Reason Roundup

The Feds Are Going After Trump's Lawyer. It Looks Pretty Bad: Reason Roundup

Plus: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress, Backpage indictment unsealed, tensions rise after chemical attack in Syria.


Douliery Olivier/ABACA/Newscom

The feds raided the office and hotel of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Federal agents raided Cohen's office, home, and hotel rooms and seized "records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress," according to The New York Times. "The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller's investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered."

That information was at least in part related to Cohen's $130,000 payment to porn actress and director Stormy Daniels. According to The Washington Post, Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. None of the documents on Cohen are public yet, but the Post cites four people "familiar with the investigation" and reports that:

Investigators took Cohen's computer, phone and personal financial records, including tax returns, as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center … In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to [two sources].

"Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump appear to be vying for the world record for the longest one-night stand in history," quipped Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, in The New York Times. I'll let him recap the Stormy settlement situation so far:

Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump's troubles in the hush agreement case are of their own making. First, Mr. Cohen insisted, through his lawyer, that the president was never aware of the agreement and that Mr. Cohen acted wholly on his own. Then, speaking briefly to reporters on Air Force One last Thursday, Mr. Trump, echoing Mr. Cohen, said that he knew nothing about the arrangement. In saying so, he walked directly into the buzz saw of the legal position of Ms. Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

The hush agreement identified Mr. Trump as a party and required him to do a number of things. But since he insists he didn't know about the agreement, there's no way he could have entered into it. Moreover, Mr. Trump's avowed cluelessness implies that Mr. Cohen induced Ms. Daniels to sign the agreement through fraud — a lie about Mr. Trump's performance of reciprocal obligations. Both of these circumstances invalidate the hush agreement's very formation under basic contract law principles.

Daniels' lawyer Avenatti went on MSNBC to say he predicted Cohen would "fold like a cheap deck of cards." But Avenatti added: "With that said, I don't, I'm not applauding or high-fiving anybody's offices being raided by the FBI. It's a very, very serious matter. And I think that this is the first significant domino to fall."

Writing here at Reason, attorney Ken White agrees that the raid is a very big deal. ("Be skeptical of the surge of misinformation and inaccurate legal takes that are certain to drop," he advises. "But watch. This is historic.")

Meanwhile, Trump told reporters Monday night that the situation was "disgraceful" and "a total witch hunt." He called the raids of Cohen's properties "an attack on our country, in a true sense," and "an attack on what we all stand for." Evidently, Trump thinks that's the right to have an affair with an adult actress while your spouse stays at home with your newborn and then later pay your lover to keep quiet about it as you run for president without anyone taking notice or minding.

There's good reason for Trump to be huffing and puffing. As Politico points out, "Cohen is among the loyal cohort that worked for Trump long before his campaign and remains close to the president. He told Vanity Fair last year that he's 'the guy who protects the president and the family. I'm the guy who would take a bullet for the president.'"

On Sunday, Daniels' lawyer filed a motion in California requesting a formal deposition of Trump and Cohen. "If Mr. Trump was completely unaware of Mr. Cohen's actions, the question naturally arises as to how it would be possible for a 'meeting of the minds' to have occurred between parties where one of the parties does not even know about the existence of the agreement," it says.

"Normally a request to depose the president would seem like a nuisance move, quickly rebuffed," writes Litman. "Here, though, it is hard to see how the court resolves the factual issue without hearing Mr. Trump's version of events." And "inconveniently for the president, Ms. Daniels's position turns on questions of fact."


Facebook founder and head Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before Congress this afternoon about the social media giant's data-collection practices and relationship with the firm Cambridge Analytica.

In prepared remarks released Monday, the chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook tried to put a good spin on his company. It's "an idealistic and optimistic" place, Zuckerberg said. He portrayed public concerns about privacy and misuse of user data as an unfortunate consequence of bad actors who had taken advantage of their idealism. Despite all the good that Facebook has allegedly done, "we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm," said Zuckerberg.

That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry.

These opening comments show the impossible position Facebook has been put in as more users start to lose faith in Facebook's lip service to having their best interests in mind. People are not wrong to be wary of the power and influence that Facebook wields, and the opportunities it provides for abuse of personal data. But in this fear, goverments around the world, including ours, are seeing an opportunity to enact the kind of regulations and control over the web that authorities have long desired.

For the most part, Zuckerberg's prepared speech rings hollow, with a lot of platitudes about reform and vague statements about steps going forward. "Over the past few weeks, we've been working to understand exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica and taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Zuckerberg, referring to the analytics firm that received data on Facebook users from a British researcher who wasn't supposed to share it. Zuckerberg also told Congress that his company was "too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference" but was "working hard to get better," assuring them he doesn't "want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy."


Court unseals indictment against Backpage. On Monday evening, a federal court unsealed the Justice Department's 93-count indictment against Michael Lacey and James Larkin, founders of the now-defunct classified ads marketplace You can check out the charges here.

Notably, the indictment doesn't include any charges related to sex trafficking—the ostensible reason why Backpage has been the subject of such intense law-enforcement scrutiny for years from state prosecutors, a select Senate subcommittee, and now the Department of Justice (DOJ).

