This Is A Really Good Question

Yesterday National Review posted an article with the following headline, “Why Are the Airlines Still Flying Out of New York?” That is a really good question.

The article reports:

I am baffled by the continuation of air travel between New York City and the rest of the country. At the moment, the greater New York area is at the center of the coronavirus crisis in the United States, and yet Kayak confirms that, even today, anyone from the city and its environs can get on a plane and travel almost anywhere within the United States. Why?

As I write, direct flights from Newark to Miami are going for $19 on Frontier and $29 on American Airlines. Given the seriousness of the pandemic — and the number of businesses that have been shuttered as a precaution — this seems downright bizarre. Why, one might reasonably ask, are airplanes not subject to the same social distancing rules as other commercial services? The crab shack on the beach near me is closed because the authorities in my county are worried that its customers may stand too closely together while waiting for their tacos. Is this not an equal risk in Basic Economy on United Airlines?

The federal government enjoys only limited powers — and it should enjoy only limited powers. But even my cramped reading of the Commerce Clause allows the authorities in Washington, D.C. to regulate commercial interstate air travel. President Trump threatened a federal quarantine the other day, and then, on the advice of his team, rescinded the threat. Given the legal questions at hand — and the fact that the national government simply does not have the resources to enforce such a rule — this was likely for the best; thinly tested though the relevant precedents may be, it is not at all obvious that the National Guard is allowed to prevent cars from crossing the state line between New York and Pennsylvania. But do you know what the federal government is allowed to do — and, indeed, what the federal government already does? Regulate commercial air travel. Why is it not doing so here?

Air travel should be suspended until we see the number of cases level off. Until then, the airlines are just allowing the virus to move freely around the country.

Why The Citizens United Decision Matters

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning campaign finance. The Supreme Court ruled on January 21, 2010, prevents the government from restricting campaign contributions from corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.

National Review posted an article on March 5, 2014, showing political campaign donations from 1989 to 2014. Below is the chart included in the article:

As you can see, unions donate a significant amount of money to political campaigns.

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner reported that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is investing $150 million to defeat President Trump in November.

The article reports:

The get-out-the-vote campaign is the biggest investment that the union has ever made in getting voters to the polls. It will largely focus on Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press. It will also focus on urban areas such as Detroit and Milwaukee. And while television ads will be part of the campaign, most of its resources will go to direct contact and online ads targeting minority voters.

Maria Peralta, the union’s political director, said Trump has made inroads with some minority voters who traditionally vote Democratic if they do vote. The Trump campaign plans to open community centers to win the black vote. The offices will feature African Americans who support Trump.

So what is this about? Through deregulation and other policies, the Trump administration has seen record economic growth. In order for the Democrats to stay in power, they need a permanent underclass that is dependent on the government to support them.

On February 15, Breitbart reported:

Approximately 6.1 million individuals dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This is a threat to the growth of the Democrat party. If the Democrats can defeat President Trump, reverse his economic policies, and create a failing economy, they can gain more control over the everyday lives of Americans. That is their goal. That is the reason we need corporate money in elections to counter the union money. That is the reason Citizens United was a good decision.

It should also be noted that as the number of people dependent on the government decreases, the size of the administrative state should also decrease. That should also decrease the cost of government. That is a goal that totally frightens those involved in the administrative state. If the administrative state continues at its present size, we will never get federal deficits under control. Eventually the deficit will crash the economy.

Two-Track Justice

Yesterday The National Review posted an article with the title, “With Liberty and Two-Track Justice for All.” Unless things change quickly, we will officially become a banana republic.

The article notes the contrasts in the way similar charges against Americans were handled:

• President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is doing seven and a half years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa., for his pre-Trump tax and bank fraud. Manafort has endured solitary confinement.

• Former campaign aide George Papadopoulos served twelve days in the slammer for false statements to FBI officers. His steep legal bills and spooked clients drove him back into his parents’ house.

• Former national security adviser Michael Flynn awaits sentencing, and wants his charges dropped, after pleading guilty to false statements. Flynn reportedly took a plea after selling his house to pay his lawyers. DOJ prosecuted Flynn, although no less than Andrew McCabe acknowledged that “the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying.” Indeed, the G-men who spoke with Flynn later reported: “Throughout the interview, Flynn had a very ‘sure’ demeanor and did not give any indicators of deception. He did not parse his words or hesitate in any of his answers.” Never mind those details; Flynn still could wind up in an orange jump suit.

The article compares the above scenarios with the fate of James Comey:

As the OIG concluded:

Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement by failing to either surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the FBI or seek authorization to retain them; by releasing official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization; and by failing to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his personal attorneys once he became aware in June 2017 that Memo 2 contained six words (four of which were names of foreign countries mentioned by the President) that the FBI had determined were classified at the “CONFIDENTIAL” level.

So, Comey did spill state secrets.

“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action,” the OIG concluded in August, “Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

So, is Comey breaking rocks? Awaiting his prison sentence? Preparing for trial?

The article notes the activities of Hillary Clinton:

Despite 588 security violations that the State Department attributed to Hillary Clinton and her associates in the Emailgate scandal, as well as her role in purchasing the “dirty dossier” that triggered the Russia hoax, the former first lady has suffered zero consequences for an entire career of professional misconduct. Anyone who survived her husband’s presidency recalls Hillary as a latter-day Ma Barker, or Bonnie to Bill’s Clyde. Regardless, Hillary always walks away, Scot-free. And she always gets paid.

Her 2014 book Hard Choices scored her some $14 million. The next year, Business Insider reports, she made $12 million in speaking fees to well-connected organizations and huge corporations. A sample of these for 2015 included:

California Medical Association: $100,000 (via satellite!)

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: $150,000

Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries: $225,000

National Automobile Dealers Association: $225,500

United Fresh Produce Association: $225,000

eBay Inc.: $315,000 (for a 20-minute speech)

Cisco: $325,000 (She reportedly sat onstage with the CEO)

Biotechnology Industry Organization: $335,000

Qualcomm Incorporated: $335,000

GTCR Private Equity: $780,000

Atop this steady cash, Hillary never stops playing presidential-campaign hokey-pokey: She puts her left foot in, she takes her left foot out, she puts her left foot in, and she shakes it all about. Rumors that Michael Bloomberg is considering her as a potential running mate gives this entitled woman yet another opportunity to show some West Wing ankle.

Lois Lerner also made the list of insiders with minimal consequences for breaking the law:

Lois Lerner ran the IRS unit that perpetrated the systematic political profiling of conservative groups that sought tax-exempt designation. IRS’s wingtip-dragging, relentless demands for paperwork, and Orwellian questions (“please provide the percentage of time your organization spends on prayer groups”) all subjected to extra scrutiny 94 percent of center-right and Tea Party groups that sought 501(c)(3) and (c)(4)status, versus 6 percent of analogous liberal outfits, the House Ways and Means Committee found in August 2013. Consequently, rather than educate citizens on limited-government principles before the 2012 election, scores of these organizations either failed to launch or did so, only to run out of fuel and tumble back to earth.

