The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Investigate

Clintonistas (yes, they still exist and are poster-children for Trump Derangement Syndrome) are the first to suggest that Donald Trump and everyone who ever spoke to him, did business with him, or even came in incidental contact with him should be "investigated" by the special counsel. They continue to believe that once the investigation is done, Trump will be impeached and magically, Hillary will become President and take her rightful place atop the political pyramid.

Okay, then.

Of course, the Clintonistas take a different view of an "investigation" when it might be directed at their queen bee. They're scared to death that serious DoJ investigations of Hillary's participation in Uranium One, in Fusion GPS, and in an email scandal of her own making might be initiated.

Cass Sunstein presents the Clintonista argument that in theory is legitimate but in reality is designed to inoculate their dishonest and corrupt leader from accountability while she served in the very government Sunstein purports to protect:
Prosecuting political rivals and their associates is a tactic of authoritarians, and it reeks of authoritarianism. It suggests that political victors will not be content to have won; they will bring the force of the criminal law against those they have defeated.

That suggestion is dangerous to self-government and political liberty. It tells people who dissent, or who support rivals to current leaders, that they may be at risk. It turns opposition into an act of courage, rather than an exercise of rights.

Prosecution of political rivals politicizes the Justice Department, and in the most damaging way. Sure, the attorney general works for the president. But in a free society, prosecutorial judgments should be, and should be perceived to be, objective – rooted only in the law and the facts. Whenever national prosecutors pursue a political opponent of their president, many people will ask, naturally enough: What is the real motivation here?
Immediately after the 2016 election, I was of the opinion that Hillary should be given a pass—that investigating her obvious dishonesty and corruption would roil the body politic and do more damage than good. That it was worth allowing Hillary to skate to keep the peace. I am no longer of that opinion.

The truly unhinged behavior of the Clintonistas and Democrats in general, the unrelenting calls for Trump's impeachment, the evidence-free and McCarthyesque Russia "collusion" accusations, the questionable, tunnel-vision focus exhibited by Robert Mueller's investigation (so far) have changed my mind. What goes around should come around.

Marc Thiessen comments:
Ever since Watergate, the mantra of all major corruption investigations has been to “follow the money.” Well, Americans of all political stripes should be outraged by the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are up to their eyeballs in Kremlin cash. Russian money found its way into the pockets of not only Trump advisers like Paul Manafort and Rick Gates — who were recently indicted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — but also Democratic power lobbyist Tony Podesta, Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

This should suggest to objective observers that Russia was using its money to influence both sides in order to advance the Kremlin’s interests. And it means that any full and impartial investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our political process needs to follow the Russian money flowing into the coffers of the Clintons, their foundation and their top associates.

The New York Times reported in 2015 that “shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, [former President Bill] Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” In total, $145 million went to the Clinton Foundation from interests linked to Uranium One, which was acquired by the Russian government nuclear agency Rosatum.

Think that was just a coincidence? As former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy points out, the Uranium One deal is not a national security scandal, it is a corruption scandal involving “Clinton family self-dealing.” Ask yourself: How many half-a-million-dollar speeches has Bill Clinton given to Kremlin-linked banks since Hillary Clinton was defeated? How much Russian money is flowing into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers today? If it Donald Trump had given a $500,000 speech paid by a Kremlin bank, and his private foundation had accepted $145 million from Putin-linked oligarchs and their Western business partners, do you think that his critics would be insisting there was nothing to see here?
Maybe the answers to those questions are what has Clintonistas so upset and defensive. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's all just a right-wing conspiracy and poor Hillary, the perpetual victim, has been wronged yet again.

Maybe even-handedness is the right approach. Investigate Trump and investigate Hillary. We'll see who gets a cleaner bill of health.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two D Words

Both words begin with the letter "D". One is a entity and represents a major political party. The other is an abstraction and indicates the prevailing strategy employed by that party. The words are Democrat and Disingenuous. As the attempt at major tax reform plods forward, the Democrats do what they always do—claim that any attempt to reform a corporate tax structure that has increasingly made U.S. companies uncompetitive on the world stage is a gift to "the rich." That's where the word Disingenuous comes into play.

The Democrats recognize that the tax code is complex and that the vast majority of politicians and citizens have no real clue about the details. They also recognize that taxes are easy to demagogue, simply by claiming that any attempt at reform benefits the rich to the detriment of the middle class, that all of this is about rewarding hated CEOs, and that evil corporation will be the beneficiaries, not the common man. All of that is nonsense, but the Dems learned a long time ago that facts simply don't matter.

Sure, there are some politicians who are dumb as rocks and honestly believe the Dem rhetoric. But there are others who understand that the demagoguery makes for an excellent political strategy even though it's dishonest and detrimental to our economy. No matter. In the age of Trump, the Dems will lie if it results in a defeat for their hated adversary. Never mind that it would also be a defeat for American workers, the economy, and our international competitiveness. Trump Derangement Syndrome is paramount.

The Wall Street Journal comments:
Liberals are denouncing Republican tax reform as a giveaway to big corporations, as they always do. But the irony is that the Senate and House bills would do far more to stop corporate tax gaming than anything the Obama Administration did in eight years. This includes preventing tax avoidance, levelling the tax field for U.S. multinationals, and stopping corporate inversions.

Start with cutting the corporate rate to 20% from 35%, which in a stroke offers less incentive for companies to move capital, income and intellectual property out of the U.S. to lower tax climes. During the Obama Administration, many U.S. companies “inverted” by merging with smaller foreign competitors to take advantage of lower tax rates abroad. The U.S. has the highest corporate rate in the developed world, whose average is 25%.

Inversions seek to make American companies more globally competitive and let them reinvest in the U.S. tax free. Under the current U.S. worldwide tax system, companies can defer taxes on their overseas profits until they bring them home—and then get smacked with the full 35% rate. Hence, corporations have parked $2.5 trillion or more abroad ...

We report all this because you’d think from the press coverage that corporate tax reform is all about enriching a few CEOs. The truth is that it’s a serious attempt to fix a broken U.S. code that has festered for years and made America increasingly uncompetitive as a destination for mobile global capital. The GOP reforms would help the economy and make it harder for corporations to avoid paying taxes.
Without any Democrat support (after all, forget tax breaks for the Middle Class, the only "class" that the democrats truly care about is class warfare), passage of much needed tax reform is in doubt. That may be an excellent political strategy on the Dems' part, but it's lousy governance. So much for profiles in courage.

