Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Biden bump!

Recent polls show Biden bursting out!

So three major polls came out on the Democratic primary race, and all three suggest the same exact thing. The entrance of Joe Biden has shaken things up considerably. Just check the numbers:
  • Quinnipiac - Biden 38, Warren 12, Sanders 11, Buttigieg 10
  • CNN - Biden 39, Sanders 15, Warren 8, Buttigieg 7
  • Morning Consult - Biden 36, Sanders 22, Warren 9, Buttigieg 8
Two major takeaways from these polls are the obvious bump Biden got for simply joining the race without smelling someone's hair, and the realization that the flavor of the month (Buttigieg) is losing his luster.  For those who believe simple subtraction and calculating a mean is difficult math, Biden is leading by over 21 points based on the average of these three polls. 

So what does this mean? Are the other 456 candidates going to drop out and appoint Biden the new nominee? Wouldn't bet on it. In fact, I might bet that being in the top polling position will garner Biden some serious critique from those who are looking to climb the ladder. Perhaps we will see our friendly socialists stop ripping on each other for a few days, and start ripping on the former V.P. 

All that being said, the numbers might be a little misleading. Given Sanders, Warren, Harris, O'Rourke, Buttigieg, Booker, and most everyone else is fighting tooth and nails for the heart and soul of the liberal liberal wacky left, their collective support may be a little spread out. Meanwhile it seems that Biden shares the more central lane with... um Klobuchar and maybe, um... well maybe Klobuchar. I think you get my point? 

So it could be that as some of these fringe candidates drop out, that the wacky left will start to rally around one of the main wacky left candidates (likely Sanders, Warren, or O'Buttirourke). It certainly could be that Biden is fairly close to his primary "ceiling". It also might be that these polls are more reflective of Democratic voters as a whole, rather than the primary voters what will show up and decide this thing. But one thing is for sure. The media will start to declare Joe Biden the frontrunner. 

Is Biden the 2020 Clinton?

Lot's of debate about whether Biden is "exactly" what Democrats need, or just another mainstream player like Hillary who will be cast aside as part of the swamp. Much of this depends on why you think Hillary lost in 2016.

They think Donald Trump has a chance against us?
For many, the 2016 loss was based on the concept that Democrats "handed" the nomination to the wrong person. They wanted Bernie or someone with a little more "spark" to go up against Trump and his thunderous personality and boisterous campaign. Others believed that they picked the "right" candidate, but that the candidate just ran a horrible campaign. It was her race to lose, and she managed to lose it.

I happen to believe that 2016 and 2020 are not remotely connected. In 2016 we were just finishing the second of two terms of a reasonably popular (especially popular with the media) liberal President. The country was doing "better" but nobody was very comfortable with the economy and plenty of other things. The question was about status quo, security of picking a known quantity, or going with an outsider who is looking to "drain the swamp".

In 2020 we have a much different question to answer. Things economically are more secure (and probably will still be come next November). But we have anything but a "status quo" going on in the Trump kingdom. In some ways, a Joe Biden becomes almost the "status quo" of going back to a degree of normality, while Trump still almost plays the outsider looking to retain his outsider role for four more years. 

This whole concept can be further enhanced by an argument that the entire Trump Presidency has been sort of upended by investigations, Special Counsel, etc. There is a feeling from many Trump supporters that a reelection may be more of a reaffirmation and an allowance for him to actually be President, which he hasn't really been able to do so far. The argument might be valid to say that he needs a second term, just to really be allowed to play out much of his first term.

Ultimately, neither Biden or Clinton are or were particularly good candidates. Both have lost multiple times, and that sort of thing happens for a reason. That being said, perhaps Biden (and his 76 years) might be the best that the Democrats have to offer this time around.

Of course the crazy Russian Trump conspiracy was not a "smear" - that was two years of investigations?

Monday, April 29, 2019

A good question!

Anybody want to take a crack at it? 

Speaking of being above the law?

Massachusetts Judge and Court Officer Indicted for Allegedly Helping Illegal Immigrant Evade ICE
Thursday, Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph and now retired Court Officer Wesley MacGregor were indicted on one count of obstruction of justice in relation to allegations from 2018 in which the pair is accused of helping an illegal immigrant sneak out the back of the courthouse to avoid arrest by ICE officials who’d arrived to arrest the individual. MacGregor was also charged with perjury.
This is one of those situations where the idea of sanctuary of illegal immigrants is taken a bit too far. While it is one thing to refuse to notify ICE that a wanted illegal immigrant is going to be released or is otherwise available to be detained, it's quite another to actively help someone basically flee being arrested. The fact that this was done by a Judge (someone sworn to the law) is an example of how our legal system is basically falling apart over extreme political partisanship and ideology.

In this case, the ICE official notified the court that he would be there, and that he would be taking the accused into custody as soon as the hearing was over. This is literally no different than any member of any law enforcement team (local police, state police, FBI) who has jurisdiction to take custody of someone appearing in court. No Judge, in a thousand years, would help a wanted suspect flee arrest from a sheriff, police officer, or Federal agent. So why did this Judge believe it was within his authority to help this person avoid being taken into custody.