Lerner supervised this virtual gag-the-Right scheme. When GOP congressional overseers sought Lerner’s laptop hard drive, they learned that it was shipped to a Federal Bureau of Prisons recycling facility in Florida. As the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration testified in 2015, “this shipment of hard drives was destroyed using an AMERI-SHRED AMS-750HD shredder.” The industrial-strength machine chopped the drives into quarter-sized pieces. The Feds then sold this material as scrap.

Was Lerner punished? Reprimanded? Ordered to stand in the corner for 20 minutes?

Lerner was placed on administrative leave. This is Potomac for “paid vacation.” She received her $177,000 annual salary while she stayed home and relaxed. (If she were U.S. senator Lois Lerner, she would have earned $3,000 less.) According to the Washington Post, “Lerner has received a $100,000 annual pension since retiring from the IRS in September 2013, and she and her husband, an attorney with a national law firm, live in a $2.5 million home in Bethesda,” Maryland, where she walks her dogs and gardens outside her 6,500-square-foot house.

The article concludes:

America needs equal justice, but neither undue leniency nor undeserved cruelty toward Stone.

Given Stone’s sentence, McCabe, Comey, Clinton, and Lerner should be locked up.

But since those four got zero prison time, plus book deals, TV contracts, and a hefty pension, then Roger Stone deserves to walk into a green room at Fox News Channel. I would expect to congratulate him there on his new contributor agreement and hear all about his upcoming memoir.

Fair is fair.

I agree.

The Media Responsibility For The Divide Between Us

On February 8th, Gregory Timm drove his van into a Republican voter registration tent in Jacksonville, Florida. The mainstream media chose to ignore the story.

Today The Washington Examiner posted an opinion piece that noted a few things about the attack and the silence of the media:

In the hours and days after Gregory Timm plowed his vehicle into a tent of Republican Party volunteers registering voters in the parking lot of Kernan Village Shopping Center in Jacksonville, Florida, national coverage of the event has been alarmingly lacking.

Local news channel WJXT reported days later on the arrest report, which showed Timm telling the sheriff’s office his “disapproval of Trump” was the motivating factor for the attack. He showed the sheriff’s office a self-recorded video of him driving straight at the volunteers, expressing frustration that the video cut out before “the good part.” Even then, as I write this, the best the New York Times could muster was wire coverage.

No teams of reporters were sent to uncover his dark motivations, upbringing, or political leanings. No psychological profiles have been written up, nor have any experts weighed in on how this is a growing threat. These are all tools that would have been used by an army of reporters if Timm had been a Trump supporter plowing into Democratic Party volunteers registering voters.

The problem isn’t that Timm’s attack on the GOP wasn’t covered by most of the media. It’s that it wasn’t covered with the same voracious appetite news organizations have whenever someone who is even peripherally associated with the Right does something to a Democrat.

This isn’t whataboutism; this is realism. It gets to the heart of why people, especially conservatives, believe the media doesn’t just have a liberal bias, but it either doesn’t cover stories that show when conservatives are attacked, or it buries them.

The opinion piece concludes:

According to a new Pew Research Center study, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents trust rather than distrust most of the 30 outlets in the study, which includes the New York Times. The reverse is true among Republicans and center-right independents. In fact, the gap has widened substantially for Republicans’ trust in the media in the past six years to get the story right, or without bias, or report it at all.

Bier (Jeryl Bier, a freelance writer whose dispatches can be found in the Wall Street Journal and National Review) says the danger for right-leaning news organizations is to try not to overcompensate for what they see as left-wing bias. “It is truly difficult to walk the line, but more in media need to strive for that balance.”

One of the more common observations I hear from people on how my profession reports on politics in this country centers on how Trump has been covered since he became president.

The conversation typically goes something like this: “I don’t mind that you scrutinize every move he makes or what his motivations are, that is your job. I just want to know why you didn’t cover the last guy with the same gusto, which was also your job.”

It is fair to say that logic should also apply to how incidents are covered that affect Republicans. There would have been a week’s worth of cable news coverage, several nationwide protests, and someone calling for a national conversation by now had the victims of Timm’s attack been supporting anyone but Trump.

The liberal slant of the mainstream media is divisive. Many Americans do not hear both sides of an issue. The are constantly fed the idea that Trump supporters are unprincipled people who want to destroy the Constitution. When the media criticizes President Trump, it generally fails to mention similar actions of previous presidents. On the whole, the mainstream media is setting up an alternative reality that can only be harmful to America.

Interesting Take

On Friday, The Daily Wire posted an article about Trey Gowdy’s recent comments concerning the purpose of impeaching President Trump. The article points out that there is very little hope that President Trump will be impeached in the Senate and that there is very little chance that President Trump will not be re-elected. So what is the goal?

The article notes:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday that Democrats are not trying to remove President Donald Trump with impeachment, but instead are focused on kneecapping his second term by flipping the Senate so he can’t get anything done.

“Let’s skip over the process,” Gowdy said. “The process, the three month long inquiry investigation was laughable. But they voted. That’s the House’s prerogative. They voted, not a single Republican went along with them. In fact, they didn’t even keep all the Democrats. But the House exercised its prerogative and they impeached the president.”

“There is no mathematical way he is ever going to be convicted and they know that,” Gowdy continued. “So their goal cannot be to remove Donald Trump from office, it is to neuter his second term. I think he is going to win in November. It’s to neuter that second term by targeting the Cory Gardners and the Martha McSallys and the Thom Tillises and the Susan Collins and Joni Ernst because if Trump wins and doesn’t have the Senate then he is not going to get any judicial vacancies filled and he’s not going to replace a Supreme Court Justice if he or she retires.”

One of the major accomplishments of the Trump administration is the reshaping of the judiciary. President Trump has appointed a record number of judges to serve in the federal appeal courts.

On December 19th, The National Review reported:

Let’s first put the confirmation results in some statistical perspective. From 1981 through last year, the Senate confirmed an average of 45 judges, or 5.5 percent of the judiciary, per year. This year’s total is more than twice the annual average and constitutes 11.9 percent of the judiciary. It’s the second-highest confirmation total in a single year in American history.

Those 102 confirmations include 20 to the U.S. Court of Appeals, the third-highest annual total in history. President Donald Trump has appointed 50 appeals court judges in his first three years, compared to 55 appointed by President Barack Obama — in eight years. And this is only the second time in American history that the Senate has confirmed double-digit appeals court nominations three years in a row. The only downside is that only one current appeals court vacancy exists anywhere in the country right now, the fewest in more than four decades.

The Democrats understand that the legacy of judges will be a lasting legacy. They desperately need to take the Senate in order to stop the continuing confirmations of judges. That strategy is much more logical than a futile effort to unseat a President who is popular with most Americans (although hated by the Washington establishment).

The Political Impact Of The Long Fight To Remove President Trump

On Tuesday, Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at National Review about the impact of impeachment on President Trump.

The article includes a number of observations about the impact of the endless investigations of the President:

Quietly, the approval ratings of Trump have been rising to pre-impeachment levels and are nearing a RealClearPolitics average of 45. Support for impeaching Trump and/or removing him is not increasing as the House Democrats expected. It is essentially static, or slowly eroding, depending on how polls phrase such questions.

