Powerline – Google helping Crooked Hillary
Powerline – Google helping Crooked Hillary
Memo: Google Tried to Help Hillary Win by Driving Latino Vote
Kavanaugh Cruises Toward Confirmation
Alex Acosta for the D.C. Circuit?
Anatomy of a Fusion smear: Restatement & finale
Memo: Google Tried to Help Hillary Win by Driving Latino Vote
Posted: 11 Sep 2018 04:36 PM PDT
I’ve written several times about the fact that the Left has outsourced censorship to the giant tech firms of Silicon Valley. Given that much political debate now takes place on social media, generally thought of as a public space, it is a handy way around the First Amendment. But the role of the giant tech companies goes beyond suppressing conservative voices, to include promoting liberalism and the Democratic Party.
The tech companies all take the same position as the Democratic Party press: sure, we’re all liberals here, but it doesn’t affect what we do! In our business lives, we are scrupulously neutral.
No one has bought that line with regard to the liberal media in a long time, and there is no reason to believe it with regard to Silicon Valley, either. The latest evidence comes from a leaked Google emailthat found its way onto the Tucker Carlson show last night:
A Google executive’s leaked email reveals efforts to increase Latino turnout prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the executive’s “surprise” at Donald Trump’s performance among Latino voters.
The 675-word email, first obtained exclusively by Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” was written by the tech giant’s former head of multicultural marketing and details a range of efforts to increase Latino turnout, including the support of a partner organization that helped to drive voters to the polls.
The full text of the email may be online somewhere, but I haven’t seen it, so I have to rely on the Fox summary.
“We worked very hard. Many people did. We pushed to get out the Latino vote with our features, our partners, and our voices. We kept our Googley efforts non-partisan and followed our company’s protocols for the elections strategy,” the email begins. “We emphasized our mission to give Latinos access to information so they can make an informed decision at the polls, and we feel very grateful for all the support to do this important work.”
At the end of the email, the author wrote that Latino Googlers are “probably hurting right now” and that the election results are “tough to handle now that we know not all of us were against this.”
The Google executive acknowledges that Latinos, long considered the “sleeping giant” of American politics thanks to the country’s rapidly shifting demographics, did vote in record-breaking numbers and turned out early—but a significant percentage supported Trump instead of Hillary Clinton.
“Ultimately, after all was said and one [sic], the Latino community did come out to vote, and completely surprised us. We never anticipated that 29% of Latinos would vote for Trump. No one did,” the executive wrote.
The only reasonable interpretation is that Google tried to help Hillary win the election, in part through this initiative, but fell short.
Google distanced itself from the memo with the usual rationale:
A Google spokesperson previously told Fox News: “The views expressed in this email are the employee’s personal political views and are not representative of any official stance from the company. Google’s elections efforts—both in 2016 and leading up to this year’s midterms—have been entirely nonpartisan.
Right. What to do about the liberal (often, far-left) bent of the tech giants, several of which are monopoly platforms, is a big question. Break them up under the antitrust laws? Turn them into regulated utilities like the water company? Found competing conservative/moderate platforms? That is a big topic to which we will return many times in the months and years to come.
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Kavanaugh Cruises Toward Confirmation
Posted: 11 Sep 2018 04:15 PM PDT
Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley may hold a committee vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination as early as Thursday, and it looks as though the full Senate will vote on his nomination this month. The latest blow to the Democrats’ hopes came today from Senator Susan Collins, who denounced liberal efforts to pressure her to vote against the nomination:
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says she is not swayed by crowdfunding aimed at encouraging her to oppose Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, comparing the effort to a “bribe.”
Two groups of Maine progressives have pledged to donate up to $1.3 million to Collins’s next opponent if the Maine senator votes to confirm Kavanaugh, Newsmax reported. Collins is not up for reelection until 2020.
“This effort will not influence my vote at all,” she added. “I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.”
That doesn’t sound like someone who is impressed by the Democrats’ disgusting antics.
It looks as though all Senate Republicans will vote to confirm, with Vice President Mike Pence available if needed as a backup. If that holds, Chuck Schumer will release red state Democrats who are up this year to vote to confirm, making Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation bipartisan.
One never wants to be overconfident, but still…Michael Ramirez’s take seems correct. The “Resistance” fails again! Click to enlarge:
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Alex Acosta for the D.C. Circuit?
Posted: 11 Sep 2018 02:01 PM PDT
If, as expected, Brett Kavanaugh ascends to the Supreme Court, a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will arise. Bloomberg considers Alex Acosta’s prospects for being nominated.
