Archive for December, 2018

No escape?

Desperately seeking perfection. Sam Younnokis – “If the USA is a terrible, horrible place, what country do the (Millennial and elitist) critics think we should try to be like? Ignorance is bliss?

“Have the critics spent a year in whatever country that is? It seems reasonable that they should, to be sure they know what that country looks like instead of relying on second- and thirdhand reports.

It sounds promising when critics say we should give free medical care and education to everyone, and maybe in some ideal world, that would happen. Where is it happening right now? Nowhere.

Sweden has a great reputation among the perfectionists, but have the critics studied its history? The Swedes owned slaves a long time ago, some from neighboring peoples who were also Scandinavian, others from Ireland or places farther away. Do they get a pass if their slaves were white, or are they still on the hook for the immoral (by modern standards) practice of slavery? They also overran Norway at one point, not unlike Europeans overrunning the Native Americans in the United States. Are they still worth emulating, despite this awful (by modern standards) history?

The medical care provided by Cuba is supposedly state-of-the-art, but have the critics gone there for an extended period and experienced the care of the island’s doctors?

Truth is, no one who is here wants to leave. I’m not saying our country is perfect, but I doubt that perfection is possible. … We have nowhere to go. That is why we look for ways to fight for our country without tipping into civil war. This is, to us, the last best place on Earth, the shining city on a hill.

Will the Leakers in the Flynn Case Escape Justice? Julie Kelly – “Americans are reminded that the real criminals—top officials at our nation’s most trusted agencies—have yet to be charged for illegally leaking classified information about Flynn to the news media in an effort to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidency.”

“To date, none of the law enforcement or intelligence officials who illegally leaked the information about Flynn has been identified or charged, let alone tried and convicted.

while the wheels of justice move quickly for Trump associates such as Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen, there is no urgency in nabbing deep state criminals who actually threaten the rule of law and democratic norms. Despite their bluster about the danger that Trump poses to our institutions, it is they—not the president—who are destroying the integrity of those institutions without consequence.

Defeat and the Dossier Explain Everything. Victor Davis Hanson – “did we need Robert Mueller’s 18 months and $40 million to uncover and redirect to federal attorneys what was largely self-evident?”

“The diabolical Cohen also tried to enforce, extend, or create non-disclosure agreements (Swampese for hush money) with two women from Trump’s past. The two reappeared out of nowhere in 2016, apparently to translate their alleged Trump hookups of a few hours in years past to notoriety and additional profit in the new age of “President Trump.”

Who knows, had we a Robert Mueller in 1933 he might have been able to charge General Douglas MacArthur and his alleged bag man, aide Major Dwight Eisenhower, with at least something for secretly delivering a bribe of $15,000 to MacArthur’s then 19-year old mistress, Isabel Rosario Cooper (who allegedly had been the general’s mistress since she was 16).

And let us indict either the former director James Comey or the deputy director Andrew McCabe of the FBI—or both—for making false statements to federal investigators and Congress, given their respective testimonies under oath about leaking to the press and the role of the Steele dossier in FISA warrants cannot be reconciled.

To the degree there even exists a real 1799 Logan Act any more—which is meant to outlaw private citizens freelancing at foreign policy to undermine the current U.S. government—the locus classicus would obviously be citizen John Kerry’s secretive meetings this year with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

DC defrauded voters. Don Surber – “Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean?” the New York Times asked in a headline.” Remember the McCarthy opinion cited here yesterday? That is the foil for Surber,

“The narrative means Bungling Bob Mueller cannot find any actual crime, and so he is making one up.

But the whole set up means Washington DC — from Congress to the media — still refuses to accept the results of the 2016 presidential election. The election of President Donald John Trump is America’s Brexit.

We live in times where those who were in power are willing to torch the earth to deny power to the people. The Senate dragged out confirmation of his appointees. The press lies about his every move. Obama’s people challenge every executive order in court, or so it seems.

The people crying fraud are the ones who want to defraud us.

Americans should not accept any charge against President Trump by this confederacy of swamp critters. They denied him a peaceful transition of power which nullifies any claim to moral high ground.

Federal Judge Rips DOJ and State, Orders Discovery on Clinton Emails. John Hinderaker – “At best, State’s attempt to pass off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”

“One might note that it has been festering for a very long time. The relevant events are now six years in the past. The Obama administration was astonishingly successful at stonewalling investigations, and its stonewalling continues under a Department of Justice nominally led by a Republican, but staffed overwhelmingly by Democratic Party loyalists.

Judge Lamberth’s order explains at some length why the discovery he orders is not duplicative of other pending or resolved cases. Well and good, but a basic lesson here is the inadequacy of litigation as a check on abuse of government power. Apart from anything else, it is simply too slow. Congressional investigations potentially can be faster, but committees use their subpoena powers sparingly, for reasons I don’t understand, and congressional investigations are usually not competently conducted, apart from being hampered by rampant partisanship. It would help if we had either a nonpartisan or a two-party press, but we don’t.

Still, despite everything, the truth about Hillary Clinton’s scandalous tenure as Secretary of State may emerge in time for historians to evaluate it.

Comey Lied. Daniel John Sobieski – “James Comey is a serial liar and arguably a serial felon who supervised and directed Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page in an organized deep state coup to keep Hillary Clinton out of prison and Donald Trump out of the White House.”

