Thursday, December 13, 2018

Trump'd up accusations

Victor Davis Hanson supplies an excellent summary of the entire phony Trump collusion scandal.

Robert Mueller’s legal team may write a damning report on Trump’s ethics, based mostly on flipping minor former business associates of Trump’s and transient campaign officials by threatening them with long prison sentences.
So far, we know that the U.S. government decided to intervene in a political campaign to help one candidate and to smear the other — under the pretext of Russian “collusion.” And so it hired or made use of spies and informants including Hank Greenberg, Stefan Halper, Felix Sater, and others to contact Trump campaign officials to catch them in supposed collusion traps. It enlisted the help of foreign intelligence agencies, specifically the British and Australians. It misled FISA courts into granting warrants to spy on Americans and, post factum, threatened long prisons sentences with those surveilled and interviewed. And as a result, it has so far found no collusion but may well find some misleading statements in hundreds of hours of testimonies from the likes of Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and perhaps Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bernie is an economics illiterate and a charlatan. He implies wealth is just cash in hand and its not. Is Bernie a better Stewart of money than Bill Gates? No wonder they would have 8 year old children vote.

Is it impolite to ask Bernie for a role model to follow? 

I find him repulsive inasmuch as he has never made one physical or scientific achievement other then to hectoring those that do.

Bernie Sanders: America is 'owned and controlled by a small number of multi-billionaires'

The power and greed of billionaires in the United States is threatening the country.
So says Bernie Sanders, the 77-year-old senator from Vermont who tried unsuccessfully to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
"We live in a nation owned and controlled by a small number of multi-billionaires whose greed, incredible greed, insatiable greed, is having an unbelievably negative impact on the fabric of our entire country," Sanders told Paul Jay, CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network, in an interview posted Thursday.
Sanders, who has become a political figurehead for the liberal end of the Democratic Party, said billionaires and their greed are to blame for any number of social problems in the United States.
"When we deal with climate change, when we deal with the economy, when we deal with housing, when we deal with criminal justice or immigration issues, we have got to deal with those in a holistic way, and understand why all of that is happening. Not see them as silo-ized separate issues," Sanders said. "A lot of that has to do" with the pervasive power of the ultra rich in this country, he said.
It is the responsibility of America to look at the extreme gap between the rich and the poor, Sanders said.

"What you have here is, first of all, massive income and wealth inequality. And as a nation we have got to think from a moral perspective and an economic perspective whether we think it is appropriate that three people, one, two, three, own more wealth than the bottom half of the American society," Sanders said. (A November 2017 report published by the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies found that Bill GatesJeff Bezos and Warren Buffett collectively had more wealth than the 160 million poorest Americans, or half the population of the United States.)
"You know, that's really quite outrageous, and it's appropriate that we take a hard look at that," Sanders said.
The disparity Sanders refers to is getting worse. A report released in July from the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank Economic Policy Institute shows that income inequality has increased in every US state since the 1970s. A family in the top 1 percent of families in the United States in 2015 (the most current data available) was bringing in 26.3 times as much income as a family in the bottom 99 percent, according to the report.
"While the degree of income inequality differs across the country, the underlying forces are clear. It's the result of intentional policy decisions to shift bargaining power away from working people and towards the top 1 percent," said Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Penn., in a written statement released with the report. "To reverse this, we should enact policies that boost workers' ability to bargain for higher wages, rein in the salaries of CEOs and the financial sector, and implement a progressive tax system."
The influence wielded by the ultra-wealthy is visible in politics and the media, according to Sanders.
"They don't put their wealth under neath their mattresses, right. They use that wealth to perpetrate, perpetuate their power. And they do that politically," Sanders said. "So you have the Koch brothers and a handful of billionaires who pour hundreds of millions of dollars into elections, because their Supreme Court gutted the campaign finance laws that were in existence, and now allow billionaires quite openly to buy elections."
Charles and David Koch are each worth more than $48 billion, according to Forbes. Their wealth comes from their family business, Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the United States, according to Forbes. Though their PAC does reportedly spend hundreds of millions on elections, that includes funds raised by a network of about 300 donors, according to The Washington Post.

