Cults

Multiple Sex-Trafficking Charges Against Allison Mack to be Dropped As Actress Pleads to Extortion

Plus: "content moderation laws are...not about punishing tech companies" and union fees have taken an astonishing hit.

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"I believed Keith Raniere's intentions were to help people, and I was wrong," actress Allison Mack told a federal judge on Monday. She pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy, for threatening to release secret photos of two women if they didn't engage in "acts of love" with Raniere.

Mack was best known for her work on the TV series Smallville until last spring, when she was arrested along with NXIVM co-founder Raniere in what federal authorities widely described as a sex trafficking case. The truth about NXIVM—a sort of self-actualization group meets pyramid scheme meets cult—and its secretive women's club, DOS, was much more complicated.

At the time, it seemed to be another example of the FBI using its new favorite buzzword (and desperately trying to rack up actual prosecutions for the same) even when the charges were a huge stretch. This has held up.

There a lot to criticize NXIVM for, still, and evidence that Raniere is guilty of a host of ethical and legal transgressions. Mack may have been Raniere's prey initially, but she went on to coerce, mistreat, and exploit other women. Meanwhile Lauren Salzman, the dauther of NXIVM's president, recently confessed to illegally bringing a woman here from Mexico and threatening to turn her over to immigration authorities if she didn't perform domestic labor.

There's plenty of culpability in this crowd to go around.

Just not for sex trafficking.

There was no mandatory prostitution or other form of forced sex-work involved. Just a lot of seemingly sad, misled, and lost people, caught up in the schemes of a selfish and self-important man.

Raniere recruited Mack and other NXIVM acolytes to start DOS, which operated on a sorority (or scam, or cult) model in which recruits from the larger NXIVM organizaiton went through trial periods and hazing. According to the feds, Raniere made them put up damaging information about themselves, sexy photos, financial resources, or ruinous lies about loved ones as "collateral," then threatened to release it if they betrayed the group by talking about it publicly. Mack would allegedly go on to threaten lower-ranking members with the release of their "collateral," too, if they didn't perform all sorts of (non-sexual) chores and tasks for her and other women in DOS higher ranks.

Mack also pressured two group members to have a sexual relationship with Raniere, according to the initial complaint against her. One of these Jane Does did for some time, got a loan from him, and later left the group with no repercussions except that he said she had to pay back the loan, the complaint alleged. The other Doe did not have sex with Raniere, left the group, and suffered no repercussions from them.

The feds alleged that because Mack may have curried favor from Raniere or rose up the ranks of the organization if women agreed, she was guilty of forcing or coercing them into commercial sex. Mack was indicted for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; attempting to establish peonage, slavery, or involuntary servitude; racketeering; racketeering conspiracy; forced labor conspiracy; wire fraud conspiracy; three counts of sex trafficking; and two counts of attempted sex trafficking.

As part of a plea deal, she copped to threatening the two women with the release of sexual images of them if they didn't consummate "acts of love" with Raniere, the group's leader. Blackmail? Extotion? "Revenge porn"? Sure. Wrong? Of course. But not the sex trafficking operation so many DOJ press releases and media stories have gleefully made this out to be.

As for others in the case:

ELECTION 2020

California Rep. Eric Swalwell has joined the ranks of Democrats seeking the party's 2020 presidential nomination. At 38, Swalwell is the third Democratic presidential candidate—along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard—who could be classified as a millennial.

Swalwell represents the San Francisco Bay Area, the same territory as fellow Democratic candidate and Californian-in-Congress Kamala Harris. Swalwell is best known among a national audience, however, as a guy who frequently went on television shows to spin tales about President Donald Trump and Russia. (He announced his presidential run on last night's Colbert Show.) Swalwell also gained a bit of national notoriety for tweeting that he would use nuclear weapons to confiscate guns from Californians, a comment he later clarified that he meant as a joke.

FREE MINDS

Alas, bad internet regulation is a global phenomenon right now. Behold the latest examples, from Canada and Singapore.

FREE MARKETS

Union fees take huge hit after Janus. After the Supreme Court's ruling in the 2018 case Janus v. AFSCME, which prohibited forcing non-union employees to pay certain union fees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCM) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) "lost 92 percent of their agency fee payers, reducing the number of agency fee payers to 5,800," reports Bloomberg Law. That's down almost 210,000 fee payers from 2018.