Acosta is the Secretary of Labor. Unlike most of President Trump’s cabinet, he has done very little toreverse the pro-left policies of his predecessor. This seems particularly egregious inasmuch as Acosta’s predecessor, Tom Perez, was as aggressively left-wing as any member of President Obama’s cabinet.
The most innocent, and I believe the most plausible, explanation for Acosta’s passivity is that he doesn’t want to alienate Democrats ahead of his possible nomination for a judgeship or a more prestigious cabinet post. Another explanation is that he’s fine with Tom Perez’s radical legacy. Both explanations can be true.
Now, a judgeship on the nation’s second most important court will probably become available next month. How likely is it that Trump will nominate Acosta?
Bloomberg’s Chris Opfer considers it unlikely. He believes the competition will be too stiff. The D.C. Circuit is a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Thus, nearly everyone in GOP legal circles under the age of, say 55, who is anyone, will be angling for the nomination.
On the plus side, though, Acosta has important friends. The most important one by far is Leonard Leo. He’s been been helping Trump pick judges since Day One.
In addition, as Bloomberg says, Acosta also has enemies who would love to see him promoted out of his current job. I’m referring to the business community, significant portions of which are frustrated with Acosta’s inaction.
The business community’s eagerness to see the back of Acosta is understandable. But the need for D.C. Circuit judges who consistently take conservative position and who aren’t cowed by the left must be the overriding concern of conservatives and the president.
There’s another possible angle here that Bloomberg does not consider. It’s not clear that Trump’s nominee to replace Kavanaugh will be voted on by the current Senate.
This probably doesn’t change the equation if Republicans retain control of the Senate, as most observers consider more likely than not. But if Democrats gain control, they will be in a position to block all of Trump’s nominees.
Under these circumstances, only a nominee who can peel off some Democratic votes will be confirmable. Acosta, by keeping the left reasonably happy as Secretary of Labor, and before that(perhaps to a lesser extent) as head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, might well be able to win Democratic support. After all, Democrats from swing states probably won’t want to vote down every nomination Trump sends to the Senate. Acosta could be their poster child for “reaching across the aisle.”
Here we see the logic of Acosta’s unwillingness to rock the left’s boat. With Leonard Leo on his side, he’s in play for a big time judicial nomination. If Republicans control the Senate, they will almost certainly confirm him despite any misgivings, out of deference to the president. If Democrats control the Senate, Acosta remains confirmable and, for that reason, perhaps moves to the head of the Republican class.
And even if Trump looks elsewhere for a D.C. Circuit judge, there’s always the 11th Circuit which has seats in Acosta’s hometown, Miami.
Thus, Acosta seems to have made a smart play by putting his ambition far ahead of any conservative policy agenda and the agenda Trump hoped to implement when he nominated hard-charging Andy Puzder for the job.
MEANWHILE, IN RELATED NEWS, Acosta still has not appointed anyone to the Department of Labor’sAdministrative Review Board. All five members of that Board in place when Acosta arrived were Obama appointees. Four have left. Thus the Board, which in essence is the appeals court of the DOL, has only one member. He’s a crony of Tom Perez from their days as left-wing Maryland bureaucrats.
I understand that by appointing new members, Acosta would probably disappoint either liberals or conservatives. But Acosta’s inaction on this front sets a new standard for spinelessness and opportunism.
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Posted: 11 Sep 2018 08:12 AM PDT
For the past 20 years, Kenneth Starr has avoided the limelight. And why not? As the independent counsel who investigate Whitewater and other Clinton-related scandals, he received enough attention to last several lifetimes.
Now, however, Starr has written a book about those days. It’s called Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation.
The contempt in question was that of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The two manifested it differently, though.
According to Starr, Bill Clinton displayed his contempt genially. During his interviews, Bill “bobbed and weaved, but was always pleasant as he avoided answering.”
Hillary, not surprisingly, was a different story. “In the space of three hours,” says Starr, “she claimed, by our count, over a hundred times that she ‘did not recall’ or ‘did not remember.’” Her “strained performance” struck Starr as “preposterous” and “suggested outright mendacity.” It was clear to Starr and his team that “Mrs. Clinton couldn’t be bothered to make it appear as if she were telling the truth.”
Starr considered bringing perjury charges against Hillary. He had no doubt that she committed the offense, but concluded it would be too difficult to prove she lied by repeatedly saying, “I don’t know.”
In short, Hillary’s “contempt” accomplished her mission.
Nowadays, few people know (or remember) the underlying offenses Hillary Clinton covered up with those “I don’t knows.” Perhaps Starr’s book will partially remedy this situation.
