Daily Recap — May 31

“The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.”

— Henri Bergson


.

.

.

PARDON ME, MR. PRESIDENT

.

.

If you’ve been getting low on liberal tears, today is your day. The flood gates have been opened and there aren’t enough sandbags to keep the flow at bay. Now let’s get into those other things that keep the liberal tears flowing: facts.

Here is the truth. Not the right-wing truth or left-wing truth, but the real thing. The prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza was selective, politicized and extreme for the offense. 

D’Souza committed a trivial campaign-finance violation. Of course, crime is crime and I’m not here to excuse it, but when you dig into what was actually done, it’s clear that the punishment didn’t fit the crime. In fact, the magnitude of the crime committed typically doesn’t lend itself to prosecution at all, which is what made this so obviously politically-motivated.

Misconduct of the kind engaged in by D’Souza is routinely settled by payment of an administrative fine to the Federal Election Commission. In stark contrast, the Obama Justice Department not only selectively prosecuted D’Souza; prosecutors turned the case into a multiple felony indictment.

Gotta love the Barry justice system.


.

The Obama administration indicted D’Souza for not one but two felony charges, arising out of alleged campaign-finance irregularities. Specifically, he was accused of corruptly reimbursing straw donors to the campaign of his college friend Wendy Long, Republican candidate in the New York Senate race — contributions D’Souza could not lawfully make himself because he was already “maxed out” at the $5,000 ceiling. D’Souza didn’t even expect her to win; he was basically helping out an old friend and gave her too much money.

The $20,000 amount of the offense alleged is puny — a negligible fraction of the Solyndra scam and a figure that would not even register in comparison to the billions lost by victims who were told that if they liked their health-care plans they could keep them. It is the kind of case on which the government routinely declines criminal prosecution, handling, instead, by an administrative fine. It’s essentially treated as a misdemeanor, when it’s prosecuted at all.

D’Souza had zero criminal record at all. Moreover, contrary to myriad voter-fraud violations that former Attorney General Holder will not lift a finger to pursue, the transactions at issue posed no conceivable threat to the integrity of the election process, as Long lost by 46 friggin points. Even Alan Dershowitz, who was an Obama supporter at the time, said plainly, “This is clearly a case of selective prosecution,” adding: “There would be no room in jails for murderers if the Justice Department made a practice of such prosecutions.”

Even more absurd was count two — the charge of making false statements to the government. To commit the species of campaign-finance violation alleged in count one, the defendant necessarily must cause the straw donor to file a false contribution report with the Federal Election Commission. That is, you cannot commit the donation offense without simultaneously committing the false-statement offense. For the government to charge both smacks of double jeopardy: being twice prosecuted for the same, single offense. It was a pile-on.

Why such a heavy-handed indictment? Because Congress deemed campaign-finance violations worth less than $25,000 to be so trivial that a maximum jail sentence of only two years is prescribed (see Title 2, U.S. Code, Sec. 437g(d)(1)(D)). You can also be certain the sentencing guidelines would prescribe no jail time at all. Yet, by gratuitously piling on another felony, Obama and Holder portray D’Souza as a serious crook and subject him to the onerous potential of seven friggin years in prison — all for an episode that ordinarily would not be prosecuted at all.


.
.
Ready for some good ole leftist hypocrisy?
.

The 2008 Obama campaign was caught illegally hiding not $20,000 but nearly $2 friggin million in irregular contributions (in addition to dragging its feet on the return of millions more in suspect donations). You probably don’t remember that because — shocker! — the Barry DOJ didn’t prosecute anyone. It was considered a mere hiccup: resolved by a fine considerably smaller than the $500,000 in bail D’Souza was forced to post lest he be detained pending trial on his multiple-felony indictment for conduct worth 25 times less that amount.

The Barry DOJ’s extortionate tactic of turning a minor regulatory violation into a potential seven-year felony put the heat on D’Souza to plead guilty, which he did. But rather than just accept its pound of flesh, Team Barry aggressively pushed for a prison sentence.

Fortunately, D’Souza’s lawyer, Ben Brafman (who is representing Horny Harvey Weinstein now, oddly enough), convinced the sentencing judge not to send him to prison, but D’Souza was still confined to a halfway house for several months — a ridiculous sentence since a halfway house is supposed to be a way-station where inmates are transferred for integration back into society. Does Dinesh D’Souza strike you as an institutionalized man who doesn’t know how to make it on the outside? The entire episode was ridiculous.


.

