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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Uncategorized"

Marco Rubio Goes Against Trump on CNN Over Carter Page Surveillance

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Westlake Legal Group marco-rubio-cnn-SCREENSHOT Marco Rubio Goes Against Trump on CNN Over Carter Page Surveillance Uncategorized Steele dossier State of the Union Russian collusion Politics Patriotism Marco Rubio Hillary Clinton Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump CNN Carter Page

 

 

On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, claiming a “different view” than the President with regard to whether or not the Department of Justice illegally spied on Trump’s campaign.

Trump conveyed his opinion earlier in the day (he wasn’t for being spied on).

Press pause — Dance break!

Now we’re back, with Rubio–

“I don’t believe that them looking into Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign. I also don’t believe it proves anything about collusion. … He was a guy that was on their screen even before the campaign. … I don’t think it’s part of any broader plot. The only plot here is the plot to interfere in our election by the Russians.”

As covered here, the DoJ released documents Saturday which indicate the FBI’s belief that Carter acted in cahoots with the Russians, thereby somewhat substantiating surveillance.

Republicans have criticized the surveillance, asserting warrants were granted due to the Steele dossier, which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton campaign. Moreover, it contained baseless accusations regarding Trump’s Russian alliance.

According to members of the GOP, the Justice Department neglected to inform the court of the dossier’s origin when they petitioned for a warrant.

Oops!

Nonetheless, as Rubio told CNN, Page — like a bigmouthed character in a mafia movie that you just know is gonna get whacked — had been open in conversation about his ties to Russia.

Therefore, as Rubio sees it, everything’s totally cool:

“I don’t think they did anything wrong. There was a lot of reasons unrelated to the dossier why they wanted to look at Carter Page.”

Strategically, in this situation, it appears that Rubio and others are making a mistake to voice their opinions when they clash with those of Trump. Democrats would never do this.

I’m glad to see that Republicans are sometimes less plastic than the other side of the aisle, but in this case, it seems that silence would be advantageous. Then again, congressional Republicans have fewer than four months to remind voters who they are so they can be reinstated at the polls.

But which is more beneficial — to stand out with respectful disagreement on issues of one’s own side’s foreign collusion, or to present a united party front? The Democrats will leverage intraparty dissent.

Rubio seems unwise. Furthermore, the issue about which he is speaking doesn’t seem clear-cut on his side. He’s risking being wrong, while at the same time risking weakening the party. To me, that seems like a risk not worth taking.

What do you think? Is Rubio doing the right thing? Please let me know.

Check out my related article, found here.

For something different, please see my pieces on media bias and Reliable Sources, Amal Clooney’s message to college graduates, and Jimmy Kimmel’s interview of Jim Acosta.

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

The post Marco Rubio Goes Against Trump on CNN Over Carter Page Surveillance appeared first on RedState.

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RedState’s Water Cooler – July 22, 2018 – Open Thread – “Mercy More Than Life”

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Today is one of those fun days in the RedState Department of History. In our never ending search for anniversaries, sometimes patriotic music comes into play and today is one of those days.

Katharine Lee Bates was born in Massachusetts. She was a minister’s daughter and a member of the second female graduating class of Wellesley  College in Massachusetts in 1880, where she later earned a doctorate.

But it was when she taught English in Colorado just before the turn of the 20th Century that her work became part of the national consciousness. She taught at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, when one day she decided to take a trip to the top of nearby Pikes’ Peak, with friends.

14,000 feet later, she reached the summit and looked down at a vast expanse in front of her. Instead of moving Bates to tears, it moved her to words:

“We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”

And write she did. The four-stanza poem she wrote later became known as “America the Beautiful“, and it was written on this day in 1893.

Yet words alone were not enough. At first, “America the Beautiful” was simply a poem, until, eleven years after Bates wrote it, the words were joined with music written by Samuel A. Ward, a church organist who died in 1903 — one year before his music met Bates’ four stanzas.

The result was a combination which many feel is our unofficial national anthem:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

It’s interesting to note that two of America’s most beloved national hymns – America the Beautiful and The Battle Hymn of the Republic, earned their authors less than ten dollars combined. Julia Ward Howe sold her work to the Atlantic Monthly during the Civil War for four dollars, and Bates only received five dollars when she sold her poem for initial publication. Ward’s estate received nothing at all for his music.

And even then, Bates’ work was not initially well received. The New York Times reviewed her 1912 book “America the Beautiful and Other Poems,” thus:

“We intend no derogation to Miss Katharine Lee Bates when we say that she is a good minor poet.”

Bates was committed to equality and justice for her entire life and was a Republican for most of it. She split with the party in 1924 when the party platform would not support joining the League of Nations.

