“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

When Apple released the SE 30 desktop computer for $4200, US debt was $4 trillion - Today, who knows?

Look at how out of control U.S. ‘debt creep’ is compared to the rest of the world

Flags fly over the Federal Reserve Building in Washington.

Nobody touches America when it comes to racking up debt. But you already knew that. Jeff Desjardins of the Visual Capitalist blog, however, offered up some fresh perspective on just how much of the world’s $63 trillion in borrowed money can be pinned to the United States government and its spendy ways.
“In an ideal situation, governments are just borrowing this money to cover short-term budget deficits or to finance mission-critical projects,” he wrote in a recent blog post. “However, around the globe, countries have taken to the idea of running constant deficits as the normal course of business, and too much accumulation of debt is not healthy for countries or the global economy as a whole.”
Does this look healthy to you?

As you can see, the U.S. has more debt than the next three countries combined, thanks to its “debt creep” problem. As Desjardins points out, the U.S. hasn’t posted an annual budget surplus since 2001, when the federal debt was only $6.9 trillion (54% of GDP). Nowadays, U.S. debt has exploded to about $20 trillion (107% of GDP) — almost a third of the world’s sovereign debt nominally.
To be fair, the U.S. is in much better shape when it comes to the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is a better metric for measuring the health of a country. 
Here are the top five by that measure:

“While only Italy and Japan here are considered major economies on a global scale,” Desjardins said, “the high debt levels of countries like Greece or Portugal are also important to monitor.”


  1. We must remember that almost half of the $20 trillion the US government owes, it owes to the US government.

    1. .

      A nice distinction but IMO irrelevant.

      The national debt is money that's been spent already, money we didn't have, $20 trillion of it.


    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. To put the debt in perspective, had you passed on spending $4200 on the SE 30 and bought APPL, your shares would be worth $2,800,000 today. That is 666 X. Published US debt has expanded 5X.

    It can also be argued that a $660 iPhone is at least 1000x more valuable than an SE 30, 1989 computer.

    Is government debt relevant or for that matter important?

    No one knows.


    1. I had three of those SE30's, at retail.Did pretty well with them ... But not $8.4 million worth of well

  3. On a practical matter, it is far better to hold a portfolio of well capitalized, well managed shares in US corporations than to hold US government debt.

    1. (America’s $20 trillion in debt doesn’t seem so alarming after looking at this map.)

  4. India doesn't have much debt but it's a very poor country, though making much progress now.

    Weren't we talking about debtors leverage around here a while ago ?

    We can't be touched.....

    And, The Donald is good at it.

  5. America’s $20 trillion in debt doesn’t seem so alarming after looking at this map.

    1. When rates go up, compounding deficits will be something to behold.

      Doubling times will become awe inspiring.

    2. Good idea.

      As it is he only ever uses it for hitch hiking.

  6. The Donald will grow the economy and country out of debt.

    All is well, and in good hands.

  7. Hollywood hero Kevin Spacey:


    1. Who is Kevin Spacey ?

      What's he famous or infamous for ?

      I don't seem to recall ever having heard that name.

      But then I don't watch TV or go to the movies much.

    2. He is a faggot and a pedophile and another of Hollywoods diverse perverts, a sewer of an excuse for what was once considered a man. These kind of scum are never one and done.

  8. WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is likely to announce Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell as his nominee to be the next chairman of the U.S. central bank next week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The president hasn’t made a formal decision and could still change his mind, several people familiar with the matter said.

    Mr. Trump said in a video released Friday he had “somebody very specific in mind” for the post, and would announce his decision “sometime next week.”

    “It will be a person who hopefully will do a fantastic job,” Mr. Trump said in a video posted to Instagram, adding, “I think everybody will be very impressed.”

    The day of the announcement is still unclear, and next week is a busy one for Fed officials and the president.

    A Fed spokeswoman declined to comment.

    The Fed’s policy-setting committee, on which Mr. Powell sits, will hold a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, and Mr. Trump leaves for a trip to Asia first thing Friday morning, making a Thursday announcement possible.

    If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Powell would take the helm of the central bank in early February, when Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s four-year term expires.

    Mr. Trump had left open the possibility of renominating Ms. Yellen for another term, but said in an interview last week that as president, “you’d like to make your own mark.” Stanford University economics professor John Taylor had also been under serious consideration.

    Mr. Powell, a Republican who served as a Treasury Department official in the George H.W. Bush administration, joined the Fed board in 2012 and was confirmed for a full term in 2014.

    The position of Fed vice chairman is also open. But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on a trip through the Middle East Saturday that the administration doesn’t plan to nominate both a Fed chairman and vice chairman at the same time.

    He declined to offer any indication on who might be the front-runner.

    Several people familiar with the matter have said Mr. Mnuchin strongly advocated for Mr. Powell’s selection.

