Merced River First Light

Merced © Doug Santo

Supreme Court hands Trump predictable win on travel ban

A good summary of the Supreme Court decision and the false stand of lower courts and politicized attorneys general.

Jonathan Turley:

“…The Supreme Court decision upholding the travel ban is a shot across the bow of all lower courts that they must insulate themselves from the often incendiary comments of this president. The question is not how he views his office but how judges view their own…”

Original Here

Seven Mysterious Preludes of the FBI’s Trump-Russia Probe

Important new analysis of the beginning efforts to entrap the Trump Campaign in the Russia narrative.

Lee Smith:

“…The Federal Bureau of Investigation formally opened its Trump investigation after Western intelligence assets and Clinton-affiliated political operatives repeatedly approached the Trump campaign and tried but failed to damage it through associations with Russia, a growing body of evidence suggests.

Before the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign in an operation code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” there were at least seven different instances when campaign advisers were approached with Russia-related offers. Most of those contacts — including Donald Trump Jr.’s much-publicized meeting with a Russian lawyer and others in June 2016 — offered the prospect of information damaging to Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Two of these approaches were made by one U.S. government informant already publicly identified as such, Stefan Halper. Another was made by a man who swore in court that he had worked as an FBI informant. Two others were made by figures associated with Western intelligence agencies. Another two approaches included political operatives, one foreign, with ties to the Clintons.

President Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has asserted that dispatching Halper to follow the Trump campaign “protected” it from the Russians.

But Mark Wauck, a former FBI agent with experience in such tactics, sees an effort at entrapment…”

Original Here

Supreme Court Rules For Trump In Travel Ban Case.

From the majority opinion:

“…Finally, the dissent invokes Korematsu v. United States, 323 U. S. 214 (1944). Whatever rhetorical advantage the dissent may see in doing so, Korematsu has nothing to do with this case. The forcible relocation of U. S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority. But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order to a facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission. See post, at 26–28. The entry suspension is an act that is well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other President—the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular President in promulgating an otherwise valid Proclamation. The dissent’s reference to Korematsu, however, affords this Court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—“has no place in law under the Constitution.” 323 U. S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting)…”

Original Article Here

Text of the Opinion Here

Headline of the Day

“Army training will now focus on actual battlefield skills, not social issues”

Original Here

Trump’s Trade War Really Might Be Easy to Win

Interesting analysis of the trade situation.

Irwin Stelzer:

“…Serious poker players regard this opening round as penny-ante stuff. Fifty billion dollars is less than half of one percent of the GDPs of both countries. But the betting and the risks are getting interesting. Trump has put on the table chips representing a 10 percent levy on $200 billion of Chinese goods, doubled to $400 billion if China retaliates. Also coming soon will be bans on exports of U.S. high-tech products to China, unless the regime ends its theft of intellectual property.

Unless the parties agree to call off the game before the next cards are dealt, we will soon find out which player has the most chips. If Trump is a cool enough player to ignore whining by some American firms, he has the chips with which to win. Here’s why:

  • China’s exports to the United States come to almost 4 percent of its GDP, while U.S. exports to China equal only 0.7 percent of U.S. GDP. As consultants the Lindsey Group point out, “A tit-for-tat trade war has an impact on China that is six times that on America.”
  • The U.S. economy is in rude good health, while China is the throes of an effort to reduce the massive debt overhang that is beginning to stifle its growth. That creates “a strain on the top leadership as it tries to fend off a trade war with the U.S.,” Diana Cheyleva, chief economist with London-based Enodo Economics, told the New York Times.
  • China is having difficulty finding U.S. stuff to penalize. It has exempted LNG from tariffs because it desperately needs imports from the United States to fuel its economy. If it cancels orders now with Boeing, it will have a five-year wait to get on the books of Airbus. Tariffs on U.S. agricultural products drive up food costs in China…”

Original Here

Second Tweet of the Day

The Left will pivot to the next set of Nazis in five… four… three…

What did Peter Strzok do?

Sharyl Attkisson has done good work on this story. She is one of the best journalists at the moment. Not surprisingly, she is independent, no MSM outlet has hired her even though her work is some of the best. She tells it straight, and big media does not want that.

Sharyl Attkisson:

“…The earth-shattering finding on Strzok by the inspector general (IG) confirms a citizenry’s worst fears: A high-ranking government intel official allegedly conspired to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.

It’s also directly relevant to the FBI investigations of Trump-Russia collusion, which the IG did not examine in this report. There are multiple allegations of FBI misbehavior in that inquiry, including conspiracies to frame Trump, and improper spying on Trump associates. Investigating those allegations takes on an added sense of urgency with news that the FBI’s top counterespionage official expressed willingness to use his official position against a political enemy.