If any of these extensive investigations had turned up evidence that Backpage staff knowingly facilitated sex trafficking—defined under federal law as forced prostitution of adults or any prostitution by someone under age 18—than DOJ could have indicted them under the 2015 "SAVE Act," part of that year's massive new "anti-sex trafficking" law. They didn't. Instead the indictment contains charges similar to those we've seen lobbed against other sites, such as Rentboy and MyRedbook, by meddling federal authorities: money laundering, conspiracy, and violating the Travel Act, which prohibits using interstate commerce to facilitate activities, including prostitution.

I went on Laura Ingraham's show on Fox News last night to discuss Backpage and the indictment; check it out below starting around minute 28:

Asked by Buzzfeed on Monday whether prostitution should be criminalized, White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said "I refer you to the President's outside counsel."


  • Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is currently trying to challenge the FBI's search of his Alexandria, Virginia, condo last July. "Once inside, the agents seized or imaged every electronic device and storage device in the home," says a motion filed by Manafort's lawyers Monday night. "The Fourth Amendment does not permit the warrant that was issued in this case, which was essentially a general warrant for 'any and all' financial documents and electronic device."
  • On Fox News' Happening Now last night, Syrian American Council adviser Bassam Rifai told the camera: "President Trump, I am speaking to you directly. Do not take the same mistakes that President Obama had made… What we need to do right now is to take out… Assad's air force."
  • Following the chemical attack in Syria over the weekend, Trump declared yesterday, "We cannot allow atrocities like that. Cannot allow it." He promised to announce a response in the next 48 hours.
  • Excessive occupational licensing in US states is harming displaced Puerto Ricans.
  • "Women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands," but women whose first child is born when they're 25- to 35-years-old do not, according to a large new study on gender, family, and pay gaps.
  • Yes, Westworld creator "Jonathan Nolan has Rickrolled everyone on the Westworld subreddit." (More on the upcoming season and "Sh?gun World" here.)

NEXT: This Illinois Town Might Not Have Intended to Ban My Family's 'Peashooter,' But They Still Did

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    ? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018

    Don’t go full witch hunt.

    1. Hello.

      Not sure I like the term ’round up’. It conjures up gulag images.

      I’m triggered.

      1. It conjures up weed-killer here.

    2. First rule of witch hunt, don’t talk about witch hunt.

      1. nice!

  2. …Westworld creator “Jonathan Nolan has Rickrolled everyone on the Westworld subreddit.”

    These violent delights are never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…

      1. Don’t encourage him, ENB.

        1. I don’t read anyone’s comments but my own anyway.

  3. On Fox News’ Happening Now last night, Syrian American Council adviser Bassam Rifai told the camera: “President Trump, I am speaking to you directly…”

    You have to say it on Fox & Friends if you want the president to hear you.

  4. It’s been argued that the point here is really to get files to leak to the press, not for any actual investigation.

    Dershowitz: Cohen Raid ‘Dangerous?For Lawyer-Client Relations’
    …”I deal with clients all the time ? I tell them on my word of honor that what you tell me is sacrosanct,” he continued. “And now they say, just based on probable cause?they can burst into the office, grab all of the computers, and then give it to another FBI agent and say, ‘you’re the firewall, we want you now to read all of these confidential communications [and] tell us which ones we can get and which ones we can’t get.'”

    Dershowitz added that if the same thing happened to a lawyer for Hillary Clinton, the American Civil Liberties Union would be throwing a fit.

    1. Hard Drive Tied to Wasserman Schultz Is Central To Imran Awan Case
      …”The government has been in discussions with counsel for the defendants regarding complex discovery issues and other legal issues in this case, in particular issues surrounding claims of attorney-client privilege being raised by defendant Imran Awan,” court papers filed Tuesday say….

      1. Nobody cares about a family of Muslim crooks having complete access to a bunch of high-level Democratic Congressmen’s computers. There’s no proof that they were spying and copying secret intelligence files or committing any other crimes so there’s no scandal there. Get back to us when you have proof rather than GOP smears of innocent people. This is such a nothing-burger that CNN won’t even mention it, just like the constant GOP smears on poor Hillary, trying to make something out of nothing.

      2. This is a huge deal…. the “in the know” crowd are talking about conspiracy charges.

        They supposedly have a team going through all of the documents and emails seized from Trump’s lawyer looking for things that are evidence, as opposed to things that are privileged.

        So here’s the deal…. they know they don’t have a case of any sort with Stormy Daniels. At most they can make some kind of campaign contribution issue out of it. But they managed to bully their way into getting a chance to go on a broad-based fishing expedition through all of Trump’s lawyer’s personal and professional communications and documents. It isn’t as if they just walk away if there is no document showing that Trump did or did not direct the payment and reimburse the money. They will dig through everything looking for any potential angle that gets them an indictable offense that they can use for leverage.

        Do you really think it is beyond these guys to take an email from Trump that says “go ahead and give her some money” and puff it up into a federal conspiracy charge? And that’s assuming they don’t find an email detailing payments to some foreign bureaucrat to get a real estate deal approved.

        Yeah, this is a big deal. Unprecedented, in fact. You didn’t see Ken Star breaking down the door at Bill Clinton’s lawyer’s house. When you start breaking attorney client privilege, a line has been crossed.

        1. You have FBI agents intervening on a state civil contract lawsuit.

          The J. Edgar Hoover building smells like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

        2. Yeah, this is a big deal. Unprecedented, in fact. You didn’t see Ken Star breaking down the door at Bill Clinton’s lawyer’s house. When you start breaking attorney client privilege, a line has been crossed.