QUICK HITS

  • An update on Yujing Zhang, the woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago last month for entering under false pretenses and carrying a suspicious flash drive.
  • While Kamala Harris has "been consistent in her personal opposition to capital punishment, professionally she has both refused to seek it AND, as California attorney general, acted to keep it available," notes CNN. "Her actions have upset both people for and against the death penalty, though Harris has always stood by her decisions."
  • Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D–N.J.) just introduced a slavery reparations bill.
  • The U.S. is enacting new tariffs on wine, cheese, motorcycles, and other goods from the European Union. The E.U. "said preparations were underway to hit back," reports Bloomberg. "While the EU hasn't disclosed the amount of American goods it would target, Airbus said the bloc would proceed with 'far larger countermeasures against the U.S.'"
  • Not a good sign:

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  1. California Rep. Eric Swalwell has joined the ranks of Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

    NEW FRONTRUNNER.

    1. If he supports ethanol, he has a chance in the first State.

    2. Hello.

      I have no electricity and still I come to offer glad tidings.

        1. Yup.

  2. Swalwell is best known among a national audience, however, as a guy who frequently went on television shows to spin tales about President Donald Trump and Russia.

    Hopefully he can get those same Russky operatives to propel him into the nomination, because that’s what it will take.

    1. The Russians like Bernie. They’ll be a chance for peace and we can do away with those ugly sanctions with Bernie in office.

      1. No. The narrative now is that the Russians love Tulsi.

        1. The “Russians love” talking point always refers to any candidate whose foreign policy positions threaten the consensus or the candidate who cannot be relied upon to maintain the foreign policy status quo. Bernie is not all that big on foreign policy, aside from offering inane platitudes, and he was a Russia Fever Dreamer. So he’s good.

          1. The Russian love talk is about acknowledging that the Russians prefer candidates and in the rare case so much so that they would commit crimes to help that candidate win his election.

            1. LOL. This guy.

              The Russia prefer candidates who don’t pursue an aggressive foreign policy. Surprising! And they might make sick memes on their behalf. Ermahgawd!

              1. I’m assuming you’re only talking about Russia’s actions toward America. If you add the former Soviet republics, then he does have a habit of invading, assassinating, terrorizing and installing presidents of his choice.

            2. “The Russian love talk is about acknowledging that the Russians prefer candidates and in the rare case so much so that they would commit crimes to help that candidate win his election.”

              Born yesterday, I’m guessing.

      2. Hitler likes Bernie, now says he knew they should’ve backed him over Hillary for the prez nom. At least according to YouTube.

    2. “Hopefully he can get those same Russky operatives to propel him into the nomination, because that’s what it will take”

      In the case of Swalwell, I think he’ll need a full-fledged invasion so that Putin can simply install him as president. That’s his only hope.

      1. As soon as Putin is done installing a president in a country he has already invaded, he’ll be free to focus on the US.

  3. Raniere recruited Mack and other NXIVM acolytes to start DOS…

    Or boot it up, if you will.

    1. All you need is a 3.5″ floppy di……sk.

    2. Mack looks like shit in that photo.

      Wouldn’t. Kristin Kreuk, however…………

  4. California Rep. Eric Swalwell has joined the ranks of Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

    Who the fuck is that?

    1. He’s the guy who proposed using nuclear weapons on gun owners.

      I *think* his slogan is “Nuke their ass and take that shoulder thing that goes up!”

      1. To be fair (though I hate Salwell) he said that keeping guns to prevent government tyranny would never work because the government has nuclear weapons.

        He wasn’t necessarily advocating the use of nuclear weapons on gun owners, but he was stupid enough to think that an armed populace is somehow incapable of fighting against a technologically superior and well organized military. An historically ignorant statement, nonetheless.

        1. The US military is unlike anything the world has ever seen.

          1. The US *militia*?

          2. Tell that to the Afghanis

          3. And the American Military was ultimately unable to bring stability to Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan.

            I have often heard this notion that there is no way a guy with an AR-15 is going to fight off a fighter jet. And that is true, just as the Iraqis were unable to fight off our fighter jets. This is why they resorted to asymmetric warfare.

            Even if you are sure that a US Military *could* ultimately prevail over 100 million gun owners, there is a question of whether or not they would do so. While many soldiers will follow orders as they are trained to do, at some point in the chain of command, you are going to have officers that are not willing to blow up an apartment complex of American Citizens merely because someone thinks there are people illegally harboring guns inside of it.

            Those who are convinced that the American Military would easily put down an uprising of gun owners should really consider what that means for every American’s freedom. The government would have to censor countless social media broadcasts of “Attrocities”. They would have to inflict severe punishments on soldiers and officers who did not want to kill their fellow Americans. They would have to turn America into a war zone to prevail, and I am confident many are not willing to pay that price.

            1. I hate to break it to you, but I bet there are plenty of people in the U.S. military that would have no problem with blowing up an apartment complex of American citizens. Some few, the psychopaths, would need no goading at all. For the rest, a couple of weeks of dehumanizing the enemy would do the trick. If history has taught us anything, it is that it is easy to convince a soldier to kill the enemy.

              1. Of course there would be those that would refuse. But the point I am making is that there would be enough left over to carry out such a task.

