Effective May 11th. I am guessing this means his cooperation with Horowitz on the FISA abuse investigation is no longer needed, if in fact he was cooperating. Rosenstein's weirdly ambiguous and confused position in the center of events can make it hard to tell.
We have text messages from the Page/Strzok pair saying that the White House was running the investigation, or at least thinks they were. We have meetings between DOJ, FBI, and White House representatives. We have Rice's last minute "by the book" email proving that Obama knew at some point before the transition happened.
And we have allegations that the spying goes all the way back to 2012. Let me remind you that's about the same time the IRS spying stopped because they got caught.
When you start taking flak, you know you're over the target.
What did you know and when did you know it, Ben?
You know, if you have nothing to hide, you won't mind if Barr and Horowitz subpoena all of your emails and phone calls and meeting notes and go through them with a fine toothed comb, right? After all, the Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
The investigation into SpyGate should be at least as vigorous.
So there's a new Star Wars trailer out. It sucks, and makes me even less interested in seeing the next movie than I was before the trailer came out -- which is hard. To get a feel for how much it sucks, the title they picked is "The Rise of Skywalker".
Unless Rey's been a Skywalker all along, there really isn't a Skywalker in the movie. Maybe Kylo counts -- he's Leia's son but doesn't technically carry the name. But no one wants that pathetic emo whiny idiot to rise. Least interesting villain since... anyone.
What does the trailer telegraph?
Well, Luke is still dead, judging by the voiceovers. If he returns he'll be in force ghost form, probably. They did sort of hint "no one ever really dies", which I take to be mostly cheap bait for fans who didn't like that they mostly killed Luke in the last movie. The only person we see in most of the trailer is Rey, and probably Kylo (based on black leather globes and little else).
Minor spoiler: the voiceover breaks into evil laughter at the end and the captions label the character speaking "Emperor". So Palpatine may be back. Or Snoke. Or a new Emperor. Who knows? But if it's Palpatine, you've just shit on all 6 of the first two trilogies AGAIN. You've undone everything Luke (and yes, Anakin) worked for. And all for a cheap thrill in the last of three really bad movies.
The voiceover -- Luke speaking -- says he's taught Rey all he knows. Seems unlikely if he's dead and even Yoda wasn't doing much training as a force ghost. And, you know, he didn't exactly want to train her before. And she left.
It's insane to expect everything written (or painted, CGI'd, etc, etc) to be perfectly wholesome, healthy, and fit for social-justice approval. Humans aren't like that. You can't make them like that no matter how much indoctrination you cram into their heads in decades of education. And if everyone was like that -- "perfect" for some values of perfect -- there's no conflict, no drama, no growth... no story, just a bland helping of oatmeal, each spoonful the same as the last.
This implicates Obama in the coverup. With that many emails found, he wasn't just sending and receiving emails with Clinton (we know he did that already), but he actually had the full set of emails Hillary was hiding. And he (or his legal team) knew what was in them and what she was trying to hide.
Gosh. A political spying operation going on for more than four years before Donald Trump was elected, targeting Republicans? That would cover... Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012 against Mitt Romney.
Let's face it. You're going to see the movie. If you've followed Marvel for 20+ movies, you're not missing the conclusion. But maybe you want to know whether, and how, to temper your expectations. So, I will tell you my impressions.
It was good. However, Infinity War was better. While Endgame had more crowning moments of awesome, it also had more flaws. In particular, they made some significantly flawed dramatic choices. None of them ruined the movie. One or two of them came close. No, those were not related to Captain Marvel. (Yes, every single scene with Captain Marvel in it was severely flawed, and several were explicitly political, but they were so brief it was hard to consider them seriously damaging to the movie as a whole).
For those worried about Captain Marvel. She has very limited screentime in Endgame and does not steal the spotlight from the main characters (much). However, in her 15 minutes of fame she was even more annoying than she comes across in the trailers for Endgame and the trailers for her own solo movie. After seeing her in Endgame, I'm not in the least interested in seeing her solo movie, not even for free. Just going to skip it. The first Marvel movie I've skipped, I should add. She did come across as overpowered as well. However, it was brief and mostly ignorable. Not looking forward to any of her cameos in future movies.
Speaking of future movies, I get the feeling I'm going to be a lot more selective about which ones I watch from now on. Marvel has indicated their future is politically adversarial intersectional woke cinema, and I'm not interested in that. I'm likely willing to go to Dr Strange 2 and Spider Man 2. Beyond that I will see what they are offering.
Go see Endgame. This will likely be the last of Marvel's good, solid movies. It's all downhill from here.
In an essay mostly about Muslim legislators and sharia law, the author wrote:
This is fundamentally mistaken and wrongheaded, in both cases illustrating how issues that should not be contentious are twisted so that they become divisive.
Abortion is not about the definition of life. Life begins at conception. This is common sense and it is unambiguously correct by the scientific definition of life. No one knowledgeable argues that the baby is not alive. They argue that it is less than fully human (debating whether it has a heartbeat, whether it can feel pain, whether it is a separate organism or a "parasite", and so forth) in order to claim that the mother's convenience outweighs the rights of the not-yet-human life. The debate about "life" is a distraction into propaganda. It's really a debate about humanity, and whether it is morally acceptable to kill one human for the convenience of another. But that's a losing argument, hence the intense effort to deflect into a different, more winnable debate.