The song was one of three considered for the official designation of national anthem in 1931 along with “My Country “Tis Of Thee” and, of course, “The Star Spangled Banner.” President Herbert Hoover made the final choice and to this day there are still petitions asking the government to reconsider.

One of those people who supported the change was Ray Charles, who performed my favorite version of the song. His reasoning was simple: “Honestly, wouldn’t you rather sing about the beauty of America?” he asked.

Bates died in 1929, while listening to a friend read poetry to her. She was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1970.

Happy Sunday and enjoy today’s open thread!

 

The post RedState’s Water Cooler – July 22, 2018 – Open Thread – “Mercy More Than Life” appeared first on RedState.

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Did the Cold War Ever Really End?

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In 1991, the West “won” the Cold War with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Perhaps in the euphoria of that time as we celebrated people dismantling the Berlin Wall and tearing down statues of Lenin coupled with a desire to realize the “peace dividend,” Western leaders lost sight of the bigger picture.  One can also make a case that Western leaders were somewhat naive in their outlook regarding the new Russia.

Russia is a huge nation of many ethnicities spanning two continents.  It has a huge nuclear stockpile and is rich in energy sources. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the resulting democracy was a messy affair.  Many in the West assumed that Western style capitalism would simply take hold after a period of disruption as an economic system tightly controlled by the government would unwind.

What Western leaders failed to factor into the picture was that today’s leading statesmen in Russia were brought up in the USSR.  Today’s Russia has no official ideology such as existed with the USSR, but their mindset is internationalist by default. Almost a century of Marxist inculcation cannot be swept away by the felling of a wall or defining a country’s boundaries.  Although they often play the nationalist tune when politically convenient, their motivations for their actions today are, on the practical level, the same as Communist Russia. That is especially true of Vladimir Putin, a man so inculcated in the USSR model given his tenure in the KGB.  And although not called the KGB today, the tactics and strategies of the various Russian intelligence agencies are no different than those of the KGB.

The lack of a unifying ideology among Russia’s leaders can be misleading.  For this, one needs to have a basic understanding of Alexander Dugin, often referred to as “Putin’s brain” or “Putin’s Rasputin.”  Believing that liberalism (exemplified by the West), communism and fascism were the three dominant ideologies, he argues that fascism was swept away in 1945 and Communism in 1991.  Liberalism, having won, is in its death throes, a process he wishes to accelerate where a new Eurasian model will evolve. Under this model, the Russian empire which preceded the Soviet Union will be re-established and pushed westward to Portugal.  Tactically, this is no different than the aspirations of Communist Russia.  However, ideologically they are not pushing communism.

Dugin’s main thesis was 1997’s “Foundations of Geopolitics” which is required reading for Russian military and intelligence officers.  It is also an outline of Russian methods to be used to usher in this new era where the pole of influence lies not in Paris, Berlin or Brussels, but in Moscow.  Dugin realizes that politically and economically, the new Russia cannot wield hard power despite having a nuclear arsenal. That merely gets Russia and Putin a seat at the table.  Instead, soft power is to be used by fomenting unrest in targeted states through a campaign of propaganda and misinformation, backing separatist movements within countries and forming a Russia-Islamic alliance with Shiite states (Iran).  It also calls for cutting Great Britain off from mainland Europe.

Russia’s designs on the Ukraine through the annexation of Crimea and their involvement in eastern Ukraine are an outgrowth of this philosophy.  Likewise, so is Russia’s outreach to and defense of Iran. They have sponsored separatist “conventions” that included such unlikely figures as secessionist movement leaders from Texas and California, the Catalan and Basque regions of Spain, Scotland, and Italy.

Their lack of ideology is demonstrated by the groups they support showing no preference whether on the Right or the Left provided they serve Russia’s end game.  The Leftists oppose Western imperialism while ignoring or even defending Russian imperialism. They oppose the expansion of NATO into Central and Eastern Europe.  They are at the forefront of LGBT rights but support a country that has brutally cracked down on homosexuals. On the far Left, today’s Russia has cultivated friendships in the anti-globalist movements and among environmentalists.  This was by design and relationships between Moscow and the far Left that laid dormant from 1991 to 2001 were reignited when Putin came to power.

They are believed to be quite influential on the other side of the political spectrum and the libertarian Ron Paul Institute which preaches isolationism on the part of the US is an example.  Many members of that Institute are regulars on Russia’s Sputnik or RT stations. Many of the sentiments of Dugin (and Putin) are echoed by far Right Wing leaders like Richard Spencer. Dugin has been particularly interested of late in stirring up racial tension in the United States.  

