Reason Roundup

Trump Won't Talk to Mueller Unless He Gets a Report on Spygate: Reason Roundup

Plus: Federal snooping on social media is on the rise and 'Toke Back Mountain' beer nixed by alcohol agents.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Trump won't talk 'til learning more about "Spygate" briefing. Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost yesterday that "we could probably decide by June 12 whether [President Donald Trump will] testify" before federal prosecutors about potential "collusion" between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. The decision, said Giuliani, hangs on how much is revealed to Trump about the Justice Department's probe into what Trump is determined to call "Spygate," involving the FBI's use of a confidential informant to talk to people within Trump's orbit as part of the bureau's Russian-influence investigation.

Giuliani also told HuffPost that if he had his druthers, the president would keep quiet. "I would not like to talk to Mueller at all. I don't see what you gain from that." However, Trump "has a strong view that he should testify," Giuliani added. "He believes he's telling the truth: He didn't collude with the Russians and he didn't obstruct justice."

Eight lawmakers from both parties met yesterday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a classified briefing on the FBI informant used to monitor the Trump campaign. Their meeting followed a Justice Department briefing for House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R–S.C.), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Also in the room: Trump's lawyer, Emmet T. Flood, and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. Their presence raised immediate suspicions and outrage from Democrats, but Flood and Kelly left the room before the confidential part of the meeting began, according to a White House statement.

Democrats were unimpressed by the briefing. "Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a 'spy' in the Trump Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols," Schiff tweeted after the briefing.

Giuliani told Politico yesterday that if "we learned a good deal from [the briefings], it will shorten that whole process considerably." As for the fact that the briefings were classified, Giuliani seemed unconcerned. "I don't want the guy's identity," he said. "I don't want classified information. What I need to know is, 'What's the basis for their doing it?' Most important, 'What did the informant produce?'"

FREE MINDS

Feds monitor social media, and the ACLU wants answers. The American Civil Liberties Union wants to know why federal authorities have been doing so much social-media surveillance. On Tuesday, the group submitted a Freedom of Information Act request "for records pertaining to social media surveillance, including the monitoring and retention of immigrants' and visa applicants' social media information for the purpose of conducting 'extreme vetting.'" The group seeks information on social-media monitoring by the FBI, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

"Multiple federal agencies are increasingly relying on social media surveillance to monitor the speech, activities, and associations of U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike," says the request:

Government surveillance of social media raises serious constitutional and privacy concerns. Most online speech reflects no wrongdoing whatsoever and is fully protected by the First Amendment. Protected speech and beliefs—particularly expression or association of a political, cultural, or religious nature—should not serve as the sole or predominant basis for surveillance, investigation, or watchlisting.

FREE MARKETS

Federal agents nix "Toke Back Mountain." The feds are cracking down on cannabis-infused brews again. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is going after San Francisco Black Hammer Brewing, ordering the small brewery to stop selling its "Toke Back Mountain" beer.

Toke Back Mountain is made with cannabidiol (CBD) extract derived from hemp plants. CBD is prized more for potential health benefits than giving uses a high. Alas, the beer still runs afoul of federal law.

In a bittersweet way, the alcohol agency's cease-and-desist here represents an improvement in our country's insane drug policies. Black Hammer Brewing isn't in trouble for running afoul of the federal government's persistant ban on marijuana and its non-psychoactive cousin hemp. It ran afoul of a more mundane regulation: foregoing special approval to add a "non-standard beer ingredient" to their brew.

Black Hammer Brewing says it will now apply for approval to legally sell the CBD beer.

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  1. The American Civil Liberties Union wants to know why federal authorities have been doing so much social-media surveillance.

    Something something hammer, something something nails.

    1. Hel…

      Hey!

      Whatever.

      Hello.

      1. If i had a dollar for every Canadian i’d ever baffled, i’d have upwards of $3.

        1. No, you would only have $2.31.

        2. Yes but they’re Canadian Dollars. Practically worthless.

          1. Unless you like colorful drawings of wildlife and British nobility.

            1. Do you think if they put naked pictures of the British princesses on Canadian money, that it would violate Gresham’s Law?

              1. Only if we’re talking about a very small and specific cohort of princesses.

              2. Do you really want to see Princess Anne naked?

                1. Why, do you have some from about 1970?

      2. Rufus, I learned yesterday from GSP, who, besides being the greatest MMA fighter ever, is also a dinosaur expert, that if you find any fossil on Canada, it automatically belongs to the Canadian government. As a libertarian, I am appalled.

        1. *in Canada

        2. I seem to recall something like that.

          It’s Canada. What did you expect?

        3. Don’t be fucking stupid.

          1. If you win the Bellator Grand Prix, we’ll talk.

      3. ARE WE ALL DONE?!

        1. I shall gently mock America’s Hat for as long as it shall wear one!

  2. Can We Hope To Keep Our Republic When One Of The Parties Supports Tyranny?
    No one objected. The Democrat Party is committed to the New Rules. And the New Rules are tyranny.

