Reason Roundup

Is Everyone in Washington Lying? Cohen, Manafort, Trump, and More: Reason Roundup

Plus: a rare win against civil asset forfeiture and a reminder that prosecutors lie, too.

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Richard B. Levine/Newscom

How will Cohen's admissions affect President Trump? "Trump will emerge from the Michael Cohen kerfuffle more powerful, more energized, and more electable than he was going in. And it's going to drive his opponents insane," suggests Clark Neily, vice president of the Cato Institute.

Ken "Popehat" White, writing in The New York Times, takes a different view:

The president's personal lawyer pleaded guilty to a federal crime and testified under oath that the president told him to do it.

[…] Mr. Trump's involvement wasn't a necessary element to Mr. Cohen's plea, but he supplied it anyway. That implicates the president directly in what might be called "collusion": a conspiracy to commit a series of federal crimes, albeit not, in this case anyway, with Russians.

What next for Mr. Cohen? Based on the calculations in his plea agreement, he's facing a probable sentence of between three and five years in federal prison. He undoubtedly wants to shorten that. His plea agreement is not a "cooperation" agreement. It does not require him to help the government's investigations, and the government does not promise sentencing credit for any such help.

But judges can, and often do, give credit for cooperation, and the government can always decide to recommend a lighter sentence later. And federal prosecutors clearly hope that Mr. Cohen will cooperate — his testimony that Mr. Trump directed his crimes was gratuitous unless prosecutors intended to lock him into that story for possible future use.

Trump has been on Fox News defending himself by saying that the money Cohen brokered for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal did not come from his campaign.

"Like many of us, he seemed to misunderstand the relevant provision of campaign finance law," writes Peter Overby at NPR. "In fact, the president might be better off if his campaign had supplied the hush money." The illegal part here comes from the fact that "Cohen arranged for a friendly tabloid publisher to give McDougal a $150,000 contract (not that it would publish what she wrote)" and "set up a shell company to pay Daniels $130,000." But "the publisher's contract amounted to a corporate campaign contribution, but corporations cannot contribute to campaigns. Cohen's payment to Daniels amounts to a personal contribution from him to the campaign. But it was for $130,000; the legal limit is $2,700."

If Trump had just made the payments through his campaign, suggests Overby, he and Cohen would be much better off:

Campaign finance reports are rife with vague disclosures of expenditures. The campaign probably could have tucked the hush money into a disbursement marked "legal fees," and no one would have noticed. Or Trump could have just paid those bills himself. A candidate can spend without limit on their own campaign.

At The Washington Post, Fact Checker Glenn Kessler looks back on Trump's earliest statements about the hush money: "four days before he was elected president, when his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, without hedging, 'we have no knowledge of any of this.'" This past April, Trump himself—asked outright about whether he knew Cohen had given money to Stormy Daniels—said "no."

The Post rates Trump's statements "not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie."

Of course, many people are speculating about how this will effect this November's elections. A midterm focused on impeaching Trump is what Republicans want, not Democrats, suggests Margaret Hartmann at New York. And, right on cue…

screenshot/FoxNews

Meanwhile, in Manafort world, Trump has been tweeting out his support.

Ben Judah, a journalist who moved from Russia to the U.S. a few years ago, writes that Washington is increasingly starting to resemble Moscow, where "power had long ago slipped out of formal institutions" and "what mattered most was an unspoken fact: The president's friends' financial interests shaped almost everything."

"Looking back on it, I realize that every story I ever filed from Russia was not just a politics story, or a crime story, or a spy story—but almost always, on some level, also a corruption story," writes Judah. "That's one final, spooky way that Washington now feels just like Moscow."

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Sigh.

Prosecutors lie, too. Prosecutors pressure people into accepting plea deals and spinning stories all sorts of ways, by threatening ridiculous and draconian sentences and fines, among other things. In Michael Cohen's case, there's a ton of corroborating evidence for at least the payment part of the charges and no reason to suspect some sinister deep-state plot. But let's not feign naiveity about how prosecutors work, how much power they wield, and how often they wield it unjustly.

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  1. Prosecutors would not have accepted Cohen’s plea if they didn’t believe his information was truthful. https://t.co/1Xn6too3It
    ? Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 22, 2018

    THAT’S HOW IT WORKS.

    1. I guess no innocent oerson has ever entered a guilty plea.

      1. Cohen would throw himself under the bus, go to jail and refuse a pardon just to stick it to Trump? For a greedy fixer, he clearly has no desire for self-preservation.

      2. No innocent person was ever convicted by a jury either.

        No innocent person was ever prosecuted by a prosecutor either.

        No judge ever harshly sentenced an innocent person either.

        The Lefties were just lying when they wanted criminal justice reform.

  2. BREAKING: Utah Supreme Court unanimously decides in favor of property owner challenging a civil asset forfeiture case in which the government violated state law property protections by improperly giving his ~$500k to the federal government.

    More to come? #utpol
    ? Libertas Institute (@LibertasUtah) August 22, 2018

    The punishment for violating that law is what?

    1. Unconstitutional asset forfeiture?

      The 5th Amendment demand just compensation for all property taken for public use. $1000 seized would require $1000 in just compensation from the government.

      Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    1. The wording is unclear – it is the “hate group” committee of the SPLC that moved to get the payments blocked. They label Horowitz a right wing hate-monger. Here is their proof “in his own words”:

      “I’m drawing attention to all these neo-Nazi Muslims and leftists because this is the overlooked but real neo-Nazi movement in America. Richard Spencer and his Charlottesville idiots are marginal and have no significant following, unlike SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] and the campus Jew-hating left.”
      ?Twitter, December 25, 2017

      “The faculties of our liberal arts schools in America and in England are dominated by communists and pro-terrorists. And that may sound extreme, but it’s actually not.”
      ?Interview with J-TV, May 16, 2017

      “The difference between Islamic fanatics, or Jew haters, and Hitler is that Hitler hid the Final Solution, and the Iranians and Hezbollah shout it from the rooftops. And the whole Muslim world accepts it.”
      ?Speech at the University of Southern California, March 23, 2016

      “[The Boston bombers] hated us because they were fanatical believers in the idea that Mohammed had desired them to kill infidels and purify the earth for Allah. This is the face of our enemy and the sooner the delusional liberals among us wake up to this fact, the safer all of us will be.”
      ?FrontPage Magazine, April 19, 2013

      1. I cut a couple of longer anti-Obama quotes to fit the character limit. But as you can tell, their proof of his “hate group” status is that he opposes demonization of Israel by pro-palestinian groups on campuses. And he supports the right of Israel to exist – hence his opposition to the goals of the Iranian Mullahs to eliminate Israel.

        That seems to be the major thrust of their complaint… that he protests some protesters.

        Kinda like antifa. Except, you know, minus the violence thing. Funny how that works if you are working for Soros.

    2. Might be time to deeply regulate them. I dislike govrrnment intervention, but i dislike companies stifling speecn also. This action is no different, to me, then the government doing so.

      1. I may have missed the sarcasm but are you joking?

        Financial services are one of the most heavily regulated industries already.

        1. To forbid them from refusing to do business with a legal enterprise.

          1. I am against this even though the premise is a good one.

            The Libertarian strategy would be to let banks do what they wanted. No bailouts though. Ever. If you take money from Fed at lower rates than Prime, you sign an agreement to not discriminate based on political, race, gender, or speech.

            New banks that catered to every customer would be popular.

  3. “An automated filter helped take down an article by a Member of the EU Parliament.” That article explained how “automated filtering systems that would take down all sorts of legitimate content.”

    Better to punish an innocent article than let a guilty one be read.

  4. New cardinal: Abuse victims should be ‘ashamed’ to speak due to their own failings
    MEXICO, August 21, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) ? Reacting to the recent avalanche of reports of clerical sexual abuse around the world, a newly minted Mexican Cardinal has suggested that victims who accuse priests should be “ashamed” because they too have skeletons in their own closets.

    Those who “accuse men of the Church should [be careful] because they have long tails that are easily stepped on,” said Cardinal Sergio Obeso Rivera according to a report in Crux.

    1. OK, Sergio, what’s *your* story?

    2. Lost Part of the Sermon on the Mount

      Blessed are the snitches, for they shall inherit stitches.

    3. Y’know, I’ve tried very hard to not blame the whole Catholic church for this monstrosity, but reading stuff like that makes me want to say “Kill them all, God will know his own.”

      Not the laity, mind you. But the entire priestly class on up? Yeah, maybe.

  5. A block on Alabama’s attempted ban of second-trimester surgical abortions has been upheld by a federal appeals court.

    1. And that’s all I have to say about that. Apparently.

  6. “To me, one of the most chilling things that came out of yesterday is the President of the United States praising a convicted felon who was chairman of his campaign for not breaking by giving information to prosecutors,”

    how nice it must be to now and forever more refer to manafort as a convicted felon to sidestep any debate.

    1. Stop defending convicted felons, you convicted felon defender!

    2. Didnt Reason do a glowing interview with convicted felons in re backpage.com?

  7. The Post rates Trump’s statements “not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.”

    i honestly thought the singularity would be cooler than this.

  8. Sean Davis
    @seanmdav

    What they promised: treason.
    What they hoped for: collusion.
    What they’ll settle for: hooker hush money.

    1. true for all special investigations into powerful political figures.

    2. That’s true (as of now, anyway), but that’s not a good legal defense. Maybe it’s a good enough political defense – we’ll see.

    3. In the next election, Trump can negate the effects of hooker hush money taint by playing the “renewed my relationship with Jesus” card. I wonder if he would go there.

  9. “shows just how deep a fiscal hole we have dug, and gives some idea about what it would take to crawl out of it,” notes Forbes.

    do we still have the car we drove into this ditch? i think id rather use that than crawl.

    1. We have the pieces of it, but even if it were whole, there’s no real path to “drive out” of the Grand Canyon.

  10. The campaign probably could have tucked the hush money into a disbursement marked “legal fees,” and no one would have noticed. Or Trump could have just paid those bills himself. A candidate can spend without limit on their own campaign.

    This makes Cohen’s “federal crime” seem pretty effin’ trivial.

  11. What would it take to actually get the federal debt “down to manageable levels?”

    SMOD

    1. Maybe we can invest the social security trust fund in bitcoin. Does anyone have the key to Al Gore’s lock box?

      1. To be green, he made the key out of biodegradable material, and it is gone.

  12. The Post rates Trump’s statements “not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.”

    A LIE-lie?!