Since 2009, Russia has developed strong links to far Right wing parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik, the People’s Party in Slovakia and Bulgaria’s Ataka movement.  They have simultaneously re-established links to former Leftist friends like Germany’s Die Linke, the Polish Democratic Left Alliance, and the Greek Communist Party.  All were designated observers in the Crimea referendum on annexation. And in Spain, Moscow holds influence over the Leftist Podemos party.

All the tricks in the Russian playbook today were used in the former Soviet Union’s war against the West.  The Communists themselves advocated mobilizing radical black Americans to foment unrest against white Americans.  Putin is implementing the strategies suggested by Dugin which is a rehashing of the methods used by Communist Russia to destabilize Western powers.

These strategies do not stop with hacking the e-mail accounts of American or European political parties.  The fact there was not widespread condemnation against Russian expansionism into the Ukraine and the Brexit vote show that Russia is successfully dividing Great Britain.  The fact that there is so much division in the United States politically shows that Russia is gaining ground here. The fact that far Left and far Right parties in Europe are acting and doing the bidding of Moscow shows they are succeeding there.

 Dugin later elaborated on his strategy as it concerns the United States:

introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity… (by encouraging) all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.

Viewed in this light, the extreme radical Leftist tendencies we see being played out today have Dugin’s fingerprints all over them.  The Left’s adoration of Russia did not end when the Berlin Wall fell. To the Left, the United States is the source of all evil in the world and the rest of the world its victims (including Russia).  Much of the early campaign was protesting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But from at least 2005 onward under Putin’s leadership, Russia has been a key facilitator of Leftist actions. The fact that Right wing movements have evolved that reject the post-World War II order has gained them more allies of which they can take advantage.

To Russia, there is only one logical leader of this new Eurasian Union they envision- Russia.  The goal is to correct what they view as a historical wrong and to start to bring back the Russian empire that existed before 1917.  Most scholars note that Putin’s authoritarianism and his actions in Syria and the Ukraine show that he is simply playing the long Eurasian game. Others have noted that Dugin has lost some influence since he has been critical of Putin for not striking quicker while the iron is hot.

This would not be the first time in history that Russia collectively thought that everything was wrong in the world, that they were the victims and that everything needed to be uprooted to correct a perceived wrong.  Whether Putin is in power or not, that tendency to be the victim and the resulting paranoia will persist. One cannot reshape centuries of Russian history and the Russian psyche in one fell swoop.

Whether under the czars- the Russia to which Putin desires to return his country to its former geopolitical glory,- or under the Communists- the methods of whom Putin uses to achieve these ends- the result is a Russia that will not stop at the Ukrainian border in their designs to create a new world order, but will push westward.

In that sense, the Cold War never really ended, but laid dormant for a mere decade. In a strange, odd sense, Putin’s statement that the fall of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical debacle to befall the 21st century holds some truth.  Likewise, Trump’s assertion that US-Russian relations are at all all-time low also holds some truth.

The last time Russia or the USSR vied for geopolitical domination, it did not end well for them.  Have Dugin and Putin stumbled upon some new unifying ideology of Eurasianism- a system that transcends economics? And if so, is America and Europe playing into their hands as evidenced by the political discord and animosity?  

Russian interference in the US 2016 Presidential campaign was not really all that sophisticated and rather cheap.  Yet, look at the discord they achieved to date.  Dugin could not have scripted it better; Putin could not have implemented it any better.  And as long as American politicians look at the trees instead of the forest, they couldn’t be better co-conspirators.

The post Did the Cold War Ever Really End? appeared first on RedState.

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FISA Applications Omitted Game-Changing Fact that Steele Dossier was Bankrolled by Clinton Campaign and the DNC

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When DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report last month on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State, he said that, although it was clear that FBI officials harbored strong anti-Trump bias, he could not find evidence that their bias affected the key decisions in the case. Well, here is your evidence, Mr. Horowitz.

Tom Fitton, founder and editor of Judicial Watch, confirmed they received documents (at 5:30 on a Saturday evening) related to the FBI’s application for the FISA warrant (and renewals) to surveil former Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page. Although they were heavily redacted, including entire pages, they do indeed indicate that the Steele Dossier was the “major component.” The documents can be viewed here. Fitton put out a statement Saturday night:

These documents are heavily redacted but seem to confirm the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team. Given this corruption, President Trump should intervene and declassify the heavily redacted material.

The document states: “The FBI speculates to the FISA court that the U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit candidate 1’s campaign.”

It omits the single, most significant fact about the dossier, which is who exactly was behind it. The FBI, the nation’s top law enforcement agency, left out the game-changing information that the Dossier was bank-rolled by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the DNC, which Hillary had bailed out financially and essentially controlled.

They left out the fact that Glenn Simpson, co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, commissioned former British spy Christopher Steele, to put together the dossier.

