Charles Manson Dead at 83

November 20th, 2017

Burn in Hell, Charlie.

The man who helped mastermind the murders of:

  • Sharon Tate
  • Tate’s unborn child
  • Leno LaBianca
  • Rosemary LaBianca
  • Gary Hinman
  • Donald Shea
  • Jay Sebring
  • Voytek Frykowski
  • Abigail Folger
  • Steven Parent
  • died of natural causes at age 83. “Sentenced to death for the crime, Manson escaped execution when the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional at the time.” Manson got to live because five liberal justices struck down the death penalty in all cases in Furman vs. Georgia in 1972.

    Middle East News Roundup for 11/19/17

    November 19th, 2017

    Want to know what’s happening in the Middle East and why?

    Ha! Good luck with that.

    But this roundup will should at least elevate you to a slightly higher level of informed incomprehension.

  • Syrian Army takes Abu Kammal again.

    The Syrian army and its allies took complete control over Albu Kamal, Islamic State’s last significant town in Syria, a military news service run by Hezbollah said on Sunday.

    The army had declared victory over Islamic State in Albu Kamal earlier this month but the jihadists then staged a counter-attack using sleeper cells hidden in the town.

  • What’s going on in Lebanon? Even Michael Totten doesn’t seem to know.
  • Saudi Arabia and its allies are meeting in Cairo to talk about what to do about Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah. “The emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention, Egypt’s state news agency MENA said.”
  • “The Trump administration said Friday it will shut down the Palestinian Liberation Office (PLO) in Washington, D.C., unless the Palestinians get serious about peace talks with Israel.”
  • Iraqi Kurds are backing down off their demands for independence.
  • No link, but suddenly the entire Washington MSM seems to be wringing their hands about the Saudi blockage of Yemen in precisely the way they weren’t when Iran was destabilizing the country with a proxy war the last three years.
  • Confused? You probably will be, even after this week’s episode of Soap

    News Flash For Clueless Millennials: Communism Sucks

    November 18th, 2017

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, so here’s a timely reminder: “Hey Millennials: Communism Sucks, I Lived It.” It’s a buffet of Living Under Communism Greatest Hits

    Unreliable electricity

    Do you millennials enjoy having electricity on demand to charge your devices? Then you would hate Action “O.” Action “O” stood for “Oszczednosc,” which translates to “Savings.” Poland’s communist government would notoriously turn off electricity to various areas of the city to “save” energy.

    They had an interesting system which they described as “customer oriented”: they would turn the electricity off for one minute and turn it back on for five minutes as a warning that a shutoff was coming. You had exactly five minutes to find your matches and candles, because after that electricity would shut off for several hours.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, we suffered under a shortage of matches.

    Snip.

    Decades-long waits for apartments

    If millennials want to live under communism, they need to accept being stuck living with their parents. Rentals are simply not available.

    When I turned eighteen, I went to the government-run housing association with a full down payment deposit for a new apartment. The association explained the process: they would take my deposit now and add my name to the list. Once an apartment became available they would let me know, but until then I had to live with my parents. I asked: “How long will this take?” The answer: between 10 to 15 years!

    This was the last straw. I took back my money and decided I would leave Poland in search of freedom from communist or socialist ideology.

    Snip.

    Empty grocery stores, corruption, and black markets

    Communist rationing created a culture of black markets and a nation comfortable with lawbreaking. This fostered countrywide corruption. There was a famous saying about purchasing food “spod lady,” meaning “from under the counter.” Most of the time, grocery stores were completely empty. But if you paid extra, you could probably get something that the lady from behind the counter “stashed” away and sold for a profit.

    Communism remains popular only among those who have never experienced it.

    See also:

  • Debunking the “No True Communism” Fallacy
  • Victims of Communism Day
  • Dear Undergraduates: Communism Doesn’t Work in the Real World
  • How Many People Did Communism Kill?
  • LinkSwarm for November 17, 2017

    November 17th, 2017

    I ate German food Saturday, and ever since it’s like the Wehrmacht has been conducting field maneuvers in my lower intestine. Enjoy a short pre-Thanksgiving LinkSwarm:

  • The United States House of Representatives has paid out $15 million to secretly settle sexual harassment claims from a secret slush fund. 435 Harvey Weinsteins.
  • Kurt Schlichter is scathing in his assessment of the GOP congress’ apparent inability to do, well, anything:

    My first priority, and yours, was always to give amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, and the GOP caucus is chomping at the bit to do that. Apparently Dreamers’ dreams of taking advantage of violating our laws and eventually become loyal Democrat voters are much more important than our own conservative voters’ dreams of their mandatory crummy health insurance rates not doubling.

