Patterico's Pontifications

7/1/2016

AG Lynch – Bill Clinton Meeting Follow-Up

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

Two days ago, we learned about an allegedly unplanned meeting between AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix. The appearance of impropriety and massive conflict of interest has naturally caused an uproar given that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is currently the subject of an official FBI investigation along with the Clinton Foundation, in which Bill Clinton is a key player:

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Since then, several important things have occurred. I’m just going to tick off what has taken place in the space of a few days.

First, according to the reporter who broke the story, Christopher Sign of ABC 15 in Phoenix, the F.B.I. gave unusual orders to those in the vicinity of the impromptu meeting:

“The former president steps into her plane. They then speak for 30 minutes privately. The FBI there on the tarmac instructing everybody around ‘no photos, no pictures, no cell phones.’”

Since when are photos of a former president off limits? Especially when that ex-president is Bill Clinton?

Second, after learning about the now-infamous meeting, Judicial Watch filed an official ethics complaint requesting an investigation into the meeting:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President William J. Clinton on board a parked private plane on the west side of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona on June 29, 2016, according to multiple press reports.

President Clinton is the spouse of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former Secretary of State, who is purportedly the subject of a national security crime investigation pertaining to the mishandling of national defense information processed by Mrs. Clinton’s personal server during her tenure as secretary.

Additionally, there are press reports that a federal public corruption investigation is on-going concerning conflicts of interest and abuse of official government office involving the financial “commitments” to the Clinton Foundation, speaking fees for President Clinton and former Secretary Clinton’s official acts. President Clinton may be a target of that investigation.

Attorney General Lynch’s meeting with President Clinton creates the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment. Attorney General Lynch’s decision to breach the well-defined ethical standards of the Department of Justice and the American legal profession is an outrageous abuse of the public’s trust. Her conduct and statements undermine confidence in her ability to objectively investigate and prosecute possible violations of law associated with President Clinton and Secretary Clinton. This incident undermines the public’s faith in the fair administration of justice. Simply stated, Attorney General Lynch’s June 29, 2016 meeting with former President Clinton creates the broad public impression that “the fix is in.”

Judicial Watch requests your immediate and thorough investigation of the facts, circumstances, and appearances of ethical, regulatory and legal violations by Attorney General Lynch in connection with her meeting with former President William J. Clinton – and that you report your findings and recommendations to the American public.

Third, according to the New York Times, which for some mysterious reason ignored the Lynch-Clinton story for several days, a Justice Dept. official claims that Lynch will announce later today that she will accept the F.B.I. recommendation:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch plans to announce on Friday that she will accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, a Justice Department official said. Her decision removes the possibility that a political appointee will overrule investigators in the case.

The Justice Department had been moving toward such an arrangement for months — officials said in April that it was being considered — but a private meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton this week set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable.

Republicans said the meeting, which took place at the Phoenix airport, had compromised the independence of the investigation as the F.B.I. was winding it down. Some called for Ms. Lynch to recuse herself, but she did not take herself off the case — one that could influence a presidential election.

Do you believe that Lynch will accept whatever recommendation is made?

She’s keeping her options open, just in case…

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ADDED: I missed this important point from J. Christian Adams:

Many won’t believe Lynch and Clinton only discussed grandkids and golf in her cozy jet. But I do.

That’s all they needed to discuss for Bill to interfere with a criminal prosecution. Sophisticated insiders don’t need to use clumsy and explicit language. Merely having the tarmac summit interferes with the investigation, even if golf and grandkids were the only topics discussed.

The tarmac summit sent a signal. It is a signal to all of the hardworking FBI agents who have the goods on Hillary.

The attorney general has made it clear what team she is on. The attorney general isn’t on the side of justice. She’s on the Democratic Party team.

This is the unspoken message from Lynch to all of the FBI agents on the case and to all the front-line lawyers at the Justice Department:

When you send your recommendation to refer Hillary’s case to the grand jury, you had better realize your burden to convince me I should sign off on a grand jury request is higher than you thought. These are my friends.

Sounds about right.

