, and under most normal circumstances probably would have gone completely unnoticed.

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* Update: Alan Dershowitz has pointed out numerous legal decisions that protect the "use" of illegally obtained materials, as long as those using that information were not involved in the actual illegal behavior used to obtain the material. 

Generally this has to do with Media outlets who are given illegally obtained information or illegally leaked information, and are legally protected as it pertains to passing this information along to the public.  But, while it is generally used as a freedom of press issue, the same legal protection would be available to anyone (press or not) who decides to use questionable information (as long as that person was not involved in the original crime).

There does not appear to be any exception written into these precedents that suggests that you waive your constitutional rights to free speech, simply because you signed on to work for a campaign. So Dershowitz takes it one step further, by claiming that even if the Trump campaign had gotten real information and used it against Hillary... that it would be protected by the same legal precedents that protect the media's right to publish such information.

Dershowitz (a Hillary supporter) is generally a pretty solid voice of reason in all of this, and seems to be thinking several steps ahead of most everyone else.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Memory Refresher....

Funny how quickly people forget about the non-issue non-scandal of the Ukraine/DNC/Clinton connection during the election. What information was provided in this "bombshell" account?
  • Politico reported that the Ukrainian Government worked to aid Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections. The actions taken by government officials included disseminating “documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”
  • Politico noted that Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American working as a consultant for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), met with top Ukrainian Officials in Washington D.C. about forcing Manafort’s resignation in order to perpetuate the narrative that Trump is connected to Russia.
  • “Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.
So a member of the DNC actually "did" meet with foreign officials regarding matters that would work to help Clinton in the election. It would also appear that Ukrainian government actively engaged in attempts to help Clinton, and even helped with her "opposition research" on Donald Trump and his team. These actions were actually fairly blatant and fairly transparent. 

Ironically when this sort of behavior "actually" happens on the left... nobody bats an eye. But when this sort of behavior "almost" happens when your name is Trump... then it's treason. 

Hypocrisy is the bedrock of liberalism..

(Just as another side note... in ranking the donations by country, the Clinton Foundation has received more from Ukrainians than any other country... and got a thirty million commitment from one particular Ukrainian who was politician "while" Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. Just saying. )


A case in point...

Earlier I wrote a blog post regarding Trump Derangement Syndrome and how the effects have hindered the ability of those suffering to put together a cognitive argument. As luck would have it, we were blessed with an absolutely perfect example of how someone suffering from this disease actually thinks.
But I find a fatal thaw in the post. Donald Trump's outright lies and distortions of reality cannot be ignored by someone who is rooted in reality. The prescient of the post is that any and all negative comments on Donald Trump, that are not positive, they are based on false new and a mental disease. Leaders around the world are well aware of how incompetent this man is. An increasing number of Republicans are falling into Trmpism as our formerly esteemed host we hate Trump swamp. He is going to take the US out of the leader of the free world, that for has avoided World War in 75 years. I didn't think that CH would sink into the rrb world. But he has and it's very sad.
So, let's start with the obvious. None of this rant addresses anything that is being discussed in the post. Yet, this particular TDS victim has made a determination (in his mind) with what was wrong with the post... without addressing the post.

The fatal flaw is simply Donald Trump. The argument as to why the post is flawed is "entirely" built on his feelings about Donald Trump and everything he believes Trump has done wrong. He offers nothing else.

In other words, the tangible content of the post is actually irrelevant. Completely 100% irrelevant.

As are all debates and arguments about politics in 2017. You simply cannot have a debate with someone suffering as acutely as this person is. For them it's always irrelevant and always wrong.

Because in the mind of someone suffering from TDS, nothing matters other than the blind hatred of Donald Trump. There are no alternative arguments, debates, or logical conclusions about "any subject" that includes Trump that can even possibly exist. So there is no need to address the actual merits of any opinion other than "Trump sucks". Such opinions can never be validated. It's a complete non-starter to even offer such an opinion. It's wrong even before it is formulated. No need for a TDS victim to even read them. They only need to react to them.

And apparently, the more they insult, the better they see their argument.

So ultimately (according to the comment) what is wrong with the post is the fact that it exists "outside" of the narrow parameters of what is being allowed. The actual post offers fact. The post offers examples. The post offers a logical argument that comes to a conclusion. None of this is allowed  according to someone suffering from TDS. If it's not allowed, there is no reason to ever address it.

Bottom line: If the argument does not revolve around a hatred of Donald Trump and drawing only negative conclusions, then it's wrong. Plain and simple. That's the only argument they understand, and the only conclusion they are capable of drawing.

I generally don't like to do this, but...

