State of the Union 2018

So, companies are giving out bonuses, little kids are putting flags on veteran's graves, Trump is nominating judges, several Congressmen and women in the audience can't keep their hands off their cell phones, Trump manages to take a swipe at the NFL's "We don't stand for the national anthem" BS. We're exporting energy and importing cash to invest in America. Apparently there's a presidential initiative to start drag races in Detroit; that's a better use for the real estate than a bunch of abandoned buildings.

So far, it sounds like winning, winning, more winning, so much winning you'll get tired of winning, but I'm not tired of winning yet so keep it coming.

Trade deals will be "fair and reciprocal". Trump will protect our intellectual property through enforcement of trade rules. (Aimed at china).

Here comes his request for a huge infrastructure bill. $1.5 trillion.

I'm not a fan of the spending, but if anyone can get it done without the bullshit and waste... that's actually Trump's area of expertise. Well, aside from the golden toilets. I want to see specifics about the bill. But since Trump isn't the one who writes it, he can't really give them to us.

MS-13 gang members murders. "Illegal alien unaccompanied minors" -- not said, but those are also the DACA crowd. Americans are dreamers too.

Melania looks bored, but I can't blame her. I doubt politics was on her list of life goals after "trophy wife".

"Protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration"... interesting formulation. I agree with the policy but that formation seems like a stretch.

Foreign aid to only go to friends, not enemies... keeping score of UN votes about the embassy move. Sanity!

Tue Jan 30 22:12:25 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

McCabe at center of FBI controversy over leaking of manipulated stories

So, if you've been paying attention at all to politics, you've learned about normal crimes versus process crimes. Normal crimes are when you do something wrong, like set up a personal email server to avoid FOIA requests, and route classified national security information to your address there. Process crimes are when you lie to the FBI -- even accidentally, like when they ambush you in your office claiming to want to talk to you about something else -- about something you did that was perfectly legal, and then they charge you with lying to the FBI about it even though there isn't any underlying crime.

The FederalistPartisan operatives in or close to the FBI communicated snippets of information with reporters who didn’t demand proof or substantiation, then FBI officials denied to White House officials who knew the facts that they were seeding that information, then officials suggested that White House operatives were obstructing justice by asking for the truth to out. At a time when people are looking for patterns, this is a pattern of improper behavior that deserves focus from the media.

This is the same idea, except worse. According to the account in the book, which is according to the account in this article, McCabe called up Rince Priebus and told him about a "bullshit" media story about Trump contacts with Russia. Priebus asked him if he could tell the press that the story was bullshit. McCabe said he would have to check, and later said he could not. And like clockwork, the "bullshit" story went away and the story about Priebus trying to get McCabe to shut down a media story on the Russia investigation started. The obvious implication is that McCabe called Priebus to get the predictable reaction ("Can't you tell them it's all bullshit?") and mischaracterized that as the White House applying pressure to the FBI to make the media shut up. Worse, the original story appears to bear fingerprints to suggest it may have been planted by McCabe originally. FBI Director (at the time) Comey may have also been involved.

That stinks to high heaven.

Tue Jan 30 09:55:34 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Leak detection 101

The Conservative TreehouseSecondly, it is not coincidental that now the Justice Department has had an opportunity to preview the Nunes memo content, we begin seeing leaks about it in the New York Times.

The Black Hat operatives within the DOJ and FBI are desperate to get out ahead of the stories.

Think about it. The Nunes memo was available to congress for over a week, and not a single -substantive- material leak came out. Yet, within HOURS of the Justice Department having access to the memo, the New York Times is writing about specific details contained within the memo.

I think the FBI leadership have forgotten their training on the concept of Canary Traps.

Tue Jan 30 09:55:34 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Andrew McCabe out of FBI Deputy FBI Director post

I'm citing Ace of Spades HQ, who is citing broadcast Fox News, but there are other reports. McCabe's name appeared frequently in the Page-Strzok texts as involved in the Hillary email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation, despite claiming he was not involved with either. He was claiming not to be involved with them because he was definitely involved with his wife's campaign for political office that drew over half a million dollars in campaign funds from Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton associate, and others. Note that although he is leaving his duties "voluntarily", he is leaving them immediately. He will remain on paid leave until he is eligible for retirement (in March).

