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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Deep State Revisited

In May of 2017 I used the phrase "four constituencies" to describe the elites who use a combination of dishonesty, bias, fear-mongering, and anger to stoke Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) among a substantial subset of the population. The four constituencies are the media (along with many in entertainment and the arts), virtually all Democrats, the NeverTrump G.O.P., and many senior executives in the "deep state"—career government appointees who work in big government and then become rich by trading on the contacts and influence they have established.

A few weeks ago, I commented on the irony of John Brennan's twitter attack on Donald Trump. Brennan—the ex-Director of the CIA—is politically biased, dishonest, and potentially corrupt. He is also a poster boy for the deep state. But Brennan is not alone.

After describing Brennan's record of dishonesty, Victor Davis Hansen writes about other Obama-era members of the deep state:
Brennan is typical of the careerist deep state.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice lied about the Benghazi tragedy, the nature of the Bowe Bergdahl/Guantanamo detainee exchange, the presence of chemical weapons in Syria, and her role in unmasking the identities of surveilled Americans.

Andrew McCabe, recently fired from his job as FBI deputy director, openly admitted to lying to investigators, claiming he was “confused and distracted.” McCabe had said that he was not a source for background leaks about the investigation of the Clinton Foundation. He wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post that “some of my answers were not fully accurate . . .”

Former FBI Director James Comey likely lied about not drafting a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing in her email scandal before interviewing her.

Comey misled a FISA court by not providing the entire truth about the Steele dossier. He falsely assured the president that he was not under investigation while likely leaking to others that Trump was, in fact, under investigation.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee when he said that the National Security Agency did not collect data on American citizens. When caught in the lie, Clapper claimed that he had given the “least untruthful” answer to the committee that he could publicly provide.

In the past, Clapper had also misled the country about the “secular” nature of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Note that Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Rice so far have not been held to account for their distortions. We cynically expect our politicians and even presidents to fabricate, but we idealistically (and naively) assume that career government servants do not.

A common strategy of the deep state careerist is the psychological tactic known as “projection.” To square their own circles of lying, our so-called best and brightest loudly accuse others of precisely the sins that they themselves commit as a matter of habit.
Soon, we'll be able to read a book length version of "projection" by James Comey, fired ex-Director of the FBI who will, of course, argue that Donald Trump is guilty of wrongdoing that Comey actually committed. Obstruction of Justice? Yep. Comey decided that Hillary Clinton wouldn't be indicted even before she was fully investigated for violations of national security. Dishonest? Yep. Comey on numerous occasions testified falsely before Congress. Poor leadership? Yep. Under Comey, the FBI was weaponized against the opposition party. Corruption? Yep. Comey's FBI misused the FISA courts to investigate members of Trumps campaign team and worse, sanctions clandestine actions designed to undermine Trump.

Donald Trump is many things—not all of them good. But the fact that the four constituencies revile him indicates that they view him as uncontrollable and a potential threat to their dominance. That alone is reason enough not to fall prey to TDS.

In a stunning discussion (read the whole thing) of the elites and their attitude on Trump, Conrad Black writes:
Mr. Trump isn’t the problem, but among the symptoms of the problem are that the director and deputy director of the FBI have been fired for cause as the Bureau virtually became the dirty-tricks arm of the Democratic National Committee, and that, as the Center for Media Studies and Pew Research have both recorded, 90% of national-press comment on Mr. Trump is hostile. Mr. Trump may have aggravated some of the current nastiness, but his chief offense has been breaking ranks with the bipartisan coalition that produced the only period of absolute and relative decline in American history.
Pushing back against a group of arrogant elitists who has been more wrong than right, more dishonest than honest, and more incompetent than competent is not a bad thing. For that at least, Donald trump deserves some credit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The March

Let me be very clear. I am a proponent of responsible efforts to control gun violence. By that I mean the following:
  • stricter and more comprehensive background checks for all individuals buying guns;
  • a national database that identifies felons, the mentally-ill, suspected terrorist sympathizers and others who should not be allowed to acquire guns, explosive or other dangerous weapons;
  • red flag laws that allow state and local government to confiscate guns from those who have been reported as threats to themselves or others, when those reports come from multiple independent parties;
  • age limits on the acquisition of all guns; the age of 21 seems appropriate;
  • serious reconsideration of mental-health detention laws when a person is demonstrably dangerous to himself or others,
and any number of other responsible measures.

The students who were the catalyst for the recent "March for Our Lives" demonstrations and their many adult supporters advocate for strict gun control, including many of the measures I note above. Their positions are heart-felt, but they are quick to demonize those who disagree with their positions, often using ad hominem attacks as opposed to factually-based arguments to support those positions.

Let's digress for a moment with a loose analogy. The primary cause of deaths among teenagers is car accidents—in the main occurring in vehicles driven by teenagers. For example, in 2013 there were 2,524 deaths of teens aged 13 to 19 in motor vehicle crashes. If I were to advocate that cars are a "death machine" or that all teenagers should be banned from owning or driving a car or that certain types of cars should be outlawed, there would be those who might justifiably argue otherwise. Those making that argument might suggest that driver error or distraction or irresponsibility are the primary causes of the deaths. They might also push back when 'car control' advocates suggest that their arguments make them "child killers" and "advocates of death."

Yes, I realize there are stark differences between gun deaths and motor vehicle accidents, but at the end of the day, dead teens are the tragic result. Even with relatively strict licensing and age limits for motor vehicles, deaths of teens due to motor vehicle accidents occur regularly and in large numbers, although (like gun violence) actual deaths are going down every year.

The conservative National Review notes:
Bluntly put, there is no meaningful way in which students in the United States are being forced to march “for their lives.” Children today live in an America that is safer than it has been at any point since the 1960s. One’s chance of being killed in a school is around six times lower than one’s chance of being hit by lightning. Hideous as it was, the event that precipitated Saturday’s march was a classic “black swan” attack, the solution to which is not at all obvious.

Nonetheless, many of the marchers basked openly in the comforts of simplicity, monomania, and crass demonization. Evidently, the leaders of this movement do not respect those they oppose, and so they dehumanize them. They do not value the Second Amendment, and so they dismiss it. They do not know — or care — that hundreds of thousands of Americans use guns in self-defense each year, and so they cast the right as all downside. Their knowledge is shallow and their focus is narrow, as one would reasonably expect of teenagers.
This debate, like most, is complex, emotional, and rife with hyperbole on both sides. The students and their supporters are right be be concerned about gun violence. Second amendment advocates are right to demand reasoned action. Both are wrong to demonize opposing views.

