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Conservative News | Strongsville Republican Club

Conservative News

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The wagons are starting to circle around Al Franken

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:41

Isn’t it interesting that last week, when there was one accuser, the calls for Franken to quit were loudest. Now that there’s a second accuser, they’ve begun to quiet down. You would think it’d be the opposite.

It’s almost as if the initial “Franken must go” stuff was disingenuous, a cry that was safe to make when it was most likely to go unheeded. After CNN’s report on what Franken allegedly did seven years ago at the Minnesota State Fair raised the odds of more misbehavior surfacing, this is no longer an easy opportunity to virtue-signal. If Democrats don’t grudgingly line up behind him, Franken really might go. More importantly, if they don’t draw a line in the sand in front of Franken, many other Democrats (and Republicans) may be forced out for worse sins than what Franken’s accused of if the exposes get rolling on Capitol Hill. Gotta defend the tribe, and defending the tribe starts at Franken.

For an example look no further than the New York Times’s newest left-wing columnist, Michelle Goldberg, who wrote a piece last week about believing Juanita Broaddrick and followed it up with one arguing that Franken should step down. A few days and one new accuser later, Goldberg’s having second thoughts. Imagine the second thoughts she’d have about Broaddrick’s credibility if Clinton were still in office and the party stood to lose something by blowing him up.

My thinking last week, when the first accusation emerged, was: cauterize the wound. It doesn’t matter that Franken’s transgression wasn’t on the same level as the abuses that the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore or Donald Trump have been accused of. That photo — the unconscious woman, the leering grin — is a weight Democrats shouldn’t have to carry, given that they’ve lately been insisting that it’s disqualifying for a candidate to grab a woman sexually against her will. It seemed cruel to expect Democratic women to make Jesuitical arguments that the shadows under Franken’s hands meant he wasn’t really touching Tweeden’s chest. Especially since, with a Democratic governor in Minnesota, the party would maintain control of Franken’s seat.

But even as I made the case for resignation, I was relieved that it seemed as if Franken might stick around, because I adore him as a public figure. It’s easy to condemn morally worthless men like Trump; it’s much harder to figure out what should happen to men who make valuable political and cultural contributions, and whose alleged misdeeds fall far short of criminal. Learning about all the seemingly good guys who do shameful things is what makes this moment, with its frenzied pace of revelations, so painful and confounding.

It’s Franken’s bad fortune to represent a state with a Democratic governor, making him somewhat expendable in the Senate. If a Republican were set to appoint his replacement, he’d need to be hit with something much stiffer than ass-grabbing and an unwanted French kiss to force him out. Collectively left and right could probably codify the unwritten rules that already exist to guide assessments of whether sexual misconduct is a firing offense. The less expendable you are, the more you can get away with. Senators and congressmen whose replacements are likely to come from the same party might be forced out for light groping or unwanted sexting. Senators and congressmen whose replacements are likely to come from the other party can get away with forcible kissing or maybe a dick pick or two before facing resignation if their apology is fulsome enough. Presidents? Nothing short of rape is a problem, and even then his professions of innocence are certain to be believed for 20 years, until a New York Times columnist needs to stake out some moral high ground from which to call for expelling villains in the other party.

Thirty-six of Franken’s female former colleagues at “Saturday Night Live” issued a letter in his defense today insisting that he was nothing but a perfect gentleman around them. Roy Moore’s campaign recently made the same move, trotting out a bunch of women who had only warm things to say about him. That’s nice but there are women who could and would doubtless say the same about every man who’s been credibly accused of misconduct this past month. Every predator treats *some* people decently. (Well, maybe not Harvey Weinstein.) So this proves nothing, but it does help encourage the wagon-circling. And it implies, whether intentionally or not, that if you treat enough women respectfully you’re owed the benefit of the doubt on the few you’ve apparently treated very disrespectfully. We could probably get left and right together to quantify that calculus too.

“We feel compelled to stand up for Al Franken, whom we have all had the pleasure of working with over the years on Saturday Night Live (SNL). What Al did was stupid and foolish, and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public,” the women wrote. “In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant.”

“That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard,” they added.