    Mr. Powell, a lawyer, would be the first Fed chairman in three decades without a Ph.D. in economics. Before joining the Fed board, Mr. Powell worked as an investment banker for the Carlyle Group and as a scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

    He would likely continue the Fed’s current approach of very gradually reversing its crisis-era stimulus policies by slowly raising short-term interest rates and shrinking the central bank’s large portfolio of bonds. Mr. Trump has said he favors low rates.

    See there, all is well.

    The Donald favors low rates.

  9. Somebody gave me a fifth of gin at the last water stop.

  10. Musical Molesters

  11. Mueller is a dick -


    The Washington swamp prepares to bite back.

    October 30, 2017 Matthew Vadum

    A grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has indicted an unidentified person on unspecified charges in Mueller’s off-the-rails investigation into the Trump campaign’s hypothesized electoral collusion with Russia, according to media reports.

    The indictment could be unsealed as soon as today. Three congressional committees are also investigating the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a former federal prosecutor, said the person concerned probably already knows what’s on its way. “Believe me, if you’re the person, you know,” Christie said on a public affairs show Sunday.

    “If you’ve been told you’re a target, believe me, you’re not sleeping well anyway.”

    Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, speculated yesterday that the indictment could name former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort or former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, both of whom quit their posts over ties to foreign governments. The two men may be at the top of Mueller’s list because foreign entanglements are what his probe is supposed to be about.

    Meanwhile, it was reported over the weekend that the FBI has been investigating more than $3 million in suspicious wire transfers made in 2012 and 2013 by offshore companies linked to Manafort. The theory is that Manafort, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, may have helped the Ukrainian regime close to Russian President Vladimir Putin launder money.

    Trump defenders say Mueller has too many serious conflicts of interest to be leading the probe and that the president should fire him. Mueller “has so many conflicts of interest it’s almost an absurdity,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said previously.

    Mueller, whose investigative team is chock full of Democrats, may himself end up being implicated in the Russian uranium scandal.

    As Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill newspaper reported recently that in 2009 the FBI “gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.”

    The FBI kept that information from Congress and the public … even as Hillary Clinton’s State Department in 2010 approved a deal that transferred control of more than 20% of America’s uranium supply to a Russian company. The Hill also reported the FBI had documents showing that during this period Russia engineered the transmission of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

    1. An informant is said to be ready to testify that a $500,000 fee a Russian concern paid to Bill Clinton for a single speech, along with the millions of dollars of so-called donations to the Clinton Foundation constitute a “quid pro quo” given in exchange for Hillary’s help.

      “My client can put some meat on those bones and tell you what the Russians were saying during that time,” the informant’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, told Fox News.

      The FBI director at the time of the Uranium One transaction was now-Special Counsel Mueller, which, Berkowitz opined, “can only heighten anxieties about Mr. Mueller, the FBI and the rule of law.”

      Mueller’s 15-year friendship with ousted FBI Director James B. Comey is a massive conflict of interest. Comey may have broken the law when he failed to surrender to investigators his notes about conversations with President Trump. The notes are considered a work product and therefore property of the U.S. government. Additionally, Comey have committed a crime when he leaked the notes.

      Comey went suspiciously easy on Hillary Clinton during the investigation into classified documents being sent through her hacker-friendly illegal private email system that she set up to defeat freedom of information laws and keep the shady dealings of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation secret.

      Berkowitz wrote:

      Despite the gravity of the matter—military service members can be court-martialed and discharged for sending classified information on nonsecure systems—Mr. Comey mostly avoided issuing subpoenas and cooperated with the Obama Justice Department in obscuring the investigation’s criminal character. He permitted Mrs. Clinton and her team to destroy evidence and granted generous immunity deals to her advisers. He drafted a statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton months before the FBI interviewed her. And his FBI neither recorded the interview nor compelled her to answer questions under oath.

      Comey bent over backwards to clear Hillary Clinton’s name, Berkowitz added. In July 2016 Comey “usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors by publicly exonerating Mrs. Clinton.”

      In the process, he confused the pertinent legal issue by asserting she did not intend to violate the law. But intent wasn’t a necessary condition for a crime. Federal law criminalizes “gross negligence” in mishandling classified information. By Mr. Comey’s own account, Mrs. Clinton had been “extremely careless.”

      Because Mueller was FBI head for more than four years under President Obama he cannot be expected to investigate his former boss and those around him. Clearly the role that the Obama administration and the so-called Deep State played in the ongoing rolling coup attempt against President Trump need to be examined.

      As of today there is still no publicly available evidence that Trump or his campaign committed a crime or tried to obstruct justice but that hasn’t stopped the Left’s witch-hunt from growing and the goalposts from being shifted over and over again.

