Elections

Jeff Sessions Deserves Your Vote

Alabama voters should ignore Trump’s rage-tweets and vote for Jeff Sessions in November.

It’s no secret that President Trump has harbored a grudge against Jeff Sessions ever since Sessions, as the Trump Administration’s first attorney general, recused himself from the Russia collusion delusion investigation.

Like many others, I was frustrated by Sessions’ recusal and said as much in 2018. Yet, Sessions had no legal choice but to recuse himself once President Trump went on MSNBC to gloat over his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey for the grotesque Russia investigation. 

What’s more, Jeff Sessions is someone who has a solid record on immigration policy, the issue that got Trump elected. In fact, when it comes to immigration, Sessions was one of the few consistent bright lights in the Senate over the last several decades. 

Now that Sessions is running to reclaim his lost Senate seat, President Trump is wading into the Republican primary in Alabama to demand that Alabama voters support Sessions’ imbecilic opponent who supports open borders, Tommy Tuberville. Once again, the president is exhibiting poor political judgment of the sort that helped Democrats win the midterms in 2018. 

Patterns of Poor Political Judgment

The truth is that President Trump never should have offered to make Jeff Sessions attorney general without first having done his due diligence. By taking Sessions away from the Senate, Trump created a gaping hole in what was once a safe and reliable Republican seat. The president constantly rages against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Yet, Trump is the one who should have done the proper level of vetting for all of his cabinet appointees to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest. 

Clearly, Trump did not do this. 

Besides, no one told Trump to go to the press and gloat about how he fired Comey. That is, after all, what prompted the whole imbroglio with Sessions to begin with. The president likes to blame Sessions for doing that which Sessions was legally required to do (since 2018, I’ve spoken to a retinue of attorneys who insist that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself). 

Should Sessions instead have broken the law? 

Further highlighting Trump’s poor political judgment in this instance, the president left the selection of Sessions’ Republican replacement in the 2018 midterms to none other than the quiet “NeverTrump” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The most obvious replacement for Sessions was the solidly conservative Mo Brooks. Instead, McConnell wanted the lukewarm, pro-amnesty Luther Strange

At the time, Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, supported Strange’s primary opponent, Roy Moore. Of course, Moore was much closer to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” beliefs. Nevertheless, Trump supported Luther Strange—who lost decisively to the far more Trumpian Roy Moore—out of spite for his former White House adviser. It was wrong, especially coming from a president who demands the loyalty of those working for him. It seems he rarely exhibits this quality himself (just ask General Flynn, who continues to languish under the false accusations that he was a Russian stooge).

Of course, a smear campaign was waged against Moore in the pages of the Washington Post which claimed that Moore was a sexual deviant. To compound matters, Moore’s public presentation of himself came across as weird. And it is believed that people close to McConnell were feeding these rumors about Roy Moore to the Post. Whether the claims were true or not, Roy Moore was always a terrible candidate. Yet when 2018 ended, the most decisively Republican Senate seat was lost to one of the most left-wing, pro-abortion politicians imaginable: Doug Jones. This was all because of the poor political judgment of the president: he should not have taken Sessions out of the Senate and, when he did, Trump should have pressured the GOP to place the strongest, most conservative candidate (Mo Brooks) as Sessions’ replacement. 

Now that Sessions is seeking to reclaim his old Senate seat from the infanticidal, pro-illegal immigration Democratic Senator Doug Jones, Trump is yet again supporting the wrong Republican candidate. Like Luther Strange, Tommy Tuberville will not win and instead will cede Alabama’s Senate seat to the virulently NeverTrump Doug Jones. Trump’s political judgment on this matter is so bad, in fact, that Ann Coulter may be correct when she says the president is handing the Senate over to the Democrats in November with antics like this.

There Are No Perfect Choices in Politics

American politics is about taking the bitter with the better. Rarely will a candidate for office be everything to everyone (just ask Bill Press about Barack Obama). If, however, one can find a candidate who supports the right policies and at the same time is a relatively decent human being while being loyal, as Sessions is, one should do his part to keep him in office. Especially when the alternatives are so bad.

Despite the fact that things between President Trump and Sessions ended badly, the former attorney general continues to defend the president and does his best to formulate issues in a way to help the  president heading into 2020. Sessions exhibits no vindictiveness, no bitterness. He is the consummate professional.

Which is more than I can say for Trump. 

Jeff Sessions is a man the Republican Party and Alabama need representing them in the Senate. He is civil, smart, and strong. Sessions has exercised political and policy judgments over the course of his career that are better than those of the president who doggedly (and unfairly) besmirches Sessions’ good name—and continues weakening the Republican position in Alabama. Sessions would be a consistent ally in the Senate for President Trump, if the president would just get out of his own way and let bygones be bygones. Sessions deserves to win the Senate seat in November more than Open Borders Tuberville. 

President Trump is behaving like Captain Queeg after he lost his beloved strawberries in the great Humphrey Bogart film, The Caine Mutiny. It’s embarrassing. The president apparently fails to understand the consequences of his wading into the Alabama Senate primary fight: by damaging Sessions, Trump will split the Republican vote in Alabama, and only empower the much worse Doug Jones. 

And should Tommy Tuberville somehow actually win the Senate seat, Trump will only have elevated a man who is opposed to his immigration platform—the real reason why Trump won in 2016.

Going Forward

I’ll vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in November because I prefer The Caine Mutiny to Mr. Magoo. But let’s not delude ourselves any longer about the president’s shabby political judgment. If Trump is not careful, he’ll ensure that the GOP loses the Senate to the Democrats in 2020, which will kill his agenda should the president get a second term. 

Alabama voters should ignore Trump’s rage-tweets and vote for Jeff Sessions in November. 

Elections

Democrats Are Running Out of Arguments

With a brisk economic revival and continued retrenchment of the virus, it is going to be increasingly difficult for the Democrats to prevail on the merits.

The battle lines on the issue of ending the economic shutdown are drawn more sharply each week. The terror campaign conducted by the media when the coronavirus outbreak began effectively compelled President Trump and most governors to follow the advice of the audible scientists and “flatten the curve” with a comprehensive shutdown requiring huge numbers of people to stay at home.

As the unemployment figures that resulted mounted swiftly toward 40 million, the American Left, now including almost all the official Democrats and almost all the national political media, became instantly addicted to the prospect of holding the president responsible at the election in November for creating an immense economic depression. 

When the president recognized the extent of the alarm over the virus in March, he decided he had no alternative politically (and probably none in terms of public health, either) but to shut the country down, acknowledging the authority of the governors to decide exactly how extensively in each state. He took care to announce, as he did this, that the shut-down would be reversed as soon as possible and that his objective was a V-shaped economic recovery: a return almost as vertical as the inevitable decline.

Starting in early April, the president moved more or less subtly to encourage governors to begin reopening their states. Predictably, Republican governors tended to respond positively and promptly to this proposal and their Democratic analogues were more or less sluggish. For a time, both sides moved with relative caution to preserve the fiction that this was a matter of lives, public health, national welfare and, above all things, was beyond politics. 

Of course, every observant person knew that in this presidential term nothing has been above politics, (and little has been beneath politics, either). The president cautioned the Republican governor of Georgia Brian Kemp about a general opening of almost all small businesses, but the governor seems to have been justified in taking that step and the president subsequently has applauded it. The apparent Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden—the personification of the shutdown, now lumbering determinedly through his third subterranean month in Delaware—urged caution. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was at pains to emphasize that the status of New York as a “hot spot” required him to go slowly, though the debate in New York was overtaken by allegations against the Democrat of responsibility for the deaths of thousands of elderly people by requiring COVID-19 sufferers be returned to nursing homes. 

At the outset of the coronavirus crisis there was what proved to be an exaggerated fear that the hospital system would be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. As a result of that belief, surplus capacity was quickly built in or moved to the larger cities and, instead of the homes for the elderly being protected and insulated from the start, they were in many cases allowed to become infestations of the illness swiftly transmitting the infection among residents. We now know that about one-third of the country’s fatalities from COVID-19 happened in long-term care facilities.

As President Trump has steadily encouraged relaxation of the economic shutdown, public opinion—which once appeared committed to the shutdown and responded so uniformly to the calls for sacrifice—has drifted back to approval for a reopening somewhat timidly. But the tactical trap is closing in slow motion on the Democrats. Since the president’s greatest vulnerability would be if he could not get the shutdown lifted in good time for the country to see the economy reviving before the election, the Democrats have lost the opportunity to flop back to complaints that are now becoming quite audible, that the shutdown should never have been imposed in the first place. 

This weekend the president stated that had the experts known more about the virus in March, this comprehensive shutdown would not have been imposed. The Democrats thus are stuck with the shutdown and are stuck with an argument for continuing the shutdown that rests entirely on the continued propagation of exaggerated and unseemly fear. 

So far, where the return from the lockdown has proceeded quickly—as in the Republican-governed states of Texas, Florida, and Georgia—the incidence of coronavirus has not risen. (Meanwhile, in Georgia, there has been the leitmotif of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and inveterate seeker of this year’s vice presidential nomination, Stacey Abrams, that she won the election which she lost by 55,000 votes to Kemp). 

The rabidly Democratic media who effectively are conducting the campaign for the beleaguered official Democrats, are left clinging to an indefinite shutdown that only panic can justify and that an increasing number of people, now including the president, believe should not even have been imposed.                                                

The president said that his most difficult decision would be when to lift the shut-down, and he now has his principal scientific adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, supporting a relaxation and the leading Democratic governors, Cuomo and Gavin Newsom in California, affirming the president’s cooperation and efficiency. This makes the Democratic claim, launched by former President Obama as a truism with no need for further explanation that Trump has bungled this crisis, very difficult to sustain. Neither Obama nor habitual media Trump-bashers such as A.B. Stoddard last week in RealClearPolitics, offered a word of explanation for the unqualified assertion that the administration’s performance has been a disaster. 

As the United States has done substantially better than any large Western country except Canada and Germany, the claim that it has been a disaster is a false argument. Trump was clearly wise to close down direct air travel between China and the United States at the end of January, for which he was much criticized by the Democrats. His mobilization of the private sector, and particularly the swift development by Abbott Laboratories of an instant testing method, and the mass production of ventilators for which there was widely claimed to be an acute shortage, were very effective. 

The results of Trump’s calling on states to relax the shutdown in April make it hard to criticize that move. The Democratic media appear at this point to be reduced to representing the loss of nearly 100,000 American lives as a tragedy for which Trump is somehow responsible. When he took the measures that he did, the so-called experts had not yet reduced their prediction of fatalities in the United States from over 2 million to between 100,000 and 240,000. The daily fatalities continue to decline and have fallen by over 60 percent in the last five weeks.

 If this trend continues as the country reopens and there is distinct progress on bringing the unemployed back to work, it is going to be extremely difficult to run against the president on this issue. The polls reflect Trump’s difficulty in moving from the president of the shutdown to the president of the reopening while brushing off the imputation to him of putting “soon ahead of safe.” But he is moving between strengths and the polls do indicate a large lead for Trump over Biden on the issue of restoring the American economy. 

With a brisk revival and continued retrenchment of the virus, it is going to be increasingly difficult for the Democrats to win this argument.

Elections

The Disgraceful Death of #MeToo

The fact that the Left now feels brazen enough to change the narrative on something that happened only two years ago is terrifying.

You may think that the media would have its hands full touting Chinese Communist Party propaganda, but you’d be wrong. After ignoring Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden for as long as was humanly possible, the media finally has found its collective tongue and has begun to denigrate, doubt, and question Reade’s story in a way they never did with Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh two years ago.

In the past few weeks, several media outlets have tripped over themselves to discredit Reade’s story. Helen Lewis of The Atlantic wrote that she “never believed in ‘Believe Women,’” which is rich coming from a writer who once complained that Blasey Ford was “being put on trial,” and even richer considering The Atlantic published article after article after article excoriating Kavanaugh and implicitly accepting Blasey Ford’s claims. Meanwhile, the Washington Post declared that “Believe all Women” is a straw man, CNN announced that Reade’s “conflicting accounts” muddle her story, and many other outlets either are downplaying the story or continuing to ignore it altogether.

But perhaps the most hypocritical take on the issue comes from the New York Times, which has the incredible chutzpah to say that “Believe All Women is a Right-Wing Trap.” The main point of the article is that the #MeToo movement only ever said “Believe Women,” not “Believe All Women,” which is a phrase conservatives have “wielded as a whip” to denigrate sexual assault survivors, at least according to the Times

The Times’ strategy is brilliant in its simplicity. Instead of trying to defend Democrats’ hypocrisy on its face, a herculean task, the Times simply nitpicks, twists language, and plays with semantics. “A-ha! We never said believe all women! Just women who accuse Trump’s appointees without a shred of evidence!” 

Even if the Left had never used the word “all” specifically (a dubious claim), the Times misses the point entirely. Blasey Ford’s accusation was opportunistic, self-contradictory, politically motivated, and completely lacked evidence. Her own friend contradicted Blasey Ford’s story and was pressured to change her testimony. And when Kavanaugh became understandably upset and cried at being falsely accused of rape, he was further accused of showing “white male privilege” and not having the “proper temperament” to be a Supreme Court justice. 

Yet not only were we expected to accept Blasey Ford’s baseless accusations, we were supposed to idolize her.

The New York Times in 2018 was “heartbroken” at Blasey Ford’s “desire to please.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote a glowing article praising her “courage,” and Time placed her on its cover—a cover that was then recognized as the 2018 “Cover of the Year.” Anyone who questioned Blasey Ford’s testimony was accused of being insensitive at best, and a victim-blamer at worst. Senate Republicans were excoriated for “putting Blasey Ford on trial,” even after treating her with kid gloves and launching a full FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s life to verify her claims. 

Now compare all of that with the Left’s treatment of Tara Reade. Where’s that Time cover for her, anyway? Don’t hold your breath waiting on it—Time is already busy accusing Reade’s lawyer of the heinous crime of being a Trump donor. 

We’ve already seen how the media has hypocritically covered for Blasey Ford while smearing Reade, but they’re not the only ones culpable. The same politicians who bared their fangs at Kavanaugh are now meek as lambs.

Kamala Harris not only ignored Reade’s allegations after being approached by her for help but also endorsed Biden. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who began the entire Kavanaugh debacle by airing Blasey Ford’s false claims, called Reade’s accusations “absolutely ridiculous” and asked, “where has she been all these years?” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who once stated “I believe Dr. Blasey Ford,” said there was “no contradiction” in how Democrats have handled the two cases and has also endorsed Biden. 

