Category: Politics

No, Guys, This is Normal

So the Trump Administration announced that they have asked 46 of the US Attorneys to resign. There’s been some moaning from the Left but as no less than Vox reminds us, this is normal. Janet Reno asked all the USAs to resign when Clinton did office. So did Bush 43. Obama waited a few months but eventually replaced them all. The USAs are political appointees. Most administrations will let them hold over long enough to finish any important business and for a replacement to be chosen. But all Presidents want the 94 USAs to reflect their law enforcement priorities. Trump won the election, he gets to pick his prosecutors.

There was a mini-scandal when Bush fired some USAs midway through his term. That was a bit different as he was firing his own appointees, apparently for not moving fast enough on cases against his political opponents. Several members of the Justice Department ended up resigning over it, including AG Gonzalez. But Trump’s firing are not that. This is typical house-cleaning for a new Administration.

Today, however, USA Preet Bharara decided to make his bid for jumping into politics. That’s the only reason I can think of that he decided to tell the press he would refuse to resign. This was somewhat unprecedented. USAs serve at the pleasures of the President and he can ask them to resign at any time. He was apparently miffed that Trump told him he’d be allowed to stay on, then changed his mind.

Bharara has been immediately proclaimed a hero in some quarters, with many calling for him to run for public office. But as I pointed out on Twitter this was not “bold defiance”. This was a USA refusing to follow lawful instructions to make himself look like a hero. I said Trump should fire his ass.

Well, Bharara just tweeted out that Trump fired his ass. Good. Trump is perfectly within his rights here. I only hope the replacement is better. Bharara may sound familiar to you. He was the overreaching prosecutor who tried to force The Best Magazine on the Planet to reveal the identities of blog commenters who said things he didn’t like, then silenced Reason about even the existence of the subpoena. Anyone who would abuse his power that way does not belong in government. And the Left should not try making this guy into a hero just because he stuck a thumb in Trump’s eye.

Hawking says that without world government tech will destroy us!

That’s the claim he makes <a href=’http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/stephen-hawking-world-government-stop-technology-destroy-humankind-th-a7618021.html” target=”_new”>in this article. Meh, globalists are getting desperate and even people that are supposed to be intelligent are now talking out of their asses. I find it not just naive but ridiculous to put faith in an entity that couldn’t do the job even at the micro level of states. What, incompetent credentialed bureaucrats like the ones running the EU or the UN will suddenly discover the secret to doing things right? Talk about being delusional. Shit, if the tools that will be running the global government don’t kill us outright themselves, they will use this tech to enslave us. Maybe Hawking thinks that is preferable to his imagined alternative, but I don’t.

Tech won’t doom humanity. Idiots thinking that only they are qualified and know what is best in charge of tech is what will doom humanity, and you are far more likely to get that with a global government than you are without. You want a bunch of social engineering idiots that think their will can bend the laws of nature, humanity, and physics to be in charge? Shit, Obama had the intelligence people spying on everyone, including his personal and political enemies. The Eu is a bunch of unaccountable douchebags that have been screwing over the people of Europe while they live a high life. And the UN, well that is one of the world’s biggest criminal organizations ever. Why the fuck would anyone trust an even larger and more intrusive government to do anything but make things worse for us?

I guess this “cri de coeure” by Hawking is just another desperate attempt at replacing the panic inducing shit other pro-globalization types push, like AGW, to sell their shit sandwich. The globalists are freaking out that their dream is dying, but I see it as a great thing that it is. Credentialed tools should not be calling the shot based on the horrible performance they have produced so far. That’s the real threat to humanity.

CIA Pogroms Russians

The “Russian under every bed” hysteria displayed by Tweedledee and Tweedledum (The MSM and the Democrats, tied at the hip) might, after months of ghost chasing, be coming to a sad end. Sad for me, because this constant (hollow) rant has beclowned them to the point of derision and mockery, and naturally I would like the spectacle to continue.