This is about as close to firing someone as it gets in government service without paying lawyers. If he wasn't fired, he's stepping out before the House votes to release the memo in hopes of avoiding fallout from it. That vote is scheduled for 5pm today.

UPDATE: The White House denies involvement in the decision, but it seems clear McCabe was removed unless you read the New York Times. That leads Christopher Wray, FBI Director, as McCabe's immediate superior who strangely enough is reported to have read the House FISA memo late yesterday. Does that memo implicate McCabe in wrongdoing of some kind? It seems likely.

UPDATE: He went on leave rather than taking a demotion, apparently based on the IG report, possibly as referenced in the FISA memo.

UPDATE: More resignations to come.

Mon Jan 29 13:03:15 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

This is a bad idea

Some elements inside the Trump administration are pushing for a nationalization of the next-generation (5G) cell network buildout. The idea would be to build one national network, owned and paid for by the government. Vodkapundit points out that this would represent a single point of failure, and that's an excellent reason to build it via the usual private means.

I'll also add the likely real driving force behind this proposal: Such a network would represent a single point of surveillance. It's much easier for the government to evesdrop on everyone in the country when they own the cell phone network outright. None of those pesky warrants or third-party companies that might fight them in court.

UPDATE: The person who proposed this is no longer in his post. Related? Who knows?

Mon Jan 29 10:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Amnesty Kerfluffle

So here's how I see it.

The Trump White House announced that it would announce an immigration plan on Monday, something it thinks both sides of Congress and the issue can agree to compromise on.

We haven't seen that plan yet. We've seen what people have leaked that claims to be that plan.

In politics, those are called "trial balloons". You release leaks ahead of time, see what the reaction is, and adjust the final release to take those reactions into account. Maybe you change it, maybe you don't, but at least you know ahead of time how people will react to it.

So far, Trump's base seems to be reacting negatively. Trump may get the signal that the leaked proposal is too much amnesty and backpeddle. Or maybe the leaks didn't come from him and his actual plan doesn't resemble what leaked to begin with.

The only strong objection I have to the plan as leaked is the end of E-Verify. I don't like handing out amnesty and a path to citizenship, but for a small number of people, who can be subjected to background checks and be disqualified if they fail to remain law-abiding citizens (aside from the initial, illegal entry), it might be a workable compromise. But, because of the trust deficit on this issue, it has to be significantly delayed -- and canceled if the other elements of the deal are messed with.

My take on the issue is simple.

First, I won't waste a lot of time worrying about any proposal I see before Monday. The real proposal is Monday. Anything before Monday is a trial balloon. That doesn't mean don't react to the trial balloon. It's the reaction that makes it useful. But don't treat it as an unforgivable betrayal when it isn't even a real proposal yet.

Second, as things stand, Trump needs any bill dealing with the issue to get to 60 votes. That means significant compromise is inevitable if anything is going to pass at all. Some group of people are going to get amnestied. If Trump can keep that number down while getting significant concessions (wall actually built, enforcement actually funded, policy changes that fix some of the problems) that's not necessarily a bad deal.

Third, Trump is trying to take the middle ground here. That's generally the President's goal: let the extremes in Congress say their piece and then propose something that 51% of the population can agree with broadly. He's specifically looking for something that can break off enough Dem Senators to get to 60 votes. Every time he shakes up the game by throwing a proposal out there, he gets to see if anyone twitches like they want to go for it. He's probably not going to get Schumer or other hardliners on board. But he doesn't need to. He just needs 8-10 of them.

So. It's Monday. Let's see what the real proposal is, if any.

Mon Jan 29 10:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Linsdey Graham doesn't want to release the FISA memo?

The Hill"No, I don't want it released yet," Graham told ABC's "This Week."

"I want somebody outside of the Republican-led Congress to look at these allegations," he said.

"I've been a lawyer most of my adult life and the way the FBI conducted itself in the Department of Justice bothers me," he continued.

Now I'm wondering if he's named in that memo. Got a guilty conscience, Senator?

Mon Jan 29 10:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Are we all unconscious racists?

PJMediaNow we are learning that the Implicit Association Test is all bunk. Althea Nagai at the Center for Equal Opportunity drilled deep into the methods and reliability of the test and published this report at the Heritage Foundation. It's time for every source of federal dollars - particularly at the Office of Justice Programs and the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department - to read the report and cut off all sources of grant funding for any programs that rely on the bunk of the Implicit Association Test. Here's why.