The following is an account of Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater-related misdeeds. It first appeared in substantially this form in a 2015 Power Line post:
In the 1990s, Clinton stole and/or caused to be destroyed [documents] establish[ing] her role as the attorney for participants in a fraudulent scheme called Castle Grande.
Clinton, working with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, stole hard copies of the billing records of the Rose law firm where they were partners. They erased the electronic version of these records. One set of these documents was later found in the White House, just outside Hillary’s private office, by an employee. Another set was found in Foster’s attic by his widow, some years after he committed suicide. Clinton’s time sheets (handwritten, as was the practice back in the day) were never found.
To understand why Clinton stole and destroyed the documents, it’s necessary to understand the Castle Grande back story. Here are the basics.
Bill Sweats the Small Stuff
In the 1980s, Hillary Clinton was a partner at the Rose law firm. Because she was also the state’s first lady, and because she liked to serve on various commissions and to escape from Arkansas whenever possible, she didn’t bill a lot of hours.
Like most big law firms, Rose didn’t mind as long as she brought in business for other lawyers to work on. But Clinton wasn’t bringing in a quantity of business commensurate with her status as the governor’s wife.
Under pressure to bring in more business, Hillary nagged her husband. Philandering Bill had more than even the normal incentive to accommodate his wife.
Accordingly, one day during his jog, he stopped by the office of Jim McDougal, the principal stock holder of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan Association and a partner in Whitewater Development Company. The purpose of the visit was to urge McDougal to send some work Hillary’s way.
Years later, McDougal recalled how Bill, still sweating from his run, plopped himself down in an expensive leather chair — a gift to McDougal from his wife. McDougal’s main concern was how to get the governor out of the chair before he ruined it. (Bill denies the story — I did not have sweat in that chair — but this is the kind of thing that’s hard to make up.)
As a result of the meeting, McDougal retained the Rose law firm to do the legal work associated with a venture called Castle Grande. The firm performed this work in 1985 and 1986.
In addition to Madison Guaranty, Rose represented Seth Ward, an employee of Madison and the father-in-law of Webster Hubbell. Hubbell was Hillary’s law partner and friend, and later the associate attorney general of the United States in the Clinton administration. Hubbell worked with Clinton on the Castle Grande matter.
Mr. Ponzi, call your office
The Castle Grande project was a scheme to commit fraud through real estate loans. It was basically a pyramid scheme that used a series of loans to enrich Madison insiders. Madison was, in effect, McDougal’s personal piggy-bank.
The land in question was a scrub pine forest that previously had failed as an industrial development project. The sales price of the property was $1.75 million.
State regulations prohibited McDougal from investing more than 6 percent of Madison’s S&L assets. McDougal therefore put up $600,000 of Madison’s money. Seth Ward put up the remaining $1.15 million.
Ward borrowed the money from Madison on non-recourse, no personal obligation to repay basis. If federal regulators found out about this circumvention, Madison could be shut down.
The land appraiser for the property inflated his appraisals to support loans to purchasers, including future Arkansas governor Jim Guy Tucker who bought a water and sewer system for the Castle Grande project. The appraiser later pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges.
David Hale, head of an outfit licensed to provide lending to minorities and the economically disadvantaged, conspired with McDougal and Tucker to use his operation as a pass-through to generate additional loans from Madison. A friend and business associate of Hale’s borrowed $825,000 from Madison to buy three properties from Hale. But he never used the money. Instead, it went to Hale, who used it to recapitalize his company with matching funds from the Small Business Administration.
Hale loaned a $150,000 down payment to Tucker who bought out a portion of Ward’s Castle Grande holdings for $1.2 million. Tucker borrowed the additional $1.05 million from Madison.
McDougal loaned former Senator William Fulbright, a long-time friend, $700,000 to buy out the bulk of Ward’s remaining holdings. The net effect was to remove Ward’s non-recourse loan from the Madison books and generate substantial sales profits and commissions for Madison.
Through various “cross-loans,” McDougal hoped to prevent regulators from discovering Ward’s true role, and thus Madison’s full investment, in Castle Grande. But federal regulators weren’t deceived. In 1986, they removed McDougal from Madison Guaranty.
Eventually, the FBI was called. Federal prosecutors ultimately convicted 14 individuals, including McDougal and Tucker (by then the sitting governor of Arkansas). But this occurred years later, after Bill Clinton had been elected president.
Will the Bloom Come Off the Rose?
By 1991, Bill Clinton was running for president. Like his other Democratic rivals, he campaigned against the “decade of greed” that had brought us the S&L scandals.
