Showing posts with label Hot Air. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hot Air. Show all posts

Friday, September 4, 2015

[VIDEO] CNN: Aide’s Fifth Amendment declaration sure makes the Hillary server fiasco look criminal, huh?

You think? CNN’s Elise Labott noted yesterday that Bryan Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth rather than testify before Congress — and even, as it turns out, cooperating with the FBI — makes it appear that the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign aide that set up her secret server is afraid of criminal charges in the scandal.  Team Hillary says it urged everyone to cooperate with investigators and profess to be mystified as to why anyone would worry about an indictment, but that spin isn’t selling:

Michael Isikoff first reported on Pagliano’s refusal to cooperate with any part of the probe. It also sets up a potential indicator of just how serious this investigation will get. The one way around a Fifth Amendment claim is immunity, which would mean that “extremely serious” FBI investigators will have convinced Department of Justice prosecutors to get “extremely serious,” too:
The former aide to Hillary Clinton who helped set up and maintain her private email server has declined to talk to the FBI and the State Department inspector general’s office, as well as a congressional committee, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to Yahoo News.
The move by Bryan Pagliano, who served on Clinton’s 2008 campaign and later as a technology officer in the State Department, to decline to cooperate in two federal probes considerably raises the stakes in the Clinton email investigation, the sources said. It confronts the Justice Department with a decision about whether to grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony — a move that could be taken only were the department to escalate the probe into a full-scale criminal investigation, the sources said.
Former federal prosecutor Joseph DiGenova tells McClatchy that this may force the DoJ into empaneling a grand jury, a move with dire political and legal consequences for Hillary Clinton and her aides:
One former Republican U.S. attorney predicted Thursday that the development will compel the Justice Department to set aside the FBI’s limited inquiry into whether Clinton’s emails breached national security, empanel a federal grand jury and conduct a criminal investigation.
“Obviously, if he’s not going to cooperate, all of these people who were on her email are all going to get subpoenas now,” Joseph diGenova said. “It is fairly abundant that the setting up of the server – unencrypted, without State Department input – was done partially surreptitiously. And this gentleman who was part of that process could be criminally exposed for violating the espionage statutes, especially for the grossly negligent handling of classified information, which is a 10-year felony.” …
As U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1987, diGenova prosecuted Israeli spy Daniel Pollard. He said he still has a security clearance above top secret because he represents clients in national security cases.
“When people like this little guy start taking the fifth,” diGenova said, “it means that a lot of other people along the way are going to do the same thing. This happened because she wanted to have an unencrypted server to protect her privacy, and in the course of doing that, she compromised national security information for four years, whether she wants to admit it or not.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mine owner tried to stop EPA from drilling, was threatened with fines

Hey, remember that time when the EPA blew a hole in the side of an abandoned mine and flooded the surrounding river basin with millions of gallons of toxic sludge? Ah… good times, my friends. At the time we wondered if they were going to fine themselves for all of the ecological damage they caused. Well, no such luck, natch. But there were some fines discussed. They came up in conversation when the mine owner tried to keep them from messing around with site. Todd Hennis had some experience with the EPA in the past and they had caused some similar leaks at another property of his. This time he told them he didn’t want them in there messing around, but they made their position clear. (Washington Examiner)
Mr. Hennis said he opposed having the EPA investigate leakage from the inactive mine near Silverton, Colorado, because he had tangled with the agency in previous years over its work at another mine he owns in Leadville, Colorado.
“I said, ‘No, I don’t want you on my land out of fear that you will create additional pollution like you did in Leadville,’” Mr. Hennis told Colorado “They said, ‘If you don’t give us access within four days, we will fine you $35,000 a day.’”
The EPA has admitted that its agents accidentally unleashed the acidic flood, which has since contaminated the San Juan River in New Mexico and seeped into Lake Powell in Utah, albeit in very low concentrations.
The Interior Department and the EPA’s Office of Inspector General are investigating the circumstances leading up to the accident, while at least two House committees are also expected to hold hearings on the spill.
It turns out that Watchdog Colorado was all over this earlier in the week and the story seems to check out. There was a dump of a significant amount of toxic chemicals back in 2005 and it was indeed another of Mr. Hennis’s properties.
But the EPA escaped public wrath in 2005 when it secretly dumped up to 15,000 tons of poisonous waste into another mine 124 miles away. That dump – containing arsenic, lead and other materials – materialized in runoff in the town of Leadville, said Todd Hennis, who owns both mines along with numerous others.
“If a private company had done this, they would’ve been fined out of existence,” Hennis said. “I have been battling the EPA for 10 years and they have done nothing but create pollution. About 20 percent (of Silverton residents) think it’s on purpose so they can declare the whole area a Superfund site.”
If Mr. Hennis is correct, the earlier incident was far more egregious. The EPA had collected large quantities of sludge and dumped it down a shaft in the New Mikado mine without telling Hennis that they were doing it. The chemicals later leached into the local water supply. So is somebody going to investigate precisely what these EPA characters have been up to out there in the mountains? Senator John McCain has called for an investigation, but even if they do find that some serious skulduggery has been going on, what do they do after that? I mean, who do we normally call to investigate an environmental disaster and determine what damages, if any, are due? We call the EPA. Are we going to have them investigate themselves?
What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dems start to face reality: Hillary is a terrible candidate

