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Guns and Crime

McConnell blocks sentencing bill, upsetting Grassley, GOP

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McConnell blocks sentencing bill upsetting Grassley GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reluctance to hold a vote on a popular criminal justice bill has angered top Republican senators and created an unusual rift with a longtime GOP ally, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Grassley has spent years working to build a coalition around the bill and is pushing for a year-end vote. Grassley says more than two-thirds of the Senate supports it. But McConnell is refusing to bring the legislation forward in a standoff that’s dividing the Republican majority and putting President Donald Trump on the spot.

“We’ve done what needs to be done,” Grassley said about the overwhelming support for the bill. “So what’s holding it up?”

For the 85-year-old chairman of the Judiciary Committee, this is not the way Senate is supposed to operate. Grassley was expecting some deference from McConnell after delivering on Trump’s judicial nominees — including two now on the Supreme Court. Trump backs the criminal justice bill, too, but McConnell says it’s divisive. His reluctance to take up Grassley’s priority shows the limits of the Senate’s old-fashioned customs in an era of heightened partisan politics.

“What’s so irritating about this is, first of all, he and I have been hand-in-glove working to get the judiciary vacancies filled,” Grassley told Iowa reporters.

“I think I ought to have some consideration for delivering on tough Supreme Court nominees, and a lot of tough circuit court nominees and maybe even once in a while you get a tough district court nominee,” Grassley went on.

On Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., intervened, talking directly to Trump about attaching the criminal justice legislation to the must-pass year-end spending bill, which is already tangled in a separate fight over funds for the border wall with Mexico.

“Just talked with President,” Graham tweeted. “He strongly believes criminal justice reform bill must pass now. He also indicated he supports putting criminal justice reform bill on year-end spending bill which must include MORE wall funding.”

Trump has called senators about the bill and spoke briefly about it Friday at an event on safe neighborhoods in Kansas City.

The bill is a project of Trump’s son-in-law, White House adviser Jared Kushner, and would be the biggest sentencing overhaul in decades. It would reduce mandatory prison terms for certain drug crimes and give judges in some cases more discretion on punishments. It would allow about 2,600 federal prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before August 2010 the opportunity to petition for a reduced penalty. It also includes provisions to encourage education and workforce training in prisons.

Roughly 90 percent of prison inmates are held in state facilities and would not be affected by the legislation.

While Kushner has been meeting with senators on Capitol Hill, Trump is also hearing from allies who are against the legislation. Chief among them is Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is warning senators that Republicans will be blamed if criminals are released and commit new crimes.

“Only thing worse than early release from prison of thousands of serious, violent, & repeat felons is to do that in a spending bill with no debate or amendments, forcing senators to either shut down government or let felons out of prison,” Cotton tweeted Friday. The spending bill will need approval by Dec. 21 to avoid a funding lapse days before Christmas.

“If the jailbreak bill gets stuck in the spending bill, everyone bring your stockings to the Senate, because we’ll be there on Christmas!”

Cotton and others, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, No. 2 Senate Republican, insist there is not as much support for the bill as Grassley claims. Cotton says senators may tell the chairman they’re in favor of it when actually they’re not.

The bill has support from several conservative and liberal advocacy groups, uniting such disparate partners as the influential Koch network and the American Civil Liberty Union, but it splits law enforcement groups. It is backed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police but opposed by the National Sheriff’s Association.

Amid this divide, McConnell has been choosing caution, saying there’s just not enough time to push the bill forward in the remaining days of the Congress.

“The question is, can you shoe-horn something that’s extremely controversial into the remaining time?” he said Monday in an interview at a Wall Street Journal forum.

Criminal justice reform has traditionally been a Democratic priority, as Republicans prefer a more tough-on-crime approach. And McConnell acknowledges it’s “extremely divisive” among Senate Republicans. Leaders tend to protect senators from taking tough votes that could have political blowback.