The problem with the idea that everyone is somehow an unconscious racist based on millesecond differences in reaction time to words is that it removes the element of choice. People choose their actions, because they control those actions. They may or may not control exactly they they think, but they absolutely control what they say and what they do. If racism is to be measured not by choices and expressed opinions but unexpressed -- even suppressed -- thoughts, then not only is everyone condemned to be a racist by this amoral measurement, they are also condemned permanently and unforgivably to that fate. It is impossible for them to NOT be a racist.

At that point, why even try to do the right thing?

I firmly believe that all people have the right to be evaluated as individuals based on all reasonably available information. But when decisions are being made and tracked at the millisecond scale, you're barely engaging conscious decision making at all. You're tracking unconscious decision-making, basically instinct, and probably not very accurately.. and then assigning that measurement a dangerous amount of moral weight. That's immoral in itself, and arguably abusive of the subjects, who doubtless did not expect to be labeled unconscious racists when they agreed to participate in the study.

Mon Jan 29 09:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOJ withholds vast majority of FBI texts from Congress

Washington ExaminerThe Justice Department has given Congress less than 15 percent of the texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – and that is all Congress is likely to get, at least until department experts finish an effort to recover an unknown number of previously lost texts that were sent and received during a key five-month period during the Trump-Russia investigation.

How many texts will be turned over? First, it's not possible to know how many texts from the Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017 time period will be recovered and turned over. But of the 50,000 the Justice Department already has in hand, officials say they have already turned over all they're going to give to Congress.

That means Justice has decided to allow Congress to see just 7,000 of a total of 50,000 Strzok-Page texts – slightly less than 15 percent of the total number of texts the Justice Department has now.

Read the whole thing. It's an outrage. Congress is not indulging in idle curiousity here. They are investigating a serious matter with criminal implications that places in doubt the ability of the DOJ and the FBI to participate in investigations of their own misbehavior. The only appropriate response of the FBI and DOJ here is to turn over everything, without filtering, and let congressional staff handle the matter.

Not mentioned in this article is the interesting analysis that suggests the claim Strzok and Page were having an affair came from Strzok and/or Page themselves. They were talking to the reporter who originally made that claim publicly. Why would they make that claim if it wasn't true? Well, it would provide a reason for their secretive behavior and sneaking around, if they suddenly needed one because their leaking to reporters and water-carrying for Hillary started to get into the newspapers.

Mon Jan 29 09:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


Humperdink in Althouse commentsWe clearly need to amend the constitution to create a fourth, co-equal branch of government. We could called it: The Office of Presidential Harassment. The Special Harasser would be appointed by opposition party to the president. This would get it out from under the DoJ.

It would have sweeping powers of non-probable cause, willy-nilly subpoena powers, granting immunity, and deleting/erasing/losing exculpatory evidence. It's investigative powers would not be limited to the President. It would encompass the president's family, donors, business associates, friends, acquaintances, hangers-on, and groupies since birth.

It would also have the power to wiretap, surveille, or spy on the president based upon real or imagined evidence.

If indicted, a hearing would held in front of all living presidents of the opposition party. If convicted, the defeated candidate in the previous election would assume the Presidency.

I don't think we need to amend the constitution to create this fourth branch. I think we already have it.

Mon Jan 29 09:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Minnesota stabbing attack was in fact terrorism after all

Power LineThis past Thursday Abdiraham pleaded guilty to the assault charges. The Star Tribune story by Paul Walsh continues to suggest that the motive for the assaults was psychological.

At the plea hearing, however, Abdiraham issued a statement clarifying the motive for his assaults. Abdiraham explained that he was waging jihad in support of ISIS.

When I reported on this, I believe I mentioned that it sounded like terrorism despite the official explanation being "he was nuts."

When someone says their motive was terrorism, I tend to favor believing them.

Mon Jan 29 09:05:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Dutch claim to have hacked the Russian hackers who stole the election

There's an article in the Dutch press claiming they hacked the Russian hackers who hacked the DNC. The problem is, the article doesn't actually show that. The URL claims it, sort of ("us elections"), but as for the actual article:

White House was hacked through a fishing email, and gained access to most of Obama's email. (Oops!) Funny how hackers getting access to the White House and even the president's email was not bigger news at the time, isn't it?

