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Trump Running For President Like He Ran DJT – Into the Ground

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Pope Doesn't Want to Wear Her Make Donald Drumpf Again Hat for some reason

 

Poorly, in other words, for everyone except Trump.

Reading between the lines, sounds as if Donald Trump is flailing. The GOP could call his bluff, and let Trump twist in the wind a bit. Trump may be rich, but he’s no billionaire, hence he needs the GOP to make it rain.

Frustrated by flagging donations and criticism from GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he “may go a different route” in funding his general election campaign if need be.

“I need support from the Republicans,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends,” noting that some in the party, including Republican National Committee officials, have “been terrific.”

“But it would be nice to have full support from people that are in office, I mean full verbal support,” he said. “Now with all that being said I may go a different route if those things don’t happen.”

“I can just spend my own money,” he said, likening the strategy to the one he used in the primaries. “I have a lot of cash. So I can do like I did with the others, just spend money on myself and go happily along and I think I’d win that way. There are many people who think I’d do better that way by being a little bit of the insurgent, the outsider and you know not working along. But I want to work along because the RNC has been terrific, Reince Priebus has been terrific and it’s all coming together.”

(click here to continue reading Trump: If GOP Doesn’t Support Me, Fine, ‘I Have A Lot Of Cash’.)

Will the RNC fund him? I wonder. One the one hand, if Trump gets beaten badly by Clinton, the GOP might lose the Senate and even the House, but on the other hand, Trump…

The reasons are many, Trump is horrible with money; a crappy businessman, and stingy with his own money, but the bottom line is that either he needs to sell a building or two, if possible, or set up a Kickstarter…

I Heard You Trying Not To Cry
I Heard You Trying Not To Cry

Donald Trump loves to talk about how rich he is. But according to the latest campaign-finance report, his presidential bid is very, very poor. In the month after clinching his party’s nomination, the “billionaire” businessman raised just $3.1 million and has loaned his campaign $2.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The campaign has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump’s own businesses, on products branded with his name and in direct payments to members of his family. His cash on hand is a paltry $1.3 million. That stands in stark contrast to the Clinton campaign, which announced a haul of nearly $26.4 million. Her cash on hand rang in at $42 million. Even Bernie Sanders, whose campaign is all but over, ended the month with $9.2 million cash on hand—seven times more than Trump—after raising $15.6 million in May. In fact, former candidates Ted Cruz and Ben Carson still have more cash on hand, as do House members running for re-election, including Peter King, Joe Kennedy, and Lee Zeldin.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Campaign Is So Broke It Couldn’t Afford a Condo in Trump Tower – The Daily Beast.)

Just Around The Turn
Just Around The Turn

Trump’s one publicly traded company, i.e., the only company of his with financials that outsiders can examine, did horribly, and lost money for everyone except the Trump clan.

Drew Harwell reports:

It was promoted as the chance of a lifetime: Mom-and-pop investors could buy shares in celebrity businessman Donald Trump’s first public company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts.

Their investments were quickly depleted. The company known by Trump’s initials, DJT, crumbled into a penny stock and filed for bankruptcy after less than a decade, costing shareholders millions of dollars, even as other casino companies soared.

In its short life, Trump the company greatly enriched Trump the businessman, paying to have his personal jet piloted and buying heaps of Trump-brand merchandise. Despite losing money every year under Trump’s leadership, the company paid Trump handsomely, including a $5 million bonus in the year the company’s stock plummeted 70 percent.

Many of those who lost money were Main Street shareholders who believed in the Trump brand, such as Sebastian Pignatello, a retired private investor in Queens. By the time of the 2004 bankruptcy, Pignatello’s 150,000 shares were worth pennies on the dollar.

“He had been pillaging the company all along,” said Pignatello, who joined shareholders in a lawsuit against Trump that has since been settled. “Even his business allies, they were all fair game. He has no qualms about screwing anybody. That’s what he does.”

(click here to continue reading As its stock collapsed, Trump’s firm gave him huge bonuses and paid for his jet – The Washington Post.)

Trump is used to running his business deals like a tin-pot dictator, siphoning funds off the top and letting everyone else pick up the expenses. So there is no surprise his presidential campaign is exactly the same model. 

Trump campaign expenses in May, per @FEC report:

Hats: $208k

Online advertising: $115k

Data management: $48k

Communications consulting: $38k

(click here to continue reading Kenneth P. Vogel on Twitter: “Trump campaign expenses in May, per @FEC report: Hats: $208k Online advertising: $115k Data management: $48k Communications consulting: $38k”.)

and:

Recipients of payments from Trump campaign with “Trump” in name, through May 31. Doesn’t include Mar-a-Lago/planes.

Trump expenses
Trump expenses.jpg

(click here to continue reading Derek Willis on Twitter: “Recipients of payments from Trump campaign with “Trump” in name, through May 31. Doesn’t include Mar-a-Lago/planes. https://t.co/JF6skaWYGF”.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 21st, 2016 at 10:14 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Why Paul Ryan Can’t Quit Donald Trump

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Circular Reasons

Circular Reasons

Paul Ryan’s ideas are so toxic to the voting public, he can never articulate these ideas. He’s been a flim-flam man for so long, he’s probably forgotten what it is like to be honest. Perfect for the party of Donald Trump, in other words.

The details of Ryan’s vision have always remained somewhat foggy. The conservative revolution Ryan has in mind isn’t a popular or cultural one; it is entirely legislative. And the predicate for enacting it isn’t to sell a set of ideas to the public, but to steel the spines of legislators to vote for Ryan’s ideas no matter what the public thinks.

Ryan’s revolutionary ideas themselves aren’t entirely clear, either, though that wasn’t always the case. Before he became the undisputed intellectual leader of the conservative movement in the Obama era, he laid out a series of specific and radical reforms–including Social Security and Medicare privatization–in a 2008 bill called the Roadmap for America’s Future. When it fell to him as chairman of the House budget committee to draft a governing agenda for the whole party, though, many of the details vanished.

Ryan still wants to devolve Medicare into a subsidized system of competition between insurance carriers, but only for seniors in the distant future. He still wants to hand Medicaid over to the states and slash its budgets by hundreds of billions of dollars. He still wants to cut income tax rates for the wealthy to about a third of their current level. He still wants to spend lavishly on the military. But when asked how to pay for it all, he’s exceedingly vague. He promises to cut tax expenditures, but doesn’t say how or which ones. He promises to slash the domestic discretionary budget (which disproportionately benefits the poor), but won’t say which programs, or by how much.

All of that was to be decided after Republicans won the White House. That was Ryan’s game plan when he was budget chairman; it remained his game plan as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012. And the plan seemed to be well within reach when Republicans finally consolidated control of Congress in 2015, and a raft of talented candidates were lining up to fill the last piece of the puzzle: the presidency.