                1. Jesus christ, eunuch, you’re such a stupid bitch.

              2. I think our regular street cops are already willing to kill and have shown they will shoot anything for any reason

              3. I can’t say that I know, but I like to think you are wrong. Yes, there are some. But I think you would quickly have a lot of officers refusing to take action.

            2. “I have often heard this notion that there is no way a guy with an AR-15 is going to fight off a fighter jet.”

              The guys with the AR-15’s know where the jets are built, fueled, and stored. Same with all the other infrastructure. Cut the supply chain…

          4. It is also made up of actual people who might balk at orders to attack US civilians. People arguing that having guns for defense against tyranny is pointless because the military is awesome always seem to ignore that part.
            In any case, it’s awfully defeatist. “We probably can’t win, so we should just give up”.

          5. The US military is unlike anything the world has ever seen.

            In that it hasn’t won a war in 70-some years despite having and consuming enormous taxpayer-provided resources?

            Probably true.

  5. “Her actions have upset both people for and against the death penalty, though Harris has always stood by her decisions.”

    Yeah, trying to play both sides rarely works out.

  6. California Rep. Eric Swalwell has joined the ranks of Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

    Who???

    “We’re gonna need a bigger clown car!”

    1. The June “debate” is going to be *hilarious*.

  7. The U.S. is enacting new tarriffs on wine, cheese, motorcycles, and other goods from the European Union.

    We brexited a long time ago so we can do that.

  8. The senator from New Jersey said Monday that “this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”

    One of the commentariat has proposed reparations for the descendants of Neanderthals. I trust Booker will submit a bill to that effect, and push hard for its passage. The Neanderthals, unlike the Africans, were actually made *extinct*, and so the reparations to their descendants should be quite lucrative fair.

    1. I support this. 23andme says I have an above average level of Neanderthal in me.

    2. “this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country.”

      If that’s really his goal, then a much better approach would be to subsidize interracial marriages. Just “merge” the (so-called) descendants of slaves with the (so-called) descendants of owners.

      1. “Subsidize”, hell! *Mandate.*

    3. It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of reparations was thought of as nothing but “derp”.

      I am not sure I can think of a more destructive idea to racial relations in this country. Aside from the inherent ridiculousness of the idea in general, even assuming that descendants of slaves are owed something from descendants of slave holders, the majority of Americans ancestors didn’t own slaves. And a fair number of us have ZERO ancestors who lived in the US prior to the end of the Civil War.

      And is it just about being black? Or are we following the 1 drop rule? What about African immigrants to this country over the last 150 years or so, and their descendents?

      Just think about this for a moment:
      A man like Barak Obama who happens to have “black” skin, though who has no ancestry that I am aware of who were slaves in this country, should benefit, while someone like me who happens to have fair skin, whose ancestry had nothing to do with slavery in this country should pay?

      1. A man like Barak Obama who happens to have “black” skin, though who has no ancestry that I am aware of who were slaves in this country, should benefit, while someone like me who happens to have fair skin, whose ancestry had nothing to do with slavery in this country should pay?

        Now you begin to understand.
        Nothing affirms dignity and humanity like selecting, based sole on race, a random group of people who have done no harm to give money to another random group of people who have suffered no harm, based sole on race.

      2. I wonder how recently on his father’s side any of Obama’s ancestors owned slaves.

      3. Of course, the descendants of slaves are the descendants of slave holders.

        The average African-American is 19-29% European in ancestry, and a full 35% of African-American men are provably male-line descendants of Europeans. That isn’t because of a great wave of intermarriage after the end of slavery.

      4. And the there are folks like my ancestors who were Southern Quakers. These groups ended up being forced to emmigrate out of the South due to social animosity toward them and the huge economic disadvantage of not having slaves. They were economically and socially disadvantaged by slavery too.

        Or my husband who is Filipino/Latino mix.

        That’s why the reparations folk weasel it by referring to ‘slavery AND discrimination’ – so they can argue that just having non-black skin means you somehow benefited from slavery in a completely impossible to quantify manner.

    4. this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country

      And will make all of those things worse.

      And what’s with this idea that “dignity” is something that other people give you? Dignity is how you deal with the shit life throws at you, not other people giving you free shit. Civil rights activists in the 50s and 60s had dignity. Today they are just whiners for the most part.

  9. Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) just introduced a slavery reparations bill.

    “Just write all those checks out to ‘Spartacus’, thanks.”

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    1. “abner shem”, eh? Are you the ghost of Ambrose Bierce?

  11. …the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCM) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) “lost 92 percent of their agency fee payers, reducing the number of agency fee payers to 5,800…”

    The public sector unions just lost whatever hold they had on Democrat campaigns.