“I don’t see from a timing standpoint how we get it done in the short amount of time we have to work with, but everyone is trying to keep their options open and not foreclose the possibility it could happen,” said Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Thursday that bill backers are making a last-push to attach it to the spending measure and picking up new supporters. But he acknowledged the package’s chances are slipping with each passing day. “We’re still lobbying Sen. McConnell — he has all the power to allow it or not allow it,” said Paul.

McConnell and Grassley have worked side by side for decades. When then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in early 2016, Grassley stood by McConnell’s decision to keep the seat open during the election year for the new president to decide. He’s ushered in 84 Trump judicial nominees, including a record number of circuit court judges.

But their split over criminal justice reform is testing not just their partnership but also the longstanding norms of the Senate.

“What’s holding it up is our leader, the majority leader,” Grassley said. “There’s no reason it shouldn’t come up.”

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Associated Press writer David Pitt in Iowa contributed to this report.

Follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lisamascaro and https://twitter.com/kfreking

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Culture and Religion

Top 5 ‘Bottomless Pinocchios’ of the national socialist left

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Top 5 Bottomless Pinocchios of the national socialist left

That perfect paragon of journalistic ‘objectivity’, the Washington Post, introduced a new rating for lies. We applied them to the left.

The Washington Post has developed a new rating system – the ‘Bottomless Pinocchio’ – for a false claim repeated over and over. This is somewhat ironic since the leftist media excels in the practice. While we will try to keep this to the more egregious and discrete lies of the left, a few notes on their other types of lies are in order.

The labeling and language lies of the left

Even the labels they apply to themselves aside from being socialist are falsehoods. These are people who work against the cause of liberty on a daily basis while pretending to be liberal. It’s a post-modernism community that has the false front of being ‘progressive’, that would prefer to use the judiciary to impose their socialist national agenda rather than democratic means.

Then there is the game of lying by language the left plays to excess. Time was, global cooling was the existential threat to woman and mankind, until it stopped getting cooler. Then global warming became the existential threat until it stopped getting warmer. Accordingly, they hit on the deception of working against it doing either, so no matter what happens, they can claim they are right because the climate has always changed. This also gave them a nice bonus in tarring any who opposes their control agenda as being a ‘climate change denier’ – even though no one actually denies the climate changes. Better yet, they have been able to shorten it up to the ultimate insult of labeling their opposition as ‘climate deniers’ as if people would actually deny reality itself.

These will be the top 5 ‘Bottomless Pinocchios’ of the left. These are lies that are recycled repeatedly by the left in their effort at distorting reality to the point where gun free zones actually keep people safe, no one is starting a conversation about gun confiscation and societal slavery can really work.

 Bottomless Pinocchio 5: People have a ‘right’ to health care

This is one of the left’s favourites in trying to reshape (or ‘reform’) reality. Like many other variations of the ‘people have a right to’ line, this stems from the concept of Coercive or Collective Rights, whereby people have the ‘right’ to force others to provide them with the vestiges of this ‘right’. These are contrasted with Natural Rights possessed by everyone, the right to self-preservation, the right to property, the right of freedom of expression.

Having a ‘right’ to health care, or ‘right’ to feel safe, or a ‘right’ to not be offended, generally entails that someone else has to provide for this ‘right’. In the case of healthcare, providing this ‘right’ would mean that medical professionals would be required to sacrifice their time and labour in this effort. Citizens would also be forced to contribute their property. There is a word for when people are forced to provide their time and effort to others. It’s called slavery.

In point of fact the phrase should really be people have a ‘right’ to enslave others. But the folks who pretend to support liberty can’t say that directly, hence they use the ‘right to’ lie.

Bottomless Pinocchio 4: Gun free zones work as advertised

This one is slightly different from the others in that even leftists know they will be laughed off the public stage if they said this out loud. Rather, they imply the idea with their policy agenda of incessantly working towards gun confiscation, supposedly rendering the entire world a global ‘gun-free’ zone such as the latest example in France.