It’s impossible to fully grasp Ryan’s thinking without understanding how close he feels he’s come to realizing a decades-old dream. That dream, as Grover Norquist told CPAC four years ago, culminates with the election of a figurehead. “We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget…We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate…Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.”

(click here to continue reading Why Paul Ryan Can’t Quit Donald Trump | New Republic.)

In a just universe, Donald Trump will lead to an overwhelming loss to the Republican Party, putting the GOP as the minority party for decades in both House and Senate. 

Written by Seth Anderson

June 20th, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Donald Trump Is Too Lazy to Be a Successful Fascist

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That Horse Is Long Gone
That Horse Is Long Gone

Fun line from a Frank Rich column about how far the GOP elite is out of touch with its voters, hence Trump’s sweep of the primaries, and how Ronald Reagan was no hero of the GOP elite either, up until he won: Donald Trump is too easily distracted to be successful fascist.

But there’s little evidence that many grassroots Republicans now give a damn what any Bush has to say about Trump or much else.

The only conservative columnist who seems to recognize this reality remains Peggy Noonan, who worked in the Reagan White House. As she pointed out in Wall Street Journal columns this spring, conservatism as “defined the past 15 years by Washington writers and thinkers” (i.e., since George W. Bush’s first inauguration) — “a neoconservative, functionally open borders, slash-the-entitlements party” — appears no longer to have any market in the Republican base. A telling poll by Public Policy Polling published in mid-May confirmed that the current GOP Washington leadership is not much more popular than the departed John Boehner and Eric Cantor: Only 40 percent of Republicans approve of the job performance of Paul Ryan, the Establishment wonder boy whose conservative catechism Noonan summarized, while 44 percent disapprove. Only 14 percent of Republicans approve of Mitch McConnell. This is Trump’s party now, and it was so well before he got there. It’s the populist-white-conservative party that Goldwater and Reagan built, with a hefty intervening assist from Nixon’s southern strategy, not the atavistic country-club Republicanism whose few surviving vestiges had their last hurrahs in the administrations of Bush père and fils. The third wave of the Reagan Revolution is here to stay.

Were Trump to gain entry to the White House, it’s impossible to say whether he would or could follow Reagan’s example and function within the political norms of Washington. His burlesque efforts to appear “presidential” are intended to make that case: His constant promise to practice “the art of the deal” echoes Reagan’s campaign boast of having forged compromises with California’s Democratic legislature while governor. More likely a Trump presidency would be the train wreck largely predicted, an amalgam of the blunderbuss shoot-from-the-hip recklessness of George W. Bush and the randy corruption of Warren Harding, both of whom were easily manipulated by their own top brass. The love child of Hitler and Mussolini Trump is not. He lacks the discipline and zeal to be a successful fascist.

The good news for those who look with understandable horror on the prospect of a Trump victory is that the national demographic math is different now from Reagan’s day. The nonwhite electorate, only 12 percent in 1980, was 28 percent in 2012 and could hit 30 percent this year. Few number crunchers buy the Trump camp’s spin that the GOP can reclaim solidly Democratic territory like Pennsylvania and Michigan — states where many white working-class voters, soon to be christened “Reagan Democrats,” crossed over to vote Republican in Reagan’s 1984 landslide. Many of those voters are dead; their epicenter, Macomb County, Michigan, was won by Barack Obama in 2008. Nor is there now the ’70s level of discontent that gave oxygen to Reagan’s insurgency. President Obama’s approval numbers are lapping above 50 percent. Both unemployment and gas prices are low, hardly the dire straits of Carter’s America. Trump’s gift for repelling women would also seem to be an asset for Democrats, creating a gender gap far exceeding the one that confronted Reagan, who was hostile to the Equal Rights Amendment.

(click here to continue reading Ronald Reagan Was Once Donald Trump — NYMag.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 18th, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

The Paul Ryan Delusion

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Bedtime Story - drawing by Barry Blitt
Paul Ryan reads a Bedtime Story – drawing by Barry Blitt

Paul Ryan and other believers in Republican orthodoxy, ie, faith in the Laffer Curve, Supply Side economics, tax cuts for rich, expansion of military, ad nauseam, seem to be deluded about many things1 but the most amusing is their belief that they will be able to tame Donald Trump. Good luck with that buddy. 

Ryan Lizza writes, in part:

There are essentially two Republican parties right now: the Party of Donald J. Trump and the Party of House Speaker Paul Ryan—who has, nonetheless, endorsed Trump for President. One of the ways in which members of the Ryan faction delude themselves is by believing that Ryan’s policies would dominate if Trump were President and Ryan remained Speaker of the House.

As with Ryan’s optimistic predictions about House Republican unity, there is no reason to believe that a future Republican President would share the House G.O.P.’s view of Congress’s role. But it’s an especially absurd assumption when it comes to Trump, who has displayed authoritarian instincts and has argued that he will exceed Obama in using the powers of the executive branch.

More important, Trump’s agenda is not Ryan’s. The Speaker has been regularly unveiling policy reports on the Republican House agenda, and Trump, who seems oblivious to the Ryan project, has been shredding the ideas with his public comments. Two weeks ago, Trump argued that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge, couldn’t do his job because his parents were born in Mexico. A few days later, Ryan was scheduled to speak in a predominantly black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., about his new and much-touted policy proposals to address poverty. He ended up using the event to describe Trump’s claims about Curiel as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He immediately added, though, that he was still supporting him for President, in part because he thought that Hillary Clinton was worse.

(click here to continue reading The Paul Ryan Delusion – The New Yorker.)

Hillary worse? Really? Really? That’s the reason you support the regurgitated Cheeto false-god? Talk about choosing party over country.

Footnotes:
  1. that the country shares their corporate tax-cut fetishes, for one []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 17th, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Why Healthcare Companies Are Leaving Kansas for Missouri

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Remembering Your Infinite Course
Remembering Your Infinite Course

And speaking about why Donald Trump is the Republican Party of 2016, and how belief in Voodoo Economics is the underpinning of the GOP con, there is the real world example of Kansas. A Tea Party governor, a Tea Party legislature, and free reign to implement all those Koch and ALEC inspired schemes for going on five years now. 

Sliding north, we find ourselves in the failed state of Kansas, now in the fifth year of the Brownbackian Dark Ages, as such things are reckoned. Somehow, the fact that Kansas’ status as a supply-side lab rat has dropped the state down a political garbage chute the likes of which hasn’t been seen since they shredded the Articles of Confederation is beginning to seep under the guardhouses of the gated communities. The head of a healthcare company is fleeing to the Missouri border and he’s not shy about telling the world why. 

From Pathfinder Health Innovations CEO Jeff Blackwood

It wasn’t just that Brownback was conservative; it was that he is seen as a tool of the Koch brothers and ALEC, a conservative think tank and lobbying organization. Brownback used his influence and funding to eliminate “moderate” republicans from the Kansas legislature and install his hand-picked conservative cronies. He couldn’t do the same with the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled a number of the conservative legislature’s laws as unconstitutional, so Brownback’s administration decided to threaten to cut off funding to the court system and is actively pursuing legislation to impeach the Supreme Court.

