Patterico's Pontifications


Cook Report: Democrats Poised to Retake Senate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Jennifer Duffy at the Cook Political Report has this sobering analysis out today:

Senate Republicans had been doing a pretty solid job of maintaining their distance from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump by running their own campaign that focused largely on more local issues or those issues that motivate their base. The strategy was working fine and it looked as if Republicans would be able to keep their losses low. That is until October 7 when The Washington Post reported on the existence of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump described sexually assaulting women. Then things started to unravel, albeit slowly.

Assuming that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins the White House, the party needs four seats to tie the chamber, leaving the Vice President as the tie breaking vote. . . . . [W]e are increasing the range of expected Democratic pick ups to five to seven seats. This means that we feel that the prospect that Democrats will have at least 51 seats is greater than the odds of a tied Senate, or of Republicans somehow holding their majority.

Gulp. They also have this to say about the best GOP strategy:

Early voting is underway in 27 states, so Republicans don’t really have much time to turn things around, and Trump won’t be any help, especially his campaign doesn’t really have a ground game to speak of. The GOP’s only hope is to start running a checks-and-balances message, or more blatantly, a don’t-give-Clinton-a-blank-check message to motivate their base, particularly what one strategist called “casual Republicans,” to the polls. We are starting to see that message in some red and purple states as candidates work to tie Democratic candidate to Clinton.

I don’t see why the “don’t give her a black check” strategy would appeal only to casual Republicans. I think it appeals to classical liberals like me as well. (Note to Trumpers who think I just admitted being a leftist: Google “classical liberal.” You can’t manage to work the Googles? Fine, I’ll do it for you.)

I think, at this point, encouraging votes in House and Senate races is clearly the best strategy for those of us who care about limited government. For us, the presidency is lost — even if Donald Trump wins, which is looking extraordinarily unlikely. There is going to be a fan of Big Government in the Oval Office, no matter which candidate wins. Our only chance is to convince voters to vote down ticket.

Interestingly, the likelihood that Hillary Clinton will win is apt to make us limited government types less choosy about who we select down ballot. If I thought Trump were likely to win, I’d spend more time scrutinizing the record of each GOP candidate, to see if I thought it likely that he would oppose big-government initiatives pushed by Trump. But with Clinton likely to win, I can more easily see myself voting even for Trumpers in the House and Senate. They may not understand why they oppose her policies, but if it’s Hillary Clinton proposing them, they’ll oppose her. Fighting Hillary is what they live for.

Hope for the best; prepare for the worst. I sure hope the Cook Report is wrong about the Senate. But either way, let’s work to motivate folks to vote for Republicans down ticket.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Dirty Democrat Tricksters Exposed by James O’Keefe May Be Tied to . . . Donald Trump’s Campaign

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

As Joe Cunningham reported here, POLITICO has a story that, if true, is nothing short of astounding: that conspired with a rabble-rousing leftist, made famous in James O’Keefe’s recent videos, to sabotage the campaigns of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. In this post I take a more in-depth look at the allegations and the publicly available evidence to support them.

The upshot is that, in addition to Hadas Gold’s anonymous source, ample publicly available evidence ties in to Democrat dirty trickster Aaron Black. Gold’s piece cites this evidence, but a close analysis of that evidence tends to strongly corroborate the inference that’s Matt Boyle coordinated with the Dem operative Black. And since Steve Bannon was in charge of at the time, and is now a top official in Donald Trump’s campaign . . . this means that the O’Keefe videos may be a problem, not just for Hillary’s campaign, but for Donald Trump’s as well.

Remember my recent post about James O’Keefe’s latest video showing how the DNC tried to provoke violence at Trump rallies? Remember the fellow named Aaron Black? He’s the leftist who bragged about being behind “spontaneous” protests that DNC officials hoped would result in Trump supporters attacking them. Here’s one of Black’s quotes:

None of this is supposed to come back to us, because we want it coming from people. We don’t want it coming from the party. So if we do a protest and it’s branded — “oh, the DNC protest” — right away the press is going to say: partisan.


Black also boasted in the O’Keefe video about being one of the people behind the shutdown of a Trump rally in Chicago which erupted in violence, apparently incited by Black and his fellow dark hat operatives, resulting in two police officers being injured.