“In the normal course of events, one could understand the hundreds of “I don’t knows” and “I don’t recalls” former FBI Director James Comey during Friday’s testimony. Most FBI investigations are handled out of the field office in which the illegality allegedly occurred with the FBI Director not privy to all the details. But it was Comey who decided to run the whole Trump collusion and obstruction investigation out of FBI headquarters. He should have known and remembered every detail of his actions and those under him. He did.

Don’t count the “I can’t recalls” Just counting the contradictions and the lies would make quite a drinking game, starting the case which started it all — Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s “process lie”

Comey on Friday asked us all to believe that the man who remembered enough to write a book suddenly had total memory loss, saying “I don’t know” or the equivalent some 245 times.

Tucker is Wrong on this One. Elad Hakim – “Tucker Carlson’s conclusion that Trump is “not capable” and that he has not kept his promises is overly-simplistic and easily refuted.” describing what happens when you try too hard to be “fair and balanced.”

Chuck Todd, Lord of the Flies? Patricia McCarthy – “What is so fantastical about the mainstream media self-appointed czars of information delivery is how ignorant they are.”

“Ninety-five percent of those who pretend to deliver news to the American people are left-wing activists who consider it their honor and duty to tell the rest of us how to think. As Todd so freely opined at the “Recode Decode” podcast this week, they somehow failed to educate us illiterate morons who voted for Trump.

What is so fantastical about these people, these mainstream media self-appointed czars of information delivery, is how ignorant they are. Even Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” seems to be either clueless about or uninterested in the available facts re: the crimes of the Clintons and the Obama administration.

Conservatives in America cannot escape the left. We are bombarded with their opinions, their agenda, all day every day. We cannot open a newspaper without being confronted with their opinions. We can’t watch a sit-com, with one exception, without being assaulted with their ideology. They, on the other hand, are clueless about our values, our hopes and prayers for this country. One would have to go looking for them and they most certainly do not go looking for them. And if they come across them by chance, they dismiss them as lunacy. They do not consider them, they just dismiss them. Critical thinking is being bred out of our culture; indoctrination reigns. Parents! Do not send your kids to university! Unless they are impervious to the dictates of the academic left, the values with which you raised them will have been eradicated by the time they graduate.

As in Lord of the Flies, our civilization is being eroded and undermined by the very people who claim to be its honest brokers. Chuck Todd and his ilk are the lords of the flies. They claim to be guardians of civilization while undermining it each and every day.

You cannot escape

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Resorting to a fine sieve to find something, anything.

The court filing to sentence Cohen after he pled guilty was out Friday so the pundits have had a chance to examine it. On the Left, it is confirmation that a perp walk of the President is due. On the Right, there is wondering “is this all you have?” and growing outrage at the selective ‘justice’ and political corruption and prosecutorial abuse in pursuing a duly elected president.

Why Trump is likely to be indicted by Manhattan US Attorney. Andrew McCarthy – “if the president was not implicated, I suspect they would not have prosecuted Cohen for campaign finance violations at all.”

“Moreover, campaign finance infractions are often settled by payment of an administrative fine, not turned into felony prosecutions. To be sure, federal prosecutors in New York City have charged them as felonies before – most notably in 2014 against Dinesh D’Souza, whom Trump later pardoned.

In marked contrast, though, when it was discovered that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was guilty of violations involving nearly $2 million – an amount that dwarfs the $280,000 in Cohen’s case – the Obama Justice Department decided not to prosecute. Instead, the matter was quietly disposed of by a $375,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission.

Nevertheless, the sentencing memo in Cohen’s case reads like an ode to campaign finance laws.

There is, furthermore, a significant legal question about whether the hush-money payments here qualify as “in-kind” campaign contributions. There is nothing illegal per se in making a non-disclosure agreement; they are quite common. The criminal law comes into play only if the non-disclosure payment is deemed a donation for purposes of influencing a political campaign.

More importantly, do campaign finance violations qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which is the constitutional standard for impeachment? It is hard to imagine an infraction that the Justice Department often elects not to prosecute is sufficiently egregious to rise to that level, but the debate on this point between partisans would be intense.

i.e. it has nothing to do with justice or law, just politics. This effort from the Left might make the Kavenaugh hearings look tame.

The Russia Probe Becomes a Banal Sex Scandal (UPDATED). Roger L Simon – “Now that Robert Mueller and his merry band of wannabe Inspector Javerts have revealed much of their hand, we can see more clearly what their investigation is all about. “

“Aside from the nauseatingly familiar Washington corruption of the Manafort/Podesta stripe, the Great Russia Probe of 2016-2018 (and onwards) has morphed into the even more nauseatingly familiar Washington sex scandal.

If we are to believe legal-eagle Jonathan Turley–and why not; he seems pretty competent–Donald Trump’s most serious problem (possibly rising to obstruction) is not Russia collusion, whatever that is, but the hush money payoffs he evidently ordered for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

Before going further, it’s worth reviewing just how humdrum this is, especially at the presidential level. We can’t know for sure, but as many as half (possibly more) of our presidents have had extramarital affairs, seamy and otherwise. And, yes, there were payoffs -= some of which we know about and some of which we undoubtedly don’t.

So now we have Donald Trump trying to cover up a couple of consensual liaisons, one with a porn star and one with a former Playboy model. Tacky, for sure, even creepy and morally repellent, but, as I said, humdrum.