And they failed to say that Nellie Ohr, the wife of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, was hired to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year. She was hired to help, meaning she had not been an existing Fusion GPS employee. She was especially hired because of whom she was married to.

This is not speculation. Glenn Simpson acknowledged this in a court document, saying that they “contracted with her to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.” He also said that Bruce Ohr met with Steele during the 2016 campaign. Following Simpson’s testimony, Bruce Ohr was demoted at the DOJ.

Had the FBI revealed the true origin of the document on the FISA warrant application, it would never have been approved. FBI officials were keenly aware of this, so they hid information.

Following the release of the DOJ documents, Carter Page said, “I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity.”

Powerlineblog’s John Hinderaker, who practiced law for over 40 years, points out four observations from his first glance at the documents.

  1.  The FISA application expresses confidence that Page was an agent of the Russian government, and engaged in criminal activity. But Page has never been charged with anything. Accordingly, the least we can say is that Obama’s FBI and DOJ were wrong.

  2. The application’s description of Christopher Steele and the provenance of his dossier was misleading at best. The “identified U.S. person” is Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS. Source #1 is Christopher Steele. The DOJ’s statement that “the FBI speculates that the identified U.S person [Simpson] was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s [Trump’s] campaign” could only have been an intentional effort to deceive the FISA judge. The FBI was perfectly well aware that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Simpson through their lawyers, and the purpose of doing so was to attack candidate Donald Trump. References to “speculation” about “likely” motives are entirely dishonest.

  3. The application relies to an astonishing degree on anti-Trump news stories published in the Democratic Party press. Does the FBI really get surveillance warrants on the basis of partisan press accounts? Apparently so. Notwithstanding such speculation in the Democratic Party press, the Trump administration has, in fact, agreed to send a $200 million military aid package to Ukraine. So the Carter Page warrant was obtained, at least in part, on the basis of groundless speculation in anti-Trump newspapers. Amazingly, the FISA application relies on “speculation in U.S. media” for the proposition that Russia was behind the phishing of DNC emails. This is truly pitiful.

  4. Fourth, we still don’t know who at the FBI assembled the FISA application, since that person’s signature is redacted. But we do know who approved it–hyper-partisans James Comey and Sally Yates.

That probably tells us all we need to know about the veracity of the FISA application. Perhaps one day we will learn that Peter Strzok was the Democratic Party activist who prepared the application.

What I really want to know is the identity of the judge who signed off on the surveillance of Carter Page, based on such flimsy grounds. Some are speculating that he must be from Hawaii.

Eye witnesses told The Hill’s John Solomon last week that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page was questioned about the now infamous text from FBI official Peter Strzok, “There’s no big there there.”

Page, during a closed-door interview with lawmakers, confirmed in the most pained and contorted way that the message in fact referred to the quality of the Russia case, according to multiple eyewitnesses.

The admission is deeply consequential. It means Rosenstein unleashed the most awesome powers of a special counsel to investigate an allegation that the key FBI officials, driving the investigation for 10 months beforehand, did not think was “there.”

By the time of the text and Mueller’s appointment, the FBI’s best counterintelligence agents had had plenty of time to dig. They knowingly used a dossier funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign — which contained uncorroborated allegations — to persuade the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to issue a warrant to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page (no relation to Lisa Page).

Everything points to the fact that Trump was set up by top officials inside the Obama administration.

And, if President Trump wants to put an end to this bogus case, he must order the DOJ to produce an unredacted copy of this material. I don’t understand his hesitation to do so.

The post FISA Applications Omitted Game-Changing Fact that Steele Dossier was Bankrolled by Clinton Campaign and the DNC appeared first on RedState.

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Don’t Shed Tears For James Gunn, He and His Fellow Travelers On the Left Brought This On Themselves

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Director James Gunn poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’, in London, Monday, Apr. 24, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

 

I have to admit that until yesterday I’d never heard of James Gunn. Via Wikipedia I’ve found he’s some high-speed/low-drag Hollywood type and while looking at his entry I also found I’ve never watched any of his movies. Full disclosure here: I could really give a flying whatever if another episode of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” is ever made though I understand YMMV.

As I understand it, the saga began when a couple of questionable fringe-right personalities, for whatever motive, decided to go through Gunn’s tweets and extract this charming collection to push out on Twitter (my colleague Brandon Morse has the backstory):

Westlake Legal Group gunn-tweets-620x360 Don’t Shed Tears For James Gunn, He and His Fellow Travelers On the Left Brought This On Themselves Uncategorized Front Page Stories Featured Story

This is some disturbing stuff and it is difficult to see how it is possible to not think this speaks to something a little more significant than a desire to be edgy.

