Bagman’s Groove

Value propositions:

The Ukrainian energy company that was paying President Biden’s son Hunter $1 million a year cut his monthly compensation in half two months after his father ceased to be vice president.

From May 2014, Burisma Holdings Ltd. was paying Hunter $83,333 a month to sit on its board, invoices on his abandoned laptop show.

But in an email on March 19, 2017, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi asked Hunter to sign a new director’s agreement and informed him “the only thing that was amended is the compensation rate.”

The board member’s access to the White House had been amended a bit, too, and it’s difficult to imagine Hunter’s, ahem, skill set was particularly valuable to a Ukranian energy company when his dad was a private citizen. There’s more:

Documents on the laptop also show that Hunter invited [Burisma executive Vadym] Pozharskyi to meet then-vice president Biden at a dinner in Washington DC in April, 2015.

That would be the laptop that dare not speak its name about seven months ago. While we’re not sure what was on the menu at that dinner, there were just desserts:

In December 2015, Biden flew to Kiev and strong-armed the Ukrainian government into firing its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time, including seizing four large houses and a Rolls-Royce Phantom belonging to the company’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

And there was more:

Three months later, Shokin was forced out of office, and nine months later, all legal proceedings against Burisma were dropped. Joe Biden has said in the past that Shokin wasn’t doing enough to crack down on corruption and that the push had nothing to do with Hunter’s position.

And the future Leader of the Free World said this:

In a 2018 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, VPBiden bragged that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine unless Shokin was sacked.

“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” he said.

Correlation is not causation, but son of a bitch, it sure has an aroma.

Try Some, Buy Some

Every desktop should have a link to The Devil’s Dictionary, the masterwork of Ambrose Bierce, who had his primary success in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Bierce’s cynical lexicography still rings true, a full century after he wandered into Mexico to meet his Maker circa 1914. To use one example, Bierce defines “adherent” as follows:

ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

All politicians are on the lookout for adherents, especially a guy like Gavin Newsom, the upmarket Jacob Frey who is (a) governor of California and (b) facing a recall. Newsom is a man in a hurry, so he’s looking to get some adherents in bulk:

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks on Monday to hasten California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

You might wonder where the money came from, but never mind that, because ol’ Gavin’s not done — he’s also rent seeking, er, offering rent assistance: 

Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind, along with as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills, proposals that were supported by legislative leaders on Monday.

This is hilariously corrupt but hey, who doesn’t love a stimmy? And since California is famously a one-party state, no one is gonna stop Newsom from buying his way out of a recall. Recall elections in Minnesota are essentially impossible, so Tim Walz doesn’t need to do this sort of thing, but there’s little doubt he’d pull the same stunt were it required. I think it’s safe to assume all Dem officeholders who find themselves in trouble will make it rain next year.  

Bad News / Good News

The bad news: As I observed with Ann Bauer while filling in for Brad Carlson last week, lockdowns are killing kids – especially kids who are, like so many these days, predisposed to mental illness:

Millions of American kids are struggling, and their chances for long-term improved mental health is predicated on the notion that we will now prioritize their emotional well-being, which our society has tragically shown it has no intention of doing.

Our hope for raising an emotionally healthy and mentally stable generation is dissipating with every day kids are kept locked in their bedrooms and out of schools. Skyrocketing rates of depression and anxiety are in no small part due to the fact that children feel neglected and forgotten, and they are not wrong to feel that way.

Our society has abandoned them and treated them as disposable. The damage caused by this abandonment is incalculable, and compounding every day we allow inertia, irrationality and the craven priorities of teachers unions to rule our decision-making.

The good news?

What, are you new around here? This is progressivism at work, operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries “Big Education” and “Big Karen”. Short of turning our culture around, there is none.

The Usual Suspects

Trump supporters on the Mall

“Trump Supporters” who stormed the Capitol.