The reality is that the person was standing trial for drug crimes, and had a pending arrest warrant in another state. Seems like a legitimate reason for ICE to pick him up. But the ICE officer was ordered by the Judge to leave the courtroom and told to wait in the lobby. The Judge had a sidebar that was at some point determined to be "off the record" (and the audio was shut off). Shortly after, the Court officer escorted the defendant and his attorney through the back of the courtroom, and eventually the Court officer used his security access card to allow the defendant and his attorney to leave out the back "sally-port exit".

Is Congress above the law?

Everyone on the left loves to complain that the President is somehow "above the law".  While this probably makes sense to those trapped in the manic depressive state of Trump derangement syndrome, it's always a curious battle cry to the rest of us watching from outside the circle jerk.

The fact is that no President ever elected has underwent more scrutiny than this particular President. 
  • The FBI was investigating members of his campaign before he even won the election. 
  • The FBI opened a bogus counterintelligence probe into his campaign prior to him even taking office.
  • The now fired former acting director of the FBI started a personal investigation into the President, claiming that he might be a foreign agent. Without any evidence, of course.
  • Several of his campaign workers were investigated for unrelated crimes, while putting pressure on them to turn over information on the President.
  • One of the President's personal lawyers was placed under investigation for a series of financial issues (having nothing to do with the President) as an attempt to squeeze him into providing information about the President.
  • The House intelligence committee investigated the President within weeks of him taking office.
  • The Senate intelligence committee investigated the President within weeks of him taking office.
  • The DAG appointed Special Counsel to investigate the President, which lasted for 22 months and cost $30 million.

The results of all of these investigations have determined that the President did not collude, conspire, coordinate, or otherwise "cheat" to win the election. None of his campaign workers, others in his realm or his personal attorney provided any information about him being a foreign agent, colluding, cheating, or doing anything illegal in regards to anything having to do with these multiple investigations. 

But the left still complains. After spending more time and energy investigating this President regarding ridiculous allegations without probable cause that any crime was committed, they want to continue to expand their investigations (under the guise of oversight) into the President's personal life, his pre-political business endeavors, and are demanding financial records, tax returns, and other personal information...

once again without the slightest evidence or probable cause that they are investigating any specific crime. 

That, ladies and gentlemen is the fundamental definition of the term "witch hunt". When you simply want to investigate someone, have them turn over everything, because you somehow feel that there just must be "some" sort of criminal action involved. 

Now perhaps the left is really that psychotic. Perhaps their delusional hatred actually makes them believe that there are multiple crimes "just around that next paperwork corner" and all they need is a "little more information to wallow through" to find it all. 


But I sort of feel like at this point that they are addicted to investigations. The thought of this President moving forward for the next year and a half unburdened by a crushing Special Counsel investigation dominating the news with all of it's grand conspiracy possibilities and legal doomsday analysis must be really scary. Imagine the Democrats having to go into the 2020 campaign and talk about the issues? Talk about the economy. Talk about anything "other" than what the President is currently doing that is getting under their skin.

The concept of a Banana Republican is one where people in charge abuse their investigative and law enforcement powers. The President has done none of that. He has not ordered any of his opponents to be investigated (although it seems inevitable that they will be). He just keep fending off more and more and more and more attempts by the Democrats to open up new lines of investigations. Investigations that have no true probable cause, other than the left's overwhelming hatred of the man who sits in the oval office. 

Does Congress believe that they are above the law?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Don McGahn and obstruction

Arguably the strongest case that the President committed obstruction has to do with the back and forth between Trump and White House Counsel Donald McGahn. If one was looking to make the case of obstruction, the thirty thousand foot view would be that the President attempted to tamper with a witness by confronting McGahn over reports that he had testified that the President ordered him to fire Mueller.

What we know now is that Trump did not directly order McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn would not have authority to do so even if Trump asked him to.  More importantly neither account (Trump's or McGahn's) suggests that such an order was given. Both account suggests that Trump asked McGahn to talk to Rosenstein about whether or not Mueller could be removed over conflict of interests. The disagreement comes from whether or not that original request was upended by a second request by the President to have McGahn order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

Quite obviously, if the President had valid concerns and wanted his legal counsel (from an executive standpoint) to discuss this with Rosenstein, there would be nothing illegal about having his counsel engage in such a discussion. In terms of ordering McGahn to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller, that would be one of those murky constitutional issues, but also an extremely strange request given McGahn would not have authority over the Deputy Attorney General.

So in the report, Mueller suggested that he saw no reason for McGahn to lie about the events. That being said, the order of events reported by McGahn seem to make a whole lot of logical, practical and legal sense, up until the part where McGahn believes he has been ordered to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

In other words, if the President's intention was to draw Rosenstein into a reasonable discussion about Mueller's possible problems with conflict of interest (hoping Rosenstein would come to a conclusion on his own to replace Mueller) then having McGahn be that person makes all the sense in the world. Both sides agreed that the first phone call made this request.