          That the ACLU doesn’t care speaks volumes about them.

        3. Kinda puzzling that ENB and Popehat are so enthusiastic about this and trusting of the “rigorous process” the deep state supposedly employed here. These are the same people who got a FISA warrant with a fake document bought by HRC to investigate the president elect, another unprecedented event. But Reason has no interest in that story. Yeah I know, immigration and steel tariffs are super huge issues but this is starting to look like a bloodless coup.

    2. I think on the internet they call what Mueller and his clowns are doing “gaslighting”.

      Meanwhile, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, a real investigator, is still doing his work quietly, behind the scenes, without any leaking or other publicity hound bullshit.

    3. And this:…..ohen-raid/

  5. Teacher accused of sex romps with student during walkout

    Hoffman, a Clinton Middle School teacher, and the teen reportedly became sexually involved on the last day of classes before the strike began April 2, according to news station KFOR.

    She went with her husband Saturday to the police department, where she allegedly confessed to having sex with the student on numerous occasions.

    Hoffman told authorities that she used Facebook to message the boy and arrange the sexual encounters, which occurred inside her car and her dad’s garage.

    The pair also allegedly had sex last week before and after the teacher walkout protest at the Capitol.

    The algebra teacher gave a ride to a group of students, including the victim, picking him up first so they could have sex, according to police. Hoffman told investigators they had intercourse again that evening when she dropped him off at home.

    1. “Keri Hoffman, 35, admitted to police Saturday that she had sex with a 15-year-old student before and after they attended a massive teacher rally protesting pay cuts at the state Capitol”

      She certainly deserves a pay raise for outside extracurricular support

      1. I thought they just used the kids as political-theater props. Little did I know…

      2. Female teachers do deserve equal pay for making sure are young people are hard at work.

        1. *our young….


    2. She’s married, so why did she have sex in her dad’s garage?

      1. Why wouldn’t she have sex in her dad’s garage?

      2. Maybe she doesn’t have a garage.

      3. She is messing with the main tool…

    3. “The algebra teacher gave a ride to a group of students, including the victim, picking him up first so they could have sex, according to police. Hoffman told investigators they had intercourse again that evening when she dropped him off at home.”

      “Victim” is so flexible, it opened an ashram in Mumbai.

      1. She taught him about tangents and equilateral vaginas.


      Seriously, leave her. Don’t turn around. Run, don’t walk.

      You always hear about red flags. Fucking 15 year olds is a bit of a big one.

      1. The perfect excuse for escaping.

  6. …Syrian American Council adviser Bassam Rifai told the camera: “President Trump, I am speaking to you directly…”

    Eventually Gene Okerlund was able to wrestle the mic back and regain control of the interview.

  7. Liberals Announce Plan to Crush Normal Americans in a New “Civil War” (Spoiler: It’s Not a Great Plan)
    ….This is where the liars pounce again with their fussy fauxtrage ? leftists love violence directed at Normal Americans ? but facts are facts. If the liberal plan to drive non-liberal Americans from the public square ? the NRA, Laura Ingraham, and even Kevin Williamson silencing campaigns are just some recent examples ? succeeds, it will only succeed for a little while. The fact is that if Normal people are barred from “legitimate” participation, they will participate “illegitimately.” Just ask the redcoats how taxation without representation worked out.

    Here’s a hint: We Americans have good teeth and don’t eat spotted dick….

    1. The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War
      Why there’s no bipartisan way forward at this juncture in our history???one side must win

      …At some point, one side or the other must win???and win big. The side resisting change, usually the one most rooted in the past systems and incumbent interests, must be thoroughly defeated???not just for a political cycle or two, but for a generation or two. That gives the winning party or movement the time and space needed to really build up the next system without always fighting rear-guard actions and getting drawn backwards. The losing party or movement will need that same time to go through a fundamental rethink, a long-term renewal that eventually will enable them to play a new game.

      1. The left’s biggest weapon, the media, outed themselves in 2016 as completely biased toward the left. Any American who thinks the big media players are here to report news should wake up. The majority of media wants Trump out and to return to the socialist agenda schedule.

  8. And some people here talk like Drumpf would be President for 8 years! LOL! It’s certain now ? he will not even finish one term.


    1. Even funnier than the fact that Trump will be reelected is that the democrats will lose a bunch of seats on the Senate and House in election 2018.

      Lefties will be jumping from buildings by early 2019.

      1. I’m bookmarking this hilarious prediction so I can throw it back at you when the #BlueWave happens this November (Democrats will re-take the House) and again in 2020 when a Democrat wins the Presidency.

        1. Meh, just regurgitating standard talking points. You need at least a little snark. Sorry, that’s an ‘F.’

        2. Does your bookmarks activate when it becomes a #Redwave and Democrats loose so many seats on Congress they start crying on national tv?

    2. Can we get a retroactive impeachment back to 20 January 2017?

      1. As long as that means that Hillary was retroactively president since 2017. This way she cannot be president again since she retroactively served two 4 year terms. Hahaha.

        Genius plan.

  9. A Quiet Place is a very good movie.

        1. Shhh….

  10. There is no doubt that Trump paid Stormy Daniels out of campaign funds, without disclosing this to the FEC. And regardless of whether or not such election campaign laws should exist, they should be applied equally (like sharing classified information). But, if this is the conclusion that the Russia collusion investigation is going to provide (that Trump misused campaign finances) then this country is in for trouble.