Apparently, an exhausted public did not see “Ukrainian” impeachment as a one-off national crisis akin to the Nixon inquiry and the Clinton impeachment and trial that merited national attention. The impeachment vote instead is being confirmed in the public mind as part of a now boring three-year impeachment psychodrama (from impeachment 1.0, the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, and Michael Avenatti/Stormy Daniels comedies to Robert Mueller’s “dream team” and “all-stars”). The progressive logic of the current jump-the-shark monotony is to become even more monotonous, the way that a driller leans ever harder on his dull and chipping bit as his bore becomes static.

The Democrats believed that all of these efforts would be like small cuts, each one perhaps minor but all combining to bleed Trump out. But now we know, given polling data and the strong Trump economy, that the long odyssey to impeachment has had almost no effect on Trump’s popularity, other than losing him 3–4 points for a few weeks as periodic media “bombshells” went off.

The reality may be the very opposite of what Democrats planned. The more the Left tries to abort the Trump presidency before the election, the more it bleeds from each of its own inflicted nicks. As an example, Rachel Maddow’s reputation has not been enhanced by her neurotic assertions that Trump’s tax returns would soon appear, or that the Steele dossier was steadily gaining credibility, or that yet another tell-tale Russian colluder had emerged from under another American bed.

The constant drumbeat of accusations is simply not resonating. Yet, the Democrats continue with a playbook that is not working.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It includes a lot of information that has been overlooked amidst the hype.

The article concludes:

Instead, voters are exhausted by his haters and their crazy agendas. They grow enraged over how the Mueller and Horowitz investigatory reports have disproved all the daily media, celebrity, and political assertions. And they are upset about the larger culture of the anti-Trump Left, from the fundamentals of open borders and identity politics to the trivia of transgendered athletes, Colin Kaepernickism, and the open-border, Green New Deal socialism. An auto worker who votes as a true-blue union Democrat but likes Trump’s trade policies, a no-nonsense farmer who worries about farm exports but likes deregulation, and a teacher who votes a liberal slate but has no way to control his classroom may not seem like Trump voters, but some such voters are terrified by the cultural trajectory of what the Trump-hating Left has in store for them all.

For a majority, refined and arrogant progressive mendaciousness voiced in condescending nasal tones has become far more repugnant than all-American hype in a Queens accent.

What is happening in America may be an indication that representative government may be making a comeback. We may be entering a time when elected officials will actually be required to represent the people who elected them.

The Quest For Relevance

Yesterday National Review reported  that former secretary of state John Kerry has endorsed Joe Biden for President. John Kerry cited Biden’s performance serving as vice president in the Obama administration as proof that he has what it takes to defeat President Trump. Wow. I don’t know where to start.

The article reports:

“The world is broken,” Kerry told The Washington Post. “Our politics are broken. The country faces extraordinary challenges. And I believe very deeply that Joe Biden’s character, his ability to persevere, his decency and the experiences that he brings to the table are critical to the moment. The world has to be put back together, the world that Donald Trump has smashed apart.”

Kerry’s announcement comes a week after news broke that former president Barack Obama reportedly said Biden “really doesn’t have it” in establishing a bond with the electorate.

Kerry seemingly disagreed with his former boss in describing Biden, calling him “the person for the moment.”

This is an amazing statement. John Kerry was elected to the United States Senate in 1984. He was sworn in as Secretary of State in February 2013. Joe Biden was a Senator from 1973 to 2009. President Donald Trump entered politics in 2015. If ‘the world is broken,’ I would tend to put the responsibility for that on those who have been in power for the longest time–not on the new kid on the block.

A Much-Needed Change

National Review posted an article yesterday about a new policy regarding food stamps that will go into effect in April of next year.

The article reports:

In theory, the program has a strict time limit for “ABAWDs,” or able-bodied adults without dependents: If they don’t meet their work requirement or receive a case-by-case exemption from their state, they may receive food stamps for at most three months in any 36-month period. But in practice, the executive branch has broad discretion to waive the limit for large geographic areas with weak labor markets — and previous administrations used that discretion promiscuously. As of 2017, about a third of the U.S. population lived in waived areas.

Under the old rule, any place with an unemployment rate one-fifth above the national average was eligible for a waiver. (Places could — and still can — also establish eligibility by having an absolute rate over 10 percent.) This meant that when unemployment was low throughout the country, areas with good labor markets could still receive waivers, simply because unemployment wasn’t quite as low there as it was elsewhere.

The old rule also allowed states to effectively gerrymander their waiver requests, combining high- and low-unemployment counties to maximize the number of people exempted. All told, states such as Illinois and California were able to obtain waivers for all but a few of their counties.

In short, the system was unfair and arbitrary, imposing time limits on some recipients but not others based on where they happened to live, failing to target the waivers toward truly needy areas, and allowing states to abuse the rules to draw in more federally funded benefits.

Now there will be a new rule.

The article reports:

Under the new rule, effective in April of next year, these waivers won’t be granted to areas with unemployment below 6 percent. And states will be far more limited in the geographical configurations they can request waivers for. These are entirely reasonable policies, and well within the range of discretion the statute grants to the executive branch.

Many on the left complain about the rule simply because it will reduce the number of people on food stamps — by about 700,000, roughly 2 percent of total food-stamp enrollment, by the administration’s own estimate. But increasing benefit receipt is not an end in itself, especially when it comes at the expense of an incentive for childless, able-bodied adults to find work; and given the massive growth the program has seen these past two decades, there is clearly room for cuts. (Despite the recovery, total enrollment is about double what it was in 2000.) Perhaps more to the point, whatever one’s ideal level of food-stamp enrollment, there is no good reason to gut work requirements for entire areas with low unemployment while enforcing those requirements elsewhere — or to let states play games with their maps to boost eligibility.

Food stamps and similar programs are meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Generational welfare represents a failure of our families, educational system, and society. It is time that we encouraged and helped people to make the choices that will allow them to be financially stable and successful.

This Would Be Funny If It Wasn’t True

The National Review posted an article today about a recent comment by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Before I share the comment, I would like to point out that Speaker Pelosi took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

The article reports:

In her Dear Colleague letter pushing back against Republican anti-impeachment talking points, Nancy Pelosi wrote this: “The weak response to these hearings has been, ‘Let the election decide.’ That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”

‘Let the election decide’ is not a dangerous idea–it is how our representative republic works. Exactly what is President Trump doing that jeopardizes the integrity of the 2020 elections? Does the idea of national voter ID jeopardize elections? What Speaker Pelosi fears is that the voters will see through the sham that is going on now and ‘throw the bums out’ that are responsible for the sham.

I also would like to note that the continued charge that President Trump has ‘abused his power’ is never followed by specifics. Meanwhile, the reason that DACA is before the Supreme Court is that President Obama abused his power. In his own words, President Obama admitted that.

The Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following in September 2017:

Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”

There was no outcry when he changed his mind and did it anyway. When has President Trump done anything similar?

