Friday, March 24, 2017
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Can't recycle commies... better to assign them to the trash heaps of history!
MEMO TO JEFF SESSIONS: IT’S TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE
John Hinderaker, Powerline
Of all the Obama administration scandals, what Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did to the Department of Justice is one of the worst. Two manifestations of the depths to which DOJ has fallen emerged today. First, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the highly partisan Democrat who selectively prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a felony and tried to send him to jail because he contributed too much to a Senate campaign, loudly announced that he refused to resign his position as requested by the Attorney General, his boss. Instead, Bharara insisted that he be fired. This was silly grandstanding, but it got Bharara what he wanted–headlines beneficial to a future political career–and it gave reporters what they wanted–an opportunity to pretend, for one more day, that there is something sinister in the routine replacement of political appointees.
Bharara typifies the highly partisan nature of Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, but his publicity stunt was mostly just annoying. Far more serious is the deep corruption that Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch introduced into DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Via InstaPundit, Chris Adams reports on yet another case in which federal judges have blasted unethical or illegal conduct on the part of Civil Rights Division lawyers. See the original for links:
Here we go again. Another federal judge has scalded the unprofessional conduct of Justice Department lawyers inside the Civil Rights Division. The first time it was perjury. After that, it was unethical conduct in a trial against New Orleans police officers. Now it’s unprofessional behavior and bigotry toward the South in a federal court trial challenging Texas legislative districts.
In the course of a dissenting opinion on the Texas redistricting case about which you likely have seen headlines, Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith praised the professionalism of the lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the State of Texas. Then he got to the lawyers for the U.S., which intervened in the case.
They came from Loretta Lynch’s Civil Rights Division:
And then there is the United States, appearing through attorneys from the Department of Justice. I have no criticism of their knowledge of the law, and their zeal is, to say the least, more than adequate. But they entered these proceedings with arrogance and condescension. One of the Department’s lawyers even exhibited her contempt for Texas and its representatives and her disdain for these proceedings by regularly rolling her eyes at State witnesses’ answers that she did not like, and she amused herself by chewing gum while court was in session.
It was obvious, from the start, that the DoJ attorneys viewed state officials and the legislative majority and their staffs as a bunch of backwoods hayseed bigots who bemoan the abolition of the poll tax and pine for the days of literacy tests and lynchings. And the DoJ lawyers saw themselves as an expeditionary landing party arriving here, just in time, to rescue the state from oppression, obviously presuming that plaintiffs’ counsel were not up to the task. The Department of Justice moreover views Texas redistricting litigation as the potential grand prize and lusts for the day when it can reimpose preclearance via Section 3(c).
Of course, these are just personal impressions based on demeanor and attitude. More objectively verifiable are the witch hunts and fishing expeditions that the DoJ conducted in pursuit of its goals. I give two examples.
First is the DoJ’s vicious attack on Clare Dyer, a dedicated career employee of the Texas Legislative Council who has served both Democratic and Republican legislatures. …
Another example of a Department of Justice witch hunt, in its frustrated attempt to find evidence of intentional discrimination to support an ultimate claim for Section 3(c) opt-in relief, was its unsuccessful fishing expedition to uncover a smoking gun regarding what occurred on Monday and early Tuesday, June 13 and 14, 2011. …
The DoJ was determined to uncover racially-tinged communications (perhaps shopping for firehoses on the Internet?) to prove that the ultimate maps were based on “race for its own sake.” Because it was inadequately prepared, the DoJ called witness after witness, and presented document after document, to try to confect a paper trail from which the court could infer bigotry.
The Department of Justice has overplayed its hand and, in the process, has lost credibility. The wound is self-inflicted. The grand theory on which its intervention was mainly based—that invidious racial motives infect and predominate in the drawing of the 2011 district lines—has crashed and burned.
Judge Smith is one of a growing list of federal judges who have blown the whistle on Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. Adams explains what happened:
An ideological hiring campaign took place during the Obama years where Every Single One of the lawyers hired into the Civil Rights Division was a committed leftist. When the DOJ Inspector General recommended that hiring criteria be changed to eliminate this perceived bias, then Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez rejected the recommendation.
That’s the same Tom Perez who is now Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
President Trump won the election with a promise to drain the Washington swamp. No swamp is more in need of draining than the Department of Justice, horribly corrupted by eight years of misrule. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his work cut out for him. Bureaucrats and lawyers at DOJ will fight him every step of the way as he tries to reform the department.
The press will fight him, too–especially when it comes to efforts to restore professionalism to the Civil Rights Division. That division is now a cesspool of bias and incompetence, but reporters will imply that every effort Sessions makes to reform it is “racist.”
