Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Ted Cruz Cleans Up On Delegates Yet Again

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Once again, Ted Cruz has outflanked the Donald Trump Campaign:

While Donald Trump is winning big delegate states and trumpeting his presumptive-nominee status, GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz and his campaign are quietly fighting — and winning — delegate support, the latest coming Saturday night in Maine.

Cruz won 19 of 20 delegates Saturday night at the Maine GOP convention.

Snip.

On Saturday, the Cruz campaign picked up a total of 65 delegates, including nine in three Minnesota congressional districts, one in a South Carolina congressional district and at least 36 of 37 national delegates in Utah, after winning the state’s GOP caucus last month, according to Politico.

Again, none of this matters if Trump can secure a first ballot victory at the Republican convention. But if he doesn’t, Cruz is exceptionally well-positioned to become the Republican nominee on the second or third ballot.

Trump is great at getting free media attention, but he sucks at actually dealing with the Republican grassroots. That, his inability to hire and lead a first-rate campaign team, and his unwillingness to learn from his mistakes, could very well cost him the nomination.

LinkSwarm for April 22, 2016

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

As today is a made-up celebration called “Earth Day,” be sure to have beef for dinner…

  • Reminder: “Officials at VA’s Phoenix hospital manipulated wait-time data to make it appear they were connecting doctors and veterans seeking appointments much faster than they actually were. This was done so VA managers at the Arizona facility could keep getting generous performance bonuses. They got their bonuses but dozens of waiting veterans died.” So how did the VA address the problem? They hired someone accused of doing the exact same thing at another hospital.
  • Huge ObamaCare premium hikes are coming down the pike in 2017. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The largest health insurer in the U.S. has started pulling out of select Obamacare exchanges.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Eight more ObamaCare co-ops are about to bite the dust.
  • Meanwhile, ObamaCare is helping enourage opioid addiction.
  • Thanks to Obama’s supergenius management, the Taliban are now winning in Afghanistan.
  • “The National Labor Relations Board suspended a top-ranking Philadelphia official after receiving complaints that he helped raise money from unions for his pro-union charity.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Following a congressional subpoena over Benghazi, Hillary’s state department staff hid requested files in another department. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Is Rhode Island closing 66% of polling places for next week’s presidential primaries? Something smells.
  • How Ted Cruz could beat Hillary Clinton. “Clin­ton is en­ter­ing the gen­er­al elec­tion with glar­ing vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies of her own. Her im­age is tox­ic to Re­pub­lic­ans and in­de­pend­ents, and her pop­ular­ity among Demo­crats is now at an all-time low as a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate, ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup’s polling. It won’t take a top-tier Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate to win.” Also: “Cruz con­sist­ently runs far more com­pet­it­ively against Clin­ton than Trump does.”
  • “It’s not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.”
  • Donald Trump jumps on the social justice warrior tranny bathroom bandwagon.
  • Evidently accused pedophile Terry Bean is the one whose organizations are pushing tranny bathroom bills down America’s throats. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Trump convention manager Paul Manafort engages in the time-honored traditional rhetorical device know as “lying your ass off.”
  • Thomas Sowell on campaign lies and dodgy statistics.
  • “Although our panel’s original estimates had Trump finishing with 1,175 pledged delegates, my revised deterministic projections have him at 1,155, and the probabilistic version has him at 1,159.”
  • Ted Cruz has done heavy organizing in California.
  • Man indicted for selling school supplies to Detroit schools he didn’t actually deliver…with the connivance of several principles receiving kickbacks. Now, remind me: Which party has controlled Detroit for half a century?
  • Venezuela instituting four hours of blackouts a day, in addition to the previously mentioned three day weekends. That socialist paradise just keeps
  • Brazil impeaches their President.
  • Won’t someone please think of poor, penniless Boeing?
  • When low-fat dogma trumped science: hamburger study data showed exacpt opposite of study’s conclusions.
  • Navy chief starving Marine air corps.
  • What Women Really Want Is The Patriarchy.”
  • ‘White Privilege’ Is a Racial Slur.”
  • Walden is less a cornerstone work of environmental literature than the original cabin porn: a fantasy about rustic life divorced from the reality of living in the woods, and, especially, a fantasy about escaping the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.”
  • Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano erupts. Popocatepetl is less than 50 miles from Mexico City…
  • Goldman Sachs pays $5 billion fine to “settle claims that it misled mortgage bond investors during the financial crisis.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Pratt & Whitney pushing a B-52 engine upgrade.
  • The woman who can’t remember her own past. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Lileks: “Who wouldn’t want to lounge around in a set from a 1970s failed Gene Roddenberry pilot?” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Son, that’s no way to treat steaks. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Something Something Something Danger Zone

    Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

    “Dems fear their primary has reached danger zone”

    That’s the actual headline on this actual story from the Hill.

    This offers me a chance to cram as many Archer memes into one post as possible do an update on the Democratic Presidential race.

    The upshot of the piece is that the Democratic establishment was fine and dandy with Bernie Sanders when he had no chance of winning, but now that he’s kicking Hillary Clinton’s ass and actually threatening to upset her coronation, there’s finger-wagging and pearl-clutching like you wouldn’t believe.

    “Anxiety is rising among Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s primary in New York, with some fearing the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has reached a danger zone.”

    Translation: Sanders attacks are hurting Clinton. And we just can’t let that happen!

    “‘While this is the NFL, and everyone understands that it’s a full-contact sport, even in the NFL one gets a yellow flag for a late hit at the knees intended to hurt the other player,’ said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.”

    I know you’ll be shocked, SHOCKED to learn that Lehane “served as a lawyer, spokesperson and expert in opposition research for the Clinton White House.”

    The Vermont senator has long drawn contrasts between himself and Clinton, but his attacks have grown more caustic of late, particularly with regard to the former first lady’s links to big financial companies.

    At a huge rally in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on Sunday, Sanders said a speech Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs must have been delivered in “Shakespearean prose,” given the $225,000 fee she received.

    He was equally scathing during last week’s debate when Clinton insisted that, during her time as a New York senator, she had “called out” banks for poor mortgage practices.

    “Secretary Clinton called them out. Oh my goodness, they must have been really crushed by this,” Sanders responded. “And was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements? So they must have been very, very upset by what you did.”

    The left of the Democratic Party has long been uneasy about Clinton’s coziness with the corporate world. But the emphatic, persistent way in which Sanders is attacking her on the topic risks painting her as a cipher of Wall Street — and such a charge could drain liberal grassroots enthusiasm if she locks up the nomination.

    Translation: Queen Hillary owns Democratic voters, and that pipsqueak Sanders has no right to “drain liberal grassroots enthusiasm.”

    “‘I am worried about the increasingly harsh tone and tenor of this campaign [that could] turn off Sanders supporters in the general [election],” said strategist Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has endorsed Clinton. ‘I’m afraid they’re going to stay home.'”

    Funny how this piece keeps quoting Clinton toadies and Democratic insiders, isn’t it?

    How nice of The Hill to offer Hillary this in-kind donation…

    Cruz Takes All 14 Delegates in Wyoming

    Sunday, April 17th, 2016

    “Ted Cruz on Saturday won all 14 delegates in the Wyoming GOP convention — a relatively small number but enough for the Texas senator to declare victory and keep GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump from securing the nomination.”

    You would think that after the first time this happened, Donald Trump would have gotten his ass in gear and hired someone to work on the delegate selection problem for him. The fact he keeps getting pantsed again and again in the delegate fight suggests either an inability to learn from his mistakes, deep organizational dysfunction on behalf of Team Trump, or both.

    And each time it happens, Trump demonstrates, yet again, why he’s not smart and organized enough to be president, while Ted Cruz proves, yet again, that he is…

    Add Arkansas to Cruz’s Delegate Conquest List

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

    Ted Cruz does it again:

    Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s supporters have teamed up in Arkansas to pack the state delegation with individuals who’ll turn against Donald Trump in a contested convention.

