Actress Alyssa Milano Blames Russian Hackers for Initial Ohio Special Election Results

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

You can not fix this kind of stupid with Duck Tape and Gorilla Glue.

Actress Alyssa Milano complained on Twitter Tuesday evening that an Ohio special election was too close to call because of Russian meddling.

The results in the closely-watched 12th District special election to replace retiring Rep. Pat Tiberi (R.) remain neck and neck a day later. Republican Troy Balderson holds a slight advantage over Democrat Danny O’Connor with 50.2 percent of the vote, a lead of only about 1,754 votes, but provisional ballots still need to be tallied.

But Green Party candidate Joe Manchik also received 1,127 votes, around 0.6 percent of total voters. An eccentric marijuana enthusiast who believes all Americans should be required to grow hemp, Manchik also believes he is descended from aliens from “a planet orbiting a star in the Pleiades star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus.”

Milano, the star of “Charmed” and the upcoming Netflix series “Insatiable,” cried foul about the votes Manchik was receiving, blaming “Russian meddling” instead.

Alyssa Milano

@Alyssa_Milano

You know what sucks?

Because of our unwillingness to pass policy that protects our election integrity, I immediately think the Green Party votes tonight are Russian meddling.

Why else would anyone cast a protest vote in Ohio when there’s so much at stake?

The U.S. intelligence community believe Russian hackers managed to infiltrate several state and local electoral systems during the 2016 election, but a 2017 report from the Department of Homeland Security noted that “the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”

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Understanding Claim Of 1,259 Murders By Concealed Carry Permit Holders

H/T Bearing Arms.

This quote says it all.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
– Mark Twain. 

Anytime a claim is made by anti-gun activists people need to check the numbers very, very closely. After all, we’ve seen them try to frame remarkably low numbers as some kind of epidemic.

Last week, a report came out that claimed people with concealed carry permits committed 1,259 murders since 2007. And worse, it supposedly says something very damning about citizen carry.

The center’s Kristen Rand said, “The evidence is clear that allowing random people to carry guns in public endangers public safety.” With no comprehensive recordkeeping of deaths involving concealed handgun permit holders, and many states prohibiting the release of such information, the examples provided by the center are taken primarily from news reports along with the limited information collected by a few states. They likely represent a small fraction of actual cases, the center says. Its database does not  include the small number of incidents that are eventually determined to involve self-defense or where no verdict is reached at trial. In the vast majority of the 1,049 incidents documented, the concealed carry permit holder either committed suicide (532), has already been convicted (335), perpetrated a murder-suicide (59), or was killed in the incident (19). Of the 69 cases still pending, the vast majority (57) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, five were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and seven incidents are still under investigation.

Not so fast, missy.

First, 69 cases are still pending, which means they’re innocent until proven guilty. Those need to be removed. That leaves 1,190 murders since 2007. That’s almost 11 years worth of crimes being counted.

To frame what this means, let’s break this down by how many per year. I’m going to be generous and assume they didn’t count 2018 in their numbers.

That means there have been 119 murders known to be committed by people with concealed carry permits each year. This is out of around 13,000 firearm-related homicides. Seems like a drop in the bucket, especially when you compare it to a busy day in Chicago.

If you break it down by state, you’re looking at 2.38 murders per statecommitted by people with carry permits each year. That’s it. Less than two and a half.

No matter how you slice it, the number being reported just isn’t all that high when you understand how the Violence Policy Center is framing this. As the VPC tends to do, they take the largest number humanly possible, something that they can defend as an accurate number, then tout it as being some kind of massive epidemic.

We can see the numbers aren’t that high when you look at them annually.

Now, let’s take a look at the number of concealed carry permits out there. That’s a little difficult since the numbers are always shifting, but Fox News reported that last year, there were 14.5 million people with concealed carry permits. That means only 0.00082069 percent of concealed carriers committed murders, using that particular number of people with permits. I’m not an expert, but that looks like statistical noise more than a trend or proof that concealed carry isn’t safe.

Especially when you compare those annual numbers to the 2.5 million times people with a gun defend their lives every year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, any murder is a horrible tragedy. I wish we lived in a world where they didn’t happen.

However, it looks like private citizens with guns–many of them with concealed carry permits–defend their lives far more often than they take innocent life.

Of course, the VPC tries to hedge their bets, saying these incidents they cite “likely represent a small fraction of actual cases.” In other words, they can make the problem seem as big as they want it to be, even if their numbers don’t back it up.

To them, I say that if you don’t know actual numbers, it’s best just to shut up unless you can find them because when you do this, I’m going to take you to school and point out just how idiotic your claims are. Especially when you’re counting cases that haven’t gone to trial yet.

Democrats’ New Anti-Kavanaugh Smear Strategy: Guilt By Association

H/T Town Hall.

The DemocRats are experts in character assassination just look at the way Trud(Ted) Kennedy assassinated the character of the Late Robert Bork.