As discussed here several times in the last few months, any “Russian” investigation should, as it’s primary mission, find out by what means they hacked into the DNC and Podesta’s emails (Yes, ridicule them for having shitty protection security) and to what extent they (the Russians) interfered with our election process. If, in the course of this investigation, they find malfeasance or collusion present with the Trump campaign, air it out. Having something, anything, beside bubkiss would as least lend some credibility to all this Russian hysteria.

One thing I remembered about the first wikileak dump Re: the Hillary campaign, was that Assange said, more than once, that he did NOT get his info. from the Russians. This has been lost on all those reflexive Russian spotters. But a new batch of wikileak dumped files surfaced, did the CIA do a one-two skidoo on the Russians;

WASHINGTON—WikiLeaks released a massive trove of documents and files Tuesday that it says exposes how the Central Intelligence Agency hacks smartphones, computer operating systems, message applications and internet-connected televisions, in what would be one of the biggest breaches in the spy agency’s history.

The group, which was behind the leak of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee during last year’s presidential campaign, said the release consists of 8,761 documents and files from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. It called the unauthorized disclosure, which it dubbed Vault 7, the “largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency,” laying bare some of the CIA’s most sensitive secrets.

Also in the dump, we find out about Umbrage:

The CIA can hide its own fingerprints from its hacking exploits and attribute blame to others, such as Russia and China, according to WikiLeaks’ Year Zero confidential data release.

Every hacking technique leaves a “fingerprint” which, when collated, can be used to connect different attacks and tie them to the same culprit.

The CIA’s Remote Development Branch (RDB)’s Umbrage sub-group collects an archive of hacking exploits created by other actors, like Russia and other hackers, and leaves this false trace for others to detect.
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Umbrage captures and collects keyloggers, passwords, webcam captures, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

This allows the CIA to not only steal other’s hack techniques, but falsely apportion blame to those actors.

Very sneaky, pin it on the Russians.

I’ve often wondered (not really, I know that answer) that if Hillary won the election, knowing the Russian connection she and her campaign had, actually provable connections, not the “mountain out of an imaginary molehill”, would the Republicans now be seeing Russians under the bed and screaming for a special prosecutor? We always knew about their lobbying connections, but now we learn about Podesta’s brother;

The entire “Trump Russian scandal” narrative is complete utter nonsense. Democrats are so desperate to stop Trump, they’re clinging to a Saturday Night Live comedy skit- with the full cooperation of their liberal lackeys in the mainstream media.

They’ve just made a YUGE mistake. And it’s all going to blow up in their face. There is a “Russian influence scandal.” It just has nothing to do with President Trump.

It belongs to Hilary and the Democrats.
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Because it turns out that Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary’s national presidential campaign manager John Podesta is a super lobbyist who took huge money from the Russians in order to end U.S. government sanctions against Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.

Which begs the question to those most vociferous Russian chasers on this blog, would same twisted panties be just as bunched if Hillary had won? You know who I’m talking about.

Another thing I wanted to touch on briefly was the Rosenstein confirmation hearing yesterday, anybody catch any of that? The cabal of obstructionists all wanted Rosenstein to commit to hiring a special prosecutor to investigate the Russians, he was having none of it. Saying he was not on the job yet and did not have all the facts (fact’s, we don’t need no stinking facts).

Appointing a special prosecutor is unnecessary, this isn’t Iran/Contra, Watergate or even Valery Plame, it is (so far) an empty suit, superfluous flummery, a nothingburger with a side of hypocrisy.

