Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Minnesota nice at the polls

This story made me laugh.  Today the Supreme Court heard a case where Minnesota voting officials sought to exclude somebody from voting if they wore political messages on their clothing.  The case stems from a guy who was turned away for wearing a "Don't Tread On Me" T-shirt.  Here's the relevant exchange between Justice Samuel Alito and the lawyer representing the Minnesota elections official:
Justice Alito: How about a shirt with a rainbow flag? Would that be permitted? 
Mr. Rogan: A shirt with a rainbow flag? No, it would be—yes, it would be—it would be permitted unless there was—unless there was an issue on the ballot that—that related somehow to—to gay rights…. 
Justice Alito: Okay. How about an NRA shirt? 
Mr. Rogan: An NRA shirt? Today, in Minnesota, no, it would not, Your Honor. I think that that's a clear indication—and I think what you're getting at, Your Honor— 
Justice Alito: How about a shirt with the text of the Second Amendment? 
Mr. Rogan: Your Honor, I—I—I think that that could be viewed as political, that that—that would be—that would be — 
Justice Alito: How about the First Amendment? 
Heh.  Poor guy.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It gets worse

Andrew McCarthy has a long piece that disembowels the Schiff memo: "The Schiff Memo Harms Democrats More Than It Helps Them."

There's "Heavy Reliance on Steele dossier confirmed" and "Concealing the Dossier’s Clinton-Campaign Origins" but I did not know this part about the rules of the FISA court:
So . . . here’s the question: When Steele brought the FBI his unverified allegations that Page had met with Sechin and Divyekin, why didn’t the FBI call Page in for an interview rather than subject him to FISA surveillance? Lest you wonder, this is not an instance of me second-guessing the Bureau with an investigative plan I think would have been better. It is a requirement of FISA law.
When the FBI and DOJ apply for a FISA warrant, they must convince the court that surveillance — a highly intrusive tactic by which the government monitors all of an American citizen’s electronic communications — is necessary because the foreign-intelligence information the government seeks “cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques.” (See FISA, Section 1804(a)(6)(C) of Title 50, U.S. Code.) Normal investigative techniques include interviewing the subject. There are, of course, situations in which such alternative investigative techniques would inevitably fail — a mafia don or a jihadist is not likely to sit down with FBI agents and tell them everything he knows. But Carter Page was not only likely to do so, he had a documented history of providing information to the FBI.
Emphasis in original.  So why was Carter Page subjected to secret government surveillance through the FISA court?  As McCarthy notes, it seems likely that it was to gather up Page's present and past correspondence with the Trump campaign.  Since the Steele's Russian provocateurs had falsely claimed that Page had engaged in a collusion plot, this fake piece of evidence - paid for by the DNC - was used to spy on Trump by way of Page.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Amazing leadership

Mark Steyn: "A total failure of the State."  Title reference here

Andy McCabe? Never heard of him

The Democrats dropped their rebuttal memo last night to counter the Nunes memo.  The Nunes memo alleged that DNC-funded opposition research, in the form of the phony Steele dossier, was materially used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen.

Nothing in this new memo refutes that.  First, there's the Democrat's allegation that, well, the FBI should have "speculated" that Steele's research was politically motivated since it was being funneled through Fusion GPS.  Here's Byron York:
In any case, the fact remains that the Republican memo said the FISA application did not "disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts." And it did not.
Hillary was wise to stack layers of lawyers and intermediates between herself and Steele but that doesn't change the flow of money from the DNC to Perkins to Fusion GPS to Steele to his anonymous Russian sources, the mystery men upon which this fake dossier depended.

Second, there's the argument that the FISA warrant would not have been issued had it not been for the DNC-funded dossier.  On this, the Democrats have amnesia about FBI deputy director Andy McCabe:
The Democratic memo ignored Republicans’ contention that former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe testified in December that the FISA warrant would never have been granted without the infamous dossier, which was commissioned by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). McCabe’s testimony was a key point in the Republican memo.
Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell claimed earlier this month that Republicans had mischaracterized McCabe’s testimony. However, Democrats declined to directly refute that claim in their own memo.
Must have slipped their minds.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Commercials I loathe

Grandpa: "And the wolf huffed and puffed!"
Grandkid: "Sort of how like you do, Grandpa?"
Grandpa proceeds to give extremely detailed explanation into the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the relative benefits of a certain drug.

A modern-day Gandhi

Hit and Run: "When Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Was Accused of Corruption, He Responded: 'Lions Don't Care About the Opinions of Sheep' - Israel reportedly hired his political supporters to do outreach for the police."

But good intentions

Legal Insurrection: "Paris Climate Accord fails to work as advertised - Over 26 years of international climate agreement failure continue."