  13. “In recent days, there have been assertions that Wells Fargo elected to close an account in Florida because of our presumed political viewpoint regarding medical marijuana,” the bank said. “That assertion is completely false. The company has no political position on the matter.”

    Taking time out of its busy schedule of foreclosing on homes in error, the bank is making a statement on weed.

    1. Or they are responding to threats from the Federal government and took it to the next level in a fit of caution…

      Or….

      Maybe, ……

      Just maybe….. they are playing 4D chess and they are looking to spotlight the issues created for banks by the Operation Choke Point push.

      Which is in a way similar to the Universities overstepping their authority and issuing kangaroo court punishments in response to the Obama administration’s Dear Colleague letter. Hmmmm….. Maybe they are playing 4D chess too….

      Maybe everyone is a super-genius and i was just too naive to see it until Trump started his master class?

      1. Among the email stuff was the Clinton claim that the emails were deleted before they received a subpoena.

        In fact they were delete after the subpoena was received.

        Yet factcheck.org takes pains to explain how what they meant was that the decision to delete them was made (just) before they received a subpoena. The campaign said they didn’t learn about when they were actually deleted until the FBI report came out.

        Wow. that’s really, really bending over backward to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

        But seeing as how that comes 7 pages in to the archive and almost every single item is a defense of Clinton from false statements made by the right… For example, they bothered to “factcheck” a blog called “friction as fact” and let me know that the Clintons are not divorcing, so don’t trust “friction as fact”

        So anyway, if that’s the standard, then I suppose it is a little surprising to call something a lie when it is just disputed by someone else’s claims.

        1. Oh, back to the email thing…

          Destruction of documents (like emails) when you know they are or are about to be the subject of legal proceedings is against the law.

          Meaning that they had (have?) an open-and-shut case for obstruction of justice. It couldn’t be more simple… they deleted the object of a subpoena after receiving the subpoena. Beyond that, they admit making the decision to get rid of them in anticipation of having them subpoenaed.

          That’s as open and shut as it gets. And that’s what Comey had in his hands when he said “no prosecutor would bring this case”.

          1. Thread Fail! The last 2 in this chain belong below on the factcheck.org discussion.

  14. Wells Fargo said it had to close a Florida politician’s bank account because federal marijuana laws.

    “Too big to toke.”

    1. This is a pretty big story in my book. They “unbanked” her because lobbyists for the marijuana industry donated to her campaign.

      That’s the “nexus”. If you get a donation from a state regulated pot business, you are therefore tainted by federally illegal drug money.

      I wonder if they feel the same way about politicians who take money from gambling lobbyists? Gambling is illegal in most places.

      Or what about newspapers, magazines or TV stations that take advertising money from the cannabis industry. Or cannabis lobby groups?

      Now that it involves a politician, maybe they’ll pay attention. I will admit that I’m kinda glad it is happening to a democrat… I don’t remember too much hue and cry from them when Obama instituted Operation Choke Point. This is the direct result of that program, which is dead in name, but apparently the chilling effect lives on.

      1. The “tainted” aspect is particularly galling given the bank is *Wells Fargo*.

  15. “For the first time, the FactChecker is labeling a statement by a politician to be “a lie””. Date August 22, 2018.

    The FIRST TIME a politician has made a statement that was a lie. Seriously? FactChecker’s head was obviously planted in FactChecker’s asshole until sometime yesterday.

    1. The FactChecker obviously has very high standards and doesn’t label every little falsehood a lie. That’s how you know it’s reliable

      1. That’s how you know it’s something for sure…

      2. Ok, so I thought I’d put them to the test. Surely there was something that was said by Clinton that they could have labeled “lie” just as easily. Like all of the stuff about her emails. About classified information, about not wiping the server…. that all seems pretty low-hanging fruit. Remember the “i only carry one phone…” thing where they then produced pictures of her with multiple phones? Something…

        So anyway… I went to Factcheck.org and searched “Hillary Clinton”. They have a page dedicated to the archives of all things clinton, so I went there. After several pages of articles defending Clinton from false claims (like claims that she took huge donations in a quid-pro-quo for the Uranium One deal), I found a story about Clinton.

        Apparently she complained that nobody ever asked Trump how he was going to create jobs during the debates. So, leaving out the fact that she was, you know, actually a participant in those debates, they actually did ask that exact question in 2 of the 3 debates. So she got a “false” rating on that one.

        Several more pages of Clinton defense back through the election get us to a page about the FBI report. They spend quite a bit of time parsing the report… to let us know how they and everyone got it wrong. So mostly a defense of Clinton, but no delving into things she may have said that were not true.

        1. Stupid question. Was factcheck.org around during the Bill Clinton presidency?

      3. Well, then, if you like your factchecker, you can keep your factchecker.

  16. What Would It Take For Congress To Bring The Federal Debt Down To Manageable Levels?

    I give up. What are “manageable levels”? Apparently we’ve been at “sustainable levels” for quite some time.

  17. Is Everyone in Washington Lying?

    Yes.

    1. In DC and the state both – – – – – – – –

      1. Nah… they grow apples in Washington. Nobody who grows apples could be dishonest….

        1. Apples vs Oranges.

  18. Penthouse is being threatened by actress Asia Argento’s lawyers

    This is incredible! Penthouse is still a thing?!