They’ve got nothing of substance on him, and they know it — so we now appear to be entering another round of impotent foot-stomping in the Kavanaugh confirmation drama.  Having failed to find any coherent line of argument against Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the position, and after test-driving some school yard taunts and shouting about complicity in “evil” or whatever, the Left is moving on to a furrowed-brow fishing expedition over Kavanaugh’s ties to a judge on a different circuit court of appeals who retired amid allegations of sexual harassment.  Unless they’re engaged in an elaborate head fake and have some heretofore unseen bombshell to drop during the confirmation hearings, Senate Democrats look like they’re resorting to exceptionally thin gruel with this:

Senate Democrats are gearing up to press Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on his decades-long relationship with former Judge Alex Kozinski, who was forced into retirement last year by a mounting sexual harassment scandal. It’s not just what, if anything, Kavanaugh saw during his time as a Kozinski clerk in the early 1990s that’s on Democratic minds. They also want to know how President Donald Trump’s high court pick would address the judiciary’s ongoing internal reckoning with sexual misconduct that was sparked by Kozinski — one of Kavanaugh’s early mentors who introduced the younger appellate court judge at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2006…The White House already has stated that Kavanaugh “had never heard any allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment” before the claims against Kozinski began piling up last year…No evidence has come out to disprove the broad denial on behalf of Kavanaugh, who has taken public pride in hiring a high number of female clerks. But Democrats plan to raise scrutiny nonetheless.

There’s been precisely zero evidence presented indicating that Kavanaugh had any idea whatsoever about the alleged proclivities and misconduct of a man whom he knew professionally for years. If Trump had nominated Judge Kozinski for some inexplicable reason, that’d be one thing. If he’d nominated one of Kozinski’s Ninth Circuit colleagues who’d been credibly said to have ignored or covered-up accusatory whispers, Democrats may have a leg to stand on here.  Instead, they’re exploiting the behavior of an ex-jurist from the other side of the country in an unjust effort to drag Kavanaugh into the ugly morass of #MeToo politics.  So far, it looks like this approach has been a flop — and that Kavanaugh’s team has been preparing for these exact tactics:

Christine O.C. Miller, the retired federal judge who shared allegations against Kozinski, said in a telephone interview Monday that she expects Kavanaugh “would answer truthfully but would say he had no knowledge about it.” Miller called Democrats’ plans to ask about Kavanaugh’s knowledge of accusations aimed at Kozinski “unfair, and goes against my knowledge of what was going on at the time.” The White House is fully prepared for and expecting a Kozinski-related line of questioning, an official there said, and considers Kavanaugh’s record in supporting female clerks and colleagues to be exemplary. In remarks after Trump tapped him, Kavanaugh said he was “proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women,” and 18 of those former female clerks signed a letter last month that hailed him for making their industry “fairer and more equal.” The White House has also collected public statements from three individuals who worked under Kozinski at the same time as Kavanaugh who say Kozinski exhibited no improper behavior at the time.

Even a key female figure in the Kozinski matter is dismissing Democrats’ plan as “unfair” and baseless.  For a further sense of how weak this line of attack is, look no further than this line from the Politico story outlining the strategy: “For some who want to see senators press Kavanaugh about Kozinski, the most important question isn’t what he knew but what he plans to do about harassment in the judiciary should he be confirmed to the high court.”  That suggests there isn’t even a serious expectation among opponents that Kavanaugh’s connection to the Kozinski scandal even reaches its periphery; instead, they’ll demand that he denounce sexual harassment, which…shouldn’t be difficult.

Ed Morrissey looks at the state of play and describes how he views this act of “desperation.”  He writes, “this isn’t a strategy to defeat Kavanaugh; it’s a strategy to damage him as much as possible for the rest of his career. Never mind that Kavanaugh hired more female clerks than males, and never mind that all of those who are able to declare a public endorsement have done so. Senate Democrats want to paint him as a secret harassment enabler, even while having absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Kavanaugh knew of Kozinski’s actions — or even whether Kozinski harassed any women while Kavanaugh worked in his office as a clerk.”

Meanwhile, with upper chamber Republicans looking increasingly likely to vote unanimously in favor Kavanaugh’s confirmation — which unto itself would guarantee his installation on the High Court — and some intellectually honest liberals and feminists praising Kavanaugh’s credentials, a slew of red state Democrats are starting to bow to reality by scheduling meetings with the nominee.  They may be willing to play along with Chuck Schumer’s time-buying gambit for awhile, but if a relatively smooth confirmation process continues to evolve into a fait accompli, wavering Dems will start peeling off.  For now, they’re straddling the fence between their base (assuring them that they want to raise document production issues in meetings with Kavanaugh) and their home state electorates, who want to see him confirmed.