    It can’t be a surprise. After all, the Democrat Party has bulldozed every norm, custom, and tradition out there in its quest for undisputed power. It spews hatred at its opponents ? hey, everyone reading this is racist, sexist, and a denier of #science and so forth. The Democrats will happily deny you your free exercise of religion ? put on your aprons people, because you can bake a cake or be bankrupted. They seek to suppress speech by encouraging fascism both in academia and by online tech companies, and if you think they won’t pass laws to limit speech given the chance, you’re fooling yourself. Hell, they tried to amend the First Amendment to overturn Citizens United, a case where the government tried to ban a movie critical of Hillary Clinton.

    Let’s say that again, because it’s madness. The position of the left-of-center party in the United States is that the government should be allowed to arrest and imprison people for making a film critical of a politician.

    1. Yeah, I know they have reasons and excuses and elaborate theories about why it was absolutely necessary for a Democrat administration to spy on its designated replacement’s Republican opponent. And it was also totally cool for the IRS to suppress uppity Tea Party groups because they were getting to successful.

      1. Oh gee what a surprise, it’s a Kurt Schlichter column. The guy who makes money trying to incite a civil war. Fuck him.

  3. ‘Boycott HUMMUS ‘! @neontaster’s thread mocking Leftist media’s Trump-rage FUNNIEST damn thing ever
    Trump tweet: Just had some hummus. Delicious!

    Jen Rubin column: Why I no longer love hummus

    Max Boot column: Why Trump’s love of hummus spells disaster for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Krassenstein tweet: Boycott all hummus. RETWEET IF YOU AGREE!

    ? neontaster (@neontaster) May 23, 2018

  4. MS-13 suspect who allegedly killed man, burned body entered US as ‘unaccompanied alien child’
    Officials said the suspect killed the man, put his body in the trunk of the vehicle and poured gasoline on it before setting the vehicle on fire. He then apparently fled to South Carolina.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News that Platero-Rodriguez, through a loophole, was able to enter the country as an unaccompanied alien child (UAC) ? an illegal immigrant under the age of 18 who’s entered the country.

  5. Trump won’t talk ’til learning more about “Spygate” briefing.

    The president’s Twitter feed falls silent.

    1. There’s no honor lost in getting beaten to the first comment by me, but letting Longtorso get ahead of you, too? For shame, Eugene.

      1. At least Longtorso finally got some ahead.

        1. His Gatebox is in the shop, so he woke up early due to separation anxiety.

          1. Ha, what a loser!

            [orders a Gatebox]

            1. Real Talk, that commercial is devastatingly sad. I really want to pat the dude on the back and tell him it gets better.

              1. Seriously tragic shit. WTF is wrong with young men that they can’t figure out how to hook up? Oh that’s right, anything with a penis is, by definition, a rapist. Can’t rape a hologram.

                1. Japan, it’s apparently really hard to find a woman there.

    2. And Fist fails to yoke first comment status. Coincidence, or conspiracy?

      1. It’s a holiday weekend. You’re all lucky I’m here at all.

        1. If it weren’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have no luck at all.

  6. State senator pushes bill to offer free health care for illegals
    A hearing is set in Sacramento tomorrow on SB 974, which would “extend eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals of all ages who are otherwise eligible for those benefits but for their immigration status.”

    State Senator Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens is the author the bill.

    The annual price tag is projected at $3 billion, according to the Legislative Analyst.

    1. Offer sanctuary and free healthcare to anyone in the world who can get to your state. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. As a libertarian, I support this.

      2. Cheap labor and guaranteed votes if they stick around long enough. #winning

    2. If you still live in California, you are crazy.

      The politicians in that state will steal everything that you own.

  7. Federal agents nix “Toke Back Mountain.”

    “We can, in fact, quit you.”

  8. Harvey Weinstein has turned himself over to the New York City Police Department.

    They know a little something about sexual assault.

  9. Pacific Northwest mussels are testing positive for the opioid painkiller oxycodone.

    Phase 1 trial for use of oxycodone as a mussel relaxer is finally under way.

    1. May be I can finally eat those fucking things without projectile vomiting.

      1. You should chop them up and snort them to get the oxy into your bloodstream faster.

    2. An adequate dad joke.

      1. Is this your way of telling me that you’re pregnant and I’m the father?

        1. No, i’m saying that any kids you have (or will have) out there in the world experienced a sudden and inexplicable urge to roll their eyes just then.

    3. It is very stressful being a freshwater mollusk.

  10. Dana Loesch FIRES BACK at Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo after LEGAL THREAT
    Another lie keep it up. You have deep pockets. Bye forever or until we meet in court.

    ? Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) May 23, 2018

    Like I was saying, blah, blah, blah. Stop misrepresenting &/or lying about my views. Your action is leading to harassment by your minions. You may just make testing the limits of your dishonesty & cyber bullying worthwhile in Court. Many top-notch firms would do so pro-bono. pic.twitter.com/KirUT42u5P

    ? Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) May 23, 2018

  11. Pacific Northwest mussels are testing positive for the opioid painkiller oxycodone.

    Lifting free weights can cause chronic pain issues.

  12. Sweden says sex without affirmative consent is rape.

    Ya.

    1. If it smells like Swedish Fish…

      1. …best get lickin’ on that dish.

