Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Jewel

"Start with the EPA.  To the extent that the global warming movement has anything to do with "science," EPA is supposedly where that science is vetted and approved on behalf of the public before being turned into policy.  In fact, under Obama, EPA's principal role on the "science" has been to prevent and stifle any debate or challenge to global warming orthodoxy.  For example, when a major new Research Report came out back in Septemberclaiming to completely invalidate all of the bases on which EPA claims that CO2 is a danger to human health and welfare, and thus to undermine EPA's authority to regulate the gas under the Clean Air Act, EPA simply failed to respond.  In the same vein, essentially all prominent global warming alarmists refuse to debate anyone who challenges any aspect of their orthodoxy.  Well, that has worked as long as they and their allies have controlled all of the agencies and all of the money.  Now, it will suddenly be put up or shut up.  And in case you might think that the science on this issue is "settled," so no problem, you might enjoy this recent round-up at Climate Depot from some of the actual top scientists.

Time for the emperor's clothes to come off so to speak.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Solid Reality

In a 1946 essay, George Orwell wrote that “to see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” It’s not just that we’re easily misled. It’s that, by “impudently twisting the facts,” we can convince ourselves of “things which we know to be untrue.” A whole society, he wrote, can deceive itself “for an indefinite time,” and the only check on that mass delusion is that “sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality.” Science is one source of that solid reality. The Trump Administration seems determined to keep it at bay, and the consequences for society and the environment will be profound.

I hate to even give this bit of tripe any attention, but I love the quote above - the sword cuts both ways.

The author goes on to say that it has been warmer every year since 2013 or so, but of course ignore that there's no way to know why that may be happening (or that the amounts are so small they are within the margin of error).

One should never deny objective reality, nor should one dismiss those things elevated to the point of theory by the scientific method.  Interestingly, folks like to pretend that AGW is both of those, when it is neither.  AGW cannot be tested by controlled experimentation in a lab, therefore, only an accurate model or models can prove that it is more than a conjecture.  The models today are not even close to accurate.

There's no denying these models, because they prove nothing, over and above that we don't yet know about why the climate changes.  It could, for example, be due to the sun, bad measurements, or the fact that things have been warming since the 1850s.

Science tells us not to trust scientists.  We don't have to deny a lack of scientific proof with regard to AGW, since it simply does not exist.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hurt by Obamacare

More than 200 million have been hurt by it. Count them: 155 million with employer-provided plans whose deductibles have soared thanks to the ACA, plus the 11 million paying ACA penalties for not enrolling, plus hundreds of thousands of part-time workers whose hours were slashed by employers dodging the mandate, and 55 million seniors harmed when Medicare funding cuts bankrolled Obamacare.

I think there's a legit argument that deductibles have to be higher to incentivize better self care, a more competitive market and other more complex reasons with relation to health care cost control.  However, Obamacare is not doing that, it's just raising deductibles.  Higher deductibles with lower costs for care with more choices for patients, insurers and caregivers - and lower premiums for the healthy - is the winning formula.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sure He Was a Homophobic Murderer But ...

OK, so he was a monster who murdered and tortured many, but his people (the compliant ones that were left after the murdering and torture) could read, and had GREAT health care. And don't forget, Fidel hated racial inequality. The fact that cuban girls were prostituting themselves for soap and shampoo money is a small price to pay for their health care and literacy (unless it was homosexual activity or left them with AIDS in which case off to the pokey for them) - heck they could read about themselves in US newspapers. 
What kind of person forgets the murder and torture when they talk about FC?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Why Oh Why Did They Lose?????

AMERICA IS RACIST: A perennial favorite among leftists for explaining, well, everything. When pushing this one, it is helpful to avoid the question of why, or how, this racist nation so recently elected Barack Obama. Twice.

AMERICA IS SEXIST: Another hardy, all-purpose clarifier. In addition to the fact that over 50 percent of voters are female, there is the complicating factor that Trump’s “gender gap” was apparently smaller than the one often suffered by Republicans. Next.

The why?  Because the Democratic Party (TDP) acts like folks in this country in violation of federal and state laws are victims while white Christians are the problem, and if I happen to think lawbreakers are bad they label me a "hater".  TDP acts as though people who want to pee in a bathroom for people with different anatomical parts are victims and those of us who fear sexual assault in public restrooms are frivolously fearful.  One might think TDP is pandering to the illegal aliens as a means to shore up their base of electoral support in the face of the declining population of African Americans and their fatigue with democrat promises.  I doubt the Christian church would still claim me, by the way, but I know that white Christians are not the problem.

I favor liberal, legal immigration.  I'm not the least bit afraid of people coming from lawless shitholes to find a better life.  Most of the negative unintended consequences of immigration come from criminalization of immigration. I resent being told I'm a hater because I expect people from lawless shitholes and TDP to understand that rule of law (granted it is not perfect here or anywhere) is what makes this place better than their lawless shit hole.

TDP acts as if the 99+% of gun owners who never hurt anyone are dangerous.  They act as if religious white people are a threat but Muslim immigrants from terrorist riddled nations need special consideration.

TDP acts as if working people who do not have a college degree are a liability, but those who are dependent on the state are victims.

TDP pretends that a 6'4" black man who attacks a cop and gets shot in the process is a victim, and the white cop getting the beating is a criminal (where were you Barry when you could have made a difference in perception?).  Yes, I've seen the videos of at least four incidents in which cops shot black men with zero justification, and it sickens me and I'd happily sit on a jury and convict those guilty cops; not because I hate cops but because I took the responsibility to carry a weapon as an agent of the government and I expected to be held accountable for my actions.

TDP acts like the pathetic few who advocate racism or bigotry are a threat, even though they dare not show their faces - unless they are non-white.

TDP lost because they invented a racial narrative when a 16 year old dope smoking MMA trained bully tried to beat up a man with delusions of protective grandeur who also had a gun. They deliberately supported falsehoods about the circumstances of the young man's death and failed to state the truth; the young man's parents failed to parent him, instead the abandoned him (where were you Barry when you could have made a difference in perception?).  I am horrified that anyone loses their life due to their race.  I would step right between and assailant and your black/brown son/daughter - I went in combat 3 times and loved all my team mates of any ethnicity or religious belief.  I also know that if every time a black man dies the facts are distorted to create a "hate crime", people will stop caring about hate crimes.

If hate crimes were an everyday occurrence, no one would feel the need to imagine one where it did not happen.

TDP lost because they made the political calculation that attacking lawful gun ownership would be more popular than saying what is obvious - most gun violence is related to, paid for and inevitably due to the drug war.

TDP lost because they pretend to fear the power of the rich, but they are the rich.  They lost because they own the universities and can't tell the difference between the fantasy that is university life and the real world with real consequences that the rest of us live in.

