Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Loyalty, not legality, is what earned career advancement

At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson asks,
How could Lynch in the middle of an election have been so silly as to allow even the appearance of impropriety? Answer: There would have been no impropriety had Hillary won — an assumption reflected in the Page-Strzok text trove when Page texted, about Lynch, “She knows no charges will be brought.” In fact, after a Clinton victory, Lynch’s obsequiousness in devising such a clandestine meeting with Bill Clinton may well have been rewarded: Clinton allies leaked to the New York Times that Clinton was considering keeping Lynch on as the attorney general.

How could former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe assume an oversight role in the FBI probe of the Clinton email scandal when just months earlier his spouse had run for state office in Virginia and had received a huge $450,000 cash donation from Common Good VA, the political-action committee of long-time Clinton-intimate Terry McAuliffe?

Again, the answer was clear. McCabe assumed that Clinton would easily win the election. Far from being a scandal, McCabe’s not “loaded for bear” oversight of the investigation, in the world of beltway maneuvering, would have been a good argument for a promotion in the new Clinton administration. Most elite bureaucrats understood the Clinton way of doing business, in which loyalty, not legality, is what earned career advancement

...Hillary Clinton’s sure victory certainly also explains the likely warping of the FISA courts by FBI careerists seeking to use a suspect dossier to surveille Trump associates — and the apparent requests by Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and others to read surveilled transcripts of Trump associates, unmask names, and leak them to pet reporters. Again, all these insiders were playing the careerist odds. What we view as reprehensible behavior, they at the time considered wise investments that would earn rewards with an ascendant President Hillary Clinton.

Did Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, or Debbie Wasserman Shultz worry about their fabrications, unethical behavior, and various conspiratorial efforts to ensure that Hillary Clinton would be exempt from criminal liability in her email shenanigans, and that she would win the Democratic nomination and general election? Not when their equally unethical and conspiratorial boss would appreciate her subordinate soul mates. For a deep-state careerist without ethical bearings, one of the advantages of a Clinton sure-thing presidency would be that the Clintons are known to reward loyalty more highly than morality.

Then we arrive at the tragic farce of former FBI director James Comey. It is now easy to deplore Comey’s unethical and unprofessional behavior: In all likelihood, he wrote an exoneration of Hillary Clinton before he even interviewed her and her top aides; then he lied about just that sequence while he was under oath and virtue-signaling before Congress; he feigned concern about Clinton’s felonious behavior but used linguistic gymnastics in his report to ensure his condemnation would be merely rhetorical and without legal consequences.

Had Hillary won, as she was supposed to, Comey would probably have been mildly chastised for his herky-jerky press conferences, but ultimately praised for making sure the email scandal didn’t derail her. Comey’s later implosion, recall, occurred only after the improbable election of Donald Trump, as he desperately reversed course a fourth time and tried to ingratiate himself with Trump while hedging his bets by winking and nodding at the ongoing, unraveling fantasy of the Steele dossier.

And Barack Obama? We now know that he himself used an alias to communicate at least 20 times with Hillary on her private, non-secure gmail account. But Obama lied on national TV, saying he learned of Hillary’s illegal server only when the rest of the nation did, by reading the news. Would he have dared to lie so publicly if he’d assumed that Trump’s presidency was imminent? Would he ever have allowed his subordinates to use the dossier to obtain FISA warrants and pass around and unmask the resulting surveillance transcripts if he’d seen Trump as the likely winner and a potentially angered president with powers to reinvestigate all these illegal acts?

We sometimes forget that Barack Obama, not candidate Hillary Clinton, was president when the FBI conducted the lax investigation of the email scandal, when Loretta Lynch outsourced her prosecutorial prerogatives to James Comey, when the FBI trafficked with the Clinton-funded Fusion GPS dossier, when various DOJ and FBI lawyers requested FISA-approved surveillance largely on the basis of a fraudulent document, and when administration officials unmasked and leaked the names of American citizens.

Had Hillary Clinton polled ten points behind Donald Trump in early 2016, we’d have none of these scandals — not because those involved were moral actors (none were), but because Hillary would have been considered yesterday’s damaged goods and not worth any extra-legal exposure taken on her behalf. Similarly, if the clear front-runner Hillary Clinton had won the election, we’d now have no scandals. Again, the reason is not that she and her careerist enablers did not engage in scandalous behavior, but that such foul play would have been recalibrated as rewardable fealty and absorbed into the folds of the progressive deep state.

...In reductionist terms, every single scandal that has so far surfaced at the FBI and DOJ share a common catalyst. What now appears clearly unethical and probably illegal would have passed as normal in a likely 16-year Obama-Clinton progressive continuum.

A final paradox: Why did so many federal officials and officeholders act so unethically and likely illegally when they were convinced of a Clinton landslide?

Why the overkill?

The answer to that paradox lies in human nature and can be explored through the hubris and nemesis of Greek tragedy — or the 1972 petty burgling of a Watergate complex apartment when Richard Nixon really was on his way to a landslide victory.

Needlessly weaponizing the Obama FBI and the DOJ was akin to Hillary Clinton’s insanely campaigning in the last days of the 2016 campaign in red-state Arizona, the supposed “cherry atop a pleasing electoral map.”

In short, such hubris was not just what Peter Strzok in August 2016 termed an “insurance policy” against an unlikely Trump victory. Instead, the Clinton and Obama officials believed that it was within the administrative state’s grasp and their perceived political interest not just to beat but to destroy and humiliate Donald Trump — and by extension all the distasteful deplorables and irredeemables he supposedly had galvanized.
Read more here.

Fix yourself!

Do you agree with Professor Peterson that the first place to look when trying to fix things is yourself? I do agree with him.

"Politics is like the weather. It won't last, so enjoy this moment!"

Andrew Klavan believes Donald Trump has a genius for politics. I certainly agree. Trump knows that the State of the Union allows him to speak directly to the people of America without the media distorting the message.

One of Andrew's favorite moments last night came when Rep. Luis Guitierrez turned tail and rushed out of the gathering when people began chanting "USA, USA."

Is it true that Kennedy was standing in front of Teddy's car when he gave his rebuttal speech last night telling us how un-great America is?

The media doesn't feel it is reporting the news. They believe their job is to tell you how to think. The problem is, Trump knows how to communicate!

North Korea tortured the young man who appeared as Trump's guest. They found out he had gone to China, and asked him if he had met Christians there. Trump said he had, and he resolved to be free. I agree with Andrew that was the highlight of the night when he raised his crutches high in defiance and victory.

The Five analyze the State of the Union speech

Will someone please explain to me why Juan Williams is employed by Fox News? He would be the farthest Left of any commentator on the farthest Left media organ!

I did not know that America is planning to evacuate Americans from South Korea. Did you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Poor Jimmy Kimmel

New statement from former porn star Stormy Daniels released today just prior to her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. Ryan Saavedra reports at The Daily Wire,
"Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago," Daniels said in a statement.

“The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence in 2006, 2011, 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018," she continued. "I am not denying the affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened."
More here.

And how about this hero from North Korea (now South Korea)?


Dropkicking the NFL

This is the boy who was honored by President Trump for decorating veterans' graves with American flags.

Did Mike Pence really put glue on all the Democrats' seats?

At The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro admired Trump's unity politics, which forced the Democrats to be the disunity party as they stayed glued to their seats.

Andrew Klavan liked the way Trump looks to us to solve our problems. That is the American way.

Ben criticized the length of the speech: one hour and twenty minutes.

Michael Knowles noted that the Democrats sat down for low unemployment, low black unemployment, the flag, welders, paid maternity leave, infrastructure, solving the illegal immigration problem.

Jeremy Boreing is the "godking" of the Daily Wire, and I found him to be sharp.
Now they are sticking around for the 17 rebuttal speeches here.

Livestream plus witty comments

Knowles, Klavan and Shapiro join the founder of The Daily Wire in presenting a livestream of the State of the Union address.