Fortunately for his campaign, Hillary’s involvement in the Madison scandal had remained obscure. In fact, when the Resolution Trust Corporation, a temporary federal agency created to resolve the S&L crisis, wanted to sue the accounting firm that had handled Castle Grande, it hired Rose (in the person of Hubbell) to bring the lawsuit. Hubbell never disclosed the obvious conflict that stemmed from his firm’s work on Castle Grande; nor did he reveal the fact that Rose performed work on this matter in 1985 and 1986.
Castle Grande seemed to be behind Hillary and Hubbell when a New York Times reporter named Jeff Gerth arrived in Little Rock and started asking questions. Some of his questions pertained to Hillary’s involvement with McDougal.
The Lady’s Records Vanish
By this time, the Clinton campaign already believed it had two strikes against it: Gennifer Flowers/”bimbo eruptions” and Bill’s draft dodging/disrespect for the military. Clinton involvement in the S&L scandal felt like strike three.
Hillary contacted Vince Foster. Foster had not been involved in the Castle Grande representation, but he was Hillary’s mentor and trusted adviser — so trusted that he would eventually come with the Clintons to Washington, where he served as second in command in the Office of White Counsel the unit that, among other things, tries to put out fires involving the president.
Foster and Hubbell sprung into action. They printed out all billing records pertaining to Castle Grande and removed them from the Rose law firm, whose property they were. Foster and Hubbell also collected all files pertaining to the representation — sweeping from office to office to demand the files — and removed them from the premises. And Hillary Clinton’s time sheets disappeared.
As for the electronic version of the billing records, they were erased. The FBI’s forensic team was unable to reconstruct them.
Hillary told Gerth that a Rose associate, Rick Massey, had done all of the work on the McDougal project. With the billing records and time sheets gone, she could feel comfortable telling this lie, which she would repeat to others in the media.
It sufficed. Castle Grande/Whitewater was a non-issue in the 1992 presidential campaign.
Guess What I Found
Federal prosecutors remained on the trail, however. Eventually, over Hillary’s objections, the administration agreed to the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate “Whitewater.”
In 1994, the Castle Grande billing records were subpoenaed. They were not produced at that time.
A year and a half later, Carolyn Huber, a White House employee, found the billing records in the private quarters of the first family, right outside Mrs. Clinton’s private office. Huber said that, not knowing what they were, she packed them up and took them to her own office. Only later, in early 1996, did she realize that these were the famous billing records that prosecutors were after.
The billing records were then produced, two years late. Hillary’s fingerprints were on them.
The records show that Clinton billed time for work on Castle Grande, and was the billing partner for this representation. More than that, they show that she and/or Hubbell performed legal services — described, for example, as “conference with Seth Ward” or just “Seth Ward” — on every day in which federal prosecutors had found that McDougal and/or his cronies committed an act in furtherance of their unlawful conspiracy e.g., backdating documents and making phony loans.
In effect, the billing records place Clinton and Hubbell at the scene of the crime.
Crime and Punishment, of some
The independent counsel indicted Hubbell for fraud against federal regulators. The fraud consisted, in essence, of concealing from federal agents and investigators the true role of Hubbell, the Rose law firm, and Hillary Clinton in Castle Grande.
Out of respect for the White House, the indictment referred to Hillary only as “Rose’s 1985-86 billing partner.” It did not mention her name. However, she appears throughout the indictment — referred to approximately three dozen times.
Hillary Clinton was slated to be called as a witness at Hubbell’s trial. Her attorney met with lawyers from the special counsel’s office to try to persuade them that the charges had nothing to do with Hillary. This absurd claim was rejected. The very next morning, Hubbell’s lawyer informed the special counsel that he would plead guilty.
Throughout the Whitewater/Castle Grande scandal, Hillary Clinton’s instinct was to stonewall and deceive. She lied about her role and removed and destroyed documents.
From Hillary’s perspectives, her instincts were spot on. Absent the appointment of the independent counsel, much unpleasantness, including the Monica Lewinsky matter and the impeachment, might well have been avoided. And had Clinton not stolen the Castle Grande documents, her husband’s 1992 campaign might have been derailed.
What’s past is prologue
Decades later, Hillary Clinton found herself embroiled in another scandal involving the destruction of records. The email scandal wasn’t just a replay of the Castle Grande document theft and destruction; it was the logical outgrowth of it. Hillary’s basic instinct having been reinforced in the 1990s, it was natural that they would give rise to a similar scandal.
As in the 1990s, Hillary narrowly escaped prosecution. However, she also narrowly lost the presidency, quite possibly because of the email scandal. Thus, Hillary’s basic instinct did not serve her well the second time around.