    1. This is yuge actually. And it’s not the only union this is happening to obviously.

  12. Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) just introduced a slavery reparations bill.

    Excellent. As usual, the Democrats are on the right side of history.

    #LibertariansForReparations

  13. Anyone see how much time Alison Mack is looking at? She is so adorable. I can’t believe she is a gangster member of a sex cult.

    1. I dream about it every night.

      1. She wouldn’t have had to extort me.

  14. Typo with extotion. And if I’m not mistaken, it’s pled or pleaded, but never plead as past tense.

    1. You’re not mistaken.

    2. I think she has anounced her intention to plead guilty but hasn’t actually done it. So, I think “plead” is the right tense since her doing it is in the future.

      1. The english language, christ.

        1. What I said was correct. I guess she actually did plead guilty yesterday. Notice, I used the present tense “plead” even though the sentence is in the past tense. The “did” make it past tense.

          If you want English lessons, I would be happy to help you, although you seem to have a very low learning curve.

          1. Lots of people who do not have English as a primary language have learned to code.

        2. A source of endless delight, like a drafty old mansion with secret passages in the walls and ghouls in the attic.

  15. Although he has work to do if he wants to make my top tier of 2020 candidates, I like Swalwell’s position on common sense gun safety legislation. As Michael Hihn has explained, libertarians should support much more comprehensive gun laws than what we currently have. Furthermore, such laws would be perfectly Constitutional.

  16. …the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCM) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) “lost 92 percent of their agency fee payers, reducing the number of agency fee payers to 5,800,”

    I’ll bet no one saw that coming. You mean the union’s summer picnic and Christmas party weren’t worth $1,500 annually for each member?

    1. You know what this means? It means they are going to have to start looking out for and providing value to their members rather than just being a fund raising arm of the Democratic party. The horror!!

      1. As a public employee union, being the fundraising arm of the Democratic Party is in their members’ best interests. And that is the problem with public employee unions to begin with.

        1. Appearently the employees’ themselves disagree. If they agreed with you, they wouldn’t be leaving the union.

          1. Yes, it’s surprising that workers are more interested with taking home more money than funding the Democratic Party.

            1. Most people are not brain dead partisans and even if they support one party or the other don’t care enough about politics to do anything other than talk. Public employees have proven to be normal people. Who knew?

              1. Public employees have proven to be normal people. Who knew?

                I know, it’s surprising, isn’t it? I thought they were all a part of the Deep State Cabal actively working to undermine Trump because they were all brain-dead pro-Democrat partisans.

                1. Still can’t quit those fever dreams.

                2. Yeah Jeff, everyone knows the state employees in Wisconsin were all about using FISA and the FBI to overturn an election.

                  Have you admitted even to yourself how epically wrong you were about Trump and Russia or are you just going to pretend it didn’t happen.

                  1. Chemjeff is the kind of “libertarian” who defends the intelligence community and trusts them unconditionally

                  2. Jeff is epically wrong about everything.

    2. It’s actually not at all surprising. The “agency fee payers” are non-members who were nevertheless forced to pay a fee as a condition of employment, so it should’ve been expected that almost all would opt out when given the opportunity. Actual membership for all of the unions in the linked article remained essentially flat or in even increased, in at least one case more than offsetting the lost fee payers.

  17. Interesting point I hadn’t thought about.

    In contrast with Kenneth Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton, which was drafted in a form ready for public release, the Mueller report inexplicably requires additional work to get the lion’s share into the public domain. Why, Byron York asked, would the Mueller team not prepare the report for public release? Why force the attorney general to spend the time to comb through the materials to redact and excerpt the materials which must not be released. Didn’t the attorney with oversight, Rod Rosenstein, publicly warn Americans that uncharged conduct could not be released into the public domain? Isn’t that exactly one of the reasons that Rosenstein supported the dismissal of James Comey? The answer portends disaster for the Trump-Russia hoaxers.

    http://amgreatness.com/2019/04…..hey-could/

    1. It continues

      The special counsel team has fled the stage, one hopes under a cloud of embarrassment. The failure to segregate the report to make it ready for public release leaves a smokescreen to cover their exit without accountability. But when this smoke eventually clears, the Democrats will get their hands on something resembling the entire report. And then what?

      Then the Democrats will have one of two things: Lies or nothing. If the report contains uncharged smears against the president, the Democrats will be forced to use their majority in the House to impeach leading to an inevitable disastrous trial in the Senate. A band of bloggers, writers, and select members of Congress have for two years waged a successful counter-resistance against the hoax and we’re ready for the last battle. If the final report contains nothing, then President Trump receives a full-throated exoneration. There’s no scenario in which the release of the full report helps the hoax boosters. I’ll say it again, bring it on.

