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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Spoke too soon?

Well Said...

Following a series of questions about President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s failure to disclose $20 million of liabilities on a bank loan application, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) asked him, “Mr. Cohen, you called Donald Trump ‘a cheat’ in your opening testimony. What would you call yourself?”
“A fool,” Cohen said.
Throughout nine hours of public testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, “the fool” managed to embarrass Trump – a lot – and he certainly distracted the public’s attention from the President’s historic summit taking place half-way around the world. However, Cohen never managed to provide House Democrats with what they wanted most of all, which was evidence that President Trump had committed an impeachable offense.

I think, contrary to popular hope, this hearing was never anything more than a chance to embarrass the President. Congress (led by Democrats in the House) chose to provide a disgraced criminal with a national limelight forum to smear a sitting Presidents with innuendos and personal insults.

But there was never any chance that Cohen would produce anything of substance.

Now there are grossly uninformed fools who somehow believe that a $35,000 check mattered. It didn't because the President openly stands by the idea that he reimbursed his attorney for the non-disclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels. Everyone knows Trump paid back Cohen for the $130,000, which was presented as the very legal fee that it was. Not sure what a "check" would have to do with anything. Is there some controversy that it wasn't cash, credit, or wire transfer??

Face it, only the galactically stupid would believe that the reimbursement was any sort of surprise or had any tangible meaning. Although those who like to manipulate the galactically stupid will certain imply differently.

Same holds true for pretty much everything Cohen said. Nothing was a surprise, and there was no smoking gun evidence of anything illegal. Perhaps if Cohen's ruined reputation and embarrassing dishonesty was not at issue, his personal word would mean something. But it simply doesn't.

This was an embarrassing farce. Quite likely a new low in the gut level hatred partisanship that is now being displayed in our country. But I am sure it won't be the "low" for very long. The left is simply blind with rage, and will continue to lash out every opportunity that they get.

4th quarter cooled to 2.6% - But 3.1% growth for 2018

U.S. GDP Grows at 2.6% Pace as Business Spending Accelerates
The U.S. economy cooled by less than expected last quarter as business investment picked up, suggesting growth could be stronger for longer as the Federal Reserve takes a patient approach to interest rates.
The 2.6 percent annualized rate of gains in gross domestic product from October to December compared with the 2.2 percent median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. It followed a 3.4 percent advance in the prior three months, according to a Commerce Department report Thursday that was delayed a month by the government shutdown.
The report shows how Republican-backed tax cuts may have continued to aid growth and help bring the full-year figure to 3.1 percent, just above President Donald Trump’s 3 percent goal. While the expansion is poised to become the nation’s longest on record at midyear amid a still-healthy consumer, supportive Fed and robust labor market, the pace could cool amid the trade war, slowing global growth and fading impact of fiscal stimulus.

I am sure there will be adjustments, other calculations, and things running down the road. But it certainly appears that the President's 3.0% goal for the year 2018 was reached, with 0.1% to spare.


We'll see where things are moving forward. But gone are the days where our President will stand up in front of America and say that 3.0 growth is a thing of the past, and that the best we can hope for is more government investment, and slow growing green technology to keep us limping along.

Unprecedented and aggressive!!

Good for Trump and McConnell  
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Trump's nominee to be a judge on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a party-line vote -- and, in a historic snub, the White House ignored the input of the judge's two Democratic home-state senators in the process. 
The aggressive and unprecedented move to bypass the traditional "blue slip" consultation process and plow ahead with the confirmation comes as the Trump administration seeks to systematically erode left-wing dominance on the key appellate court, which Trump has called "disgraceful" and politically biased

Nothing like plugging a few conservatives into the cogs of the 9th circuit court. Odd are going to be that some major decision before that court will end up with a 2-1 conservative majority and the result will something.... well adult!

When this is all said and done (at least two more 9th circuit court openings) there will almost as many GOP nominated judges as there are Democratic. That being said, most of those previous GOP nominate judges were either watered down conservatives, moderates, or even liberals. This is due to the fact that these blue slips have prevented a Republican President from really putting a decent conservative on the court.

President walks...

know when to hold them, know when to fold them?
“It was all about the sanctions,” Trump said at a news conference after the talks were cut short. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ain't that the truth!

Bombshell after bombshell

Michael Cohen: I don’t have any recordings or proof of him saying anything racist.
Michael Cohen: I don't have any evidence of Russian Collusion. But I have suspicions.
Michael Cohen: He didn't actually ask me to lie. That's not his style.
Michael Cohen: I know he committed crimes, but cannot talk about it.
Michael Cohen: I heard a telephone conversation, but cannot prove that I did.
Michael Cohen: I heard Donald Jr whisper to Donald Sr. Not sure what he meant.


Cohen Testimony

According to sources, all of the blockbuster, behind the scenes, long-time coming, dirt on the President is going to boil down to Michal Cohen talking about four events that have any sort of substance at all:
  • Payments to Stormy Daniels
  • Roger Stone trying to talk to Julian Assange 
  • That he believes Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting
  • That he was told to lie about the Moscow real estate business

None of this is going to be new, none of the events are really much in dispute (except in context), and none of these events has any real criminal implications for Trump. 

Stormy Daniels - The Truth is that Cohen (and Cohen alone) pled guilty to something that 99% of legal experts, the Federal Election Committee, and past legal precedent says is not a crime. That doesn't prove Donald Trump broke the law. Rather it proves Michael Cohen is an idiot (or had something to gain by pleading guilty). Cohen will offer as evidence a check from Trump for reimbursement, that neither Trump or anyone else denies providing him. 

Roger Stone Julian Assange - Roger Stone was not charged with anything associated with his attempts to garner information on Wiki-leaks. It really makes no difference if Trump knew or didn't know that Stone was attempting to do something (garner information) that was perfectly legal. As far as anyone knows, Trump doesn't deny that Stone was trying to get information or that he was in the know about it.

Trump Tower Meeting - His statement suggests that he "overheard" Donald Jr tell Donald Sr that a "meeting had been set". Of course he will offer no actually proof that he heard this, or that he heard any context to what specific meeting they were discussing. This is little more than his own personal speculation.  