So now you remember who Aaron Black is, right? Good.

The allegation of the POLITICO article is that this same Aaron Black coordinated with — evidently Matthew Boyle in particular — to publicize the same sort of tactics, when they were used against Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz:

A liberal activist and organizer coordinated with reporters from the conservative news site Breitbart during the primaries to cover his disruptions of events for candidates such as Sen. Marco Rubio.

Aaron Black, an associate with Democracy Partners and a former Occupy Wall Street organizer, worked with the pro-Trump site Breitbart, tipping them off about his stunts, exchanging raw video and coordinating coverage, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Black has resurfaced recently as one of the people featured in undercover video from the Project Veritas group. In the video, he claims to work for the DNC. Though he does not appear on their payroll, his bio at Democracy Partners credits him with “working closely with the Democratic National Committee” during the 2012 election cycle. Black in the video says he helped organize violent protests in Chicago that led to Trump’s cancellation of a rally there in March.

According to the source, Black coordinated with Breitbart via email, phone and in person, including when he dressed up as a robot and trolled Marco Rubio’s events. The relationship was described as very friendly. An article subsequently published on Breitbart featured video footage of a physical confrontation between Black and Rubio’s New Hampshire campaign chairman.
“He worked directly with Breitbart’s political team on the ground in the primary states to sabotage Marco Rubio & Ted Cruz, and elect Trump as nominee of [the Republican] party,” the source told POLITICO. “[Black] was coordinating with [Breitbart’s] top staff to rabble rouse against Rubio at rallies.”

Now. Let’s do some analysis here. First, let’s confess our biases. I have learned as a blogger that when a story sounds too good to be true — when it confirms all your long-held suspicions, everything that you just KNEW was true all along, and thus causes you to run to the keyboard in a rage — that’s when you need to be at your most skeptical. And this story does confirm my biases. I hate to say this, because I knew and liked Andrew Breitbart — but I consider to be a sewer: a hotbed of the sort of Trumpers who prize combat and winning over any sense of morality or ethics. They seem like perfect partners for the sort of scum we have learned Aaron Black to be. And when they have a common enemy — Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — it stands to reason that they might want to work together. It’s perfect!!

And DING DING DING go the alarm bells. I’m not saying it’s too perfect to be true. It actually all sounds very plausible. But when I read this story, a voice in the back of my head told me to tone down the outrage until we know more.

Brandon Darby denies it:

And he’s right: this is all according to a “source.” An anonymous “source.”

But here’s the thing. Even just based on the publicly available information, it’s clear that’s Matthew Boyle had ties to Aaron Black. As the POLITICO piece notes, Black was interviewed by Boyle on Boyle’s radio show on April 16, 2016. The post announcing this interview touted Black’s “unique willingness to engage with a non-friendly audience.”

In that interview, around 4:45 or so, Black touts the similarities between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, talking about how “they’re not being bought and paid for by corporate interests.” He waxes on about the “synergy” between Trump’s and Sanders’s campaigns. Now, from the O’Keefe videos, we know that Black was trying to disrupt Trump events. He’s not a fan of Donald Trump. So why is he talking up Trump on a radio show? The answer obviously lies in Hillary Clinton’s by now well-publicized (and obviously correct) calculation that Donald Trump would be the easiest candidate to beat. So, if you’re a Hillary operative, you talk up Trump . . . and you attack the other GOP candidates. And that’s what Black did on Boyle’s show.

Which is a nice segue to what is perhaps a more important question: how did Matthew Boyle and Aaron Black get so cozy?

Some answers lie in a February 9, 2016 post written by Boyle about an “anti-Rubio protester dressed like a robot” at a Rubio event. The gist of the post was that this innocent protester was just there at the rally, exercising his First Amendment rights, when the awful Rubio campaign guy came up and attacked Robot Guy, putting him in a headlock and being violent with him the way those awful Rubio types do, don’t you know.

Now, stay with me for just a moment. This is all about to make sense, I promise.

Boyle’s piece mocks the Rubio campaign guy’s defense that Robot Guy attacked him first:

“He was pushing me, almost pushed me over. I’m 76- years-old. And he went right against me and pushed me almost to the ground,” Hurst said.