Yet, for all of that, Strzok is still collecting a salary, courtesy of taxpayers, at the FBI Human Resources Department. And here’s the chilling part: If it weren’t for the IG’s investigation, requested by Congress, he’d likely still be helping lead special counsel Mueller’s investigation of Trump today…”

Original Here

Trump supporters are now immune to media outrage

The press has three main kinds of power. One is to motivate the left. Another is to swing the middle. And the third is to demoralize the right. It’s pretty much lost the last of these, and I suspect the second one is fading too. It’s the fake news and holier-than-thou righteousness from our media betters. It drives normal people away.This article is from the NY Times. 

“…Mr. Trump has also retained support across a range of demographics other than the working-class voters who are most identified with him. This includes portions of the wealthy college-educated people in swing counties, like Virginia’s Loudoun, in the country’s most politically competitive states. Many of these voters say their lives and the country are improving under his presidency, and the endless stream of tough cable news coverage and bad headlines about Mr. Trump only galvanizes them further…”

Original Here

Polls Indicate Americans See Media Bias Everywhere

Andrew Malcolm:

“…Now, come the Knight Foundation and Gallup Polls dissecting Americans’ thoughts about media.  In general, Americans overall estimate that of the news they’re exposed to via radio, TV and print, nearly two-thirds of it is biased (62 percent).

They believe that nearly half the news they see is inaccurate (44 percent).  And they’re sure that more than a third of the news moving through those media conduits is misinformation, that is, wrong or fake but distributed as if true.

They also believe that 64 percent of news carried by social media is inaccurate. And – maybe you’ve felt this way too – more than 80 percent of adult Americans report feeling angry or bothered by detecting such false reports.  They believe that 65 percent of such news is misinformation and a whopping 80 percent is biased.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of media integrity…”

Original Here

Why mainstream media hysteria is increasing

It’s not just the media.

Thomas Lifson:

“…A cynic would argue that the tears were artificial, intentionally forced out of tear ducts and emotions faked. Maybe so, but this then raises the question of why they felt driven to such emotional manipulation of the audience.

And what if the emotions were real? What could drive seasoned professionals to such a loss of self-control if manipulation were not the intent?

I think the answer in both scenarios is the same: genuine mass hysteria is gripping the mainstream media. The first source is the political rise, election, and continuing successes of Donald Trump, currently presiding over the best economic times since the Reagan administration. Trump violates all the political norms that they learned, embraced, and enforced in their own rise to media prominence. When norms are violated, anger is the dominant response of members of the group that holds the norms.

But what accounts for the hysteria that results in loss of self-control? I think a second factor is at play. The mainstream media perceive that they have lost the ability to shape public perceptions beyond the 30% or so of the populace that is committed to left-progressivism. The majority of the public no longer trusts or believes what they have to say. And this sense of powerlessness in the face of a hated opponent is literally driving them crazy. Even before the Rasmussen poll showed the futility of their efforts (“54% of Likely U.S. Voters say the parents are more to blame for breaking the law … only 35% believe the federal government is more to blame for enforcing the law”), they must have realized that their efforts were failing. Knowing no other means of persuasion than intensifying the current efforts, they pulled out all the stops: anger and sadness replaced facts and logic, which don’t really stand up to scrutiny anyway.

Andrew Malcolm, writing at Hot Air, describes the awful truth to which they are awakening with horror every day: they no longer have traction…”

Original Here

The Left’s Descent

Patricia McCarthy:

“…Each passing day seems to take the talking heads and camera-hog Democrats deeper into their self-made circles of Hell.  They have lost all semblance of civility, and they all support each other’s public, venal, profane, and frenzied attacks on all things Trump.  They defend the most disgusting and thoroughly indefensible media and social media attacks on the president and his family.

Kathy Griffin, Samantha Bee, Robert De Niro, Peter Fonda, Joy Behar, etc.  It’s a long list.  Many of these people, perhaps most, are parents and grandparents.  What on Earth is it about Trump that makes them speak and write like vicious mean girls at a snooty private middle school?  The truth is that they were never as smart, elite, classy as they pretended to be.  They are none of those things.  Instead, as we now know, they are wholly without class or grace or humility.  And they lack an understanding of American history, the Constitution, and its profundity.  They are only about power and contempt for those they deem their inferiors: the rest of us…”

Original Here

Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Investigating a man in the hopes of finding a crime. 

It makes no difference how honorable he is. His investigation is tainted by the bias that attended its origin in 2016.

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley:

“…Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may face a serious legal obstacle: It is tainted by antecedent political bias. The June 14 report from Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, unearthed a pattern of anti-Trump bias by high-ranking officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Some of their communications, the report says, were “not only indicative of a biased state of mind but imply a willingness to take action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” Although Mr. Horowitz could not definitively ascertain whether this bias “directly affected” specific FBI actions in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, it nonetheless affects the legality of the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry, code-named Crossfire Hurricane.