Kansas has become a test center of “trickle down” economics, espoused by economist Arthur Laffer during the Reagan years. Nowhere has there been as thorough an implementation of Laffer’s policy recommendations… and nowhere has there been as dramatic a failure of government. Under Brownback’s direction, Kansas implemented an unprecedented tax cut in 2012, eliminating taxes for LLCs and professional firms (for full disclosure, PHI is a C Corporation) and making the largest cuts in the highest tax brackets. He shifted taxes to create a heavier burden on property and sales taxes, which typically represent a larger burden on lower income brackets. Brownback declared that this tax cut would be a “shot of adrenaline” for the Kansas economy, but the reality is that the tax cuts have had the opposite effect. Kansas lags neighboring states in job growth. For 11 of the last 12 months, Kansas has dramatically missed revenue targets, falling deeper in debt and facing another round of degraded bond ratings.

The worst part is that the burdens for the shortfalls rest on the shoulders of those who can least afford it – children and the developmentally disabled.

This guy says it flat out–Brownback has engineered the failure of government in Kansas to prove to himself and to the world that government inevitably fails. It’s not often that you see it made that plain, and now it’s time to point out that enough voters in Kansas showed up and re-elected this cluck in what only can be seen now as a suicide pact.

 

(click here to continue reading Why Healthcare Companies Are Leaving Kansas for Missouri.)

Discarded Cautions
Discarded Cautions

and a brief refresher of the Return of Voodoo Economics from Paul Krugman:

During his failed bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination George H. W. Bush famously described Ronald Reagan’s “supply side” doctrine — the claim that cutting taxes on high incomes would lead to spectacular economic growth, so that tax cuts would pay for themselves — as “voodoo economic policy.” Bush was right. Even the rapid recovery from the 1981-82 recession was driven by interest-rate cuts, not tax cuts. Still, for a time the voodoo faithful claimed vindication.

First, voodoo economics has dominated the conservative movement for so long that it has become an inward-looking cult, whose members know what they know and are impervious to contrary evidence. Fifteen years ago leading Republicans may have been aware that the Clinton boom posed a problem for their ideology. Today someone like Senator Rand Paul can say: “When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.” Clinton who?

Second, the nature of the budget debate means that Republican leaders need to believe in the ways of magic. For years people like Mr. Ryan have posed as champions of fiscal discipline even while advocating huge tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations. They have also called for savage cuts in aid to the poor, but these have never been big enough to offset the revenue loss. So how can they make things add up?

Well, for years they have relied on magic asterisks — claims that they will make up for lost revenue by closing loopholes and slashing spending, details to follow. But this dodge has been losing effectiveness as the years go by and the specifics keep not coming.

(click here to continue reading Voodoo Economics, the Next Generation – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 16th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Chris Christie Fetches Donald Trump’s Burger and Fries

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Watch it Rot - from October 2006
Watch it Rot – a McDonald’s hamburger from October 2006, a metaphor of course.

OMG, I would love to see this clip. I wonder what the good citizens of New Jersey think about it? Are they happy that Governor Christie is busying himself with other, important matters like waiting for Donald Trump to pat him on the head? Or do they wish he was still doing the job he is currently being paid to do?

Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, another of Trump’s opponents early in the campaign, has transformed himself into a sort of manservant, who is constantly with Trump at events. (One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order1 .)

(click here to continue reading Occupied Territory – The New Yorker.)

Did Governor Christie sneak some fries? Good lord, how the self-righteous have fallen…

Footnotes:
  1. *Christie’s office denies this account. []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 15th, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Posted in humor,politics

Tagged with ,

Donald Trump Is The GOP’s Standard Bearer

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Washing the Trump
Washing the Trump

Paul Krugman asks a question I’ve been asking for a while: why did the “Deep Bench” of 2016 Republican presidential candidates do such a collectively horrible job vetting Donald Trump? Did none of the Deep Bench staffs include an opposition research team?

This is not a column about Donald Trump.

It’s not about the fraudulent scheme that was Trump University. It’s not about his history of failing to pay contractors, leading to hundreds of legal actions. It’s not about how he personally profited while running his casinos into the ground. It’s not even concerned with persistent questions about whether he is nearly as rich as he claims to be, and whether he’s ever done more than live off capital gains on his inheritance.

No, my question, as Democrats gleefully tear into the Trump business record, is why rival Republicans never did the same. How did someone who looks so much like a cheap con man bulldoze right through the G.O.P. nomination process?

I mean, it’s not as if any of this dirt was deeply hidden. The Trump U. story was out there long before it became the big deal it is today. It took some real reporting to flesh out the details of Mr. Trump’s other business practices, but we’re talking about ordinary if skillful journalistic legwork, not revelations from Deep Throat.

So why didn’t any of Mr. Trump’s primary opponents manage to make an issue of his sleazy business career? Were they just incompetent, or is there something structural about the modern Republican Party that makes it unable to confront grifters?

(click here to continue reading A Party Agrift – The New York Times.)

Sarah Palin, and her crew, Glenn Beck selling gold shares and end-of-times survival gear, Ron Paul selling his “curriculum”, Paul Ryan’s mission

to repeal the so-called “fiduciary rule” for retirement advisers, a new rule requiring that they serve the interests of their clients, and not receive kickbacks for steering them into bad investments.

You get the idea, Donald Trump is just another GOP snake-oil salesman, one of many. I guess the Republican party does have a deep bench of grifters and con artists.

Medicine is sometimes Not Enough
Medicine is sometimes Not Enough

Really, the main premise of the modern conservative party is that Supply Side Economics is valid – cutting taxes for the wealthy is going to start trickling down krugerands for the rest of us, any day now! Just look to Governor Brownback’s Kansas. So if your political party insists the Laffer Curve is science, and simultaneously claims the earth is but 6,000 years old, is it any wonder that Donald Trump will win primary voters?

Or as Krugman puts it:

Then there’s the issue of ideology. If your fundamental premise is that the profit motive is always good and government is the root of all evil, if you treat any suggestion that, say, some bankers misbehaved in the run-up to the financial crisis as proof that the speaker is anti-business if not a full-blown socialist, how can you condemn anyone’s business practices?

In the months ahead Republicans will claim that there are equivalent scandals on the Democratic side, but nothing they’ve managed to come up with rises remotely to the level of even one of the many Trump scams in the news. They’ll also claim that Mr. Trump doesn’t reflect their party’s values. But the truth is that in a very deep sense he does. And that’s why they couldn’t stop him.