    2. Perhaps Mueller’s people are hoping Trump’s associates will commit perjury. The longer the investigation goes on, the greater the likelihood that someone will innocently contradict himself in a deposition, giving evidence that doesn’t mesh with what was originally said to an FBI investigator. Suddenly an otherwise honest person goes to the hoosegow for perjury.

      With the election of Donald Trump, the longtime Russophiles of the morally flexible Left flipped on their traditional friends in Moscow faster than you can say Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or Operation Barbarossa. Ignoring its own history of rampant seditious collaboration with Russia, the Left has now managed to convince many that any past or present connection a Republican has or had to Russia, however trivial, now constitutes evidence of treason against the United States.

      Americans learned last week that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS to create the explosive, far-fetched dossier that attempted to smear President Trump by falsely linking him to Russia. The character-assassination file is the unvetted, salacious, 35-page report written by British former spy Christopher Steele and published by cat-video and gossip website BuzzFeed. The dubious package of documents dubbed the “piss-gate dossier” claimed, among other things, that Donald Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel room bed in Moscow in front of him. Some of the information in the dossier is said to have come directly from the Kremlin.

      Further complicating matters, the FBI has never denied reports that it came to close to hiring Steele to continue his work after the election.

      “If the bureau did use the dossier to seek FISA warrants to intercept communications involving the Trump campaign,” Michael Goodwin writes at the New York Post, “it would mean the FBI used a dirty trick from the candidate of the party in power as an excuse to investigate the candidate from the opposition party.”

      So if anyone was colluding with Russia to influence the U.S. election, it was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, not Donald Trump.

      Interestingly, the right-leaning news website Washington Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research against Donald Trump. During the “2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton,” the WFB acknowledged. The media outlet is run by Never Trumper Bill Kristol’s son-in-law Matthew Continetti.

      The Fusion GPS dossier was just one of many dirty tricks Hillary Clinton’s campaign used in an effort to undermine her opponent’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. Clinton also personally authorized the illicit efforts of felon Bob Creamer and organizer Scott Foval who fomented violence at Trump campaign rallies, as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas group revealed in undercover videos.

      We cannot count on Robert Mueller to get to the bottom of any of this. He is part of the Washington swamp, corrupted by power, and compromised by his relationships with people who figure in the investigation.

      He is part of the problem.

    3. Bill Kristol is a self righteous dick too.

    4. I ALWAYS hated Kristol.

      ...even when my right wing buds still like him.

      Slow Learners.

    5. Me never like him.

      (pulls on eyelids)

  12. Mueller helped get us into the Iraq War -

    Robert Mueller: Establishment Sweetheart Helped Bush Sell The Iraq War

  13. Major sexual assault by Adam Sandler:

    (He touches her knee.)

  14. Humping The Wrong Ass

    FIFTEEN Muslim teens in Morocco have been treated for rabies after raping an infected local donkey
    By Pamela Geller - on October 29, 2017

    Surely the donkey was to blame – dressed immodestly and all. What was it an imam called rape victims? Uncovered meat….

    This is an August story I missed when it came over the transom.


    The youths, from Sidi Al Kamel spent a week in hospital being treated after the animal transmitted the disease to them, Morocco World News reported, citing the Moroccan daily Al Akhbar newspaper.

    By Jon Lockett, The Sun, 15th August 2017:

    The shocking incident left the families of the youngsters “in distress and horror.”

    It was also claimed the actual number infected could be a lot higher as many families took their sons for treatment at hospitals outside the immediate area to avoid shame.

    The infected boys stayed at the Mechraa Belksiri Hospital for one week to receive rabies vaccination.

    Local authorities are now trying to find anyone else who has “approached” or “admired” the animal closely to limit further spread of disease.

    The occurrence quickly became the subject of mockery and ridicule among the population of the small town.

    However, it has also become a subject of fear and shame for parents who, in the utmost secrecy, had their children vaccinated in case they had touched the animal.

    The local authorities ordered the owner of the animal to slaughter it to avoid further risk of spreading the disease.

  15. Manafort and his buddy Gates to turn themselves in today.

    1. Quirk to surrender tomorrow.

    2. BREAKING NEWS: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates told to SURRENDER to federal authorities as Mueller grand jury indicts them in first charges from special counsel probe

      The first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election could be unsealed soon
      The New York Times says Paul Manafort and Rick Gates will be told to surrender today
      A federal grand jury approved the indictment on Friday and a judge ordered it sealed then
      Trump has denied the allegations of collusion with the Russians and called the probe 'a witch hunt'
      By David Martosko, Us Political Editor For and Reuters
      PUBLISHED: 08:05 EDT, 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:05 EDT, 30 October 2017

      Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his onetime business partner and protege Rick Gates will be told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday as the first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are unsealed.

