Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The Russians are coming !

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

We had the Pakistanis and the DNC scandal yesterday.

Today we have the Russians playing both sides in the election.

Senator Lindsay Graham asks Bill Browder—American businessman who has successfully lobbied for sanctions against Russia after his attorney was abused and likely murdered in a Moscow jail—about Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Browder notes that Fusion GPS—the opposition research behind the infamous “pee tape” dossier about Donald Trump—was at the time being paid by Russians to produce opposition research about him and undermine support for the Magnitsky Act, the bill Browder backed that froze the assets of a few dozen Russian oligarchs.

So, the Russians tried to harm Trump ! Amazing !

Maybe they wanted to stir up trouble for both sides. Imagine that.

The Democrats have been relying on the so-called Russia issue to fuel the “Resistance” for months. Now what ?

Kim Strassel is wondering why the Democrats suddenly decided they dd not want the head of Fusion GPS to testify in public.

Yet Democrats now have meekly and noiselessly retreated, agreeing to let both men speak to the committee in private. Why would they so suddenly be willing to let go of this moment of political opportunity?

Fusion GPS. That’s the oppo-research outfit behind the infamous and discredited “Trump dossier,” ginned up by a former British spook. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson also was supposed to testify at the Grassley hearing, where he might have been asked in public to reveal who hired him to put together the hit job on Mr. Trump, which was based largely on anonymous Russian sources. Turns out Democrats are willing to give up just about anything—including their Manafort moment—to protect Mr. Simpson from having to answer that question.

I wonder why ?

We know that Mr. Simpson is tight with Democrats. His current attorney, Joshua Levy, used to work in Congress as counsel to no less than Chuck Schumer. We know from a Grassley letter that Fusion has in the past sheltered its clients’ true identities by filtering money through law firms or shell companies (Bean LLC and Kernel LLC).

Word is Mr. Simpson has made clear he will appear for a voluntary committee interview only if he is not specifically asked who hired him to dig dirt on Mr. Trump. Democrats are going to the mat for him over that demand. Those on the Judiciary Committee pointedly did not sign letters in which Mr. Grassley demanded that Fusion reveal who hired it.

Here’s a thought: What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign?

Oh Oh. Let the Grassley hearings commence.

Internal Secession ?

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

The Trump Derangement Syndrome shows no sign of stopping. The alleged meeting between Russians and Donald Trump Jr is reaching a new level of fever.

The anti-Trump mainstream media is buzzing with news that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian American lobbyist and veteran of the Soviet military, attended the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post insist that Akhmetshin’s presence “adds to the potential seriousness of the Trump Tower gathering that is emerging this week as the clearest evidence so far of interactions between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests.” I think they mean the only evidence.

But now does the attendance of this lobbyist add to the “potential seriousness” of the “gathering”? If it was inappropriate for Trump Jr. to meet with one Russian lobbyist with probable Kremlin connections, the attendance of a second doesn’t make the meeting more inappropriate.

The hysteria shows no sign of abating. What comes next ?

“Resist” marches all over the country bring out thousands of leftists and feminists.

Tens of thousands of LGBTQ folk and their allies marched through Hollywood and West Hollywood on Sunday for the Resist March, a protest which this year replaced the colorful and over-the-top celebratory atmosphere of a Pride parade.

The event was billed as non-partisan, but unmistakeable was the heavy presence of marchers bearing anti-Trump signs, speakers decrying the administration’s immigration, healthcare and civil rights policies, and Democrats calling for a burst of activism to channel into the 2018 elections.

Richard Fernandez has some thoughts on where this might go.

Internal secession.

Our trust hierarchies have collapsed. As with Soviet Russia, the “official” media sources are now distrusted as purveyors “fake news”. To fill the gap a peer-to-peer grapevine, similar to the “friends and family”, a samizdat is emerging to pick up the slack. Sonya Mann at Inc uses a startup to illustrate the growing division of society into trust groups. “Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business.”

That’s the right, the alt-right if you prefer.

The left has already shown their willingness to boycott any business that does not follow their script.

Ask Brenden Eich.

Brendan Eich recently stepped down as CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox Web browser. It may be more accurate to say he was forced out in the wake of a rising boycott against him. The backlash against Eich is related to his position on gay rights, but many feel that the campaign against him is its own form of discrimination and intolerance.

His crime was to quietly donate $1000 to the Proposition Eight ballet initiative, which resulted in over 7 million yes votes and a 60% margin of approval. The proposition was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge who promptly married his gay lover.

