Shonda: The Stephen Miller Story

… he wanted to join a party which wouldn’t have him because he was a Jew.

Hannah Arendt’s remarks on Leo Strauss

This morning Politico published an op-ed by Dr. David S. Glosser, Sc. D. Dr. Glosser is one of Stephen Miller’s uncles. While Dr. Glosser’s, and much of Stephen Miller’s other relations views about him are not exactly news, this is the first time that one of his relatives has directly addressed a national audience about him, his ideology, and his actions as opposed to having those views reported about. Dr. Glossar’s column explains in detail what almost every other American Jew knows very well, that if the immigration policies, laws, and regulations that Stephen Miller is such a clear advocate of were in force when their grandparents or great grandparents came to the US, they would never have been allowed in. And given that they were in force during the Holocaust, many seeking safety were unable to find it.

The Glossers’ journey is an American story. It is the story of the families being detained and separated at the southern border right now. No one takes their children, whatever possessions they can carry, and sets out either overland or at sea unless they are desperate. Desperate to escape state directed or tolerated political violence, drug cartel violence, the violence that arises from the sex trade, and the poverty and imisseration that contributes to it and results from it. Dr. Glossar tells the story of just one of his patients – a young man who was able to flee the mental torture of being turned into a child soldier and the physical torture that arose from suspected religious deviancy to eventually make his way to safety in the US. Dr. Glossar’s patient’s story is a testament to what America is supposed to be – the safe haven for those who seek it and wish to contribute to it. When men and women like Dr. Glossar’s patient, as well as his great grandfather – and many of our great grandparents regardless of our ethnicity or religion – undertook their long, dangerous journeys to the US they knew that at the end of that journey, if they were lucky enough to make it safely to their destination, was safety. This is the ideal that is America. This is its promise. Not the cramped, small minded, bigoted, hateful belief that the wealthiest and most powerful nation-state to ever exist is somehow on the verge of collapse because desperate men and women are carrying their children with them from danger through danger in the hope that they can reach safety.

Stephen Miller is the wickedest of sons. His prejudices and petty grievances betray not a world changing intellect, but the small minded fear of the petulant child who once slighted can never give up his grudge. Miller, and the President he so gleefully serves, like Gen. (ret) Kelly, and most every other American, is only an American because of lax immigration laws at the time their forebears came to the US and family based migration (what the President calls chain migration). It is not that they are hypocrites, they most certainly are, or would be if they had any sense of shame. Rather they are small, fearful, timid men play acting as fierce warriors on behalf of a socially constructed ideal: whiteness. And in the case of Stephen Miller, because he is Jewish, he is only white on sufferance and that privilege can be revoked by the very extremists and white supremacists that Miller has been playing footsie with since he was trying to survive the mean sidewalks and quadrangle of Santa Monica High School.

Open thread!

Space Force: Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution Edition

(Because most of our readers don’t speak Japanese*!)

I just want to quickly follow up on BettyC’s earlier post about the Vice President’s speech at the Pentagon today. Other than making some nice powerpoint slides and writing staff estimates that include projected budgetary costs, there is nothing the Department of Defense can actually do to fulfill the President’s request to create a Space Force. Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The Department of Defense cannot, just as the President cannot, will a new military Service into existence. In order for a Space Force to be created, Congress will have to pass the legislation to make it happen, just as Congress did way back in 1789, after a lot of prodding by President Washington (who is an example of somebody who’s done an excellent job and is being recognized more and more), to formally create the US Army. As such, the Department of Defense is taking this as seriously as all the other good ideas that people pitch to it. They’re being polite and making sure that they appear to be doing everything they are legally allowed to do in response to what they’re being asked to do.

Basically ordering people to show up to the Vice President’s speech and not laugh out loud.

And should a Space Force be required, well my tribe’s got us covered!

Lot of wasted space in those ship designs…

Open thread!

* Original Japanese version for the purists! ETA: From the remake.

Update at 3:51 PM EDT:

Thanks to SSDD in the comments, we’ve got a clip of the original title sequence in Japanese. Also, why is the “Chef de Project” named MILFY?