According to their own logic, aren’t these senators giving approval to a sexual predator and elevating him to the highest office in the land? Sure, nothing conclusive has been proven against Joe Biden(even though Reade’s accusations are more credible than Blasey Ford’s), but did that stop Democrats when it came to Kavanaugh?

And of course, who can forget the reaction of our cultural overlords in Hollywood? Alyssa Milano, who in 2018 tweeted that “You can’t pretend to be the party of the American people and then not support a woman who comes forward with her #MeToo story,” has finally found a #MeToo story she doesn’t like.

Milano defended Biden, saying there should be a “thorough vetting of accusations” and that “there is something to the idea that people are going to weaponize #metoo for political gain.” Due process apparently only applies when it defends your political allies. 

All this goes to show that the Left is in possession of no principles and is now simply using #MeToo as a weapon to beat down political opponents. And like any weapon, it can be put aside when it no longer serves one’s purposes. 

The #MeToo movement initially helped to expose many awful sex offenders and monsters, but it quickly lost credibility when it was used as a cudgel for political purposes against Kavanaugh. The fact that Biden’s accuser is so casually tossed aside by the Left is the final nail in the coffin. 

This should serve as a lesson to conservatives: Senate Republicans accepted the investigation into Kavanaugh’s life, they did everything possible to be sensitive to Blasey Ford, they played fair. But for what? Now, when it’s Democrats’ turn to do the same, they shamelessly trample their own cherished principles. Where are the David Frenches and Jonah Goldbergs on the Left screaming for an ideological policing of their side? Where is the NeverBiden movement? 

All this is not to say that conservatives should stoop down to the level of the Left. Instead, we should learn the lesson that our opponents are willing to go to any length, even engage in the most hypocritical and blatant doublethink imaginable, in order to win. We’d do well not to take their bait the next time.

It is now clearer than ever that the Left understands better than anyone George Orwell’s quote that “Who controls the past controls the future.” To the Left, the past has no objective meaning: it’s just a subjective mush that can be reinterpreted and twisted until it serves modern political goals. We’ve already seen this with things like the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which is bad enough; but the fact that the Left now feels brazen enough to change the narrative on something that happened only two years ago is terrifying indeed.

Elections

The Curious Flynn-Kislyak Call Gets Curiouser

It is likely that Kislyak, like so many other Obama-friendly foreigners, was in cahoots with the Democrats to entrap Team Trump before and after the election.

The infamous phone call between then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, like so many tales of Russian collusion, is not as it first appeared.

In light of new evidence, it’s likely there’s no truth to the running narrative about the December 29, 2016 phone call that has been the basis of Flynn’s legal nightmare for more than three years. The case against the three-star general, concocted by Barack Obama’s corrupt FBI, centers on the accusation that Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions with Kislyak and later lied about it to the FBI.

And now that we know Flynn’s name in the call was never masked—as the Washington Post reported last week, it was surveillance conducted by the FBI, not by national security officials—Kislyak’s involvement deserves more scrutiny. 

Let us first dispel with the notion that Barack Obama imposed “sanctions” to retaliate for the Kremlin’s alleged election interference. The word “sanctions,” in fact, never appears in Obama’s executive order, which was issued the same day as the Flynn-Kislyak call and more than seven weeks after Election Day; the (barely) three-page document is filled with irrelevant gobbledygook. It was a slap-on-the-wrist, or as one senior Obama aide called the measures, a “symbolic” gesture.

I repeatedly have suggested that Kislyak was a willing partner with the Obama White House in executing the Russian collusion hoax. Kislyak served as the Russian ambassador to the United States for the entirety of Obama’s presidency; he visited the Obama White House at least 22 times.

Press reports describe Kislyak as a longtime Beltway insider, connected to the most powerful people in Washington. “I personally have been working in the United States so long that I know almost everybody,” Kislyak boasted in 2017. 

He was especially tight with his onetime American counterpart, Michael McFaul, an Obama bestie who was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Russia in 2011 by his then-boss, Hillary Clinton; McFaul is the architect of Obama’s “reset” policy with the Kremlin.

There are several reasons to suspect Kislyak not only was in on the collusion scheme from the start but also that his call to Flynn was part of the Obama White House’s set-up of Trump’s short-lived national security advisor:

Kislyak contacted Flynn before the “sanctions” were announced: Obama issued his lame executive order on December 29, 2016—but Kislyak texted Flynn the day before asking him to call. The Mueller report confirmed that Flynn did not reply to Kislyak’s text; the Russian embassy also attempted to reach Flynn, who was out of town, on December 28.

The White House announced the measures on the afternoon of December 29 and after Flynn conferred with transition team officials, he connected with Kislyak later that day. “Flynn discussed multiple topics with Kislyak, including the sanctions, scheduling a video teleconference between President-elect Trump and Putin, an upcoming terrorism conference, and Russia’s views about the Middle East,” the Mueller report detailed. 

“With respect to the sanctions, Flynn requested that Russia not escalate the situation, not get into a ‘tit for tat,’ and only respond to the sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” Kislyak called Flynn again on December 31, 2016 to confirm that “Russia had chosen not to retaliate to the sanctions in response to the request.”

Smell a rat? I do. It fits too perfectly with the pretext for the bogus Logan Act charge quickly concocted by Comey and others. The call, and the Logan Act case, was discussed during a pivotal January 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting with Obama and his key advisors. The dominoes began to fall.

It’s unlikely the government surveilled Kislyak: The gregarious and English-proficient Russian was quite the man about town. He met with top Obama advisors, including Susan Rice, at the White House twice in October 2016, oddly, at the same time Obama was accusing the Kremlin of attempting to meddle in the election. 

Kislyak was the keynote speaker at the Detroit Economic Club on October 26, 2016. And two days after the election, Kislyak spoke at Stanford University with Mike McFaul. The two gushed over each other; it was hardly an appropriate display considering Kislyak represented a country that had just “attacked” our democracy.

Most people believe the Flynn-Kislyak call was intercepted by routine wiretapping of a Russian official living in the United States. This assumption, however, has never been proven. Considering Kislyak’s public profile, his accessibility to the Obama White House, and his coziness with Obama loyalists outside the White House, it would appear to be an unnecessary step.

Kislyak repeatedly reached out to Team Trump after the election: According to testimony by Susan Rice, the Trump transition team expressed concern about Kislyak’s frequent outreach. Rice told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that a member of Flynn’s staff asked for “background” information on Kislyak because they knew so little about him. 

While Rice attempted to portray the contacts as bad behavior on Flynn’s part, it jives with other evidence of Kislyak’s ongoing solicitations to Team Trump. (Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also testified that a Trump transition official asked if they “should be worried about Kislyak.”) 

Kislyak requested a meeting with Jared Kushner after the election; the diplomat met with the president’s son-in-law and Flynn on November 30, 2016. According to the Mueller report, Kislyak pushed for more meetings: “Kushner declined several proposed meeting dates, but Kushner’s assistant indicated that Kislyak was very insistent about securing a second meeting,” the report stated. “Kushner told the [Special Counsel’s] Office that he did not want to take another meeting because he had already decided Kislyak was not the right channel for him to communicate with Russia.” Kislyak was quite the pest.

Foreign diplomats played a key role in the Russian collusion storyline. Alexander Downer, the Australian ambassador to the U.K., notified the FBI that George Papadopoulos allegedly told him the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton; that’s why, according to James Comey, his FBI opened a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign. 

Papadopoulos later accused Downer of setting him up. “Some organization or entity sent him to meet me,” Papadopoulos said in 2018.

Before the presidential election, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States publicly accused Trump of coddling Russia. “Trump’s comments are only speculative…they call for appeasement of an aggressor and support the violation of a sovereign country’s territorial integrity and another’s breach of international law,” Valeriy Chaley wrote in August 2016. 

And Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) noted in a May 14 interview that “Obama ambassadors across the globe [were] unmasking” Flynn’s name in intelligence reports then “leaking out about anyone within the Trump campaign and the Trump transition that they could.”

Considering how Kislyak appears in nearly every collusion plotline, it’s hard to imagine the Obama folks weren’t pulling his strings, too.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reminded us last week, the purported reason why the FBI scoured for Flynn’s call transcript is that they were perplexed why the Russians didn’t push back on Obama’s puny “sanctions.” That sounds like a cover-up story.

Here’s what is more likely to be true: Kislyak, like so many other Obama-friendly foreigners, was in cahoots with the Democrats to entrap Team Trump before and after the election. They prompted Kislyak to connect with Flynn to discuss the sanctions—a call that was either monitored as part of the FBI’s investigation into Flynn or a call that Kislyak briefed someone about since it’s unclear whether a  call transcript exists—in order to create an internal and public case to oust Flynn. (The Washington Post revealed the call in a January 12, 2017 bombshell article by David Ignatius.)

People now are pushing for the release of the Flynn-Kislyak call transcript. Undoubtedly, it will expose new holes in the collusion falsity and perhaps reveal who raised the issue of sanctions in the first place. If it was Kislyak, it will add more substance to the idea he was just another collusion hoaxster doing Barack Obama’s dirty work.

Elections

Porklosi

Unmasking the House Speaker’s $3 trillion “ZEROES Act.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calls it the “HEROES Act,” but $3,000,000,000,000.00 makes it clear that “ZEROES Act” would be more appropriate. Embattled taxpayers might wonder where Pelosi is sending all that money. 

As CNBC explains, the $3 trillion package “includes funding for state and local governments, additional direct payments to Americans and billions more for health-care and testing purposes,” but that summary misses key details. As they say in car ads, there’s “too much to list,” but consider just a few of Pelosi’s heroes. 

The bill makes Paycheck Protection Program funds available to 501(c)6 trade associations, which represent corporate lobbyists. The 501(c)4 trade associations, home to shady political spenders, also get paycheck protection. The HEROES Act provides $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service and would repeal the cap on state and local tax deductions, a windfall for high-tax states such as California. So no surprise that Governor Gavin Newsom is a big fan. 

“The magnitude of this crisis requires a response only the Federal Government can provide, and the relief proposed in the HEROES Act answers this call,” Newsom explained in a statement. “As this bill and the ensuing debate moves to the Senate, I encourage our leaders in Washington to put partisanship aside and pass significant federal relief that will help state and local governments to sustain core services like public education, public health, and public safety.” And so on, from Nancy Pelosi’s one-time nephew by marriage.

In his March 19 press conference, when he told 40 million Californians to stay home, Newsom said, “I want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We had a very long conversation today. Talk about meeting the moment. We are so blessed to have her leadership in California.” For the governor of 40 million people, Nancy knows best.

In the midst of a pandemic, with millions of Americans unemployed, Newsom is apportioning $125 million, including $75 million from American taxpayers, for foreign nationals illegally present in the United States. Under the state’s coronavirus relief program, illegals can get $500 per person and up to $1,000 per household, and this comes in addition to the $98 million Newsom budgeted for illegals’ health care

In similar style, with more than 20 million Americans unemployed, Pelosi’s HEROES Act authorizes illegals in “essential services” to work through the crisis without fear of deportation. And as a Vox report explains, “unauthorized immigrants and their families” would now be eligible for both rounds of stimulus checks, up to $1,200 for each illegal. For their part, legal immigrants and legitimate citizens have plenty to ponder. 

If Pelosi’s HEROES Act apportioned taxpayer dollars for, say, Don Alfredo’s Tequila Works in Guanajuato, Mexico, that would require the author of the bill to register as a lobbyist with the federal government. As it stands, Pelosi and Newsom are spending U.S. taxpayer dollars on foreign nationals illegally present in the United States, with zero compensation from the governments of the foreign nationals, primarily Mexico. 

Pelosi and Newsom should be required to register as agents of the illegals’ own governments, in the same manner as lobbyists. Right now would be a good time. As they say, never let a crisis go to waste.  

Republicans proclaimed the HEROES Act “dead on arrival” in the Senate, which Pelosi knew would be the case all along. The HEROES Act is a 2020 campaign ad telling voters what is coming down the pike should the addled Joe Biden, or whoever takes his place, win the day on November 3. 

Illegal aliens have become the Democrats’ imported electorate, and the cash payments, in effect, buy their votes. That’s what big spender Nancy Pelosi is all about. 

In Congress since 1987 and now 80 years old, Pelosi makes a strong case for term limits. Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has an idea. “Let’s limit all U.S. politicians to two terms,” Coupal explains, “one in office and one in prison. Illinois already does this, and it seems to be working.” 

Elections

The Black Swan of 2020

When a majority of Americans finally realizes what was really happening in 2016 and 2017, do you really think they’ll give Joe Biden power again?

Most of us are familiar in some way with the term “black swan,” an unexpected event with major implications, and one which, in hindsight, often makes total sense. We should probably be talking more about the potential black swan of the 2020 elections, and I don’t mean the coronavirus.

I mean the reaction of the American people watching this summer as more evidence becomes public of senior Obama Administration officials conspiring and using the powerful tools of federal law enforcement and the surveillance state to spy on their successor, President Trump and members of his campaign and administration. 

It is entirely possible that some of these former Obama administration officials and FBI agents will be charged with crimes. And it is likely that through these disclosures of political dirty tricks—exceeding even Nixon’s Watergate—the electorate will realize that the Democratic nominee for president is eyeball-deep in this gross abuse of power. 

Over the last few weeks more and more evidence has been released—mostly by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—revealing Joe Biden’s involvement in these activities. Biden was involved in the West Wing meetings concerning President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, the FBI plot to get him at any cost, despite the absence of any evidence of criminal activity, and the illegal leaking of classified information about Flynn to continue a falsely predicated investigation—all of which, when confronted by the facts, Biden lied about. More information is very likely coming regarding Biden, and others, and their roles in #Obamagate.

In the next few weeks, it would not surprise me to see news reports of people being brought in front of the grand jury that U.S. Attorney John Durham has convened. Nor will I be surprised when legal counsel for those witnesses leak to the press that their clients are cooperating with Durham. The question is who is already cooperating? Take for instance FBI Agent Joseph Pientka, who apparently has falsified FBI 302s—the Bureau’s standard post-interview reports—and withheld exculpatory evidence. It’s not really a question of if he is going to jail. That’s pretty much a given. The question is: for how long? It really depends on what evidence he offers Durham regarding who was actually involved and directed him to violate the law. 

I’ve never been a big fan of speculating absent the facts, but what gives me some confidence that I’m barking up the right tree is knowing that John Durham has documents to challenge witness assertions and “refresh memories.” We can bet he has cooperating witnesses (I told One America News that FBI general counsel James Baker likely is a cooperating witness last fall). You know that the Pientkas and Bakers of the world aren’t going to take the fall all by themselves; heck, for that matter, throw in Lisa Page, who I suspect is being far more cooperative than people suggest.