UPDATE
-----------------

Guess who wrote this:
When effective marginal rates are higher, potential projects need to generate more income if the business is to pay the tax and still provide investors with the required return. Businesses will therefore limit their activities to higher-return projects. Thus, all else equal, a higher effective marginal rate for businesses will tend to reduce the level of investment, and a lower effective marginal rate will tend to encourage additional projects and a larger capital stock. Increases in the capital available for each worker’s use, also referred to as capital deepening, boost productivity, wages, and output.
James Freeman provides the answer:
That’s a passage from the 2015 Economic Report of President [Barack Obama], and Team Obama even recognized in a footnote the research on this topic conducted by Kevin Hassett, who now chairs President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Yet now that Mr. Hassett and his boss are promoting a reform of corporate taxation to achieve the goals sketched out by Team Obama, former Obama advisers like Larry Summers and Jason Furman are railing against it. Are they nervous that the resulting Trump economy will compare too favorably with the Obama economy?

Mr. Summers for his part has lately been warning that countries might get into a race to lower corporate tax rates. In a world threatened by North Korean missiles and Islamic terror, he now asks us to be concerned at the possibility that the whole world might decide to encourage economic growth and job creation. That’s a world we want to live in.
So do I. But with regard to the Dem's reaction to the GOP tax reform package, it's D & D all the way down.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Accomplishments

If you were to believe the hysterical and often unhinged claims of the progressive left and their trained hamsters in the media (along with a few GOP #Nevertrumpers), Donald Trump is a KKK-loving racist, a misogynist who regularly abuses woman, a man who instituted tax-reform only for his own personal financial gain, a Russian-colluding and Putin-loving puppet, an ignorant fool who is out of his depth, a dishonest man, ... and on and on and on. Democratic politicians have already introduced articles of impeachment and regularly cheer at the thought of unseating a sitting president before the next election. They wait breathlessly as a highly partisan special prosecutor searches fruitlessly for "evidence" of Russian collusion that, after a year of looking, simply isn't there. The Left's through-the-looking-glass view of Trump would be laughable if it weren't so destructive to civility and political discourse.

Roger Kimball presents a different view:
Yesterday, just back from his 12-day, 20,000-mile whirlwind trip through Asia, the president gave what posterity will regard as a turning-point speech. The master word of this speech was “confidence.” “When we are confident in ourselves,” the president said, confident in
... our strength, our flag, our history, our values—other nations are confident in us. And when we treat our citizens with the respect they deserve, other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves.

During our travels, this is exactly what the world saw: a strong, proud, and confident America.
Donald Trump displayed, in a way we have not seen since the heyday of Ronald Reagan, what foreign-policy leadership looks like. We have serious differences with Russia and China. We also have areas of agreement and potential agreement. To address the former a canny leader endeavors to exploit the latter. This Donald Trump is doing.
In yesterday's post, I noted the significant success the Trump administration is having in the Middle East—largely unreported or downplayed by the trained hamsters of the media. After all, how could Trump possibly succeed where the vaunted Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s failed so miserably? And besides, it simply doesn't fit the media narrative.

Kimball moves on to other successes:
The anti-Trump chihuahuas keep yammering about his tweets, his being in cahoots with Putin, and his not understanding the complexities of foreign affairs. But this summary of Donald Trump’s achievements in just 10 months is difficult to gainsay:
Economic growth has been over 3 percent the last two quarters and is going higher. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years. The stock market has gained trillions of dollars in value since my election and has reached record highs. We are massively increasing our military budget to historic levels. The House has just passed a nearly $700 billion defense package, and it could not come at a better time for our nation. Once again our country is optimistic about the future, confident in our values, and proud of our history and role in the world.
What’s not to like?
And now, it looks like there's a possibility that a tax reduction and reform package might actually pass the Congress. The specter of that happening has thrown Democrats into a panic. Their resultant negative claims about the tax reform package are as predictable as they are dishonest.

In addition, a Trump administration is presiding over an economic recovery (3 percent GDP for the past two quarters), has quietly reduced the impact of the regulatory state, has moved judicial appointments toward the center and away from the left-leaning judges appointed during the last administration, has seen the number of food-stamp recipients reduced by almost 1 million in just over one year, is working to reform our trade policies to provide better opportunity for our exports on the world stage, and has raised consciousness of the "swamp" that is Washington, DC. And it has done this despite the daily onslaught of attacks by the four constituencies.

It's hard to like Trump's sometimes boorish behavior, his off-the-wall tweets, the way he picks fights with nobodies, and his general affect, but it's also hard to deny that his administration's accomplishments are beginning to pile up.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Think Twice

After two decades of bad U.S. foreign policy decisions in the Middle East, it is remarkable to see current events in that region as they begin to unfold. David Goldman (a.k.a. "Spengler") is one of the most astute observers of the Middle East. He writes:
President Trump's Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China. By and large it's working, unlike the catastrophically failed polices of the previous two administrations. Trump did what he said he would do and succeeded. You wouldn't know that from the #fakenews media.
First, the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East, Israel, now has a friend in the White House. More importantly, perhaps, it actually appears that Saudi Arabia has finally recognized the danger of Islamists in its midst and is acting (albeit, somewhat tentatively) to eradicate them. The Saudis are also leaning forward in their stance against Iran, the largest and most potent danger in the region. Even more astonishing, there appears to be clandestine cooperation between the Saudis and Israelis in addressing the Iran problem—a problem exacerbated and enabled by Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s.

As this happens, social justice warriors (SJWs) increasingly rail against Israel as an "oppressor" of an "enlightened" palestinian people. This, coupled the their support of the despicable BDS movement warms the hearts of many progressives and their trained hamsters in the media.

Goldman tries to introduce a little reality to the SJW view of the Middle East:
The Muslim strategy to destroy Israel hasn't envisioned war--not at least since 1973--because Israel in all cases would win. Instead, the objective is to ring Israel with missiles and force Israel to retaliate against missile attacks in such a way that the "international community" would respond by imposing a "settlement" on Israel that would leave Israel vulnerable to further missiles attacks, and so forth. This is stated explicitly by Palestinian strategists cited by by Haviv Rettig Gur in The Times of Israel ...

Obama sandbagged Israel during the 2014 Gaza rocket attacks, suspending delivery of Hellfire missiles to the Jewish State. Israel is the only country in the world that embeds human rights lawyers in every infantry company to make sure that its soldiers keep collateral damage to a minimum.

Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese militia, has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, and many of them can hit any target in the country. In the case of a major rocket attack from Hezbollah against Israel, military logic dictates the preemptive neutralization of rocket launchers embedded in civilian populations--what an Israeli strategist close to the PM described to me as "Dresden." There would be tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Trump will not tie Israel's hands in the case of attack, and will not interfere with Israel's ability to defend herself. That makes Israel's deterrent against Iran credible.