Monday, March 26, 2018


The trained hamsters of the main stream media are arguably the most powerful of the four constituencies that are intent on destroying the Trump presidency, regardless of the damage it does to the country, our body politic, and indirectly to both domestic and foreign policy improvements that have occurred since his election. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the once respected news journal, CBS's 60 Minutes, paraded a porn star who had consensual sex with Donald Trump 10 years before he was president. Salacious content (a porn star, for God's sake, although I think she's the first porn star I've ever seen who didn't show any cleavage)) and silly accusations of a "cover-up" and "threats" make for great TV, but really? The porn star works in a seedy business among seedy people who often do seedy things. Something tells me that her demur suggestion that she felt "threatened" is just a bit much, but then again, #MeToo is the meme de jour, so why not use it?

On the other hand ... there is little question that Donald Trump is a "dog." He has had three wives, multiple affairs, and a spotty record with women—all before he became president. He was elected even though most voters knew his past sexual and marital history. It's perfectly reasonable to object to his behavior and to use it to question his character, but his behavior was and is no secret. He did not dupe the electorate into voting for him by suggesting he was a saint.

What is ironic and obvious is that there have been other sitting presidents who were also dogs, yet because their politics coincided the politics of the trained hamsters of the media, they were given a pass, even though their sexual peccadillos happened while they were in office. JFK appears to have had sex with any woman that was to his liking while he was president (Marilyn Monroe comes to mind). The media hushed it all up. Lyndon Johnson is said to have had affairs while in office, but the media looked the other way. And of course, Bill Clinton was a "dog" as well and the media, although they were forced to cover the story of his affair with an White House intern, acted more as his apologists than his investigators. All of these men were Democrats—is there a pattern emerging here?

All that has changed because—Trump.

Whether the four constituencies realize it or not, we're on a very slippery slope. There will be unintended (and very negative) consequences if they succeed in their attempt to destroy Trump's presidency. But Trump Derangement Syndrome rules and the consequence is that a porn star has now become the latest female heroine for many within the four constituencies. If it wasn't so sad, it would actually be funny.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


The Right seems obsessed with perpetuating 20th century technologies and excluding those of the 21st century. Like the Left so frequently does on other topics (think: the "dangers of vaccines or the "threat" of genetically modified foods or fracking), the Right now embraces junk science and makes outrageous and unsupportable claims that internal combustion engine (ICE) automotive technology is less polluting and more sustainable that electric vehicle technology. The Right also implies that current tax credits for electric vehicles (which sunset for every company that makes EVs) are somehow "unfair" and that companies like Tesla would not have succeeded without them. That's nonsense, but whatever.

Now, with the first death attributable to an autonomous vehicle (almost every autonomous prototype is an EV), the Right is obsessing over the "dangers" of autonomous driving to the public. In breathless tones, David Goldman recounts fatal accident (the first) in which an autonomous prototype (with a human monitor) hits and kills a woman walking her bicycle across the street. He writes:
The video shows a woman walking her bicycle across the highway: the Uber car was going at a good clip and coming over a rise. Not quite three seconds pass between the first sight of the pedestrian and impact, enough time for an alert human driver to spin the wheel. The human driver in the car was supposed to correct for machine errors, but the video shows one Rafaela Vasquez a/k/a Rafael Vasquez staring downwards until the moment of the crash.
Of course, what Goldman conveniently fails to mention is that using the 20th century tech that he seems so enamored of, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 4,092 pedestrians were killed in accidents with motor vehicles and 59,000 were injured last year! That's an average of 11.2 deaths every day! All caused by a combination of driver and pedestrian error. For example, in the case of the fatal accident Goldman mentions, it's also the pedestrian's responsibility to watch for on-coming traffic and act accordingly.

Autonomous vehicles are in their prototype phase. They are capable but certainly not perfected. They are usable in limited driving conditions, but not all driving situations. I know this to be a fact, because I own not one, but two.

But Goldman continues:
That is cold comfort to the family of Ms. Herzberg (the accident victim), whose death we can watch in a real-life horror movie. It is probable that improved sensors and communications might be able to prevent this sort of accident in the future; the sort of situations which AI never will master are things like lane changes in traffic in which one driver has to communicate intention to other drivers in order to avoid collisions.

But that is now beside the point. The cultural damage done by the Utopian vision of brain-as-a-machine is enormous, and the skepticism with which the public now must view Artificial Intelligence is a healthy corrective. The vulgar determinism of the brain-as-machine Utopians has worked its way into the broad culture and corrupted institutions that should be expected to offer resistance.
I have, an a number of occasions, expressed my own reservations about unfettered A.I., but to suggest that those who use domain-limited A.I. (i.e., the type used for autonomous driving) are exhibiting some form of "vulgar determinism" is akin to what the Luddites said about cotton and wool manufacturing in the early 1800s.

Possibly because the tech industry leans decidedly left in social policy, the Right seems to want to make advances in automation and A.I in general a "liberal" construct. Those advances are nothing of the sort. They are, like other advances throughout the centuries, a natural progression of human knowledge and invention. They should be monitored, but they should never be demonized.


A Tesla EV was involved in a fatal accident in which the vehicle caught fire after a high speed head-on crash. A number of right-leaning blogs (e.g., here) suggested that Li Ion batteries and Teslas in general were "unsafe" because the batteries can catch fire. What these geniuses failed to mention is that the NFPA reports that in 2015 (the last year records are available) there were 174,000 vehicle fires (virtually all were ICE vehicles) in the United States and 445 deaths attributable to the fires—that's more than one death per day! This singular incident involving a Tesla Model X is just another example of the phenomenon I note in the body of this post.

Friday, March 23, 2018


Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick once wrote:
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
That simple aphorism seems to have escaped many Democrats, some GOP members, and most progressives as they navigate the world, form policy positions, and accuse their opponents of any of a number of evils.

A case in point is Amy Wax, a tenured law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who had the temerity to (indelicately) suggest that (among other touchy subjects) "all cultures are not created equal" and that African American law "students [sometimes admitted under various affirmative action programs] rarely finish in the top half of their class."