    2. Yes we know John. It’s 99-Dimensional Underwater Interstellar Chess. It’s masterful politics that Machiavelli would be proud of. You can believe it because it’s from a pro-Trump blog.

      Or, a more likely explanation is that Mueller gave the report to the Attorney General exactly as demanded by law, because it’s not Mueller’s job to do the AG’s job for him.

      1. I’m always surprised how many so called “libertarians” have little curiosity about uncovering how this whole investigation began since a House, Senate, and special counsel investigation could find no evidence to support the narrative.

        You have no interest in who from the intelligence community was leaking innuendo to the press to begin this fiasco? You have no interest in looking at how FISA warrants were attained based solely on political opposition research?

        If you think Trump is a greater threat than an entrenched intelligence community that pretty brazenly tried to overturn the results of an election then maybe you should consider that you suffer from a severe and debilitating case of TDS

        1. I am opposed to super-secret courts, like FISA, in general. That is the case regardless of who did what regarding Trump and Russia.

          I’m not going to buy into the right-wing Lou Dobbs Deep State Q-Anon Conspiracy bullshit.

          When the right wing wants to get rid of FISA as a principled matter, and not just because they did something mean to their Dear Leader Trump, then I’ll listen.

          But until that time I’m going to tune out the conspiracy nonsense.

          1. I’m not going to buy into the right-wing Lou Dobbs Deep State Q-Anon Conspiracy bullshit.

            When the right wing wants to get rid of FISA as a principled matter, and not just because they did something mean to their Dear Leader Trump, then I’ll listen.

            So you think these things are horrible but would vote to keep them if getting rid of them meant admitting that the FBI and DOJ abused them? Good thing you care about civil liberties more than politics. Thanks for letting us know your priorities.

            1. but would vote to keep them

              Citation required

              1. I’m not going to buy into the right-wing Lou Dobbs Deep State Q-Anon Conspiracy bullshit.

                When the right wing wants to get rid of FISA as a principled matter, and not just because they did something mean to their Dear Leader Trump, then I’ll listen.

                You just said it. What does When the right wing wants to get rid of FISA as a principled matter, and not just because they did something mean to their Dear Leader Trump, then I’ll listen. mean except that you are not interested in repealling these acts until the right treats it as a “principled matter” whatever that means?

                You literaly said it in the post above. Are you that stupid or just think everyone else is?

                1. Those choices are not mutually exclusive – – – –

          2. You bought into an CIA talking point that has been disproved and now you oppose looking into what the impetus for this investigation was, because you never question the narrative. TDS is real and you suffer from a severe case

            1. You bought into an CIA talking point

              Citation required

              1. Chemjeff is a good example of why it’s often better to find people on the Left to work with than to continue to pretend as if “libertarian” means “less government”. There were far more people on the far Left who got Russia Fever Dreams right (Greenwald, Tracey, Mate, Jimmy Dore, Gabbard, etc) than there were among so called “libertarians”.

                1. Do you actually have any evidence that Chemjeff has bought into what you call the Russia Fever Dreams? If so, please post some links. Otherwise, you should sit back in reflection of how much energy you are devoting to defending the most powerful politician in the world.

                  You think the reason the investigation into Trump got started was some deep state conspiracy? No need for that. Millions of people were calling for the investigation. There was huge popular sentiment behind it.

                  1. You and Chemjeff should sit back and reflect on how embarrassing it is that you allowed your hatred of Trump to supersede your suspicion of the intelligence community.

                    Again, You have no interest in who from the intelligence community was leaking innuendo to the press to begin this fiasco? You have no interest in looking at how FISA warrants were attained based solely on political opposition research?

                    If you think Trump is a greater threat than an entrenched intelligence community that pretty brazenly tried to overturn the results of an election then maybe you should consider that you suffer from a severe and debilitating case of TDS

                  2. “You think the reason the investigation into Trump got started was some deep state conspiracy? No need for that. Millions of people were calling for the investigation. There was huge popular sentiment behind it.”

                    Right, there weren’t intelligence leaks that were pushing innuendo from a political opposition dossier?

                    This is beyond humiliating at this point. How can The Nation be more curious about this than so called libertarians?

        2. You’re full of shit and you haven’t seen the Mueller report. We know from public records that there was plenty of evidence. Enough evidence to sustain a two year investigation. Just look at the Manafort court filings. Mueller found that Manafort had lied about his associations with a Kremlin influencer stating “the conduct went to the heart of the investigation”. So you’re wrong. There’s evidence of collusion.

          1. Spoiler: There is exactly zero evidence to support collusion. A House investigation, a senate investigation, a special counsel investigation, and the entire resources of the corporate press could find none.

            Manafort was prosecuted for working for a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician at the behest of EU interests. Also, his work occurred years before the Trump campaign.

