Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Beat a Dead Horse Much?

Yes, she did it. What are you gonna do about it?

Judicial Watch, the activist group that has filed endless FOIA requests about Hillary Clinton, is still hot on the trail, the years-old trail, of Secretary Clinton's use of a personal email server for all of her official business communications, which, obviously, she did for the purpose of evading FOIA and possible public disclosure of her messages.

Judical Watch's masthead says "because no one is above the law!," but you might think they'd know better by now. She got away with it. Don't try this at home. Too big to jail. Different spanks for different ranks. Terms and conditions apply to that bromide about "the law."

But no, on May 9, 2019, Judicial Watch got the retired Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security during Hillary's tenure in office, Eric Boswell, under deposition. It went like this:
Q Okay. Do you know if any of your employees -- any of your immediate staff used personal email to conduct government business?

A I don't know.

Q Did you ever have to deal with that issue during your tenure?

A Yes. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security more than once I think issued reminders to people not to do that.

Q Did you ever --

A In fact, I think the Secretary of State sent one, at least one, Department notice about -- warning people about doing that.

Wow, you caught her, Judicial Watch! She's a total hypocrite. Now what?

Now nothing, except putting the deposition on your website while the rest of us go about our business back here in the year 2019.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Armed Robbery Victim Defends Himself With AR (a Rock)

Call it an extreme case of rock-paper-scissors. Man’s death in Landover was result of self-defense, police say:
A man who was killed last month in Landover, Maryland, died after an act of self-defense, police said Friday.

A Prince George’s County police investigation revealed that around 9 p.m. on April 22, Tauron Williamson, 23, of Oxon Hill, and Tyron Wheeler, 22, of Northeast D.C., were trying to rob two other men on 75th Avenue in Landover.

Police said Wheeler had a gun during the robbery and shot one of the victims, who was listed in critical condition.

The second robbery victim fought back and struck Williamson in the head with a rock, police said. Williamson died from his injuries on April 25.

It was initially believed that Williamson had also been shot, but a later autopsy determined that his injury was solely the result of being struck in the head with the rock, police said.

Police have determined that the second robbery victim was acting in self-defense when he struck Williamson.

Wheeler is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and related charges, and is in the custody of the Department of Corrections on a no-bond status.

The instrumentality here is not all that unusual. Over 1,000 people are killed by blunt objects or 'personal weapons' (hands and feet) every year. But not many of those cases consist of victims fighting back against an attacker armed with a gun, I don't suppose.

Federal Gov't Revenue Up, But Deficit Spending is Up More

April - tax deadline for individual payers - always brings in lots of revenue to the Feds, but this year it brought in more than ever before. According to the AP, US government records $160.3 billion April surplus:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government recorded a $160.3 billion surplus in April as revenues for the month jumped to an all-time high. But even with a flood of tax receipts, the deficit so far this year is running 37.7% higher than a year ago.

The Treasury Department reported Friday that the deficit for the first seven months of the budget year that began Oct. 1 totals $530.9 billion, compared to a deficit of $385.5 billion for the same period a year ago.

-- snip --

The CBO shows slightly smaller deficits in the short-term, projecting that they will remain below $1 trillion through 2021 but after that will top $1 trillion and will remain above the $1 trillion mark for the rest of the decade.

-- snip --

The new report showed that customs duties total $41 billion so far this year, up 82% from a year ago, a big increase that reflects the higher tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on China and other countries. The duties on China increased again Friday with both sides unable to reach a deal to resolve a number of contentious trade issues.

So far this year, receipts are up 1.8 percent to $2 trillion while spending is up 7.6% to $2.57 trillion.

Reading the CBO projection optimistically, the deficit will rise to over a trillion in 2021 and start to decline by 2030.

It's like that song, "tomorrow, tomorrow, I luv ya, tomorrow, you're always a day a-waaay."

Sunday, May 5, 2019

How You Gonna Make Em Go Home Again After They've Seen Fort Worth?

Some discouraging news in Stars and Stripes quoting from a quarterly report by SIGAR, Afghan Air Force pilot training program in US ends after nearly half go AWOL:
More than 40 percent of the Afghan pilots sent to train on the AC-208 Combat Caravan lightweight reconnaissance aircraft went absent without leave while in the United States, according to a quarterly report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. The report, which was released Tuesday, did not detail precisely how many Afghan pilots deserted the training program, which has been conducted at the Fort Worth Meacham Airport in Texas.

