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Huge news! Trump earned a lot of money and paid a lot of taxes in 2005! Thanks, Rachel Maddow.
Anyway, when she finally revealed what was in the taxes, it was not a huge deal. Trump earned about $150 million in income in 2005, and paid $38 million in taxes, thanks to the alternative minimum tax, which he wants to kill.
This gives Trump an effective tax rate of about 24 percent, which Johnston pointed out was roughly equal to what he and his wife, who are an upper middle class couple, pay.
And, sure, for a billionaire, you can argue that he should pay more in taxes. But, $38 million is a big number. As is $150 million in income.
Chris Farrell tweeted this image of the NYT from January 20th, 2017.
You'll notice the headline: "Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides". However, according to the Wayback Machine, the online version of the story has had a different headline since it was first posted: "Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates".
Did someone realize even then that the word "wiretapped" would prove troublesome? The text of the article still uses it.
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department's financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
An "atmospheric river" is headed for the beleaguered Oroville Dam.
Above: Computer forecast models indicate a powerful jet stream will continuously pound California over the next ten days and bring copious amounts of moisture from off of the Pacific Ocean into the state. This 10-day loop of predicted upper-level winds at 250 mb are in 6-hour increments from today until Thursday, February 23rd; maps courtesy tropicaltidbits.com, NOAA/EMC (GFS)
Too bad we have decaying infrastructure and not enough money to maintain it. Bad luck, I guess.
And here's a photo essay about the terrible decisions by California's Democrat government that led to this impending disaster. (HT: Instapundit.)
The riots at Berkeley were already humiliating enough for the school and the state of California, but I didn't even see until just now this video of a woman being ambushed with pepper spray while talking to a reporter. It's hard to even find words to describe the viciousness and cowardice of the attack. Reprehensible.
It likely that no one really knows what "the Russians" did or intended to do. (Note: "the Russians" are not a monolith... there are many contentious subgroups within the Russian government.) It seems certain that they -- and many others -- were working to disrupt the American election, but it seems impossible to determine how much these actions contributed to the eventual result, and to what degree any specific thing was intended.
Most of the American media are "reporting" that President Obama ordered an investigation of "Russian hacking of our election," and that the intelligence community "confirms" that it happened. Yet there is not yet any evidence that Russia hacked the election or was responsible for the DNC email hacks. None.
When self-interested people and their media allies proclaim something is true, and form a chorus that drowns out any other views, I always suspect a con. It is so easy for the Left, since it controls education and the media, to sell any tale it wishes, from global warming to Michelle Obama as a glamorous fashion icon. Most people will simply fall in line because it is too much trouble and risky to dispute what is regarded as a received truth by the power elite.
But the CIA's evidence and report are being kept secret, so we are expected to trust the word of anonymous sources.
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances.
"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. "That's the consensus view."
And yet... farther down in the same barely-sourced article:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia's intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency's assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin "directing" the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were "one step" removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. ...
The White House and CIA officials declined to comment.
So... anonymous insiders leak a story to damage the incoming president. The tail end of the story makes clear that the entire matter was viewed in a partisan manner by every public official involved.
The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.
According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.
Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow's hands. ...
Some Clinton supporters saw the White House's reluctance to act without bipartisan support as further evidence of an excessive caution in facing adversaries.
Democrats unanimously wanted the government to assist Hillary (i.e., "take the treat seriously"), and Republicans pointed out that such actions would be "an act of partisan politics". You can parse the language however you like and agree with your preferred side, but there was clearly a divide across party lines.
It's worth pointing out that none of this "hacking" would have been possible if Hillary and her team had followed basic cyber-security protocols.
- Good victory speech. I'm looking forward to hearing from Hillary today. (Update: Hillary's concession speech was gracious.)
- Republicans will now hold the Presidency, 52/53 Senate seats, ~239 House seats, ~34 Governorships, and ~67 out of 98 partisan state legislature chambers. That's a lot of power and responsibility.
- The New York Times' Upshot statistical dashboard was fantastic. Bravo!
- Why don't people trust the media? Because they're so often wrong, and when they're wrong it's always in a way that favors the Left.
- This election was a good demonstration of the value of the Electoral College. Just imagine all the recounting and legal wrangling that would have to be done for weeks and months in every county in the country if the winner were chosen by direct election. Trump's electoral vote victory is so solid that there's no point in lawsuits or recounts.
- Politico has lots of quotes from the past month from Clinton insiders who knew the campaign wasn't going well for her. Why weren't these quotes newsworthy in October?
- The elites of both flavors created Trump by continually ignoring the needs of common Americans. They reviled the polite, Constitutionalist Tea Party and squandered the congressional mandate the Tea Party delivered in 2010 and 2014.
- Polling is hard -- especially in such unusual circumstances. Remember Brexit?
- Remember Brexit? Well, the stock market will recover quickly. Buy as much as you can.
- How many times did people call on Trump to quit? He didn't, and now he's going to be President.
- Trump did better with non-whites than McCain or Romney -- including more Latino voters. Alternate spin: Clinton did worse with those groups than Obama.
- Obama views the election as a personal repudiation, and the value of political money and data analytics has been called into question.