That’s all to say I’m pretty sure someone higher up the food chain at the FBI is going to be in Durham’s crosshairs; it’s only a question of who and how many of them. If the evidence supports bringing charges, Durham will hammer them. Durham, unlike the majority of his federal prosecutor colleagues, has a history of holding accountable federal law enforcement agents and lawyers who break the law. He has a record of protecting the civil rights of witnesses and defendants to ensure that his prosecutions never suffer the ignominy that was just handed out to the agents and prosecutors who went after Michael Flynn. 

Remember, Durham can bring charges himself. People should operate on the assumption that Bill Barr and John Durham have to get this done by November 2020 to be safe. If things are going to be set right at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Intelligence Community, they have an absolute but narrow window of time in which to achieve this just in case Trump is not reelected. 

That’s why I’m convinced we’ll be seeing more and more breaking news regarding Obamagate and abuse of power. If I’m right, we may even see a late June/early July press conference with Barr and Durham in which they announce the first charges against those former Obama-era officials who were involved in the coup against Donald Trump. 

On the political front, despite the mainstream media’s attempts to tamp down all of this, it’s not working. Nonpolitical people are already talking about the Flynn case in Florida and California, so it has even broken through COVID-19 coverage into the greater national discussion. Imagine this summer when even more Americans understand what the Obama Administration attempted. And then they’re going to judge Obama’s No. 2, his self-styled wingman, Joe Biden, and wonder what else the senile old man in the Delaware basement knew. 

I always tell people that a deep sense of fairness permeates Americans and is one of the hallmarks of our culture of liberty. Another hallmark of the American people is their common sense. A friend of mine always cautions those in the media and the political class never to underestimate the collective wisdom of the American people. When a majority of Americans finally realizes what was going down in 2016 and 2017, how illegal it was, and what a gross abuse of power it was, their sense of fairness, common sense and wisdom will come into play. 

After all that, do you really think they’re going to give Joe Biden power again? I don’t think so.

Elections

Only You Can Save the Limousine Liberals!

A public service announcement.

In a blockbuster first, B.S. News virtuously presents a public service announcement, because never have the stakes been greater for your betters.

During the COVID-19 pandemic governmental lockdowns, it is easy to forget the victims of another governmental fiat. But U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can never forget these victims. Thanks to the Speaker’s limitless compassion for the up-trodden, House Democrats recently passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. Using the pandemic as a pretext, House Democrats pushed for this state bailout boondoggle that lifted the federal cap on state and local tax deductions in 2020 and 2021.

It’s a great leap forward in protecting America’s latest endangered feces: Limousine Liberals. 

This category of Democratic voter has been deeply hurt by the disastrous economic boom spawned by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  That “give away to the rich” evidently left out the Limousine Liberals. The law’s $10,000 cap on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) has devastated this protected upper class—i.e., the Limousine Liberals living in gated communities to protect them from you and the consequences of their ideology. Per the Tax Policy Center:

High-income households are more likely than low- or moderate-income households to benefit from the SALT deduction . . . About 11 percent of tax filers with incomes less than $50,000 claimed the SALT deduction in 2016, compared with about 80 percent of tax filers with incomes exceeding $100,000. The latter group, which made up about 17 percent of tax filers, accounted for about 77 percent of the total dollar amount of SALT deductions reported. The average claim in this group was about $21,000.

This patent social injustice foisted upon your social superiors must end before it’s too late!

Absent low-tax states’ residents subsidizing their appetite for big government, Limousine Liberals can no longer completely rob Peter (the federal government) to pay Paul (their state governments). They must—brace yourself—actually pay more federal taxes. While you have long been told paying more taxes is something Limousine Liberals yearn to do, their true goal may well be too nuanced for you lowbrows to grasp. 

Evidently, Limousine Liberals practice the fiscal theory of “misery loves company,” whereby the progressive upper crust will only pay more in taxes if everybody else does (i.e., you). This should have been apparent from the dearth of Limousine Liberals’ voluntary contributions to the federal treasury to “pay their fair share.” But your naiveté, ignorance, and selfish lust for lower taxes and prosperity are no excuse for the horrors thrust upon these progressive peers of the realm.   

Indeed, the GOP’s 2018 perversion of the progressive income tax to make the rich pay more has spurred a diaspora of Limousine Liberals fleeing to low-tax red states, where they are forced to live amongst dirty, unwashed deplorables. True, this migration of rich progressives could prove these red states’ salvation, thanks to the Limousine Liberals importing their progressive ideology to enlighten the benighted masses. This cohabitation with their social lessers, however, may endanger the Limousine Liberals’ progressive ideological commitment by exposing them to common sense, lower taxes, and good government. 

Thus, even though the provision capping SALT deductions expires in 2025, being a Limousine Liberal herself, Pelosi knows the stakes are too great to take even this minuscule risk. She is well versed in how challenging it is to remain blissfully ignorant of leftist hypocrisy. What if—goddess Gaia forfend!—prolonged contamination from red state reactionaries caused the cognitive dissonance of Limousine Liberals to erode? Would the ideological imbecility and hypocrisy of Limousine Liberals go the way of the dodo? Could anyone put a price on the loss to our global village if Limousine Liberals failed in their self-appointed mission to fundamentally transform America?

Nancy Pelosi did. 

Ever a healer (ward or otherwise), Pelosi has fashioned an equitable remedy by courageously embracing the hypocrisy to propose the two-year federal tax cut for the economically ravaged Limousine Liberals. What happens after those two years is anyone’s guess. 

What happens before that? The massive tax hikes by big government-loving, locked-down blue states expected after the COVID-19 pandemic—hikes that are likely to come in these long-identified fiscal disaster areas even with a federal bailout. Now try to imagine the unfairness of Limousine Liberals being compelled to sacrifice for the common good of their high-tax blue states without low-tax red states footing part of the bill. It isn’t a pretty picture.

This is where you come in. 

For only a few dollars per day, Speaker Pelosi’s HEROES Act affords only you—greedy, fascist, racist, red-state reprobate, you—the responsibility to save the endangered Limousine Liberals. Only you, by rejecting your selfishness, can embrace Pelosi’s holistic hypocrisy and save the Limousine Liberals with a federal tax cut for them and a tax hike for you—all for their own common good, mind you. Only you, by rejecting your enviousness, can confirm that, when it comes to inequitable taxation, deplorables are truly “alone together.”

Your betters accept in advance your compliant contribution. Stay home, stay safe, and save the Limousine Liberals!

Or else.

© B.S. News 2020

Elections

Useless Senate Republicans No Match for the ‘Bums of Steele’

This whole fiasco lies at the feet of Senate Republicans. “Useless” might be too kind a description of them.

The letter, signed by one of the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill and addressed to Fusion GPS, indicated the jig was up.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Glenn Simpson, Fusion’s co-owner, 13 questions about his involvement with the so-called Steele dossier and ties to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. “When political opposition research becomes the basis for law enforcement or intelligence efforts, it raises substantial questions about the independence of law enforcement and intelligence from politics,” Grassley wrote.

The letter showed that Senate Republicans were aware Christopher Steele was a paid operative working on behalf of Trump’s Democratic enemies inside and outside the government. Further, the dossier wasn’t raw intelligence exposing collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; Grassley acknowledged the document was anti-Trump propaganda that influenced activity at Barack Obama’s FBI and seeded damaging news articles before the 2016 election.

In other words, Republicans knew at that point the whole dossier-fueled collusion storyline was a massive scam.

The date of the letter? March 24, 2017. A few days earlier, FBI Director James Comey confirmed during a House Intelligence Committee hearing that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, a stunning confession.

Think about it. As the Trump-Russia collusion scam took hold—while Americans were being warned that their new president would act as the stooge of Vladimir Putin—Republicans already knew it was Democratic stagecraft. Further, they knew Comey’s FBI had worked with Steele and relied on his unverified dirt to investigate Donald Trump.

But rather than call the Democrats’ bluff, Senate Republicans, who wield the gavels of every powerful committee, caved. A quiver of sharply worded letters, as I wrote last year, has been their only weaponry, At the same time, Senate Republicans backed a destructive special counsel probe into a crime they knew did not exist. (On the House side, only a handful of Republicans, most notably Devin Nunes of California, did the heavy lifting while paying a major personal price.)

Glenn Simpson testified before Grassley’s committee in August 2017—behind closed doors. The American people never got a glimpse of Simpson’s slipperiness or heard first-hand, at a critical time, that the dossier was opposition research funded by Clinton and the Democratic Party. We never heard Simpson explain how he and Steele—a foreigner—worked over the State Department, the Justice Department, top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and the national news media in an attempt to influence the presidential election by portraying Trump as a Russian asset.

Imagine how an open hearing at the time would have shaped the public’s view of the collusion falsehood. President Trump, instead of being hunted by Mueller’s wolves, would have had a chance to counterpunch with Senate Republicans at his side. And more importantly, Americans could have learned the truth before it was too late. (The committee released a transcript of Simpson’s testimony in January 2018 but by then Mueller’s investigation was well underway.)

What we witnessed over the past three years is the greatest abdication of power in recent history. Senate Republicans, perhaps intentionally, gave cover to bad actors including James Comey, John Brennan, Andrew McCabe and Robert Mueller. (The now-deceased Arizona Republican, Senator John McCain, played a key role in fueling the collusion narrative, as I detailed last year, as a way to exact revenge against Trump.)

Senate Republicans aided and abetted the unjustified sabotage of Trump’s first term. Trump’s family was targeted; his cabinet members hamstrung; and his aides, present and former, ruthlessly pursued by prosecutors and the news media.

Unlike House Democrats, who have subpoenaed everyone in Trump World except the White House chef, Senate Republicans have issued only one subpoena related to the collusion hoax: The Senate intelligence committee subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr. last year.

In a spot-on tirade, Tucker Carlson called out Senate and House Republicans for their failures on what the president has fairly labeled #Obamagate. “The vast majority of the Russian collusion investigation…occurred during the first two years of this administration,” Carlson noted on his May 9 show. “Who ran the government then? At the time, Republicans held both houses of Congress and every single committee by definition. They had the power to expose this hoax and to shut it down, but they did not.”

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and others, Carlson fumed, are “useless Senate Republicans” who failed to “stop the derailment of America while it was in progress.”

McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has been completely missing-in-action on the scandal, barely making mention of it. He allowed the Senate Intelligence Committee to remain under Burr’s control; the retiring Republican senator from North Carolina worked in lockstep with Virginia Democrat Mark Warner to use the committee as an extension of the Mueller investigation.

Burr, amid his own scandal, has been replaced with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who also has been silent about Obamagate except to deny the fact the FBI spied on the Trump campaign and defend its illegally obtained surveillance of Carter Page. “I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Rubio said in 2018 of Jim Comey’s FBI after the release of the redacted FISA application on Page. “There was [sic] a lot of reasons unrelated to the dossier why they wanted to look at Carter Page.”

Rubio also insisted the intelligence assessment by former CIA Director John Brennan on Russian election hacking was “100 percent accurate.” It’s hard to imagine Rubio will conduct the committee any better than the useless Burr.

But of course no one has done a better paper tiger act than Lindsey Graham. For years, the South Carolina Republican has promised to “get to the bottom” of this treachery but hasn’t held a single hearing related to Obamagate with the exception of last December’s testimony by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz’s delayed report on FISA abuse often was cited as the excuse for why Senate Republicans wouldn’t hold public hearings with collusion perpetrators. Before that, Graham was waiting for the Mueller report. Now he claims he’s waiting for the Justice Department investigation led by John Durham to conclude.

But everyone—including the president—is out of patience with Graham.

After much prodding, Graham finally released a long list of characters he will ask Judiciary Committee members to subpoena in June. “I’m going to try to explain to the country, have a public accounting of Crossfire Hurricane . . . one of the most unethical, sloppy, ill-conceived, and dangerous operations in the history of the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Graham said on Fox News this week. The senator said the hearings would be held “probably in the summer” because he needs to “do his homework first.”

What homework could Graham possibly need to finish? Or is he just waiting until he can use the dog-ate-my-homework excuse after Democrats win control of the Senate in November?

Even if all 57 subpoenas on Graham’s list are executed in June, it will take several weeks to schedule hearings. According to the calendar, the Senate will be in session only 57 days between Graham’s June 4 meeting and Election Day. That virtually guarantees few if any public interrogations of Obamagate conspirators will take place in the Senate this year.

“Time is running out,” the president tweeted on May 16. “Get tough and move quickly, or it will be too late. The Dems are vicious, but got caught. They MUST pay a big price for what they have done to our Country. Don’t let them get away with this!” He tagged Graham in the tweet.

Unfortunately, in many respects, it’s already too late. The bogus collusion narrative undoubtedly influenced the 2018 midterm elections, handing control of the House to the Democrats. Reputations that have been ruined cannot be restored—Trump can’t get back the first two years of his term. Mueller’s team walks away unscathed while his lead prosecutor raises money for Joe Biden.

This whole fiasco lies at the feet of Senate Republicans. “Useless” might be too kind a description of them.

Elections

The Flynn Saga Seems Too Complex? Read This

The proponents of Michael Flynn’s persecution aren’t fighting for justice. They’re fighting to keep their weapon.

Author Robert Fulghum once wrote, “All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School.”

In the exceedingly complex tale of the Michael Flynn prosecution, it’s easy to drown in the details. But it helps to remember that many of the principles of due process and fairness enshrined in our Constitution actually spring from our common experience in the court of kindergarten.

Many of us can recall with bitterness a time we were blamed for something we didn’t do, or being judged by a teacher with obvious bias, or having your words twisted in order to make the “crime” fit a predetermined punishment.

Let us then convene the court of kindergarten to make relatable some of the many injustices committed by the government in the Flynn case.

It’s not fair to interrogate somebody over something that’s not prohibited.

While many repeat the talking point, “Flynn lied to the FBI,” few have gone back to review what it is he’s accused of having lied about. Flynn is accused of lying about asking other countries how they planned to vote on an Egyptian-sponsored proposed U.N. resolution condemning certain Israeli settlements. Why was the FBI asking about that? He’s also accused of lying about asking Russia not to escalate the situation in response to sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia.

Again, why is the FBI trying to criminalize that?

The FBI should not have been asking him about these phone calls. The elected incoming president had every right to authorize Flynn to begin reaching out to other leaders. It was part of the peaceful transfer of power from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. The FBI’s interrogation of Flynn was just part of a greater effort to disrupt this constitutional process.