In the long tradition of Leftist attacks that began with the demonization of Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray for their scholarly book,"The Bell Curve," Wax was labeled a racist and a bigot. Molly Roberts writes about the aftermath:
Critics excoriated Wax’s initial essay as white supremacy in the guise of scholarly argument. Fifty-four Penn students and alumni called on the university to denounce what they saw as racism, and 33 Penn Law faculty members soon did just that in an open letter. Wax responded by tripling down in an on-campus Federalist Society lecture and the pages of the Wall Street Journal. After the statements about class rank surfaced, Penn stripped Wax of her duties teaching curriculum courses first-year students are required to take. She will still teach a full schedule of elective classes. The law school dean has said Wax’s claims were false but hasn’t provided the (proprietary) data to debunk them.
And therein lies the rub. If Wax is wrong about student outcomes, it would be relatively easy for the University of Pennsylvania to use readily available academic data to prove her contention as an egregious error. Yet they fail to do so.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Wax herself writes:
The mindset that values openness understands that the truth can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, doesn’t always respect our wishes, and sometimes hurts. Good feelings and reality don’t always mix. But there is a price to be paid for putting the quest for psychological comfort over openness on matters central to how our society is organized. While some people benefit from the favored view, others lose out. People accused of bigotry and discrimination—claims that are more pervasive than ever—are understandably unhappy about being deprived of the ability to defend themselves by pointing to alternative reasons for group differences. Hoarding and hiding information relevant to such differences, which amounts to predetermining a verdict of “guilty as charged,” violates basic principles of fair play and gives rise to justified resentment.

Universities, like other institutions, scheme relentlessly to keep such facts from view. Yet although the culture war is now tilted against those accused of discrimination, politics persists, and frustration tells at the ballot box. The deeper price is that people come to believe that truth yields to power, and that political pressure should be brought to bear to avoid inconvenient realities.
Those who use ad hominem attacks rather than facts to rebut commentary like Wax's believe that transparency and subsequent debate is not appropriate when certain groups are involved. That protecting those groups is far more important than looking at the world as it is and then trying to make it better.

In her op-ed, Wax concludes with this comment:
That belief that political force determines objective reality has characterized totalitarian regimes world-wide and throughout history—regimes that are responsible for untold amounts of human misery. That mindset is dangerously inconsistent with the kind of free society Americans have painstakingly built and defended over many centuries, at the cost of blood and treasure. Perhaps we no longer want such a society. But we relinquish it at our peril.
Based on their actions over the past few decades and the ascension of political correctness as a trump card to shut down any debate that is unpleasant, the Left would argue that it wants a "free society," but one that is free to debate and discuss only those topics that are approved by the Left. That's why new editions of history books are conveniently altered, statues are torn down, building names are changed, social media sites sometimes censor views that are not politically correct, school mascots are eliminated ... the list is long and getting longer. Wax may be wrong in her accusations about students (we'll never know because easily acquired data are hidden) but she's right to suggest that we do all of this "at our peril."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Privacy? Heh

Just a little more than 6 years ago, the media waxed poetic about the ultra-modern data gathering and analysis operation that was mounted by the Obama campaign for the presidency. We were told how Obama's people hired the best and the brightest to mine information about "every voter" so that the campaign could "target" its message occordingly. In glowing terms, we were informed that big data (the term was barely invented at that time) and corresponding analytics were changing the way that campaigns were run, and based on the rave reviews and obvious bias in favor of Obama, that was all for the good.

We were told that every campaign could learn from the "young socially conscious geniuses" who designed Obama's data mining approach and that using that approach, they were unbeatable.

Fast forward to today. In what can only be characterized as a breathtakingly disingenuous meme, the trained hamsters of the main stream media, along with a phalanx of typically clueless elites and politicians, have become hysterical over a similar data mining operation conducted by a firm called Cambridge Analytics. Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg), once the absolute darling of progressivess, is now cast as the villian because its data and its members were used to gather information that was provided to the hated Trump campaign.

Pat Bernal comments:
It is easy to be misled into believing that the Cambridge Analytica story is about rogue data miners taking advantage of an innocent Facebook. Facebook’s decision to suspend Cambridge Analytica’s access, the use of terms like “data breach”, and a good deal of coverage in the media seems to follow these lines. That, however, misses the key point. This is not a data breach by any means – and nor is it something that could not have been predicted or could easily have been avoided. This is, in many ways, Cambridge Analytica using Facebook exactly as the social media platform was designed to be used. This is how Facebook works.

Three key parts of Facebook’s model come into play: gathering data from people in order to profile them, both en masse and individually, designing systems that allow that data to be used to target people for advertising and content, then allowing third parties (generally advertisers) to use the data and those targeting systems for their own purposes. The power of these systems is often underestimated, but Facebook themselves know it, and have tested it in a number of ways.

They have demonstrated, through their “emotional contagion” experiment in 2014, that they can make people happier or sadder, simply by manipulating the order things appear in people’s timelines. They have demonstrated that they can make people more likely to vote, testing it in the 2010 US congressional elections. They can profile people based on the most mundane of information – the sheer scale of Facebook’s user-base and the amount of information given to them means that “big data” analysis can make connections that might seem bizarre, revealing insights into intelligence, politics, ethnicity and religion without people actually discussing any of those things directly.

They allow advertisements to be targeted to particular “racial affinity” groups – or tailored according to “racial affinity”. Not actual race, because that might conflict with various laws, but the race that your profile suggests you have the most “affinity” towards. Racial profiling without the name.
Having worked in and around computing for almost half a century (and having authored the world's best-selling book on software engineering), I think it's reasonable to argue that I'm not a neophyte. The problem is that our "leaders" and most of the media are. They wail that "our privacy is threatened." No ... actually, there is no privacy if you surf the web, make e-commerce purchases, and most important, use social media platforms like Facebook. They shreek that companies like Facebook "use the massive data stores they have to monetize their platforms." Gosh ... really? Who would have thunk it!

Over my years in computing, so much has changed that the field is virtually unrecognizable. But one thing remains the same—apps are created to process data to provide benefit to stakeholders who requested the development of the app in the first place. The real difference is that terabites of data are now readily accessible, apps have become increasingly powerful, A.I has entered the fray, and the stakeholders? Well, they're willing to push the boundaries. Privacy? Heh.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Venality, Moral Turpitude, and Political Corruption

One of the dominant characteristics of the Washington elites is that they lie well and with impunity. Because they believe they are anointed with the unique talents of leadership and that the rest of us are incapable of making decisions on our own, they lie to be sure that their meme, their narrative is the only one people will hear. That's why, say, Susan Rice told the nation (on 5 (!) different Sunday morning TV shows) that the Benghazi attack was precipitated by an anti-Muslim video; that's why Barack Obama told the nation that there was no substance to the claim that the IRS targeted his opponents; that's why Hillary Clinton told us that there was no classified information on her private servers; that's why John Brennan lied (to a Congressional committee) when he stated that the CIA did not spy on Senate staffers.

