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When All Is Innuendo

Innuendo and rumors aren't evidence:Normally if a U.S. official is suspected of treason, the government collects evidence before hinting to the public what it might be seeking evidence about. Think of FBI agent Robert Hanssen or CIA officer Aldrich Ames, both of whom provided the Soviet Union with information that led to the deaths of American agents. Ames and Hanssen are fiends. And yet the public learned about their treachery only when the government charged them.

The discretion of our spy hunters is important not just to protect the rights of the accused. It also is vital to the health of our own political culture. Public discussion of ongoing counterintelligence probes by necessity relies on state secrets. When anonymous allegations of political figures find their way into the press, the guardians of those secrets control the debate. What's more, political debates that revolve around the loyalty of current or former high officials historically has degenerated into witch…

Losing To Themselves

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tom Perez thinks he knows why his party is getting beat, despite spending more than the opposition:

Mean Trolls

Don't hurt their feelings:Feminists United, a student group at the University of Mary Washington, has claimed in a recently filed lawsuit that the administration failed to protect them from posts made on the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak.

The suit alleges that the university failed to protect the students by refusing to ban access to the app via the university’s wifi system. The complaint ignores the reality that most students have access to the app via LTE internet service on their cellular devices, which would render a ban on the university’s wifi system almost worthless.So it would match the opinions of radical feminists, then...

Stamp On, Stamp Off

Earn it or lose it?Many states have work requirements for food stamps. However, the Obama administration granted states waivers during the recession, and many states continue to use waivers for the food stamp requirements.

In 2014, Maine dropped its waiver for work requirements, and required everyone who could work and did not have dependents to either get employment for at least 20 hours a week, enter job-training programs, or volunteer a minimum of 24 hours a month.

Before Maine dropped its waiver in 2014, there were 13,332 food stamp recipients. By March 2015, the number of food stamp recipients dropped by 80 percent, to 2,678 recipients who decided to get a job, participate in job training, or volunteer. Roughly 9,000 people dropped out of the program, leading many analysts to observe that many of those food stamp recipients worked off the books and used food stamps to save money for other expenses. Others stipulated that many became so dependent on government welfare that they co…

Tell It To The Judges

trump's travel ban is headed for the high court:In a 10-3 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban likely violates the Constitution. And it upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican administration from cutting off visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban unveiled in March. Trump's administration had hoped it would avoid the legal problems that the first version from January encountered. A second appeals court, the 9th U.S. Circuit based in San Francisco, is also weighing the revised travel ban after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked it.

The Supreme Court almost certainly would step into the case if asked. The justices almost always have the final say when a lower court strikes down a federal law or presidential action.

Trump could try to persuade the Supreme Court to allow the policy to take effect, even while the justice…

Pass Or Fail

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Nancy Pelosi swears it will happen:

If You Are Captured Or Exposed, We Never Heard of You

It's hard out there for a press spy:Plenda announced that the AP has terminated her effective immediately in an interview with the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. Her termination comes as a Nov. 10, 2016, Facebook post she wrote—in which she pledged resistance to then-incoming President Donald J. Trump—was found to be in direct violation of the AP’s editorial standards.

Plenda, in her interview with Wemple, confirmed she wrote the leftist activist post on her Facebook page—a post she has since deleted, but of which Breitbart News published a screenshot earlier this week.

“There’s no denial from Plenda that she authored the tract in question,” Wemple wrote, summarizing their interview.

“I wrote that,” Plenda is quoted as saying.

“It started out on her ‘personal, private’ Facebook page, she says, and then someone shared it more widely,” Wemple continued, paraphrasing the interview with Plenda before dropping the biggest revelation—one the AP’s own spokeswoman Lauren Easton would not …

What About Bob?

Bob Woodward will not be popular with his peers after this:When asked about press “smugness,” Woodward said, “Yes. I think that is a giant problem. On television particularly, you will see a White House correspondent deliver a report and then say ‘the Trump White House said…’ and then there’s a kind of smug smile, which is the correspondent undermining what the White House says. And there may be grounds for that, but it should be reported. It should be straight.”

