Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

We are in uncharted territory.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

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On October 18, 2016 Barack Obama ridiculed anyone who could think the election could be rigged.

OBAMA: I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts. … [T]here is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved. There is no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whinin’ and go try to make his case to get votes.

Then Hillary lost.

In December 2016, Democrats were still trying to figure out what happened.

This process, which is a form of what’s called confirmation bias, can help explain why Trump supporters remain supportive no matter what evidence one puts to them—and why Trump’s opponents are unlikely to be convinced of his worth even if he ends up doing something actually positive. The two groups simply process information differently. “The confirmation bias is not specific to Donald Trump. It’s something we are all susceptible to,” the Columbia University psychologist Daniel Ames, one of several scholars to nominate this paper, said. “But Trump appears to be an especially public and risky illustration of it in many domains.” (Ames and his colleague Alice Lee recently showed a similar effect with beliefs about torture.)

One of those was a good observation. But what about the “Russia Collusion” story?

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What happened last weekend ?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Last weekend, the Democrats in the Senate refused to vote for a Continuing Resolution to fund the US government.

Why ? Because they wanted a law to legalize the thousands of illegal aliens in a status called “DACA” or Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit.

Thus these illegal aliens were given the right to remain and to work in this country. Why ?

The policy was established by executive action rather than legislation; however, participating individuals were sometimes referred to as Dreamers after the DREAM Act bill, a bipartisan bill first proposed in 2001 that was the first of a number of subsequent bills in the U.S. House and Senate attempting to provide a pathway to citizenship or other legal status for certain undocumented residents who immigrated illegally as children and subsequently completed some college or military service.[2]

This is mostly a myth.

Victor Davis Hanson explains some of the mythology.

College graduation and military service are often referenced as DACA talking points. In truth, some studies suggest that just one in 20 dreamers graduated from college. One in a 1,000 has served in the military. So far, about eight times more Dreamers have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college.

I examine military applicants and am unaware of any “Dreamers.”

Then again, are the DACA people just 700,000 ? Or are they millions ?

To be eligible, illegal immigrants must have entered the United States before their 16th birthday and prior to June 2007, be currently in school, a high school graduate or be honorably discharged from the military, be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security. The program does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship,[39] nor does it provide eligibility for federal welfare or student aid.

They are widely eligible for free college education or, at least, to be given resident status for tuition.

Many of these people entered as “Unaccompanied Minors. “

A significant number are teenaged gangsters like the MS 13 gangs in Maryland and Virginia.

Almost one-third of 214 U.S.-based MS-13 gang members arrested in an international sweep were invited into the United States by President Barack Obama’s “Unaccompanied Alien Children” policy.
The successful “Raging Bull’ sweep was announced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Tom Homan in a joint press conference at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

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The Gods of the Copybook Headings are Coming.

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

There is a poem by Rudyard Kipling, explained by John Derbyshire here, That warns of consequences that will come no matter how much we wish it otherwise.

Published in October 1919 when the poet was 53 years old, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” has proved enduringly popular, despite the fact that copybooks disappeared from schoolrooms in Britain and America during, or shortly after, World War 2. A copybook was an exercise book used to practice one’s handwriting in. The pages were blank except for horizontal rulings and a printed specimen of perfect handwriting at the top. You were supposed to copy this specimen all down the page. The specimens were proverbs or quotations, or little commonplace hortatory or admonitory sayings — the ones in the poem illustrate the kind of thing. These were the copybook headings.

The poem is severe and depressing, as Kipling was when he composed it.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

We are now in an era where the rules of civil society seem to have been repealed, or at least violated with impunity.

Retribution is sure to follow.

The present Deep State, or “Swamp” if you prefer, seems to be nearing some sort of denouement

The House Intelligence Committee now has the bank records of Fusion-GPS. They were turned over Friday after a federal judge on Thursday shot-down a last-ditch effort by attorneys from Fusion to get an emergency injunction.

Chairman Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee now have the records of payments made by Fusion-GPS to “journalists and media companies” during 2016 and early 2017 when Glenn Simpson, Mary Jacoby and Peter Fritsch were shopping the Christopher Steele ‘Russian dossier’ to enhance the “Insurance Policy”.