    Snip.

    What a mess. The Republican Party seems to have no interest in addressing its electile dysfunction. The Democrats are preparing for battle; the Professional Republicans are sulking because their voters won’t obey. They seem not just unable but unwilling to pass the agenda they promised the base. And whenever there’s a narrative damaging to the party to be hopped on, despite reasonable grounds for skepticism, hop on they do. If the GOP establishment wanted to lose, what would it do differently?

  • Funny how every Democratic Presidential candidate of the last quarter-century had connectons to pedophiles.
  • Playboy model says Al Franken groped her. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • More Donna Brazile revelation: Obama drained the DNC of money spending millions on popularity polling. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s moves are not “bold experiments,” they’re desperately needed reforms for a country facing multiple existential threats.
  • Back Donald Trump’s plan or resign, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Palestine.” In other news: Trump has a plan for Palestine? If so, the press doesn’t seem to have covered it…
  • 267 MS-13 gang members arrested nationwide. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Obama’s illegal alien “dreamers” have one-quarter the college graduation rates of Americans. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • “Harvard: A Tax-Free Hedge Fund That Happens To Have A University.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Duke professor: You stinking college newspaper reporters aren’t worthy of my course!
  • Why is DHS giving Muslim-only tours of Minneapolis airport security?
  • Jaron Lanier frets about social media manipulation. “We’re living in this time of total opacity where you don’t know why you see the news you see. You don’t know if it’s the same news that someone else sees. You don’t know who made it be that way. You don’t know who’s paid to change what you see. Everything is totally obscure in a profound way that it never was before.” He has a point, but missing from this frame is the fact that before the Internet, the number of media outlets that could control your reality filter (including The New York Times, which published this profile and in whose pre-Trump reality bubble Lanier obviously wishes to dwell) was vastly smaller than it is now…. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The NFL’s Roger Goodell has actually done a pretty crappy job.
  • Venezuela Officially Bankrupt

    November 16th, 2017

    The inevitable has happened: The Magic Power of Socialism™ has officially bankrupted Venezuela:

    Milton Friedman once joked that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert in five years there would be a shortage of sand. He could have been talking about Venezuela and its oil wealth. But it is no joke.

    On Monday Caracas missed interest payments due on two government bonds and one bond issued by the state-owned oil monopoly known by its Spanish initials PdVSA. Venezuela owed creditors $280 million, which it couldn’t manage even after a 30-day grace period.

    Venezuela is broke, which takes some doing. For much of the second half of the 20th century, a gusher of oil exports made dollars abundant in Venezuela and the country imported the finest of everything. There were rough patches in the 1980s and 1990s, but by 2001 Venezuela was the richest country in South America.

    Then in 2005 the socialist Hugo Chávez declared that the central bank had “excessive reserves.” He mandated that the executive take the excess from the bank without compensation. Today the central bank has at best $1 billion in reserves.

    Falling oil prices are partly to blame, but the main problem is that chavismo has strangled entrepreneurship. Faced with expropriation, hyperinflation, price controls and rampant corruption, human and monetary capital has fled Venezuela.

    As of Tuesday evening, the Investment Swaps and Derivatives Association still had not declared Venezuela in default. That matters because this will trigger the insurance obligations inherent in the credit default swaps. But S&P Global Ratings declared the country in default Monday. On Tuesday morning the Luxembourg Stock Exchange issued a suspension notice for the bonds with missed payments.

    From the richest nation in latin America to one where people have to eat their own pets to stave off starvation.

    Mistrial in First Waco Biker Shootout Trial

    November 15th, 2017

    Slightly belated news: The very first trial to arise out of the Waco Biker Shootout has resulted in a mistrial:

    The first trial stemming from a bloody biker gunfight at a Waco restaurant that left nine people dead and 20 wounded has done little to determine the fate of more than 150 people indicted in the complex and controversial Texas case.

    A judge on Friday declared a mistrial in the case of Jake Carrizal, president of the Dallas Bandidos motorcycle club, who could face life in prison if he ultimately is convicted on three counts stemming from the melee on May 17, 2015.

    The jury deliberated for 14 hours before telling Judge Matt Johnson it was hopelessly deadlocked. McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna declined to comment after Johnson declared a mistrial, so it was not clear if Carrizal will be tried again. All the defendants were charged with engaging in a criminal activity leading to the deaths.

    This is not surprising, given that, despite a shootout that left nine people dead, not a single defendant has been charged with murder. Evidently finding the right people to charge with murder is still too daunting for McLennan County’s DA, so he has instead gone for a “collective punishment” approach, charging all Bandidos and Cossacks present at the shootout with a conspiracy charge merely for being present.