-- snip --

As of February, the United States has spent about $8.4 billion to support and develop the Afghan Air Force, including providing 170 aircraft, according to SIGAR. To date, the Afghan Air Force has 119 fully qualified pilots and dozens more in training.

So, $8.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer's money divided by 119, equals ... the approximate pace of reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Joe Biden: He Understood What Was Happening Back Then

A Biden campaign ad from 47 years ago

That photo is from The Atlantic's story about the Grey Race for the White House:
“Joe Biden. He understands what’s happening today.” The newspaper ad ran a few weeks before the 1972 Senate election in Delaware, when the upstart 29-year-old was challenging a 63-year-old incumbent.
It was all about the sideburns back in the '70s. Then, in the '90s, for Biden it was all about the hair plugs. Now he's all about the disappearing white hair.

You may be wondering which of the 2020 Democratic candidates had not yet been born when Joe first ran for Senate based on his hip now-ness. I looked it up.

  • Pete Buttigieg, 37
  • Eric Swalwell, 38
  • Tulsi Gabbard, 38
  • Seth Moulton, 40
  • Julian Castro, 44
  • Wayne Messam, 44
  • Andrew Yang, 44
  • Tim Ryan, 45
  • Beto O’Rourke, 46

Hell, even Bernie Sanders was only 30 years old back in 1972.

The Mod Squad was still running on TV then, and I would not be surprised if Joe took some of his mod styling cues from the White Guy member of that countercultural crime-fighting trio. Men's fashions were that embarrassing then.

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Rev Al Once Expounded on Architecture, Philosophy, Astrology [sic] and Math-a-Matics

The LA Times has noticed the Democratic candidates lining up to seek Rev Al Sharpton's political blessing (For Democrats, all paths to the White House run through the House of Sharpton) and seems to be silently screaming "no, please, don't!"
A glimpse at the guest list for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s confab here this week would surely astonish any New Yorker arriving in a time machine from the 1980s. Every major Democrat who has launched a White House bid has cleared their schedule to get in front of the Reverend.
Astonished? Oh, they've got that right.
But today, Sharpton’s approval is sought by political candidates far and near. The crusades he launched decades ago against police abuse and racist enforcement of drug laws — back when his issues were widely denigrated as fringe and his look ran to velour tracksuits, giant gold medallions and a pompadour the size of Queens — are now central to the speeches of almost every Democratic 2020 hopeful.

The lifelong preacher and political bomb thrower, the man New York mayors once did not want in their city, much less near their offices, says it is not he who has changed, but the nation’s politics.
The story hits the highlights of the Rev's long trail of trouble-making in New York during the '80s and '90s: the Tawana Brawley hoax, the firebombing of Freddie's Fashion Mart in Harlem that killed eight persons, and his instigating a mini-pogrom in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights.

But there is so much more. Especially the extraordinarily politically incorrect speech in which the Rev Al indulged just the day before yesterday. That alone ought to rule him out as an endorser of Democratic Party Presidential candidates, or so you would think.

Consider that gem of Rev Al rhetoric embedded above, which is from his '90s Afrocentrism period. He delivered it in a 1995 speech at Kean College, New Jersey.

I'd heard of that quote, but it is so perfectly stupid that it strains plausibility to think that even Rev Al really said that. And the reference to Trump makes it just too perfect. That had to be exaggerated if not invented, right? But then I found the audio.

If there are any Democratic candidates who have not yet kissed the Rev's ring, they should run, not walk, away.

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week

2 Arkansas men don bullet-resistant vest, shoot each other - Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Ferris said he and Hicks had been on the deck drinking. Ferris was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. He told Hicks to shoot him, according to the affidavit. Hicks shot Ferris in the chest one time with a .22- caliber semi-automatic rifle. The bullet hit the top left corner of Ferris' chest. He said it hurt, according to the affidavit. Hicks then put on the vest. Ferris said he was angry about getting shot, and he "unloaded the clip" with the remaining five rounds into Hicks' back, according to the affidavit. None of the rounds penetrated the vest, according to the affidavit.