Nevertheless, they are trying to get Trump impeached (the obvious goal of the investigation, not anything to do with Russia) for using campaign funds for these payoffs. They do this in full knowledge of the obvious — that the businessman himself had put millions of his own money into his campaign, so the funds were originally his in the first place.

If Andy is correct, and it seems reasonable, then I predict this will devolve into one of the most bloody (figuratively and perhaps literally) fights in American political history. It’s hard to see Trump supporters seeing this selective prosecution–Obama and many others have skated on misuse of campaign fund charges (far greater numbers too) with no more than a fine, not even a slap on the wrist–as anything but the most extreme partisan hack job. Ironically, much like the Kavanaugh hearing may have saved the Senate for the Republicans, it could be the rallying cry that pushes Trump over the top in 2020.

“Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal” … “it’s worth reviewing just how humdrum this is.” There is a presumption of guilt yet it is the celebrity and power of the ‘alpha male’ that stimulates both the allegations as well as the interest in these ‘scandals.’ This is behind the whole “me, too” movement and the recent advice about how Wall Street executives need to shun women and keep a safe distance (what is called the Pence rule now). Prudence and due process are falling victim to political hatred.

Mueller’s Theory: Trump Defrauded Voters. Paul Mirengoff – So declares the first part of the headline of a New York Times article by Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos. The rest of the headline asks “But What Does It Mean?”

“Good question. It may mean that the prosecutors haven’t found a crime, but are still pissed off that Trump won the election.

I find odd the notion that Trump defrauded voters. No candidate in my lifetime ever painted a clearer, more vivid picture of himself for voters. For better or for worse, we knew what we were getting (and no, it wasn’t a Putin stooge).

Indeed, it’s difficult for me to treat Mueller’s theory seriously. I hope readers will forgive the (at times) flippant nature of what follows.

Mueller’s case collapses. Don Surber – A Washington Post headline said, “New Mueller filing says Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen was in touch with a Russian seeking ‘political synergy’ with campaign.”

“But the media no longer cares about the truth. For example, the Post claims that as president, The Donald has told 6,800 lies.

The New York Times had published months earlier the highlights of transcripts of those wiretaps.

Given that Obama’s wiretapping was based on false premises, this should have been the story. Instead the press sides with a Democrat who was so amoral that he made Nixon seem like a Boy Scout.

And so reporters and editors lie.

That Post headline is Post-truth.

So is this investigation.

Far from being a man of honor, Mueller is a serial abuser of power whose career is marked by bullying and bedeviled by incompetence.

The same can be said for the press in the Trump presidency.

That moral Boy Scout thing is rather losing its luster due to the organization’s caving to Leftist demands, but what else can pundits use to emphasize such stark contrasts these days?

So Much Irony it’s Mag[a]netic. Clarice Feldman – “Mueller’s multimillion dollars peck, sniff, and smear operation seems to be winding down with a whimper, not a bang, despite the media’s efforts to portray it otherwise.” Here’s a catalog of the action on other fronts from Flynn to Clinton.

Then there is the latest Comey testimony, the plight of white farmers in Africa (again! repeating a disaster, the Left never learns), another faithful dog, Huawei and Chinese perfidy, … 

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Don’t shortchange your objectives

Deconstructing the Anti-Gun Cult. Rich Logis – “It’s alarming how frequently Watts manipulates data to craft a narrative that America is held hostage to pervasive gun violence and how often she and her organization regurgitate the usual debunked Democrat and DMIC (Democrat Media Industrial Complex) myths, lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories.”

“Anti-gun propaganda is powerful, and Watts’s skills are finely honed. Her LinkedIn profile shows that she held director and vice president positions with global reach at a prominent public relations firm, Monsanto, and General Electric Healthcare.

Another effective play out of the Everytown playbook is the use of eye-catching color graphs that show America’s alleged gun apocalypse:

Do Watts and Bloomberg know even a scintilla of this information? I suspect they do, just as they know that “assault weapon” has no actual mechanical or technical meaning, irrespective of how much their DMIC and politician sycophants parrot the lie.

Aspiring gun-confiscators always say the NRA has blood on its hands, but I’ve always thought those with fantasies of confiscation have more.

If the cult wants to be taken seriously by the “gun nuts,” tell the truth – the whole truth.

Ocasio-Cortez already threatening to abuse her office before even being sworn-in. Thomas Lifson – “Warning that it is stupid to troll someone who will join a body with subpoena power is clearly a threat to use that body’s power to retaliate. There is no other reason to mention that power.”

A Survival Strategy for Conservatives. Rick Hayes – “In the current political arena, conservatives are facing off against leftist Democrats in a blood contest in which the current rules favor only the left.”

“It’s more than just a lopsided playing field; it’s a contest where conservatives are forbidden to score and are the only side charged with penalties. And yet conservatives continue to enter these contests expecting to be treated fairly.

A lie is only a lie if it emanates from the lips of a conservative. Otherwise, it’s called a “misstatement” leading to no repercussions. Immunity agreements are granted only to those close to Democrats under investigation. Otherwise, everyone associated with a conservative under investigation is blackmailed with career-ending, bankruptcy producing charges.

How many times have we watched a conservative win a debate against a liberal only to be lambasted as being too much of a bully or mean-spirited?