I expect to see rats going overboard now on a daily basis.

Most of the direct (“small group”) FBI (CoIntel), DOJ (NatSec Division) and Special Counsel co-conspirators are only able to talk amid themselves. They know by now they are being monitored and they have strong suspicion the size of the surveillance upon them. [Hi guys.] No-one else is willing to put themselves at risk now. Congressional allies now view the small group as carrying a legal ebola virus. Contact is now a risk.

I consider Congressman Devin Nunes one of the two heroes of this story. The other is Admiral Mike Rogers.

Rogers warned Trump that his transition team was under surveillance right after the election. For this the Obama people tried to fire him from his position at NSA.

The Washington Post reported on 19 November 2016 that Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James R. Clapper Jr. had recommended to President Obama that Rogers be terminated as director of the National Security Agency. Carter reportedly recommended he be terminated due to poor performance, whereas Clapper considered it wise that the position be held by a civilian. Both Clapper and Carter had put Rogers on notice for poor performance in internal security and for a poor leadership style.

Yes, poor performance as a member of the internal espionage team of Obama.

Nunes was attacked as well.

In early 2017, he was criticized for his alleged bias in a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[3][4] On April 6, 2017, he temporarily stepped aside from leading that investigation while the Office of Congressional Ethics investigates charges that he improperly disclosed classified information to the public, but he remains committee chairman for other purposes. Nunes has denied the allegations.[5][6] The Office of Congressional Ethics later cleared Nunes of allegations that he disclosed classified information to the public.

His crime was disclosing to Trump what he had discovered about the Obama team effort at throwing the election to Hillary.

John McCain being a member in good standing of the DC Swamp, attacked Nunes for his contacting Trump. McCain, of course, was involved in forwarding the “Steele Dossier” to the FBI as part of the war on Trump and the Deplorables.

Nunes, in spite of Democrat and McCain opposition, is winning.

WASHINGTON – […] Gaining access to Fusion GPS’s bank records marks yet another victory for the Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee, which earlier in the week secureddocuments and text messages related to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation.

Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had pursued the information for months and threatened a contempt of Congress charge against both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray after they refused to turn over the information.

Two Republican senators earlier in the day Friday recommended that the Justice Department criminally investigate the author of the Trump dossier, which contains salacious and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia. Republicans are concerned the dossier may have been the impetus behind the federal inquiry looking into possible Russian collusion between that country and the Trump campaign.

The ties are actually between the Clinton campaign and Russia, if anything.

As the Inspector General investigation continues: ?FBI Agent Peter Strzok has been reassigned to the HR department. ?FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, personal legal aide to FBI Asst. Director, Andrew “Andy” McCabe, has been returned to the DOJ side. ?FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker has been relieved of his duties by FBI Director Christopher Wray. ?FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe has announced his intent to retire in March.

All of these FBI personnel moves are a preliminary outcomes of the still ongoing Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation. All of this has been reported. None of these moves are speculative. All of these geese are cooked. However, this is just one side of the 2016 political “Trump operation”, the FBI investigative Counterintelligence Division side.

The other hero in this is OIG Inspector Michael Horowitz, who is still looking into the Clinton Foundation.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced the review in response “to requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public.”

The probe will also examine allegations that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have been recused from the probe. Questions were raised about McCabe’s impartiality after it was revealed Clinton ally and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe donated to his wife’s 2015 Senate campaign.

Additionally, the probe will investigate allegations that DOJ and FBI employees improperly disclosed information not meant for the public. This apparently refers to assistant attorney general Peter Kadzik, whose email tipping off Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta about a House oversight committee hearing was revealed by WikiLeaks.

More popcorn, please.

The Iranians are revolting.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Iran was once an ally of the US and Israel. That ended in 1979 with the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Since then, the Iranians have declared that we are at war. In 1979, during the revolution, they took members of the US embassy staff and the Marine Guards hostage.