We’ve seen the horned-hat guy before:

Wasn’t there a famous incident a centuray ago, a fire blamed on innocent people which gave a certain politician the excuse to seize power?
Are we absolutely certain the troublmakers were ordinary Trump supporters, same as the rest of the crowd outside, and not infiltrators hoping to cause a backlash against President Trump and his supporters protesting the stolen election

Joe Doakes

Whether the riot was launched by provocateurs or not, plenty of Trump supporters did participate with great glee. There’s a dilemma, of course – if there’s one thing we learned during the Tea Party, at gun rights and pro life and tax-protest rallies, it’s that conservatives need to behave impeccably, because the media and the Dems oppo research staff (pardon the redundancy) will pick over every utterance, visual and thought for wrongthink).

(If there’s another thing we learned it’s that the left’s slander machine and control of the administrative state makes perfect behavior irrelevant. Lefty social media today is awash in claims that the Tea Party was racist, violent, and a tool of the Koch Brothers, who (we’re told) bought all of American politics for a few years).

But whoever turned the demonstration into a riot, and whatever the reasons, the left is responding to last week’s events with a technique they’ve mastered; not wasting a crisis. Whoever did what, it will be spun relentlessly to their advantage.

Fair Is Fair

Liberals insist Citizens United was wrongly decided and must be overturned.  Really?  The Supreme Court made a mistake?  A mistaken decision must be overturned? 
Okay, I’m good with that.  But Citizens United concerns a narrow area of free speech as it applies to political campaigns. Let’s start with cases that have broader societal impact, because the errors those cases cause are much greater.  
Miranda v. Arizona
Roe v. Wade
Obergefell v. Hodges
Each of these stole the power of self-government from the states, where it rightfully belongs.  Let’s reverse all of them, then we can discuss why Hillary should be exempt from criticism. 
Joe Doakes

You notice, over time, how “logical consistency” isn’t much of a prioriity to Big Left.

The 12th Commandment

It’s an oldie but a goodie. And as we head toward another election sure to be driven by Big Left’s narratives and Trump’s responses to them, this bit here is worth committing to memory:

Courtesy Instapundit

Journalism is always about “asking the questions that matter” – where “matter” in this case means “furthers the narrative”.

Thirty Million Dollars Worth Of Nothingburger

I could try to write something about the denouement of the Mueller investigation.

But why bother, when this thread by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald does it better than anything I’ve read over the weekend.

This thread is the “pull quote”, if you will – but there’s stuff worth reading before and well after it; I suggest looking over the whole thing via Twitter. And that will be the last time I urge people to read anything in Twitter.

But I digress:

I Love Watching Liberals Rip Each Others’ Hair Out

The board of “Wellstone Action” has voted the sons of the late Senator off its board; the Wellstones had too much affinity…

…for rural white deplorables who forsook the Democrat party.

And like all apostates, they get no love from the Big Left:

Founded after Wellstone’s death in a plane crash in 2002, Wellstone Action has trained thousands of progressive candidates, campaign operatives and community organizers throughout the country, with alumni serving in local and state offices and in the U.S. House. In 2016, the last year for which tax filings are available, the group reported providing training to 2,135 data and digital strategists, 723 nonprofit leaders and community organizers, and 854 aspiring political leaders.

David Wellstone and other Democrats close to his father began objecting last year to what David Wellstone described as Wellstone Action’s abandonment of disaffected Democrats in the rural Midwest — the rural poor were an early focus of the late senator — with an increasingly narrow focus on gender politics and people of color.

“I said, ‘After Trump, we’ve got to figure out how we are going to go back after those Democrats that we lost,” David Wellstone said. “We can do all the stuff we do. We do great stuff on communities of color; we’re doing great stuff on gender identity politics. But we need to do some of these other trainings. … Nobody wanted to have a discussion about that.”

To all my Democrat friends – I say “this is the way true progressives should approach the world”.

Market Discipline

While Academia is a vast holdout against the free market in countless ways, it appears to be exerting some hint of market discipline in at least one case:

Hillary Clinton’s take on the speaking circuit is not even on par with a reality TV star like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, nj.com reports.