The State Department was hacked (under Kerry), which is what provided access to the White House... sort of. There's no need for access to to send a fishing email to, but I'll give the article the benefit of the doubt and assume it helped.

Both of those things were reported at the time and while major embarrassments for the White House, had nothing to do with the election.

There is nothing here related to the hacking of the DNC (which was probably an internal leak anyway).

There is nothing here related to Hillary's tenure at State.

There is nothing here related to Hillary's personal email server, which may or may not have been hacked; the hackers in that case did not release email dumps and the incident had nothing to do with the results of the 2016 election in any technical way; Hillary's poor judgment in setting up the server did.

There is nothing here related to the US 2016 election cycle and the election of President Trump, despite the article being deceptively written to imply that it did.

There's also an article on PJMedia that makes the same mistake. The only link between the DNC hack and the Russian hacking groups "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear" is based on what Crowdstrike had told us about what they found on the DNC servers. It's a pretty weak link.

I call it Fake News.

Sat Jan 27 09:03:03 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary campaign shielded an advisor from sexual harassment charges in 2008

New York TimesA senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request, according to four people familiar with what took place.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job.


Sat Jan 27 09:03:03 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About those illegal aliens in the DACA program...

Center for Immigration Studies “More than 500 individuals who obtained DACA benefits that were later revoked due to criminal and/or gang involvement apparently are still living in the country and at large, according to statistics provided by USCIS to Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. These cases are 25 percent of those who lost DACA status due to criminal and/or gang activity as of November 2017. Only about 30 percent of the ex-DACA criminal aliens have been removed or were in ICE custody as of November 2017.

“According to USCIS, a total of 2,127 individuals had their DACA status terminated for criminal activity and/or gang activity as of November 22, 2017. In no more than 3 percent of these cases did the termination occur merely because of gang involvement; nearly all of the terminations followed criminal convictions or arrests, according to related data on the USCIS website.”

“Under current law, gang members are not automatically barred from receiving immigration benefits such as green cards, work permits, and Temporary Protected Status, and clearly many have obtained these benefits in recent years.”

They aren't necessarily good potential citizens.

Sat Jan 27 09:03:03 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Annotated FBI text messages

Grassley wrote a letter about the first batch of problematic messages he and his staff found among those that were missing. These are from the 5 months of missing text messages between Strzok and Page.

My take on the messages and what they mean below the fold.

(Read More...)

Thu Jan 25 20:06:10 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOJ IG recovers missing text messages between Page and Strzok

CNNThe Justice Department's inspector general has informed lawmakers that a trove of missing text messages exchanged between FBI employees has been recovered. In a letter to lawmakers on Thursday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote that this week his office was able to recover texts sent between Strzok and Page over a five-month span from December 2016 to May 2017.

Well, they sure didn't stay missing long, did they? As this incident should remind us, when the government wants to recover text messages, they can generally recover the text messages. When they don't want to recover the text messages, as with the case of the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, it's a cover up.

And speaking of coverups, I feel that I should point out that the IG had to use "forensic tools" to recover those missing text messages. That means someone tried to delete them, probably Page and Strzok themselves, which speaks to consciousness of guilt.

I wrote about the missing text messages and reported on Hannity's tip last night that they were being recovered. And I would like to offer a hat tip to an anonymous reader for pointing out the story, since I don't usually follow CNN...

UPDATE: I meant to point out that the notification does not say "all" messages were recovered, which potentially leaves some wiggle room. We don't know how many messages were actually recovered, out of how many total.

Thu Jan 25 12:59:29 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Calling for the dissolution of the FBI

Howie Carr starts it. This may seem like a big step, but realistically, the FBI was founded in 1908, so it's been around for less than half of our nation's history. In that time, it's been at the center of many political scandals, including the most recent one and the well-known corruption and blackmail of the years under Hoover. If that wasn't enough, the FBI was also heavily involved in the Waco Massacre and the Ruby Ridge incident, and knew about the Oklahoma City bombing in advance.

We now know that at least the headquarters branch of the entire agency has been irredeemably politicized and corrupted.

Howie Carr may be right. It may be time to take drastic action to disband the FBI headquarters office and reconstitute a similar agency under a new name, new leadership, and new headquarters staff.

Thu Jan 25 11:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About those fair and honest elections we have...

... apparently we only have them if we don't live in democrat strongholds.