In kindergarten, this would be the equivalent of getting questioned by a teacher over associating with or talking to a student the teacher didn’t like. Even a kindergartener would realize the unfairness of a teacher using her authority to interrogate him over a perfectly appropriate conversation with another child.

The Justice Department finally admitted that the January 24, 2017 Flynn/FBI interview “was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn . . . and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”

It’s not fair to force somebody to admit to lying without showing him the evidence.

Taking the analogy another step, even a kindergartener would realize the unfairness of demanding a student admit to “lying” without sharing the information that confirms the falsity of the supposed lie. If the student was accused of cheating on a test or falsifying a note from a parent, most people would expect that the student would have access to the information the teacher believes proves the student lied. In the case of Flynn, however, the government has taken the bizarre position that the original recording of Flynn’s conversations are not relevant to whether he lied. The government has refused to share the audio recording of the Flynn/Kislyak conversation.

It’s not fair to punish somebody for “lying” when his words have been twisted and distorted.

Even a kindergartner understands that one shouldn’t be punished for saying something he didn’t say. For some reason, the FBI agents did not record the interview with Flynn. This allowed the “official” account of the FBI’s interview with Flynn to be edited repeatedly by a group of people who, in many cases, were not even involved in the original interview. As Mark Hemingway points out,

Former FBI agents and federal prosecutors tell RealClearInvestigations that the documents show suspiciously irregular handling and editing of Flynn’s FD-302 form, the official document used to record what happens in FBI interviews . . . In one text, dated February 10, Strzok tells Page he is heavily editing Pientka’s 302 form to the point he’s “trying not to completely re-write” it. Other messages reveal that Page, who did not attend the interview, reviewed the 302 form and made editing suggestions. On February 14, Page texts Strzok, “Is Andy good with the 302?”—presumably referring to FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. The next day, February 15, the Flynn 302 was officially submitted and filed with the FBI. FBI supervisors like Strzok, however, are not supposed to rewrite other agents’ 302 forms. Nor are 302 forms supposed to be edited by FBI personnel who were not present at the interview, and both of these things happened in the Flynn case.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, retired FBI agent Thomas J. Baker recently added this point: “Worse still, the FD-302 that was eventually provided to the court wasn’t that of the agents’ interview of Mr. Flynn. It was instead a FD-302 of an interview of Mr. Strzok, conducted months later, about his recollections of the original interview. Truly bizarre.”

There were so many edits that the FBI lost track of who recorded which version.

The edits were sufficiently substantial that the government ultimately admitted that it could not prove Flynn even made the “relevant false statements.”

It’s not fair to criminalize somebody for mis-remembering facts.

According to the 302, Flynn told the FBI that, “prior to the Presidential inauguration, Flynn spoke to representatives in each of approximately thirty countries’ governments . . . . Flynn did not know if Putin and Trump will get along, but it is Flynn’s job to figure out paths to work with Russia to fight terrorism.”

The agent asked Flynn, “if he recalled any conversation with Kislyak in which . . . Flynn might have encouraged Kislyak not to escalate the situation.” Flynn responded, “not really. I don’t remember.”

In response to another question about whether he recalled a detail from his call with Kislyak, Flynn responded, “Not really. I don’t remember.”

In another response, Flynn reportedly told agents, “It’s possible that he talked with Kislyak on the issue, but if he did, he did not remember doing it . . . Flynn remembered making four to five calls that day about this issue.”

The government ultimately admitted,

[T]he statements in question were not by their nature easily falsifiable. In his interview, Mr. Flynn offered either equivocal (“I don’t know”) or indirect responses, or claimed to not remember the matter in question. See United States v. Ring [citition omitted] (holding that “faulty memory” is not enough to establish “willful” lie absent proof the defendant indeed remembered the matter in question). Combining the vague substance of the answers, the FBI’s own preliminary estimation of Mr. Flynn’s truthfulness, the inconsistent FBI records as to the actual questions and statements made, and Director Comey’s own sentiment that the case was a “close one,” [citation omitted] the evidentiary problems that have emerged create reasonable doubt as to whether Mr. Flynn knowingly and willingly lied to investigators during the interview.

The list is actually much longer than what I’ve highlighted above. But these themes drive home the point: the FBI abused its awesome power in order to railroad Flynn. Of greater concern, however, is the Left’s energetic defense of the patently unfair technique of using an ambush interview to turn a political target into a criminal defendant.

The Flynn prosecution should already be over. The Department of Justice tried to dismiss the Flynn prosecution for these and other reasons.

But it isn’t over because an op-ed author for the Washington Post published a piece that convinced the judge to keep the case alive. The presiding judge, Emmet Sullivan, entered an order blocking the dismissal until he decides whether to grant the motion to dismiss and, separately, whether to hold Flynn in contempt for pleading guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.

Flynn’s attorney on Tuesday filed an emergency petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Thursday, the appeals court unanimously ordered Sullivan to respond by June 1 to Flynn’s emergency petition.

The debate has really moved past Flynn to one about the character of federal law enforcement. In the “lawfare”/get-Trump era, the law is a weapon to be used against political opponents. If you really hate somebody but can’t find a crime with which to charge him, this technique allows you to bury your opponent in a multi-year felony prosecution.

We wouldn’t want our children attending kindergartens that practiced similar techniques. Nor should we tolerate these dirty tactics in a constitutional republic. But the proponents of the Flynn persecution don’t care. They aren’t fighting for justice. They’re fighting to keep their weapon.

Elections

Don’t Laugh at Stacey Abrams

A day may yet come when Americans will all live under the Pax Abramsiana. Her politics are the future.

All great people have a sense that they are destined for great things. Stacey Abrams predicts that she will be president of the United States by 2040.

Come what may of her White House aspirations this year, Abrams speaks like someone who believes she is bound for immortality—indeed, that she’s entitled to it. Her infatuated fans share this sense of historically assured victory.

The Washington Post recently published a work of widely lampooned hagiography on Abrams, depicting her as a polymath—a Prometheus of diversity handing down the fire of progress to man. It reads like the kind of flattery that despots used to make court scribes put together under threat of execution.

“Abrams is the author of eight romance novels under a pseudonym, started two small businesses, is a New York Times best-selling author under her own name and is a superfan of ‘Star Trek’ and southern hip-hop, including one of her favorite rappers, Ludacris,” records court historian Kevin Powell. “She is scholarly, but she can also wax poetic on football. She is a policy wonk, but she can effortlessly pivot to sending goofy memes to the children of good buddies.”

Can you sense it? Can you feel the ground shifting beneath you? Are you prepared for the Pax Abramsiana?

To Abrams and her sycophants, her loss to Brian Kemp in 2018 was just a hiccup on the cosmic road of justice that is wending, inexorably, toward 1,000 years of social justice utopia.

You laugh? The entitlement to power that Abrams radiates is comical to many people, but it hardly seems unjustified. One of the most powerful newspapers in the nation is publishing degrading fan fiction about her. Why should she not feel that history is on her side?

The Triumph of Diversity

What the Left finds appealing in Abrams is what she represents, not who she is. She is the devotee and beneficiary of America’s new creed, the religion of diversity.

Diversity turns on its head much common sense about what makes for a just and strong society.

No sensible nation would put a weak person, knowingly, in charge of government. Leaders need virtues like strength, courage, daring, and wisdom. But the triumph of diversity has replaced these virtues with their opposites. It is weakness, not strength, differences, not commonalities, that we celebrate. Rather than having to demonstrate a character fit to govern, a person is thought to be deserving of power if, and only if, they have a claim to victimhood.

The professional Left sees Abrams as the herald of a new America, one in which the weakest rule and ancient debts have finally been paid. In this historical sweep, an unimpressive person can take on grandiose proportions. It’s how you end up with passages like this in the pages of a once semi-respectable newspaper: 

Pandemonium ensues as she walks to the far left of the stage, like a runway supermodel, stops on a dime, poses, tilts her head slightly and smiles. Camera flashes explode. She next pivots and walks slowly to the center of the stage, freezes there and repeats the pose. Again, the flashes explode. Abrams is summoning her inner actress, and she is both enjoying the moment and getting through it to get to the conversation. She then pivots and walks to the far right of the stage, same.

There is no reason to allege insincerity here. Diversity is the lodestar of the professional Left: to them, Abrams is the mythic embodiment of the promise of Progress.

There is a whiff of the soft bigotry of low expectations at play here, too. The Post is mindful of the fact that Abrams likes reading, and also, music:

“When I was in 10th grade I was having a conversation with a friend, and I said, ‘I hate country music.’ And she said, ‘Why?’ And I didn’t have an answer. So I made myself listen to every radio station on the radio for two weeks each. But then when I engaged people . . . I could use that complexity of my musical likes to talk,” Abrams recalls.

Wouldn’t you like to have a vice president who listens to different genres of music?

As the worshipful tone of the piece suggests, Abrams is not some outsider to power: she’s a darling of the professional Left, and if there’s anything the professional Left loves more than identity, it’s phony credentials and the pseudo-insight that comes with being a card-carrying member of their class. In a case like this one, those (rather meager) credentials provide something with which to browbeat the unimpressed.

While conservatives reject the rise of Abrams as the absurd product of affirmative action on a national scale, the Left calls anyone who doesn’t find her impressive a racist. But let’s have some honesty here: it is the Left, not the Right, that is fixated on Abrams’ identity. It is the primary, no, the only reason for her prominence. For the Left, Abrams’ Yale degree is an afterthought. Racial chauvinism comes first. It is the strained denial of this fact that gives life to the strange, make-pretend feeling of her celebrity.

Really, credentials should be beside the point: a president or vice president doesn’t need a fancy degree, and having one doesn’t guarantee he or she will possess the qualities necessary to lead. But if we’re going to go by credentials, then a Yale education certainly failed to endow Abrams with any special virtue or insight as she delights in spewing Buttigiegian gobbledygook.

“Part of any job is being capable of learning all of the facets but coming with enough knowledge and curiosity and enough capacity to adapt quickly either to the challenges you face or the realities you confront,” she told the Post.

There’s nothing unusual about mediocrity in politicians—in fact, it’s almost a prerequisite. There are plenty of hacks in public office with Ivy League degrees. Abrams would be perfectly at home with them as a state lawmaker.

But ambition is a stubborn thing. We hear so often that “diversity is our strength” that only the foolhardy dare to contradict the mantra. And for ambitious people like Abrams, it’s not just a collective strength but a very personal one as well. She knows the game. So does Joe Biden, apparently.

Biden’s campaign surely understands that Abrams has secured a place within the pantheon of America’s elite religion, and that this religion—ideology, fandom, whatever you’d like to call it—commands an enthusiastic and ruthless following.

That Abrams lost to Kemp because of supposed voter suppression is not incidental, but essential, to her appeal. It bolsters her victim creds while laying the foundation of a heroic myth: the “racist” Kemp may have managed to throw up a levee against demographic fate, but victory will eventually come.

Demographic Revolution

Abrams and her allies understand her as being on the cusp of a demographic revolution that will change America forever. It’s not a secret.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, an ally of Abrams’ and executive of her group Fair Fight Action, told the Washington Post that Abrams shows “it is possible, and the best option, for Democrats to really aggressively be building this multiracial, multiethnic coalition,” adding as an afterthought that “reaching out to white voters” can help, but “we should be leading with [diversity] rather than leading with this idea that we have to start with the ‘swing voter’ concept. We lead with diverse communities of color and really let that drive strategy.”

Why waste time trying to persuade white people? Persuasion is out; demographic coercion is in.

Georgia, which Abrams narrowly lost using a conscious ‘diversity’ strategy, is on the way to becoming a majority-minority state, and Abrams has embraced demographic change as the key to victory for Democrats.

Recently a video resurfaced of a 2014 conference called “Race Will Win the Race” (that’s a real name) for the group PowerPac+, which advocates building a nonwhite majority to secure political power. It shows Abrams baldly laying out a strategy of demographic replacement.

Abrams this month complained that not giving illegal immigrants representation results in a “whiter, and therefore more Republican” voting base.

Last year, Abrams applauded Georgia’s “rapidly” shifting demographics, even tweeting out a chart that straight-forwardly presents the decline of the white population as a positive trend.

If these patterns hold, eventually it may not matter whether an ambitious person has the ability to govern a nation as large and complex as America. He or she could simply rise to power through the power of crude arithmetic. America would finish a decades-long breakdown from a republic where “fit characters” lead to a Balkanized democracy where representatives are no more than racial deputies.

A day may yet come when Americans will all live under Pax Abramsiana. Laugh at her if you wish, but don’t forget to study the phenomenon.

Elections

It Won’t Matter What Obama Knew (or When He Knew It)

If damning evidence does come to light, do you really think the former president will be held accountable?

The release of the latest documents related to the origins of the Michael Flynn case adds to the mounting evidence that the whole Russian collusion hoax was not a “national security” investigation, but instead an attempt at a soft coup.

What transpired at a January 5, 2017 White House meeting attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other key administration figures has become a critical question for understanding exactly how the Justice Department and other intelligence agencies manufactured a justification for the investigation of the Trump campaign.

Many observers are rightly curious as to the extent of Obama and Biden’s personal involvement in these matters. In anticipation of the release of the findings in John Durham’s investigation, Trump has taken to Twitter, summing up the interrelated knot of scandals and malfeasance as #OBAMAGATE.

Whatever misgivings conservatives may have about Barack Obama and his presidency, they shouldn’t be hopeful that a sitting president participated in a conspiracy that would make Nixon blush.

A generous reading of the #OBAMAGATE tweets of the president and his supporters would see it as a manifestation of their desire that the rule of law be honored. They want the architects of this plot—whomever they may be and however high up the chain of command they go—to be held accountable. That is a laudable desire, and one that is conspicuously absent among the president’s enemies, including President Obama, who apparently sees nothing wrong with the way the Russian collusion story was manufactured or how the Mueller investigation was concocted to limit the efficacy of the Trump Administration in its first few years.

But observers who do want accountability for anyone involved (especially Obama, if it turns out he was involved) are in for a big disappointment. Even if we uncovered irrefutable evidence that Obama personally hatched the conspiracy to undermine either the Trump campaign or his presidency, Obama will not be held to account. From the perspective of justice, what Obama knew and when he knew it is totally irrelevant because nothing will be done about it.

Symbolism Over Substance

The reason nothing will be done is that the elites of our society have decided how Obama must be understood. His presidency has unique importance due to his status as the first nonwhite person to attain the office. Symbolically, then, Obama is supposed to represent the decency of the American people and the moral progress that we have made since the abolition of Jim Crow.

