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Michael Moore, Russian Tool

Derek Hunter reports: Progressive director Michael Moore participated in an anti-Trump protest in New York that was organized by Russians, according to information released Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein announced indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday against 13 Russian nationals for meddling in the 2016 election, highlighting how the Russians used social media to stir up strife and anger on social media using memes and unwitting Americans to do their bidding. One Russia-sponsored event was a protest of then President-Elect Donald Trump on Nov. 12, 2016, called “Trump is NOT my President,” and it involved Moore.

Read the rest of this entry »

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‘The Twilight Zone,’ from A to Z 

J.W. McCormack writes: The planet has been knocked off its elliptical orbit and overheats as it hurtles toward the sun; the night ceases to exist, oil paintings melt, the sidewalks in New York are hot enough to fry an egg on, and the weather forecast is “more of the same, only hotter.” Despite the unbearable day-to-reality of constant sweat, the total collapse of order and decency, and, above all, the scarcity of water, Norma can’t shake the feeling that one day she’ll wake up and find that this has all been a dream. And she’s right. Because the world isn’t drifting toward the sun at all, it’s drifting away from it, and the paralytic cold has put Norma into a fever dream.

[Watch how many times J.W. McCormack packs this discussion of Twilight Zone history with unrelated partisan political whining, pro-FDR, anti-GOP revisionist history, and Paul Krugmanesque drooling, navel gazing, and various unrelated anti-Trump nonsense. Is this really about the Twilight Zone? Or just another Op-Ed column?]

This is “The Midnight Sun,” my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone, and one that has come to seem grimly familiar. I also wake up adrift, in a desperate and unfamiliar reality, wondering if the last year in America has been a dream—I too expect catastrophe, but it’s impossible to know from which direction it will come, whether I am right to trust my senses or if I’m merely sleepwalking while the actual danger becomes ever-more present. One thing I do know is that I’m not alone: since the election of Donald Trump, it’s become commonplace to compare the new normal to living in the Twilight Zone, as Paul Krugman did in a 2017 New York Times op-ed titled “Living in the Trump Zone,” in which he compared the President to the all-powerful child who terrorizes his Ohio hometown in “It’s a Good Life,” policing their thoughts and arbitrarily striking out at the adults. But these comparisons do The Twilight Zone a disservice. The show’s articulate underlying philosophy was never that life is topsy-turvy, things are horribly wrong, and misrule will carry the day—it is instead a belief in a cosmic order, of social justice and a benevolent irony that, in the end, will wake you from your slumber and deliver you unto the truth.

Elizabeth Allen and her mannequin double in “The After Hours,” 1960

The Twilight Zone has dwelt in the public imagination, since its cancellation in 1964, as a synecdoche for the kind of neat-twist ending exemplified by “To Serve Man” (it’s a cookbook), “The After Hours” (surprise, you’re a mannequin), and “The Eye of the Beholder” (everyone has a pig-face but you). It’s probably impossible to feel the original impact of each show-stopping revelation, as the twist ending has long since been institutionalized, clichéd, and abused in everything from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects to Twilight Zone-style anthology series like Black Mirror.Rewatching these episodes with the benefit of Steven Jay Rubin’s new 429-page book, The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia, (a bathroom book if ever I saw one), the punchlines are actually the least of the show’s enduring hold over the imagination; rather its creator Rod Serling’s rejoinders to the prevalent anti-Communist panic that gripped the decade: stories of witch-hunting paranoia tend to end badly for everyone, as in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which the population of a town turns on each other in a panic to ferret out the alien among them, or in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” which relocates the premise to a diner in which the passengers of a bus are temporarily stranded and subject to interrogation by a pair of state troopers.

Leah Waggner and Barry Atwater in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street ,” 1960

The show’s most prevalent themes are probably best distilled as “you are not what you took yourself to be,” “you are not where you thought you were,” and “beneath the façade of mundane American society lurks a cavalcade of monsters, clones, and robots.” Serling had served as a paratrooper in the Philippines in 1945 and returned with PTSD; he and his eventual audience were indeed caught between the familiar past and an unknown future.

[Read the full story here, at The New York Review of Books]

They stood dazed in a no-longer-recognizable world, flooded with strange new technologies, vastly expansionist corporate or federal jurisdictions, and once-unfathomable ideologies. The culture was shifting from New Deal egalitarianism to the exclusionary persecution and vigilantism of McCarthyism, the “southern strategy” of Goldwater and Nixon, and the Cold War-era emphasis on mandatory civilian conformity, reinforced across the board in schools and the media. Read the rest of this entry »


Kurt Schlichter: The Liberal Media’s Slobbering Over The Norks Reminds Us Why We Have The Second Amendment

Besides having bad taste, our mainstream media is revealing our ruling class once again.

Kurt Schlichter writes: America’s most effective advocate of the principle of an armed populace is now officially the liberal media that usually seeks to do the ruling class’s bidding and strip us Normal Americans of that sacred right. But after the media’s bizarre display of eager tongue-bathing of the semi-human savages who run North Korea, any patriot has got to be thinking, “I best load up, because it’s pretty clear what the establishment’s desired end state is.”

The New York Times quivered: “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns on the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.”

Reuters tingled: “North Korea judged winner of diplomatic gold at Olympics.”

And CNN harassed airport travelers with: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.”

Let’s clarify something – this Kim Yo Jong woman, a key leader in a giant death cult that is torturing and killing people at this moment, is not cute, not figuratively and not literally. She’s not even a Pyongyang 6. Maybe at closing time. After a lot of soju.

But besides having bad taste, our mainstream media is revealing our ruling class once again. You watch the non-stop squee over these monsters and the only conclusion you can reasonably draw is that, for our worthless establishment, the North Korea murderocracy is not a cautionary example. It’s an objective.

Just think of it! The ability to simply make all those Normals who disagree with you go away – either for good or by exiling them to rural fun camps. No fuss, no muss, no more tiresome dissent by those banjo-jockies between the coasts!

What? That’s crazy talk! How could you draw the conclusion from our giddy, giggling media lovefest that we approve of those adorable, wonderful North Koreans?

[Read the full story here, at townhall.com]

Well, that’s fair. Maybe our elite doesn’t really dig the Great Big Leader’s vibe. Maybe our elite is just composed of morons. If the explanation for the media serfs’ tender fondling of these blood-drenched sadists is not a result of our morally illiterate elite’s desire to emulate the insane wickedness of the Juche Idea, then that leaves gross stupidity as the only other option.

Either they want us Normals dead or enslaved, or they are just idiots.

Pick one.