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Hit and Run: "Armed School Resource Officer Stayed Safely Outside School While Mass Killing Was Underway - Sheriff on Marjory Stoneman Douglas cop's failure to act: "Sick to my stomach."

Update: "The sheriff said that he suspended Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation, but the officer resigned and retired."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Get woke, go broke

Hot Air: "Evergreen State College Warns Of 18% Drop In Enrollment Next Year."

LA Times: "NFL ratings finish regular season down about 10% from last year."

Ace: "Ratings for NBC's Olympics Continue to Stink on Ice."

On this last point, I don't actually believe it's so much politics as NBC's execrable coverage and the slooooow pace:
And then there are days like Monday. The complete list of medal events that day amounted to team ski jumping, 500-meter speedskating and two-man bobsled. That was it. Not a single medal was awarded before 9:53 p.m.
The slim pickings were symptomatic of a larger problem with the Winter Olympics: They’re way too long.
Just show the biathlon. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Politico: "Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic - Why I have my doubts about whether Trump colluded with Moscow."

The 2018 NASCAR season starts today

If you're wondering if stock-car racing can maintain its fan base in the post-Junior am I.  Jalopnik: "The Daytona 500 Is Sold Out, But Only After The Track Removed Almost 50,000 Seats."

Green flag is at 3:05pm EST, allegedly.  It looks like there's about a thousand people still on pit road right now.

Time to ban Hollywood shoot-'em-ups

Andrew Klavan: "The Left Is Reaping the Whirlwind of the Culture They Made."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Get happy!

Some nice news for a Saturday: "We've got no idea how much our world is changing. This is how far we've come."

The World Economic Forum has a bunch of graphs on metrics like literacy, democracy and extreme poverty to show how the pace of progress has accelerated dramatically over the last 50 years or so.

Maybe they work like Lisa's rock

Powerline: "Fox Butterfield, is that you?"
CBS Minnesota affiliate WCCO introduces Pat Kessler’s story on gun ownership with this classic of the genre: “More people are carrying guns than ever before, but the crime rate remains relatively low.” Kessler himself reports: “Minnesota’s violent crime rate hit a 50-year low in 2016, according to the FBI. And in 2017, the state set a new record for firearms background checks.”
HT: Instapundit.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Then we came to the end

John Podhoretz: "The Tea Party is dead — it’s the Covfefe Party now."
It is impossible to make a case that there is a Republican Party agenda now in the classic sense of the word. Instead, there is whatever works at any given point of time.

To take one interesting example: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s consuming obsession as a public servant these past decades has been the pressing need for entitlement reform — a reform it’s now unlikely we’ll ever see until we hit the moment of existential budgetary crisis in about 15 years.
Maybe Paul Ryan is just tired of being accused of pushing Grandma off a cliff.  Like Ryan, I've been advocating for entitlement reform for ages, usually adopting the language of the program's Trustees who have - year after year - urged gradual reform spread out over decades to ease the transition.  But now I think worrying about debt is a sucker's game: there's just too much temptation to pay for stuff on credit now and shuffle off the bill to the next generation.  Raise a fuss and you'll be accused of throwing Granny into the gutter.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

By the book

Long but oh-so-good.  Andrew McCarthy: "What Did Comey Tell President Trump about the Steele Dossier? - The Rice email outlines Obama’s strategy to withhold key details of the Russia investigation."

Here's the tl;dr: James Comey purposely misled the President-Elect about the totality of the fake Steele dossier and the FISA warrant against Carter Page.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The return of the native

Gateway Pundit: "FAIL=> Elizabeth Warren Responds to Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ Jab and it Immediately Backfires."

Elizabeth Warren is like the Schrodinger's Cat of identity politics.  She landed a position at Harvard as a "diversity" hire but whenever she's asked about her putative Cherokee background she falls back on vague statements about family legend that clarify nothing.

I'm less concerned about her fake heritage than her virtually non-existent record as a Senator.  She has done nothing for Massachusetts except to complain about Trump on a regular basis.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Very likely the first time I've typed these words

Make sure you check out this article in The Nation (!?!): "What We’ve Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate - The relentless pursuit of this narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences."
Many of Trump’s political opponents remain tethered to the eventual emergence of proof that his campaign colluded with the Russian government in order to win the presidency. But the evidentiary basis so far for Russiagate is thin, to say the least. Meanwhile, the relentless pursuit of this narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences.
But, wait, we have the Steele dossier, right?
This questionable narrative is perhaps why, according to the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, after one year and multiple investigations, the dossier’s allegations remain neither “proven nor, conversely, disproven”—in other words, not proven. According to Fox News, “when pressed [in recent congressional testimony] to identify what in the salacious document the bureau had actually corroborated…[then–FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe cited only the fact that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had traveled to Moscow.” It would not have been difficult for the FBI—or Steele—to figure that out, given that it was reported in The Washington Post and Russian media in early July. (Steele reports it only on July 19.)
I like that.  It reminds me of the fact-checking scene in the movie "Shattered Glass":
[after debunking Stephen Glass's New Republic article, Hack Heaven]
Adam Penenberg: But there is one thing in this story that checks out.
Kambiz Foroohar: What's that?
Adam Penenberg: [sarcastically] There does appear to be a state in the union named Nevada.
The author concludes that the Left's Rachel Maddow-style laser beam focus on Russia! has diminished efforts to fight Trump in the policy arena.  You can skip that part.