The interesting thing is that these elites suffer few real consequences for their blatant dishonesty, and even more interesting, continue to be given a platform (by the trained hamsters in the media) to make other tendentious claims to further their political agenda.

A few days ago, John Brennan—a man who has demonstrated that he is a venal apparatchik who is both dishonest and corrupt—tweeted the following:
If you look up the word Chutzpah, you might find Brennan's tweet as a perfect example.

Of course, the trained hamsters rejoiced at this attack on the current president, who, one must admit, sometimes plays fast and loose with the truth himself.

But it's Brennan's apparent inability to see the irony of his tweet—he is the person he claims Trump to be—that is the most telling.

That's part of the reason Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. That's also part of the reason that the unhinged attacks on Trump will continue throughout his presidency. Trump is a constant reminder that the influence of the elites has wained and their credibility has been shattered. They are, like Brennan, victims of their own dishonesty and hubris. In fact, their current flailings, like the flailing demonstrated by Brennan's tweet, indicates that America just might triumph over them.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bad Bet

If you were to believe just about every Democrat politician and all of their trained hamsters in the media, the firing of FBI assistant director, Andrew McCabe, a few days before his retirement, was a vindictive act perpetrated by the evil Donald Trump who wanted to "silence" McCabe's crusade for justice. In fact, a number of Democrat politicians are offering McCabe employment so that he can collect a $1 million+ dollar pension, because—victimization. I guess that lying to the FBI Inspector General is okay as long as those lies skew in favor of the Democrats and against their political opponents.

The Trump Derangement Syndrome outrage machine went into overdrive when McCabe was fired. You'd think he was an innocent bystander, caught up in a political firestorm. The reality (something that Dems always have trouble with) is that it appears McCabe plotted against Trump during the presidential campaign and when he became the newly elected president, was a partisan who protected Hillary Clinton, and leaked confidential information to the media (with the apparent approval of the FBI Director, James Comey) with the specific intent of harming Donald Trump.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal explain:
The recommendation to fire Mr. McCabe isn’t coming from Donald Trump or Russian bots. It comes from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. News reports say it is based on a finding from the Justice Department’s Inspector General that Mr. McCabe authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation—and then lied about it to IG investigators.

The IG report remains secret, but it’s hard to believe the FBI would recommend such punishment if it did not believe Mr. McCabe’s actions were a serious breach of duty. The bureau’s recommendation is in marked contrast to the endorsement from his old boss, former FBI Director James Comey, who tweeted in January that Mr. McCabe “stood tall” as “small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on.” Did St. Jim know about his comrade’s alleged deception?

Mr. McCabe is connected to controversial FBI investigations into both presidential candidates in 2016, and in January he said he would formally retire on March 18 when he would have enough seniority to qualify for his pension. Firing him early could cost him that lifetime payout.

The American people still don’t know what went on at the FBI during those 2016 investigations. Several FBI and Justice officials will soon testify to the House Intelligence Committee. Perhaps Mr. McCabe’s firing would persuade them that there are consequences for untruthfulness. Time and again we have been assured of the FBI’s high standards. Imagine how Mr. McCabe would treat an American citizen who lied to the FBI.
So ... the FBI itself recommended that McCabe be terminated because he lied to investigators about his involvement in the leak of information damaging to Trump.

I wonder why the same Democrat politicians who currently defend McCabe didn't come to the defense of Michael Flynn, a decorated General who served his country far longer than McCabe. Flynn wasn't simply fired, he was indicted for lying to federal investigators, exactly the same crime that got McCabe fired. In McCabe's case (by the way, his wife got hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from Clinton loyalist, Terry McAuliffe) I guess if you're a friend of the Clintons and an enemy of Trump, you're immune from any wrong-doing.

Shed no tears for McCabe. He worked hard to ensure the election of Hillary Clinton, believing it to be a slam dunk, and therefore believing her election would protect him from investigation and any repercussions. He bet wrong, and now he's paying the price for that bad bet.

Friday, March 16, 2018

March Madness

As March Madness descends on the country over the next three weeks, the FBI is busy investigating multiple colleges and universities for irregularities in the way they have instituted and followed arbitrarily defined NCAA rules. It’s interesting that a large team of FBI agents has spent months interviewing sports agents, coaches, and players to uncover wrongdoing that might sway the results of basketball games, but in no way threatens the country on a broader basis.

Odd that the same level of enthusiasm didn’t appear to be present during the past administration, when the IRS was weaponized to target political opponents of the past-president, or when the then-Secretary of State set up a private email server that compromised national security. In fact, at senior levels of the FBI, those issues were apparently considered less a threat to the country than the recruiting shenanigans that go on regularly in college basketball. After all, slipping a college player's mother the money for an airline ticket to see her son play ball is a crime worthy of FBI investigation, but a cabal of IRS employees who target conservatives for their politics is—well, nothing to see there, move on.

James Freeman relates a transcription from Robert Mueller, the FBI director during part of the previous administration, testifying for a Congressional Committee and Congressman Jim Jordan about the then-breaking IRS scandal:
A month after the IRS abuses began coming to light, Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) asked then-FBI Director Robert Mueller about the case at a June 13, 2013 meeting of the House Judiciary Committee. Here’s an excerpt from the hearing transcript:
JORDAN: Can you tell me -- can you tell me some basics? Can you tell me how many agents -- investigators -- you’ve assigned to the case?
MUELLER: I may be able to do that, but I’d have to get back to you.
JORDAN: Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?
MUELLER: Off the top of my head, no.
JORDAN: This is the most important issue in front of the country the last six weeks, you don’t know who’s heading up the case? Who the lead investigator is?
MUELLER: At this junction, no, I do not know who the...
JORDAN: Can you get that information to us? We’d like to know. We’d like to know how many people you’ve assigned to look into this situation.
MUELLER: I have not had a recent briefing on it. I had a briefing on it when we first initiated it, but I have not had a recent briefing as to where we are...
JORDAN: Do you know if you’ve talked to any of the victims? Have you talked to any of the groups who were targeted by their government? Have you met with any of the tea party folks since May 14th, 2013?
MUELLER: I don’t know what the status of the interviews are by the team that’s on it.
Several months later, Mr. Mueller handed off leadership of the bureau to James Comey, who seems to have cared about IRS targeting abuses just as much as Mr. Mueller did. Mr. Comey’s FBI spent less time investigating the IRS than the bureau has spent examining college basketball.
But now, of course, Special Counsel Mueller has become a bulldog, investigating fantasy claims of Russian collusion with an apparent enthusiasm that he didn't exhibit in the noted testimony. Betcha he can name the lead investigator, the number of people on his collusion team, and every other aspect of his investigation. After all, the real weaponization of a government agency against the political opponents of the then-president is far, far, far less serious than a fantasy claim of collusion that has no evidence to support it. Isn't it?

