Big govt, Issues

California Bans Plastic Straws, Fines Violators

We were just recovering from our guffaw over Starbucks’ attempt to appease Mother Earth by implementing strawless lids, which actually require more plastic, and then California decided to ante up. Santa Barbara has decided that plastic straws may very well bring about the end of the world, and city leaders are aiming to save humanity. According to new city regulations, a violator (i.e., someone using a straw) could be fined up to a grand or even imprisoned for six months. Meanwhile, back in Russia…

Here’s more from Fox News…

Sippers, beware.

A California coastal city has become the latest municipality to ban plastic straws, enacting what is potentially the strictest plastic prohibition in the country.

Santa Barbara earlier this month passed the ordinance authorizing hefty fines and even a possible jail sentence for violators who dole out plastic straws at restaurants, bars and other food establishments.

According to the ordinance, violators on their first offense will be given a written warning notice. But the second time a purveyor of plastic straws defies the ban is when the heavy hand of the law could clamp down.

In that case, the ordinance cites penalties from the city’s municipal code for a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months.”

In comparison, Seattle, which in the beginning of July became the first major city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws, only fines businesses $250 per offense.


Big govt, Courts, Politics

FBI FISA App Released, Confirms Nunes Memo

Over the weekend the FBI dumped the much-maligned FISA Warrant application (translation: media avoidance strategy) after months of prodding from Congress. Though it was highly-redacted (translation: lots of details still unknown), what we can see demonstrates that the memo from Rep. Devin Nunes from back in February was overwhelmingly accurate. And lest we forget, the conclusions included the facts that the FBI used sketchy details about its investigation of a low-level Trump adviser as an excuse to file for the FISA Warrant and that the Russia dossier base on that investigation was created in coordination with the DNC. And now the left is heaping the criticism (translation: they’re circling the wagons).

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

The weekend release of a highly-redacted version of the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to wiretap onetime Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page has renewed the argument over the Nunes memo — the brief report produced by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes detailing problems in the application. From the time of the memo’s release in February, Democrats and some in the press have denounced it as a collection of lies and mischaracterizations. On Saturday night, the denouncing started again. “The only thing the newly released FISA documents show is that Republicans have been lying for months,” the lefty think tank Center for American Progress said in a typical response.

Now, however, we have both the memo and the FISA application, if in a blacked-out state. We can compare the two. And doing so shows the Nunes memo was overwhelmingly accurate. Perhaps some Democrats do not believe it should have been written, or they dispute what it included and left out, or they do not agree with its conclusions, but it was in fact accurate.

The memo comprised a short introduction followed by 13 substantive paragraphs. Here is a look at each one.

The first paragraph:

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a US citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI.


Big govt, Courts, Politics

Russia Investigation: Hillary Fundraiser Gets Immunity

In Robert Mueller’s topsy-turvy world, prosecuting white collar crimes that have nothing at all to do with the entire purpose of his special counsel appointment is apparently peachy keen. What’s also apparently okay is giving immunity to a Hillary crony who might have been connected to the actual election collusion by the FBI and the DNC. Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta, was offered a get out of jail free card by Mueller in exchange for testimony against Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign adviser, for alleged crimes entirely unrelated to the presidential election. Facepalm.

Here’s more from PJ Media…

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has offered Clinton crony and fundraiser Tony Podesta immunity to testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported Thursday night based on two sources.

Podesta, whose brother is Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is the founder of the now-defunct Podesta Group, a Democratic lobbying group that worked with Manafort’s consulting firm in 2012 on a sham campaign called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which supported then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort’s lobbying work for Ukraine reportedly ended two years before he joined the Trump campaign.

Neither Manafort nor Podesta properly registered with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) in 2012, and both retroactively registered their firms with the Department of Justice as foreign agents of Ukraine in 2017.