Hillary Clinton insisted that the "technology of war," in particular the rockets ringing Israel, would force Israel to accept a phony peace agreement whose main effect would be to bring the rocket launchers closer to Israel ...
Thankfully, we now have an administration that has Israel's back. That doesn't mean that a peace agreement is likely (it isn't) or that the Saudis are our friends (they aren't). But it does mean that for the first time in nine years, there is a possibility, at least, that the bad actors of the region (there are many, and they include the palestinians) will think twice before acting.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bludgeoned

Christian Amanpour is the posterchild for what the main stream media loves to call a "respected, fearless journalist." Amanpour's media friends would tell us that her past fearless reporting in war zones and her more recent reporting on international politics make her an exemplar for young journalists. I see Amanpour a bit differently, but before we get there, let's see what she has to say about the current state of the media:
I always get emotional, but for me the reason this [defense of a free press] matters so much is because it is also about the men and women of my profession, journalists who have never left the front lines of the battle for truth.

Our fallen are not remembered at these services, but without the truth we seek, there is no democracy, only dictatorship. Without the truth we bring there is no rule of law, only anarchy and destruction. Without truth there are only lies that lead us into a dangerous fog of confusion -- not knowing which way, or whom to turn to. This dystopian nightmare is especially acute today.

Every year, many among us are wounded and killed in this great battle. Just a few months ago, in Malta, a fearless reporter named Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown up in an attack usually reserved only for war zone: an improvised explosive device, or IED. Imagine that for a moment. She was an equal opportunity, anti-corruption investigative journalist, targeting both the government and the opposition. Her last post included the immortal words: "There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate."

Half an hour later she was blown to smithereens by a car bomb. Outside her home. In Europe. Think about it: In Europe.

It shouldn't, but it does, seem so much more unacceptable than the arrest and murder of our colleagues and the assault on free speech among the usual suspects: This all proceeds apace in Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Philippines, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Myanmar, and the list goes on.

When journalists are not being killed in cold blood, they are staggering under the weight of censorship and spurious legal action.

And this assault on truth and facts has now traveled all the way to the land of the First Amendment, the constitutionally free press, the Fourth Estate.

In the year since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America, he and his cohorts have used "fake news" as the political weapon with which to bludgeon us into submission.

We will not surrender nor bow, but our heads are bloodied.
Where to begin?

Last time I checked, not a single national journalist in the USA has been "killed" or "bloodied" or "censored" or "arrested" over the past year. Not a single "journalist" has been jailed for unfair or even hysterical criticism of the Trump administration. Nor will they be.

But like Amanpour, far too many journalists get the vapors when their targets push back. When their biased and often dishonest reporting is criticized. When their purposeful omissions (skewing a story to fit their narrative) are noted. When their editorial comments creep into straight new reporting. When they act as shills for certain politicians and parties and attack dogs against the opposing side? When they skew their reporting. When they purposely decide not to investigate stories that might hurt their chosen political parties, while at the same time spending inordinate amounts of time and energy on evidence-free stories that will hurt those they dislike. When they define "truth" in their own biased terms. When they turn their media organizations into something close to Pravda. And yes ... when they knowingly and enthusiastically promote "fake news" as long as it supports their chosen political narrative.

It's ironic that "journalists" are fearless in their criticism of those they don't like, correctly demanding that they have both the right and the constitutional protections to do so. At the same time, they are amazingly thin-skinned when criticism of their approach, methods, and "reporting" is directed at them. They don't like it one bit, and like Amanpour, whine about being "bludgeon[ed] into .. submission."

Shadow Brokers

Like most failures in the previous presidency, the massive hack perpetrated by the "Shadow Brokers" on our most secretive and advanced intelligence agencies has, until recently, gone widely unreported by the media. The New York Times, to its credit, reports on what may be the most significant intelligence failure in the history of the United States—the theft via hacking of the secret computer software that is used for our most advanced cyberwarfare weapons.

This hack wasn't just a leak of our intelligence programs or even the names of operatives (a la Edward Snowdon). It was the theft of the weapons themselves—equivalent to the theft of physical weapons systems and their armaments. And unlike physical weapon, cyberwarfare software can be cloned and distributed worldwide to criminals,
terrorists and our nation state adversaries.

This cyberweapon software is already in the hands of bad actors including North Korea and Iran and is being used against us. The reporters for the NYT write:
Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million. Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.

American officials had to explain to close allies — and to business leaders in the United States — how cyberweapons developed at Fort Meade in Maryland came to be used against them. Experts believe more attacks using the stolen N.S.A. tools are all but certain.

Inside the agency’s Maryland headquarters and its campuses around the country, N.S.A. employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs in a hunt for turncoats allied with the Shadow Brokers. Much of the agency’s arsenal is still being replaced, curtailing operations. Morale has plunged, and experienced specialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs — including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the N.S.A.’s leaked tools.

“It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.”
Characterizing this as a "disaster" is an understatement.

It is difficult to understand how one of the most advanced cyberwarfare organizations on the planet, the NSA, left itself vulnerable to the hack. Was it the work of enemy agents or disaffected employees inside the agency, sloppy security measures that should have protected access to the source code, poor leadership, laziness, or a combination of all four? As yet, know one knows.

The same "deep state" intelligence agencies that went to war against Donald Trump (and whom Trump correctly called out for their sloppy work) now look like incompetent fools. In this case, at least, the "deep state" is not protecting our country, rather it seems to be putting it into jeopardy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Voting with Your Feet

This is tax reform season and the Democrats are in full form, demagoguing any attempt to simplify and reduce federal taxes by suggesting that GOP proposals are a nefarious plot to reduce taxes for "the rich." This is a standard refrain, allowing progressives to champion higher and higher taxes, all in the name of "fairness." I have on numerous occasions discussed the facts and figures that call the Dems objections into question, but no matter. This is the progressive reality and no amount of evidence will change their position.

It is interesting to note that in states where the blue model is in full force, progressives quietly vote in a difference way—they vote with their feet. High tax blue states have seen a net outflow and population and tax dollars that is unprecedented. The Wall Street Journal comments:
The liberal tax model is to fleece the rich to finance spending on entitlements and government programs that invariably grow faster than the economy and revenues. IRS data on tax migration show this model is now breaking down in progressive states as the affluent run for cover and the middle class is left paying the bills.

Between 2012 and 2015 (the most recent data), a net $8.5 billion in adjusted gross income left New Jersey while $6.2 billion poured out of Connecticut—4% of the latter state’s total income. Illinois lost $13.6 billion. During that period, Florida with no income tax gained $39.3 billion in AGI.

Not surprisingly, income flows down the tax gradient. In 2015 New York (where the combined state and local top rate is 12.7%) lost a net $850 million in AGI to New Jersey (8.97%) and Connecticut (6.99%). At the same time, the Garden State gave up $335 million to Pennsylvania (3.07%), and $60 million left Connecticut for the state formerly known as Taxachusetts (5.1%). Taxpayers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut escaped to Florida with $3.2 billion in income. Florida Gov. Rick Scott ought to pay these states a commission.