TDP lost because they think or pretend to think that an AR-15 has some modern military voodoo, when in fact the AR is a semi automatic variant of a fully automatic rifle invented in the 50s. They are too ignorant to know, or pretend not to know, that magazine fed semi automatic rifles have been used by sportsmen since the 1930s.

TDP lost because they won't honestly discuss the science of climate alarmism and will happily sacrifice thousands of coal jobs on the altar of their Chicken Little redux.  Just stay it - anthropogenic global warming is a conjecture and is not even close to being proved.  AGW conjecture is about strongly held belief, like religion.  Honesty about that simple, inarguable fact shouldn't be so rare.  Like the fat-makes-heart-disease conjecture, it is easy to manipulate even very smart people with weak science, but doing so hurts a lot of folks.

TDP lost because they nominated the presumptive first female president with plenty of reasons to know she would be a poor candidate or president.  They lost because they kept pretending that time in high government office means competence and ignored her willingness to get away with anything she thought she could.  They lost because they were willing to ignore how ignorantly she proceeded - fearing oversight within a US government email system, she gave state secrets to those who hacked her personal server.  They lost because when their destabilization of Syria and Libya exploded in their faces, killing 4 US citizens in service of the US government, they pretended like it wasn't their fault.

TDP lost because even after a succession of obvious and serious lies they kept riding the dead horse - who had the nerve, after a career filled with monstrous lies and bullying of females victimized by her husband - to call Trump supporters deplorables.  Clinton number 2, a millionaire by virtue of shaking down donors for "charitable donations" in exchange for political access, feels entitled to label those who oppose her deplorable.  Got it.

TDP has one basic message, repeated over and over in different forms:  "if you would just let us get together with our academic elite friends and organize the nation with innumerable new laws designed to create social justice, equality and unicorns for all of our friends; and send enough folks out in uniforms (and guns) to make you either comply (or be incarcerated), we can make it utopic around here."  It's the ultimate irony - TDP loves people with guns, as long as it is the government's agents  using those guns to coerce the citizenry to do what the TDP has decided is best for them.

TDP lost because they scoff at liberty, ignore the miracle of cooperation (you and I buy/sell from each other when you and I decide that's what's best for both of us) and oppose no new regulation while ignoring the faudulent disasters of government (10+% fraud in Medicare, year after year after year).

TDP lost because they talk out of all sides of their mouths and think we can't tell that's what they are doing, and while lying wear good intentions like the emperor's clothes.

TDP lost because their deplorable candidate couldn't even beat the worst imaginable opponent, the nearly criminally incompetent politician Donald Trump.  The joke is on them.

I have no joy in Trump's victory, and I hated depending on him to save me from TDP.  I don't expect political candidates to get any better in the future, and I'm not going to waste another moment worrying about that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Grow or Die

With 4% growth, most of the federal government's shortages - the ones we fight over - would go away. I don't know if an economy as large as ours can grow at that rate, especially when the rest of the world is stuck in the economic muck of authoritarianism. Growth rate increase should be the priority, it nudges every other lever for humans to thrive.

Everything Costs Something To Someone

Earlier this year, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the No Slacker Left Behind provision resulted in wage reductions of about $1,200 a year for workers with employer-based insurance coverage -- whether or not they had adult children on their plans. In effect, childless working people are subsidizing workers with adult children who would rather stay on their parents than get their own.

And, even the benefits are overestimated ...

The Obama White House will brag that the slacker mandate has resulted in increased coverage for an estimated 3 million people. As usual with Obamacare numbers, it's Common Core, book-cooked math. Health care analyst Avik Roy took a closer look and found that the inflated figure came from counting "(1) young adults on Medicaid and other government programs, for whom the under-26 mandate doesn't apply; and (2) people who gained coverage due to the quasi-recovery from the Great Recession."

Federalism Means ...

During Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the New England Patriots won Time of Possession, 30:35 to 29:35. But they lost where it counted, like Hillary Clinton.

Clinton winning the so-called popular vote, an aggregation of the votes in the 50 states and District of Columbia, is irrelevant. Our federalist system, spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, awards the presidency to whichever candidate wins a majority of the Electoral College.

With no Republican U.S. Senate candidate on the ballot in California, Clinton ran up the score, amassing enough votes in the Golden State to overtake Trump nationally.

This may soothe Clinton supporters still feeling the sting from last week’s upset, but it does not provide any reason to scrap the Electoral College. There have been some longtime critics of the Electoral College, but the newfound fervor to replace it is mostly sour grapes.
- See more at:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Unity? Anything but

At the time of the Constitution's ratification in the late 1700s, its proponents expected federal power to be restrained by having a wide swath of different Americans in a large republic form many factions. These diverse factions would restrain federal action by hindering consensus. In James Madison's words in Federalist #10:

"The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other."

Thus, according to Madison, having a lot of people with diverse interests restrains federal power and protects liberty by deterring the formation of oppressive majorities.

Since America has consistently had two major political parties instead of dozens of factions, Madison was, in a word, wrong. He overlooked the significance of voting rules.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

TF Has No Idea

The idea that large numbers of manual factory jobs can be returned to America if we put up a wall with Mexico or renegotiate our trade deals is a fantasy. Trump ignores the fact that manufacturing is still by far the largest sector of the U.S. economy. Indeed, our factories now produce twice what they did in 1984 — but with one-third fewer workers.

He says he understands about Trump, he has no idea.

Cannot Be Shamed

As the presidential campaigns sink to the challenge of demonstrating that there is no such thing as rock bottom, remember this: When the Clintons decamped from Washington in January 2001, they took some White House furnishings that were public property. They also finished accepting more than $190,000 in gifts, including two coffee tables and two chairs, a $7,375 gratuity from Denise Rich, whose fugitive former husband had been pardoned in President Clinton’s final hours. A Washington Post editorial (“Count the Spoons”) identified “the Clintons’ defining characteristic: They have no capacity for embarrassment. Words like shabby and tawdry come to mind. They don’t begin to do it justice.”

Read more at:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

CO2 War?

National polls show that climate change is low on the list of voters’ priorities. For good reason: In the U.S., and for much of the world, the most dangerous environmental pollutants have been cleaned up. U.S. emissions of particulates, metals and varied gases—all of these: ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur—fell almost 70% between 1970 and 2014.

Further reductions will come from improved technologies such as catalytic removal of oxides of nitrogen and more-efficient sulfur scrubbers. This is a boon to human health.

But a myth persists that is both unscientific and immoral to perpetuate: that the beneficial gas carbon dioxide ranks among hazardous pollutants. It does not.

When will they just admit - they have no way to test the degree to which CO2 adds to heat retention?

Biggest Policy Flop in a Generation

By now, everyone knows that Obamacare is the public-policy flop of this generation. With the latest news of premiums increasing 22 percent, insurance companies dropping out, rising taxes and less completion, this is truly the Hindenburg of health plans.