Freeman summarizes:
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the FBI has become a sort of ministry of self-indulgence, pursuing cases that its leadership finds interesting or useful as opposed to prioritizing threats to our safety and liberty.

The real scandal is not about Donald Trump firing Mr. Mueller’s successor. The question is: What took him so long?
An even bigger question is why on earth should we trust Robert Mueller to be a politically unbiased and honest investigator when his past history indicates he is nothing of the sort.


The politicization of government agencies, particularly during the last decade, is very concerning. Sure, there's always been politics, but never in modern history has the FBI, the DoJ, the IRS, and EPA, and others (though their senior appointed officials) been transformed into political tools that do the bidding of one political party to the significant detriment of the other. I'm not naive. I know this has always gone on. But the extent, the broad scope, and the blatant execution of this under the previous administration has set a precedent that is dangerous for our country. It destroys trust, and in the end, that's all we've really got if we intend to live by the rule of law.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


In yet another classless and unnecessarily clumsy move, Donald Trump fired Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State via Twitter. Like many things that Trump does, the end result was probably correct, but the style in which it was done was off-putting. Trump and Tillerson disagreed on too many issues for their relationship to continue. But Tillerson was a class act, served the president well, and should have been treated with greater respect.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal write:
President Trump’s decision to replace Rex Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State looks like a trade up for the Administration and perhaps for U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Tillerson deserved better than the shabby way he was fired, but Mr. Pompeo shares more of the President’s views and is likely to carry more clout with Mr. Trump and foreign leaders.

Mr. Trump was initially attracted to the former Exxon CEO’s status and business success, and boosters like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hoped he’d mesh with a businessman president. But foreign policy isn’t made in flow charts, and Mr. Tillerson squandered political capital by trying to reorganize the State Department.

The most successful recent Secretaries— Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker —used the department’s assets to serve their agendas. They put allies in key jobs to manage the biggest issues, while letting the career staff run lesser portfolios. But more than a year into the Trump era, most senior State posts remain vacant, as do key ambassadorships to the likes of South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Mr. Tillerson relied on too many diplomats who served the bureaucracy’s agenda.
During Tillerson's tenure, U.S. foreign policy accomplishments improved by an order of magnitude when compared to the previous administration. During those years, the past-president allowed first- and second-term Secretaries of State to do their thing and the result was disastrous—chaos in the Middle East, Russia invading the Ukraine, North Korea rampaging toward an even more warlike posture, Venezuela going down the tubes, China asserting its military in the Asian region, the "Iran Deal," antipathy toward Israel, to name only a few foreign policy failures—but yeah, that president didn't fire his diplomats via Twitter. Nah, he believed in leading from behind.

In that context, it's worth noting that style matters, but accomplishment matters a lot more. In style, Trump gets an F, but in foreign policy accomplishment (not to mention domestic achievements), his administration gets an B+.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pandora's Box

I became fascinated with artificial intelligence (A.I.) in graduate school. In fact, my dissertation made use of a primitive form of A.I. to help select manufacturing variables for targeted metal cutting operations. At the time, A.I. was a fringe topic, something that was continually derided as a pipe dream. Today, it's anything but.

In the early 21st century, Ray Kurweil wrote a book, The Singularity is Near, in which he predicted that full-blown artificial general intelligence (AGI)—that is, a computer-based intelligence that is virtually indistinguishable from human intelligence—would appear by 2040. He suggested, correctly I think, that technology is improving on an exponential curve and that advances in tech and particlarly in A.I. will occur more and more rapidly. We're already seeing that. 2040 may be a conservative estimate.

Kurweil is a utopian, believing that the benefits of A.I. would far-outweigh its obvious dangers. Many others, myself included, are more guarded, believing that A.I. can lead to a dystopian world in which, much like the Terminator scenario, machines rule. Sound crazy? Read Nick Bostom's treatise, Superintelligence. Bostom is often characterized as a dystopian, believing that AGI will quickly evolve into a superintelligence that cannot be controlled and could potentially be malevolent. He's not alone. The likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steven Hawking, among many serious technologists, are also concerned.

Today there is a race to develop powerful A.I. with China, the United States, and other competent players pushing to gain an advantage. The question is, what happens if and when AGI appears. Once developed, it could, like a human, improve itself (at the speed of light). It might have an IQ of 90 on day one, 200 on day n, then 1000 on day ... We cannot even conceive of an AI that has access to all the world's data, has an intelligence that is 1, 2 or 3 (!!) orders of magnitude greater than ours, and always getting more intelligent. Would it solve all the world's problems? Would it decide that humans are superfluous to its self-defined goals? Would it lead to a utopia or a dystopia? No. One. Knows.

The big question is this: Are we willing to take the very real risk to find out.

Of course, most of this tech is simply beyond the grasp of politicians who believe that the greatest threat to the human race is climate change. Unlike that scientifically questionable long-term threat, which won't become acute (if it ever does) for almost 100 years, A.I. could become a very real issue 20 or 30 years. A.I. represents a unique dilemma. Can it be controlled? Can we develop "ethical" standards for it? Should we ban development of it?

The answers to those questions aren't easy or obvious. We should not become 21st century luddites, but we have to recognize and respond to the risks. Is government regulation the answer? I'm not sure, but if past experience serves, probably not. Are industry standards viable? Not likely.

In our risk averse, politically correct society, all of those avenues will be tried, but there are others in other places who will disregard any controls and plow forward.

Why? Because they believe (incorrectly, I think) that a superintelligence can be controlled and weaponized against their economic or military adversaries. Pandora's box awaits.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Over the years, I have written dozens of posts outlining the Left's ongoing effort to demonize, delegitimize, sanction, boycott and otherwise attempt to eliminate the State of Israel. At the same time, the Left's trained hamsters in the media have been among the most active advocates for the Left's anti-Israel meme—one that creates a fantasy image of the palestinians as an "oppressed" people, that a fantasy country called "palestine" is "occupied" by Israelis (who BTW have lived there for millenia), and at the same time puts all of the responsibility for "peace" at the feet of the Israelis. The palestinians' broken promises, extreme violence, terror activities, blatant anti-semitism, human right abuses, outright lies, and refusal to negotiate in good faith are conveniently ignored by the Left and their trained hamsters in the media.