The affluent account for a disproportionate share of the income migration. For instance, individuals reporting more than $200,000 in AGI in 2015 made up 57% of the income outflow from Connecticut (compared to 48% of total state AGI) and 57% of the inflow to Florida.
Maybe that's why states like Connecticut are in such serious financial trouble. Some of those who pay the preponderance of state income taxes, simply decide to leave. Tax revenues go down and as a consequence, the Democratic legislature raises taxes even more. The cycle continues until the lights go out.

You'd think that progressives would learn from this phenomenon, but that requires a careful evaluation of hard evidence and critical thinking about the efficacy of higher and higher taxes. It requires spending reductions and fiscal restraint. None of that is evident of the left side of the political spectrum.

I suspect as Democrats watch high income individuals flee their states in increasing numbers as taxes go up, they must experience cognitive dissonance. After all, high taxes are a good thing—fairness in action. And besides, in the lexicon of progressive thinking, high taxes have no impact whatsoever on economic activity. And yet, taxpayers leave. So, Democrats rationalize. Unfortunately, that does change the reality of blue state decline.

Monday, November 13, 2017

100 Years

In a number of surveys, millennials indicate that they have no concern about socialism and that a significant percentage of them would have no problem if the United States evolved into a socialist country. In one way, this isn't surprising. Millennials have been propagandized with left-leaning thinking since kindergarten, and once entering college, have been fed a non-stop diet of identity and gender politics, the evils of "white privilege," the unequivocal benefits of diversity and multiculturalism, and the ideology of victimization. For them, "social justice" is paramount, and who but the left is the champion of social justice.

What millennials' predisposition toward socialism and its natural extension, communism, indicates a profound lack of historical understanding and a pathetic inability to think critically.

Robert Tracinski provides a reasonably concise summary of communism's past 100 years:
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution that set off the long global reign of terror of Communism ... A century of Communism achieved four main results for the people who suffered under it: poverty, oppression, war, and mass death.

Countries taken over by Communists, from China and Russia to Cuba and Venezuela, were either plunged from relative prosperity into starvation or walled off for decades from the growing prosperity of capitalist countries—often right next door, enjoying all the same benefits of geography and culture. Think of the contrast between East and West Berlin, between Cuba and Chile, between mainland China and Hong Kong, between North and South Korea.

Communist countries have imposed oppressive regimes telling everyone what to read, think, and say. Scientists could be sent to the gulag for teaching unapproved ideas about genetics. Dissidents have been sent to prison camps, tortured, harassed, locked in psychiatric wards, and simply murdered outright. Artists and intellectuals have fled by the hundreds, when they could, seeking asylum in non-Communist countries in search of the freedom to do their work.

Communism fueled dozens of brutal civil wars and insurgencies across the world. A list of countries synonymous with endless warfare during the late twentieth century—Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola, El Salvador, Afghanistan, and so on—all have one big thing in common: Communism. As a consequence, the end of the Cold War saw the biggest drop in the number of wars and deaths from war since the end of World War II, along with the creation of dozens of new democracies.

Above all else, the history of Communism is a history of mass-scale horrors: the terror-famine in Ukraine, Stalin’s show trials and gulags, the mass starvation of China’s Great Leap Forward, followed by the anarchic terror of the Cultural Revolution, the Killing Fields of Cambodia—those are just the low points in a list that can go on and on. It is estimated that in the past 100 years, Communist regimes killed as many as 100 million people.
Make no mistake, socialism is communism-lite. It's the beginning of totalitarianism in which the Left centralizes power with the state, "telling everyone what to read, think, and say." It encourages dependency, suggesting that almost everyone is a victim of some kind. It advocates the redistribution of earned income and argues that Big Intrusive Government (BIG) can solve all problems. It should come as no surprise that governments that have applied the blue (left-wing) model of governance for many years have bankrupted their states and cities, even though other red states and cities next door do not have similar problems.

And yet, progressives in general and millennials in particular long for the socialist utopia that the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warrens of our political culture promise. The Democratic party has now skewed so far left that a Sanders-like presidential candidate in 2020 is quite likely. It's reasonable to ask why?

Tracinski tries to provide an answer:
The allure of Communism is that it promises to put into practice, as a comprehensive social system, two moral ideas that most people regard as good and noble. You, dear reader, probably regard them as good and noble, too—but maybe you had better re-examine that assumption.

The first moral idea is that self-interest is bad and that it is not only good but the very definition of morality itself to sacrifice your own interests to others. That’s why profit and money-making are supposed to be bad. That’s why anything you have that somebody else doesn’t think they have is supposed to be some kind of unconscionable “privilege.” That’s why capitalism has to be expunged, because it’s a whole system built on self-interest.

The second idea, which is the political consequence of the first, is that private interests are bad and need to be subordinated to the collective “public good.” That’s why everything private is bad, from private companies to private schools, and everything “public” is automatically good. That’s why celebrated authors hatch schemes to abolish private education, something only totalitarian regimes have ever done, in order to make sure everybody is “eating out of the same pot.”

The problem with Communism is not that it twisted these ideals or implemented them badly. The crime of Communism is that it took them seriously and implemented them fully, all the way to their logical conclusion. That is what people don’t want to face up to in the history of Communism.
But the Democrats seem undaunted in their quest for socialism. Sure, they keep the word under wraps, but by advocating everything from "universal healthcare" to "free college education" to redistributive taxation, to ever-increasing BIG spending to their non-stop class warfare rants against "the rich," they desperately want socialism to triumph.

The problem is that 100 years of history indicate that a socialist utopia is actually a nightmare.

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Alternative History

Let's explore alternative history and its fictional aftermath for just a sec. It's 2008, and the Presidential election is in full swing. John McCain, the GOP candidate, along with the RNC pays an oppo research firm $12.5 million dollars to develop a dossier in which Barack Obama is claimed to be in collusion with Muslim countries to undermine our country. There are also a few salacious claims about Obama's character. The dossier is passed to a GOP-friendly DoJ under George W. Bush and a clandestine investigation of Obama and his campaign commences, six months before the election. As part of the investigation, FISA warrants are issued allowing the FBI to covertly surveil Obama campaign aids. The dossier is leaked to the media, snippets of the dossier are leaked to the public (well, we all know that wouldn't happen, because the media was in the tank for Obama, but indulge me). The intent, of course, is to destroy Obama's candidacy.

Obama wins anyway, but a year later the story breaks. RNC bigwigs claim they know nothing about who authorized the payment. McCain claims it was nothing more than politics as usual and that the dossier wasn't used anyway. Everyone in the GOP plays dumb.