Sessions faces a daunting task, but he is the right man for the job. Conservatives need to be prepared to support him, aggressively, as he begins to clean the Augean stables of the Department of Justice.
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
While You Weren’t Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just Collapsed
Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review
That supposed FBI investigation of collusion with the Russians? Never mind . . .
They’re in retreat now. You may have missed it amid President Trump’s startling Saturday tweet storm, the recriminations over president-on-candidate spying, and the Jeff Sessions recusal — a whirlwind weekend. But while you weren’t looking, an elaborate narrative died.
For months, the media-Democrat complex has peddled a storyline that the Putin regime in Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election. There is, of course, no evidence that the election was hacked in the sense that the actual voting process was compromised. Rather, there is evidence that e-mail accounts of prominent Democrats were hacked months before the election, and thousands of those e-mails were published by WikiLeaks in the months leading up to the election.
Into this misleading “Russia hacked the election” narrative, the press and the Dems injected a second explosive allegation — or at least an explosive suspicion that they’ve wanted us to perceive as a credible allegation meriting a serious investigation. The suspicion/allegation is: Not only did Russia hack the election, but there are also enough ties between people in the Trump orbit and operatives of the Putin regime that there are grounds to believe that the Trump campaign was complicit in Russia’s hacking of the election.
Transparently, the aim is to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election victory.
Finally, the third prong, without the support of which the stool would collapse: the impression that the FBI has been feverishly investigating what is said to be the Trump campaign’s collusion in what is said to be the Russian hacking of the election. This reporting is designed to get you saying to yourself: “Why would there be such a zealous investigation by FBI agents — in addition to several other intelligence and law-enforcement agents — unless there really were grave reasons to believe the shocking election-hacking conspiracy narrative?”
Thus, details about investigative activity have been leaked to the media. The press and the Democrats then exploit the leaks to spin the “Trump complicity in Russian election-hacking” story. It seems not to matter how objectively ill-conceived the Russian election-hacking claim is, or how woefully insufficient the purported Trump–Russia ties are to support an inference of campaign collusion in the hacking. The specter of an investigation — breathless media reports of FISA-court applications, wiretaps, surveillance of agents of a foreign power, and mysterious servers; painstaking analysis of shady financial transactions involving Russian banks and funding streams — seems to make the outlandish conspiracy impossible to dismiss out of hand.
A New York Times report perfectly illustrates the three-prong scheme. On January 19, under the alarming headline “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry into Trump Associates,” the paper began its report as follows:
WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.
The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.
Could what’s going on be more obvious? The Times would have you believe that the Russians “worked to help elect” Trump because the intelligence agencies have said so. With this ballyhooed conclusion as the premise, law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are conducting a “counterintelligence investigation” — meaning that there may be crimes involved, as well as activities of a foreign power in the United States — to determine the nature of links between Russian officials (who, remember, helped elect Trump) and Trump associates connected to the Trump campaign. The probe, we’re further told, is “broad” and includes “intercepted communications” — which, to any informed person, strongly suggests that the FBI went to a federal court and laid out probable cause of improprieties, which prompted one or more judges to authorize wiretaps and potentially other forms of electronic surveillance (e.g., e-mail intercepts).
Is there an innocent interpretation of all this? Of course there is. After all, the underlying allegation of an election-hacking conspiracy between the Putin regime and the Trump campaign is nonsense, so there must necessarily be an innocent interpretation. And, lo and behold, the Times itself provides it — further down in the story, after all the sensational conspiracy mongering:
It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself. It is also unclear whether the inquiry has anything to do with an investigation into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and other attempts to disrupt the elections in November.
See? It is entirely possible that the FBI and other investigative agencies are not pursuing, and have never pursued, a Trump-campaign angle on the hacking. It is entirely possible (though I have doubts about this) that there are no FISA national-security wiretaps directed at Trump associates — maybe the “intercepted communications” touted by the Times came from surveillance targeting Russian operatives whom Trump associates, perhaps unwittingly, happened to run into while doing business that had nothing to do with the campaign. I think, based on all the reporting we’ve seen (some of which, as the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes observes, is thinly supported), it is more likely that the feds got FISA surveillance authorization for some associates of Trump (the names of Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and Carter Page are mentioned). But maybe the probable cause for any such surveillance involved those associates’ own business dealings with Russia — having nothing to do with Trump or the Trump campaign.
But the innocent interpretation, the more likely interpretation, is not what the media and Democrats have wanted us to believe.
For months, they have titillated their audience with the election-hacking conspiracy fantasy. When they cover their behinds by mentioning the possibility of innocence, it is in the fine print.