The Democrat platform: high taxes, censorship and killing babies

Andrew tells us that the conspiracy theory concept was invented by the CIA in 1967 as a way of discrediting people who suspected the CIA was involved in conspiracies. This information comes from Sharyl Attkisson's book Smear. They invented it for the smear artists. The public was then brainwashed to dismiss out of hand those labeled as conspiracy theorists.

I remember when I lived in Texas in the early 1960s the John Birch Society were considered conspiracy nuts for, among other things, plastering the state with billboards urging the US to get out of the UN!

Is anyone writing about what the Democrats did in the Senate yesterday? A bill was submitted to forbid women from aborting babies who are 20 weeks or older. Three Democrats voted for it, Senators Casey, Manchin and Donnelly. The rest voted against it and killed the bill. Two Republicans voted against it: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Andrew says Democrats stand for high taxes, censorship and killing babies.

The Nunes memo. Whom do you trust, the people who want full disclosure or the people, including the press, who want to keep the information secret?

What is your platform?

Has the Muslim Brotherhood been brought to heel?

Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse believes the Muslim Brotherhood has been brought to heel. Read more here.

The prior administration weaponized the executive branch against its political enemies.

Sundance writes at The Conservative Treehouse,
The prior administration weaponized the executive branch against its political enemies. Repeat: The prior administration weaponized the executive branch against its political enemies. U.S. citizens, Americans, were targeted by corrupt officials within the Justice Department for political purposes. Never lose this critical reference point and context.

An enabler of men who prey on women

If you turn a blind eye to one predator for forty years, it becomes very easy to turn a blind eye to all other predators! It's a power thing, a class thing, and a problem for the Democrat party.

How Leftists use their power to censor opposing viewpoints

This makes me sick. Pam Geller writes at American Thinker,
Just this week, Facebook launched its latest of many attacks on my news site, the Geller Report. It labeled my site as "spam" and removed every Geller Report post -- thousands upon thousands of them, going back years – from Facebook. It also blocked any Facebook member from sharing links to the Geller Report. The ramping up of the shutting-down of sites like mine is neither random nor personal. The timing is telling. The left is gearing up for the 2018 midterm elections, and they mean to shut down whatever outlet or voice that helped elect President Trump, the greatest upset in left-wing history.

In fighting this shutdown, we had to go back to the drawing board in our lawsuit against these social media giants. The basis of our suit was challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment, which provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

...Both companies routinely censor and spy on their customers, “massaging everything from the daily news to what we should buy.” In the last century, the telephone was our “computer,” and Ma Bell was how we communicated. That said, would the American people (or the government) have tolerated AT&T spying on our phone calls and then pulling our communication privileges if we expressed dissenting opinions? That is exactly what we are suffering today.

Sean Moran reports at Breitbart,
AT&T called for an “Internet Bill of Rights” and argued that Facebook and Google should also be subjected to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on their platforms.
AT&T, one of the largest telecommunications companies, called for Congress to enact an “Internet Bill of Rights” which would subject Facebook, Google, and other content providers to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or AT&T as well as content providers such as Facebook and Google.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson wrote, “Congressional action is needed to establish an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.”

Stephenson posted the ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other national news outlets on Wednesday.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order which prohibited ISPs from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against content. Proponents of net neutrality argue that America needs the regulation to prevent ISPs such as Comcast or AT&T from unfairly blocking or censoring the Internet, however, the FCC and Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari argued that under net neutrality, content providers such as Facebook and Google have censored the Internet, stifled conservative and alternative voices, and serve as a greater threat to free speech compared to ISPs.

In one speech in 2017, Pai specially called out the censorship of Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) pro-life ad, which was blocked by Twitter for “inflammatory speech.”

The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which repealed net neutrality, also required that ISPs disclose their practices on blocking, throttling, and content discrimination.

Congresswoman Blackburn introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act, which would enshrine the principles of a free and open Internet after the FCC repealed the net neutrality rules.

Rep. Blackburn also suggested in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that Congress should discuss the idea of requiring content providers such as Facebook and Google to similar transparency requirements about their blocking and censorship practices.

Blackburn asked, “They can block a campaign video and they can block Chairman Pai, but they will not block sex traffickers?”

“These companies want to control what you think, what you read, prioritization – look at how Google prioritizes search,” Blackburn charged.

Back to Pam Geller:
We must get behind this -- all of us -- and fast. Because what is happening is being engineered at the government level. A chief officer from a major American communications company went to the terror state of Pakistan to assure the Pakistani government that Facebook would adhere to the sharia.

Why the block? Because under Islamic law, you cannot criticize Islam. Facebook adhering to the most extreme and brutal ideology on the face of the earth should trouble all of us, because Mark Zuckerberg has immense power. He controls the flow of information.
Read more here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

"It's all part of the adventure!"

Flares into Darkness is a blog that can be counted on always to have something unique. That is where I found this YouTube video.

Have you ever wondered what life is like in Mongolia? Mongolia is a country that borders on both Russia and China. Our two tour guides speak perfect English as they take us on a walk. Enjoy!



Imagine

Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse thinks President Trump should create a parallel intelligence system to counteract the infected (by Obama) intelligence systems in place when he was elected president.
...Did you think two years ago that FBI officials would actually be spying on political opposition? Did you fathom a year ago that the FBI, actual agents inside the FBI, might have been intentionally conspiring to help Hillary Clinton escape legal jeopardy?

Did you know the FBI were withholding evidence, lying to courts, using burner phones to communicate; hiring contract agents and giving them access to NSA and FBI counterintelligence databases to conduct domestic political spying operations?

Could you fathom the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI purchasing opposition research from Hillary Clinton, pitching it to FISA Courts as evidence; and working with their allies in the media by leaking information to place intentionally false material within their stories?

Were you previously ever able to imagine people within the Justice Department making demands of congressional oversight to see evidence of their own corruption in advance of accountability? …and the media making out congress as the bad-guy in that dynamic?

No? Don’t feel bad. Me neither.

...So my entire set of “reasonable assumptions” is considerably different now and I don’t dismiss possibilities that actually have a basis-in-fact that might explain what has taken place as the other side of the intelligence apparatus fights back against this jaw-dropping intelligence corruption.
Read more here.

Now that the Justice Department has had an opportunity to preview the Nunes memo content, we begin seeing leaks about it in the New York Times.

Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse gives us an understanding about leaks coming from the FBI or DOJ to the New York times.
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.
Read more here.

Did Senator Grassley call the FBI's bluff?

At The Conservative Treehouse, Sundance has a different take on the actions of Senator Grassley.
It is important to understand what Chairman Chuck Grassley has done with the criminal referral and how he is calling out the FBI. Taken at it’s face value, which is what the tweet does, it seems that Christopher Steele lied to the FBI by saying the “dossier” information was not shared with media, therefore the dossier was not opposition campaign research.

The intent of this FBI claim (to the FISA court) is to give the “dossier” enhanced value as source material for a FISA warrant (request for surveillance authority). However, the underlying facts behind the FBI assertion are false; and it’s not Steele making the claim.

The FBI is the entity attempting to inflate the credibility of the application by claiming Steele never shopped the dossier, ergo it is not political opposition research. There is ZERO evidence Steele made any such claim to the FBI. There is ample evidence from the senate testimony of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) to the contrary.

Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS heavily shopped the ‘dossier’ to the media. A big part of that shopping was putting people in contact with Christopher Steele to discuss the underlying content. The same approach was taken to distribute the material to Senator John McCain, who sent his intermediary, David Kramer, to meet with Steele, get briefed, and then pick up a copy from Glenn Simpson.

It is the FBI who lied to the FISA Court in the application. It is the FBI who are claiming in their FISA application the dossier was not ‘shopped’. It is the FBI attempting to enhance the dossier credibility by making statements/claims about what Chris Steele presented to them. It is NOT Christopher Steele making these claims. Christopher Steele knew the ‘dossier’ was being presented to media. Christopher Steele briefed media.

Now can you see the play by Chuck Grassley?