Finally, on a more historical note, back in 2015 a team financed by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame found the Yamato’s sister ship the IJN Musashi. So, technically, this premise is workable…


Breaking: Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY 27) Arrested for Securities Fraud and Insider Trading!!!

Congressman Chris Collins (R – NY) was arrested this morning by the FBI shortly after he was indicted for securities related fraud related to insider trading allegations. From NBC:

Chris Collins, a Republican congressman from upstate New York, surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning on securities fraud-related charges, prosecutors said.

Collins, 68, faces insider trading charges along with his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ fiancée, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

The case is related to Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company, on which the elder Collins served on the board.

The Daily Beast did the in depth reporting on the allegations, now charges, in April 2017 (emphasis mine).

When an Australian pharmaceutical company sought to raise money with the goal of entering the U.S. drug market, Rep. Chris Collins pitched in.

The Republican congressman purchased $2.2 million worth of stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics as part of its initial public offering in late 2013, according to a previously unreported document Collins filed with Australia’s securities authority. The IPO prospectus said Innate would seek FDA approval of its drug to treat multiple sclerosis. More than a year later, Collins wrote into a bill language to expedite the FDA’s approval process for such drugs. Four months before the bill was signed into law, Collins again purchased stock in Innate, this time as much as $1 million, according to congressional financial disclosure records.

Ethics experts say all of this amounts to a conflict of interest that warrants investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee.

Collins said he did not participate in any IPO on a financial disclosure form filed in 2014 (PDF), but that’s not a crime, thanks to a gaping loophole in the STOCK Act discovered by The Daily Beast.

The law, passed to stop insider trading among members of Congress, only requires them to disclose involvement in U.S. IPOs, but not foreign ones, a House Ethics Committee official told The Daily Beast.

“This is simply outrageous,” Larry Noble, a former Federal Elections Commission lawyer, told The Daily Beast of the loophole. “One could argue that not only should foreign IPOs not be exempt, but that they present an even greater possibility of a conflict of interest because they’re involved with foreign persons.”

Collins owns approximately $22 million worth of Innate stock, or 16.5 percent of the company, and sits on its board of directors, according to the company. Since the IPO, Collins’s children, his chief of staff, and a score of campaign donors have bought into Innate, whose stock price has tripled since its initial offering in 2013.

“Do you know how many millionaires I’ve made in Buffalo the past few months?” Collins was overheard on Capitol Hill telling someone on the phone in January, though it is not known what exactly he was talking about.

Five other Republican congressman have also invested in Innate, including the new secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price.

All told, Collins and people with close personal and political ties to him own approximately 30 percent of Innate.

Innate’s prospectus also shows why Collins’s work on the 21st Century Cures Act presents such a potentially serious conflict of interest, ethics experts said. Collins’s provision in the bill makes it easier for companies to be granted investigative drug approval, something Innate’s prospectus repeatedly defines as its main strategy for reaching the U.S. market.

Money raised by the initial public offering that exceeded the amount needed for the second phase of clinical trials for MIS416 would go toward “initiating the Investigational New Drug process with the FDA,” according to Innate’s prospectus.

In a statement touting the Cures Act provision, Collins said that “the method used to evaluate investigational drugs have remained the same for decades,” and called for the approval process for those drugs to be streamlined. That is now law thanks to the passage of the Cures Act.

Noble, the former government lawyer and an ethics expert, said that because Collins’s provision will have a broad impact on companies across the pharmaceutical industry, it might not be seen as a direct conflict of interest. But it is the provision’s specific effect on Innate—and Collins’s lead role in pushing the provision—that should prompt an investigation, Noble said.

“It’s one thing for a member of Congress to simply vote on something like this, and it’s entirely another for that person to have been the one leading the charge on it,” Noble said. “This is a very serious conflict of interest matter. There’s a lot financially at stake for him, and there’s a serious question of whether or not he put a provision in a statute that will benefit that financial upside.”

Noble added that, at the very least, Collins should have informed ethics officials of his relationship with Innate before crafting legislation that would help the company. It is not known whether Collins consulted the House Ethics Committee, or disclosed the extent of his involvement with Innate prior to pushing for the provision included in the Cures Act.