The immediate cause of this action was President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow Iran’s deposed Shah, a pro-Western autocrat who had been expelled from his country some months before, to come to the United States for cancer treatment. However, the hostage-taking was about more than the Shah’s medical care: it was a dramatic way for the student revolutionaries to declare a break with Iran’s past and an end to American interference in its affairs.

That article is typical leftist revisionism. The hostage takers were “students” only as an expression of their age. They were typical “student radicals” seen in most countries undergoing such violent upheavals.

Carter attempted a hostage rescue which was botched although the military people did their best. The US had no joint forces history and the mission was spread between Army, Air Force and Navy, none of which had worked together before.

It ended the day Reagan was inaugurated as president and was probably a sign that the Mullahs saw that he would not be played as they had played Carter.

Now, we have another
uprising but this is directed at the regime.

A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment.

The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims.

The protests in the Iranian capital, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting about them, raised the stakes. It also apparently forced state television to break its silence, acknowledging it hadn’t reported on them on orders from security officials.

The 2009 protests became violent but Obama offered no support.

CNN tries ro spin it but he was silent as Iranians were brutalized and killed.

What is different now ? One, Trump is president. Recently he has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and determined to move the embassy there.

There have been many complaints and protests, mostly in the US but he has persisted. This is in stark contrast to prior presidents who were all talk, or no talk, and no action.

In addition, Obama’s shameful deal with the Iranians mullahs may have destabilized the regime as the rulers greedily gathered in the billions sent by Obama and did nothing for the people. Obama might have, totally inadvertently, destabilized the regime he was trying to support.

Maybe this is the opening round in regime change.

David Goldman has discussed Iran’s Syrian quagmire.

The Iranian regime is ready to sacrifice the most urgent needs of its internal economy in favor of its ambitions in Syria. Iran cut development spending to just one-third of the intended level as state income lagged forecasts during the three quarters ending last December, according to the country’s central bank. Iran sold US$29 billion of crude during the period, up from $25 billion the comparable period last year. The government revenues from oil of US$11 billion (655 trillion rials) were just 70% of official forecasts, and tax revenues of US$17.2 billion came in 15% below expectations.

Chaos in Iran’s financial system prevents the Iranian government from carrying a larger budget deficit.

It appears that the Obama payoff with billions of cash has been quickly absorbed by the corrupt regime and its mullahs, which may explain the revolt currently underway. We await developments.

The attempted Trump coup.

Monday, December 4th, 2017

I am usually not interested in conspiracy theories but the present circumstances make me suspicious.

First, Hillary launched and persists in supporting a movement that refuses to accept the election result.

Hillary Clinton rallied the opposition Friday with a videotaped message urging “resistance plus persistence” that she delivered via President Donald Trump’s favorite form of communication — Twitter.

“The challenges we face as a party and a country are real,” a smiling Clinton said. “So now more than ever, we need to stay engaged in the field and online, reaching out to new voters, young people and everyone who wants a better, stronger, fairer America.”

This could be acceptable if it was only rallying the troops for next year. That is not all that is happening.

First, we have the Russia conspiracy theory.

Last year, before the election, a “Dossier” was assembled with the aid of a British former agnet and a company formed by a]several former reporters called “Fusion GPS”

Russia may have been trying to undermine Trump. And it may have done so in collusion with the Democrats. The Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberly Strassel noted Thursday that Fusion GPS has ties to the Democrats — and will not reveal who paid it for the dossier. Strassel asked: “What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign?” The money could have passed through intermediaries, she added.

That means the real story of collusion in the 2016 election could be that Democrats were working with Russia. And that would make sense, given their long history of appeasing the Russians, under both Clinton and Barack Obama.

It appears that Fusion GPS may have paid reporters in addition to providing the ludicrous “Dossier” for their titillation with anti-Trump myths.

Secondly it appears that the FBI used the Fusion GPS “dossier” to seek warrants from the secret court for FISA.

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America’s Principle Agent Problem.

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Instapundit frequently links to another story of government incompetence with the comment “We have the worst ruling class in our history.”

There are so many examples, it is hard to list them but I will try with a few.

First, let’s have a definition.

