The EU

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Human Rights in Venezuela

For John, BLUFFailed societies create refugees.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Campus Reform, by Grace Gottschling, Investigative Reporter, on 1 June 2018.

Here is how it starts off:

A law professor who specializes in human rights claims that Venezuelans are “better off” because of Hugo Chávez and are currently enjoying “free and fair” elections.

Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, argues in a recent op-ed for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that U.S. media coverage of Venezuela “ignores the fact” that the U.S. is the “greatest impediment to democracy” in Venezuela and “throughout Latin America.”

Kovalik asserts that the “true patriots” of Venezuela “resent” the “devastating economic sanctions” imposed by the U.S., claiming that a vote for current socialist President Nicolás Maduro “was a vote against U.S. meddling” in the country’s affairs.

On the other hand, there is this lede sentence from the Wikipedia entry for Bolivarian Diaspora:

The Bolivarian diaspora is the largest recorded refugee crisis in the Americas and refers to the emigration of millions of Venezuelans from their native country during the presidencies of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro, due to the establishment of their Bolivarian Revolution.
The good news for the Venezuelans is that they don't live in North Korea.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hacking the Election

For John, BLUFMaybe this problem is down in the noise level.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Yahoo News, by Mr Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent, 20 June 2018.

This is not "new" news, having been revealed earlier.  President Obama’s “stand down” order and decision to confront Putin directly about Russian election interference at the Sept 2016 G20 meeting in Singapore has been in the public domain for some time.  Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper describes these circumstances in a similar manner in his recent memoir of his career.

Here is the lede plus three:

The Obama White House’s chief cyber official testified Wednesday that proposals he was developing to counter Russia’s attack on the U.S. presidential election were put on a “back burner” after he was ordered to “stand down” his efforts in the summer of 2016.

The comments by Michael Daniel, who served as White House “cyber security coordinator” between 2012 and January of last year, provided his first public confirmation of a much-discussed passage in the book, “Russian Roulette:  The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” co-written by this reporter and David Corn, that detailed his thwarted efforts to respond to the Russian attack.

They came during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing into how the Obama administration dealt with Russian cyber and information warfare attacks in 2016, an issue that has become one of the more politically sensitive subjects in the panel’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and any links to the Trump campaign.

The view that the Obama administration failed to adequately piece together intelligence about the Russian campaign and develop a forceful response has clearly gained traction with the intelligence committee.  Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the panel, said in an opening statement that “we were caught flat-footed at the outset and our collective response was inadequate to meet Russia’s escalation.”

This is about the previous Administration.  Why were the Russians allowed to conduct a continuous meddling in our elections?  The understanding of the situation was reinforced here:

That conclusion was reinforced Wednesday by another witness, Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for Europe during the Obama administration.  She told the panel that she had been briefed as early as December 2015 about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee — long before senior DNC officials were aware of it — and that the intrusion had all the hallmarks of a Russian operation.
What this testimony and Clapper’s recollection do not do is explain why, after confronting Putin and Russia about standing down its election interference efforts, the US did not employ its cyber capabilities in an escalating manner against the Russians.  I am blaming Governor Mitt Romney.

Or, maybe, the previous Administration was concerned that this might escalate into a shooting war, as in Ukraine, although where the shooting might break out is a mystery.

In the mean time, the current Administration seems to be following the lead of its predecessor.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Being Ugly in Public

For John, BLUFEveryone has a First Amendment right to free speech.  On the other hand, those taking the King's shilling [a classic reference] are expected, in my mind, at least, to not be out disrupting the King's work, so to speak.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Reporter Joe Simonson, 20 June 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

One of the activists who chased Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen out of a Mexican restaurant Tuesday night over the Trump administration’s immigration policies is an employee of the Department of Justice, The Daily Caller News Foundation has confirmed.

Members of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America crashed Nielsen’s meal with a demonstration full of chants and other outbursts.

One of those participants, _______ ______, actually works for the Trump administration — as a paralegal in the DOJ.

“Kirstjen Nielsen, you’re a villain, locking up immigrant children,” activists can be heard saying in a video.

The right to free speech is the right to be stupid, or uncouth, as in this case.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Not doxxing here.

Charade of Immigration

For John, BLUFI think this is a sign that the Mueller Investigation is not going well in the polls.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Roger L Simon, 19 June 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

If you sought to preserve the violent, reactionary and undemocratic regimes of countries like El Salvador and Honduras -- and, to a great extent, Mexico -- into perpetuity, how would you do it?

One way would be by providing a permanent U.S. safety valve for all their poor and downtrodden, the victims.

Yes, that is Mr Simon's point.  Emigration means the depletion of the human capital needed to fix the immigrants' home nation.

And, of course, this is now a cudgel for the Democrats to use to beat President Trump over the head.

The part I find most interesting is where Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wants the President to ignore the law by issuing a Presidential Executive Order.  I think he should, and then add one more, one that Senator Schumer is bound to dislike.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The problem is, that WOULD make us like National Socialist Germany, or, even better, the Soviet Union.

Reining in Asset Forfeiture

For John, BLUFExcessive fines are abusive.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The case will decide whether the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment applies to the states.  If so, it will also have to address how much it restricts asset forfeiture.

From The Volokh Conspiracy, at Reason Magazine, by Lawyer Ilya Somin, 19 June 2018.

This is one of those obscure items that lawyers and those interested in the Constitution like to wrestle with.

I am with Lawyer Somin on this.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Fork in the Road

For John, BLUFKudos to Harvard for supporting this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by Ms Salena Zito, 16 June 2018.

Here is the lead-in to the story:

On a blustery afternoon in April, I filed into a van along with 10 students from Harvard.  We had just spent the last two days in Chicopee, Mass., where we had chatted with the police chief and his force, the mayor and his staff, small-business owners, waitresses and firemen about their struggles living in small-town America.

The undergrads were buzzing with their impressions. Chicopee is about 90 miles west of their prestigious university in Cambridge, but when it comes to shared experience, it might as well have been 1,000 light years away.

As they settled in, I looked at them.

“So,” I said, “who do you think most of the people you just got to know voted for president?”

None of the students had an answer. It hadn’t come up in their conversations and they didn’t know I had privately asked each person who they’d voted for.

So, I let a minute pass and told them.

“Nearly every one of them voted for Trump.”

My students looked stunned, at first.  But then a recognition crossed their faces.

Gives me hope.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Erik Prince Grilled

For John, BLUFMaybe it isn't presentism, but this view that Messrs Trump and Putin are the most evil ever is a little off the mark.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The Trumpworld insider is under scrutiny for his alleged backchanneling with Russia, his work for China, and his plans for Afghanistan.  He defends it all in a new interview.

From The Daily Beast, by Ms Betsy Woodruff, 11 June 2018.

A comment attributed to Mr Erik Prince:

As I've said before, if Franklin Roosevelt can work with Joseph Stalin to defeat German fascism, Nazi fascism, national socialist fascism, then certainly Donald Trump can work with Putin to defeat Islamic fascism.
It is more than this quote, and an interesting read.

I have to admit that between Putin and Stalin, I see Joseph Stalin as, by far, the more evil leader.

Regards  —  Cliff