Every. Promise. Broken.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Parallels

Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign for president involved trying to conceal the truth about Watergate until after voters went to the polls. “The early part of the Watergate cover-up was actually successful,” noted a report from the National Constitution Center. Running against a gaffe-ridden, disorganized challenger whom he was able to vastly outspend, Nixon pulled out a victory, but the cover-up unraveled and the country went through two years of turmoil. If Hillary wins, will her cover-up unravel and leave her a weakened president hounded by critics? No one is suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal is exactly like Watergate, but the parallels are certainly there.

Read more at:

Clinton = Farce

Hillary Clinton was resting, running out the clock, sitting on a supposed large lead, and hoping that the election was sooner than later. Now after the latest Weiner disclosures, she is crisscrossing the country, terrified of collapsing polls, and wishing that she had three more weeks rather than just one. With the Clintons, farce is the desert to scandal: the profiteering Clinton Foundation as a humanitarian treasure; Hillary the former corporate attorney as child and little-guy crusader; Bill Clinton, both sexual predator and feminist hero.

A great read.

Changing Norms - Like Expecting To Get Away With Felonies

The rules in politics haven’t changed that much in recent years. What has changed is adherence to norms, in an increasingly destructive way.

I made that case, using examples different from the ones I’m about to present here, nearly two years ago. The shift in norms is also a central part of Thomas Mann’s and Norman Ornstein’s prescient It’s Even Worse Than It Looks and Mike Lofgren’s The Party Is Over, plus of course Jonathan Rauch’s “How American Politics Went Insane,” our very widely read cover story (subscribe!) this summer.

Funny write up wherein the author pretends not to notice the Clinonesqe assumption that scrutiny can be avoided by committing felony, but then isn't smart enough to know all email is going to be hacked. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Immunity? We Know Why She Wanted It

Remember, FBI Director James Comey, who blessed Mills’ immunity deal before ever cracking open her laptop, assured us during congressional testimony that Mills was cooperating with the investigation. Was she?

In the FBI’s summary statement, Mills alleged she didn’t know anything about Hillary’s email server until after the secretary of State’s tenure was over. In leaked emails we learned that this was untrue. Now we have emails in which Mills explicitly discusses concealing illegal activity in an effort to protect the president. Did she tell the FBI about her attempts to “clean up” emails? If so, why was she given immunity?


Now reality is confirming what the critics predicted. ObamaCare’s regulatory mix—benefit mandates, requiring insurers to sell coverage to all comers, and narrow ratings bands that limit how much premiums can vary by health status—was tried by several states in the 1980s and ’90s. Every one saw the same results that are now unspooling nationally: high and rising costs, low and declining enrollment, and less insurer and provider competition.

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to solve these predictable disruptions with subsidies and a mandate to buy insurance or pay a penalty. But most people don’t think ObamaCare plans provide value for the money, especially if they are non-subsidized.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tends to Metastasize

The Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, is presently using securities law
to do an end run around the First Amendment and sue Exxon for not holding the same views on
climate change as the more pliable oil companies have been forced to adopt in public.
Recently, a group of scientists mainly from George Mason University wrote to the
President to demand that climate dissenters be prosecuted under the RICO laws. RICO, as you
know, is supposed to be used against racketeers and mobsters and, granted the unfortunate
tendency of sloppily drawn federal laws to metastasize under opportunist US Attorneys, one
marvels nevertheless that such an absurd and ideological expansion of this legislation could ever
be seriously entertained.

The First Battle of Tyranny Starts in the Mind

First, some background. Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado since 2001, holds degrees in mathematics, public policy, and political science. He has authored or co-authored seven books. He has won several awards for his academic work. For about two decades, he was a prolific writer and speaker on climate issues. In 2013, he testified before Congress and declared that there is “exceedingly little scientific support for claims found in the media and political debate that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought have increased in frequency or intensity on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.” During that same testimony, he said that global weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP. He went on, saying that there were also no observable increases in floods, tornadoes, or droughts. Pielke’s work was backed up by data and, in many cases, by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But that didn’t matter to Podesta’s attack dogs at ThinkProgress. Long before his congressional testimony, Pielke had been the subject of a years-long smear campaign led by ThinkProgress’s Joe Romm. In fact, Romm had what can only be described as an obsession with Pielke. In a recent Twitter posting, Pielke wrote: “Propaganda works: I count more than 160 articles at the Center for American Progress trashing me over the years.”

Read more at:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Is It Warming When It Is Colder? Yes

In other words, “winter”. But, there’s no such thing as natural winter in Warmist World

That’s the finding of a new study published yesterday in the journal Nature that finds that as the Arctic warms, it is shifting the polar vortex to Europe. That in turn will bring more bursts of frigid cold to North America.

Those temperature drops could lead to miserable days in February and March, the research finds. Conversely, those drops in temperature could offset some of global warming’s effect in those regions, said Martyn Chipperfield, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the paper.

“Climate change can lead to extremes; it’s not like a regular change, everyone to the same extent at all times and places,” he said. “Despite the overall warming, you can get in places like the Northeastern U.S. extreme cold events. That’s consistent with climate change and global warming.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Probably Just Coincidence

QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador’s government acknowledged on Tuesday that it had “temporarily restricted” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access at its embassy in London after the whistleblowing site published documents from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. 

A foreign ministry statement said that while it stands by its decision in 2012 to grant Assange asylum, it doesn’t interfere in foreign elections. Leftist President Rafael Correa’s government said it was acting on its own and not ceding to foreign pressures.

It Is the Big Question

Mrs. Clinton, like Nixon in 1972, may not get a honeymoon no matter how big her win. The debate we aren’t having in the campaign, we will continue not to have: how to foster a modern state that doesn’t metastasize corruption, cronyism, elites helping themselves. There will be no bipartisan action on things that ail the American economy and hold back its growth. All of Washington will be enmeshed in a replay of the Watergate era, inward-looking, destructive, consumed with investigations and score-settling.

Answer - less government is less reason to corrupt government.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Well Written, Bravo

But I hate even more the even grosser culture of The Lie where someone like Hillary Clinton or people like the editorialists at the Washington Post and the Formerly Grey Lady get to point their fingers and pretend they didn’t create and celebrate the culture in which Trump merely partakes.

These people who celebrate porn and abortion and make heroic figures out of small-souled, sex-deluded creatures such as Bill Maher and Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluke and lionize sick predator men like the Kennedys and Bill Clinton are not merely being hypocrites or playing politics when they denounce Trump. They are deliberately engaging in The Lie: the corruption of meaning itself. They aren’t outraged because they’re decent. They’re using our decency as a pawn in their quest for political power.

I don’t even have an expletive strong enough to express my contempt for what we’re witnessing this news cycle. All I know is I deeply resent being put in a position where denouncing the grossness of Trump’s remarks becomes playing into a larger Lie and everyone’s rightful disgust becomes a mere political tool.