Spoiler: Neither option supports us giving up our guns. Read the rest of this entry »


The Woke Police Have Ruined Entertainment

Johnny Oleksinski When Tina Fey’s film “Mean Girls” came out in 2004, the comedy was lauded as a silly, satirical excoriation of modern high-school life and its cliques, cafeteria antics and materialism. “Mean Girls” was a “Clueless” for the millennial age. And it was so fetch.

Fast forward to 2018. “Mean Girls” is about to begin a new life as a Broadway musicalin March. But some Broadway watchers believe the subject matter is too mean for these kinder, gentler times.

“It just might not be the moment for ‘Mean Girls,’ ” one Broadway insider told me on the condition of anonymity. “It might feel stale and tone-deaf to the critics. And while this is something that could be critic-proof, maybe not.”

The fear of offending audiences isn’t limited to musicals about bratty teens. In this oversensitive era, TV shows, Oscar-worthy movies and pop music are all under pressure to be as nice as Betty Crocker. For millennia the best art has offended, tantalized, frightened, riled up and, of course, been life-affirming. But today the American public, looking more than ever like Soviet Russia, has just one rule for entertainers: Don’t rock the boat.

During last Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, singer Justin Timberlake barely rocked his hips. The former boybander is responsible for the most famous sex stunt in the history of the event — Janet Jackson’s 2004 nipple-baring “wardrobe malfunction.” Read the rest of this entry »


The press used to uncover government wrongdoing. Today’s press is defending it.

FISA Memo Is Scarier than Watergate.

Victor Davis Hanson write: The Watergate scandal of 1972–74 was uncovered largely because of outraged Democratic politicians and a bulldog media. They both claimed that they had saved American democracy from the Nixon administration’s attempt to warp the CIA and FBI to cover up an otherwise minor, though illegal, political break-in.

In the Iran-Contra affair of 1985–87, the media and liberal activists uncovered wrongdoing by some rogue members of the Reagan government. They warned of government overreach and of using the “Deep State” to subvert the law for political purposes.

We are now in the midst of a third great modern scandal. Members of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice sought court approval for the surveillance of Carter Page, allegedly for colluding with Russian interests, and extended the surveillance three times.

But none of these government officials told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the warrant requests were based on an unverified dossier that had originated as a hit piece funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign to smear Donald Trump during the current 2016 campaign.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Nor did these officials reveal that the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, had already been dropped as a reliable source by the FBI for leaking to the press.

Nor did officials add that a Department of Justice official, Bruce Ohr, had met privately with Steele — or that Ohr’s wife, Nellie, had been hired to work on the dossier.

Unfortunately, such disclosures may be only the beginning of the FISA-gate scandal.

Members of the Obama administration’s national security team also may have requested the names of American citizens connected with the Trump campaign who had been swept up in other FISA surveillance. Those officials may have then improperly unmasked the names and leaked them to a compliant press — again, for apparent political purposes during a campaign.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Trey Gowdy’s Greatest Hits


[VIDEO] Falcon Heavy Blasts Off, Boosters Land at Cape Canaveral

Rumbling into a mostly sunny sky, SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket — the world’s most powerful present-day launcher — soared into orbit Tuesday, and its two strap-on boosters came back to Cape Canaveral for an electrifying double-landing punctuated by quadruple sonic booms.

The dramatic test flight took off at 3:45 p.m. EST (2045 GMT) Tuesday from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same facility used by the Apollo 11 lunar landing crew and numerous space shuttle missions.

Standing nearly 230 feet (70 meters) tall, the Falcon Heavy’s 27 main engines put out nearly 5 million pounds of thrust, one-and-a-half times more than any other rocket flying today, and around two-thirds the power output of the space shuttle at liftoff. Read the rest of this entry »


Victor Davis Hanson: Counterfeit Elitism

“Elite” is now an overused smear. But it is a fair pejorative when denoting a cadre that is not a natural or truly meritocratic top echelon, but is instead a group distinguished merely by schooling, associations, residence, connections and open disdain. If this is supposed to translate into some sort of received wisdom and acknowledged excellence, ordinary Americans may be pardoned for missing it.

victor-davis-hVictor Davis Hanson writes: Those damn dairy farmers. Why do they insist on trying to govern? Or, put another way:

Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth!? A former dairy farmer who House intel staffers refer to as Secret Agent Man because he has no idea what’s going on.

Thus spoke MSNBC panelist, Yale graduate, former Republican “strategist,” and Bush administration speechwriter Elise Jordan.

Elise_Jordan_LLS_Newsdesk.jpg

Elise Jordan

Jordan likely knows little about San Joaquin Valley family dairy farmers and little notion of the sort of skills, savvy, and work ethic necessary to survive in an increasingly corporate-dominated industry. Whereas dairy farmer Nunes has excelled in politics, it would be hard to imagine Jordan running a family dairy farm, at least given the evidence of her televised skill sets and sobriety.

Republicans “trust” Devin Nunes, because without his dogged efforts it is unlikely that we would know about the Fusion GPS dossier or the questionable premises on which FISA court surveillance was ordered. Neither would we have known about the machinations of an array of Obama Administration, Justice Department and FBI officials who, in addition to having possibly violated the law in monitoring a political campaign and unmasking and leaking names of Americans to the press, may have colluded with people in the Clinton campaign who funded the Steele dossier.

[Read the more here, at American Greatness]

“Elite” is now an overused smear. But it is a fair pejorative when denoting a cadre that is not a natural or truly meritocratic top echelon, but is instead a group distinguished merely by schooling, associations, residence, connections and open disdain. If this is supposed to translate into some sort of received wisdom and acknowledged excellence, ordinary Americans may be pardoned for missing it.

The frustration with chronic elite incompetence was a theme in the 2016 election. “Expert” pollsters assured us of a Clinton landslide. The media could not follow undergraduate rules of decorum and truthfulness. “Brilliant” Ivy League trained pundits preached that the Trump administration’s first year would be disastrous and without accomplishment. Televised legal eagles insisted that Robert Mueller by now would have indicted Team Trump on charges of Russian collusion.

oil-painting-farm-folk-art-thanksgiving-pumpkins-rural-country-autumn-

Half the country no longer believes these self-appointed authorities, largely because there is no visible connection between what the self-congratulatory say and do and any commensurate discernable accomplishment.

After a half-century of “whiz kids,” “the best and the brightest,” and “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Americans finally yawned and are moving on.

Deplorables, Clingers, and Those Not Worthy of Worry

One symptom of such a played-out elite is its blanket condemnation of the supposed blinkered middle-class—usually evident in their virtue-signaling outrage and in their inclination to contrast their own supposed enlightenment to the supposed ignorance of everyone else.

You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic—Islamophobic—you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that… Now, some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully, they are not America.

So said Yale law graduate Hillary Clinton, in an incoherent, factually unsubstantiated, and politically disastrous rant that may have lost her the 2016 election.