NPR Shamelessly Exploits Cheap Labor

L. Brent Bozell: NPR Shamelessly Exploits Cheap Labor

National Public Radio is out begging for donations this week, with major stations like Washington's WAMU offering gifts like those silly reusable grocery bags touting the "Power of Truth." But the truth can be pretty embarrassing. Apparently, NPR exploits cheap labor.Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi has revealed that according to union representatives, 20% to 22% of NPR's 483 union-covered newsroom workforce, or 1 in 5 employees, are temps ... and NPR has been doing this for decades.
"Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR," Farhi reported. "Temps do almost every important job in NPR's newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them. Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests."
This is an unusual arrangement in the media. Farhi says, "About 5% of the staff at a typical TV station was employed on a part-time or temporary basis," according to a Radio Television Digital News Association survey last year. Radio stations, which have smaller news staffs than TV stations, reported an average of one temp or part-timer in that survey.
The pay isn't awful — around $21.63 per hour, or $45,000 a year if you work full time — but there's no guarantee you will be working consistently. There's health insurance — if you work consistently. And it takes a toll, even on the people still working there. One wrote, "Many, if not most, of the folks I work with in the newsroom started in this ugly purgatory."
Former NPR health reporter Julie Rovner tweeted in response: "I was a temp for seven of my 16 years at NPR. I can't say it caused my anxiety issues, but it certainly didn't help." Veronica Miller Jamison tweeted that she temped for NPR for six years and "the merry-go-round of looking for new assignments and competing with your friends for jobs was not fun."
The taxpayer-funded network's response wasn't convincing. "As a media company that strives to be innovative and nimble, we need talented people who can come in on a short-term basis to help us experiment with a new idea or pilot a new program," said NPR President of Operations Loren Mayor.
Could a major retail chain try this "innovative and nimble" spin with skeptical media liberals? NPR producer Alyssa Edes shot back on Twitter: "This is an outrageously willful misrepresentation of the way NPR uses temps."
Meanwhile, on air on Sept. 3, NPR anchor Steve Inskeep asked NPR's regular economic analyst, David Wessel of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, to judge the allegedly struggling economy under President Trump. Wessel said: "I think what's going on is that workers simply have less bargaining power today than they once did. Unions are weaker. There's an explosion of temp agencies and outsourcing and the gig economy."
Farhi reported that during "bruising negotiations" over a new contract last year, NPR's Scrooge-like management "proposed eliminating all benefits for temps (except those required by law), including health insurance and holiday pay." This was "withdrawn amid broad staff opposition."
This resentment among the workforce is bubbling up over another episode in NPR hypocrisy — news executives like Michael Oreskes, former head of the NPR newsroom, were exposed with allegations of sexual harassment of much less powerful employees, even as NPR ripped into conservatives like Justice Clarence Thomas (and, recently, Justice Brett Kavanaugh) with unproven allegations.
The exploited workers are now throwing stones through NPR's glass house. Can we look forward to the new Democratic majority in the House holding some compelling oversight hearings? And would NPR cover them?
  • Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center. Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog

The Tyranny of the Judiciary and What to Do about It

December 12, 2018
The Tyranny of the Judiciary and What to Do about It
By Jon N. Hall