    1. I thought it went out of business. Seriously. Do they still publish letters?

      1. “Dear Penthouse,

        I thought you had gone out of business. But was I in for a surprise ….”

        1. I wish some newz organization would do an in-depth piece on when, in the late 90s, Penthouse broke the taboo of depicting hardcore porn – penetration, etc. – in mainstream porn mags.

          They just went ahead and did it, expecting the government to hit back, but nothing happened! Then, every skin mag followed suit.

        2. Not authentic enough. You have to work in a report of the size of your massive member during the first paragraph.

      2. What’s a letter?

      3. They just Tweet them out now. Millennials can get off in 280 characters or less. Most of them are eggplant emojis anyway.

        1. + [eggplant emoji]

          Followed by the 3 diagonal drops, and then maybe the crying face

  19. If you don’t like the EC that much, water down the 2 you get from your senators by increasing the house to 1000 seats. That’s just a law, not an amendment to the Constitution.

    Democrats will do better playing by the rules than denouncing the rules
    The Democrats argue that they’ve been winning more votes but don’t control the federal government. They’ve won a plurality of the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, but have elected presidents in only four of them. That darned Electoral College? “land,” as one liberal commentator puts it ? gave the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.

    Of course, the Gore and Clinton campaigns knew that the winner is determined by electoral votes, not popular votes. But that hasn’t stopped many Democrats from calling for changing the rules to election by popular vote.

    1. If you take a genuinely originalist view of the Constitution, then House districts should have only about 40,000 residents.

      There is nothing magic about the number of 435 for Congressional districts.

      1. Its actually 30k.

        Article I, Section 2: …The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative….

        The 17th Amendment should be repealed too. Senators should go back to be selected by state legislatures. It tempers the power of the directly voted Representatives.

        1. Man, can you imagine the gridlock if the House had 11,000 members or so?

          *happy sigh*

          1. The Congressional pay budget would be outrageous.

            This will hopefully be changed during the Article V Constitutional Convention coming soon.

            Balanced budgets Amendment, ban welfare programs amendment, term limit amendment….

  20. http://www.bostonherald.com/ne…..enate_iowa

    Elizabeth Warren; “sure your daughter was murdered by an illegal alien but think of the greater good”. She actually said that or words to that effect. Unbelievable.

    1. You read Reason, why would you think that attitude is unbelievable?

      1. Fair point. Maybe Warren is just angling to replace Dalmia should her Senate career ever not work out.

    2. “But,” Warren continued, “one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.”

      Murder’s not a “real problem”?

      1. I noticed that too. Real problems are whatever gets her elected I guess

      2. The real problem is importing enough Democratic voters. Murder is just unavoidable collateral damage from creating the greater good.

    3. This may be Lizzie’s “Cuomo moment”.

    4. Lizzie is a moron. But her idiocy shouldn’t have any effect on the libertarian argument for lower immigration restrictions. This just highlights that the Democrat Party position on immigration isn’t rooted in any sort of individual liberty. It’s rooted in politics, pure and simple.

      1. They are your only option for implementing open borders policies. I would think that would give you pause

        1. It’s not really much different than allying with Republicans on lower spending. Pure politics there as well; obviously no real principles to restrain spending once they get into power.

          1. The Republicans are bad on spending its true, but they aren’t worse than Democrats. Democrats are the worse party on immigration because they don’t care about making things better for immigrants or citizens, they only care about votes.

            1. And Republicans pay lip service to spending restraint because???

              1. Why do you keep dragging this back to spending?

                  1. What are you analogizing? That doesn’t even make sense.

                    1. I mean, you obviously think it’s ” not really much different than allying with Republicans on lower spending. ” but that’s not an analogy, it’s a baseless assertion.

                    2. Libertarians allying with Democrats on immigration is like Libertarians allying with Republicans on spending. They both have a similar end-game in mind, but in both cases the Democrats and Republicans only seem to care about the politics (or optics) of it all. Ie… when either party gets into power, they don’t really change anything.

                    3. Except one is spending and the other is massive state intrusion into every day life.

                      Listen I get what you think you’re doing, but you’ve failed.

                    4. And no, I don’t beleive for one moment they have ” a similar end-game in mind” at all.

                    5. Because spending (and the associated taxation or wealth destruction through inflation) isn’t a “massive state intrusion into every day life.”

                      I’ll grant you that it’s not a perfect analogy. But the reply to my original comment in this thread was implying that the libertarian position on immigration is untenable because it relies on allying with Democrats. The libertarian position on spending, if it were ever to be enacted, would require relying on Republicans to come along.

                    6. “Because spending (and the associated taxation or wealth destruction through inflation) isn’t a “massive state intrusion into every day life.””

                      Well, it isn’t vompared to what the Dems want. And… libertarians work with Republicans to LIMIT spending, or else they wouldn’t be working with them.

                      You seem to gave tripped over the reality of your own talking points.

                    7. when either party gets into power, they don’t really change anything.

                      Of course not. Their job is to get reelected. Change pisses people off, and they don’t get reelected by pissing people off.

                    8. God dammit stop proving Tony right.

          2. I’d be less concerned about spending and more concerned about being lined up on a wall.

            “It’s not really much different than allying with Republicans on lower spending. ”

            Yeah, no.

            1. I’d be less concerned about spending and more concerned about being lined up on a wall.

              Interesting comment. Is it a “big, beautiful wall” that you had in mind?