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2015, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
We’ve been pointing that out for months, but Democrats can be forgiven for not taking our word for it. They may not be forgiven for putting all of their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket, though, after months of watching the presumed nominee proving that her fumble of a certain nomination in 2008 was no fluke. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza hears from Democratsthat they’ve begun to see Hillary as an albatross, but with no other options on the horizon, they’re lost as to how to handle it:
Increasingly, Democrats — privately, of course — have begun to wonder whether the problem is not the campaign but the candidate.
“She has always been awkward and uninspiring on the stump,” said one senior Democratic consultant granted anonymity to candidly assess Clinton’s candidacy. “Hillary has Bill’s baggage and now her own as secretary of state — without Bill’s personality, eloquence or warmth.”
That same consultant added that he expected Clinton to easily win the Democratic nomination despite her weaknesses. “None of her primary opponents this time are Obama,” the consultant said. “Each lacks the skills, message and charisma to derail this train unless she implodes.”
But. “The general [election] is another question.”
The latest round of hand-wringing got an adrenaline-panic boost after Democrats watchedHillary’s attempt at stand-up comedy in Iowa. Making cracks about disappearing messages turned out not to be a winner, not even among the cheering sections:
That sentiment was echoed repeatedly in a series of conversations I had over the past few days with Democratic strategists and consultants not aligned with Clinton or her campaign. And it’s evident anecdotally as well. Clinton’s decision to make light of her e-mail problems — she joked that she liked Snapchat because the messages disappear automatically — during a speech at a Democratic event in Iowa over the weekend rubbed lots of people in the party the wrong way.
“The combination of messy facts, messy campaign operation and an awkward candidate reading terrible lines or worse jokes from a prompter is very scary,” admitted one unaligned senior Democratic operative. 
Apparently, none of the Democrats interviewed by Cillizza see Bernie Sanders as a viable option. Why not? He’s pulling massive crowds, not too dissimilar to Barack Obama eight years ago when Hillary tried this the first time. Presumably, they see the dangers of offering a declared socialist as the party’s standard-bearer without any of the mitigating rhetorical and demographic advantages that Obama brought to the party in 2007-8. Sanders might be drawing crowds now, but those crowds are not likely to change election outcomes — and Sanders’ hard-Left ideology will almost certainly lose voters in the middle.
That leaves Democrats with few options, but they’d better not look to Obama administration officials for a rescue. The latest developments from the State Department on Philippe Reines’ e-mails makes it clear that Hillary is not the alpha and omega of cover-ups in this administration,as I argue in my column today for The Week:
This is a really big deal. Until now, the transparency and honesty issue has focused solely on Hillary Clinton. However, by early 2013, Clinton had left the State Department. John Kerry had taken over as secretary of state. If the lack of transparency was limited to the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s direction, then why did it continue under Kerry — and in such an obviously clumsy way?
It is entirely possible, and frankly likely, that the lack of transparency didn’t start and end with Hillary Clinton, although she may have pushed it to the point of damaging national security. Though liberals are loathe to admit it, the Obama administration has too often suppressed transparency, be it the Department of Justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal or the IRS or now the State Department.
And because of that, Clinton’s scandal could stick to the two men getting the most mention as possible emergency replacements for her in the Democratic primary. John Kerry’s State Department seemed perfectly willing to hide Clinton’s potential issues from public oversight. How could he take the 2016 mantle from her? And if Joe Biden ran for president, the argument for his candidacy would explicitly rest on continuity from the Obama years — years in which those in power tried to manipulate courts and avoid legitimate oversight.
If this scandal gets any worse, Democrats may have no one left to rescue them from a disaster of their own making.
After the release of the video from this exchange with Black Lives Matter activists, expect that panic to increase exponentially.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NLRB boots idea of unionized college atheletes