It appears to be acceptable for conservatives to be labeled by their race, age, and sex without a hint of any objection by the media, whereas the mere mention of race, sex, or age by a conservative is grounds for ridicule, scorn, and being further labeled as a racist, sexist, or bigot.

Interesting. The objective cited is “survival.”  Contrast that to the President’s objective: winning. 

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Demented?

Attacking Sully. James Aaron Brown – “Our high moral principles do not eschew science, mock dogs, or act unkindly.” … but that is what we get from folks such as Ruth Graham at Slate.

“Ruth felt her greatest contribution would be to point out Sully was simply an employee, and not a beloved family pet. Furthermore, she sought to do what many in her camp might do, impose a postmodern and deconstructionist interpretation upon a photo. She then imposes a false narrative of power struggle between a dominant master (who had Parkinson’s and needed a service dog to help him function throughout his day) on a helpless creature conscripted into training and forced to help 41. Her rationale? This is what Sully was trained to do as an employee.

Why was Sully lying in front of the casket of 41? According to Graham, “…it’s a bit demented to project soul-wrenching grief onto a dog’s decision to lie down in front of a casket.” Well, if we use science, then we will take stock of previous observations and compare similar accounts of dogs with funerals. We will then look at studies or seek out experts like Dr. Coren to see if there is any meaningful correlation. If we don’t apply our own confirmation bias, as it seems Graham did in her article, we will find that Sully is doing what many a child with the same cognitive abilities and what other dogs in Sully’s situation do.

If our society’s goal is to entertain ourselves with false criticism, Slate proves this point. However, I am convinced that deep down, the American people aspire to something greater

How Much Blood Would Leftists Be Willing To Shed To Disarm Patriotic Americans? Kurt Schlichter – “After all, it’s not as if you Democrats don’t already have a history of killing people for having guns you disapprove of.”

“So, in light of his party’s track record, I want to know how many people Rep. Swalwell – who fancies himself a potent Democrat presidential contender – is prepared to see die so he can ensure Americans are disarmed in order to please the liberal Californians he represents. How many?

Spielberg warns of the danger of ‘collective hate’. John Sexton – “I point all of that out not to diminish the real threat to Jewish people, which clearly does exist, but to point out that the cause of the current rise in anti-Semitic attacks may be more complicated than some of the simplistic analysis being offered in the national media.”

VDH takes on an “angry reader” as usual by using the criticism to illustrate reality. “Not admitting such an obvious truth is both intellectually dishonest and privileges ideology over empiricism. The anonymous author’s case is not helped by puerile ranting like the following: But Hansen (sic) will never point the finger at his Republican friends, it’s always, liberals, environmentalists, etc..

“No one is calling for mass strip logging or vast controlled burns and unlimited grazing, but rather for a balanced approach of greater harvesting, managed preventative burns, closer cooperation with grazing and timber interests, and greater worry given to human safety and security—which is tragically not state or federal policy in California.

The war on standards: fare-jumping edition. Paul Mirengoff – “Fare-jumping is, of course, a form of theft. And not an innocuous form. The local transit authority loses more than $25 million a year due to fare evasion.” Let the rationalizing begin.

“Reducing the penalty to a $50 fine with no possibility of arrest and/or fail time will mean even more lost revenue. The fine is light and unlikely to be collected in many cases. Jack Evans, chairman of the transit authority and one of the two city counsel members to vote against decriminalization, points out that unlike with parking tickets, where the city can block vehicle registration for unpaid citations, there is no good mechanism for mandating payment of a civil citation for fare-jumping.

What, then, is the argument for going so lightly on fare-jumpers? It’s a familiar one: Blacks disproportionately refuse to comply with the requirement of paying their fare.

It’s sad that African-Americans make up such a large percentage of scofflaws in Washington D.C. However, it’s difficult to see why this fact justifies going soft on fare-jumping to the detriment of the financial viability of public transportation.

In addition to the concrete costs the new law will inflict on the transit system, and ultimately its riders, the legislation is insidious. Lowering standard and, in effect, laughing off what has always been deemed criminal behavior (in this case, outright theft) simply because one segment of the population refuses to comply is a recipe for societal decline.

At the low end of criminality spectrum, fare-jumping will now effectively be excused, at least in D.C. At the high end, there is a bipartisan push to grant significant leniency to major drug dealers, with racial disproportionality a major argument advanced in favor of this move.

What other crimes will we be asked to shrug our shoulders at, or go much easier on, in the name of racial equity?

It’s spin to call 1850-1900 “pre-industrial era”. Luboš Motl – “The climate hysteria has faded away but some people keep on doing their propaganda work as if it were 2007.”

“All these examples, the definition or the very existence of seasons, the definition of the pre-industrial era, or the main function of time to describe the global climate, show that the political goals have become more important than the scientific truth in this discipline. Most of the people who were hired to this discipline since 1988 or so became (or have always been) fraudsters and demagogues who are spinning and fabricating the facts, terminology, and emphases in order to strengthen the case for a predetermined political goal. This is not science.

Demented?

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Strike out. Doesn’t seem to matter. Yet?

Return to civility means surrender to the Democrats and media. J. Marsolo – “President Bush was a gentleman, a war hero, and courteous and civil to his political opponents. But his opponents, Dems and the media, were not civil to him, nor were they civil in their opposition to Bush’s policies and nominees.”