But if the President wanted to have Mueller fired, then there would be absolutely no good reason for him to go through McGahn for that request. The President suggests he could have done it himself, or he could have contacted Rosenstein directly and order him to do so. Getting McGahn involved in that sort of request simply doesn't make any real sense whatsoever.

This is where the sides separate and the dispute comes into play.

Now this is not to say that I believe McGahn is necessarily lying about anything. Nor am I accusing the President of lying. Both could be lying or neither could be.

Perhaps McGahn simply mistook the President's "urgency" for a new "order" that the President himself didn't actually believe he gave. The quote McGahn cites was that the President stated that "Mueller has got to go" and McGahn saw that as an order. That could certainly be seen that way, or it could also be seen as the President providing an opinion, similar to the sort of opinion a football fan might suggest about a coach or QB from a team who just disappointed them with a big loss.

Currently the President is still engaging McGahn on this and publicly demanding that he never gave an order to fire him. This is likely an iffy public relations play, but likely a pretty good preemptive legal play. If someone ever did attempt to charge Trump with obstruction, his public posturing rebutting the statements by McGahn, could make a case that the President didn't believe that he ever gave such an order. If that was his honest belief, than confronting McGahn and asking him why he told a story that Trump believed was incorrect would be a normal reaction from anyone, rather than some devious plot to obstruct anything.

In our system, the President (like any American) is considered innocent until proven guilty. A prosecutor is require to have a strong belief that they can proof a case beyond a reasonable doubt before they are allowed to bring charges. Is this a case that could convince twelve out of twelve jurors? What I see here is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt of anything. I see an incomplete story, that has several possible meanings, and all but one of those meaning clears the President of criminal wrongdoing.

CNN, MSNBC, Politifact are convinced

But our friend here are all still a holdouts! 

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The day collusion died!

Bye bye, he's a Russian ally. Putin puppet, Russian agent, and a treasonous spy! 
The Russian hysteria was a misplaced outcry, Time to let it go or just let it die!

Where are those people who don't accept Robert Mueller's report?

It looks like a lot of them are on twitter!

So Robert Mueller concluded that no Americans (much less anyone from the Trump campaign) conspired or coordinated with any Russians associated with anything having to do with the election meddling. This was his bottom line take away from his 22 month, $30 million dollar Special Counsel investigation. It was also very likely the most objectively honest portion of his report. Oh, and that opinion is factually backed by the fact that the indictment happy Mueller team was incapable of finding even one American to indict in regards to conspiracy or coordination.

So when someone gives you a list of how many people Mueller and his team "did" indict and charge, that doesn't justify the investigation. It actually just reinforces the idea that there was absolutely no evidence of conspiracy or coordination. Ever. Mueller indicted multiple people whom the FBI had previously chosen not to recommend for indictment. He dug up old crimes against Manafort and Gates. He indicted dozens of Russians for their involvement in their election meddling (with no chance of convicting any of them). Mueller called for a late night SWAT team raid on the home of a 70 year old man, so he could be arrested for a process crime.

But not one American was indicted for what he was tasked to investigate. Zero.

Let that sink in.

Sure, Mueller lists a whole bunch of contacts, which by fact of his own report, were not examples of conspiracy or coordination. These include members of the Trump Organization talking to Russian business associates about Business deals that had nothing to do with the election.  The list included Carter Page traveling to Russia to give an address at a Russian school which had nothing to do with the election. The list included Paul Manafort talking to Konstantin Kilimnik who was (like Manafort) a political consultant in Eastern Europe. He includes Russian diplomats reaching out to Trump transition team post election.  His ramblings mention several people who were not even Russian as examples of Russian contacts. The most egregious example being George Papadopoulos meeting with British professor Joseph Mifsud. Mueller lists this one under the pretense that Mifsud 'had ties" to Russia (which Mueller never clarifies, explains, or proves). Since then we have seen evidence that Mifsud has ties to British Intelligence, Fusion GPS, and the Clinton Foundation (something that Mueller never bothers to mention).

This one is especially egregious "because" the FBI and others have stated that Papadopoulos (who did little more than hear something and repeat something) was the reason that this entire thing began. How can it possibly be believed that a British professor saying something to a  low level campaign worker was any sort of a valid reason to start the biggest counterintelligence and possibly the most charged "criminal" investigation into a sitting President in the history of our county. Literally, the FBI is stating this started because of gossip over drinks between two people who had no real association with anyone. Moreover, this was gossip. No proof was given. No actual documents passed hands. No follow up. Just gossip. But we are expected to believe that this gossip started everything?

Make no mistake, this list is red herring. Plain and simple. None of it furthers the allegations of conspiracy or coordination. Many of these contacts had been going on long before Trump was even involved (Trump Organization and Russian Business interests - Gates, Manafort and Kilimnik). Many were completely normal behavior (business people talking to business people, political consultants taking to political consultants, foreign diplomats reaching out to transition teams). None were illegal in any manner, shape, or form.