D’SOUZA’S ACTUAL CRIME:

.

D’Souza is author of the Roots of Obama’s Rage and co-producer of the equally awesome film 2016: Obama’s America. They trace the president’s politics to the Communism and anti-colonialism of Obama’s deadbeat father.

Needless to say, Barry was pissed. And being the corrupt Chicago politician he was/is, sought to punish yet another political enemy through the power of almighty gubmint. This should come as a shock to no one, seeing as he’s never had a problem using government to punish his political enemies, be it targeting Tea Partiers through the IRS or spying on reporters who refused to act as his propaganda mouthpiece.

The communist apple didn’t fall from the tree. 


.

BIG PICTURE: 

.

This pardon is absolutely just. No one is above the law, but no one should be treated differently under it, either. 

Thanks for setting the record straight, Mr. President.

.


.

.

.

.

.

WOOOOAH LET’S NOT GET CARRIED AWAY NOW

.

.

It seems that the pardon of D’Souza felt so good to PDT that he got into the groove.

Shortly after clearing Dinesh’s name, he told reporters that he’s weighing whether to pardon his former Apprentice co-stars Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich. The former is understandable, the latter — not so much.

Let’s cover Blagojevich first.

The facts of his case aren’t really in dispute. Blagojevich has always admitted that he wanted something in exchange for appointing Obama’s replacement in the Senate. Nor has he has ever denied that he tried to collect campaign donations from people who wanted some official act from him in return. Textbook quid pro quo, aka pay-for-play. A Hillary Clinton special.

There is one thing the Rodster has in his favor, though. The question is not whether Blagojevich sought the quid, which is not in itself illegal, but whether he attempted to, or did, deliver the quo, which is illegal if delivered on condition of the quid. In other words, everyone knows good and well that Blago tried to sell that Senate seat (among other things), but there isn’t any evidence that he actually did it.

This is somewhat analogous to the Don Jr. meeting at Trump Tower in which he sought dirt on Hillzdawg. People can scream about his intent to collude all day long, but if there is no evidence he actually did it, they have nothing. Actually, they have nothing either way since collusion technically isn’t a crime, but you get my point. You can’t prosecute someone for intent.

The problem, though, is more political than legal. Pardoning someone that everyone knows to be a corrupt politician is a very bad look. I’m not sure where PDT will go with this, because I mean, who ever really knows what direction he’ll go, but if he chooses to go with the Blago pardon it could definitely hurt him politically. Then again, he’s not the Teflon Don for nothing.


.
.
Then there’s the case of Martha Stewart, which is a bit more innocuous. 
.The offense leveled against Stewart was one of “insider trading,” wherein an individual buys or sells stocks by using non-public information given to them by the people of a company. Insider trading is not legal and is considered a serious offense.

Toward the end of the year 2001, things began to look bad for a biopharmaceutical company known as ImClone which manufactures drugs in the U.S., mostly for cancer patients. ImClone was experimenting at the time with a special experimental drug called Erbitux, which was to be used in infusions for patients with certain types of cancer.

The drug was submitted to the corrupt ass FDA for approval, which it failed to get. When this happens to a medical company, oftentimes the company’s stocks will take a dive because the stockholder’s high hopes for the drug to make money has been dashed.

A doctor who helped found the company was arrested for advising friends and family members to sell the stock before the announcement was made by the FDA and the stock dropped in price.

Unfortunately, ole Martha was one of the individuals who allegedly got caught taking such advice. She sold over $200,000 of the ImClone stock she owned, saving herself $45,000 in the process. She received the information through her stockbroker and was indicted by the government a year and a half later.

In the months that followed the insider trading, news began to spread of Stewart’s involvement in the scandal. She repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but the media continued to publish stories about what she should expect as a result of her error and lying to the government about using insider trading.

She stepped down from the stock exchange’s board of directors, and as the CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the company that she helped found. Unfortunately for Martha, the authorities had taken notice. She was arrested in June of 2003 and taken to court in January of the following year, where she was convicted of obstruction of justice, securities fraud, and other lesser crimes.

The conviction resulted in five months of a prison sentence, five months of house arrest, and a full two years of probation afterward. Stewart maintained her innocence the entire time, but was finally sent up the river in West Virginia.


.
.