Disney, who was producing the project Gunn was working on, fired Gunn. This, I have to admit, was something of a shock as I thought pedophilia was part of Disney’s business model.

Since his firing another battle had erupted on the right between people saying he should be fired:

and people who think it was wrong:

Though, somewhat ironically, French was in favor of Roseanne Barr being fired…

Westlake Legal Group french-tweet Don’t Shed Tears For James Gunn, He and His Fellow Travelers On the Left Brought This On Themselves Uncategorized Front Page Stories Featured Story

And, showing the same lack of introspection as French, the noxious little man-toad who hunted down and threatend to dox the guy who’d made the gif of President Trump wrestling CNN but magnanimously settled for a public apology weighed in only to find he’d messed with the wrong guy:

For the record, I have no problem with what happened to Gunn. I feel much like the way cartoonist Bill Mauldin felt about occupied Italy in World War II:

Westlake Legal Group mauldin Don’t Shed Tears For James Gunn, He and His Fellow Travelers On the Left Brought This On Themselves Uncategorized Front Page Stories Featured Story

Gunn has exactly one person to blame for this: Gunn. No grown man has any business having sexual fantasies about children much less writing about them. If he writes about them and puts them on the internet for world to read then, at best, he’s attempting to normalize pedophilia as a political gambit:

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at worst, you’re advertising your sexual deviance and trying to dress it up as a joke.

Either way, there was nothing nefarious about searching Gunn’s Twitter timeline for the tweets and there was even a socially uplifting moment as Disney, a company that has made billions out of producing content that sexualized barely pubescent kids, found something too foul for it to stomach.

The second part of the argument that I’m seeing on the right is the one I find most inexplicable. The idea is that it is okay for the left to go after people on the right based on things they’ve said at some point in the past (my heaven, a nominee for a seat on the Ninth Circuit was just sandbagged by articles he wrote as a college student that weren’t sufficiently appreciative of political correctness), but TRUE CONSERVATIVES are better than that, we’ve better things to do, like, for instance, purge our own side by driving out those are insufficiently pure in thought.

The left, naturally, is bleating about this being some kind of right wing conspiracy:

(BTW, I shudder to think what the left’s morality is.)

Gunn chose to write pedophilia-infused fantasies (we should hope Ted Cruz is wrong), no one hacked his accounts and manufactured those posts. He was found out and exposed. He was fired. It is really that simple. Gunn being a raging lefty is just icing on the cake. I find it hard to believe there was ever a time when such writings becoming public would not have resulted in a person being fired…unless Roman Polanski wrote them, then its Academy Award time.

I’m completely with Schlicter on this. Hunting through people’s writings and social media comments is not something we invented. It isn’t conservatives who demand people be fired for WrongThink. It isn’t conservatives who SWAT people. It isn’t conservatives who harass kids of political targets or assault them in restaurants. But those are the new rules. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to go along with unilateral disarmament and unconditional surrender.

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Water Cooler 7/21/2018 – Open Thread – Odds and Ends

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A few quickies for you today….

Branson tragedy

It seems like we typically hear stories after a tragedy about how someone was lucky: missing a plane that crashed, etc. The duck boat tragedy seems like the opposite. According to this story, one of the people from the other boat said the second boat waited with them for 15-20 minutes to fix a mechanical problem on the first boat. Then it was calm when they entered the lake. Once the storm hit, it was too late. It turns out this WAS the same storm that spawned the tornadoes in Iowa, so there was some warning but not that it would be so severe.

NHS: the liberal health care dream

On a trip to the UK 15-20 years ago, I asked our host about the NHS. She said it’s great for life-threatening issues, but for anything else you’d better be prepared to wait. The example she gave was hip replacement. It might be painful and make your life miserable, but you weren’t going to die from it so it would not be unexpected to have to wait several months for surgery.

That’s a perfect segue into an article I read this morning. If you find yourself in a situation like having to wait for hip or cataract surgery, there’s an easy solution … if you are rich. You can pay your way to the front of the line. None of this is a surprise of course.

Another Nobel prize for Obama?

Okay okay this is just satire.

About those DNC servers

DNC head Tom Perez did some tap dancing when asked about turning them over to the FBI. The only surprise here is that someone at CNN had the audacity to ask him such questions. No word yet on whether she is still employed there.

Welcome to RedState’s only daily open thread! Enjoy!

The post Water Cooler 7/21/2018 – Open Thread – Odds and Ends appeared first on RedState.