    Since Rubio ended his presidential bid March 15, his network of party insiders has lined up behind Cruz to win delegates who’d vote for the Texas senator once they’re no longer bound to Trump in a floor fight. Trump won Arkansas’ GOP primary March 1 with 32.8 percent of the vote compared to Cruz’s 30.5 percent and Rubio’s 24.9 percent. But Cruz’s canny operatives, with Rubio riding shotgun, is likely to thwart Trump in the delegate election.

    Trump’s organization is as sloppy in Arkansas as elsewhere, just as Cruz’s is an efficient machine in state after state. This could ding the Donald, costing him as many as 25 delegates after a first inconclusive ballot. Cruz, who finished with 15 out of the available 40 delegates in primary voting, stands to gain all 16 Trump delegates and the 9 won by Rubio.

    Bart Hester, a top Rubio organizer in Arkansas, said he’s filling Rubio’s delegate slate with individuals committed to opposing Trump in Cleveland.

    Add this to Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana where Cruz has outfoxed Trump on the delegate front. None of this matters of Trump manages to get to 1,237 delegates. But if he can’t get there, Cruz is the heads-on favorite to prevail on a second or third ballot.

    Early on delegate selection rules worked in favor of Trump, awarding him about 22% more delegates than he received via a strict proportional vote. Now that Trump’s popularity has nosedived and his momentum stalled, the delegate selection process (and his his own disorganization and ignorance of the process) is working against him as Ted Cruz outflanks and outworks him at every turn.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

    Why is Donald Trump So Stupid?

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

    I’ve decided to get rich in New York real estate.

    I’m going to fly in, get some bank loans, buy up existing old properties, tear them down, build some shiny new condos in their place, and make a mint.

    Which properties? Which bank will you get loans from? Who will you hire to do the construction? How will you navigate the labyrinth NYC regulatory codes for property, labor, construction, etc.?

    Eh, details. Don’t bother me with details. I’m just going to wing it.

    Does this sound foolish to you? Misguided? Naive?

    Well, that’s precisely the approach Donald Trump appears to have undertaken in his Presidential race. Now he’s whining that Ted Cruz, who’s a smart, focused guy with a smart, focused team that understands exactly how the process works in each state, is cleaning his clock in actually picking up delegates.

    Here’s Rush Limbaugh on why Trump’s claims of “cheating” are bogus:

    The one thing that nobody had a heads-up on was how Cruz was going to go into all of these states and arrange to get most of the delegates. We’re talking second and third ballot here. On the first ballot the delegates — for the most part; there are exceptions — are pledged to vote the way the people in their state voted. Pennsylvania, however, is different. Pennsylvania is coming up. You want to know about Pennsylvania? Only 17 out of Pennsylvania’s 70 some odd delegates vote the way voters in the primary go. Some 51, 54, I don’t have the number right in front of me, over 50 delegates in Pennsylvania are unbound, on the first ballot.

    Just use an example. If Trump wins Pennsylvania by 75%, he likely will only get 17 of the 60 or 70 delegates, because only 17 are pledged and bound to whoever wins the state primary. Well, Trump has not been working any of these delegates. Why? Who knows. It could be that he didn’t think he had to. It could be he didn’t even know. It could be he had nobody on his staff that really knows how this works.

    You do because you have been treated to in-depth explanations of how this whole delegate process works, particularly once we get to second and third ballots. And even I pointed out to you that it’s very possible — we won’t know actually ’til the convention starts — very possible that a lot of delegates that have to vote Trump on the first ballot don’t actually support him. And if we get to second or third ballot then they’ll abandon him and go for whoever. Right now Cruz is calling dibs.

    Now, what happened in Colorado is, I’m sorry to say, it’s not a trick. What happened in Colorado is right out in the open. Everybody’s known how Colorado runs its affairs. Everybody has known. Nobody just chose to look at it. It’s no secret that Colorado was gonna have a convention and they’re gonna choose their delegates before the primary. It’s not a secret. It’s just nobody leaked it. Nobody talked about it. Nobody bragged about it. So it was left to be discovered by people who didn’t know. And it turns out that people on the Trump campaign didn’t know.