–Dana

6/30/2016

A Few Trump Items

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:54 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times is reporting that at least 20 pages in a Trump Institute real estate seminar manual were plagiarized :

Trump Institute copyrighted its publication, each page emblazoned with “Billionaire’s Road Map to Success,” and it distributed the materials to those who attended the seminar.

Yet much of the handbook’s contents were lifted without attribution from an obscure how-to guide published by Success magazine in 1995 called “Real Estate Mastery System.”

At least 20 pages of the Trump Institute book were copied entirely or in large part from “Real Estate Mastery System.” Even some of it’s hypothetical scenarios – “Seller A is asking $80,000 for a single-family residence” – were repeated verbatim.

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It should be noted, according to the report, that while Trump owned 93% of Trump University, the Trump Institute was owned and operated by get-rich-quick marketing couple, Irene and Mike Milin. Due to complaints and lawsuits filed against them, the sketchy couple received an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Yet, as the NYT points out, Trump “lent his name, and his credibility to a seminar business he did not own, which was branded the Trump Institute”. People were charged $2,000 to hear Trump’s – not the Milin’s – “wealth-creating secrets” at these seminars.

Trump’s lawyer, Alan Garten, responded to the report, telling the NYT that Trump “obviously” did not know about the plagiarism, and then defended the program:

I stand by the curriculum that was taught at both Trump University and Trump Institute.

Also, the latest Rasumussen National Poll came out with a turn of good polling news for Trump. He now has a 4-point lead over Hillary Clinton:

Last week at this time, it was Clinton 44%, Trump 39%. This is Trump’s highest level of support in Rasmussen Reports’ matchups with Clinton since last October. His support has been hovering around the 40% mark since April, but it remains to be seen whether he’s just having a good week or this actually represents a real move forward among voters.

Trump now earns 75% support among his fellow Republicans and picks up 14% of the Democratic vote. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Democrats like Clinton, as do 10% of GOP voters.

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And finally, this is just bizarre. Donald Trump spoke before a crowd in Manchester, NH today. After ticking off manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico and China, and discussing the WTO, NAFTA, TPP and trade deficits, Trump made the following statement (while pointing up at a plane which can be heard):

Mexico, and I respect Mexico, I respect their leaders. What they’ve done to us is incredible. Their leaders are so much smarter, so much sharper, and it’s incredible. In fact, that could be a Mexican plane up there, they’re getting ready to attack.

You can watch the full speech here (for context, start at the 3:00 minute mark).

And if all of this isn’t enough for you, you can always go here to read about the crazy naked man in Times Square screaming for Donald Trump, among others.

–Dana

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Reminds Viewers Why MSM Is Correctly Viewed With Disdain

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is just stunning. During an “interview,” CNN advocacy journalist Christiane Amanpour can be seen attempting to shove her partisan narrative down the throat of Brexit Leave campaigner and conservative Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan in a heated exchange. Amanpour’s vigorous bias demonstrates in 9 short minutes precisely why the MSM is not to be trusted with providing objective reporting. Throughout the “interview,” Hannan remains composed in spite of Amanpour’s shameful mischaracterizion of his positions and insulting the British majority (52%) who voted in favor of leaving the EU. Further, Hannan admirably demonstrates how to effectively (and fiercely) push back when being smeared by a dishonest “journalist”.

(I was going to provide a blow-by-blow of the interview, but that would not do it justice. It must be watched in its instructive entirety.)

–Dana

6/29/2016

Liberal Fascism, Parts Umptillion and One (and Two) (and Three)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:05 pm

Part One:

Employers and employees in Washington D.C. are legally prohibited from referring to a transgender employee or coworker by the “wrong” pronouns or asking “personal questions” about their gender identity, according to the city’s Office of Human Rights (OHR).

OHR published a best practices guide for “valuing transgender applicants and employees” earlier this month with a list of “behaviors by supervisors or coworkers [that] may be considered unlawful harassment or a hostile work environment.”

One of the listed prohibited behaviors is: “Deliberately misusing a person’s preferred name or pronoun.”