    No wonder the first jury had such a hard time.

    Another reason for difficulty: All the weapons that forensics could definitively link to dead bikers came not from other bikers, but from law enforcement rifles.

    The dead in Waco deserve justice, but they’re not getting it, because Abel Reyna evidently finds it too hard to actually determine who committed homicide and has pursued unconstitutional indictments on “collective guilt” instead.

    BREAKING: Coup in Zimbabwe?

    November 14th, 2017

    So it seems:

    Several loud explosions echoed across central Harare in the early hours of Wednesday after troops deployed on the streets of the capital and seized the state broadcaster.

    The developments in the Zimbabwe capital fuelled speculation that a coup was under way against president Robert Mugabe, after the head of the armed forces threatened to “step in” over the sacking of an influential vice president.

    Zimbabwe’s ruling party accused General Constantine Chiwenga of treason over his comments, after the rare appearance of the military vehicles in Harare.

    Armed soldiers were assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare, according to the Associated Press, while soldiers were seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles.

    Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. “Don’t try anything funny. Just go,” one told a Reuters reporter on Harare Drive.

    Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster and a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said.

    This is one of those instances where a coup is likely to improve human rights and democracy. I would say it couldn’t happen to a nicer dictator, but there are a few worse than Robert Mugabe (though less than ten). I know extremely little about Constantine Chiwenga, but he’d have to try really hard not to be better than the oppressive misery Mugabe has inflicted on his own people.

    Here’s hoping the coup succeeds and that the people of Zimbabwe become at least slightly less wretched and miserable as a result.

    Tesla News Roundup

    November 14th, 2017

    I keep pouring news items into the next Texas vs. California Roundup bucket, but there’s so much in there it’s ceased to be a bucket, zoomed past bathtub, eclipsed swimming pool, and is now looking more like a flood retention pond. Maybe next week, if everything breaks right.

    But one of the topics sloshing around there is the travails of Elon Musk’s media-darling electric car company Tesla. And there’s just enough news there to do a Tesla-only roundup:

  • Tesla posted it’s biggest quarterly loss ever, losing $1.4 billion dollars.
  • One reason for the loss? An inability to reliably weld parts. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is a solved problem for most automobile manufacturers…
  • More on the same issue:

    Tesla has no one who can run the new robotic welders – they are finding it impossible to regulate and apply the right amount of heat to do high-speed welding. He said that while Tesla may have the right robots, making them production ready is a highly specialized skill set and they don’t have it. His company was told to reduce production for the foreseeable future, until further notice, and produce to order, not in high volume.

    Seeking Alpha has a lot more information on why many of Tesla plans and projections are mostly pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

  • And one of their writers goes so far as to say that, structurally, Tesla is doomed to failure. Including this pretty damning sentence: “The more cars it sells the more cash it burns.”
  • Telsa is facing a lawsuit by over 100 black employees alleging racial discrimination, including a “hostile work environment” and “use of the N-word.” Rent-seeking lawyers looking for an easy score? Probably. But Musk was the one who decided to build his plant in California…
  • California considers giving Tesla a $3 billion bailout, just as Tesla’s federal rebates are phased out. Because there’s no better use of taxpayer money than subsidies for status symbol cars for rich people.
  • Tesla also let hundreds of workers go. But they insist it’s not a “layoff.”
  • Tesla employees want to unionize. Well, there goes profitability and flexible manufacturing…
  • Tesla is also planning to unveil a semi-truck on Thursday. Seeking Alpha thinks this is more a distraction from the Model 3 problems than a real product.
  • Remember Tesla’s ill-advised purchase of Solar City, another Elon Musk company? Well, guess who’s also having layoffs? Between Tesla and Solar City, apparently over 1,200 employees have been let go.
  • And their solar cell “gigaplant” in Buffalo, New York still hasn’t opened yet.
  • It seems fairly clear at this juncture that Tesla was founded on more green energy hype than a solid business model, and that Musk probably should have focused on making one ambitious, capital-intensive startup profitable, not the (four? five? six? seven?) he’s founded since cashing out of PayPal. (In addition to Tesla and Solar City, there’s also Space X, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and the (non-profit) OpenAI. Of course, right now, all Musk’s current ventures are “non-profit”…)

    Musk is one of those classic boy-makes-good American stories you want to root for, but in splitting his focus, and not realize how very much harder and more capital-intensive hardware development is than software development, Musk’s story looks a lot more like an even older story: hubris clobbered by nemesis.