Almost from Day One of his presidency, Donald Trump has been stymied by judges on lower federal courts issuing restraining orders to stop his executive orders and bring his agenda to a screeching halt.
On November 10, National Review ran "Obama's Judges Continue Thwarting Trump," a fine analysis by Andrew C. McCarthy, who explains what's really going on with the injunctions issued by these "rogue" judges:
You may have been under the impression that Trump won the election, and that choosing among competing policies is what elections are about. That is how it is supposed to work in our free, constitutional republic. But day by day, the space for free choice is shrinking. To the Lawyer Left, elections represent a policy choice only when Democrats win. The rest of the time, the courts are there to consolidate the Left's gains, to repel democratically driven policy shifts.
McCarthy demonstrates that, contrary to Chief Justice John Roberts, at least some of our federal courts have become politicized. It's simply not the case that "[w]e do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," as Roberts alleges. Perhaps Roberts is confused about what should be and what is.
McCarthy touches on the judicial overrides of Trump's decisions on DACA and the Keystone Pipeline. And let's not forget the travel ban, key provisions of which SCOTUS reinstated. McCarthy began his article by predicting that the president's new policy on asylum claims would soon be stopped:
As I write on Friday, the restraining order hasn't come down yet. But it's just a matter of time. Some federal district judge, somewhere in the United States, will soon issue an injunction blocking enforcement of the Trump administration's restrictions on asylum applications.
That's exactly what happened nine days later on Nov. 19. The next day at The Corner, Mr. McCarthy wrote that the injunction "took a few days longer" than he expected. (His blog post didn't contain a link to Judge Jon Tigar's restraining order, but one can find it here and here.)
It is thought that the only way to deal with misbehaving judges is impeachment. We read at Ballotpedia that a total of fifteen federal judges have been impeached: "Of those fifteen: eight were convicted by the Senate, four were acquitted by the Senate, and three resigned before an outcome at trial." Eight convictions over America's 230-year history might indicate that federal judges are a fairly decent lot. However, by 2003, there had been sixty- one impeachment investigations of federal judges. Here's the list.
Impeachment is a difficult means of dealing with rogue federal judges, and it may be even more difficult once the House is taken over by Democrats in January. So what can be done to rein in a runaway federal Judiciary? Well, in 2005, the Brookings Institution ran "Reining In a Runaway Federal Judiciary?" by Alan Murphy and Thomas E. Mann. It's worth reading, but they offer no solution:
Throughout American history, legislators and presidents have attempted to bring independent-minded jurists into submission through other means as well, such as packing and unpacking the courts, restricting their jurisdiction, cutting judicial budgets, defying court orders, and investigating individual judges. Yet, as with impeachment, these tactics have met with minimal success and now are widely viewed as illegitimate and threatening to judicial independence.
In 2006, however, the Yale Law Journal ran "Removing Federal Judges without Impeachment" by Saikrishna Prakash and Steven D. Smith, who argue that judges can be removed through other means than impeachment. They examine the history of the termpage2image41711488page2image41711680page2image41711872page2image41712064page2image41712256
"good behavior," as required by the second sentence of Article III:
Those who think judges may only be removed by impeachment might suppose that history reveals that "good Behaviour" was a term of art that meant something like "tenure for life defeasible only by impeachment." History actually proves that good behavior was independent of impeachment.
When judges on lower federal courts issue restraining orders that stop a president from performing his duties or that override his judgment, they need to have the Constitution on their side, because their orders can be reversed by higher courts. Though they have their judgeships for life, judges should pay a price when they so presumptuously overstep.
Unlike the Legislative and the Executive Branches, the Judicial Branch of the federal government doesn't police itself; it's left up to Congress to get rid of bad judges. Perhaps that should be changed. Perhaps judges who are routinely overridden need to be relieved of their duties with an automatic "three strikes" mechanism. In the real world, professionals who repeatedly foul up lose their jobs. Why can't the federal Judiciary, not the Congress, get rid of judges who demonstrate a warped appreciation of the Constitution or who are just plain incompetent?
It doesn't seem right that one person in one branch of government can summarily stop the activities of another branch of government. Something needs to be done. But if impeachment is too much, then what's to be done about these lower-court judges throwing monkey wrenches into the executive? At the very least, appeals of these injunctions need to be greatly expedited.
What President Trump is trying to do with his executive orders is protect America by stopping invasions. What Chuck and Nancy and the open borders crew want is to import poverty, and with it new Democratic voters. They don't care about the cost to taxpayers, nor do they care about how these invasions are changing America and her culture. When it comes to obeying unconstitutional injunctions or defying them in order to protect America, a decent president does the latter. The tyranny of the Judiciary must end.
Although judicial gnats have been pestering him, President Trump has been fairly judicious with his executive orders. One E.O. he'd surely get some blowback on from "Obama judges" is an E.O. to end birthright citizenship. However, such resistance may be the very reason for the president to go ahead and do it. For Trump to have a truly transformative presidency, he must confront and ratchet back the Deep State and the Lawyer Left.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution outlines the role of the Judiciary in our system. It's rather shorter than the first two articles, as it consists of 377 words and can easily fit on a single page. In the first sentence of Article III, we read that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."
Article III gives Congress the authority to create and to destroy "inferior courts." During our entire history, such federal courts have been abolished only twice. There was the Judiciary Act of 1801 that backed out the "midnight judges" of President Adams. Then there was the short-lived Commerce Court in 1913.
Except for the Supreme Court, it would seem that Article III gives the Congress carte blanche to abolish the entire federal judiciary. If such a radical reorg of the judiciary seems "a bridge too far" right now, then perhaps Congress could abolish just the Ninth Circuit – just to send a message.
Jon N. Hall of ULTRACON OPINION is a programmer from Kansas City.