Moscow Real Estate Deal - Again, in this case, Michael Cohen was out on his own island. Everyone else associated with Trump who was asked about this, stated that there had been correspondances with Russian business interests deep into 2018. This includes testimony from Donald Trump Jr as well as the President's own written statements. Cohen will offer (without proof) that he was told to lie, when everyone else was telling the truth. 
_______

Now, to be perfectly fair. If Cohen has something tangible (text, email, written correspondence, or recorded conversation) then he could prove me wrong. Of course, as Donald Trump's attorney, all of this would be covered under attorney client privilege. While Cohen may not care if he breaks his oath (as he is likely already disbarred), nothing protected that he reveals is allowed to be used in a court of law. The fact that it is being solicited by Congress is a moral and ethical problem. 

More Mueller Spin

Is the left creating a contingency talking point memo?
“Even if Mueller’s report were to appear and didn’t implicate the president, all these other criminal investigations will continue. That’s not going to be the magic bullet that solves everything. I’d be very concerned if I was a lawyer or a potential target in that world right now,"
So for the past two years, we have heard the talking points memo that Congressional, local, and federal investigations can only produce so much. What we really need to do is sit back and wait on the Special Counsel investigation. After all, special Counsels are given pretty much unlimited financial resources, an unlimited staff, unlimited time, and carte blanche to use whatever necessary powers exist to garner the ultimate information and draw the ultimate conclusions.

Now the argument is that Mueller's investigation was always limited and that it has always been just sort of a preliminary event to uncover a slew of possible issues, so that other people in other departments and other jurisdictions can do the heavy lifting of the meat and potato investigations.

In other words, the new slowly developing talking points memo from the left is that the a Mueller report would not be the beginning of the end, but rather it is simply a new beginning.

I wonder whether or not anyone (other than those emotionally married to TPMs in general) will buy into this concept. I certainly agree with almost every poll that suggests that it's time to move past the 2016 election (or anything that happened prior) and move on with the world as it exists in 2019.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

If you have an adam's apple....

A man convicted of lying to Congress

is back testifying to Congress?

That tells us exactly how desperate certain people are to continue the concept of a perpetual investigation on our President. To be perfectly clear, there would be zero reason for anyone to be pushing the word of a convicted liar if these same people felt that the two year long Special Counsel investigation was going to go their way.


But the reality is that there is no known evidence that Trump conspired with Russia to break the law. There is no known evidence that he obstructed any of the four investigations that have been going on or have already completed. There is nothing from any of these investigations that criminally indicts the President.

The obvious sad truth, however, is that if Mueller comes back and disappoints the Democrats with whatever is released from his report, I would suspect that they will simply take it in stride and move on with their next round of allegations.

Step forward, Michael Cohen.

A convicted liar, going to jail over his personal dealings, apparently feels he has little to lose by making allegations against others. But if he had anything of any substance, he would have already traded it to prosecutors for a better deal. There is quite literally nothing in his sentencing memos that suggests there was anything of real substance that he offered. If there had been, it would likely be tied up with an ongoing case.

So riddle me this? Why would Cohen have held back incriminating information from prosecution (where it could have  helped him), in order to save it for a closed door hearing with Congress (where it does him no good)?

The payoffs to Stormy Daniels are not illegal for the President to have made. The Federal Elections Commission as well as past legal precedent has declared them not eligible to be a campaign expense. The fact that the President was looking to build in Moscow is perfectly legal and completely irrelevant (other than Cohen lied while everyone else told the truth).

The concept of Trump tax crimes is a ridiculous claim considering the President has been audited for tax purposes every year since the beginning of time. Certainly the IRS is capable of figuring out if Trump is underestimating his assets for tax purposes, and our IRS depreciation formulas are pretty hard to manipulate. Moreover, Cohen is neither an accountant or Trump's tax attorney. 

The coldheartedtruth is that his whole thing is likely an presumptive exaggeration by the oft-wrong Maggie Haberman, diluted by an overzealous Michael Cohen, who more likely than not is doing little more today than recycling the information that everyone already knows about.

But given the fact that the hearing is "private" - it will allow for all sorts of speculation, grandstanding, and suggestions from politicians that more damning information is "coming soon".

No, MSM, this was not an "anti-abortion" bill


It's been pointed out that the media is attempting to promote the GOP as the bad guys, almost regardless of what is being voted on. They have branded Mitch McConnell as just short of being Hitler, for doing nothing more than putting the Democrat's signature Green New Deal legislation actually up for a vote!

How ghastly of him.

Now some of the media is playing a similar game with the legislation designed to prevent an infant who is born breathing (after a potential botched abortion attempt) from being left to die. The legislation would do little more than what Doctors have sworn to do (hippocratic oath), which is to provide the infant (who can no longer be called a fetus) with medical care..

The media is promoting this as an "anti-abortion" bill, when in fact, it would do nothing to stop a single abortion. They are also pointing out that the GOP making Democrats vote on a bill that effectively exposes every Democrats to calls of being legitimate baby killers. This, of course, is being painted as political opportunity, rather than a legitimate piece of legislation that should be passed.

The whole argument between pro-choice and pro-life has always boiled down to an argument regarding the beginning of life. Pro-choicer's have long maintained that the fetus is not life, but rather "part of a women". However, it has become increasingly clear that the pro-choice crowd likely doesn't even actually believe their own argument. Rather it's solely 100% about allowing a women to choose whether or not she should be required to give birth and care for a baby. 

It's one thing to allow abortions to prevent the actual childbirth. But it's another to allow them to choose not to take care of a baby that was effectively already given birth to. A bill that requires medical staff to allow a breathing baby to die (because the mother chooses to allow it) is infanticide.

There is no other way around it.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Rosenstein triggers the left!