He added, “I think there are so many people that are treating the Trump presidency as if it’s a tryout—as if it’s provisional. I was reading a column this morning that said Trump half won the presidency because he did not get the popular vote. He is president. Odds are he is probably going to be president for a full term, four years and maybe even more. There is hyperventilation. There is this kind of sense of too many people writing things like—when is the impeachment coming, how long will it last, will he make it through th…

Revenge Of The Anti-Nerds

Silicon Valley may be facing its own version of "Occupy":With large cap tech stocks that are mostly headquartered in Silicon Valley accounting for about 40 percent of all market gains from the Trump stock boom, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett suggests that the irrational bonanza “could ultimately lead to populist calls for redistribution of the increasingly concentrated wealth of Silicon Valley,” as first reported by the Value Walk blog.

B of A sees parallels to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011 that targeted the “one percent,” including big banks that were bailed and given cheap federal loans during the financial crisis of 2007-8. Occupy protestors claimed the government loans were a wealth transfer for the rich, at the expense of workers.

The bipartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the influence of Silicon Valley money on American elections and government bureaucrats, commented, “Just as water flows downh…

Fake News Numbers

The least trusted names in fake news:According to new Harvard-Harris Poll data, which was first obtained by The Hill, a majority of Americans — 65 percent — believe there is no shortage of fake news in the mainstream media.

That number includes a whopping 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents, and a surprising 53 percent of Democrats. President Donald Trump has long decried the media — and CNN, in particular — as “fake news,” and Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has dubbed journalists the “opposition party.”

And it appears many Americans agree with Trump, at least on this issue. Eighty-four percent of the survey’s 2,006 respondents said it’s difficult to know what news to trust.

“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs,” Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard-Harris Poll, said. “Every major institution from th…

The Secret Surveys

The NSA spied, Obama lied:More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court excoriated administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to a “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to just…

Wage Hikers Strike Again

San Francisco has become another example of why wage hikes don't work, but there are others:The high minimum wage affects restaurants on the margin -- those already losing money or barely squeaking by. How many of those would eventually have succeeded without the wage hike, with success being measured by the ability of the business to stay open for five years or more? Impossible to say.

That Harvard study appears to take the factors above into consideration, so at least nine of those 64 restaurants were forced to close because of the higher wage. But no study can predict how many restaurants won't even open because of the high minimum wage. An established business can get away with raising prices to a certain extent as well as cutting staff. But how many potential restaurant owners are looking at the numbers and changing their minds? Again, we'll never know.

Unions have been pushing the "15 or Fight" movement because the higher minimum wage means higher wages fo…

Real Spies For Fake News

If you can't find anything, send a spy who will make stuff up:Following the fundraiser, the Associated Press published a short story without a byline that was “grossly inaccurate,” NHGOP adviser Patrick Hynes told local television outlet WMUR-9.

“President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway has told supporters in New Hampshire they should ‘just ignore’ his critics and the incessant chatter about the scandals dogging him,” the “reporter,” later learned to be Melanie Plenda, wrote for the AP.

The report also said about 150 attended, and attendees were “largely friendly” to Conway, but “some people in attendance withheld applause when Conway let loose with snarky comments about Democrat Hillary Clinton.”

“The Associated Press in New Hampshire appears to be engaged in leftwing activism rather than journalism,” Hynes told Breitbart News. “And Melanie Plenda is a leftwing activist not a journalist.”

“They conspired to sneak this leftwing activist into an event for which they were…

That Old Black Magic

Witchcraft is the last resort of desperate liberals:The “binding-spell movement,” according to Wagman, began with a Medium post by magician Michael M. Hughes, who wrote the initial spell “to be performed at midnight on every waning crescent moon until [Trump] is removed from office.”

“I don’t believe in the devil, but I do believe our country has gone to hell,” Wagman wrote, “and I am willing to try anything to save us.”

Before beginning the ritual, Wagman said she “researched” binding spells because she “didn’t want to send bad vibes into the universe” since “there is enough evil in Washington already.”They even have spirit cookers...

Avert Your Eyes

Do not embarrass the King:Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code states that anyone who insults the king, queen, heir or regent will be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.

Earlier this month the King threatened to sue Facebook because users posted videos of him in public at a German shopping mall wearing a crop top. The footage quickly went viral.

According to the current law, the technology crime suppression police division has to ask internet service providers for cooperation, which ISPs are not required to provide. It is unclear how they will enforce this interpretation.No funny pictures for you...