Clinton all but wrote off 25 percent of America as “not America”—this from the 2008 primary challenger to Barack Obama who was blasted by progressives for pandering to just such a white gun-owning consistency.

[Read the full story here, at American Greatness]

Or as Barack Obama once said, Hillary Clinton is “talking like she’s Annie Oakley . . . Hillary Clinton is out there like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday. She’s packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better.”

Or as Clinton herself once put it, “[I’ve] found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me . . . There’s a pattern emerging here.”

It is hard to image the Yalie feminist Clinton having any sort of political career without attachment to president emeritus and spouse Bill Clinton, whose serial sexual harassment and assault she not only contextualized over four decades, but by serial defense fueled. Read the rest of this entry »


Biased FBI and DOJ Officials Broke The Law And Tried To Decide The Election: An Annotated Timeline

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., returns to a secure area in the Capitol  Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Thomas Del Beccaro   writes: There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President.  Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other.

Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain that the FBI and DOJ were not investigating potential crimes objectively.

Indeed, they were committing crimes during the process in aid of their preferred outcomes.

1.  2007. Hillary Clinton wanted to be President.  Hillary’s ambitions to be president started long ago.  She ran for President in the 2008 cycle.  In 2009, after losing to Obama, Hillary became Obama’s Secretary of State.  She stayed in that post until 2013.

2. March 2015. The Hillary email scandal breaks. Hillary was using an unapproved/unsecured server and devices to communicate.  She was using a private email account.  Classified information was being sent through that email, server and devices – including when Hillary was abroad.

All of that is illegal.  As 2015 unfolds, it becomes clear to the FBI and the DOJ that President Barack Obama was communicating with Hillary using her non-state department email.  Obama was using an email and a name that masked who he was.

That had to be known to authorities long before March of 2015 given that it occurred prior to 2013.

As Andrew McCarthy points out in his recent article, there was no chance that the DOJ was going to indict Hillary because that would have required implicating President Obama.  That was never going to happen.  From thereafter, DOJ officials acted with that understanding, however illegal, in mind.

3.  June 2015. Donald Trump announces his Presidential run.

4.  March 2016. Trump has enough delegates to claim the nomination. Read the rest of this entry »


Katie Roiphe: The Other Whisper Network

How Twitter feminism is bad for women

Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original?

For years, women confined their complaints about sexual harassment to whisper networks for fear of reprisal from men. This is an ugly truth about our recent past that we are just now beginning to grapple with. But amid this welcome reckoning, it seems that many women still fear varieties of retribution (Twitter rage, damage to their reputations, professional repercussions, and vitriol from friends) for speaking out—this time, from other women. They are, in other words, inadvertently creating a new whisper network. Can this possibly be a good thing?

Most of the new whisperers feel as I do, exhilarated by the moment, by the long-overdue possibility of holding corrupt and bullying men such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer to account for their actions. They strongly share some of its broader goals: making it possible for women to work unbothered and unharassed even outside the bubble of Hollywood and the media, breaking down the structures that have historically protected powerful men. Yet they are also slightly uneasy at the weird energy behind this movement, a weird energy it is sometimes hard to pin down.

Here are some things these professional women said to me on the condition that their names be withheld:

I think “believe all women” is silly. Women are unreliable narrators also. I understand how hard it is to come forward, but I just don’t buy it. It’s a sentimental view of women. . . . I think there is more regretted consent than anyone is willing to say out loud.

If someone had sent me the Media Men list ten years ago, when I was twenty-five, I would have called a harmlessly enamored guy a stalker and a sloppy drunken encounter sexual assault. I’d hate myself now for wrecking two lives.

One thing people don’t say is that power is an aphrodisiac. . . . To pretend otherwise is dishonest.

What seems truly dangerous to me is the complete disregard the movement shows for a sacred principle of the American criminal justice system: the presumption of innocence. I come from Mexico, whose judicial system relied, until 2016, on the presumption of guilt, which translated into people spending decades, sometimes lifetimes, in jail before even seeing a judge.

I have never felt sexually harassed. I said this to someone the other day, and she said, “I am sure you are wrong.”

Al Franken asked for an investigation and he should have been allowed to have it; the facts are still ambiguous, the sources were sketchy.

Why didn’t I get hit on? What’s wrong with me? #WhyNotMeToo

I think #MeToo is a potentially valuable tool that is degraded when women appropriate it to encompass things like “creepy DMs” or “weird lunch ‘dates.’” And I do not think touching a woman’s back justifies a front page in the New York Times and the total annihilation of someone’s career.

I have a long history with this feeling of not being able to speak. In the early Nineties, death threats were phoned into Shakespeare and Company, an Upper West Side bookstore where I was scheduled to give a reading from my book The Morning After.That night, in front of a jittery crowd and a sprinkling of police, I read a passage comparing the language in the date-rape pamphlets given out on college campuses to Victorian guides to conduct for young ladies. When I read at universities, students who considered themselves feminists shouted me down. It was an early lesson in the chilling effect of feminist orthodoxy.

But social media has enabled a more elaborate intolerance of feminist dissenters, as I just personally experienced. Twitter, especially, has energized the angry extremes of feminism in the same way it has energized Trump and his supporters: the loudest, angriest, most simplifying voices are elevated and rendered normal or mainstream.

[Read the full story here, at Harper’s Magazine]

In 1996, a six-year-old boy with Coke-bottle glasses, Johnathan Prevette, was suspended from school for sexual harassment after kissing a little girl on the cheek. This was widely interpreted as a sign of excess: as the New York Times put it, a “doctrine meant to protect against sexual harassment might have reached a damaging level of absurdity.” Yet I wonder what would happen today. Wouldn’t feminists be tweeting, “Don’t first grade girls have a right to feel safe?” Wouldn’t the new whisperers keep quiet?

One thing that makes it hard to engage with the feminist moment is the sense of great, unmanageable anger. Given what men have gotten away with for centuries, this anger is understandable. Yet it can also lead to an alarming lack of proportion. Rebecca Trais­ter, one of the smartest and most prominent voices of the #MeToo movement, writes:

The rage that many of us are feeling doesn’t necessarily correspond with the severity of the trespass: Lots of us are on some level as incensed about the guy who looked down our shirt at a company retreat as we are about Weinstein, even if we can acknowledge that there’s something nuts about that, a weird overreaction.

At first glance, this seems honest and insightful of her. She seems, for a moment, to recognize the energy that is unnerving some of us, an anger not interested in making distinctions between Harvey Weinstein and the man looking down your shirt—an anger that is, as Traister herself puts it, “terrifyingly out of control.” But weirdly, she also seems to be fine with it, even roused. When Trump supporters let their anger run terrifyingly out of control, we are alarmed, and rightly so. Perhaps Traister should consider that “I am so angry I am not thinking straight” is not the best mood in which to radically envision and engineer a new society. Read the rest of this entry »


Gunmen in Mexico Open Fire at Underground Cockfight 

Authorities in Mexico say that six people were killed and another 14 wounded during underground cockfighting match on the southern edge of Chihuahua city.