  13. http://www.politico.com/states…..gin-436741

    Menendez only up by four points. I guess “Only Indicted, No Convictions” isn’t an appealing campaign slogan in New Jersey. You really have to hand it to the guy. You get outted as the best friend of a couple of guys known for their love of underage hookers and sex slaves, get indicted for bribery and somehow manage to beat the wrap and you still have the balls to run for re-election.

    1. He’s the best New Jersey has to offer.

      I’m being serious. It is a terrible state.

      1. People used to say that about Bloomberg and New York City and I never believed them. Turned out they were right. You are probably right about Menendez and New Jersey.

        1. Bloomberg was a RINO but he was more fiscally sound than our typical Democrats and even more important he was practically incorruptible. Deblasio has been one scandal after the next – so many that the local news who are totally in the tank for the commie can’t even keep a lid on it.

          1. Bloomberg’s got Fuck You money so it was pointless to try and buy him off. Bourgeois leftists like DeBlasio always have their hand out for kickbacks once they gain power because they think that’s how government actually operates.

            1. because they thinkknow that’s how government actually operates

              Fixed.

          2. My friends in New York said that everyone at city hall was a batshit crazy communist, a complete crook, or both. They all said that as soon as Bloomberg left the rest of the world would find out just how bad the rest of New York politics was. And sure enough, DiBlasio has proven them right. He might be the worst mayor in the city’s history. Dinkins seems like a competent and honest mayor compared to DiBlasio.

            1. Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
              You’ll be doing us a really big favor

      2. It’s the worst state. I honestly don’t think anyone here would dispute that.

    2. When the Christo-Fundie Nuts support The Dotard en masse you know that personal ethics mean nothing today.

      1. Trump has rotted your brain so much, you can’t even speak in complete sentences with real words anymore.

        1. Anymore? Replace “The Dotard” with “Bushpig” and it’s a classic shreek entry from 2008.

  14. I’ve read elsewhere that Mueller has packed his staff with people who used to work for him at the FBI, which is to say, some of the people on his staff may well be implicated themselves in spying on the President’s 2016 campaign.

    It is unreasonable to expect the president to submit to questioning by investigators who may themselves be seeking to exonerate themselves in a pending investigation currently being considered by the Office of the Inspector General.

    Are you people aware of this?

    1. I suppose it depends when they worked for the FBI, and in what capacity. It does seem…unusual for an agency that is specifically the one accused of potential wrongdoing to be the agency doing the investigating though.

    2. Mueller’s team is made up of FBI employees and lawyers with conflicts of interest in this matter. They either have communicated a severe bias against Trump like Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and David Archy or they are ardent Democrat supporters. Only a few have contributed zero to campaigns and are not registered voters. Not a single registered conservative among them, including Mueller.

      1) Brian M. Richardson, a former Supreme Court clerk and clerk for a judge serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York City.
      No donations.
      Voter registration: No affiliation.
      2) Ryan Dickey, a lawyer on detail from the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
      No donations.
      Voter registration: Democrat.
      3) Kyle Freeny, a lawyer from the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.
      Freeny donated $250 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, another $250 to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 and $250 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
      Voter registration: Democrat.
      4) Scott Meisler, an appellate lawyer from the Justice Department Criminal Division.
      No donations.
      Voter registration: No affiliation.
      5) Zainab Ahmad, a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
      No donations.
      Voter registration: No affiliation.

      1. 6) Greg Andres, a former partner at Davis Polk, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department Criminal Division and a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York
        He donated $2,700 to the campaign of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) this year and $1,000 to the U.S. Senate campaign of David Hoffman (D) in 2009 when he ran unsuccessfully in Illinois.
        Voter registration: Democrat.
        7) Rush Atkinson, a lawyer from the Justice Department Criminal Division Fraud Section.
        He donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
        Voter registration: Democrat.
        8) Michael Dreeben, an appellate lawyer from the Office of the Solicitor General.
        No donations.
        Voter registration: Democrat.
        9) Andrew Goldstein, a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
        Goldstein donated $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
        Voter registration: Democrat.
        10) Adam Jed, an appellate lawyer from the Civil Division.
        No donations.
        Voter registration: Democrat.
        11) Elizabeth Prelogar, an appellate lawyer on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General.
        She donated $250 each to Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and the Obama Victory Fund in 2012.
        Voter registration: Democrat.

        1. 12) James Quarles, a former partner at WilmerHale and a former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
          He donated more than $30,000 to various Democratic campaigns in 2016, including $2,700 to Clinton, although his giving spans two decades. Quarles also gave $2,500 in 2015 to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and $250 to Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in 2005.
          Voter registration: Democrat.
          13) Jeannie Rhee, a former partner at WilmerHale who has served in the Office of Legal Counsel and as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington.
          Rhee donated a total of $5,400 to Clinton’s campaign in 2015 and 2016, and a total of $4,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008 and 2011. She also made smaller donations totaling $1,750 to the Democratic National Committee and to various Democrats running for Senate seats.
          Voter registration: Democrat.
          14) Brandon Van Grack, a lawyer on detail from the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
          He donated $286.77 to Obama’s campaign in 2008.
          Voter registration: Democrat.
          15) Andrew Weissmann, a lawyer who headed the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. He has served as general counsel at the FBI and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
          Weissmann donated $2,300 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, $2,000 to the DNC in 2006 and $2,300 to the Clinton campaign in 2007.
          Voter registration: Democrat.