Clinton reportedly received $25,000 for a Thursday speech at historic Rutgers University that promised the skinny on “politics, American democracy and her role in shaping women’s political history,” but Snooki, of “Jersey Shore” fame picked up a $32,000 pay check for her analysis of American academia, suggesting that potential graduates “study hard, but party harder.”

Snooki may actually bring more value to students’ lives…

Hillary Clinton’s take on the speaking circuit is not even on par with a reality TV star like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, nj.com reports.

Clinton reportedly received $25,000 for a Thursday speech at historic Rutgers University that promised the skinny on “politics, American democracy and her role in shaping women’s political history,” but Snooki, of “Jersey Shore” fame picked up a $32,000 pay check for her analysis of American academia, suggesting that potential graduates “study hard, but party harder.”

The Back Door

It’s been my theory for a long time now that Federal law enforcement, not the military, have become the “Standing Army” that the Founding Fathers worried about.

Likewise – who needs a surveillance state, when you can can get over-wealthy, under-wise nerds to build it for you?

Where, a decade or so ago, the tech world’s products served to liberate us from the control of big institutions — I wrote a book on that! — now they seem designed to keep us under the thumb of big institutions. People used to start blogs to express themselves. Now they communicate via giant quasi-monopoly “social media” sites that mute and ban users over their politics. Your computer and phone used to be ways for you to learn more about the world than had ever been possible before in human history; now your devices have turned into tools for governments and corporations to keep tabs on you in ways that have never been possible before in human history.

And now we have the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica allegedly scraped data from Facebook users — apparently in accordance with Facebook rules at the time — but that has a lot of people hot and bothered. To be fair, if someone working for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump had done this, there’d be less outrage in the press (in fact, when Obama’s campaign collected Facebook user information in 2012, the press mostly praised their ingenuity). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Mission Accomplished, Dumb*sses

It’s 2009.

Barack Obama is president – elected in part by a biblical wave of support from black voters and novelty in the general election, and identity-mongering in the primaries.

You’re a Democrat strategist, planning ahead to the next two elections.  You need to keep women – Hillary Clinton voters – engaged enough to vote for Obama again in four years.  Child’s play; engineered a fake “war on women” and assign the media to run it.  Which they will.  They always do what you tell them.  It doesn’t always work – NPR was trying to make “Occupy” a thing for a solid year after the last rat-infested rape camp was carted to the landfill – but often enough, it gets the ignorant riled up enough to move the dial.

But look ahead four more years.  Obama will be termed out.  The Democrat bench is painfully shallow; the buffoon Biden, Fauxcahontas, the photogenic failure Martin O’Malley, and a few other governors that (you can’t possibly know or believe, yet) will be turned out of office next year…and the donkey in the room, the inevitable Hillary Clinton.

Who you gonna call?

Of course Hillary’s the front-runner.  She’s been painstakingly grooming herself and building a machine since 1998; but for the tsunami of identity that carried the freshman Senator Obama into office, she’d likely have already been president already.

But – but, you think she’s going to be like 200 years old in 2016.

So how do you get a tsunami of African-Americans to turn out in the same kind of numbers for a geriatric honky?

Create a race relations crisis, and send the order down the chain of command to the mainstream media to create a national issue of it.  Then, exploit it with a presidential campaign that was about virtually nothing but identity politics.

Well, as re the crisis, it’s mission accomplished:

Unfortunately (for Hillary), the relentless identity-mongering backfired, turning blue-collar honkies into an identity group in its own right.

And so today we have Hillary still out of office, a lingering race relations crisis that’s killing hundreds of people a year in our inner cities…

…and a media awaiting orders for the next national politically-based squirrel chase.