  • Masked attackers fired at people gathered at the ‘Santa Maria’ cockfight club
  • Four victims were killed at the scene and two died while receiving treatment
  • Cockfighting is popular in the country and particularly in western Mexico
  • The cock fights are a big draw for the narcos attend high stakes games

Associated Press and Alasdair Baverstock report: Authorities in northern Mexico say gunmen opened fire at a clandestine cockfight arena in the Chihuahua s tate capital, killing six people and wounding 14.

The state prosecutor’s office says in a statement that several masked attackers fired at people gathered at the ‘Santa Maria’ cockfight club late Saturday off a highway on the southern edge of Chihuahua city.

Prosecutors said Sunday that four victims were killed at the scene and two more died while receiving medical treatment.

Prosecutors said Sunday that four victims were killed at the scene and two more died while receiving medical treatment.

Cockfighting is popular in the country and particularly in western Mexico, where every town has a cockfighting ring

Cockfighting is popular in the country and particularly in western Mexico, where every town has a cockfighting ring

Two children ages 7 and 10 were among the wounded. There were no immediate arrests.

Cockfighting is popular in the country and particularly in western Mexico, where every town in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan and Guerrero has a Palenque, or cockfighting ring.

Gambling is a major aspect of the event, and as much as $40,000 can be placed on a single bout. Bookkeepers patrol the stands and take bets. Spectators gamble only on the overall outcome, and all odds are set at 2:1. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] IT’S EMBARRASSING TO HAVE TO EXPLAIN THIS: Socialism Isn’t Cool

“The ideas of socialism, that the means of production, distribution and labor should be owned, controlled and regulated by the community as a whole are the worst sort of collectivist ideas which exist.”


Louvre Displays Nazi-Looted Art in the Hope of Finding Owners 

View of the pyramid and the Louvre Museum building. January 22, 2005, Paris. AP

31 paintings stolen from Jewish families during World War II are put on permanent display in Louvre as it searches for its owners.

The Louvre Museum in Paris has put 31 Nazi-looted paintings on permanent display in an attempt to find their rightful owners.The works were installed in two showrooms last month, The Associated Press reported.

Some 296 Nazi-looted paintings are stored at the Louvre and remain unclaimed.

Sebastien Allard, the head of the paintings department at the Louvre, told AP on Tuesday that most of the artworks were stolen from Jewish families during World War II.

“Beneficiaries can see these artworks, declare that these artworks belong to them and officially ask for their return,” he said.

Ways to prove ownership include old family photos, receipts or testimonies.

The Louvre initiative is the latest effort by French authorities to find heirs of families who lost their artwork during World War II. The French Culture Ministry has formed a committee in charge of locating the original owners of the paintings. Only about 50 artworks have been returned since 1951. Read the rest of this entry »


A Reckoning for the FBI 

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The House memo reveals disturbing facts about the misuse of FISA.

Now we know why the FBI tried so hard to block release of the House Intelligence Committee memo. And why Democrats and the media want to change the subject to Republican motivations. The four-page memo released Friday reports disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.

The White House declassified the memo Friday, and you don’t have to be a civil libertarian to be shocked by the details. The memo confirms that the FBI and Justice Department on Oct. 21, 2016 obtained a FISA order to surveil Carter Page, an American citizen who was a relatively minor volunteer adviser to the Trump presidential campaign.

The memo says an “essential” part of the FISA application was the “dossier” assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS that was hired by a law firm attached to the Clinton campaign. The memo adds that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December 2017 that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” without the dossier.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

This is troubling enough, but the memo also discloses that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier. The memo says the FBI supported its FISA application by “extensively” citing a September 2016 article in Yahoo News that contained allegations against Mr. Page. But the FBI failed to tell the court that Mr. Steele and Fusion were the main sources for that Yahoo article. In essence the FBI was citing Mr. Steele to corroborate Mr. Steele.

Unlike a normal court, FISA doesn’t have competing pleaders. The FBI and Justice appear ex parte as applicants, and thus the judges depend on candor from both. Yet the FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign. The FBI retained Mr. Steele as a source, and in October 2016 he talked to Mother Jones magazine without authorization about the FBI investigation and his dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The FBI then fired Mr. Steele, but it never told the FISA judges about that either. Nor did it tell the court any of this as it sought three subsequent renewals of the order on Mr. Page. Read the rest of this entry »


UNHINGED: Comey Rips ‘Weasels and Liars,’ Invokes Joe McCarthy in Twitter Rant

The former FBI director speaks out on Twitter.

 reports: Former FBI Director James Comey lashed out at unnamed “weasels and liars” on social media late Thursday, hours before President Trump was expected to declassify a controversial memo about purported surveillance abuses over the objections of Democrats.

“All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would,” Comey wrote on Twitter. “But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up.

“Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy,” Comey added, a reference to the Wisconsin senator who claimed high-ranking government officials were Soviet spies in the 1950s.

Comey appeared to be referencing an FBI statement released Wednesday that objected to the release of the memo, authored by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. That statement said the FBI had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Sources told Fox News Thursday that the version of the memo Trump plans to declassify contains “technical edits” made at the FBI’s request. The sources said the edited version was shown to five FBI officials at the White House on Tuesday afternoon and the officials were satisfied that the edits addressed concerns they had about an earlier version of the memo that was reviewed on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jordan Peterson: Fix Yourself

Want to make the world a better place? Start by bettering yourself. Best-selling author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson explains how incremental daily changes can lead to a better life and ultimately a more harmonious world.


‘FED UP: FBI Deputy Out in Clinton, Trump Probes Turmoil’: NY Post Cover for January 30, 2018

Source: New York Post


2018 Grammy Ratings Sink From Recent Years

It’s a demo low for the telecast, as it still skews young and the audience drops by 24 percent.

Michael O’Connell reports: Sunday’s Bruno Mars-loving Grammy Awards took a dramatic ratings spill, fetching the smallest demo audience in the show’s history.

The telecast, which ran a bloated three-and-a-half hours, was off by 24 percent from 2017 with adjusted numbers. With time zone adjustments taken into account, the telecast averaged 19.8 million viewers and a 5.9 rating among adults 18-49. The second stat marked a low for the show. Among total viewers, that number was down even more than overnight returns from Nielsen Media that it a 12.7 rating among households. It’s the biggest drop for the Grammys since the 2013, the year after the show swelled following the death of Whitney Houston.