Thursday, February 08, 2018


Daily Caller: "DOJ Official Who Worked On Clinton, Russia Investigations Steps Down For Personal Reasons."
The timing of Laufman’s decision is sure to raise questions because of a Justice Department inspector general’s forthcoming report about the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. Strzok’s texts were discovered during the court of that investigation.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Nevertheless, she persisted

Fox News: "House Democratic leader speaks for record 8 straight hours demanding immigration vote."  Poor Nancy: if only there had been a point in time when she was Speaker of the House and there was a Democrat President in the White House, she could have done something for the Dreamers.

Extra - Twitchy: Oh, no, Pelosi!

Debt forever

Hit and Run: "Senate Reaches Bipartisan Deal to Keep the Government Open By Spending More Money On Everything - Both parties agree on more spending and bigger deficits."
So how did the two sides finally come together? They decided to spend more—on everything. And they'll worry about paying for it later (or maybe not at all).
Nobody cares.  That's a problem for the next generation.

Listen to crazy Joe

Hot Air: "Joe Biden: Yeah, Trump Shouldn’t Do An Interview With Mueller."

I suspect that Trump will do the interview in the sense that he'll accept questions from the special counsel's office and then respond to them in written form after a team of lawyers have scrubbed them clean.  After a year of investigation there's no evidence of collusion with the Russians so the only thing that can trip up Trump is a process crime like perjury or obstruction. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

I'm going to miss Gowdy

Politico: "Gowdy implies Clinton friend Blumenthal fed information to Steele."  "Rep. Trey Gowdy heavily implied on Tuesday that longtime Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal fed information that was leaked to former British spy Christopher Steele."

There are a couple of videos on YouTube of Gowdy going after witnesses including when he repeatedly asked dimwit Senator Elizabeth Warren to answer a simple question.  When she failed to respond to any questions, an exasperated Gowdy just exclaimed "I give up."

Monday, February 05, 2018

I blame the Philadelphia Eagles' win

Fox Business: "Stock market plunges, with Dow down a record 1,175 points in the Big Board's biggest one-day drop."  Ouch.  The story I heard in NPR suggested that businesses are spooked about rising labor costs with Friday's report showing job and wage growth.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Defense wins championships

Perhaps the Patriots should have got one.

Well, congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles.  I thought going for it on fourth and short showed a team willing to roll the dice to win.

So much winning, sometimes I get tired of winning

L.A. Times: "Patriots vs. Everybody: A look at why New England is the most-hated team."  "But with New England in the NFL's marquee game for the third time in four years, and the franchise on the verge of its sixth Lombardi Trophy since the 2001 season, Patriots fatigue has reached epidemic proportions."

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Politifact's "balance"

Powerline: "Politifact exposed."  The so-called fact checkers, who lied pretty consistently about Obamacare, wants you to know they're committed to balance.  They added a Democrat who hates Trump balanced out with a Republican who hates Trump.  Even-steven.

And now memo regrets

I knew it was best to keep my powder dry on the Nunes memo.  Hot Air: "WSJ, NYT, WaPo: Actually, The DoJ Did Tell The FISA Court About Steele’s Political Connections."

So the old story is that the FBI didn't tell the FISA court that the Steele dossier was a product of DNC opposition research.  The new story is they did tell the FISA court and they approved it anyway.  I don't know which is worse.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Only Brits use the word "discourtesy"

Heard this on NPR and the video is as good as the audio.  Guy's really sorry about being late:

Viva la resistance

Dana Milbank: "Democrats’ behavior at the State of the Union was embarrassing."
It gives me no pleasure to say this, but the Democrats’ behavior at the State of the Union was embarrassing.
I take a back seat to nobody in decrying President Trump’s cynical and divisive performance. ...
But the Democrats, with their childish protests, took the bait.
They're playing to an ever-shrinking audience of "resisters!" with this non-stop parade of outrage, which is why few people listen to their apocalyptic warnings about tomorrow's FISA memo.

Not even enough to buy a Rolex

Well not a nice one like the the Submariner model, damn you.  Hot Air: "Taxmageddon Update: Surviving Workers Pleased With Extra ‘Crumbs’ In Their Paychecks."