When asked if it was the protester who started it, Hurst said: “Yes, of course.”

Video, which is making it way around the internet on YouTube, shows Hurst—who hasn’t been publicly identified before now—with his arms around the protester’s neck.

Wow. Matt Boyle was able to be the guy who identified the “attacker”! How did he get that information? The answer is related to the fact like Boyle was also able to exclusively identify Robot Guy . . . as Aaron Black:

Hurst, wearing a green jacket, grabbed the protester in a headlock and pulled him away from Sen. Rubio. “Why do you have your hands on me?” said the protester, whom Breitbart News can also reveal for the first time as progressive political activist Aaron Black, said to Hurst as Hurst manhandled him.

Well how about that!

“Yeah, it was because when you’re attacked like that—he just attacked me,” Hurst said when asked to explain why he engaged in a physical altercation with the robot-costumed Black. “We were right crowded together and he just almost knocked me down.”

In a separate exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Black said that the video proves Hurst’s account of events isn’t accurate.

Add it up. Boyle gets an exclusive interview with Black. Boyle is able to exclusively identify Black. How did that happen? Reasonable conclusion based on the facts: Boyle coordinated with Black.

And how did Boyle know the “attacker” in the green jacket was a Rubio campaign official? Reasonable conclusion based on the facts: Black knew who Hurst was, and targeted him from the get-go. And then, when it was all done, Black told Boyle who had “attacked” him.

Black discusses a video which supposedly shows Hurst lying and Black (the leftist rabble rouser) telling the truth:

“All I know is I felt hands around my neck—or something that felt like hands,” Black told Breitbart News.

Black added that the video proves Hurst’s claim that he started it isn’t true.

“No. The video doesn’t lie. It’s all on the video,” Black said when asked to respond to Hurst’s comments to Breitbart News. “It was not provoked at all. I was just trying to express my opinion, and that’s why we have a First Amendment right? We should all be able to express our opinion. This doesn’t have to get physical like that. That’s insane.”

Now, watch the video — knowing what you know about Aaron Black. Black is the guy in the robot suit with the light gray head covering. Hurst, the Rubio campaign official, is in a green jacket, to the left of Black at the beginning of the video, getting shoved by Black. Black, remember, is a paid Democrat partisan, who attends rallies for the express purpose of trying to incite violence on the part of his political enemies. Black clearly knows who Hurst is, and is targeting the 76-year-old Hurst. If you watch closely, you can see Black trying to push Hurst off balance at the very beginning of the video — and Hurst (in the green jacket) almost losing his footing about four to five seconds in. You have to watch the beginning few seconds of the video several times to see this — but it’s there.

On Twitter, I asked Darby, whom I like and consider to be a good guy, what was wrong about the POLITICO piece. As of this writing, his only response was to tweet: “Getting info from a source or openly and publicly interviewing someone isn’t ‘coordinating’ disruptions.” OK, but I don’t think Boyle sent Black to do the disruptions — but the article alleges that Black engaged in actions like “tipping [Breitbart] off about his stunts, exchanging raw video and coordinating coverage.” It’s a milder charge, but still a serious one. Now consider that editor Alex Marlow does not exactly deny any of this in his statement to POLITICO:

“Aaron Black reached out to Breitbart and then we covered this and multiple other stories on our website and on our radio show on Sirius XM Patriot Channel 125,” Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow told POLITICO in a statement. “Breitbart New Network is proud to work with sources from across the political spectrum to cover important and breaking news stories so that we may bring the most informative reporting to our readers. This type of reporting proves why Breitbart continues to have amazing growth with over 200 million monthly page views and 36 million monthly unique visitors. In addition, this month we launched an online store and radio show with Major League Superstar Curt Schilling.”

Not exactly a denial. And an update to the POLITICO story indicates that “Democracy Partners denied that Black worked directly with the Breitbart team.” I guess it depends on what the meaning of “directly” . . . is. But Democracy Partners all but acknowledges that they told Breitbart (and others) about their appearances in advance, and giddily covered the protests when directed at a Trump opponent:

Black, Democracy Partners said, “disseminated information about the whereabouts of demonstrations and rapid response events to media outlets.”