The 2017 overnight ratings for the Grammy Awards didn’t paint the most accurate portrait of their year-over-year performance. The 16.0 rating among households, steady with 2016, ended up translating to a not-insignificant gain of 1 million viewers. Those Grammys were the best in two years, averaging just north of 26 million viewers and earning a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49. Read the rest of this entry »


The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google 

Advocates of greater diversity at Google say they are being harassed and targeted on right-wing websites.

Nitasha Tiku reports: Fired Google engineer James Damore says he was vilified and harassed for questioning what he calls the company’s liberal political orthodoxy, particularly around the merits of diversity.

Now outspoken diversity advocates at Google say that they are being targeted by a small group of their coworkers in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity.

In interviews with WIRED, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google’s internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart and Vox Popoli, a blog run by alt-right author Theodore Beale, who goes by the name Vox Day. Other screenshots were included in a 161-page lawsuit that Damore filed in January, alleging that Google discriminates against whites, males, and conservatives.

What followed, the employees say, was a wave of harassment. On forums like 4chan, members linked advocates’ names with their social-media accounts. At least three employees had their phone numbers, addresses, and deadnames (a transgender person’s name prior to transitioning) exposed. Google site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones, a trans woman, says she was the target of harassment, including violent threats and degrading slurs based on gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. More than a dozen pages of personal information about another employee were posted to Kiwi Farms, which New York has called “the web’s biggest community of stalkers.”

Meanwhile, inside Google, the diversity advocates say some employees have “weaponized human resources” by goading them into inflammatory statements, which are then captured and reported to HR for violating Google’s mores around civility or for offending white men.

Engineer Colin McMillen says the tactics have unnerved diversity advocates and chilled internal discussion. “Now it’s like basically anything you say about yourself may end up getting leaked to score political points in a lawsuit,” he says. “I have to be very careful about choosing my words because of the low-grade threat of doxing. But let’s face it, I’m not visibly queer or trans or non-white and a lot of these people are keying off their own white supremacy.”

Targeted employees say they have complained to Google executives about the harassment. They say Google’s security team is vigilant about physical threats and that Danielle Brown, Google’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, who has also been targeted by harassers, has been supportive and reassuring. But, they say they have not been told the outcome of complaints they filed against coworkers they believe are harassing them, and that top executives have not responded assertively to concerns about harassment and doxing. As a result, some employees now check hate sites for attempts at doxing Google employees, which they then report to Google security.

Google declined to respond to questions due to ongoing litigation, but a Google spokesperson said the company has met with every employee who expressed concern.

The complaints underscore how Google’s freewheeling workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to “bring your whole self to work” and exchange views on internal discussion boards, has turned as polarized and toxic as the national political debate. Read the rest of this entry »


Harvey Weinstein Sells Hamptons House at $1.4 Million Loss Amid Divorce from Georgina Chapman 

harv-wife.jpg

Weinstein Loses $1.4 Million on Hamptons Estate.

Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein settled on a $10 million sale price for a Hamptons mansion he bought three years ago for $11.4 million

The hits just keep coming for publicly pilloried and legally embattled film and television super-producer Harvey Weinstein and his red carpet gown designer soon-to-be-ex-wife Georgina Chapman who took a staggering $1.4 million loss, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses and real estate fees, on the sale of a bay front mansion in the sleepy Hamptons community of Amagansett, New York.

The May-December former couple, he’s nearly 25 years her senior, settled on a sale price of $10 million for the estate they purchased in June 2014 for $11.4 million from nine-time Tony winning Broadway producer Roy Furman (“Spamalot,” “The Book of Mormon” and the recent revival of “Hello, Dolly”). Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Obamacare Exchanges Fraud Costs Taxpayers Millions

It seems an incredible waste to put tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of taxpayer dollars at risk through fraud on federal exchanges.

Christopher Jacobs reports: What do Obamacare and Haley Joel Osment have in common? They both see dead people.

On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released another report into eligibility verification checks on the federally run Obamacare insurance exchange used by more than three dozen states. As with prior studies, GAO concluded that regulators still need to improve integrity efforts to ensure the federal government spends taxpayer funds wisely.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Among the report’s most noteworthy conclusions: A total of 17,000 federally subsidized insurance policies studied during the 2015 plan year—the most recent for which GAO had complete data at the time of its investigation—began or continued after the applicant’s reported date of death. In 1,000 of those cases, coverage began after the applicant’s reported date of death. In a further 2,000, the application was submitted after the applicant’s reported date of death—in most cases because the exchange automatically re-enrolled applicants without checking to determine that they remained alive.

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GAO previously recommended that the federal exchange verify eligibility periodically, checking changes in circumstances that would affect the status of federal subsidies, such as death. However, to the best of auditors’ knowledge, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not implemented this recommendation, one of 18 relating to exchange integrity that remain open (i.e., not completed) from two prior GAO reports. Read the rest of this entry »


Memo Controversy: Andrew C. McCarthy Is Asking The Right Questions

From Release the Memo: Let’s See What’s in It

Andrew C. McCarthy writes:

… First, the main questions that we need answered are:

  • Were associates of President Trump, members of his campaign, or even Trump himself, subjected to foreign-intelligence surveillance (i.e., do the FISA applications name them as either targets or persons whose communications and activities would likely be monitored)?
  • Was information from the Steele dossier used in FISA applications?
  • If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it so central that FISA warrants would not have been granted without it?
  • If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it corroborated by independent FBI investigation?
  • If the dossier’s information was so used, was the source accurately conveyed to the court so that credibility and potential bias could be weighed (i.e., was the court told that the information came from an opposition-research project sponsored by the Clinton presidential campaign)?
  • The FBI has said that significant efforts were made to corroborate Steele’s sensational claims, yet former director James Comey has acknowledged (in June 2017 Senate testimony) that the dossier was “unverified.” If the dossier was used in FISA applications in 2016, has the Justice Department — consistent with its continuing duty of candor in dealings with the tribunal — alerted the court that it did not succeed in verifying Steele’s hearsay reporting based on anonymous sources? Read the rest of this entry »

As Walls Close in on FBI, the Bureau Lashes Out at its Antagonists 

Sharyl Attkisson writes: What happens when federal agencies accused of possible wrongdoing — also control the alleged evidence against them? What happens when they’re the ones in charge of who inside their agencies — or connected to them — ultimately gets investigated and possibly charged?

Those questions are moving to the forefront as the facts play out in the investigations into our intelligence agencies’ surveillance activities.

There are two overarching issues.

First, there’s the alleged improper use of politically-funded opposition research to justify secret warrants to spy on U.S. citizens for political purposes.

Second, if corruption is ultimately identified at high levels in our intel agencies, it would necessitate a re-examination of every case and issue the officials touched over the past decade — or two — under administrations of both parties.