The principal–agent problem, in political science and economics, (also known as agency dilemma or the agency problem) occurs when one person or entity (the “agent”) is able to make decisions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the “principal”.[1] This dilemma exists in circumstances where agents are motivated to act in their own best interests, which are contrary to those of their principals, and is an example of moral hazard.

The Founders were well aware of this problem and tried to protect the citizens with certain provisions of the Constitution.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

This provision was violated by Barack Obama who spent billions to subsidize insurance companies to support his “Affordable Care Act” which was not successful.

Of course, the Amendments were intended to protect the rights of the people but the one that has been ignored for 100 years is the Tenth.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Civil War largely ended Federalism.

In recent years, political parties have mislead their voters, the worst offender being the Republican Party. The Democrats posture as the party of the working man but it has become a party with two wings, the rich who want social liberties, and the poor who want to be taken care of. Jay Cost has written a good book about the Democrats Party called, “Spoiled Rotten, which explains the current policies of the party which has adopted “Identity politics” in which race and victim status has become a principal focus. My own review of the book is here.

The Republicans have gradually become the party of small business but the interests of small business are not being considered as paramount as the party seems to be evolving into another party of professional politicians whose personal interest trumps (so to speak) the interests of the voters. The result has been the rebellion of the Tea Party and more recently the election of Dave Brat, an economics professor, to Congress defeating Eric Cantor, a member of the GOP leadership, in 2014.

The election of Donald Trump has presented the GOP Congress with a crisis to which many have responded by retiring. One wonders what the next step of their career will be. Few, I suspect, will return home to the district that elected them. Most will remain in DC as Cantor has done.

Immediately thereafter, Cantor accepted a position as vice chairman of investment bank Moelis & Company. and,

In February 2015, the firm opened its Washington DC office, following the hire of Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, in September 2014.

The “Swamp” as President Trump describes it.

Other examples of the decline of the ruling class are easy to find.

A former professor at West Point, the Army’s Military Academy described the decline in standards at that institution.

The US Navy has had a series of catastrophic ship incidents an analysis is here.

As you will see over and over; yes there is individual failure, but this is actually a systemic failure. No one gets to be OOD overnight. No one gets to be the senior officer in CIC by fogging a mirror. These are, in theory, highly trained professionals who have invested years to be standing that watch. At a minimum, the basics should be instinct, should be expected – should be reinforced by the entire watch team because that is what we do. This did not happen in isolation. This is not the first time any of this took place.

Why, on this ship on this watch, did this happen? What were the conditions that created such an environment?

The rest is horrifying. What has happened to competence ?

The Transportation Security Administration has improved their success at detecting violations to only 80% failure.

Back in 2015, the TSA failed 67 of 70 tests that were conducted around the nation, which involved undercover officers smuggling banned items through security. That’s right, they have a ~95% failure rate. At least up until recently, the TSA has been consistent. In July a similar test was conducted, where 16 of 17 tests were failed, which is a similar failure rate.

I simply can’t wrap my head around how this is acceptable. Earlier in the year we saw the federal government imposing ridiculous (and dangerous) bans on electronics for flights from the Middle East to the US, while for flights departing the US, 95% of weapons go undetected.

Information is now coming out about the latest tests conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, in which undercover agents brought weapons through TSA checkpoint. This time around they’re not revealing exact numbers, but rather are only giving ballpark figures.

Then, of course, we had the botched implementation of Obamacare and its web site registration system.

Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.

A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process.

Billions were spent on this disaster. The Oregon state program failed completely

Oregon, under then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, aspired to create a shining model for other ObamaCare exchanges, but instead, it became its poster child of dysfunction. After spending more than $300 million in federal taxpayer dollars, Oregon pulled the plug last year and decided to default to the federal exchange.

The state is now embroiled in lawsuits with its primary vendor, Oracle, and current and former Oregon officials are the subject of congressional and other federal investigations. Depending upon the outcome of those investigations, Congress could demand that the state to pay back the $300 million it spent on a project that numerous reports show was fraught with mismanagement and political maneuverings.

Kitzhaber was an ER doc and may have returned to that occupation after his adventures as Governor.