Big govt, Politics

George Soros: Obama ‘Greatest Disappointment’

Mark it down on the calendar. This date may be the very first (and almost certainly the only) occasion in which we agree with George Soros on anything. According to a leaked email from the leader of one of Soros’s lefty organization, Soros admitted that one of his many mistakes in life included supporting Barack Obama in the Democrat primary against Hillary Clinton in 2008. He described to his minion that Obama was ‘his greatest disappointment’. We’re not sure whether it’s because Obama hedged on his push for full socialism or that it’s so easily being undone by the Trump administration. Either way, cheers!

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Progressive billionaire George Soros says former President Barack Obama is his “greatest disappointment.”

George Soros, an early backer of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run, described the former president as “his greatest disappointment,” in an interview with The New York Times published on Tuesday. On the advice of an aide to Soros present during the interview, the open-borders financier made clear his disappointment came on a “professional level.”

According to Soros, the Democrat lawmaker “closed the door” on him after winning the White House. “He made one phone call thanking me for my support, which was meant to last for five minutes, and I engaged him, and he had to spend another three minutes with me, so I dragged it out to eight minutes,” the progressive billionaire recounted to the paper, later adding Obama had a reputation of taking “his supporters for granted.”

Neera Tanden, head of the left-leaning group Center for American Progress, revealed in a May 2012 email to Hillary Clinton that Soros admitted to her that he regretted supporting Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“I told him I worked for you in the primaries and he said he’s been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy and said he hasn’t met with the President ever (though I thought he had),” wrote Tanden.“He then said he regretted his decision in the primary – he likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them.”


Big govt, Politics

Socialist Candidate Calls for Occupying ICE, Airports

In case you’ve been out of the country over the last 30 days, you might have missed the brouhaha in New York after self-described socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez destroyed an incumbent Democrat in the congressional primary. While sipping on a latte and rocking out to tunes on a slick new bluetooth speaker, Cortez called her Millennial ne’er-do-wells to join her in ‘occupying’ ICE, airports and the border. The logistics of occupying a border aside, someone might remind her that her uber-lib pals behind the barista bar at Starbucks might take umbrage at the suggestion that profits be directed to the government instead of employee raises.

Here’s more from Hot Air…

I believe it was only yesterday when Ed Morrissey described New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “the gift that keeps on giving.” Well, the giving continues today and it’s only getting better. (Editor’s note: The phrase “better” may only apply if you are a conservative.)

She gave an interview to Democracy Now! this week where she set forth some of her agenda for her swelling army of socialist supporters on the Democratic left flank. Rather than focusing on new progressive policy initiatives or getting out the vote, Ocasio-Cortez called on the unwashed masses to take to the streets in the fashion of Occupy Wall Street, but relocate their forces to “occupy” the nation’s airports, all of the ICE offices and “the border.” I’m not sure how one “occupies” a border but at least she’s thinking outside the box. (PJ Media, emphasis added)

Democrat candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has made a huge splash since trouncing incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley in the NY-14 primary, calls herself a socialist and is big on activism, if not geopolitics.

So big on activism, in fact, that in an interview with Democracy Now! on Monday, she called for the “occupation” of airports and ICE offices as part of the effort to “mobilize” the so-called Resistance…

“We have to have a rapid response,” she said. “And I think every day that we go on, especially a day when something that heinous happens, we have to occupy all of it. We need to occupy every airport. We need to occupy every border. We need to occupy every ICE office until those kids are back with their parents, period.”

We have to show people that we’re willing to walk the walk,”she said.


Big govt, Politics

Lisa Page’s Testimony Contradicts Peter Strzok’s

Peter Strzok’s congressional testimony last week was smug, evasive and defensive, to say the least. No matter how damning the evidence was against him, there was always a reasonable explanation, from his perspective, on why he repeatedly sent text messages painting a picture of collusion against a would-be president. Then came Lisa Page. In contrast, her testimony was ‘contrite’ and much more forthright in explaining that many of the texts were exactly as they appear. So what we have here is a tale of two cities in which congressional leaders must decide whether the smoke leads to a gun or simply to an innocent campfire, as Strzok would have us believe. Something tells us they’re not in the mood to go camping.