This is why I think the concerns transcend typical party politics.

It touches everybody. It’s potentially monumental.

This week, the FBI said it was unfair for the House Intelligence Committee not to provide its memo outlining alleged FBI abuses. The committee wrote the summary memo after reviewing classified government documents in the Trump-Russia probe.

The FBI’s complaint carries a note of irony considering that the agency has notoriously stonewalled Congress. Even when finally agreeing to provide requested documents, the Department of Justice uses the documents’ classified nature to severely restrict who can see them — even among members of Congress who possess the appropriate security clearance. Members who wish to view the documents must report to special locations during prescribed hours in the presence of Department of Justice minders who supervise them as they’re permitted to take handwritten notes only (you know, like the 1960s). Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OH YES HE DID: Teacher Strips Naked, Chases Students On Elementary School Playground, Panic Ensues

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A physical education teacher at Carthay Center Elementary School outraged parents and upset students when he stripped naked on campus Friday and proceeded to chase nearby second-graders and fifth-graders.

“An individual began behaving in an unusual way, prompting us to contact law enforcement. As a safety precaution, our school went on a brief lock-down while officers responded and took the individual into custody.”

“He was supposed to be helping them learn P.E., run around and have fun,” one parent told CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold. “But he undressed and started chasing the kids while he was naked, and then the kids ducked and dodged, ran into some of the classrooms and got safe haven that way.”

“All of the kids saw his private parts. Very embarrassing, very upset.”

A video taken by a construction worker passing by the scene captured the unidentified teacher putting his pants back on in the middle of the playground.

Parents were notified of the incident via robocall as well as a letter that was sent home with students. Read the rest of this entry »


Law Enforcement Enforces Law? Justice Department Continues Crackdown on ‘Sanctuary’ Cities

The Justice Department sent letters to 23 states, cities and counties, including California, Los Angeles and Chicago, demanding records showing whether law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal agents on the immigration status of people in their custody. (Jan. 24, 2018) 

 reports: Returning to a favorite cause for President Trump and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department on Wednesday escalated a struggle with two dozen so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, demanding records proving they are cooperating with immigration enforcement agencies.

The department sent letters to 23 states, cities and counties, including California, Los Angeles and Chicago, demanding records showing whether law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal agents on the immigration status of people in their custody.

If the local jurisdictions don’t comply, the department says it will issue subpoenas or possibly cut off certain federal grant funds.

A crackdown on sanctuary jurisdictions was one of the first measures ordered by Trump a year ago, and Sessions has repeatedly focused on the policies, which he says are a hazard to public safety. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Leftist Zombies Are Camping Outside Senator Chuck Schumer’s Home

Jazz Shaw reports: The fallout on the left from Senator Chuck Schumer’s astute deal-making abilities is continuing into day three. Ed Morrissey broke down the reaction from liberal media outlets yesterday, but a significant number of progressive activists weren’t satisfied with leaving the job to the press. They showed up last night outside the Senator’s Brooklyn apartments for the traditional airing of grievances and indicated that if he wasn’t going to take a stand for the Dreamers, they were going to make sure he didn’t get any sleep

… While all of this may seem amusing if you’re just looking for a reason to munch popcorn, the pressure on Schumer right now could spell trouble over the next couple of weeks. If he’s really feeling the heat, he’ll probably be more inclined to try to take a hard line on immigration reform negotiations just to prove to his base that he’s not going soft. Read the rest of this entry »


NYC Steakhouse Owner Torched by Twitter Haters Over Objection to Rising Minimum Wage Costs

Willie “Jack” Degel, long an outspoken critic of rising minimum wages and their effect on restaurants, talked himself into the firestorm when he inadvertently knocked both his customers and his employees during an interview on national TV.

“One could conclude that more restaurants are closing than opening.”

— James Famularo, senior director of Eastern Consolidated.

Degel, who owns Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and starred in Food Network’s reality television show “Restaurant Stakeout,” first put his foot in his mouth when he was asked about how the rising minimum wage affects his eateries.

Degel said he can’t just pass the added cost to his customers because they are “not educated” about the economics of running a restaurant.

Degel’s Twitter feed blew up with hate tweets.

The businessman also said it was harder to keep his employees today because wait staff, like those at other restaurants, have a “sense of entitlement.”

After the comments, made on “Fox & Friends,” Degel’s Twitter feed blew up with hate tweets.

“Omg! I would never patronize a place that thinks so little of its staff,” jacottrell tweeted. “Calling your staff entitled and prefer when they were servants? Good grief man!”

“This makes me sad,” tweeted sdusn06. “We go have brunch there at least once a month Guess We will find another place.”

While Degel clearly fumbled the interview, many restaurant owners are feeling the pain of rising minimum wages.

Many eateries are seeing their profits squeezed, or worse, as wages rise.

The amount of vacant food service space in Manhattan has never been higher, according to real estate experts. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI Director Chris Wray Replaces James Rybicki, Comey-era Chief of Staff 

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Republicans have long questioned FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s ties to the Democratic Party, considering his wife ran as a Democrat for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015.  (AP)

Alex Pappas reports: FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that his chief of staff, James Rybicki, was leaving the bureau, a development that follows President Trump taking aim at other senior FBI officials who worked under the former director, James Comey.

Rybicki, who served in the same position under Comey and continued his role under Wray, came under scrutiny from Republicans in recent months over his role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

But federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that Rybicki was not fired. His departure, they said, has “been in the works for a while.”

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“Jim Rybicki notified me last month that he will be leaving the FBI to accept an opportunity in the corporate sector,” Wray said in a statement. “While this is an exciting move for the whole Rybicki family, Jim will be dearly missed by the FBI family — and by me personally.”

According to his FBI biography, Rybicki began his career at the Department of Justice in 2001 and has worked at the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the National Security Division.

FILE - In this June 8, 2017 file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Internal employee surveys show that fired Comey was highly respected and trusted within the bureau during his nearly four-year tenure. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The former FBI director James Comey. James Rybicki was Comey’s chief of staff, continuing in the role under Wray.  (Associated Press)

“His many years of dedication to the bureau and DOJ, his level-headed judgment and earnest professionalism, and his steady good cheer have been an asset to us all and have contributed greatly to the safety and security of our nation,” the FBI director said.

Wray said he has tapped attorney Zachary Harmon to replace Rybicki.