              1. I’d prefer no wall of any kind, thankee.

            2. Yes we know. Bernie Sanders is just a closeted Stalin.

              1. I love when people try sarcasm and get reality instead.

      2. The case shows that there are serious problems with vetting and controlling immigration. The guy stole an identity and got and e-verify card. Libertarians would be smart to get ahead of this issue and admit that we need better border security. No one but total fanatics would say this guy should have gotten into the country. But, by not admitting the problems with border security or offering solutions, Libertarians end up lumping good immigrants in with guys like this.

        If Libertarians believe in immigration, their position should be big wall and easily opened gate. If immigration means letting in the world’s criminals, the public will never support it. That is just reality.

        1. No caps, and no vetting with any realistic chance of keeping out actual criminals. Ultimately this is all just TDS virtue signaling for whatever left wing gig the writers move onto next.

        2. I don’t disagree in principle. The government should be able to legally keep out known bad actors through some form of vetting process. I don’t, however, pretend that the government would have been able to stop this guy with a wall or whatever. The government can’t even keep drugs out of controlled environments like federal prisons.

          I don’t, however, believe that the individual liberties of countless otherwise law-abiding people should be restrained because of every single case where there is a crime committed by an immigrant. That argument is no different than claiming that right X should be given up because someone abused the right and something bad happened to an innocent person.

          Individual actions are crimes. Grouping (and punishing) law-abiding people together with criminals who abuse those rights is not a libertarian position. *cough* gun control *cough*

          1. “That argument is no different than claiming that right X should be given up”

            Actually it is quite fundamentally different.

            1. Immigration should be limited or vetted because some crazy immigrant killed someone in Iowa.
              -Republicans

              Gun ownership should be limited or vetted because some crazy kid shot a bunch of kids in a school in Florida.
              -Democrats

              Free speech should be limited or vetted because some Klansman gave a speech and someone acted on it.
              -Democrats

              Your right to be secure in your cell phone communications should be limited or vetted because a terrorist communicated via cell phone and a bunch of people died in the attack.
              -Democrats and Republicans

              Shall I keep going?

              1. Tulpa is right. It is fundamentally different because people living outside this country have no fundamental right to come here. That is where libertarians go off the rails and why their support for immigration often ends up being so counterproductive.

                1. “Tulpa is right. It is fundamentally different because people living outside this country have no fundamental right to come here. ”

                  Exactly right John.

                2. People aren’t free to move and associate freely with each other without government permission? That’s your position? Let me guess, it’s not listed specifically in some magical document that people have this right, so it doesn’t exist.

                  1. “Let me guess, it’s not listed specifically in some magical document”

                    For the purposes of this discussion, that magical document matters, like it or not.

                  2. Let me guess, it’s not listed specifically in some magical document that people have this right, so it doesn’t exist.

                    Well no, NOTHING anywhere has this right. It is not a right.

                    And having something listed specifically in some magical document that people have rights not enumerated in that document or that powers not specifically applied belong to the states or the people can’t create a right where none exists.

                    Sorry.

                    The thing you refer to as ‘People freely to move and associating’ isn’t that–however much it might look like it.

                    It is people operating under a set of rules and customs designed to prevent the natural territorial strife that is part of human instinctual behavior.

                    These rules and customs have been around, in some form, since the beginnings of civilization and have come to feel natural.

                    They are not. When they break down–and they do, all too frequently, wars can start.

              2. “Shall I keep going? ”

                Please do, and start with the words in the Constitution that you think allows unfettered immigration for non-citizens.

                You see, you’re once again analogizing badly, enumerated rights are quite different from emanations and penumbras.

                1. words in the Constitution

                  BINGO! Our rights come from a piece of paper. That’s your argument. How libertarian of you.

                  1. ” That’s your argument. ”

                    No actually, it is that enumerated rights are fundamentally different from unenumerated rights.

                    It was quite clear.

                  2. This is where we have to agree to disagree. I believe in natural rights. You believe in government granting rights only to their citizens. We’ll never agree on this topic.

                    1. No we don’t, because what your saying has exactly nothing to do with this.

                      This isn’t about your ideal world, it’s about the US legal system.

                    2. And can I be honest? You need to stop that “I’ll ignore what he said and paraphrase it to “Our rights come from a piece of paper” because it’s cunty.

                    3. Gee what a surprise. Tulpa argues in bad faith!

                    4. Feel free to point put where clown.

                    5. Gee what a surprise Jeff shits on a thread with lies.

                    6. You keep dishonestly moving back and forth between rights enumerated by the Constitution, and natural rights that we all possess regardless of what the Constitution says.

                      Does an individual have a right to associate with whom they choose, regardless of what the Constitution does or does not say? Yes or no?

                    7. “You keep dishonestly moving back and forth between rights enumerated by the Constitution”

                      That’s just a straight lie. You just don’t seem capable of keeping to the context of the discussion.

                      “Does an individual have a right to associate with whom they choose, regardless of what the Constitution does or does not say? Yes or no?”

                      What world do you live in where the idea of “regardless of what the Constitution does or does not say?” makes any fucking difference at all?

                      What’s the point of discussing, in the context of US immigration, your fairy tale scenario?

                      Yes, I wish I could fly, but gravity. Yes, I wish people operated as individuals free from governement interference, but reality.