. . . .

The “best practices” guide featues a chart on “gender and gender-neutral pronouns” that includes the gender-neutral pronoun “ze.” The chart includes example phrases using the gender-neutral pronoun, such as “Ze smiled,” “I met zir,” “Zir bike” and “Ze is zirself.”

You vill fall een line, kind zir!

Part Two:

Democratic operatives responsible for creating their party’s platform this year have unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies who disagree with Democrats on global warming science.

A panel of Democrats voted Friday to approve a final draft of the party’s platform to promote “Progressive Democratic Values,” which apparently includes investigating energy companies who “misled” shareholders about global warming.

First come the frivolous lawsuits (a la Mark Steyn), and then come the criminal prosecutions. For speaking unapproved things.

Part Three:

I spent part of the past week watching a past troll on this blog (hi, Timmah!) tell people on Twitter that a government employee (me) was advocating illegal and unconstitutional behavior (secession for Texas). No, it won’t make me stop. No, I won’t toe the extremist lefty line on global warming out of fear of repercussions. No, I won’t stop advocating secession because people imply I should be fired for it.

But that is the goal. Making us shut up. And if we don’t? Bring on the criminal prosecutions! Contact the employers! Make the Bad Opinions go bye bye!

With all due respect to my friends on the left, this sort of fascism is more prevalent on the left. Shouting people down at universities is exclusively a feature of the left. Y’all have a real problem. Stop whining about the criticism and do something to solve it.

When You’ve Lost Chris Matthews…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

If mainstream journalists reporting on Benghazi had been relentless in demanding answers (that added up) from every official involved in this debacle instead of providing them cover in order to receive favor, or let partisanship get in the way, there’s a pretty good chance we wouldn’t still be gagging on the bullshit that Hillary Clinton and President Obama have been allowed to ram down our throats.

(At first I was struck by Becerra’s apparent lack of concern that the Commander in Chief gave an order and it was not followed, but then I remembered that Rep. Xavier Becerra is Congress’ highest ranking Latino – and, according to some reports, has been named as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton.)

–Dana

No Siree, No Conflict of Interest Here!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Democrats. Given they believe themselves to be above the law, why would they be the least bit concerned about any conflict of interest or appearance of professional impropriety? I mean, who would hold them accountable? The administration? The media? Their party? Republicans?? Oh, please.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former president Bill Clinton on a private plane parked on the tarmac of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport Tuesday.

A source tipped off local Phoenix affiliate ABC15 to the meeting. Clinton was reportedly notified that Lynch would be landing in Phoenix soon and waited in order to meet her. The entire meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

When ABC15 asked Lynch about the meeting Tuesday afternoon during a press conference later in the day, she confirmed that it had happened. “Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix,” she told the reporter.

Lynch went on to say that she and Bill Clinton did not discuss anything having to do with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, sending and receiving classified email, or telling Big Fat Lies to the American people. (Okay, maybe she didn’t word it quite that way…)

However, considering that Hillary Clinton is both the Democratic presidential nominee and subject of an ongoing official “security inquiry” FBI investigation, the conflict of interest is stunning, and the appearance of impropriety couldn’t scream No Worries, We’ve Got The Future President’s Back any louder.

Oh. And there’s this: The private meeting between Clinton and Lynch took place just hours before the release of yesterday’s damning Benghazi Report.

–Dana

Trump Promises to Give to Charity, Gives Almost Nothing

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Voters face a stark choice in November, between a dishonest cretin and another dishonest cretin:

Trump has a long-standing habit of promising to give to charity. But Trump’s follow-through on those promises was middling — even at the beginning, in his early days as a national celebrity.

In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.

In recent years, Trump’s ­follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.

The Post contacted 188 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.

The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City.

Also this:

Y’all are in the middle of a social experiment to see how big a cretin can be and still garner your support. The dial just keeps getting turned to the right, and meanwhile the GOP and the Democrats are both getting more fully on board with their chosen cretin, every day.