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Anatomy of a Fusion smear: Restatement & finale
Posted: 11 Sep 2018 05:18 AM PDT
On September 1 the Wall Street Journal published an editorial decrying the wrong done to Cleta Mitchell in connection with the Russia investigation(s). Cleta is the prominent Foley & Lardner partner and campaign finance expert. The Journal editorial is “Anatomy of a Fusion smear”(truncated but accessible here on Outline).
The editorial addressed the smearing of Cleta Mitchell by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon in their March 15 McClatchy News story “Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties.” The smear was planted in his accustomed style by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson with his friends at McClatchy. Chuck Ross’s August 13 Daily Caller story “Fusion GPS founder shared ‘false story’ about GOP lawyer in meeting with DoJ’s Bruce Ohr” presented the final piece in the puzzle of the trail from Simpson to the Department of Justice, Congress and McClatchy.
Ross’s story elicited the Journal’s September 1 editorial. The editorial must have been written by editorial board member Kim Strassel. Strassel originally broached the smear in her invaluable March 22 Potomac Watch column “Russia, the NRA and fake news” (accessible here on Outline). Everything I have tried to elaborate in this series is implicit in Strassel’s March 22 column.
The smearing of Cleta Mitchell by Glenn Simpson via McClatchy News replicates in small the techniques that Simpson used to conjure the Russia hoax and roil the United States over the past two years. My theme in this series is that it is Glenn Simpson’s world. We’re all just living in it.
I know and respect Cleta. Having read the Journal’s September 1 editorial, I wrote Cleta to ask if she had anything she wanted to add to it. Oh, yes. Indeed she did. This series followed. I invite readers to retrace my steps:
A word from Cleta Mitchell: Drawing on her own experience at the hands of Simpson and his friends at McClatchy, Cleta comments: “I was vociferous about the false story they [the McClatchy reporters] were told, and which they repeated. Simpson should be prosecuted for making false statements to federal investigators [as set forth in the Journal editorial]. That’s a crime. The Mueller investigation should be stopped. Ended. It is built on lies and false narratives from beginning to end.”
Cleta Mitchell: Glenn Simpson is a liar: Cleta forwarded a copy of the April 24 letter from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to her this past April. In the letter the committee requested records of her contacts with specified Russian and Russian entities. I have posted that letter here.
Cleta responded to the committee by letter dated May 8, 2018. In her letter Cleta wrote: “I have no information about any of the individuals referenced in your letter. Whatever stories Glenn Simpson, Dan Jones, and other operatives associated with FusionGPS, have told your staff about me, they are lying. They have made false statements regarding my knowledge, or role, or information in my possession related to the persons listed in your letter – none of whom had I ever heard of before reading their names in the erroneous news reports falsely accusing me of having some information that you now think I have. The story is false and you are wrong. I have nothing whatsoever to say on this topic other than it is a lie, completely fabricated and concocted by Glenn Simpson & Co. You should be pursuing them for perjury and for making false statements to congressional investigators.” I embedded a copy of Cleta’s letter at the bottom of the “Glenn Simpson is a liar” post via Scribd.
Fake news: A case study: Cleta forwarded a copy of her email correspondence with McClatchy reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon before and after their publication of the story retailing Simpson’s smear. I pasted it into a single document and posted it in its entirety at the bottom of this post. Here the reader can see with his own eyes that Stone and Gordon had nothing to back up the substance of their smear.
The smearing of Cleta Mitchell: Martha MacCallum usefully reviewed the story so far and invited Cleta to discuss it briefly on her Fox News show. I posted the video of this six-minute segment.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (1): In this post I trace the circumstantial evidence laying the smear at the feet of Glenn Simspon and Fusion GPS.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (2): We are getting to know Glenn Simpson and his modus operandi. He works with his media friends under the veil of anonymity. There is no good excuse for the anonymity that Simpson’s conduits in the press grant him. The Fusion smear follows a template with four hallmarks in the news stories that disseminate it after it has been planted. I lay out the template and illustrate it with examples in this post.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (3): In this post we follow the trail of Glenn Simpson to ProPublica with a little help from Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson knows what she is talking about.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (4): Stone and Gordon are still pushing the line that Michael Cohen visited Prague in 2016, assumedly in furtherance of the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russian intelligence. They reported that Mueller has the evidence, but where is it? Working on this series over the past 10 days, I finally came to understand Simpson’s modus operandi and to absorb related news of which I was only vaguely aware. Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS have not given up their efforts to undermine Donald Trump. The Federalist’s Sean Davis reported earlier this year “CONFIRMED: Former Feinstein Staffer Raised $50 Million, Hired Fusion GPS And Christopher Steele After 2016 Election.” The mission continues unabated.
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