All of this culminated in the most anti-Israel president and administration in American history with the election of Barack Obama, his Team of 2s, and his nincompoop Secretary of State, John Kerry. Because Obama was a leftist, his view of Israel parroted the leftist meme and his policies followed suit. And because the media idolized Obama, they were perfectly willing to support and promote the past president's anti-Israel bias.

In a fascinating video, media critic Richard Landes exposes the blatant bias and dishonesty that the trained hamsters in the media have promoted over the years. First, Landes simply presents examples, but then he deconstructs it for what it is—lies, misdirection and the promotion of the politics of destruction. Even more important, he notes that the hamsters refuse to present the palestinians own words (in Arabic)—their demand that Israel cease to exist; that they intend to take over the land of Israel from the "shoreline" to the Jordanian border; that there are "no concessions;" that compromise is not possible; that peace can only occur when Israel is destroyed; that any interim "agreements" are a subterfuge and that war will continue until Israel is eliminated. The left-leaning media outright refuses to acknowledge any of this, let alone report the words of palestinian leaders.

Richard Landes argues that the likes of CNN and the BBC (among many media sources) are perfectly willing to promote palestinian propaganda. After all, they've been doing so for decades and in all likelihood, will continue to do so for decades to come. On many issues, but particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, much of the Western news media has demonstrated repeatedly that they cannot and should not be trusted as a source of legitimate information.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Meet

For months and months during the early part of Donald Trump's first year in office, the four constituencies wailed that he was risking "nuclear war" with North Korea, that his aggressive stance toward Kim Jong Un was tantamount to dereliction, that his behavior was grossly "unpresidential," that his taunting of the NoKo dictator had "zero" chance of success. It now appears that they were wrong (as they often are about this president).

Last night the administration announced that Trump and Kim Jong Un would meet to discuss the "denuclearization" of North Korea—something that has eluded the likes of Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and their predecessors. If their meetings bear fruit—and that a very big IF— the results would be good for the region and good for the world.

Gosh ... it looks like Trump the "warmonger" is somehow considerably more effective that the so-called "peacemaker" and nobel peace prize winner who preceded him. Heh.

All of this is very nice, and Donald Trump deserves kudos for putting enough pressure on the NoKos to get them to the table. But the NoKos and Kim Jong Un are not to be trusted.

Trump has garnered praise for this opening from some of his opponents, but those who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome are predictably negative. Here's the NYT's Nicholas Kristof:
This is stunning: President Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit.

It’s also, I think, a dangerous gamble and a bad idea.

I can’t believe I’m saying that. For many years, over several trips to North Korea, I’ve argued for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, and it’s certainly better to be engaging the North than bombing it. If the choice is talk versus missiles, I’ll go with the talk.

But the proper way to hold a summit is with careful preparation to make sure that the meeting advances peace — and certainly that it serves some purpose higher than simply legitimizing Kim’s regime.

Kim and Trump are both showmen with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. That would make a summit thrilling — but creates great risks if everything turns out wrong.
So let me see if I've got this straight. A guy who has lobbied for talks with the NoKos for "many years" is now against talks because ... Trump. He's worried that it could all go bad, and it could. He's concerned about process, not results (typical). Something tells me that if Obama and his Team of 2s had accomplished the same feat, Kristof would be ecstatic. But ... nevermind.

One wonders what role China played behind the scenes and how Russia will react to all of this. But no matter—it's better to talk than to launch missiles.

I'm unconvinced that not much will come of this, and that the talks may be used by the NoKos to buy time. But maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump will accomplish what his predecessors could not. Heh ... and the four constituencies keep telling us he's "insane." Maybe that's exactly what brought the NoKos to the table.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Guilt by Association

If the trained hamsters in the main stream media have any standards at all, they're double standards. For months and months, they labeled Donald Trump as a "white supremacist." They worked hard to find any connection, however tenuous, that would tie Trump or any of his nominees or any senior GOP politician to anyone who even got close to a white supremacist person or group.

This week, an extremist who is every bit as worrisome as any white supremacist, Louis Farrakhan, did what he always does. He gave a virulently anti Semitic, anti-gay speech. Surprisingly, and to its credit, CNN broke a virtual media blackout and reported the gist of his comments:
Washington (CNN) Minister Louis Farrakhan engaged in a series of anti-Semitic remarks on Sunday.

Farrakhan has led the black nationalist group Nation of Islam since 1977 and is known for hyperbolic hate speech aimed at the Jewish community.

During the speech in Chicago, Farrakhan made several anti-Semitic comments, including, "the powerful Jews are my enemy."
"White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through," he later said.
Well, at least the "news network" that suffers continually from Trump Derangement Syndrome was honest enough to report on Farrakhan, but why didn't CNN or others in the mainstream media take the next step and tie his supporters and acquaintances in the Democratic party to his words. After all, that's exactly what they did when they labeled Trump a 'white supremacist" for his supposed associations.

Peter Hasson reports:
At least seven House Democrats are known to have direct ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite and racist who has called Jews “satanic” and said white people “deserve to die.”

California Reps. Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, New York Rep. Gregory Meeks and Texas Rep. Al Green have all attended meetings with Farrakhan while in Congress, according to photos, videos and witness accounts of the meetings reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

With the exception of Davis, the Democratic representatives have ignored repeated requests for comment regarding their relationships with Farrakhan.

Davis has a personal relationship with Farrakhan and is unbothered by Farrakhan’s position on “the Jewish question,” he told TheDCNF on Sunday. Davis called Farrakhan an “outstanding human being” in an interview with The Daily Caller in February and said he has regularly visited with Farrakhan.
For far too many leftists, "intersectionality" gives despicable people like Farrakhan a pass. After all, leftists would claim, the "Minister" is a member of an oppressed minority and a Muslim to boot, so a few anti-Semitic comments are ... well ... we'll just look the other way. For that matter, the seven Congress members get the same kind of pass.

It seems that only those with opinions and/or an ideology that opposes the left are given withering coverage by the trained hamsters when questionable associations occur. That's why Trump was guilty by association with someone who once spoke to someone else who possibly knew someone who may have been a KKK or neo-Nazi member. But seven leading Dems, one of whom endorses a known anti-Semite and another who is an anti-Semite (think: Keith Ellison)? Nah ... guilt by association just doesn't apply.

