Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Deadline Filing Passes: Quick Impressions on Texas Statewide Races

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Monday was the deadline to file for the 2018 Texas primaries. You have to give credit to whoever in the Texas Democratic Party was in charge of candidate recruitment: unlike many previous years, “Democrats put up candidates for every statewide elected post, except one open seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, an initial tally of filings showed Monday night.”

Here are my quick impressions of some of the more competitive statewide primary races to be fought between now and March 6.

Democratic Governor’s Race

See this post. The press is going to cover this as an Andrew White vs. Lupe Valdez race. I think there’s a 50% chance Grady Yarborough makes the runoff.

Republican Agricultural Commissioner’s Race

This race has already turned nasty, with incumbent Sid Miller and challenger Trey Blocker launching nasty Facebook attack ads at each other. One of Blocker’s consultants is Matt Mackowiak, who was just elected to a 2018-2020 term as Travis County GOP chairman unopposed, and whose Twitter feed I follow.

Republican Land Commissioner’s Race

Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has filed to run against incumbent George P. Bush. Patterson is going to have a real uphill fight to unseat Bush, since Patterson lost badly in his last race for Lt. Governor, coming in fourth in a four man race, and the Bush family machine has a legendary fundraising network, having raised more than $3 million in a down-ballot race in 2014. But various Alamo controversies and the fact that Bush has never run in even a slightly competitive race might give Patterson a chance to make the race close. Even so, Bush is still the heavy favorite.

Tomorrow (hopefully): A look at competitive U.S. congressional district races.

Have Democrats Found Their 2018 Paul Sadler?

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

After having gay leather bar owner Jeffrey Payne and perennial candidate Grady Yarborough as their ostensible gubernatorial frontrunners, Democrats finally seem to have lured someone who’s won at the county level to the race in the form of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Valdez was elected to her current post four times, so she has as much electoral experience as Wendy Davis had in 2014. However, she lacks Davis’ celebrity status outside the state, so she’s unlikely to draw anywhere near Davis’ fundraising dollars, surefire donations from Emily’s and Annie’s Lists notwithstanding. Valdez is also a lesbian, so she might split the gay vote (small as it is) with Payne.

Also, Mark White’s son Andrew has thrown his hat into the ring as well. His myriad political experience includes…being Mark White’s son. That’s it. He’s also making all sorts of bipartisan noises, but when you read his positions, they’re thinly disguised Democratic Party boilerplate, such as supporting the DREAM Act and boosting “sanctuary cities.” He also trots out the “personally pro-life” and “safe, legal and rare” canards, which always amount to “bring on the partial birth abortions!”

The Texas Tribune has a modestly irksome roundup of the race up. I couldn’t help noticing that one candidate the Texas Tribune omitted a picture for was the only candidate who had previously made it to a statewide ballot in November: Grady Yarborough, who in his 2016 Railroad Commissioner run did not do any worse (38.3% of the vote) than most statewide Democrats did in 2014. And he, like fellow gubernatorial candidate Cedrick Davis Sr., former Mayor of Balch Springs (in Dallas County south of Mesquite), who’s photo is also omitted, is black, while they included the picture of another longshot, distinctly pale former congressional candidate Tom Wakely. Another longshot mentioned in the piece, Dallas investment adviser Adrian Ocegueda (who I’m fairly sure is the only candidate whose webpage talks about contracts in virtual reality), also had his picture omitted.

Other 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial candidates not even mentioned:

  • Garry Brown, an assistant for Williamson County commissioner Terry Cook (and formerly for Rep. Lloyd Doggett)
  • Joe Mumbach
  • Lee Weaver
  • The press seems to want to this to come down to a White/Valdez race. My guess is they’re half right. I’m betting White does get into the runoff due to the electorate’s lamentable but demonstrated tendency to support political dynasties. However, right now I’d guess that, despite hostile press gatekeepers to the contrary, Grady Yarborough is more likely to make the runoff than Valdez…

    LinkSwarm for December 1, 2017

    Friday, December 1st, 2017

    Welcome to another LinkSwarm! December already! I didn’t do enough to get ahead in 2017, because I was working hard merely to survive 2017…

    Think I’m going to do a separate “Democrats Behaving Badly” roundup tomorrow, by which time there should be another half-dozen accusations…