    Clinton Corruption Update For November 12, 2017

    November 13th, 2017

    I keep waiting for Clinton Corruption revelations to die down enough to do a lengthy update in leisure, but the hits just keep on coming.

    Part of the reason is that revelations from Donna Brazile’s Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House continue to reveal just how corrupt Hillary Clinton’s takeover of the DNC was, and just how arrogant her entire campaign apparatus was. (Something to put on the shelf next to Shattered and Clinton Cash.)

  • The other big source of Clinton corruption news? The Mueller investigation:

    Republican investigators had two big questions about the dossier. One was who paid for it, and that now seems answered. The other was: Did the FBI or other agencies use any information from the dossier as a basis for warrant requests before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court? In other words, did, say, the FBI use the dossier’s “salacious and unverified” information to make the case that the bureau should be granted the authority to conduct intercepts?

    Nunes, as well as Grassley and Senate Judiciary Committee colleague Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have been pushing for months for the FBI to answer that question.

    So far, they’ve gotten nothing.

    When the Post story broke Tuesday night, some journalists noted that Democrats involved in the story had been lying about their role. “When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong,'” tweeted the New York Times’ Ken Vogel. “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” added the Times’ Maggie Haberman.

    Yes, they did. But the importance of the Democrats’ involvement in the dossier is that it could be one step on the road to a bigger story. What did the FBI do with the dossier material? Did judges make surveillance decisions in the Trump-Russia investigation based in whole or in part on the dossier? To what degree is the “salacious and unverified” dossier the source of what we think we know about allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign?

    In the end, a House subpoena squeezed the information out of key players in the who-funded-the-dossier side of the story. But so far, the FBI has been much harder to crack.

  • One reason media has such a hard time reporting on the Fusion GPS story: they’re implicated in it:

    Americans may find that this one has a third parent: Beltway journalists, who may have allowed themselves to be manipulated by a political intelligence operation in exchange for peer praise, the warmth of social media tribalism and clicks.

    This hurts the many journalists putting partisanship aside to follow stories wherever they lead.

    And it hurts the republic, which depends on credible, rigorous media oversight of the powerful, especially the imperial presidency.

    But once you lose your name and credibility, where are you?

    I hope all this worries you, no matter what political tribe you belong to, because for more than a year now, that Democratic Media Complex has been shrieking about Russia this and Trump that and collusion this and collusion that.

    The Trump-Russia collusion theme has been a chorus of barking dogs everywhere you turn, in online news hyped to feed anti-Trump appetites, on cable, where the appetites are sated, and even in happy-talk banter of radio and TV news anchors.

    The driving force has been a partisan desire to excuse Hillary Clinton for losing her 2016 election to Trump. It’s been aggressive and passive and all Russia-Trump all the time.

    Many, but not all, of the Russia stories have been debunked, and precious little, if any, evidence has come out of the congressional investigations directly linking the president to an alleged effort by the Russians to steal Clinton’s presidency.

    Will Mueller pick his teeth with the bones of creepy former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort? That seems likely. And Tony Podesta — of the Democratic Chicago Podestas — has come under scrutiny too.

    Many pro-Hillary pundits avoid the Fusion GPS explosion altogether, just as they’ve avoided examining the equally toxic Uranium One deal.

    Uranium One is the mining company controlled by the Russians. More than $140 million was donated to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One board members and associates. And Bill got a $500K chunk for related speaking fees in Moscow, because, well, he was such thrilling speaker when his wife was favored to win the White House.

    What’s appalling is that the Obama administration quietly approved the deal handing 20 percent of American uranium reserves to the Clinton-friendly Russian mega-company, so that President Barack Obama could curry favor with Russia to win support for his Iran nuclear policy.

  • Little did we know that “Clinton secretly controlling the DNC” story had already been broken (at least for the state level) by Margot Kidder (yes, that Margot Kidder) at least a year-and-a-half ago in the left-wing Counterpunch.

    Finding deceit, dishonesty, lies, and corruption involving Hillary Clinton is like finding sand at the beach. It is everywhere the eye can see.