          1. 16) Aaron Zebley, a former partner at WilmerHale who has previously served with Mueller at the FBI and as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
            No donations.
            Voter registration: No affiliation.
            17) Aaron Zelinsky, a lawyer on detail from the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Maryland.
            No donations.
            Voter registration: Democrat.

            1. As of WaPo March 18, 2018

      2. I don’t think that just being a Democrat automatically means there’s a conflict of interest, and if it is than being a Republican would also be a conflict of interest. That cuts both ways.

        1. I would agree with you. Being a registered Democrat or Republican is one thing. Its the ardent support of the Democrats with money and other activity that illustrates some of those people biases. Especially when the investigation is so political in the first place.

          1. Wasn’t Mueller himself a Republican, or at the very least appointed by a Republican? That might cause some problems for that narrative, although it is true there’s a very vocal anti-Trump component of the Republican party and people seem to forget that the FusionGPS dossier was originally funded by an unknown Republican. (Or if that Republican has since been outed, I have not heard about who it was yet.) I wouldn’t be shocked to find out it was Ted Cruz, but that’s just a random guess. Trump went after his father, after all.

            What could be notable is if all the people Mueller hires are Democrats, though, and there I would tend to agree even while I haven’t bothered to research this particular issue. Mostly because I don’t give a fuck, the investigation details themselves paint a nasty picture for these fucks.

            1. He was nominated by Booosh.

              The very fact that Democrats remind us of that fact is evidence enough that he is a RINO.

              Conservatives like Clarence Thomas never get a break from the left because he is actually a conservative.

              1. The very fact that Democrats remind us of that fact is evidence enough that he is a RINO.

                Who selected Cheney? (roflmao)

    3. Well you obviously wouldn’t have read it here. Reason’s position is that the FBI has evolved into an agency immune from democratic oversight. Kind of a CFPB for the deep state. Probably should be funded directly by the FED.

  15. I read on CNN that Mueller’s office collected more than a trillion bytes of data related to the indicted Russian individuals and companies’ use of social media to influence the 2016 presidential election.

    Not a million bytes, not a billion bytes. A trillion bytes of data. Can you even comprehend how large that number is? It’s only a matter of time before Mueller kicks Drumpf out of office.

    #TrumpRussia
    #ItsMuellerTime

    1. That’s like 8 trillion individually bad decisions!

      1. It’s mostly just Putin’s favorite cat videos.

        1. According to anonymous sources, Mueller is particularly focused on the picture of a Russian Blue cuddling with an American Bulldog as the lynchpin of his entire case

    2. Like pages are not a unit of emails, bytes are not a unit of usable information. I got 30 seconds of you walking across a parking lot in full HD, doesn’t mean I have 5.6GB of jack shit. CNN* is getting stupider all the time.

      [Yah, I know, even my local newspaper is getting stupider. You’d almost think these hacks all studied at Columbia.]

    3. Can you even comprehend how large that number is?

      Wow.. a whole terabyte. Around the size of a hard drive in most consumer computers.

      Wonder why CNN didn’t say it that way.

    4. ?
      It’s literally less than 1/4 of my iTunes music library.
      So yes, bytes is a useless measure here.

    5. *Yawn* I have more than a trillion bytes just in video and games on my storage drive. Am I supposed to be impressed?

      1. A trillion bytes is less than one tenth of one percent of BUCS’s collection of nonstandard porns.

    6. It is only about 500 Anthony Weiner selfies.

    7. The Data itself isn’t important its the quantity that makes it sound like proof and impossible for anyone to review.

      note though a trillion bytes is not the same as a Trillion proofs, a single letter takes 8 bits alone

    8. “”Can you even comprehend how large that number is”‘

      10^12?

    9. One H&R Hihnfected thread?

      1. The html from all of the boldface alone would start to approach 1 TB.

        1. Hihn’s enemies list is measurable in petabytes, which i guess is the natural result of being a dick for thousands of years.

          1. Everyone knows it’s libertarian as fuck to have an enemies list, after all, and Hihn is the only True Libertarian.

  16. http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..37112.html

    Republicans now slight favorite to retain the House. I guess crazy and delusional isn’t a good look for a national party. Who knew?

    1. I want to believe this, but I don’t.

      The Democrats seem to be doing everything they can to blow it, but I think the laws of inertia revealed in the historical trends are simply too strong.

      1. Historical trends are valid until they are not. Every election is different. The Republicans picked up seats in 2002. The Democrats did as well in 1998 despite “historical trends” that say otherwise.

        The problem for the Democrats is that they have not given any reason to put them back in power. Unless you want to undo the tax bill and impeach Trump, why would you vote Democrat? Sure, those things sell to a lot of people. But those people are all Democrats and mostly live in safe Democratic districts. Those things are never going to win you an election in swing or Republican districts that the Democrats have to win if they are going to retake the House.

        The other problem they Democrats have is that the internet and cable news has made it hard for them to hide their leadership and lunatic base. It is pretty hard for a Democrat running in some suburban district in Tennessee to pretend to be all moderate when Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters are on cable TV every night talking about how the Democrats will impeach Trump and confiscate everyone’s guns if only they can retake Congress.

        1. I’ll post the numbers again so you see what I’m talking about:

          This is what happens to the president’s party in the House in a new president’s first midterm–going back to the election of 1910.

          First column is House seats won/lost. The last column is what I see as the dominant issue(s) of that midterm.

          +9 1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt Great Depression
          +8 2002 George W. Bush 9/11
          -4 1962 John F. Kennedy Cuban Missile Crisis
          -8 1990 George H. W. Bush USSR Falls, Operation Desert Shield
          -9 1926 Calvin Coolidge 1st Midterm in 2nd Term (Death of Harding)
          -12 1970 Richard Nixon Vietnam, Kent State
          -15 1978 Jimmy Carter Energy Crisis, Inflation
          -18 1954 Dwight D Eisenhower McCarthyism
          -22 1918 Woodrow Wilson Broken Promise not to Enter WWI
          -26 1982 Ronald Reagan Recession
          -47 1966 Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society, Civil Rights Act
          -48 1974 Gerald Ford Nixon Pardoned
          -52 1930 Herbert Hoover Smoot?Hawley Tariff, Great Depression
          -54 1946 Harry S Truman Labor Unrest, End of Wartime Price Controls
          -54 1994 Bill Clinton Gun Control, HillaryCare
          -57 1910 William Taft Strife within the Republcian Party (Progressives)
          -63 2010 Barack Obama TARP, ObamaCare
          -77 1922 Warren Harding Strife within the Republcian Party (Progressives)

          The median is -24 House seats lost.

          The average is -31`House seats lost.

          The Republicans need to lose -20 seats in order to lose the House.

          1. My point, here, is that it doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is. What matters is whether the American people are unifying behind the president.

            The American people unified behind Bush Jr. in the wake of 9/11 (before we invaded Iraq).

            The American people unified behind FDR during the worst of the Great Depression (regardless of whether they should have).

            If that’s the way the scale breaks down, Trump needs to be less divisive than Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama.

            I think he’s more divisive than any of them were, and I expect the House to go to the Democrats for that reason.

            I hope I’m wrong.

            1. The people didn’t ‘unify behind W in the wake of 9/11′

              They unified behind W because of 2000 and Jumpin’ Jim. They were sick of Democrat lies. The election was over a year after 9/11 and Democrats had already gone back to their chanting of ‘illegitimate’ and their endless pursuit of enough fraudulent ballots to unseat Bush. The shrieking was unbearable.

              And The People kicked them in the face for it.

              Based on that, I’m thinking that the Blue Wave is going to dissipate against a great wall.

              1. I was referring specifically to the Bush’s first midterm election in 2002.

                Did you not read what I wrote?

                Yes, the country unified behind Bush between September of 2001 and November of 2002.

                What could be less controversial?

          2. Mean is just that, a mean. It says what the typical conditions and results are. It says nothing about whether the conditions now are typical.

            1. The point I was making was about the nature of the electorate–I’m not making a prediction based on the numbers. I’m making a guess based on how unified or divided the electorate is behind this president.

              I think they’re divided–rather than unified.

              Therefore, I expect the House election to land somewhere towards the divided end of the spectrum.

              My prediction isn’t based on the president. It’s based on the voters.

              Do you think voters are unified behind Trump?

              I don’t.

              What I want to happen, of course, is a different discussion. My bread and butter is market analysis–and the market is behaving the way it is regardless of whether I like it. You gotta get used to that.

            2. Less divisive presidents than Trump have suffered more than enough losses for the Republicans to lose the House.

              If some first midterms aren’t a referendum on the new president and what he’s done since taking office, this one is probably more of a referendum on the new president than most.

              The Democrats are certainly running against Trump.

              1. It’s likely Dems pick up some seats, and not unlikely that they get enough to take the House-
                But has any party run as severely and as exclusively on batshit crazy before?
                Other than impeaching Trump, the only two positions I can recall them stating an intent on are amnesty and benefits for illegals, and raising taxes.
                “We will impeach, we will encourage dependant illegal immigrants, and we’ll raise taxes! Vote D!”
                Color me skeptical regarding their appeal outside the metro cosmos

                1. I predict that Dems will pick up some seats and lose more seats.

                  Republicans will lose some seats but gain more seats.

                  Nobody is really offering the scenario that some “safe” Democrats seats will be lost as upsets. Republicans might lose a few “safe” seats too.

                  The end result will still be Republicans holding a majority in the House and Senate.

                  I also predict that Republicans might get to 34 state legislatures this November. That would allow an Article V Constitutional Convention to be held by the states to amend the Constitution. More and more Americans are sick of lefty bullshit.

        2. The problem for the Democrats is that they have not given any reason to put them back in power.

          “Oh, very well. It’s OUR TURN!”