Expanding what doesn’t work always seems to be a hallmark of the left. Never mind that something doesn’t function in one area, extend it elsewhere so it’ll work… somehow.

Anyone familiar with logic can easily see why these don’t work, since those bent on evil will tend to go where they will have little opposition. Unfortunately, as with the fact that there are only two genders, leftists don’t seem to be able to comprehend that which is bloody obvious. They seem to have the misguided idea that a rule or a sign will stop a mass murderer.

The facts bear this out given that most mass shootings take place in ‘gun-free’ zones. This has been the situation for almost 30 years.

The problem for the left is that they can’t actually admit to their absolute failure in this area. Were they to do this, it would mean an end to their whole gun confiscation agenda. Thus they perpetuate that it’s a myth that defensive gun uses exist or that a ‘good guy (or gal) with a gun’ will deter these tragedies. It means that they continue to put people at risk for the sake of their disarmament agenda, without the hint of guilt on their part.

Bottomless Pinocchio 3 : No one is talking about gun confiscation

Finding cases where leftists have demanded gun confiscation has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel (pardon the pun Peta). The past few years have seen an increase in these demands from the left to the point that it’s occurred more than 70 times not counting excerpts, syndication and reprints. Repeating this lie enables leftists to keep the discussion to the next incremental step instead of their final solution to the liberty problem.

Still, the liberty grabber left persists in propagating this enormous lie. It does several things for them. It short circuits the negative effects of gun confiscation such as leaving the innocent defenseless against criminals and the government. It lulls some into a false sense of security as to the left’s long term goal for the cause of liberty.

This perennial lie is also necessary to get some to accept governmental overreach in controlling their personal property. They have used this same technique in getting people to register their guns accompanied by the solemn promise that they won’t use it to confiscate guns, after which their guns are confiscated.

Bottomless Pinocchio 2: Failed socialist experiments weren’t really socialist

It would seem this little ditty began when the socialist-left started trying to claim that a certain National Socialist German Workers’ Party wasn’t actually a National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The Left actually tried to reverse reality, making a party with a collectivist ideology of the left to one of an individualist ideology of the right. The problem for them is that those on the pro-liberty, conservative right, by definition favour lower taxes and limited government. Hardly something the Nazis were known for.

Leftists will often times try to deflect the facts of the matter given the very name of the party: ‘Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei’. But consider the words of the translator of Mein Kampf:

Finally, I would point out that the term Social Democracy may be misleading in English, as it has not a democratic connotation in our sense. It was the name given to the Socialist Party in Germany. And that Party was purely Marxist; but it adopted the name Social Democrat in order to appeal to the democratic sections of the German people.
James Murphy. Abbots Langley, February, 1939

Later on, they played this little game with virtually every other socialist regime. Miraculously enough, before these socialist regimes ran out of other people’s money the left labelled them as one of their own. Then in the blink of an eye, they would ping-pong from left to right almost overnight when they inevitably failed.

The problem for the left is that they have nothing on George Orwell. We’re supposed to simply ignore basic facts from history, beginning with the very words that socialists have used to describe themselves. These socialist regimes also followed collectivist precepts. But in an instant these facts are swept away, in favour of a new reality where Red is Blue and Blue is Red.

Bottomless Pinocchio 1: Socialism can actually work

This is a basic survival lie of the left. They cannot accede to the fact of 400 years of the failure of the ideas of their base ideology, so they must pretend it can work… somehow. Just as they can pretend to be liberal while working to tear down liberty, but that’s another subject.

Since their agenda of societal slavery has never worked, they have to deflect the argument with the aforementioned ‘socialism has never been tried before’ and ‘failed socialist experiments weren’t really socialist’ lies. Or pretending that non-socialist nations are really socialist.

The bottom line is that socialism can never work because it runs counter to basic human physiology. One will always see less of a behaviour that is negatively reinforced, while more will be seen with behaviour that is positively reinforced. The fundamental results of reward and punishment cannot be ignored, and yet this is what socialists have as the basis of their ideology.

