The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Monday, February 26, 2024

The End Game for Mr Hur

For John, BLUFDOJ Special Prosecuter Robert K Hur concluded that the Federal Government should not prosecute President Joe Biden for the mishandling of classified information.  He did it in a way to protect Special Prosecutor Jack Smith's case againt Donald J Trump for a similar activity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Reporter Hailey Gomez, 25 February 2024, 2:42 PM ET.

Here is the lede plus one:

Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds and NBC host Kristen Welker clashed Sunday over the conclusion from special counsel Robert Hur’s report which investigated President Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Donalds appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss his support of former President Donald Trump for the upcoming general election. During the interview, Welker questioned the congressman on a claim from Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond calling a recent comment from Trump over his criminal charges “plain racist.”

My interest is further down, where Host Kristen Welker tried to say that Special Council Robert K Hur didn't have enough evidence:
“Hold on, I have to hit the pause button for one minute, Congressman, because the Hur report was very clear that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against President Biden and that ultimately there was not —,” Welker stated before Donalds cut in.
It would seem Ms Welker missed this sentence in Mr Hur's report:
Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.
That seems pretty straight forward.  As someone who has handled classified information I would take that as saying Mr Biden broke the rules.  If that sentence had been written about one of my Brothers i would recommend they hire a lawyer immnediately.  Handling classified information is serious business.

Perhaps Ms Welker was mislead by the first paragraph of Mr hur's Report Executive Summary:

We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter.  We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.
Yes, and the Report goes on:
However, for the reasons summarized below, we conclude that the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecution of Mr. Biden is also unwarranted based on our consideration of the aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in the Department of Justice's Principles of Federal Prosecution. For these reasons, we decline prosecution of Mr. Biden.
This is where the "diminished faculties and faulty memory" came in:
Mr. Biden's memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023.
The more expanded version is:
We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,  Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt.  It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.
I would suggesst that in order to prevent long term libility for the President, Mr Hur had to fuzz up the ability to obtain a guilty verdict.  If he did not, then his efforts to exonerate President Biden would then be turned against DoJ in terms of its efforts to prosecute President Trump.

I suggest that a conclusion was drawn that the easiest way to protect President Biden from prosecution, while not getting in the way of the prosecution of Mr Trump for similiar activites was to suggest a jury would view Mr Biden sympathetically, due to his age and faulty memory.  He would remind them of a beloved Grandparent.

At the same time the President would need to be able to show his strength, so as to avoid removal from office under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.  Or be removed from the Democratic Party 2024 ticket.

Meanwhile, the prosecution of Mr Trump could proceed.

It worked.  The report came out.  Mr Biden held a Press Conference where he did pretty well, showing himself fit to be President.  And, Mr Trump is still under indictment.

The down side is that this will increase the cynicism of a portion of our Citizens and lead to even more distrust of the Department of Justice.  If this group is merely from the Basket of Deplorables, then it may be an acceptable outcome for Democrats.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Farewell NYC

For John, BLUFDid the Empire State shoot itself in the foot by going after Mr Donald Trump?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill, by Reporter Miranda Nazzaro, 19 February 2024, 8:17 PM ET.

Here is the lede plus one:

“Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary ripped into what he called “loser” New York and vowed to no longer invest in the state, when asked about a New York court’s $355 million verdict against former President Trump last week.

Trump, his business and his top executives — including the former president’s sons — were dealt a major blow last Friday when Judge Arthur Engoron ordered him to pay more than $355 million for conspiring to alter his net worth to receive tax and insurance benefits.  The order also blocks Trump from participating in New York business for three years.

“This award, I mean, just leaving the whole Trump thing out of it and seeing what occurred here … And I’m no different than any other investor, I’m shocked at this,” O’Leary said in an interview Monday with Fox Business.  “I can’t even understand or fathom the decision at all.  There’s no rationale for it.”

The award was part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) lawsuit against the former president, the Trump organization and his executives based on more than a decade of fraud and capped off a months-long civil fraud trial in the state.

O’Leary, the chairman of O’Leary Ventures, argued New York was “already a loser state,” citing policy, high taxes and uncompetitive regulation as primary reasons.