          1. As far as I can tell, all of them are simply running against Trump.

            1. When you realize Trump won the majority of House Districts, that doesn’t seem like a very good plan. I guess they can win the majority of the national vote and claim they really won even though the Republicans won the majority of House elections.

            2. All of the Republicans seem to be simply running with Trump. Most of the contested Senate primaries were all about who was the more Trump of the candidates.

              When all that ever gets covered in the news 24/7 is Trump, he becomes the dominate force in our lives. It’s sickening really, not because it’s Trump, because it moves us further along the path of President as King. Something the founders were very concerned about.

              1. I think this is the one thing the Brits got right. Have a royalty with zero political power. It gives all the sheeple someone to fawn over without fucking over the rest of us. Of course, there is still plenty of fucking over going on in Britain, but at least not by the royals.

                1. Aside from the largest single welfare recipient in the country you mean.

                2. I thought that was the reason for the Kardashians?

              2. When all that ever gets covered in the news 24/7 is Trump, he becomes the dominate force in our lives. It’s sickening really,

                Trump is not the dominant force in anyone’s life but his enemies. And an incumbent party running on their President is standard procedure. I don’t see how Republicans this year are running on Trump anymore than Democrats ran on Obama in 10 and 14.

                And the Founders were concerned about the President being King but this is not what they were talking about. They always understood there would be popular and powerful politicians who attracted even fanatical followings. The system is built to keep such people from doing much damage. And has largely worked.

                What the founders didn’t understand was the rise of political parties. They always thought that Congress would be loyal to their regions. Thus, no one faction could ever get enough power to take over. They never counted on reps being loyal to their party over all. This has made Congress impotent and allowed the executive to act with impunity. And that is not a product of Trump. That is something that has been getting worse for decades.

                1. “Trump is not the dominant force in anyone’s life but his enemies.”

                  I don’t know, Fox News and CNN have just about equal coverage of Trump, obviously with different narratives.

                  “I don’t see how Republicans this year are running on Trump anymore than Democrats ran on Obama in 10 and 14.”

                  In the argument against “cult of personality” I don’t think Obama is the best benchmark.

                  The President continues to get even more power, but most of that has been ceded to the Executive Branch by Congress. The constant media coverage since 2008 certainly isn’t helping. When you have both sides freaking out about all of the horrible things the President *can* do on the 24/7 news cycle, eventually the plebes start believing that the President does actually have and should have so much power.

                  1. Having been polled this cycle I can tell you that the questions don’t give you a third option. If you don’t want to pay more in taxes so that tony can finally feel better about himself the only choice is a “candidate who will support president trump.”

            3. As far as I can tell, all of them are simply running against Trump.

              Which is the typical strategy for a midterm election.

              Look at 2010. The entire Republican campaign was running against Obama.

              1. I look forward to comparing their results

    2. Fake news. The #BlueWave is guaranteed to happen. Drumpf and the GOP are running this country into the ground, and the Democrats are behaving exactly like a serious, patriotic opposition party should ? talking about Russia, advocating common sense gun safety legislation, and emphasizing the humanity of MS-13 members. The choice is clear this November, and I know voters will do the right thing.

      1. Yeah, RealClearPolitics is just a fake news rightwing site like Infowars. You called it dude.

        1. You really need to get the sarcasm detector into the shop for its 10k post calibration.

  17. Gwenneth Paltrow says that Brad Pitt once slammed Harvey Weinstein against a wall and threatened to kill him years ago.

    I don’t agree with Brad Pitt about a lot, but mad respect for him for doing that. This is the way you can deal with guys like Weinstein. Who knows, maybe if a few more guys had put the fear of God in him he might have shaped up.

    Oh well. Here’s hoping you get raped in prison buddy.

    1. Weinstein is a scumbag, but deserving to be punched in the nose and deserving to be raped in prison are two different things. I hope he’s found guilty after getting a fair trial–assuming he is guilty of a legitimate crime rather than just being a scumbag.

      In the meantime, I’ve grown nauseated at seeing prosecutors based in New York trying to make a name for themselves by going after anybody and everybody that happens to get in the news.

      We all saw what that scumbag Preet Bahara tried to do to the commentariat here at Reason. Anybody on the outside who read the headlines might have though Preet Bahara was a white knight in the fight against violent trolls.

      Fuck the Southern District of New York, Fuck New York State prosecutors, and Fuck Harvey Weinstein.

      1. Well said.

      2. “Fuck the Southern District of New York, Fuck New York State prosecutors, and Fuck Harvey Weinstein”
        Couldn’t have said it better. There aren’t any good guys to cheer for in this story.

    2. I had heard about that. Good for him. It says very bad things about the men around the women in Hollywood that Weinstein was able to get away with the things he did.

    3. Pitt should have punched Trump in the face for his sexual assaults but now the Secret Service might stop him.

      1. In your case, you probably should gotten way fewer atomic wedgies when you were in school, you poor little sad clown. Maybe you wouldn’t be so fucked up.

        1. Melvin > atomic wedgie

  18. But five refugees holding down a native Swedish girl is still rape-rape, right? Or is talking about this racist, and punishable in Sweden by jail time? I mean, it’s hard to even judge consent, if you can’t even talk about what’s going on.