California’s AG declined to appeal his ruling. That’s a pretty effective boycott.

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Seth Rich story is getting bizarre.

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

I am starting to see accounts that are pretty bizarre about what happened with DNC staffer Seth Rich.

4th year surgery resident here who rotated at WHC (Washington Hospital Center) last year, it won’t be hard to identify me but I feel that I shouldn’t stay silent.

Seth Rich was shot twice, with 3 total gunshot wounds (entry and exit, and entry). He was taken to the OR emergently where we performed an exlap and found a small injury to segment 3 of the liver which was packed and several small bowel injuries (pretty common for gunshots to the back exiting the abdomen) which we resected ~12cm of bowel and left him in discontinuity (didn’t hook everything back up) with the intent of performing a washout in the morning. He did not have any major vascular injuries otherwise. I’ve seen dozens of worse cases than this which survived and nothing about his injuries suggested to me that he’d sustained a fatal wound.

I’ve cared for thousands of gunshot wounds and abdomen wounds, unless the patient bleeds out in the OR or has a colon blowout wound, should survive. Is this account true ? I don’t know.

In the meantime he was transferred to the ICU and transfused 2 units of blood when his post-surgery crit came back ~20. He was stable and not on any pressors, and it seemed pretty routine. About 8 hours after he arrived we were swarmed by LEOs and pretty much everyone except the attending and a few nurses was kicked out of the ICU (disallowing visiting hours -normally every odd hour, eg 1am, 3am, etc- is not something we do routinely). It was weird as hell. At turnover that morning we were instructed not to round on the VIP that came in last night (that’s exactly what the attending said, and no one except for me and another resident had any idea who he was talking about).

This is where it gets really weird.

Now there is more on a related topic. The murder investigation may be creating panic in some quarters.

“Anons, I work in D.C.

I know for certain that the Seth Rich case has scared the shit out of certain high ranking current and former Democratic Party officials.

This is the reason why they have backed away from impeachment talk. They know the smoking gun is out there, and they’re terrified you will find it, because when you do it will bring the entire DNC, along with a couple of very big name politicians.

It appears that certain DNC thugs were not thorough enough when it came time to cover their tracks. Podesta saying he wanted to “make an example of the leaker” is a huge smoking gun.”

I have no idea where this is going but it sounds interesting.

Among other things, what happened to his laptop ?

There are several versions of whether this is evidence that Rich was connected to Wikileaks.

Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the Rich family, suggests there is tangible evidence on Rich’s laptop that confirms he was communicating with WikiLeaks prior to his death. Wheeler’s services were offered to the family and paid for by a third party, according to a statement issued by the Rich family Tuesday which also includes that “the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family.”

Now the family is changing the tune.

When asked if Wheeler is still working for Seth Rich’s family, Wheeler told FOX 5 DC the contract still stands– ties have not been severed.

We reached out once again to the Rich family, and through a spokesperson the Rich family tells FOX 5 DC, “The family has relayed their deep disappointment with Rod Wheeler’s conduct over the last 48 hours, and is exploring legal avenues to the family.”

Was that a denial ? Stay tuned.

The Slow Motion Coup d’Etat.

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

The news now is 99% Trump 24 hours per day. 97% of it is bad or negative on Trump.

Analysis: Only 3 percent of reports on CBS, NBC positive for Trump

A new analysis by a nonpartisan media research firm shows that just 3 percent of the reports about President Trump that aired on NBC and CBS were deemed positive.

The data comes from an analysis by Media Tenor, an independent media research firm founded in 1993.

The firm’s analysts watched 370 news stories about Trump on the “NBC Nightly News,” “CBS Evening News” and Fox News’s “Special Report” between Jan. 20 and Feb. 17. Trump took office the day the analysis began.

Overall the analysis found that on NBC and CBS, 43 percent of stories on Trump were negative, while only 3 percent were positive. Fifty-four percent of reports were considered neutral.

I’m not sure I would agree on what is “neutral.”

I am not the only one who thinks a coup d’etat is under way.

Spengler, who is my #2 go to guy after Fernandez,
thinks what is going on is a coup attempt.

A ranking Republican statesman this week told an off-the-record gathering that a “coup” attempt was in progress against President Donald Trump, with collusion between the largely Democratic media and Trump’s numerous enemies in the Republican Party. The object of the coup, the Republican leader added, was not impeachment, but the recruitment of a critical mass of Republican senators and congressmen to the claim that Trump was “unfit” for office and to force his resignation. (more…)

What’s going on with Comey ?