UPDATE (3/8/2018):

For Social Justice Warriors, ideology is all that matters. The vast majority of SJWs are children of the Left who uncritically praise people who parrot their favorite memes, even if those same people are otherwise despicable bigots. Susan Shapiro offers us a case in point:
Imagine if I, a liberal white New Yorker, posted social media pictures with my arm around the KKK-loving David Duke, calling him a great man as he proclaimed that black people were degenerates responsible for the supposedly filthy behavior that caused transsexuality. I would be fired, ridiculed and called out by every left-winger in my life, as well as all the civilized people I knew on the right.

Yet Women’s March Co-President Tamika Mallory, a liberal black New Yorker, has done the equivalent, repeatedly.

Last week, the 37-year-old Mallory attended yet another event for the despicable Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan in Chicago, receiving a shoutout from Farrakhan himself.
If Malloy were a singular exception, we might just shrug. But she isn't. The editors of the conservative Daily Standard write:
Tamika Mallory, a co-leader of the Women’s March, was at the “Saviours Day” [Farrakhan] speech this year; two years before she posted a photo with Farrakhan to Instagram in which she offered him praise and birthday wishes. Linda Sarsour—the famed left-wing Palestinian-American activist and provocateur—commented on a photo of Farrakhan on the Instagram page of Carmen Perez, another Women’s March co-leader. “God bless him,” Sarsour said of Farrakhan.

How strange that self-proclaimed “intersectional” feminists such as Sarsour, Mallory, and Perez would support an openly misogynistic and racist demagogue like Farrakhan. Among his more recent offerings: “When a woman does not know how to cook and the right foods to cook, she's preparing death for herself, her husband and her children.” He’s also observed that “man is supposed to have rule, especially in his own house . . . and when she rules you, you become her child.” Directly to women he asserted: “You are a failure if you can’t keep a man, no profession can keep you happy!” One wonders what it is about him that these feminists find so alluring.
For the Left and the SJWs who populate it, Malloy and Sarsour's behavior is not at all unusual. Many SJWs are a bit more circumspect, no doubt, preferring to look the other way. But relatively few publicly condemn a person like Farrakhan. After all, that might cause them to begin to assess the many other corrupt and dishonest positions taken by those who adopt Leftist ideology without critical evaluation.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Trade War?

The elites on both the right and the left got the vapors when Donald Trump announced that he intended to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. His intent was to provide an incentive for rebuilding those industries in the United States with the added benefit of creating blue collar jobs. The react was immediate and overwhelmingly negative. The trained hamsters in the mainstream media piled on, and the amount of negative commentary was as predictable as it was astounding. Here's some examples of the 'concerns' raised by the usual suspects:

"The world is now a global economy and tariffs are so ... well, so 20th century."

"The tariffs target our allies and will anger them, resulting in trade retaliation or worse, a trade war."

The costs of more expensive steel and aluminum will trickle down into products of all kinds, representing a billion dollar 'tax' on consumers."

"Any jobs gained in steel and aluminum will be offset by jobs lost in other sectors impacted by retaliation."

In honesty its hard to sort out the truth in all of this. Suffice to say that the elites always opt for the status quo and our international trading partners enjoy a trade surplus with the USA, so they are, of course, upset.

But Donald Trump is a disruptor and a seasoned negotiator. It may be that he achieves benefits by disrupting the status quo in trade and gains a negotiating advantage by levying tariffs.

By disrupting the status quo Trump might very well provide a necessary catalyst for a rebirth of domestic steel and aluminum production, providing economic and national security benefits. By levying a tariff today on Canada and Mexico (among other allies), he just might establish a 'throwaway' for negotiation on a new version of NAFTA that is more beneficial for the United States.

Those who can't wrap their heads around applying tariffs to allies don't seem to realize that allies place tariffs and taxes on many different U.S exports with the express intent of protecting local industries. That's why a Chevy Corvette can cost twice what it does in the US in some EU countries. It reasonable to ask why Trump's tariffs are somehow wrong and provocative, but tariffs and taxes levied by EU allies on products made in the USA are perfectly acceptable.

In Trump's first year in office, he has, according to Heritage Foundation, accomplished over 60 percent of his campaign promises. One of those promises was to reform trade, to give the USA a better deal. For better or worse, that's what he's trying to do. The world will not come to an end if tariffs are imposed—they are never forever. In fact, it might be that the conventional wisdom is wrong and there will be a relatively minor downside and potentially big upside. Realistically, it's hard to tell, but when the trained hamsters in the mainstream media become hysterical and the elites frown and express concern, it's not always a bad thing to take an opposing position. You'll recall that Trump's efforts at tax reform caused the trained hamsters in the mainstream media to become hysterical and the elites to frown and express concern about wrecking the US economy and benefiting only the rich. They. Were. Wrong. As they so often are.

Kevin McCullough comments:
President Trump should not have surprised anyone with this announcement. He campaigned on the idea and it is keenly linked to why he won the rust belt and the nation. The tariffs are called “protectionist” by voices trying to scare the American people. But fear is unnecessary.

If the five preceding presidents all held the same position (which they did) but were unable to get it done due to economic stagnation, terrorism, etc. now is the perfect time to take it up and create a far more favorable playing field for our domestic metals industry as well as the workers who would love to show the world the pride they take in American Steel and Aluminum.

The tariffs are the right thing to do!
I'm not sure what the right thing is here, but I do know that the hysteria and fear-mongering are sure signs that something is afoot. We'll see how this plays out.

Monday, March 05, 2018

An Aunt's Opinion

I can recall a family gathering in the 1978-79 timeframe in which a debate over Iran ensued. Many in my family were what we now call progressives, and like all progressives at the time, they demonized the Shah of Iran and lionized the "peoples revolution" and its leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. I argued that although the Shah wasn't angelic, he was a U.S. ally and had worked hard not to allow Iran to fall under the spell of Islamist ideology. But the progressives insisted that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a wonderful man, that accusations of extreme Islamist ideology were grossly overblown and that his ascendency to leadership of Iran was a wonderful thing.

At the time of the family gathering, rumors swirled about how once the Shad was deposed, the Ayatollah Khomeini would fly from his refuge in France and take control. The progressives at my family gathering were ecstatic. I winced, and my aunt angrily asked what I would do instead.

"Shoot down the plane," I responded sarcastically.

The history of the past 40 years indicates that there were worse strategies.