SO WHAT’S THE REAL DEAL WITH THESE POTENTIAL PARDONS

.
Let me begin by saying both Blago and Stewart DO have cases. There is legitimate evidence of prosecutorial overreach on behalf of authorities. So if Trump were to pardon them, he would have legs to stand on.
.
However…..
.
I can’t help but to think these are personal. Both Blagojevich and Stewart’s convictions have ties to…..wait for it…..Leakin’ James Comey, his butt buddy US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and ultimately King Bob Mueller.
.
Comey, as the US attorney in Manhattan, built the case against Stewart ahead of her 2003 indictment. And Blagojevich was arrested during Fitzgerald’s tenure in Chicago in 2008. Fitzgerald is currently a member of Comey’s legal team and was appointed by Comey to investigate the Valerie Plame affair in 2003.
.
Could these connections be coincidental? Sure, but I doubt it.
.
In my opinion, PDT is killing two birds with one stone: getting licks in on his political enemies and getting press for their previous strong-arm tactics; the same tactics being employed against him and his inner circle today, although the campaign against Trump is much worse than it ever was for Blago or Stewart. 
.
.


.

.
.

BIG PICTURE:

.

PDT is putting the magnifying glass on Comey and his gang of merry tyrants. These pardons, should they go through, would absolutely be personal, though not necessarily without merit.

Trump critics believe this is some sort of message to Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen, etc. that he has their back if they’re prosecuted. Personally, I don’t believe that. I don’t think he has to pardon anyone to get that message across. That message was received long ago. They’re definitely personal, but not for that reason.

In the final analysis, I believe they’ll hurt him politically. He’ll be compared to Slick Willy and the pardon of Marc Rich, et. al., regardless of whether that comparison is warranted. 

I don’t like to see presidential power exercised for personal reasons, be it by Trump or anyone else. I was already disappointed in his pardon of Jack Johnson, who was a known woman-beater who even put a couple of his girlfriends in the hospital.

I really hope not to see another stain on the Trump presidency.

.


.

.

.

.

.

DON’T TAX ME, BRO!

.

.

Conservative ideologues really aren’t gonna like this.

PDT is going through with his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, and people are freaking out at the prospect of an all out trade war.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced this morning that the U.S. would be ending the temporary exemptions that had been granted to the three countries for steel and aluminum imports. With the exemptions lifted, those imports will face tariffs of 25% and 10%, respectively. 

Congressional Republicans, business groups and our allies have all been pushing PDT publicly and privately to take a different path, but true to form, he defied them in favor of the “America First” agenda he promised as a candidate.

I mean, he did say he was gonna do this, folks, so don’t act surprised.


 

Trump, meanwhile, is telling everyone to chill the hell out. He’s downplaying the danger of a trade war, saying that even if one breaks out they’re “easy to win.”

One thing is for sure: that theory will now be put to the test, with the three countries now moving to inflict maximum pain on parts of the American economy. Canada, Mexico and the EU all announced a series of retaliatory measures following Trump’s announcement.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa would impose upward of $12.8 billion in tariffs starting July 1 on U.S. steel, aluminum and a range of other American products.

U.S. steel components will be taxed at 25%, while other goods, including aluminum, toilet paper, whisky and orange juice, will see tariffs of 10%. The tariffs will remain in place until the U.S. drops its duties.

“This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era,” Freeland said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said, “the U.S. leaves us no choice but to proceed with a [World Trade Organization] dispute settlement case and the imposition of additional duties on a number of U.S. imports.”

“This is protectionism, pure and simple,” Juncker said.

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said the EU will impose “rebalancing measures and take any necessary steps to protect the EU market from trade diversion caused by these U.S. restrictions.”

In a statement, the EU referenced a 10-page list of possible targets for $3.3 billion in tariffs. The list includes American products such as Kentucky bourbon, jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Pretty much the most American products one can imagine.

Mexico said it would impose tariffs on a wide range of American products, including steels such as hot and cold foil, lamps, pork, sausages, apples, grapes, blueberries and various cheeses.

“Mexico deeply regrets and condemns the decision of the United States to impose these tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico from June 1, at the discretion of national security,” the government said in a statement. “Mexico has indicated repeatedly that such measures under the criteria of national security are not adequate nor justified.”

Last year, nearly 50% of U.S. steel and aluminum imports came from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

Liam Fox, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for international trade, noted that his country is a supplier of steel for the U.S. defense industry. He called the tariffs “patently absurd.”

“This is deeply disappointing, to try to prevent this we are working with the steel industry, and the U.S. and our European allies to find a solution to this,” Fox said.

“A trade war will be bad for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.


.