(click here to continue reading A Party Agrift – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 14th, 2016 at 9:39 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Trump panic on the right

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Face in a Crowd
Face in a Crowd…

Expanding on the point I made yesterday, Digby writes:1

It seems odd that after an overwhelming litany of crude, demagogic insults over the course of the last year, Republican leaders have suddenly recognized that Donald Trump is a racist whose reckless rhetoric is likely to destroy the Republican Party. Evidently, the “Mexicans are rapists” comments in his announcement speech a year ago didn’t ring any alarm bells. But better late than never. Party leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan both decided they needed to denounce his blatant bigotry although they made clear it wasn’t a deal breaker. Better an unfit, racist, authoritarian megalomaniac than a Democrat in the White House. You go to Hades with the devil you have not the devil you wished you have.

There have been a few prominent Republicans who have publicly withdrawn their endorsements.  Senator Mark Kirk said he could no longer support Trump because he doesn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. This has also been obvious for the last 12 months but again, it’s to his credit that he’s belatedly decided that it’s a disqualifying characteristic. He’s decided to write-in the name of General David Petraeus which he may want to re-think considering the news this week that Petraeus was not only found guilty of “mishandling” classified information by sharing it with his mistress, he also shared Top Secret information with reporters. It’s really tough finding a decent Republican to vote for these days.

(click here to continue reading Trump panic on the right: They’ve created this monster — and some are getting more desperate to find a way out – Salon.com.)

No Alien is Illegal
No Alien is Illegal

The GOP were fine with Trump up until very recently, and if you examine their various statements, very few are going as far as saying Trump shouldn’t be the GOP standard-bearer, they just want him to tone down his language a bit so as to not rile up the rubes and television bloviators. Not his ideas, not his actions, just his language describing GOP shibboleths like we must be very, very afraid of undocumented Mexicans pouring over the border by the millions, and other fact-free positions.

Or else what?

The problem with this scenario is that these elite Republicans are failing to take something very important into consideration: their voters. It’s certainly possible that they are in danger of losing some faction of the party over Trump’s repugnant behavior. But there is little reason to believe it’s a majority. This week, millions of them went to the polls and voted for him even though he had already won the nomination. Granted, he’s not the electoral juggernaut he pretends to be, but he is the legitimate winner of the Republican nomination and his voters will not take kindly to having their wishes ignored.

Moreover, the Republican rank and file doesn’t agree with the premise that Trump is out of bounds in the first place. This YouGov survey done after Trump made his bigoted comments about the judge show 81% of Democrats and 44% of independents believe they were racist. But only only 22% of Republicans agree. In other words, 78% of GOP voters are just fine with Trump and seem to agree with his statement that  “people are tired of this political correctness when things are said that are totally fine.”

(click here to continue reading Trump panic on the right: They’ve created this monster — and some are getting more desperate to find a way out – Salon.com.)

Footnotes:
  1. and I’m in no way claiming she reads this blog, because why would she? Simply that we had the same reaction to recent political news []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 9th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Trump Is The GOP

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http://i0.wp.com/farm8.static.flickr.com/7374/26796617234_e4a55d0b94.jpg?ssl=1

Amusing, in an odd way, how many Republican leaders decry Trump’s blatant racism, sexism, nativism, whatever-ism, yet make sure to mention that Hillary is somehow worse, without explaining why. Profiles in courage, 2016 edition. I may be unenthusiastic about Ms. Clinton, but she isn’t a racist bully with tiny hands and a tiny brain. The truth is Donald Trump is only saying what the rest of the GOP says and thinks, only louder, and with less big words. The Combover Caligula is the GOP.1

Some Republicans, including Ryan, employed the “Trump is still better than Hillary Clinton” defense. Several asserted that Trump “isn’t racist in his heart” line or variations on that theme. Still others refused to comment or grew angry when pressed to comment on the GOP presidential hopeful.

McConnell was asked every which way about Trump’s comments at his weekly Q&A with reporters, as his leadership team tried in vain to talk about national security and a defense bill pending on the Senate floor. The Kentucky Republican faced not a single question about his plans to pass annual spending bills or to overhaul the Senate and make it a better-functioning body.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) went on CNN to discuss Trump and ended up calling President Barack Obama a racist. “You can easily argue the president of the United States is a racist with his policies and rhetoric,” Zeldin claimed. Zeldin later added that “my purpose here isn’t to just go through the list and call everyone a racist.”

When asked later for details on Obama’s allegedy racist policies or rhetoric, Zeldin apologized to Obama.

“I abhor racism in any form and it has no place in our country,” Zeldin said in a statement. “I was disappointed and disagree with Donald Trump’s statement.”

Zeldin added: “With that being said, I apologize to anyone who interpreted my comments as calling the president a racist. I am not calling the president a racist.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an unabashed Trump critic, said the issue isn’t so much Trump as the future of the GOP. Backing Trump just because he’s the Republican nominee doesn’t cut it, Graham said.

“There are a lot of people who want to be loyal to the Republican Party, including me,” Graham told MSNBC. “But there’ll come a point in time where we’re gonna have to understand that it’s not just about the 2016 race, it’s about the future of the party. And I would like to support our nominee; I just can’t.”

(click here to continue reading Trump ‘racism’ frenzy engulfs Hill Republicans – POLITICO.)

The one-term Senator from Illinois, Mark Kirk couldn’t quite square the circle, at the moment anyway. Come November, I’m sure he’ll be sure to support the GOP’s nominee:

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said Tuesday that Donald Trump “does not have the temperament” to hold the job of president, saying he “cannot and will not support” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

It was sharp criticism from an incumbent who had previously insisted he would support the GOP nominee. The Illinois Republican, who faces a tough challenge this November from Illinois Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, tweeted Tuesday that based on his background in the military, he does not have faith in Trump to lead. “Given my military experience, Donald Trump does not have the temperament to command our military or our nuclear arsenal,” Kirk wrote. Given my military experience, Donald Trump does not have the temperament to command our military or our nuclear arsenal.

— Mark Kirk (@MarkKirk) June 7, 2016 Kirk, who told CNN that he would write in former CIA director David Petraeus this fall, followed up with a statement saying he objects to Trump’s recent comments about a federal judge’s Mexican heritage.

(click here to continue reading GOP Sen. Mark Kirk: I cannot support Donald Trump – CNNPolitics.com.)

Yeah, David Petraeus, the narcissist who couldn’t keep from telling his mistress national secrets, that guy is apparently the sort of GOP leader Senator Kirk endorses. Slightly better than Trump, sure, but not by much.

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/27010093932_b84ee2a0ba_z.jpg?resize=640%2C486&ssl=1
 Frank Rich writes:

I doubt we’ll see much more than tiny pockets of Clinton support among the powers that be in the GOP. It has been astonishing to watch one Republican leader after another call out Trump’s racism this week and yet say they still support him because they hate Hillary more. Keep in mind that these are some of the same so-called leaders — typified by Paul Ryan — who were in a tizzy months ago when Trump didn’t immediately disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. They are the same leaders who had to wait several days to see which way the political winds were blowing before they called for the Confederate flag to come down in the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre. You have to wonder: Do Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, et al, have even a single testicle among them? It doesn’t seem that way. McConnell’s cowardly strategy for criticizing Trump, for instance, was to demand that he “get on message.” What the hell does that mean? Trump is on message: It’s the nativist, birther message that the GOP has embraced throughout the Obama era, and that John McCain (who also continues to endorse Trump) legitimized by putting Sarah Palin on his ticket eight years ago. Trump’s misogyny is also consistent with a party whose favored Establishment candidate this year, Rubio, opposed abortions for victims of rape and incest. It may be only a matter of days before Trump declares that his idea of an impartial judge is Aaron Persky, who presided over the Brock Turner rape case.

