The #SethRich Story Is Boiling Over

The number of stories about the Seth Rich murder is peaking. I think the frustration over the Seth Rich murder is best explained by this quote from the Counterpunch article, “Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State“.

Why is it a “conspiracy theory” to think that a disgruntled Democratic National Committee staffer gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails, but not a conspiracy theory to think the emails were provided by Russia?

Why?

Which is the more likely scenario: That a frustrated employee leaked damaging emails to embarrass his bosses or a that foreign government hacked DNC computers for some still-unknown reason?

That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?

The Washington Post is trying its best to write it off as a conspiracy theory. Recently two people gave the conspiracy pot a big stir. Kim Dotcom says he knows that Mr. Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks and a surgeon is raising questions about Mr. Richs treatment at the hospital. Since I believe that the simplest answer is probably correct, let’s look at some of the theories on Seth Rich’s murder.

The “Robbery Gone Bad” Theory

The “robbery gone bad” theory is the most popular explanation of his death. The problems with this theory are that nothing was stolen, it occurred at 4 am, and he was shot twice in the back. This looks like an unusual time for a professional or even a novice robber to be practicing their craft on the street. If you are a robber who is up at 4 am, you are probably trying to break into a house or to steal a car. A robber knows the difference between robbery and murder. Shooting someone in the back does not look like a robbery victim. Shooting someone in the back when they are trying to flee is an act of passion. The biggest problems with this scenario are why was he shot twice without a kill shot and where are the shell casings. The only reason to shoot him more than once is to make sure he does not testify. Shooting an unarmed man once can be explained as an unintended consequence of a fight. Shooting an unarmed man twice is a strong case for murder. A criminal would know this. Did the police find fingerprints on the shell casings and did they run the prints? A criminal would probably have their fingerprints in the system already.

The “Seth was assassinated” Theory

The “Seth was assassinated” theory explains the fact that nothing was stolen and the time of the shooting. There was nothing professional about this murder. Only an amateur would have left Seth alive.

The “Angry Person” Theory

A more likely scenario is that Mr. Rich got into a heated argument with a person on the street and when Mr. Rich tried to leave the fight he was shot in the back. This could be almost anyone walking the streets at 4 am with an emotional problem. The problem with this theory is imagining Mr. Rich talking with any person at 4 am. An intriguing possibility is that a person associated with the DNC found out that Mr. Rich was leaking emails to Wikileaks and went to confront him. Although this person may have been angry, they did not plan to kill him. The only person I can imagine Mr. Rich would allow getting close to him at 4 am is someone he knew. When the argument became violent and Mr. Rich tried to leave, it was in the heat of the moment that he was shot twice in the back. If you believe this theory then the list of suspects is small and this case should have been tied up before the election last year. Oops!

#ComeyFiring Why Did Director #Comey Stay On For So Long?

Jail CellIf Director Comey has as much integrity as his supporters claim then why did he not offer his resignation the day after the Presidential election regardless of who won? If Ms. Clinton won the election then it is obvious that she would request his resignation. For the good of FBI, he would comply. What is not obvious is why Director Comey stayed on after Mr. Trump won despite feeling “mildly nauseous’’ at the thought that his decisions about a probe into Hillary Clinton might have affected the outcome of the election? This sounds like a guy who is having trouble coming to work each day. After alienating both political parties and politicizing the FBI, his future was a political minefield. If he succumbed to political pressure in the Clinton email investigation, what were Republicans supposed to think about the Flynn investigation in this hyper-partisan political atmosphere? How could he satisfy either party? As long as he was there, there was no way to put a non-partisan FBI back together again. Director Comey was the weak link. The right thing for him to do was offer to resign and let someone else pick up the pieces.

When Clapper Said He Was Not Aware Of A Counter-Intelligence Investigation At The FBI, I Was Concerned For #Comey

Jail CellI do not trust Mr. Clapper. Time and time again he inevitably answers questions in a way that allows him plausible deniability. Good for him but bad for the American people. However, I do not believe he knowingly lies.  At a recent Senate hearing, I believe him when he said he did not know of a counter-intelligence effort at the FBI. This left me with me with the thought there might be an off-the-books counter-intelligence operation at the FBI that Mr. Clapper was not aware of. As Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Clapper, is one person who absolutely, positively should know of a counter-intelligence operation at the FBI involving Russia. The Director of National Intelligence position was created to avoid intelligence coordination mishaps that occurred prior to the 9/11 attack. Now Mr. Clapper says he did not know of a counter-intelligence operation. Did Director Comey lie to Mr. Clapper? This behavior is the type of offense that got Mr. Flynn fired. Should we expect a different result?

#YatesHearing If the Russians were going to blackmail Flynn, what does this say about a Clinton Presidency?