    1. Asking for a friend?

      1. Just being another snowflake for robby to cite.

  19. From the link:

    “Elon Musk, the entrepreneur, national treasure, and living, breathing argument for increased sub-Saharan African immigration into the U.S.,”

    Yep, we certainly don’t have enough rent seekers here. I really want my tax dollars subsidizing more scam artists pitching glam to millionaires.

    1. And Musk is representative of people from Sub Saharan Africa. They all are just like him.

        1. Come for the ideas, stay for the hyperconceptual dick jokes.

          1. STEVE SMITH DICK IS NO JOKE!

            1. IS SORT OF COSMIC JOKE, PLAYED ON ORIFICES OF HOMO SAPIENS. LIKE KAFKA BUT RAPE.

              1. I just started here around January, and while I know this is unlikely I really really hope your Steve Smith references are to the former Panthers WE.
                That would make my day.

                1. ‘Fraid not. Bonus: linked thread is ANOTHER Morning Links in which i was first commenter, albeit under my previous screenname, and the role of the innocent in STEVE SMITH matters is played by our very own John.

                  1. Damn it, you made me have a sad seeing a SugarFree post.

                    1. I do miss his fiction.

  20. In the photo it looks like Rod Rosenstein hired The Transporter”. Or is that Agent 47?

  21. http://www.shootingillustrated…..led-carry/

    FBI study shows the effectiveness of conceal and carry laws have in reducing crime.

      1. When so much that is in the news is so depressing, it is always good to see a feel-good story like that.

      2. I read about that on HuffPo yesterday.

      3. If only the media would cover more of these stories where average Americans that are armed stop murderous rampages or end them before police are able to intercede.

  22. Pacific Northwest mussels are testing positive for the opioid painkiller oxycodone.

    And they’re happy as a clam!

    1. At high tide pods too!

  23. “Pacific Northwest mussels are testing positive for the opioid painkiller oxycodone.”

    One of the strangest things about conspiracy theories is how they seem to gloss over real concerns to focus on things that don’t really matter. Conspiracy theories have obsessed about everything from fluoridation to London’s use of sewer water, but there are other real concerns . . .

    Much of the waste water treatment is done the old fashioned way. Whether you’re dealing with large concentrations of pesticides washing down river at certain times of the year or you’re looking at treating sewage affluent before dumping it back in the river, we’re mostly talking about using holding ponds to separate material from the water and adding what’s needed to encourage microbes to do the work of breaking that shit down. They test for certain pesticides to be be so many parts per billion 50 feet downstream from a effluent insertion point, and they do tests like adding a certain species of fish to the water before its released and counting how many of them die and how quickly.

    There’s no method for filtering out pharmaceuticals.

    1. “Well, there ought to be a LAW!!”

    2. That’s why I only drink reverse osmosis water. 39 cents per gallon at Whole Foods.

      1. I just assumed that distillation takes care of all of this, and therefore only drink whisky.

        1. Distilled water should only contain H2O since its condensed steam.

          All the pharm and other contaminants should remain behind in boiling container.

          1. Ooops, I mentioned water while you were talking about spirits.

            1. Yeah but if you’re bold enough to own a still you better be careful, lest gubmint hear that you might be making moonshine.

  24. It was no big deal back in the day when hardly anybody was taking them, but now that everybody and their kids are on antidepressants + whatever else, we’re flushing a tremendous amount of pharmaceuticals through the drinking water system. One city’s water draw is taking it downriver from some other city’s effluent, you know?

    And there isn’t anything that can be done about it.

    Maybe stuff like fluoridation and Flint get obsessed about because something could be done about it. The stuff no one can do anything about, I guess, is just to awful for the conspiracy theorists to even consider.

    1. In the future we will all test positive for all the drugs.

      1. “Natch, Jackson!”

    2. I read recently about a study in Singapore that found that a liter of water from the surrounding environment averaged the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

      1. I read a study that proved that a gallon of water in Los Angeles has about two tabs worth of LSD.

        God I love that water.

        1. This would actually be a reason to move to Los Angeles, if it were true. That shit is fun.

      2. If that means Marina Bay then I’d worry about a lot of other things before the caffeine.

  25. Trump has been talking to Mueller for two years now. That’s the irony if it. Trump gives testimony practically everyday.

    1. I suppose Mueller’s just waiting to find some inconsistency.

  26. http://www.buzzfeed.com/henryg……snrPxNNR1

    Bill Kristol is going to launch a primary challenge against Trump in 2020. is Kristol insane? Or is he running some kind of Andy Kaufman like long con? I honestly can’t tell which it is.

    1. Bill Kristol vs Joe Biden: Battle of the Awesome Chompers

      1. Bill Kristol, Max Boot, and Jennifer Rubin are like the triumvirate of crazy. People pick on Louis Mench for being nuts, and she certainly is. But those three are in their own way just as crazy or worse. It makes me wonder if they are not on someone’s payroll who is insisting they say the things they do.

