Archive for October, 2016

h1

The conspiracy rocks on

October 27, 2016

Ron Bailey writes an update about the Attorneys General United for Clean Power, the group that’s issued subpoenas to ExxonMobil (and the Competitive Enterprise Institute) to investigate them for fraud regarding climate change regulations. This is a topic I posted about last April.

ExxonMobil Climate ‘Fraud’ Investigation Follies Continue

ExxonMobil is suspected by New York Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman of misleading shareholders about the damage that climate change regulations might do to its business prospects. Scheidnerman and nearly twenty other Democratic attorneys-general have joined together in an effort to prove these suspicions correct. Under New York’s capacious Martin Act, Schneiderman has issued investigatory subpoenas demanding that the company turn over various documents including those related to research results by company scientists and donations made to suspect academicians, think tanks, and advocacy groups. […]

In August, Schneiderman issued another subpoena demanding to see records held by the company’s accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Exxonmobil refused, asserting an “accountant-client privilege” under Texas law. Now a New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that New York law applies and ordered the company to comply with Schneiderman’s subpoena. (Note the Supreme Court is not the highest level of New York’s judiciary.)

“We are pleased with the Court’s order and look forward to moving full-steam ahead with our fraud investigation of Exxon,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a statement. “Exxon had no legal basis to interfere with PwC’s production, and I hope that today’s order serves as a wake up call to Exxon that the best thing they can do is cooperate with, rather than resist, our investigation.”

The Washington Post reports that the company plans to appeal the decision.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade of Texas issued a discovery order to Massachusetts Attorney-General Maura Healey to turn over documents that would enable him to understand how she, Schneiderman and the other Democratic attorneys-general cooked up their joint investigation of ExxonMobil’s possibly fraudulent behavior. The joint investigation is governed by what is called a Common Interest Agreement among the Democratic AGs. In his order Kinkeade noted:

Attorney General Healey’s actions leading up to the issuance of the CID [Civil Investigative Demand] causes the Court concern and presents the Court with the question of whether Attorney General Healey issued the CID with bias or prejudgment about what the investigation of Exxon would discover. …

The Court finds the allegations about Attorney General Healey and the anticipatory nature of Attorney General Healey’s remarks about the outcome of the Exxon investigation to be concerning to this Court. The foregoing allegations about Attorney General Healey, if true, may constitute bad faith in issuing the CID….

At the Attorneys General United for Clean Power press conference in March 2016 featuring remarks by climate warrior Al Gore, Healey did say:

Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be, must be, held accountable. That’s why I, too, have joined in investigating the practices of ExxonMobil. We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public. We are here before you, all committed to combating climate change and to holding accountable those who have misled the public.

Could Healey’s statements be considered biased or prejudged? You decide. […]

As I reported when all this got started a year ago, ExxonMobil began disclosing its annual reports the possible risks to its business posed by climate change in 2006. That happens to be the same year in which the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report definitively stated: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” […]

The follies continue.

This effort by the AGs sounds like they’re hoping for something like the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. You remember that… a group of states collectively settled for a series of payments from the four major tobacco vendors. The tobacco companies "agreed to pay a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement." (There are nine years left in that period.)

That settlement turned into a slush fund for many of those states since there was no monitoring of how the settlement money was spent by the states. If my speculation is right, maybe those states can be milking the petroleum companies by the time the tobacco money runs out.

What industry will come next?

h1

You don’t say

October 23, 2016

system-is-rigged

And in this vein…

Via A Liberatarian Future

h1

Who’s against electricity?

October 22, 2016

In this snippet, Jay Nordlinger is talking with Ojars Kalnins, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Latvian parliament. This exchange appeared in an article Nordlinger wrote for National Review. (‘I’ refers to Nordlinger and ‘he’ to Kalnins.)

He and I talk about America’s connectedness to the rest of the world. “Globalization is here to stay,” he says. “Being anti-globalist is sort of like being anti-electricity. The question is not globalization but how we use it. What we do with it. We can’t get rid of the Internet,” etc.

I loved the comparison of globalization to electricity. Well said, Mr. Kalnins.

h1

I just can’t let this news go unnoted

October 22, 2016

How to tell when a campaign really sucks. 😉 She might be really busy starting November 9th.

Madonna pledges oral sex for Clinton voters

Madonna is pledging to perform oral sex on voters who cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton.

The pop queen, known for her shocking antics, made the remark Tuesday while opening for comedian Amy Schumer in New York.

“If you vote for Hillary Clinton,” Madonna told the crowd at Madison Square Garden, “I will give you a blow job.”