“Fortunately, I am pleased that Zachary Harmon has agreed to return to government service as our next chief of staff,” Wray said, mentioning how he has “worked closely together” with Harmon in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Page and Strzok Referenced ‘Secret Society’ that Met Day After Election

Dr.-Evil-tinted

debra-heine.sized-50x50xfDebra Heine reports: There is serious talk on Capitol Hill about the appointment of a second special counsel amid several new bombshell revelations swirling around the Trump/Russia probe. First, there are the allegations of shocking and substantial government surveillance abuses under President Obama outlined in the FISA abuse memo. Secondly, the FBI lost five months of key text messages between the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton FBI officials Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page. And now there’s talk of a “secret society” of officials within the FBI that apparently met the day after the election of Donald J. Trump to plot against the president-elect.

Former FBI officials Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Image via YouTube.

Former FBI officials Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Image via YouTube.

[New Strzok/Page Texts Suggest Lynch Knew About Clinton Exoneration Well Before Comey Announcement]

Secondly, the FBI lost five months of key text messages between the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton FBI officials Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page. And now there’s talk of a “secret society” of officials within the FBI that apparently met the day after the election of Donald J. Trump to plot against the president-elect.

Top Republicans now believe there may be real grounds for a second special counsel, Fox News reported Monday evening. Read the rest of this entry »


St. Clement’s Catholic Primary School Worker in Trouble Over Her ‘Designer Vagina’ 


Police Union Slashes Number of ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Cards Issued 

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.

The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets, the theory being that presenting one suggests you know someone in the NYPD.

The rank and file is livid. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Mocked Trump’s Political Ambitions. Trump Spent His First Year Dismantling Obama’s Legacy

As president, Barack Obama repeatedly mocked Donald Trump’s political ambitions, laughing at the idea of Trump ever winning the presidency.

Peter Hasson writes: Obama mocked Trump in 2011 for calling into question whether he was born in America. The state of Hawaii later released Obama’s longform birth certificate to put the matter to rest. Obama viciously mocked Trump for the controversy, before mocking the idea of Trump ever serving in the White House.

From the White House transcript of the event:

Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald.  (Laughter.)  And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter –- like, did we fake the moon landing?  (Laughter.)  What really happened in Roswell?  (Laughter.)  And where are Biggie and Tupac?  (Laughter and applause.)

But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience.  (Laughter.)  For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice — (laughter) — at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team cooking did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks.  And there was a lot of blame to go around.  But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership.  And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf.  (Laughter.)  You fired Gary Busey.  (Laughter.)  And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.  (Laughter and applause.)  Well handled, sir.  (Laughter.)  Well handled.

Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House.  Let’s see what we’ve got up there.  (Laughter.)

(Screens show “Trump White House Resort and Casino.”)

WATCH:

A month before the 2016 election, Obama mocked Trump’s campaign on “Jimmy Kimmel.” Obama read a tweet from Trump saying that Obama “will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States,” before turning Trump into a punchline. “Really? Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president,” Obama said, dropping his phone on the floor for dramatic effect.

A year into the Trump presidency, Obama’s legacy is taking a beating.

Trump has overseen the dismantling of several of Obamacare’s most controversial aspects. The tax cuts package Trump signed last month included a provision repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate. Trump also rolled back the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, which forced religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide birth control for all employees, regardless of conscientious objections. Read the rest of this entry »


Please Don‘t Shut Down The Government, Democrats, Because That Would Be Awful (Not) 

What a tragedy it would be if Democrats made good on their threat and decided DACA was so important that they must shut down the federal government over it.

Kurt Schlichter writes: What a tragedy it would be if Democrats made good on their threat and decided DACA was so important that they must shut down the federal government over it. Please don’t! Why, I’d be heartbroken if the government did less and a bunch of foreigners didn’t get rewarded for ignoring our laws. I think this is just the right hill for the Democrats to choose to fight to the death on, and I encourage them to do so. Throw us right in that briar patch, because you are smart and savvy and there’s no way a big dummy like Trump could beat you and make you look like fools.

Again.

You remember DACA? It’s an acronym that stands for “That Thing Democrats Want To Use To Fill The Voter Rolls With Foreigners And GOP Donors Want To Use To Get More Serfs To Work For Peanuts While Actual Americans Get Shafted And Called ‘Racist’ If They Dare Complain.” The Democrats desperately want DACA because you Normal people have let them down and voted for your own interests rather than in the way Nancy Pelosi instructed you. Bad, bad electorate! You definitely need to be replaced.

[Read the full story here, at TownHall]

The GOP wants it because its big money donors want it because you actual Americans demand to be treated with respect by your employers and, well, paying Americans what they’re worth is bad for business. And the Senate GOP Sissy Caucus of sanctimonious twits wants it because it gives them a chance to pose and preen and pretend to have the moral high ground over those wicked evil bad bad bad Republicans who want to do what actual Republican voters want done instead of being guided by the eccentric moral compass that Jeff Flake keeps inside himself right next to his head.

The “Schumerhole” controversy arose because Donald Trump indicated that giving Big Amnesty everything it wanted, and in return allowing him to totally alienate his base, was a bad deal. Read the rest of this entry »


NSA Deleted Surveillance Data it Pledged to Preserve 

The agency tells a federal judge that it is investigating and ‘sincerely regrets its failure.’

The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.

Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms. President Donald Trump signed that measure into law Friday.

Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.

However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

“The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data,” NSA’s deputy director of capabilities, identified publicly as “Elizabeth B.,” wrote in a declaration filed in October. “NSA senior management is fully aware of this failure, and the Agency is committed to taking swift action to respond to the loss of this data.”

In the update Thursday, another NSA official said the data were deleted during a broad, housecleaning effort aimed at making space for incoming information. Read the rest of this entry »


How Democracies Panic 

We are living in an era of political panic.

Yuval Levin writes: Some of President Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters in 2016 were motivated to overlook his shortcomings by desperate fear that our system of government was near death and only the most extreme measures could save it. A poll conducted by PRRI and the Atlantic immediately after the election found that more than 60 percent of Trump’s voters believed the 2016 election was “the last chance to stop America’s decline.” As one pro-Trump essayist famously put it, things had gotten so bad that it was time either to “charge the cockpit or you die.”

” … Levitsky and Ziblatt essentially ignore core conservative complaints about the ways in which the left has undermined our constitutional norms and institutions. The progressive celebration of executive unilateralism, of the administrative state, and of a politicized judicial branch are left unmentioned. But even though they do not amount to autocracy, of course, these long-term trends are surely threats to American democracy and of at least the magnitude of President Trump’s tweets.

And yet to say so, Levitsky and Ziblatt suggest, would itself amount to an attack on our institutions. Without a hint of irony, they note that one of the ways the Tea Party movement undermined political norms was that it lodged the accusation “that President Obama posed a threat to our democracy.” Later they say, regarding Republican critiques of Obama, that “such extremism encourages politicians to abandon forbearance. If Barack Obama is ‘a threat to the rule of law,’ as Senator Ted Cruz claimed, then it made sense to block his judicial appointments by any means necessary.” Presumably this means that if you write an entire book arguing that Donald Trump threatens to bring the death of democracy, you are similarly justifying resistance to his administration by any means necessary.