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

FBI Director Comey has been front and center in the politics of the USA the past year.

UPDATE: Well we now know what was going on with him.

I wouldn’t really call it “Outrage,” just lunacy of the type we have gotten used to since last November.

“In a word, they see him as their voice,” said Frank Luntz, the Republican consultant and pollster. “And when their voice is shouted down, disrespected or simply ignored, that is an attack on them, not just an attack on Trump.”

First, it was
the left heavy breathing about his costing her the election.

He served as special counsel to former President Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and is a regular columnist for The Hill newspaper. He has been a friend of Hillary Clinton since they were students at Yale Law School together in 1969 and 1970.

That explains that rant about Comey.

First, he announced that Hillary would not be indicted or prosecuted.

In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. Although we don’t normally make public our recommendations to the prosecutors, we frequently make recommendations and engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence. In this case, given the importance of the matter, I think unusual transparency is in order.

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

That was a dodge and he later explained a bit.

He explained to a skeptical nation that the Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch meeting in Phoenix was the problem.

“A number of things had gone on which I can’t talk about yet, that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system,” Comey said, testifying before the Senate judiciary committee.
“And then the capper was — and I’m not picking on the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who I like very much — but her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me, and I then said, you know what, the department cannot, by itself, credibly end this,” he added.

No kidding !

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The riot at Middlebury College over Charles Murray.

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Recently, Charles Murray, author of the book, “The Bell Curve,” a study of intelligence in the population, was invited to speak at Middlebury college, a liberal arts college in Vermont. His attempt to speak was interrupted by a riot which injured a professor at the college.

Inside Higher Ed’s story on the event explains that college officials admonished the students prior to the talk that they could protest but not disrupt Murray’s talk, which was to be about the way white America is coming apart—the title of his latest book—along class lines. Unfortunately, that admonition did no good. “As soon as Murray took the stage,” we read, “students stood up, turned their backs to him and started various chants that were loud enough and in unison such that he could not talk over them.

The confrontation continued after he had left the stage and attempted to move to another location.

And then matters turned worse. Fearing that there might be a raucous, disruptive mob instead of an audience of students willing to listen and consider Murray’s arguments, school administrators had set up a contingency plan. Once it became clear that the mob had killed the lecture, they moved to another location where Murray would give his talk, which would be live-streamed to students.

Sadly, that location was soon beset by the mob, with banging on windows and pulling of fire alarms. Murray and Professor Allison Stanger, who was the moderator for the talk, tried their best to continue a rational discussion.

Finally, Murray, Professor Stanger, and a few others tried to leave campus.

Mayhem resulted when Professor Stanger, who had been willing to state her agreement that Murray should not have been invited, was injured.

Why did this happen ? Tribalism ?

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The Deep State will not go easily.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Several years ago, I posted an account of what is called ‘The Deep State.”

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

That article was one of several around that time (2014) about the Deep State.

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.
I recently proposed the idea that Wall Street now poses a strategic threat to national security and thus to the Deep State itself: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? (March 3, 2014)

That didn’t happen but the Deep State is in the news again as an enemy of Trump.

It stands to reason that “the Swamp” he talked about draining is coterminous with “The Deep State.”

With the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the face of a howling media mob, the knives are now out not only for other administration officials, but for President Trump himself. Make no mistake about what’s happening here: this is a rolling coup attempt, organized by elements of the intelligence community, particularly CIA and NSA, abetted by Obama-era holdovers in the understaffed Justice Department (Sally Yates, take a bow) and the lickspittles of the leftist media, all of whom have signed on with the “Resistance” in order to overturn the results of the November election.

Mike Flynn, a good man who saw the enemy clearly, and had the courage to name it, saw Russia not as an enemy but a geopolitical adversary with whom we could make common cause against Islam — and who also vowed to shake up a complacent and malfeasant IC — was its first scalp, and an object lesson to new CIA Director Mike Pompeo should he have any reformist notions. As for the media, having previously failed to take down Trump aides Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, Flynn was the next best thing; their joy today is unbounded.

One seeming priority for the bureaucracy and the Deep State is protection of Obama’s Iran Deal.

Why is this so important ? I certainly don’t know.

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who bragged about creating an “echo chamber” in the media to help sell the Iran deal to the public, was reportedly among those leading the effort to publicly discredit Flynn.

The purpose of the anti-Flynn campaign, according to the Free Beacon, was “to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.” Flynn was reportedly gearing up to publicize details of the Iran deal that the Obama administration had kept secret from the public.