Setting aside factual dossier authorship for a moment [as we all know Hillary Clinton and Fusion GPS, via Nellie Ohr, were the scriptwriters of the dossier content]…. Chairman Chuck Grassley knew the motive to enhance the credibility of the ‘dossier’ was within the FBI, not Christopher Steele. So when the FBI presents the ‘dossier’ to the FISA Court and swears and affirms the story behind it, it is the FBI lying about the underlying source documents.

THAT is why Chuck Grassley took the position to say: OK, well, if the presentation of the dossier, to the FISA court, was as the FBI claims (ie. Steele made promises etc.), then the FBI needs to prosecute Christopher Steele for lying to them about it.

Chuck Grassley knows it’s not Steele lying to the FBI about the dossier origination and back-story, it’s actually the FBI lying to the FISA court. That’s why Grassley called the FBI’s bluff.

Now does this earlier outline make more sense?

Why did Senator Grassley make a criminal referral of Steele?

Paul Sperry tweets:

Coordinating their investigations

At The Conservative Treehouse, Sundance explains,
Batting Order: Chairman Nunes (aggregate IC focus) got a lead of single by strategically presenting the classified documents in a 4-pg summary form. Next up came Chairman Chuck Grassley (FBI focus). As Grassley questioned the FBI, Nunes stole second with release of the House Intel memo. Grassley remains at the plate comfortably ahead in the count; while Chairman Goodlatte (Justice oversight) is on on deck circle sending signals:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the statement below regarding reports indicating that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will step down from his position. Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte today sent a letter urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to preserve Mr. McCabe’s emails, and all other communications, before his official departure from the agency:
Go here to read Chairman Goodlatte's letter to the FBI Director.

An imaginary catastrophe!

For the Left, this last year has been an absolute imaginary catastrophe!

Christopher Wray read the FISA memo yesterday, and today Andrew McCabe is gone!

How are we going to come together globally? One way is money. Another way is imperialism. The spread of the freeest culture can be a good thing. A third way is ideas. Bad ideas can be incredibly persistent, even when good ideas succeed.

Donald Trump does not hide the fact that his priority is to Make America Great Again. In his Davos speech he urges leaders of other countries to have a priority of making their own countries great. He believes in competition. Tension and free expression and individuality!

Despicable George Soros looks upon Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un as the same guy! He expects (hopes for and funds) "a Democratic landslide in 2018."

The Left promotes unity, conformity, silence.

Tomorrow night is Donald Trump's first State of the Union address. The Daily Wire will cover it.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Miss Saudi Arabia

Mark Steyn brings us news of a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia.


There she is, Miss Saudi Arabia:

Beauty season is in full swing and 30,000 camels have gathered for the second annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, the largest pageant in the Gulf.

Yes, indeed. One of the benefits of keeping all your womenfolk in head-to-toe body bags is that it frees up all the botox for your camel:

Twelve camels have been disqualified from Saudi Arabia's annual camel beauty contest after receiving botulinum toxin injections to make their pouts look more alluring.

On a much more serious note, Mark brings us the story of an English lad here.

Can the web be saved?

Do you know this man?

His name is Tim Berners Lee. What has he done? Only invented the web! He writes a piece at The Guardian explaining some concerns he has about the future of the World Wide Web.
... I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity.

1) We’ve lost control of our personal data

...Through collaboration with – or coercion of – companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused – bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, such as sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.

2) It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.

3) Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

Political advertising online has rapidly become a sophisticated industry. The fact that most people get their information from just a few platforms and the increasing sophistication of algorithms drawing upon rich pools of personal data mean that political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users. One source suggests that in the 2016 US election, as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook, a near-impossible situation to monitor. And there are suggestions that some political adverts – in the US and around the world – are being used in unethical ways – to point voters to fake news sites, for instance, or to keep others away from the polls. Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?
Read more here.

Is the World Wide Web dying?

Andre Staltz writes,
Before the year 2014, there were many people using Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Today, there are still many people using services from those three tech giants (respectively, GOOG, FB, AMZN). Not much has changed, and quite literally the user interface and features on those sites has remained mostly untouched. However, the underlying dynamics of power on the Web have drastically changed, and those three companies are at the center of a fundamental transformation of the Web.

What has changed over the last 4 years is market share of traffic on the Web. It looks like nothing has changed, but GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic. Mobile internet traffic is now the majority of traffic worldwide and in Latin America alone, GOOG and FB services have had 60% of mobile traffic in 2015, growing to 70% by the end of 2016. The remaining 30% of traffic is shared among all other mobile apps and websites. Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.

Another demonstration of GOOG and FB dominance can be seen among media websites. The most popular web properties that don’t belong to GOOG nor FB are usually from the press. For instance, in the USA there are 6 media sites in the top 10 websites; in Brazil there are 6 media sites in the top 10; in UK it is 5 out 10.

From where do media sites get their traffic? Prior to 2014, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was a common practice among Web Developers to improve their site for Google searches, since it accounted for approximately 35% of traffic, while more than 50% of traffic came from various other places on the Web. SEO was important, while Facebook presence was nice-to-have. Over the next 3 years, traffic from Facebook grew to be approximately 45%, surpassing the status that Search traffic had. In 2017, the Media depends on both Google and Facebook for page views, since it’s the majority of their traffic.

...During 2014, FB apparently reorganized itself to focus on social only. In February, it bought WhatsApp, for 11 times the price GOOG bought YouTube. In December, it canceled its Bing partnership with MSFT. User retention on Facebook.com grew steadily (see chart below). Through its four simple products, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, FB had become the social superpower.

Similarly, GOOG in 2014 started reorganizing itself to focus on artificial intelligence only. In January 2014, GOOG bought DeepMind, and in September they shutdown Orkut (one of their few social products which had momentary success in some countries) forever. The Alphabet Inc restructuring was announced in August 2015 but it likely took many months of meetings and bureaucracy. The restructuring was important to focus the web-oriented departments at GOOG towards a simple mission. GOOG sees no future in the simple Search market, and announces to be migrating “From Search to Suggest” (in Eric Schmidt’s own words) and being an “AI first company” (in Sundar Pichai’s own words). GOOG is currently slightly behind FB in terms of how fast it is growing its dominance of the web, but due to their technical expertise, vast budget, influence and vision, in the long run its AI assets will play a massive role on the internet. They know what they are doing.

These are no longer the same companies as 4 years ago. GOOG is not anymore an internet company, it’s the knowledge internet company. FB is not an internet company, it’s the social internet company. They used to attempt to compete, and this competition kept the internet market diverse. Today, however, they seem mostly satisfied with their orthogonal dominance of parts of the Web, and we are losing diversity of choices. Which leads us to another part of the internet: e-commerce and AMZN.

AMZN does not focus on making profit.



Instead, its mission is to seek market leadership, crushing competitors in the USA.


Isn’t GOOG trying to guarantee the open Web stays alive? Not necessarily. GOOG’s goal is to gather as much rich data as possible, and build AI. Their mission is to have an AI provide timely and personalized information to us, not specifically to have websites provide information. Any GOOG concerted efforts are aligned to the AI mission.

GOOG is a huge company where employees have autonomy and multiple projects and efforts are occurring. Big efforts, though, are coherent, concerted, and well aligned with its mission: to be an AI-first company, an AI that is closed and lives in their cloud.

...Similarly, while AMZN’s business still relies on traffic to their desktop web portal (accounting for 33% of sales), a large portion (25%) of their sales happen through mobile apps, not to mention Amazon Echo. Like Google Home, Amazon Echo bypasses the Web and uses the internet just for communication between cloud and end user. In these new non-web contexts, tech giants have more authority over data traffic. They can even directly block each other, like GOOG recently cut support for YouTube traffic in Amazon Echo devices.

The Appleification of tech giants
GOOG, MSFT, FB, and AMZN are mimicking AAPL’s strategy of building brand loyalty around high-end devices. Through a process I call “Appleification”, they are (1) setting up walled gardens, (2) becoming hardware companies, and (3) marketing the design while designing for the market. It is a threat to AAPL itself, because they are behind the other giants when it comes to big data collection and its uses. While AAPL’s early and bold introduction of an App Store shook the Web as the dominant software distribution platform, it wasn’t enough to replace it. The next wave of walled gardens might look different: less noticeable, but nonetheless disruptive to the Web.