As such, the people who construct our public history (academics, writers, journalists, commentators, politicians, and celebrities) have decided that since Obama is supposed to represent something very good about the nation, Obama himself must be a very good man and a very good president. And no amount of Obama-led malfeasance, real or imagined, can be allowed to undermine the historical role that Obama is supposed to play.

Never mind the fact that Obama presided over an anemic economy that his policies demonstrably worsened.

Never mind that the Affordable Care Act made healthcare less affordable for most Americans.

Never mind that he made use of American military firepower in more countries than any other modern president.

Never mind that for the bulk of his presidency his approval numbers hovered around (and sometimes below) the rates of approval for Trump (numbers which, in Trump’s case, are constantly cited as proof of his “deep unpopularity”).

Never mind any of it. Obama needs to be a wonderful, successful, intelligent, paragon of virtue who is one of America’s best-loved leaders. And reality won’t be allowed to get in the way of that cause.

This phenomenon evidences a disturbing trend on the Left, one that has distinctly totalitarian overtones. Traditionally, the aim of historical work is to understand the truth of what happened in the past, so that the lessons gleaned might improve our lot in the present and the future. Certainly, the narratives that any people build around historical events tend to be crafted in a way that reflects positively on their nation, culture, and citizens.

Farewell to Truth

Elites in America aren’t writing history by telling the truth slanted in this way. Rather, they have dispensed with the truth-seeking function of historical inquiry in general. From the perspective of the left-leaning opinion-makers of our country, historical truth is actually thought to inhibit the proper function of history itself which, as they understand it, is purely ideological.

The truth of the past (even the very recent past, still vivid in living memory) doesn’t matter. What does matter is the ideological work that the institutional Left needs any given historical person or event to perform. Contrary to the elites of past societies, who always wrote their histories as a way to glorify their nations, the American institutional Left doesn’t give a damn about cheerleading the virtues of American society.

This is evident in the New York Times “1619 project.” The truth that America’s founding in 1776 grew out of Enlightenment principles that would play a decisive role in ending slavery simply doesn’t matter. The truth that the American Declaration of Independence has been an inspiration in the establishment of virtually every modern nation that is committed to individual liberty simply doesn’t matter. Our elites need an irredeemable America—they need a humiliated America, an evil America.

Convincing the public to take on this view of our nation is essential for completing the fundamental transformation that so many people on the Left want to see for the United States. And so, we will simply lift up the peg that said “1776” and move it back to “1619,” relocating the “founding” of the nation in the first arrival of imported African slaves. To serve its proper ideological function, America’s Founding must be morally bankrupt. And that function trumps the truth.

Untangling the Left’s View of History

But there is a seeming paradox: why, when it comes to Obama’s legacy, his historical-ideological function seems to be to glorify the decency of the nation and its people, whereas when it comes to the Founding, its historical-ideological function seems to be to portray the nation in the darkest possible light? What gives?

This can be explained by reflecting upon how the Left perceives these two historical events (the founding and the presidency of Obama). The Founding, on the Left, is usually viewed as a kind of necessary embarrassment. It had to happen for there to be a nation. But the thought of a bunch of rich, old, white men defying properly established government authority is pretty unpalatable, so the less said about that, the better.

But the fact that many conservatives don’t view the Founding with that embarrassment (and actually posit the Founding as something for Americans to be proud of), proves to the Left that what the Founding was really about was privilege, nativist nationalism, and bigotry. This justifies the newly ideological function they imposed on the American Founding.

In contrast, Obama (as a nonwhite Democrat) safely can be used as a historical-ideological means to glorify the nation. But only because his person represents a departure from the supposedly “traditional” American norms of privilege, nativist nationalism, bigotry, and provincialism. As a cosmopolitan leftist who looks like the new America, Obama can be allowed to serve as the prototype that will redeem America from a founding in 1619 that looked to be irredeemable. And Obama and his successors can’t save us from that ugly legacy if good American kids don’t realize just how ugly it was.

And so, history itself is rewritten not as a pursuit of truth, but as a tool of ideological efficacy. Of course, rewriting our history is rewriting our future—and that’s the objective of the Left. For all these reasons, the people hyping #OBAMAGATE should temper their enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what the truth was. The ideological function Obama needs to play in our collective imagination is far more important than that.

The whole scheme suggests an inversion of a passage from the New Testament. Matthew records the words of Jesus: “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”

They didn’t hold James Comey accountable. They didn’t hold John Brennan accountable. They didn’t hold Andrew McCabe accountable. They didn’t hold James Clapper accountable. If damning evidence does come to light, do you really think they will hold Obama accountable? Neither do I.

Elections

When You’re Joe Biden, They Let You Do It

And there’s nothing conservatives can do about it.

The sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden aren’t stopping his campaign.

No Democrat or liberal pundit is calling for Biden to step down. In fact, the entire Democratic Party fully believes Biden’s side of the story. Many pundits are putting away their disgust to cheer on their candidate. Most journalists have decided to stop asking questions about it. Liberal celebrities who have claimed deeply to care about #MeToo are staying silent or standing up for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

It’s obvious that Joe is going to get away with this, and there’s nothing conservatives can do about it. The Left’s cultural power trumps anything the Right throws at Biden. While other Democrats have resigned in disgrace over much less, Biden is too important to discard. The Democrats have no one with whom to replace him and they want to avoid as much turmoil as possible. So they’re stuck with Joe.

Some conservatives thought the new revelations about Tara Reade would end Biden’s campaign. The allegations are fairly credible; certainly more credible than the scurrilous accusations made against Brett Kavanaugh. Reade alleges that Biden sexually fondled her when she worked as a Senate aide in 1993. She told this to friends in the mid-’90s and her ex-husband said senators harassed her in divorce papers from 1996. Her mother also reportedly called CNN’s “Larry King Live” in 1993 to complain on the air about her daughter’s treatment on Capitol Hill.

By comparison, Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, could only present her own shaky recollection of what happened. Her supposed corroborating witnesses disputed her story. Ford’s story was fully believed by all Democrats, liberal columnists, and celebrities. They all felt empowered to call Kavanaugh a rapist on the basis of Ford’s accusations.

As a result, Kavanaugh had his reputation forever ruined. Some Democrats even want to impeach the Supreme Court justice based solely on Ford’s story.

All Joe Biden had to suffer was one uncomfortable “Morning Joe” interview.

Biden is even backed by many feminists. Feminist author Linda Hirshman wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled: “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.”

Hirshman finds Reade’s accusations credible, yet she still thinks they don’t disqualify Biden from the highest office in the world. She tells her fellow feminists to “suck it up” and think of all the good Biden will do. She writes:

Mr. Biden, and the Democrats he may carry with him into government, are likely to do more good for women and the nation than his competition, the worst president in the history of the Republic. Compared with the good Mr. Biden can do, the cost of dismissing Tara Reade—and, worse, weakening the voices of future survivors—is worth it. And don’t call me an amoral realist. Utilitarianism is not a moral abdication; it is a moral stance.

High-power feminist attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted the same argument to Reade. “I believe you, Tara Reade,” she tweeted. “You have people who remember you told them about this decades ago. We know he is ‘handsy.’ You’re not asking for $. You’ve obviously struggled mightily with this. I still have to fight Trump, so I will still support Joe. But I believe you. And I’m sorry.”

Bloom claimed in a subsequent tweet that Trump is a worse sexual predator, so Biden’s offense is less egregious in comparison.

Democratic leaders choose to believe Biden’s story that he’s completely innocent and that this is a settled question.

“I am proud to support Joe Biden for president,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC host Ari Melber earlier this month. “I believe him when he said it didn’t happen, but I also believe him when he said let them look into the records, and that’s what they should do.”

She concluded: “I’m not gonna answer this question again.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Biden’s denial is “sufficient” and insisted he’s a “great candidate.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is reportedly a top contender to be Biden’s running mate, claimed that the “vast majority” of sexual assault allegations are true, but Tara Reade’s isn’t—because Biden says so!

Biden’s denial, which Democratic leaders find so compelling, is simply him saying, “I didn’t do it.” That’s basically it. Kavanaugh provided his whole summer schedule from high school and multiple witnesses to clear his name. Democrats found none of that sufficient.

It’s not just politicians who are defining hypocrisy. Nearly 100 celebrities who attacked Kavanaugh have said nothing about Reade’s allegations. Wonder why…

Hirshman provided the most honest justification for Democratic obstinance: they have no alternative. Bernie Sanders, Biden’s last primary opponent, dropped out before the mainstream media noticed the Reade allegations. That turned out to be an unwise decision, but it’s unlikely Sanders would’ve weaponized the accusations against his opponent. He was too weak and civil to shiv any of his opponents, which is one of the reasons why he lost.

Besides, the establishment would probably be even more inclined to defend Biden if the only alternative was Bernie. Biden could admit to the sexual assault and Democratic leaders would probably still support him over Sanders.

The other reason Democrats are sticking with Biden is that they can trust the media not to cover the story aggressively. They know journalists hate Trump and want him gone. Democratic elites know that reporters can be persuaded or bullied into not asking too many questions. Pelosi felt emboldened to tell Ari Melber what he can and can’t ask. Melber, like a good MSNBC host, didn’t bother to ask her any follow up questions about the allegations.

Democrats also know that most activists will stay silent and leave Biden alone. Feminists don’t want to appear on the same side as Trump, so they likely will follow Hirshman’s advice and suck it up. They’ll reassure themselves that a President Biden will be great for women and they’ll keep quiet. Unlike with Kavanaugh, celebrities won’t protest alongside them and praise them. It’s not hip to care about Tara Reade.

This is a testament to the incredible cultural power of the Left. It can pick and choose which #MeToo scandals matter and which don’t. The Right doesn’t have that kind of power. Conservative media has done a remarkable job of reporting on the Reade allegations, but the Left can just ignore them without consequence. It’s the way of the world.

Just as Kavanaugh did, Biden deserves the presumption of innocence. Even with all the evidence, we still don’t know what Reade alleges is true and it’s not up to a court of journalists to decide. The lessons from the Kavanaugh ordeal should apply here as well.

It is clear that the standard set by the Kavanaugh hearings only applies to the Right. Biden is too valuable to the Left for them to throw him away.

One must conclude that when you’re the Democratic nominee, they let you do it.

Elections

No Joy in Democratsville

From “the squad” and the women of “The View” to all of the scolds on MSNBC and CNN—they make Bellevue seem sane.

It must be happy and fun waking up as a Democrat every day. I used to separate Democrats from the Left, but nowadays it’s clear that essentially they are one and the same. George Orwell predicted it, William Golding brought us the cast, and Frank Darabont has so eloquently written the storyline. I can’t think of a better analogy of what has happened to the Democratic Party, because the disease has spread so quickly and almost all have been bitten.

What happened to the Democrats’ moral compass when it comes to sexual assault (and much else besides)? Most of us believe in due process. We believe that anyone accused of a crime, anyone whose good name has been slandered in public, deserves his day in court—and in the court of public opinion. Obviously, the Democrats no longer share the sentiment.

Do I think or know if Joe Biden sexually assaulted a woman more than 25 years ago? Not a clue. But going by the Democrats’ evidentiary standard, which even Judge Wapner wouldn’t have allowed in his court, if you compared the claims against Biden versus the accusations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then by the Democrats’ own zombie logic, Biden would be branded a serial rapist.

If the worst that could be said of Biden is that he is a creep who fostered a hostile work environment, at least we have extensive photographic evidence supporting the claim. Unlike Kavanaugh, we have photo after photo of Creepy Joe sniffing hair and touching women in weirdly intimate and inappropriate ways. Biden’s escapades didn’t just make the women feel uncomfortable—anyone with common decency and eyes to see felt the same.

Is Joe Biden a sexual harasser? Not a clue. Is he a fetish freak? One hundred percent. Again, there is actual evidence of this. This isn’t hearsay, or speculation over something that happened more than 40 years ago, as in the Kavanaugh case. My favorite line from the commentary around the Kavanaugh hearings was “her truth”—as in, Christine Blasey Ford was telling “her truth” about what Kavanaugh supposedly did to her at a high school drinking party in the early ’80s, regardless of the facts. But with Biden, there is contemporaneous, documentary evidence.

Would you let Joe Biden stand behind your wife or daughter knowing they had washed their hair that morning?

Zero Moral Compass

Michigan’s nitwit governor, Gretchen Whitmer, reportedly is in talks to become Biden’s running mate. Her qualifications include exercising a heavy autocratic hand over Michigan residents, calling protesters racist, and taking the “nuanced” view that not all claims of sexual assault are created equal.

Did I miss the latest #MeToo briefing? What happened to “believe all women”? Yes, it’s maddening to look at a group of people who cannot see their own irony—and never will. It’s frightening, too. When leftists protest, they are “freedom fighters” and dissent is “the highest form of patriotism.” When anyone else protests—especially “deplorable” Trump voters—their dissent is code for racism or nascent fascism. Black-masked Antifa rioters aren’t terrorists. Citizens who are tired and fearful of being denied their rights somehow are.

Yes, the Democrats believe you can have your cake and eat it, too. And, why not? The media and social establishment, on all levels, are gatekeepers for this imbecilic logic. How do you debate or argue with a group that, in what seems like ages ago, demanded that all women be believed? A group that shames, “cancels,” and banishes all who dare dissent and question? A group that revels in those who can post more hateful memes, and wish openly and loudly that bad things will happen to those who don’t support their views?

I was going to pay for Louis C.K.’s comedy special. One of the more prominent figures to be waylaid by the #MeToo movement—what he did was disgusting, but not criminal—the gross-out comedian has been trying to mount a comeback. But after hearing that he donated to the Biden campaign, I changed my mind. It’s not that I cannot find somebody I disagree with funny. It’s that I won’t support a comedian who says, on the one hand, that he is fighting political correctness while, on the other, he gives his money and his vote to the very candidate who would abolish his freedom of speech and sideline him forever. It’s idiotic.

There is no joy in Democratsville. From “the squad” and the women of “The View” to all of the scolds on MSNBC and CNN—they make Bellevue seem sane. They claim to be “woke,” but none of them have really woken up to the world around them. There is no joy in hate and no happiness in sadness.

Sweet, dreams! Let us know when you have awoken.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19: U.S. President Trump arrives for a meeting with GOP Senators in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trailing behind President Trump are senior advisor Jared Kushner and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Elections

The New Team Trump:
The Best People at the Worst Time

We may have to wait until after the election to see what the president’s new dream team of staffers and communications experts can do for this administration.