Read the rest of this entry »


New York Times Crowdsources the Case for Trump, Embarrasses Pundit Class 

Letter writers on the paper’s editorial page make critical concessions that you don’t often hear on television.

Erik Wemple reports: There is a monotony to telling the truth about President Trump. He is as unfit for office today as he was in June 2015, in November 2016 and on Jan. 20, 2017. He has failed to school himself on the issues before him. He is incorrigible and a spewer of lies and falsehoods.

The New York Times editorial page has taken a short break from its self-assigned beat of telling these truths. It has forked over its Thursday editorial-page space to the arguments of Trump supporters across the country. “In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him as the first year of his presidency approaches its close,” noted an italicized message at the top of the presentation.

Any decision taken by the New York Times vis-à-vis Trump is guaranteed to land smack-dab in the middle of a great American fissure. And there’s been some criticism of the decision.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

Yet there’s a visionary aspect to the exercise, an aspect that only a committed cable-news watcher can appreciate. Big-time Trump supporters have failed over and over again at their jobs. Think back to Jeffrey Lord, the former pro-Trump CNN pundit who unspooled implausible historical “parallels” to excuse the Trump outrage of the day. Or think back to Kayleigh McEnany, the former pro-Trump CNN pundit who made even less sense fighting for Trump. (She’s now at the Republican National Committee.) Or think back to former White House aides — Sebastian Gorka and Sean Spicer, for example — who are no longer inelegantly spinning for the president from the White House grounds. Read the rest of this entry »


James Clapper’s Perjury, and Why DC Made Men Don’t Get Charged for Lying to Congress

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty

In DC, perjury is not simply tolerated, it is rewarded. In a city of made men and women, nothing says loyalty quite as much as lying under oath.

Jonathan Turley writes: Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper is about celebrate one of the most important anniversaries of his life. March 13th will be the fifth anniversary of his commission of open perjury before the Senate Intelligence Committee. More importantly, it also happens to be when the statute of limitations runs out — closing any possibility of prosecution for Clapper. As the clock runs out on the Clapper prosecution, Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have charged that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury when she insisted that she could not recall if President Donald Trump called Haiti and African countries a vulgar term. The fact is that perjury is not simply tolerated, it is rewarded, in Washington. In a city of made men and women, nothing says loyalty quite as much as lying under oath.

Even in a city with a notoriously fluid notion of truth, Clapper’s false testimony was a standout. Clapper appeared before the Senate to discuss surveillance programs in the midst of a controversy over warrantless surveillance of the American public. He was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?” There was no ambiguity or confusion and Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” That was a lie and Clapper knew it when he said it.

Later, Clapper said that his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make. That would still make it a lie of course but Clapper is a made guy. While feigned shock and disgust, most Democratic leaders notably did not call for his prosecution. Soon Clapper was back testifying and former president Obama even put Clapper on a federal panel to review the very programs that he lied about in Congress. Clapper is now regularly appearing on cable shows which, for example, used Clapper’s word as proof that Trump was lying in saying that there was surveillance of Trump Tower carried out by President Barack Obama. CNN and other networks used Clapper’s assurance without ever mentioning that he previously lied about surveillance programs.

The expiration of the statute of limitations for Clapper will have the benefit of conclusively establishing that some people in this city are above the law. In a 2007 study, author P.J. Meitl found that “[a]lmost no one is prosecuted for lying to Congress.” Indeed, he found only six people convicted of perjury or related charges in relation to Congress, going back to the 1940s.

The problem is not that the perjury statute is never enforced. Rather it is enforced against people without allies in government. Thus, Roger Clemens was prosecuted for untrue statements before Congress. He was not given the option of giving the “least untruthful” answer. Read the rest of this entry »


‘OH, CRAP!’: New York Post Cover for January 13, 2018


OH YES THEY DID: Top U.S. Government Computers Linked to Revenge-Porn Site

Users connecting from Senate, Navy, and Executive Branch computers bragged about ‘wins,’ or nonconsensual nude photos, posted on Anon-IB, a revenge-porn epicenter.

Joseph Cox reports: Revenge porn, where people share intimate images of others in order to intimidate, harass, or embarrass, is rampant. Now, data obtained by a security analyst and shared with The Daily Beast reveals the behind-the-scenes of the epicenter of revenge porn: a notorious image board called Anon-IB, where users constantly upload non-consensual imagery, comment on it, and trade nudes like baseball cards.

The data shows Anon-IB users connecting from U.S. Senate, Navy, and other government computers, including the Executive Office of the President, even as senators push for a bill that would further combat the practice, and after the military’s own recent revenge-porn crisis.

“Wow tig ol bitties. You have any nudes to share?” someone wrote in November, underneath a photo of a woman who apparently works in D.C., while connecting from an IP address registered to the U.S. Senate.

Anon-IB is a free-to-use message board where users post images, typically of women, and which is split into various genre or location sections. Some parts are focused on countries, while U.S. sections may narrow down to a state. Many users pursue so-called wins, which are nude or explicit photos, and may egg each other on to share more images. Anon-IB was also intertwined with a 2014 breach of celebrity nudes referred to as The Fappening.

“Looking for wins of [redacted]. She used to send nudes to my friend all of the time. Would love to see some more,” someone connecting from the U.S. Senate IP address wrote last August.

Whoever is connecting from the Senate appears to have a particular focus on Anon-IB’s so-called Xray section, where users post photos so others can alter the image to make the women appear naked or wearing more revealing clothes, with several Xray posts linked to the Senate. Other posts asked for help from other Anon-IB members editing a photo in this way, including one of a girl the poster says they went to college with. In another message, someone connecting from the Senate shared an image of a model, and identified where they allegedly went to college, likely in the hope that others could dig up more images of the woman. Read the rest of this entry »


‘There Are More Than Two Genders,’ Tortured Employee Forced To Say In Darkened Room At Google Headquarters

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—In a darkened room labeled “101” deep within Google’s Mountain View headquarters, an outed conservative employee was forced to say there are more than two genders after a long period of torture.

The man was tortured for hours, arguing the objective reality of two genders, being told he was “mentally deranged” and suffering from “a defective worldview” before finally giving in.

“Do you remember writing in an email that there are only two genders?” he was asked while strapped to a table. “What if Google says there are three?”

“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two genders are two genders!” the man cried through tears as his torturer, a Google project lead, held up a picture of a man and a woman, according to surveillance footage.

“Sometimes. Sometimes there are two. Sometimes there are three. Sometimes there are any number of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane,” the project lead replied coldly before administering another round of electric shocks into the man’s brains. Read the rest of this entry »