One silver lining of the Democratic wagon-circling of the past few days is an apparent end to opportunistic “We should have dumped Bill in 1998” pieces. Jonathan Chait wrote a defense of his opposition to Clinton’s impeachment a few days ago and Michael Tomasky is all-in today. (Chait at least acknowledges Broaddrick’s claims before zeroing in on the fact that Clinton’s impeachment had nothing to do with that. Tomasky ducks the subject entirely.) I prefer these honest apologias for bad behavior to the expedient eleventh-hour reversals on Clinton, with the caveat that I assume both Chait and Tomasky think Broaddrick’s claim is credible on its face and would have justified impeachment if given the sort of attention lesser accusations of misconduct are receiving today. In any case, there’s not a Republican anywhere from sea to shining sea who thinks we’d be having this national conversation on sex abuse by powerful men — certainly not as candidly as we’re having it — if Hillary was in office and her administration stood to be badly damaged by revisiting old charges against Bill. Because Trump is the biggest player on the political landscape who stands to be damaged, national media is free to give the topic the attention it deserves. It’d be an ironic legacy if Trump’s election made possible a reckoning with harassment that would have been politically impossible otherwise.

The post The wagons are starting to circle around Al Franken appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Stunner: DNC still stumbling after all these months

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:01

In any rational world, Democrats would be in the middle of a fundraising bonanza. Republicans have produced almost nothing from years of promises, thanks to infighting that has paralyzed Congress. A Republican president has historically poor approval ratings. A social outrage has galvanized women, thanks in part to the same GOP president. The money should be pouring into Democrats’ coffers.

And yet — and yet

The Republican National Committee raised $9.2 million in the month of October and has brought in more than $113 million so far this year, far outpacing their Democratic counterparts, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The RNC ended October with $42.5 million in the bank and no debt. The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, raised $3.9 million in October and $55 million this year.

The DNC has $5 million cash-on-hand and $3.2 million in debt.

Say what? Not only did the RNC outraise the DNC, they more than doubled their revenue in just the month. The RNC has also burned through it at a fairly significant 62% clip, but the burn rate for Democrats has been even higher — 90% without the debt. Even with that burn rate, they’re only raising half of what Republicans have in 2017.

Democrats do better with their congressional committees at the center of the 2018 midterms, but not by nearly enough. The NRSC raised $34 million this year as of the end of September, and had $14.8 million cash on hand with $10.7 million in debt. In contrast, the DSCC has raised $40.3 million in the same period, with slightly more cash on hand ($15.8 million) and less debt ($8 million) than their Republican counterparts. That gives Senate Democrats a slight edge on a claim to the fundraising title, but considering the overwhelming scope they face in 2018 in defending 25 seats to the GOP’s 8, the practical effect is that the NRSC has a large advantage.

In the House, the picture is a little different. The DCCC has raised $89 million and has $32.1 million in the bank, with no debt at all. The NRCC has kept pace in some ways, hanging onto $40 million cash on hand, but only by spending considerably less over the year. They trail on revenue by $12 million at $77.1 million. The GOP have more seats to defend in the House, and they’ll need to spend heavily to succeed next year.

Still, it provides a stark contrast to the DNC’s performance under Tom Perez and Keith Ellison. This could be a hangover from the DNC’s corruption by the Clintons as progressive voters punish the central committee for its past sins, but that doesn’t explain the high burn rate combined with the failure. Either Perez is leaving the DNC in a position where it can’t compete in 2018, or its benefactors have grown disenchanted with the operation altogether. That will make it tough for Democrats to make any inroads at the state and local levels next year.

In a rational world, Perez would already be gone this far into a disastrous 2017. Democrats are giving him more time to turn it around; he recently cashiered the DNC’s finance director, whom Perez brought into the DNC as part of his rebuilding program. If he can’t compete with the RNC in this kind of target-rich environment, he might be next.

The post Stunner: DNC still stumbling after all these months appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Harvard being investigated by DOJ over admissions policies

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:21

The Wall Street Journal reports that Harvard University is being investigated by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The investigation is looking into claims that Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans in admissions. The DOJ claims Harvard is refusing to cooperate and has yet to turn over a single requested document:

The Justice Department is investigating complaints that formed the basis of a federal civil lawsuit filed in 2014 in Boston, according to the documents. That suit alleges Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans by limiting the number of Asian students who are admitted.

The lawsuit, brought by a nonprofit called Students for Fair Admissions, said the practices violate federal civil-rights law and asks a federal judge to prohibit Harvard from using race as a factor in future undergraduate admissions decisions. The suit is pending…

The department told Harvard it “may file a lawsuit” to enforce compliance if Harvard doesn’t hand over the documents by Dec. 1, according to a separate letter dated Nov. 17 from John M. Gore, the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. The department wrote that the materials requested by the Justice Department have already been provided by Harvard to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit…

Over the past two months, “Harvard has pursued a strategy of delay and has not yet produced even a single document,” according to another Nov. 17 letter sent from the agency to [Harvard’s attorney Seth] Waxman.