Collins’s potential conflict of interest got deeper last year. In August 2016, he bought as much as $1 million in company stock, according to financial disclosure records (PDF). Two months later, Collins’s language was present in the Cures Act. Two weeks later President Obama signed the bill into law.

Not only is it in Collins’s interest to see Innate succeed, but getting MIS416 to the lucrative U.S. market would enrich a sprawling network of family, friends, and political donors of Collins.

Collins’s circle began investing heavily in 2013, when Innate offered its IPO.

Much, much more at the link!

While Congressman Collins was the first member of the House of Representatives to endorse the President’s campaign and was a member of the transition. There is no indication in the reporting that Congressman Collins’ very overt and very suspect financial dealings and their interaction with his legislative work is in any way connected to the Special Counsel’s investigation. Seeming congressional financial and investment shenanigans, however, has been a long standing problem that is occasionally reported on, but needs some serious sunlight and attention directed at it. Far too many members of Congress in both chambers enter Congress well off and, after a career making between $140 to $175K a year (rank and file versus leadership), leave Congress very, very wealthy. The reasonable suspicion is that much of this wealth is the result of trading on what they learn in the course of their congressional duties. This is clearly unacceptable and must be stopped. Unfortunately the people who would have to take action to stop it are also the people who are engaged in it.

Stay financially solvent!

Open thread.


3D Printed Guns or Dude Why are These Shards of ABS Plastic Sticking Out of My Hand and Other Parts of My Body?

There’s been some chatter in the comments over the past several days over the DOJ settling with the anarcho-libertarian who set up a company to make the blueprints for 3D printing guns and gun parts readily available and to sell his own CNC machine so that people can machine gun parts at home using the blueprints available from him. Yesterday a Federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on the release of the blueprints by Defense Distributed. The simple truth is the temporary restraining order is pointless. The CAD files are available from download at numerous other sites on the Internet. As all good browncoats know, you can’t stop the signal!

Before anyone starts to freak out because people will be able to 3D print their firearms, you can’t 3D print any form of firearm that is going to do much but blow up in your hands after a few shots. The plastics just can’t take the pressures. So you can get a shot or two plastic zip gun and maybe that’s it. Even the highest end, most advanced 3D printers that can print metal aren’t advanced enough to fabricate a decent firearm that is going to be sturdy enough. If you’re looking to print a new butt stock or the grip module for say a SIG P320 or a Beretta APX – both of which have a removable fire control unit that under Federal law is the serialized gun – then 3D printing is fine. But printing the lower receiver for an AR pattern rifle, which is the serialized part of an AR pattern rifle and therefore technically/legally the gun, is just stupid. All you’re going to do is hurt yourself because the plastic lower receiver can’t take the pressures. And you can’t print barrels out of 3D plastic filament that can handle the pressures either.

Not to rag on SIG Sauer, but SIG just released a brand new subcompact pistol, the P365. It is a similar concept to their P320, which with a couple of modifications, is the new duty side arm for the military the M17 (full size) M18 (compact). The actual firearm for both the P320 and the P365, according to the law, is the removable fire control unit (FCU), which is the serialized part. The slide is machined steel. The FCU, the return spring, the striker, the trigger springs, etc are all machined. Either directly produced or by metal injected molding (MIM). The trigger is plastic and the grip module (frame), is polymer. The magazines are metal. SIG spent significant amounts of money designing, creating a prototype, testing a prototype, etc. In the first several months of the production run they’ve been making rolling adjustments to both the production process and the design of several parts as a small number of problems have been reported. Initially it was barrel peening because of the fit between slide and barrel as it returned to lock up. Then it was a problem with the trigger spring on the FCU, as well as issues with the striker.

This is not surprising. There has not, as far as I know, been a new handgun debuted that hasn’t had production teething issues. Largely because they are mass produced items where the parts have slight variations while still technically being in spec. SIG has this problem with the new P365. They had a different issue that came to light last year with the P320. In fact Springfield Armory, which just rolled out a new variant of their pistol that is a direct competitor to the P365, has also introduced a marketing campaign that takes direct aim at the new competition without naming the competition.