Putting Up The Smoke Screen

The Inspector General’s report on the foreign intervention in the 2016 election is expected to come out in the next two weeks or so. Many of us are getting very impatient. Based on what the alternative media has been reporting for years now, Attorney General Barr and his investigating team are looking in all of the right places–Russia, Australia, Italy, Ukraine, and Britain. Those who took part on the scam and the investigation that followed are correct to be very uncomfortable about what is to come. The mainstream media is trying to blunt the impact of the information that will be made public.

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article detailing exactly what is going on. It is a complicated article, so I suggest you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will provide a few highlights.

The article reports:

Once upon a time — in a galaxy far, far away — The New York Times and The Washington Post were the go-to papers when it came to uncovering political scandals.  

Both papers made a point of running the Pentagon Papers, an internal and secret U.S. government history of  various presidents and their relevant Cabinet secretaries decision-making on American involvement in the Vietnam War. The Post, of course, was also famous for its birddogging young reporters Woodward and Bernstein and their digging out the details of the Watergate scandal. In fact, movies have been made with Hollywood A-listers lionizing both The Post and the journalists involved. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman starred in the Watergate movie (All the President’s Men), while Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep starred in the dramatic tale of the Post’s battles with government officials over  breaking the Pentagon Papers story (The Post. )

So it is with no little irony that today the two papers are leading the media charge to cover-up “Spygate” – the considerable scandal that is the the use of American intelligence agencies to spy on the political opponents of Obama and Clinton in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal has noticed, saying this in an editorial titled: “Foreign Influence and Double Standards. Democrats want to stop Barr from investigating what happened in 2016.” 

The article also notes:

Over at the Times, that paper is busy running stories like this one by the virulent Trump-hater Michelle Goldberg. This jewel of political framing is titled: “Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr?” 

Perhaps the real question should be: Just How Corrupt is The New York Times

A perfect example of the game at play in this article is Goldberg citing one “Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law.” I recall Stephen Gillers. In fact, I took a look at Gillers in my 2005 book The Borking Rebellion, a recounting of the Senate confirmation of Bush nominee Judge D. Brooks Smith for the Third Circuit of Appeals. The Post had asked Gillers for comment on a supposed ethics issue involving Judge Smith, presenting him, as does Goldberg today, as an above-it-all, strictly non-partisan legal ethics expert.

In fact, in the Smith battle I uncovered the fact that Gillers was hardly a non-partisan. He had served as a consultant to a far left special interest group called the Community Rights Counsel. The CRC had issued a report harshly critical of the Judge, and The Post went to Gillers for comment, leaving out of their story Gillers own ties to the CRC, the very group whose report on Smith he was being asked to comment. 

Goldberg plays the same game, citing Gillers as if he were some lofty non-partisan when, in fact, his background and record illustrate that he is anything but. Goldberg’s presentation is, to borrow again from her title, corrupt.

Andrew McCarthy at The National Review noted recently:

The strategy here is obvious. The Democrats and their note-takers would like the public to believe that Barr’s investigation is an adjunct of the Trump 2020 campaign — and a grossly improper one at that. The misimpression they seek to create is that Barr is putting the nation’s law-enforcement powers in the service of Trump’s reelection campaign, in the absence of any public interest. The hope is that this will delegitimize not only any information that emerges from Ukraine but the whole of the Justice Department’s investigation of intelligence and law-enforcement abuses of power attendant to the 2016 election.

If the people who used government and foreign resources to spy on a political opponent in 2016 are not held accountable, their actions will become the template for future political campaigns. This will destroy our republic.

They Did Get Some Of It Right

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the decision by Colt to halt production of AR-15 rifles.

The article reports:

This, from ABC, is a nice example of a news organization deliberately bending the truth in order to advance a narrative that it wishes were true but is not:

Venerable gun manufacturer Colt says it will stop producing the AR-15, among other rifles, for the consumer market in the wake of many recent mass shootings in which suspects used the weapon.

Wow. Sounds dramatic. ABC continues:

“At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change,” Dennis Veilleux, president and CEO of Colt, said in a statement. “Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.”

So the story is that, although it still respects the Second Amendment, Colt is going to stop producing AR-15s after a series of mass shootings in which they were used. Right?

Wrong. That’s actually not the story at all, as ABC notes further down:

The company did not mention mass shootings in its statement about stopping production and instead blamed the indefinite pause in making the weapon on a “significant excess manufacturing capacity.”

And that is how you take truth and twist it until it leaves a totally false impression. That is the way the current mainstream media operates.

It’s Time For People Making Unsubstantiated Allegations To Pay A Price


Donald Trump is President and Brett Kavanaugh is a Supreme Court Judge. Those are facts. Unfortunately the political left’s personal destruction machine has been doing its best to undo these facts. The latest charges against Justice Kavanaugh are not even remembered by the person supposedly involved.

The National Review posted an article today about the ‘new’ charges.

The article reports:

If you opened Twitter on Sunday morning, you were likely greeted with the bombshell headline of the top trending news story: “NYT reporters’ book details new sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.”

The allegation, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly write in a New York Times story adapted from their forthcoming anti-Kavanaugh book, is this: “We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation.

I am not repeating the charge because this blog is rated G.

The article continues:

None of these details corroborates her accusation against Kavanaugh. But the story is framed to make it seem like Kavanaugh was the type of privileged jerk who might expose himself in front of an under-privileged college classmate.

As I wrote last October, here’s why Ramirez’s allegation was dubious:

Deborah Ramirez is the Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who now claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself as a college freshman at a party. Ramirez’s claim was already dubious because (1) named eyewitnesses deny the allegation and (2) Ramirez herself wasn’t sure in recent weeks if Kavanaugh had done what she now alleges. “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself,” the New York Times reported. Ramirez was only willing to make the allegation, the New Yorker reported, after “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.”

This is a ridiculous attempt to smear a Justice the left does not like. One article I read noticed that the timing of this might be an indication that the left is worried about the health of Justice Ginsburg.

The article concludes:

Pogrebin and Kelly write that a couple of students say they had heard about the alleged incident in the days after it allegedly occurred, but the authors provide no indication there is any first-hand witness to corroborate the allegation. 

We already knew before Kavanaugh was confirmed last October that the “corroborating” source for Ramirez’s claim, classmate Kenneth Appold, was not present when the alleged incident occurred, but Appold told the New Yorker he was “one-hundred-percent-sure” he heard about it from an eyewitness. Shortly before Kavanaugh was confirmed, the New Yorker reported that Appold’s supposed eyewitness “said that he had no memory of the incident.”

Maybe Pogrebin and Kelly’s book is stronger than their essay. But I’m skeptical. “In the end they turn up no smoking gun,” Hanna Rosin writes in her New York Times review of the book.

Until there is a penalty paid for unsubstantiated charges, the accusations will continue. For further information about the validity of the charges against Justice Kavanaugh and the motives behind those charges see this September 4th article at Townhall. The people behind the false charges need to pay a price.

Some Disturbing Thoughts On The Jeffrey Epstein Case

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Andrew McCarthy is the former Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York who led the terrorism prosecution against the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for conducting a war of urban terrorism against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He served as a prosecutor for 20 years. He has testified before Congress as an expert on issues of constitutional law, counterterrorism, and law-enforcement.