While DOJ is trying to get information out of Harvard, the school has also filed requests for any communications that led to the current DOJ investigation. So far the DOJ has told Harvard the complaints it is investigating are the same ones involved in the ongoing lawsuit and says it can’t release any additional information because of its ongoing investigation. In short, both sides are refusing to provide information to the other.

But as mentioned above, if Harvard ignores its latest deadline, that could result in a DOJ lawsuit. The WSJ reports, “if a federal judge finds Harvard has violated Title VI, the court has broad authority to issue a remedy, such as ordering the university to change its admissions policies, the experts say.” So what’s at stake here is the affirmative action admissions practices of one of the nation’s most elite schools.

Underlying all of this is the fact that Asian Americans are disproportionately represented at elite schools, i.e. they take a much higher percentage of available slots for incoming students than their percentage of the population. However, Asian admission rates would be even higher if admissions criteria relied solely on grades and test scores without regard for “diversity.” From an Atlantic piece published last year:

Whereas Asian American enrollment at the California Institute of Technology, which bases admission strictly on academics, grew from 25 percent in 1992 to 43 percent in 2013, it slightly decreased at Harvard—from 19 percent to 18 percent. SFFA also points to a widely cited Princeton study, which in 2005 found that an Asian American applicant must score 140 points more than her white counterpart on the 1600-point SAT.

The Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) uses similar logic in a separate civil-rights complaint, which requests that the Education and Justice departments investigate the admissions processes at Yale University, Brown University, and Dartmouth College. The AACE, which represents more than 130 organizations, contends that the schools, in relying on de facto racial quotas and stereotypes, deny admission to highly qualified Asian American applicants while admitting non-Asian students of equal caliber.

The college admissions process remains something of a black box, seemingly by design. It’s difficult to say where the “holistic” approach to admissions crosses a line into racial quotas that benefit some minorities at the expense of others.

The post Harvard being investigated by DOJ over admissions policies appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

The Turkey pardon Trump didn’t get around to. Pastor Andrew Brunson

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:41

Today we endured yet again the annual tradition of forcing the President of the United States to walk out in front of the press, give a silly speech and offer a fake pardon to a pair of birds better suited for a guest spot at his dinner table. There were the usual jokes, as well as at least one rather unusual one, and the chance for a group of people to get some face time on national television. (NBC News)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday joined the ranks of presidents to pardon turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving, granting Drumstick and Wishbone the turkey mercy in the Rose Garden.

Joined by first lady Melania Trump and son Barron, Trump said he was “pleased to report that unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of year, Drumstick has a very bright future ahead of him.” The president, saying “Hi, Drumstick,” predicted the turkey “is going to be very happy.”

Both Drumstick and his friend Wishbone will live out their years at Virginia Tech’s “Gobbler’s Rest” enclosure, where last year’s pardoned turkeys — Tater and Tot — currently reside after then-President Barack Obama kept them off the carving board.

Trump noted that he’s been “very active in overturning” executive actions taken by his predecessor — but not this time.

“I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked,” Trump joked. “So, Tater and Tot, you can rest easy.”

Ha ha. Ho ho. It was amusing enough and I’m not trying to rain on the parade of anyone who finds such things charming. But it should be impossible to position the words “pardon” and “Turkey” in the same sentence without thinking of another, far less humorous situation.

In the nation of Turkey (as opposed to the bird), there is someone in desperate need of a pardon and very deserving of one, though President Trump isn’t the one able to grant it. His name is Pastor Andrew Brunson. As of this Thanksgiving, he will have spent more than a year locked up in one of the dungeons of the Tyrant of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There has been zero evidence presented that Pastor Brunson has done anything remotely related to the crimes he’s been accused of following last summer’s coup in that country. Erdogan himself has as much as admitted in public that he’s holding the Pastor hostage as leverage to extract Cleric Fethullah Gulen from his exile in Pennsylvania.

The man’s daughter and her husband (via civil ceremony) have postponed their wedding because she is waiting and praying for the chance to have her father walk her down the aisle on her special day.

“My husband and I decided to have a civil ceremony and to postpone our wedding until my father is home. I’m still waiting for my wedding. I’m still waiting to wear that wedding dress that I got almost a year and a half ago,” Furnari said, according to CBN News.