Just because government collects information doesn’t mean that information is accurate, and it can be really misleading if you’re overly transparent about information that the government collects, so I think we do need to be really cautious about that. And that’s again not to comment on any particular case. There may be legitimate reasons for making exceptions but as a general principle, my view is the Department of Justice is best served when people are confident that we’re going to operate — when we’re investigating American citizens in particular — we’re going to do it with appropriate sensitivity to the rights of uncharged people. … 


The guidance I always gave my prosecutors and the agents that I worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were if we aren’t prepared to move our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then we have no business making allegations against American citizens.

There isn't much to read out of this, other than Rosenstein is covering Bill Barr's butt. Rosenstein is signaling that he would keep any and all unproven allegations from the public eye, as is the policy of the DOJ. This is exactly the point I was making in my earlier post.

It also strongly suggests that Rosenstein believes that ultimately there is going to be some disappointed Democrats who are going to be lusting for red meat, and may go hungry. If the report was going to be filled with criminal allegations against the President and high level Trump associates (Donald Jr, Kushner) then I doubt Rosenstein would even need to make a statement like this.

Short of the fairly remote possibility that Rosenstein has been kept out of the loop on things, he probably has the most inside information as anyone other than Robert Mueller himself.

Well worth the cost?

Total price tag of the Green New Deal would be $95 Trillion over 10 years
However, the American Action Forum was able to calculate estimates for several items the plan does propose, including guaranteed green housing, universal health care, and food security. Estimates of specific goals identified in the Green New Deal would cost each household in America between $36,100 and $65,300 every year.
You better listen to me now. I am wearing glasses and that makes me look smart!

Dems want you to ignore the constitution, because Trump is President

House Democrats pressure Attorney General Barr to release Mueller report
“[A]lthough we recognize the policy of the Department to remain sensitive to the privacy and reputation interests of individuals who will not face criminal charges, we feel that it is necessary to address the particular danger of withholding evidence of misconduct by President Trump from the relevant committees.”
IOW - so we "recognize" policy, but we would like you to ignore it, because the President is Donald Trump. 

The reality here is that if Mueller found criminal activity that included the President, there would be no reason (under policy) to hold back that information. The policy (of law enforcement in general) is to not release information on investigations where the decision was made that there was not enough evidence to charge someone.

This, of course, is a policy that protects Americans from having law enforcement use their power to investigate someone with the purpose of smearing them, rather than actually charging them. If you want someone to investigate someone for purposes of digging up dirt, you hire a  private investigator (who is limited by an inability to garner warrants and other authorization to surveil people with more complicated means).

Robert Mueller is not the Democrat's personal P.I.

He is an agent of the DOJ, and the laws of special counsel require him to follow the protocol of the DOJ (not ignore it). If the President broke the law (and the fact he is a sitting President is the only reason charges are not being brought), then it's quite obvious that Mueller needs to disclose such illegal activity.

But Mueller would not (under DOJ guidelines) be allowed to simply report to the public (or to Congress) actions that do not rise to the level of criminal activity. Like any other American, Trump is protected from Law Enforcement using their investigative powers to "dig up dirt" to "smear" an otherwise law abiding American.

However, the Democrats in Congress feel that they are entitled to any "dirt" or other "unsavory" issues that Special Counsel found out about Donald Trump. Obviously, many on the left thought this was the obvious intention (under the false pretense of investigating Russian influence). But like it or not Special Counsel was provided a task, and that task was not to do some sort of  personal investigation of all of the President's comings and goings.

Special Counsel should provide Attorney General Barr with a full report on Russian influence on the election and whether or not Americans (including any Trump campaign members) were involved in anyway. After all, that was what he was appointed by Rosenstein to do.

Anything above and beyond that information, that does not rise to the level of criminal behavior, should be considered private information for law enforcement eyes only. Just like it would be in any criminal investigation.

A new poll!!!

Messing with this whole "twitter" thing...

A few weeks ago, I decided to see if there was any merit to promoting a "twitter" account for CHT. Yeah, I know I am late to the game, but better late than never? Anyways I was curious as to how you might go about creating a following, getting up to speed on when and how to most effectively tweet, etc, etc. So I half assed started doing some research.


What I found through some simple searching was the very good advice to be "interesting" and that the more tweets the better. Oh, and you can pay twitter to promote you at a cost of about $40/month. Ummmm... yeah, thanks, but no thanks.

So no real advice or any real help.

It turns out that apparently I joined Twitter in 2014 (at least that's what is says). I don't really recall joining back then, my entire tweet collection was a single retweet from Scott Adams prior to the 2016 election (which I vaguely remember doing as a test), and I had made a couple of replies to other tweets that I likely opened from a blog that featured a twitter post...

As of this last Friday... I had one follower.

Who of course was following nothing.

So knowing my tweet feed would travel out to the world in the form of one person (whom I know personally to be a crazed liberal) my idea was to simply "comment" on some tweets from major twitter accounts, that provided a strong chance of sticking around with retweets, etc...

I commented/replied this Saturday on a tweet started by Ocasio-Cortez on emissions (how exciting) and I got this as a response.


14,716 impressions, 306 likes, 45 retweets, 16 expands, 9 replies, 8 profile clicks (probably should had more content - didn't think that through), 2 hashtag clicks.... 

all from a reply?

Oh and a grand hopping total of one new follower?? 

Now I had two! Boy oh boy, uncork the champagne! 

So this became my deal. I went around replying on other tweets, while trying to put up some interesting stuff on my feed in case people actually dropped in to see what I was about. I found that replying directly to "retweets" from people who are not actually famous and might follow me back  seems to create less total "activity" but provides a better chance of garnering followers (still waiting for Ocasio-Cortez to follow me - and I will probably have to wait a while longer). 




Anyways, now I have garnered some followers. Perhaps someday I can be as cool as Roger and approach 1600 followers, who btw, still manages to successfully project in 280 characters or less, and of course is like a pig in slop with the retweet option. 

But it looks as though you have to fairly famous (or just spend all your time soliciting new followers) to really get a "large" following. Looking at past and present bloggers, Sean Trende has just under 42K, Sister Toldjah has 33.6K, Stephen Green (the Vodka Pundit) checks in at a little over 30K, John Hinderacker (Powerline) has 12.4K,  Gerry Dales (from Daly Thoughts and Red State) has just under 2000 followers, while Thomas Lifson (American Thinker) has 148.