The common pattern among these three internet giants is to grow beyond browsers, creating new virtual contexts where data is created and shared. The Web may die like most other technologies do: simply by becoming less attractive than newer technologies. And like most obsolete technologies, they don’t suddenly disappear, neither do they disappear completely. You can still buy a Walkman and listen to a tape with it, but the technology has nevertheless lost its collective relevance. The Web’s death will come as a gradual decay of its necessity, not as a dramatic loss.

The internet will survive longer than the Web will. GOOG-FB-AMZN will still depend on submarine internet cables (the “Backbone”), because it is a technical success. That said, many aspects of the internet will lose their relevance, and the underlying infrastructure could be optimized only for GOOG traffic, FB traffic, and AMZN traffic. It wouldn’t conceptually be anymore a “network of networks”, but just a “network of three networks”, the Trinet, if you will.

...ISPs would recognize the obsolescence of the internet and support the Trinet only, driven by market demand for optimal user experience from GOOG-FB-AMZN.

... On the Trinet, if you are permanently banned from GOOG or FB, you would have no alternative. You could even be restricted from creating a new account. As private businesses, GOOG, FB, and AMZN don’t need to guarantee you access to their networks. You do not have a legal right to an account in their servers, and as societies we aren’t demanding for these rights as vehemently as we could, to counter the strategies that tech giants are putting forward.

The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.Read more here.

Is social media trying to change the culture by changing what you can say.

Google's fact-checker does not fact-check Left wing sites, according to Andrew Klavan.
Google is selling: Leftism is truth and right of center is a lie.
On social media, in Hollywood and the News, elites create a fantasy world in which you're the bad guy. If you are not allowed to say things, when you discover the truth, you are in danger of becoming part of the AltRight, because they are the only ones who are saying these truths (that blacks commit homicides at seven times the rate of whites, that men and women are different, that capitalist societies are better than communist ones, that Islamists create most terrorist acts).

We must speak the truth, but we must not mistake hatred for the truth! We are all made in the image of God, who loves us. We must speak the truth through the filter of His love and His guidance that we love one another. Don't speak the truth in service of lies!

Michael Doran is Andrew's guest. He wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal saying that we shouldn't leave the Iran deal; it should be fixed.
President Obama didn't tell the truth about the Iran deal. It was actually a reorientation of American policy in the Middle East toward Iran. We stopped prosecuting Hezbollah drug cases. Obama put the nuclear question aside for ten years. He pulled out of Iraq, even though Iran is right next door. By his actions, he said now the real game is in East Asia. Obama believes we are the problem. Obama believed he was the anointed one to fix it all.

Trump can decide to reapply the sanctions at a moment's notice. How do we contain Iran? What is the smartest way to go about it? If Trump pulls out of the Iran deal, we go into a major conflict with our European allies, the Russians, and the Chinese. Some American legislators are trying to fix the deal by getting rid of the sunsets. Iranian ICBMs are unacceptable. The levels of uranium enrichment must stay where they are now. If the Iranians ever move beyond the terms of the deal, then we are going to reimpose sanctions.

Inattention to That Which Matters

At One Cosmos, Bob asks us to
Consider the liberal media, which are nothing if not a giant blob of inattention to That Which Matters. They focus like a laser on the trivial, the sentimental, on ideological fakery, while systematically missing the point. Indeed, they exist to Miss the Point, which is equally true of liberal academia: attention, but in the service of inattention; direction for the sake of misdirection; knowledge in support of the Lie.

Look! Russian collision! Look! Trump said a naughty word! However, every look is a look-away. Which is fine, so long as one is looking from appearances to reality. But the vector of the media-academic complex is in precisely the opposite direction: from reality to appearances. Not so much attention deficit as attention deviance.
Read more here.

Taking a walk under the night sky



hat tip Ann Althouse

Why there should be no interview of Trump by Mueller

Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review,
A decision is not made until it is finally made. Trump still hasn’t fired Mueller. He may periodically rant about doing it, but he hasn’t done it. Had he wanted to do it back in June as the report indicates, he could have pressed the matter with McGahn, directed his chief of staff to handle it, ordered the deputy attorney general to do it, or done it himself, firing any middlemen who declined to carry out his instructions. But he didn’t fire anyone. Plainly, he realized that the fall-out would be far, far worse than the fleeting satisfaction of removing the pebble in his shoe that is Mueller.

Moreover, a president does not obstruct justice by merely firing a subordinate, which he has the incontestable constitutional authority to do. Of course, if there is concrete evidence that a crime has been committed, and if the president engages in criminal conduct to cover it up (e.g., bribing witnesses or suborning perjury), Congress could well decide that firing the prosecutor is a corrupt, impeachable offense. But if there has been no crime, and if a president believes the deleterious effects of an investigation on his capacity to govern outweigh the political damage from terminating the prosecutor, that is a reasonable choice to make — under circumstances in which, as a matter of constitutional law, the president does not need a reason at all.

Since firing the prosecutor would not be obstruction of justice, it is obvious that thinking about but deciding not to fire the prosecutor is nothing close to obstruction of justice.

What’s more, while it would not have been wise to fire Mueller, it would have been bonkers not to consider doing so. The history of quasi-independent counsels is an unhappy one: The investigations often go on for years, they careen far from their original premises, and they make it very difficult to maintain and recruit good staff (the anxiety of enduring prosecutors pushes many good prospects away, and while the jobs are prestigious, they aren’t well-paying enough to cover the legal fees). A president under a cloud of suspicion is compromised in his relations with foreign leaders, his interactions with Congress, and his overall capacity to lead. The presidency is important, which is why a special counsel should never be appointed to probe the president absent concrete evidence of serious criminal wrongdoing.

We go through all of these details because they show that, when he was inevitably asked about the Times’s report, Trump could have given a perfect, easy, truthful response: “I had ample reason to consider firing Mueller; there would have been no legal impediment to my removal of a prosecutor under the circumstances; and the whole matter is nonsense because I didn’t do it anyway.” Instead, what was his response? “Fake news.” Now, maybe on some level, Trump meant that this is a non-story inflated into big news. But he framed it as a denial. Understood that way, the response is surely untrue. It is also self-defeating: It invites the Times to publish a dozen more stories to establish that its original one was accurate. A non-issue becomes an occasion to further batter Trump’s veracity.

Now, as politics, this may work for Trump. It may give him the media villain to rally his supporters around. But it would not work in court.

If you’re Trump’s lawyer watching this, you’re saying to yourself, “No way I let this guy testify.” When he feels threatened, his impulse is to deny now and clean it up later (e.g.: I didn’t tell Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, but even if I had done so it would have been appropriate . . . ). In politics, you’re apt to be safe with this sort of thing — if the ultimate clean-up is plausible, people tend to forget the original dissembling. But in a courtroom, or an interview with prosecutors and FBI agents, a false denial or even a bumbling misstatement can get you indicted.

Trump is litigious and cocky. He has been in lots of lawsuits and has taken the measure of lots of lawyers. He may be very confident that he can handle an interview. He may be certain he has not colluded with Russia and thus convinced there’s no need to worry. Trust me, though: He has not been sweated before like he would be in a special-counsel interview. It would be a mistake to assume that because Mueller’s team overflows with Democratic partisans, they are just like the political hacks Trump jousts with all the time. These particular prosecutors are extraordinarily good at what they do. They are not going to be cowed or charmed. If Trump agrees to speak to them, he will not be able to control the direction of the questioning; and if he loses his cool and says things that are dubious or flatly untrue, they will clean his clock.

In other words: Trump the man could walk out of an interview with Mueller in real jeopardy, despite walking into it in nothing more than a bad mood. Which brings us to our other client: Trump the president.