“It was already on the top of the list of being a loser state.  I would never invest in New York now,” O’Leary said.  “And I’m not the only person saying that.”

Here is the Epoch Times report on the same srory.  And, Not he Bee.

Remember Mr Trump's signature catch phrase.  "Thet're not after me.  They are after you?  I am just in the way."  I think for a lot of voters that rings true.

Time will tell if Mr O'Leary's prediction comes true.  In the mean time, I don't see how the levied fines can not have an impact on Mr Trump's businesses.  In the mean time, where does Mayor Eric Adams turn the next time he needs an ice skating rink rehabilitated.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Faux Pas While Telling the Truth

For John, BLUFBeneth the talk of Candidate Trump trash talking some of our allies is the question of if alliances like NATO are still worth the effort.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Alliance cannot count on a Trump-led America to join it in repelling Putin or a Biden-led America to free up social funds for the nation’s military

From The Sunday Times, by Dr Iarwin Stelzer, Sunday 18 February 2024, 12.04am GMT.

Here is the lede plus four:

Donald Trump did it again. The 450 senior decision-makers gathered at the Munich Security Conference this weekend had Trump and more Trump on their minds. Which is what Trump, for whom attention is the oxygen he breathes, had in mind when he invited Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to any Nato member that has not met its informal commitment to spend 2 per cent of its GDP on its military.

Embarrassing Germany was undoubtedly an added attraction to the man who never forgets a slight, which Angela Merkel dished out more than once when she was chancellor.

Eighteen of the 31 European alliance members will hit the 2 per cent target this year. So will the alliance taken as a whole. Germany will not. Relatively rich, with a GDP per capita of more than $50,000, Germany spends a mere 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence.

In 2022, the head of the Bundeswehr admitted: “The army that I am allowed to lead is more or less empty.” Experts reckon it would take four-to-ten years of enhanced spending to create a military that would be able to defend the nation from a Russian attack.

Poland, with a GDP per capita of only slightly more than $18,000, devotes 3.9 per cent of its GDP to its defence, and has about twice the number of active-duty personnel as Germany. History and proximity to Putin does that to a nation’s priorities.

From The Washington Examiner we have a similar view, but from The Wall Street Journal we have a voice saying "As Trump sows doubt about U.S. commitment to NATO, allies warn deterrence is fraying."  .

we have two questions to ask ourselves:

  1. Does having allies enhance our national security?
  2. Is the cost of any particular alliance more than the cost of providing equivient capabilities ourselves?
Given our own limitations in terms of available personnel and the value of forward basing,, I would say allies are a benefit.  However, allies who increase our risk of involvement in a regional war, but bring little to nothing to the fight are of dubious value.

Mt Trump's problem is he has a tendency to say the silent part out loud.  It makes him a poor diplomat.  But, perhaps, it makes him a good negotiator.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And the risks.
 Perhaps increasing the risk of such a fight.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Disappointed Shopper

For John, BLUFI was disappointed by the merchandise selection at Staples this afternoon.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I went to the Staples in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, today, to buy a package of printer paper (a ream).

Along the way I picked up a fountain pen, to replace my Lamy Safari, which is not working, even after I put in a new cartridege and ran the tip under the fauct.  However, when i looked around, i could find no replacement cartridges in the aisle.  I asked a clerk and he said they did not carry spare cartridges.  Does it make sense to sell a pen without additional cartridges.  Is the Lamy, at $24.99 (as I recall), a disposable pen?  Or does Staples want me to buy ink cartridges from Amazon?  I find that poor customer support.

Then I asked about clam clips.  I am looking for a clam clip dispenser.  "Never heard of it," I was told.  Shouldn't an office supply store know about clam clips and other such items?  Apparently not.

When I went to check out I entered my phone number, as I always do, to receive some sort of a discount.  It failed.  It worked a couple of weeks ago.  What happened?  According to the checkout clerk they are moving to a telephone App, and some of us are not being grndfathered until we get the App installed.

In addition, the snack selection, at checkout, is beyond the cash register, and it is not a very broad selection.

If Staples is looking for a part-time hire to help them manage what they stock, I am available [crkrieger@icloud,com].  Having a good office supply store in the neighborhood is important to me, and should be to you.