But we are beginning to see a few signs of panic, if not courage, among GOP elites this week. They are starting to remember history. The Republican Party lost African-American voters in seeming perpetuity from the moment it nominated an opponent of the Civil Rights Act, Barry Goldwater, for the presidency in 1964. In the 1990s, the GOP lost California — once Ronald Reagan’s secure domain — after the Republican governor Pete Wilson unleashed the forces of bigotry on Hispanics by campaigning for Proposition 187, a punitive strike against undocumented immigrants. It’s finally beginning to dawn on the party elites that, yes, Trump could drive away America’s fastest-growing demographic group for as many decades as Goldwater drove away black people. Trump could turn red states blue just as Wilson did in California.

(click here to continue reading Hillary’s Anti-Trump Strategy Comes Into View — NYMag.)

The Sooner You Can Leave
The Sooner You Can Leave

and Charles Pierces adds:

The gang over at Tiger Beat On The Potomac has put together a helpful list of the most perfect political cowards in the United States Senate—that is, those Distinguished Gentlemen From Wherever who deplore what He, Trump has been saying about the nation’s judges in general, and Judge Gonzalo Curiel in particular, but who likely will support the presumptive Republican nominee anyway

It is here where we point out that Republicans have been holding up Zika funding in the Congress because the Republicans in the House of Representatives are completely insane, and beyond anyone’s control, and perfectly representative of the forces that produced the presidential nominee who makes Burr and Cornyn and the rest of them so uncomfortable.

For their part, of course, these same jamokes in the upper chamber are keeping the Supreme Court playing shorthanded because they don’t like the twice-elected president of the United States and are content to hold one seat on the bench open to be filled by the guy about whom they’d rather not talk.

Incoherence as a strategy does not seem like a plan.

(click here to continue reading Republicans in Congress Outraged by Trump, Will Vote for Him.)

Footnotes:
  1. BTW, I didn’t come up with that term, but forget where I first read it []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 8th, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Shady accounting underpins Donald Trump’s wealth

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Make Sidewalks Great Again
Make Sidewalks Great Again

The forensic accountants digging into Trump’s alleged wealth is an intriguing 2016 story-line, I’m assuming Hillary Clinton’s people are working full time on the project.

Donald Trump claims a net worth of more than $10 billion and an income of $557 million. But he appears to get there only by overvaluing properties and ignoring his expenses.

POLITICO spoke with more than a dozen financial experts and Trump’s fellow multimillionaires about the presumptive Republican nominee’s latest financial statement. Their conclusion: The real estate magnate’s bottom line — what he actually puts in his own pocket — could be much lower than he suggests. Some financial analysts said this, and a very low tax rate, is why Trump won’t release his tax returns.

 

(click here to continue reading Shady accounting underpins Donald Trump’s wealth – POLITICO.)

Cash For Gold
Cash For Gold

An interesting subtext is how often anonymous quotes are used because even these Masters of the Universe types realize Trump has a thin skin, and a need to sue everyone who ever blinks at Trump wrong. Such as these courageous high-net worth individuals…

“I know Donald; I’ve known him a long time, and it gets under his skin if you start writing about the reasons he won’t disclose his returns,” said one prominent hedge fund manager who declined to be identified by name so as not to draw Trump’s ire. “You would see that he doesn’t have the money that he claims to have and he’s not paying much of anything in taxes.”

“If he is swimming in so much cash for all his holdings, why is he selling this stuff to raise cash?” asked another ultra-high-net-worth individual who also reviewed the filings and declined to be identified by name to avoid Trump’s wrath.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 4th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Clinton And West Virginia Clash Over Coal and Math

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While this topic is not strictly technology as defined by my editor, energy sources and methods are certainly technology related.

Everything If You Want Things
Everything If You Want Things

Anyway, this is the part of Hillary Clinton’s mind that irks me and many others who want to be able to vote for her in the general election. Rather than tell West Virginians the truth that coal is the energy source of the past, not the future, Ms. Clinton apologized for speaking the truth in front of a different audience.

Voters in Appalachian coal country will not soon forget that Democrat Hillary Clinton told an Ohio audience in March that she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

“It was a devastating thing for her to say,” said Betty Dolan, whose diner in this mountain hamlet offers daily testament to the ravages that mining’s demise has visited upon families whose livelihood depends on coal.

Mine closures, bankruptcies and layoffs are staples of lunchtime conversation for those who have not fled town in search of work. Like many fellow Democrats in the region, Dolan, 73, favors Republican Donald Trump for president, however rude he might seem to the proprietor of a no-frills restaurant known for its graham cracker pie.

“I’m going to go for the person who wants coal,” she said.

(click here to continue reading Clash between Trump and Clinton over coal foreshadows a tough fight for her in battleground states – Chicago Tribune.)

and even went so far as to apologize! Come on…

front-running Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, where a pledge the former U.S. secretary of state made two months ago to kill coal miners’ jobs in favor of renewable energy continues to haunt her.…She had added that she doesn’t intend to abandon workers “who did the best they could to produce the energy we relied on” and apologized directly last week to an out-of-work foreman who confronted her in Williamson, West Virginia, but the general sentiment hasn’t played well in coal country.

“That was really a devastating comment,” said Robert DiClerico, a professor emeritus of political science at West Virginia University. He said he believes Clinton’s remark more than any other factor has boosted Sanders.

(click here to continue reading Hillary Clinton faces primary challenge in West Virginia coal country – Chicago Tribune.)

Solar Panels - Chicago Center for Green Technology
Solar Panels – Chicago Center for Green Technology

Mining coal is not even that big of a part of the Appalachian economy! 5% or something close to that per Wikipedia – $3.5 billion / $63.34 billion = approximately 5.5%

[West Virginia] has a projected nominal GDP of $63.34 billion in 2009 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report of November 2010…Coal is one of the state’s primary economic resources, first discovered in the state in 1742. The industry employs 30,000 West Virginians directly, resulting in $2 billion in wages and a $3.5 billion economic impact

(click here to continue reading Economy of West Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

In other words, coal is not that big of a slice of West Virginia’s current economy, more important for intangible reasons, like “optics”, and “tradition”, and “tradition” and other empty words. Ms. Clinton shouldn’t worry about putting coal miners out of business, she ought to suggest re-education programs to train coal extraction employees to work in solar and wind and other alternative energy fields instead! They get to keep being productive members of the 21st Century, and we make advances towards ameliorating global climate change.