                      And now that it’s clear that you only know bad faith from your pwn arguments, can I get back to a discussion of reality with Leo?

                      Go have your dorm room mental masturbation session with someone else.

                    8. What world do you live in where the idea of “regardless of what the Constitution does or does not say?” makes any fucking difference at all?

                      The world envisioned by John Locke, among others, in which natural rights are inherent in the individual, and not granted by any document or any sovereign power. This was the vision which formed the basis of our constitutional order, by the way.

                      When it comes to the natural rights that you possess, the Constitution is utterly irrelevant.

                      Leo and I are on the same page on this issue. You are the one presuming to use the Constitution as a basis for discussing rights that are not declared within the Constitution.

                    9. “The world envisioned by John Locke, among others, in which natural rights are inherent in the individual, and not granted by any document or any sovereign power. ”

                      Cool, that world has nothing to do with the world where the presence of the US Constitution and US legal makes the rights Leo listed different from the right of foreign people to immigrate.

                      Which was my point. The entire time.

                      You said I was shifting. Arguing in bad faith. I posted the actual quotes. Why don’t you post the ones y ou have to make your case.

                    10. “You are the one presuming to use the Constitution as a basis for discussing rights that are not declared within the Constitution. ”

                      Because THAT IS REALITY Jeff. And the difference is real.

                    11. No, reality is that we possess natural rights, and the Constitution only serves to protect rights that we already possess.

                      When the Constitution trammels on our natural rights, then it’s the Constitution that is wrong.

                      Maybe you should take your document-worship elsewhere.

                    12. “When it comes to the natural rights that you possess, the Constitution is utterly irrelevant. ”

                      When it comes to the actual on the ground reality, the Constitution matters and your fantas ies are irrelevant.

                    13. “Tulpa is right. It is fundamentally different because people living outside this country have no fundamental right to come here. ”

                      Exactly right John.

                      You see, you’re once again analogizing badly, enumerated rights are quite different from emanations and penumbras

                      No actually, it is that enumerated rights are fundamentally different from unenumerated rights.

                      There are the quotes Jeff. All the same premise. All in response to Leo’s assertion of no difference.

                      No shifting at all.

                      Go away now Jeff.

                    14. This is where we have to agree to disagree. I believe in natural rights. You believe in government granting rights only to their citizens. We’ll never agree on this topic

                      But you don’t believe in natural rights. You believe that feels can abrogate billions of years of reality.

                      You think men can string together a pretty sentence and that means that what everything actually does isn’t real anymore.

                      The weirdest thing is that you, too, also believe in what I’m talking about–except in this single instance. In this instance instincts, customs, rules and laws that pertain to property and territory are to be tossed aside in favor of the feel-good words generated by leftists with the purpose of taking de facto ownership of the land they demand that, de jure, no one can own.

                      But you won’t find it odd that this one type of property isn’t property after all, you’ll make the excuses the leftists taught you and never see the problem.

          2. I don’t, however, believe that the individual liberties of countless otherwise law-abiding people should be restrained because of every single case where there is a crime committed by an immigrant.

            Leo is exactly right here.

            In every other case, libertarians correctly argue that if a person abuses his/her liberty in a specific case, it is not reason enough to generally deprive everyone of their liberty.

            Why is immigration any different?

            1. To quote “Wolverines”:

              Because we live here!

        3. No one but total fanatics would say this guy should have gotten into the country.

          What did this guy do before entering the country which would convince you not to let him in?

          1. Non-American.

        4. Well, one simple way we could deal with vetting is to let in any immigrant who wants to enter the country except males under the age of, say, 25. They seem to be the only demographic likely to cause problems.

          I’m only two-thirds joking.

    5. Death is the ultimate form of family separation, irreversible by any politician or government.

  21. “Peter Overby at NPR”

    Isn’t an attorney and is wrong.

    1. IANAL either, but Cohen is, and his lawyer is, and I’m a more than a little skeptical of the idea that they would agree that Cohen should plead guilty to something that isn’t even a crime in the first place.

      1. Then you don’t know much about plea bargains.

        1. Can you educate me?

          1. It’s not hard. You’re a dirty lawyer with reams of history that you don’t want dug up, and they need a win, so you take their offer to make their scrutiny stop.

            1. John is an attorney who I assu!e dealt with plea bargains. I wonder what je thnks of that scenario.

            2. Ken points out a second scenario, that of protecting his family from scrutiny.

            3. So the judge accepted a guilty plea to something that isn’t even a crime to begin with? Like, he asked what section of the US criminal code Cohen was pleading guilty of having violated and everyone just sort of looked around and said “Your honor, Trump is the worst”, and he was like “Obviously. Carry on”?

              1. “So the judge accepted a guilty plea to something that isn’t even a crime to begin with? ”

                Why would the judge have a problem with him admitting it? Why is this so hard to getvyour head around?

                He was offered the opportunity to AGREE his behavior was a crime, to make his problems stop. That dpoesn’t mean he actually did anything illegal, just that he doesn’t disagree with their interpretation.

                And no, the judge would be fine with that.

              2. Lynchpin has a point. Technically the judge should not accept a plea to something that is not a crime. The problem is that no appellate court has ever ruled on this interpretation of the law. The only time it has ever been tried was in the Edwards case. There, Edwards was acquitted. So, the case was never appealed.