And He Is Supposed To Be On Our Side

As mentioned before, the foot dragging exhibited by the dems re: cabinet and sub cabinet nominees is just shameful, and a more nimble deft GOP majority should have seen this coming and worked around it, they didn’t. But what is really bugging me is the snails pace we see our side in The Congress moving in implementing Trump’s core policy proposals. I am talking about just 2 here, tax relief and Obamacare;

1) Obamacare- Ryan’s A Path To Prosperity and A Better Way is old news, but it shows us they have been thinking about it. They have had 8 years to come up with a alternative, many congress critters are doctors, Tom Price is a doctor, they have had time to wrestle with options of repeal, alter, or replace entirely;

In the past few years, the House has voted more than 60 times to repeal or alter Obamacare, but Republicans had no hope a repeal would become law as long as Obama was president and could veto their bills.

OK, so they knew Nov. 7th that they were finally going to get their shot, time to put up or shut up. You would think, given all the ruminations about Obamacare imploding before our eyes, that on Jan. 20th, a well thought out workable plan, crafted and debated by those GOPers who were screaming ,”Put me in, coach”, would with bow attached, be sitting on Trump’s desk. Yet still we sit here, wondering if this golden opportunity of Republican majorities is going to be wasted.

2)Same with tax relief. Everyone was on the same page, essentially with slightly differing brackets, but what was not in dispute was the need for a corporate tax overall. Personally, I would have preferred this tackled before Obamacare replacement. Trump’s number one pledge was jobs and the economy, nothing would have ignited a resurgence in both more than a corporate tax cut, making us more competitive in world markets, that and repatriating American dollars held overseas back home at a discounted rate. This was job one. Even doing this now, then revisiting the individual rates after the Obamacare replacement bill, I could have lived with that. But now I hear that instead of getting any of this done by summer, it may now be 2018 and I don’t like it one bit. Trump has 2 years to put his agenda in place, we have the majorities now, and if he dicks around and waits until after midterms, who knows what numbers he will have then. Many Trump supporters (myself included) have little patience for dawdling. He said he was a deal maker, well, start dealing. If the Congress is wimping out, go over there and crack some heads.

Now, given the task at hand, you would think that Republicans would be laser like focused on moving their agenda forward, some aren’t;

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is proposing a federal law that would require all candidates for president to release their 1040 personal income tax returns, including President Donald Trump. But such a law should not survive a court challenge, because it would be unconstitutional.

What a good idea, lets spend valuable seated time and capital on stupid shit like this, what a moron, I guess he was sick those days in law school where they talked about the Constitution. Yes, Trump should release his tax returns, but that is not the issue here. A monumental task lies ahead with an anxious nation waiting for results, and he wants to spend his time on the periphery, pulling lint out of his naval and doing the opposition’s dirty work.

I would like to put both Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins on waivers, for a couple of draft choices to be determined at a later date.

Tapping Trump

So this happened:

President Trump on Saturday angrily accused former president Barack Obama of orchestrating a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap the phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election.

While citing no evidence to support his explosive allegation, Trump said in a series of four tweets sent Saturday morning that Obama was “wire tapping” his New York offices before the election in a move he compared to McCarthyism. “Bad (or sick) guy!” he said of his predecessor, adding that the surveillance resulted in “nothing found.”

This appears to be a result of internet telephone. Last summer, Louise Mensch revealed that the FBI (not Obama) has sought a FISA warrant to investigate members of Trump’s team’s ties to the Russians (this was after it was discovered that a server in Trump tower was communicating with Russian banks). The FISA Court rejected the initial warrant, then granted one more narrowly focused on four members of the Trump team. These details have been reported on many times. A few days ago, Mark Levin did one of his connect-the-dots pieces alleging a conspiracy to derail Trump. It showed up today on Breitbart and thus went into Trump’s brain.

If that’s all there is to it, Trump is being incredibly stupid here because he is reminding the public that his campaign staff were under investigation for espionage owing to credible accusations that they were working with the Russians to enable Trump’s election. If there’s more, then Trump needs to provide the evidence because warrantless wiretapping by Obama would indeed be a gigantic political scandal.