Stirred, Not Shaken

RIP Roger Moore:Born in London, the only child of a policeman, Moore had studied painting before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He played a few small roles in theater and films before his mandatory army duty, then moved to Hollywood in the 1950s. He appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in 1954's "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and with Eleanor Parker in "Interrupted Melody" the following year.
In 1970, he became managing director for European production for Faberge's Brut Productions. With the company, he co-starred with Tony Curtis in "The Persuaders!" for British television and was involved in producing "A Touch of Class," which won a best-actress Oscar for Glenda Jackson.
Three years later, he made his first Bond film, "Live and Let Die."
He would make six more, "The Man With the Golden Gun," ''The Spy Who Loved Me," ''Octopussy," ''Moonraker," ''For Your Ey…

Burning Down The House

Hugo's home gets burned:Demonstrators lit the house in the city of Barinas where Chavez spent his early years aflame Monday afternoon along with several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council, said Pedro Luis Castillo, a legislator who represents the area.

The burnings capped a violent day in Barinas — known as the cradle of Chavez's revolution — during which protesters clashed with national guardsmen, businesses were shuttered and roads were blocked with fire-filled barricades.

Nineteen-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed during a protest, according to the nation's chief prosecutor. His death brings to at least 49 the number killed in nearly two months of anti-government protests demanding new elections.

"It is pretty symbolic that the citizens are venting their frustrations on the author of the Bolivarian revolution," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas.One "revolution&…

Manchester Madness

First, a reminder of how this happened:Around 400 ISIS-trained fighters are believed to have returned from war zones in Syria and Iraq.

Despite being on red alert for more attacks on home soil like today's carnage in Westminster, new statistics show the number of arrests, stop and searches, and examinations of suspected terrorists at ports and airports dropped in 2016 on the levels seen in 2015.

This comes at the same time that the number of people arrested on suspicion of plotting terror strikes on British soil has grown by eight per cent.Meanwhile, Chris Matthews apparently doesn't know real news when he sees it:As Matthews speaks, a video plays in the background from the arena, and loud screams are heard as people on the scene navigate the aftermath of the attack. Matthews nevertheless quickly moved on to a more pressing matter.

“We’ll get the latest on that in a minute,” he said. “We begin however, with the shocking news in Washington tonight.”

That news, Trump asking the …

The Trillion Dollar Man

President Trump cuts deep:Trump’s proposal, to be released Tuesday, claims to balance the budget within a decade. But it relies on a tax plan for which the administration has provided precious little detail, the elimination of programs backed by many Republican lawmakers, and heavy use of accounting gimmicks.

Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal has already been declared dead on arrival by many of his Republican allies in Congress. The plan would slash Medicaid payments, increase monthly student loan payments and cut food stamps and agricultural subsidies, each backed by powerful constituencies. The administration is unbowed.

"We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. "We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives."But then, where would big-government liber…

Don't Ask, Don't Collude

Well, this won't look good:Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”He was just asking...

Fake Bias

When fake news fakes its own data:According to the study, 52 percent of Fox News’ Trump coverage over his first 100 days as president was negative, while 48 percent was positive. It’s a far cry from CNN, NBC News and ABC News, which covered Trump negatively more than 90 percent of the time.

But if you happened to be watching CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, you might think that Fox News covered Trump in an overwhelmingly positive fashion while outlets such as NBC News and CNN painted Trump in a much more favorable light than The New York Times or Washington Post.

That’s because, as the Daily Caller first reported, “Reliable Sources,” which advertises itself as “telling the story behind the story,” used the wrong data chart when reporting on the study during its Sunday show.

Not only did they use the wrong chart, but the show used a chart that gave viewers the impression that Fox News was overly biased in favor of Trump by covering Trump positively 67 percent of the time.

They even …

Green Radiation

Why do environmentalists hate green power?Every time we shut down a nuclear power plant in the United States, carbon emissions go up by millions of metric tons. Isn’t that a bad thing?

When Bernie’s own state shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, it was replaced by a plant burning a fossil fuel: natural gas. Emissions went up by five percent, the first increase since 2010.

Thirty million tons of carbon emissions spewed into the crisp Vermont air, partly blamed on the cold winter and New Englanders trying to not freeze to death.

Nuclear power is largely carbon neutral and in theory, “an environmentalist’s dream,” Stu said. Yet seven more plants are scheduled to close between now and 2025. The Energy Information Administration predicts an increase of 30-46 million metric tons of carbon emissions.Some carbon is more equal than others...