This is the problem of the corruption of culture, as Harriet Beecher Stowe illustrated brilliantly in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There, the good guys who defend human dignity are forced by the culture itself to become outlaws—to lie to hide runaway slaves, or break the law to participate in the Underground Railroad. They are forced to defend what they ordinarily would find indefensible in order to defend the greater goods of human liberty, human dignity, and equality before the law. In a corrupt culture, no matter what you do, no one escapes with his purity intact.

This is bad if Trump does, we look the other way for our candidate's husband ...

Just read it - there are no standards but they'll act like there are some when that's politically expedient.

Old News

Of course, it was the late, great columnist Bill Safire who caused a stir back in 1996 when he chronicled then-First Lady Clinton’s manifold falsehoods over the years, from how she gamed the commodities markets by miraculously earning $100,000 in cattle futures by, she claimed, simply reading the newspaper (and not because she had a well-connected broker), or her involvement in questionable land deals as a Little Rock, Ark., lawyer while hubby Bill was governor.

Back then, Safire called her “a congenital liar,” something that brought howls of protest from the left as a wild overreach. It certainly didn’t stop Hillary from becoming a US senator, secretary of state and now likely president.

Duplicitous? Naturally

Worse still, is an email purportedly from Hillary outlining her true beliefs about immigration. "The main reason behind successful immigration should be painfully obvious to even the most dimwitted of observers: Some groups of people are almost always highly successful given only half a chance (Jews, Hindus/Sikhs and Chinese people, for example), while others (Muslims, blacks and Roma, for instance) fare badly almost irrespective of circumstances."

It goes without saying, this shocking racial and ethnic stereotyping if it indeed reflects Hillary's thinking would doom a Republican candidate. The media so far haven't even really reported it.

That points to one other major issue: The emails show that Clinton has what can been described as a "cozy" relationship with the mainstream lapdog media bordering on sycophancy.

As Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning left-leaning activist, blogger and author noted, the Clinton campaign went to extraordinary lengths to shape and control stories done by the chummy Big Media. "At times," Greenwald wrote, "Clinton's campaign staff not only internally drafted the stories they wanted published but even specified what should be quoted 'on background' and what should be described as 'on the record.' "

Clinton A Worse Version of Trump

“We were not willing participants,” Broaddrick said. “These were crimes.” In a separate interview, Broaddrick shared her own story of brutal sexual assault which she says Bill Clinton perpetrated against her.

Willey called out NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell and CNN’s Jake Tapper by name, challenging them: “These are not infidelities. A rape is not an infidelity. These are crimes. Any other people would be in jail…

“This is no longer about infidelities, indiscretions, girlfriends, sex, interns — none of those. This is about a serial rapist, a predator, and his wife who has enabled his behavior all of these years.”

Later in this interview, Jones, Willey, and Broaddrick expressed fear at how a potential President Hillary Clinton would use the power of her office.


We judge Columbus harshly because the same power that enabled the Europeans to conquer the world also allowed them to impose their views on the world. And the views they imposed are now our views.
Even as the conquest was reaching its zenith in the 19th century, the Europeans were bringing to the world the then-novel idea that one group of people didn’t have the right to impose its will on another group.
This revolution in thinking, which ultimately undermined European imperialism, was announced by the Declaration of Independence and its assertion of the self-evident truth of human equality. It was carried further by the British who suppressed the slave trade with their all-powerful navy, commercial might and insistent diplomacy, and who led the campaign for the abolition of slavery. It was completed by American insistence after the world wars of the 20th century on the right of self-determination, the right of people to self-government.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Double Standards for All My (Political Insider) Friends

We know all too well what that kind of investigation looks like, as two of the lawyers who defended a recent target: former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. That story had a happy ending for the governor and his wife. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in their favor this summer and all charges were dropped in September. But their victory certainly wasn’t due to lack of investigatory zeal on the part of the FBI and Justice Department.

Below are only a few of the heavy-handed tactics federal investigators used to build their case against the McDonnells. See how they compare to how Mrs. Clinton was treated.

Conduct ambush interviews. The first contact between law enforcement and the McDonnells was an ambush interview of the governor’s wife. The agents lied to her about the topic of the meeting, forbade Gov. McDonnell’s staff from attending, and then grilled her on their suspicions about potential public corruption. Statements from that interview later took center stage in the trial of her and her husband.

In Mrs. Clinton’s case, no ambush interviews were conducted, and witnesses were generously accommodated. The FBI and Justice Department even allowed a fact witness and potential target— Cheryl Mills, formerly the State Department’s chief of staff—to simultaneously represent Mrs. Clinton as her counsel.

Immunity. Why?

The Clintons dirty?  No one will be surprised, no one will be outraged.  If you need the devil to save you from something worse, you can get your head to focus on the devil's virtues.

We already knew that Justice offered immunity to at least five central figures in the private email probe, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the aides in charge of deciding which of the former Secretary of State’s emails on her private server would be turned over to the State Department. FBI Director James Comey struggled to explain to Congress last week why immunity was necessary to obtain the laptops the two had used for sorting the emails.

Now we learn that Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson also obtained guarantees that investigators would not search these laptops after Jan. 31, 2015. More amazing, Justice agreed to destroy both laptops after examining them. Think about that: Before the authorities knew what was on the laptops, they agreed to destroy potential evidence in their investigation. The evidence was also under a congressional subpoena and preservation order.

The “no-look” date beyond Jan. 31, 2015 means the FBI couldn’t see what the two aides said or did after the news of Mrs. Clinton’s private server became public in March 2015. Investigators would be unable to determine if Ms. Mills or Ms. Samuelson had engaged, as Mr. Goodlatte put it in his letter, in “destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice related to Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server.” Why else would time limits be necessary given that the two women already had immunity?

Death Spiral, Meltdown, Obamacare's Flaws Make Themselves Known

Man, such a surprise, no one could have seen this coming.

Tennessee is ground zero for ObamaCare’s nationwide implosion. Late last month the state insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, approved premium increases of up to 62% in a bid to save the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. “I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse,” she said.

Then last week BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it would leave three of the state’s largest exchange markets—Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. “We have experienced losses approaching $500 million over the course of three years on ACA plans,” the company said, “which is unsustainable.” As a result, more than 100,000 Tennesseans will be forced to seek out new coverage for 2017.

BlueCross is only the latest insurer to head for the exits. Community Health Alliance, the insurance co-op established under ObamaCare, is winding down due to financial failure, leaving 30,000 people without coverage. UnitedHealthcare said in April it is departing Tennessee’s exchange after significant losses. That’s another 41,000 people needing new plans.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bravo, Central Planners - Well Done

Most will miss the primary lesson - central planning never works.

Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.
The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.
“It’s in an emergency situation -- we worked hard and avoided a collapse.” Rothman said in a telephone interview. “It’s a stopgap for 2017.”
On average, rates in the state will rise by about 60 percent, said Shane Delaney, a spokesman for MNSure, the state’s marketplace for Obamacare plans. About 250,000 people, or 5 percent of the state’s population, were covered under plans bought on the individual market, including plans bought on the Affordable Care Act markets as well as outside it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sadly This Seems True

Criminologists have tried for decades to prove that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is due to criminal-justice racism. They have always come up short. They have been forced to the same conclusion as Michael Tonry in his book, Malign Neglect: “Racial differences in patterns of offending, not racial bias by police and other officials, are the principal reason that such greater proportions of blacks than whites are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned,” Tonry wrote. In 1997, criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen reviewed the massive literature on charging and sentencing. They found overwhelming evidence establishing that “large racial differences in criminal offending,” not racism, explained why more blacks were in prison proportionately than whites and for longer terms.

"Turn out the lights, the party's over ..."

Will the last one out of ObamaCare please turn off the lights?

That's a question that health insurers and individual Americans both may want to start pondering. Recent events such as the departure of the insurance company Aetna from the vast majority of state exchanges show that ObamaCare is entering the death spiral that experts have long predicted. Insurers are now heading for the exit, fast — and consumers won't be far behind them.

In the wake of massive losses, insurance companies are instinctively engaging their fight-or-flight instincts. The two big insurers remaining on state exchanges — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Cigna — are still evaluating the risks of a collapsing system, trying to determine if they should abandon the ObamaCare exchanges altogether or cope with the realities of increasingly high-cost care and coverage.

Why Did She Need It?

Why did Cheryl Mills require criminal immunity?

This is the irksome question hanging over the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s home-brew server in the wake of news that Ms. Mills was granted immunity for her laptop’s contents.

Ms. Mills was a top Clinton aide at the State Department who became Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer when she left. She was also a witness, as well as a potential target, in the same FBI investigation into her boss’s emails. The laptop the bureau wanted was one Ms. Mills used in 2014 to sort Clinton emails before deciding which would be turned over to State.

Here’s the problem. There are two ways a witness can get immunity: Either she invokes the Fifth Amendment on the grounds she might incriminate herself, or, worried something on the laptop might expose her to criminal liability, her lawyers reveal what this might be before prosecutors agree to an immunity deal.

As with so much else in this investigation, the way the laptop was handled was out of the ordinary. Normally, immunity is granted for testimony and interviews. The laptop was evidence. Standard practice would have been for the FBI to get a grand-jury subpoena to compel Ms. Mills to produce it.

I feel covered in slime reading about these things.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Who's the Greediest of All

Someone might want to tell Hillary Clinton that greed and envy are two of the seven deadly sins. She's guilty of both.

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Her revised tax plan‎ would raise the estate tax to as high as 65% -- up from 40% today. She would also apply the hated death tax to as many as twice the number of estates.

It's one of her dumbest ideas yet — which is saying a lot. It won't raise any revenue to speak of. It's a bow-tied gift to estate tax lawyers and accountants. Many studies have found that the cost to the economy of taxing a lifetime of savings more than ‎outweighs any benefits. It actually could end up costing the Treasury money by reducing investment in family businesses that are a major engine of growth for our economy.

But Hillary wants to take us back to the 1970s. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the plan would "impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couple.

What Hillary doesn't get is this: Anyone who's smart enough to make half a billion dollars is smart enough to find a way to dodge this confiscatory tax. That's the whole history of the death tax — the very rich never pay it."

Who knows more - markets or true believers?

So while scientists are aggressively promoting their theories about a horrid future thanks to no serious global response to what has them alarmed, the smartest investors in the world are plainly ignoring them as though their theories are bogus.  Just once it would be nice if the scientific community might address why the very people who have the most to lose from so-called “global warming” work, invest and live as though its impact will prove a non-factor.

Wouldn't It Suck If We Made Our President Into A King ... And Then The Other Guys Regained Power?

In one way, it’s not surprising that Democrats are beside themselves at the possibility of a Trump presidency. They’ve spent the last 100 years expanding the scope of executive authority, granting the federal administrative agencies the power of judge, jury, and executioner over their ever-widening dominion. If liberals and progressives didn’t want that awesome, intrusive power to fall into the wrong hands, perhaps they should have heeded the warnings of small-government conservatives, who railed for a century against the bloat, rot, and corruption they saw metastasizing within the District of Columbia. Perhaps they shouldn’t have declared the U.S. Constitution—with its bill of rights and enumerated powers—to be an antiquated relic.

I don't think the progressives get the irony, yet.

Not that there's any reason to think Trump would be a worse king than another Clinton.

In Theory

As it happens, Clinton’s agenda, as my colleague Adam Davidson also wrote the other day, does have a unifying theme. It’s the same one that Democrats have been running on for twenty-five years, a period in which they have won the popular vote in five out of six Presidential elections, and it involves using the power of the government to tilt the economy in favor of working people. Trump, although he talks like a populist, has largely adopted the regressive economic policies of the Republican establishment.

They have been running on for 25 years?  More like 100 years.  More federal government power, more pretense that the federal government pulling strings will give us the predicted results without the negative unintended consequences.  Giving more power to an already over-reaching federal government is just giving more booze and faster cars to teens.  I would say only idiots could think this will work, but I know too many smart people who are still caught in this fantasy.

"Dead Fish" Stink

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he learned only Friday that the Justice Department gave immunity deals to Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other aides. That brings to five the number of Clintonistas who got a pass in exchange for testimony and/or information.

But what makes it especially significant in Mills’ case is that she was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s FBI interview, asserting attorney-client privilege on Hillary’s behalf. This, even though Mills was herself a witness, even a potential subject of, the investigation.

Indeed, she was a key player in the process that deleted tens of thousands of Clinton e-mails — many later found to be classified — before the FBI could subpoena them.

Mills’ lawyers say her immunity deal was limited to the contents of her laptop, and was given because of ongoing debate over after-the-fact classification.

Prosecutors normally strike such deals only when they can’t get the information any other way. But if Mills refused to turn over the computer without any immunity, why couldn’t the FBI just subpoena the laptop?

After all, as Chaffetz notes, “immunity deals should not be a requirement for cooperation with the FBI.” Yet in the Clinton case, he noted, “the FBI was handing out immunity deals like candy. No wonder they couldn’t prosecute anyone.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What's Going to Happen Next Chicken Little?

This is comedic genius!  Every punch line sounds like the subtext to Chicken Little.

The new numbers are startling. Only four years ago, I wrote an essay called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” In the piece, I drew on research from a London-based think tank, the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The research showed that the untapped reserves of coal, oil, and gas identified by the world’s fossil fuel industry contained five times more carbon than we can burn if we want to keep from raising the planet’s temperature by more than two degrees Celsius. That is, if energy companies eventually dug up and burned everything they’d laid claim to, the planet would cook five times over. That math kicked off a widespread campaign of divestment from fossil fuel stocks by universities, churches, and foundations. And it’s since become the conventional wisdom: Many central bankers and world leaders now agree that we need to keep the bulk of fossil fuel reserves underground.