“In sum, Trump is not “civil” because he replies to his opponents who viciously attack him. Bush was civil because he raised taxes, attacked the NRA, and did not reply to those who attacked him. The Dems and the media want to return to the “civility” where the Dems and media attack and destroy, and Trump does not respond to the attacks. The Dems and the media are not used to a Republican who fights back when attacked.

Trump fights back, while the “civil” Republicans lay down and took the abuse like good sports. How dare Trump be anything but civil?

Ace of Spades uses a Jonah Goldberg example to illustrate why people like Glenn Reynolds avoid Twitter. Screaming Fake News™ then whispering corrections …

“It’s not good for society when two camps have contradictory beliefs about the basic facts they build their worldviews on — and those who do this deliberately, or who are churlish and grudging about correcting LIES they pumped out to the world (albeit unwillingly) are adding to the strife and division they write one column every two weeks decrying.

It would be good if we could all agree on the facts, wouldn’t it?

The war on standards, STEM edition. Paul Mirengoff – “Underlying this nonsense is the dogmatic assumption that, but for systemic discrimination and “microaggressions,” female representation in STEM would equal male representation.”

 

“Heather Mac Donald has written and spoken extensively about how identity politics is hampering America’s ability to maintain its dominance in STEM fields. Our main competitors, most notably China, are focused on making sure the best scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are doing the work. They care nothing about gender. And they spend virtually every dollar related to STEM on hard research and analysis.

The U.S., by contrast, is preoccupied with the gender and (to a lesser extent) the race and ethnicity of who is in the lab. And we pour money into promoting identity politics in STEM.
… 
Somehow, one doubts that China is indulging in these self-defeating shenanigans.

Ninth Circuit fully beclowns itself on illegal immigration. Jazz Shaw – “despite being smacked down by the Supreme Court on review, the judges on Tuesday went one step further and began striking down (or at least weakening) federal immigration law.”

 

“Tashima, who was originally nominated as a District Court judge by Jimmy Carter and later elevated to the Ninth Circuit by Bill Clinton, seems to be taking an overly broad view of the free speech issue. Certainly, the First Amendment protects even the most unpopular speech and opinions, but it’s long been established that there are limits to that right.

What’s under discussion here is not an airing of opinions or debate of an issue. It’s an example of incitement to engage in criminal behavior. We already have similar laws on the books and have for ages. Laws covering Incitement to Riot (under Title 18) draw clear distinctions between “urging or instigating other persons” (which is illegal) and “advocacy of ideas or expressions of belief, not involving advocacy of any act” (which is not illegal).

WaPo: Four Pinocchios to kickstart AOC’s Congressional career. Ed Morrissey gets in a ‘both sides do it’ dig here that contradicts itself. That is a form of rationalizing a deceit that is, perhaps, at the foundation of the point he is making. When it comes to the Left, incidents and facts of significance are cited as examples. When it comes to Trump (notable selection bias indication on this), it is just vague allegation.

“However, this episode demonstrates an uncomfortable fact of public life that has been expanding for quite a long time. At least politically, we have moved into a post-fact world. Some will point to Donald Trump as the main driver, and while he’s certainly a contributor, he’s hardly the starting point. Perhaps it began with Vietnam or Watergate; possibly one could point to Iran-Contra and have some justification. What seems undeniable is that we had begun moving in that direction by the time Monica’s blue dress emerged and suddenly presidential perjury was deemed not a big deal, and we had fully embraced it by the time we heard that a video was the cause of our woefully undersecured and abandoned consulate in Benghazi being sacked. Hillary Clinton ran just as shamelessly as Trump did in 2016, refusing to tell the truth about her own abuses of power.

Ocasio-Cortez will keep fact-checkers busy with her ignorance on math, budgets, and policy, but she won’t be the only one. We’ve incentivized shameless prevarication, and the only ones who will benefit from it are the demagogues and the fact-checkers who may or may not bother to unwind their lies. Kudos to Rizzo for aggressively checking Ocasio-Cortez in this instance, but until we care about honesty in political debate, we’re gonna send a lot more Ocasio-Cortezes his way while they talk us into disastrous policies — like Medicare for All.

On this, consider a VDH ‘angry reader’ response. The claim is the narrative “Since you never state that POTUS lies 80-85% of the time when he speaks publicly, what are some examples of his fake news.” VDH notes the ad hominem and lack of specificity in the claim and suggests “why not just focus on one network, CNN, and consider just a few of their more recent transgressions?

The headlines today are about Michael Flynn. See From fishy beginning, Mueller case against Michael Flynn nears end with no jail recommendation. Byron York – “What the sentencing recommendation did not address was the sketchy beginnings of the Flynn investigation.”

“Hill Republicans have been suspicious about the the Flynn case for quite a while. But they have not been able to get their hands on some key documents and testimony that might tell them what happened.

House investigators have a chance to learn more this week when, on Friday, Comey appears for a behind-closed-doors interview with members of the Judiciary and Oversight committees.

One-Eyed-Jack Law. Victor Davis Hanson – “Criminals and partisans, accusing others of criminality and partisanship.” Here’s a catalog to peruse …

“Mueller cannot fulfill the hype of the past 18 months, which forecast that the “all-stars,” the “dream-team,” and the Mueller “army” would make short work of the supposedly buffoonish Trump by proving that he colluded with Russia to swing an election. Collusion, remember, was hyped as doing what the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, impeachment, media frenzy, and assassination-chic rhetoric had not.