    Now, I can understand how they might feel tricked here. I can understand how they might feel bugabooed because millions of votes, theoretically, are gonna happen that aren’t going to count. Hey, welcome to establishment politics. We have played for you the sound bites on this program of delegates — I’m sorry — of officials, rules committee officials. We played the sound bite of one of these guys that said, “Hey, what you all have to understand is the people don’t select our nominee; the delegates do, we do.” None of this is a mystery. This is the definition of insider versus outsider. This is a classic illustration of how an outsider has to learn the insider game to play it.

    His conclusion:

    So I don’t see Ted Cruz lying and cheating his way to the convention. I see a lot of hard work. I see some people who know what they have to do, given where they are. They’re in second place in both the vote count and the delegate count. They’re serious about winning. The Cruz team is serious about winning. They have made themselves fully aware of how the process works, and they’ve been out working it for quite a while. They went into Louisiana where Trump scored a massive win but they’ve come out of there with many more delegates than, by appearances, they should have.

    Ted Cruz had goals. He worked the problem ’til he got the result he wanted. What he’s demonstrating, folks, he’s demonstrating he knows how to work himself within this insider labyrinth. He knows how to navigate it. He knows how to work it. He knows how to turn it to his advantage. You have to look at this and say, “Okay, what does this tell us about Cruz, if he should become president?” No matter how enamored you are — and a lot of people are — no matter how enamored you are of the notion of a total outsider with no links to the establishment, no links to insider politics, nothing whatsoever, you’re fascinated by that happening, somebody coming in and just totally wrecking the castle, finding out that you can’t do that without getting inside the castle first. ‘Cause people inside the castle are not gonna let you crumble the walls.

    You know, being an outsider, it has benefits, but it has drawbacks, too, and knowing the rules inside out and outworking the competition is not cheating. If you happen to be more knowledgeable of how things work and are able to work it to your advantage, that’s just hard work. That isn’t cheating.

    Trump never tires of reminding us all how smart he is. But if he’s so smart, why hasn’t he hired smart people who know exactly how the delegate selection process works in each state?

    Just as it’s a bad idea to “wing it” as a New York real estate developer, running for President isn’t a task amenable to half-assing it.

    If Trump is as incompetent at the one main task he’s set himself (getting elected President), why would anyone think he would do better at the hundreds of tasks the President of the United States of America must oversee?

    LinkSwarm for April 11, 2016

    Monday, April 11th, 2016

    Greetings, and welcome to the week known as “Damn, I better finish my taxes.” Here’s a LinkSwarm:

  • Obama’s foreign policy genius exemplified: “In Syria, militias armed by Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA.”
  • If Republicans end up with a brokered convention, expect Ted Cruz, not Paul Ryan, to win the nomination. “[We’re] learning more and more about who those delegates are now that they’re being chosen. They’re not members of the Washington ‘establishment.’ Instead, they’re mostly grass-roots activists, and many of them want Cruz to be their next president.”
  • “Ted Cruz on Saturday clinched the support of every pledged delegate in Colorado, capturing all of the final 13 delegates who will go to the national convention in July and demonstrating his organizational strength in the all-important delegate race.”
  • Indeed, Team Trump screwed up in lots of places:

    From Thursday to Saturday, Trump suffered setbacks in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana that raise new doubts about his campaign’s preparedness for the long slog of delegate hunting as the GOP race approaches a possible contested convention. He lost the battle on two fronts. Cruz picked up 28 pledged delegates in Colorado. In the other states, rival campaigns were able to place dozens of their own loyalists in delegate spots pledged to Trump on the first ballot. This will matter if Trump fails to win a majority of delegates on the first ballot in Cleveland, as his delegates defect once party rules allow them to choose the candidate they want to nominate.

    If Donald Trump is as smart as he keeps telling us, how is it he can’t seem to hire anyone smart enough to know how each state’s delegate selection process actually works?