A president of the United States should never be the subject of a criminal investigation, and should never be asked to provide testimony or evidence in a criminal investigation, in the absence of two things: solid evidence that a serious crime has been committed and a lack of any alternative means to acquire proof that is essential to the prosecution. There is a simple reason for this: The awesome responsibilities of the presidency are more significant to the nation than the outcome of any particular criminal case. There is an exception: When there is reasonable cause to believe the president is complicit in a serious criminal offense, and that he has evidence or knowledge that would be admissible and probative. Only in those circumstances should a president be subject to subpoena, and only then should he submit to questioning. Trump has a responsibility to the office to enforce that standard.

As we have noted here since before Mueller was appointed, the Justice Department has improperly assigned a prosecutor in the absence of grounds to believe a crime has been committed. “Collusion with Russia” is not a crime, and there are presently no grounds to believe the president conspired with Putin’s regime to violate any American law. And again, it is not criminal obstruction for a president to weigh in on whether a subordinate (such as Michael Flynn) should be investigated, or to fire a subordinate — including a subordinate (such as James Comey, or theoretically Mueller himself) who is involved in conducting an investigation, particularly an investigation that continues uninterrupted despite the firing. Whether we think these are foolish things for the president to have done is beside the point. We are talking here about whether they are criminal actions, and they are not. If the voters are repulsed and want to take it out on Trump and his party come election time, that’s democracy. It is not, however, the business of prosecutors.

Every other independent-counsel investigation in which an American president has been a subject was triggered by an actual crime. Those presidents were on notice of the contours of the probe, and of the criminality that rendered it appropriate for a prosecutor to be appointed and for a president to be questioned. That is not the case in Mueller’s probe. It has been formally described as a counterintelligence investigation, which is a national-security inquiry about a foreign country’s designs against the United States, not a criminal investigation targeting an American for prosecution on a known offense.

No competent lawyer would allow the lowliest criminal suspect in the country to testify before a grand jury without a description from the prosecutor of precisely what crime is being investigated, and an explanation of the suspect’s status — target likely to be indicted, subject potentially indictable, or mere witness not in jeopardy of being charged. It would be absurd for a prosecutor to seek testimony from the president of the United States without a compelling demonstration of (a) probable cause that a crime has been committed, and (b) need for information that only the president is in a position to provide.

By the way, that includes testimony in the form of answers to written questions. To be sure, written interrogatories would give Trump and his counsel more notice of the prosecutor’s case than they now have. That would alleviate some, but by no means all, of the concern about making assertions that could be grist for a false-statements charge. But it does not solve the more fundamental problem: The burden should be on Mueller to demonstrate the necessity of questioning the president in any form, not on the president to provide reasons for not submitting to questioning. Being president is reason enough. Trump the man should avoid Mueller’s highly skilled, highly aggressive prosecutors. Trump the president should not be asked to meet with them in the first place.
Read more here.

The Soros speech in Davos

At Breitbart, Raheem Kassam brings us what he thinks are the five most important points emphasized by George Soros in his speech in Davos last week. Go here to read them and enjoy some amusing illustrative GIFS.

How does the US rank in relation to other countries in Gross Domestic Product?


Read more here.

President Trump's speech in Davos

[…] America is roaring back, and now is the time to invest in the future of America. We have dramatically cut taxes to make America competitive. We are eliminating burdensome regulations at a record pace. We are reforming the bureaucracy to make it lean, responsive, and accountable. And we are ensuring our laws are enforced fairly.

We have the best colleges and universities in the world, and we have the best workers in the world. Energy is abundant and affordable. There has never been a better time to come to America.

[…] In rebuilding America, we are also fully committed to developing our workforce. We are lifting people from dependence to independence, because we know the single best anti-poverty program is a very simple and very beautiful paycheck.

To be successful, it is not enough to invest in our economy. We must invest in our people. When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured. Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all.

The nation’s greatness is more than the sum of its production. A nation’s greatness is the sum of its citizens: the values, pride, love, devotion, and character of the people who call that nation home.

[…] Each of you has the power to change hearts, transform lives, and shape your countries’ destinies. With this power comes an obligation, however — a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, and customers who have made you who you are.

So together, let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people — to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes, and to empower their dreams; to protect their families, their communities, their histories, and their futures.

That’s what we’re doing in America, and the results are totally unmistakable. It’s why new businesses and investment are flooding in. It’s why our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in so many decades. It’s why America’s future has never been brighter.

Today, I am inviting all of you to become part of this incredible future we are building together.

Thank you to our hosts, thank you to the leaders and innovators in the audience. But most importantly, thank you to all of the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day, making this a better world for everyone.

Together, let us send our love and our gratitude to make them, because they really make our countries run. They make our countries great.

Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. (link)

"The voice of those hearts was an unanswerable question."

At Feminists for Life we learn,
In Chile, pregnant women silently gave voice to the voiceless with “loudhailers” to amplify the sound of the ❤️s beating inside them.

One participant said, "Abortion activists lost all words. They watched in silence: The voice of those hearts was an unanswerable question."
Go here to see the photo of the pregnant women and their "loudhailers."

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The hustle



hat tip Chateau Heartiste

Read carefully

"Beyond pathetic"

Dennis Prager admits he was wrong about Trump

Robert Kraychik reports at Breitbart,

Read more here.

What happens when federal agencies accused of possible wrongdoing also control the alleged evidence against them?

At The Hill, 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.
Read more here.

Co-conspirators

At The Conservative Treehouse, Sundance continues to dig.
...This message by Strzok shows a team of FBI officials intentionally conspiring to withhold “inflammatory” Clinton investigation evidence, from congress. And the decision-making goes directly to the very top leadership within the FBI.

..There’s no mention of any FBI intent to investigate action or conduct undertaken by Hillary Clinton or her team to hide the use of classified or improperly stored information; or any intent to look at a cover-up, scrubbing, or conduct that happened AFTER it was discovered that she unlawfully used a personal e-mail server during her tenure.

We can see from the wording of the FBI public release, and the overlay of the text message from interviewer Peter Strzok, a deliberate effort to inquire into only the surface issues of classified information transmission and storage. There was no investigative intent to go beyond that, and no information released, intentionally, that might disclose any larger issues.

If the FBI was legitimately conducting an investigation, and providing the subsequent evidence from within that investigation, the FOIA would include all material relevant to the investigation, which would include all 302 (essentially Q&A) pages. However, the set of questions and answers the FBI released on Sept. 2nd 2016 was not the full set of Questions and Answers. They withheld something, likely “inflammatory”, per FBI Agent Strzok.
Read much more here.

Russian Collusion


Democrat Mayor Joy Cooper

Ryan Saavedrar reports in the Daily Wire,
Law enforcement officials in Florida arrested Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper on Thursday after an FBI sting caught her allegedly involved in money laundering and corruption-related activities.

The Broward State Attorney’s Office said that Cooper surrendered on charges of "money laundering, official misconduct and exceeding limits on campaign contributions, all of which are third-degree felonies," ABC 10 reported. "Prosecutors also charged her with soliciting contributions in a government building, which is a first-degree misdemeanor."

Florida Governor Rick Scott suspended Cooper from her role as Mayor of Hallandale Beach on Friday following her arrest.

"Cooper is prohibited from performing any official act, duty, or function of public office; from receiving any pay or allowance; and from being entitled to any of the emoluments or privileges of public office during the period of this suspension," Scott wrote in an executive order. ABC 10 adds:

According to the Broward County state attorney's office, FBI agents posing as developers and business owners met with Cooper and former attorney and lobbyist Alan Koslow, who pleaded guilty to a federal money-laundering conspiracy charge in a case with the FBI that was part of their "Red Chip" sting operation to target political corruption in South Florida.

Investigator Kate Abrahamsen reported Cooper solicited campaign contributions from Koslow that exceeded the legal limit, accepted money that she believed were the proceeds of unlawful activity and falsified campaign treasury reports in September and October of 2012.

Abrahmsen reported Koslow was unaware that the wealthy California land developers seeking political favor for commercial land projects were really undercover FBI agents. He reportedly also set up meetings with Cooper at her home, at the Flash Back Diner, at the Diplomat and handed her 20 checks "from a bunch of Russian names" at a Hallandale Chamber of Commerce event.