      The move represents a dramatic turn in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

      The New York Times reported that Manafort and Gates will be taken into custody.

      A federal grand jury approved the indictment on Friday and a federal judge ordered it sealed, a source briefed on the matter has told Reuters, adding it could be unsealed as soon as Monday.

    3. Russia Probe
      Paul Manafort and Rick Gates Indicted in Mueller Investigation
      Nunes' Investigating Digs Up Trove of Democratic Ties to Russia Dossier
      Sen. Collins: Dems Need to Testify
      Trump Slams Probe as 'Witch Hunt'


    4. Manafort and Gates - tax fraud

      Quirk - failure to file tax returns, claiming to be 'citizen of world, not of USA'


    5. Conspiracy against the United States.

      Just one of the TWELVE counts


    6. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to FBI agents in Mueller probe

      Even more telling than the 34 page indictment of Mr Manafort


  16. You see, Hank, it wasn't me.

    No, it was Mr Trump's campaign manager that was the first target of Mr Mueller's investigation and the Grand Jury indictment.


  17. NBC News and MSNBC have severed ties with "Game Change" co-author and veteran journalist Mark Halperin, days after multiple women told CNN he sexually harassed or assaulted them during his time at ABC News.

    An MSNBC spokesman told CNN on Monday morning that Halperin's contract with both had been terminated.
    Halperin had served as an NBC News senior political analyst and MSNBC contributor, and was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."


  18. BARCELONA/MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s direct rule over Catalonia took hold on Monday as state employees turned up for work despite calls for disobedience, and pro-independence parties said they would contest an election, implicitly accepting the regional government had been sacked.

    Spanish media reported that ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont had left for Belgium with several other members of his sacked administration.

    Spain’s state prosecutor, Attorney-General Jose Manuel Maza, called for charges of rebellion and sedition, as well as fraud and misuse of funds, to be brought against Catalan leaders.

  19. Podesta Group Is In Mueller’s ‘Crosshairs’ Over Russian Influence

    Carlson said, “The central effort to extend Russian influence was focused on the executive branch, the Obama administration. The vehicle through which [Paul] Manafort worked for the Russians was a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The group was supposedly based in Belgium but had no offices there. It had only two employees, both based in Ukraine.

    “Their telephone number in Brussels rang in Kiev. It was a sham, yet it had a presence in Washington. The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was a major client of the Podesta Group. Why did the Russians choose the Podesta Group? Because both Podestas were close to the Clintons, and Hillary was then Secretary of State. She could get things done for the Podestas’ Russian clients. It was influence peddling, the most obvious kind,” he continued.

    The Podesta Group has close ties with Hillary Clinton.

    Carlson said of the ties, “Sometimes, our source told us, ties between the Podesta Group and the Clintons were explicit. Tony Podesta spoke regularly to Hillary Clinton while she ran the State Department. Our source remembers Podesta’s assistant announcing that Secretary Clinton is on the line.'”

    The Daily Caller co-founder added, “At one point, in either 2013 or early 2014, our source says a meeting was held that included both Tony Podesta and a representative of the Clinton Foundation. The explicit subject of that meeting: How to assist Uranium One, the Russian-owned company which controls 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity, and whose board members gave more than $100 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. As our source put it, ‘Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.'”

    According to Carlson, Manafort was in on the scheme.

    “According to our source, Manafort was clear that Russia wanted to cultivate ties to Hillary Clinton, in the belief she was likely to become president,” he said during the segment. “These links to Hillary were apparently valuable; our source believes that the Russian money Manafort funneled to the Podesta Group greatly exceeds the roughly $1 million they were officially paid. Some of these payments, he said, could be hidden kickbacks that would be hard to trace. He described the Podesta Group’s books as a ‘treasure trove’ and highly secret. He told us the Podesta Group had no board, and all financial decisions were personally made by Tony Podesta. The Group’s employees, he said, included a person whose only official job was managing Tony Podesta’s art collection. It would be easy for such an organization to conceal financial transactions.”

    “The source we spoke to has been interviewed extensively by Robert Mueller’s independent investigation. In press accounts, Mueller’s investigation is still framed as a hunt for collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia,” the Fox host said.

    “Our source says investigators are very interested in Manafort’s behavior while he ran the Trump campaign, but otherwise that description is mostly bogus. The investigation has broadened to determine which people and organizations in Washington have spent years working secretly as de facto operatives on behalf of the Russia government. The Podesta Group is chief among these de facto foreign operatives. ‘They’re are more focused on facilitators of Russian influence in this country, not election collusion,’ our source said. The Podesta Group is ‘in their crosshairs.'”

    1. “Our source says investigators are very interested in Manafort’s behavior while he ran the Trump campaign, but otherwise that description is mostly bogus.