The Russia Follies, Chapter 58

The advantage of being on vacation is that I can watch an entire Trump news cycle play out before commenting on it. So it is with the latest Russia scandal. Apparently, Jeff Sessions, our Attorney General, denied meeting with the Russians during the campaign. But it has now been revealed that he met with the Russian Ambassador twice. Today has brought more revelations of unreported meetings and unreported business ties.

As is usually the case with revelations about this Administration’s contacts with Russia, it provoked an instant reaction of “Treason! Impeachment! Worse than Watergate!” followed by the refractory period of, “OK, we’ll look into it.” as more facts come out. For example, most of these contacts between Trump officials and the Russian ambassador took place at the RNC … at an event organized by the Obama Administration State Department.

A few things to unpack from this.

First, one of the big claims is that Sessions perjured himself in his testimony to Congress. Having thought about this for a while and read quite a bit of online commentary, I’m inclined to think he didn’t. There’s enough leeway in his answers that he can honestly say he didn’t discuss the campaign with Kislyak. One of the most hilarious figures in this mess is now Claire McCaskill. After she claimed to have never met the Russian ambassador, it took ten seconds for conservative Twitter to show that she had. Sessions may have forgotten these meetings or regarded their content as insignificant. His answers were problematic, no question. But sticking a charge of perjury on them requires a lot of facts that are not yet in evidence.

Questions of perjury aside, I agree with the calls for Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing Russia investigation (after I drafted this, Sessions agreed to recuse himself). I also think Sessions needs to give a full account of his conversations with Kislyak to determine if he did perjure himself before Congress.

And I agree that there needs to be a full independent Congressional investigation into this matter. At minimum, we’re talking about members of the Administration potentially using their positions to advance their business interests. At worst, we’re talking about the subversion of Administration members by a foreign power. Even if you are a Trump supporter, you can not have this cloud hanging over him for the next four years. There is a tendency for partisans to hunker down and not want to “give in” to the other side. That’s a bad instinct. Bad for America. And frankly bad for Trump. Investigate now. Investigate fully. This isn’t some Daily Kos conspiracy theory any more.

(I suspect, incidentally, that the explanation here is closer to the “business interests” side of the spectrum than the “treason” side. The Trump Administration is filled with amateurs who have no idea how important disclosure is and filled with business people who have ties to Russia and potential conflicts of interests — all the way up to the President himself. If it were shown that the Administration is subverting American interests in favor of Russian ones, that would be one of the worst scandals in American political history. But I find that unlikely to be the case, especially with Sessions who is a notorious hawk on Russia.)

I’ll be honest. We’re a month and a half into the Trump years and I am frankly getting tired of this clown show with the Russians. This entire thing could have been avoided had Trump released his tax returns and disclosed his business interests (and not done his whole, “Putin, if you’re listening” routine). One thing that needs to come out of this is full financial disclosure from both the President and his advisors. Releasing tax returns can no longer be optional. And while we’re on it, we should make medical disclosure mandatory too. We don’t need another JFK hopped up on five kinds of prescription meds trying to navigate a potential nuclear war.

More Money for … What Exactly?

Donald Trump has now proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending to be offset by as yet unspecified cuts in discretionary spending (supposedly from Foreign Aid, the EPA, etc. — the usual Republican bete noires. There’s a lot to unpack here even without specifics. National Review gets into the budget specifics, pointing out that Trump is already promising big tax cuts and infrastructure spending. Moreover, Trump is punting on the biggest budget issue: entitlements. On Twitter, my e-migo Kevin Wilson noted:

This is an important to keep in mind with EPA budget cuts. Without change to regulations (promised by Trump but not yet delivered), all EPA budget cuts will do is drag out paperwork cycles and prevent some laws from being actively enforced (laws that we might want to be enforced, e.g., lead restrictions).

However, our friend Thrill hits a very important point that seems to be being glossed over.