A few questions:
  • Do you think that the media would ignore the story?
  • Do you think that the NYT, WaPo and other supposed investigative "journalists" would find the story generally uninteresting?
  • Do you think that the media would quietly accept McCain's claims of innocence?
  • Do you think the media would trumpet evidence-free claims that Obama colluded with Muslim countries?
  • Do you think that there would be no calls for a special prosecutor?
  • Do you think that the Obama DoJ would shrug and refuse to initiate criminal investigation that might lead to indictments?
If you're being honest with yourself ... of course you don't. But this is exactly what's happening with the Fusion GPS story. One of the few journalists who is investigating Fusion GPS, Kim Strassel, comments:
... it is fair to ask if the entire Trump-Russia narrative—which has played a central role in our political discourse for a year, and is now resulting in a special counsel issuing unrelated indictments—is based on nothing more than a political smear document. Is there any reason to believe the FBI was probing a Trump-Russia angle before the dossier? Is there any collusion allegation that doesn’t come in some form from the dossier?

The idea that the federal government and a special counsel were mobilized—that American citizens were monitored and continue to be investigated—based on a campaign-funded hit document is extraordinary. Especially given that to this day no one has publicly produced a single piece of evidence to support any of the dossier’s substantive allegations about Trump team members.

So yes, Mrs. Clinton, the dossier—which you paid for—was used in the election. And we are only beginning to understand in how many ways.
Sadly, we're not in the alternative world I described in the opening paragraphs of this post—a world in which the media is unbiased, where real and thorough investigations actually happen, and where wrong-doing is punished. Instead, we live in a world of Fake News and extreme pro-Democrat media bias. A world in which evidence-free Russian collusion is pushed to the max by the media, and clear, irrefutable evidence of wrong-dong by Democrats is ignored. So much so, in fact, that we may never "understand in how many ways" Clinton corruption was used to undermine the electoral process.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Immunosuppressant

The New York terror attack on Halloween had its 15-minutes in the spotlight and then dropped from the news. After all, "lone wolf" attacks perpetrated by Muslim extremists are now "the new normal." And the new normal in NYC was perpetrated by an "extremist" who social/political commentator Peggy Noonan has characterized as "an idiot." Collectively, these Islamist "idiots" are dismissed as "insane" people who just happen to be Muslim, who have no direct tie to Islamist terror groups, and who could be controlled if only we banned the sales of guns. Of course, in the latest attack, we would have had to ban the rental of trucks, but never mind.

Angelo Codevilla notes that major terror attacks like 9/11 require a state sponsor (think: Iran as one example). The requirements for fake documents, massive funding, money transfer, logistics, communication, secrecy, and the like are simply too complex for non-state actors. There's no doubt that state sponsors avoid direct involvement. They use Islamist groups as their cat's paw, as the recent release of the bin Laden papers indicates. By bringing all of the clandestine tools available to mask their sponsorship in a maze of complexity, cut-outs, deniability, and confusion, a country like Iran can conduct war at arms' length. Codevilla writes:
The Muslim world’s states and terrorists have always lived symbiotically. Because mobilizing for full-scale war exposes these states’ congenital internal fragility, they have always fought through proxy groups. Hence, willful ignorance has been required for the American ruling class to maintain the fiction that terrorist groups are independent. That fiction has served our ruling class’s ideological predilections and has provided terrorists the sine qua non for their operations. That is why the Bin Laden papers’ discussion of al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran (about which more in another article) is such a valuable reminder of reality.

Where did these Islamist “idiots” come from? Islam did not produce them until, beginning in the 1950s and turbocharged since the 1978 Iranian Revolution, the Muslim world’s regimes began fostering denunciations of Westerners in general and, lately, of Americans as the embodiment of evil. As Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi sect founded mosques in the West, it helped radicalize the Muslims who were migrating there. The Euro-American ruling class, for its part, has facilitated the migration, provided the migrants with welfare, and have done its best to shield these Islamist “idiots” from Western society’s immunological rejection.

Hence, by acting as an immunosuppressant, our ruling class has enabled the terrorists to infect Western societies with a sense of helplessness that may prove more lethal than shocks such as 9/11.
The elites of the West keep telling us to be vigilant, to see something and say something, to avoid Islamophobia, to reject any ban on immigration from countries with large groups of Islamists, to accept terror as a criminal action rather than an act of war.

Maybe it's time to reject the immunosuppressant, to look deeper and try to understand the connection between state sponsors of terror and the small acts of war that they support with ever-increasing frequency.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Jersey

Facts and figures are boring and increasingly, stating them doesn't win arguments or elections. New Jersey is about to elect a Democratic governor and veer strongly back toward a blue governance model that it never really left, even with the election of GOP governor Chris Christy.

The Blue Model is really quite simple—tax and spend ... and spend ... and spend and then tax some more. It couples giveaways to public sector unions (mostly reliable Blue voters) with profligate spending that ... and here's the rub ... doesn't accomplish the goals that were intended. As a consequence, blue governance slowly, but reliably, moves a government toward bankruptcy.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment on New Jersey's plight:
New Jersey (like Connecticut) was once a tax haven for New Yorkers, but in 1968 the state allowed collective bargaining by public unions. Eight years later the state adopted an income tax with a 2.5% top rate to boost spending on education and reduce property taxes. Thus began the state’s road to fiscal perdition.

Politicians captive to public unions have repeatedly raised income taxes to sweeten worker salaries and benefits. The state’s 8.97% top rate on households earning more than $500,000 is the highest in the Northeast after New York City. Revenues have been steered to low-income school districts but have produced little improvement in student learning. Asbury Park receives $28,884 in state per-pupil aid.

School districts have also piled on property taxes, which are the highest in the country. Between 1980 and 2007, property taxes increased by more than 100% on a per capita basis while school spending per pupil grew by nearly 140%. The average property tax bill on a median $427,000 home in Essex County is $11,597—about twice as much as in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

All of this has hurt the economy, which has depressed tax revenues. Since 2010 the state’s GDP has grown at an annual 0.9%, less than half as fast as the U.S. A net $8.5 billion in adjusted gross income left the state between 2012 and 2015, according to the IRS.
Yet, far too many voters live in a manufactured reality in which redistribution of income is a social justice goal, higher taxes lead to economic growth, and government spending should never be restricted. Intentions, not results, are what matter. And the deleterious affects of blue policies are disregarded. Facts and figures be damned—it's all about virtue signaling—until the money runs out.

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Elites

The elites in politics, the media, entertainment, academia, and increasingly, even sports are doing what they always seem to do: Tell us that their breeding, background, and experience give them a unique ability to dictate how the rest of us (the people who Kurt Schlichter calls, "the normals") conduct our lives. They tell us how important top down governance is, what we can and can't say, how we should perceive the world, what freedoms are good and which are verboten, and on and on.