  20. I also got rabies from that donkey.

    By the way, I'm gay, so it's A-OK.

  21. Don't text and fly!

  22. Marion Barry to get his own statue in Washington, DC - 10/30/17
    As the Robert E. Lee statues come down, the Marion Barry ones are going up. What's wrong with this picture? More

    1. While the American political landscape is chock full of colorful characters — some lovable scoundrels, others not so much — perhaps none fit this category better than the one nicknamed “Mayor for Life.” In that role Barry served for four terms as the district fell into corruption and insolvency. In 1989, at a D.C. budget hearing, then-Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) publicly chastised his mismanagement:

      “Some governments are corrupt but are known for their competency in running the city. Others are incompetent but considered clean. [Washington's] government is scandalously corrupt and hopelessly incompetent.”

    2. Despite rumors to the contrary among the libertarian types, it is really hard to run a City and snort crack at the same time.

  23. Lawyer: 'Novel Theory' Used to Prosecute...
    REPORT: FBI Reliance on 'Russia Dossier' Threatens Prosecution...
    Manafort's Constitutional Rights Violated?....DRUDGE

    Time for The Donald to break out the pardon pen before heading to China ?

  24. Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective, there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign.

    From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case.

    It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.


    Read more at:

  25. .

    Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective, there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign.

    In other words, small potatoes, a nothingburger, a trifle.

    House arrest, $10 million bail, turn in passport, potential for $ millions in fines and decades in prison.

    Damn, that Andrew McCarthy is one sanguine dude.


    1. Ah, but the power of a Presidential pardon.....

  26. They are having a gay old time over at MSNBC this day.

    1. Particularly Chris Matthews who is on his high horse.

      Manafort is too well combed and dressed and scented to be anything other than an east coast slimeball but The Donald ought to sign the pardon papers today before he leaves for China anyway.

    2. In other news, things are going very badly in court for Bob Menendez. It's apparent that the Judge doesn't much like the legal defense that is being put on for Bob's benefit.

      Going to the Jury soon.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Doesn't one have to be convicted before being pardoned?

    5. .

      Not in Bob-world.

      However, you must admit the idea does have elements that let it fit right in there being both morally and politically corrupt and base.


    6. Repeat three times, Quirk:

      Bob is correct.

      Bob is correct.

      Bob is correct.

      Getting the hang of it ?

    7. If you don't like it your remedies are:

      1) Change the Constitution via a Constitutional Amendment

      2) Impeach the President

      Neither of these can retroactively overturn an earlier Presidential pardon.

      Many on the receiving end of a Presidential pardon have expressed a deep love for the Constitution in such a manner perhaps as this:

      "What a great country. Guilty as hell, free as a bird"

      taking off from the guy that wrote O'bama's book "Dreams From My Father", our very own domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

    8. .

      Of course, you are not correct.

      I don't question Trump's pardon powers. I question him pardoning Manafort. Thus my comment...

      However, you must admit the idea does have elements that let it fit right in there being both morally and politically corrupt and base.

      A grand jury indicted Manafort and Gates on 12 charges each including conspiracy to launder money ($ tens of millions), failure to register as a foreign agent and knowingly making false statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (perjury).

      They are also charged with 'conspiracy against the United States,' defined as “knowingly and intentionally [conspiring] to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, and to commit offensives against the United States.”

      Serious charges. The have the potential to result in $ millions in fines and decades in jail if the two are found guilty.

      Both deny the charges.

      Their lawyers call the charges ridiculous.

      Trump says all of that happened years ago and he has no idea what it's all about.

      Yet, despite this, you suggest Trump pardon him.


      Politically, the act would put Trump right there with Clinton and his pardon of Mark Rich and with Bush and his pardon of Casper Weinberger.

      Legally, I don't know if it would be a smart thing for a guy already being looked at for obstruction of justice to do.

      Morally, I can see no justification for it.

      What's wrong with you?


  27. Bob is correct.

    Accordingly, the Constitution simply provides that the President ''shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment'' (Article II, section 2).

    The leading Supreme Court case is Ex parte Garland (1867). Justice Stephen J. Field, writing for the Court in a 5-4 decision, held that the President's pardoning power is ''unlimited,'' and ''It extends to every offense known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.''

    In Murphy v. Ford (1975), a Federal District Court in Michigan rejected a suit for a declaratory judgment that President Ford's unconditional pardon of Richard M. Nixon was unconstitutional. The court found that the President had the constitutional power to grant a pre-indictment pardon, citing Ex parte Garland in its support.

    1. .

      I know. As I recall, Bush senior pardoned Weinberger for his role in Iran Contra a while before he went to trial.

      My comment was more about Bob's suggestion rather than the pardon power.