Trump is following Reagan by developing a stronger military, pursuing a nuclear arms race, and other policies. What was different with Reagan is that we knew who we were arming against, what was at stake, and what would be the horrible outcome of a war with them. A strong military had been a core US Cold War policy held by presidents in both parties from when Truman had to convince a reluctant, war weary nation to accept it.

What I can’t figure out is whether anyone believes that our gigantic, sophisticated, and well-trained military just isn’t already good enough compared to what’s out there in the world. Who exactly are we trying to deter?

Exactly. Ronald Reagan didn’t just increase military spending. He increased in specific ways to counter potential Soviet aggression. The arms buildup made a Soviet invasion of central Europe impossible, made their nuclear arsenal unwieldily and put them into a potential race for “Star Wars” that they couldn’t possibly win. Moreover, they had to try to keep up with a much weaker economy. In the end, the arms race bankrupted them. And the weapons systems developed in the 80’s were so effective than when we finally did get a face-off between Soviet and American weapons during the Gulf War, it was no contest. Those weapons are still with us today and still outclass almost everything in the world.

A military spending budget should not just be some amount we send to defense contractors. That’s what’s gotten us into the F-35 debacle. You need to start with a strategic vision and work forward from there. Maybe you find that we’re spending too much. Maybe you find we’re spending too little. Maybe (very likely) you find we’re spending on the wrong things. But you don’t just increase military spending to increase military spending. That’s DemocratThink: hope spending money solves problems, maybe even ones that don’t exist.

DWS Out, Perez In

I have no idea if Tom Perez will be an effective leader of the DNC. I suspect he will continue to lead the Democrats on their path of condescending ineffectual liberalism. But it would be hard for him to do worse than his predecessor, Debbie-Wasserman Schultz. Known in these parts as Ms. Verbal Diarrhea, DWS became a punchline of conservative blogs for her frequent idiotic and smug statements. With a popular two-term President at her side, she led the Democrats to electoral disaster after electoral disaster, culminating in a humiliating defeat to a semi-sentient yam who lost the popular vote. She put her thumb on the scale to favor one of the worst Presidential candidates in American history, alienating half her party in the process. She was really good at raising money from special interests. And really terrible at translating that into a functional opposition.

I have little hope that the Democrats will turn aside from the big government path they’ve been on since … forever. But maybe they can become a functional opposition party instead of an hysterical incoherent mass of demands.

Update: Walter Olson throws some cold water on the idea that Perez is a moderate:

Perez didn’t give off much of an impression of moderation in the Obama cabinet, however, where he was a leading symbol of regulatory lawlessness, hauled up repeatedly by the courts for trampling employers’ rights. See, for example, Gate Guard (Fifth Circuit describes conduct of DoL as “vindictive,” “indefensible,” “bad faith”), the we-know-where-you-live “persuader” rule (blasted by ABA, enjoined by judge), and of course mid-level overtime (enjoined by judge). More: Dan McLaughlin (Perez’s manipulation of fair housing litigation); John Fund (hiring practices at DoJ civil rights division).

I’ve written about the DoL’s terrible overtime rule before.

If you had any doubts..

That they are basically dnc operatives with bylines, then here is the confirmation from one of them that got candid. Then again, this is PMS-NBC, and this sort of stuff is pretty standard with these progressive agents of the state that think us unwashed masses are too stupid to do our own thinking, primarily, because we will very likely not buy the bullshit these tools are selling for their nanny state credentialed elite top men.

I admit that while I am gleeful to see the dnc operatives with bylines that pass themselves of as unbiased media terminating any credibility they might have left with extreme prejudice and just lap it all up, that part of me is concerned that the damage they are doing affects all media. Feeling generous I will make the premise that while a healthy dose of skepticism is something leftist only seem to have when the issue in question challenges their dogma – with the caveat that the call for safe spaces and limit on speech & thought that has become the deciding driver behind the left’s current tantrum, proving that far too many of them refuse to engage or allow any sort of thinking period – I am worried that the other side will also be lulled into complacency.