Below are some of his observations about the case against Jeffrey Epstein:

On Monday, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that his office has now charged Epstein. While the SDNY indictment may be new, Epstein’s crimes are not. They are the same offenses from which Acosta agreed to spare Epstein from federal prosecution if he pled guilty to state prostitution charges — which Epstein proceeded to do, in reliance on Acosta’s commitment. There is thus a very good chance, based on the Constitution’s guarantee against double jeopardy, that the SDNY case against Epstein will be voided by the SD-Florida non-prosecution agreement (non-pros).

To be sure, the SDNY has a counterargument, and it will be vigorously made. It has two components. First, there is language in the non-pros that appears to limit the agreement to SD-Florida, to wit: “prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida” (emphasis added). Here, “deferred” effectively means forfeited — the same effect for double-jeopardy purposes as a conviction or acquittal — because of Epstein’s compliance with the requirement that he plead guilty in the state case. Second, there is jurisprudence in the Second Circuit (which controls in the SDNY) holding that one federal district’s agreement does not bind another.

Therefore, prosecutors will argue that the 2007 SD-Florida non-pros does not bar a 2019 SDNY indictment arising out of the same conduct and charging the same offenses.

I’m skeptical . . . and I think the SDNY is, too, notwithstanding the brave face prosecutors put on this week. They have carefully drafted an indictment far narrower than the SD-Florida’s contemplated case. If prosecutors really believed that there was no double-jeopardy problem, they’d have no such hesitation: They’d throw everything the FBI ever had at this sociopath. They know they are on thin ice.

Mr. McCarthy’s evaluation of the situation is not encouraging. I hope he is wrong, but his history and knowledge suggest he is probably right.

Please read the entire article to see the full argument. It would be a shame if this sleazeball escaped justice twice. I know he is innocent until proven guilty, but he has already been proven guilty–he just didn’t have to pay any real price for his horrific behavior.

 

I Guess It’s Hard To Admit You Didn’t Win

Some people just don’t know how to lose gracefully. Unfortunately, some of them are in the news on a fairly regular basis. Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” Right now the Democrat party is attempting to prove that theory.

The National Review posted an article today with the following headline, “The Stacey Abrams Myth Becomes the Democratic Catechism.” The article is referring to the fact that despite losing the election for Governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams has been telling the media at every opportunity that the election was stolen from her. She cites various reasons–racism, voter suppression, etc. Well, that is simply not true, but she keeps repeating the lie.

The article reports:

The claims of voter suppression rest primarily on the fact that as Georgia secretary of state, Kemp enforced a statute passed by a Democratic-majority legislature and signed by a Democratic governor in 1997. It required the voting rolls to be periodically purged to remove names of voters who were dead, or who had moved away or were incarcerated. Under this law, 600,000 names of people who hadn’t voted in the last three elections were removed from the rolls in 2017 by Kemp’s office.

Those who were removed got prior notification in the mail about the impending purge, and they were given a menu of options to retain their registration. Moreover, it took four years to complete the process by which a name was removed. The reason so many names were taken off in 2017 was that a lawsuit by the Georgia NAACP had delayed the routine enforcement of the law for years before the organization eventually lost in the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you assume that most of the 600,000 were Democrats who were denied the right to vote — rather than voters who were deceased or who had moved or been jailed — that gives credibility to Abrams’s story. But there aren’t many people stepping forward since November 2018 to say they were wrongfully removed from the rolls, let alone the tens or hundreds of thousands necessary to substantiate Abrams’s claim that the election was stolen.

The other argument that purportedly backs up the stolen-election claim is that lengthy lines caused by the closing of 212 precincts in the state since 2012 deterred Georgia voters from turning out. But Kemp had nothing to do with that, since all decisions on consolidating voting stations were made by county officials. Which means if there were fewer precincts and longer lines in Democratic-majority counties in Georgia, it was almost certainly due to the decisions made by local Democrats, not Kemp or a national GOP conspiracy.

When examined soberly, Abrams’s claims evaporate. Kemp’s win was no landslide, but his 1.4 percent margin of victory didn’t even give her the right to demand a legal recount. Demographic changes may mean that Georgia is trending away from the red-state status it has had in the last decade, but Stacey Abrams lost because Republicans still can turn out majorities there even in years when the odds favor Democrats.

But by continuing to swear to the lie that the election was stolen, Biden, Buttigieg, and every other Democrat who repeats that claim while paying court to Abrams and hoping to win African-American votes are poisoning the well of American democracy.

What Stacey Abrams is doing is not constructive. If she wants to be Governor of Georgia, she needs to run until she wins or she gets tired of running. Meanwhile, she needs to admit that she lost and move on. Voter roles need to be purged periodically. In North Carolina, we have a number of people well over the age of 100 voting. I question that. I suspect before they purged the voter rolls, Georgia had the same situation.

Act II

The Mueller Report fizzled. Donald Trump is still President. The House of Representative is preparing for impeachment on possible charges of a cover-up where there is no crime. Most of the Democrat candidates running for President in 2020 support socialism, killing babies up until the moment when they are actually born, open borders, free healthcare for everyone (including those here illegally), and free college. What could possibly go wrong? Well, now is the time to get out the popcorn.

On Thursday, Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at The National Review about the collapse of the Russian-collusion narrative.

Mr. Hanson points out a few obvious facts that made the narrative doubtful from the start:

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions, and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own reelection bid.

The article concludes by noting that the rats are deserting the sinking ship:

Comey is also in a tiff with his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. Both know that the FBI under Comey illegally leaked classified information to the media. But Comey says McCabe went rogue and did it. Of course, McCabe’s attorney shot back that Comey had authorized it. Comey also claims the Steele dossier was not the chief evidence for a FISA warrant. McCabe insists that it was. It’s possible that one might work with prosecutors against the other to finagle a lesser charge.

Former CIA director John Brennan has on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and gotten away with it. He may not get away with lying again if it’s determined that he distorted the truth about his efforts to spread the Steele dossier smears. A former CIA official claims that Comey put the unverified Steele dossier into an intelligence community report on alleged Russian interference. Comey has contended that Brennan was the one who did.

It’s possible that both did. Doing so would have been unethical if not illegal, given that neither official told President Obama (if he didn’t already know) that the silly Steele dossier was a product of Hillary Clinton’s amateurish efforts to subvert the 2016 Trump campaign.

In sum, the old leaky vessel of collusion is sinking.

The rats are scampering from their once safe refuge — biting and piling on one another in vain efforts to avoid drowning.

The really scary part of this is that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we would know none of this, and using the government to spy on political opponents would have become a way of life in America. Unless the people responsible for using the government as a political weapon are brought to justice, using the government to spy on political opponents will become a way of life in America.

The Saga Continues

Andrew McCarthy has an article up at The National Review today about the roots of the Russian collusion investigation. The title of the article is, “The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting today:

If Democrats are not careful, they will end up in the worst of all political worlds.

Since the release of the Mueller report, the party’s leadership in Congress has been extraordinarily hesitant about taking the logical next steps. Faced with a 400-plus page report documenting extensive efforts by the President of the United States to obstruct justice, House Democrats have punted — making it pretty clear that impeachment proceedings will not be happening any time soon.