Not sure if I can really push off blogging for 280 character sound bites, but I can see a place for both. Gather some twitter followers and promote a blogpost or two. So if you are on Twitter, go ahead and follow me if you so choose:


I'll try not to be too boring! 


Sunday, February 24, 2019

RIP Peter Tork!

Oh, we’ve got a bigger dressing room than the puppets.

Robert Mueller mocks the justice system?

So Robert Mueller has offered in his sentencing statement that Paul Manafort has spent decades committing grievous crimes against the United States.

Do I have to do everything myself?
This must be a call out of our justice system. After all, the IRS went through every one of Manafort's tax returns and never found these obvious tax code violations. The Federal Exchange Commission approved all of his illegal banking transactions. And the FBI twice investigated Paul Manafort for these same issues, and determined both times that no charges were necessary.

Apparently the IRS, FEC, and FBI are a bunch of incompetent boobs to allow for this sort of Al Capone type criminal to remain on the loose for all those years, especially when he was in their radar the whole time. Good thing Mueller is on the case, and this horrible criminal will no longer be able to harm America with his ability to garner questionable loans, his lack of proper reporting, and not bothering to file as a foreign agent.

We can all sleep safer because of Mueller.

Sunday funnies














Saturday, February 23, 2019

Paul Manafort thread

I might be going to jail, but at least I am not obsessed with fucking goats!

And the Emmy goes to....

CBO scare tactic on Obamacare Individual mandate

turned out to be as wrong as critics suggested

This seems to be a recurring theme with the CBO. The CBO is tasked to provide insight for Congress, but time and time again these reports sounds more like a Democrat talking point than objective analysis. Whether it be the underlying assumption that tax cuts never produce any economic stimulus, or the assumption that government spending will always provide a multi-layered multiplier for how much economic impact government spending produces.

But never has the CBO been more wrong than dealing with their analysis of the Affordable Health Care Act.  The fact that you can task the CBO with predicting how many people would be signing up is bad enough. The fact that you continue to task them with this job, after being dead wrong over and over just rubs salt in the wound.

But one of the most blatant so called analysis was the CBO doomsday predictions about how many people would lose coverage if we repealed Obamacare. Now these numbers were generally bundled together (likely for purposes of political gaslighting) but were almost exclusively driven by their prediction of a mass exodus of people who would stop buying coverage if the individual mandate was repealed.

The analysis was so ridiculous that the CBO actually predicted that millions of Americans would opt out of free insurance like Medicaid if not for the mandate to have insurance. The final tally put forth by the CBO was that if we repealed the Individual mandate that 14 million Americans would "lose insurance" by the end of 2018. Losing insurance, of course, meant that people would choose not to purchase it.

So where are we at? According to the Health and Human Services, there are approximately 2.5 million people who ACTUALLY dropped their insurance in the aftermath of repealing the individual mandate. That falls far short of the 14 million predicted. Moreover, the HHS is predicting very little impact moving forward, whereas the CBO continued to believe that people would either drop or opt out of insurance year after year.

It would appear that the CBO overestated this number by a cool 560%.

Where else (other than the Government) can you continue to be this wrong? Where else (other than the Democratic Party) will you see people rushing again and again to defend an organization that is wrong more often than they are right.

Time to disband the CBO once and for all and actually create a non-political organization with people who are professional, objective, non-political, and ultimately accountable for errors.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Don't be fooled by the media polling showing Trump losing to Democratic field...

Alternate Title: President to trigger the left by not being interested (again) in winning the popular vote

Let's start with the reality that Donald Trump's chances of winning the Electoral College and being reelected to a second term is going to be much, much higher than his chances of winning the popular vote.

Let's also start with the reminder that popular vote accounts for nada. Zilch. Squat.

If you want to pay attention to how the 2020 election might be shaking out, you need to focus on the individual state polling and pretty much ignore the popular vote polling (especially those commissioned by anyone in the MSM).

Over the past few days there has been a ton of 2020 polling coming out. I strongly suspect that we will be overwhelmed with polling from now until next November.

On the national level, I saw an Emerson poll showing the President losing to every listed Democrat (with the exception of Harris) in the popular vote. He was down anywhere from around ten points (to Biden) to two points (Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders). This poll is consistent with most of the national popular vote polls I have seen.

But I also saw state polling in three battleground states (Iowa, Arizona, North Carolina) where the President was leading every candidate fairly comfortably (with the exception of Biden, who seems to poll consistently higher than the others).

Now the President winning Iowa, Arizona, and North Carolina would not guarantee him any victory. But North Carolina and Iowa were states that Barack Obama won at least once, and many Democrats are hoping to pull Arizona into the fold as a future Battleground state. The key states will likely be the same ones they always are, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan.

The bottom line is that the President showed us in 2016 that he has little interest in running a National Campaign that might help him in the popular vote. He was (in 2016) and can be expected to be (in 2020) very focused on the States he feels he needs to win to garner his reelection. That needs to be kept in mind at all times when assessing his 2020 chances.

House plans to vote on bill to terminate national emergency....

So I have to ask this legal and logical question. Doesn't the idea of Congress going ahead with the legal means to terminate the President's executive action regarding the national emergency tell the courts that Congress "IS" the check to the President's authority?


I mean, there is nothing constitutionally anywhere that suggests that the Judicial Branch of the Government has any sort of authority to settle policy disputes. The only manner in which a Judge is constitutionally allowed to get involved is if there a question about the constitutionality of a particular law or action. Or in the rare case where the law otherwise specifically calls for some sort of judicial oversight. 

Contrary to the gaslighting of Nancy Pelosi and the wild-eyed crazed media, the Presidential authority to declare national emergencies regarding situations that are anything but national emergencies is well documented. We have had over fifty national emergencies declared, there are still over thirty active national emergencies, and some go all the way back to the previous millennium and are still in effect. By the shear definition of the term "emergency", doesn't it fly in the face of logic that something can continue to be an "emergency" for two decades? 