    “If people vote for a president to confront the establishment they despise, and then that establishment forces him out on ticky-tack fouls, we may look back on 2016 as a high-water mark in comity.” – Matt Welch

    1. So isn’t this exactly what John Edwards did? One of his cronies used campaign funds to pay off his baby momma “without his knowledge”? He was indicted but was found not guilty on one account and the rest was declared a mistrial.

      Literally everything Trump has done so far has previously been done by a Democrat, mainly the Clintons. The difference, of course, is that 99% of journalists voted against Trump.

      1. The National Enquirer broke the Edwards story, and press outlets didn’t bother reporting on it for months, even after solid evidence was produced.

        1. Did Trump’s lawyer have access to campaign funds?

          Or are they saying that he got paid an amount that is suspiciously identical to the amount he paid to Stormy Daniels?

        2. No doubt there is a double standard at play here, but you can’t say “well if you let that guy go then this guy should be let go”. It’s seriously frustrating, I agree, but sinking to the level of progressives is not a good look.

          1. I just loathe the media more than anything else. The bias and selective coverage is insane, and it is absolutely more dangerous than anything Trump does, because it is only getting worse. Trump will be gone in a few years, but the underlying reasons we have Trump will still be here, and I lay that blame almost entirely on the press.

            1. I find it hard to disagree with that sentiment.

            2. I think we will continue to see a split in national politics. Tucille had a good article about this last night.

              I think the dangerous thing is that this disharmony is viewed by many to be an evil. That everyone SHOULD agree and get along. And I see no particular reason why there is a value in the breadth and width of human beliefs, reasoning, culture, and thoughts should be reduced downwards to force harmony.

      2. “So isn’t this exactly what John Edwards did?”

        John Edwards wasn’t the POTUS.

        The impeachment process isn’t a trial. It’s politicized on purpose.

        The jurors have to face their constituents in an election.

        Impeachment of a sitting president is supposed to be political–when we’re talking about a president being removed from office, we’re talking about congress overruling democracy.

        John Edwards wasn’t about that at all.

        1. Trump didn’t bang Stormy when he was a sitting president and then perjure himself a la Clinton.
          Trump didn’t bang Stormy when he was a candidate a la Edwards.
          Trump didn’t use campaign contributions to pay off Stormy a la Edwards (why would he? he has other sources, he’s loaded).
          The question is whether or not his lawyer took it upon himself to pay her, personally, and if so, does that qualify as an illegal campaign contribution, by the lawyer. Not Trump.

          Of course what this really is, is an internal rebellion by high-level FBI bureaucrats and a giant fishing expedition. They probably don’t expect to find anything really illegal, but hopefully something hugely embarrassing that may affect an upcoming election.

          The real problem is, if they find nothing, these idiots will have handed Trump carte blanche to purge the FBI. This should be everyone’s biggest fear right now.

    2. No doubt huh?

      Did you know that Trump paid $66 million of his own money into his campaign?
      Trump’s campaign money

      If he says he paid Stormy from that amount, why can’t he pay for a personal expense from his own money? Likely, there is no way to separate his personal donation to his own campaign and other donations.

      If his lawyer did something illegal, Trump will just pardon him.

      1. Because money totally isn’t fungible. That’s why when you give Planned Parenthood half a billion dollars, it totally isn’t funding abortions.


      2. I was thinking about this as well. We know that Trump used more of his money to fund his election that any other candidate in recent memory, but I suspect that campaign finance laws probably don’t differentiate because no one thought a politician would ever do something like that or at least not to that scale.

        Or, in other words, I suspect that because of campaign finance rules Trump wouldn’t be allowed to use his own money in the ways he might have wanted because of those rules. I’ve long suspected that finance rules will inevitably be the grounds for impeachment, although I also suspect he won’t be convicted.

        Of course, this whole thing will end up in some kind of bizarre parallel version of the Clinton impeachment but that doesn’t seem to dissuade Democrats from trying to impeach Trump over a sex scandal that will likely tar them far more than their opposition a la Newt Gingrich and Republicans losing the house during the Clinton years.

        I mean it when I say we’re basically reliving the early-to-mid 90’s politically.

    3. I wonder if Welch reads this guy?

      Is America in a State of Civil War?

      America is in a state of supersessionist civil war, between the body that voted for the president of the United States and the body that voted for the other candidate.

      1. I like to listen to his show when Batchelor is doing history or space, but he has a nasty neocon streak and questionable “experts” when it comes to politics.

    4. I was thinking ” Jow does this relate to Russia at all?” Isn’t that why this started in the first place? Does this investigation have any scope at all?

      1. I’ve seen a lot of domino chain-reaction shows and the first domino is not the interesting one.

      2. No. And that’s not how federal investigations seem to work.

        This is the culmination of decades of power congregating in the federal government and the FBI. People ignored the rampant abuse for years. And people are ignoring it now. It feels like this is becoming another for/against Trump type issue. Which is not great. I could give two shits about Trump, but the power we are seeing wielded here should chill everyone.