But Allahpundit is surely correct in this analysis: “There’s never been a realistic scenario in which Kavanaugh is confirmed with exactly 50 votes. Either he gets borked because something happens to scare off Collins and/or Murkowski, in which case all the red-state Dems will vote no, or Republicans hang tough and vote to confirm unanimously, in which case all the red-state Dems line up behind them to protect their right flank. The over/under on Kavanaugh’s confirmation should be set at 55 or so, not 50.”  I might set the over/under at 53, but the only number that really matters is 50.  I’ll leave you with a report of a pro-Trump outside group dropping seven figures on an ad campaign pressuring the three Senate Democrats who backed Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation (Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelley) to cast votes in favor of Kavanaugh:

President Donald Trump’s allies are escalating their support of his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, sinking millions more into pressure campaigns on red-state Democrats facing tough reelection fights in November. America First Policies, a Trump-aligned advocacy group promoting the president’s nominee with a seven-figure effort, will take to broadcast TV beginning Wednesday with ads targeting Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, according to information the group provided to POLITICO…America First plans to spend nearly $1.2 million over the nearly monthlong blitz

The Judicial Crisis Network has been on air with similar spots since Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced, and here’s the adAmericans For Prosperity (backed by the Koch brothers, who very clearly haven’t entirely withdrawn from conservative politics)  has been running for weeks:

Delegates vote to impeach all four remaining WV Supreme Court justices

H/T WV MetroNews.com.

Following in the footsteps of the late Senator Robert Sheets Byrd(D-WV) with corruption 101.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Making West Virginia political history, the House Judiciary Committee has voted in favor of impeachment articles for all four remaining members of the state Supreme Court.

Only former Justice Menis Ketchum was spared because he announced his resignation the day before impeachment proceedings were set to begin.

John Shott

“It’s really a sad day for the state, and nobody should be celebrating,” House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, said Tuesday at the end of a nine-hour day of impeachment consideration.

“I think the overwhelming evidence we saw was there was an atmosphere of entitlement and cavalier disregard for the expenditure of taxpayer money. It’s unfortunate the entire court seems to be infected by that atmosphere. We felt like we had no choice but to recommend the impeachment for each justice.”

Impeachment of any kind is a rarity. The last West Virginia political figure to be impeached was Treasurer A. James Manchin, who resigned before being tried in the Senate in 1989.

The actions taken by the House Judiciary Committee follow months of controversies, mostly focusing on spending decisions by the Supreme Court.

Now the full House of Delegates will convene at 10 a.m. Monday to weigh impeachment of justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker.

Any articles the full House approves would then go to the state Senate for trial.

If all four remaining justices wind up being removed from office, Gov. Jim Justice would appoint new members of the court, likely until 2020.

Justice commented during a separate press conference about the state budget: “It’s a black eye that we don’t need. I’m sure we’ll work our way through it.”

The House Judiciary Committee wound up approving 14 impeachment articles, rejecting two others.

One of the articles was a catch-all wrapping up almost every controversy the Supreme Court has faced over the past year.

That article accuses all four remaining justices of failing to establish policies about remodeling state offices, travel budgets, computers for home use and framing of personal items.

And the justices each face allegations that they spent thousands too much on the renovations of their own offices: $500,278.23 for Justice Davis, $363,013.43 for Justice Loughry, $130,654.55 for Justice Walker and $111,035.19 for Justice Workman.

Several more articles alleged the justices had signed off on a policy to circumvent state law by paying senior status judges as contractors, allowing them to make more than they were really allowed.

Some articles focused specifically on actions by Justice Loughry, who separately faces 23 federal charges.

The impeachment articles reflect Loughry’s decision to move an antique Cass Gilbert desk to his own home, his home use of state computer equipment, his private use of state vehicles, his use of public funds to frame personal mementos and his false statements while under oath to the House Finance Committee.

Two proposed articles were rejected.

One reflected Justice Walker’s use of outside counsel to write an opinion for the court, a $10,000 expense. Another was an allegation that Justice Workman had hiring preferences on the court for workers on her campaign.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee raised objections about some of the articles.

But beyond that, they raised concerns about the big picture.

“If we’re talking about overturning the entire court, that’s monumental,” said Delegate Barbara Fleischauer of Monongalia County, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

“It’s a huge thing to say the Legislature feels we can cause a change in the court that will result in all four members — one being elected with the resignation of Justice Ketchum and four new members being chosen by the governor instead of by the people. I just can’t go that far.”

Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, said the actions of the justices left her with no choice.

“I do think the evidence is there, and I think my constituents have reached out to me with enough outrage — especially once the pictures came out and they saw the lavish spending and all the struggles we’ve been through the last few years as a state, trying to fund corrections, trying to give the teachers a pay raise,” Summers said

“All these things we’ve been struggling to do, and they see that — that is a slap in their face, and it shows very poor judgment.”

The Supreme Court on Monday night sent a letter saying an advisory opinion about working lunches by the state Ethics Commission does not apply to the judicial branch.

The court reportedly spent  $42,314.76 over five years on working lunches, a subject of earlier impeachment testimony.

Shott said the letter from the Supreme Court provided an example of the court’s collective mindset.

“It’s absolutely incredible to me, and just basically reinforces the perception that the court feels they’re not a co-equal branch, they’re a superior branch and not subject to the same rules the rest of us are,” Shott said. “I was just flabbergasted to get that.”

The next historic step in West Virginia’s political drama continues Monday.

Shott said he believes the evidence is generally solid going into the next phases.

“We believe the evidence is pretty compelling on most of the charges. There are some areas that we probably need to fortify somewhat, and we’ll be doing some work on the issues that are raised today. But for the most part these are overwhelmingly obvious.”