Breaking: Judge doles out devastating decision in Stormy Daniels lawsuit against Trump

9-year-old black girl hangs herself after classmates bullied her over friendship with white family

I Know Where I'm Going9-year-old black girl hangs herself after classmates bullied her over friendship with white family

Image source: YouTube screenshot

McKenzie Adams, 9, loved playing with dolls, riding her bike, and making funny videos with her cousins, the Tuscaloosa News reported.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
The outgoing Alabama fourth-grader also loved math and wanted to be a scientist, the paper added.
But a group of classmates apparently didn't like McKenzie and bullied her. McKenzie's mother, Jasmine Adams, told WIAT-TV that a white family friend drove McKenzie to school every day and that race played a factor in the bullying.
"Some of the student bullies would say to her, 'Why you riding with white people? You're black, you're ugly. You should just die," Adams told the station.
McKenzie hanged herself at home last week, the News said, adding that her grandmother found her.
"It's an emotional roller-coaster," her aunt, Atlanta TV host Eddwina Harris, noted to the paper.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
McKenzie attended U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, transferring there after her mother and grandmother complained to the state Board of Education that she was being bullied at her elementary school in Linden, Harris added to the News.
Adams told WIAT that McKenzie informed her teachers and her assistant principal a number of times that she was being bullied.
"She told me that this one particular child was writing her nasty notes in class. It was just things you wouldn't think a 9-year-old should know," the tearful mother recounted to the station. "And my baby to tell me some of the things they had said to her, I was like, 'Where are they learning this from?'"

McKenzie's mother, Jasmine AdamsImage source: WIAT-TV video screenshot
Adams added to WIAT that the school system let her daughter and her family down.
"I just felt that our trust was in them that they would do the right thing," she said. "And it feels like to me it wasn't it wasn't done."
Alex Brasswell, the City Schools attorney, told the station the case is under investigation.
"We are working fully with the Demopolis and Linden police department," Brasswell said. "They are doing a joint investigation of these allegations. We are cooperating fully and I can't comment on any of the aspects of the investigation until they conclude it."
McKenzie's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at her elementary school in Demopolis, WIAT said.
Harris noted to the News that she wants to use her platform to spread an anti-bullying message to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy.
"God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it's time to help," Harris told the News. "There are so many voiceless kids. God is opening great doors for justice for my niece."

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat If you get too cold I'll tax the heat If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet --George Harrison, Taxman

OMG! Now California wants to tax text-messaging?

State regulators say surcharge on text messaging would help fund programs that make phone service accessible to the poor