There's only one problem: When you look at the accomplishments of the elites over the past decade, the results aren't pretty. In politics, there are few accomplishments that benefit us normals. In the media, we see a landscape littered with bias and increasingly populated by fake news. In entertainment, we've now encountered a bleak moral landscape in which predators rule and some of the "victims" are at least a little complicit in the predation. In academia, there is far greater emphasis on political correctness than on free speech or the search for "the truth." And in sports, there is a tendency to skew toward "social justice" rather than playing a game.

Glen Reynolds comments:
I’ve been watching a lot of institutions fail, lately, from Hollywood, to the news media, to the NFL and ESPN, to political parties and academia, and I see a common factor. The problem is that whatever job its members are supposed to be doing at the moment, our ruling class cares more about what the rest of the ruling class thinks about it, than about the job it’s supposed to be doing. The result, quite often, is a debacle ...

The current hip term for this behavior is “virtue signaling” — the effort to demonstrate to one’s peer groups that one holds all the right views and positions. But of course, all humans virtue signal to a degree. What makes it worse today is that our ruling class is such a monoculture. In the words of Angelo Codevilla:

“Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the ‘in’ language — serves as a badge of identity."

And it’s an intensely tribal group, one with great fear of ostracism. A century ago, America had different, overlapping ruling classes with different values: Corporate moguls seldom sought the approval of press barons who seldom cared what academics thought about them and vice versa. Now they’re all cut from the same cloth, which makes this phenomenon much more pronounced, and much more dangerous.
The Trump phenomenon is nothing if it isn't big-time pushback against the elites. The normals used Donald Trump as their way of saying that the elites have failed. And the elites near unanimous hatred (that is the right word) of Trump isn't because he's a "racist" (he isn't) or a xenophobe (hardly) or a Russian stooge (laughable), but rather because Trump represents a rejection of the elites' monopoly on "leadership." They're threatened and have reacted viciously. After all, no one, particularly our ruling class, likes to lose power.

UPDATE:
-------------
Conservative firebrand, Kurt Schlichter, discusses progressives when he writes:
It’s important to understand why liberals are so angry and so scared. They are angry because they believe they have a moral right to command us, apparently bestowed by Gaia or #Science or having gone to Yale, and we are irredeemably deplorable for not submitting to their benevolent dictatorship.

They are scared because they fear we will wage the same kind of campaign of petty (and not so petty) oppression, intimidation, and bullying that they intended to wage upon us.

And their fear tastes like sunshine puked up by a unicorn.
In reality, Schlichter's comments apply equally to conservative elites. In every case, the 2016 election was a repudiation of their perceived "moral right to command us." They can't get past that repudiation and don't have the true intelligence required to try to understand the real failures (on their part) that caused it to happen.



Friday, November 03, 2017

Shocked Faces

In the run up to the 2016 presidential campaign, it became obvious to anyone who took an objective view of the facts that Hillary Clinton was "dishonest, corrupt, and generally incompetent." I used that phrase to describe Clinton dozens of times as scandal after scandal broke:
  • the Benghazi scandal in which Hillary blatantly and knowingly lied about the cause of the event and stonewalled the facts in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that killed a US Ambassador and three other Americans,
  • the email scandal in which Hillary set up a private email server (to avoid public accountability), put government security at risk, and then destroyed (by her own admission) 33,000 emails once an investigation began,
  • the Tarmac scandal in which Hillary's husband met secretly with Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss "golf and grand kids" in the midst of an FBI investigation of Hillary,
  • the Clinton foundation scandal in which tens of millions were donated by parties who needed and got Hillary's influence while she was Secretary of State,
  • the Wall Street scandal in which Hillary was paid a quarter million dollars per speech for a series of 45-minute presentations to the very people she later told us she would reign in,
  • the first hints of the Uranium One scandal in which Hillary essentially "sold" Uranium rights in return for massive donation to the Clinton Foundation—the Clinton's personal money laundering operation,
  • the first hints of the Trump dossier scandal in which shadowy figures (we now know them as Fusion GPS) worked with the Clinton campaign to create a phony dossier on Trump.
And through it all, loyal Democrats defended Clinton to the extreme. People like Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz went to the mat claiming that a right-wing conspiracy was out to get Hillary. And even better, 60-plus million people actually voted for Hillary, suggesting that she was a far better person and candidate than Donald Trump. And when she lost convincingly, they first mourned and then became hysterical, inventing crazy conspiracy theories involving the Russians.

Fast forward one year. Enter the new, suddenly moral Donna Brazile, CNN commentator and past head of the Democratic National Committee.  In a Politico expose written by Brazil, she now tells us that in 2016 Barack Obama had left the DNC broke, that Hillary loaned them money, and in exchange, went full gangsta.* The provisions of the loan as described by Brazile were:
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
The DNC was in Hillary's pocket, and Bernie was toast. The DNC, which Hillary now owned, was rigged against Sanders. Heh.

But here's the thing. Brazile's expose has Democrats walking around with shocked faces. Puleeze.

Clinton has a long and sordid history of dishonesty. Why didn't any of them—including Bernie Sanders—call her out BEFORE she stole the nomination? Why didn't people like Elizabeth Warren or Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi or the hundreds of glitterati, or the thousands of trained hamsters in the media who defended her every move call her out? They didn't know? B.S. They may not have known about the DNC machinations, but they sure as hell knew that Hillary was dishonest and corrupt. Unless, of course, they were in deep, deep denial.

And now these hypocrites cluck their tongues and express shock at all of this. Now Donna Brazille—that would be the same person who gave debate questions to Hillary before the debate—is suddenly shocked and ashamed of Hilary's actions. Really?

Just remember that if it wasn't for the common sense of the "deplorables" across this great country, it would have been president Hillary Clinton leading an administration that elevated ""dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence" to frightening new levels.

Footnote:
--------------------
* As an aside, it's reasonable to ask whether Brazile would have written her expose if Hillary had won the election. You and I both know the answer to that question. Brazile would have been smiling broadly and singing Hillary's praises. Dishonesty and corruption? That's right-wing nonsense, right?

UPDATE:
--------------

Debra Heine reports:
Hillary Clinton was awarded "the 2017 Democratic Woman of the Year Award" Thursday, as an explosive tell-all about how she secretly took over the DNC to rig the 2016 primaries rocked the political world. The award was given by the Woman’s National Democratic Club in recognition of Clinton's "extraordinary contributions to American politics and international affairs, as well as the inspiration she has provided to women and girls around the world.”