Let me repeat that. None of these contacts were illegal in any manner, shape, or form. Not even Mueller disagrees with that fact (or of course he would have charged someone with something). But of course... he didn't charge anyone for any of it, now did he?

So how is it that some people just won't let go?

Well this is a case study in partisanship, bias confirmation, and cognitive dissonance. Imagine if you (like them) had spent the past two years exclusively listening to pundits on CNN and MSNBC,  and reading the NYT, Politico, and WaPo.

Imagine watching Rachel Maddow, Chris Wallace, and Don Lemon droning on and on about collusion for two years straight. Legal "experts" like Jeffry Toobin, Laurence Tribe, and Michael Avenatti giving you the "legal" reasoning why Mueller was finding everything he needed to prove a grand conspiracy. Former Obama officials like John Brennan, James Clapper and others coming on these shows and predicting all sorts of bombshell indictments, implying that they had inside information.

Imagine if all you read was reports in the Time and Post about "bombshells" surrounding the investigation coming from anonymous sources that journalist told you they could quote with "a high degree of confidence" that their damning information was real. Imagine if you were fed little more than Maggie Haberman, E.J Dionne and Nicholas Kristof all in lock step that the President was going down.

How could you "not" be convinced of what was going to happen? How could you not have overwhelming expectations after two years of being promised upcoming proof of conspiracy, that would involve indictments and arrests of high ranking Trump administration officials, quite possibly involving the President's own family and inner circle.  Of course, given how much many of these people flat out "hate" the President, this sort of thing is hard to let go.

The key to any good conspiracy theory is to not let it go. The reasoning is always the same. Lack of evidence is simply proof of a cover up. Conspiracy theorists  have to be prepared to step through these little speed bumps (like a 22 month $30 million investigation failing to prove any conspiracy or coordination). Let's call it dedication to their hatred and conspiracy theory and give them props for their efforts. It can't be easy to live in such denial!

This is interesting

Fed’s preferred core inflation gauge well below 2% target
A Federal Reserve-preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, slowed to 1.3 percent, well below policy makers’ 2 percent objective.
So why is this important? Because the whole reason that the Feds kept raising interest rates was to combat the oncoming inflation that "economists" believed was coming. Of course, the other thing that raising interest rates does is slow the economy.

From 2008-2016, the Fed raised interest rates twice. Once from 0.25 to 0.50 in 2015. The next time was in the final quarter of 2016 from 0.50 to 0.75 (after Trump had been elected). Since then, the Fed has raised the rates seven times. Only one quarter since Trump has been President has the Fed not increased the rate to "control inflation" (and subsequently slow down the economy).

In eight years, Obama saw the Fed raise rates once. In two years, Trump has seen them raised eight times. (I count the Dec15th 2016 as a Trump rate raise since it only affected his Presidency). So when Trump criticizes the Fed and complains that he feels like they are trying to hamstring his economy, there is a valid argument to make.

The reality is that the Fed literally did everything in it's power to help the economy during the Obama years, while with the exception of one quarter, the Fed has done everything in it's power to slow down the economy since Trump has been President. That is not a subjective observation, it's a fact.

The caveat being that those who have been running the Fed will tell you that it was about slowing down inflation, not the economy. But when inflation remains stubbornly below normal, you have to either figure that they were wrong about their reasons, or their reasons are not as straight forward as we might think. 

Good morning!

Friday, April 26, 2019

For those perpetrating the disgusting lie that Trump praised White Supremacists

Unexpectedly - hopes and dreams are dashed!

As one of our liberal commentators liked to say. Put away all sharp objects before you read this!

Figured it would be Bernie

With his suggestion that convicted felons in jail be allowed to vote!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

You have to give her props for consistency!

So this is interesting:

Did the President "really" actually order McGahn to fire Special Counsel?

This is from the actual Mueller Report: 
In interviews with this Office, McGahn recalled that the President called him at home twice and on both occasions directed him to call Rosenstein and say that Mueller had conflicts that precluded him from serving as Special Counsel.
On the first call, McGahn recalled that the President said something like, “You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod.” McGahn said he told the President that he would see what he could do. McGahn was perturbed by the call and did not intend to act on the request.
When the President called McGahn a second time to follow up on the order to call the Department of Justice, McGahn recalled that the President was more direct, saying something like, “Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the Special Counsel.” McGahn recalled the President telling him “Mueller has to go” and “Call me back when you do it.”

John Hinderaker from the Powerline has sort of weighed in on this issue and believes that the President's line of thinking actually might be more accurate than Mueller's line of thinking. Hinderaker does this by doing little more than removing portions of the report that might be seen as opinion and leaving just the facts.

Now if you read the above passage it makes it quite clear that Trump would like to see Mueller removed as Special Counsel (citing conflicts of interest). Given the fact that Trump had just interviewed Mueller for the FBI director and chose someone else, there certainly could be the possibility of a grudge. Given the makeup of the players Mueller put together, an argument could be made that Mueller did not make much an attempt to put together exactly a non-partisan team. So it's not an unreasonable position for the President to take, especially knowing (as we know now) that Trump was not actually guilty of anything.