  • Hillary Clinton defends Israel against Bernie Sanders. Hillary finally takes the right side in an issue debate, but what do you want to bet that it hurts her, given the naked anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian bias among the Democratic Party’s activist base?
  • Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™, Venezuela is where Zimbabwe was 15 years ago. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Modern liberalism is dedicated to altering language to advance their agenda, not to mention hiding their many failures.
  • Naval security under Obama looks like it’s just as good as security in the rest of the Obama Administration. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • America assimilates Muslims much better than Europe.
  • Gun sales soar but “per capita criminal homicides committed with firearms are at their lowest point ever recorded since the FBI began formally tracking that information in 1960.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Millionaires are fleeing France. “Polls have shown that about 50% of all French people 18-34 years old, not just the millionaires and billionaires, would leave France if they could.” Why? “Blue model rot, deeply set in across Europe, is pervasive in France.”
  • “70 Tries After Seattle Raised Its Minimum Wage, I Still Can’t Find A Job.”
  • Conservative Rebecca Bradley defeated liberal activists Joanne Kloppenburg for a seat on the Wisconsin supreme court.
  • Thanks to global warming, sea levels are rising. And by “rising” I mean “falling.”
  • Dallas trying to screw property owners yet again.
  • Several ESPN writers are predicting an Astros-Cubs World Series. And the moon became as blood…
  • “New York taxi drivers to be banned from flirting with or ejaculating on passengers.” One of these things is not like the other/One of these things just doesn’t belong…
  • “Understanding Movement In Composition Through The Work Of Akira Kurosawa.”
  • Hillary’s Server, Guccifer, and Sid

    Sunday, April 10th, 2016

    Welcome to the second half of An All Sidney Blumenthal Weekend! (I’m sure that hook is just the thing to pull all the kids in for boffo sweeps ratings…)

    First some useful background on the state of play on Hillary’s email server scandal, via Kimberly Strassel at The Wall Street Journal (usual WSJ Google hoops apply):

    Hillary Clinton is good at imagining partisan plots, and to listen to her team, no less than several inspectors general, the intelligence community, and the entire Republican ecosphere are colluding to turn her home-brew email system into a fake scandal. To this conspiracy, she must now add the federal judiciary.

    In recent weeks, not one, but two, esteemed federal judges have granted an outside group—Judicial Watch—the right to conduct discovery into the origins and handling of her private email system. It’s a reminder that Mrs. Clinton’s biggest problem this election isn’t Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Her problem is a 1966 statute known as the Freedom of Information Act, and the judges who enforce it.

    The judges have taken unprecedented steps to resolve this case. It is exceedingly rare—almost unheard of—for a judge to allow discovery in a FOIA proceeding. This is a testament to how grave Mrs. Clinton’s email problem is. In the usual course of things, an outside group demands documents, a judge requires a federal department to hand them over, and the public learns something.

    In this case—as we all know—the problem is that the State Department doesn’t have the documents. Or rather, it can’t confirm that it has them all, because State left it to Mrs. Clinton and her aides to possess them, and then to unilaterally decide what to hand over. To Judge Royce Lamberth, this is cut and dry “evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith,” and the law demands a full accounting of how this situation came to be, what records exist, and where they are now.

    Speaking of the judge’s words, they too are a testament to Mrs. Clinton’s mess. Judge Lamberth was unplugged in his order, calling the former secretary of state’s email set up “extraordinary,” and slamming “constantly shifting admissions by the government and former government officials” about the setup. Judge Emmet Sullivan, the first to allow discovery, referred in his own hearing to Mrs. Clinton’s “totally atypical system” and noted that it “boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place. It’s just very, very, very troubling.”

    “Troubling” is putting it mildly…

    Fueling the judges’ suspicions has been new evidence that Mrs. Clinton didn’t turn everything over. Judicial Watch recently obtained emails showing that State Department and National Security Agency personnel had big concerns with Mrs. Clinton’s early demands that she be allowed to use a BlackBerry for secure correspondence. They wanted her to sit at a computer in a secure facility—as everyone else does. These documents include a February 2009 email from then-Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills to her boss, crowing that State was coming around to Mrs. Clinton’s demands, and a return email the same day from Mrs. Clinton saying, “That’s good news.”