"Extraordinary contributions to American politics" -- well, that's one way of putting it.
Extraordinary, indeed.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Terror in the Bike Lane

Another Islamic terrorist attack has occurred in New York City. As usual, we're told by the elites that "the terrorists will not defeat us." We're told to "stay strong." We're told this is a "lone wolf" and there is no broader threat. We're told to use euphemisms and not to be "Islamophobic." We're told that banning guns will do the trick—oops, in this case maybe it's banning rental trucks and paint guns. We're told that any attempt to control the types of people who immigrate to our shores is "against our values." We're told that Islam is "the religion of peace." Yada, yada, yada.

But at the same time, we're told that "extreme vetting," or more intrusive surveillance, or more assertive policies in places like Afghanistan are important if we are to "win this war." I understand the need to do all of those things, but they will NOT win this war. What I don't understand is why the West has decided that it must take the lead in fighting a war against a malignant strain of Islam. At least, not yet.

The war must be fought and won by Islam itself—if it is the peaceful and benign religion that simply wants to co-exist with the rest of us. Islam must rid itself of Islamists, must condemn them unequivocally, must rid its mosques of those who preach violence and hatred, must scan its communities in the West and identify those who are radicalized, turning them over to authorities, must issue fatwas against Islamists, calling them the apostates that they are, it must embrace those true moderate Muslims who have had the courage to criticize radical Islam, it must initiate a complete reformation so that the horror of groups like ISIS or al Qaeda or al Nusra or dozens of others will be eradicated.

And we in the West must demand that Islam does exactly those things. Right now! Islam must take the lead in fighting the war against its malignant strain..

Roger Simon comments on all of this:
What most of us know -- those who are even faintly honest anyway -- is that Islam has a gigantic problem, the basis of which is that the so-called "radical" Islamists are actually practicing the fundamental version of their religion. What they do is approved, even required, by their holy texts. Many of our liberals and progressives don't know this -- or don't want to -- but it's the reality. It is also the reason Muslim protest is so tepid and often focused on non-existent Islamophobia.

And it is finally those beliefs that explain why people like ex-Uber driver Saipov can, as was reported, seem so friendly and pleasant, and then turn around and mow down as many people as he can in a jihadist orgy. He may be psychologically disturbed in our terms, but in his own, he's a believer. And his belief system can ultimately be a more powerful and enduring adversary than communism or Nazism, because it promises eternal life. (This is why I have always thought calling jihadists "cowards," as so many of our politicians do, silly. They are more than willing to die. Indeed, they crave it.)

Egypt's president al-Sisi has admitted and confronted this ghastly problem, calling for reform of Islam, but our own politicians -- either ignorant or pathetically politically correct -- dare not say a word. We would, they say, be interfering with Muslim nations.

That is, until Trump. The president was far more bold than his predecessors when he spoke to the leaders of Islamic nations in Saudi Arabia. But for the most part he spoke of working together to counter violence. The violence, however, will never be squelched until the ideology is defeated and reformed. We must focus on that now like the proverbial laser. So should he.
Rather than using Twitter to score political points against sanctimoneous hypocrites like Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump might emphasize each of the points I noted earlier in this post. For example,
Tweet—The war against terror must be fought and won by Islam itself—if it is a peaceful and benign religion that simply want to co-exist with the rest of us.
Tweet—Islam must rid itself of Islamists, must condemn them unequivocally, must rid its mosques of those who preach violence and hatred.
Tweet—Islam must scan its communities in the West and identify those who are radicalized, turning them over to authorities, must issue fatwas against Islamists, calling them the apostates that they are.
Tweet—Islam must embrace those true moderate Muslims who have had the courage to criticize Islam.
Tweet—Islam must initiate a complete reformation so that the horror of groups like ISIS or al Qaeda or al Nusra or dozens of others will be stamped out.
No doubt, those tweets would cause progressive heads to explode, but at the same time, they just might start a "conversation" that should have been initiated on the day after September 11, 2001.

Simon has it exactly correct when he writes:
We must all now be obnoxious, politically incorrect busybodies and get in Islam's face, demanding reform in every way possible, economically, socially, theologically and, yes, militarily. If we don't, our children and their children and grandchildren will be dealing with the exact same madness and violence in the years to come.
If obnoxious, politically incorrect behavior is required, Donald Trump is the guy to do it. I hope he does. I hope he does it now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Manafort and Papadopoulos

Conservative comedian (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't in this case), Greg Gutfeld, comments on Robert Mueller's indictment of Paul Manafort et al (paraphasing):
The Democrats and their media allies, along with GOP #NeverTrumpers were gleeful in anticipating Mueller's indictments, expecting the special counsel to give them a gift pony. Instead, they got a gold fish.
But undaunted, the Dems, along with their trained media hamsters, are trying to turn a goldfish into a whale. It's actually kind of pathetic to watch. #NeverTrumpers are a bit more circumspect.

The conservative National Review provides a useful discussion of the facts Mueller and his team of lawyers (most of whom were Clinton donors) alleges:
Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading on Count One (page 23 of the indictment). This case has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call “the attack on our democracy” (i.e., the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election, supposedly in “collusion” with the Trump campaign). Essentially, Manafort and his associate, Richard W. Gates, are charged with (a) conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government about $75 million they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, years before the 2016 election (mainly, from 2006 through 2014), and (b) a money-laundering conspiracy.

There are twelve counts in all, but those are the two major allegations.

The so-called conspiracy against the United States mainly involves Manafort’s and Gates’s alleged failure to file Treasury Department forms required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Specifically, Americans who hold a stake in foreign bank accounts must file what’s known as an “FBAR” (foreign bank account report) in any year in which, at any point, the balance in the account exceeds $10,000. Federal law also requires disclosure of foreign accounts on annual income-tax returns. Manafort and Gates are said to have controlled foreign accounts through which their Ukrainian political-consulting income sluiced, and to have failed to file accurate FBARs and tax returns. In addition, they allegedly failed to register as foreign agents from 2008 through 2014 and made false statements when they belatedly registered.
Manfort is representative of everything that's wrong with "the swamp." He's typical of hundreds of slimy operators (both Dem and GOP) who make tens of millions of dollars lobbying for special interests, influencing corrupt government bureaucrats and elected politicians, and otherwise doing unethical and marginally illegal stuff. He did work for the Trump campaign for about four months (focusing mainly on convention logistics). His employment by the Trump campaign does represent bad judgement on the part of Donald Trump, but the violations alleged happened years before that campaign gig, and Trump, to his credit, fired the man once allegations of slimy behavior began to surface.