Remington has had significant trigger problems with the triggers on one of their best selling shotguns. There are so many of these shotguns in circulation that it will take them decades, if not hundreds of  years, to replace all the triggers if they do nothing but replace triggers 24/7. GLOCK, known for their GLOCK Perfection advertising campaign, have had several issues as they move from generation to generation or introduce new items within a generation. And these are just ones I can think of off the top of my head. And that’s before we mention that even in a perfected, if you will, firearm, because there are always some variations in production runs of parts, even a largely reliable, trouble free firearm line will produce the occasional lemon.

If the professionals, with professional gunsmiths and hundreds of years of experience among those gunsmiths, have teething issues in their professionally manufactured and assembled firearms, all the 3D printed ones made at home are going to do is get a lot of people self perforating with ABS plastics. Unless and/or until the 3D printing technology, specifically the 3D printing technology for metal, gets a lot more advanced and a lot cheaper for personal purchase and use, all that is going to happen is that people trying to make ghost guns are going to be just as likely to blow their hands up as hit what they might be aiming at with a roll your own gun made of plastic filament. And then the lawsuits for damages will start. The 3D printing manufacturers will claim that injured people need to sue the anarcho-libertarian pushing to publish the plans. And then he’ll be in a lot of legal jeopardy.

Obligatory musical accompaniment:

Open thread!

The Human Geography Trap: War with Iran

Last week The Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy West Point (West Point/The Point) published an article about the need to plan for an occupation of Iran. That article got a lot of buzz, especially so because a lot of the buzz had to do with the title, not with the actual substance of the article. The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea. I initially thought about doing a response to the article here, but instead decided to reach out to the appropriate folks at The Modern War Institute. And look what happened!

Right now the US military does not have personnel with deep specialization in conducting or overseeing the type of occupation that Karle argues is an unfortunate necessity of being prepared for all possibilities. It is also not clear who the United States would seek to empower as a legitimate alternative to the current Iranian government—both the popularly elected facade and the largely opaque theocracy that runs in the background. Or how the United States would go about doing so successfully. Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace. And while he is right to argue that having a plan and a strategy is always better than not having either, if the United States’ policy is to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and remove the theocratic Iranian government, then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

You can click across for the rest if you like. Including the nifty map I put together.

Open thread!


Today in Rudys Giuliani: An Ongoing Series Regarding the Quantum Dynamics of America’s (Dumbest) Mayor!

Today we once again convene our ad hoc pro-seminar analytical series into the quantum dynamics and entanglements of Mayor A Noun, A Verb, and Boy Do I Sound Like a Dumbass! Giuliani. On behalf of the Institute for the Study of Infinite Rudys Giuliani, I would personally like to thank Josh Marshall for capturing the relevant clips of the various Rudys Giuliani broadcast and cable news appearances, which has made today’s installment possible.

This morning one of the Rudys Giuliani went on CNN this morning in an attempt to clarify something he said on Fox News earlier this morning. As a result we got this lovely revelation:

To summarize for those not able to watch video:

  1. Rudy Giuliani went on CNN to clarify Rudy Giuliani’s remarks earlier this morning on Fox News.
  2. Rudy Giuliani explained to CNN viewers that there was a planning meeting on 7 June 2016 in advance of the 9 June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskiya, her two Russian intelligence handlers (one former GRU and one, reportedly, former SVR), Emin Agalarov, Rob Goldstone, and a couple of other hangers on.
  3. In attendance at the now newly disclosed for the first time by Rudy Giuliani on CNN this morning to clarify what Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News before the CNN interview 7 June 2016 meeting was, according to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Jr, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner (who are all reported to have been at the actual 9 June meeting with Veselnetskiya et al), Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen.
  4. Rick Gates has been cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office for months.

It is important to remember that on 26 July 2018, Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that:

GIULIANI: He didn’t know about it. I know that. I’ve been over this in great detail. I’ve talked to the corroborating witnesses. This guy is walking into a trap. But —

CUOMO: You’ve talked to the other people that were in the room?

GIULIANI: Of course I did. Months ago. A month ago. Two months ago.

CUOMO: And you know what they say the president was told and not told by his son?

GIULIANI: I know what they say, yes.

Here’s a question for the seminar: how does one talk to people who were in the room at a meeting that you’ve stated didn’t happen?