For the past few months the issue at the forefront of everybody’s mind has been the coronavirus, and for good reason. But drowned out by the boisterous ripple effects of COVID were many important stories that would have been considered newsworthy in a more traditional environment. Some stories that would have gotten more coverage during a different time include President Obama’s endorsement of Joe Biden, an update on the trial of the Pittsburgh massacre shooter, and the Pentagon’s formal recognition that UFOs exist.

Also among the recent stories not getting their due attention is the recent shakeup within President Donald Trump’s inner circle. In theory, movement within the administration shouldn’t be too surprising as this particular administration has been subject to frequent turnover. (Absent, of course, the tremendous consistency with which Kellyanne Conway and the Kushner family have been able to stay relevant in the administration.) 

But in this instance, the shakeup was worthy of discussion. The reason, quite simply, is that the new staff is the most effective unit the president has had since his inauguration, particularly in the realm of communications.

Chief of Staff Reconfiguration

Let’s start from the top. With former Representative Mark Meadows as his new chief of staff, the president has picked not only a loyalist but also a veteran from the Hill, with the requisite relationships and skills necessary to perpetuate the president’s agenda. 

In contrast, take a look at those who previously held this position since Trump took office. First was Reince Priebus who presided over chaos. Priebus’ struggles weren’t all that surprising given his lack of actual government experience. Priebus made a career of rubbing elbows with powerful Republicans but never had an inside look at a government office until landing this job. Luckily for Republicans, having a GOP-controlled Senate allowed the administration to accomplish some of its landmark goals, nonetheless.

Looking to restore order to White House, the president replaced Priebus with General John Kelly, who certainly had the ability to be effective but, because he disagreed with the president on a number of critically important issues, was not. 

Meadows’ direct predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, got off to a hot start because he had what the others lacked. With a proven track record of supporting the Trump agenda and familiarity with the legislature after having served in Congress, Mulvaney looked promising. On paper, his résumé actually looked similar to that of Meadows’. But eventually, Mulvaney fizzled in the eyes of the president, particularly because of his poor performance during the impeachment inquiry

Barring an impeachment-level mistake, then, Meadows should be poised to succeed. He, too, is “widely respected by his former colleagues in Congress,” but he also appears to have the acumen and necessary attributes his predecessors’ failures demonstrated one needs to succeed in the position. 

Worth noting is that with Meadows came his trusted and universally respected aide, Ben Williamson. The reception by media and politicos upon learning of his promotion is a testament to just how effective Williamson has been on the D.C. scene. He is clearly a valuable new asset to team Trump.

Also in the chief of staff’s office was the promotion of Dan Scavino to deputy chief of staff. Scavino has been with the administration since its inception as its “social media wizard.” He has spearheaded and developed the Trump communications shop. Giving him a bigger role in the administration should be an effective way to keep the president’s messaging at the forefront of everything it does.

Communications Makeover

At the podium, the Meadows-era brought in Kayleigh McEnany as Press Secretary. McEnany is supremely well-educated—having attended Harvard, Georgetown, and Oxford. It’s true that “unlike most of her predecessors as White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany didn’t come to the job with a background as a reporter or a career press secretary,” but the fact that “she has never had a role in government” may just be what makes her a strong asset and an effective communicator for this administration. Indeed, the president is known for his love of taking his message directly to the American people through social media. McEnany has come out of the gate effectively and consistently using her government social media account to disseminate eye-grabbing tweets in support of the president to her large following. Kayleigh was trending on Twitter last week after giving her first White House press briefing. The spectacle was praised by her predecessors, politicians, and members of the media.

We can contrast this to Sean Spicer who was literally “mocked” out of the role. Or Stephanie Grisham who was so quiet in the job that it feels as though she hardly did it. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who presided over the briefing room during the more stable portions of the Mulvaney era, was also uniquely suited to serve this administration due to her willingness to tackle the media head-on. A trademark of the administration. McEnany can learn a lot from what Sanders did and how she did it. 

Acute observers are left to daydream of what he could have done with the current and more ideal cast of characters, had they been on his team since the beginning.

In filling the roles of chief of staff and press secretary, the president seems to have been slowly fine-tuning and improving his selections for these jobs, until finally culminating in this star-studded group. Not only are they stars in terms of their qualifications, but they are stars because they are the glove that fits the hand of this administration and its specific needs. Just one day after this new team was instituted, even CNN was forced to comment on the efficacy with which the president was now communicating his message.

Another addition made was Alyssa Farrah. Farrah has been in the administration since its earliest days having been the press secretary for Vice President Pence and the Pentagon. Her bona fides have been on display for keen observers to see for quite some time, and it leaves one wondering why it took so long for her to be given a communications role in the Office of the President. She, too, has held a long list of posts in politics and media and has been given an instrumental job that prior to her arrival seemingly was held by—well—nobody, actually. Maybe this was the role Anthony Scaramucci held for eleven days, but it’s impossible to know for sure.

Not only did this revamping of the communications department bring in a group of new faces, but it also brought back some familiar ones. Hope Hicks, who previously served as the president’s director of communications, has been brought back to the White House in an effort to improve public perception of the president; a necessity for the administration as America tumultuously rides toward an election. Hicks has long been lauded within the Trump circuit, and since “she’s not known to have any strong political views or pet projects,” she is singularly focused on helping the president communicate with the American people. An obviously crucial aspect toward his ultimate goal of being “the most transparent president in history.”

With the administration’s anchor, Kellyanne Conway (who also frequents the airwaves,) still in hand, this is clearly the strongest unit the President has had around him in the communications department. 

The Changing Dynamics of a Campaign in Lockdown

But while these seem to be the best people, sadly it seems as though they have been assembled at the worst time. With the Corona crisis sweeping through a beleaguered nation, it is hard to see how this unit will be able to go on offense with the president’s message. On the contrary, they will have to be on defense, constantly explaining how the president did not exacerbate the effects of the pandemic. Going on offense isn’t possible in this situation because they can’t advertise anything related to the COVID issue as a win. It is associated with hardship in the eyes of Americans and it is likely to remain so. 

Think of it this way: imagine the president, at one of his infamous campaign rallies, giving a speech where he said: “I cut taxes, I skewered regulations, and only X number of people died during the corona pandemic.” It wouldn’t work rhetorically, even if the president did mitigate the number of deaths. It’s an inherently losing issue.

At first glance, it would seem that the president would have been better served by keeping these superstars outside the administration so that they—McEnany in particular—could continue to be hard at work for his campaign. 

But like the rest of the world, the campaign world has come to a screeching halt, and has been reduced to media-buys and teleconferences. Maybe Trump’s logic is that these talents would be wasted on the campaign at this moment. Perhaps Trump brought them to the White House now, not because this is when they could be the most effective in government, but precisely because the situation has made it so they cannot be effective anywhere else. 

It’s also possible that Trump is abiding by the old sports adage that defense wins championships. I suppose it’s possible that it was with this athletic metaphor in mind that the president brought in the A-team now, when he needs people to guard the basket, not score in it. 

Still, one can’t help but feel that this core unit could have accomplished a great deal during a time that wasn’t completely dominated by a global health emergency. President Trump is running on “Promises Made Promises Kept” precisely because whether you like his policies or not he has delivered on many of his original campaign promises. He was able to do so despite the often distracting personnel in his administration. Acute observers are left to daydream of what he could have done with the current and more ideal cast of characters, had they been on his team since the beginning.

The coronavirus-news cycle likely will take us to Election Day and so if this new team ever does get the chance to go on offense, it will only be if the president wins another term. In November, America gets to decide whether or not they want to find out what this group is capable of doing during better days.

Elections

‘Joe Has Absolutely No Idea What’s Happening’

A new poll conducted by SSRS for CNN showed that nationwide, President Trump trails Biden, but in the battleground states, which include Pennsylvania, 52 percent favored Trump, and 45 percent favored Biden.

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania—President Donald Trump, speaking to the Washington Examiner ahead of an event at a medical supply facility in this key swing state, took aim at Joe Biden’s mental faculties, at one point claiming his Democratic challenger “has absolutely no idea what’s happening.”

Trump was reacting to news that Biden had teamed up with former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in naming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-chair of a climate change panel, which Trump said would help cost Biden the state of Pennsylvania.

“If you asked him who he named, he wouldn’t even know it,” Trump said. “Joe has absolutely no idea what’s happening. AOC is a disaster. She wants all fossil fuel out. She wants everything out. She wants wind, which is expensive—kills all the birds. You know, I’m also an environmentalist. But wind is a disaster.”

By allying with Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders on energy policy, Trump said, Biden “lost Texas. He lost Pennsylvania. He lost North Dakota. He lost Oklahoma. And he lost every other state where fuel is important—like about most of them.”

The issue was one of several that Trump used to take jabs at Biden’s mental fitness.

Asked about the possibility that Democrats will not hold an in-person convention, Trump said, “I think that’s a good move when you have Biden as your candidate.”

Trump also said he looked forward to debating Biden in the fall, suggesting, “I know they want to try and get out of the debate by saying they won’t be able to debate because of COVID-19.”

Talking about the prospects of leading the economic recovery, Trump said: “Biden can’t do it. He doesn’t know he’s alive.”

Trump was here to tour an Upper Macungie Township distribution center for medical equipment company Owens & Minor, one of five companies in the nation selected by the Department of Health and Human Services to supply 600 million N95 respirator masks for hospitals and surgical centers.

The Virginia-based firm has sent gloves, surgical gowns and masks to health care facilities all over the country. In March, CEO Ed Pesicka was in the Rose Garden with the president and several other business leaders for a coronavirus task force briefing.

Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania comes just as Gov. Tom Wolf dictated a plan that rolls out selective openings of the state—a move that has frustrated many rural counties that have been told to remain closed despite a moderately low number of cases and deaths. The governor has threatened dire economic consequences for counties that defy his order including withholding federal stimulus funds, revoking liquor licenses and making them ineligible for business liability insurance.

In the interview, Trump voiced support for the counties that are challenging the orders.

Pennsylvania is a key part of a region that includes Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, which ended their Democratic presidential voting streaks in 2016 to support Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. A win in Pennsylvania is considered critical but not mathematically essential for the Republican president.

A new poll conducted by SSRS for CNN showed that nationwide, Trump trails Biden, but in the battleground states, which include Pennsylvania, 52 percent favored Trump, and 45 percent favored Biden.

Ahead of Trump’s event, supporters were lined up for well over a mile, having waited hours to greet him, waving American flags and Trump signs.

Trump boasted of the crowds during the interview. “That’s your poll,” he said.

He also touted the prospects of Sean Parnell, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb for the 17th Congressional District in western Pennsylvania—exactly the sort of race that will be crucial to Republican hopes of retaking the House.

In the wide-ranging interview, Trump spoke about the upcoming election, the battle against the coronavirus, economic recovery, energy and China, among other issues.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Elections

Should Flynn’s Team Seek a Writ of Mandamus?

Given the government’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn, his case should be dismissed immediately. If not, and although quite rare, his team could try to seek a writ of mandamus.

After the Department of Justice decided to drop the case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, it seemed like the presiding judge’s signature was a mere formality. Unfortunately, however, Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order inviting third party groups with no interest in the case to file amicus briefs second-guessing the department’s decision to drop the case. Given past precedent, Flynn could very well seek a writ of mandamus based on the court’s unacceptable decision to politicize his case.

A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary writ. In Kerr v. United States District Court, the Supreme Court discussed this unusual remedy, stating:

The remedy of mandamus is a drastic one, to be invoked only in extraordinary situations. As we have observed, the writ “has traditionally been used in the federal courts only ‘to confine an inferior court to a lawful exercise of its prescribed jurisdiction or to compel it to exercise its authority when it is its duty to do so.’”

And, while we have not limited the use of mandamus by an unduly narrow and technical understanding of what constitutes a matter of “jurisdiction,” the fact still remains that “only exceptional circumstances amounting to a judicial ‘usurpation of power’ will justify the invocation of this extraordinary remedy.

Such writs are used sparingly because they seem to make the judge a litigant by seeking immediate appellate review of a judge’s decision before final judgment has been rendered by the trial court.

In Kerr, the Supreme Court set forth some conditions for issuing such a writ. First, the court stated that a person seeking mandamus must have no other adequate means to attain the relief he desires. In addition, the petitioner has “the burden of showing that [his] right to issuance of the writ is clear and indisputable.” Finally, the court, in its discretion, must be satisfied that the writ is appropriate under the circumstances.

While these writs are extraordinary in nature, there is controlling precedent that Judge Sullivan appears to have considered, yet ignored. In U.S. v. Fokker Services B.V., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted mandamus when a judge refused a government charging decision. That decision emphasized that the executive branch, represented by the Justice Department, has prosecutorial discretion and that “‘judicial authority is . . . at its most limited’ when reviewing the Executive’s exercise of discretion over charging determinations.”

Most importantly, the court ruled in Fokker that a judge “cannot deny leave of court because of a view that the defendant should stand trial notwithstanding the prosecution’s desire to dismiss the charges.”

In light of Fokker, Judge Sullivan’s decision in Flynn’s case is head-scratching. Putting aside the apparent and grotesque scheme that led to the eventual charges against Flynn, the decision of whether or not to prosecute was the government’s, not Sullivan’s.

In refusing to simply dismiss the case, Sullivan seemingly placed his subjective opinion about the case and/or the defendant above everyone else’s, including those prosecuting the case. Not only is this against established case law, it also appears to exceed the scope of his judicial authority.

Moreover, this decision appears to politicize Flynn’s case, as does the open call for amicus briefs and the judge’s decision to appoint a retired judge to argue against dismissal and to consider whether Flynn should face a perjury charge. By calling for such briefs, Sullivan opened the floodgates whereby special interest groups and others opposing Flynn could help to “fan the anti-Flynn flames” and continue to “tarnish” Flynn’s good name.

More importantly, as the law is clear regarding the judge’s discretion when the government seeks to dismiss charges, there is no real purpose for amicus briefs other than to delay the case and potentially to force President Trump’s hand in pardoning Flynn. As the Washington Times reports, “An amicus brief is usually submitted when a third party could be affected by the court’s decision or has unique information not previously presented in the case. It is very rare for a judge to request such motions in a criminal case.”

Flynn deserves better than this. He was the subject of a vile and premeditated plot to incriminate an innocent man for ulterior and vindictive purposes; namely, to get to the president. Given the government’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn, his case should be immediately dismissed. If not, his team would be right to seek a writ of mandamus.