Here’s more from The Daily Wire…

Congressional leaders have praised the testimony of former FBI agent Lisa Page in recent days and have said that they found her testimony to be very credible as some of them claim she gave a very different account of events than her former lover, disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that there were “significant differences” in Page’s testimony compared to the testimony given by Strzok and that she gave congressional investigators new information they did not previously have.

“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to Agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative,” Ratcliff told reporters on Monday, according to ABC News.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) agreed with Ratcliffe’s statement, saying, “She’s certainly more cooperative than Peter Strzok was and the pieces of information filled in some blanks along the way, but we’ve got a huge jigsaw puzzle to put together.”


Big govt, Courts, Politics

Nunes: Mueller’s Russia Indictment Ignores GOP Report

We know this is difficult to believe, so bear with us. Special Counsel Robert Meuller has issued an indictment of a dozen Russian officials on the charge of election hacking. But curiously the details of the indictment ignore critical findings from the House intelligence report. Perhaps it’s because that report contained questions about collusion at the hands of the agency that’s signing Mueller’s paychecks. While the mainstream media is fixated on Trump’s foreign policy missteps, it’s conveniently ignoring the pink elephant in the room. Typical.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian officials on charges of hacking Democrats’ computers during the 2016 campaign looks “ridiculous” because it left out Republicans who were also targeted.

During an interview Sunday on Fox News, Nunes accused the media of largely ignoring the findings of his committee’s months-old report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which he asserted was more comprehensive than Mueller’s indictment. However, he also claimed the redactions in his panel’s report prevented the presentation of the full picture and urged President Trump to declassify it.

“This entire report that you have in front of you, all you had to do was get to page 4, and you only had to read chapter 2 and you would have had nearly everything that’s in the indictment,” Nunes said, referring to a copy of the report held by host Maria Bartiromo. “There’s more in this report than what’s in the indictment. And this is what’s very frustrating.”

A grand jury returned Mueller’s indictment Friday, after which it was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.



Big govt, Courts, Politics

Strzok Admits FBI Based Investigation on Polls

The media are just now beginning to dig into the explicit and implied obfuscation, er, um, ‘testimony’ delivered last week by Peter Strzok. Among the details that escaped broader reporting was the fact that Strzok admitted FBI officials debated whether to pursue a Russia collusion investigation based on Donald Trump’s polling numbers. According to Strzok, his infamous ‘insurance policy’ text was a reference to that debate. The text aside, why would a federal agency base any official decision on the poll numbers of a presidential election? Shouldn’t the question be whether to do the job American taxpayers are paying for? And if Trump had been leading in the polls, would the FBI have been more dogged in pursuing the investigation earlier? Strzok is digging a deeper hole.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

In statements largely unreported by the news media, FBI official Peter Strzok described an alleged debate that took place within the FBI about how aggressively to pursue the Russia collusion investigation based on Donald Trump’s poll numbers in the 2016 presidential election.

Strzok made his statements about nine hours into Thursday’s televised congressional hearing during a section in which he was explaining his infamous August 2016 text message referencing an “insurance policy” in the event that Trump wins the election.

“The insurance policy text that has come up before?” began Strzok.  “That text represented a debate on information that we had received from an extraordinarily sensitive source and method and that typically when something is that sensitive if you take action on it you put it at risk. And so there is a tension there. Maybe we should just roll slow. Take a typical 3, 4-year counterintelligence investigation because the more aggressive you are the more you put it at risk. And some people said that.”


