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.

Here’s another voice making that very 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 status. And 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 to hear it.

Go, gridlock!


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?


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.

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


Curiouser and curiouser

October 7, 2016

Here’s interesting news from CNN about hacked voting systems, publishing hacked DNC documents, and the coming election.

US accuses Russia of trying to interfere with 2016 election
US officially blames Russia for political hacks

Washington (CNN)The Obama administration said Friday it was “confident” that Russia was behind recent hackings of emails about upcoming US elections in an attempt to interfere with the process.

The announcement marks the first time the US administration has officially accused Russia of hacking into US political systems. Earlier in the week, the two countries broke off formal talks about a ceasefire in Syria.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement.

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked emails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement added. “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.”

The announcement was referring to the breach of Democratic National Committee emails and the sites of other Democratic Party-linked organizations disclosed over the summer. […]

I’m not sure what to make of this report. Taking it at face value leaves me wondering what the Russian intent is. Do they want to discredit the Democrats (and thus Clinton) by releasing hacked documents and so sway voters to elect Trump? Would Putin prefer Trump as his counterpart? That seems the obvious conclusion – if the Russian Federation really is behind the hacking.

Or maybe the situation’s like a spy novel and there are wheels within wheels here. Is the Obama administration making this announcement with the hope that people will reach the conclusion above? Does the White House want to make sure people think that Russia favors Trump and so sway voters to Clinton? President Obama has endorsed Clinton after all.

That seems a bit of a stretch, since it’s sure to cause another kerfuffle with the Russians – at a time when relations are already a bit sour over Syria.

It all leaves me wondering who’s playing whom here. And I suppose that’s a third point: that I’m not confident I can trust this administration to play "straight baseball".

After all, it wouldn’t be the first time the President’s administration gamed the American public.

Update: Wow, this was quick. The WSJ reports this evening (~10 PM EST):

WikiLeaks Stirs Up Trouble for Hillary Clinton
Email correspondence is said to show excerpts of paid speeches before her presidential bid

The organization WikiLeaks on Friday released what it claimed to be Clinton campaign email correspondence revealing excerpts from paid speeches that Hillary Clinton gave in recent years, before her presidential bid.

A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to verify whether the documents are authentic.

The emails appear to show Mrs. Clinton taking a tone in private that is more favorable to free trade and to banks than she has often taken on the campaign trail. The emails also suggest she was aware of security concerns regarding electronic devices, which could feed into criticism that Mrs. Clinton was careless with national secrets when she was secretary of state.

The release marks the latest time WikiLeaks has inserted itself into this year’s presidential campaign, and it came the same day the U.S. intelligence community accused the Russian government of trying to interfere in the U.S. elections by purposefully leaking emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and other entities. The intelligence agencies alleged the hacks were directed by the most senior officials in the Russian government, with WikiLeaks one of the entities whose methods are consistent with those of a Russia-directed effort.

“Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy,” said Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin in a statement. “We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails were WikiLeaks’s primary target, sent several tweets on the subject late Friday.

“I’m not happy about being hacked by the Russians in their quest to throw the election to Donald Trump,” he wrote. “Don’t have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked.” […]

Obviously, the Democrats want us to think that Wikileaks is trying to get Trump elected. I think it’s a safe guess that the president agrees with that. So the question left is whether the Russians are coordinating and/or controlling what Wikileaks is doing as the administration claims.


We’re not in Mayberry anymore

October 6, 2016

Radley Balko writes about a recently released documentary.

‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops

The haunting thing about the new policing documentary “Do Not Resist” is what it doesn’t show. There are no images of cops beating people. No viral videos of horrifying shootings. Sure, there are scenes from the Ferguson protests in which riot cops deploy tear gas. But there’s no blood, no Tasings, no death. Yet when it was over, I had to force myself to exhale.

What makes this movie so powerful is its terrifying portrayal of the mundanities of modern policing. I watched the movie weeks ago, but there are scenes that still flicker in my head. We all remember the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson. We’ve seen the photos. We saw the anger and the animus exchanged across the protest lines. What we didn’t see were the hours and hours before and after those moments. We didn’t see the MRAPs and other armored vehicles roll in, one at a time, slowly transforming an American town into a war zone. We didn’t hear the clomp of combat boots on asphalt in the quiet hours of the early morning, interrupted only by fuzzy dispatches over police radio. […]

Fittingly, the most chilling scene in the movie doesn’t take place on a city street, or at a protest, or during a drug raid. It takes place in a conference room. It’s from a police training conference with Dave Grossman, one of the most prolific police trainers in the country. Grossman’s classes teach officers to be less hesitant to use lethal force, urge them to be willing to do it more quickly and teach them how to adopt the mentality of a warrior. Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castille in July, had attended one of Grossman’s classes called “The Bulletproof Warrior” (though that particular class was taught by Grossman’s business partner, Jim Glennon). […]

The trailer:


It may be worse than Snowden said

October 5, 2016

Paul sends a link to this story from Reuters.

Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified. […]

According to two of the former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc. […]


IoT security

October 5, 2016

Heh… Pornhub on a refrigerator’s display at Home Depot (from John McAfee).


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