By indicting a number of minor characters on charges that so far have nothing to do with collusion — for purported crimes mostly committed after the special-counsel appointment — Mueller has emphasized the quantity rather than the quality of indictments.

Mueller has already weaponized politics, making a crime out of the tawdry business of opposition research — but only sort of, since his interests in doing so are highly selective. And so his chief legacy will have little to do with whatever he finds on Donald Trump. He has already established the precedent that there is now no real equality under the law, at least as Americans once understood fair play and blind justice.

Such skullduggery poses the question of whether Mueller’s investigation has been simply derailed by partisanship. Or has it effectively served as a deliberate distraction from the felonious behavior of dozens of Obama-administration and Clinton-campaign officials — all determined to ensure, by any means necessary, that Trump would never be president?

Scott Johnson says Analyze this – “In my contrarian “Notes on the Cohen plea,” I made these points among others: … Now what? Probably nothing. I do not pretend to know. The truth of the matter nevertheless has its own continuing claim on our attention.”

Another take: Mueller strikes out trying to nail Trump – Flynn sentencing memo is a big nothing. Gregg Jarrett – “The memo isn’t a “smoking gun” showing President Trump colluded with Russians to win the 2016 presidential election or did anything else illegal.”

“Flynn should never have been prosecuted. The FBI agents who interviewed him concluded that he was telling the truth. This was confirmed by both former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, when they testified before congressional investigators. Had Mueller been forced to prove his case in court, he would have lost.

The law requires that a false statement be made “willfully and knowingly” (18 U.S.C. 1001). If Flynn’s recollection of the conversation with Russian Ambassador Kislyak is inconsistent with a transcript of their conversation, secretly recorded, it is not a crime. If Flynn interpreted his discussion differently than the FBI, it is also not a crime.

Flynn pleaded guilty not because he lied, but because Mueller crushed him financially and threatened to take legal action against the retired Army general’s son.

Flynn’s decision was understandable. Mueller’s actions were, and are, unconscionable and wrong.

Bureaucrats have the power to turn a tiny glitch into an insurmountable hurdle. Luboš Motl – “As you know, I hate bureaucracy – and some very real and viscerally unpleasant experience with bureaucratic operations is a substantial part of my opposition to the ideals of the Big Government, or almost any government or a left-wing social construct, for that matter.” A tale of woe, an example, and a warning…

“Now, the whole system is corrupt – too many pensioners want their pensions to go up and they will support any liar, perhaps any murderer or any kind of scum, as long as it will increase their expectation value of their pension. What are the prospects of a nation where democracy turns into this corruption where liars increasingly steal the money from the productive part of the nation and they are defending of their increasingly self-evident lies? As Benjamin Franklin said, once the people find out they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. And we are seeing it in Czechia. When “democracy” wins over some totally self-evident and demonstrable facts and truths, it’s too bad.

The Coyote has found a take on the Russian Collusion, from TA Frank at Vanity Fair, “that seems to almost perfectly capture my current take on the whole affair.” It is honest in that it accepts the lack of supporting evidence. It suffers otherwise. Note the vague allegations that tend towards ad hominem (“Certainly, Trump’s ethical standards are low”) and judgmental rather than opinion. The definition of sleaze is also interesting. Then there is the attempt to minimize the Clinton impeachment as simple, justifiable perjury rather than perjury about domestic violence and abuse of intern relationships. That leads to excusing what the assault on Trump is doing in regards to relationships and dealing with Russia, a matter that has very serious implications. Indeed, Frank seems to think all is peachy keen with Russia despite goings-on in places like the Ukraine or the missile treaty or other expressions of Russian aggression.

 

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Conspiracy needs exceptional support. Is it there?

A Picture Is Worth More Than A Thousand Words To The Trained Eye. Jamie Wells, M.D – “Omission in itself, intentional or not, foments an inaccurate to more demonstrably false narrative depending on the degree.”

“With the rapid pace of technology spreading a word or image globally in a matter of seconds, the old saying “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on” is ever the more relevant today. We are a quick assumption first, deal with the collateral damage of corrective action later culture. And it is to our detriment. This manifests in little to big ways.

there are many ways to respect individual privacy and a person’s autonomy to disclose as much or as little as they desire and clarify inconsistent and erroneous messages that get spread as a result. But, the most important method of achieving this often delicate dance is urging the reintroduction into our culture of critical thinking and reasoning. Accepting what is shown as is with spoon-fed consumption does not make for an informed participant in society.

What’s the lesson? Because many sayings are timeless for a reason, when it comes to being intellectually honest and learning “the devil is in the details.”

The Scientifically Ignorant Drive GMO Debate. Alex Berezow – “There’s no nice way to put this. The scientifically ignorant are driving society’s science debates.”

“A few years ago, I reported on a study that found that people who were uninterested in science were the ones who were most fearful of it. I wrote that they “believe that science causes more problems than it solves, believe that humans should not tamper with nature, [and] feel that technology advances too quickly for them to understand.”

That paper’s finding was in complete agreement with the results of the new Pew study. And it adds to the growing narrative that one of the biggest threats to science comes from a society that remains willfully ignorant about it. How can we educate people about science if they don’t want to be educated?