  28. An interesting historical antecedent to The Presidential Pardon is The Prerogative of Justice in England, which allowed a monarch to convict. This was abolished in the 17th Century but the Prerogative of Mercy stayed intact.

  29. Somewhere between my summer Baptist Bible School, my Roman Catholic School Catechism and my mother's libertarian version of Episcopalianism, I do recall being taught that sinners could be pardoned before their offense was known with a true act of contrition. The authority to forgive and pardon has likely been with humanity prior to the Hebrew and Christian era.

    1. The Lord is Just, yet Merciful, with a little favoritism toward the Merciful, seems to be the human take on these things.

      Perhaps because deep down we all know we are not perfect, and it might be our ass in the frying pan one of these fine days ?

    2. .

      A plea of 'not guilty' and an attorney saying the charges are ridiculous are hardly indicative of an act of contrition.

      Likewise, while these guys are probably extremely contrite that they were caught I am not sure that was the level of morality and 'true contrition' you were actually speaking of.


  30. Here's Pat's solution to the whole blasted thing:

    Pat Robertson: Trump needs to end this Russiagate thing now with blanket pardons

    ALLAHPUNDIT Oct 30, 2017 8:41 PM

    “This whole thing has got to be shut down.”

    The author of this article doesn't much like the idea, yet:

    The only redeeming virtue of Robertson’s otherwise disgraceful shpiel here is that it’s far more tactically sound than the idea of firing Mueller is. I can’t think of a single reason why Trump would do something as incendiary as that when he could achieve the same thing — more, actually — while remaining on sturdy legal ground by simply pardoning Mueller’s targets. Firing Mueller would trigger a constitutional crisis, would likely mean the resignation of Rod Rosenstein and possibly Jeff Sessions, and wouldn’t end the probe since Mueller’s successor would doubtless vow to continue it. Pardoning Manafort, Papadopoulos, and anyone else who ends up on the hook would avoid all of that angst while short-circuiting the investigation in a perfectly constitutional way. There’ll be a volcanic eruption of criticism of Trump because of it but what does he care? He’s already at 33 percent approval. He’s as low as he’s realistically likely to go.

    1. .

      As I mentioned above, there was previously a mention of Trump being looked at for obstruction of justice. Wouldn't this simply add impetus to arguments to go after him along those lines?

      I'm sure Mueller is hoping to get one of these guys to turn states evidence and wouldn't take kindly to having all the witnesses taken from him.



  31. Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page admitted that the topic of Russia "may have come up" in emails with campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to charges of making a false statement to the FBI about his contact with Russian government officials.


    Page also shrugged off questions on if he's sought legal counsel, saying, "I'm very, very open and happy to give all the information I can in the interest of really getting the truth out there," adding: "I think the truth will set a lot of people free."

  32. Begging Your Pardon, Mr. President

    How Trump can shut down the special counsel probe and leave the Russia investigations to Congress.

    By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
    Oct. 29, 2017 2:38 p.m. ET

    The Trump presidency has been consumed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts to uncover collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Mr. Mueller reportedly has secured one or more indictments that he will announce Monday. Some Republicans now seek a new special counsel to investigate if the Clinton Campaign “colluded” with Russians to smear Candidate Trump, along with other aspects of the Clintons’ relationship with Russia and Russian nationals. But one special counsel already is one too many.

    Clockwise from top left, Presidents Ford, Washington, Lincoln and Carter all used the pardon power in politically charged cases.
    Clockwise from top left, Presidents Ford, Washington, Lincoln and Carter all used the pardon power in politically charged cases. PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE COLLECTION/WHITE HOUSE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
    During the 1980s and ’90s, American politics was repeatedly distorted, and lives devastated, through the appointment of independent counsels under the post-Watergate Ethics in Government Act. These constitutionally anomalous prosecutors were given unlimited time and resources to investigate officials, including President Clinton, and scandals, such as Iran-Contra. Once appointed, almost all independent counsels built little Justice Departments of their own and set out to find something—anything—to prosecute. Hardly anyone lamented the expiration of this pernicious law in 1999.

    But special counsels, appointed by the attorney general and in theory subject to Justice Department oversight, haven’t proved any better in practice. Mr. Mueller’s investigation has already morphed into an open-ended inquiry. It is examining issues—like Donald Trump’s private business transactions—that are far removed from the Russian question. It also has expanded its focus beyond the original question of collusion with the Russians to whether anyone involved in the Russia investigation has committed some related offense. That is evident from investigators’ efforts to interview White House aides who were not involved in the 2016 campaign, and from leaks suggesting that Mr. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey might have “obstructed” justice.