But the new new math is even more explosive. It draws on a report by Oil Change International, a Washington-based think tank, using data from the Norwegian energy consultants Rystad. For a fee—$54,000 in this case—Rystad will sell anyone its numbers on the world’s existing fossil fuel sources. Most of the customers are oil companies, investment banks, and government agencies. But OCI wanted the numbers for a different reason: to figure out how close to the edge of catastrophe we’ve already come.

Why so funny? Because it is all based on at best scientific conjecture.  No one has anyone come close to proving that these numbers mean anything at all.  Every attempt to prove the numbers just ends in another failed climate model - and no one's arguing that the models are failing.  There's been a lot of conjecting, investigating, hypothesizing and fear mongering but nothing even close to proof.  The temperatures are not rising significantly - less than the margin of error in the measuring system.

It's just a bad comedy.  I hope I live long enough to laugh with a friend about when they finally pivot as they have with things like saturated fat and cholesterol and start to claim they knew it was wrong all along.  The idea that these goof balls want to wreck the engine of human well being to prevent this faux catastrophe is lovely testimony to the enigma of the human experience, in which we find Forest Gump, based on what he does, is smarter than the climate alarmists. Sadly FG is perhaps not smarter than the industries that profit from climate change do-gooder naivete or the political class which is always excited to legislate away your liberty and mine.

Another retort to these AGW goofs:
So the authors of this Report, operating without government or industry funding, compiled the best available atmospheric temperature time series from 13 independent sources (satellites, balloons, buoys, and surface records), and then backed out only ENSO (i.e., El Nino/La Nina) effects.  And with that data and that sole adjustment they found: no evidence of the so-called Tropical Hot Spot that is the key to EPA's claimed "basic physical understanding" of the claimed atmospheric greenhouse warming model, plus no statistically significant atmospheric warming at all to be explained.

For those interested in all the gory technical details, here is a link to the full Executive Summary, and here is a link to the full 68 page Report, complete with zillions of charts and access to all the archived underlying data.  Note that, in great distinction to the tradition of climate "science," where hiding data from adversaries is the norm, here the authors have made all data and methods fully available.  Try to prove them wrong!

Well, back to you EPA!  Do you mean that you're trying to impose hundreds of billions of dollars of costs on the American economy and citizens and the so-called "scientific" basis for your project never existed? You'd better come up with something pretty good and quick!

Meanwhile, Hillary is saying that she supports Obama's climate agenda because she "believes in science."  Does she even know that science is a process of testing hypotheses against data, and not a set of enforced orthodox beliefs?  Don't count on it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What A Tangled Web

Among the many eye-openers from the Vincent-Klein review of internal Platte communications:

The server suffered at least one hacking attempt from a Russia-based computer in 2013, and three from China-based PCs in 2014.
 When news broke of Clinton’s mass deletions of old emails, Platte execs worried about being implicated in what they believed was her “covering up some shaddy [shady] s - - t.” One even called it “Hillary’s coverup operation.”
 The IT folks later sought to “cover our asses.” On Aug. 19, 2015, Platte IT consultant Bill Thornton wrote colleagues: “Any chance you found an old email with their directives to cut the backups back in Oct‐-Feb? . . . If we had that email, we are golden.”
 Thornton’s other damage-control idea: “Wondering how we can sneak an email in now after the fact asking them when they told us to cut the backups and have them confirm it for our records.”

Do You Believe in Bigfoot?

She lied repeatedly about her emails. She lied when she said she had “turned over everything I was obligated to turn over” (FBI Director James Comey said the FBI “discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not among the group of 30,000 e-mails returned by Secretary Clinton to state in 2014”). She lied when she said there was “no classified material” in her private emails . . . that there was nothing “classified at the time” . . . and that there was nothing “marked classified” in her private emails — all of which the FBI director said were untrue. And, to top it all off, she lied about her lies — declaring on national television that “Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people” — a claim The Post’s Fact Checker gave “Four Pinocchios.”

Today, the American people agree. A recent NBC News poll found that just 11 percent of Americans say Clinton is honest and trustworthy. To put that in perspective, 14 percent of American voters believe in Bigfoot. In other words, more Americans believe that a large, hairy, hominoid creature inhabits the forest of North America than believe that Hillary Clinton tells the truth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Well Put

Trump accused Clinton of “hatred and derision for the people who make this country run,” the citizens who “thanklessly follow the rules, pay their taxes, and scratch out a living for their families.” Hillary, Trump says, “displayed the same sense of arrogance and entitlement that led her to violate federal law as secretary of state, hide and delete her e-mails, put classified information in the reach of our enemies, lie to Congress, and sell government favors and access through her foundation.” Candidates usually are smart enough to slam other candidates. Instead, Hillary Clinton slimes actual voters, by the millions. 

Read more at:

I Don't Want To Be Around For the End

What's going to happen to these people when this regime inevitably falls?  It's already a human tragedy on a massive scale, will it be worse before it gets better?

Monday, September 12, 2016

When Will the Dam Break 20160912

Would you support the drug war, prohibition of drugs, if you believed the despair described in the linked article was the symptom of all of the costs of that prohibition?  We have believed that we can protect ourselves from drugs by law for a long time, despite all the evidence to the contrary (evidence like we can't even keep drugs out of prisons).  I view the drug war as just another cultural delusion regarding what the government's monopoly on coercive force can create or accomplish.

Without the drug war, there would be no drug black market, there would be no funding to pay for the guns and ammo, there would be no drug turf over which to fight, the current practice of arresting poor young men dealing would end, so there would be a chance for young poor men to father their own children.  There would be young, poor men around for young poor women to marry.  The chance for family would be restored.

If then experiment - if the drug war, then mass imprisonment is the only way to reduce violence.  Else - no drug war, less violence, less money to be spent by criminals on guns, more incentives to enter the work force (even if it is only the legal sale of drugs).  It wouldn't be utopia, nor will we find utopia under any circumstance.  But a drug war free US would be better than the current bloodbath and the way it pits the populace in these circumstances against the police officers who would try to protect them from crime.  If no drug war, then many fewer reasons for police to confront minorities while each fears and perhaps hates the other.

But of course, this "conservative" author cannot even pin point the drug war as the problem - it would be akin to expressing doubt in the christian god in her circles to suggest that using violence to stop drug use is stupid, dehumanizing and ultimately more lethal to US citizens than al qaida.

‘The streets are gone,” Dean Angelo, president of the Chicago police union, told me last month. The night before, Aug. 14, a Chicago police officer’s son had been killed in a shooting while sitting on his family’s porch, one of 92 people killed in Chicago during the worst month for homicides in the Windy City since July 1993. The August victims who survived included 10-year-old Tavon Tanner, shot while playing in front of his house (the bullet ripped through Tavon’s pancreas, intestines, kidney and spleen); an 8-year-old girl shot in the arm while crossing the street; and two 6-year-old girls.