                If I were the judge, I would not accept the plea because Cohen isn’t pleading to a crime in my opinion. But since no appellate court has ever ruled on the issue, a judge is free to disagree and accept the plea. Once the judge does that, then the plea is in the books and there is no one to appeal it.

                Tulpa is right about the motivation. Cohn may be guilty of real serious crimes and his lawyer is rightfully telling him to plead to this bullshit to keep that from being discovered.

                1. I think you explained my point better than I did, which is, the behavior is not illegal, but it isn’t so definitive that a judge would throw a plea out over it.

                2. “Cohn may be guilty of real serious crimes”

                  One of your better typos, I chuckled.

                3. The problem is that no appellate court has ever ruled on this interpretation of the law. The only time it has ever been tried was in the Edwards case.

                  Thanks John. This is helpful background. I’ve seen several commenters here in the last couple days say that what Cohen pleaded to isn’t even a crime. That’s a pretty bold claim. It’s quite another to say that the particular interpretation of the statute that he plead guilty to hasn’t really been adjudicated. I find it much more plausible that Cohen and hist attorney decided that they didn’t want to risk a jury agreeing with the prosecutions interpretation of the law.

                  I’m interested in hearing the case both for and against the government’s interpretation of the law as it pertains to Cohen’s actions.

                4. Cohen got 3-5 years instead of much longer. In exchange, he agreed to plead guilty to two non-crimes that could be used to implicate Trump in DNC/MSM talking points and the court of public opinion.
                  Pretty basic kangaroo court stuff

                  1. he agreed to plead guilty to two non-crimes*

                    *in addition to the numerous actual crimes (of the bank and tax fraud variety) he also pled guilty too
                    Just a little bit more fraud, this time at the direction of the SDNY and his own lawyer

  22. For the first time, The Fact Checker is labeling statement by a politician to be “a lie” –> https://t.co/F58jXb9Glf
    ? Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) August 23, 2018

    Too bad the president is playing three dimensional fact chess.

    1. The President stopped playing chess, of any dimension or type, long ago.

      He’s playing non-Euclidean Mousetrap now.

  23. Campaign finance reports are rife with vague disclosures of expenditures. The campaign probably could have tucked the hush money into a disbursement marked “legal fees,” and no one would have noticed. Or Trump could have just paid those bills himself. A candidate can spend without limit on their own campaign.

    Do people realize this is even more boring for most Americans than even Hillary’s emails?

  24. An illegal immigrant committed murder, therefore all illegal immigrants are murderers. Impeccable logic.

    1. And who exactly is making that argument?

    2. God dammit stop proving Tony right.

    3. Illegal immigrants by definition are all law breakers. So there’s that.

  25. Wait wait wait…I’m supposed to care about… a CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATION?!?!?!?

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHHAHAH

  26. Long story short, TDS:

    Dems’ terrible secret exposed: Why they completely reversed course on illegal immigration and border security
    As they look to 2020 and the chance to take on Donald Trump, they know that before they can engage Trump in the fall, they’ll first have to win their party’s nomination. The Democratic party nomination process is heavily influenced by the hard left, and they know it.

    The hard left hates Donald Trump. The hard left doesn’t want anything to do with Donald Trump. The hard left would turn down anything and everything ? universal health care under the guise of “Medicare for all,” or even a universal basic wage (that is, free money from other taxpayers) ? if they believed it came from Trump.

    If Trump touches it, they reason, it must be bad.

    1. Partisans, left and right, judge ideas based upon the source, not the content.

      1. Man, is that ever ironic coming from you.

        1. Good point, because I do indeed assume that if you are the source, whatever was said is nonsense.

          1. Sarcasmic is a pretty good guy.

            1. Like I said, nonsense. Everyone knows I’m a terrible person.

              1. No, you’re great, and definitely not a drunk and bad father.

                1. And you wonder why nobody likes you.

                  1. No, actually, it is exactly the reason for using this handle.

            2. Sarcasmic is a great Anarchist.

              1. Sarcasmic is a great Anarchist.

                Jesus fuck you’re stupid. Communist.

                1. I wonder why pelchpr would care when other people call out Sarcasmic for the Anarchist that he is?

                  Hmmm….

                  1. Because your idiocy is painful to see. Communist.

  27. Looking back on it, I realize that every story I ever filed from Russia was not just a politics story, or a crime story, or a spy story?but almost always, on some level, also a corruption story. That’s one final, spooky way that Washington now feels just like Moscow.

    From the Ben Judah article. No actually, Washington is completely opposite. The corruption is being rooted out. It’s a wonderful thing. The problem is that Trump is plumping up the deep state, and this will only end up being used against him when the blue wave progressives sweep into power to enact our socialist paradise.

  28. The whole Bill Clinton affair was a president acting repugnantly, and the establishment going after him, using his behavior as a justification for getting rid of a troublesome political opponent they despised, and the duplicity of their motives backfired horribly, despite the legality and the facts involved.

    And democrats think it will work this time.

    1. Good point. But this time they are punching nazis.

  29. Is Everyone in Washington Lying?

    If they told the truth they’d be out of a job.

  30. re: “Is Everyone in Washington Lying?”

    Of course not. Only the ones talking.

    1. Just realized I’d love to see Teller run for President, never speaking once.

      (Except maybe when there’s a jet flying over or something to completely drown out whatever he’s saying.)