Crossfire was launched only months before the 2016 election. Its FBI progenitors—the same ones who had investigated Mrs. Clinton—deployed at least one informant to probe Trump campaign advisers, obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court wiretap warrants, issued national security letters to gather records, and unmasked the identities of campaign officials who were surveilled. They also repeatedly leaked investigative information.

Mr. Horowitz is separately scrutinizing Crossfire and isn’t expected to finish for months. But the current report reveals that FBI officials displayed not merely an appearance of bias against Donald Trump, but animus bordering on hatred. Peter Strzok, who led both the Clinton and Trump investigations, confidently assuaged a colleague’s fear that Mr. Trump would become president: “No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” An unnamed FBI lawyer assigned to Crossfire told a colleague he was “devastated” and “numb” after Mr. Trump won, while declaring to another FBI attorney: “Viva le resistance.”

The report highlights the FBI’s failure to act promptly upon discovering that Anthony Weiner’s laptop contained thousands of Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Investigators justified the delay by citing the “higher priority” of Crossfire. But Mr. Horowitz writes: “We did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on [the] investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”

Similarly, although Mr. Horowitz found no evidence that then-FBI Director James Comey was trying to influence the election, Mr. Comey did make decisions based on political considerations. He told the inspector general that his election-eve decision to reopen the Clinton email investigation was motivated by a desire to protect her assumed presidency’s legitimacy.

The inspector general wrote that Mr. Strzok’s text messages “created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” The report adds, importantly, that “most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation.” Given how biases ineluctably shape behavior, these facts create a strong inference that by squelching the Clinton investigation and building a narrative of Trump-Russia collusion, a group of government officials sought to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s electoral chances and, if the unthinkable happened, obtain an insurance policy to cripple the Trump administration with accusations of illegitimacy…”


“…What does this have to do with Mr. Mueller, who was appointed in May 2017 after President Trump fired Mr. Comey? The inspector general concludes that the pervasive bias “cast a cloud over the FBI investigations to which these employees were assigned,” including Crossfire. And if Crossfire was politically motivated, then its culmination, the appointment of a special counsel, inherited the taint. All special-counsel activities—investigations, plea deals, subpoenas, reports, indictments and convictions—are fruit of a poisonous tree, byproducts of a violation of due process. That Mr. Mueller and his staff had nothing to do with Crossfire’s origin offers no cure.

When the government deprives a person of life, liberty or property, it is required to use fundamentally fair processes. The Supreme Court has made clear that when governmental action “shocks the conscience,” it violates due process. Such conduct includes investigative or prosecutorial efforts that appear, under the totality of the circumstances, to be motivated by corruption, bias or entrapment.

In U.S. v. Russell (1973), the justices observed: “We may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction.” It didn’t take long. In Blackledge v. Perry (1974), the court concluded that due process was offended by a prosecutor’s “realistic likelihood of ‘vindictiveness’ ” that tainted the “very initiation of proceedings.” . . .

The totality of the circumstances creates the appearance that Crossfire was politically motivated. Since an attempt by federal law enforcement to influence a presidential election “shocks the conscience,” any prosecutorial effort derived from such an outrageous abuse of power must be suppressed. The public will learn more once the inspector general finishes his investigation into Crossfire’s genesis. But given what is now known, due process demands, at a minimum, that the special counsel’s activity be paused. Those affected by Mr. Mueller’s investigation could litigate such an argument in court. One would hope, however, that given the facts either Mr. Mueller himself or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would do it first…”

Original Here

TIME Stands By Erroneous Crying Girl Cover Story Because Of Its Propaganda Value


“…TIME magazine is standing by a cover photo and story critical of Trump’s immigration policies that reporters exposed Friday as factually incorrect, wildly misleading, and lacking important context…”

Original Here

Bristlecone Pine Forest

Schulman Grove © Doug Santo

Kentucky Bourbon Warehouse Collapses, Spilling 9,000 Barrels of Whiskey

A true disaster. I will have another bourbon to commiserate.

Original Here


Hummingbird © Doug Santo

First Thoughts on Carpenter v. United States

This is an important decision about government use of cell phone tracking information. I have not gone through the decision in detail. I am inclined to side with the liberal majority in this case.

My opinion now is that the government should not be able to track a citizens movements with exquisite precision (or any precision for that matter) without a warrant.

Having said that, I have not reviewed the four dissents from the four conservative members of the court. Experience suggests that upon review of the conservative dissents there is a better than 50% chance that I change my mind and side with the conservatives.

Orin Kerr provides a question and answer post about the decision that is informative. Click on the link.

Original Here

Trump Predicts Red Wave: Democratic Motto Is “Resist,” Ours Is “Produce”

Doug Santo