            Put that tinfoil hat back on

          2. You’re full of shit and you haven’t seen the Mueller report. We know from public records that there was plenty of evidence. Enough evidence to sustain a two year investigation.

            So if the cops are investigating, there must be something there and the subject must be guilty. What a libertarian thing to say. Good to know you are fine with a police state as long as it goes after the right people.

            1. So if the cops are investigating, there must be something there and the subject must be guilty. What a libertarian thing to say. Good to know you are fine with a police state as long as it goes after the right people.

              …but they have to go after the right people for a long time. Otherwise, it’s probably false.

              We need to get from OP how long an investigation must last for in order for it to qualify as having OBVIOUS proof.

          3. “We know from public records that there was plenty of evidence”

            There was plenty of public bullshit floating around, but apparently not so much actual “evidence”. Otherwise, you know, somebody would have been charged.

          4. The only actual facts we have of collusion is Hillary’s campaign paying Russia for anti trump intelligence through a British national.

          5. Ordinary Person|4.9.19 @ 10:27AM|#
            “…We know from public records that there was plenty of evidence…”

            No, you pathetic piece of shit, we know there is *nothing* suggesting ‘collusion’ between the Russkis and Trumps campaign, fantasies by lefty ignoramuses aside.

          6. Enough evidence to sustain a two year investigation.

            *snicker* My…such a high bar.

            “A bunch of lawyers decided to draw a salary investigating…nothing. But they did it for a long time, so it’s obviously legitimate”

      2. Or, a more likely explanation is that Mueller gave the report to the Attorney General exactly as demanded by law, because it’s not Mueller’s job to do the AG’s job for him.

        You mean like the Starr report was given. Did you just not see this sentence or choose to ignore it?

        In contrast with Kenneth Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton, which was drafted in a form ready for public release,

        Stop being so fucking dishonest.

        1. The law was changed between when Starr did his work, and the current day. Of course you knew that.

          Among other changes, Starr’s report had to go directly to the House. Mueller’s report did not.

          Here is a nice primer for you:

          http://time.com/5558083/muelle…..ase-starr/

          1. So what? That doesn’t mean Mueller couldn’t have redacted the report or in any way make his motives for not doing so any less suspect.

            1. Yeah, he could have. But why would Mueller do AG Barr’s work for him? That’s not his job. Which was my point all along.

              1. Yeah, he could have. But why would Mueller do AG Barr’s work for him?

                First, who says it is Barr’s work. Second, why would he do it? Because doing so would alievate any cloud over the report. Sticking Barr with the job just creates a smoke screen for him to leave the scene and allows brain dead partisans like you to claim Barr is hiding something.

                Would you like to lose this argument again?

                1. “First, who says it is Barr’s work.”

                  The DOJ regulations related to the Special Counsel says it’s Barr’s job. I mean, surely you’re not suggesting that the SC should have turned in a redacted report to his boss.

                  Barr says that the SC’s office is helping him with the redactions. I know he’s a LYING LIAR WHO LIES or whatever, but it’s hard to see why Barr would lie about something so benign and so easily disprovable.

              2. I like how Jeff is pretending the NYT and Wapo didnt run stories over the weekend saying Mueller team did provide summary reports for distribution, hinting at a Barr coverup. Now it’s no summaries were written. Which conspiracy is it?

              3. Mueller should have done it since he will have to have a million emails with Barr to determine what can and can’t stay but then he couldn’t charge the tax payers for the extra work, probably the real goal. MONEY

          2. It should be noted that Starr was an “independent special counsel” outside of the executive branch. That status no longer exists. Whereas, Mueller is a special counsel within the executive branch.

      3. Byron York who is quoted isnt a pro trump blogger dumbfuck jeff.

  18. You have to love the high quality of NYT reporting

    Add to that list a new leak reported by the New York Times, “Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.”

    People whose names we can’t tell you told other people whose names we can’t tell you who then told us. Yeah, that is some real journalism there.

    1. They’re a lonely voice in the wilderness at this point.

      That story is so over.

      I’d say they’re like the Birthers at this point, but those guys maintained some relevancy while Obama was in office. Once Obama left office, there was no point in being a Birther anymore? Now that there isn’t going to be any impeachment, what’s the point of believing in the collusion conspiracy?

      The news cycle starts anew every Monday. The Mueller Report was pronounced dead three news cycles ago. Rachel Maddow cried at the funeral and everything. Three news cycles is like 21 in dog-years. It’s over. Time to stop wearing black. Maybe they should focus more on whatever ludicrous thing AOC is saying this week.

      1. They remind me of the people who still claimed the Rosenbergs were innocent even after the Verona papers were released.

      2. They remind me of the people who still claimed the Rosenbergs were innocent even after the Verona papers were released.