    That claim is frivolous, and it damages America’s constitutional fabric even to consider it. A president cannot obstruct justice through the exercise of his constitutional and discretionary authority over executive-branch officials like Mr. Comey. If a president can be held to account for “obstruction of justice” by ending an investigation or firing a prosecutor or law-enforcement official—an authority the constitution vests in him as chief executive—then one of the presidency’s most formidable powers is transferred from an elected, accountable official to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and judges.

    Mr. Mueller’s investigation has been widely interpreted as partisan from the start. Mr. Trump’s opponents instantaneously started talking of impeachment—never mind that a special counsel, unlike an independent counsel, has no authority to release a report to Congress or the public. Mr. Trump’s supporters count the number of Democratic donors on the special-counsel staff. The Mueller investigation is fostering tremendous bitterness among Trump voters, who see it as an effort by Washington mandarins to nullify their votes.

    1. Mr. Trump can end this madness by immediately issuing a blanket presidential pardon to anyone involved in supposed collusion with Russia or Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, to anyone involved with Russian acquisition of an American uranium company during the Obama administration, and to anyone for any offense that has been investigated by Mr. Mueller’s office. Political weaponization of criminal law should give way to a politically accountable democratic process. Nefarious Russian activities, including possible interference in U.S. elections, can and should be investigated by Congress.

      Partisan bitterness will not evaporate if lawmakers take up the investigation. But at least those conducting the inquiry will be legitimate and politically accountable. And the question of whether Russia intervened in the 2016 election, and of whether it made efforts to influence U.S. policy makers in previous administrations, is first and foremost one of policy and national security, not criminal law.

      The president himself would be covered by the blanket pardon we recommend, but the pardon power does not extend to impeachment. If Congress finds evidence that he was somehow involved in collusion with Russia, the House can determine whether to begin impeachment proceedings. Congress also is better equipped, as part of its oversight role, to determine whether and how the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence agencies might have been involved in the whole affair, including possible misuse of surveillance and mishandling of criminal investigations.

      There is ample precedent for using the presidential pardon authority to address matters of political importance. Certainly it is what the framers expected. As Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 69, the pardon power was to “resemble . . . that of the king of Great Britain.” In Federalist 74, he observed that “there are often critical moments, when a well-timed offer of pardon to . . . insurgents or rebels may restore the tranquility of the commonwealth.”

      Securing harmony in the body politic was President Washington’s motivation when he offered amnesty to participants in the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s, and it was President Lincoln’s motivation when he issued an amnesty during the Civil War for Confederates who would return their allegiance to the Union. Similar reasons motivated President Ford to pardon Richard Nixon, and President Carter when he offered amnesty to Vietnam-era draft evaders.

      Lincoln’s proclamation of Dec. 8, 1863, is an excellent model of a broadly drafted and complete amnesty: “I . . . do proclaim, declare and make known to all persons who have directly or by implication participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is granted to them . . . upon condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath” of loyalty to the U.S. A similar pardon can be issued with respect to the Russian affair, ending the criminal investigations and leaving the business to Congress.

      Permitting the criminal law again to become a regular weapon in politics is more destructive of democratic government than ham-handed efforts by a foreign power to embarrass one or more presidential candidates. It is true that Washington’s Augean stables need periodic cleaning, but it is Congress that should wield the shovels.

      Messrs. Rivkin and Casey practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington. They served in the White House Counsel’s office and Justice Department in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

    2. to anyone involved with Russian acquisition of an American uranium company during the Obama administration

      This even hauls Hillary's arse out of the fire.

    3. But it is not madness, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      It is no farce

      It is no joke.

      It is a criminal investigation and prosecutions.


    4. We've gone fron joke to farce to a need for blanket pardons

      So pathological that it's funny, in a sad way

    5. War Criminal and Dead Beat Dad and Jew hater, I see it as a farce.

      You are at liberty to see it any way you wish.

      Now kindly leave me alone.

      I don't wish to interact with you, finding you a sullen bore.

      Thank you very much.

    6. .

      Hilarious. And pathetic.

      The WSJ article argues that we should forget about 'draining the swamp' and instead to just 'refrain from stirring up the waters'.

      How friggin cynical is that?


  33. Dressed sharply in a dark suit and cerulean necktie, longtime political consultant Paul Manafort was led into a second-floor courtroom in a federal district court building two blocks from the Capitol on Monday afternoon.


    The spokesperson, Glenn Selig, also suggested that "this unexpected and hasty proceeding" was "designed to accommodate perhaps political and press considerations."

  34. The Manafort Political Theater Project Launched - 10/30/17
    An absurd MSM political theater is about to unfold as if it were a serious scandal for Trump that a guy who was his campaign chairman for a few months is going to be charged for alleged crimes committed years before that relationship was forged. More

  35. The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump
    Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in 2013 (Reuters file photo: Larry Downing) by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY October 30, 2017 2:20 PM @ANDREWCMCCARTHY

    Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading. The Paul Manafort indictment is much ado about nothing . . . except as a vehicle to squeeze Manafort, which is special counsel Robert Mueller’s objective — as we have been arguing for three months (see here, here, and here).....