What is missing is any direct order from the President to McGahn to fire Mueller. 

Sure... in a roundabout away Trump was asking McGahn to start the ball rolling (which Trump hoped would lead to Mueller being let go). But it's clear from Mueller's own report that Trump was not ordering McGahn (or anyone else) to actually fire Special Counsel. He was ordering McGahn to talk to Rosenstein and convince him that Mueller had a conflict of interest and that he had to go. It's both a legal distinction and a distinction with a significant difference.

Moreover, the President is correct in his argument that Mueller could have been fired (the law is clear on that), and that he (Trump) could have directly ordered the firing by calling Rosenstein personally. But he didn't actually make that direct order.

Again, while some may make an argument that the President just should have left well enough along and not tried to pressure anyone to do anything. I am not sure that I disagree with that concept. But the reality is that the characterization of this (that the removal was ordered) is not an accurate accounting of what happened.

To put this in perspective, if Mueller had asked Mueller whether or not he had evidence that Trump ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, and Mueller said yes, Mueller would have no doubt charged Mueller with making false or misleading statements.

Pearl clutching and stupidity at its finest!

Will Trump and the Supreme Court tear our democracy apart?
Our nation faces a constitutional conflagration, and President Trump is not the only actor willing to put personal and partisan interests above the preservation of our system of self-rule. Five conservative justices on the Supreme Court signaled clearly on Tuesday that they are willing to allow the administration to act lawlessly in distorting the 2020 Census and thus representation in Congress to benefit the party that placed them on the court.
So E.J. Dionne loves to pretend he is smarter than everyone, while apparently writing articles that specifically make him look dumber than everyone else. I have no issues with non-legal people providing legal opinions. In fact, I often times do it myself, and all I have is Computer Science and Business degrees with a minor in Math. Because of that, I will generally wallow through the opinions of those legal experts who have proven themselves to be "accurate" in their analysis, just to make sure I am not making a boob of myself with my own personal opinions.

But the two things the Dionne does here are staples in the liberal pundit community (legal or otherwise). The first is not understanding that the members of the USSC are actually superior judicial actors than those at the district and appeals court level. The second (and most alarming) is seeing everything "legal" within the scope of politics, rather than the law.

The first is simple and stupid. Dionne (like many others) love to cite how many lower court Justices have ruled in a particular way as if that somehow makes an opposite USSC ruling suspect or invalid. The reality is that it is actually the opposite. When you have the USSC overruling the lower courts as much as they have in regards to the President, we should be more suspicious of the lower court rulings, not the USSC.  Many of the legal experts I read can pretty much tell early on if the lower court decisions are going to be overturned. Generally they can tell, because the arguments are fairly obvious.

Take the Travel Ban situation. While there were a handful of early rulings in favor of the President, the bulk of them went against him, and those were quite obviously the ones we read and heard about (partially because these Judges offered full national injunctions).

But the arguments being used "against" the President and his ban were both flawed and unprecedented. The travel ban law had been used by every President since Carter, and never challenged. But as soon as it was used by Trump, suddenly the law itself was legally flawed  (according to several Judges). The President's campaign statements were ruled relevant (against USSC precedent) by many lower court Justices. It didn't seem to matter to these lower court Judges that the list of Countries came from the DHS, and had existed prior to Trump taking office. They desperately wanted that list to prove discrimination and wanted it to be a "Muslim ban" even when it was clear that it wasn't.

All of this made the overruling of these decisions fairly obvious. It didn't matter how many district or appeals court Judges used the same flawed legal reasoning, the reasoning was still flawed. The USSC got it right based on the law, precedent, and common sense. More to the point, pretty much everyone knew that was going to be the final outcome. The rest was hack judges engaging in obvious political theater.

The second is more of a mindset that I am not sure liberals will ever fully be able to get out of. Liberals see everything through the viewpoint of their politics (while caring very little about the rule of law) and they project this to others, and judge them accordingly. In the mind of a liberal, the real reason any Judge makes a decision is because of politics, and the "law" only matters as a means to justify a political decision. While this is quite obviously true of many Judges, it's not true of most conservatives Justices.

For instance, Dionne suggests that the potential ruling on the Census question takes a position that is the opposite of how they ruled on the Voting Rights act. Dionne sees both issues as primarily the same thing, when in fact the two "legal" subject matters have literally nothing to do with each other. To the degree that the two issues have political ramifications that exist in the general vicinity, the Justice of the USSC have no obligation to make rulings that appear to be "politically" consistent in the same manner that a Politician might have to remain "politically" consistent.

The voting rights act was a simple issue of state sovereignty, and whether our Federal Congress could continue to punish individual States for behavior that had taken place over forty years ago. The USSC ruled that such punishment was unconstitutional unless Congress was willing to reevaluate these judgements and create new lists based on current data. If these same states were still showing that they were legally discriminating or suppressing voters, then they could keep them on the list. But the legal logic was that there has to be a statute of limitations on behavior that took place decades ago by people who are no longer in charge.