When an NLRB director in Illinois made the decision last year to allow student athletes at Northwestern University to organize as a union it raised a lot of eyebrows. (How does one organize the labor of people who don’t get paid?) But that question has now been effectively scrapped as the full NLRB has said no to the proposal.
The National Labor Relations Board on Monday overturned a historic ruling that gave Northwestern University football players the go-head to form the nation’s first college athletes’ union, saying the prospect of union and non-union teams could throw off the competitive balance in college football.
The decision throws out a March 2014 ruling by a regional NLRB director in Chicago who said that college the football players are effectively school employees and entitled to organize. Monday’s decision did not directly address the question of whether football players are employees.
The labor dispute goes to the heart of American college sports, where universities and conferences reap billions of dollars, mostly through broadcast contracts, by relying on amateurs who are not paid. In other countries, college sports are small-time club affairs, while elite youth athletes often turn pro as teens.
From the beginning of this brouhaha I’ve felt that this was a solution in search of a problem. It seems to me that we either have to jointly decide that college athletes are amateurs or they are professionals. It’s a distinction which applies outside of colleges as well, and you can still compete in other sports at the highest levels while retaining amateur status. (The US Open in golf, for example. Also, almost all boxers start out as amateurs for a while before they can take their first professional fight.) If they are amateurs then they need to put in their time until they can turn pro. But if we are to treat college athletes as professionals who are owed some sort of compensation – particularly the football and basketball players – then the entire idea of this being a “side activity” in support of their education pretty much goes out the window.
But at the same time, it’s getting rather hard to ignore the hypocrisy inherent in the system. We’ve seen far too many stories about student athletes who graduate and receive a degree and some of them can barely read. This is something of an embarrassment for those who wind up in the NBA or the NFL, but it’s an absolute disaster for the kids who can’t make the cut and find themselves out on the streets with a sheepskin, but no skills and no ability to get a decent job outside of sports. Still, it seems like setting them up with some cash while supposedly being amateurs working on their studies compounds the problem rather than confronting it.
One last point to note is the reaction of the NLRB themselves. If they say no to unionizing somebody… it must be a really bad idea.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are liberal city centers dying off politically?

It’s a given in American politics that urban centers are essentially Democrat strongholds. There is no point in Republicans or conservatives competing there because you’re simply not going to gain any votes or find any agreement on key policy points. This can be attributed to both economic and demographic factors. The low income urban communities are predominantly composed of minority voters and they stand with the Democrats in numbers which are too daunting to contemplate. The majority of the wealthy tend toward the limosene liberal crowd who can afford destructive taxes and have the leisure time available to dictate proper life choices to others no matter how they live their own lives. (Be sure to take a limo or a private jet to your next climate change conference.)
But is this changing? Joel Kotkin at Real Clear Politics looks at the numbers and finds that while urban population centers are still large, they are not growing in relation to the exurbs and rural areas, and they’re also not turning out to vote in the same numbers as they did in the heyday of the Democrats.
This urban economy has created many of the most unequal places  in the country. At the top are the rich and super-affluent who have rediscovered the blessings of urbanity, followed by a large cadre of young and middle-aged professionals, many of them childless. Often ignored, except after sensationalized police shootings, is a vast impoverished class that has become ever-more concentrated in particular neighborhoods. During the first decade of the current millennium, neighborhoods with entrenchedurban poverty actually grew, increasing in numbers from 1,100 to 3,100. In population, they grew from 2 million to 4 million.Some 80 percent of all population growth in American cities, since 2000, notes demographerWendell Cox, came from these poorer people, many of them recent immigrants.
Such social imbalances are not, as is the favored term among the trendy, sustainable. We appear to be creating the conditions for a new wave of violent crime on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. Along with poverty,public disorderlinessgang activityhomelessness and homicides are on the rise in many American core cities, including Baltimore,  Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York. Racial tensions, particularly with the police, have worsened. So even as left-leaning politicians try to rein in police, recent IRS data in Chicago reveals, the middle class appears to once again be leaving for suburban and other locales.
When Democrats begin looking at these types of numbers in a serious fashion they must be asking a question which conservatives have been pondering for some time. Who has been running things in the cities for decades now? The Democrats. And how’s that working out for you? Crime rates in the cities have been – and remain – epic. You can try to blame vast social conflict on the police if you like, but the fact is that the police go where the crime is. The social infrastructure in so many large cities has simply collapsed and it’s all taken place on the watch of the liberal Democrats who rule the roost. They whip up their voters into a frenzy every election cycle, warning of the dangers of the Republicans who hold no power over their lives, but it is under their leadership that you saw the current mess develop.
On the upper end of the scale, particularly in places like New York City, there is a jarring contrast which is hard for the Democrat base to ignore. How do you talk about income inequality and the evils of the fat cats when it’s those same fat cats financing the election of the same Democrats over and over again? Isn’t there a bit of a disconnect there?
Looking at the numbers in that article I have have to wonder if Barack Obama – by virtue of being able to generate racial empathy – might be the last Democrat who will turn out large numbers of voters in the cities. What does Hillary have to offer them which is any different than the policies which have seen New York’s murder rate skyrocket once again and Baltimore going up in flames?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Seattle moves forward with “gun violence tax” on all weapons, ammo