Moreover, contrary to other attempts to fool the public, there is nothing unprecedented about the President realigning funds for an emergency. The statutes are very clear, and we have had eighteen national emergencies previously declared that did the exact same thing. 
  • Over fifty historical national emergencies. 
  • Over thirty active national emergencies. 
  • Eighteen emergencies that used shifted funding. 
The only two things that seem really different about this national emergency is that it actually deals with a domestic issue at the border that is unpopular with the left, and the President of the United States is Donald Trump. 

Let's see what happens to Empire and Jussie Smollett


So far the media and authorities have told us that Smollett's actions were harmful to three groups of people. The "real" victims of hate crimes who may or may not have as easy of a time stepping forward, the media (who was made to look foolish in all of this),  and the city of Chicago, because Smollett harmed the city's reputation.

Nobody seems in the least concern with how Smollett's actions actually harm the President and his supporters, who were raked over the coals because of these accusations. I am quite sure that Smollett will apologize to many many people before this thing is over, but certainly not to those whom his actions were designed to besmudge.

Now FOX and the producers of the Empire show have a choice to make. By all normal accounts, there really isn't a choice. Smollett should be fired immediately and never allowed to work in the industry again. But of course, it's 2019, Smollett is black and gay, and quite frankly there is a ton of "privilege" today in being both.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trump approval highest since June of 2018

According to the Real Clear Politics average, the President's approval has risen to the highest level in several months.

 I have to wonder how the release of the Mueller Report will affect this? With a majority of liberals and even a good portion of Independents believing that Trump conspired with a hostile foreign force to steal the 2016 election, it will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out depending on what Mueller found (or didn't find).

Jussie Smollett under arrest

Oh and btw... the moron wrote a check 

Who is still standing behind him?

Coincidence?

Bill Barr in at DOJ
Rosenstein out 
Mueller decides to pack up shop

Now there could be two different theories on this.

The conspiracy theory from the left will be that Bill Barr is being brought in to put pressure on Mueller to end the investigation prematurely and then will not allow the final report to be released. In this scenario Mueller is folding under the pressure, or shall we say folding under potential upcoming pressure.

The second theory is that Mueller has been running out of control for the past two years with almost no actual oversight from Rosenstein and does not want to suffer through having to explain his past actions to someone new. By ending the probe and exiting stage left, he would likely avoid a whole bunch of scrutiny as to what he has been doing.

Or it could be all speculation and Mueller isn't really packing up?

h/t myballs

McCabe - Well maybe not?

McCabe credibility takes another hit!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mueller Report next week?

Justice Department preparing for Mueller report as early as next week
Washington (CNN)Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller's confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.
The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation. The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change.
Meanwhile more and more and more "experts" are suggesting that the actual Mueller report will be less of a bombshell and more of a political dud. Even Trump-hater James Clapper suggested as much recently. Make no mistake, many of these people (like Clapper) likely have sources pretty close to the operation. While they may not be given any confidential specifics, there is little doubt that they are being provided with "hints" as to the the more general feel of the investigations.

The fact that Mueller never subpoenaed the President (or at least not successfully) suggests that he would have a difficult time making any recommendations regarding "obstruction".  There is also little doubt that if Mueller found that the President was truly in bed with Putin and defrauded the Government by conspiring to alter the results of the investigation, that this would have been reported instantly.

Obviously, that's not the sort of information that Special Counsel is going to sit on. If there was a true, obvious, impeachable offense committed it would have been Mueller's obligation to let Congress know as soon as he found out. Why allow a President doomed to be impeached for treason remain in office for months or even years? There would be no legal (or ethical) reason for him to withhold this from Congress or the public for any amount of time.

Lastly, as pointed out in this CNN article, it's going to be difficult for the Mueller Report to provide political "dirt" on the President.
Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must submit a "confidential" report to the attorney general at the conclusion of his work, but the rules don't require it to be shared with Congress, or by extension, the public. And, as Barr has made clear, the Justice Department generally guards against publicizing "derogatory" information about uncharged individuals.
So unless Trump is being "charged" with something, then according to DOJ rules, procedures, and regulations, they are not allowed to simply report "derogatory" information. I get that Politicians are seen slightly differently, but people have to keep in mind that Mueller is a criminal investigator investigating a counterintelligence situation. To the degree that law enforcement is not allowed to defame people they are not charging in criminal probes, they are required to be even more guarded in counterintelligence investigations (largely because of the broader ability to garner warrants to search and surveille someone).

So if the results of the probe are guarded and factual and involve very little political fodder, I strongly suspect that Democrats will attempt to blame Barr and ram full steam ahead with another investigation into the matter. Obviously Congressional investigations are all about political fodder.

The question will be how the Mueller report ultimately resonates with the public. If the public (or  enough of the public) is satisfied with the report, then that will largely overshadow the fact that Democrats in the House want to start a new investigation (the fifth one on the same subject).
 

Equal treatment under the law?

Andrew McCabe was fired for lying to investigators on four separate occasions, three of those times he was under oath. He was not charged with any crime. James Comey was accused by the DOJ with lying to Congress. He was not charged with any crime.

General Flynn,  George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, and Alex van der Zwaan have all been charged for Federal crimes by Robert Mueller for providing false statements (either to investigators or to Congress). None of these five people were charged by Mueller for any other crimes other than making false statements.

Can anyone tell me why it's okay for the Director and Deputy Director of the FBI to lie to investigators and Congress, but not okay for anyone loosely associated with Trump?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

There is no "legal" reason for the President to justify a national emergency...

Except your liberal media pushes the narrative that this President is different....

So the general public has been bombarded by the ad nauseum argument that there must be some sort of "good reason" for the President to declare a national emergency. However, Presidents have declared national emergency after national emergency for things that in some cases have almost nothing to do with the United States, much less formulate a clear domestic emergency.

For instance in 2003 President Bush declared a national emergency "blocking property of persons undermining Democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe" as an effort to punish associates of Robert Mugabe. In 2014 President Obama declared a national emergency "blocking property of certain persons with respect to South Sudan" as a response to the ongoing civil war.

How about a 2015 national emergency regarding a coup in Burundi? Seriously?