    The challenge faced by the Corrupt Clinton Cronies was that, even with Citizens United, political donations to presidential candidates are limited by federal law. No matter how rich the donor, nor how much she wishes to give, the law prohibits such gifts exceeding $2,700. When Democrat hypocrites, led by the Clintons, bemoan the Supreme Court’s Citizens United opinion and pledge “campaign finance reform,” know that their meaning is to reduce avenues for Republicans to raise and give money. Don’t believe for a moment that the ethics deviants who run the Democrat fund-raising machines intend to reform their own fundraising apparati. So here is what Lois Lane [Kidder, natch – LP] exposed:

    Under federal law, an individual may donate up to $10,000 annually to a “political committee established and maintained by a State committee of a political party.” 52 U.S.C. § 30116(a)(1)(D). Accordingly, thirty-three separate State Democrat Committees throughout the land agreed, one by one, to manipulate furtively with Hillary by accepting $10,000 hand-offs passed to them from outside donors — and then dutifully to shift the loot to Hillary’s campaign. For example, the Montana Democrat Committee received $64,100 in donations from people who have no connection to Montana. The Utah Democrat Party likewise received $64,100 in donations from people who have no connection to Utah. Same amount, same story with the Alaska Democrat Party. And the Mississippi one. And Oregon and South Carolina and Tennessee and Massachusetts — all $64,100 a piece. And Georgia and Idaho and Michigan and Minnesota and Missouri and Rhode Island and West Virginia and Wyoming. All the same exact $64,100. Texas — being Texas — took in an extra five grand — $69,100. Evoking images from any scary meeting with a loan shark — a few came in $100 short: North Carolina, Louisiana, and Indiana forked took in only an even 64K. Arkansas fell yet a grand shorter than that. (Proving that the correct answer to the question “What did Tenne… ssee?” may not be “The exact same that Arkan…sas.”)

    So, if the “Sixty-Four Thousand [and One Hundred] Dollar Question” is: What in the world was going on? — here is the answer, as reported in April 2016 by Lois Lane:

    Under the Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court divided 5-4 in holding that, while no one may contribute more than $2,700 to a candidate’s campaign, donors otherwise are not limited in the aggregate amount of political giving they may do in federal elections. Thus, if a $2,700 donor to Hillary wants to give $10,000 respectively to each of 33 separate Democrat State Committees, he or she may infuse $330,000 more into the political pot. And then — wink, wink — if each of those state committees thereupon write $10,000 checks to their Corrupt Clinton Cronies — well, where does it say that you can’t do that? And if the donor does that in both Year 2015, as the primaries start taking shape, and again in presidential election year 2016, that moves $660,000 into the pot. And if the donor sets it up that, hey, the hubby is giving $660,000 and the wifey is giving $660,000 — well, now that donor has passed $1,320,000 (One Million and Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars) to Hillary… and, oh yeah, also a $2,700 “federal maximum gift” plus one from the spouse. In this way, Hillary’s own basketful of deplorables passed along $26 million to her in 2015. And along the way, scores of critical outcome-changing Hillary Clinton “Super Delegates” were bought and paid for well in advance of the primaries, faster than Bernie Sanders could mutter that “the American people are sick and tired about hearing about your damn emails.”

    No wonder all those prostituted Democrat “Super Delegates” were wearing buttons saying “I’m with her”! She bought their state committees.

    (And yes, Kidder actually was in other movies that Superman. A few weeks ago I saw her in Brian De Palma’s Sisters, which is not great, but is a reasonably solid, creepy, low-budget thriller where she played a formerly conjoined twin.)

    (Hat tip: DirectorBlue.)

  • The Wall Street Journal thinks Mueller is too compromised and should step down. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Speaking of which, the MSM attacked WSJ for criticizing Fusion GPS while leaving out the tiny little detail that one of the sources for the attack piece was a Fusion GPS employee.
  • And remember: The FBI used the Fusion GPS Steele dossier to get a FISA warrant for Trump’s campaign. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • As reported back in April by CNN.
  • Hillary’s health problems were so bad that Brazile contemplated replacing Hillary at the top of the ticket with Joe Biden. That would have been something worth seeing her attempt. But how would most Democrats feel about having the candidate a majority of them voted for replaced by the DNC board?
  • And if her health was that bad, why did the press refuse to report on it?

    How is it possible that the leader of the Democratic Party was talking to colleagues about trying to replace its nominee during the general election because of health concerns, and none of the thousands of journalists covering the campaign got wind of it?

    It’s not possible — if the media had been playing it down the middle and holding both candidates to the same standard of scrutiny. But big media missed a big story because so much campaign “news” coverage was tilted toward defeating Donald Trump and electing Clinton.

    Anything that could possibly suggest Trump was unfit for the Oval Office — bingo, front page, top of the broadcast.

    On the other hand, anything that could hurt Clinton was downplayed or ignored. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Hillary Clinton cronies are building a new super-PAC that looks a whole lot like a parallel organization to the DNC. Could this be the groundwork for yet another Clinton Presidential run? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Did Brazile publish her book just to forestall another Clinton run?
  • According to Brazile, Clinton’s inner circle was like a cult that she couldn’t get through to.
  • “Clinton Emails, Trump Dossier, Russian Nukes: All Point To Corruption In Obama’s Justice Department.” Including Uranium One and the unmasking scandal. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.
  • Funny how the Trump Russia probe differs radically from the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s Emailgate:

    Obama had knowingly participated in the conduct for which Clinton was under investigation — using a pseudonym in communicating with her about classified government business over an unsecure private communication system.