“The coalition demonstrated against all 17 of the Republican candidates,” the statement continued. “We engaged the media from across the political spectrum. When we organized events aimed at a Trump opponent, Breitbart was more than happy to spread the word.”

Of course they were. I don’t think the allegation is that Breitbart or Boyle sent Black to these demonstrations. It’s that they not only strongly touted the antics of a leftist dirty tricks operative, but coordinated with that operative and developed a close relationship with him, for the purpose of helping destroy Republican candidates that Breitbart and the Democrats both wanted destroyed.

Now: here’s the part that may actually get some traction in Big Media: guess who was in charge of when Boyle published his piece? That’s right: one Steve Bannon, now CEO of the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

So, in a way, when James O’Keefe alleged that this Democrat campaign of phony protests and inciting violence was tied to a presidential candidate, he may have been understating things.

Because there seem to be ties between these DNC operatives and Hillary Clinton, to be sure. But, with Steve Bannon now in a high-level position in Trump’s campaign, there may be ties between these DNC operatives and a high-level Trump campaign official as well.

I want to conduct a little hypothetical thought experiment with you. Imagine that you watch these O’Keefe videos and see Black, Koval, Creamer et al. bragging about their contrived and scripted protests and their efforts to goad Trumpers into violence. Then you learn that CNN had actually worked with these folks, and been tipped off when Black & Co. went to do a phony protest. CNN filmed it, a CNN correspondent mocked the elderly guy who was defending himself, and then CNN had the dirty trickster on an interview show.

And then the President of CNN became the CEO of Hillary’s campaign.

You’d be calling for a boycott of CNN. You’d be calling for the heads of Hillary’s campaign CEO and Hillary herself. You know you would.

How is this any different?

So, again: skepticism is the watchword of the day. But if even half the stuff in the POLITICO article turns out to be true — and there is plenty to suggest that it is — then there should be hell to pay.

UPDATE: I went to sleep listening to an interview that Breitbart’s Lee Strahanan did with Dustin Stockton, another Breitbart reporter who used Aaron Black as a “source.” The interview just corroborated my conclusions in this post. First, Breitbart is denying that they told Black what to do, and for the record, I’m willing to take that at face value and never alleged otherwise. But Stockton confirmed that he, Matt Boyle, and (according to him) several other Breitbart reporters regularly used Aaron Black as a source, for all kinds of stories. Stockton claimed that this occurred for Black’s protests at Trump rallies as well as at other GOP candidates’ rallies.

Crucially, however, nowhere did Stockton or Stranahan deny what I took to be the key specific allegations of Gold’s piece: that Black engaged in actions like “tipping [Breitbart] off about his stunts, exchanging raw video and coordinating coverage.” In fact, they admitted that Black tipped them off about his upcoming protests, and it seems reasonable to conclude that they coordinated coverage, in the sense of making sure that they were in the right place at the right time. As an example, it does not appear to be an accident that Breitbart was there when Black was shoving a Rubio campaign official, and inducing the official to engage in a physical altercation. They did not address whether they exchanged raw video as alleged by Gold’s source.

Stranahan and Stockton seemed to treat all this as a simple matter of using a source, and cackled (Stranahan literally described his own laugh in the interview as a “cackle”) at those criticizing, saying they were “hating the player.”

You know, because when Breitbart was busy spinning the actions of a Democrat operative as an innocent victim of a Rubio campaign official . . . they got a lot of clicks! Don’t hate the player! If you have a problem with any of this, you’re just jealous.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


ObamaCare Premiums to Skyrocket . . . Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:07 pm

CNN Money:

Obamacare premiums are set to skyrocket an average of 22% for the benchmark silver plan in 2017, according to a government report released Monday.

The price hike is the latest blow to Obamacare. Insurers are raising prices and downsizing their presence on the exchanges as they try to stem losses from sicker-than-anticipated customers. Enrollment for 2017 will be closely watched since insurers want to see younger and healthier consumers enroll.

Nobody could have predicted this . . . except anyone familiar with free-market economics.

Steven Den Beste, R.I.P.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:11 pm

Someone that most of us here respected and cared about has passed away: Steven Den Beste.

You can read something about Steven here. Because Steven was a commenter here over the years — something that I found very humbling — I thought that the best tribute I could write would be to republish his first and last comments here.