If someone wants to explain to me why punishing associates of Robert Mugabe, taking sides in a civil war in South Sudan, or some interfering in some coup in Burundi is a national American emergency, but our border situation is not, then I would be happy to hear you out. But make no mistake, you start off on the defensive of having to explain why it's even possible for things happening in obscure countries across the globe can constitute a national emergency here in America.

The truth is that Presidents do not have to explain to anyone why they believe there is a national emergency. Or  at least they never have had to in the past. There is nothing in the law that provides any judicial oversight of the President's decision making. The only oversight is congressional, and such oversight would be subject to a Presidential veto.

To be clear, there is certainly a political question, albeit a classic hypocritical question that is only asked of one President. But the President can make any sort of statement he wants about why he declared the emergency, and there is no acting oversight authority that he has to answer to, at least according to the law.

Yet,  it doesn't stop people from thinking that some Judge can and should simply step in (without a shred of constitutional authority) and for the first time in over fifty national emergencies make a judicial ruling that would block the President from declaring a national emergency. Moreover, there is more than a bit of reason to believe that some Judge (likely an Obama appointee) who will feel quite comfortable believing that it's his or her authority to supercede the President of the United States on an national security executive decision.

We have come to a crossroads here folks.  Do we live in the same Constitutional Republic that has existed since the formation of the United States of America? Or does it all get thrown out because certain people are still licking their wounds over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump?


Bombshell report that has Democrats talking impreachment

Trump Administration Developing Global Campaign to End Criminalization of Homosexuality
The U.S. embassy is flying in LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner to plan to push for decriminalization in places that still outlaw homosexuality — mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” said a U.S. official involved in organizing the event.
Although the decriminalization strategy is still being hashed out, officials say it’s likely to include working with global organizations like the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as other countries whose laws already allow for gay rights. Other U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts throughout Europe, including the U.S. Mission to the E.U., are involved, as is the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Narrowly focused on criminalization, rather than broader LGBT issues like same-sex marriage, the campaign was conceived partly in response to the recent reported execution by hanging of a young gay man in Iran, the Trump administration’s top geopolitical foe.

Police now confirm that Osundairo brothers

 were responsible for the attack on Jussie Smollett. 

To be clear, these were the Nigerian brothers that were caught on tape. The only two people that were seen on any of the surveillance footage. They were not originally considered suspects because Smollett told police that his attackers were white and shouting racial slurs.

The police are now confirming that they found rope, bleach, and other items matching the specifics of the so called attack. The Nigerians deny being racist (obviously as they are black), deny being homophobes, and deny having any feelings about Donald Trump. At one time the Police were considering charges, but have released them and suggested that the testimony from the brothers "shifted the trajectory of the investigation."

Both of the brothers were a former cast member of the show Empire, and they are now telling police that Smollett paid them to stage the attack. Smollett is now claiming to be devastated that the attack was perpetrated by people he knew, and is adamantly denying that he paid them, or that the attack was staged.

On another note, it was said that Smollett recently received a hate letter (go figure) that was sent to FOX. It was said that Smollett was very upset that FOX was not making a bigger deal out of this letter. There is much speculation that this anger may have driven Smollett to stage an assault to call more attention to himself.

So I guess we have to make a choice.
  • Two Nigerian brothers associated with Hollywood and Smollett decided to commit a hate crime against Smollett because he is black and gay, and because they believe that we live in "Maga country". 
  • Two extras associated with Smollett were paid to stage a hate crime in order to draw attention to Jussie Smollett and the fact that he is black and gay and that there are still people in this world who do not like either. 

Meanwhile, the producers of Empire have slashed Smolletts role in the second to last episode of Empire. He went from being the focus in nine scenes and having a big musical number, to being in only four scenes, none of which will "focus" on Smollett's character.

Reporter Andy Ngo lists over thirty reported hate crimes

that all turned out to be fake....

Click image to view list

To be clear, this is just a list of the higher profile fake hate crimes that can be clearly verified to be fake. These include people being arrested for committing the acts (after being caught on camera, confessing, etc). No way to determine how many other fake reports of hate crimes where the perpetrators were not dumb enough to get caught red handed. 

I suspect that the list of people who have "faked" hate crimes in the name of Donald Trump actually dwarfs the amount of hate crimes actually committed. 99.99% of Donald Trump supporters just wanted a better economy, better judges, and better national security. They couldn't give a bigger rip about race.

For anyone still confused as to why Trump will at least win a portion of the border wall battle...

You should read this article from the blog "Lawfare". It's a fairly straightforward objective discussions of the facts. It doesn't pretend either way to filter this with any politics. It's neither pro-Trump or anti-Trump, and it avoids political rhetoric.

In other words, it's just a plain and simple explanation of the law.

For those who are not fully informed, the President did not just declare a national emergency, but he actually wrote three executive orders. While it seems clear that there will be litigation regarding the so called National emergency (which is $3.6 billion of the additional monies Trump is moving towards the wall), there is almost no basis for anyone to contest the other two orders

From the article:
First, according to the fact sheet, $601 million would come from the Department of the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, an account that is fed by money seized by the U.S. government in connection with law enforcement actions or generated by the sale of seized assets. No national emergency declaration is needed to tap these funds. 31 U.S.C. § 9705(g)(4)(B) authorizes the Forfeiture Fund to use the funds for specific purposes outlined in that section:
After reserving any amount authorized by paragraph (3)(C) and after transferring any amount authorized by paragraph (3)(A), any unobligated balances remaining in the Fund on September 30, 1994, and on September 30 of each fiscal year thereafter, shall be available to the Secretary, without fiscal year limitation, for transfers pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii) and for obligation or expenditure in connection with the law enforcement activities of any Federal agency or of a Department of the Treasury law enforcement organization. (Emphasis added.)
In other words, after reserving funds to provide for the next year’s fiscal operations, remaining funds (“unobligated balances”) are available in connection with the law enforcement activities of any federal agency—including the Department of Homeland Security or any other agency that may be involved with building the wall. While Congress must periodically reauthorize the fund, the money in the fund does not “expire” like normal appropriated funds do. Rather, the funds are what’s called a “permanent indefinite appropriation” provided by Congress.
Second, the fact sheet indicates that $2.5 billion would come from funds authorized pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284, which likewise does not depend on a declaration of emergency. This statute authorizes the secretary of defense to “provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of any other department or agency of the Federal Government or of any State, local, tribal, or foreign law enforcement agency” for the purposes set forth in the section if requested by another federal agency or state, local or tribal government in support of law enforcement efforts. Those purposes include, among other things, “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States” (emphasis added). Presumably the administration has decided the wall, or at least parts of it, is really a “fence”—and as such that these funds will be available for the project.
Regarding the amount of funds available pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284, the fiscal 2019 Department of Defense appropriations bill provides for only $881,525,000. It is not clear where the balance of the $2.5 billion would come from. Funds would presumably need to be transferred or reprogrammed from other sources pursuant to other authorities. Congressional staff were told on Feb. 15 that the administration is currently working on exactly how that would be done.
So ultimately, the President should be able to add an additional $1.5 billion dollars to the $1.4 provided by Congress by doing nothing other than following the law.  Not only would it be perfectly legal to do so, but it seems almost prudent that the President would use money set aside for drug enforcement on building a southern border barrier.

Where arguments (and legal actions) might occur is in regards to where the additional 2.5 billion might come from (regarding 10 U.S.C. § 284) and of course the actual declaration of a national emergency.

In terms of the national emergency, this article suggests:
Third, $3.6 billion would be drawn from the Department of Defense military construction budget. 10 U.S.C. § 2808(a) provides:
“[i]n the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces. Such projects may be undertaken only within the total amount of funds that have been appropriated for military construction, including funds appropriated for family housing, that have not been obligated.” (Emphasis added.)
This is the only portion of the funds that requires the declaration of a national emergency. One of us (Taylor) evaluated this authority in detail on Lawfare last month.
Congress estimates the Pentagon has $21 billion in already-appropriated funds for military constructions projects as of November 2018, appropriated since fiscal 2015. While a large portion of these projects are awarded and in progress, the administration would presumably seek to avoid disrupting ongoing projects—though they could delay some projects to make money available for the wall. The Department of Defense has indicated to congressional staff that it does not intend to include family housing projects in the evaluation of projects that could be delayed.
In other works, Congress authorizes money for the Pentagon for military constructions, but ultimately it's up to the Pentagon to decide where that money is spent. The President (as ultimate boss of all executive branch agencies) would have constitutional authority to make certain determinations as how the 21 billion will be spent, at least under the pretense of a national emergency.

This, of course, is quite different from the rhetoric that Congress has some sort of authority/responsibility/duty to micromanage all appropriate funding. But it's sort of refreshing to read something "factual" that relies on the statutes and laws, rather then read partisanship, rhetoric, and political misdirection that we are used to.

There is some additional information as to where they believe these orders are most vulnerable (not surprisingly they see the most potential problems with the appropriations of funds coming from 10 U.S.C. § 2808). Although like most other objective legal scholars they do not believe that challenging the concept of a national emergency has much chance of success. They see more issues with whether or not a border barrier can be considered a military operation, and expect litigation to follow down that path.

They seem to suggest (without making any specific predictions) that when the dust settles that it will be a mixed bag of legal results, but that ultimately the goal from the opposition will be about delaying the building of the wall, rather than actually preventing it.

Time will tell.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Does Ocasio-Cortez really believe that those Amazon tax credits

can be spent elsewhere now that they are no longer coming to New York?

You mean we really are not saving three billion dollars?
just losing tens of thousand jobs and twenty seven billion in other revenue?

Jussie Smollett disgraced? Probably not...

So now we know pretty much for sure (what many people suspected) that Jussie Smollett was not actually attacked for being black and gay by two people wearing MAGA hats and shouting pro-Trump statements. This was (from the start) a fairly unbelievable story that never had any actual evidence of truth.

Father of the liberal logic of fake but true
The police started getting suspicious as it turned out that Smollett could be tracked by a variety of security cameras for all but a small area of his walk to a local Subway sandwich shop. After confronted with this, Smollett insisted that it was there (out of range from the security cameras) where the attack occurred. The fact that what he insisted happened (a rope, bleach, and other things) would not have fit in the timeframe didn't seem to deter Smollett or his faithful that something bad had happened.

The police also saw no other people (other than two Nigerian brothers who did not fit the description) on any of the security feeds. The brothers were questioned, their apartment was searched, but they were not considered suspects and were not charged.

Now there are reports out that two extras from his television show were paid $3500 to stage the incident. While Smollett and his spokespeople still deny that this was a hoax, or that it was a set up, he has hired a criminal attorney because of the very real possibility that he will be charged with filing a false Police report.

None of this will undo the damage done by Smollett. Smollett's supporters will  no doubt cling to the concept that the facts are irrelevant to the truth. As we learned from the Dan Rather 60 minutes false smear of President Bush and his service record, when it comes to things that liberals "want" to believe is true, the facts don't matter.

Smollett will still be a hero just for making a fake claim that fits the narrative. This simply becomes another example of something that liberals will see as "fake but true".

Attention Deficit Disorder and idiocy in politics...

Have you ever noticed that no matter what the topic of discussion is, that there are a handful of people who simply cannot stay on topic. This is known issue for people with ADD, low intelligence, or both. Moreover, many of these same people are unable to think for themselves, depending on the opinions of other people to drive whatever subject that they hope to call attention to.

I would ask you, where else on earth is this tactic acceptable. Imagine being in a meeting at work where the subject of conversation is a new procedure, and certain people just start bringing up other subjects, while ignoring the main subject of conversation. How about going into Calculus class in school and wanting the class to discuss British literature?

These people would be written off as low intelligent kooks... as well they should be!

No different in politics!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Question of the day

If the argument is that Trump is doing an end around because he couldn't convince enough members of Congress to give him more money...

Wouldn't Democrats be doing the same thing by going to court because they could not convince enough members of Congress to sign on to a declaration to overturn his action?