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Gun Expert John Lott: ‘The Goal Of Eliminating Guns Is Ultimately A Fool’s Errand’

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It is said that the DOJ’s recent settlement with start-up company, Defense Distributed (DD), essentially deals a death blow to gun control advocates. DD, based in Austin, TX, was founded by 25-year-old Cody Wilson in 2013. The company’s main product is a “gun fabricator called the Ghost Gunner. With nothing but the Ghost Gunner, an internet connection, and some raw materials, anyone, anywhere can make an unmarked, untraceable gun in their home or garage.”

The settlement states that 3D printing tutorials are approved “for public release (i.e. unlimited distribution) in any form.”

Wilson created a ruckus in May 2013 when he announced his successful design of a plastic gun. In just two days, 100,000 copies of the handgun blueprint were downloaded from Wilson’s website.

The most downloads came from Spain, followed by the U.S., Brazil and Germany. The heavy downloading in Spain, Brazil and Germany likely reflected attempts to evade extremely restrictive handgun regulations in those countries.

Within days of the gun file being uploaded, the Obama State Department served Wilson with a letter threatening criminal prosecution for violating federal export controls. Wilson immediately complied with the order, but there was no way to stop further downloading.

Within a week of the initial uploading, the file could be downloaded on the Internet from over 4,000 different computers around the world.

In 2015, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and DD sued the State Department arguing that “sharing instructions on how to make guns with 3D printers counts as constitutionally protected speech.  This is an important victory for First Amendment rights.”

The Justice Department’s recent settlement with Wilson is very favorable to him, allowing Wilson to provide the printing instructions “for public release (meaning unlimited distribution) in any form.” The government also compensated $40,000 of Wilson’s legal costs.

While this settlement is a victory for first amendment rights, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the government to regulate either the printers or the guns that are made with them.

How the government will stop people from obtaining these printers isn’t exactly obvious. Proposals to require background checks, mandatory serial numbers and even a registration process for printers are easily defeated. Even if printers are registered with the government, what is going to stop gangs from stealing them? And the designs for making your own printer have been available on the Internet for years.

3D printers make the already extremely difficult job of controlling access to guns practically impossible. The government is not going to be able to ban guns, and limits on the size of bullet magazines will be even more laughable than before. Many parts of a gun can be made on very inexpensive, plastic 3D printers or even from simple machine tools.

It will be even more difficult to impose background checks, which have proven quite useless anyway. The government has been no more effective at stopping criminals from getting guns than at stopping them from obtaining drugs. That isn’t too surprising, as drug gangs are the source of both illegal drugs and guns.

This was a tough battle for the plaintiff’s, SAF and DD. They lost many lower court rulings. Gun-control advocates believe that the government “capitulated” too soon. J. Adam Skaggs, the chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the administration “capitulated in a case it had won at every step of the way. This isn’t a case where the underlying facts of the law changed. The only thing that changed was the administration.”

The concept of making guns with 3D printers in an age where just one year can render much technology obsolete shouldn’t surprise anyone. Nor should the fact that instructions for gun assembly are easily available for download over the internet. At the click of a mouse, we can summon almost any information we could possibly need including instructions for making a bomb.

The ability to build an untraceable, unregistered gun is definitely a game changer. It’s difficult to see how “ghost guns” could ever be regulated by the government.

 

 

 

 

The post Gun Expert John Lott: ‘The Goal Of Eliminating Guns Is Ultimately A Fool’s Errand’ appeared first on RedState.

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Former Bush and Obama Officials Weigh in on Subpoenaing the Helsinki Interpreter

Westlake Legal Group former-bush-and-obama-officials-weigh-in-on-subpoenaing-the-helsinki-interpreter Former Bush and Obama Officials Weigh in on Subpoenaing the Helsinki Interpreter Vladimir Putin Uncategorized subpoena russian summit richard fontaine Politics National Security Council helsinki George W. Bush Front Page Stories Featured Story david mortlock ben chang Barack Obama adam schiff

Westlake Legal Group adam-schiff-subpoena-interpreter-SCREENSHOT Former Bush and Obama Officials Weigh in on Subpoenaing the Helsinki Interpreter Vladimir Putin Uncategorized subpoena russian summit richard fontaine Politics National Security Council helsinki George W. Bush Front Page Stories Featured Story david mortlock ben chang Barack Obama adam schiff

 

 

On Thursday, I wrote about Adam Schiff’s request to subpoena the interpreter from Trump’s Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin (please find the article here).

On Friday, former officials from both the Bush and Obama administration gave their 2 cents on a translator being forced to testify before Congress.

David Mortlock, Obama’s international economics affairs director for the White House National Security Council, said the precedent would be a disconcerting one:

“For the same reasons why we need to protect our own diplomats, there is a real concern about having translators be subject to subpoenas. … [Interpreters are] at the center of diplomatic relationships and it raises concerns about whether you can truly have diplomatic communications.”