But still, the media and Democrats have always had a serious vulnerability here — one they’ve never acknowledged because they’ve been too swept away by the political success of the fantasy narrative. It is this: At a certain point, if compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the election did not materialize, the much more interesting question becomes “How did the government obtain all this information that has been leaked to the media to prop up the story?”
The most plausible answer to that question: The Obama administration, through the Justice Department and the FBI, was investigating the associates of the opposition party’s presidential nominee, and perhaps even the nominee himself, during the campaign. Otherwise, what explanation can there be for all of the investigative information — much of it classified, and thus illegal to disclose — that has been funneled to the press?
In short, the media and Democrats have been playing with fire for months. The use of law-enforcement and national-security assets to investigate one’s political opponents during a heated election campaign has always been a potentially explosive story. Let’s not kid ourselves: If the roles were reversed, and a Republican administration had investigated officials tied to the campaign of the Democrats’ nominee, we would be drowning in a sea of Watergate 2.0 coverage.
Well, this weekend, the potentially explosive story detonated. It happened in the now familiar way: jaw-dropping tweets by President Trump.
Given the abundance of indications that the Obama Justice Department scrutinized his campaign, or at least his associates, it was odd that the president chose to tweet the one allegation in the whole mess that appears insupportable — viz., that President Obama had had candidate Trump wiretapped. To my knowledge, no such suggestion has ever been publicly reported. At most, it has been reported (but not proved) that there was a FISA application in June that “named Trump” – but, as I’ve pointed out, saying someone was named in an application does not mean that person was targeted for eavesdropping. And, in any event, the reporting tells us that if there was such an application, the FISA court denied it. Thus, I know of no basis to believe that Trump himself was wiretapped; and if the president’s objective was to sensationalize the story, it would surely have been enough to tweet out a colorable fear that surveillance of him — as a Russian agent — had been proposed.
But was the overstatement slyly intentional? Was Trump trying to make a point?
Maybe not. It is certainly possible that the president was angry and the tweets result from a fit of pique. On the other hand, though, how much crazier is it for Trump to contend that Obama ordered spying on Trump than for the media and Democrats to have contended, for month upon month, that Trump’s campaign conspired with the Putin regime to steal the American presidential election and turn the Oval Office into occupied Kremlin territory?
It is probable that both allegations are ludicrous. There is a good case, though, that there’s more support for the former than the latter.
Here’s the most interesting part: Now that they’ve been called on it, the media and Democrats are gradually retreating from the investigation they’ve been touting for months as the glue for their conspiracy theory. It’s actually quite amusing to watch: How dare you suggest President Obama would ever order surveillance! Who said anything about FISA orders? What evidence do you lunatic conservatives have — uh, other than what we media professionals been reporting — that there was any investigation of the Trump campaign?
You will hear more righteous indignation in the coming days, no doubt. The first brushback pitches came this weekend: the claim that if President Trump dares to demand that the FBI and Justice Department show him the supposed FISA applications, he will be engaged in unprecedented political interference in the independence of law enforcement. It’s a silly assertion; as I explained over the weekend, FISA surveillance is not law enforcement, it is national security. A chief executive who demanded to review FISA information (obtained by exercise of the executive’s power) would be doing his main job — to protect the country — not interfering in a judicial proceeding.
But have you noticed? While all this head-spinning legal jibber-jabber goes back and forth, the foundation of the false narrative we’ve been hearing since November 8 has vanished. Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia . . . which makes sense, since Russia did not actually hack the election, so the purported objective of the collusion never existed.
Trick or tweet?
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.
Note from Mike Walker...
Note from Mike Walker...
Right on the money.
The investigation will reveal no wrong doing which kills the false conspiracy demagoguing designed to undermine the Trump administration.
"Oh no! There is nothing there so what are we do now?" asks the media-liberal alliance.
"Aha! Make sure the investigation never ends nor reaches a conclusion."
Ideally, force a special prosecutor to go after the Trump administration the way the last one went after the Bush administration.
Heck, the prosecutor can go on a witch hunt for four or eight years and endlessly leak damaging falsehoods about the Trump administration.
Friday, February 24, 2017
HOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE THREATENS OUR LIBERTY
The administrative state is the #1 threat to our freedom, a fact which no one knows better than our friend Howard Root. Howard was the founder and CEO of Vascular Solutions, Inc., a successful medical products company that was set up as a victim by Barack Obama’s hyper-politicized Department of Justice. For five years, Obama’s DOJ persecuted and harassed Howard and his company with bogus claims. Thankfully, Howard Root had both the financial resources and, more important, the courage–he was facing prison time–to stand up to the DOJ’s bullies.
Ultimately, a jury acquitted Howard and Vascular Solutions on all charges. One of the jurors wrote Howard to say that what the government tried to do to him was a disgrace. Still, Howard had to leave the medical products industry, as he knew that he could continue to be a target of vengeful prosecutors, to the detriment of the company that he had led since its founding. Last month, he sold Vascular Solutions.
Howard has written a book about his ordeal called Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO On the Feds’ Hit-List. The book is sensational: not just readable but gripping, even though it deals largely with legal proceedings. Trust me: if you read Cardiac Arrest to the end, you will be on your feet, cheering for Howard Root.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Made available by Bob Dunn
Free people are not equal. Equal people are not free.
(Think this one over and over?) Makes sense!
The definition of the word Conundrum is something that is puzzling or confusing.
Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America :
1. America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government
4. Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century. Makes you wonder who is doing the math.
These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:
1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works. And here's another one worth considering?
2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money ! What's interesting is the first group "worked for" their money, but the second didn't. Think about it.....and Last but not least :
3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens. Am I the only one missing something?
"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."............Plato
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Who doesn't believe that our education system needs immediate improvement.
Maybe competition would be part of a solution.
Betsy DeVos v. the Education Monopolists
Establishment critics try to pound Trump’s education secretary into submission.
During her Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was attacked in every way imaginable. She was called names. Her intelligence, commitment, and religiosity were called into question. “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” seethed American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten. Chicago Teachers Union boss Karen Lewis referred to DeVos as a “nightmare.” Speaking a day before the confirmation vote, Minnesota senator Al Franken pointed out DeVos’s supposed lack of experience in the field, insisting that education secretary is “not a job for amateurs.”
The vitriol hasn’t abated since DeVos was confirmed on February 7, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. Weingarten proclaimed DeVos’s confirmation “a sad day for children.” National Education Association leader Lily Eskelsen Garcia was defiant. “There will be no relationship with Betsy DeVos,” she insisted. California Teacher Association capo Eric Heins referred to the nomination as “a blow to our nation.” Filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted, “The Senate Republicans have just sent a big FU to the school children of America. Even the worst countries don’t sh*t on their own kids.” And most delirious of all, Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson tweeted, “Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children. That is not an exaggeration in any sense.”
The viciousness toward DeVos is animated by several things: she is rich, a Christian, a Republican, and, worst of all, a school-choice supporter. As chairman of the American Federation of Children, she has devoted much of her adult life trying to provide children with the best possible education, whether via a private school, home school, charter, or traditional public school. This drives the public-school monopolists crazy, as it hints at an alternative to the nineteenth-century, one-size-fits-all education model they control.
“[DeVos’s] concentration on charter schools and vouchers . . . raises the question of whether or not she fully appreciates that the Secretary of Education’s primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board members, and administrators strengthen our public schools,” commented Maine senator Susan Collins, one of two Republicans who voted against DeVos. Collins is wrong. The Department of Education’s mission is, simply, “to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.” The department has no special brief to promote public schools. Its sole focus is on improving education outcomes.
What those who cling to the education status quo don’t understand—or won’t acknowledge—is that Secretary DeVos isn’t an absolute monarch ruling over a vast national education empire. In fact, the great majority of U.S. education policy and financing is handled at the state and local levels. Fordham Institute president Mike Petrilli points out that the education secretary’s job is to “work with members of Congress and governors, to understand how a bill becomes a law, to provide moral support to reformers as they fight it out in the states and at the local level.” Being an outsider makes DeVos an especially good pick. “The strength of Secretary DeVos’s appointment is that she brings strong independent leadership to American education,” observes National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood. “She will not be steered by organized labor or by the higher education establishment. This means that we have the opportunity for real reform.”
While the establishmentarians are choice-phobic, parents aren’t. In fact, school choice is popular. A recent EdChoice survey revealed that most American parents aren’t getting the educational options they want. When asked about their preferences, 41 percent of parents said that they prefer a private school; 28 percent, a public district school; 17 percent, a charter school; 11 percent, home school. But as things stand now, 83 percent of students attend traditional public schools.
Despite the monopolists’ panic, school choice won’t kill off public schools; they’ll just have to try harder to hold on to their customers. In fact, as EdChoice’s Greg Forster has shown, vouchers make public education better. According to Forster, out of 33 studies examining the effects on public schools where private-school options exist, 31 showed an improvement in public schools and one study showed no effect. Only one study revealed a negative effect on public-school students. I’ll take 31 to 1 any day.
Larry Sand, a retired teacher, is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network and a contributor to City Journal’s book, The Beholden State: California’s Lost Promise and How to Recapture It.