Just another sunny Saturday on the mesa top.

What a vigorous and fun Saturday! After the boys played each other in a competitive game of basketball, they decided to split some wood. Who needs to go to a gym? Our sixteen-year-old goes first, with some younger boys looking on in awe. He is now 6'3" and wanting to put on lots of new muscle.
1

Next goes our football-playing 17-year-old, who really knows how to split the logs!


The boys' mom yells out to me as she is butchering chickens, "Bob, do I have any blood on my face? There are some people coming to look at the puppies."







Sean Hannity's Twitter account vanishes

Cassandra Fairbanks reports at Gateway Pundit,
The Twitter account belonging to Fox News host Sean Hannity vanished on Friday evening after an intense episode of his show focusing on corruption in the Department of Justice and the FBI — and a very strange tweet.

The final tweet before his account disappeared read, “Form Submission 1649.”
Read more here.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Threat to public safety

Jake Gibson and Alex Pappas report at Fox News,
The Justice Department on Wednesday threatened to subpoena 23 jurisdictions if they don’t turn over information about their "sanctuary" policies -- triggering a backlash from mayors across the country who pulled out of a White House meeting.

In letters to New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and other jurisdictions, the Justice Department demanded records relating to whether these localities are "unlawfully restricting information sharing by law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities."

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”


“We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement—enough is enough,” Sessions said.

If these jurisdictions can't prove they are complying with federal law, senior DOJ officials told Fox News, federal funding could be withheld and the DOJ may demand the return of 2016 federal funding some of the cities have already received.

“We’ve given them federal dollars – your taxpayer dollars – to cooperate with federal law enforcement,” Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the DOJ, said Wednesday on "Fox & Friends." “They didn’t have to take that money, but they did. And when they took it, they said they would comply with federal law. So what we’re saying is if we find out you’re not complying with federal law, we’re taking the tax dollars back.”
Read more here.

They will soon learn!



hat tip Bookworm

"Dreamers," "Sanctuary Cities," "Undocumented" immigrants," "Diversity"

Victor Davis Hanson is at the top of his expertise as he writes about the mythologies of illegal immigration at American Greatness.
If the statist, redistributionist, and identity politics principles of the Democrats no longer appeal to 51 percent of the electorate, then why would they give up on the annual investment in nearly hundreds of thousands of new arrivals that by some means, and in the not too distant future, would translate into loyal, politically predictable voters for whom this approach to politics is second nature?

Employers believe the system is anything but broken. Any good news for the country about skyrocketing minority employment numbers is likely to be bad news for them if it means declining numbers of cheaper illegal aliens to hire. Open borders have ensured the hiring of industrious workers at cheap wages while passing on the accruing health, educational, legal, and criminal justice costs to the taxpayer. The present system is “working” well enough for this crowd; its possible replacement instead would be defined as “broken.”

...American elites welcome illegal immigration, both for the cheap labor and for the opportunity to virtue signal their magnanimity, perhaps as much as they seem rarely to live adjacent to the barrio or keep their children in schools that are impacted by immigrants, and or shop where English is rarely spoken.

...College graduation and military service are often referenced as DACA talking points. In truth, some studies suggest that just one in 20 dreamers graduated from college. One in a 1,000 has served in the military. So far, about eight times more Dreamers have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college.

Illegal immigration is conflated with legal immigration in order to smear critics with charges of biases against the “other” rather than of simply expressing concerns over legality and sovereignty. By progressive prepping of the linguistic battlefield, some conservatives feel a continued need to “prove” they are not racists by granting more and more exemptions from immigration laws.

“Sanctuary cities” are not “sanctuaries” in the manner we think of a cathedral in a Victor Hugo novel. They are nullification centers where foreign nationals who have broken laws are not subject to full enforcement of immigration laws, due entirely to political considerations.

“Sanctuary city” is not an abstract philosophical term. None of the current sanctuary cities would agree in principle with other jurisdictions in similar fashion nullifying federal laws that advanced left-wing policy objectives. The sobriquet is a euphemism for 1850s-style proto-Confederate, states-rights chauvinism, dressed up similarly in pseudo-moralistic terms.

“Undocumented” replaced the adjective “illegal,” just as “immigrant” (and increasingly just “migrant”) superseded the noun “alien.” That is, when the Democratic Party realized that swelling Latino populations began to vote en masse and could salvage what its failing message could not.

At that point, around 2010 or so, the old Democratic and progressive admonitions about illegal immigration cutting the wages of the poor, impeding unionization, and siphoning away social welfare entitlements from the citizen poor were finally and completely jettisoned (along with the language once used by Jimmy Carter and the Clintons). Euphemisms replaced descriptive vocabulary in efforts to construct a new reality.

“Diversity” is often associated with illegal immigration. In fact, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Latin American and Mexico. They are hardly diverse. Real diversity would be recalibrating immigration to be legal, meritocratic, and aimed at roughly equal representation from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe—and thus politically unpredictable.

The cargo of illiberal accusations is likewise constructed, given the United States is the most pro-Latino country in the world, Mexico included. Half of all immigrants, both legal and illegal, come either from Mexico or Latin America—a sort of inverse racism that assumes illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants are intrinsically more deserving of U.S. residence than legal immigration applicants from Uganda, South Korea, or Ukraine.

Strange, too, are the outward theatrics and themes of illegal alien activism—the frequent waving of Mexican flags, the often loud criticism of a generous host country, the usual demands made upon a foreign nation—mysteriously coupled with the overwhelming desire of millions to enter or remain in the supposedly demonic United States. Waving a flag of a country that one does not wish to return to while shunning the flag of a country in which one very much wishes to reside is incoherent.

The thrust of ethnic studies departments, the narratives of open borders activists, the pageantry and symbolism of mass immigration demonstrations, and the chauvinism embedded into popular culture is mostly couched in implicit anti-Americanism. At least we are led to believe that a culpable America has done wrong in the present and the past, and has to restore its morality by allowing open borders and illegal immigration. But who are the arbiters of American ethics? Vicente Fox? MS-13 gang-bangers? Those whose first act in entering America was to break its laws?

Immigration, again brutally or not, is a complex two-step hard bargain that succeeds only when one accepts his chosen country—and de facto rejects the collective protocols of his birthplace.

Why do these mythologies abound? Largely because Americans, the hosts, either cannot anymore even define their own civilization to would-be immigrants, or are so intimidated that they are terrified to even try.
Read more here.

Now do you understand?



Hat tip James Woods

Were they even having an affair?

As he closely follows every event in the FBI/DOJ Obama Administration scandal, Sundance is questioning assumptions.
With the latest information revealing that FBI Agent Peter Strzok and DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page were specifically leaking to their media sources to shape the underlying story of their political efforts, everything presented by the recipients of those leaks should now be questioned.

Page and Strzok were the “sources” for stories written by Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post.

As such, obviously the network of Page and Strzok’s professional colleagues, would also be considered part of a grouping of people who would benefit from specific leaks intended to shape the stories.

One of those initial stories was a December 2nd, 2017, WaPo outline describing Page and Strzok against the backdrop of the DOJ Inspector General Horowitz investigation.

The Washington Post presented the story of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok having an affair to the world.

That presentation became the underlying assumption for all reporting that followed (despite the lack of supporting evidence). That WaPo story (narrative), “The affair” was written by Devlin Barrett, who we now know was in direct contact with Page and Strzok.

As with all new information, all assumptions –driven by that WaPo original story– should be carefully reconsidered.



As an example: were Peter Strzok and Lisa Page actually having an affair? Or, was the “affair” simply an effective narrative, entirely constructed to describe the scope of their communication and cover-up a larger and far more looming truth, a bigger conspiracy?

Amid a vastly growing release of text messages, there’s nothing to indicate a relationship between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok based on anything except collaboration to politicize their jobs to the benefit of Hillary Clinton and against all her political opposition.