Seriously, have you ever heard of a Republican saying "You can't vote for a Democrat on my polling machine?"

Thu Jan 25 11:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


SpectatorWhat emerges from all this evidence of astonishing bias is a probe that didn’t seek to discover a crime but create one. The goal was to scare Trump officials into committing minor process crimes and Michael Flynn tripped up under that pressure. Now the hope of the investigators is that they can set a perjury trap for Trump. On Tuesday, as the media ignored the Strzok story, it made great noise about Comey sharing memos with Mueller about his meetings with Trump. The same journalists who pooh-poohed the FBI’s anti-Trump plotting perked up at news of Mueller interviewing his close friend.

This is not the slow unfolding of justice but scenes from a show trial, one in which the only serious crimes are committed by abusive prosecutors and investigators, so intoxicated by their own political self-righteousness that they can brag to their paramours about the “fix” on Trump.

It's ironic how many parallels there are between the plot against Trump and the "vast right wing conspiracy" that Hillary famously thought was behind her husband's impeachment. Believing in a vast right wing conspiracy is surely emotionally easier than facing your husband's serial infidelity, but it doesn't justify creating a vast left wing conspiracy to hound an innocent not-guilty-of-this-particular-crime man.

Thu Jan 25 11:28:08 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why did Obama's FBI give Hillary a pass on her email server?

National ReviewFrom the first, these columns have argued that the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton–emails caper was President Barack Obama’s call — not the FBI’s, and not the Justice Department’s. (See, e.g., here, here, and here.) The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.

Because the President was implicated too. Read the whole thing.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Kerry talks up a coup in the Palestinian Authority

JPostMa'ariv reported that former US Secretary of State John Kerry met in London with a close associate of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Hussein Agha, for a long and open conversation about a variety of topics.

During the conversation, according to the report, Kerry asked Agha to convey a message to Abbas and ask him to "hold on and be strong." Tell him, he told Agha, "that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President Trump's demands." According to Kerry, Trump will not remain in office for a long time. It was reported that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.

So not only is Kerry negotiating with terrorists, and doing so in direct opposition to the interests of the American people as expressed in their choice of President, he is also doing it as a private citizen with no official government position.

And he's talking openly about conducting a coup.

Because that's what it would take to get Trump out of office before 2020. Even if the Dems take the House in 2018 and immediately file impeachment charges, the chances they get 2/3rds of the Senate to vote in favor of removing Trump from office on the basis of their transparently fake and fraudulent dossier is precisely zilch. Using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump on mental grounds seems even shakier.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Conflicting narratives

I've previously reported on claims that the Vegas murderer may not have acted alone, with the evidence mainly being suspicious email exchanges on accounts police claim he had sole access to and anonymously sourced claims suggesting more arrests were being considered. However, the preliminary report says Paddock was acting alone.

How to reconcile these claims? Well, the preliminary report is from October 1st, 2017. Perhaps the investigating agencies are just keeping things quiet while they run down leads and try to apprehend any other suspects... or perhaps they still don't want to admit it was terrorism. Given the number of conspiracies revealed at the FBI and DOJ lately, coupled with the very strange information released about this attack already, I'm leaning towards the latter.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Oh my god

Bayou Renaissance Man points out that the NSA has removed honesty as one of its guiding principles less than a week after finding out that the agency had deleted critical data a court had ordered it to preserve. Read the whole thing, then follow the link and read that whole thing.

I suppose you could argue that removing "honesty" from the mission statement was the NSA's final act of honesty.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ursula K Le Guin passes away

I can't fairly claim she was one of my favorite authors. She did write one of my favorite trilogies, however, something that (though much shorter) is a work of art that compares quite well with Tolkein. That would be the EarthSea trilogy (A Wizard of EarthSea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore). Do not continue any farther than that; the brain eater got her before she returned to the series decades later.

For that one bright moment, she will be missed.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hannity claims DOJ has started to recover missing text messages

Fox NewsFox News’ Sean Hannity said Wednesday night on “Hannity” that the Justice Department has started recovering some of the missing texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, citing DOJ sources. [...] Hannity said sources at the DOJ told him they have begun to recover some of the texts from that time period. Specific content from those texts has not been released.

There are lots of places you can go to recover those messages, if you're serious about getting them. If nothing else, the NSA should have them.

Thu Jan 25 09:28:09 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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