Another Obama National Security Council member — Ben Chang — agreed, saying translators have “seen or heard a ton,” but they exist purely as a “vessel” through which the sitting president communicates.

Chang suggested subpoenaing security advisor John Bolton or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, or other relevant government officials.

Chances, or course, are slim the interpreter will ever be forced to testify: Republicans have a majority in both houses (at least for a few more months — see here and especially here).

Richard Fontaine, Bush-era NSC member, gave his condolences to bloodthirsty Democrats (exposed here):

“I feel their pain, but I don’t think forcing the translator of the president to testify [about] what she heard will be successful.”

Bush’s deputy press secretary, Tony Fratto, charged the effort was “fruitless.”

“The law is clear. It would be bonkers to think this conversation doesn’t fall under executive privilege.”

In my view, the whole idea is ridiculous. However, I suspect the attempt to subpoena the interpreter, as would be the case if they were to publicly interrogate her, as is the case with many things in politics, has been merely intended to cast suspicion on the President. It’s just one more unsubstantive move for political gain.

In this case, they didn’t get far. But one thing’s for sure: with November near, they sure aren’t done.

What are your thoughts on the translator being subpoenaed? Do you think the Democrats are perhaps relieved the effort made it no further? In a way, it works better for them than a successful subpoena which turns into a nothing burger.

In case you missed the relevant RedState links in this article, please go herehere, here, and here.

For something (sort of) totally different, please see my coverage of Time’s new Trump/Putin cover, Obama’s South African Trump jabs, and Elizabeth Warren’s reaction to Bret Kavanaugh.

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

The post Former Bush and Obama Officials Weigh in on Subpoenaing the Helsinki Interpreter appeared first on RedState.

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World-Changer — The Trump Baby Balloon is Comin’ to America! Plus: Tales from the Grocery Store Parking Lot

Westlake Legal Group world-changer-the-trump-baby-balloon-is-comin-to-america-plus-tales-from-the-grocery-store-parking-lot World-Changer — The Trump Baby Balloon is Comin’ to America! Plus: Tales from the Grocery Store Parking Lot Uncategorized trump national golf club trump baby balloon the UK the people's motorcade protest Politics New Jersey London jim girvan gofundme Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump CNN Bedminster

Westlake Legal Group donald-trump-baby-balloon-SCREENSHOT World-Changer — The Trump Baby Balloon is Comin’ to America! Plus: Tales from the Grocery Store Parking Lot Uncategorized trump national golf club trump baby balloon the UK the people's motorcade protest Politics New Jersey London jim girvan gofundme Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump CNN Bedminster

 

 

Have you found yourself jealous of those chosen few Londoners who got to witness the greatness of the Trump Baby balloon?

Well, my fellow Americans, fret no more.

New Jersey anti-Trump activists are bringing the baby blimps to their home state. Finally, you’ll be able to behold, domestically, the diaper wrapped around a ballooned billionaire.

The plan is to let the 20-foot floating cartoons fly near Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey National Golf Club.

The President typically spends many summer weekends there.

Here’s the heart-warming part: according to organizer Jim Girvan, the goofballs in the UK have granted the goofballs here to make their own with the original molds and patterns.

Awww.

The aspiring New Jersey babysitters turned to GoFundMe to generate enough dough to colossally waste (along with their time) on three balloons. That’s due to the fact that they’ve already more than tripled their goal. They intend to take the balloons to various events nationally.

This won’t be Girvan’s first rodeo: he’s also a part of the People’s Motorcade, which protests Trump every non-winter Saturday outside the golf course.

He told CNN, “We’re comfortable that we’re going to have the opportunity to fly the balloon in relatively close proximity to his golf club while he’s here.”

What is wrong with these people??

I came across someone protesting outside a grocery store one night during George W. Bush’s presidency. He was trying to get signatures for impeachment. He approached me and began asking questions, and I was shocked to learn that I knew much, much, much more about politics than he did. And he was the one attending a political protestI was just trying to buy some Doritos.

It’s sad when the Doritos guy knows more than the protestor. He had no clue what he was talking about, but he was sure he was going to unseat the Leader of the Free World.

I said, “This isn’t how impeachment works. You can’t just go to a supermarket with a clipboard and fire the President. He was elected. You’re wasting your time. You’re literally changing nothing.”

He disagreed.

I promised him:

“I tell you what — if I’m sitting on my couch (eating Doritos) at any point during the duration of Bush’s term, and on television, they say, ‘Newsflash! President George W. Bush has been impeached and thrown out of office, thanks to Micah in the North Hollywood Ralph’s parking lot,’ then I’ll drive back to you and personally apologize.”

He must’ve given up, because Bush remained President and the world spun just the same as those pre-clipboard days.