Why is this so important ? Iran has threatened “consequences” if the deal is revealed.

What are they ?

it would be a clear breach of the nuclear agreement and will cause us to react very harshly and severely.”

What does that mean ? I suspect they don’t know either.

In the meantime, the successful coup against Flynn will not satisfy the left. It will just encourage them to try the next assassination.

And you’re either gonna keep giving them scalps or you’re gonna put your foot down and move on and tell ’em to go pound sand. I mean, this man had worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a patriot. He’d worked for both administrations, a pro-life Democrat. His only sin was that he was in the Trump administration. And I’ll tell you what this is. You know what this is really all about? I’ll tell you what this is. This is what the Democrats are so irritated, and this is why I know that Obama’s post-presidential sabotage program is here.
What is this about? This is about Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, calling the Russians to talk about sanctions. Well, what sanctions? Well, it just so happens these are the sanctions that Obama slapped on the Russians for their supposed hacking of our election. I’m sorry, folks, but that’s a bogus premise to begin with. The Russians had nothing to do with whoever won our election. That, they could not have done. Did they try? Who knows? Do they always try? Probably.

This is part of the script.

Beneath the script is a serious campaign to overthrow the Trump government. The bureaucracy thinks it can run the government without the political offices. The French bureaucracy ran France for years while governments came and went.

Then the Germans came.

Judith Curry resigns from Georgia Tech

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

The world of Climate research lost a great academic figure as Judith Curry resigns her tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

She has figured largely in the climate debate as a skeptic in global warming.

I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

She has endured considerable abuse from the alarmist side. She is called a “heretic” in the alarmist circles.

over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black¬board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points

So, she might have a point. However:

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Is Trump going to be a target for hate and hoaxes for four years?

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes. Outside of New York and California, he won the popular vote. Hillary got about 2 million fewer total votes than her total in California. Thus, she lost the popular vote in the rest of the country. Gary Johnson allowed her to win New Hampshire and Nevada. CNN made much about her winning the popular vote total, but her margin in California was over 4.8 million votes, but her national total was about 2 million less so she lost the rest of the country.

clinton_archipelago

The fact that she polled more popular votes has led to a rather hysterical reaction by her supporters.

First, leftist newspapers alleged that the Russians aided Trump with the Hillary scandal leaks.

Then the next theory was that the FBI and Director Comey were responsible for her loss.

In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

Do the Clinton’s ever accept responsibility for their troubles ?

The latest excuse for losing is the electoral college is racist.

This is a twisted version of the Connecticut Compromise in the Constitutional Convention.

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

In fact, the 3/5 compromise was a matter of the representation in the House of Representatives, the more important branch in early US government days, as Senators were chosen by legislatures. The numbers in each state determined the number of Representatives allowed. It had nothing to do with the Electoral College. The Southern, slave, states wanted the number of slaves to add to the total for determining representation in the House. The northern states wanted slave to count as zero since they were not eligible to vote. The compromise allowed the Constitution to be ratified by all.

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Trump and Conflicts of Interest.

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Trump is organizing his administration but he is facing another crisis.

The Wall Street Journal is giving him painful and unwelcome but good advice.

He must liquidate the family business.

One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

The Journal is correct. I don;t know how Trump is going to do this but he has to.

Dick Cheney divested himself of millions of dollars in assets but was still vilified by the left.

Halliburton’s business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to seventh-largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd-largest in 2000.

The contracts did not prove to be as profitable as executives had hoped, however, and accusations of political favoritism led to a public relations nightmare. On Thursday, Halliburton said it was considering selling its subsidiary that holds the contracts in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney’s financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 and 2003 show that since becoming vice president-elect, he has received $1,997,525 from the company: $1,451,398 in a bonus deferred from 1999, the rest in deferred salary. He also holds options to buy Halliburton stock.

Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf. But he has refused to answer a request from Democrats in Congress that he provide an accounting of any communications he and his staff have had with Halliburton or actions they have taken on Halliburton contracts.

Trump will face this squared.

He needs to face the reality of Democrat dishonesty and do the prudent thing.

I have no idea how he will accomplish this.

Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is already calling for hearings about all of this. Trump and his party don’t need to worry much about that given how favorable the 2018 map is, but as we just found out last week, anything can happen in politics. If a nasty recession hits next year and Democrats end up winning back the House or Senate, all of these conflicts will be explored at length in congressional inquiries in 2019.

Cummings is despicable but those are the people who will harass Trump and try to destroy his presidency. He must anticipate this.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

He needs to have someone working on this.