    These are clearly work-related emails. They speak to the question of Mrs. Clinton’s communications while at the State Department. They aren’t about yoga routines. And yet, guess what? That email chain was not included in the 55,000 pages of documents Mrs. Clinton turned over. Perhaps it was an oversight, but far more likely, the Clinton team—knowing the firestorm over a home-brew system—chose to withhold documents showing that State and NSA considered Mrs. Clinton’s email demands unsafe and unreasonable. What else did Mrs. Clinton choose to withhold from the public?

    What else indeed?

    Judicial Watch is hoping to use discovery to interview eight current and former State Department officials, including Ms. Mills, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employees Bryan Pagliano (who is reported to have recently been granted immunity by the FBI). And yet in a hearing this week in Judge Sullivan’s court, State Department officials were already moving to limit or shut down what questions Judicial Watch could ask—including those pertaining to how classified information was handled on the system.

    Put another way, State wants to put off-limits the questions that are at the heart of the Clinton email scandal. And no surprise. The Judicial Watch discovery holds the potential to expose the many and varied ways Mrs. Clinton may have skirted the rules, and in turn to put enormous pressure on the FBI to act. These depositions meanwhile are currently set to happen this summer, right before the Democratic convention.

    The beauty of FOIA is that it is designed to bring things to light. Mrs. Clinton has grown talented at outfoxing investigators, Congress, inspectors general, the press. But she made the error this time of playing games with a law that federal judges take seriously, and that gives outside watchdogs real leverage.

    So what role did Clinton toady Sidney Blumenthal play in this “unsafe and unreasonable” secret email server? He’s the one that helped get it exposed via a Romanian hacker:

    One of the notches on Guccifer’s cyber-crime belt was allegedly accessing the email account of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, one of Clinton’s most prolific advice-givers when she was secretary of state. It was through that hack that Clinton’s use of a personal account — clintonemail.com — first came to light.

    Former law enforcement and cyber security experts said the hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, could – now that he’s in the U.S. – help the FBI make the case that Clinton’s email server was compromised by a third party, one that did not have the formal backing and resources of a foreign intelligence service such as that of Russia, China or Iran.

    And isn’t it interesting that hacker “Guccifer” has been extradited to the U.S. “at a critical point in the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use”?

    Also this: “Guccifer has no programming skills and guessed passwords of prominent public figures after reading their biographies.”

    So Guccifer isn’t some computer criminal mastermind, he’s a lowly “script kiddie” doing password guess attacks. If he did obtained access to Hillary’s email server, then it’s a dead certainty that Russia, China and other intelligence services hacked it as well.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    The Panama Papers’ Clinton-Putin Connection Part 2

    Saturday, April 9th, 2016

    It turns out that there’s another Clinton-Putin collection revealed by the Panama Papers in the form of ubiquitous Clinton toady Sydney Blumenthal:

    Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian billionaire and former prime minister of the Caucasus state, is also named in the Panama Papers, which is believed to be the largest leaks of financial documents in history. A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ivanishvili appeared in the Hillary Clinton email dump through her longtime friend Sidney Blumenthal.

    Blumenthal, who played a middle-man role for Clinton, passed along a memo from Ivanishvili ahead of the 2012 Georgian elections. Ivanishvili was head of the Georgian Dream party, which successfully ousted then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a U.S. ally.

    Snip.

    According to Blumenthal’s email, [former Clinton ambassador to Germany John] Kornblum was “working with the political party in Georgia opposing Saakashvili.”

    Kornblum made the case that the U.S. should consider distancing itself from Saakashvili. He also asserted that the regime was cracking down on opposition parties, such as the Ivanishvili-controlled Georgian Dream coalition.

    “There is a real chance Saakashvili could lose,” Kornblum wrote. “He is doing everything possible to avoid that indignity, including harassing Georgian Dream in ways described in the letters.”

    “If Saakshvili clearly steals the election, there could be public discontent, violence and maybe a ‘wag the dog’ scenario with Russia,” he added.

    In a memo passed to Blumenthal through Kornblum, Ivanishvili urged Clinton to support Georgian Dream.

    “The first step back to the path of democracy must be an open and fair election that offers the hope of a peaceful transfer of power,” Ivanishvili wrote. “Recent polls suggest that Georgian Dream can make this happen, if the authorities give democracy a chance.”