    5. Please clarify. Wasn’t the payoff made by his personal lawyer? Did the lawyer have access to campaign funds?

    6. People always proclaim “WHATABOUTISM!!”, but when people see what happened to Hillary and what is happening to Trump, there isn’t any confusion about this being justice.

  11. Biggest news of the day may not be the Stormypocalypse raid or congress using arch-millennial Zuckerberg as a pajama-boy pinata on live television.

    It’s President Xi making all the trade war scaremongers at the Washington Post look like a stupid bitch.

    “OAO, China?Chinese President Xi Jinping promised foreign companies greater access to China’s financial and manufacturing sectors, pledging Beijing’s commitment to further economic liberalization amid rising trade tensions with the U.S.

    In a speech that officials had billed as a major address, Mr. Xi said Tuesday that plans are under way to accelerate access to the insurance sector, expand the permitted business scope for foreign financial institutions and reduce tariffs on imported automobiles and ownership limits for foreign car companies.”

    “Xi Vows Greater Access to China, Warns Against ‘Cold War Mentality'”
    Plans are under way to reduce tariffs on imported autos, promote further economic liberalization

    —-Wall Street Journal…..1523332086

    Score +1 for the predictive power of markets and zero for the buffoons at the Washington Post.

    Yes, there could still be a trade war. No, we still don’t know what the future holds. But experts who bet against the predictive power of markets in real time always end up making a fool of themselves.

    1. “scaremongers at the Washington Post look like a stupid bitch.”

      You’re about two comments away from attacking Amazon, aren’t you?

      1. What’s this got to do with Amazon?

        I was talking about the Washington Post article in links from yesterday suggesting that Trump was delusional for believing a trade war wasn’t already underway–despite the fact that Boeing and Soybeans were both trading above where they were when President Xi announced retaliatory tariffs targeting those two products specifically.

        1. Ken, certain lefty commenters here are very upset that you pointed out the announced but not implemented tariffs have not had the desired negative effects on those commodities like the WaPo has already doubled-down on.

          Narrative….off rails.

          1. Hey, Nixon actually went to China and that didn’t do tricky dick for him in the final analysis. All our mainstream media cares about is bringing down Trump, if it it takes a total economic collapse or even a war for that to happen, oh well. They have more important things on their minds.

            1. Hillary won the popular vote and she earned it!

              /lefty derp

        2. I was just joking Ken. Sorry if you took offense

          1. No offense. Just Poe’s Law.

            I thought there might be an Amazon angle I was unaware of.



        1. You laugh, but there is a question of what the US will look like once there are no more brick and mortar stores to pay property taxes. That will be a massive drain on local revenues. Does this mean that local government become even more indebted to state and federal government dictates since they would be more reliant on them for revenues? I don’t know, but Amazon’s disruption of the market will have profound consequences.

          Which is not to say that somehow this needs to be prevented

          1. Less property taxes for local governments to waste. Sounds like a win-win-win.

            1. Just means higher income and sales taxes which will be more centralized rather than localized

              1. or not.

                1. Not a thoughtful response, but you managed to not accuse him of being a lefty, so that’s a improvement.

                  1. Is he a lefty?

          2. I think a lot of suburban malls will continue to die but smaller, local stores that are more conveniently located and/or offer something unique will thrive.

          3. Shopping centers are ripe for redevelopment as mixed use properties. Build a tower of lofts on top of a mall, and you can offer more amenities than anyone else in the area. You’ve brought a captive clientele for retailers, too.

            The issue in (all business I guess) commercial real estate is that before people spend a lot of money changing its use, they need to become convinced that the property they spend x number of dollars on with a ten year investment horizon was a failure.

            I paid a 6% cap for this property, and now you’re telling me I have to sell at a 12%?!

            You have to get operators to go past that point before people are willing to throw good money after bad or cut their losses. With REITs it’s even worse–because selling at a loss means they have to justify to their shareholders why they made such bad deals in the first place.

            The illusion of “paper losses” has real effects in the real world.

        2. Some of you have really short attentions spans.

          This was from links yesterday:

          Trump delusions on trade continue.

          Donald J. Trump
          ?Verified account @realDonaldTrump

          President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!
          5:12 AM – 8 Apr 2018

          “delusions on trade” linked to a Washington Post article suggesting that Trump and his administration all-stars were delusional to go on all the Sunday talk shows and talk down the threat of trade war. I made the point that the trade war tariffs people were complaining about hadn’t been implemented yet, and it was the Washington Post that was delusional–especially considering that Soybeans and Boeing were trading above where they were when Xi first announced plans to hit them with retaliatory tariffs.

          I don’t see what any of this has to do with Amazon.

    2. We’ll see. I just know that the proper response is to always tale trump at his word and panic early and often, just like a good chicago voter.

  12. “It’s “an idealistic and optimistic” place, Zuckerberg said. He portrayed public concerns about privacy and misuse of user data as an unfortunate consequence of bad actors who had taken advantage of their idealism. Despite all the good that Facebook has allegedly done, “we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” said Zuckerberg.

    That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”

    Idealism is not necessarily a good thing

    He’s really not a student of history and human nature this useful idiot.

    That quote suggests to me he doesn’t get it.

    1. I’m not sure he’s craving regulation as an opportunity to rent seek and erect market barriers, but I’m not sure he wouldn’t welcome some forms of that either.

      Facebook has about $75 billion in market capitalization since the revelations about their misuse of data broke, and that’s about the uncertainty of the nature of the regulation most everyone expects to emerge.

      The way to quell that uncertainty isn’t to avoid regulation. It’s to get yourself regulated as quickly as possible–and show that the reality of the regulation isn’t as bad as anticipated.

      1. “Facebook has [lost] about $75 billion in market capitalization . . . ”


      2. I don’t think we should call this a misuse of data. This is buying into the overarching narrative. This allows people to go, “Oh woe is me, my data was so abused. I am the victim.” But this has always been their M.O. This has always been how they function. I think most people knew this, if not it’s actually great that they know now.

        And it’s not FB’s fault if they don’t like that them selling their data to anyone who wants to pay, means that data can be sold to people they dislike. That’s either ignorance or hypocrisy on their part. And rather than reconciling this, or not using FB, or killing themselves or whatever, they can play the victim. Which is the narrative here. That FB by doing what they have always done, and have very openly always done. (Here’s the well documented API, if anyone wants to do the exact stuff CA did.)

        The thing that pisses me off about this is the infantalization of the public. And much of the public openly clamoring for it. “I want stuff, but I don’t want to think about where it comes from and what it means and what it costs.”

        I’m sorry for the rambling, but I have a hard time properly verbalizing how much this irritates me.

        Also, I lost our bet last night Ken, but I don’t know if we ever put stakes down. What are you thinking for that?

    2. Please [anyone] tell me what “good” Facebook has done? I am personally not aware of any.

      1. Well, it’s important to remember that not everyone has your qualitative preferences.

        Some people, apparently, enjoy using their website. Other people have made a fortune investing in their stock.

        If you didn’t make any money or don’t enjoy using their service, well that’s okay, too.

        But neither people nor companies exist for the “good” of society. I don’t know that Scientology or sugar cereals are good for society either.

        There is a system of government where people are only allowed to do things if they’re supposedly good for society. It’s called “authoritarian communism”.

        Other people don’t exist for your benefit.

      2. It keeps people connected!

        1. Old people connected, you mean.

          Young people supposedly only have FB accounts because older family are on there. Young people use various other social media to actively selfie and other whimsical nonsense.

      3. The local hot wings place posts the special daily on their FB page which then alerts me so I can plan lunch. All the newspapers I follow have FB pages that allow me to follow them all in one place. You know, computer stuff.

        1. Yeah, all my friends do their party planning through FB. It’s the only reason I’m still registered to be honest.

      4. It’s a good way to stay in touch with family and friends who live far away.

        Our neighborhood is very active in posting wild animal sightings, lost pets, and stuff for sale.

        Our kids various activities also sport pics and announcements of recent outings and accomplishments.

      5. Facebook of “FB” for short compiles personal information on billions of people. Nearly all of this information is voluntarily given and is an authoritarian’s wet dream. Some information is taken from posted pictures in the form of facial recognition, so even people who are not on FB might have their face digitally stored but without a verified name. Habits are also compiled, such as what you view and what you “like”. The “like” button is a FB flagship feature.

        The companies that FB uses to work with them lost control of millions of people’s info.

        Make of it what you will.

      6. What if it kept the next Unabomber busy writing silly comments instead of making bombs? You never know.

        1. Those are not silly comments. They determine elections!

    3. Assuming naivete is silly.

      Does anybody think Zuckerberg gives two shits about YOUR privacy? Your privacy is the product he is selling.

  13. Damn ENB, good job on the Ingrahm show appearance.

    1. Ha, I sometimes forget what an idiot Ingraham is.

      1. She goes straight for the emote with ENB. Such a hack.

      2. My favorite part was the at the end when Ingraham gets frustrated and instead of trying to rebut anything she just makes a dig at libertarians.

    2. Yep, good job trying to argue with a carnival barker.

    3. Lara Ingraham’s argument, “I mean.. just look at him”

  14. Ingraham is back?


    1. Did it every come out that David Hogg’s father is an ex-FBI agent? His mother is a teacher at a school in that county.

      Amazing that Hogg became the “activist” he tried to become all by himself. Incredible, I tell you!

    1. So forcing others to keep quiet about sexcapades is just fine then?

        1. Unless you are 19 and hot. Then you should be forced to livestream your sexcapdes.

  15. Rand Paul on Fox News NOW NOW NOW.

  16. Knife-Control Debate Heats Up in the UK amid London Murder Spike

    n the wake of London’s murder rate surpassing that of New York City for the first time, Mayor Sadiq Khan announced new knife-control initiatives in the city. He said London would increase police patrols, grant extra stop and search powers to police on certain patrols, and increase efforts to take people out of gangs by giving them job training. He reiterated the city’s position that there is no need for anyone to carry a knife.

    “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Sadiq Khan said on Twitter. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

    1. I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to make it seem like we should not enact common sense gun safety legislation in the US, because once we do the next step is the government will come after our knives. That’s called the slippery slope logical fallacy.

      1. We should be worried about common sense knife handle control. The government will want to confiscate our knife handles next.

        Think about it. You cannot have a knife without a handle. Otherwise its just a sharp piece of metal.

        1. I bet you learned that on Forged in Fire.

          1. tv show, I suspect? I cut the cord 10 years ago, so no tv for me.

      2. The British long ago enacted the slippery dick process of absolute gun control that provides wet dream material for American progressives, and now are accomplishing the same with knives. For your reading pleasure, here is a link to their existing knife laws that the mayor apparently does not believe are sufficient:*

        What was your point again?