I get a good laugh when the usual suspects on the left that allowed Obama to out-Boosh Boosh for 8 long years – in every area they complained and called for criminal charges be brought against the Booshies for before – and then, simply because he was their guy, now want to make the case that support for Trump is just more of the same, instead of seeing that is happening specifically because people have been turned off by the clear hysteria and the constant sabotage from them. heck, they been attacking the guy, doing a 180 from the very things they ignored or defended Obama on, and making up shit since even before the guy took the oath! The media has destroyed their credibility trying to support the sabotage from the left and the establishment, which hate the fact they and their beliefs that progress is them ruling over the idiot masses, has been upended. And they are getting more desperate with every failed pooh flinging attempt that serves to not only entrench people on the other side but turn off those that are not blood drinking radical leftists.

My concern is that if we can’t trust and believe anything from anyone, and are left only listening to whatever echo chambers validate our own beliefs (and before any of you leftist pretend that problem is with the other side, I refer you again to which side is really calling for the control of thought and speech, and it definitely is not Trump or his people), we are going to have problems. While I don’t expect the left to ever be able to do anything but that – if they leave the echo chamber and actually have to really think things through, they are no longer going to be able to stay on that reservation without losing their grip on reality – I worry that if Trump really ends up unaccountable, we will get trouble. of course, the fact that it is their very sabotage and hysteria that takes us there will never sink in with the progressive shit flinger crowd.

Milo Is Getting His Ass Kicked

The backside of Milo Yiannopoulos is used to getting a lot of attention, he even brags about it. But the pounding of late I doubt he very much welcomes. Milo was riding high, a killer book deal “Dangerous” which I was much looking forward to, was slated for a March release with Amazon seeing record advance sales. And a surprise invite by CPAC to be a keynote speaker, curious on it’s face given his background but this is the year probity get’s its ass kicked and propriety (Trump as leader of the free world, more alternative universe shit). But much like a ,”Grab her by the pussy” garage tape emerging, we come to find out that Milo is just peechy with pedophilia;

During the campaign I had a minor dust up with one of our then regulars ( don’t remember who it was, so many deserted this place) over a Megyn Kelly interview on The Stern Show. These type of forums lend itself to hyperbole, being campy, and general over the top provocativety. Megyn tried to stir the conversation to serious matters but Stern wanted to talk sex and bra size. Concerning this interview Milo later said his words were misconstrued. TBH, that is going to be a real hard sell. He brought up pedophilia, not Rogan. This was all Milo, and now he is paying a heavy price;

Milo Yiannopoulos’s Dangerous will no longer be published by Simon & Schuster.

The Breitbart News editor’s book deal was canceled after comments Yiannopolous appeared to make about pedophilia surfaced online.

“After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos,” the publisher said in a statement released Monday.

But it gets worse;

Following backlash over Yiannopoulos’s comments, The American Conservative Union (ACU) rescinded its invitation to Yiannopoulos to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to appear.

This is one of those “A Bridge Too Far” moments. Folks will countenance a lot, pedophilia is not one of those things. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the whole “I had consensual sex with a priest at 14………..and liked it” bit was made up to look edgy, and that may ultimately be his defacto fall back but this is really bad. Lives have been ruined by such behavior, to normalize this dynamic in any way is beyond the pail. Adults by nature are authority figures to kids, throw in the “my priest” angle, double whammy, like God is sanctioning such behavior. I’m pretty confident predator priests will get theirs come judgment day, but we here on earth want some justice as well and the Catholic Church has done themselves a disservice in ignoring/covering up blatantly criminal behavior.

Yeah, I’m willing to listen to Milo as he addresses this, still going to buy his book, whoever prints it.

Michael Vick brought himself back from the abyss, so did Mel Gibson, hell even Bill Clinton salvaged his life and without the least bit of remorse, but he was a democrat, they care little about contrition anyway. No, Milo has got a mammoth task in front of him.