Consider that the experiment of socialism has been conducted in situations around the world for over 400 years with the same result: failure. It should be obvious by now to most intelligent people that it cannot work, and yet the national socialist-left still persists in trying to turn that which is impossible into something that is possible, no matter who has to suffer and die.

The takeaway

In many ways the left should stay away from pronouncing judgement on falsehoods when they are so rife with them. Leftist lies keep them afloat in the sea of politics. We have shown that not only are they false, but they must be retold in order for the left to survive.

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Guns and Crime

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

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France shooting 2 dead several wounded in Strasbourg

PARIS (AP) — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded up to eight others, officials said, sparking a major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market on Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

The motive for the shooting is unclear. It wasn’t immediately clear if the market was the target of the attack or if there was any link to terrorism.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that the gunman has been identified, and had a police record for common crimes. He several of the wounded were in critical condition and that he was heading to Strasbourg.

The French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors.

“Our security and rescue services are mobilized,” Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to “avoid the area of the police station,” which is close to the city’s Christmas market. Strasbourg’s well-known market is set up around the city’s cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

The European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, was on lockdown. Spokesman Jaume Duch said that “the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice.” It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting …. Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy.”

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city center.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that “the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers.”

President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

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Guns and Crime

President Trump’s best defense against Michael Cohen is… Michael Cohen

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President Trumps best defense against Michael Cohen is Michael Cohen

Democrats and mainstream media have honed in on the President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, as being the key to the “smoking gun” of campaign finance violations. Their knight in shining armor has accused the President of participating directly in hush money paid to two women with whom the President had affairs in the past.

Porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal were paid through deals worked out by Cohen to purchase and quash their stories from making it into the press. It worked until after the election when both went public. Now, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is trying to prove the President violated campaign finance laws by paying the women off to benefit his presidential campaign.

While Cohen may be revered by some as the person who can take down the President, there are three reasons why Cohen is now the President’s best defense. The first two are obvious. First, he’s a known liar. He has admitted as much and Mueller’s team have acknowledged it. Second, his relationship with the President has become adversarial, casting serious doubts on the validity of his flip-flopping testimony.

The third reason is the one that few seem to be recognizing. While Cohen has been known as the President’s former lawyer, his actual role was essentially that of “fixer.” He had the power and responsibility to both protect and insulate Trump for years. Well before there was a presidential campaign, Cohen was the guy who would take care of problems on behalf of Trump.

Had he been hired for the campaign itself, this would be a moot point. But he has years of history taking care of business on behalf of Trump. It is, at the very least, feasible Cohen would have handled the situations with Daniels and McDougal without first getting direction from the President. This would be even more likely if it can be shown Cohen or someone else in Trump’s orbit had paid off women in the past.

The President has a sure-fire way to disprove campaign finance violations, but he won’t like it

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/09/president-sure-fire-way-disprove-campaign-finance-violations-wont-like/By showing past payoffs to women, the President can go with the story that he didn’t want to damage his marriage or business dealings. This play might hurt his reputation, but it would likely quash attempts to indict him.

This is all assuming there were past payoffs. If there weren’t, then it would be difficult for his defense to claim the two payoffs in question were not politically motivated.

Whether Cohen or anyone else had operated on Trump’s behalf in the past to pay hush money to someone is currently unknown but very likely. That’s what Cohen did for Trump. He was the fixer.

If someone needed to be paid off, Cohen would work out the details. If someone needed to be threatened, Cohen would make the call. Listening to recorded conversations of him making such threats reveals that he’s a scumbag. But he was Trump’s scumbag, and part of being a rich man’s scumbag is doing the dirty work without getting the boss involved.

Unless there are better recordings than the ones Cohen has already produced that show then-candidate Trump ordering the hush money, it’s very unlikely the Mueller investigation will yield an indictment. It’s the President’s word against his scumbag fixer’s. Indicting anyone solely on the self-serving word of Michael Cohen would be ludicrous.

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