        *my favorite is the one about Zombie knives; which includes any knife with a sharp or serrated edge that has mean words on it

        1. Its that a Rambo knife? Sharp edge with serrated flip edge.

          1. No, it’s an ‘assault knife’ so it’s only common sense that it should be banned.

            /sarc, if it’s not obviously clear.

            Although now that I think about it, didn’t the 9/11 hijackers use box cutters to blow up buildings? I suppose that means any sharp edge more than half an inch in length or span should be banned. This obviously includes rocks and bits of plastic you might come across.

            Really, anything more dangerous than string should get you strung up as a rule of thumb.

            1. Dental floss overlapped about 5 times is probably enough to use as a garrote.

              Banning weapons is futile.

              1. Banning weapons is futile.

                Yes, obviously.

    2. It must suck watching your political future go up in smoke.

      1. Or your political future get cut.

      2. Ban lighters! There’s no excuse for anyone to have a lighter.

        1. You guys aren’t thinking big enough.

          We need to ban dihydrogen monoxide. If you separate it out into it’s components it’s explosive, not to mention that it makes CO2 look like a joke when it comes to it’s greenhouse effect.

          If you don’t want to ban dihydrogen monoxide you’re truly a monster that wants mankind, and mother Gaia, to wither and die.

    3. Funny, I remember when the rejoinder “And then they will come for knives” was guffawed at as a ridiculous extreme.

      It’s always amusing what rights are easily sacrificed once a populace is disarmed. The UK wants to ban knives and imprisons you for jokes.

  17. Excessive occupational licensing in US states is harming displaced Puerto Ricans.


    1. Its not a country. Its the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. MPRGA

        1. sad.

        2. You know how I feel about animated gifs.

          1. They aggravate you, sexually?

            1. That would be animated giraffes.

  18. “Women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands,” but women whose first child is born when they’re 25- to 35-years-old do not, according to a large new study on gender, family, and pay gaps.

    All the helicopter soccer moms who wait in line to drop their kids off at school and then wait in line to pick their kids up from school are likely getting pay commensurate with their life choices. Those working women who fail to negotiate higher salary for whatever reason are likely getting pay commensurate with their negotiation skills. Those women who take PAID maternity leave but don’t actually work for months are getting pay commensurate with their time off work without producing anything for the company.

    Men getting paid more than women still is not evidence that evil white men are conspiring to keep women paid less just because they are women. Women need to prove men are paying women less because they are women of STFU.

    1. Women need to prove men are paying women less because they are women of STFU.

      Eh, no they don’t.

      Screaming the same thing over and over again seems to be working just fine. They are getting set-asides, extra benefits and national enforcement agencies backing them up if they don’t get what they want.

      Why in the world would they submit to your conditions?

      1. Non-lefties starting to push back on this issue?

    2. What is being said in regards to the ‘gender wage gap’ is that if aggregate individual decisions result in uneven aggregate outcomes, the individuals will be punished for choosing the wrong things and those that chose the right things will…also be punished.

      That’s why you keep seeing suggestions where little girls should be forced into STEM, like it or not, because outcomes must be even.

      Although obviously, when it comes to the gender on-the-job death gap women and their special interest groups are curiously silent. Probably because any ‘male rights’ group is automatically sexist by default so if you listen to anything they say you are instantly in the wrong.

      It turns out that silencing your critics is just ‘common sense’, I guess.

  19. The Historic Pub That Holds Its Own Olympics

    For the past 32 years, Rohman’s has hosted its own men’s Olympics each winter. On a recent gray and drizzly February afternoon, around 350 people assembled to watch or participate. There were many locals, but most traveled for the event. A yellow school bus showed up filled with firemen from Long Island, many of whom have been coming to Rohman’s Olympics for years. After a low-key torch lighting in which an approximately four-year-old girl declared, “Let the games begin,” the emcees announced that horseshoes and target shooting with a .22 rifle would be the day’s first events. But the first event that anyone cared about started 30 minutes later: the keg toss.

    Fun fact: I once participated in a keg toss at a central Pennsylvania farm wedding.

    1. Meh, tell me when they start doing old-school Jarts and I’ll be interested.

  20. The feds raided the office and hotel of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

    Mueller and his cronies will spend 2 years and all that taxpayer money spinning his corrupt wheels and then Trump will pardon anyone Mueller goes after. Its hilarious!

  21. The 9th goes for another reversal:

    “Court: Employers can’t set different pay for men and women doing same job”
    “In a victory for women in the workplace, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that employers can’t set different pay levels for women and men doing the same job by relying, even in part, on their salary at a previous job.”

    1. The lefties want employers to pay all male and female employees what the government tells them to pay.

      Never mind that men and women sometimes have different life choices which gets more work out of men and women.

      1. Get ready for an exodus of men from California.

          1. California men who work.

            1. All ten of them?

          1. So hang 20, bro?

      2. Good luck getting the physically risky work done. Men die at a frighteningly higher clip than women at work, because women won’t do those jobs.

        But they want the pay regardless.

        1. They’ll just use illegal immigrants that have no recourse if something goes wrong on the job. Bonus points: They don’t have to pay them the minimum California wage either nor will they be reporting the gender difference.