Texting your sweetheart that you’re on your way home? California may soon charge you for that.
This is no LOL matter, critics say.
State regulators have been ginning up a scheme to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor. The wireless industry and business groups have been working to defeat the proposal, now scheduled for a vote next month by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“It’s a dumb idea,” said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business-sponsored advocacy group. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”
It’s unclear how much individual consumers would be asked to pay their wireless carrier for texting services under the proposal. But it likely would be billed as a flat surcharge per customer — one of those irksome fees at the bottom of your wireless bill — not a fee per text.
Business groups, including the Bay Area Council, California Chamber of Commerce and Silicon Valley Leadership Group and others opposing the idea, calculated the new charges for wireless consumers could total about $44.5 million a year.But they add that under the regulators’ proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years — which they call “an alarming precedent” — and could amount to a bill of more than $220 million for California consumers.
A dense California Public Utilities Commission report laying out the case for the texting surcharge says the Public Purpose Program budget has climbed from $670 million in 2011 to $998 million last year. But the telecommunications industry revenues that fund the program have fallen from $16.5 billion in 2011 to $11.3 billion in 2017, it said.
“This is unsustainable over time,” the report says, arguing that adding surcharges on text messaging will increase the revenue base that funds programs that help low-income Californians afford phone service.
“From a consumer’s point of view, surcharges may be a wash, because if more surcharge revenues come from texting services, less would be needed from voice services,” said CPUC spokeswoman Constance Gordon in a statement. “Generally, those consumers who create greater texting revenues may pay a bit more, whereas consumers using more voice services may pay less.”
Wunderman said he’s unaware of any other local, state or federal program that taxes texting. And the wireless industry has argued the state commission even lacks legal grounds for doing so.
The CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry including AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, said in legal filings to the commission that texting is an information service like email, not a telecommunications service subject to the commission’s authority.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to affirm that Wednesday at a meeting, the CTIA said, which would confirm that the state utilities commission “has no authority to impose surcharges on text messaging.”
Beyond that, the wireless industry argues a surcharge on texting would put carriers at a disadvantage with competing messaging services that wouldn’t be hit with the new fees, such as Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Microsoft’s Skype. Those kinds of services account for “almost triple the volume” of wireless carriers’ share of the more than 3 trillion text messages sent in 2018 alone, according to the CTIA.
“Subjecting wireless carriers’ text messaging traffic to surcharges that cannot be applied to the lion’s share of messaging traffic and messaging providers is illogical, anticompetitive, and harmful to consumers,” the CTIA said in its filings.
In a letter to commissioners urging them to drop the plan, business groups and other critics added that wireless customers already pay a surcharge for the Public Purpose Programs, which they said “are healthy and well-funded, with nearly $1 billion in the budget.”
But the commission in a proposed decision by an administrative law judge concluded “in principle that the commission should assess Public Purpose Program surcharges and user fees on all text messaging services revenue” and that it has the necessary authority to do so.

'Give us $50,000 each to go home': Caravan migrants march to the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, demanding US government let them in or pay them off

'Give us $50,000 each to go home': Caravan migrants march to the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, demanding US government let them in or pay them off

  • Two groups of migrants wrote letters to the consulate, giving 72 hours to reply
  • One of the groups was made up of about 100 migrants, the other one of about 50
  • Their list of demands included speeding up the asylum application process
  • They also asked the US to remove Honduran President Hernandez from office
Two groups of migrants from Central America marched to the American consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, yesterday, with a list of demands to the Trump administration.
One of them asked the American president to either let them in the country or pay them $50,000 each to go home, a report said.
The first group, including about 100 migrants, arrived at the consulate around 11am on Tuesday. 
Migrant caravan marches towards U.S. consulate in Mexico
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Migrants from Central America hold an El Salvador flag outside the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, asking American authorities to speed up the asylum application process
Migrants from Central America hold an El Salvador flag outside the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, asking American authorities to speed up the asylum application process
Two groups of migrants marched to the consulate with demands to the Trump administration
Two groups of migrants marched to the consulate with demands to the Trump administration
Members of the caravan are seen standing outside the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico
Members of the caravan are seen standing outside the US consulate in Tijuana, Mexico
Alfonso Guerreo Ulloa, an organizer from Honduras, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the $50,000 figure is not a very big sum. 
'It may seem like a lot of money to you,' he said.
'But it is a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras.'
Thanks to this amount, he said, the migrants could return home and start a small business there.
The caravan migrants also asked the US to remove Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez from office.Share
They are part of a caravan of thousand migrants from Central America trying to enter the US
They are part of a caravan of thousand migrants from Central America trying to enter the US
The group gave the US consulate 72 hours to respond to their letter.
The second group, made up of about 50 migrants, asked the US to speed up the asylum process.
They asked the administration to allow up to 300 asylum seekers to enter the United States daily at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, where 40 to 100 migrants are currently admitted every day.
The letter says: 'In the meantime, families, women and children who have fled our countries continue to suffer and the civil society of Tijuana continue to be forced to confront this humanitarian crisis, a refugee crisis caused in great part by decades of U.S. intervention in Central America.'
'A lot of people are leaving because there is no solution here,' said Douglas Matute, 38, of Tijuana. 
'We thought they would let us in. But Trump sent the military instead of social workers.' 
Among the demands, migrants asked the US to accept more asylum applications per day
Among the demands, migrants asked the US to accept more asylum applications per day
Conditions worsen for immigrants in Tijuana on the U.S. border
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