Even worse, there are plenty of people who are willing to make a quick buck by cashing in on the public’s ignorance. …

It’s simply a truth of human nature that we are far more motivated by fear than by gratitude. That’s why political campaigns are almost universally about how horrible the other candidate is. It’s much easier to get a person to vote against someone (out of fear) rather than for someone (out of gratitude).

The bottom line, then, is that science debates are actually a struggle against human nature. And that is one tough thing to overcome, but it can be done.

The gender wage gap. Neo – “A new study underlines what many of us already knew.”

“It is very similar to the old “equality of opportunity” (the conservative point of view, although it was once also the liberal point of view) versus “equality of outcome” (the current leftist/liberal point of view, because leftist and liberal have increasingly fused).

The American public has been slowly, and then recently more quickly, moving to the latter goal from the former one: outcome vs. mere opportunity. How did this happen? …

It also helps that most people do not understand research and statistics. … since the basics also seem to be beyond the grasp of many people, most people are going to rely on interpreters of research—for example, articles in the MSM—to elucidate matters. And since the MSM has its own agenda, and that agenda is political rather than an objective reporting on the facts, way too many readers are going to assume that the MSM’s summary of the meaning of a research finding is reliable.

In other words, propaganda works, and the less a person knows about the actual subject matter, the more likely the propaganda will work for that person

The Best Argument Yet for Keeping the Caravan Out. Pedro Gonzalez – “Love, like hate, can blind us from seeing things as they really are. America is in a toxic relationship with immigration, and like a battered spouse, progressives keep crawling back to the same tropes and lies.”

Does ‘Make X Great Again’ Ever Happen in History? Victor Davis Hanson – “it is a scary idea that the fate of making America great again might hinge on the nihilism of the Democratic Party.”

Expert thinks Trump was set up. Don Surber – “At least six people with long-established ties to the FBI or to U.S. and Western intelligence made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016,” Solomon wrote.

Notes on the Cohen plea (2). Scott Johnson – “Sources tell Sperry that Mueller apparently withheld exculpatory evidence in the Criminal Information he filed last week against Cohen for lying about the duration of talks about a never-realized Moscow Trump Tower.” … “I would add, however, that I am quite sure it will not look anything like exoneration in Mueller’s report.”

Senator Mark Warner: The SSCI is “Working Closely” With Robert Mueller. sundance – “This is not me just haphazardly making a theory of how a corrupt Senate Committee and a corrupt Special Counsel working in concert with each other with mutual interests. This stuff is in our faces. All of the data-points involving the SSCI go in one direction…. toward corruption. There is not a single data-point going in the other direction.”

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When truth gets in the way, find a new way to skin the cat

When The Truth Gets In The Way. Derek Hunter – “there actually isn’t anything I can think progressives won’t toss aside, or into a woodchipper, if it became an inconvenience or an obstacle. This week was no different.”

“News organizations and Trump-hating journalists (which is just about all of them) were sexually aroused at the prospect of this latest, greatest smoking gun – that Don Jr. lied to Congress about…the timeline of discussions regarding a possible Trump Tower being built in Moscow. OK, not exactly the most exciting of charges, and certainly not conspiring to “steal” an election, but Democrats don’t really care how they destroy someone, they just want them destroyed.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the gallows – it was a lie. Not what Donald Trump Jr. said, he didn’t lie; the story was a lie. After five hours being a live story from NPR, and editor’s note” was added to this “blockbuster.”

You can add this to long list of bogus stories and narrative-enforcing lies that were wished true by reporters only to be proven otherwise after they’d spread and done their damage. And that’s really the point of these “fake news” stories, why they aren’t caught in the editing process, why no editors or publishers question stories that so perfectly encapsulate what pundits hope for but for which there is zero proof. It HAS to be true because they WANT it to be true.

What Is ‘Ballot Harvesting,’ And How Did California Dems Use It To Nuke The GOP? Scott Morefield – “Passed as a barely noticed change in the state’s vote by mail procedures in 2016 and signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, California’s AB 1921 allows voters to give any third party — not just a relative or someone living in the same household, as was previously the law — to collect and turn in anyone else’s completed ballot.” There’s more than one way to skin a cat and the Left is very creative in finding them.

“Called “ballot harvesting,” critics say the practice is ripe for fraud. Consider “Lulu,” who was recorded trying to “harvest” what she thought was a Democratic voter’s ballot in Rep. Knight’s district.

It’s a “new service,” said Lulu, for “like, people who are supporting the Democratic party.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 250,000 such ballots were used in Orange County alone, resulting in a Democratic sweep there.

Before its passage, a group opposed to the bill wrote: “AB 1921 would allow anybody to walk into an elections office and hand over truckloads of vote by mail envelopes with ballots inside, no questions asked, no verified records kept. It amounts to an open invitation to large-scale vote buying, voter coercion, “granny farming”, and automated forgery. AB 1921 solves no problem that a simple stamp can’t solve.

The Russia Probe Has Nothing to Do with Russia. Roger L Simon – “America is at war with itself and the russia probe is the leading, but far from the only, front in that war.”

“From the Okhrana (the tsars’ secret police that authored the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and specialized in agents provocateurs) to the Cheka to the NKVD to the KGB to the FSB, it has always been the same. The Russians — Soviet or not — have always engaged in disinformation. Their recent Facebook and Twitter oerings were nothing more than the tip of an iceberg that’s been sailing for years.