Then there’s Paul Rino, who has been trash-talking Trump longer than all those fellas combined.

 

“I disagree with this decision,” Rino said in a statement. “Instead of addressing the real problems in the international trade of these products, today’s action targets America’s allies when we should be working with them to address the unfair trading practices of countries like China.” 

I won’t go through all the other quotes and rants, but just take my word for it, most of the GOP are against the Trump tariffs. 


.

WHAT WILL THE TARIFFS MEAN FOR US?

.

Well, it depends on what business you’re in.

Let’s get one thing straight: tariffs are a tax. And taxes are always passed down to the consumer. Historically, tariffs have been bad news. They jack up prices for everyday products, since suppliers are going to shield their profits margins as much as possible.

So let’s take a look at the projected winners and losers of the Trump tariffs:

.

WINNERS:

.

American steel: This is a no-brainer. If we’re cutting off foreign steel, American steel will be counted on to pick up the slack. The 25% tariff on steel has already bolstered the economic case for using locally made steel. Moody’s Investors Service today raised its outlook for the U.S. steel industry from stable to positive, in part due to the tariff decision.

If you bought stock in domestic steel, you’re probably gonna do pretty well.

.

American aluminum: Same logic goes for aluminum. The Alliance for American Manufacturing said domestic aluminum is already benefiting from the PDT plan.

It “means more jobs and added capacity,” the Alliance said. 

Companies like U.S.-based Century Aluminum are poised to capitalize. Its stock closed 3.3% higher.

.

Foreign companies that serve foreign markets in the affected areas: Any foreign company that competes with American manufacturers in international markets may benefit. Why? Their business would get a boost if it is targeted primarily at European customers or other countries that retaliate against the U.S.

Some people reap all the benefits when there is blood in the street.

.

.

LOSERS:

.

.

Whiskey: American companies shipped $737 million in bourbon whiskey to European customers in the last year. With the upcoming tariffs, you can expect a big chunk of that profit to go #ByeBye.

Immediately following Trump’s original announcement in March, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association said that threatened European tariffs would “harm consumers through higher prices and more limited product availability, and significantly threaten the distilling renaissance.”

.

Motorcycles: Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson will likely feel the pain in both the rising costs of steel and aluminum, and in higher prices of its motorcycles sold outside the U.S.

“We support free and fair trade and hope for a quick resolution to this issue,” Harley said today. “We believe import tariffs on steel and aluminum will drive up costs for all products made with these raw materials, regardless of their origin.”

This is actually quite ironic, since Harley-Davidson was born largely as a result of Reagan’s tariffs on Japanese motorcycles. Betcha didn’t know that!

How bout show some respect, HD.

.

Drinks made with aluminum cans:  This one’s pretty easy to figure out. Cans are made of aluminum. We’re taxing aluminum. The steel and aluminum tariffs will likely raise prices for beer and every other canned product that makes life worth living.

.

Makeup companies: I’ll be honest with you, I’m not exactly sure how they’re gonna be hurt, but I did the research and they’re on everyone’s list.

Sorry makeup fans.


.

.

BIG PICTURE:

.

I don’t purport to be a world class economist, or even a mediocre one. The truth is, even the so-called educated economists rarely get it right. It’s an exact science, to the extent it’s a science at all.

However, I do feel confident in my aerial view here, so hear me out.

First, yes, there will be pain. There’s no way around it. Some American companies will benefit (along with steel unions), but the overall effect will be price hikes on many everyday products.

But Trump is playing the long game. When he says that America hasn’t been treated fairly in world trade, he has a point. Many of the trade deals we have are horrible for us and were obviously negotiated by political hacks rather than sound business minds.

Thus, you have to think of this as temporary pain for a larger good. If we have to pay a little more for a few months in order to set things straight on trade, it could very well be worth it. Remember, despite all the chatter and worried proclamations from weak-kneed Republicans, these countries need us more than we need them. Their citizens will be feeling the pain, too.

Trump is confident that our leverage will put us in the winner’s circle before all is said and done. Is he right? Frankly, I have no idea. A lot can happen in the world in a short amount of time.

I can say this much, though — everyone who wants America to put its foot down on trade is getting their wish.

Now, to quote PDT: “Let’s see what happens.” 

.


There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.


Donations

Hi everyone, if you enjoyed this article and feel that I’ve earned a tip, I would greatly appreciate any help you can give. If you would like to give more than $3, simply change the number in the box to multiply the donation. If not, I still love you and keep up the good fight!

$3.00

Categories Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close