Even as the attorney general takes extraordinary steps to obstruct the subsequent hearings into obstruction, Democratic leaders remain tepid about any conversation that involves impeachment.

Okay. Let’s go back to some basic tenants of American law. First of all, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Mueller Report specifically stated that they could not find the evidence to prove President Trump guilty of anything. That means according to our laws, he is presumed innocent. Second of all, how can you have obstruction when there was no crime involved?

The CNN report is totally misleading and divisive. It states that the President obstructed justice when the Mueller Report concluded that there was no evidence to support that claim.

So let’s look at what Andrew McCarthy has to say about the root of this witch hunt:

Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Andrew McCarthy points out in his article that in order to begin surveillance on the Trump campaign, the State Department and the FBI had to find something other than the Steele Dossier to base their claims on. They set up George Papadopoulos.

The National Review article lists some of the connects of the people involved in setting up the scam:

The State Department (very much including the American embassy in London) was deeply in the tank for Clinton. Downer has a history with the Clintons that includes arranging a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, when he was Australia’s foreign minister and then-senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to become U.S. president in 2008. For years, furthermore, Downer has been closely tied to British intelligence, which, like the British government broadly, was anti-Trump. (More on that in the future.)

The State Department’s Dibble immediately sent Downer’s information though government channels to the FBI.

About three weeks earlier, Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s top State Department official for European and Eurasian affairs, had supported the FBI’s request to meet former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. Steele was the principal author of the Clinton-campaign-sponsored faux intelligence reports (the unverified “Steele dossier”), which claimed — based on anonymous sources and multiple layers of hearsay — that Russia was plotting to help Trump win the election, and that it had been holding compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

On July 5, Agent Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome (who had worked with Steele on the FIFA soccer investigation when Steele was still with British intelligence), met with Steele at the latter’s London office. Steele permitted him to read the first of the reports that, over time, would be compiled into the so-called dossier. An alarmed Gaeta is said to have told Steele, “I have to report this to headquarters.”

It is inconceivable that Gaeta would have gone to the trouble of clearing his visit to London with the State Department and getting FBI headquarters to approve his trip, but then neglected to report to his headquarters what the source had told him — to wit, that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

As I have previously detailed, after the hacked DNC emails were published, Steele (whose sources had not foretold the hacking by Russia or publication by WikiLeaks) simply folded this event into his preexisting narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyper-political director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.

Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.

To repeat, Papadopoulos never told Downer anything about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report provides no basis for Papadopoulos to have known that Russia was planning the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton in order to help Trump; nor does the Mueller report allege that Papadopoulos actually told Downer such a thing.

The State Department’s report to the FBI claiming that Papadopoulos had “suggested” these things to Downer was manufactured to portray a false connection between (a) what Papadopoulos told Downer and (b) the hacking and publication of the DNC emails. That false connection then became the rationale for formally opening the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation — paper cover for an investigation of the Trump campaign that was already under way.

CNN either doesn’t know the truth or chooses not to report it accurately. Either way, they are doing a disservice to Americans by misleading them on the facts of the case.

Exactly Who Is Responsible?

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the lawsuit suing Remington for the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

I love the first line of the article:

Rule No. 1 of tort law: The bad guy is the one with the most money to pay you.

Unfortunately that (and politics) seem to be what is driving this lawsuit.

The article notes:

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza murdered 26 people, 20 of them schoolchildren ages six and seven.

Lanza killed himself, too. Can’t sue him.

Lanza had a history of mental illness — a long one. He’d been treated under the New Hampshire “Birth to Three” program and later by the Yale Child Study Center. But it would be hard to make a case against those institutions, which enjoy a great deal more sympathy than gun manufacturers do. The schools couldn’t handle Lanza, either, and he was left to the care of his mother, Nancy, who seems to have been a bit of an oddball herself and an enabler. But he murdered her, too, so she’s not around to sue.

…The lawsuit against Remington alleges that the company’s marketing practices contributed to the Sandy Hook massacre. “Remington may never have known Adam Lanza, but they had been courting him for years,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs said. But it is not clear that Remington courted Lanza at all — and it is quite clear that the company never courted him successfully, inasmuch as he stole the Bushmaster rifle he used in the crimes from his mother, whom he murdered. Connecticut has a law against “unfair trade practices,” which is a very odd way of looking at a mass murder.

The article concludes with some specific comments on the opinion of the state supreme court:

This is another way of saying that Remington’s owners are being sued for failing to concur with the substantive political views of gun-control advocates, i.e. that the weapon in question is “ill-suited for legitimate civilian purposes such as self-defense or recreation,” a claim that, it is worth noting, is false on its face inasmuch as semiautomatic rifles are proven instruments of self-defense and by far the most popular recreational firearms in the United States.

The use of commercial litigation and regulatory law to achieve progressive political goals is by now familiar: If an oil company opposes global-warming initiatives, that isn’t politics but “securities fraud,” as far as Democrats are concerned; if conservative activists want to show a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the lead-up to a presidential election, that isn’t politics but a “campaign-finance violation,” as far as Democrats are concerned.

Our legal system has become politicized. Hopefully there is no way this decision will stand.

The Insanity Continues

The National Review is reporting today that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will support a bill that would approve a commission to study the possibility of paying reparations to the descendants of American slaves. What about the descendants of the soldiers who fought to free the slaves?

The article reports:

“As you probably are aware, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has legislation to study this issue, and I support that,” the California Democrat told reporters. “One of the things that we can do not only just in terms of trying to make up for a horrible, sinful thing that happened in our country in terms of slavery, but for our country to live up to who we think we are.”

Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, reintroduced the resolution last year. It currently has modest support in the House, with 35 cosponsors, and Pelosi’s support comes amid renewed public discussion of the idea. But the speaker said that there are other policies that could make a more immediate impact on African-American lives.

“We have to reduce the disparity in income in our country. We have to reduce the disparity in access to education in an affordable way in our country, reduce the health disparities in our country,” she said. “So while we’re studying how we deal with the reparations issue, there’s plenty we can do to improve the quality of life of many people in our country.”

Several of the top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, including Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, said last week that they support some sort of reparations. The policy has historically not enjoyed majority support within the Democratic party, and both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama previously declined to support it.

I suspect that supporting a commission is a way to prevent the idea from going anywhere before the rational Democrats (assuming there are some) come to their senses and realize that this is not going to win votes from American voters.

Some Interesting Legal Aspects Of The Isis Bride Who Wants To Come To America

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review yesterday about Hoda Muthana, currently detained in a refugee camp in Syria, who wants to come home to America.

The article reports:

Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Muthana will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. because she is not an American citizen: While born in America, she was the daughter of a diplomat and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. As the secretary put it in his statement, “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”

This conclusion is disputed by Muthana’s family and allies, and they may have a case. I would strongly urge the Justice Department to file an indictment against Muthana for treason, material support to terrorism, and any other readily provable offenses. She is less likely to press the issues of citizenship and right to enter if she understands that she faces prosecution and, very likely, lengthy imprisonment if she succeeds in coming here.

But it’s worth taking a closer look at the citizenship question itself. To my mind, the concept of citizenship implies not just the benefits of being a full-fledged member of the body politic, but also a duty of fealty to the nation. In a rational world, then, a citizen who made war against the United States would be stripped of citizenship.