- All the Republicans who lost Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan over and over again for decades need to spend some time in reflection.
- Obama's accomplishments are all vulnerable because all of them -- except Obamacare -- were imposed by executive order instead of laws passed by Congress.
- Obama's statement this morning was gracious and hopeful.
- Get ready for the media to rediscover a host of problems, now that they can be laid at a Republican's feet.
- Trump spend 63% less than Clinton for each of his electoral votes.
- Reince Priebus deserves a lot of credit. Unlike the corrupt party officials at the DNC, Priebus ran the RNC straight. He build a get-out-the-vote operation when Trump didn't. He and his team did a tremendous amount of work to make Trump's victory possible.
I'll update this with more thoughts as I process today's news.
I don't have a strong opinion on whether or not felons who have served their sentences should having their voting rights restored. I can see reasonable arguments in both directions. However, Terry McAuliffe's naked politicizing of what should be a solemn responsibility is appalling.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has granted voting rights to as many as 60,000 convicted felons just in time for them to register to vote, nearly five times more than previously reported and enough to win the state for his long-time friend, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Virginia chief executive claimed to have "no idea" how felons would vote and said he had never thought about it. Clinton's staff emailed him after the 200,000-voters move to call it a "great announcement" and set up a call about it.
McAuliffe also did a major favor for the wife of a senior FBI executive who was running for a Virginia legislative seat at the same time the bureau was investigating Clinton's use of private email addresses and a home-brew server to conduct the official diplomatic business of the U.S.
Well this video is fun:
Is this real or paranoia? Considering how the year as gone so far, maybe it's both!
Well this video is fun:
Is this real or paranoia? Considering how the year as gone so far, maybe it's both!
There's also a lot of chatter from right-wing conspiracy sites about the contents of Weiner's laptop -- including claims by unnamed NYPD officials that they're prepared to push the investigation into Hillary themselves.
NYPD detectives and a NYPD Chief, the department's highest rank under Commissioner, said openly that if the FBI and Justice Department fail to garner timely indictments against Clinton and co- conspirators, NYPD will go public with the damaging emails now in the hands of FBI Director James Comey and many FBI field offices.
"What's in the emails is staggering and as a father, it turned my stomach," the NYPD Chief said. "There is not going to be any Houdini-like escape from what we found. We have copies of everything. We will ship them to Wikileaks or I will personally hold my own press conference if it comes to that."
The NYPD Chief said once Comey saw the alarming contents of the emails he was forced to reopen a criminal probe against Clinton.
"People are going to prison," he said.
Stay tuned... I think things are going to get weirder.
One of the reasons that cybersecurity and information security are so important is that a breach leads to never-ending complications. Hillary Clinton's decision to use a poorly-secured email server in her house, compounded with her "extremely careless" handling of classified information, will bedevil her for the rest of her life -- and cause harm to America for far longer.
There's no way for anyone to know if or when the last shoe has dropped. Hillary could be blackmailed at any time -- with real or fake email dumps. America's allies and enemies can be manipulated or threatened. Information that leads to "exceptionally grave damage" to national security can be exploited secretly by our enemies without our knowledge.
The fallout of Hillary's "extremely careless" decisions will continue to harm her and America for decades.
In all likelihood, there are many foreign governments and perhaps many private parties who were able to gain access to the Clinton homebrew server. Any one of them at any time could dump more information that will be impossible to ignore. No one knows what that information will be, but it is certain to embarrass both Clinton and the United States, and perhaps compromise our allies as well.
Even the New York Times has been forced to address the Democrat dirty tricks revealed by Project Veritas. The NYT goes to great lengths to downplay the seriousness of the revelations and impugn Project Veritas, but they do link to the videos.
Hillary Clinton's campaign and the party committee moved to distance themselves from the behavior described in the videos, and the committee said the two men were no longer assisting it. The party also cast doubt on the veracity of the released videos, which were produced by Project Veritas, a conservative group led by the activist James O'Keefe that has been heavily criticized as using deceptive editing.
No mention that Hillary herself "has been heavily criticized" for deception. I love the use of the passive voice there... the NYT gets to undermine the credibility of Project Veritas without naming or quoting any sources. "Has been heavily criticized" by whom? Let us know the source of the criticism so we can judge the source's motives and credibility for ourselves.
At least they don't bury the lede:
A Democratic operative, wearing a checkered blue shirt and a tie, spoke calmly, explaining exactly how agents could infiltrate the rallies of Donald J. Trump and cause mayhem among the Republican's nominee team, his security staff and supporters.
Creating an explosive reaction, said the operative, Scott Foval, was "the whole point of it."
Mr. Foval and Robert Creamer, another operative working for the Democratic National Committee, were the unwitting stars of undercover videos released this week in which they and others were captured discussing unseemly tactics like instigating violence at Mr. Trump's rallies and arranging for fraudulent voting.
The Democrats paid people to instigate violence at Trump's rallies, and then publically hammered Trump for the violence at his rallies.
Of course now no one in the Democrat National Committee knows anything about it. Is Brazile the source for the "heavy criticism"? She's devoted to electing Hillary.