Obviously there are a variety of opinions regarding the Trump Jr meeting with the Russian lobbyist, but this from the Powerline Blog seems to hit the nail on the head. (the link also has the email chain)

This was written in regards to the recent release of the Email Chain:

I will highlight some of the more substantial points made by John Hinderacker.
A few points are worth noting. First, the emails support Trump Jr.’s statement that he attended the meeting because he had been told that the Russian with whom he would meet had negative information about Hillary Clinton. The email from Rob Goldstone, who drove the whole process, says that “the Crown prosecutor of Russia met with [Emin’s] father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia….”
This would obviously have been of great interest to the Trump campaign, and Trump, Jr. would have been foolish not to schedule the meeting. In one of the emails he says, “if it’s what you say I love it,” an entirely appropriate response that also showed an appropriate degree of skepticism. Trump may have assumed that the incriminating information would relate to the uranium transactions that are described in Clinton Cash, but there is no elaboration in the emails.
Second, someone in this chain is obviously lying, and it isn’t Donald Trump, Jr. Maybe the Russian Crown prosecutor lied, or maybe Emin or Aras lied, or maybe Goldstone lied, and maybe Natalia Veselnitskaya was in on it. Why any of these people would falsely claim to have dirt on Hillary is unclear. One wouldn’t expect that the lie originated with Goldstone, since as soon as the meeting took place, it would be exposed, and Goldstone could only look like a fool.
Beyond that, all we can say is that Trump, Jr. correctly described what he was told and why he agreed to the meeting. Nothing about that process reflects poorly on him at all.
Third, one of Goldstone’s emails refers to Veselnitskays as a “Russian government attorney,” which she wasn’t. Goldstone, and probably also Emin and Aras (whoever they are) presumably were trying to pump up the importance of their “scoop” by saying the Russian lawyer worked for that country’s government.
Fourth, the Democratic Party press will likely try to make something out of Rob Goldstone’s statement that this “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump–helped along by Aras and Emin.” This statement might carry weight if, in fact, the lawyer had been an emissary from the Russian government, and if she actually had conveyed negative information about Hillary Clinton. But she wasn’t, and she didn’t. Goldstone was being had (or else he was participating in an elaborate scheme to fool Donald Trump, Jr.), and the Russians weren’t helping Trump at all.
Again, we don’t know why this happened. Aras and Emin, and also Goldstone, were obviously trying to magnify their own importance. Aras and Emin apparently were trying to take credit for swinging the Russian government in Trump’s direction. However, as it turned out, there was nothing to take credit for. Given the way the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya turned out, there is no reason to think anyone in the Russian government had anything to do with it.
Maybe someday we will find out where the lies began and what motivated them. The answers could turn out to be moderately interesting. For now, all we can say is that the emails confirm Donald Trump, Jr.’s account, and support the conclusion that once again, the New York Times and the Washington Post have made fools of themselves by trying to fashion an anti-Trump news story out of entirely innocent materials.
Now, I am sure there will be many out there who find some of this "incriminating" even though none of it comes close to qualifying as a crime. As has been pointed out recently, the burden of proof has been expanded to the point where anyone associated with Donald Trump meeting for any reason with anyone associated with Russia is paramount to collusion and must by proxy then be illegal.

The best one could argue is that Trump Jr had agreed to meet with someone who was "represented" as more closely associated with the Russian Government than the person actually was in real life... and that this person was "represented" as having damaging information that she actually didn't have. Perhaps had this person been who they claimed and had the information that they claimed, that we might come within striking distance of something substantial... but as has been pointed out by many legal experts, there is no law against meeting with foreigners who have dirt on your political opponents

... or did we already forget that Democratic operatives paid a foreigner to go to Russia and dig up dirt on Trump. Certainly if paying a foreigner to dig up dirt is not illegal, receiving dirt from a foreigner could not be considered such.

I believe that this "email chain" drove the "ties to the Kremlin" narrative than so than did the actual person in question.  The best anyone can come up with is that her law firm once represented someone who has ties to the Kremlin. This story continues to fall apart.

Trump Derangement Syndrome: Symptoms include loss of reason, logic, and any grasp of reality...

Have you ever walked into a group of people who are obviously talking about some big "happening" that you are not yet been made aware of. One of those deals were you can pretty much feel the intensity of the situation, and you just want to have someone explain to you exactly what is going on?

Now imagine you are able to pull someone aside from all of the big hubbub, only to be told that what everyone is all up in arms over seems rather mundane and unimportant to you? Either this entire group of people are in overreaction mode, or you must be seriously missing something.

Watching much of our news media, and reading much of our news print, I pretty much have that feeling almost everyday as it pertains to Donald Trump. Only in this case, it's not so much that I feel like I may be missing something, I feel more like they literally see things that don't exist, but feel validated simply because they all see the same things "together".

But as has been pointed out by psychologists... if there are five people in a room, and four of them see a pink elephant floating in the corner, while the fifth cannot... the hallucination is still the pink elephant hovering (not the lack of a floating pink elephant). Might does not make right when it comes to reality.

So as I have been watching and reading about the most recent "Trump/Russia" revelation of the meeting between Trump associates and a Russian lobbyist, I have heard Ms Veselnitskaya described as a Russian agent, a Russian official, and even in one case a Russian spy. For all of the times that Ms Veselnitskaya has been described as having "ties to the Kremlin" not once have I found anyone who can explain what these ties actually are. In an interview this week, Veselnitskaya stated that she has no ties to the Government at all.

Other than a three year stint as a state prosecutor Veselnitskaya has not ever worked for the Russian Government. She works as a private attorney, now concentrating almost entirely on lobbying. She heads a global initiative (based out of Delaware) that is working on overturning an adoption ban between Russia and the United States (which was the stated reason for her meeting with Trump associates).