Retired minister and gun owner Jack Severns participated in the rally to ban assault weapons.
This week the Seattle City Council moved one step closer to imposing a sweeping sales tax on both weapons and ammunition which appears to fly in the face of a thirty year old state law banning such restrictions. A committee vote took place on Wednesday and the proposal will move to a full vote tomorrow. And this is just a bad deal all the way around.
The committee voted unanimously this morning to send the proposal to the full city council for consideration next Monday, according to the Seattle Monday’s vote could set the stage for a legal confrontation, and there were hints that existing gun shops could move out of the city, and that gun owners living in Seattle will simply shop outside the city, thus thwarting any dreams that this tax will generate $300,000 to $500,000 annually for the city’s gun control efforts.
Waiting in the legal tall grass are the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. They’ve already advised against the tax proposal, primarily on the grounds that it will violate the state’s 30-year-old model preemption law.
Even if this move were to pass muster in terms of the state’s preemption law, it is bound to accomplish very little beyond the thinly veiled intent of punishing lawful gun owners and gun shops. A tax such as this is certain to do almost nothing to total volume of sales except for those truly living on the edge and simply shifts business from one location to another. NRA ILAsummarizes the concept.
The burden of regressive taxes like the Seattle proposal falls squarely on those that are least able to afford them. Persons of means will simply drive outside the city to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those without such options will be forced to go forego their rights or pay the tax. This is especially egregious considering how those at the lower end of the economic scale also tend to reside in areas where violent crime is the highest. One wonders whether this type of social engineering on the downtrodden is an intended feature of the legislation rather than an unfortunate consequence.
Supporters are claiming that this tax could bring in a half million dollars in revenue, but under the best of circumstances that sounds vastly inflated. It also doesn’t take into account how much it could affect the local market. As one local gun dealer pointed out, it’s a competitive sales space and they already sell pretty much on the margins. If he has to jack up the price of a ten or fifteen dollar box of ammunition by five dollars, shooters will simply go outside the city limits and buy their rounds where the tax is not applied. The same goes for new gun purchases. If sales plummet, the tax revenue goes down by default and if the shops close, the revenue disappears entirely.
Of course, that’s been the idea all along. This isn’t a tax intended to raise revenue for vital services. It’s a political statement. That’s why the supporters of the proposal even call it the gun violence tax. They’re not expecting to raise cash or reduce violence. They’re simply looking to show their base constituents how “serious” they are about restricting gun rights. The irony behind all of this is that the city will doubtless face a series of expensive lawsuits if the tax is put in place and they’ll probably lose. In the end they will wind up getting no revenue and the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for the court costs and associated expenses.
But hey… this is Seattle. What did you really expect?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pelosi: We’re Beating Isis – On Twitter