"We do not believe, or have any evidence to suggest, that the activities articulated in the video actually occurred," said Donna Brazile, the interim Democratic chairwoman. The Clinton campaign similarly denounced the tactics, while chiding Project Veritas, saying it has "been known to offering misleading video out of context."
The evidence that the "activities" occurred is that there was violence at some of Trump's rallies! Trump's rally in Chicago was cancelled because of a riot! People were injured!
For hours, the Chicago police, along with university officers, the federal authorities and others, were out here in force. A Chicago police spokesman said that city law enforcement authorities were not consulted and had no role in canceling the event. The spokesman said there had been five arrests, two by the Chicago police, two by the university's police and one by the Illinois State Police. The fire department said three people, including a police officer, were injured. ...
Arguments and small skirmishes broke out along the streets. At one point, the police rushed in, separating people.
At least one man was hit on the head with a police baton, witnesses said, and blood could be seen coming from a gash on his face. A woman, also bloodied, was led away by police.
Chris Wallace did a good job -- the best of any of the moderators this year. He asked both candidates tough questions.
Hillary evaded many tough questions, which is par for the course.
Trump should learn how to evade better... instead he tends to topics that are damaging to him. There's a reason politicians evade.
I don't have the energy to write much more than that. I doubt this debate did much to convince anyone of anything. If there's a real October surprise bombshell it will probably come soon, now that the candidates don't have another opportunity to respond to the public broadly.
Nate Silver looks at the gender gap in 2016 presidential polls. Cue up all the suggestions to disenfranchise one gender or the other.
Here's a quick way to estimate it. In the polls I cited above, Clinton is doing 10 points better among women than among the electorate overall. So we'll add 10 points to her current polls-only margin in every state to forecast her performance if women were the only ones who could vote. In addition to the states where Clinton is already leading Trump, that would put her ahead in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and the 2nd congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska. Clinton would win 458 electoral votes to just 80 for Trump.
If men were the only voters, conversely, we'd have to subtract 10 points from Clinton's current margin in every state -- which would yield an awfully red map. Trump would win everything that could plausibly be called a swing state, with Clinton hanging on only to the West Coast, parts of the Northeast, Illinois and New Mexico. That would yield 350 electoral votes for Trump to 188 for Clinton.
Twitter has suspended the account of @Instapundit, a.k.a. Glenn Reynolds, for recommending that people trapped by rioters use their cars to escape and protect their own lives. Here's the offending tweet:
Perhaps Professor Reynolds should have written "keep driving", or something less intemperate. Of course it would be illegal and immoral to use deadly force against a peaceful protester, but the protests in Charlotte have been quite violent.
It's both lawful and moral to use deadly force to protect your life and property.
Zero Hedge (yeah, I know, not always the most temperate source) has an excellent report about how David Brock is laundering money through Media Matters and various "charities" to enrich himself. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for the Democrat-dominated "non-profit" sector -- if you think Brock is the only one doing this, you're delusional.
The Left's web of "charities" is intentionally incestuous and opaque for the purpose of graft, from the Clinton Global Initiative on down. Is it any wonder that they're freaking out about the possibility of a Republican president who isn't hesitant about smashing the status quo? It's hard to imagine a Trump presidency letting this all slide as "business as usual", no matter what President Bush ignored a decade ago.
Say, for example, you donate $1,062,857 to Media Matters for America. This is how David Brock would have used your charitable donation in 2014:
Media Matters would receive your $1,062,857 donation
- The Bonner Group would earn a $132,857 commission
- Media Matters would retain $930,000
Next, Media Matters would give what's left of your entire donation, $930,000, to the Franklin Education Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $116,250 commission
- The Franklin Education Forum would retain $813,750
The Franklin Education Forum would then forward the remaining $813,750 to The Franklin Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $101,718 commission
- The Franklin Forum would retain $712,031
In the end, Brock's solicitor would have pocketed $350,825, almost a third of your initial donation! That's a far cry from the advertised 12.5% commission.
As bizarre as that scenario may sound, this is exactly what David Brock did in 2014.
This is beyond parody: upon realizing that its systems were hacked, the DNC sent out a single new password to people by email.
- Why send out a new password using email that you know has already been hacked?
- Why do multiple people get the same password?
Scott Adams says that Donald Trump doesn't wear v-neck sweaters.
You can criticize Donald Trump on many dimensions. You can say he's not really a great businessman. You can say he's offensive. You can say he lies. You can hate his position on issues. You can say he has insufficient policy details. And lots more. But I think we all agree that Melania never asks Donald to go back to the store because he's too dumb to buy the right kind of soap on the first try.
Hillary Clinton says that people under FBI investigation should have their rights preemptively curtailed. Uh, like her?
"If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links," Hillary Clinton said today in her supposedly apolitical speech, "you shouldn't be able to just go buy a gun."
If we're going to do this, let's be consistent.
If the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation of your suspected illegal use of a home email server to transmit classified intelligence, you shouldn't be allowed to just go and run for president. Obviously. The idea that we would allow a person who can't be trusted with our most vital secrets to hold the most powerful office in the nation is absurd. It's just not safe.