        1. Or that Alger Hiss was really innocent.

          Sadly, the only person who came out looking better from their release…was McCarthy. His claims were, if anything, a bit understated.

  19. “GOP agenda speeds Trump nominees, slows bills”
    […]
    “WASHINGTON ? Mitch McConnell says the Senate will be in the “personnel business” this year. But the majority leader’s focus on confirming President Trump’s nominees is coming at the expense of any big legislative priorities….”
    http://www.sfgate.com/nation/a…..751074.php

    Sounds like a harm-reduction move.

    1. They just don’t want to pass the House Democrats grand ideas. The big meanies.

  20. So are the Democrats talking about slavery reparations, something that is wildly unpopular with the voting public, because they are worried about Trump taking a chunk of the black vote in 2020 or because they have gone barking mad or both?

    1. They have been barking mad for quite some time, so it must be the other thing. Because everyone knows it’s not racist to say all black people vote the same way.

    2. I haven’t checked, but could the reparations be funded by confiscating all campaign funds from democrats?
      Asking for a (republican) friend.

  21. Trudeau government to give Loblaws $12 million to buy more energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers

    Regular Canadians get taxed for their carbon usage, corporations get subsidies.

  22. “Content moderation laws are about the freedom of citizens, not about punishing tech companies. The companies are the tool, not the target.”

    —-Alex Stamos

    “This is the correct take. This proposal would force “tech giants” to spend billions (fine, whatever) and *massively* over-censor (not fine, not whatever), while basically outlawing smaller competitors who literally can’t afford it.”

    —-Kevin Bankston

    If this exchange were in the comments here at Hit & Run, I’d suspect it were dripping with sarcasm, but Bankston is serious, here, right?

    It’s possible to oversell the rent seeking angle–certainly from the perspective of the First Amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”

    —-First Amendment

    Since when is there a rent-seeking exception to the First Amendment? Does it say Congress can make laws that abridge the freedom of the press–if the press wants them to do so?

    If “this proposal would force [content providers] to spend billions (fine, whatever) and *massively* over-censor”, then this proposal is violating the freedom of the press.

    ?

    1. It’s difficult to take someone seriously who uses “whatever” in that fashion.

      1. Yeah.

        Also, it’s like a progressive hallmark to only identify with the big-eyed bunny’s concerns, and that makes me want to wretch.

        Progressives figure out who the most adorable victim is (in this case it’s the poor little people) and everyone else in the picture is demonized as if all their concerns are unimportant.

        We need to trash the Sixth Amendment on campus when there are rape allegations because rape victims are the bunny with big sad eyes in that picture, and rapists aren’t cute at all. Even the counter argument that people are sometimes falsely accused of rape–so they’re sometimes the bunny with big-sad eyes–is awful in its own way. We’re using the wrong criteria. It ain’t about who’s cute.

        The excellent reason to oppose the government violating the First Amendment isn’t because little people talking to each other online are the cutest, cuddliest victims in this scenario. Pointing out that Facebook and Twitter aren’t cute or cuddly doesn’t help either. I oppose violating the First Amendment even if Facebook and Twitter are the victims and online commenters are ugly shitheads. And I think that’s what’s bugging me here.

        Their worldview seems all fucked up–even if they somehow got to opposing bad legislation this time. God only know where the cuteness coefficient will land them next time.

  23. http://apnews.com/710a0343905e44a4a19b6720d4d4f059

    Maryland man turns out to be much worse than Florida man.

    1. “Osman Alaalla, 61, came to pray Monday evening at a 5 p.m. service at the Islamic Society of Germantown. He said Henry typically led that service.”

      It wasn’t clear to me that this guy was Muslim at all until the very end of the piece. If you leave off that bit at the end, you’d think this guy was just a nut.

      1. That is because the media thinks its readers are fucking morons and won’t notice.

      2. Why? Are you a bigot? Are you the type of guy that needs to know a person’s race before making up his mind about an act?

        1. Actually, I read the piece the whole time thinking that this guy wasn’t even a Muslim, just some random nut named “Henry” (rather than taking a Muslim name, mind you), who lost it one day, watched some crazy videos, and decided to make society pay for ignoring him.

        2. Muslim is a not a race.

          1. What difference does that make?

            1. I was referring to Chipper Morning Wood’s comment.

      3. Being inspired by IS and hating “disbelievers” seem like pretty strong indications of his religious inclinations. I wasn’t confused.

  24. Sad news.

    http://bgindependentmedia.org/…..se-update/

    1. Did you orgasm when you found that story or hold off and enjoy the moment?

      1. Unlike you, John, I don’t have feelings of joy when innocent people are beat up.

        1. Sure you don’t.

        2. Unless they refuse to make a cake you mean.

    2. Two area men have been arrested for using racist slurs and beating up two customers at the Waffle House

      Must be Tuesday.