I’m sure the baby ballooners aren’t expecting impeachment, but I must say: to spend their time and effort to, in protest, fly the balloon version of a business mogul turned President — one of the most successful Americans in history — wearing a diaper makes them look like the babies.

I’d sure rather be the billionaire the balloon-flyers are insulting than the people holding the strings.

It reminds me of a (paraphrased) story by G. Gordon Liddy about being admitted to prison — the guard who gave the cavity checks was posturing, flaunting his superiority, abusing the inmates. Liddy said, “You’re the one who makes a living looking up men’s ***es.”

Girven expects the balloon order to take two to four weeks to complete.

Westlake Legal Group fa73c115-b45d-4691-a42b-ebbbee86add9_text World-Changer — The Trump Baby Balloon is Comin’ to America! Plus: Tales from the Grocery Store Parking Lot Uncategorized trump national golf club trump baby balloon the UK the people's motorcade protest Politics New Jersey London jim girvan gofundme Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump CNN Bedminster

 

 

 

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Surveying the Questionable Future of Chief of Staff John Kelly

Westlake Legal Group surveying-the-questionable-future-of-chief-of-staff-john-kelly Surveying the Questionable Future of Chief of Staff John Kelly white house Vladimir Putin vanity fair Uncategorized The New York Times Russia Politics New York John Kelly International Affairs helsinki Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump blain rethmeier

Westlake Legal Group putin-trump-SCREENSHOT Surveying the Questionable Future of Chief of Staff John Kelly white house Vladimir Putin vanity fair Uncategorized The New York Times Russia Politics New York John Kelly International Affairs helsinki Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump blain rethmeier

 

 

What’s the future for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly?

Nobody knows.

All of this, partly due to the Russian casserole currently baking in Washington.

Some critical of Kelly lament his inability to counsel the President in a way that results in a toning down of Trumpness.

But could anyone do that? The Donald is a New York eccentric who sits on a gold toilet.

Literally.

Imagine you’re reading this while perched on top of a golden toilet; do you care what anyone thinks?

According to The Hill, one source reports an “80 percent” chance of Kelly’s resignation.

Added to the mix is an article in Vanity Fair charging Republicans’ public criticism of Trump’s handling of the Helsinki press conference (covered here — I’m trying to temper my “here and here” links based on your comments, because I’m not as independently-minded as Trump; but if I ever get a gold toilet, watch out, Jack!) was encouraged by Kelly.

The New York Times claimed Kelly told Republicans to try and talk some sense into Donald.

Vanity Fair published a new article today, titled “Has John Kelly Died His Last Political Death?” (written, strangely, by Jon Kelly).

The Hill’s source says Trump, at this point in the game, is more likely to spite Kelly than to listen:

“'[Kelly] started hammering him, saying, “We have to fix it,” even as the President’s plane was returning from the Putin summit,’ this source said. ‘But John’s stock is so low that Trump disregards Kelly’s advice out of spite. [Trump] didn’t fully recognize the problem, and that’s why it took so long for the walk back.’”

However, some claim that narrative may be the product of Kelly’s enemies who are trying to undercut his reputation.

Blain Rethmeier, a Kelly associate, described things thusly:

“I think there is a misconception that Gen. Kelly can control the president or can fix all the problems that many people see with this administration. … As administrations evolve, some things work well and other things might not work so well. … As long as Gen. Kelly believes he is able to benefit the American people, then I think he will remain.”

On the other hand, another colleague alleged Kelly is over his head:

“I don’t think he was prepared for the amount of politics and the backstabbing and the leaking that happens. It happens in any White House, and in this White House to the nth degree. … I don’t know how anyone from his background can cope with that.”

If Kelly’s job is to restrain Trump, then he has to expect to be blamed for all of the President’s overreaches. But Donald Trump is his own man, and that is obvious to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention. The Donald clearly isn’t controllable; but an advisor should be able to enhance the President’s abilities to navigate executive situations. And maybe Kelly has.

Those opposed to Putin coming to D.C. in the fall at Trump’s request (addressed here) are certainly now no more impressed with Kelly. But dealing with criticism is part of the job, and unless he’s blind or a dolt, he knew all of this going in.

One considerable question, still, is whether Trump respects Kelly. If he doesn’t, Kelly would be doing everyone — including himself — a favor to step down.

What do you think about Kelly’s disposition and job performance? Is there someone else who better fits the bill at this point? Sound off in the Comments section below.

For those of you who missed the relevant RedState links in the article, they’re here and here.

For something totally different, check out my coverage of Iran suing America, what an FBI agent can be, and a reverse-engineering of the NFL situation.

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

The post Surveying the Questionable Future of Chief of Staff John Kelly appeared first on RedState.

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