Ms. Muthana left America to join ISIS, a group that was (and is) at war with America. If she claims to be a citizen, she should be charged with treason.

The article concludes:

Again: If the president and the secretary do not want Muthana to try to come back to the United States, the best strategy is to have the Justice Department indict her on serious felony charges. She may seek another alternative if she knows the risk of coming back here is decades of imprisonment. Of course, Muthana may decide to come anyway. After all, (a) she might see life in an American prison as better than her other alternatives, and (b) if she is an American citizen, there is a good argument that her young son is a citizen, too — he’d have a more promising chance of survival and a decent life here than in Syria (or wherever else in that godforsaken region they could end up).

In any event, the State Department has made its decision. Now it is up to Muthana’s supporters to establish her citizenship if they can, and for the Trump administration to indict her if it chooses.

Let’s Talk About The Rebuttal

It’s not easy to give the rebuttal speech to the State of the Union. Chances are that you don’t have a copy of what you are rebutting. I guess you can make changes at the last minute, but the majority of your speech has to be written before you have a clue what it is supposed to be about. It’s not a great place to be. That said, however, I would like to take issue with some of the comments made by Stacey Abrams last night. Much of what she said was only half of the truth, and some of what she said was simply not true.

Time posted a transcript of her speech. I would like to talk about sections of that speech.

Ms. Abrams stated:

Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received a paycheck in weeks. Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people – but our values.

It was nice of her to give out meals, but she failed to mention that all of those furloughed workers received every penny of their back pay. The simply got an extra paid vacation.

She further stated:

In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security. But instead, families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it. Under the current administration, far too many hard-working Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck, most without labor unions to protect them from even worse harm.

The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.

We owe more to the millions of everyday folks who keep our economy running: like truck drivers forced to buy their own rigs, farmers caught in a trade war, small business owners in search of capital, and domestic workers serving without labor protections. Women and men who could thrive if only they had the support and freedom to do so.

Hasn’t she read the economic numbers? On December 20th, The National Review reported:

A recent Wall Street Journal economic analysis of current jobs reports found that worker wages were starting to rise above inflation and that the biggest percentage gains were showing up in the paychecks of the lowest income workers. In other words, income inequality with respect to take home pay was shrinking.

…Remarkable, too, about this chart is that every group that was least likely to vote for Trump has seen an abnormally large gain in jobs and wages. Our supposed racist president has delivered outsized economic gains for blacks and Hispanics — with both groups now experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in at least a half century. So much for Trump’s policies benefiting only white America. The rich are clearly not “the big winners” from Trump’s economic policies.

Contrast that with the economy when Democrats were in charge:

The poor and unskilled that Mr. Obama was supposed to lift out of poverty saw their incomes fall by 7.4 percent for those with less than a high school diploma and 8.2 percent for those with only a high school diploma. In dollar terms, between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and until June 2014, median black household income fell by nearly $3,000, Hispanic households lost nearly $2,500, and female-headed households lost roughly $1,500. In 2015 and 2016, income gains were thankfully reversed for these demographic groups, but many still lost ground over eight years. The income gains under Mr. Obama were mostly concentrated in those Americans in the top 20 percent of income. This is why the income gap between rich and poor rose nearly every year under Obama.

Ms. Abrams, if you truly cared about the success of the middle and lower classes, you would support the policies of President Trump. President Trump’s economic policies have worked. President Obama’s economic policies failed miserably. I would also like to note that illegal immigration depresses the wages of unskilled workers. The Democrat party sold out the working man a long time ago.

 

I Don’t Think This Is What They Meant To Prove

The National Review today posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the indictment of Roger Stone. The headline of the article is, “Stone Indictment Underscores That There Was No Trump-Russia Conspiracy.” Since Andrew McCarthy is an experienced prosecutor, he is very familiar with how the law works.

The article notes:

Roger Stone is the shiny object. The obstruction charges in his long-anticipated indictment, made public on Friday, are not the matter of consequence for the United States.

Nor is the critical thing the indictment’s implicit confirmation that there was no criminal “collusion” conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

What matters is this: The indictment is just the latest blatant demonstration that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, the Department of Justice, and the FBI have known for many months that there was no such conspiracy. And yet, fully aware that the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had assiduously crafted a public narrative that Trump may have been in cahoots with the Russian regime, they have allowed that cloud of suspicion to hover over the presidency — over the Trump administration’s efforts to govern — heedless of the damage to the country.

The article continues:

So now we have the Stone indictment.

It alleges no involvement — by Stone or the Trump campaign — in Russia’s hacking. The indictment’s focus, instead, is the WikiLeaks end of the enterprise — i.e., not the “cyberespionage” of a foreign power that gave rise to the investigation, but the dissemination of the stolen emails after the hacking. And what do we learn? That the Trump campaign did not know what WikiLeaks had. That is, in addition to being uninvolved in Russia’s espionage, the Trump campaign was uninvolved in Julian Assange’s acquisition of what Russia stole.

The Stone indictment reads like an episode of The Three Stooges. Stone and two associates — conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerry Corsi, and left-wing-comedian-turned-radio-host Randy Credico, respectively denominated “Person 1” and “Person 2” — are on a quest to find out what WikiLeaks has on Hillary Clinton and when Assange is going to publicize it. But that does not suit Stone, who has cultivated an image of political dirty trickster and plugged-in soothsayer. In public, then, Stone pretends to know more than he knows and to have an insider’s view of Assange’s operation; behind the scenes, he scrounges around for clues about what Assange is up to, hoping some insider will tell him.

The article concludes with two paragraphs that should give all of us something to think about:

There is no reason why the special counsel could not have issued an interim report clearing the president of suspicion that he was a Russian agent. Doing so would merely have removed the specter of traitorous conspiracy from the White House. It would not have compromised Mueller’s ability to investigate Russia’s interference in the election; it would not have undermined Mueller’s probe of potential obstruction offenses by the president. (And while it is not Mueller’s job to discourage the president’s puerile “witch hunt” tweets, if the public had been told that the Justice Department withdrew its highly irregular public statements about Trump’s possible criminal complicity in Russia’s espionage, presidential tirades about the investigation would have ebbed, if not disappeared entirely.)

We are not just talking about having our priorities in order — i.e., recognizing that the ability of the president to govern takes precedence the prosecutor’s desire for investigative secrecy. We are talking about common sense and common decency: The Justice Department and the FBI went out of their way to portray Donald Trump as a suspect in what would have been the most abhorrent crime in the nation’s history. It has been more than two years. Is it too much to ask that the Justice Department withdraw its public suggestion that the president of the United States might be a clandestine agent of Russia?

It is time to clean house in the FBI and the DOJ–too many people have taken part in this charade to bring down a duly-elected President.

 

What Fake News Looks Like

Yesterday Fred Fleitz posted an article at The National Review about some recent claims regarding President Trump and Russia (will we ever get past this foolishness?).