  • Donald Trump, champion deregulator?
  • The Al Franken scandal is hitting Democrats right where it hurts most: in their pocketbooks.
  • Harry Reid kills the judicial filibuster. Result? “Trump will get to fill the most federal judiciary vacancies in 40 year.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “WaPo reporter to Project Veritas: There may be no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia.” Now you tell us… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The welfare state should be abolished.
  • “McDonald’s Bun-Supplier Loses 35% Of Staff To Immigration Raids.”
  • He was just a Dreamer, dreaming of coming to America and stabbing someone in their chest 100 times and ripping out their heart.
  • John Hindraker: “Roy Moore for Senate! Enthusiastically.”
  • Professor: the fewer competitive congressional districts, the better.
  • China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army.”
  • Once again, liberals are outraged at a compact to cut down on voter fraud.
  • Philadelphia city councilwoman wants to see more constituents murdered.
  • ESPN lays off 150 people. How is that “All Social Justice Warrior, All the Time” format working out for you?
  • 100 Buzzfeed employees laid off. What happened next will shock you! (Hat tip: NolteNC’s Twitter feed.)
  • And the hits keep coming! “Music Mogul Russell Simmons Accused of Rape by Model, Then 17 Years Old; Now Accused by Second Woman.”
  • Time Inc. will be sold to Meredith Corporation for $2.8 billion in deal partly funded by Koch brothers.” Can the Koch Brothers make it suck less? Probably not, since they evidently won’t have any influence. I think Meredith overpaid by about $2.8 billion…
  • Croatian war criminal R. Bud Dwyers himself in court, albeit less dramatically.
  • Let colleges die.
  • Imagine being so unhinged and so geeky that you issue death threats to congressmen and their families over the “net neutrality” debate. Hope the 10 years in prison and the $250,000 fine were worth it for knocking $5 off your Netflix bill…
  • Social Justice has now reached the point in Olympia, Washington that police won’t even evict trespassers from railroad tracks. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Philly officer sold drugs stolen by corrupt Baltimore police squad.” Remind me again which party has controlled those two cities the last half century…
  • Feminist satire website to shutdown because it can’t out-crazy actual feminists.
  • Dogs > Cats.
  • Germany’s top 10 most surreal sites to visit.” (Last photo is NSFW.)
  • How hippies put on the worst music festival in history.
  • Dear Jason Villalba: Enjoy This Festive Holiday Primary Challenge

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    With the retirements of Joe Straus and Byron Cook, Jason Villalba might be the least popular Republican in the Texas House. Which explains why Santa (in this case Texas conservatives) delivered a primary challenge as an early Christmas present.

    With a disastrous record in the Texas House and recent calls for gun control, Texans won’t be surprised to learn that State Rep. Jason Villalba (R—Dallas) could face a tough reelection.

    On Monday, Dallas business owner Lisa Luby Ryan, who operates an interior design firm and the antique home furnishings store Vintage Living in Dallas, validated earlier rumors she was considering a run and announced her campaign against Villalba in the Republican primary.

    “I’m simply overwhelmed at the initial support we have already earned and grateful for the caliber of individuals joining this campaign,” said Ryan in a news release. “Today’s announcement sends a loud and clear message that this district believes that we can do better than our current representation. I am running to provide voters a clear choice, and with this great support I intend to win.”

    In her campaign announcement, Ryan also released an impressive list of supporters who are already endorsing her campaign. The list includes a bevy of conservative mainstays and a substantial number of prominent community business owners including Brint Ryan (no relation), a prominent tax consultant and chairman of the University of North Texas Board of Regents, who will serve as Lisa Luby Ryan’s campaign treasurer.

    While Ryan’s background certainly plays into the amount of support she’s receiving in the district, and it’s also true that Villalba’s record has declined even further this session compared to his last, it’s likely that the donor community is supporting his opponent because Villalba has exhausted his usefulness.

    While Villalba was, admittedly, a clownish and useless member of House Speaker Joe Straus’ team, he was a part of the team. But now, that team won’t be taking the field.

    Given Straus’ announcement that he will not seek re-election and conservative efforts to amend the Republican caucus bylaws to ensure a more conservative Speaker is elected, Villalba is likely to be left on the outside looking in regardless of who is elected to be the next Speaker of the Texas House.

    And it’s not just Dallas donors who have made that observation.

    Indeed, at a recent lobby meeting hosted by Straus’ chief strategist, Gordon Johnson, Villalba didn’t even make the list of lawmakers that the group would try to “protect” in the upcoming Republican primary elections.

    Given that Straus’ allies in the lobby were forced to spend more than $500,000 to protect Villalba in the 2016 primary, Villalba will be in serious trouble if the Austin political establishment hangs him out to dry.

    Or if his constituents take a look at his record.

    You may remember Villalba from such hits as I’m A Thin-Skinned Twitter Blockhead, Let’s Make It illegal For Gun Owners and Bloggers To Photograph the Police and I Have A Whole Lot of Stupid Ideas.

    Let’s hope Lisa Luby Ryan succeeds in retiring him in 2018.

    Clinton Corruption Update For November 12, 2017

    Monday, 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

    Sunday, 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.

    Texas News Roundup for November 9, 2017

    Thursday, November 9th, 2017

    Bunch of Texas news, none of which I feel like doing a separate post on. Ready? Go!

  • The state of Texas, withe the assistance of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, has successfully thwarted the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Land Management land grab along the Red River. Good job for TPPF, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush successfully getting BLM to give up.
  • All Texas constitutional amendments pass.
  • U.S. Rep. Ted Poe announces retirement.
  • I also missed that Lamar Smith announced his retirement a few days ago as well. With Jeb Hensarling, that’s three incumbent Texas Republican Reps who have announced their retirement.
  • Ranger College: Want to pay higher taxes to support our corrupt community college? Brown, Erath and Comanche County: Get stuffed! Not often you see a proposition defeated 97% to 3%…
  • Reminder: Election Tomorrow for 2017 Texas Ballot Propositions

    Monday, November 6th, 2017

    Once again, an off-year election is sneaking up on us on tomorrow.