    Read more at:

  36. .

    I am still waiting for someone to provide a reason Trump should pardon Manafort and Gates.

    These two are accused of perjury, of operating as a foreign agents, and of bilking the US Treasury out of tens of millions of dollars.

    Trump is distancing themselves from them.

    He says their crimes were committed before they joined his campaign. He says their alleged crime has nothing to do with his campaign.

    Tell me again, what would be his justification for pardoning them?


  37. Nunes’ investigating digs up trove of Democrat connections to Russia dossier

    Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, exposed the practice of "unmasking" by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative. (Associated Press/File)

    Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion ... more >

    By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2017

    On two fronts, Rep. Devin Nunes has shifted the Russia debate in Washington further away from President Trump and closer to Democrats.

    He exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative.

    The California Republican’s first tactic: He traveled to the Executive Office Building and viewed evidence that the Obama administration had “unmasked” the concealed names of Trump associates in highly classified intelligence reports during the election campaign.

    The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence talked publicly about his discovery to much derision from Democrats and Washington’s press corps. The unmasking suggested that the Obama White House was spying on a political foe through its legal right to unmask the identities of people unintentionally swept up in surveillance operations.

    An advocacy group filed a complaint about his disclosure with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Mr. Nunes responded by removing himself as the overseer of the committee’s Russia probe.

    But his legacy lives on. Both the Senate and House intelligence committees have summoned former Obama aides as witnesses. It turns out that Samantha Power, as ambassador to the United Nations, made hundreds of unmasking requests, Fox News reported.

    Adding intrigue to her research, she told the committee that other people did some of the unmaskings in her name.
    The committee subpoenaed documents concerning Ms. Power, former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and former CIA Director John O. Brennan. All deny that they were spying on Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Nunes‘ second tactic brought the most immediately result: He flushed out the identities — long kept secret — of some of the financial backers for the notorious Trump dossier that has fed the Democrats’ Russia collusion charges for months.

    He did it by signing a subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the liberal opposition research firm that hired the dossier writer, former British spy Christopher Steele......

    1. Gowdy would have accomplished nothing without Nunes.

    2. Nunes was just interviewed on the new Ingraham Angle on Fox.

  38. Before billionaire active investor Paul Singer was revealed as a financing source for the research firm that eventually produced the Trump dossier, he joked about investing in the former real estate magnate's bonds.


    Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon has "declared war" on Singer for his role in the dossier, according to a report from Axios. But it is unclear what battles lie ahead, especially in light of impending tax reform efforts.


    "I think it's important for citizens to inform citizens, to try to give assistance," Singer said over the summer. "We're among Republican activists who actually can, in a relatively unconflicted level, we have less parochial interests in the things that we talk to policymakers about than most folks."

  39. In the wake of President Donald Trump's continued criticism of the Democratic party and specifically, Hillary Clinton, over the infamous Russia dossier, J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to mock Trump's commentary on the news.


    "Nothing expresses calm confidence better than a caps-locked scream of 'DO SOMETHING!'" she wrote in response.

  40. October 31, 2017

    Judicial hubris has escalated into a judicial coup

    By Joe Herring

    A federal judge has ventured far beyond mere judicial activism in declaring that the president cannot alter the policy of his predecessor regarding men who consider themselves women, and vice versa, serving in the military.

    In effect, this judge has deemed President Trump to no longer be commander-in-chief.

    President Trump nullified the order that granted transgendered personnel full access to military service while pretending to be members of the opposite sex. Today, a federal judge has ruled that the president has no such authority. Let that sink in. The president has no authority to set policy for military service.

    This is a gross usurpation of power that, if permitted, establishes a precedent for any federal judge to stay the hand of the president in the conduct of war. This egregious overreach must be resisted and punished.

    The hubris of the federal judiciary has only grown since getting away with ignoring the stated presidential prerogative codified in law granting him the power to determine the status of immigrants and refugees seeking to enter the U.S.

    I have written previously about Congress stripping these court's jurisdiction over these decisions, and now there can no longer be any hesitation in doing so. This latest ruling constitutes a quiet but altogether pernicious judicial coup and must be addressed forcefully and without delay.

    It is time for Congress to act.

    Do as President Clinton once did, and strip jurisdiction from these out-of-control courts before they launch our nation into a full-blown constitutional crisis....

  41. The difference between China and the USA illustrated:

    China considers three-year jail terms for disrespecting national anthem....DRUDGE

    God Bless The USA

    1. They don't have a 1st Amendment in China, much less a 2nd Amendment.

      Plenty of jails though, or enforced work farms.