In other words words, there’s nothing new here. The indictments of the Russian hackers by Mueller and Company were no more than a face-saving charade.

Another Turbulent Week with Some Big Mysteries. Clarice Feldman – “From the outside it looks like Mueller used the FBI to harass someone who had the goods on him.”

“Doubtless, hoping to keep Manhattan hysterics from requiring hospitalization when their dreams are dashed, the NY Times prepares to let its readers decompress gradually, reporting that the President’s recall of the Russian deal and the documents he provided matches Cohen’s account.

Those of us watching the Mueller escapades and believing his role is to protect himself and the other DOJ, FBI, Obama officials, and intel heads from exposure for their misuse of national security information to target Trump are beginning to despair of their ever being brought to justice.

Surely, there are plenty of signs that the Mueller camp has grown desperate.

The FBI Raided My Sister’s House. sundance – “We already know the Senate Intelligence Committee is at significant risk and entirely tied-up in the matrix of a weaponized intelligence apparatus.”

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Blown narratives. So what.

NPR Blatantly Lies About Donald Trump Jr.’s 2017 Senate Testimony. Mollie Hemingway – “NPR falsely claimed that Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 conflicted with an account given by a former attorney for President Donald Trump.” Another careful takedown analysis of another event in the ongoing smear and propaganda campaign. The NPR response is also telling. See Ace of Spades – “NPR Adds a Huge “Clarification” To Article, But Does Not Retract It Or Admit The Central Claim It Made Is Entirely False

Comey Lawyers Tell Federal Judge: “Here’s your opportunity, judge, to make some law”. Sundance – “There is growing acceptance that federal officials feel they are above the law; two sets of legal principles that apply; one exclusive set for them, and another set for everyone else.”

“Though it might seem rather stunning for any federal official to make such an admission in public, that’s exactly what happened today. Lawyers representing former FBI Director James Comey made exactly that argument. Recognizing Mr. Comey had no legal basis to avoid a congressional subpoena, Comey’s lawyers actually said:

Here’s your opportunity, judge, to make some law.” (link)

The Nixon ‘Road Map’ Won’t Save Mueller’s Futile Prosecution. Conrad Black – “Completely insufficient attention has been paid to the recent revelations about the grand jury and federal court findings against President Richard Nixon. In a word, the entire basis of the case against Nixon himself has been completely undermined.” The current efforts to derail a President reveal similar ugly hate politics against Nixon. Dirty laundry is being examined and the dirt reveals the victim isn’t that portrayed by the Deep State and its media arm.

“The case against Nixon has always been based on the claim that he authorized the payment of campaign funds to people implicated in the Watergate break-in to encourage them to alter their testimony, and thus he obstructed justice.

About six weeks ago, three prominent lawyers from the Watergate era sued for all the Nixon “road map” material to be opened, because they were seeking the release of comparable material, insofar as there is any in the Trump inquiry, to be opened as well. The evidence opened up by the Shepard lawsuit to reveal the grand jury evidence involving Nixon. Nixon’s comments to the grand jurors who visited him reveal that the congressional committees and the Washington grand juries were falsely advised that the Nixon version of events effectively confirmed the road map.

In reality, Richard Nixon’s evidence conformed exactly to what he said about these matters in all other cases: that he had never approved or authorized any payments to obstruct justice, alter testimony or tampered with witnesses, and that he resigned as president when he learned that courts and congressional committees indicative of likely votes in both houses of Congress concluded that the road map was accurate and that Nixon would be convicted.

The historic implications of what has been discovered are very serious. No one with any interest in Richard Nixon, Watergate, and the continuing strutting and primping of the veterans of the Watergate catacombs—especially Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein—should listen to the podcast of authentic legal historian and Watergate veteran Geoff Shepard that has been posted by the Nixon Foundation below

At least there was a crime at the Watergate and a few other places. But both attempts at pseudo-legal putsches are and have been disgusting and profoundly illegal corruptions of the system, and contribute to an understanding of why the American prosecutors win a North Korean level 99 percent of their indictments, 97 percent without a trial, and the sweet land of liberty has six to 12 times as many incarcerated people per capita as comparable large and prosperous democracies: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Mueller, by trying to destroy Trump through illicit means, is going to force a general examination of prosecutorial abuses. In the process, the reputation of an outstanding president will inevitably be redeemed. President Nixon’s one full term was one of the most successful in the country’s history.

Another blown narrative: USC study shows migrant caravan not about escaping ‘violence’. Monica Showalter – “What they’re not is people fleeing violence and persecution. So the asylum “narrative” promoted in the press and by the left-wing lawyers now stands exposed as phony.”

“That’s significant because the press has been playing up the asylum claims, and politicians such as California’s governor-elect have been making political hay off it. Turning on the treacle, Gavin Newsom tried to frame Sunday’s border charge as violence on people fleeing violence:

There we have it: “fleeing violence.” The term is repeated again and again in the left’s bid to create a “narrative.”

Except that it’s not violence that’s being fled; it’s the wages of being uneducated, low-skilled, and wanting more. Plus the big banquet of U.S. bennies – it’s always all about the bennies.

does a blown narrative make any difference to the underlying belief? Evidence only suggests is makes the behavior even more anomalous.

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