Similarly the debate about "sexual and marital freedom". No one seriously disputes the right of people so inclined to have sex with other consenting adults of either gender. No one seriously debates the right of people to form long-term cohabitation relationships with those of the same gender.
What is debated are legal questions. Can two men or two women marry each other and force other members of society to give them the legal benefits of marriage? Can they force someone to bake them a wedding cake? Give them health insurance under the terms offered to heterosexual couples? Have inheritance or visitation rights similarly to married heterosexual couples?
No one wants to have that debate because "It's complicated". So they demand the simple answer: gay marriage, yes or no, all the details avoided... or rather, included by implication in yes, rather than discussed. Oh, and rather than pass laws in 50 states to do this the right way... get a case to the Supreme Court, which has no legislative power, to force the issue without bothering to convince the population.
NSA recommends dropping phone surveillance of Americans
My feeling is that this program has never been useful for tracking terrorists, despite prior claims to that effect. It may be useful for tracking spies, except that spies know about it and know to avoid it. Even that claim deserves skepticism. The amount of data to sort through and the ease of avoiding entry into the surveillance database by professions while ordinary American's communications are available for known and documented abuse (80%+ of queries of this database in the lead up to 2016 election were legally unjustified) means that the program needs to be shut down.
My hunch is that NSA is only recommending this because they want to be able to tell the courts later that the program is already shut down, nothing to worry about, our audits worked. That would allow them to start it up again and protect other programs they may have that do similar things (such as collecting all American's email traffic).
So, yes, this program must end. I'd rather it end by court order, though.
Kamala Harris threatens executive action on gun control if elected
Well, the executive action thing is increasingly popular, which doesn't bode well for the constitutional separation of powers.
The five-guns-a-year thing is basically putting a number to the age-old question of how many guns you have to sell to qualify as a dealer. The number seems low, especially when some of the informal requirements for being a dealer involve having a storefront. But because her proposal doesn't require every sale to have a background check, it's basically just creating another loophole for the next candidate to complain about.
Not sure what she's talking about on the "fugitives from justice" thing. As far as I know, if you have pending charges you still can't buy a gun. But reporting on that from Dan Bongino's podcast says the change was made under the Obama administration.
About that election-influence collusion with foreign governments...
The way this works is simple. The US can't spy on their own citizens, but their agreements with other nations allow those other nations to do the spying, and share the results. That FISA court motion in 2012? It lets the US tell those other nations who to spy on.
The Democrats sure are persistent about demanding access to Trump's tax returns. But -- by legal necessity -- Trump disclosed his tax returns to the IRS under the Obama administration for 8 years. Obama has a known history of abusing the IRS for political purposes, and during the 2016 election was spying on Trump with everything he had. What are the chances Obama or his minions haven't gone through those returns with a fine toothed comb looking for damaging things? Zero, I figure.
So, is there something in those tax returns that the Obama Administration thinks would be damaging? Is that why they keep pushing for their release?
Twitter, I believe, is publicly owned. It's accountable to its shareholders and has fiduciary duties. Is it wise for a publicly owned company to piss off half its potential users? No.
Under the Communications Decency Act, Twitter has a "safe harbor" from prosecution for the content of its users only insofar as it does not exercise editorial authority over that content. That is, if Twitter is a public platform where users can post anything they want, Twitter will not be blamed for it... unless Twitter starts to decide what can and cannot be posted on its service. The moment they start to make those decisions, Twitter becomes a publisher and thus responsible for everything posted on its service.
In effect, despite being a private entity not itself bound by the First Amendment, Twitter is nonetheless bound by existing regulations.
If you remember, the bump stock ban going into effect was premised on the Las Vegas mass shooting at a country music event. If you believe the official story, a single man holed himself up in a hotel room with literally dozens of guns, several phones, and at least one laptop with a missing hard drive, before using his elevated vantage point and some of his firearms to shoot into a crowd. By the time police worked up the courage to enter his room, he was dead -- supposedly by suicide.
The firearms he supposedly used to shoot into the crowd were also supposedly fitted with bump stock devices. The ATF subsequently used that event as justification to make a rule change banning bump stocks by considering them to be machine guns -- a rule change that violates the plain language of the law.
To be sure, there are other possible reasons the FBI might not allow the ATF to examine the guns. A few that come to mind: did the shooter have ties to law enforcement or intelligence agencies that might have shown up if the guns were examined and (especially) their serial numbers traced?
Some people will call this a conspiracy theory. They said the same thing about the idea that the FBI were listening in on the Trump campaign, and look how that turned out. I'm not claiming to know what happened or saying it was all some sort of plot. But is it too much to ask that government agencies tell the truth, stop hiding information, and stop taking advantage of public crises like this one to advance their so-called national security policies through fear?
Unmentioned: the Republicans did in fact pick up a Senate seat in the 2018 midterms. They lost the House, yes, but did gain a single seat in the Senate. And the Senate is where judicial confirmations happen. So why is this phrased as a counterfactual?
If you've seen recent video of Ginsburg, she does not "appear healthy". She is mobile, but with an aide (or perhaps bodyguard) literally clutching her arm as she walks. Also note the lack of descriptives for Ginsburg's politics. Ginsburg is very political but is not described as such. The subject of the article is described as a "firebrand".