For several years CTH has been pointing out how the larger U.S. intelligence community has a pattern of leaking specific information to specific outlets.

Information from Justice Department leaks and the Intelligence Community (writ large), generally appear in the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, and -depending on content- the Wall Street Journal. Information from State Department leaks generally flow to CNN, CBS and ABC.

Each of the initiating media reports of the leaks are then cited by their peer group: ‘media reports on media reports’. It is a pattern that has become transparently visible for those who follow politics and media.

This does not mean that all media are doing the bidding of the corrupt officials knowingly. Some might be relaying information thinking they are just breaking exclusive news, without actually considering they are helping corrupt insiders to get dangerous information to their ideological allies in a scheme to assist them.

However, for the reassessment of all Devlin Barrett’s narrative engineering (reporting), we can be certain he is more than a willing ally to the corrupt group of FBI and DOJ insiders.

...“sources say” now appears to be reporter Devlin Barrett writing an article based on direct information from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were the subjects of the story.

Obviously they would have a vested legal interest in shaping/spinning that story in a very specific direction, and it appears Devlin Barrett was more than willing to assist.

Knowing that DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok were key sources for Barrett’s stories at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post all assumptions based on this reporting should be questioned.

Again, President Trump was prescient when he tweeted:
Read more here.

Self Satisfaction

Guest post by Suzann Darnall

No, I do not mean the kind of self-satisfaction that is smug complacency. I mean being a bit more satisfied with one’s self and one’s circumstances. I am a firm believer in the idea that we can and must “Choose Happiness”. Happiness generally does not just come to us. We usually must invite it in and make it feel at home. We can start by being a lot more satisfied with who we are, what we have, and what we do.
This does not mean we should not have goals and aspirations to better ourselves or our situations.

Striving to improve is a good thing. But, we should be satisfied with the steps we take and make along the way. Otherwise, we are forever chasing a prize and yet never really getting any reward as we try to make changes for the good.

There is nothing wrong with occasionally looking at one’s self and one’s life and saying, “This is good!” In fact, I think it is something we should do on a daily basis. Look for the “happy” in our lives. Take time to be satisfied with what is in and around us. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping us tackle the next bits of negative we decide to overcome.

I am by no means perfect at this, but I am striving to be better at it each and every day. I try to always count my blessings more than I number my sorrows. I end each day by listing just one thing that made it a happy day. I usually realize there were lots of happy things and the hard part is choosing the just one that I will record. I also end my day with reading one happy text from the scriptures to remind me of God’s infinite love for me. My husband and I do these things together and end our night with a prayer before going to sleep. It is a good way to end the day and prepare for the next.

I also start my day by reading a happy text. This is made very easy since one of my granddaughters gave me a perpetual calendar that has an uplifting bible verse for each day of the year. My husband and I also start our day with a morning prayer before he heads off to work. These two little habits make it impossible to not have at least a bit of a good start to the morning, which helps the entire day.

I look around my house and I focus on how much I love our home. I look at our furniture and decorations with a happy heart ‘cause they are evocative of memories from across generations. When I am outdoors I look for the butterflies, sprigs of green, and flowers. These always lift my spirits. I even count my battered ol’ pickup amongst my most treasured blessings. It ain’t much to look at, but it is paid for, it runs, and I am not stuck at home when my husband goes off to work in his car for the day.

I even try to look at myself with a kinder, gentler eye. Am I getting old? Yes. But, I am still alive. Do I hurt some days? Yes. But, I still find things to do and ways to do other things. Am I too fat? Yes. But, I am not as fat as I used to be. So, all in all, I am satisfied with me. I am not perfect, but I am still better than many of the alternatives.

In short, not only am I satisfied with me and my life, I look for ways to be satisfied with me and my life. I am pert near the definition (in my new view) of self-satisfied. I have chosen satisfaction, just as I have chosen happiness. It’s not all perfect, but it is oh so very good!

If you are going to fly into Davos next year, go with Tucker and Mark on their sausage and egg mcmuffin!

Tucker on Al Gore and the other elites gathered in Davos, Switzerland: "I kind of like how this works. I fly in my plane, you have to stop eating hamburgers and walk!"

Mark: Yes! You will be beating your laundry down on the rocks with the village women getting your clothes dry, because your washer and dryer are destroying the planet!

The Davos attendees meet to decide how to ameliorate actions of the people who voted for Trump and Brexit and still drive cars and use washers and dryers.

Where Americans are happiest

If you were to ask your neighbors how much they like living in your state, what would they say? Gallup has published findings from a new poll showing how residents like living in their states.

Apparently, no one in Montana bothered to reply to the survey - too busy running from bears.
If you want to lead a happy life, Boulder, Colorado, it seems, is the place to be – because it was named as the happiest city in the U.S. last October.

It topped a list of 25 of America's happiest cities, revealed in the book The Blue Zones of Happiness, by National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner.

Along with National Geographic and Gallup, he developed an index to measure a population's happiness based on 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthful food options.

Boulder tops the list with walkability, access to nature and sense of community being contributing factors to its residents' happiness.
I did live in Boulder for a period in the nineties, and it was a great place to live.
Read more here.

A strange way to run a department that depends on integrity!

Sundance reports at The Conservative Treehouse,
That’s perhaps the weirdest example of journalistic ethical juxtaposition in the past few months. Again, “sources say” now appears to be reporter Devlin Barrett writing an article based on direct information from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were the subjects of the story. Obviously, they would have a vested legal interest in shaping/spinning that story in a very specific direction.

Knowing that DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok were key sources for Barrett’s stories at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, you can go through all of his old articles at both publications and clearly identify stories were Strzok and Page were leaking to him.

Lastly, knowing Strzok and Page were key DOJ/FBI investigators on #1) the Hillary Clinton investigation; #2) the Trump/Russia Counterintelligence Investigation; and, #3) the Robert Mueller investigation; and knowing they were leaking to the media to shape the outcomes of their own investigative narrative in each example; it makes you wonder who else within the DOJ and FBI team was also leaking to the media.

Then again, FBI Director James Comey was doing the same thing.


It seems to be a strange way to run a department that depends on integrity.
Read more here.

Where do you think you're going?

Chilling free speech

David Harsanyi writes in the Federalist,
...It’s difficult, it seems, for some people to embrace neutral principles nowadays. But if you genuinely believe that Donald Trump’s distasteful tweets are attacks on the foundations of free expression, how can you not be alarmed by a pair of powerful elected officials demanding social media companies hand over information about their users? What would they say if the president had sent a letter to Google insisting they give the executive branch an “in-depth forensic examination” of his political opponent’s searches?

...Yet, if Feinstein and Schiff had their way, Twitter and Facebook would have moved to quash the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag for what turned out to be apparently solely partisan reasons. Sounds like a power that can be abused. Even if the two had been genuinely troubled by Russian hashtags — yes, suspend your disbelief — the source of fake news is not always easily discernible. Sometimes it comes to you from an anonymous Russian bot, and sometimes it’s retweeted by a prominent journalist.

Democrats have manufactured panic over amateurish Russian propaganda to not only claim that Vlad Putin was “meddling” in the election, but also to argue that interference had the power to turn the election to Trump. With this risible idea in hand, they have created paranoia about social media interactions and rationalized infringements on expression.

Not long before demanding forensic investigations into hashtags, Feinstein was demanding Twitter, Facebook, and Google more tightly restrict its content, threatening, “Do something about it — or we will.” Democrats have attempted to control interactions through Fairness Doctrines or the IRS, and now the Russia scare. Part of living in a free country is dealing with messy, ugly misinformation.

Lots of people in the United States seem pretty impressed by how they do things in Europe. In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May is launching “a rapid response unit” run by the state to “battle the proliferation of ‘fake news’ online.” A “National Security Communications Unit” will be tasked to combat misinformation — as if it has either the power or ability to do so. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is working on a plan to combat “fake news,” which includes the power to “emergency block” websites during elections. What could possibly go wrong?