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) greet each other with an elbow bump before the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine COVID-19 and Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
Elections

The U.S. Senate Is
the Heart of the Problem

In the annals of representative government,
it was a bad week for Americans. 

Donald Trump was elected in 2016 on a platform that, broadly, called for draining “the swamp.” The definition of swamp, for the most part, was left to the listener, but generally, it was assumed to represent the established interests that dictated federal policy toward the ends of a few, and away from the benefit of the country.

This week, the depth, breadth, and scope of the swamp made itself clear. 

It started with the unraveling of the case against former national security advisor Michael Flynn. The FBI initially had accused Flynn of violating the Logan Act—an 18th-century statute that has never successfully been used to prosecute anyone, not in the least because of its dubious constitutionality. Ultimately, Flynn was charged with lying to federal agents—a process crime but hardly treason.

This week, it was revealed that members of the Obama Administration, many of whom had no real role in counterintelligence operations, repeatedly unmasked (that is, requested their identities and activities from intelligence gathering sources) Trump’s incoming staff—including Flynn.

This is damning for at least two reasons. First, the very day former Vice President Joe Biden, and others, received this classified intelligence, it was leaked to the press—a violation of both the law and Flynn’s Fourth Amendment rights. And second, it gives further credence to the claim that Flynn was railroaded by the FBI into a guilty plea so the agency could continue their Russian collusion investigation into the Trump campaign—despite having basically no evidence to support it. 

This is hardly a one-off for the Obama Administration, whose director of national intelligence lied to Congress about spying on American citizens. That was before John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, spied on Senate staff and broke into their computer files. And, of course, Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general, used the Espionage Act to surveil journalists from Fox News and the Associated Press. And let’s not forget the time they eavesdropped on the phone calls of members of Congress.

It has also become clear how the Obama FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on the Trump campaign, altering evidence, and repeatedly lying to the FISA court to obtain illegal warrants.

It’s transparency—and the attendant accountability—that swamp dwellers fear the most.

It’s part of the reason that, when FISA was reauthorized in the Senate this week, it was done with the inclusion of moderate reforms. The reforms were largely due to the efforts of Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) who relentlessly has been doing the spadework to fix the nation’s spy powers since last leading the efforts in 2015. Thanks to Lee and his collaborators, the FISA court will now have at least a measure of accountability and transparency.

But there is still work to do. An amendment to forbid the FISA court from authorizing surveillance of American citizens (thus forcing the National Security Agency and the FBI to go through the traditional courts to get a warrant) from Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) failed. So, too, did an amendment from Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to require a warrant before allowing the NSA to snoop through the browser and search history of individual Americans.

One of the senators who voted against requiring a warrant for internet-snooping, ironically, was served with one of his own just a day later. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had his cell phone seized by the FBI as they continue to investigate allegations that the senator profited from classified information regarding the coronavirus, making several stock trades following an intelligence briefing that netted him up to $1.7 million. His brother-in-law, working at the federal National Mediation Board, made similar trades.

The swamp? It really is as vast and wide as you think.

The Interests

But it doesn’t just operate in the shadows. In fact, there is an element of the swamp that is quite overt: what former House Speaker Sam Rayburn called “The Interests.” And those Interests claw at anything that goes against the conventional narrative. That narrative is, of course, set by the nomenklatura in D.C.

This was also on display this week in just the latest attempt to shut down debate on a question that the D.C. interests oppose—but that resonates broadly outside of the Beltway.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) followed up on his case against the World Trade Organization by introducing a resolution to withdraw from the multinational trading body. 

Hawley’s argument basically distills to this: trade is good—particularly bilateral trade, where the United States works out agreements with individual countries. But multilateral trade agreements and trading bodies, on the other hand, harm U.S. interests, our workers, and our sovereignty, because they are too easily captured by mega-corporate interests, and our economic adversaries—particularly China.

As former Senator Jim DeMint said recently,

The WTO, like so many other entities corrupted by Chinese and global corporate influences, governs international trade like little dictators. This isn’t free trade as Americans understand it; it’s just corruption and cronyism.

Americans intrinsically understand this. It’s why job losses and the trade deficit remain key concerns in opinion polls regarding China.

But you know who doesn’t understand this? Or, more cynically, does understand it, but doesn’t care? The Senate. 

Nearly as soon as Hawley introduced his resolution under a mechanism designed to bring it to the Senate floor automatically, the powers-that-be brought it to a halt. Hawley’s office was told that the Senate’s parliamentarians—the smartest staffers in the Senate—uncharacteristically made a mistake and gave Hawley the wrong information, rendering his efforts moot. Oops! Too bad. No vote for you. 

Sadly, this is not unique. Similar moves were made in the House against Representative Thomas Massie’s (R-Ky.) efforts to force a resolution of disapproval vote against the war in Yemen. The Interests protect nothing as fiercely as their right to engage in endless war, unconstrained by Congress.

It’s not necessarily the outcome of these votes that scares the establishment forces in Congress. They know they can beat them. Rather, it’s the debate and the fact of the vote itself. Votes are clarifying. They create a record. They tell you what your elected representatives really think when pressed to take a stand. 

And it’s that kind of transparency—and the attendant accountability—that swamp dwellers fear the most.

In the annals of representative government, it was a bad week for Americans. We’ve been lied to, told to mind our betters because we “just don’t understand how trade works,” and had our rights manipulated by a government intent on spying on us. 

But it was a bad week for the swamp, too, whose motives and moves were on display for an increasingly disillusioned public. If you’re going to drain the swamp, you have to know where to pull the plug. That, at least, is becoming a bit easier to see.

 

Elections

Principled Constitutionalists Would Deny Biden the Presumption of Innocence

Why? Because Biden has waived his right to that presumption and is now “estopped” from reclaiming it.

Joe Biden is a professional creep. He has spent his 50 years as a “public servant” sniffing women, groping women, fondling them, “massaging” them from behind, rubbing against them, kissing them, and touching them. Thirty seconds on Google will turn up any number of photos and videos of Biden forcing himself into the personal space of numerous women, to hand-deliver his personal brand of hands-on “retail politicking” and “Biden empathy.” In those photos and videos, none of the recipients of that “empathy” look particularly thrilled to be on the receiving end of it. 

Some look surprised to discover Biden’s hands roaming all over them, some look resigned, some look creeped out. But at least the adult women are there for a purpose—they are usually Democrats, and they know what they signed up for in getting close to Biden. If these grown women made a Faustian bargain with the devil to promote their own political agendas and advance their own or their husband’s political careers by being in the same room or convention hall as Joe Biden, and the devil’s due is a little more than they expected to pay—well, c’est la vie. That’s why they call them “Faustian bargains.”

But, of course, it’s not just adult women. While Biden would never turn down a chance to fondle and grope somebody’s wife or mother, he is an equal opportunity groper who is always on the lookout for some younger meat. There are photos of him giving the Biden treatment to teenage girls—all on camera. The young girls look surprised, but perhaps their Democrat parents would later explain to them that they need to focus on the larger picture—and Creepy Uncle Joe, after all,  is “one of the good guys.”

Occasionally, Biden can’t get close enough to the pubescent girl he wants to fondle—in which case he doesn’t hesitate to offer her advice on whom and when she should date. Family members of the young girl, such as her brothers, also might get a Biden lecture about their supervisory responsibilities with regard to her dating life. One can only imagine what goes through their minds when an addled 77-year-old man they just met starts lecturing them about their sister’s dating options. In the absence of a nearby family member, Biden might take an opportunity to closely examine the breasts of the teenage girl in front of him, offering helpful commentary on their size and shape.

Biden long ago made peace with the fact that, given who he is, the camera is usually there to record what he is doing. Republican politicians with similar inclinations are forced, at a minimum, to practice their proclivities out of the view of the cameras, if they want to survive. Not Biden. Biden is never camera-shy when it comes to his own predilections.

Believe This Woman

So when Tara Reade came forward with her story recently, after telling at least five people contemporaneously, that Senator Joe Biden, then her boss, pinned her against the wall, shoved a hand up her skirt, and pushed his fingers into her vagina, she was not speaking in a vacuum. She was not accusing a man who, until that moment, had not a whisper of impropriety associated with him. She was not accusing a man whose interactions with women are known to be nothing but exemplary. 

Reade is accusing a man who has been doing similar things his entire adult life—sometimes a little more forcefully, sometimes a little less, sometimes more overtly, sometimes not. Biden’s pattern of objectifying the women and young girls around him, and letting his fingers do the real talking, is as old as his political career. The terminology may have changed—we probably wouldn’t have called it “sexual assault” in 1993—but in the big picture, this isn’t anything Biden hasn’t been doing since forever.

Under the Biden approach, Biden himself is entitled to all the due process and presumptions, but no one else is. It should be the other way around.

I personally believe Tara Reade. I personally believe that Joe Biden did pretty much what she says he did back in 1993, because he’s made a career of doing things of this nature. There is nothing difficult here—why is it so hard for some people to accept that an aberrantly creepy old guy, who feels entitled to grope and fondle any woman who comes within his wingspan, did it in that particular instance in 1993 as well?

Can I prove it in a court of law? No, and it isn’t my job to prove it in court. Do I have enough evidence to convince a jury (or anyone else) beyond a reasonable doubt that Biden committed these acts? No, but the matter hasn’t been investigated and litigated—yet. Would a jury convict Biden, if some intrepid prosecutor decided to pursue this as a criminal case? (Never mind the statute of limitations.) I don’t know. 

Given the shifting prosecutorial standards, perhaps they would—Harvey Weinstein, a royal jackass and an all-around awful person, was convicted of rape, despite a very weak case, much documentary evidence to the contrary (recall all those “I can’t wait to see you again” emails to Weinstein from his “victims”), and “victims” who in all likelihood—let’s be honest with ourselves—were in transactional sexual relationships with him. Here, it’s important to remember that Weinstein wasn’t charged with being a continental-sized asshole (which isn’t a crime, not even in the state of New York)—he was on trial for rape.

But given what I have seen of the Reade allegations, and given what we know about Biden himself, I have sufficient reason to believe Biden did what he is accused of doing. Certainly, under the “more likely than not” standard, there is enough there. Biden’s own behavior isn’t helping him—he hid in his basement for five weeks, then mumbled incoherent and utterly unpersuasive denials on “Morning Joe” on May 1, then pivoted to more incoherent and unpersuasive denials on “Good Morning America” on May 12:

I think women should be believed. They should have an opportunity to have their case and stated, just forthrightly, what their case is, and it’s the responsibility of responsible journalists like you and everyone else to go out and investigate those. The end of the day, the truth is the truth. That’s what should prevail. The truth is, this never happened. This never happened. I assure you, that’s the truth.

In other words, Biden sure is acting like he’s guilty. 

What About Due Process?

And here we come to a dilemma that some conservatives (and many constitutionalists) struggle with, despite themselves. Sure, they say, Biden is a despicable, corrupt, duplicitous, amoral, vicious, lying opportunist, who doesn’t mean a word he says about how much he cares about women’s rights. Sure, Gropey Joe’s long history of “handsiness” (as his apologists call his public groping and fondling of women on camera) is revolting. Sure, Biden is a slithering snake who would sell his mother for the slightest political gain. 

But still, say some conservatives (e.g., Dan McLaughlin), isn’t Biden entitled to that hallowed presumption of innocence, just like every other American? Isn’t he entitled to all that 14th Amendment due process, before we reach any conclusions about criminal behavior? Before we call Biden a sex offender, shouldn’t we give him an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against him, to call witnesses of his own, to examine the evidence against him? Aren’t we starting down the proverbial slippery slope? If we conclude that Biden is guilty before he gets his due process, won’t they be emboldened to come for us? Aren’t we—God forbid!—jumping the gun here on Biden’s guilt?

No. We aren’t. 

Joe Biden is the one exception to the rule. Joe Biden is the one man for whom there is no slippery slope. With Biden—specifically Biden—any principled constitutionalist can conclude that Biden is guilty of the acts he is accused of, and still feel that their constitutional principles are intact. Because Biden—specifically Biden—has waived any claim to the ancient principle of innocent until proven guilty and to any due process.

Biden now demands that he be treated like any other American accused of something unsavory. But Biden was the brains behind the Title IX college campus kangaroo courts. (And I use the term “brains” very loosely here—given his increasingly obvious mental impairment, no one would accuse Biden of being the brains behind anything today. But a decade ago, he could at least remember the name of his boss, where he was, and which job he was holding). 

Biden has always supported these lawless caricatures of campus tribunals, where the investigator, prosecutor, judge, and jury consists of a single hard-left college bureaucrat, the accused is given no access to evidence, no right to counsel, no opportunity to present his case or to bring witnesses that might exonerate him, and no opportunity to present or cross-examine witnesses, much less the accuser. 

Biden is a lawyer by education (and, if you believe his claims, a minimally competent one)—he is surely under no illusions as to the lawless, anti-constitutional nature of the regime he demanded for thousands of young men whose futures were sacrificed on the altar of leftist politics.

The process of junking the kangaroo courts moved another step in the right direction recently when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (herself an object of raw progressive hatred) published new rules for Title IX adjudications. Progressives were enraged that under the new rules, to take effect in August, the innocent will actually have some mechanisms for proving their innocence. 

Biden, sitting in his basement and tweeting out sporadic criticisms of this or that action of the Trump Administration, was also enraged. The idea of due process and even theoretical innocence, to Biden, was abhorrent. Biden promised that DeVos’s rule changes “will be put to a quick end in January 2021, because as president, I’ll be right where I always have been throughout my career—on the side of survivors, who deserve to have their voices heard, their claims taken seriously and investigated, and their rights upheld.” 

In other words—under the Biden approach, Biden himself is entitled to all the due process and presumptions, but no one else is.

It should be the other way around. We, the people, should not have to suffer because neurons in former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s brain are misfiring in an anti-constitutional manner. Biden—and only Biden—should be the one who has to live with his ideas.

An Old Concept for Present Circumstances

Courts recognize the concept of estoppel—having once taken an affirmative position in a legal proceeding, you are then in no position to argue the opposite. By concocting a North Korea-like regime for “investigating” campus sexual complaints, and by promising to reinstate the Title IX kangaroo courts the minute he gets a chance, Biden has estopped himself from arguing that he is entitled to due process or the presumption of innocence. 

Title IX is not the only place where Biden made his views known. There were also the Clarence Thomas and, more recently, Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. One can choose to believe Christine Blasey Ford or one can choose not to believe her, but even her supporters admit through clenched teeth that Ford’s allegations had not one milligram of supporting evidence. Yet, famously, Biden said about Blasey Ford that we should “start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts.” Notice that Biden is speaking in legal terms here—he is deliberately not applying that inconvenient presumption of innocence. The Biden presumption is “the essence” is real.