Instead, she said this:

The exchange during a visit to a health center in Williamson, West Virginia, highlighted the challenge Democrats will face in November winning over working-class voters in states where that have lost jobs in manufacturing and mining.

“I don’t mind anybody being upset or angry” about the struggles of the industry, its workers and their families, Clinton said. “That’s a perfect right for people to feel that way. I do feel a little bit sad and sorry that I gave folks the reason and the excuse to be so upset with me because that is not what I intended at all.”

“I don’t know how to explain it other than what I said was totally out of context from what I meant because I have been talking about helping coal country for a very long time,” she responded at the start of several minutes of back-and-forth with Copley. “I understand the anger and I understand the fear and I understand the disappointment that is being expressed.”

(click here to continue reading Clinton walks back coal remarks after confrontation in West Virginia – Chicago Tribune.)

and also, most maddening, Hillary Clinton’s pandering is not even necessary – West Virginia is not going to suddenly vote for a Democrat in the general election! They are a reliable Republican state!

David Myers, an out-of-work miner, echoed the profanity Trump has repeatedly used on Twitter to repudiate global warming. Like Trump, Myers and others in coal country say misguided plans to stop it are costing jobs.

“A man of my caliber should be able to get a job in a blink of an eye, but there’s no jobs to be had,” said Myers, 49, who wore miner coveralls to Trump’s rally.

Trump has dismissed global warming as a “canard,” “hoax” and “total con job,” citing cold weather snaps as evidence.

On the day of Obama’s 2012 reelection, Trump tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” In September, he told CNN, “I don’t believe in climate change.”

(click here to continue reading Clash between Trump and Clinton over coal foreshadows a tough fight for her in battleground states – Chicago Tribune.)

It's Not Just A Job. it's An Adventure. Navy.
It’s Not Just A Job. it’s An Adventure. Navy.

update: both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton already have retraining proposals, fwiw:

“We just don’t want to be forgotten,” said Betty Dolin, who co-owns a restaurant in Danville, about 20 miles southwest of Charleston, where customers tucked into hearty meals like meatloaf and country fried steak with gravy.

She pointed out the empty tables that would once have been filled. “We can’t have coal? Bring us something else,” she said. “And I don’t mean job training. A lot of these men are too old to train for another job.”

Presidential primaries tend to bring attention to local issues as candidates move from state to state, and as the candidates have come to West Virginia to campaign, coal has been no exception.

“These communities need help,” Mr. Sanders said last week at a food bank in McDowell County. “It is not the coal miners’ fault in terms of what’s happening in this world.”

In some ways, Mr. Sanders is not a natural candidate to be courting the votes of coal miners: He is outspoken on climate change and advocates moving away from fossil fuels. But his message of economic fairness has been embraced by white, working-class voters.

Mr. Sanders has proposed legislation that would provide $41 billion to help coal and other fossil fuel workers and their communities, offering support like financial assistance and job training.

Mrs. Clinton has her own $30 billion plan to help coal miners and their communities, including a program to provide funding to local school districts to help make up for lost revenue.

(click here to continue reading Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Court West Virginians Hit Hard by Coal’s Decline – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 10th, 2016 at 7:29 am

Why Politicians Keep Using Songs Without Artists’ Permission

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Music Monday continues with the never-ending struggle of Republicans to drape themselves with the coolness of liberal-leaning rock musicians, and failing to secure permission first…

Don't Say I Never Warned You
Don’t Say I Never Warned You

Technically speaking, copyright laws allow political candidates to use just about any song they want, as long as they’re played at a stadium, arena or other venue that already has a public-performance license through a songwriters’ association such as ASCAP or BMI. However, the law contains plenty of gray area. If a candidate refuses to stop using a song in this scenario, an artist may be able to protect his “right of publicity” – Springsteen’s voice blaring over a loudspeaker is part of his image, and he has a right to protect his own image. “It’s untested in the political realm,” says Lawrence Iser, an intellectual-property lawyer who has represented the Beatles, Michael Jackson and many others. “Even if Donald Trump has the ASCAP right to use a Neil Young song, does Neil have the right to nevertheless go after him on right of publicity? I say he does.”

Iser represented David Byrne when the ex-Talking Head successfully sued Florida Republican Charlie Crist for using “Road to Nowhere” in a video to attack opponent Marco Rubio during a 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. He also helped Jackson Browne win a suit against John McCain in 2008 when the Republican presidential candidate played “Running on Empty” in an ad bashing Barack Obama on gas conservation.

(click here to continue reading Why Politicians Keep Using Songs Without Artists’ Permission | Rolling Stone.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 9th, 2016 at 8:54 am

A Few Odd Facts about Lee Oswald and Rafael Cruz

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Sphinx - Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum
Sphinx – Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum…

The 2016 Presidential Nomination race has been the weirdest of my lifetime, especially on the GOP side. Ben Carson angrily insisted he stabbed someone, claimed Egyptian pyramids were giant grain canisters, and yet he still led the polls for a while. And then there was Ted Cruz – a/k/a the Zodiac Killer, or who knows what…

3/4 of a Kennedy Trumps 1/2 a Reagan

3/4 of a Kennedy Trumps 1/2 a Reagan 

And there was the allegation that Ted Cruz’s religiously-insane former Cuban Communist father, Rafael Cruz was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald, and was photographed with Oswald in New Orleans before President John Kennedy’s assassination. 

Earlier this week, the National Enquirer published a groundbreaking investigation that would prove fatal to the Ted Cruz campaign: TED CRUZ FATHER LINKED TO JFK ASSASSINATION. But is any of it true? After an exhaustive investigation of our own, Gawker has concluded that, sure, why not!

The trouble really started yesterday when Donald Trump referenced the burgeoning conspiracy theory on Fox News. During an interview, the host brought up Rafael Cruz’s supposed influence over the evangelical community. Trump, a noted lover of both Philippians, countered with his own Christian credentials (read: Jerry Falwell Jr.). And then he said this:

And you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being… you know—shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? And nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about it. And that was reported, and nobody talks about it.

… I mean, what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was an American grassroots group for sympathizers of the Cuban revolution, with Oswald heading up the New Orleans branch. A branch that supposedly only consisted of two people—Oswald himself and a man named A.J. Hidell. Of course, A.J. Hidell was also probably just Lee Harvey Oswald again.

Which means, when it came time for Oswald to start handing out pamphlets in the summer of 1963, he needed to hire some people to get the word out. According to the Warren Commission report, that meant hiring two men (one of them Cuban, just like Rafael) out of the unemployment line for a bit of afternoon flyer work. One of the young men later provided testimony about his brief working relationship with Oswald, the other was never found.

According to records from Ancestry.com, Rafael did live in Dallas briefly in 1962 before moving to New Orleans. Now, here’s a photo from Dealey Plaza on the day of JFK’s assassination.