    There are a number of Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot. Here’s my quick “one-eyed man in the land of the blind” summary:

  • Proposition 1: “Authorizes tax exemption for property of partially disabled veterans received as donations.” Yes.
  • Proposition 2: “Makes changes to home equity loan provision of constitution.” This is a tricky one. Libertarian in me says “Yeah, sure, do whatever you want. Your funeral.” The other part of me thinks that, after 2008, having too stringent rules on tricky types of home equity borrowing isn’t exactly at the top of my list of problems. The fact that realtors and bankers have poured money into supporting this tip the balance to me recommending No.
  • Proposition 3: “Provides for how long an appointed officer may serve after his or her term expires.” Yes. Think of this as the “Texas Racing Commission” rule.
  • Proposition 4: “Requires a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to a statute.” Yes. Evidently a judge got chuffed in 2013 that mere legislators passed a law stating this, so now we have a constitutional amendment to do the same thing…
  • Proposition 5: “Defines professional sports team in charitable raffles.” Yes. Basically clarifies the terms of a previous constitutional amendment.
  • Proposition 6: “Authorizes property tax exemption for surviving spouses of first responders killed in line of duty.” Yes.
  • Proposition 7: “Authorizes financial institutions to offer prizes to promote savings.” Tentative No, since this is a carve-out for a particular industry.
  • Travis County also has some bond issues.

    Also, Williamson County voters will get a chance to eliminate the position of County Surveyor, and pretty much any time you can eliminate a government position, you should go for it…

    Jeb Hensarling To Retire

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

    Texas U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling announced he’s retiring at the end of his term.

    Here’s his retirement statement in full.

    Hensarling, head of the House Financial Services Committee, is a solid conservative, earning a 96% rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 93% rating from the NRA.

    LinkSwarm for October 20, 2017

    Friday, October 20th, 2017

    Enjoy another complimentary Friday LinkSwarm:

  • The Imran Awan scandal could result in hundreds of federal charges. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Remember Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that came up with the ludicrously fake Trump Dossier? They were called to testify before congress…and plead the fifth. “So you have what seems to be the Democrats, and Fusion GPS and these officials — intelligence agency bureaucrats — all blocking every single attempt we’re making to get the most basic information about this document, which … may have been the single document that sparked the entire Russia investigation in the first place.”
  • Bonus: That fake dossier may have been the basis of the FISA warrants used in the Trump unmasking scandal.
  • Kurt Schlichter is unimpressed with Salon’s list of Fredocons:

    The media only hires nominal conservatives who already agree with liberals, liberals have no idea what real conservatives think or why. This is the reason they end up baffled when they lose and lose and lose again – sure, Felonia von Pantsuit was also stupid and drunk, but you get the point. As Sun Tzu observed, and I believe this is a verbatim translation from the original Chinese text, a wise general must seek to know and understand the true nature and schemes of his enemy lest he end up as forlorn and humiliated as a foxy fern in the Miramax head office.

  • DNC Chair Tom Perez purges supporters of one-time rival Keith Ellison while filling key positions with Clinton supporters.
  • Speaking of which: Heh.
  • “Ralph Northam, Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor, deleted his black running mate from his campaign fliers. His campaign says that’s not a big deal.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Plurality of Americans believe the media fabricate stories. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Try to protest by blocking roads? Welcome to a jail cell.
  • This piece on how Facebook changed the 2016 election is peppered with the usual left-wing slant (has any liberal media outlet ever been labeled “hyperpartican”?), but is also filled with nuggets of insight on how liberal complacency and conservative mastery of social media blind-sided Democrats.
  • Republicans gain in voter registration:

    In short, among the truly contested states in 2016, the only ray of hope for the Democrats is Colorado, and even there, the trends have flattened some. They have stabilized New Jersey and Delaware, but Republicans continue to gain significant ground in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and above all, Pennsylvania. If these trends continue through 2020, Florida would be have a slight Republican registration edge, North Carolina would be nearly even, and New Mexico would be close enough that it could never be taken for granted. Moreover, Pennsylvania and Iowa would be solid Trump states.

    The remarkable thing about the Republican trending states is that they have moved steadily ever since last November, in almost every case without a single break. Democrats continue to lose voters, and they are not becoming independents. All of this appears to be due to Trump and Trump alone, as the Republican Party has not offered any reasons to embrace it.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • One of Obama’s “Dreamers” murders high school girl. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Denison Whataburger fires employee for refusing to serve police officers. Good.
  • Kobe Steel, Japan’s third largest steel manufacturer, falsified quality reports, affecting over 500 manufacturers. Enjoy your flight.
  • Heh 2. (Hat tip: Dwight.)