6/28/2016

That Time That Tim Blair and Iowahawk Dogpiled on a Hapless British Academic

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:00 pm

[guest post by JVW]

[EDIT: Well, how gauche of me. His name is spelt — another Britishism there — “Whyman” not “Wyman.” Corrections added. My bad. – JVW]

In the continuing coverage of the aftermath of last week’s Brexit vote, the redoutable Aussie wag Tim Blair calls attention to one Tom Whyman, a 27-year-old lecturer in philosophy at Britain’s University of Essex who was given space in last Sunday’s New York Times to — to — well, I’m not exactly sure what point Tom Whyman, PhD, is actually trying to get across.

His main complaint seems to be that the renumeration for his academic position doesn’t allow him the luxury of living on his own year-round in Colchester, the town in which his job is located, let alone afford him the glamorous life of a man-about-town in London (a mere 107 kilometer daily commute away), which should be the reward bestowed upon him commensurate with his lofty credential. Dr. Whyman thus finds himself forced to live once again with his parents in Arlesford during the summer breaks, directionally opposite from London to Colchester, a troubling 210 km journey to the warm embrace of the faculty lounge. And it’s not just his forced existence in his home town that has the young academic all in a bother, it’s the face that Alseford represents his “personal hell.” Let’s let Tim Blair fisk Tom Whyman’s musings which he does so magnificently, focusing intently on the good doctor’s apparent dependence upon public transportation:

[Whyman] We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live …

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling.

[Blair] Sure you’re not thinking of Rotherham, mate?

[. . . ]

[Whyman] Poor public transportation makes leaving impossible in a practical, everyday sense – at least if you can’t drive.

[Blair] Learn how to drive, then. Problem solved.

[Whyman] The town thwarts any ambitions that stretch beyond its borders. From what I can tell, a young person from Alresford, forced to move back in with his parents after college, will typically find himself unable to get work that is not based in Alresford.

[Blair] That whole “learning how to drive” thing can be extremely helpful.

[Whyman] And it is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let’s call it “Alresfordism.” It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.

[Blair] For the love of God, is there nobody in Britain who can teach this idiot how to operate a steering wheel and a couple of pedals?

Young Dr. Whyman ties this into the pro-Brexit vote being the manifestation of this “ideology of smallness” that sought to clip the wings of the more cosmopolitan — dare we say it, progressive? — urbanites who have the proper mindset to understand how empty and pointless are such things as a tradition of home and hearth. Do read the rest of Blair’s take-down of this poor, callow kid who is way in over his head on, it would seem, just about everything. And if that wasn’t fun enough, our own estimable wit from flyover country, David Burge (who blogs, though not so much anymore, as Iowahawk) set his many fans loose on Twitter to provide their reactions:

Here are a couple of the best responses from some wry wit going by the Twitter name “Mr. Whiskers”:

It’s instructive, yet not surprising, to see the United Kingdom with the same problem of over-credentialed yet under-employed millennials that we face in this country. No doubt Tom Whyman was convinced at some point that pursuing a PhD in philosophy (I always liked the idea of a Doctor of Philosophy of Philosophy, or in the more elegant Latin, Philosophiae Doctor Philosophiae) would lead to a nice tenure-track position at a reputable university, and that once he received tenure it would be a safe sinecure from which he could hector us dull vulgarians on the virtues of his academic Marxism and cultural cosmopolitanism. I always wonder at what point during their studies as they are memorizing for rote recitation the tortured logic of Foucault and Marcuse it dawns upon these budding intellectuals that there are a whole lot more people pursuing the credential than there are jobs requiring that credential. One obvious remedy to this would be if the U.K. simply stopped encouraging or even allowing so many students to study for advanced degrees, but it seems that the academic establishment in Britain is every bit as entrenched in its rent-seeking as their colleagues here in the United States.

I wish Dr. Whyman well, but he might at the very least want to consider learning how to drive.

– JVW

3 Suicide Bombers Attack Ataturk Airport In Istanbul

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It is now being reported that three suicide bombers attacked the Ataturk airport in Istanbul. Reports are early yet, so they’re likely to change, but at this time, here is what the Washington Post is reporting:

Three attackers with suicide vests detonated their explosives at the entrance of Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, killing at least 28 people and wounding 60 more, Turkish officials said Tuesday night.

The attack is likely to raise tensions in Turkey, which has been the target of multiple attacks by militants in recent months. Istanbul’s airport is one of the busiest in the world, but the tourism industry here has been crippled by the country’s recent violence.

Police manning a checkpoint at the airport’s international terminal shot at the attackers as they approached, a Turkish official said. The attackers then detonated their bombs and were also killed.

The majority of the casualties are Turkish citizens, “but there are foreign nationals” both killed and wounded, the official said.

US flights have been suspended.

Although no one has officially claimed responsibility, there is this:

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told NBC News the Istanbul attack “fits the ISIS profile, not PKK.”

“There are only two groups capable of carrying out such a large-scale attack. This does not fit the PKK profile, they go after Turkish targets, not international targets,” the official said.

Another senior U.S. intelligence official said the attack fits ISIS, adding that “our long summer of discontent has just begun.”

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–Dana

Court of Appeals Judge: The Constitution Is Old School, Don’t Waste Your Time

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:52 pm

[guest by Dana]

At least there’s no question about where Judge Richard Posner stands:

And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today. David Strauss is right: The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.

In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.

I get the impression that the Constitution is being viewed as little more than a pesky, antiquated and unnecessary hindrance to power that must be shrugged off. How ironic when you consider the vast number of Americans who respect the Constitution and study it themselves because they are concerned about the rule of law as well as potential abuse and overreach of the courts and the state and yet, be reminded that those whose job entails rendering decisions that actually impact the lives of Americans in profound ways, don’t necessarily hold the document and its contents with the same level of regard and respect.

Ironically, even Posner had to have sworn a certain oath when appointed to the bench:

I … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as … under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.

This clearly explains why Posner’s view is so problematic:

The Constitution isn’t the most magnificent governmental document in history because the founders were clairvoyant about technological development or evolution of culture. It’s magnificent because it is based on eternal principles, understanding of unchanging human nature. The Federalist Papers make virtually no mention of the technology of the eighteenth century, but they are replete with references to historic republics, human nature, and the necessity of local governance versus distant bureaucracy.

The Constitution protects our freedoms because, first, it assumes that our freedoms do not spring from government; second, because it assumes that people are vain and ambitious; and third, because it assumes that a government handed over to people, unchecked, will result in tyranny.

Tyranny. Absolutely. The writers of the Constitution may not have had much foresight into 21st century technology and culture, but what they did know was that human nature never changes, and that the natural man has an inherent thirst for power. That has never changed nor is it likely to. While everything around us might change over time, man doesn’t. For better or worse.

The Constitution was created to stop oligarchs like Posner from ruling over us by deeming himself a higher moral authority than the people based on his personal value system. But that’s precisely why the left hates the Constitution: it’s an obstacle to their rule.

Interestingly, Posner, has been suggested as a possible replacement for the late Justice Scalia:

He is respected by judges, law professors and lawyers alike. He is the modern “Albert Einstein” of American law, and it has always been an embarrassment to the legal system that he is not a member of the Supreme Court. Imagine the NBA Hall of Fame without Michael Jordan: Richard Posner is the Michael Jordan of Law.

Three additional factors are important in supporting Posner’s selection. The judge is not a moderate but an iconoclast, with unique positions that neither political party fully supports: He supports same-sex marriage, is a conservative on economic matters, opposes the war on drugs, minimizes privacy and is famous for undertaking economic analysis of many issues. Everybody agrees with him sometimes and almost no one all the time.

Second, Posner is already 77 and is unlikely to serve for many decades given his age. The next President could conceivably name Posner’s successor.

Finally, and most importantly, the idea that one of the leading lights of law worldwide is a Supreme Court justice ought to make anyone who cares about the high court and the law proud to be an American.

Sure. Whatever. But, I say, let’s get real about this:

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–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: In my ideal world, this kind of talk would get a judge impeached and removed. And no, I am not joking.

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