On Sept. 6, a 71-year-old man was accosted by a teen on a bike while watering his lawn. The robber demanded the man’s wallet and when he refused shot him in the abdomen, then grabbed his wallet before pedaling away.

By Sept. 8, nearly 3,000 people had been shot in Chicago in 2016, an average of one shooting victim every two hours. Five hundred and sixteen people had been murdered. Gun homicides and non-fatal shootings were up 47% over the same period of 2015, which had seen a significant rise in crime over 2014.

Washington's Only Sin

Washington's only sin, saying what you really think.

It took the Hillary Clinton campaign a day to figure out their candidate had made a big mistake when she took at shot at supporters of Donald Trump. And, as is often the case, with unforced errors, it was a little too little, too late. Clinton’s statement at an LGBT fundraiser—“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right?”—had all the hallmarks of a classic gaffe and immediately raised comparisons to Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remark in 2012. Her partisans insisted from the moment they learned of that the whole thing was either no big deal or a spasm of wondrous truth-telling, but just like their dogged insistence that her emails don’t matter to voters, the spin fell flat.

Bold Move or Ugly Desperation?

Also telling is that her staff avoided alerting the press that travels with her — and were left to catch up after noticing her missing. Clinton’s brief walkabout some 90 minutes later, after she’d rested in daughter Chelsea’s apartment, settles nothing. Nor does word late Sunday that she has pneumonia.
We hadn’t made much of Clinton’s long coughing fit last week, but that now seems more disturbing, too. Maybe her repeated memory failures when the FBI interviewed her over her e-mail abuses were actually real, rather than dodges of questions she didn’t dare answer truthfully.
Even her refusal to hold a single real press conference for more than nine months suddenly looks different: Is she dodging the press to avoid questions about all her endless scandals, or does she fear something else?
Bold or desperate if one were to run for president in poor health? It's a killer job.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What A Relief

Oh geez what a relief.  For a minute, I thought that Ms. Clinton directed the folks who ran her secret, illegal server to feloniously delete emails owned by the people of this nation, which she generated as a public servant.  Thankfully, as her statements and those of her legal team make clear, she did nothing criminal such as directing a company she employed to do anything - like perhaps wipe the server with a rag - that may have protected her from the Congressional subpoena.  

Then again, even if she did do additional felonious things over and above using the private server, it's clear none of her supporters would care.  Even a demon from hell is better than the devil.

According to the F.B.I. documents, Mr. Combetta told the bureau in February that he did not recall deleting the emails. But in May, he told a different story.

In the days after Mrs. Clinton’s staffers called Platte River Networks in March 2015, Mr. Combetta said realized that he had not followed a December 2014 order from Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers to have the emails deleted. Mr. Combetta then used a program called BleachBit to delete the messages, the bureau said.

In Mr. Combetta’s first interview with the F.B.I. in February, he said he did not recall seeing the preservation order from the Benghazi committee, which Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, Cheryl D. Mills, had sent to Platte River. But in his May interview, he said that at the time he made the deletions “he was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data” on the Platte River server.

When Will the Dam Break?

A day later, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who's been a cop in this city for 27 years — long enough to qualify for advanced degrees in sociology, psychology and economics — provided a pertinent footnote to the Labor Day weekend violence. "Impoverished neighborhoods, people without hope do these kinds of things," he said. "You show me a man that doesn't have hope, I'll show you one that's willing to pick up a gun and do anything with it."
Maybe that's more than a footnote. It might be a chapter, or the thesis. There can't be a simple explanation for why people shoot at each other, destroying themselves and their neighborhoods, can there? No, but gangs — these days, often with weak or no leadership — are at the heart of the violence.
Gang structure has atomized, creating block-by-block turf battles. Gangbangers shoot at each other over drug sales or factional rivalries, over petty insults on social media or over a pair of shoes. They fight and shoot perhaps because they don't care, or perhaps because fighting and shooting gives them something to care about. The shootings beget retaliatory shootings. Illegal guns are easy to find. So are targets.
You see, it's not the drug war that created all this violence, it is guns.  
If you want to do an insightful, heart felt, moving and depressing article about violence and oppressed minorities and people without hope, you can't mention inconvenient facts like:
-the government oppression of those who want to get high
-fiscal empowerment of those who sell drugs in violation of the law
These all too pertinent facts cannot be mentioned because for an inexplicable reason, we still cling to the idea that government control of drugs is protecting us.  It's not protecting us any more than alcohol prohibition protected us.  Prohibition doesn't make drugs less available, nor did it make alcohol less available.  For those caught up in these turf wars over who gets to sell to whom - from inner cities to small towns in Maine to the nation of Mexico - the drug war is dehumanizing them and killing them.

Thankfully, the evidence is clear and it's only a matter of time until people can speak in public and be frank about the stupidity, the criminality and the barbarity of drug prohibition.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

That's So Strange, What Could Have Been Going On?

The very curious timeline of Clinton’s document deletions: subpoena issued → her lawyers talk to Clinton’s IT team → e-mails destroyed 

Imagine a mafia don who wants to have some evidence destroyed, maybe even have a witness “disappear.” Does he have a sit-down with his trusted capos, who will then give the job to a reliable button-man? Not if he’s taken the Clinton Family course in advanced criminology — known around the campus as “(C).” If the don is a graduate, he knows the new way to get away with murder is to have all your orders communicated by your lawyers.

Read more at:
The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.

Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.

The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.

Comey Knew This

Of course, Comey knew this. He is the one who did not want these obvious questions and many others asked. He is the one who allowed Clinton to testify without being under oath. He is the one who de facto allowed her to assert she did not "recall" the most well known and common things like the circle "c"  insignia for classified email without being questioned, further allowing her to do this a staggering 37 times. Clinton didn't even have to take the Fifth.  (And this woman is running for president of the United States.)

What a coward Comey is. When Julian Assange starts to release his next round of emails, the director may have to commit hara-kiri. It will be the only honorable way to go, failing his resignation.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Deleted All the Emails Right After They Were Subpoena'ed? Crazy Coincidence

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee has sent a letter to the company that handled the technical side of Hillary Clinton's private email server. Rep. Jason Chaffetz wants to know why an employee of Platte River Networks (PRN), which was under contract with Clinton to handle the server, deleted large amounts of email after the Clinton team received a congressional subpoena for the material, and why a PRN technical employee, apparently the one who performed the actual deletions, asserted a legal privilege and refused to tell the FBI what was said on a conference call he took part in with Clinton's attorneys on March 25, 2015, around the time the deletions were performed.

Gee, I hope someone can solve this puzzle.  Why in the world would the emails have been deleted then?

HC's Whoppers for Today

Hillary also claimed a lot of memory problems, leaving blogger Tamara Keel to write:  “I have an Ivy League lawyer, wife of a former governor and president, who lived in the White House for eight damned years, then went on to be a senator and Secretary of State telling me she didn't know about classified email and that work-related documents needed to be saved as part of the public record? Look, I don't mind you bullshitting me a little bit, Hillary, but don't you ever lie to me like I'm Montel Williams."