Big govt, Politics

Paul Ryan Promises to Hear Democrat ICE Bill

Surprise, surprise. Democrats attempted to smear Republicans and the Trump administration on immigration by offering a bill to abolish ICE. But that was before the polls came out showing voter support for ICE. Now Paul Ryan and Republicans in the House are calling their bluff by promising to bring the bill up for a vote. And when it fails miserably, it’ll be just one more example of why Hillary lost in 2016: Democrats are out of touch with the American people. As long as immigration is the top issue going into November, Democrats are nearly guaranteed to lose.

Here’s more from PJ Media…

After Republicans promised to bring the “abolish ICE” bill to the floor for a vote in the House, Democrats now appear to have gotten cold feet.

Several of the lawmakers who introduced the bill now say they will vote “no” if it comes up for a vote. In truth, the proposal to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was never serious and was simply an exercise in tossing raw meat to their rabid, far-left base.

But Republicans have called them out for their political stupidity and they are backtracking as fast as they can.

Fox News:

“We know Speaker [Paul] Ryan is not serious about passing our ‘Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act,’ so members of Congress, advocacy groups, and impacted communities will not engage in this political stunt,” Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Adriano Espaillat of New York  told The Hill and other news outlets. “If Speaker Ryan puts our bill on the floor, we plan to vote no and will instead use the opportunity to force an urgently needed and long-overdue conversation on the House floor.

Whoever said a House speaker had to be “serious” about passing a bill to bring it to the floor? I think Ryan was being quite magnanimous and accommodating in allowing Democrats the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is on abolishing ICE.

A major problem for the Democrats is that several potential candidates for the presidential nomination of their party backed the radical proposal.


Big govt, Courts, Politics

Strzok: ‘Patriotism’ Shows No Blackmail Potential

Among the highlights of disgraced FBI special agent Peter Strzok’s testimony Thursday was his dismissal of DOJ reports concerning the threat of blackmail over his affair with bureau lawyer Lisa Page. In response to questioning from Rep. Karen Handel, Strzok deflected, “I never, never could have been blackmailed or coerced by the nature of that relationship. The nature of my patriotism and the nature of what I believe in this country, you could not, nobody could have made that.” After everyone’s eyes finished rolling, the Google searches for ‘Benedict Arnold’ skyrocketed. Somehow attempting to derail the campaign for president of a Republican nominee now apparently qualifies as ‘patriotism’.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Disgraced FBI special agent Peter Strzok testified before House Judiciary and House Oversight Committee members Thursday and contradicted reports that Justice Department officials expressed concerns of blackmail over his extramarital affair with bureau lawyer Lisa Page.

A partial transcript follows:

REP. KAREN HANDEL (R-GA): I have found your testimony today, frankly, to be quite remarkable in its disingenuousness, and you have shown a disturbing degree of denialism about your actions and the impact of those actions. I think we would all agree that everyone does have personal viewpoints. That is very true, but against Strzok, there is a very big difference between someone expressing his or her political views generally and someone leading an FBI investigation making highly negative and explosive comments about the actual target of that investigation. Would you agree? That’s a yes or no.

FBI AGENT PETER STRZOK: Can you rephrase the question? I don’t understand.

REP. HANDEL: You have a really awesome talent for filibustering. Think about running for the Senate. I’ll just say again, you are the lead investigator, and you made highly negative, explosive comments about the actual target of an investigation. That is distinctly different from an individual expressing his or her political views.

What I also find stunning is that someone in your role and responsibilities that you’ve had engaged in such grossly unprofessional, unacceptable, and unethical behavior. Now, truly ironic – did I hear you say earlier you’re in a senior position at the HR division for the FBI?

STRZOK: Yes, ma’am.

REP. HANDEL: That’s very ironic. So let me ask you this. You were in a supervisory role within the FBI; suppose you found out that one of your direct reports was sending the kind of text messages that you were sending about the target of an investigation that they were working. What action would you take?

STRZOK: Ma’am, if they were sending personal opinion about a political matter, that’s their business. I think given my experience to date, I would caution them against doing that on a government device.