“I’m still waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I’m still waiting for that father-daughter dance,” she went on to say.

The members of the Brunson family have significantly less to be thankful for this holiday season than most families. They wait each day for news, hoping for the best, but dreading the worst. President Trump has claimed on multiple occasions that he has a very good relationship with Erdogan. Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of days and Christmas is right around the corner.

This family deserves to be reunited. It’s a travesty that Pastor Brunson remains in one of Erdogan’s dungeons after all this time. We are the most powerful nation in the world and Turkey is a country still seeking membership in the EU, counting itself as a partner in NATO. This situation is intolerable.

President Trump needs to pick up the phone and make this happen. It should have been done long before now, but with the holidays upon us, what better time to demonstrate some skillful diplomacy and compassion for an American being unjustly held hostage by a foreign power? Bring the Brunson family a happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

The post The Turkey pardon Trump didn’t get around to. Pastor Andrew Brunson appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Sweet fancy Moses, the Pixar guy is part of the “pervnado” too?

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:01

Can’t say it any better than Benjy Sarlin: “Does any story capture the current mood better than “Hey, you know the most beloved children’s films in history? Well, here’s a bunch of sexual harassment allegations.'”

It’s John Lasseter, the man who directed “Toy Story,” the big cheese at Pixar first and then at Walt Disney Animation, the guy whose company effortlessly makes you cry over lonely robots and balloon-borne houses. There are few people in entertainment whose product is more closely associated with wholesomeness, especially at his stratum of success. He’s taking a leave of absence effective immediately due to “missteps” he’s made. What kind of missteps?

Put it this way. Allegedly he has a move named after him.

Sources say some women at Pixar knew to turn their heads quickly when encountering him to avoid his kisses. Some used a move they called “the Lasseter” to prevent their boss from putting his hands on their legs. A longtime insider says he saw a woman seated next to Lasseter in a meeting that occurred more than 15 years ago.

“She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh,” he says. “The best I can describe it is as a defensive posture … John had his hand on her knee, though, moving around.” After that encounter, this person asked the woman about what he had seen. “She said it was unfortunate for her to wear a skirt that day and if she didn’t have her hand on her own right leg, his hand would have travelled.”

The same source said he once noticed an oddly cropped photo of Lasseter standing between two women at a company function. When he mentioned that to a colleague, he was told, “We had to crop it. Do you know where his hands were?”

If you believe THR’s source he’s been doing this for 15 years at least, apparently with enough impunity that he felt comfortable caressing a woman employee’s knee in full view of a third party. Other sources say he was prone to making “comments about physical attributes” and was known as a hugger — loooong hugs in meetings, with lots of whispering. “He hugged and hugged and everyone’s looking at you. Just invading the space,” said the “insider.” That makes two accounts of Lasseter getting touchy feely in front of other staffers. Typically an “open secret” refers to knowledge of misbehavior that’s widely shared within a group but maybe only witnessed by a handful. At first blush it sounds like Lasseter’s behavior might not have been a secret at all. The only way this story could be worse would be if Pixar and Disney institutionally were covering for him. Unless THR’s reporting is wildly inaccurate it’s hard to imagine how the companies wouldn’t have known. He was doing this in front of people!

And if it’s wildly inaccurate, why did Lasseter admit to missteps and “painful” conversations in a memo to his staff a few hours before this broke?

I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.

“Gotta say this is the first #DirtbagBingo square that truly surprised me,” Iowahawk laments. Same here, even recognizing that it’s naive to stereotype people who produce wholesome goods as uniformly wholesome themselves. The best Pixar films (and there are many great ones) are so appealing that they leave you feeling vaguely that the studio can read your mind. They can squeeze any emotion out of you that they like. An empathic intelligence of that caliber should be able to muster enough empathy in personal relations so as not to force women to perfect “the Lasseter” to block an unwanted thigh grope. And yet here we are. I need a drink.

The post Sweet fancy Moses, the Pixar guy is part of the “pervnado” too? appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

It’s on: DoJ sues AT&T in biggest anti-trust action since …

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:31

Get ready for Sherman Act Wars II: The Revenge of the Death Star. Almost four decades ago, the Department of Justice forced the breakup of AT&T in an anti-trust settlement that set the stage for an explosion of innovation in telecommunications. Now the DoJ takes aim at AT&T again, this time for an attempted acquisition that would combine production and distribution that it allowed a few years ago with Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal. What’s changed? Well … that might just be the big question:

The Department of Justice sued Monday to block AT&T’s $85 billion bid for entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, setting the stage for one of the biggest antitrust cases to hit Washington in decades.