    2. So uhh…no raises in the state of California based on performance ever again then? Is that…an intended consequence?

  22. Evidently, Trump thinks that’s the right to have an affair with an adult actress while your spouse stays at home with your newborn and then later pay your lover to keep quiet about it as you run for president without anyone taking notice or minding.

    Evidently, the woman went along with it… until she didn’t. Evidently, we’re not supposed to believe in contracts any more?

    1. This is exactly what John Edwards did. Despite rumors and pretty good evidence for years, news outlets refused to report it or investigate it. The National frickin Enquirer had to break it, and it was months before other outlets would touch it.

      1. Well… not exactly.

        Wasn’t there a baby involved in the Edwards case?

    2. Would “you people” STOP destroying this narrative to get Trump out of office. Hillary is supposed to be president.

      1. The hooker needs to hurry up and take down the President so Hillary can take charge and put the screws even harder to sex work. For the children, or something.

  23. He promised to announce a response in the next 48 hours.

    Red line, Congress. Red line.

  24. Daniels’ lawyer Avenatti went on MSNBC to say he predicted Cohen would “fold like a cheap deck of cards.”

    Oh, boy.

    1. Speaking of cheap, Avenatti should stop ogling his client.

      1. I don’t know about you LC, but those tits are too big and too saggy.

        1. Stormy tries too hard. She smells of B.O. and desperation all the way on this forum.

          She’s doubling down on getting a payday…again. This time she will likely get nothing and probably have to pay millions to Trump after he gets out of office. She violated an airtight NDA and defamed him without having evidence of any sexual encounter with Trump.

          She’s not too bright, even for a hooker.

    2. Have we determined who is footing Avenatti’s bill?

      1. Nothing to see there.

        The media would have us believe that he works for free and he is one of the upstanding lawyers not a slimy shitweasel attorney.

        Same thing with spontaneous child protests being organized by the kids and spending lemonade money to travel across the USA to D.C. Nothing to see there either.

  25. When Zuckerburger testifies, they should ask him about the Trump Affair Affair – Facebook knows everything.

    1. Trump made a joke during the debates about asking the Russians for Hillary’s missing emails, and I’ve seen that used as evidence to suggest that he was colluding with the Russians.

  26. Gregg Easterbrook made a point this morning with regard to the leaks to the press in the Cohen raid. If the leaks (from 4 sources) came from prosecutors, the leaks would be illegal.

  27. Wait a minute. Is ENB related to the Westworld guy? Is she related to the Batman guy??? I can’t figure out these women’s lib broads and their hyphenated names.

    1. Elizabethnolan is actually her full first name.

    2. Is ENB related to the Westworld guy?

      ENB is related to Yul Brynner?

  28. Asked by Buzzfeed on Monday whether prostitution should be criminalized, White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said “I refer you to the President’s outside counsel.”

    Holy shit, that is a legitimately hilarious response.

    1. If you don’t think Trump and his top administrators are trolling the media, you have not been paying attention.

  29. Good reading:

    Civil rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate: How Robert Mueller Tried To Entrap Me

    But I have known Mueller during key moments of his career as a federal prosecutor. My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with extreme caution.

    When Mueller was the acting United States Attorney in Boston, I was defense counsel in a federal criminal case in which a rather odd fellow contacted me to tell me that he had information that could assist my client. He asked to see me, and I agreed to meet. He walked into my office wearing a striking, flowing white gauze-like shirt and sat down across from me at the conference table. He was prepared, he said, to give me an affidavit to the effect that certain real estate owned by my client was purchased with lawful currency rather than, as Mueller’s office was claiming, the proceeds of illegal drug activities.

    My secretary typed up the affidavit that the witness was going to sign. Just as he picked up the pen, he looked at me and said something like: “You know, all of this is actually false, but your client is an old friend of mine and I want to help him.” As I threw the putative witness out of my office, I noticed, under the flowing white shirt, a lump on his back ? he was obviously wired and recording every word between us.

  30. “Evidently, Trump thinks that’s the right to have an affair with an adult actress while your spouse stays at home with your newborn and then later pay your lover to keep quiet about it as you run for president without anyone taking notice or minding.”

    No, you ignorant sow, he believes that government agent raiding lawyers offices and hauling away privileged material is a dangerous threat to liberty. Something one would expect a writer for a LIBERTARIAN magazine to comprehend.

    And if they can do it to a sitting President, they can damned well do it to you and me.

    Oh, and he may also believe what he does with his cock and his money is none of your business. You know, another libertarian concept.

  31. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the door on Tuesday to votes on a bill cutting federal spending and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget ? efforts that face little prospect of passage but are aimed at mollifying fiscal conservatives outraged over rising deficits.

    It will be interesting if this happens.

  32. Does Reason not care about attorney client privilege? This has nothing to do with Russia, meaning unless there was coercion involved, the government had no reason to get involved in what’s a civil / personal matter.

    I’ve heard theories that the NDA amounted to election spending, and that’s probably what’s being investigated here. If that’s true, then the raid was the “least intrusive” method of obtaining information from an attorney’s office?

    Theoretically Mueller could bust a Trump associate on some pot smoking charge that (again) has nothing to do with Russia. What’s the scope of the investigation? If the privileged info obtained doesn’t show Trump ordering Cohen to do anything illegal, this will turn out to be an embarrassment for the DOJ and the FBI.

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