So there is no evidence at this point that Veselnitskaya has any real ties to the Kremlin. She is not a Russian agent, or a Russian official, and she certainly isn't a Russian spy. She is an international lobbyist. By definition, that means that Donald Trump Jr and gang did not meet with a Russian Agent, a Russian Official, or a Russian Spy. Donald Trump Jr and gang met with an international lobbyist who actually has "no tangible ties" to the Kremlin. That is the reality.

Doesn't matter how many media members and others suffering from TDS want to claim that there is a pink elephant floating in the corner, it still doesn't mean that it exists.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Half of Comey private memos contained classified information...

Sworn oath taken by all members of the FBI:
“all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America. I will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”

So according to the sworn agreement of becoming an FBI agent, any information acquired during official duties of the FBI are the property of the FBI and releasing that information without written authorization is a violation of FBI regulations and quite possibly a violation of the law.

James Comey's assertion that he could write private memos on events that took place while director and then release them as private property of a private citizen seems to be entirely without merit. By all accounts Comey providing the contents of his discussions broke FBI protocol, and to the degree that any of the information was either classified or otherwise privileged, it certainly could have broken the law.

Of course, Comey can always use the Hillary Clinton defense and claim he was too stupid to understand that he was committing a crime. Perhaps he understood that his own precedent might come back to help him later.

Hypocrisy is the bedrock of liberalism - Part VXXI

Christopher Steele (A former British Intelligence agent) was paid by anti-Trump groups (including Fusion GPS) for purposes of "opposition research".  Steele eventually wrote what is known as the Trump-Russia dossier. Steele was a foreigner who was paid (by pro-Hillary entities) to go to Russia, talked to Russians, and probed Russian back channels looking for dirt on President Trump.

This dossier was widely distributed in spite of the fact that it was unsubstantiated (and in some case proven entirely false).  The Obama Justice Department was said to have used the dossier as a central reason to start investigations into collusion between Trump and his team and the Russian Government.

This is considered by the left to be perfectively acceptable and legal behavior. 

Meanwhile, there are "reports" that a someone contacted the Trump team (Fusion GPS is being mentioned as the original contact) asking them to meet with someone who may have dirt on Hillary Clinton. Three members of the Trump team met for 20 minutes with the person, who apparently was there to talk about adoption laws. There is no suggestion by anyone that there was any dirt on Hillary Clinton provided that the Trump team ever used during the campaign. The parties in question never met again.

This is considered by the left to be criminal conspiracy.  In fact, apparently it's today's "biggest thing since Watergate". 
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According to the what is left of the mushy brains of the left... apparently there is no problem with paying foreign agents to directly go to Russian and contact Russians in a specific attempt to find dirt on a political opponent. But it's likely criminal to actually agree to meet with someone from Russia who may or may not have offered that they had dirt on a political opponent.

If someone could explain this logic to me...  I would be very curious to hear the explanation.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Will the 9th circuit court decide to rule on the question of Bona Fide Relationship?

Last week the State of Hawaii asked the District Court to effectively overrule the Administration on their interpretation of what determines a "bona fide relationship". The District Judged failed to do so, rejecting the Hawaii lawsuit.

That lawsuit was promptly appealed to the 9th Circuit Court, who declined to intervene... but did apparently lay the groundwork for the sort of appeal that they would be willing to hear.
We lack jurisdiction to address Plaintiffs’ appeal of the district court’s order denying the motion to clarify the scope of the injunction. This court possesses jurisdiction to review only final judgments and a limited set of interlocutory orders. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291, 1292(a). The district court’s order neither resulted in a final judgment nor engaged in action deemed immediately appealable in 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a). Specifically, the district court’s order did not “grant[], continu[e], modify[], refus[e], or dissolv[e]” an injunction, or “refus[e] to dissolve or modify” an injunction. Id. § 1291(a)(1). Nor do any of the various judicially-crafted bases for appellate jurisdiction apply under these circumstances. Because the “practical effect” of Plaintiffs’ requested relief is declaratory in nature—not injunctive—we do not construe their clarification motion before the district court as one for injunctive relief.
So quite obviously, the state of Hawaii decided to go back to the original District Court Justice and seek an injunction, rather than clarification. I cannot imagine that the Justice in question can possibly rule any differently. If a District Judge does not feel that the District Court has the authority to clarify a USSC ruling, it certainly would not (using the same legal reasoning) have authority to issue an injunction (which would effectively clarify the USSC ruling under a more forceful definition).

However, once the District Judge has ruled  (assuming his baseline beliefs have not changed in the past few days then his ruling will be a denial of the injunction) it appears that the infamous 9th Circuit Court seems willing (if not eager) to take a crack at it. With the 9th Circuit Court, pretty much anything is possible.

We may be heading towards a time where the separation of powers becomes a distant memory, and your ever-growing Judicial branch will continue to expand their legislative and executive powers to the point where all laws and executive orders will be little more than a broad outline for the Courts to make a final determination on. This is "not" what our founding fathers had in mind, and could become a real serious constitutional crisis.