Seniority For Sale

Call it the UK anti-retirement plan:In her biggest misstep of the campaign so far, May set out plans on Thursday to make some elderly people pay a greater share of their care costs, before hastily announcing on Monday there would be a limit. Questioned at an election event, she grew irritated at suggestions she was backing down.

Six opinion polls published in the past three days have all shown the Conservative Party's lead over the opposition Labour Party narrow by between 2 and 9 percentage points, though all project May will win the election.

May said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opponents had tried to scare the elderly by spreading "fake claims" about her plan to transfer more of the cost from taxpayers to recipients who can afford to fund care themselves.

Dubbed the 'dementia tax' by opponents, the proposal had raised concerns that some seniors might see their houses sold off to pay for care, rather than passed on to their descendants.Just because yo…

Inside Panic

So does the Seth Rich case actually have legs?“The behavior is near open panic. To even mention this name in D.C. Circles [sic] will bring you under automatic scrutiny. To even admit that you have knowledge of this story puts you in immediate danger.

If there was no smoke there would be no fire. I have never, in my 20 years of working in D.C. Seen [sic] such a panicked reaction from anyone.

I have strong reason to believe that the smoking gun in this case is out o [sic] the hands of the conspirators, and will be discovered by anon. I know for certain that Podesta is deeply concerned. He’s been receiving anonymous calls and emails from people saying they know the truth. Same with Hillary.”The Clintons are certainly capable of a great deal, but we'll see if this will truly be their undoing or not.

Stamp Of Corruption

They're only following the Democratic model:U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Mohammad Shafiq, 51, to four years in prison and three years of supervised release after his sentence ends, in addition to making him pay $3.7 million in restitution, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Shafiq was the latest defendant to be sentenced in a series of prosecutions of 14 retailers in the Baltimore area.

A federal grand jury indicted the retailers in August 2016 for food stamp and wire fraud.

The 14 retailers stole a total of $16 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by illegally exchanging food stamps for cash, according to the indictment.

Twelve out the 14 defendants pleaded guilty, and two were sentenced this week, according to the Sun.On the bright side, they can get "free" food in prison...

No Parent Left Behind

The plan for choice:In September, then-candidate Donald Trump rolled out a $20 billion block-grant proposal that would have provided states with access to federal funds for creating school-choice programs.

The plan DeVos is expected to outline on May 22 will likely be more similar to the Educational Opportunities Act, legislation proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) in 2013. Under that proposal, which was not approved by the House or the Senate, would have provided individuals with a tax credit amounting to as much as $4,500 for donating money to nonprofit scholarship-granting organizations, which would then provide scholarships to low-income students for use at public or private schools, including religious schools. Corporations could receive a tax credit worth up to $100,000 for their donations.

Politico also reports it’s unlikely the Trump administration’s plan will require states to create school-choice programs.

Because the proposal could be built i…

Fake News Without Shame

They're not even pretending:In their effort to impugn Trump, the Times and the Post violate the most basic journalistic standards. Publishing parts of a document that you do not possess and cannot verify, and timing the release to cause maximum political damage (right after the president leaves the country), is not investigative journalism. It is political propaganda.

It is the mirror image of what the Los Angeles Times did in April 2008, when it published a story referring to a speech then-State Senator Barack Obama gave at a farewell celebration for radical Palestinian-American academic Rashid Khalidi in 2003. The Times was given a video of the speech, but refused to publish the video. Instead, it offered a mere summary, raising suspicions that the Times had sanitized the event to protect Obama’s presidential campaign.

The pattern is the same, from the Khalidi tape to the “nut job” story. For the elite mainstream media, when it comes to protecting Democrats or attacking Republic…

You Auto Know

One of the ideas for replacing Obamacare might not be so great:As for auto-enrolling Americans without health insurance, you are mainly talking about a group of low-income people who choose not to buy insurance even if they are healthy. It’s a practical question how do you make that work and stay with it, and especially for people who are loosely connected to the workforce, and don’t have a lot of income and usually go to a clinic to get care. This is the problem with expanding Medicaid; it does not do a lot to change their behavior, it does a lot more to get the hospital paid.

So there’s a number of issues you have to think through on that, that I believe they have to do.

Once you enroll people, how do you keep them in the system? They do not want to pay nominal premiums, and that’s what happened with Obamacare. With Obamacare, we got them insured in very subsidized coverage, and the insurers were surprised that once they were healthy, they would not even pay ten bucks to keep the co…