The article reports:

On Sunday, the mainstream media launched a new ploy to promote their Trump-Russia collusion narrative with a story that first appeared in the Washington Post titled “Officials in dark on Putin talks.” A similar piece was published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, titled “Trump didn’t use notetakers at Putin/ Meeting.” Cable-news networks and Democratic congressmen claim these stories indicate that President Trump held secret discussions with Russian president Putin that were revealed to no one. For example, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. government “does not know” what Trump and Putin discussed.

It is now clear that these stories were misleading, if not mostly false. First, they neglected to mention that the president’s decision to restrict access to read-outs of his two one-on-one meetings with Putin were due to the extraordinary number of leaks to the press of his phone calls and meetings with foreign officials at the beginning of his presidency.

Second, it is untrue that senior officials are unaware of what was discussed in President Trump’s meetings with Putin.

Now that we know that President Trump was under surveillance for political reasons by the FBI and the Department of Justice during the early days of his presidency, why are we surprised that he took precautions to make sure he had the privacy presidents are usually accorded.

The article concludes:

The media’s claim that this story amounts to a U.S. president concealing his secret discussions with the Russian president as part of his alleged collusion with Russia is fake news. Senior U.S. officials knew exactly what was discussed in these meetings. This story is really about a successful effort by President Trump to prevent anti-Trump government officials from leaking sensitive national-security information to the press.

After a while, you begin to wonder what President Trump could accomplish if he didn’t have to spend so much time fighting the political establishment, the media, and the deep state.

A Summation Of What Robert Mueller Is Actually Doing

On December 1, Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review summarizing what he believes is the goal of the Mueller investigation. His summary makes a lot of sense.

First of all Andrew McCarthy reminds us that this investigation is leading to a report–not a trial. Therefore, the fact that the only charges so far involve lying (which obviously discredits a witness in a trial) is irrelevant. He then notes that the investigation is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.

The article notes:

This is why, from the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, and certainly since Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017, we have stressed that the probe is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. The idea was not to dizzy you with Justice Department esoterica. The point is that we don’t want prosecutors involved until it has been established that a crime was probably committed, warranting use of their awesome, intimidating investigative powers. Our main interest is in the crime we authorize prosecutors to investigate; we are not looking to have prosecutors manufacture crimes through the process of investigating — even if we agree that people should not be permitted to lie to investigators with impunity.

With respect to the president and “collusion,” Mueller does not have a crime he is investigating. He is investigating in hopes of finding a crime, which is a day-and-night different thing.

The article further explains the methods of investigation being used:

Mueller is turning such lies into guilty pleas, for three reasons.

First, he is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.

Second, with the media as his biggest cheerleader (other than Jeff Flake), the false-statements pleas create the illusion of a collusion crime, and thus appear to vindicate Mueller’s sprawling investigation. As I’ve previously explained, the game works this way: The media reports that Mueller is investigating Trump–Russia collusion and that dozens of people have been charged or convicted; but the media omits that no one has been charged, much less convicted, of any crime involving collusion between Trump and Russia. The great mass of people who do not follow the news closely come away thinking a Trump–Russia collusion crime is an established fact; by now, Mueller must be tightening the noose around Trump because he’s already rolled up a bunch of the apparent accomplices.

Third, defendants convicted of making false statements are very useful because Mueller is writing a report, not preparing for a jury trial. Convicted liars never get cross-examined in a report. Nor do they give the bumpy, inconsistent testimony you hear in a courtroom. Instead, their version of events is outlined by a skilled prosecutor, who writes well and knows how to make their stories sing in perfect harmony. They will sound far better in the report than they would on the witness stand. We’ve already gotten a taste of this in the offense narratives Mueller has incorporated in each guilty plea. Read the criminal information in Cohen’s case and ask yourself whether Mr. Fixer could have recited matters with such clarity.

Aside from the fact that this investigation has been a colossal waste of money, it is sad that the press so readily signed on to the idea of bringing down a President they did not like. It’s odd that when Donald Trump was a Democrat he got awards for his work in racial harmony, was hailed for putting the first woman in charge of constructing a New York skyscraper, and fought city hall to make sure Mar-a-Lago did not discriminate against either Jewish people or black people. The press loved him then. They laughed at his unfiltered remarks and gladly put him in their social pages. It is amazing how much that changed when he ran for President as a Republican.

Oops!

The National Review is reporting today that some climate scientists have discovered a significant error in their recent calculations of rising ocean temperatures.

The article reports:

Two researchers have been forced to issue a major correction to a recent study indicating oceans have been warming at a significantly higher rate than previously thought due to climate change.

The paper, published October 31 in the scientific journal Nature, suggested ocean temperatures have risen roughly 60 percent higher than estimated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, after errors in the authors’ methodology were identified, they realized their findings were roughly in line with those of the IPCC, after all.

The researchers’ alarming findings were uncritically reported by numerous mainstream-media outlets but Nic Lewis, a mathematician and popular critic of the consensus on man-made climate change, quickly identified errors.

The scientists who did the original research quickly realized their mistake:

Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who co-authored the paper, said he and his partner, Laure Resplandy of Princeton, quickly realized the implications of their mistake once Lewis pointed it out.

“When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”

After correcting their mistake, Keeling said their research indicates oceans are warming only slightly faster than previously thought, not dramatically faster as they initially reported. Keeling said the miscalculation was made when they were calculating their margin of error, which had a larger range (10 to 70 percent) than they initially believed.

When the initial report came out, the alarmists were quick to alarm:

The IPCC released a report last month calling on governments to take drastic action to combat climate change. According to the report, global carbon emissions must be cut by 20 percent by 2030 and completely eliminated by 2075 in order to prevent temperatures from rising two degrees above pre-industrial levels, at which point coastal areas would be completely flooded and hundreds of millions of people would be in danger of starvation.

I am not yet convinced that man is responsible for any global warming that may be occurring–cyclical climate change has been a part of the earth’s existence since the earth existed. I do believe that we have a responsibility to limit pollution as much as possible, but I don’t believe we are significant enough to interfere with the earth’s cyclical climate changes.

Learning From History

On October 31, Breitbart reported that after the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, Jewish Americans are taking firearms training in record numbers. It is unfortunate that Jewish Americans feel the need for weapons training, but considering the lessons of history, it is perfectly understandable.

The article reports:

And while there are some members of the Jewish community pushing back against the idea of using guns to keep synagogues safe, Stern notes, “To wait for law enforcement to arrive simply is not the answer.”

Zev Guttman was afraid of guns until Saturday’s attack, but now he chooses to be armed. He said, “Everybody has to find a way to react; this is my way.”

Brooklyn borough president Eric L. Abrams reacted to the Pittsburgh attack by making clear he will be armed when he goes to a synagogue. He said, “It’s not popular, but it’s right.” He added, “We have to live in the real universe that we’re in.”

NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “I applaud and agree with Eric L. Adams and I am registering immediately for a gun license. And I encourage other Jews to do so to protect their institutions and synagogues. If we are targets, we need to be prepared.”

The following is from a National Review article from 2013:

In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.

In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”

Our Second Amendment is important. Gun registration has too much opportunity to be abused to be a realistic policy. Are you willing to allow a government that in the past has spied on Americans and used government agencies to fight political opponents have access to information regarding gun ownership?

America would be a safer place if all law-abiding citizens took firearms training.