The failure of Congress to repeal Obamacare is one more example of incompetence. The reaction of Republican Congress persons to Trump after his election suggests where their loyalties lie. The Swamp.

I think Angelo Codevilla’s piece about “The Ruling Class” has the best explanation.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Corruption at all levels.

Friday, October 20th, 2017

UPDATE: More on the Clinton Russian scandal.


J. Michael Waller, writing in the Daily Caller, says that new FBI information about corruption in a Clinton-approved uranium deal with Russia raises questions about Clinton’s actions after the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring in 2010. The FBI ran an elaborate and highly successful operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. It tracked a ring of Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C. under false identities.

In 2010, thanks to the Ghost Stories operation, the FBI arrested 10 spies. According to Waller, “Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.”

If this is true, why did Clinton do so? Waller ties her actions to the Russia uranium deal:

For the Clintons, the FBI’s biggest counterintelligence bust in history couldn’t have come at a worse time. . .It all happened as the uranium deal was in play: An arrangement to provide Moscow’s state Rosatom nuclear agency with 20 percent of American uranium capacity, with $145,000,000 to pour into the Clinton Family Foundation and its projects.

There are many examples of the corruption of our government. A serious commenter at All Althouse said this’

Blogger buwaya said…
Another difference between the US, the greatest banana republic that has ever been, and your garden-variety banana republic, is that the economic interests that run it are of a vastly different kind.

Your usual banana republic was and is run by people who make money by making things, and mining things, and growing things, and selling them abroad or to local consumers. They may be assholes, they may employ thugs, they can and do cheat and collude and corrupt governments, but their source of wealth is production and there are significant interests shared with the common people, much more than one would think.

In the US though the big money has nearly no interests in common with the commoners. Their wealth rests on exploitation of laws and regulations, paper assets. The people are extraneous and irrelevant.

I have thought for some time that we are being dominated by billionaires that don’t make useful things. Most of it, like Facebook and Google, is vaporware. Some other techie will come along and build a better mousetrap and those entities will disappear.

They don’t make things. Much of the wealth in this country is now created by handling money. It is an old ironic comments that”Even the handling of money can be profitable.”

Now, we are seeing the gigantic scandal that may or may not become apparent. The Democrats are trying to keep the lid on it and Republicans are not a great deal more trustworthy. The story is explained here.

To read the headlines, a poor, beleaguered opposition-research firm was humiliated and constitutionally abused this week by partisan Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Fusion’s lawyers sent a 17-page letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, accusing him of misdeeds, declaring his subpoenas invalid, and invoking a supposed First Amendment right to silence. Yet the firm’s founders, the story went, were hauled in nonetheless and forced to plead the Fifth. “No American should experience the indignity that occurred today,” Fusion’s lawyer, Joshua Levy, declared.

Fusion is known as a ruthless firm that excels in smear jobs, but few have noticed the operation it’s conducting against the lawmakers investigating it. The false accusations against Mr. Nunes—that he’s acting unethically and extralegally, that he’s sabotaging the Russia probe—are classic.

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The Legacy of Lyndon Johnson

Friday, August 11th, 2017

I have been reading (by listening to audio book versions) Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. It is called “The Years of Lyndon Johnson, as a four book set. I am presently listening to the second volume which is titled, “Means of Ascent.” It is pretty clear that the author does not like Lyndon Johnson but respects his ability to use power. His means of attaining it is what he does not like.

The first volume goes into considerable detail on Lyndon’s father Sam Johnson.
Sam Johnson was a Texas state legislator who was scrupulously honest and refused to accept any “favors” from the lobbyists even though the Texas legislature was famously corrupt. Sam Johnson was idolized by his son, Lyndon, but Sam was an idealist and a poor businessman and went broke. Lyndon was humiliated by their poverty and was determined to acquire money and power, regardless of the ethics.

The only college he could get into was a small teachers’ college called Southwest Texas State Teachers’ College

Initially called Southwest Texas State Normal School, the final word in the name was changed to “College” in 1918. Then, “Normal” became “Teachers” in 1923.

When Johnson attended, it was small and the students mostly impoverished. His machinations to get favors from the president and to get political power to reward friends and punish enemies are described in the volume I of the biography and are an indicator of his future tactics.

The second volume spends a great amount of time on the 1948 Senate election when he opposed a former and well loved Governor named Coke Stevenson, who had a reputation as incorruptible and tough. The story of that election, and how Johnson stole it, is a major part of the book. Part of Johnson’s technique was to try to implicate Stevenson in the kind of corruption that he himself had committed. After the book came out in 1990, the author was attacked by Johnson supports as being biased in favor of Stevenson. In response, he wrote a rebuttal to the attacks on Stevenson’s character.

After Lyndon Johnson got to Washington, according to Caro, he began to boast about how he stole the election from Stevenson. Being clever and powerful was more important to Johnson’s self image than a reputation for honesty.

What has Johnson’s legacy been for this country ? I think it has been disastrous.

When Eisenhower was President, it was in Johnson’s interest to cooperate with him and some of Johnson’s liberal sympathies, which he concealed from his Texas supporters, were beneficial in the era when Civil Rights legislation was being held hostage by the southern Senators and Congressmen.

In 1955 he had a major heart attack and gave up smoking. By 1958, he was interested in the presidency and he ultimately lost out to Kennedy. He was invited onto the Democratic ticket by Kennedy and they won a very close election in 1960, which may have been, once again, stolen by Johnson in Texas and Richard J Daley in Chicago. Eisenhower Attorney General Rogers told Nixon he had enough evidence of election fraud to potentially reverse the result but Nixon declined to pursue the challenge, asserting it would not be safe to do so in a time of international challenge. This account is in Teddy White’s book, “The Making of the President 1960”

Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and Johnson succeeded. In 1964, he defeated Barry Goldwater after a vicious campaign that saw Goldwater accused of wanting to expand the special forces war in Vietnam. Of course, after the election, Johnson greatly expanded the war and probably guaranteed its loss by micromanaging the details, like he micromanaged his political campaigns. HR McMaster’s book, “Dereliction of Duty” describes in considerable detail just what was done by Johnson and McNamara without objection by the Joint Chiefs.

Johnson’s domestic agenda is often called The War on Poverty, and many cynics contend that it was lost years ago.

As a part of the Great Society, Johnson believed in expanding the federal government’s roles in education and health care as poverty reduction strategies.[1] These policies can also be seen as a continuation of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which ran from 1933 to 1937, and the Four Freedoms of 1941. Johnson stated “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”[2]

The legacy of the War on Poverty policy initiative remains in the continued existence of such federal programs as Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), TRiO, and Job Corps.

The War on Poverty included many programs that encouraged single motherhood and is widely considered to have destroyed the black family.

The rise of the welfare state in the 1960s contributed greatly to the demise of the black family as a stable institution. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among African Americans today is 73%, three times higher than it was prior to the War on Poverty. Children raised in fatherless homes are far more likely to grow up poor and to eventually engage in criminal behavior, than their peers who are raised in two-parent homes.

Some of this has been a result of the legalization of abortion and the appearance of the birth control pill.

Still, great improvements had been the trend before Johnson took office.

Thus began an unprecedented commitment of federal funds to a wide range of measures aimed at redistributing wealth in the United States.[1] From 1965 to 2008, nearly $16 trillion of taxpayer money (in constant 2008 dollars) was spent on means-tested welfare programs for the poor.

The economic milieu in which the War on Poverty arose is noteworthy. As of 1965, the number of Americans living below the official poverty line had been declining continuously since the beginning of the decade and was only about half of what it had been fifteen years earlier. Between 1950 and 1965, the proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level, had decreased by more than 30%. The black poverty rate had been cut nearly in half between 1940 and 1960.

After Johnson, things changed. One would not know it from reading the Wikipedia article which is very pro-Johnson.

Between the mid-Sixties and the mid-Seventies, the dollar value of public housing quintupled and the amount spent on food stamps rose more than tenfold. From 1965 to 1969, government-provided benefits increased by a factor of 8; by 1974 such benefits were an astounding 20 times higher than they had been in 1965. Also as of 1974, federal spending on social-welfare programs amounted to 16% of America’s Gross National Product, a far cry from the 8% figure of 1960. By 1977 the number of people receiving public assistance had more than doubled since 1960.

The Vietnam War radicalized the Baby Boomer generation, which became the decade of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” A generation of anti-war students stayed in graduate school and became the radical faculty which has created the atmosphere that drives out faculty members who offend hypersensitive students.

The complaint at the time was that Johnson was determined to have both “Guns and Butter” to fight a war while expanding civilian spending.
The 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid began the trip to unrepayable national debt.

The trend is clear.

gross-national-debt

Just since 1974, the debt has steadily climbed and will never be repaid as the World War II debt was.

This is the legacy of Lyndon Johnson. Had he never been elected to the Senate in 1948, there would have been a president Nixon in 1960.

There would have been no Vietnam War.

Probably no destruction of the black family and the desperate inner city crime problems.

No “Days of Rage with the radical Underground” and domestic terrorism in the 1960s and 70s.

Kennedy would probably have served out his career in the Senate as a far more conservative Senator than his brother Teddy.

This would be a very different world.

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.

What is going on with the Pakistanis ?

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

The arrest of Imran Awan sets off a potential firestorm.

Who is this guy ?

For years, Imran Awan had access to the secret data and correspondence of many House committees, including foreign affairs. What did he do with it? As I said, that’s the worst case scenario (I guess).

He refers to a possible link to the Pakistani ISI. The ISI has a very controversial history. Some of it concerns the Afghanistan Taliban.

In documents leaked in April 2011 on the Wikileaks website, US authorities described the ISI as a “terrorist” organisation on a par with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
In the same month the US military’s top officer, Adm Mike Mullen, also accused the ISI of having links with the Taliban.
He said it had a “long-standing relationship” with a militant group run by Afghan insurgent Jalaluddin Haqqani, which targets US troops in Afghanistan.

What is the relationship between Awan and the Democrats in Congress ? Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep paying his salary until he was arrested trying to flee the country ?

Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport on a bank fraud charge, and was found to have smashed hard drives in his possession.

“It’s about everything that the Democrats and the media spent months… trying to prove [with] the Russia investigation,” he said.

Steyn said Awan’s story involved a powerful political figure trying to interfere in a federal investigation.

“We have actual criminal elements,” he said. “Everything they’ve been looking for is… staring them in the face with this mysterious guy.”

Why did Schultz threaten the capitol police chief with “consequences” if her hard drive possessed by Awan was not returned to her ?

DWS: It’s a simple yes or no answer. If a member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no.

Chief Verderosa: It depends on the circumstances.

DWS: I don’t understand how that is possible. Members’ equipment is members’ equipment. My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate members’ equipment when the member is not under investigation. It is their equipment and it is supposed to be returned.

Chief Verderosa: I think there are extenuating circumstances in this case, and working through my counsel and the necessary personnel, if that in fact is the case, and with the permission of through the investigation, then we’ll return the equipment. But until that happens we can’t return the equipment.

DWS: I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences.

What “consequences?”

Here are some thoughts about this:

1. Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep this man in her employ right up until he was arrested Tuesday night when he has been under suspicion for months. Does he have something on her or other people?

2. Why did Nancy Pelosi lie when she said she never heard of Awan? Email revealed by Wikileaks says Awan had access to Pelosi’s iPad. (Wiklileaks has never been shown to be inaccurate.)

3. What is on the smashed hard drives Awan is trying to retrieve from the FBI? (Oh, those Democrats and their hard drives.)

4. Why is Awan suddenly being legally represented at the highest level by Clinton ultra-loyalist Chris Gowan — a fact-checker for Bill Clinton’s memoir of all things? (They are already using the same right-wing conspiracy baloney they used in the Lewinski case.) Does this make sense if Awan’s just a low-life fraudster? Why not let him dangle?

5. Just what is the relationship, if any, between the Awan case and the unsolved Seth Rich murder? Is it entirely an accident that Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s brother Steven is accused of blocking the investigation? Denials from Debbie aren’t worth much anymore.

6. Where did the Wikileaks come from anyway? Was it really Russia?

And more questions.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

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