“And I’m good,” the 58-year-old “Like a Virgin” singer, an outspoken supporter of the Democratic presidential nominee, said to cheers from the audience.

“I’m not a tool. I take my time,” Madonna boasted. […]

h1

A lot of people are thinking this very thing

October 20, 2016

As I’ve said several times in the last few months: pay attention to the down ticket and forget about the presidency this year. (Clinton’s election being a foregone conclusion, IMO.)

Here’s another voice making a very similar point.

Help us Divided Government; You’re our only hope!

People, one thing I know for sure is that I really really don’t want either of the two leading fools running for president to have any chance to enact their policy agenda.

It’s currently popular to argue that voters are ignorant and biased, but hell, so are the candidates!

So as my title indicates, I’m making a plea for our good friend Divided Government to save us yet again.

If you are so messed up that you are gonna vote for HRC, then please please please vote Republican in your congressional race(s) (House and maybe Senate).

If you are so moronic that you are gonna vote for Trump, then it’s kind of your moral duty to vote Democrat in the congressional races.

My own preference would be for HRC to be prez but the republicans continue to hold both legislative branches. Her brand of lawlessness I think is more amenable to congressional checks than the Trumpster’s.

If you vote for Gary Johnson (and if I vote, that’s who I’ll vote for), please please please vote for the party that you think is going to lose the presidency when you vote for congress!

So that’s it. Pretty simple. You don’t need a lot of information. If you somehow conquer your gag reflex and make it to the polls, split your ballot.

To repeat myself: vote Libertarian for the presidency to help the L.P. achieve political status. (It needs 5% of the popular vote.) Then vote for all the limited government Representatives and Senators that you’re allowed to.

As it happens, I was out with a small group of people last evening and one of them started talking about the importance of the down-ticket races to the agreement of several others. I wasn’t part of that conversation; I only overheard it. But I was glad I had overheard it.

Go, gridlock! And in that vein, David Harsanyi writes:

Only Gridlock Can Save America Now
Divided government is better.

When Republicans lost the presidential election back at the Republican National Convention in July, many elected GOPers feigned support for the Party’s doomed nominee in an effort to placate the base and hold their majority in Congress. After watching Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape (honestly, does anyone believe this is the last, or most odious, of the October surprises?), some of these candidates have decided the gambit wasn’t worth it.

So naturally, Trump has targeted down-ballot races in his own party—people like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain. As it turns out, cult leaders are less concerned about the long-term philosophical aims of your political party than they are about your personal loyalty and subservience.

But if the prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency are truly as apocalyptic as I’m told, shouldn’t Republicans be appalled that their nominee is undermining the only institution in Washington, D.C., that has the power to stop her agenda, should he lose the race? After all, it wasn’t Ryan who coaxed Trump into vulgarity on a hot mic.

I hear this absurd myth every day: “Well, what’s the difference? These cowardly Republicans have given President Obama everything he wanted!”

Elsewhere, I’ve gone into great detail, debunking the idea that Congress has enabled Obama’s agenda in toto—a belief that is pervasive among Trump supporters. In reality, a GOP Congress spent eight years doing the opposite. Not only did it block dozens of progressive initiatives and reforms but it often sued the president for abusing his executive power (and won a host of cases).

These presidential overreaches, incidentally, were necessitated by the GOP’s effective “obstructionism”—which is just another way of describing the manifestation of a divided nation’s will.

Of course this Republican Congress is infuriating. It often fails. It often folds. It creates unrealistic expectations. It struggles to find compelling arguments that appeal to its base. It picks mediocre candidates and is often paralyzed by risk-aversion.

Yet it’s also true that an uncompromising legislative branch stymied an uncompromising ideologue in the White House. I note the former with admiration because, despite the assertions of our political class, the most crucial task of those elected to Congress isn’t to pass minimum-wage laws but to check the power of the executive branch. They did it better than most. […]

h1

What rock has this judge been living under?

October 12, 2016

Kudos to Judge Bransford for doing her best to set this case to rights. (My emphasis below.)

Pre-Dawn No-Knock SWAT Raid for Minor Drug Charge Ruled Unconstitutional
2015 militarized raid resulted in “fifth-degree drug possession.” That’s the lowest drug charge possible.

A Hennepin County (Minn.) drug squad — known as the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) — conducted a pre-dawn no-knock raid on a house in North Minneapolis one morning in November 2015. They were looking for Walter Power, who they suspected of being a marijuana dealer. To search the home they believed Power to be sleeping in, they brought a force of between 28-32 officers, most clad in riot gear and carrying rifles, accompanied by a sniper seated atop a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response (BEAR) vehicle.