Jose María Aznar and Stephen Harper write:
Iran is a revolutionary theocratic state committed to spreading religious extremism throughout the Islamic world. It combines this ideological mission with pragmatic tactics, projecting political and military power from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and Red seas. To support its ambition, Iran has illegally pursued nuclear weapons and fought wars using terrorist proxies. Iran’s leaders have threatened Israel time and again with total destruction, and now, for the first time since the Islamist revolution of 1979, Iranian power has arrived at Israel’s border.

Despite Tehran’s quest for regional control, popular protests in December and January showed that most of the nation’s citizens don’t share their leaders’ designs. The regime’s destabilizing actions have also triggered resistance from Saudi Arabia and other regional powers. Iran’s own citizens and neighbors are convinced of Tehran’s malice, and all concerned nations should heed their warning.

But, but, but ... today's progressives argue that Barack Obama and his team of foreign policy 2s established an agreement that has everything under control. That the vaunted "Iran Deal" is the West's protection.

Aznar and Harper respond:
The Friends of Israel Initiative, of which we are members, has always maintained that the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement does not adequately prevent the regime’s progress. The nuclear inspections for which the agreement provides grant Iran too much time to conceal evidence of illicit activity. And the agreement doesn’t prohibit the development of delivery mechanisms such as ballistic and cruise missiles. Worst of all, the agreement’s sunset clause provides a clear horizon for Iran to resume its race toward a nuclear bomb.

Rather than preventing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the 2015 agreement gave the regime a road map to achieving them. Predictions that the agreement would de-escalate tensions and improve cooperation have proved wrong. Since signing the agreement, Iran’s aggression and hostility have increased.
No matter. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, progressives are convinced that the Iran Deal is our protection. They are as wrong today as my aunt was in 1979.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Conspiracy Theory

It's funny how the trained hamsters in the main stream media, along with their overlords in the Democratic party, love, love, love some conspiracy theories. A case in point is the ridiculous theory that Donald Trump and his campaign "colluded" with the evil Russians to defeat hapless Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. The hamsters love this theory so much that they applauded the appointment of a special counsel to investigate it and report on it every day. By the way, Robert Mueller, the special counsel seems to love that conspiracy theory as well, giving it his full attention.

But there are other conspiracy theories, first reported in this blog here and here, that the trained hamsters in the main stream media, along with their overlords in the Democratic party, hate, hate, hate. They become derisive when even a mention of a hated theory is made. They refuse to investigate it, even when reasonably compelling questions arise. They relegate it to tin-foil hat thinking, even though it just might have considerably more credibility that the conspiracy theories they love.

James A. Lyons revives one of the hate, hate, hate theories when he writes:
With the clearly unethical and most likely criminal behavior of the upper management levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) exposed by Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee, there are two complementary areas that have been conveniently swept under the rug.

The first deals with the murder of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, and the second deals with the alleged hacking of the DNC server by Russia. Both should be of prime interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, but do not hold your breath.

The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery.

This has all the earmarks of a targeted hit job. However, strangely no one has been charged with this horrific crime, and what is more intriguing is that no law enforcement agency is even investigating this murder. According to other open sources, Metro police were told by their “higher ups” that if they spoke about the case, they will be immediately terminated. It has been claimed that this order came down from very high up the “food chain,” well beyond the D.C. mayor’s office. Interesting.
The reason that the hamsters are running away from this story is that if it is true, it belies the entire notion of Russian collusion. It also suggests that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer, was the guy who gave DNC emails to Wikileaks and that he was killed for doing so. Wild theories ... possibly ... but no wilder than the crazy suggestion that the President of the United States is a Russian stooge.

Tyler Durden provides an extremely detailed breakdown of the still unproven allegations in the Seth Rich case (read the entire post). Some of the allegations are probably false, but there's considerably more smoke in the totality of the allegations than there ever was in the Trump collusion meme. Curious that it appears that Mueller's team refuses to investigate the Rich allegations in any way, even though they have everything to do with the core of the Russian collusion case that Mueller is supposed to be investigating. Curious indeed.

Yeah, I know, the Seth Rich case reads a little like a Jason Bourne movie, but it's also true that sometimes life imitates art.

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Children's News Network

I was on business in Atlanta sometime in the mid-1980s and had a free afternoon. I decided I'd take a tour of the then new network headquarters of CNN—the first cable news network and the go-to 24-hour source for domestic and international news. At the time, CNN had become an important and exceptionally popular news source, challenging the dominance of 30-minute broadcast network news. I recall that I bought a blue hat with the red CNN logo and wore it proudly during a cold winter in the northeast.

The hat is long gone, and so is CNN's reputation as a reliable news source. American's first cable news network has become a pathetic caricature of media bias—inaccurate, strident, hyperpartisan, populated by a lightweight crew of talking heads that has little grasp of the issues and less intelligence overall. It is often unwatchable.

Julie Kelly comments:
... it must really hurt the tender feelings of the puerile talent pool at CNN that the Investigation, Discovery, and Hallmark channels have more viewers than they do. They must really want to pout and kick their little sister over the fact that Fox News had more than double the number of viewers than they did in 2017, and their right-wing rival has been the most watched cable news network for 194 months in a row. To make matters worse, the biggest bully in school, Donald Trump, keeps giving them social-media wedgies on Twitter every week. Even when they try to fight back by explaining how an apple is really a banana or something, everyone makes fun of them.

The CNN roster of reporters and anchors is loaded with some of the most immature whiners in television news. The network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is Arnold Horshack to Sarah Sanders’ Mr. Kotter, the annoying (but not nearly as loveable) class dunce trying to get attention from his eye-rolling teacher. On Monday, Acosta tussled with Sanders about whether Trump would have run into Stoneman Douglas High School to “save the day” during the February 14 shooting and worried that schools will become like “the Wild West.” Alisyn Camerota pouted that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch was using explosive rhetoric against the media: “How dare you?” she wailed.
CNN is everything that's wrong with the main stream media. Not only has it become a blatant advocate for one political party and leftist ideology; not only has it repeated served up fake news precipitated by its own need to promote a single narrative; not only has it ignored major scandals and downplayed any important facts, events, or information that conflicts with its world view; not only does it shout down opposing voices that are foolish enough to appear on the network—CNN is bad television and very bad news, and its ratings demonstrate that fact. Minor cable channels (e.g., Discovery, Hallmark) have more viewers than CNN does.

Kelly characterizes CNN as the "children's news network." That's an insult to any thinking child.