The first comment Den Beste left on this blog was on November 29, 2004 — nearly 12 years ago. To appreciate the comment, you need a bit of background. I had written a post slamming the New York Times for its view on judicial filibusters. (That week, filibusters helped the Democrats — so that week, they were against them. Ask them next week and they might say something different, depending on whether it promotes leftist policies.) In addition to failing to check out the context for quotes they used, NYT editors also offered this absurd opinion:

According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote. But in the “nuclear option,” Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority.

That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans – who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts – to want it resolved.

Den Beste responded by cutting right to the quick:

Article I, section 5 of the Constitution clearly says, “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…”

The courts don’t have jurisdiction. Any attempt to get the courts involved would be a clear violation of separation of powers.

The last comment that Steven Den Beste left on this blog had to be fished out of moderation by JVW because it contained some (quite appropriate, as you’ll see) profanity. This comment was left on August 18, 2016, on JVW’s post about Obama getting away with ignoring floods in Louisiana:

For liberals, including most of the MSM, getting Obama elected was the triumph of a lifetime. They need Obama to go down in history as a good president, so that some other minority (or woman) can get elected.

Remember all talk about him being “like a god”, a “light worker”, and suchlike. No one says anything like that any more.

The problem is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cover up the fact that the Obama presidency has been an unmitigated disaster in nearly every way. The big nightmare now for the left/MSM is that Obama will gain the reputation as being the worst president in US history, and that may mean the voters will shy away from minorites and women (unless they’re Republican).

People are starting to refer to him as a fool, a failure, a slacker.

The left/MSM can’t totally paper over all the failures and fuckups but they’re trying hard to paper over as much as they can.

You’ll be missed, sir.

P.S. Another person whom most of us respected rather less has also passed away: Tom Hayden. I have really only one thought about Hayden’s passing:

I would have liked to have read what Steven Den Beste had to say about it.

Lawmakers Come To The Aid Of Soldiers Being Forced To Pay Back Their Bonuses

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday I told you about how, as a result of a military screw-up, nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers who accepted signing bonuses a decade ago when there was a shortage of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, are now being forced by the Pentagon to pay back the enlistment bonuses.

It’s an outrageous story, and infuriating as hell that many combat veterans would be told they have to pay back money that the government gave them if they went and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well after the story drew lots of media attention, California lawmakers are now as outraged as the public. On my way home from work tonight, I heard Rep. Darrell Issa speak about the issue on a local radio show. He said that this demand for soldiers to pay back the bonuses will not only be stopped, but lawmakers will also be making sure that any soldier who has paid back the bonus in part, or in full, will be getting their money back. He sounded quite convincing. And he has already taken steps to stop the madness:


Further, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the practice “disgraceful,” and promised a full investigation:

“The Department of Defense should waive these repayments, and I will be requesting a full brief from Army and National Guard leadership,” McCarthy said in a statement. “The House will investigate these reports to ensure our soldiers are fully honored for their service.

“Our military heroes should not shoulder the burden of military recruiters’ faults from over a decade ago,” McCarthy said. “They should not owe for what was promised during a difficult time in our country.”

Democrats were also appalled:

“These service members — many of whom were sent into combat — are now being forced to make difficult and painful decisions to pay back thousands of dollars they never knew they owed,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “The solution to this ridiculous situation is an act of Congress.”

“I am appalled by the California National Guard’s effort to claw back bonuses and benefits improperly paid to service members 10 years ago,” Takano added.

As a reminder, there are several petitions that you can sign here and here.

I hope everyone contacts their Congressmen and women, and keeps the pressure on them to do right by these brave men and women, many who have been permanently injured in service to their country. I’m afraid if there isn’t constant pressure from the public, lawmakers may stop the collections but not restore the thousands of dollars veterans have already paid.

Oh, and for the record, President Obama, who is in California today and tomorrow to speak at a $100,000-per-person fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, as well as make an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, hasn’t said boo about this situation because, you know, Hollywood...


Unearthed Trump Quote from 2012: “I Don’t Believe” in Deporting Most Illegals

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

In an interview in 2012, Donald Trump said he did not believe in deporting illegal aliens who had been here for a long time and been productive — the sort of de facto amnesty he claimed to oppose in his primary campaign. The quote was unearthed by Andrew Kaczynski at CNN and appears to have been overlooked this entire campaign season. CNN:

Just four years ago, Donald Trump took a drastically different position on what is now his central issue: deporting undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Since he announced his candidacy last June, Trump has promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico and at various times said he would, as president, deport all or many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. However, in an June 2012 interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Trump said he didn’t believe in deporting undocumented immigrants who, he said, “had done a great job.”

Asked about his views on immigrant labor, Trump said, “You know my views on it and I’m not necessarily, I think I’m probably down the middle on that also. Because I also understand how, as an example, you have people in this country for 20 years, they’ve done a great job, they’ve done wonderfully, they’ve gone to school, they’ve gotten good marks, they’re productive — now we’re supposed to send them out of the country, I don’t believe in that, Michelle, and you understand that. I don’t believe in a lot things that are being said.”

Unless Donald Trump is saying that most illegals are not the good folks he describes here, he’s taking a position that most of them should not be deported.

The question is: does anybody care any more?

It is a measure of the way the race has developed that this will likely be greeted with a collective yawn. CNN has a video a the link that shows the tougher line Trump took during the primaries, saying flatly “they have to go” and speaking of a deportation force. “The good ones” would be allowed back, but first they would be deported. This is what he said. Trump voters were definitely duped in the primaries.

But the thing is, they will look you in the eye and tell you they weren’t. And Trump has known this ever since August, when his campaign floated a trial balloon of a softer approach on immigration, and his fans shrugged and said OK.

Let’s review some of the recent history. In August, it was suspected that Trump would be pivoting on immigration, based on comments he made at a town hall, and Big Media was buzzing with stories about a possible “softening.” For example, the L.A. Times reported on August 25:

Trump appeared to be test-driving a new, more moderate approach during a Fox News town hall this week. The idea, which sounded strikingly similar to those of his Republican primary rivals former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, would allow some immigrants to remain in the country as long as they had no criminal records and agreed to pay back taxes.

The Trumpers didn’t seem to care. Rush Limbaugh even told his listeners he had never believed Trump on immigration anyway — so, who cared if he was pivoting?

Ultimately, when Trump gave his immigration speech in Arizona on August 31, 2016, it was received as a reaffirmation of all his tough policy proposals. He did his level best to make it sound like he favored deporting everyone . . . in theory:

In a Trump administration all immigration laws will be enforced, will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But unlike this administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement. And ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs the way their jobs are supposed to be done.

Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country.

CNN covered the speech with an article headline: Trump on immigration: No amnesty, no pivot:

That idea that Donald Trump is softening his immigration policy: Not going to happen.

The Republican presidential nominee on Wednesday re-upped the harsh immigration rhetoric that electrified his primary campaign, vowing “no amnesty” for undocumented migrants living in the United States and promising to build a “beautiful” and “impenetrable” border wall that Mexico would pay for — hours after that country’s president vowed that it wouldn’t.

But the lead-up to the speech, in which the Trump camp was floating the idea of amnesty, or at least refusing to deport huge masses of people, revealed for Trump that his most ardent supporters don’t really care about this issue. (Or any issues. As long as Trump seems to embody a generalized notion of combat with the left, any particular issue can be sacrificed for The Greater Good — whatever that is.)

And, frankly, the idea that 2012- or 2013-era Trump would support amnesty is not much of a shock, given that he seemed to approve of the idea of amnesty in 2013 . . . in a tweet:

So the big CNN story is likely to have no effect. That’s our politics these days, folks. Giant contradictions in policy positions are meaningless.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Whoa: Clinton Crony Funded Political Campaign Of Wife Of FBI Official Who Oversaw Email Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

Alternate headline: “Hillary Clinton still corrupt.” (Indeed, the eyes-glazed-over effect of accurate headlines such as the one above in the area of political corruption will be the topic of a rant later in the post. In short: if you bothered to click into this post, you’re part of a disgustingly small elite that cares about political skulduggery.)

Remember Terry McAuliffe? Sure you do! And I’m sure you’re just shocked to learn that he acted as a bag man to pay off people sniffing around Hillary’s emails:

The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.

Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI.

The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort.