The move by the Justice Department’s antitrust division is unusual because it challenges a deal that would combine two different kinds of companies — a telecom with a media and entertainment company. Antitrust officials are relatively untested in the courts on opposing such deals and have rarely tried to squash them.

If successful, however, the government’s case would send a strong signal across the business world that Washington is no longer looking as kindly on such mergers.

AT&T says it will fight the lawsuit — and wants to get immediately to discovery. They feel with no small amount of justification that the Trump administration has political motives in blocking the acquisition. Someone at the White House began leaking that intent four months ago, and the sudden pressure to sell off CNN as a condition for approval only intensified that speculation. Donald Trump has conducted a months-long personal war over CNN as a purveyor of “fake news,” and the odd condition made it appear that the DoJ was being tasked with torpedoing the Time Warner sale, or perhaps even better, leaving CNN adrift to wither on the vine.

Now AT&T is betting that a federal judge will put an end to the interference and let the deal go through, especially with the Comcast acquisition as precedent. The DoJ argues that this deal is different, citing an amicus brief filed by DirecTV before AT&T acquired the satellite broadcaster:

Back then, AT&T argued that allowing Comcast to merge with NBC Universal would give the combined company the ability to use programming to hinder competition, antitrust officials said.

The Justice Department cited AT&T’s control over DirecTV, which it bought in 2015, as a reason why the current deal raised even more concerns than Comcast’s.

“We concluded [the AT&T tie-up] was even more harmful than the Comcast-NBC matter,” said a DOJ official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal agency deliberations.

If discovery finds correspondence exposing a more political reason for the sudden change of heart on vertical acquisitions, a judge might discount this as a rationalization — which it very well might be, even if the motive isn’t as political as AT&T believes. Even without that, though, Reuters analysts note that the DoJ faces long odds in opposing vertical integrations such as this massive AT&T acquisition:

“We are surprised at the lawsuit as there are decades of clear legal precedent on how these deals are handled,” Oppenheimer analysts wrote in a client note.

“We see a 75 percent chance AT&T wins at trial and the onus is on the DOJ to prove potential harm.” …

AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner comes under the heading of vertical mergers – a deal between two companies that do not compete directly but operate on different steps in a supply chain.

“The last time the DoJ challenged a vertical case was in the Carter years; it was last successful under Nixon,” Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal wrote in a note.

If this case falls apart because of Trump’s personal vendetta against CNN, it will be too bad — because the DoJ needs to expand its use of the Sherman Act to slow down the consolidation of corporate power. If it falls apart because of precedential weight, as Reuters predicts, then Congress needs to update the law to address vertical consolidation. If we want smaller government, we also have to fight against bigger business, as the power accumulation has a similar impact. It raises the stakes for crony capitalism, leading to an ever-larger government as politicians keep appeasing their clients.

As I argued months ago, this is a fight that should serve as a common ground to both conservatives and populists:

“A Better Deal on competition,” the agenda declares, “means that we will revisit our antitrust laws to ensure that the economic freedom of all Americans — consumers, workers, and small businesses — come before big corporations that are getting even bigger.” Democrats have campaigned on busting up “too big to fail” banks and financial institutions ever since the crash of 2008 and the Great Recession, but now they want to broaden that pledge to greater antitrust enforcement across the board. The outcome they promise is to stop mergers and acquisitions that “unfairly consolidate corporate power.”

Clearly, this is a sop to Bernie Sanders and the progressive populists that provided what energy Democrats had in 2016. It should be effective for that purpose, but the rest of the policies outlined in “A Better Deal” offer nothing more than big government as the alternative. Sanders and his progressive followers see the power of the state as the only other alternative to consolidating corporate power. Progressives in Academia and coastal enclaves see themselves as benefiting from a shift toward that end, as they presume that they will benefit from it.

That ignores a key frustration among voters outside of those cultural and political power centers, however. They feel left out and cut off from the forces that impact their lives. Trading off Big Corporation for Big Brother only escalates the problem. They can see the impact of corporate consolidations in their communities in the storefronts on Main Street and the difficulty in starting businesses that compete with chain retail and service corporations. As manufacturers consolidated, they packed up operations and moved out of these communities, and the people who lived in them had fewer and fewer choices and options. Political parties ignored those fears or sometimes outright ridiculed them.

It’s that economic, cultural, and political disconnect that fueled populism on the Right, on which Donald Trump capitalized by acknowledging and legitimizing it. Republicans took this as a culture-war opportunity, but they’re missing a large part of the problem by overlooking Main Street economics.

Republicans may feel uncomfortable taking a more aggressive policy on antitrust enforcement, but it does fit with a dedication to small government and federalism. Increasing consolidation in the marketplace concentrates economic power into fewer hands, and economic power eventually will get expressed in political terms. Our massively complicated tax codes and regulations serve as traditional vehicles for rent-seeking behaviors by corporations less interested in free markets than in squelching competition.

If the GOP truly wants to bring conservatives and populists together on economics and governance, they need a measured and assertive approach to antitrust enforcement. Populism is all about returning power to the people, while modern conservatism has limited government and subsidiarity in power at its core.

The AT&T deal should have been Ground Zero for such an effort. The fight may have been fatally compromised by a petulant attack on a media outlet when the larger battle to reduce corporate power and influence was waiting to be won. Congress will have to intervene at this point by aiming at the heart of consolidations in either horizontal or vertical form and putting an end to “too big to fail” no matter which industry it appears.

The post It’s on: DoJ sues AT&T in biggest anti-trust action since … appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Apple’s hypocrisy on iPhone privacy and civil liberties

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:01

When Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California in 2015, authorities were desperate to see if the pair had communicated with anyone else. Was there a wider network involved in the attack? Were they planning other attacks? In the process of the investigation, the FBI discovered an iPhone 5C which Farook and Malik had been given through work. The FBI was given consent by Farook’s former employer to search the phone, but the security prevented investigators from accessing its contents. FBI Director James Comey announced, “We still have one of those killer’s phones that we have not been able to open.”

Apple refused to help.

In fact, even after a federal judge ordered Apple to unlock the terrorists’ phone, the company refused. Apple claimed there was no back door to its software and thus, they could not be forced to work to crack it. Doing so, Apple suggested, would lead to a loss of privacy for all of its customers. Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.” At the time, Republican front-runner Donald Trump even suggested boycotting Apple unless they agreed to help.

Apple never did unlock the phone. Perhaps the battle in court would have continued, but about 5 weeks later, in late March 2016, the FBI announced it had unlocked the phone.

This was not a one-time thing. When Devin Patrick Kelley murdered 26 people at a small church in Texas earlier this month, investigators discovered his iPhone. Once again, the FBI announced it was unable to gain access to the dead man’s phone. FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said during a press conference, “I can assure you that we are working very hard to get into the phone and that will continue until we find an answer. I don’t know how long that is going to be.” He added, “It could be tomorrow, it could be a week, it could be a month.”

With all that in mind, consider how flexible Apple is when it comes to government access to phones in communist China. From the Hill:

Apple told senators that capitulating to the Chinese government’s ban on certain privacy apps would help the iPhone continue to “promote greater opennness [sic] and facilitate the free flow of ideas and information.”

The comments came in a written response to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who asked the firm in October why it had removed virtual private network (VPN) apps from its Chinese app store.

PN apps skirt surveillance efforts, including China’s rigid censorship regime. China now requires VPNs to cooperate with its internet filters.

So China passed a law preventing people from using unregistered (unmonitored) VPN’s on their phones and Apple’s response is, ‘Hey, gotta obey local laws.’ Here’s Apple’s full response. It reads in part, “We are convinced that Apple can best promote fundamental rights, including the right of free expression, by being engaged even where we may disagree with a particular country’s laws.” But again, when a U.S. judge told Apple to unlock a dead terrorists’ phone, they said it was too dangerous to people’s privacy to even try.

Here’s Tim Cook back in February 2016 explaining the danger to people’s privacy. “This is not a position that we would like to be in,” Cook said. He continued, “To oppose your government on something doesn’t feel good. And to oppose it on something where we are advocating for civil liberties which they are supposed to protect, it is incredibly ironic.”

The post Apple’s hypocrisy on iPhone privacy and civil liberties appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

ICE may finally be targeting employers

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:31

The next major ICE operation sounds promising, assuming the sources for this article from the Daily Beast have got their story straight. Up until now most of the major operations we’ve seen launched this year had to do with tracking down and rounding up criminal illegal aliens individually. But now the agency’s attention may be turning to a different group of people who have long flown under the radar: employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens, frequently abusing them by paying them slave wages and offering no benefits. The industry where this is most prevalent and supposedly the target of this operation is involved in food services.