In The Not Too Distant Future

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Grocery checkout clerk:  I’m sorry, sir, your sale has been declined.
Liberal:  What?  My card is declined? Fine, I’ll pay cash.
Clerk:  No sir, the card is fine.  But the manufacturer won’t allow us to sell certain items to you.  I’ll have to remove them from the conveyor and you can buy the remaining items.
Liberal:  That’s ridiculous.  How can the manufacturer refuse to sell to me?  I demand to see a manager.
Manager:  Sorry sir, you’re the latest in a long line of customers who are having this problem.  You see, the manufacturer is engaging in a reverse boycott against certain people.  We’re prohibited from selling their products to the people being boycotted.
Liberal:  They can’t do that! They can’t refuse to do business with me.  I have rights!
Manager: Actually, they can.  The law says they can’t refuse to do business with people for discriminatory reasons like not baking a cake for gays, but they can refuse to do business with Liberals the same way the Liberals are boycotting Trump hotels.   Discrimination against people in the opposite political party is perfectly legal and since Liberals started the trend, it’s catching on everywhere.  They probably got your name from a mailing list of Democrat contributors or MPR members.
Liberal:   But I didn’t donate to any of those things.
Manager:  No?  Maybe you signed an on-line petition?  Or maybe one of your family members or Facebook friends did so you’ve been flagged because of that?  It could be a secondary boycott, same as when Liberals refuse to buy from Ivanka’s business because of her Dad’s politics.
Liberal:  This is bull.  I demand you sell me my items.
Manager:  I can sell you everything that’s not on the boycott list.  Let’s see, you can have, well, actually, sir, I’m afraid everything on this conveyor is on one list or another.
Liberal:  How is that possible?  How many boycotts are there?
Manager:  Only a few, but companies like Nestle own many brands and those are the brands you’ve chosen, like, for instance, Coffee Mate, Kit-Kat, Perrier, Honey Nut Cheerios, Friskies cat food.  You’ve also got Land O Lakes milk and butter, those are on another list.  Oh, here, you can have the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, they aren’t boycotting people like you.
Liberal:  People like me!!  Fine, if that’s the way you feel, I’ll take my business elsewhere.
Half an hour later . . .
Whole Foods Clerk:  I’m sorry, sir, your sale has been declined.
Joe Doakes

There are companies I’d be happy to have boycott me.

Very, very publicly.

Good News, Bad News

Good News:  After five years of “economic growth” under Obama, the economy might actually take off again.

The US economy will grow by 2.3 percent in 2017 and 3.0 percent in 2018, said the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, revising its earlier forecast.

That compares to gross domestic product growth of 1.5 percent this year, according to the OECD.

Bad News:  Because Keynesianism:

The Republican property tycoon’s team has said he will devote $550 billion to rebuilding decrepit infrastructure.

Really Bad News:  And that’s all presuming the Democrats don’t call in their markers with Janet Yellen.

It’s The Message, Stupid

One campaign-season cliche we can retire:  “money buys elections”.

Trump won is election very much on the cheap:

Of course, the battlefield was already littered with candidates from both parties that outspent their opponents, only to lose. Meg Whitman, John Corzine, Linda McMahon and a host of other famous and unfamous names outspent their opponents on the way to defeat in previous years. But Trump may put all of those elections to shame when it comes to disparity of resources.

Consider that Hillary Clinton’s campaign outspent Trump by more than two-to-one. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads by three-to-one. Independent groups (the “super PACs”) supporting Clinton outspent independent groups supporting Trump by three-to-one. The average contribution to Trump was smaller than the average contribution to Clinton. And on and on it goes.

Which, in a reasonable world, would put a hard kibosh on the idea of campaign finance “Reform”:

We’re told by campaign finance “reformers” that we must restrict spending in politics so that “people” can have their voices heard. But voters in 2016 ultimately chose the candidate without even a “real” super PAC to speak of.

This tells us two things: First, that money is simply the facilitator by which candidates speak to voters, but that voters will make up their own minds. Second, it shows us that money simply can’t make up for a message that people aren’t interested in. After his defeat, the man in charge of Jeb Bush’s $100 million super PAC remarked of the voters: “They just weren’t buying what we were selling.”

Let’s hope the same goes for tired tropes on money in politics.

Look for the Democrats to push a bill establishing minimum spending.

Rigged

Get out and vote today.