(click here to continue reading Why That Actually Could Be Rafael Cruz With Lee Harvey Oswald.)

Probably not true, but we’ll never know unless President Trump1 decides to waterboard Rafael Cruz to get the truth out. And even then we’ll never know:

In February 1967, FBI official W. A. Branigan told deputy FBI director William Sullivan that the mystery man remained unidentified after an “ex[h]austive investigation.” In the context of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s query about gaps in the investigation, this person was singled out as an individual associated with Oswald who could not be identified.

Lee Harvey Oswald and Rafael Cruz

 

 

The failure to investigate

By February 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating an alleged JFK conspiracy in New Orleans and the FBI and the CIA began to watch him closely.

In April 1967 CIA director Richard Helms sent out a worldwide memo seeking to identify critics of the Warren Commission as irrational and anti-American and claiming that the Agency had fully cooperated with the Commission. Last October, Politico reported that CIA historian David Robarge now acknowledges that the CIA did not cooperate with the Commission but rather foisted a supposedly “benign coverup” on JFK investigators.

In September 1967 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, headed by James Angleton, set up a “Garrison Group” to monitor the New Orleans investigation. Angleton’s people never identified Oswald’s collaborator in handing out pro-Castro pamphlets either.

The Garrison Group was more concerned about preventing Garrison from identifying Cubans who had worked with the agency than it was about investigating Oswald’s Cuban contacts. One possible explanation:  George Joannides, undercover case officer for the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate in Miami in 1963, maintained a residence in New Orleans, according to sworn testimony of U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.

The bottom line

So while there is no reason to think that the man in the picture is Rafael Cruz,  the theoretical possibility cannot be eliminated, thanks to the government’s failure to thoroughly investigate JFK’s assassination. Once again the malfeasance (or incompetence) of the CIA and FBI has empowered a conspiracy theorist whose speculations serve to obscure, not clarify, the historical record.

(click here to continue reading JFKfactsThe facts about Lee Oswald and Rafael Cruz – JFKfacts.)

Footnotes:
  1. godz forbid []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 4th, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , , ,

Can I Photograph My Ballot? Probably Not

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 Democratic Primary Ballot

Democratic Primary Ballot

I’d read before that the law was squishy about whether photographing one’s ballot was legal or tolerated, or not. Since I looked this law up today, I’m posting it here.

On this page, we provide a list of election laws, websites, and contact information for election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Contacting your state election officials is a great way to get information about what your state allows in terms of documenting the vote. As you learn new information, please contact us and let us know how your state is handling these requests, so we can share that information on this site.

This page begins with a chart summarizing the law in each state in order to determine whether your state allows recording inside polling places. Click on your state for specific information and notes. For general guidelines on photography and videography in and around polling places, see the general Documenting the Vote 2012 page.

Select a state below to jump to its relevant information.

llinois

Contact Information: Illinois State Board of Elections Springfield Office: (217) 782-4141 Chicago Office: (312) 814-6440 E-mail: webmaster@elections.il.gov

Relevant Law:

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 5, Article 29

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/29-4 – Intimidation of voter

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/29-9 – Unlawful observation of voting

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 5, Article 17 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/17-29 – 100-foot zone

Notes:

10 Ill. Comp. Stat 5/29-9 states that “any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.” It is not clear whether this provision would apply to display of a ballot after it has been marked, or just to the actual act of marking the ballot. If the latter interpretation were followed, it would still be unlawful to livestream your activities in the voting booth, and possibly to post video of your filling out your ballot.

(click here to continue reading State Law: Documenting the Vote 2012 | Digital Media Law Project.)

Ancient Ritual
Ancient Ritual

As far as I can tell, nobody has been prosecuted in Illinois for photographing an actual ballot since smartphones became prevalent, but to my non-lawyer eyes, the law is not crystal clear. Even still, why risk it? 

And from a 2014 article:

Illinois: According to state election code, voters are not allowed to take pictures of their marked ballots and show them to other people. Doing so could result in a class 4 felony. Bernadette Harrington, legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said that there is no specific prohibition on photography in a polling place, although taking a photo of another person’s marked ballot is barred. Verdict: Ballot photography banned. Polling place photography allowed.

(click here to continue reading A Guide To Not Getting Arrested When You Use Your Cell Phone On Election Day.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2016 at 10:25 am

Apple vs Republican Presidential Candidates

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Apple Rising
Apple Rising

No wonder our country is in trouble: not one Republican candidate for president even understands the Apple/FBI issue, or at least admits to understanding it. Not even the CNN moderators! Even though Apple’s official response was released in the afternoon before this debate, nobody spent the time to read what it asserted, they were too busy getting makeup applied and practicing zingers. Facts are for losers.

Apple’s reasoning in the brief rests on three pillars. First, that forcing Apple to write code that weakens its devices and the security of its customers constitutes a violation of free speech as protected by the Constitution.

Second, that the burden the FBI is putting on it by requesting that Apple write the software and assist in unlocking the device is too large. Apple argues that it would have to create the new version of iOS, called GovtOS, which requires coding, signing, verification and testing. It would then have to create an FBI forensics laboratory on site at its headquarters and staff it. The burden would then extend to what Apple views is the inevitable onslaught of additional devices that would follow after the precedent was set.

In addition to free speech, Apple argues that the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process clause prohibits the government from compelling Apple to create the new version of iOS. Apple argues that there is no court precedent for forcing a company to create something new, like GovtOS.

“But compelling minimal assistance to surveil or apprehend a criminal (as in most of the cases the government cites), or demanding testimony or production of things that already exist (akin to exercising subpoena power), is vastly different, and significantly less intrusive, than conscripting a private company to create something entirely new and dangerous. There is simply no parallel or precedent for it,” reads the filing.

(click here to continue reading Apple Files Motion To Dismiss The Court Order To Force It To Unlock iPhone, Citing Free Speech Rights.)

Here’s the relevant part of the Republican presidential debate transcript, held in Houston, FEB. 25, 2016, with a few comments interspersed…

BLITZER: There’s a huge battle underway right now between the tech giant Apple and the federal government. The federal government wants Apple to unlock the phone used by that San Bernardino terrorist to prevent future attacks. Apple has refused, saying it would compromise the security of all of its customers. And just this afternoon, they went to court to block the judge’s order.

To prevent future attacks? Really? The San Bernardino killers are both dead, they destroyed their computers, their other phones, but left their government issued phone untouched. Apple turned over all the iCloud data on Apple servers (email, texts) within hours, and so what exactly is on the locked phone of grave import? Most likely nothing, yet the emotionally charged public opinion is on the FBI’s side, and so they push on.

Dana Bash, pick up the questioning.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you say it’s complicated, and that, quote, “Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order.” Why shouldn’t investigators have everything at their disposal?