Regards  —  Cliff

First in the Hearts of His Countrymen

For John, BLUFIf we are to become a better nation, it needs to be based on something—I recommend the efforts of the founding fathers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

He was the greatest American. Don't settle for less.

From Don surber Substack, by Reporter Don Surber, 19 February 2024.

Here is the lede plus three:

“First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.  He was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.

“To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors kind; and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender:  Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.”

— Henry “Light Horse” Lee.

In that first sentence, Lee summed up the the life of the man who transformed America from a collection of British colonies to independent states that formed what is now called the United States.  I saw a meme on Twitter the other day.  It showed Trump:  Make America Great Again.  Above him was Lincoln:  Make America Great.  Above him was Washington:  Make America.  Only the Lord stood above him with the simple word:  Make.  How true.

Yes, he is.

We are a nation of humans, and thus a nation with flaws,  Yet, George Washington stands out in striving to form a more perfect union, to bring all of us together.  Not that it was perfect.  Nor is it yet perfect, but he lead those who put us on the path.

Stay on the Path.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Desiring a Polite Society

For John, BLUFwe are no longer a polite society, but one where everyone is a possible enemy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Conservative Woman (UK), by Commentor Frederick Edward, 16 February 2024.

Here is the lede plus four:

TRYING to enter a Boots the other afternoon I had to wait to be buzzed in. According to a sign on the door this was because of a recent spate of aggressive behaviour towards its employees:  as such, after 5pm, entry into the shop was controlled.

This was not, may I add, in some inner-city slum, but in an average retail park in an average town.

Similar trends are visible elsewhere.  Petrol stations near me – though it tends to be the nicer ones with an M&S or Little Waitrose bolted on – have started employing security guards.  These shops, which previously had no bouncers, have for the last few years had two on duty at any time.

Obviously this is necessary owing to a rapid increase in both scummy behaviour towards its employees and an increase in theft (or, as it is euphemistically called in retail, ‘shrink’).

It is a sad token of society’s general direction, and one borne out by statistics. Reported recently was that violence and abuse against shop workers had risen 50 per cent year-on-year, and that the total lost to shoplifting has reached an all-time high of £1.8billion.  Such are the records that are broken in 21st century Britain.

When I was youbg we were taught it was an honor to live in these United States.  Yes, you could assert that it was that wy for Caucasians, but I would suggest World War Two showed that it was so for other folks also.  All being happy to be here  we treated each otherr with rewpect.

Today, with the division of the natoin into oppressors and the oppressed, and with gradations therein, we are not one people, but a swrl of bickeering sub-nations.  I had hopes that President Obama would begin the healing process, but it didn't advance past his Attorney General Eric Holder saying "We need to have a conversation,"  Surprisingly, President Trump seemed to make some small progress.,  Candidate Biden promised to bring us together, but there has been no follow-through.

The person who will lead us out of this morass is the one who will show respect to all and build trust between groups, offering the American Dream to all.  someone who will build a concensus on what we owe to help marginalized groups their own opportunities and fair share.  Someone who will support the idea that respect goes in all directions and that the sins of the past are for historic review and lesson learning and not a way of creating new groups to be eschewed.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Just for example, the Navajo Code Talkers, the 442nd Regimentsl Combat Team (Go For Broke) and the Tuskeegee Airmen (thank you Mrs Roosevelt).
  Not everyone who immigrated to the United States was happy to be here.  A surprisingly large number returned to their home countries, and that is fine.

Friday, February 16, 2024

New York Finds Donald Trump Guilty

For John, BLUFThis kind of thing makes us look like a banana republic, or Russia.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Reporter Kaelan Deese, 16 February 2024, 3:18 pm.

Here is the lede plus one:

Former President Donald Trump and his associates were found liable by a New York court on Friday for committing decades of business fraud through his real estate empire, the Trump Organization, and a court ordered them to pay roughly $364 million in penalties.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s ruling ordered Trump and his companies to pay millions of dollars to the state, while his adult children and other associates under the Trump Organization were ordered to pay additional fees in the millions.  Engoron barred Trump from “serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York” for three years, according to the ruling.

Of course it wil be appealed.

In the mean time, to whom does the New York City Mayor turn when he needs the next ice skating rink, or like facility, rehabilitated?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff