Sunday, June 25, 2017

Democrat Disinformation Reported

It's always gratifying when the worm turns (and bites the would-be biter). The New York Post has done opposition research on a firm which specializes therein. The firm, Fusion GPS, is run by Democratic donor/operatives with ties to Mexico.

This firm has a track record, the Post notes:
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democrat ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.

Federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign. In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.
Fusion GPS hired retired Brit spy Christopher Steele who put together the thoroughly discredited "dossier" on Trump's imagined escapades in Russia. About Steele's "work," the Post concludes:
It’s now clear his “intelligence reports,” which together run more than 35-pages long, were for the most part worthless. And the clients who paid Fusion GPS (which claims to go “beyond standard due diligence”) for them got taken to the cleaners.

Steele hadn’t worked in Moscow since the 1990s and didn’t actually travel there to gather intelligence on Trump firsthand. He relied on third-hand “friend of friend” sourcing.

But his main source may have been Google. Most of the information branded as “intelligence” was merely rehashed from news headlines or cut and pasted — replete with errors — from Wikipedia.

In fact, much of the seemingly cloak-and-dagger information connecting Trump and his campaign advisers to Russia had already been reported in the media at the time Steele wrote his monthly reports.
Perhaps the scariest part of this story is the following:
The FBI received a copy of the Democrat-funded dossier in August, during the heat of the campaign, and is said to have contracted in October to pay Steele $50,000 to help corroborate the dirt on Trump — a relationship that “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the bureau in investigating Trump, warned Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is said to have contracted with Steele. McCabe's wife was a Democrat candidate for state senate in Virginia. She received big financial backing from the Clinton camp.

This is our second post in two days raising questions about whether Republicans can have any faith in FBI even-handedness and honor, the other post being this one from Friday. A former FBI special agent suggests via Power Line the answer may be: no longer. He writes:
I regret to say that the process began in earnest under Bush, who appointed Mueller. An acquaintance recently complained that the Bureau was no longer what it used to be, or maybe never had been. I maintained that the institutional culture was changed through the Legal Counsel Division. That’s how it always work in America, isn’t it? If you want to enforce Liberal/PC norms, you change the lawyers.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Brookings on the Out-of-Work

The Brookings Institution has a big survey of the long-term unemployed, those who for whatever reason no longer look for work. A quick scan suggests they chose not to look at some causes, including prior felony convictions, that explain quite a lot of the variance. I wonder why this is so?

Sifting Through the Ruins

MoDo, more formally known as Maureen Dowd, writes bitchy snark for The New York Times, and leans left while doing it. However, like Ann Coulter on the right, MoDo is good at what she does, often entertaining as well as accurate.

Her most recent column says Democrats are as clueless as the Republicans, as evidenced by four consecutive special election losses. It's strong medicine for NYT readers, who aren't accustomed to such brutal realism.

Republicans are scarcely flawless but, all things considered, in politics winning beats losing every time. And having something you are for - MAGA - works better than having something you are against - Trump.

Trump instinctively lives rent-free in the heads of every politician, reporter and editor - nearly all Democrats. They know it, and can't figure out how to evict him. Virtually every story is about him, one way or another.

CA Single Payer On Hold

The Sacramento Bee, essentially the house organ of CA state government, reports the efforts to pass single payer health care are "on ice" for the time being. Apparently the bill, as currently written, was more of a statement of aspiration than actual legislation. The Assembly Speaker adds the bill "is not dead" but sent back for much additional work.

According to the Bee, the California Nurses Association is the bill's major backer. My guess: they calculate many doctors will leave the state after single payer passes; nurses and nurse practitioners will be left providing most of the care.

Won't that be wonderful? The DrsC need to think seriously about selling our CA vacation home.

CNN Commits Journalism

Conservative media, including our humble efforts here at COTTonLINE, often beat up on CNN for its obvious leftward bias. On the other hand, when CNN does something right we should indicate out approval thereof. An example is at hand.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports CNN reporter Thomas Frank posted a story on Thursday evening concerning:
An investigation of a Russian investment fund with potential ties to several associates of President Trump.

But by Friday night, the story was removed from CNN's website and all links were scrubbed from the network's social media accounts.

"That story did not meet CNN's editorial standards and has been retracted," CNN said in an editor's note posted in place of the story. "Links to the story have been disabled."
That's what real journalists do when they learn they published something later proven untrue; well done, CNN.

It's Real Name Is "Treason"

Scott Johnson is one of Power Line's regulars. Today he reacts to a Washington Post article disclosing counterespionage efforts by the Obama administration against the Russians during the recent presidential election.

The story revealed highly secret information to the Russians, in an attempt to make Obama look less useless. Some key observations:
The Post dates the critical intelligence “bombshell” obtained by the CIA to August 2016.

CIA Director John Brennan deemed it so confidential that he withheld it from the President’s Daily Brief and conveyed it directly in writing to Obama by hand delivery.

In the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package. In other words, President Obama declined to take any action while it might still have done some good.

One might infer from story that President Obama “colluded” with Putin to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

To be fair, we might consider the explanation that Obama was just a pusillanimous pussy disinclined to protect the interests of the United States from our enemies.

By contrast, however, the Post’s reportage offers no evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with the Russian interference intended to assist Trump’s election. Zero. Nada. Not even by inference.

Perhaps evidence of Trump “collusion” is beyond the scope of the Post’s story. If the Post had obtained such evidence from its numerous sources, however, it would be in the story.
Johnson quotes the Post as follows:
Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.
To which Johnson adds:
This is a piece of highly classified intelligence whose disclosure violates the oaths of those who gave it to the Post.

The disclosure of highly classified intelligence by government officials seriously violates the espionage laws of the United States. It is in all likelihood felonious several times over in the case of each of the Post’s numerous anonymous sources.

The Post and its reporters are accomplices to the crimes committed by their sources. They have disseminated highly classified intelligence to the enemies of the United States — as the left has lately discovered Putin and Russia to be.
Unless, of course, this is a piece of classic disinformation planted to cause Russians to look frantically for nonexistent "cyber weapons in Russia's infrastructure." Spy vs. Spy, anyone?

Saturday Snickers

It's Saturday, which means it's time for our weekly selection from Steven Hayward's The Week in Pictures for Power Line. 

General thought: The captions aren't compelling but cartoonists have done marvelous Nancy Pelosi caricatures this week, some positively haunting.

Movie still of the Air Cav brigadier general from Apocalypse Now, captioned:
I love the sound of liberals
crying in the morning
Cartoon of Russians Boris and Natasha from the Rocky and Bullwinkle series, in a rowboat, Boris speaks:
Iz funny how we get credit for Trump election!
Natasha responds:
Iz not funny at all!
We bribe Hillary to sell us uranium.
We no can bribe Trump.
Next we have a couple of comparisons of first ladies. In the first, photos of Michelle, Hillary, and Melania as each looked when visiting Saudi Arabia. Only the first two are wearing head scarfs. In the second, we see a rather plain Michelle dressed for a trip to the supermarket and a glamorous Melania dressed to kill, captioned:
Here's to all the fashion designers who dressed Michelle Obama and refused to dress Melania Trump.
 A roadside sign showing the following aphorism:
Puns about Communism aren't funny
unless everyone gets them
Photo of a hearse towing a brush chipper, captioned:
Apparently there's another option
Besides burial and cremation
Photo of a wok, with green plant material in it, and a stirring spoon, captioned:
Pro tip: If you stir coconut oil into your kale, it makes it easier to scrape into the trash.
Cartoon of Fred Flintstone, captioned:
We all get heavier when we get older because there's lots more information in our heads. So I'm not fat, I'm just really intelligent and my head couldn't hold any more so it started filling up the rest of me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

FBI Bias Showing

Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist and a frequent panelist on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier. Today she writes about the biased-as-hell, ridiculous press briefing the FBI gave about their "investigation" of the Steve Scalise shooting.

You need to read what she wrote, and - scary thought - wonder if we can trust anything the FBI says or does. The shooter's anti-Republican motives are clear on their face, whereas:
The takeaway of the briefing was characterized well by the Associated Press headline about it: “FBI: Gunman who shot congressman had no target in mind.” The Associated Press reported the FBI:
  • believes the gunman “had no concrete plan to inflict violence” against Republicans, 
  • “had not yet clarified who, if anyone, he planned to target, or why,” 
  • believes he may have just “happened upon” the baseball game the morning of June 14, and that the attack appeared “spontaneous,” 
  • are unclear on the “context” of Hodgkinson’s note with six names of members of Congress, 
  • does not believe that photographs of the baseball field or other sites “represented surveillance of intended targets,” and 
  • “painted a picture of a down-on-his-luck man with few future prospects.”
Does that FBI-painted picture have any meaningful relation to your understanding of the Scalise shooting? It sounds to me like something written by a Bernie Sanders staffer desperate to absolve his boss of guilt by association.

Cut Carbs = Get High? Maybe

The Daily Mail (U.K.) summarizes the findings from an article in The Conversation about the effects of low-carb diets, like Atkins. It turns out the body's process of switching to fat-burning from carb-burning produces BHB, chemically very similar to GHB, aka Fantasy, the party drug.

It is likey that some people on low-carbohydrate diets experience euphoria as a result. I share this article with you because of an experience the DrsC had.

The builder of our current house in WY, now some 17 years ago, happened to be on a low-carb diet during the build. As we were around the building site frequently we had many interactions with him. Our contractor was ebullient about the experience of the diet, he was an absolute evangelist for low-carb.

Looking back on it, I believe he was one of those individuals who "gets high" from cutting out carbs. On the other hand, perhaps 3 years later the other DrC and I tried a low-carb diet for about a year and got no such sensation whatsoever.

Unlike many, we lost maybe 20 lbs each and then plateaued at that level for month after month, eventually giving it up as a bad job. Maybe we cheated some, I don't remember clearly nearly 14 years later. I do remember we ate a carload of leafy green salad and a ton of meat.

Ship Collision Update

The Washington Free Beacon reports the latest info on the collision of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald with the container ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan. A key point: the container ship appears to have been proceeding on autopilot with no one manning the bridge, or indeed awake at the time of the collision.

There is still no information suggesting how a warship like the Fitzgerald could have failed to be aware of the Crystal's approach. Such ships routinely have multiple people on duty looking at radar and other data inputs when sailing.

I expect an eventual Board of Inquiry will find fault with the handling of both vessels.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Don't Like Leftists

Writing at American Thinker, Rick Moran expresses something I believe you'll enjoy and agree with. After listing all the lame excuses Democrats have given for failing to win GA-6, he concludes:
All of those excuses fail to get to the crux of why the left keeps losing. Ordinary Americans simply don't like leftists very much. And when Hollywood and Silicon Valley unite to tell them they are stupid, are ignorant, are racist, are homophobic, hate Muslims, and shouldn't love America so much, what do they expect the reaction from ordinary people will be?
Hmmmm ... "FOAD" sounds about right.

PC Run Amok

John Hinderaker of Power Line cites a story from The New York Times about Canadian universities "indigenizing" their curricula.  That is defined as follows:
A new, elastic term that means everything from drawing more aboriginal students and faculty members onto campuses built largely for white settlers, to infusing those stodgy Western institutions with aboriginal belief systems and traditional knowledge.
This isn't easy, for:
Aboriginal scholars say that colonial education philosophies and aboriginal theories of knowledge are incompatible.
At the University of Saskatchewan:
Last year, the academic governing body agreed that all of the 17 colleges and schools, from dentistry to engineering, should include indigenous knowledge.  
I love Hinderaker's comment about this:
I am not sure what the Stone Age engineering of Native Americans can teach modern engineering students, but I know this for sure: when it comes to “indigenous” dentistry, count me out!
The whole idea of indigenizing the curriculum is ridiculous. Establishing a department to respectfully study indigenous culture and folkways and their applicability to modern life is certainly reasonable.

Quote of a Busy Week

The Atlantic's Molly Ball writes the quote of a week which featured two special House elections:
Moral victories get no votes in Congress.
Ladies and gentlemen of the left, I recommend Mylanta Gas for your dyspepsia.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Positive, Not Earthshaking

There have been four recent special elections held to fill House seats vacated when President Trump appointed the incumbent Republicans to various executive branch roles. Conservative media, to the limited extent it exists, has made much of the fact that Democrats have won none of these elections.

Yes, this is wonderful. No, it isn't particularly unusual or unexpected. POTUS was strongly advised to avoid selecting individuals from toss-up districts where GOP incumbency is valuable. All came from districts which normally elect Republicans, so-called "safe seats."

There were reasons to believe GA-6 could become an exception to this generality. GA (and national) Democrats did everything they could think of, plus spent a ton of money, to help Ossoff win GA-6. It wasn't nearly enough.

I don't expect Democrats to get overly exercised about their "failures" in these districts where they are disadvantaged. And I'd caution Republicans not to become too giddy about the wins for exactly the same reasons.

We're happy the sun comes up each morning, but it isn't big news. These elections became important only if what we expected to happen did not happen. So far, no surprises, ergo not much news.

Sadness in San Juan

The Associated Press reports high unemployment in Puerto Rico has led to high levels of home foreclosures. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

The market, if allowed to operate, inexorably deals with economic problems; the process by which it happens is normally both ugly and unpleasant. Mostly banks there are selling off the non-performing loans to off-island entities which pursue foreclosures in federal courts, the article adds.

Those getting hurt are the same group of people who got hurt in the 2007 real estate crash on the mainland. Namely, those who in good times can just about afford to purchase a home but who, when times turn bad, cannot continue to make their mortgage payments.