Again, this is a misleading framing. Apple complied with the FBI’s request, quickly, and with good intent. What the FBI wants is a tool to allow the FBI to have the ability to open any phone for any reason. Do you really think the FBI couldn’t take the hard drive out of the phone and copy it to some server, and run NSA decryption tools on it? The FBI wants Apple to create a magic can-opener to open each and every phone, as needed, or as suspected they’ll need, in such a way that whatever evidence is found will be able to used in court, and survive questioning by defense lawyers. The San Bernardino killers are not going to be in court, they are both dead. This case is all about the precedent.

RUBIO: No, in fact what I have said is the only thing — the FBI made this very clear 48 hours ago — the only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer. Apple initially came out saying, “We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.” That is not accurate.

The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was.

And I think they should comply with that. If that’s all they’re asking for, they are not asking for Apple to create a back door to encryption.

 Rubio is either misinformed, or intentionally wrong. The FBI is quite clearly asking Apple to spend a month or so of its own resources building a new version of Government iOS in order to bypass the weakest point of the iPhone’s protection, namely the passcode. 

BASH: So just to be clear, you did say on CNN a couple of weeks ago this is a complicated issue; Apple is not necessarily wrong here.

RUBIO: Because at the time, Apple was portraying that the court order was to create a back door to an encryption device.

BASH: But just to be clear — just to be clear, if you are president, would you instruct your Justice Department to force Apple to comply or not?

RUBIO: To comply with an order that says that they have to allow the FBI the opportunity to try to guess the password?

BASH: Correct.

RUBIO: Absolutely. That Apple phone didn’t even belong to the killer. It belonged to the killer’s employee (sic) who have agreed to allow him to try to do this. That is all they’re asking them to do is to disable the self-destruct mode or the auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire world. But Apple doesn’t want to do it because they think it hurts their brand.

Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Christ, what an asshole. Marcobot Rubio’s handlers coached him on this line obviously, you can tell by the smug little grin every time he remembers to recite one of his scripted lines, more or less in the right place. And for the thousandth time, it isn’t just “one phone”. There are multiple other requests in the pipeline, some federal, some at the state level. Thousands of potential cases in the US alone, waiting, anticipating, for precedent to be set. 

BASH: Senator Cruz, Apple CEO Tim Cook says this would be bad for America. Where do you stand: national security or personal privacy?

horrible framing. If Apple had refused to turn over iCloud backups, and refused to assist the FBI from the beginning, maybe, maybe this would be a valid question, but Apple isn’t supporting terrorism by refusing to become a code-slave to the federal government! Apple is appealing the ruling, as is their right!

CRUZ: Well, as you know, at that same CNN forum, both Marco and I were asked this question. His answer, he was on both sides of the fence. He’s now agreeing with me. And so I’m glad.

What I said is yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone.

I would agree with Apple on that broad policy question. But on the question of unlocking this cell phone of a terrorist, we should enforce the court order and find out everyone that terrorist at San Bernardino talked to on the phone, texted with, e-mailed. And absolutely, Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation.

(APPLAUSE)

Note: metadata like who was called, texted, e-mailed was already turned over, not to mention most of that is also available from the telecommunication corporation (AT&T, Verizon, whomever), and it was disclosed within hours of the shooting. Apple surely does have the ability to use the courts to dispute a court order, they aren’t going rogue and fleeing the jurisdiction! They are using the American legal system, as is their right. Perhaps Ted Cruz recalls there are multiple levels of the judiciary? Including the Supreme Court…

BASH: Dr. Carson, Tim Cook, again, the CEO of Apple, says that this would be bad for America. What do you think?

CARSON: I think allowing terrorist to get away with things is bad for America.

(APPLAUSE)

 These particular terrorists are still dead, I’m not quite sure what they are getting away with. Dr. Carson must want the police to exhume the corpses and waterboard them or worse.

You know, we have the — we have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. It guards us against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure. But we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. And that’s why we have FISA courts and things of that nature.

So absolutely, I would — I would expect Apple to comply with the court order. If they don’t comply with that, you’re encouraging chaos in our system.

If a policeman asks him to turn in all his guns and stop practicing his religion, Dr. Carson would comply, right away, or else he’d be encouraging chaos in our system. Because no matter what the Constitution says or implies, the police get to supersede it whenever they say the magic word, “terrorism”.

BASH: Mr. Trump…

(APPLAUSE) KASICH: I want to weigh in on this please. I want to just tell you that the problem is not right now between the administration and Apple. You know what the problem is? Where’s the president been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out. You don’t litigate this on the front page of the New York Times, where everybody in the world is reading about their dirty laundry out here.

The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans. This is a failure of his leadership to get this done as an executive should be doing it.

And I’ll tell you, that’s why you want a governor. I do this all the time. And we reach agreements all the time. Because as an executive, you’ve got to solve problems instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper.

(click here to continue reading Transcript of the Republican Presidential Debate in Houston – The New York Times.)

Ah, yes, Obama has been golfing again or something, right? And the FBI didn’t make public statements inflaming public sentiment before Apple even had a chance to respond? Uhh, wrong as usual, Mr. Kasich…

from APPLE INC’S MOTION TO VACATE ORDER COMPELLING APPLE INC. TO ASSIST AGENTS IN SEARCH, AND OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT’S MOTION TO COMPEL ASSISTANCE: 

There are two important and legitimate interests in this case: the needs of law enforcement and the privacy and personal safety interests of the public. In furtherance of its law enforcement interests, the government had the opportunity to seek amendments to existing law, to ask Congress to adopt the position it urges here. But rather than pursue new legislation, the government backed away from Congress and turned to the courts, a forum ill-suited to address the myriad competing interests, potential ramifications, and unintended consequences presented by the government’s unprecedented demand. And more importantly, by invoking “terrorism” and moving ex parte behind closed courtroom doors, the government sought to cut off debate and circumvent thoughtful analysis.

and also:

The government says: “Just this once” and “Just this phone.” But the government knows those statements are not true; indeed the government has filed multiple other applications for similar orders, some of which are pending in other courts. And as news of this Court’s order broke last week, state and local officials publicly declared their intent to use the proposed operating system to open hundreds of other seized devices—in cases having nothing to do with terrorism. If this order is permitted to stand, it will only be a matter of days before some other prosecutor, in some other important case, before some other judge, seeks a similar order using this case as precedent. Once the floodgates open, they cannot be closed, and the device security that Apple has worked so tirelessly to achieve will be unwound without so much as a congressional vote. As Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, recently noted: “Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks—from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”

Chairman Trump
Chairman Trump

The short-fingered vulgarian didn’t get a chance to respond, but we can guess what he would have said…

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called on Friday for a boycott of Apple Inc products until the tech company agreed to help the U.S. government unlock the cellphone of one of the killers in last year’s San Bernardino, California, shooting.

“Boycott Apple until such time as they give that information,” Trump said at a campaign event in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. “It just occurred to me.”

(click here to continue reading Trump calls for boycott until Apple unlocks shooter’s phone | Reuters.)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 27th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Apple,crime,politics

Tagged with ,