The Census (on the other hand) involves none of these same legal issue. It quite literally is an issue of whether or not the Commerce Secretary has authority to make the decision, whether the decision has any justification (not arbitrary), and whether the decision either violates a known law or is otherwise unconstitutional. In the case, the facts are not even in dispute. Wilbur Ross has the authority. Ross provided a justification (the question wasn't pulled out of a hat, or added based on a roll of the dice). There are no laws against it, and the fact that it had been used prior pretty much makes it objectively constitutional.

The Judges are not supposed to care if these legal facts line up politically with the legal facts of other cases. They don't need to considered if they think something is "right" or "wrong". They are only supposed to care about getting the legal facts correct in each and every case (politics be damned).

But these facts matter very little to people like Dionne. In fact, I suspect that most facts matter very little to people like Dionne. Better to use emotion and political rhetoric to argue the law, just as they use emotion and rhetoric to argue everything.

Sometimes it's just way too easy!

Sleeeeepy Joe Biden!

Is the reason he failed the first 23 
times he ran for President now fixed?

Lowest since 69 !!!

There is a one liner or two in that headline!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Shhhhh... Don't tell Roger!

I've found the secret to getting engagement on twitter
(I'd like a few more link clicks back to the blog, but overall...)

So I don't feel like this!

I think it just might be Roger's Birthday?

Is today the day?

What will Trump use as nickname?
Sleepy Joe Biden or Creepy Joe Biden?

Good for the country!

Supreme Court looks likely to back Trump administration on adding citizenship question to 2020 census
"Citizen voting age population is a critical element in voting rights enforcement,
 and this is getting citizenship information," Chief Justice John Roberts said.
A closely divided Supreme Court appeared almost certain Tuesday to allow the Trump administration to ask about citizenship in the 2020 census. The court's conservatives seemed unlikely to declare Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's plan illegal or unconstitutional, refusing during an 80-minute oral argument to question his motives or reasoning. 

Herein lies the problem with all of this. This is either constitutional or not constitutional. It has nothing to do with Justices gleaming "motive" or questioning "reasoning". The law allows these decisions to be made by the Commerce Secretary and the only issue that should be involved is whether or not adding the question is "legal" or "constitutional".

But that is exactly the problem we have been seeing with our entire Judiciary branch. You have some Justices who are wanting to stick to the issues of law and the constitution, while others are constantly acting like it's their job to superimpose judgement or declare issues to be "right or wrong" based on their own political beliefs.

At the end of the day, rule of law constitutional Justices are what people want. Trump is doing a spectacular job of keeping his promise. By the end of this term, he will have made a big, big dent in the troubling idea of "liberal Justices" who believe it's up to them to be super legislatures and make sure liberal policies are enacted by any means. I believe if he wins reelection, the courts will be solidified with constitutionalists who understand their role in the co-equal branches of our Government.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Double dog dare?

I think "most people" keeping their head on straight understand the inherent political problems with attempting to "impeach" the President over the Mueller report. The main issue here is that once the dust settles, people allow everything to sink in, the most important and uniformly accepted fact is that Mueller's report showed no evidence that any American (much less Trump or his associates) conspired or coordinated with the Russians.

When people look back on this whole fiasco, the process crime aspect is going to be a mere footnote in the grand scheme of things. Once we have the Inspector General report showing exactly to what degree our law enforcement bent the rules (and possibly the laws) to start and prod this hoax along, thing may even look dimmer for those calling for Trump's head. By the time this whole thing shakes out, it will very likely show a picture of Donald Trump being unfairly, unethically, and possibly illegally targeted in a bogus investigation by corrupt agents with a political ax to grind.

An attempt to impeach the President over such a blatant and obviously political issue will simply be adding salt to that particular wound, and make Democrats look even more partisan and petty. This was a petty hoax of an investigation that engulfed our country and undermined our President.

Impeachment? How about an apology? 

Qualifying poll for primary debates?

There are already 14 candidates who have qualified. 
Would be 15 if Eric Stallwell breaks 1% two more times. 

So apparently all you need to do to qualify for the debates is garner 1% or more in three different polls, coming from a list of 18 different pollsters. The hard part, might just be getting the pollsters to add your name.

Not sure if they are going to set up the two debate system that the Republicans used in 2016 (top ten in the first tier, and everyone else in a second tier) or just go with everyone on one stage. Of course, nobody wanted to be part of the J.V. debate and even a strong performance there did not guarantee you much of a jump in the polls.

Overall, the GOP debates were fun largely because of Donald Trump. The total ability of Democrats to be complete clowns (Crazy Bernie, Beto, Pocahontas, Spartacus, etc...) en-mass might make these even more entertaining.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Riddle me this?