Undaunted by a lack of evidence of "collusion" associated with Manafort, the Dems and their trained hamsters, like drowning men grasping at straws, have focused on a low level Trump campaign functionary, George Papadopoulos. Left-leaning Yahoo News reports:
The former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, admitted to making “numerous” false statements to the FBI about his repeated efforts to arrange an “off the record” meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office. [They fail to mention he never succeeded in achieving anything actionable] He is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, according to the unsealed court records.
Here's a guy who never met with Trump or any other high-level campaign official, but like a good soldier was looking for dirt on Hillary. When confronted by the FBI after getting off a plane, he made the mistake of lying.

Further context is provided by Paul Sperry:
George Papadopoulos ... volunteered to work on the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisory council, which met just one time.

In the 14-page document, Robert Mueller’s prosecutors maintain that Papadopoulos, a 20-something think-tank nerd who jumped ship from the Ben Carson campaign, met with individuals posing as Russian officials who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

There was nothing illegal about what Papadopoulos did. The only crime alleged in the indictment is that he lied to federal agents when they asked him about the contacts last January.

It is fairly plain from the indictment that the young campaign volunteer was trying to impress higher-ups in the campaign, perhaps with a White House assignment in mind, but was played for a sucker by con artists who approached him masquerading as Russian honchos tied to Vladimir Putin. (The contact portrayed as “Putin’s niece,” for example, turned out to be nothing of the kind.)

The initial Russia offer by Papadopoulos went nowhere, as other members of the foreign policy team rejected the suggestion, according to a Washington Post story published in August (yes, this is old news, new media huffing and puffing notwithstanding). But Papadopoulos persisted, emailing then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in April 2016 that “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right.”

The Washington Post further reported that Papadopoulos also forwarded campaign officials an email from a senior official in the Russian International Affairs Council about coordinating a Trump visit to Moscow. But once again, senior campaign officials rejected the suggestion. Proposed trips to Moscow “did not take place,” the indictment confirms.

Mind you, Papadopoulos never paid $12.5 million to a right-wing version of Fusion GPS to develop a phony dossier that impugned Hillary Clinton and never worked with the RNC to get the funds paid to Russians. In fact, he never accomplished anything. But gosh, as far as the Dems and their trained hamsters are concerned, he's a whole lot more interesting than the Clinton/DNC payment that did accomplish: (1) payment to Russian entities via cut-outs, (2) the creating of a phony dossier, (3) the use of that dossier to spur government surveillance of the trump campaign. But those proven actions aren't nearly as interesting as Mueller's allegation that Papadopoulos lied under oath. Gosh, Hillary never did that, did she? Nah, good lawyer that she is, Hillary just said she "couldn't recall" key facts and dates 45 times (!!) during an FBI interrogation. And BTW, where are Mueller's indictments associated with the Fusion GPS case? Waiting ... patiently.

Breathless with anticipation and having watched far too many episodes of CSI, the trained media hamsters are suggesting Papadopoulos "wore a wire" and that his surreptitiously recorded conversations would lead to Trump's impeachment. I'm certain that those conversations will leak as Mueller and his impressive band of witch-hunters move forward:

Pap (to Trump): Thanks for inviting me into the oval office. Even though I'm a nobody, it's nice to meet you. By the way, Donny, did you collude with the Russians?

Trump: Yeah .. Vlad and I have been planning this since 1993. We knew that the Internet and Facebook would become really big and designed ads that would bring Crooked Hillary down. I bought Wikileaks with pocket change and drafted Julian Assange to publish the DNC emails that made Hillary look like a manipulative jerk. It was me ... all me! In fact, I personally hacked the DNC servers, given my massive and beautiful understanding of the Internet that Al Gore invented.

Pap: So you're guilty, right?

Trump: Believe me, I'm guilty. I'm very, very guilty. Bwahahahah!!
And once this clandestine make-believe recording is leaked, it becomes an open and shut case—impeachment is only seconds away!! Collusion ... collusion ... COLLUSION!!!

If all of this weren't deadly serious, the hysteria exhibited by those with Trump Derangement Syndrome would be outright laughable.

UPDATE:
----------------

Here's the reality of the actual, evidence-based "collusion" as described by Roger Kimball:
A few days ago, the world was stunned by the news that 1) the original funder of the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research was the conservative website Washington Free Beacon, edited by Matthew Continetti, the son-in-law of energetic NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, and 2) when the Beacon ended its contract with Fusion GPS, its services were picked up by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. It was at that point, in May-June 2016, that Fusion GPS employed the former British Spy Christopher Steele to look for dirt on Trump in Russia. That was the origin of the infamous “Trump Dossier,” with its (in the words of former FBI director James Comey) “salacious and unverified” claims about Donald Trump’s behavior in Russia.

This whole story has been exhaustively and exhaustingly picked over [but not by the trained hamsters in the mainstream media]. Who knew that Tony Podesta, older brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, was in bed (and in today’s climate, we must stipulate, not literally) with Paul Manafort? Yep, it’s true. And this just in—the elder Podesta has just announced that he is stepping down from his lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, after, nota bene, it was announced that Mueller was turning his jaundiced eye on him.

Who knew that the FBI, too, engaged the services of Spook Steele to continue gathering dirt on Trump? Did that work provide the rationale for the Obama Administration’s going to the FISA Court to get authorization to bug Trump’s associates? What about Robert Mueller? He was head of the FBI when that storied agency was prevailed upon not to announce it was investigating the Russian company that acquired Uranium One, and thereby some 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets, back when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and Barack Obama was still pursuing his “reset” with Russia. What’s going on there? And the $140 million (give or take) that found its way into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation around the time of that transfer? Or the $500,000 speaking fee for a short speech by Bill Clinton, paid by a Russian bank working for the Russian company acquiring Uranium One? What about that?

It’s a carnival of corruption, a carnival of collusion, but the one name missing from the roster of malefactors is that of President Donald Trump.
So ... our intrepid special counsel, Robert Mueller, indicted Paul Manafort et al. No tears. Manafort deserved it. Papadopoulos? Not so much. In fact, it's indicative of lack of meaningful evidence that Mueller's only option was to arrest and then intimidate such a low-level player.

Since indictments have begun, Mueller damn well better indict some of the key players in the Fusion GPS scandal where evidence is copious and a true “Conspiracy against the United States” election process did occur. He damn well better take a hard look at the Obama Justice Department to determine whether the actions of Fusion GPS led to spying on an opposition candidate and indict the principals if it did. He damn well better indict people associated with The Clinton Foundation for corruption and bribery, pay-to-play and influence peddling associated with Uranium One—another true scandal that amounted to a "Conspiracy against the United States” in the form of corrupt government practices. After all, if you can go back 5 to 10 years for Manafort, you can go back 5 to 10 years for the Clintons. If you can arrest and intimidate a low-level player like Papadopoulos, you can arrest and intimidate low level players at Uranium One and The Clinton Foundation.

The BIG question that will clearly define Mueller's veracity, integrity, and even-handedness is—will he?