Me? I’d rather we live with Russian troll bots feeding us nonsense than authoritarian senators dictating how we consume news. I mean, has anyone yet produced a single voter who lost his or her free will during the 2016 election because he had a Twitter interaction with an employee of a St. Petersburg troll farm? Or do voters tend to seek out the stories that back their own worldviews?

If your argument is that Americans are uninformed and easily misled, I’m with you. Just look at all the people who believe that a $46,000 buy on Facebook by the Russians was enough to destroy the pillars of our democracy. But if you want to live in a free and vibrant nation, you have to live with the externalities of that freedom.
Read more here.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Soros warns about Google and Facebook

Liam Clancy reports at The Daily Caller,
Billionaire investor and activist George Soros took aim at Google and Facebook Thursday during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, calling the tech giants “near-monopoly distributors.”

Soros’ speech included a harsh critique of both companies, with the billionaire referring to the companies as a “menace” that must be stopped with “more stringent regulations,” such as treating the companies like public utilities, according to BuzzFeed.

“They claim they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access,” Soros said.

Soros additionally noted that such powerful tech giants could eventually enter alliances with “authoritarian states,” and that the results would be disastrous.

“There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together nascent systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance,” the billionaire said. “This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined.”

Europeans want to invest more in US

Benny Johnson reports at The Daily Caller that
America First: European CEOs Go One By One To Tell Trump They Are Investing Billions Back In The US
Read more here.

"How to fight for freedom in the Left’s social media gulag"

At Front Page Magazine, Oleg Atbashian, founder of the satirical blog The People's Cube, writes about FACEBOOK-GOOGLE-TWITTER 1984
How to fight for freedom in the Left’s social media gulag.
Just last week I read a story by John Hawkins, How Conservatives Are Being Destroyed by Facebook, Twitter and Google Without Even Realizing It, where the author announced that he'd been forced to shut down his Right Wing News website and explained that in today's social media environment, a conservative's chances to get a political website off the ground are infinitesimal.

Then I read a story on The Daily Caller about Google having an actual secret speech police that blocks, demonetizes, and otherwise censors conservative content.

Then I received a screenshot from one of my readers, who is a U.S. Army officer, showing that my People's Cube has been blocked by the DoD Enterprise-Level Protection System - not because of our silly anti-Left humor, but because of "hate and racism" - a blatantly false label, probably transferred from one of the blacklists shared by social media and the government (or at least the Deep State part of it). I've recently written about it in FrontPage Mag.

And just this morning, I received dozens of messages from my readers that Facebook wasn't allowing them to post or share any People's Cube links.

...Throughout history, the human mind has been our main tool of survival. To live, we depend on accurate information about our surroundings. This makes the objective truth a basic human need. Truthful information is as essential to our existence as food, shelter, and clothing. In societies where information is distorted and suppressed by totalitarian governments, people usually die in large numbers.

But information can also be a commercial product, bought and sold at market prices by specialized organizations that have amassed great fortunes in doing so. Good for them. However, as the historian Robert Conquest pointed out, "Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing." And the Left by default is prone to manipulate information in a way that suits its agenda at the expense of the general population.

Leftists in the government are obsessed with regulating all products and services, essential or not. They'd like to regulate information as well - see the Fairness Doctrine and Net Neutrality. Conservatives have always instinctively opposed that trend, guided by the principle, "Whatever the Left does, we must do the opposite." This kneejerk impulse to take the "diametrically opposite position" has often allowed the Left to toy with conservatives and lure them into absurd situations where they fought phantom causes. In part, due to such "diametrical" thinking, the anti-regulation conservatives withdrew themselves from the regulatory process, effectively giving the Left free reign in shaping government regulations.

Enter Donald J. Trump. Right off the bat he introduces what I call "perpendicular thinking," meaning that instead of jumping to the opposite, he goes vaguely perpendicular. This disorients the Left (as well as some anti-Trump "diametrical" conservatives), forcing them to take unpopular and ridiculous positions on the opposite side of his choosing. And while Trump is beating the Left at their own game, keeping them confused and unable to deal with their new role of the "diametrical opposition," we should move in and do some "perpendicular" regulation.

At the same time, the product called "information" is regulated in the exactly opposite fashion. It is being filtered, altered, rejected, or exaggerated according to arbitrary and subjective markers and biases, creating a distorted and fraudulent picture of reality. If a food manufacturer tried to label his products the same way, he would be sued out of existence. Imagine buying fruit juice labeled with 0% sugar instead of the actual 100% and 100% of vitamin C instead of the actual 0%.

This clearly falls into the jurisdiction of the newly reformed Bureau of Consumer Protection, whose stated goal is to stop unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by:

collecting complaints and conducting investigations
suing companies and people that break the law
developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace
educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.

Some have proposed to regulate the Internet through the FCC, but that is fraught with equating the web with a public utility, which is subject to government rationing of free speech - a pitfall avoided by the recent repeal of Net Neutrality.

In contrast, the Bureau of Consumer Protection would treat the Internet as a marketplace for commercial products, one of which is information. Instead of regulating free speech, it would protect consumers against fraud.

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered unconstitutional any restriction of speech based on the so-called "hate speech" allegations, unanimously reaffirming that there is no "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment. Justice Anthony Kennedy explains this decision as follows:

A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government's benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

And yet, the unconstitutional and deceptively named "hate speech" gimmick is being excessively used to suppress conservative and libertarian speech by social media moderators and by algorithms embedded in FacebookGoogleTwitter code. The same gimmick is also being widely used today by speech police in many organizations, including educational and government entities, in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Media giants may beg to differ and remind us of their status as private companies that can make their own internal rules. But if their main product is information, which has an existential value to our society, they can no more hide behind their private status than the landlords or mortgage bankers can.

That means that FacebookGoogleTwitter and other media giants can be forced by law to discard their manipulative "hate speech" and other ideological filters and to allow a free flow of information lest they be sued by the Bureau of Consumer Protection for violating consumer rights. Wikipedia can be sued for its grotesquely biased suppression and misrepresentation of political reality, which creates a very skewed image of the world. For added entertainment value, CNN with its "Facts First" brand campaign can probably also be sued for false advertisement.

Unhinged hateful rhetoric coming from the Left never gets to be branded "hate speech," nor is it ever blocked on social media. This alone makes the "hate speech" label meaningless and exposes the one-sided ideological agenda behind it. Of course, no logical argument will ever convince the leftist agenda-driven "hate speech police" to give up their dominance over the national debate voluntarily. Instead, this unethical practice must be outlawed legislatively, as an unconstitutional impediment to free exchange of information.

If we outlaw the corrupt system of "hate speech" policing, it will do a lot more than just free up the Internet and the rest of the media. It will pull the rug from under various demagogues who profit from the harassment of conservatives. It will clear many honest people of libelous allegations. It will demolish the sordid cottage industry of "hate speech watchers," like the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose fundraising is directly proportional to how many honorable people they can defame as "haters" and who compile dubious blacklists, which are then used as guidance by FacebookGoogleTwitter and the mainstream media to silence or disparage conservative figures.

Social media should certainly continue to block real spam and clickbait sites with fake news (they do exist). The trick is that online reprobates aren't likely to file a complaint and seek government protection from being blocked - unlike legitimate content providers who can and should request an investigation if they are being suppressed. Terrorist messaging can be dealt with by working with law enforcement professionals, not with SPLC and similar amateurs who have a shady agenda.

Before conservatives are erased from the Internet, legal minds in the conservative movement had better select an appropriate case of content suppression and stage an exemplary class action lawsuit that would create a seminal precedent for all future cases. If no legal ground for such a lawsuit exists, we must work with our legislators to create it.

Conservatives who are philosophically opposed to regulation may not like this method, but realistically and objectively, this seems to be the least worst solution to get out of the memory hole designated for us by the leftist media giants.

People on our side should stop pretending that we are not in the middle of an all-out war waged by the Left against conservative media. We won't survive if we continue to react to leftist attacks by lying down and taking positions whose only value is in being diametrically opposite to those of the attackers. It's time we went perpendicular.
Read more here.