So Democrats (and liberals) were opposed to William Barr as Attorney General in large part because of his well known opinions regarding charging Presidents with Obstruction of Justice.  Like many legal scholars, he set an extremely high bar for accusing a President of obstruction. Because of this opinion, they felt that he would be predisposed to disagree with any potential opinions/findings that Trump committed obstruction.

But once he became the Attorney General, and then issued the opinion that was consistent with how he felt prior to becoming Attorney General, suddenly these same Democrats were suggesting. that he was skewing the law to protect the President? This would be in direct contrast to their statements about his predisposed opinions?

Which criticism is correct. They both cannot be correct?

  • Was he predisposed to make this judgement? 
  • Or was did he compromise his beliefs to favor Trump?

Let's be clear about a couple of things. Robert Mueller was an employee of the Department of Justice. He was not an independent prosecutor, as Kenn Starr was. Mueller was required to run all of his investigative and indictment decisions past his boss, Rod Rosenstein. While Rosenstein was likely predisposed to agree with Mueller, it was still his place to disagree and veto a request. In fact, we know that part of the laws of Special Counsel requires disclosure of anything that Special Counsel recommended or requested that was denied by the Department of Justice.

Furthermore, Mueller's main background was one of FBI director. This is an administrative position overseeing investigators. Meanwhile, William Barr has been the Assistant Attorney General for legal counsel, deputy Attorney General, and this is his second go around as Attorney General (the top law enforcement person in the country). As a matter of fundamental qualifications, Barr (not Mueller) is the person who should be making a judgement call on prosecution.

To clarify:
  • Barr was ultimately Mueller's boss while Mueller was Special Prosecutor. 
  • Barr's position as A.G. is superior to an FBI director (who reports to the A.G.)
  • The Department of Justice is tasked with making prosecutorial decisions
  • The FBI is tasked with investigating, and then turning that information over to the DOJ to make decisions on indictment or prosecution. 

The reality is that there is no logical reason to believe that Mueller was better suited or more qualified than Barr to make a judgement call either in regards to matters of law, or the factual evidence required to secure a valid indictment. If there was a question, it should be answered by the person most qualified. If there was a disagreement, the person with the most prosecutorial decision making should be considered the more credible one. 

Did the FBI and Media fall for a Russian disinformation campaign?

The Times did not identify the source. But Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-American businessman, has been identified in news reports as an unwitting source for Steele. Millian is reported to be one of the sources behind the blackmail tape claim about Trump. He also cozied up to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in summer 2016. (RELATED: Alleged Dossier Source Claims To Be ‘Totally Vindicated’ By Mueller Report, But Is He?)
The intelligence agencies are now taking more seriously the possibility that much of the dossier is the product of disinformation planted by Russian operatives, according to The Times.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is reportedly investigating the FBI’s handling of the dossier and the use of Steele as a source. The inspector general’s report is expected to cast doubt on the dossier’s veracity, Politico reported Wednesday. Politico also reported that Steele has declined requests to meet with the DOJ watchdog.

So now that the probe is over, the collusion delusion is only believed by the pure tin-foil hat brigade, and an I.G. report is expected out soon that will cast a morbid cloud over the behavior or the investigators, the media is starting to move away from their once lock-stepped position that Trump was a foreign agent who conspired with Russia to steal an election.

Oh, how easy it is for the media to simply switch horses in midstream without missing a beat. Nobody seems to care that they have acted (and still act) with an almost childish refusal to admit that there was anything wrong with their original fake lines of attack.

If it turns out that this was all a hoax perpetrated by a Russian disinformation, I wonder how long it will take the media to pretend that they are the ones who figured it out (and absolve themselves from their two plus years of pushing the story of collusion down everyone's throats).

Even Trump derangement syndrome has it's limits. If a self-serving media declares it in their best interest to turn on the dossier, investigators, and those (such as Comey) who pushed this along, I suspect that is exactly where the media will go.

Beto vs Butto

Both vying for the same voters?

Sunday, April 21, 2019


How about some self reflection?

So in 1998 Kenn Starr wrote his famous "Starr report" after his extensive investigations into both the Whitewater Land deals and possible obstruction by the President regarding a civil suit he was engaged in with Paula Jones.

The results of the Whitewater investigation was that well over thirty people (including the Governor of Arkansas) pled or were found guilty of criminal actions of fraud regarding what the Clintons and media had declared a "partisan witch hunt over a failed land deal".

The results of the obstruction probe was that Starr could show that Clinton lied to the Grand Jury, that he lied to investigators, that he lied in legal depositions, that he engaged in witness tampering, and that he ordered White House counsel to request that Monica Lewinsky sign a false affidavit that claimed her and the President had no sexual relationship. The President himself did not deny any of these charges, but rather apologized to the public, while downplaying the significance of his actions as being "all about a blow job".

The bottom line is that President Clinton did lie to a Grand Jury. President Clinton did lie in depositions. President Clinton did lie to investigators. President Clinton did attempt to garner perjury. President Clinton did tamper with witnesses. Those facts are not in dispute.