    Yes, because “peaceful democracy” and “Putin stooges” go together so well. And who wouldn’t want to ally with an America whose Secretary of State is willing to intervene in local elections on behalf of their political enemies?

    Of course, betraying allies and comforting enemies has pretty much been the modus operandi of Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy.

    It is unclear if Blumenthal was paid for connecting Kornblum and Ivanishvili to Clinton. It is also unclear whether Ivanishvili directed Kornblum or Blumenthal to reach out to Clinton. Additionally, it is unclear how Clinton responded to the memos.

    But as Gawker reported, attorneys with expertise in the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which governs foreign lobbying, say that Blumenthal and Kornblum should have registered as lobbyists.

    Blumenthal frequently emailed Clinton with items ranging from political gossip to in-depth intelligence briefings gleaned from his deep reservoir of intelligence community sources. He lobbied heavily on behalf of a company called Osprey Global Solutions, which sought contracts in post-Gaddafi Libya.

    And this is not the last time that Blumenthal will be mentioned here this weekend…

    The Panama Papers:
    The Clinton-Putin Connection

    Friday, April 8th, 2016

    Among my first thoughts when the Panama papers scandal broke was “How soon until until this is tied to the Clintons?”

    The answer seems to be about four days:

    The revelations of the so-called Panama Papers that are roiling the world’s political and financial elites this week include important facts about Team Clinton. This unprecedented trove of documents purloined from a shady Panama law firm that arranged tax havens, and perhaps money laundering, for the globe’s super-rich includes juicy insights into how Russia’s elite hides its ill-gotten wealth.

    Almost lost among the many revelations is the fact that Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Though hardly a household name, this firm is well known inside the Beltway, not least because its CEO is Tony Podesta, one of the best-connected Democratic machers in the country. He founded the firm in 1998 with his brother John, formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, then counselor to President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta is the very definition of a Democratic insider. Outsiders engage the Podestas and their well-connected lobbying firm to improve their image and get access to Democratic bigwigs.

    Which is exactly what Sberbank, Russia’s biggest financial institution, did this spring. As reported at the end of March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. Government as a lobbyist for Sberbank, as required by law, naming three Podesta Group staffers: Tony Podesta plus Stephen Rademaker and David Adams, the last two former assistant secretaries of state. It should be noted that Tony Podesta is a big-money bundler for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign while his brother John is the chairman of that campaign, the chief architect of her plans to take the White House this November.

    Sberbank (Savings Bank in Russian) engaged the Podesta Group to help its public image—leading Moscow financial institutions not exactly being known for their propriety and wholesomeness—and specifically to help lift some of the pain of sanctions placed on Russia in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, which has caused real pain to the country’s hard-hit financial sector.

    It’s hardly surprising that Sberbank sought the help of Democratic insiders like the Podesta Group to aid them in this difficult hour, since they clearly understand how American politics work. The question is why the Podesta Group took Sberbank’s money. That financial institution isn’t exactly hiding in the shadows—it’s the biggest bank in Russia, and its reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Nobody acquainted with Russian finance was surprised that Sberbank wound up in the Panama Papers.

    though Sberbank has its origins in the nineteenth century, it was functionally reborn after the Soviet collapse, and it the 1990s it grew to be the dominant bank in the country, today controlling nearly 30 percent of Russia’s aggregate banking assets and employing a quarter-million people. The majority stockholder in Sberbank is Russia’s Central Bank. In other words, Sberbank is functionally an arm of the Kremlin, although it’s ostensibly a private institution.

    Snip.

    John and Tony Podesta aren’t fooling anyone with this ruse. They are lobbyists for Vladimir Putin’s personal bank of choice, an arm of his Kremlin and its intelligence services. Since the brothers Podesta are presumably destined for very high-level White House jobs next January if the Democrats triumph in November at the polls, their relationship with Sberbank is something they—and Hillary Clinton—need to explain to the public.

    So in summary: Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager is a registered lobbyist for Vladimir Putin.

    The Clintons generate corruption and conflict of interest the way bees make honey…