Anyhow, so when Rudy Giuliani went on CNN this morning to clarify what he said on Fox News before he went on CNN, he directly contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday. Everybody still with me? Good, because Rudy Giuliani has now gone on Fox News again to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning to clarify what Rudy Giuliani had told Fox News even earlier this morning, but which contradicts what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday.

Here’s the video clips of Rudy Giuliani on Fox earlier this afternoon to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last Thursday in an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News even earlier this morning.

So, again, to summarize for those without video:

  1. Rudy Giuliani has gone on Fox News earlier this afternoon to state that there was no planning meeting on 7 June 2016 for the 9 June meeting with Natalia Veselnitskiya.
  2. This was an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN this morning that there was a planning meeting on 7 June 2016 that was attended by Donald Trump, Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates (who has been cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office for months), and Michael “Hi-Fidelity” Cohen, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on 26 July 2018.
  3. This morning’s CNN appearance was an attempt by Rudy Giuliani to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News even earlier this morning.

It appears that we have had a Class 4 Rudys Giuliani quantum entanglement so far today. Though the day is young, who knows what Rudy Giuliani might say to Wolf Blitzer or Chris Cuomo or Anderson Cooper that will then require Rudy Giuliani to clarify what Rudy Giuliani said to Blitzer, Cuomo, and/or Cooper by going back on Fox News to set the record straight. If he really works at it, Rudy Giuliani may be able to get this all the way up to a Class 8 or 9!

I hope that everyone is clear about all of this, because if you’re not Rudy Giuliani will come to your house tonight to explain what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told CNN, which contradicted what Rudy Giuliani told CNN last week, in an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told Fox News first thing this AM.

Open thread! Or threads if you can’t escape the quantum entanglements.

PS: More seriously, Giuliani’s inability to both keep his mouth shut, fight his mania for appearing on television multiple times every day, and get his stories straight is increasing the President’s legal jeopardy. As I noted above, Rick Gates has been cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation for months. So the Special Counsel knows exactly whether there was or was not a 7 June 2016 planning meeting and what was or was not discussed at that meeting. Moreover, if you all recall, in the afternoon of 7 June 2016 the President held an impromptu press event to announce he’d be holding a press conference at the beginning of the following week to provide all sorts of new and damaging information about Secretary Clinton. Once news of the actual 9 June 2016 meeting broke last year, this has been seen as a significant tell that Veslenitskiya via the Agalarovs and Rob Goldstone had promised to provide incriminating information to the Trump campaign about Secretary Clinton. Specifically, that the President had been informed that the meeting was scheduled and what had been promised and couldn’t keep it to himself, so he teased it to the news media at a press conference. The President never held the follow on event he teased.

Glenn Greenwald’s Purge Binge

Apparently the “last honest and forthright” man east of the sea has gone on something of a purge binge.

I don’t normally pay much attention to Greenwald, I had one email exchange with him back in 2008 or 2009 (I’m not going to check), which was only slightly more pleasant than the day Seb Gorka cold emailed me to try to sell me on taking his course on irregular warfare. This included him getting belligerent and declaring I obviously don’t care about irregular warfare when I asked him how he got my personal email address, followed by him groveling when I explained just who I actually am, followed by him breaking contact completely when I sent him my full CV. Good times… Anyhow, a couple of you emailed me to ask me if I’d seen this and what I thought was going. I honestly hadn’t until the first email came in and I have no real idea other than there are tweets that Greenwald doesn’t want anyone to see anymore. Maybe he’s trying to clean up his timeline. Maybe he’s worried about something. Maybe it’s am agreed upon clandestine signal to someone. Maybe he fell asleep with tweet deck open and his face mashed the delete button on his keyboard as he was having a nap. Perhaps the NSA or GCHQ will offer to provide him copies of what’s deleted just to feed his megalomaniacal paranoia Feel free to speculate in the comments before he or one of his sock puppets shows up to tell us all how this is all a neo-liberal plot and you’re all part of my national-security and intelligence communities conspiracy to silence him.

Speaking of the national-security and intelligence communities, yesterday was Intelligence Professionals Day.

Did any of you bother to get a card? Flowers? Balloons? Cake? No, no you didn’t. All of your dossiers have been updated accordingly!

Open thread.