Now ask yourself, whether or not you were in favor of the House impeaching President Clinton over the much stronger cases of Perjury, Witness Tampering, and Obstruction of Justice back in 1998?

Then ask yourself if your behavior and beliefs back then are consistent with your behavior and beliefs today regarding President Trump?

Sore loser WP comes back to gloat!

Bottom line: Declares that he is way too stubborn to let this go! 

After nearly 28 days of waiting, our resident conservative turned liberal came back to "gloat" about the Mueller report, just as he had promised so many times. The only problem was that WP wasn't really coming back to gloat, but to complain.
We see evidence of crimes, you think it "exonerates" Trump - I don't see how that is any different than from before the report. But rest assured, there are going to be public hearings and investigations will continue for the duration. It's never going away, and America is not ever going to accept Barr/Trump's version of the conclusions.
To be perfectly clear, WP was always in the camp that Mueller would uncover a grand conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Putin to illegally steal the election. Much like Schiff and others, he also believed that "what we saw in plain sight" was already enough to charge people within the Trump inner circle. To the degree that these two separate (but related) beliefs were wrong, they have nothing to do with any Barr/Trump "version" of conclusions.

It was Mueller and his report that offered that they never uncovered evidence of a single American who could be declared to have been working for, with, or in cahoots with the Russians regarding anything having to do with the election.

Not one American. Period. End of story.

Not only does Mueller establish this in volume I - but he repeats the broad lack of crime (specifically regarding Trump) in volume II when he talks about the President's intent.
Second , unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime , the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. Although the obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President's intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct.
So the fact that the President was not found to have committed any criminal acts within the scope of the 2016 election is well established by Mueller himself.  While WP argues that it's still just a matter of opinion (I don't see how that is any different than from before the report), isn't the entire concept of spending 22 months and 30 million dollars to settle this argument?

Before the report, we didn't know what Mueller was going to find. WP was in the camp that Mueller would frogmarch members of Trumps inner circle, including his family, and quite possibly the President himself. That didn't happen. It's no longer a matter of opinion. That makes him wrong. It also places him in the minority of people who still believe there is evidence of conspiracy.

Now, unfortunately, WP has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the "revised" version of liberal talking points memo. They would like to ignore the question of whether or not there was collusion, conspiracy, or coordination, and focus on whether the very investigation itself put enough pressure on enough people to make them commit enough process crimes to call it a win. As many people point out, you don't have volume II without volume I, and volume I shows that the underlying investigation was every bit the witch hunt that critics suggested.

So WP, like others, declares that the President committed crimes of obstruction (which of course is different than pre-investigation allegations of criminal actions during the campaign). You cannot investigate someone because you believe that they might obstruct the investigation. So to the degree that anyone who alleged criminal actions relating to the 2016 election can somehow declare a minor victory because there are new allegations (but no recommended charges) that obstruction was committed seems more than a bit illogical and petty.

But this is where WP is not going to "accept" the Barr/Trump version of events. Like most liberals too stubborn to let this go, he is not just moving the goalposts, but he is moving the entire field. But even allowing for the entire subject to be changed (as if the entire Russian collusion narrative no longer matters), the fact still remains that Mueller did not go so far as to suggest that he would charge the President, in spite having all the authority to do so. Ken Starr certainly suggested in his report that President Clinton committed perjury during Grand Jury questioning, witness tampering, and obstruction.

Furthermore WPs attacks on McCarthy, Dershowitz fall well short. First and foremost their viewpoints are also the viewpoints of the Department of Justice. The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General (who supervised the probe) both disagree as a "matter of law" that the events put forth in the report could be seen as obstruction. Furthermore, even giving Mueller and his team the benefit of the doubt on the subject of the law, they still conclude that there isn't sufficient evidence of corrupt intent to even make a charge if they agreed it was a crime to begin with.

That's a pretty harsh assessment of volume II of the report, offered by ranking members of the Department of Justice, with the assistance of many others in the DOJ. But that is what happens when none of your potential charges are anything anyone has ever been charged with before. That's what happens when you attempt to rewrite the laws regarding obstruction on the fly, because you desperately want to get someone.

Are there still disagreements and different "opinions" regarding this? Sure, but if we are not willing to take the viewpoint of the Department of Justice, then why have a Department of Justice at all. Why not have criminal trials on cable news, and allow the legal pundits to declare innocence or guilt?

Make no mistake, there are almost no legal experts outside of liberal media analysts (such as Jeffrey Toobin) who believe these obstruction charges are valid. I have combed most of the nonpartisan legal blogs and legal websites I frequent, and it's pretty consistent that they agree legally with Barr and the DOJ as a matter of fundamental law.

More to the point, every legal expert arguing that these events constitute obstruction, were the same ones who argued that the actions we all saw in plain sight would also be criminal. That should tell us something about the so called expertise of media legal analysts. They are not interested in being correct, but rather interested in telling people what they want to hear.

Bottom line: Toobin and gang were wrong all along. McCarthy and Dershowitz were correct all along. Just as WP was wrong all along and I was correct all along.

Sunday Funnies