    Obama prejudiced the emails investigation. Long before it was formally ended, he publicly pronounced Clinton innocent. He theorized that she had not intended to harm the United States. Even if true, that fact would be irrelevant — it is not an element of the statutory offenses at issue, under which several military officials, who also had no intent to harm our country, have nevertheless been prosecuted. (It also had nothing to do with her quite intentional destruction of thousands of emails, many relating to government business — also a serious crime.)

    As night follows day, the FBI and the Justice Department relied on Obama’s errant and self-interested rationale in dropping the case against Clinton and her accomplices. What did Obama’s subordinates do after he patently interfered in the investigation? Well, then-FBI director James Comey began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton months before the investigation ended — i.e., before over a dozen key witnesses, including Clinton herself, had been interviewed. Indeed, it has now been reported that Comey’s draft initially declaimed that Clinton had been “grossly negligent” in handling classified information — an assertion that tracked the language of one of the statutes Clinton violated. Later, in the statement he made publicly on July 5, 2016, Director Comey instead used the term “extremely careless” — substantively indistinguishable from “grossly negligent,” but the semantic shift appeared less tantamount to a finding of guilt.

    In the aftermath, we extensively examined the Clinton investigation’s hyper-sensitivity to the attorney-client privilege.

    Note that the lawyer for Manafort and Gates was forced to testify against her clients based on the theory that she had participated — however unwittingly — in their scheme to cover up their lobbying efforts on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. Aggressively, Mueller’s team contended that even if the lawyer had not intended to help her clients mislead the government, their use of her services was intended to dupe the government. That, Mueller argued, brought their communications with the lawyer under the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Chief Judge Howell agreed. As a result, the lawyer’s communications with Manafort and Gates lost their confidentiality protection, such that Mueller could compel her to reveal them to the grand jury.

    Compare that with the Justice Department’s treatment of the lawyers representing Mrs. Clinton and her accomplices. Actually, I shouldn’t really put it that way because . . . Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers were her accomplices.

    As we’ve previously explained, the Justice Department refused to invoke the crime-fraud exception to explore what advice Clinton lawyers gave her information technology contractor before he supposedly took it on himself to delete and destroy her emails.

    Furthermore, the Justice Department and the FBI tolerated unlawful arrangements whereby subjects of the investigation were permitted to act as private lawyers in the probe regarding matters in which they had been involved as government officials. Perhaps more astonishingly, subjects of the investigation — such as Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, who participated directly in the process by which Clinton decided which emails to surrender to the State Department and which to withhold as “private” — were permitted to act as attorneys for the principal subject of the investigation, Clinton herself.

    This arrangement was not merely unethical; it would have badly compromised the case if there had been any real intention to prosecute. As the highly experienced government investigators and attorneys involved had to know, if there had been an indictment, prosecutors would have been accused both of bringing the witnesses together to get their story straight, and of undermining Clinton’s right to prepare a defense by having government witnesses participate in the formulation of her legal strategy.

    While Mueller’s prosecutors subpoenaed Manafort’s lawyer to the grand jury to testify against him, the Obama Justice Department largely shunned the grand jury while colluding with lawyers representing the Clinton emails subjects. The FBI, for example, was foreclosed from pursuing obvious lines of inquiry in an interview of Cheryl Mills.

    Even though Manafort was cooperating with congressional investigators, providing them with hundreds of pages of documents, Mueller did not request documents from him and his lawyers. Instead, his prosecutors and investigators obtained a search warrant to rifle through Manafort’s Virginia home, which they executed in a predawn raid, reportedly breaking in with guns drawn while the Manaforts were sleeping and not allowing Mrs. Manafort to get out of bed before checking her for weapons.

    In stark contrast, the Obama Justice Department would not even issue grand-jury subpoenas to compel the production of physical evidence — such as the private laptop computers used by Clinton’s subordinates to store her emails (a number of which contained classified information). Instead, investigators politely asked lawyers to turn over pertinent items, and they made extraordinary agreements to restrict the information they would be permitted to look at (such as an agreement that prevented agents from looking at information on the Mills and Samuelson computers during the time frame when attempts to obstruct congressional investigations may have occurred).

    It is worth noting that, very similarly, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI did not seize the servers of the Democratic National Committee, even though much of the collusion case hinges on the conclusion that these servers were hacked by Russian operatives. Instead, the FBI politely requested that the servers be surrendered so the Bureau’s own renowned forensic investigators could examine them. When the DNC refused, the Justice Department did not issue a subpoena or obtain a search warrant; to the contrary, the FBI and DOJ agreed to accept the findings of CrowdStrike, a private investigative firm retained by the DNC’s (and the Clinton campaign’s) attorneys.

    Manafort has been charged with multiple felonies for failure to register as a foreign agent, an offense the government almost never prosecutes — the Justice Department’s practice is to encourage foreign agents to comply with the law rather than indict them for failing to do so. By contrast, the FBI and Justice Department rationalized their failure to charge Clinton for mishandling classified information by claiming that her offense was so rarely prosecuted that it would be unfair — it would smack of invidious selective prosecution — to charge her with even a single offense. Clinton’s homebrew server system stored well over 2,000 emails that contained classified information, including over 100 that were undeniably classified at the time they were sent. Eight of those involved chains of communications classified as top secret, the classification the government assigns to information the mishandling of which could be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security (and seven of these were designated as “special access program,” meaning mishandling could be expected to expose critical intelligence programs and endanger the lives of intelligence sources).

    George Papadopoulos is a low-level subject of the collusion investigation who did not commit any crimes in his many contacts with Russia-connected sources. Yet Mueller induced him to plead guilty to a felony count of lying to investigators about the timing of his first meeting with such a source. In stark contrast, while a number of Clinton subordinates asserted their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions on the ground that truthful answers could incriminate them, none of them was prosecuted. Instead, the Obama Justice Department gave them immunity.

    Mueller alleges that Manafort lied to the Justice Department when he finally (in late 2016 and early 2017) filed paperwork under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). Although Congress has made the making of false statements in FARA submissions a misdemeanor, Mueller charged Manafort with both this misdemeanor offense and a separate felony (under the statute that generally makes lying to government investigators a crime). Thus, he turned a single offense into two crimes and drastically inflated the potential penalty — well beyond what Congress intended for the offense.

    By contrast, several subjects of the Clinton emails investigation made blatant misrepresentations in FBI interviews but were not prosecuted at all. For example, Secretary Clinton’s former top aides, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, claimed not to have known about Clinton’s private server system when they were working for her at the State Department — even though there is an email exchange in which they discussed it (and Abedin had an email address on the system).

    For her part, Mrs. Clinton claimed not to know what the designation “[C]” means in classified documents. As a longtime consumer of classified information, Clinton obviously knew it means “confidential.” Upon becoming secretary of state, Clinton signed an acknowledgment that she had been indoctrinated in the rules and procedures governing the secure handling of classified information. In it, she represented that she had read and understood an executive order — signed by her husband when he was president — that describes the levels of classification, including confidential. Yet, Clinton ludicrously told interviewing agents she thought “[C]” might have something to do with putting information in alphabetical order.

    Clinton further claimed that she could not recall the indoctrination in the handling of classified information. Not only had she signed the acknowledgment; she had also written in her memoir, Hard Choices, about the extraordinary measures national-security officials are required to take when reviewing and storing classified information.

    In addition, Mrs. Clinton also testified under oath at a congressional hearing that she had provided the State Department with “all my work-related e-mails.” She knew she had done this, she explained, because her lawyers carefully “went through every single e-mail.” Both of these statements were patently false.

    But that’s the way it goes. Often, the Justice Department is so hell-bent on making the case, it will play an intimidating game of hardball if that’s what it takes. On rare occasions, though, it works just as hard to not make the case — to see no evil. We can all be thankful, I’m sure, that politics has nothing to do with it.

  • For all Brazile’s “not illegal” blather, there’s a good chance Hillary’s team broke campaign finance laws paying for the Fusion GPS dossier and listing the line item as “legal fees.”
  • You know what else broke the law? The Clinton campaign shoving its hand into the puppet DNC to bypass campaign contribution limits:

    Donna Brazile has confirmed Bernie Sanders’s worst suspicions. Ms. Brazile, who served as interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the fall 2016 campaign, says in a new book that during the primaries, the DNC was controlled by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Ms. Brazile claims the arrangement was “not illegal,” but that is far from clear.

    Ms. Brazile reports that when she arrived on the job in July 2016, Gary Gensler, the campaign’s chief financial officer, told her the DNC was fully under the control of the campaign. In September 2015, 10 months before Mrs. Clinton’s nomination, the party had moved its bank account to the same bank in New York used by the Clinton campaign and created a joint fundraising committee, the Hillary Victory Fund, whose treasurer, bank account, and control were vested in the campaign.