    2. Is Bill Kristol insane?
      How is that even a question at this point?

      1. Fair point Shirley. He used to at least be able to pass most of the time. He doesn’t even pretend anymore.

        What I don’t get is who he thinks such a candidate will appeal to. Does he think he can win the GOP nomination by getting the votes of a few hundred people in Washington pissed off they didn’t get a job in the Trump administration?

        1. Those few hundred people need to calm down. Given the turnover rate of the Trump administration, their chance will come very soon.

          1. True. But that would require them having some common sense and humility and admitting that Trump is not a fascist or Hitler or the end of the Republic but just another President. And common sense and humility is from what I can tell not something these people do.

            1. Yeah, common sense and humility don’t happen very often in the DC area.

            2. Common sense and humility are detrimental to a career in government, it is known.

              1. True. But they will have to have it to get back into government. So, it is kind of a catch 22. I went to the Opera last night with my wife. I am standing in line for a drink and this late 20s early 30s couple is standing behind me and I overheard their conversation. Typical Washington in that it is some low testosterone guy who makes Soave look like an Army Ranger and a reasonably hot woman. First, the opera was Berstein’s Candide and they had no idea what Candide was. Who is the Voltaire guy? But remember these people are smarter and better educated than the rest of us and are entitled to run our lives.

                Then the conversation came to the NFL thing. And their thoughts were “that is a total violation of the First Amendment and it is just giving into the worst elements of society”. This is what passes for deep thoughts among the denizens of Washington. I bit my tongue in horror.

                1. Of course they don’t know who voltaire was. They’re english majors not electrical engineers.

                2. I had to read Candide in high school, and for whatever reason the teacher passed out the 1959 edition that had all the nude drawings in it. It was awesome.

                  1. Citizen X’s tube socks, hardest hit.

                  2. That is awesome. I never liked it. It is just too cynical and depressing. But I have never liked Voltaire either. The Opera isn’t bad. Berstein knew how to write decent music. It is a bit repetitive, but all but the great operas tend to be that way. And it is a bit Broadway. But it was okay. The lead was smoking hot. That always helps.

                    1. Cynical yes depressing no. Just think of dr. Pangloss as tony and you’ll change your mind.

                    2. It ends well. I will give it that. The other thing about last night is the audience laughed at some really odd times. I am sorry, but the diva being sold into sex slavery isn’t funny.

                    3. They’re allowed to laugh. They retwatted #metoo

    3. Bill Kristol + John Kasich sounds like one of my worst nightmares.

      1. Say goodbye to all your copies of Fargo, Blockbuster!

    4. John, it’s not about winning. It’s about attention and profits.

      1. You are probably right. He will raise a bunch of money from various rich dopes, run a sham campaign that gets him a bunch of talk show gigs and then pocket the leftover campaign cash. For all of his pretensions, he likely is just an ordinary thief when you get right down to it.

      2. Whenever Bill Kristol is involved, don’t discount his likely position that Trump isn’t lobbing enough bombs at Anywhereistan.

        1. Well yes. Speaking of which where is that gem wolfowitz parasitizing these days?

    5. Kristol’s brand of conservatism is really only popular with Beltway GOP political operatives. The kind who thought Jeb! was an inspired choice to run in ’16.

      1. I am as bad at forecasting elections as anyone. But, how they thought Jeb Bush was going to get anyone’s vote is beyond me. The whole country was sick of the Bushes and Clintons. Anger over immigration was coming to a full boil. And those clowns thought running a Bush who was married to a Columbian and had said in so many words that immigrants were superior to native born Americans.

        1. If recent history is any predictor of future events, it takes a Bush to get boots on the ground in the Middle East. You can bet this was Kristol’s main reason for supporting Jeb.

        2. And no one could articulate why you should vote for him. The whole idea of his campaign seemed tobe runningon the idea that people would recognize his last name, and therefore vote for him. It was like he was chosen by a political science student trying to test their hypothesis on just how far name recognition could take a candidate.

          1. Sounds familiar. It’s like the other side running a Clinton.

          2. I think one of my biggest nightmares is another choice between a Bush and a Clinton.

  27. the President’s legal team expects to improperly obtain and use such information for their defense

    That Trump, hiding behind the 6th Amendment. Downright un-American if you ask me.


  28. Eight lawmakers from both parties met yesterday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a classified briefing on the FBI informant used to monitor the Trump campaign.

    How can one be briefed on someone or something that was claimed not to have existed in the first place?

  29. Pacific Northwest mussels are testing positive for the opioid painkiller oxycodone.

    If its an epidemic then why is it ending up in the ocean? I assume the culprit is urine runoff not people throwing out opioids.

  30. Sweden says sex without affirmative consent is rape.

    Nolo forms in Swedish bring you: Love Contracts.

  31. The classified DOJ briefing was yet another humiliation foe the Bellower in Chief. Kim gamed him again. And Cohen is the latest Russian stooge. As the Clown Car keeps rolling, rolling, rolling.

  32. Simply idiotic for Trump to let himself be interrogated by the Coup

    1. He has no choice, just like Nixon and Clinton.
      But Obama is a Kenyan. Trump had the largest inauguration crowd and signed the largest tax cut in history.

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