The current plan is focused on employers who exploit undocumented workers by illegally paying them below the minimum wage. The operation will target locations around the country and will likely result in charges of “harboring illegal aliens,” according to an ICE official.

“These people are basically being used as slave labor,” said the official, who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because he was not permitted to discuss impending operations on the record.

The plans detailed in the document are the strongest indication to date that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are increasing what’s called “worksite enforcement”—meaning, efforts to prosecute people who employ undocumented immigrants. As with all complex law enforcement operations, there’s a chance this one is altered or even scuttled. If it does go according to plan, however, it will be the first major worksite enforcement action of an administration that has promised to prioritize this core ICE mission.

They cite one recent report which claims that nearly ten percent of the food service workers in the United States are undocumented. That sounds shockingly high, but I suppose it’s possible.

The real story here, however, isn’t just the number of illegal aliens who can be found working in these places and presumably deported. It’s the far-reaching effect this could have on the entire border security situation. We’ve been discussing this here for years, but it’s absolutely worth repeating. Until there’s a much better wall along the southern border, simply finding and kicking out illegal aliens isn’t going to make much of a dent in the problem. What would really make a difference is removing (or at least seriously decreasing) the incentive for them to cross the border to begin with.

That’s where an operation such as the one proposed here could pay off in a big way. As I’ve predicted in the past, the first time a major employer winds up standing in front of a judge in an orange jumpsuit and being handed a ten year sentence, the hiring of illegal aliens will plummet overnight. And when the word gets around that there are no jobs to be had, many of those thinking of jumping the border will have second thoughts and probably stay home. You don’t need the same massive level of enforcement resources if far fewer people are coming in.

As we’ve seen already this year, when ICE is really motivated to get into gear they can roll out a nationwide effort in fairly short order. Here’s hoping that they manage to pull it off again this time. And if you want to see just how effective they can be, check out this brief video from ABC covering one sweep where they picked up more than 100 people in very short order.

The post ICE may finally be targeting employers appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

This Is the Tech Bubble We've Been Waiting For

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:15
Jim Edwards, Business Insider
In cryptocurrencies, the
Categories: Conservative News

How to Save the City of Big Shoulders

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:14
Steve Cortes, RealClearPolitics
More than a century ago, Upton Sinclair galvanized America with his novel “The Jungle,” in which he detailed the harsh treatment of laborers and unsanitary conditions in Chicago’s meat slaughterhouses. Sinclair made infamous a section of the Chicago River known as “Bubbly Creek” -- where the water literally bubbled from the massive amounts of animal blood and waste dumped into the river. Today the stockyards are long gone, and Chicago is no longer “Hog Butcher to the World,” as poet Carl Sandberg wrote.
Categories: Conservative News

Colin Kaepernick & the Myth of the 'Good' Protest

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:07
Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, NY Times
Colin Kaepernick and Rosa Parks are more alike than we think.
Categories: Conservative News

Trump re-endorses Roy Moore: “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat”

HotAir - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:01

November 10, the day after WaPo’s first story about Moore broke, the White House said he should quit if the allegations are true.

“Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Air Force One en route to Da Nang, Vietnam. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”

November 16, three days after Beverly Young Nelson accused Moore of assaulting her when she was 16, the White House said it’s for the voters of Alabama to decide.

“Look, the president believes these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their senator should be,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

Today, November 21, days after further reporting on people who remember Moore chatting up teenaged girls at the mall, POTUS and Kellyanne Conway are all-in.

“I’m telling you we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway said. “And the media — if the media were really concerned about all these allegations, and that’s what this was truly about … Al Franken would be on the ash heap of bygone half-funny comedians. He wouldn’t be here on Capitol Hill. He still has his job. What’s Bob Menendez doing back here? That’s the best my state of New Jersey can do?”…

“The guy Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal,” Conway said. She added: “I just want everybody to know Doug Jones. Nobody ever says his name, and they pretend that he’s some kind of conservative Democrat in Alabama, and he’s not.”

The more evidence has piled up against Moore, the more the White House has drifted towards supporting him. You can interpret that in two ways. From the standpoint of expedience, Team Trump had to be cautious after the scandal first broke because there was too much uncertainty about what might happen. Moore might quit; the state party might oust him; Alabama Republicans might revolt; more, and worse, accusations might surface. The safe play was to say Moore must go if the allegations are true. Twelve days later, there’s much less uncertainty. Moore won’t quit and the state GOP won’t remove him as nominee. Alabama Republicans are hanging with him for the most part but he’s lost enough of them to give Jones a credible chance of taking the seat. It’s now a binary choice, just as it was last November. And given a binary choice, the tribe always sides with its own, no matter what its representative is accused of. Moore calculated that as long as he stands firm, no matter how bad the scandal gets, the belief that anything is better than a Democrat will keep most of the party with him. He was right.