Good news, everyone:
We’re out-tweeting ISIS!
And isn’t that what really counts?
Just ask babbling fool foreign policy expert Nancy Pelosi.
Were you there for the Battle of Hashtag Hill? Nancy Pelosi attempts to make the case that the US strategy against ISIS is working somewhere in this exchange with newly minted MSNBC host Patrick Murphy, a former House colleague of Pelosi’s from Florida. The range of choices for examples of victory must be very, very narrow for Pelosi to claim victory — if indeed that’s what she’s doing at all:
FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC HOST: This past week, though, when it comes to ISIS, the mixed result — unfortunately, Ramadi was taken over by ISIS. The same time, the army’s delta force captured the money man for ISIS in Syria. so obviously mixed results. So you think the strategy’s working? What else needs to be done?
REP. NANCY PELOSI: It’s an enormous challenge. And we have to fight it on every front, including the front of social media. That’s a place where they have really made more advances than you would have suspected. And that is where we have to fight them, as well. This apprehension in Syria — well, killing of one and taking of his wife, as well as important intelligence information was a success. Again, we have to fight them on all fronts. Communication-wise as well as militarily….

Thursday, October 17, 2013

So, which newspaper’s going to file the first “WH quietly thinking about delaying ObamaCare” story?

Rest assured, the White House is quietly thinking about delaying ObamaCare. Even if there’s only a five percent chance right now that they end up doing it, the scope of the disaster that is means they’ve got to be kicking this idea around in some form. As Megan McArdle explained yesterday, if they can’t iron out the wrinkles by around this time next month, they’ll be risking total chaos next year — a huge backlog of data to process, people trying to use coverage when they haven’t properly enrolled yet, and a huge pool of healthy uninsured young adults whom they need to fund this boondoggle having given up trying to enroll on the feds’ Chernobyl-esque website.
So yeah, they’re thinking about it. Who’ll be the first to find a source up the chain who’s willing to say so to a reporter?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wait a sec: The OFA volunteer who managed to sign up for ObamaCare hasn’t actually signed up yet?

So says his own father in an interview with Reason’s Peter Suderman.
A committed young Democrat and OFA volunteer wouldn’t fudge the facts to gin up some much-needed good press for The One’s pet program, would he?
Chad’s story was tweeted out by the official Obamacare Twitter feed. It was promoted to the media by Enroll America, a health-care activist group headed by a former White House communications staffer, as a sign of Obamacare’s success. Henderson told reporters at multiple news outlets that after a three-hour wait to sign up online, he enrolled around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning in an unsubsidized private insurance plan that would cost him about $175 a month. He also said that his father enrolled in separate coverage plan that would cost about $250 a month after factoring in the subsidies for which his father qualified on his approximately $24,000 annual income…
Bill Henderson told me that both he and his son were interested in getting coverage, but that they had not enrolled in any plan yet, and to his knowledge, neither had his son. He also said that when they do enroll, getting the most coverage for the least money would be the goal, and that he expects that he and his son will get coverage under the same plan…
Other details from Chad’s story were also difficult to verify. He said his premium was unsubsidized, and cost around $175 a month for the cheapest Bronze coverage plan available. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he got his coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the cheapest unsubsidized Bronze exchange plan at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s online Quick Quote system offers for a 21-year-old in Flintstone, Georgia is $225.09 a month.
Additionally, Chad could not have purchased a separate plan for his father from his own login to, the website for the federal exchanges. A customer assistance representative on’s LiveChat system told me that purchasing separate plans for a son and a father in Georgia would require two separate logins. Which means that Chad would have had to successfully create two different accounts, and complete enrollment twice, at a time when almost no one was able to get through on the system.
Suderman notes, drily, that Chad Henderson told WaPo that he was sharing his story — which included cc’ing media outlets in his tweets about enrolling to make sure they paid attention — because “I’ve read a few articles about how young people are very critical to the law’s success. I really just wanted to do my part to help out with the entire process.” Could be, of course, that his old man is simply misinformed and that Chad really did sign up, but what are the odds of that given the extent of the media attention over the past 24 hours? At some point Henderson Jr would have dialed up Sr and said, “Hey, I got us enrolled!”, right? In fact, per Bill Henderson, Chad did tell him that “there’s different plans. And we haven’t decided which plans to enroll in yet.”
Via: Hot Air
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