If Ms. Yates was drawing the proverbial line in the sand for Mr. Flynn’s actions, why did the Justice Department not indict Ms. Clinton and the Clinton Foundation? The Justice Department should have indicted either Ms. Clinton or the Clinton Foundation if they wanted to limit future Russian blackmail. The Podesta emails show us that there was a lot more money involved and the “pay for access” was common. Although I doubt a “reasonable prosecutor” would get a conviction, it would serve as a reminder that there are limits to influence peddling. Instead, we had a Presidential election which largely hinged on the “untrustworthiness” of Ms. Clinton.

How Congress Could Make @SteveKBannon Wildest Dream Come True

Over at The Fiscal Times I tried to make a comment on the post,  How Congress Could Make Steve Bannon’s Wildest Dream Come True, but either Disqus or The Fiscal Time had a problem that prevented me from completing the login. So here is what I wanted to say.


The idea that Senator Portman will make Steve Bannon’s wildest dream come is laughable. Both Senator Portman and Steve Bannon agree that the regulatory system is broken. How to fix it is where they differ. Mr. Bannon would like to start over with a smaller federal footprint while Senator Portman would like to reform the current system. Here are my reasons why powerful insiders, Senators Portman (R-Ohio) and Heitkamp (D-N.D.), are more likely to fix the regulatory system before Mr. Bannon or the Supreme Court can garner enough support for a more drastic reform.

Reason #1 – Senator Portman Is The Best Man For Regulatory Reform

Senator Portman is my senator so I am familiar with what he stands for and how he legislates. Senator Portman believes in the establishment class. No one has ever confused him with a libertarian. The bills he sponsors typically try to make the existing government agencies work better. The Regulatory Accountability Act is exactly the type of legislation I expect him to propose. As the ultimate insider and consensus builder, he probably solicited input from the affected agencies in crafting the bill. If anyone can write a bill that will make the regulatory system work more efficiently, he is the one.

Reason #2 – The U. S. Chamber Of Commerce Wants Regulatory Reform

The best explanation of the reason for the law comes from U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Once again they emphasize the importance of regulatory reform when they say:

While most federal agencies exercise regulatory self-restraint, there are at times agencies that use these delegated powers as if the agency was the elected legislature. And Congress can sometimes find itself unable to control the conduct of that agency. More troubling are those situations when the courts fail to scrutinize agency action by granting deference to agency overreach, causing the checks and balances in our system of government to fail.

Reason #3 – The Courts Want Regulatory Reform

A bigger threat to the Administrative State is that their incompetence and arrogance is irritating the court. When you look at the Supreme Court opinions in the Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby cases you can see that the Court is getting frustrated with cases that should never have gone to court. I sense that the Court believes the regulatory system has gotten too political. Unless things change quickly, the Supreme Court will start looking for cases to roll back the Chevron Deference to encourage more consensus building and fewer lawsuits. It will be a small step to a more libertarian approach. If an agency cannot attain a consensus then the Court will go “old school” and ask Congress to pass legislation that provides adequate direction.

So the Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce all want the regulatory system reformed. Unlike the author of the Fiscal Times article, I think the presence of folks like Mr. Bannon will convince these groups to do a meaningful reform. Kicking this regulatory reform down the road is not an option for the establishment class in this political environment.

Trivia Fact: The “cancer-causing dust” referred to in the article is sand. I am guessing that “cancer-causing dust” is a lot scarier than regulations on breathing sand. Silicosis is a greater medical threat than cancer. OSHA set standards to limit worker exposure in 1971 so updated standards are long overdue. The OSHA site says,

OSHA will delay enforcement of the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction until September 23, 2017, to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.

Maxine Waters For President

As part of Bill O’Reilly’s penance for his sexual harassment, he should volunteer to run Maxine Waters 2020 Presidential campaign. Since he compared her hair to a “James Brown wig” this would be an opportunity for him to fix multiple sexual harassment grievances. Following that line of thought, he could invite Kirsten Powers to help out with the campaign. If he can do that without thanking her for being blonde, that would be great, too. Let bygones be bygones. I love it when a plan comes together. Helping a “strong black woman” run for President is a sure sign that you have truly repented. There will be a few problems. Here is a clip from the Daily Caller.

The Democratic Party’s Continuing Problem With Trustworthiness

A reoccurring theme over the last eight years is that Democratic party leaders were desperately seeking adult supervision. As an example, where was the adult in the room when:

  1. Ms. Rice decided to go on five national TV shows claiming the Benghazi attack was because of an obscure video.
  2. Ms. Clinton decided that all of the Secretary of State’s email should go through her private, unsecured email server.
  3. Ms. Brazile decided to pass one of the debate questions to the Clinton campaign before the debate.