  31. In Michael Cohen’s case, there’s a ton of corroborating evidence for at least the payment part of the charges and no reason to suspect some sinister deep-state plot.

    I’d like to see the corroborating evidence that this was Cohen’s own money out of his own pocket, because that’s the logic-, reason-, and common sense-defying part. Apparently the whole reason this was some sort of campaign finance violation is that the Stormy Daniels payment was just to make Trump look good to the voters and therefore it was a campaign contribution (which is a dubious assertion, does the cost of Trump’s dead muskrat hair thingie appear anywhere in his campaign finance filings?) *AND* that the money was coming from somebody other than Trump. I’ve got a very strong suspicion that the original statement by Cohen that it was his money and Trump knew nothing about it is the actual lie in the case, a lie told at the time to protect Trump and now being treated as the gospel truth in order to damage Trump. It’s not that hard to go back and look at the original reporting on the story – everybody and their brother was laughing at how implausible a lie it was that a lawyer would be using his own money on behalf of a client let alone without even discussing the matter with the client, everybody knew damn well it was Trump’s money being paid at Trump’s approval if not direction and the lie that it was Cohen’s money was probably something Trump came up with and told Cohen to tell as well.

    1. They say it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up that gets you, in this case there was no crime but the cover-up made it look like a crime. Which is kind of like defending yourself against a charge of jay-walking across Main Street by producing a video tape that proves at the time in question you were at home raping and killing little babies and nowhere near Main Street. And your lawyer thinks that’s a brilliant defense.

      And again, it shows that far from being able to pick “the best people” as he claims, Trump surrounds himself with inept sycophants and he doesn’t care how inept they are, only that they’re sycophants. No wonder Trump is deluded into thinking he’s the smartest guy in the world, if you surround yourself with retards you’re pretty much guaranteed to always be the smartest guy in the room.

  32. “For the first time, The Fact Checker is labeling statement by a politician to be “a lie””

    “You can keep your doctor”
    I’m pretty sure The Fact Checker can be trusted just as much as Tony.

    1. Who will fact check the fact checkers?

      In the end, it seems like we all need to depend on our own critical thinking skills. I know that’s a horrifying prospect to progressives, socialists, idiots, and elitists, but, in the end, there’s just no substitute for thinking for yourself.

      I suspect “appeal to authority” is the fallacy to which libertarians are least susceptible, and the fallacy our authoritarian allies fall for the most.

    2. Most of the self proclaimed “fact checker” entities were set up by left leaning organizations.

      It’s just another method of trying to control the narrative on any issue by setting themselves up as the arbiters of truth.

  33. Is Everyone in Washington Lying?

    Yes.

  34. “Mr. Cohen’s troubles increased in May, when Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, a New York City taxi mogul who managed taxi medallions owned by Mr. Cohen and his relatives, pleaded guilty to state criminal tax fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their probe of Mr. Cohen.

    By then, prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service had focused on Mr. Cohen’s personal income taxes. In conversations with a potential witness in June and July, investigators asked “very pointed” questions about various tax filings, according to a person familiar with the conversations.”

    Mr. Cohen presumably files jointly with his wife. He may not have been any more privy to Friedman’s tax fraud than his wife was if and when she signed their tax return–but who cares about justice? Certainly not Mr. Mueller, who’s going after anybody and everybody he can put leverage on to testify against the president.

    Mr. Cohen’s father is a holocaust survivor. He may have been exposed to whatever charges Mueller was bringing related to tax fraud and those taxi medallions, too.

    I find it hard to believe that a seasoned lawyer like Cohen would throw all his leverage away for nothing. Were their promises made–but just not in writing? Did Mueller promise not to prosecute anyone in Cohen’s family–just not Cohen himself?

    Anybody who believes Cohen threw all his leverage away in exchange for nothing is just plain gullible.

    1. Forgot the link:

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/wh…..534987372?

  35. “Prosecutors would not have accepted Cohen’s plea if they didn’t believe his information was truthful.”

    The logical problem here is moving the goal posts.

    The question isn’t whether the prosecutors are lying.

    The question is whether Cohen is telling the truth.

    Would you lie to save your wife, family, et. al. from facing prosecution and possibly going to jail? Lots of people would.

    If Trump says the money came out of his pocket rather than his campaign fund, and Cohen is saying the opposite, then the question isn’t whether Mueller is honest. The question is whether Cohen is telling truth.

  36. The illegal part here comes from the fact that “Cohen arranged for a friendly tabloid publisher to give McDougal a $150,000 contract (not that it would publish what she wrote)” and “set up a shell company to pay Daniels $130,000.” But “the publisher’s contract amounted to a corporate campaign contribution, but corporations cannot contribute to campaigns. Cohen’s payment to Daniels amounts to a personal contribution from him to the campaign. But it was for $130,000; the legal limit is $2,700.”

    What fucking gibberish.

    So, a third party giving another third party a publishing contract is a campaign donation, and Trump giving money to someone else was also a “campaign donation”?

    1. Once you try to forestall every avenue of potential bribery, anything a candidate or his agents does is potentially a campaign contribution.

      It is the same logic that got the NCAA to saying a student athlete cannot have a job or sell his jersey without it being a violation.

  37. “Is everyone in Washington lying?”

    You haven’t figured that out yet?

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