Sunday Funnies

Hy












Saturday, February 16, 2019

Perhaps a spelling bee to decide?


All in all it's just another brick in Trump's wall...

So the President stood down in Texas celebrating a new six mile stretch of the border which will be guarded by a brand new shiny steel and concrete barrier. This six miles was not part of any recent agreement, nor part of any previous agreement under Obama.

This was part of last year's budget that apparently included a reasonable amount of (very quiet) money to build barriers.

Add to the few miles of  barrier that has been going up over the past couple of years the 1.4 billion that will be used to construct another fifty five miles of steel fencing, along with the other 23 billion provided for other border security measures, and it seems like the President is getting a great deal of things done on the southern border.

Arguably Democrats are being had in many ways.

By drawing such a hard line against the so called "wall" they have been quick to surrender in other areas of border security, providing literally billions and billions of extra money in border security. While the Democrats are split between being "openly" open border and publically pro-border security (but privately open border) the truth is that not many Democrats want to stop the flow of immigrants from the southern border.

But ultimately, the border is becoming more and more secure every day. While there is still a long ways to go, the addition of the new barriers, the additional border security and customs agents, along with all of the new technological security measures has been a giant win for Trump and the GOP even as the media tries to portrait it as a loss on the "wall".

Oh, and the Democrats have still not gotten any concessions at all on DACA. While I tend to believe that DACA is a typical Democratic talking point (which is to say an issue they love to talk about so much that they don't actually want it resolved precisely because they love to talk about it so much) there is a danger of looking like you got nothing in return for giving in on border security (and the wall).

That won't sit well with those who backed Pelosi as speaker because of her promised ability to win battles and get things done for the Democrats.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Trump looks to push the barrier funding to 8 billion

Trump will tap $6.6. billion in Pentagon, Treasury funds for wall, source says
President Donald Trump on Friday will use his executive authorities to access more than $6.6 billion in Pentagon and Treasury Department funds for his border wall after he signs a bill that will bring the total to $8 billion, according to a source with knowledge of his plans.
A declaration of national emergency authorizes the President, “without regard to any other provision of law,” to tap into funds already appropriated for military construction and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program.

So to be perfectly clear here folks, while the power of the purse resides in the legislative branch, the powers of exactly how to spend those appropriated funds can (and usually does) fall on the shoulders of the various agencies and entities who uses those funds to keep themselves afloat.

While they must to go Congress for a yearly budget, they do not have to go back to Congress if they decide to use some of their funds on replacing broken equipment, or deciding to hire in one department rather than the department that they originally believed might need the help.

The idea that someone can go to court and declare that every decision being made about spending must go through Congressional approval is idiotic. Of course, that won't prevent Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats from making the argument that Congress not only controls funding, but also has constitutional authority to micromanage the specifics of now those budgetary funds are spent.

So is the President "misusing" the laws that provide the authority to declare a national emergency? Well, that is ultimately a question that is designed to be determined by members of Congress. The law provides members of Congress the ability to override the President's order if they can muster up a two thirds majority (similar to overriding a Presidential veto)*.


(commenting available on previous thread)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Trump to sign bill and declare National Emergency

Well all the media huffing and puffing (aka fake news stories) about how Republicans would join Democrats in decrying a national emergency was just that, huffing and puffing. Not only will the President likely declare a national emergency, but he will do so with the support of many GOP leaders, including Mitch McConnell.

So the idea that Congress (as WaPo, Politico, and NYT contended) would offer up a scathing rebuttal in the form of some sort of overwhelming bipartisan Congressional rebuke is sort of out the window. No doubt Democrats in the House will likely put together some sort of official House denouncement, but it probably will not have the widespread support that some on the left were hoping for.

That being said, many conservatives are not happy with the idea of Trump attempting to garner wall funding with the use of executive action, due to the fact that they believe it creates the wrong precedent. They are afraid that if he ultimately succeeds in pushing this through that it opens the door for future Democratic Presidents to use a similar action to declare a politically charged issue (like global warming) as a national emergency, and then spend trillions.

There are a couple of logical problems with this suggestion:

The most obvious is that national emergencies are unfunded declarations. Most of these declarations spend little or no money. They are policies that do things like restrict international trade with countries, restrict private business with certain entities, seize property, or block entrance into the United States for foreign nationals from hostile nations.

Even with the declaration of a national emergency, Presidents still have no authority to simply add money to the budget.

The statutory language allows for a President to find and use only otherwise unobligated funds. This only would allow the President to move money out of projects that are currently overfunded (such as a national disaster fund that is no longer necessary), or take it from budget areas that allow for non-specific funding (such as certain military construction money that has no specific purpose). In the grand scheme of things there is simply not a lot of cash to be found in this manner. Expert opinions vary, but most suggest that there is only a few billion dollars that could be reasonably allocated for this sort of purpose. While that would certainly accomplish the goals in this situation, it would certainly not allow for any sort of project that would require massive amounts of money (such as funding the Green New Deal).

Secondly, there is actually nothing that would prevent a Democratic President from striking first in this situation. Even if Trump decides against the national emergency, there is nothing to prevent the next President, or the next President after that, or the next President after that from declaring a national emergency over something like global warming.

Of course, this sort of declaration would likely go through the same legal battle that Trump will go through if/when he declares his emergency. While Congress put some very specific limits on what a President can do with a national emergency declaration, it did not provide much input on what sort of situations would fall under the umbrella of a national emergency.

In my humble opinion, the current makeup of the USSC would likely allow Trump to prevail with his national emergency under the logic that Congress did not distinguish what creates a national emergency, and because border security is something that specifically falls under the reign of the executive branch.

However, I think that the current USSC would have a much harder time favoring a declaration of national emergency that attempted to rebuild our economy and business make up because of global warming. In that case, the courts may fall back on the constitutional separation of powers to declare that such an emergency would require not just a declaration from the executive branch, but also specific funding from Congress. Not only because there would not be enough unobligated money to fund such an overhaul, but also because something like the Green New Deal seems to clearly fall under the authority of Congress (not the executive branch).