These women maintain that they did nothing wrong but the country begs to differ. The country views this as a problem with honesty and trustworthiness. As an example here are two poll numbers about Ms. Clinton’s trustworthiness before the Democratic convention.

1) 68 percent say Clinton isn’t honest and trustworthy

That’s according to the CNN poll, and it’s her worst number on-record. It’s also up from 65 percent earlier this month and 59 percent in May. The 30 percent who see Clinton as honest and trustworthy is now well shy of the number who say the same of Trump: 43 percent.

You heard that right: Trump — he of the many, many Pinocchios — now has a large lead on Clinton when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness.

The CBS poll, for what it’s worth, has a similar number saying Clinton is dishonest: 67 percent.

Recognizing that the Democratic Party is suffering from a deficit of trust you would think that under no circumstances should Susan Rice undertake anything that would call into question her honesty and trustworthiness. In a totally unnecessary maneuver, she unmasked Trump campaign operatives and tainted the Obama legacy. Director Comey unmasking U. S. civilians as part of a criminal investigation might be understandable. The right-hand woman for President Obama unmasking Trump campaign operatives is the wrong person doing it for the wrong reasons.  She politicized the intelligence gathering operation. All of the worst fears with Patriot Act reauthorization have been fulfilled.  The intelligence gathering operation is being used to punish domestic political candidates. The Democratic party’s struggle with trustworthiness is worse than ever.

#SusanRice Is Now The Face Of The #Obamagate Scandal

Jail CellThe question whether #Obamagate is a real scandal is officially settled. With multiple sources confirming that Susan Rice was the person who unmasked multiple people, it became an order of magnitude easier to link this scandal with its logical predecessor, Watergate. The surveillance of the Trump campaign and the subsequent leaks sounds vaguely familiar to the “dirty tricks” practiced by the Nixon administration. Wikipedia gives us this description:

Those activities included such “dirty tricks” as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Ms. Farkas made it pretty clear the Trump team was being surveiled and recommended that the information should be leaked. Since an indictment or impeachment did not occur we have to assume the primary motive of Ms. Farkas and her friends was to discredit the Trump administration. That sure sounds like “dirty tricks” that Nixon would approve of. Ms. Rice did her part and unmasked people from the Trump campaign. Although this may not have been illegal per se it was instrumental for the person who committed a felony by leaking the unmasked Flynn information to the press. The Obama legacy is now being written by congressional investigators using Watergate as their model.

Bring Back The Classic Filibuster!

Recently I made a comment on an Instapundit article, “Abolish The Filibuster Entirely, Then Ram All The New Bills Through“, that we should adopt filibuster approach we had before 1970. This is the same opinion I voiced on this subject back in February in the post, Reforming The Filibuster. Peter Hanely in a subsequent comment referred to this filibuster approach as the “classic filibuster” which I have since adopted.  Now both George Will and Steven Hayward have adopted the same idea. Here is a quote from Mr. Hayward’s article, Bring Back The Filibuster.

George Will beat me to my idea for today’s Thought of the Morning with a column about the Senate filibuster based on a recent talk by Rep. Tom McClintock, who argued in Hillsdale’s Imprimis that what we should do is go back to the old way of doing filibusters. With all of the talk of ending the filibuster, at least for Supreme Court nominees, maybe we should instead talk of imposing the burden of a real filibuster on Democrats. Make the Democrats take and hold the Senate floor for weeks to block Gorsuch.

I really like that this approach preserves the good parts of the filibuster while placing a significant burden on the bad parts of the filibuster, partisanship without accountability.

The #Obamagate Motive

Jail CellI was watching Louise Mensch explain what she said and did not say about the FISA warrant when it struck me. Why did someone leak this information to her? What was the plan? My first thought was that if she had published her article a little earlier it could have rescued the floundering Clinton campaign.  Oops!

The Primary Objective Of The FISA Warrant Was To Discredit The Trump Campaign

Over the last couple of days, I heard Mr. Comey and Mr. Clapper deny that the government spied on the Trump campaign. If we take them at their word then why did they allow the FISA warrant to go forward for “possible financial and banking offenses”? Mr. McCarthy found it extremely odd that they would use a FISA warrant for criminal activities. The simplest most straight forward answer is that the FISA warrant request was never expected to collect any useful information. The plan was to leak the FISA warrant request. If it was leaked in the last week of the campaign, it just might be enough to turn the tide for the Clinton campaign. It was a political hail mary pass for the floundering Clinton presidential campaign. Best of all President Obama, Mr. Comey, and Mr. Clapper had plausible deniability. It would have been the perfect plan if Louise had published a little bit earlier.