  25. The (possible) reason why Kirstjen Nielsen wasn’t fired last year.

    http://www.newsweek.com/kirstj…..ts-1388773

    1. Because Trump was still trying to figure out how to nail her?

      1. Like you wouldn’t.

        1. I absolutely would, she’s hot.

          1. Me too. she is hot. And never married. She is either an ice queen or a lesbian, either one works for me.

            1. She could also just be an unpleasant person.

              1. Yeah like that ever stopped men from wanting to marry a hot woman. If she were just unpleasent, she would be divorced not never married.

    2. God forbid the boder patrol do something to stop a hoard of migrants trying to illegally enter the country.

  26. I never understood why there were charges against Allison Mack. Sure it’s a creepy cult but what is the crime with being a weird creepy sex slave cult? I’m confused.

    1. I tend to agree with you. No one made those women give the cult dirty pictures of themselves. And I don’t think “we will release naked pictures of you is sufficient enough coercion to justify extortion. Those women knew what they were getting into. They were just perverts who bought into the D/S fantasy and now regret it.

    2. If there are women being sexually abused in the headlines, then they’ll charge anybody and everybody they can–especially if their names are in the headlines.

      This is how careers are made.

  27. “Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D?N.J.) just introduced a slavery reparations bill.”

    Is he gonna pay himself too?

    Do they really want to open this door? Very much unwise and ill-advised I reckon.

    1. You win donors and closed primary states by being more extreme than the other Democrats.

      Booker and Warren are not only trying to split the northeast between the two of them plus Sanders, they’re also lagging the other contenders in the polls. If things keep going the way they are, they’re gonna lose–so why not shake things up?

      Neither of them care what identifying the Democratic Party with reparations for slavery will do to the Democratic nominee in the general election–at least not as much as they care that they’re one of the people on the Democratic ticket.

      1. Like I said, it’s dumb. Why not shake things up with substantial stuff that benefits ALL Americans?

        1. It’s a wedge issue within the Democrat primaries. If the leading contenders aren’t willing to match your support for reparations, then you’ll win support at their expense. Last poll I saw showed Booker polling at 4%. Biden was near 28%. Sanders was lower than Biden. Harris was somewhere around 12%. Booker needs to do something at the expense of the leaders, or he won’t be able to attract enough donations to make it to Super Tuesday, which (with California and Texas on the same day) will require deep pockets this time.

          This is game theory stuff.

          Wedge issues work.

          He’s also attracting free publicity for saying controversial stuff. Trump rode that strategy all the way to the White House without hardly spending any money.

        2. That’s one explanation.

          I’m open to the explanation that he’s an idiot doing smart things for stupid reasons, as well.

          1. I bet it’s a good explanation. But kid of short sighted. It may play well in closed D primaries, but I can’t imagine it will help in the general campaign.

            1. Can we insure that the only people paying reparations are Democrats?

              I mean, it was a Democrat policy specifically…

    2. It can be fully funded by expropriating all wealth from Zuckerberg, Bezos (and ex-wife), Bernie, and Pelosi. Oh, yes, and Cory Booker.
      Then they can enjoy the full benefits of the welfare state.

      1. Hugo Chavez’s ghost agrees.

    3. it’s an incredibly safe ‘woke’ signalling move. Because it cannot pass. Just like introducing a bill to ban all guns or the Green New Deal. Makes you look woke and there’s no danger of it actually happening.

      1. It riles people up for nothing.

  28. So, is Booker trying to buy votes?

    1. Not in the least. As a democrat, the votes are due him as a right.

    2. It’s okay to buy votes so long as you do it with taxpayer money.

      1. now THERE’S a good bumpersticker….

      2. Yeah, you sniffed out the moral of the story. It’s just amazing.

    3. Booker was a great show.

    4. No, he’s trying to get people to think that’s what he’s doing. He probably knows that reparations would be a stupid mess and won’t pass anyway.

  29. The Bronfmans fund not just NXIVM but Birthright Israel, which is also a somewhat cult like tour group that brings young American Jews to Israel to indoctrinate into Zionism. Hopefully though FBI will stay out of it. Because Jews are now protesting it on their own without government interference, which is as it should be.

  30. Reparations? Hopefully the Republicans will force this to a vote soon.

    CB

  31. >>>As part of a plea deal, she copped to threatening the two women with the release of sexual images of them if they didn’t consummate “acts of love” with Raniere

    so then they committed a murder?

  32. i guess trying to not see Zuckerberg’s stupid face on a daily basis isn’t going to work out here

    1. Well, he does keep being stupid.

      You could, of course, learn to code and create a filter that removes offending images from your web browsing.

      1. it’s really just him. a No Zuck Pics app.

        >>>learn to code

        working on guitar instead

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