From the standpoint of image, Trump had little choice but to stick with Moore. He couldn’t risk losing a second fight with the Alabamian, having already lost once in the primary runoff. If he tried to force Moore out or encouraged voters to stay home, his populist fans would say that Moore’s spine is stiffer than Trump’s, that Trump’s not really a “fighter” when the fight gets hard, that Trump’s been corrupted by Washington, that Trump’s in the tank for McConnell. That would leave POTUS in a lose/lose position. If Moore ended up losing the race, some of Trump’s own base would blame him for turning on the nominee. If Moore ended up winning, it would prove that Trump’s disapproval means nothing to “his people,” that “his people” are loyal to populism, not to Trump. In the end, Trump risks less political capital with the right if he backs Moore and Moore loses than if he stays neutral. So that’s what he did.

Will he campaign for Moore too? Stay tuned, Trump told reporters. What a spectacle that would be.

At least Trump didn’t say that Moore’s accusers are credible but that Moore should be supported anyway, as Alabama’s governor recently did. If you’re going to vote for a guy who may have molested children, for cripes sake at least make an effort to convince yourself that he’s innocent. Moore says he didn’t do it, so hey. Good enough for Trump. Incidentally, I believe the only member of the Senate who’s still backing Moore is Rand Paul; everyone else has either withdrawn their endorsements or, as in the case of Jeff Flake, believes Moore should lose the race. Only Trump among major Republican elected officials is still down for whatever Moore will be bringing to the Senate with him.

Update: Yeah, how about that.

President Trump: "Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it." pic.twitter.com/Ipk7LkT9Of

— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2017

The post Trump re-endorses Roy Moore: “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat” appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Thank Obama for Looming Mideast War Against Iran

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:59
Vivian Bercovici, National Post
As ISIL filled the vacuum left by the abdication of American power by the Obama administration, so now Iran will occupy the space left by ISIL
Categories: Conservative News

America's Adversaries Get It: Trump Can Be Ignored

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:59
Eli Lake, Bloomberg
The real threat is not Trump's nuclear power, but the disconnect between his tweets and the government itself.
Categories: Conservative News

FBI Informant's Memos Show Russian Push for Uranium One

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:59
John Solomon, The Hill
An FBI informant gathered extensive evidence during his six years undercover about a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market
Categories: Conservative News

The Incredible Shrinking Presidency of Donald Trump

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:58
Chris Cillizza, CNN
In the past 7 days, President Trump has attacked the following people -- and institutions -- on Twitter:
Categories: Conservative News

Scandals Finally Catch Up With the Clintons

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:58
Liz Peek, FOX News
Imagine: even the New York Times' Ross Douthat now thinks that Bill Clinton should have stepped down over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Categories: Conservative News

Leave Bill Alone, Women Never Had a Better President

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:57
Jamie Stiehm, U.S. News & WR
As more sexual harassment claims against powerful men come to light, a few pundits and a senator have said former President Bill Clinton should have resigned over a liaison with Monica Lewinsky and three unproven accusations of misconduct.
Categories: Conservative News

Hillary's Version of What Happened

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:56
Conrad Black, National Review
The American political community has not taken adequate notice of Hillary Clinton's book What Happened (the title is not posed as a question). It was generally panned when it came out a couple of months ago for blaming everyone but herself for her defeat. I have never been a Clinton-basher, and I was astonished by the venom, untruthfulness, and zealotry of her account. Mrs. Clinton writes persuasively of seeking grace after her defeat, and concluded most of her speeches throughout the 2016 campaign calling for love and kindness, yet she is unrelievedly ungracious. She describes her opponent...
Categories: Conservative News

Republicans Unveil Plans to Nuke the Internet

Real Clear Politics - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:50
Maya Kosoff, Vanity Fair
“Two years ago, I warned that we were making a serious mistake,” Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a speech in Washington in April, referring to net-neutrality rules that were enacted under Obama. “It’s basic economics,” he continued. “The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.” This week, Pai will move to put that theory to the test, rolling out plans to dismantle prohibitions that currently prevent Internet service providers from charging companies for faster...
Categories: Conservative News
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