Forget the new dump of Hillary Clinton emails. Forget the phony claims that the missing communications were all about wedding plans and yoga routines. Forget, too, the many requests from Doug Band in which the Clinton Foundation honcho hoped his quos (hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation) would translate into quids (e.g., special access to the secretary).

Forget them all. The most disturbing aspect about the FBI dump may not be fresh evidence of another Clinton lie. The most disturbing thing about Mrs. Clinton’s continuing email drama may be where she’s telling the truth.

Or at least a half-truth. Mrs. Clinton told the FBI it was “common knowledge” at State that she used private email. Agents further quote her as saying she “could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”

Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others, Part 25

...a good amount of today’s release has been redacted. The original documents were classified at the Secret/Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals level, and to make it Unclassified about a third of the text has been cut out.

But what’s there is awful enough for Team Clinton. Although the FBI’s press release is terse, the documents themselves indelibly portray the Democratic presidential nominee as dishonest, entitled, and thoroughly incompetent.

Considering that Hillary has been accused of mishandling classified information on an almost industrial scale, what shines through is that Clinton is utterly clueless about classification matters, betraying an ignorance that is shocking when encountered in a former top official of our government—and one who wants to be our next commander-in-chief.

Our Federal classification system isn’t particularly complicated, the basics can be explained in a quarter-hour, and there are courses of instruction that exist precisely to explain how to identify classified information and properly handle it. In fact, they’re mandatory. Since Hillary blew off those courses, even though they are required for government workers at all levels, it’s not surprising that she has no idea what she’s talking about.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Ugliness at the University (Another Institution Tarnished)

Then Potts-Kant's troubles got worse. Duke officials took a closer look at her work and didn't like what they saw. Fifteen of her papers, mostly dealing with pulmonary biology, have now been retracted, with many notices citing "unreliable" data. Several others have been modified with either partial retractions, expressions of concern, or corrections. And last month, a U.S. district court unsealed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former colleague of Potts-Kant. It accuses the researcher, her former supervisor, and the university of including fraudulent data in applications and reports involving more than 60 grants worth some $200 million. If successful, the suit—brought under the federal False Claims Act (FCA)—could force Duke to return to the government up to three times the amount of any ill-gotten funds, and produce a multimillion-dollar payout to the whistleblower.

If it weren't real you'd think it was a novel

For nearly two years, she maintained the servers through which her unauthorized, non-secure homebrew communication system had operated. As we now know, about 62,000 emails were stored on those servers, over 2,000 of which contained classified information, including some of the most sensitive national defense secrets — and the highly classified sources and methods for acquiring those secrets — maintained by our government.

The latest classified email disclosure is a joke. The document is so chockablock with classified information — meaning it is so thoroughly redacted — that the State Department might just as well have issued a blank page. This reminds us of how cynically the Democrats’ presidential nominee looked the American people in the eye and assured us, for over a year, that she never sent or received classified information.

We are also reminded that Clinton repeatedly vowed she’d surrendered every single government business-related email upon the State Department’s request.

This was an extraordinary lie: She hoarded and attempted to destroy thousands of emails which, like the one The Post describes, involved government business — some of it highly sensitive and significant (such as the 30 emails related to the Benghazi massacre that the FBI recovered but the State Department has yet to disclose). Converting government records to one’s own use and destroying them are serious crimes, even if no classified information is involved.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Swinging for the Fences, Using a Balsa Bat

But to explain why they should have done something else, I should first explain why I think that what we’re seeing now was predictable. The answer is that long before the exchanges opened, many critics warned that its weak mandate – the fines for failing to participate are modest -- would result in rampant gaming of the system by people who signed up only when they got sick.

The weakness of the mandate, like other flaws in the law, was politically necessary because the law was already quite unpopular, and its supporters couldn’t afford to alienate a single other voter. So they passed what they could and hoped to fix it later. However, the unpopularity of the law meant that there was a strong risk that they wouldn’t be able to fix it later, and indeed that is where we now find ourselves.

I don’t mean to suggest that the law has been an utter failure by the standards of its architects. They have not achieved anything close to universal coverage, but they did manage to reduce the number of uninsured people by somewhere between a quarter and a third. However, I think that if they had been a little less stuck on the idea of attacking every problem at once, they might have passed a less ambitious plan that would nonetheless have expanded coverage substantially, with far fewer risks to either the system or the Democratic Party.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Anyone who saves me from the boogey man is good enough ... even if they are awash in corruption

Breathtaking how acceptable this is to so many. "Anything's better than a republican", I guess, that's how I feel about a clinton.
But it was always something of a sideshow. The real question wasn't classification but: Why did she have a private server in the first place? She obviously lied about the purpose. It wasn't convenience. It was concealment. What exactly was she hiding?
Was this merely the prudent paranoia of someone who habitually walks the line of legality? After all, if she controls the server, she controls the evidence, and can destroy it -- as she did 30,000 emails -- at will.
But destroy what? Remember: She set up the system before even taking office. It's clear what she wanted to protect from scrutiny: Clinton Foundation business.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Really? No, not really, I was just kidding about that Obamacare lowering prices thing.

Last week, Brian Blase highlighted a more serious Brookings analysis that contradicts Adler and Ginsburg's claims. That analysis, a genuine study by Amanda Kowalski for Brookings's Economic Studies program, found the following: "Across all states, from before [Obamacare's implementation] to the first half of 2014, enrollment-weighted premiums in the individual health insurance market increased by 24.4 percent beyond what they would have had they simply followed state-level seasonally adjusted trends." In other words, Obamacare apparently increased premiums by about 24 percent versus what they otherwise would have been.

"I'm not dead yet. I think I'll go for a walk."

And even with the mandate in place, some people appear to be gaming the system. A top actuary for insurer Highmark told the Times that in Pennsylvania, roughly 250 of its beneficiaries on had already incurred more than $100,000 in expenses this year. "People use insurance benefits and then discontinue paying for coverage once their individual health care needs have been temporarily met," he said, driving up the cost of coverage for everyone. Last year, UnitedHealth also indicated that individuals buying coverage and dropping it was driving losses.
As all this is happening, of course, insurers are bailing on the system, unable to make the numbers add up.
It's not an exact replica of the Washington state experience, but there are certainly similarities. The underlying point of all of this is that if the law's exchanges remain on their current wobbly trajectory, its dysfunction is nearly certain to grow. And the rough negotiations between Aetna and the administration may make insurers who are already losing money even more wary of further participation in the system.
That means that the prospect of significant further reforms may soon be on the table—which will likely include everything from poorly conceived state-based single-payer plans to poorly conceived federal health insurance systemsto, ah, poorly conceived conservative reforms. If anything, reforming health reform will be even more difficult than the initial project.