In the long run, a wave of foreclosures is what Puerto Rico needs. It will drive down home prices and make buying there attractive to retirees from the northeast U.S. Plus it will encourge emigration of enough residents to bring the population into balance with what the tourism industry can employ.

In the short run, the level of human misery will be high. Like some diseases, Puerto Rico's economy will have to get worse before it can get better.

Those inclined to shrug off the human costs of this process should remember economist John Kenneth Galbraith's bleak observation about things being okay in the long-run. "In the long run, we are all dead," he grimly reminded us.

Pelosi 'Poisoning' In GA

The Washington Post notes uber-Democrat Nancy Pelosi contributed to the GA-6 election win by Republican Karen Handel, as quoted by regular Instapundit guest-blogger Stephen Green.
The most prominent and effective hit on the Democratic candidate was to tie him to the congresswoman from San Francisco.

Republican operatives say that 98 percent of voters in the 6th District already had an impression of Pelosi when they conducted their first internal poll, and she was 35 points underwater. When presented with the choice of whether they wanted a representative who would work with Paul Ryan or Pelosi, six in 10 picked the Speaker and three in 10 picked the minority leader. 
My envelope-back math says twice as many Georgians find Pelosi repulsive as find her attractive. Only twice as many? De gustibus non est disputandum, even in Georgia.

Missing David Broder

New York Post political writer Michael Goodwin commenting at Imprimis on the abysmal bias exhibited in most political reporting today. Hat tip to Charles Glasser, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the link.
Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.

It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left.
Somewhere the ghost of David Broder wails in frustration. Whatever his personal opinions, in print and in person Broder treated politics as a neutral phenomenon like the weather. He dispassionately reported the who and what were actually happening, and as best he could decypher it, the why. Broder delivered real journalism, unlike today's opinion-driven advocacy masquerading as jourrnalism.

Serious Snark

Stephen Green, a regular guest-blogger at the Instapundit site, quotes Kurt Schlichter and adds a droll-but-trenchant aside. Schlichter is commenting with extreme prejudice on the attempt to overthrow Trump when he concludes:
What do they think comes after Trump? Someone nice?
To which Green adds the following, highly relevant comment:
Do you want President Duterte? Because this is how you get President Duterte.
N.B., Intemperate President Duterte uses extrajudicial murder as a favored instrument for combatting Philippine drug users and dealers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Democrats Lose Two More

Two special elections were held today, one each in SC and GA. The reason: to elect replacements for two GOP Representatives who were appointed to cabinet positions by President Trump.

Georgia got most of the attention, likely because nobody believed a Dem. could win in SC. The GA-6 House race was the single most expensive such race ever held.

Dems believed they had a good chance to win in GA-6, and claim it a vote of no confidence on the Trump presidency. Instead, they lost.

Republican Karen Handel got 52.6% of the GA vote to Democrat Jon Ossoff's 47.4%. Likewise, in South Carolina Republican Ralph Norman beat Democrat Archie Parnell, 51.1% to 47.9%, in a race that drew less outside donor money and media attention. Vote percentages for both races are according to CNN.

Having lost both special elections, Democrats will now try to tell you "all politics is local" and the results cannot be interpreted as support for President Trump. You will hear this steaming puddle of sophistry from the likes of (up)Chuck Schumer. When you do, remember what Democrats planned to say if they won, namely that it showed people didn't support Trump.

Golly, on the right we can say these two elections show Trump is popular, disbelief in the old media notwithstanding. Two referenda on the Trump presidency were held and ... wait for it ... he won both!

Congress folk need to get busy legislating, the Trump agenda just demonstrated continued popularity. I'm tempted to claim Trump has the coattails his predecessor famously lacked.

Illegal Immigrant Voters

Trump alleged a lot of non-citizens voted in the 2016 election; most pundits pooh-poohed that claim, especially Democrats who benefitted therefrom. A new study suggests he may have been more right than they.

The Washington Times reports as follows:
A research group in New Jersey has taken a fresh look at postelection polling data and concluded that the number of noncitizens voting illegally in U.S. elections is likely far greater than previous estimates. As many as 5.7 million noncitizens may have voted in the 2008 election, which put Barack Obama in the White House.

For 2012, Just Facts said, 3.2 million to 5.6 million noncitizens were registered to vote and 1.2 million to 3.6 million of them voted.

There is hard evidence outside of polling that noncitizens do vote. Conservative activists have conducted limited investigations in Maryland and Virginia that found thousands of aliens were registered.
This nefarious practice needs to end, soonest. Noncitizen registration itself has to be a crime, not to mention voting.