That damning indictment comes from the Wall Street Journal, from yesterday evening.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is introduced by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.  (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Above: Hillary Clinton and her bag man Terry McAuliffe

Back in May, Dan McLaughlin told us about the federal investigation into McAuliffe for possible campaign finance violations. As Dan said in that post:

McAuliffe, the former DNC Chairman, is of course best known as a longtime confidant of the Clintons and all-purpose bag man for their shadier ventures.

How utterly convenient it is that ol’ Terry McAuliffe would be the guy greasing the palms of the (wives of the) folks who later gave Hillary a pass on the emails?

Hillary defenders will no doubt argue that McCabe only assumed an oversight position after the political donations, and took steps to stay out of his wife’s campaign after his wife received the donation. Why, his wife’s campaign was even over once he assumed the oversight position! they will say.

That’s not good enough. The American people would naturally assume that, once Hillary Clinton’s longtime and well-known ally scratched the McCabes’ back, Hillary expected a back-scratch in return. That’s how it works, folks. And it’s that kind of crap, frankly, that fuels the anger that drives Donald Trump’s campaign.

McCabe should have formally recused himself from anything having to do with Hillary’s emails, after his wife benefited from the largesse of the Clinton crowd. The fact that he apparently doesn’t see the problem — well, that’s a big part of the problem.

AND NOW, A RANT: Stories about Hillary Clinton are stories about utter political corruption. Such stories are seemingly harder to follow than trashy tabloid stories about Donald Trump. Everybody can understand when a tacky 59-year-old talks about grabbing women by the p***y, or about how awesome it is to walk in on women naked as long as they are beauty-pageant gorgeous. But when a candidate’s long-time bag man starts paying off the spouse of a law enforcement official who later investigates the candidate for potential violations of federal crimes . . . well, people’s eyes go out of focus, from boredom. Something something campaign contributions whaaa? says the average voter. Tell me more about that p***y-grabbing!

I don’t mean to minimize boasting about sexual assault. But I also think we should not minimize political corruption — even if it’s not as sexy.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Sunday Night Music: Long Ryders: Lights of Downtown (Acoustic)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 pm

A new version of a classic song. Worth your time.

Court Overturns Refugee’s Conviction for Raping 10-Year-Old Boy, Saying . . . Maybe He Consented!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:00 pm

Why do people think throwing the doors open to tens of thousands of Muslim refugees without adequate screening might be a problem? Exhibit A:

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

An appeal court accepted the defence lawyer’s claim that the lower court had not done enough to ascertain whether or not the rapist had realised the schoolboy was saying no.

The attacker, identified as 20-year-old Iraqi migrant Amir A., had been treated to a trip to the Theresienbad pool in December 2015 as part of the integration process.

He had also been provided with a 15-year-old helper and translator who was supposedly teaching him how to integrate into life in Vienna.

At the pool, Amir A. dragged the schoolboy, aged ten, into the changing rooms where he locked the door and violently sexually assaulted him, leaving him in need of urgent treatment at a local children’s hospital. The boy is still plagued by massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

. . . .

Amir A., who had worked in Iraq as a taxi driver, was still clothed in swimwear when handcuffed. He confessed to the rape, saying he knew it was wrong but did it anyway because it was a “sexual emergency” as he did not had sex for four months.

The Sunday Express reports how severe the child’s injuries were:

The child suffered severe anal injuries which had to be treated at a local children’s hospital, and is still plagued by serious post-traumatic stress disorder.

This case is so outlandish, it makes you wonder how it can really be happening. However, this is not an isolated incident; the huge influx of Muslim refugees into Europe from war-torn parts of the Arab world has already led to sexual assaults and efforts to mainstream deviant behavior, so as not to denigrate the refugees. This is not only dangerous; it’s also condescending. Leftists are not likely to be concerned with either problem, though.

If there’s any story that explains why some people (not me) want to vote Trump, it’s stories like this.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Video: Saturday Night Live Does the Third Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:03 pm

Early on in this clip, they make a crack to this effect: you may not want to watch this debate…but hey, you’ve come this far.

That’s kind of how I feel about this clip. It may not be as good as the others, but neither was the third debate — and you watched that, right?

(Oh, you didn’t? Well…)

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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