I agree with Biden. We should apply that presumption. But not to us, or to the country. We should apply it to him. 

Much has been said of the hypocrisy of those who ranted and raved during the Kavanaugh hearings but have kept their silence on the Reade allegations. Ninety-five Hollywood celebrities who were in our collective face in 2018, demanding we believe Christine Blasey Ford, have nothing to say now. Reese Witherspoon, Bette Midler, Alyssa Milano, Jessica Chastain . . . the list of celebrity women’s advocates who suddenly can’t find it in themselves to speak up for Tara Reade goes on and on. 

Naturally, it does not surprise conservatives that the Left has flexible principles that apply differently to Democrats than they do to Republicans. But aren’t we better than them? Alan Dershowitz argues that a principle is only a principle if one is willing to apply it equally to both friends and enemies. 

Fortunately, in the case of Biden, we can keep our principles intact. A principled conservative (and I count myself among them) and a constitutionalist can safely deny Biden the presumption of innocence because Biden has waived his right to that presumption, and is now estopped from reclaiming it. I am not losing sleep over any of it, or over any unfairness to Biden—and neither should you.

Elections

John Brennan and the Plot to Subvert an American Election

Tyranny is always more palatable when swaddled in the conviction of its own virtue.

Let’s talk about John Brennan a bit. You remember John Brennan. He was Barack Obama’s director of the CIA. Once upon a time, he was an enthusiast for Gus Hall, the Communist candidate for president, for whom he voted in 1976. I can’t think of any better background for the head of the country’s premier intelligence service under Obama. In 2014, having put childish things behind him as St. Paul advised, Brennan spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He denied it indignantly. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.”

But that was before irrefutable evidence of the CIA’s spying transpired. Then Brennan apologized, sort of. Senators were outraged. They shook their little fists. “What did he know? When did he know it? What did he order?” asked one of the Lilliputians.

Guess what happened to John Brennan for spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee?

If you said “Nothing,” go to the head of the class and collect your gold star.

Nothing happened to Brennan for spying on U.S. senators.

If he could get away with that, what else could he get away with?

How about starting the bogus investigation into fictional “collusion” or “coordination” between the Russians and the campaign, and then the administration, of Donald Trump? How about that?

In Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy offers a meticulously researched overview of the origins and character of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible links between Trump and the Russians. That began in May 2017, shortly after Trump fired James Comey from his post as Director of the FBI. McCarthy also looks carefully at the background to that investigation, operation “Crossfire Hurricane” and several tributary investigations into possible Russian collusion with various U.S. persons and entities. Crossfire Hurricane began on July 31, 2016, about three months before the presidential election.

Was that the beginning of the Obama Administration’s inquiry into Donald Trump’s possible connections with “the Russians”? No, the inquiries begin even earlier. You may remember the excited article in the New York Times,How the Russia Inquiry Began,” from December 20, 2017. According to this story, it all started in London in May 2016. It was a dark-and-stormy night—or at least a night of “heavy drinking”—when “George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to [Alexander Downer] Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.” (In fact, the “heavy drinking” consisted of “a couple of gins and tonic,” but, hey this is the New York Times. Details are for the little people.)

So was it? Was this wet-behind-the-ears minor factotum the fons et origo of the Russian inquiry? Nope. “In truth,” as McCarthy notes in his book, “by then it had been going on for several months—since at least the latter half of 2015, not long after Donald Trump entered the GOP nomination chase and before most anyone had ever heard of George Papadopoulos.”

Ball of Collusion is a herculean investigatory effort. But McCarthy sadly concludes that both the origins and the exact nature of the inquiry remain shrouded in mystery. “When did the investigation start?” he asks. “Why did it start? What kind of investigation was it? It has proved impossible to get straight answers to these questions.”

With Flynn Revelations, We’re Getting Warmer

Think about how odd this situation is. Several writers have compiled timelines of the investigation. The one by Sharyl Attkisson is one of the best. But at the end of the day, we are left with sodden black swampiness where answers should be. When did the inquiry start? Why did it start? Who started it? The public does not have answers to these questions, but recent revelations about the concerted efforts to entrap General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security advisor, have transported us all back to the children’s game of find-the-treasure.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting warmer, we’re getting warmer.

I suspect that John Brennan is a key player in this story. As journalist Lee Smith noted in February 2018, it was Brennan who first leaned on James Comey to take an interest in the salacious dossier compiled by Christopher Steele from July through December 2016. Indeed, Brennan once took credit for starting the inquiry. “I was aware,” Brennan said on “Meet the Press,” “of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion—cooperation occurred. . . . I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the bureau.” Smith parses this:

In other words, the FBI investigation didn’t start when the Australians, according to the Times—or the Brits, according to Brennan’s most recent version of the story—contacted the FBI after the Papadopoulos-Downer meeting. No, it started when the director of the CIA decided to start an investigation, when Brennan passed on information and intelligence to the FBI, and signaled that the bureau better act on it.

Brennan’s nudge worked. In the summer of 2016, the FBI sent counterintelligence agents, one of whom was Peter Strzok—remember him?—to London to meet with Downer to describe his meeting with Papadopoulos.

So where are we? Over the last week or two, we have learned that the FBI set a perjury trap for Flynn. They induced him to plead guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI by threatening to charge his son with a process crime. When Flynn’s then-lawyers objected that they thought him innocent, the FBI threatened to make them part of the case. We know all this partly because of the heroic efforts of Flynn’s new lawyer, Sidney Powell, who managed to get the Department of Justice to disgorge various documents damaging to the FBI.

The pièce de la résistance were the notes of a meeting taken by senior FBI official Bill Priestap. “What is our goal?” Priestap asked, “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Or maybe they should just “get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide.”

The Dog That Didn’t Bark

That gun was still smoking when Richard Grenell, acting director of national intelligence, released the names of 39 top Obama officials who made 53 requests to “unmask” Flynn’s name from intelligence reports between Election Day 2016 and the end of January 2017. Among the requestors were Joe Biden, James Clapper (then director of national intelligence), Samantha Power (then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations), and Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of Staff.

Andrew McCarthy has shown how the most significant thing about these unmaskings may be the dog that didn’t bark—there was no unmasking request for December 29, 2016, the date that Flynn, then on holiday in the Dominican Republic, made his famous call to Sergei Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States. McCarthy speculates that the call was intercepted by “an intelligence program not subject to the masking rules, probably by the CIA or a friendly foreign spy service.”

Several days later, on January 5, Obama met with Susan Rice, his national security advisor, Biden, Comey, Clapper, Sally Yates, and—yep—John Brennan to discuss the Russian inquiry in general and Flynn in particular.

On January 20, 2017, the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, just moments before leaving her position, Susan Rice took the unusual step of writing an email for the file summarizing that January 5 meeting:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’ From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

Let’s have an instant replay of that last bit: “Obama said he wants to be sure that . . . we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”

Again: The outgoing president tells his senior intelligence staff to think about whether to tell the incoming administration the truth about a major national security issue.

It’s almost as if they didn’t believe there had been an election on November 8, 2016. Not a real election anyway, because, after all, the American people had chosen the wrong person. Fortunately, there they were to save the day by keeping the incoming fellow in the dark.

Undoing a Free and Fair Election

And they had reasons, lots of them. It’s true that Obama scoffed at Mitt Romney when he said during the 2012 campaign that Russia was the single biggest geopolitical security threat. “The 1980s are now calling,” he said, “to ask for their foreign policy back.”

But that was before the advent of Donald Trump. No one really took Trump seriously at first, but still. He was saying alarming things about Obama’s deal with Iran, alarming things about NATO, alarming things about wanting to get along with Vladimir Putin, not to mention all the alarming things he said about immigration, trade deals, federal judges, regulation, Islamic terrorism, and taxes.

Again, it’s true that it was Obama who told Putin’s stand-in Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” after the election. But now there seemed to be Russian meddling in our politics: maybe it involved Trump? We know now that Brennan suppressed intelligence indicating that Russia wanted Hillary, a known quantity, to win, not Trump. That went against The Narrative.

A recent article by Margot Cleveland in The Federalist asks the essential question: “Why did Obama tell the FBI to hide its activities from the Trump administration?”  Answer: because those activities amounted to an effort to undo the results of a free open and democratic election.

Mollie Hemingway is right: what we are coming to see is “not just a typical battle between political foes, nor merely an example of media bias against political enemies. Instead, this entire operation was a deliberate and direct attack on the foundation of American governance.” That’s why I have repeatedly called it “the biggest political scandal in our nation’s history.” It was an effort to overturn the results of an election by stealth.

It’s not, I think, that the central figures in this drama—Comey and Clapper, Page and Strzok, Brennan, McCabe, Rice, and Obama himself—it’s not as if they said: “Let’s mount a coup d’état against Donald Trump.” No, it was less straightforward and more discreditable. They said to themselves, “Donald Trump is impossible. The people made a mistake. We know better. Let’s mobilize the police and intelligence power of the state to make sure that virtue—that is, our political agenda—prevails.”

That way lies tyranny, which is always more palatable when swaddled in the conviction of its own virtue. I am uncertain to what extent the chief actors in this malignant farce understand the extent of their culpability. I hope that Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham will be on hand to enlighten them. This must never be allowed to happen again.

Elections

The Left’s Flynn Meltdown Shows They’re Spoiled With Power

Oh, how it frustrates Democrats and the Left that they’ve lost the gratification of watching President Trump’s former national security advisor suffer.

There’s nothing the Left hates more than seeing people they personally despise get a fair shake.

By now the evidence that Michael Flynn is the victim of a grievous and disturbing crime is undeniable. Yet not everyone is celebrating his apparent vindication. The Left sees Flynn’s exoneration as a crime in itself. Barack Obama summarized the feeling on the Left by declaring that the “rule of law is at risk,” a variation on tired Leftoid griping about Trump’s threats to our precious “norms.” It’s extraordinary! Unprecedented!

Far from proving that the rule of law is under siege, the conclusion of the Flynn case is a rare exception that proves the rule: in America, there really is no rule of law anymore. A case like Flynn’s indeed is unusual, but only because it ended by running afoul of the childish caprice of the powerful.

Spoiled With Power

Just about everything the Left says about justice in America is the opposite of what is true. In their fantasy world, they’re the beleaguered, helpless underdogs, witnessing with alarm the takeover of America by an Orange fascist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They are the ones who have been spoiled with power. They’re so accustomed to having it their way that they define as the rule of law the state of affairs in which their wishes are granted without interruption. When things don’t go their way, they scream and terrorize until they get what they want. They’re entitled children.

A case like Flynn’s is an annoying reminder of what they don’t control, which is not very much. Despite the Trump presidency, America is still very much theirs: they have a stranglehold on culture and the most powerful institutions, from the media to the education system. It’s quite possible that in just a few decades, they will solidify a permanent hold on political power if immigration is not reduced. In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much for them to be upset about.

What happened to Flynn is a testament to their power. They ruined an innocent man on the basis of an outrageous lie, and though it has been established beyond doubt that he was set up, they’re disappointed that they won’t be able to unjustly and gratuitously punish him further.

What more could they possibly want? They already sent America on a hugely destructive wild goose chase—a massive, historic fraud that hurt the country deeply and distracted the president for the better part of his first term. They have not been held accountable for any of it and, even now, it seems unlikely that they will be. Evidence continues to surface that the Russia investigation was baseless, but they haven’t suffered and they haven’t admitted fault. Why should they apologize? When you’re powerful, you don’t need to make arguments; you can just shout at people until they shut up. If they act like they’re unaccountable, it’s because they are.

Playing the Underdog

One of the key features of narcissists is their insecurity. Although the Left is powerful, they nevertheless indulge fantasies of persecution. Any incursions on their power, however negligible, they interpret as evidence of America’s slide into dictatorship. Inconvenience becomes tyranny.

The Left has been having a collective grand mal seizure ever since Trump was elected, obviously, but there have also been episodic peaks of fury. Whenever there is a hint that immigration levels might be reduced, or that a pointless war might start to wind down, or that corrupt spies might be held accountable, there is the same uniform lashing out from the media, professional “experts,” and establishment politicians, all chanting the same cliches about how some decision which runs counter to their interests is dangerous and unprecedented and not who we are. Indeed, all such developments are somehow fascism and destroying our norms. 

Usually, the threat passes and they get what they want anyway. The case with Flynn is likely to be no different. The past leaves little reason to expect that this episode is some prelude to a grand reckoning for the deep state.

But that momentary dissatisfaction is still there, and they don’t like it, so an event like this becomes the newest installment in a melodramatic and cosmically important tale of persecution, recast as national tragedy. Leading newspapers end up publishing screeching editorials that read more like the Twitter rantings of an angry college student than the considered opinion of a respectable paper, like this:

“Bill Barr’s America is the one we’re now living in. The Justice Department, in the midst of a presidential campaign, has become a political weapon,” mused the New York Times.

When does Voldemort come into the picture? Do they hear themselves? How many times have we heard these stupid, infantile platitudes about “the evil henchman Bill Barr” since the Mueller probe ended?

For the Left, it’s a travesty that an innocent person with the wrong politics isn’t going to jail. They call this outcome, amazingly, “politicizing” the Justice Department.

No Rights for Scummy Conservatives

What’s in play here is that the Left believes it has a right to destroy any person or group of people who, by their lights, do not deserve the equal protection of the law. If you’re not a member of a “protected class,” or if you don’t pledge loyalty to their political program or if you happen to work for a president they hate, then you’re scum, and you deserve no quarter.

This is their take on justice, and it is the essence of their argument in the Flynn outrage: Flynn worked for Donald Trump, so he’s a bad man and he must suffer.

It’s not really about Flynn, just like the Brett Kavanaugh affair wasn’t really about Kavanaugh himself, but rather what he stood for, to the Left, as a conservative white man. Kavanaugh was, to them, a monster who represented the accumulated injustice of patriarchy through the ages. He was therefore not entitled to due process. Of course, exceptions can be made for prominent Democrats. In a just world, Kavanaugh would have been given the same presumption of innocence that Joe Biden has been given—and ought to have received—but fairness is a privilege that neither Kavanaugh nor random college students can be afforded.

Being children, the Left can’t tolerate that their power is not total, that the gratification of watching Flynn suffer was called off. It frustrates them.

Flynn getting off “scot-free,” in Obama’s phrasing, just wasn’t supposed to happen. It would be like if the immigration laws were enforced. In the Left’s America, that simply isn’t done.