Conservative Tastes

Trump-Cruz 2016

By 1.22.16

It’s time to unite.

Trump-Cruz in 2016.

Yet here is the headline from the New York Times.

Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat

The story reads in part:

WASHINGTON — With Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz battling for the Republican nomination, two powerful factions of their party are now clashing over the question: Which man is more dangerous?

Conservative intellectuals have become convinced that Mr. Trump, with his message of nationalist-infused populism, poses a dire threat to conservatism, and plan to issue a manifesto on Friday to try to stop him.

Clinton Email Investigators Needed Clearance Upgrade “Beyond Top Secret” to Search Server

By on 1.20.16 | 1:20PM

Last night, as America girded its loins - or its livers - for the Trump/Palin Iowa rally, NBC News dropped a bombshell about the Clinton email investigation. Thankfully for Hillary Clinton who had just received news that she was running a full 20 points behind Bernie Sanders in the latest poll, Team Trump's Iowa antics ensured that the story flew mostly under the radar, but she may not escape the long term legal repercussions. 

According to NBC News and letter issued yesterday to Congress, the Inspector General's team looking into Clinton's private server use had to have their security clearances upgraded before they were allowed to read content in around 20 emails, some of which were marked 'Top Secret/Special Access Program,' above even the Top Secret designation found on emails before.

Charles McCulllough, the intelligence community’s inspector general, said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that he has received sworn declarations from an intelligence agency he declined to name.

El Chapo Busted With Weapon Obtained in ‘Fast and Furious’ Operation

By on 1.20.16 | 12:47PM

Yesterday, a Federal judge quashed a motion by the Obama Administration claiming that the administration had "Executive Privilege" over documents and testimony pertaining to an Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms operation that sold firearms to drug dealers under the assumption that the ATF could then track the guns back to affiliates in the United States. The ATF, of course, eventually lost track of most of the weapons.

The Obama Administration initially claimed executive privilege because there were a number of emails between the White House and the Department of Justice discussing the Fast and Furious operation directly. The Federal judge saw it differently, noting that the Administration's claim on privilege is too broad; there may be some emails that are, indeed, subject to protection, but not all of them. 

Iranian Freed in Prisoner Trade Won’t Go Back to Iran

By on 1.20.16 | 12:32PM

We may have negotiated the release of 4 of our countrymen by promising the Iranians seven sanctions violators in return, but that doesn't mean Iran is getting those seven nationals back. 

Although all of the Iranians were given the green light to return to their country - flights were even booked for them out of Switzerland, where the US and Iran made the "prisoner swap" on neutral ground - but three of the Iranians being held by the US have chosen to stay here. The other four never made it to their flight in Geneva. 

None of the Iranians freed in the prisoner swap have returned home and could still be in the United States, it has been reported.

The seven former inmates, who were released as part of a deal with the Islamic republic, did not show up to get a flight to Geneva, Switzerland, where the exchange was set to take place on Sunday.

Is Sarah Palin Set to Endorse Donald Trump? UPDATE: Yes, It’s Official

By on 1.19.16 | 1:48PM

UPDATE: It's official.

The New York Times seems to think this will "rally conservatives." I tend to think otherwise.

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, will endorse Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, officials with his campaign confirmed. The endorsement provides Mr. Trump with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses.

“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.

Her support is the highest-profile backing for a Republican contender so far.

“I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” Mr. Trump said in a statement trumpeting Mrs. Palin’s decision. “She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”

Political Hay

When Ronald Reagan Had Liberal Values

By 1.19.16

Much is being made of an old — seventeen years old to be precise — appearance by Donald Trump on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. In which the Trump of 1999 is seen saying among other things that “I grew up in New York, and worked and everything else, in New York City.” He goes on to say that he is “pro-choice.” The clip has been seized on by Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign to illustrate what Cruz is calling Trump’s “New York values.” As if someone can’t have a different world view seventeen years later in life, which Trump decidedly does.

Are Bill and Hillary Still Making a Mint Off Pardoning Mark Rich?

By on 1.18.16 | 4:36PM

Hillary Clinton can't duck questions about her husband's infidelities, not from campaign journalists, not from her debate sparring partners, and not from Linda Tripp who, because everything from the 1990s is refusing to stay dead and buried, has resurfaced today with allegations that Bill had other White House dalliances and has slept with thousands of women, all while under Hillary's watchful, if ambitious, eye.

Bernie Sanders Admits He’s Open to a Middle Class Tax Hike

By on 1.18.16 | 4:03PM

Last night, if you were savvy enough to catch it (considering it was deliberately positioned opposite playoff football and Downton Abbey), the two candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination faced off while Martin O'Malley looked on helplessly. To the untrained eye, flipping through stations to avoid prime time network entertainment, it looked like, in the words of Jim Gaffigan, your grandparents arguing. If you paid attention, it was still your grandparents arguing.

Iran Does Better than Powerball Winners, Earns $1.7 Billion from US

By on 1.18.16 | 3:36PM

Over the weekend, Iran released four American prisoners in a swap with American authorities. In return for releasing 7 Iranian "sanctions violators" and ending investigations into 14 more, Iran gave back wrongly held American citizens, including a Washington Post journalist, who had recently been the subject of a show trial, and a pastor arrested for building Christian churches.

Although everyone was overjoyed at the prospect of their return, I don't think I was alone in wondering what, exactly, Iran was getting in for their de facto hostages other than just a homecoming for some low-level criminals, two thirds of whom had yet to be caught. It turns out, Iran was actually awarded the Powerball jackpot: a $1.7 billion winfall - a settlement for money the US owes to Iran for various reasons. And it's the first of many possible winfalls. Because, of course it is.

Does Ted Cruz Have a Goldman Sachs Problem?

By on 1.14.16 | 5:02PM

The short answer is, probably not. But it'll take you a while to get there.

This week, the New York Times dropped a story about Ted Cruz's first Senate campaign, noting that Ted Cruz's million-dollar loan to his initial Senate campaign was made possible by his wife's employer, Goldman Sachs, who floated Ted and his wife a significant loan. The loan remains outstanding - he and his wife still owe somewhere between $50K and $100K on it - and it turns out that Cruz, allegedly, failed to disclose the loan in campaign filings