Assuming it matters.  George Soros has been spending big bucks to control the system.  And he’s just getting started:

The documents reveal that the Soros campaign fueled litigation attacking election integrity measures, such as citizenship verification and voter ID. It funded long-term efforts to fundamentally transform election administration — including the creation of databases that were marketed to state governments for use in voter verification. It propped up left-leaning media to attack reports of voter fraud, and conducted racially and ideologically targeted voter registration drives.

The racially targeted voter registration drives were executed at the same time Soros dollars were funding other public relations efforts to polarize racial minority groups by scaring them about the loss of voting rights and the dangers of police officers.

The Soros documents reveal hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into the effort to transform the legal and media environment touching on elections. One document notes that poverty-alleviation programs are being de-emphasized for this new effort. It states: “George Soros has authorized U.S. Programs to propose a budget of $320 million over two years, with the understanding that the annual budget for U.S. Programs will be $150 million beginning in 2013.”

To have a functional democracy, it’s important for people to trust their fellow citizens’ motives.

I don’t know that there’s any way to trust the motives of people who are floating on a raft of Sorosbucks.

Three Reasons Not To Vote For Angie Craig

Reason #1:  She lied about her business background.   Her ads make her sound like some kind of entrepreneur.  In fact, she’s a “Human Resources” executive.  Now, God love all you HR people in the audience, but Human Resources is the exact opposite of entrepreneurship.  Fully-implemented HR processes are a leash around business’ neck, ready for government to yank.  And while I’m sure none of you HR people in my audience are like this, far too many are utterly worthless.

Reason #2:  She’s a lying pigand voting for her would validate all that is slimy and stupid about American politics.  A vote against Craig – no matter who the opponent – is a vote against the basest, most rotten aspects of politics today.

Reason #3:  Her opponent is the father of modern Minnesota conservatism.  Jason Lewis has a 30 year record of putting his principles out there; walking back from ’em would be very, very hard – and, I suspect, anathema to him.  Add to that the fact – which I’ve already mentioned, but bears repeating as often as possible between now and election day – that Angie Craig is a lying pig who represents everything that is vile and pustulent about American politics today – and the choice is clear.

UPDATE:  Did I mention Angie Craig is a lying pig?

Berg’s Seventh Law: Universal And Immutable

Remember when Democrats couldn’t stop talking about the Koch brothers (who aren’t even among the top fifty political donors in the country) and the American Legislative Exchange Committee, a “think tank” utterly similar to an array of such groups on both sides of the aisle?

And you – a smart person – asked “why all the fuss?”

Simple – provided you remember Berg’s Seventh Law.

Because it really does explain everything, every time.

Follow The Trail

Fearless Prediction:  If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Black Lives Matter will disappear faster than you can say “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”.

Reason for my Fearless Prediction:  Given its funders, it’s bald-facedly obvious that Black Lives Matter largely exists to inflame the black vote for an election where the Democrats will be fronted by a geriatric woman, rather than an black man.   While it’s not strictly an arm of the Democrat party, it may as well be.

Evidence:  BLM has come out against charter schools – an institution whose most passionate supporters in the Twin Cities are in fact black families.  So much so that their controversial Saint Paul organizer, Rashad Turner, is resigning from the group:

Rashad Turner, who led Black Lives Matter St Paul for nearly two years, says he is leaving his position after the national Black Lives Matter organization joined forces with the NAACP to call for a moratorium on charter schools….Turner says public schools not only have a bad record of staff assaulting black students [to say nothing of consigning them to an inferior education – Ed.], but offer less options for black families, stating, “I think that this moratorium really takes away the student voice, it takes away the parent voice, because we’re seeing families in increasing numbers want to attend charter schools.”

Mark my words.   Budget cut to zero by January.

Etymology

Thug: noun. If applied to a political conservative and intensely derogatory term. For example ” the former editor of Breitbart is a thug; his ex-wife said nasty things about him in divorce filings 12 years ago.

If applied to a liberal, it is a term of endearment, with an understated implication that the writer wants to paint of the subjects toenails in some public place.

Like the pages of the Star/Tribune