    Then, in an August 2015 memorandum of understanding, the DNC essentially handed over its operations to the Clinton campaign for the next 15 months.

    The purpose of joint fundraising committees is to allow more than one entity to collaborate in raising money and share in the costs. Each participant is subject to federal contribution limits. When the party itself is a participant, its committee (in this case the DNC) normally handles accounting and financial controls. Not here. The Hillary Victory Fund was controlled by the Clinton campaign, with a campaign employee as treasurer and the fund’s bank account established at the Clinton campaign’s bank. According to Federal Election Commission reports, the Hillary Victory Fund has raised more than $526 million.

    The DNC asserted its “neutrality” by also entering into a joint fundraising committee with the Sanders campaign. It raised a total of $1,000. And the Bernie Victory Committee treasurer was the DNC’s designee.

    “Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state,” Ms. Brazile writes, “but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn”—i.e., Clinton headquarters. She says state parties raised $82 million, of which they kept less than 0.5%.

    The memorandum of understanding promised the Clinton campaign, among other things, “complete and seamless access to all research work product and tools” paid for by the DNC, despite Federal Election Commission regulations that prohibit privately sharing such research with a candidate without either reporting the costs as an in-kind contribution or allocating them against the party’s coordinated spending limits for that candidate.

    The memo also tied transfers of funds raised for the DNC by the Hillary Victory Fund to operational control of the DNC’s expenditures: “The release of the Base Amounts each month are conditioned on the following: . . . hiring of DNC Communications Director . . . DNC senior staff . . . joint authority over strategic decisions . . . alerting HFA”—Hillary for America, the campaign—“in advance of . . . any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature.”

    Contributions to the DNC, even though made through the Hillary Victory Fund, were required by law to be transferred to the party and could not legally be withheld by the Clinton-designated treasurer. Nor does the law allow a single candidate to control a political party’s operations and expenditures.

    National party committees have higher contribution limits than candidates do—$334,000 a year vs. $2,700 for each election. The memorandum raises the possibility that Clinton campaign took advantage of the DNC’s higher limits, then availed itself of all the resources the DNC could buy—without having any of the attendant costs or expenditures assessed against the campaign.

    There are strict statutory limits on what a party committee can contribute to any candidate and what a party can spend in coordination with its candidates. We don’t like limits on the ability of parties to support their candidates. But campaign-finance zealots, egged on by media outlets (which are not subject to any limits), made certain that the McCain-Feingold law of 2002 stringently limited coordination between candidates and political parties. Although the Supreme Court struck down parts of McCain-Feingold in the 2010 Citizens United case, the coordination limits still apply. The FEC and the Justice Department should investigate the Clinton-DNC arrangement.

  • 7 Uranium One facts every American should know.”
  • “7 Questions the Justice Department Must Answer About Uranium One and Clinton Foundation.”
  • Former FBI Director: Hillary Clinton’s crimes 20 times worse than Watergate.”
  • “New Documents Show FBI Deputy Director McCabe Did Not Recuse Himself from the Clinton Email Scandal Investigation until Week Before Presidential Election.” Despite the fact his wife’s campaign received $700,000 from Clinton “friends.”
  • Bill Clinton’s looming reckoning as a sexual predator. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Heh: “DNC Unveils Clinton Institute For Campaign Ethics Reform In Response To Corruption Allegations.”
  • And in case you’re coming into this post directly, here are three recent posts that cover Clinton Corruption topics:

  • “Donna Brazile Admits Hillary Clinton Gutted the DNC And Wore Its Skin To Shovel More Campaign Cash Into Her Gaping Maw.”
  • Russian Lawyer Met With Fusion GPS Before and After Trump Jr. Meeting.
  • Podesta Lawyer Tries to Silence Tucker Carlson.
  • One Year After Oral Retrospective of Election Night 2016

    November 12th, 2017

    If you need a boost, you can feel the joy of Hillary Clinton not being elected President all over again.

    Some choice nuggets from random liberals:

  • “People were throwing up. People were on the floor crying.”
  • “I went into a panic attack and couldn’t breathe.”
  • “Can we stay in the U.S.?”
  • As usual, what strikes you about reactions from Hillary’s fans is the narcissistic drama queen overreaction to everything. It’s not that their preferred candidate lost an election, it’s that their world was destroyed in an existential cataclysm. Maybe if they stepped out of their cozy liberal reality bubble the real world wouldn’t keep shattering them by not conforming to their narrow little worldview.

    Of course this piece also includes some quotes from people on Trump’s team, such as Steve Bannon watching Florida come in a computer-strewn, bare concrete floored room in Trump Tower they called “the crack den.”

    Read the whole thing.