Why did law enforcement officials feel they needed to display a show of overwhelming force that would be intense even in a foreign occupied city? Because the primary resident of the house, Michael Delgado, was a registered gun-owner with a license to carry.

Convinced of the potential danger posed to officers when raiding a house with an armed occupant, Hennepin County District Judge Tanya Bransford signed off on the no-knock raid, but later told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she did not know a platoon of up to 32 officers would be deployed to search the house, or that they’d throw flash bang grenades through the windows in addition to knocking down doors.

The raid resulted in the arrest of Power — the suspected marijuana dealer — for “fifth-degree drug possession,” the lowest possible drug charges on the books. Even this modest charge would be dropped after Judge Bransford declared the raid unconstitutional in a ruling last summer, arguing that Delgado and Power had been subject to unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Bransford wrote in her ruling “that the types of militarized actions used in this case seem to be a matter of customary business practice,” which she found troubling. […]

"[C]ustomary business practice." Roger that, yer honor. And "troubling"… that’s a nice, mealy-mouthed way to put it.

Do you ever wonder how some people in the Justice System® can claim ignorance of how other people in that same system are conducting business?

The next thing we’ll hear is that a judge somewhere is surprised to learn that cops sometimes use too much force and innocent people die as a result.

What the hell? Don’t these people read the news?

h1

You can’t blame the wreck on the train (2)

October 7, 2016

Who didn’t see this one coming? The WSJ reports on the hot political news of the day.

Donald Trump’s Lewd Comments About Women Spark Uproar
Republican candidate apologizes for 2005 recording, but party leaders and evangelicals are severely critical

Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign was in damage control late Friday after a decade-old recording emerged in which he speaks in crude sexual terms about women.

Mr. Trump quickly apologized for the comments, which included talk about grabbing and kissing women, saying they were “locker-room banter.” But the recording drew blunt rebukes from both the Republican Party’s top elected official and the head of the GOP, and didn’t sit well with some of Mr. Trump’s evangelical supporters.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said he was “sickened” by the recording and uninvited Mr. Trump to a campaign event in his state scheduled for Saturday. Mr. Trump said in a statement that he would send his running mate, Mike Pence, in his place, and instead spend the day in debate preparations. […]

Anyone else remember Earl Butz? Now imagine if Nixon had said what Butz said.

Erick Erickson, for one, saw it coming last February. And he didn’t even mention Mr. Trump’s sexual midadventures. (My emphasis below.)

He [Trump] will not win in November. He will not win because he turns off a large number of Republicans; he turns off women; he turns off hispanic voters; he turns off black voters; and the blue collar voters who support him are not a sufficient base of support to carry him over the finish line. […]

Trump is also a con-artist and the media, which has built his campaign is going to destroy his campaign. After he secures the Republican nomination, the media will trot out every victim and perceived victim of Trump’s actions. All the people hurt by repeated strategic bankruptcies, all the people swindled by Trump University, and anyone who got food poisoning from Trump steaks will be in a 24/7 cavalcade on national television.

It’s a pity. There are some good Republicans in the Congress. I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan, for example. People like Ryan deserved a lot better candidate for their party than Donald Trump.

Vote for the least of the evils.


Update 10/8/16: Scott Adams responds to a challenge from Erick Erickson. It’s worth your time to read.

Why Does This Happen on My Vacation? (The Trump Tapes)

By now you know about the Access Hollywood recording in which Donald Trump said bad things eleven years ago. Many of my readers asked me to weigh in. One of the requests came from anti-Trump GOP elite person Erick Erickson. (Middle name Erick, I assume.) This was his polite request and my response. Read it from bottom to top.

adams-erickson-tweet
Challenge accepted!

I’ll give you my thoughts, in no particular order. […]

Mr. Adams stands by his claim that Trump has a “98% chance of winning.” Maybe he knows something RCP and ElectionBettingOdds don’t know.

And maybe I should ask if he’s interested in a little action on the side.


Update 10/9/16: I made a trip to visit my parents today and spotted a couple of interesting reactions on the election. The first was a gasoline station with “Alfred E. Neuman for President” on its animated sign. (Who’s Alfred E. Neuman?)

I came across the second in the letters-to-the-editor section of the Peoria Journal-Star. Someone wrote a short letter about Trump and the gist of it (I’m paraphrasing) is that the Republicans should have heeded the advice of Abe Lincoln (the first Republican President). Lincoln said, "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."

I was very amused by that letter. Well played, Mr./Ms. Letter Writer.


Update 10/11/16: I’ve been wondering when someone would make this comparison.

Glenn Beck: Trump is the GOP’s Anthony Weiner

%d bloggers like this: