The Next Generation Of The “Cancel Culture”

On Friday The Federalist reported the results of a recent Cato Institute survey of Americans asked whether or not it was okay to fire people who support President Trump.

The article notes:

The Cato Institute just released a new report showing that 62 percent of Americans are inclined to self-censor what they say politically “because others might find them offensive.” Even moderate leftists report they feel increased fear of offending the offendable, while only the most “staunch liberals,” as Cato described them, feel free to speak their minds. The “very conservative” have been pushed deepest in the closet: they are most likely to refrain from saying what they think politically, at nearly twice the rate of the “very liberal.”

Buried deeper in the report, however, is a stunning data point that might be one of the most troubling current cultural indicators. Forty-four percent of Americans younger than age 30 believe a company is correct in firing an executive because he or she personally donated to President Trump’s reelection campaign.

The companion finding was also disturbing. Twenty-seven percent of people under 30 said they were fine with an executive being fired because he or she donated to the Joe Biden campaign. The means that of Americans under 30 years old, 73 percent think it would be wrong to fire an executive from a company for donating to the Biden campaign, while only 56 percent believe it would be wrong to do so for a Trump donation.

The article concludes:

It was not all that long ago that the liberal clarion value was the misattributed Voltairean principle, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Today that seems to have been replaced with the brutally authoritarian, “I disagree with what you believe, and I will make sure you lose your livelihood because I went digging and found out you made a private campaign contribution to someone I think is evil.”

If, God forbid, the autopsy of the American experiment is ever written, this growing expectation that political submission be a condition of one’s employment will certainly be noted as a significant stage in its demise. It demonstrates that the world’s most hopeful self-government is moving in a very bad direction, and that should profoundly bother us all.

This is frightening. It is a further indication that many Americans do not understand the founding documents of America. Free speech was one of the foundations of those documents. Viewpoint discrimination is an intimidation tactic that should be totally unacceptable in a free country. Firing an executive because they donated to a political campaign should not even be a consideration. The fact that it is is one of many reasons that the names of people who make donations under $1000 to a political campaign should be kept private. The names of people who make large donations or the names of organizations that make large donations should be made public.

 

Information We Need NOW!

On Saturday The Federalist posted an article explaining why U.S. Attorney John Durham, the lead prosecutor looking into the origins of the Russia probe and the spying on the Trump campaign, should release the results of his investigation before November. I will admit that I am more interested in seeing those in the intelligence community who broke the law held accountable than I am in seeing a report.

The article reports:

As reported by the Washington Examiner, several sources have indicated that “Durham may end up waiting until after November to reveal what he has found or to hand down indictments” because Durham does not want his investigation or any decisions to be viewed as “political.” This would be a mistake. There is no question that he should release his findings and issue any necessary indictments before the November elections.

The voters need to know if the investigations that went on in 2015 and 2016 of the Trump campaign and people associated with it were warranted. If those investigations were not warranted, those responsible need to be held accountable before the election. Anyone who has been following the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) releases by Judicial Watch has a pretty good idea of what went on. Unfortunately, Americans who depend on the mainstream media for their information have no idea of the information in the documents so far declassified and made public. It is totally unfair to ask voters to make a decision in November without giving them the information they need to make an informed decision.

The article notes:

Historically, the Department of Justice has refrained from taking any action for partisan purposes. As reported in Just Security:

Department of Justice employees are entrusted with the authority to enforce the laws of the United States and with the responsibility to do so in a neutral and impartial manner. This is particularly important in an election year.

The Memorandum further states (emphasis added):

As Department employees … we must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality and nonpartisanship.

Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.

The article argues that that policy does not apply in this case:

While this policy makes sense overall, it does not make sense in this case for several compelling reasons. First, there is no evidence that Durham’s investigation is partisan in nature or that it is being conducted for partisan political purposes like the Michael Flynn and Roger Stone investigations. Durham’s investigation began long ago and well before Americans were seriously thinking about the 2020 elections.

Second, the purpose of Durham’s investigation appears to align with the department’s mission. Specifically, through his investigation, Durham is seeking to protect the integrity of the election process in the United States. More particularly, Durham is investigating whether one or more people were involved in a plot to sabotage a presidential candidate or to overthrow a duly elected president.

This is not a political issue that “benefits” one party or another. Rather, it is an investigation, the results of which will help Americans of all political leanings. Durham’s findings are vital for all Americans who care about democracy and the integrity of the election process. Americans deserve to know what happened leading up to the 2016 elections.

It’s time for Americans to learn the truth about what the Justice Department and the intelligence community did to undermine the campaign and presidency of President Trump.

A Toxic Website

The Federalist posted an article yesterday about some additions to The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) website that I would consider toxic. The NMAAHC is part of the Smithsonian museum group.

The article includes a screenshot of “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness.”

Some of the traits listed on this chart are negative traits. However, some of the traits listed on the chart are traits needed to become a contributing member of society and avoid poverty. For instance, a two-parent family is less likely to be poor than a nuclear family. Delayed gratification is often the key to success and stability–it can also be called self-discipline. That is not a racist concept. Being polite should not be considered a racist concept. Respecting authority is also a key to an ordered society–it is not a racist concept. The chart notes that our aesthetics are based on European culture. That is because up until Ted Kennedy changed the immigration laws in 1965, we were a country of European immigrants. In 1860, slaves made up 12.8 percent of America’s population (article here). In a time that did not have mass communication, they were not going to have a lot of influence on the culture regardless of their status.

What this chart does is undermine the foundations of a civilized society. The foundations of America are Judeo-Christian. They include such things as two-parent families, a work ethic, manners, respect for authority, and all the things that make living together possible. Without those things society would devolve into chaos. I am sorry that the Smithsonian considers those things ‘white.’ I consider them civilized. Categorizing these values as ‘white’ places an obstacle in front of people of color if they want to be successful. Calling those things that result in success ‘white’ discourages others from doing the things necessary to succeed.  If someone considers the foundations of our society ‘white’ and thus racist, I suggest they find a country whose foundations and expectations are more to their liking and emigrate there.

Fueling The Narrative

Oddly enough, President Trump was not a racist until he became a Republican and ran for President. Prior to that, his efforts on behalf of women and minorities were appreciated. Now the President’s accomplishments while in office are never mentioned by the mainstream media–prison reform, increased funding for black colleges, and record low unemployment for minorities. But his actions before running for President are also noteworthy.

On August 19, 2016, The Daily Caller posted an article detailing a small part of President Trump’s history regarding race.

The article reports:

In both 1998 and 1999, Trump was an honored guest at the annual Wall Street Conference hosted by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Jackson’ DC-based “multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change.”

…“We need your building skills, your gusto,” Jackson told the Donlestate mogul before stating Trump is a model for “people on Wall Street to represent diversity.”

You can watch Trump’s 1998 speech over at C-SPAN’s website.

Jackson introduced his Trump — whom he called a “friend” — at the same conference in 1999, where this time he was invited to speak on the “challenges and opportunities to embrace under-served communities.”

“He is deceptive in that his social style is of such, one can miss his seriousness and commitment to success, which is beyond argument,” Jackson said Trump.

“When we opened this Wall Street project,” he continued. “He gave us space at 40 Wall Street, which was to make a statement about our having a presence there.”

Jesse Jackson concluded:

“Aside from all of his style, and his pizazz, he’s a serious person who is an effective builder of people.”

Contrast that with some lies told about the Mount Rushmore speech on Friday night. Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about one reaction to the Mount Rushmore speech.

The article reports:

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) criticized President Trump’s 4th of July speech at Mount Rushmore for focusing on the accomplishments of historical figures. 

“He spent all of his time talking about dead traitors,” Duckworth, a potential Biden vice president pick, told CNN in an interview. 

The article includes a screenshot of a tweet listing those mentioned by the President:

Senator Duckworth continued:

Duckworth’s “dead traitor” comment was not her only complaint. She also chastised President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s COVID-19 response, claiming their task force “failed miserably” and that worry should be centered on other pressing issues rather than “our historical past.”

“He spent more time worried about dead Confederates than he did talking about the 130,000 Americans with COVID-19 or by warning Russia or the bounty they are putting on Americans’ heads,” she said. “His priorities are all wrong here.”

I don’t see a dead Confederate on the list. Remember, people lie when they are losing an argument–not when they are winning.

New Information Keeps Dripping Out

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about some handwritten notes taken by former FBI agent Peter Strzok. The notes are suspected to be related to a meeting in the White  House on January 5, 2017. The meeting was attended by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Comey, Yates, and then-national security adviser Susan Rice. The meeting and its substance were confirmed in a bizarre Inauguration Day email Rice wrote to herself.

The article summarizes the notes:

NSA-D-DAG = [Flynn cuts?]. Other countries

D-DAG: lean forward on [unclass?]

VP: “Logan Act”

P: These are unusual times

VP: I’ve been on the intel cmte for ten years and I never

P: Make sure you look at things + have the right people on it

P: Is there anything I shouldn’t be telling transition team?

D: Flynn –> Kislyak calls but appear legit

[illegible] Happy New Year. Yeah right

The notes probably won’t impact the Flynn case, which is already on its way to being dismissed. However, it certainly supports the idea that the Obama administration was planning to undermine the Trump administration from the beginning. If nothing else, the notes indicate that the Obama administration definitely was not interested in the smooth transfer of power that is supposed to happen in our government.

The article further reports:

According to Strzok’s notes, Biden explicitly referenced the Logan Act, an 18th-century law that forbids certain political speech from private citizens. The law, even if it were constitutional, would not apply to a national security adviser for the newly elected president of the United States. Biden had previously denied that he knew anything about the investigation into Flynn.

“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” when George Stephanopoulos asked what he knew of the FBI’s operations in early 2017. He later admitted that statement was false.

The meeting to strategize against the Trump administration included just a few key law enforcement principals. Their testimony about what transpired is sometimes in conflict. Yates claimed Comey brought up the Logan Act while Comey claims Biden cited it. Rice claimed Obama directed that the anti-Trump operation be run “by the book,” but Comey claimed Obama even directed which personnel to use.

The information currently coming out confirms what many of us have suspected–there is a swamp in Washington that is dedicated to protecting itself from being held accountable for their actions. The way the swamp has behaved during the Trump administration is reprehensible. This has all the markings of an attempted coup and those responsible should be held accountable.

Standing Strong Against The Mob

Hillsdale College is unique in many ways. Its students are required to study the founding documents of America and its Constitution. The College accepts no federal money and operates with only private funding. It also offers many free online courses dealing with American history and the founding documents of America. Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about the College that included some recent comments by the College administrators.

The article reports:

The nationally recognized liberal arts institution Hillsdale College has a history of defying political pressure in order to uphold what is good and true. Its recent refusal to give in to the demands of those who think a public statement is necessary to fight social injustice is just the most recent example.

Some of the college’s alumni publicly pushed their alma mater to comment on the recent controversies regarding the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and riots. When a petition began circulating calling on the college to release a statement, arguing that its “silence” supported violence, the college responded in an open letter.

“The College is pressed to speak. It is told that saying what it always has said is insufficient. Instead, it must decry racism and the mistreatment of Black Americans in particular. This, however, is precisely what the College has always said,” the letter says.

The letter signed by the college’s administration argues the institution’s steadfast devotion to fighting for the truth that all men are created equal is proven by its actions rather than empty words. Hillsdale was founded by abolitionists in 1844 and has, since its inception, pledged to educate all students, “irrespective of nation, color, or sex.” Such strong anti-discrimination practices were viewed as fiercely radical at the time, and made Hillsdale among the first in the nation to grant education to black Americans and the second in the nation to provide four-year liberal arts degrees to women.

This education produced students who care about the dignity and equality of all people. When the Civil War broke out, a higher percentage of Hillsdale students enlisted to fight for the Union than from any other college. It stood as an anti-slavery symbol during this time, such that the revered abolitionist Frederick Douglass came to deliver a speech on campus.

“The College founding is a statement — as is each reiteration and reminder of its meaning and necessity. The curriculum is a statement, especially in its faithful presentation of the College’s founding mission. Teaching is a statement, especially as it takes up — with vigor — the evils we are alleged to ignore, evils like murder, brutality, injustice, destruction of person or property, and passionate irrationality” the administration writes in the letter. “… And all of these statements are acts, deeds that speak, undertaken and perpetuated now, every day, all the time. Everything the College does, though its work is not that of an activist or agitator, is for the moral and intellectual uplift of all.”

The article concludes:

The college’s commitment to its principles has never wavered. In the 1970s when the federal government attempted to require the college to discriminate against potential students based on their race, the college refused. This meant the loss of all federal funding to its students as well as the institution. Hillsdale has instead generated private funding to continue its mission.

The college operates today as it always has, educating another generation of students to aspire to the great principles animating the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Statues of Douglass and Abraham Lincoln adorn campus as students study, reminding them of the virtues the college upholds.

While other companies are busy regurgitating statements capturing whatever ideas are trendy at the time, Hillsdale is busy fulfilling the same mission they set forth 176 years ago.

Actions speak louder than words.

As More Information Comes To Light, There Are More Questions

Everything surrounding the case against General Flynn has been looked at, analyzed, and dissected, but it seems that the more we learn, the more questions arise. The Federalist posted an article today about the weaponization of the intelligence community by the Obama administration. I suspect that what we are learning is only a taste of what is to come. The article at The Federalist is complex, and I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. I will attempt to summarize the high points.

The article reports:

The drip-drip-drip of newly declassified documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation, together with recent reports that a classified leak against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn might not have come from an unmasking request, leaves little doubt that the Obama administration weaponized federal surveillance laws to target Trump associates and undermine the incoming administration.

The story thus far is complex, but it reveals a disturbing abuse of power by the Obama administration that suggests congressional reform of federal surveillance laws is needed to ensure this never happens again.

Just as a side note, I can assure you that if those who misused the intelligence community are not punished, we will see this again.

The article continues:

According to Rice’s bizarre email, which she wrote to herself as President Trump was being inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, Comey told Obama and Biden he had “some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak,” and that “the level of communication is unusual.” How did Comey know this? Because the FBI had been spying on Flynn as part of a counterintelligence investigation it launched in August 2016.

Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador became national news after someone in the Obama administration illegally leaked to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who revealed in a Jan. 12, 2017, column that Flynn had spoken to Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, 2017.

That touched off an effort by Republicans to find out who leaked to the Post. Last week, responding to a request from Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell released a list of former senior Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of Flynn between Nov. 30, 2016, and Jan. 12, 2017.

This is the important (often overlooked) fact:

But the dates of the unmasking requests don’t match up with Flynn’s Dec. 29 conversations with the Russian ambassador, which suggests Flynn was identified in an intelligence report that didn’t require the concealment of his identity. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that, according to an anonymous former senior U.S. official, “When the FBI circulated [the report], they included Flynn’s name from the beginning,” and that, “There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information.”

This report matches with a theory floated over the weekend by National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy, that Flynn’s call with Kislyak might have been “intercepted under an intelligence program not subject to the masking rules, probably by the CIA or a friendly foreign spy service acting in a nod-and-wink arrangement with our intelligence community.”

Please follow the link to read the rest of the story–it is amazing.

If What You Are Doing Is Honest, Why Are You Hiding It?

On May 11, The Federalist posted an article with the following headline, “Why Did Obama Tell The FBI To Hide Its Activities From The Trump Administration?”

That is a very interesting question. President Obama was leaving office–his authority was over. Why would the FBI listen to him?

The article reports:

The FBI maintained that it opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, rather than providing Trump a defensive briefing on the report from a “friendly foreign government” that Russia had reached out to a member of his campaign to release damaging information on Hillary Clinton, because agents “had no indication as to which person in the Trump campaign allegedly received the offer from the Russians.” According to Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director E.W. “Bill” Priestap, “had we provided a defensive briefing to someone on the Trump campaign, we would have alerted the campaign to what we were looking into, and, if someone on the campaign was engaged with the Russians, he/she would very likely change his/her tactics and/or otherwise seek to cover-up his/her activities, thereby preventing us from finding the truth.”

Former deputy director of the FBI Andy McCabe likewise told Inspector General Michael Horowitz “that he did not consider a defensive briefing as an alternative to opening a counterintelligence case” because, “based on the [Friendly Foreign Government] information, the FBI did not know if any member of the campaign was coordinating with Russia and that the FBI did not brief people who ‘could potentially be the subjects that you are investigating or looking for.’”

McCabe further explained that “in a sensitive counterintelligence matter, it was essential to have a better understanding of what was occurring before taking an overt step such as providing a defensive briefing.”

While “there are plenty of problems with Priestap and McCabe’s rationale, as well as the entire predicate for Crossfire Hurricane,” a bigger problem arises if you take them at their word, because by the time Americans elected Trump president on November 8, 2016, the FBI had “a better understanding of what was occurring,” and had identified four individuals of concern. But still the FBI did not provide president-elect Trump a defensive briefing.

The article details what happened after the January 5th meeting in President Obama’s office:

While Comey found it important to tell the incoming commander-in-chief of the ridiculous “pee tape” “intel,” following Obama’s guidance the then-FBI director did not tell Trump that the FBI had an active investigation into Trump’s incoming national security advisor predicated on the idea that Flynn was potentially a Russian agent.

Even after Obama had left office and Comey had a new commander-in-chief to report to, Comey continued to follow Obama’s prompt by withholding intel from Trump. Recently released documents included as exhibits to the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges against Flynn reveal this reality.

During that same January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting in which Obama counseled Comey to be cautious in sharing information about Russia with the Trump administration, Obama and Comey discussed Flynn’s late-December telephone calls with the Russian ambassador.

The article concludes:

The FBI, however, is not solely to blame for keeping this “important” information from Trump: They were only following the counsel of former President Barack Obama.

While a young Amy Carter can be forgiven for her juvenile vision of departing the White House “content with the picture of Nancy Reagan struggling to clean out the oven,” there is no excuse for an outgoing president to withhold “intel” on supposed Russian agents from the president-elect. And there is no excuse for an outgoing president to advise hold-over high-ranking officials to do likewise once the new president has taken office.

Or, rather, the only excuse is an equally scandalous one: Obama knew the Russia investigation was a hoax from the get-go.

So much for President Obama participating in the smooth transition of power in our republic.

Reaping What You Have Sown

Mollie Hemingway posted an article at The Federalist today about the charges against  former Vice-President Joe Biden.

The article reminds us of some of the details of the charges against Brett Kavanaugh:

…the Washington Post carefully packaged and presented Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh had tried to rape her when she was in high school. The media and Democrats immediately latched onto the accusation in a desperate attempt to keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed.

It wasn’t the quality of the allegation that led to this reaction. Blasey Ford had no evidence she had ever met Kavanaugh, much less that he had tried to rape her. She wasn’t sure about any detail related to the event other than that she had precisely one beer and that Kavanaugh had tried to rape her.

She didn’t know how she got to the alleged event, where it was, how she got home, or whose house it was. None of the four witnesses she identified to reporters as having been at the event in question supported her claim. That included her close friend Leland Keyser, who was pressured by mutual acquaintances to change her testimony that she had no recollection of the event in question. Kavanaugh had an army of close friends and supporters who testified to his character throughout his adolescence and adulthood.

Justice Kavanaugh’s remarks at the time were a foreshadowing of what is happening now:

I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listen carefully to you. Given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent e-mail to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me and against my friends. To blow me up and take me down.

You sowed the wind. For decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.

We are currently reaping that whirlwind. Time will tell whether or not the charges against Joe Biden are true, but we have opened up a Pandora’s Box in politics that was better left closed.

 

As Declassification Of FISA Warrants Continues…

The Federalist posted an article today listing seven things that we have learned about Operation Crossfire Hurricane as documents are being declassified. None of these things make our intelligence-gathering communities look good. I am going to simply list the seven things. Please follow the link to the article to read the details. They are chilling:

Here is the list:

1. The FBI Always Intended to Spy on the Trump Campaign

2. FBI Failed to Brief Trump About Its Page Suspicions

3. The FBI Spied on the Trump Administration

4. Rep. Adam Schiff Is a Rotten, No-Good, Two-Faced Liar (his attacks on Devin Nunes were based on information he knew to be false).

5. FBI Relied Solely on Fake News to Support Portions of the FISA Applications

6. The Special Counsel Pushed Pathetic Intel Too

7. Oh, the Sweet Irony

As I previously stated, please follow the link to read the entire article.

Why Mail-In Voting Is A Really Bad Idea

In December 2018 The Federalist posted an article with the following title, “How Ballot-Harvesting Became The New Way To Steal An Election.” The article is still relevant today. So what is ballot-harvesting? Ballot-harvesting is the practice of party operatives collecting absentee or mail-in ballots and turning bunches of them in at a time. So why is this risky? A person can go into a nursing home with a handful of ballots, sit down with each resident (regardless of their mental capacity), fill out a ballot for them, have the resident sign it, and turn it in as the resident’s vote. There is no way of knowing if the ballot reflected the resident’s wishes.

The article notes:

With ballot-harvesting, paper votes are collected by intermediaries who deliver them to polling officials, presumably increasing voter turnout but also creating opportunities for mischief.

The latter is suspected in North Carolina, where uncharacteristic Democratic charges of vote fraud prompted an investigation into whether Republican-paid political operatives illegally collected and possibly stole absentee ballots in a still-undecided congressional race. A national spotlight was shone by The New York Times, which, like Democrats, often minimizes vote fraud; it flooded the zone in this case, assigning five reporters to a single story.

In California, by contrast, Democrats exulted as they credited a quietly passed 2016 law legalizing ballot-harvesting with their recent sweep of House seats in the former Republican stronghold of Orange County, thereby helping them win control of the House. In that case, it was Republican eyebrows that were arched. House Speaker Paul Ryan said what happened in California “defies logic.”

The article continues:

Only 16 states regulate ballot-harvesting at all, and their rules vary. In Colorado, one of three states to conduct all elections entirely by mail-in ballots, third-party volunteers are allowed to collect up to 10 ballots, though critics have long alleged that the practice is ripe for exploitation.

In November, Montana voters passed a state referendum banning the collection of ballots by third parties. Arizona’s 2016 ban against the practice, which had previously been linked to voter fraud in the state, was recently upheld by a federal appeals court, despite claims that it would disproportionately impact Latino voters who relied on third parties to help navigate the voting process.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. This is an activity that has successfully stolen elections in the past, and there is no reason to believe that it would not be used if voter laws were altered to allow voting by mail.

Why The U. S. Constitution Matters

We are in the midst of a major health crisis. We need to be intelligent in handling this crisis. However, we also need to remember that our Constitution applies in ALL situations–crisis or not. Unfortunately some of our elected leaders have forgotten that.

The Federalist posted an article today about some of our elected leaders who have chosen to ignore the Constitution in dealing with the coronavirus.

The article reports:

The most egregious example of this outpouring of authoritarianism was an attempt by Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer to ban drive-in church services on Easter. On Holy Thursday, one day before Christians were to begin their most important religious celebrations of the year, Fischer declared that drive-in Easter services would be illegal.

To remove all doubt about his seriousness, he also threatened arrest and criminal penalties for anyone who dared violate his order, and in an Orwellian twist, invited people to snitch on their fellow citizens. Fischer justified this by saying it was “to save lives.”

Thankfully, a federal judge made short work of the mayor’s idiotic power-grab, issuing a temporary restraining order against the city of Louisville on Saturday, writing so as to remove all doubt, “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

There are other examples of this overreach:

…That’s a good start, but the targeting of churches, while undoubtedly the most offensive overreach by state and local governments, is hardly the only instance of government gone wild. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has taken it upon herself to declare what items are and are not “essential,” dictating to grocery stores what they can and cannot sell as part of a sweeping order issued Friday.

Among the nonessential, and therefore banned, items are fruit and vegetable plants and seeds. Never mind that growing fruits and vegetables at home right now would help maintain social distancing during the pandemic, the governor has spoken and her word is law. (Lottery tickets, on the other hand, are still permitted.)

Beyond the fruit and vegetable ban, the governor’s order is an object lesson in the absurdity and inconsistency of arbitrary power and rule by fiat. Michiganders are banned from traveling “between residences” if they own a cottage or a summer home, but the ban only applies to Michigan residents, so an out-of-stater with a cottage in the Upper Peninsula could presumably still visit. The ban also still allows travel between states, so if a Michigander has a cottage in Wisconsin or Ohio, he can travel without fear of being arrested or fined by state police.

The article concludes:

Why did Whitmer tailor her order this way? Probably because she knows she has no authority to ban travel between states, or issue orders to Americans generally—no more than a mayor has the authority to shut down drive-in Easter services in his city.

That these officials need to be reminded of that, and in some cases restrained by federal judges, bodes very ill for America. Now more than ever, we need leaders who don’t just care about protecting us from the pandemic, but also care about preserving liberty in a time of crisis.

When we vote in November, we need to remember who was willing to abide by the Constitution and who used the coronavirus as an excuse for a power trip.

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

The Federalist posted an article today about Certificate of Need (CON) laws and how they are hindering America’s response to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for not sending enough ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rattle the state. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” The state is projecting it will need approximately 140,000 beds in 14 to 21 days, which is higher than its previous estimation of 110,000 beds by early to mid-May.

However, New York, along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia, have in place what are known as certificate-of-need (CON) laws. According to Reason, “Their stated purpose is to keep hospitals from overspending, and thus from having to charge higher prices to make up for unnecessary outlays of capital costs. But in practice, they mean hospitals must get a state agency’s permission before offering new services or installing a new medical technology. Depending on the state, everything from the number of hospital beds to the installation of a new MRI machine could be subject to CON review.”

The article notes the impact of CON laws on patient mortality rates:

In addition to causing a lack of proper equipment, these rules harm patients. According to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, states with CON laws have a 2.5 to 5 percent higher mortality rate than those without. Wait times have also been affected, with the average delay in New York City emergency rooms ranging from seven to 10 hours before the virus outbreak added strain to an already poorly operating medical system.

The article concludes:

Luckily, efforts to eradicate this onerous red tape have already begun, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending CON law enforcement in the state. Governors like Cuomo would be wise to follow suit and slash these burdensome regulations to allow for the expansion of new medical facilities and COVID-19 treatments.

More government control of our health-care industry is the exact opposite of what should be happening in Washington, D.C, and states around the country. Instead, lawmakers across the nation should be focusing on getting rid of these big-government barriers that make it more difficult for doctors and medical experts to treat patients. Letting the market solve its own problems is the answer to many of our problems in health care. The government needs to know when to step out of the way.

On March 23, I posted an article about how CON laws are impacting New Hampshire’s response to the coronavirus. Hopefully the problems caused by these laws during this health crisis will cause states to revisit them. Unfortunately, hospitals like the monopolies the laws give them and are willing to put forth massive lobbying efforts. Lawmakers need to rise above the politics and lobbyists and do what is best for the people they are supposed to represent.

You Are Only Allowed To Be A Whistleblower On Certain Crimes

The Federalist posted an article today about the State of California’s legal case against David Daleiden. David Daleiden is director of the Center for Medical Progress, the group that exposed the sale of aborted baby body parts by Planned Parenthood.

The article reports:

An undercover reporter has been arraigned in California and charged with ten felonies for secretly recording conversations, and it’s time to revisit how the judiciary and the law can stifle the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press.

The accused, David Daleiden, used standard media undercover techniques to investigate and expose Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted fetus body parts. While the use of undercover techniques like Daleiden’s is a controversial practice even within journalism circles, Daleiden’s upcoming jury trial has far wider implications for journalists.

Namely, can and should government criminalize undercover reporting, which historically has revealed otherwise hidden wrongdoing of all kinds?

The article cites the history of investigative journalism:

Let’s first put aside that Daleiden, as director of the Center for Medical Progress, is a pro-life activist—which is not a crime. He should have the same right to penetrate the practices of America’s abortion providers and report his findings just as other reporters and publications investigate other matters.

Consider the multitude of covertly conducted investigations exposing threats to public health and safety, racism, and various other injustices, dating back to the dawn of our republic. To mention a few: In a classic case of disguised reporters using hidden cameras, ABC “Prime Time Live” outed Food Lion’s alleged unsanitary food handling practices. “Dateline” NBC deployed decoys and hidden cameras to expose men who solicited sex with minors on the Internet. Vanity Fair had a clandestine reporter join a tour group to the Holy Land to probe then-President George W. Bush’s alleged ties to religious right leaders.

Undercover Chicago Tribune reporters, working from the inside as employees, exposed life-threatening conditions in nursing homes. Another Tribune reporter worked undercover in the city’s election board to reveal widespread election fraud. Chicago Sun-Times reporters, working inside, turned up dangerous practices at abortion clinics. The paper also opened a bar, the Mirage, in a sting using hidden cameras to bare shakedowns by city inspectors.

Unfortunately, David Daleiden exposed something that the media did not want exposed.

The article concludes:

Even if the government’s action were bias-free, Daleiden’s pursuit still jeopardizes quality journalism. The California accusations are based on the claim his targets had an expectation of privacy even when the conversations were conducted in a public place, like a restaurant or hotel convention hall, where bystanders could hear them. It’s a ludicrous assertion, a gross misinterpretation, and an undue and overbroad extension of the law.

…The Los Angeles Times deemed the prosecution “disturbingly aggressive” and an “overreach.”

Possible prison sentences and burdensome fines attached to criminal conduct cannot be ignored in this debate. They are more than a disincentive to expose wrongdoing; they give the upper hand to criminal enterprises, powerful corporations, avenging politicians, ideologues, and special interests to protect themselves from public condemnation and costly penalties for misconduct. This is not a loophole that the Founding Fathers had in mind when they crafted the constitutional protection of freedom of the press.

Even those who disagree with Daleiden and his techniques but care about how the precedent-setting legal actions against him that could define press freedom in the future need to follow this case as it winds through the legal system, possibly all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the problem with Planned Parenthood continues. Millions of aborted baby body parts continue to be sold. No one in Congress has the backbone to make this totally illegal–the Democrats are being paid off by Planned Parenthood PAC’s and the Republicans have no spine.

An Interesting Question

The Federalist posted an article today that asks an interesting question–“If Bloomberg Couldn’t Buy 2020, How Could Russia Buy 2016?”

The article quotes The Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway:

“We had years where people were saying a couple hundred thousand dollars in barely literate Facebook ads from Russians caused Donald Trump to win. Here you had a guy spend nearly $1 billion and he went nowhere. It’s a humiliating defeat for Michael Bloomberg,” she said.

Host Bret Baier drilled the point home: “So Russians influenced the election with $200,000, or $300,000 in Facebook ads? And Mike Bloomberg couldn’t get more than 50 delegates with $600 million dollars?”

“And this hurts Bernie Sanders’s message, too, because he likes to say the billionaires control everything,” Hemingway said. “Clearly Bloomberg having all this money didn’t do as much for him as Biden having the media and the establishment behind him. I would pick media and establishment over millions all day.”

If money could buy elections, we would have either President Jeb Bush or President Hillary Clinton. American voters do respond to ads, but they also have common sense.

This Shouldn’t Happen In A Civilized Society

On Friday, The Federalist posted an article about The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act.

The article reports:

The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act is not about restricting abortions but about giving newborns a chance to survive no matter where they are born, said Sen. Ben Sasse, the bill’s lead co-sponsor, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

During the hearing, called “The Infant Patient: Ensuring Appropriate Medical Care for Children Born Alive,” Republican senators questioned why a baby born in a hospital should be treated differently than a baby born in an abortion facility. Democrats, lacking an answer, changed the subject.

Thirteen committee senators heard from five female witnesses, three who shared powerful testimony and two who expressed concerns about the bill.

The article includes the testimony of some of witnesses. Three of the witnesses who were involved in the medical profession related some of the incidents where babies were tossed aside after being born alive during an abortion.

The article also includes the testimony of those who opposed the bill.

The article reports:

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of National Women’s Law Center, argued instead that, “Access to reproductive health care, including abortion, is a key part to an individual’s liberty, equality, and economic security.” Since 2010, state lawmakers have passed more than 450 abortion restrictions designed to block access to abortion, she said.

Sasse tried to clarify numerous times that this legislation was not about abortion but about what happens after an abortion. Neither Graves nor the Democratic senators in the room agreed. Graves said she believes the bill is on a continuum of restrictive abortion measures. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, agreed, saying that women’s health is under attack every day, especially under Trump, and that this bill is the latest in a decades-long threat against abortion.

Instead of arguing for or against protecting infants born alive, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., argued U.S. health care is biased against African-American women. Instead of fighting for legislation that protects infants born alive, Harris argued we should make taxpayers provide better housing and food for pregnant women.

While Harris might be right that pregnant women need more support, this is not the question at hand. Right now, if a doctor neglected to provide a pregnant woman needed care, he would be prosecuted. This is not true for the child in her womb. Instead of addressing this disparity, Harris simply changed the subject.

Abortion is a million-dollar business. It is also an industry that makes large donations through Political Action Committees (PAC’s) to Democrat campaigns. We are not likely to see Democrats vote against abortion and risk those campaign donations.

The Truth Is Slowly Coming To Light

The Federalist posted an article today about the Inspector General’s (IG) report on Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

The article notes:

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson dropped that bombshell in a letter delivered to Attorney General William Barr that requested Barr declassify the information hidden in the redacted footnotes. While the declassified version of the Grassley-Johnson letter did not identify the four footnotes at issue, a detailed analysis of the IG report suggests the redacted information concerned Christopher Steele’s sources and potentially the FBI’s purported predication for the launch of Crossfire Hurricane. These conclusions come from a deep-dive into the IG report read in tandem with the Grassley-Johnson letter.

That letter noted that the senators had “reviewed the classified report of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and [were] deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified.” Their concern? “That certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes.”

The next sentence is the key, as it establishes that the redacted information concerns not just a few details addressed in the IG report, but goes to the heart of the entire Crossfire Hurricane investigation: “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.”

The author of the article reads between the lines to list the contradictions within the report and provides the connections between the parts of the report’s footnotes that were redacted and areas of the report those footnotes contradict. The bottom line here is that the redactions are made to protect the intelligence community–not in the interest of national security.

The article concludes:

Without Barr declassifying the information contained in these footnotes, as well as other material, such as the complete FISA applications, we’ll just have to take Grassley and Johnson’s word that the redacted information contradicts other portions of the IG report, making “certain sections of the public version of the report” “misleading.” However, given the accuracy and honesty of Rep. Devin Nunes’ memo on FISA abuse, I’m inclined to trust the Republican senators.

It’s time for full disclosure. The people in the government who misused their power seem very comfortable with the idea that they will not be held accountable for their misconduct. I hope they are wrong.

Refusing To Acknowledge Or Deal With The Problem

The Federalist is reporting today that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg  has chosen David Kris to review the FBI’s proposed changes to its surveillance application process.

The article notes:

Kris, who served as assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division, recently claimed the IG report that catalogued egregious abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) powers actually vindicated the FBI. He also smeared Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, saying his initial sounding of the alarm about those abuses was incorrect, threatened national security, and should be harshly punished.

Kris appeared in locations that pushed the false Russia collusion narrative, such as Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, the Lawfare blog, and Twitter, to defend the FBI and attack President Trump and other critics of the harmful surveillance campaign. He once wrote that Trump “should be worried” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into treasonous collusion with Russia meant “the walls are closing in.”

The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn’t particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation into the year-long surveillance of Carter Page. Page is the Trump campaign affiliate whose phone and email communications federal agents wiretapped, and who had confidential human sources and overseas intelligence assets placed against him. False claims that Page was a Russian spy were leaked to the media by government officials as part of a years-long campaign to paint President Trump as a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

This is not good news for our country. It shows that the deep state is still protecting itself and will continue to do so at least in the near future. Dirty cops will not be dealt with as long as they have the right political views. We are at a tipping point–either we are going to have equal justice under the law or we are going to live in a surveillance state. The only way to change this is for voters to vote anyone out of office who hindered in any way the investigations into the corruption that took place at the senior levels of the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS,  etc., under the Obama administration.

The Deflection Involved In Impeachment

One of the things the media became expert at during the Obama administration was deflection. They were good at it before then, but they perfected it during the Obama years. The current impeachment trial is one example of deflection.

On December 16th, The Federalist posted an article that tells a story that the Democrats in Congress have fought to avoid telling.

The article reports:

Robert Powell, the husband of Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., reportedly took $700,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch named Igor Kolomoisky. Mucarsel-Powell sits on the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that drafted two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his alleged abuse of power with regards to Ukraine.

In 2018, the Daily Beast reported that a number of businesses linked to Kolomoisky hired Powell as an attorney. One of those firms paid Powell at least $700,000 over two years, according to public records.

The Miami Herald reported Powell was working for companies tied to Kolomoisky for 10 years. Powell made most of his money in the two years leading up to his wife’s election in 2018.

Kolomoisky has been accused of contract killings and embezzlement in the past. Yet, in 2018 when Mucarsel-Powell was running for her seat, she did not see her husband’s work as relevant to her campaign.

“Debbie Mucrasel-Powell is running for Congress, not her husband. To imply that Debbie has anything to do with her indirect shareholder of a parent company that once employed her husband is an enormous stretch,” said Michael Hernandez, senior communications advisor for her campaign in 2018.

While Mucrasel-Powell may have convinced her constituents that her husband’s work is unrelated, it is a clear conflict in the current impeachment of Trump. Mucarsel-Powell voted to impeach Trump.

The article concludes:

And yet, no Democrats see a problem with one of their own committee members’ spouses doing business with a Ukrainian ogliarch. There has been no check on whether Mucrasel-Powell is benefitting from her husband’s work with a foreign power that interfered in the 2016 election.

There is a double standard in Mucrasel-Powell’s ability to impeach the President for his work in Ukraine, simultaneously, allowing her husband to earn money from Kolomoisky, a thug from the same foreign power.

The alternative media still includes a number of investigative reporters. It is quite likely that more of this sort of information will be uncovered in the near future. We may be about to discover how someone can enter Congress as a member of the Middle Class and emerge ten years later as a millionaire on a salary of $174,000 while supporting a home in their district and one in Washington, D.C.

Another Lie Exposed

One of the recent rafts the media is clinging to in the impeachment circus is the idea that the transcript was doctored or incomplete. Well, that raft got blown out of the water yesterday. For those who have tuned out the hearings because they are extremely boring, The Federalist posted an article yesterday noting an interesting fact that was revealed in yesterday’s testimony.

The article reports:

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, both Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman stated that the transcript of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zolodymyr Zelensky was substantively accurate.

In direct response to a question as to whether the transcript was complete and accurate, neither suggested that it was not, except for minor details they found in their notes of the call.

This testimony blows up a month-long lie pushed by Democrats and their media allies that the transcript was partial, or redacted, suggesting that the White House was potentially hiding important details. For weeks the baseless claim that the transcript was so doctored that we don’t really know what happened on the call has been floated all over mainstream media coverage.

The article concludes:

Will CNN anchors stop referring to the “partial transcript” now that two of the Democrats’ star witnesses, who were on the actual call, have stated that the transcript is accurate? Don’t count on it. Will the news media apologize for or even acknowledge that they have been pushing this nonsense for over a month? Even in the unlikely case that they have the honor to do so, as the old saw goes, a lie can make it halfway around the world while the truth is getting its shoes on.

Tuesday’s confirmation that the transcript of the July 25 phone call was substantively accurate takes away a major talking point for those seeking the impeachment of President Trump. The whole reason this duplicitous talking point existed was that the president’s critics found the call wasn’t as damning as they hoped it would be. Perfect or not, nothing impeachable occurred on the call, so it was necessary to pretend that maybe we were missing some key information.

That is over now. The transcript is the transcript, the call is the call. Yet another ace in this crumbling house of impeachment cards has tumbled to the floor. And Democrats and media know it.

What we need now is a “Perry Mason moment” when the accusers realize they have no case, the charges are dismissed, and everyone goes home and stops wasting taxpayer money. Unfortunately that is highly unlikely.

A Bad Decision May Eventually Have Good Results

The Federalist posted an article today about the recent California jury decision that found undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates guilty of trespass, breach of contract and of non-disclosure agreements, and fraud, as well as state and federal laws prohibiting the unconsented recordings of third parties. The California-based jury also found that Daleiden and the other defendants had violated the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law—a federal statute that triples any damage award. The defendants were also hit with punitive damages exceeding $800,000.

The article reports:

On Friday, a jury awarded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates, damages set to exceed $2.3 million in their civil case against undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates. The country’s largest cohort of abortion providers sued Daleiden and his colleagues after the 2015 release of a series of investigative videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in fetal parts.

The article explains why the case will probably eventually make its way to the Supreme Court:

Daleiden’s lead attorney, Peter Breen, of the public policy legal firm Thomas More Society, promised an appeal. “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal,” Breen said in a press release. “This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,” Breen added, noting, “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilized standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.”

Breen has several solid grounds for appeal, and initially will likely challenge presiding judge William Orrick III’s refusal to recuse from the case. While appellate courts are hesitant to second-guess a trial court’s decision on whether recusal is required, in this case the facts strongly suggest recusal was required.

Specifically, Judge Orrick was a founder and a longtime officer and director of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, an organization which, according to Daleiden, houses and participates in a joint venture with one of the named Planned Parenthood affiliates. Further, during the pendency of this case, as Breen pointed out in briefing, Orrick was “held out to the public as serving as an Emeritus Board Member of [the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center].”

Judge Orrick’s refusal to allow Daleiden and the other defendants to testify concerning their reasonable beliefs about abuses in the fetal tissue business, from harvesting of organs from born-alive babies to selling tissue and body parts for profit, as well as the judge’s decision barring the admission of the video evidence, will also be areas ripe for reversal.

What David Daleiden did used to be called investigative journalism. What he uncovered needed to be uncovered. The only redeeming thing about this case having to go to the Supreme Court is that it will further expose the selling of aborted baby body parts and the callousness of the people in Planned Parenthood who are engaged in these activities. Callousness is not illegal, but selling aborted baby body parts should be.

This Is A Form Of Antisemitism

The Federalist posted an article today about a recent decision by the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the EU. The court ruled that Jewish products made in contested areas of Israel must bear consumer warning labels.

The article notes:

Prior to the ruling, U.S. lawmakers in Congress fired warning shots, cautioning the EU that such a move would prompt the enforcement of American anti-boycott laws, thus endangering the EU’s trade with the United States.

Now, according to reporting by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, the Trump administration is ready to go to battle over the ruling. Currently, the United States is the EU’s largest trading partner.

The origins of the legal dispute stretch back several years to when the EU issued a mandate in 2015 declaring that products produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights be labeled as coming from an Israeli settlement, facially for the purpose of promoting “consumer protection,” although it’s unclear if that is actually achieved here. In late 2016, France became the first EU member state to attempt to enforce the mandate, resulting in the Israeli winery Psagot filing a lawsuit claiming that such a mandate violated the EU’s anti-discrimination laws.

Under the new rule, goods produced by Jews will be labeled as having been produced in an Israeli settlement, while goods produced by Muslims may be labeled as made in “Palestine,” indicating blatant discriminatory treatment. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s presence in the West Bank and the Golan Heights are the only contested areas in the world to be the focus of the labeling ire of the EU.

The article notes that Israel is the only country singled out for this treatment:

“No other territory, occupied, disputed, or otherwise is subject to such requirements,” noted Eugene Kontorovich, director of the Center for International Law in the Middle East at George Mason University. Kontorovich emphasized the peculiarity of the ruling. “In no other case does any ‘origin labeling’ require any kind of statement about the political circumstances in the area. This is a special Yellow Star for Jewish products only.”

Indeed, there are a multitude of contested areas throughout the world that produce goods for which the EU has deemed politicized labeling requirements unnecessary. Despite Russia’s occupation of parts of Georgia or Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, nothing in EU law or greater international law requires labeling goods produced by Russia in occupied parts of Georgia as “Made in Georgia” or goods produced by Morocco in Western Sahara as “Made in Western Sahara.”

Just a side note about the concept of contested territories. If you look at a map of the land originally given to form a Jewish state, it not only includes the ‘contested territories,’ it includes Jordan. The country of Jordan was originally intended to be the Palestinian state (as there had never been a Palestinian state), but was turned over to the Hashemites. For pictures illustrating the history of Israeli territory, go here.

Telling The Story Behind The Story

There is a new book that is going to be released today. The book is titled, The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History.” The book is written by Lee Smith, an investigative reporter.

There is an article posted at The Federalist which details some of the information in the book.

The article notes:

AFTER DONALD TRUMP was elected forty-fifth president of the United States, the operation designed to undermine his campaign transformed. It became an instrument to bring down the commander in chief. The coup started almost immediately after the polls closed.

Hillary Clinton’s communications team decided within twenty-four hours of her concession speech to message that the election was illegitimate, that Russia had interfered to help Trump.

Obama was working against Trump until the hour he left office. His national security advisor, Susan Rice, commemorated it with an email to herself on January 20, moments before Trump’s inauguration. She wrote to memorialize a meeting in the White House two weeks before.

The email is posted in the article.

The article also notes:

Meanwhile, Obama added his voice to the Trump-Russia echo chamber as news stories alleging Trump’s illicit relationship with the Kremlin multiplied in the transition period. He said he hoped “that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia.”

The outgoing president was in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss everything from NATO to Vladimir Putin. Obama said that he’d “delivered a clear and forceful message” to the Russian president about “meddling with elections . . . and we will respond appropriately if and when we see this happening.”

After refusing to act while the Russian election meddling was actually occurring, Obama responded in December. He ordered the closing of Russian diplomatic facilities and the expulsion of thirty- five Russian diplomats. The response was tepid. The Russians had hacked the State Department in 2014 and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2015. And now Obama was responding only on his way out.

The book credits Devin Nunes with figuring out what was going on and beginning to look into the scandal. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. It is an amazing timeline detailing what was actually going on in the waning days of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump administration.

Some Random Thoughts On The Troop Withdrawal

According to conservative news sources, the troop withdrawal from the Turkish border is simply moving fifty troops–it is not a withdrawal. I wish it were a withdrawal, we are not currently capable of fighting a war right now–we are unable to unite and focus on the job at hand.

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about the dust-up.

The article notes:

Congress is the institution vested with the power to declare wars, to debate where we send troops, and decide which conflicts are funded. Presidents have been ignoring this arrangement, abuse authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs), and imbue themselves with the power to engage in conflicts wherever they like, without any coherent endgame, and without any buy-in from Congress.

Congress, in turn, has shown no interest in genuinely challenging executive power, because its members are far more concerned with political self-preservation. Ignoring abuse shields them from tough choices and ensuing criticism—even as they use war as a partisan cudgel.

Even if you don’t believe all these conflicts rise to an Article I declaration, and I don’t, the more accountability there is in foreign entanglements the better. Right now we have little genuine debate or consensus building—in a nation that already exhibits exceptionally little interest in foreign policy—regarding the deployment of our troops, almost always in perpetuity, around the world.

It’s a bipartisan problem. Barack Obama, whose political star rose due to his opposition to the Iraq war, was perhaps our worst offender, circumventing Congress and relying on a decade-old AUMF (authorizations for the use of military force), which he invoked 19 times during his presidency, to justify a half-hearted intervention against ISIS (not al-Qaeda) in Syria (not Afghanistan.)

The article notes that military overreach is a problem in both parties:

It’s a bipartisan problem. Barack Obama, whose political star rose due to his opposition to the Iraq war, was perhaps our worst offender, circumventing Congress and relying on a decade-old AUMF, which he invoked 19 times during his presidency, to justify a half-hearted intervention against ISIS (not al-Qaeda) in Syria (not Afghanistan.)

Trump could bomb Iran tomorrow, use Obama’s reasoning, and have a far stronger legal defense for his actions.

It was also Obama who joined Europeans in the failed intervention in Libya, where he worked under NATO goals rather than the United States law. There was hardly a peep from Democrats fretting over the corrosion of the Constitution.

American would function much more efficiently if our Congressmen and President would simply follow the U.S. Constitution. At this point I am not sure many of them have read it–although they did take an oath to uphold it.

When You Poke The Bear

There were two articles posted at The Federalist yesterday (here and here) about the current circus in the House of Representatives. I suspect this is not going exactly the way the Democrats had intended.

The first article notes:

In tense testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on Friday, the inspector general for federal spy agencies refused to disclose why his office backdated secret changes to key whistleblower forms and rules in the wake of an anti-Trump whistleblower complaint filed in August, sources told The Federalist.

As The Federalist reported and the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) confirmed, the spy watchdog secretly changed its whistleblower forms and internal rules in September to eliminate a requirement that whistleblowers provide first-hand evidence to support any allegations of wrongdoing. In a press release last week, the ICIG confessed that it changed its rules in response to an anti-Trump complaint filed on August 12. That complaint, which was declassified and released by President Donald Trump in September, was based entirely on second-hand information, much of which was shown to be false following the declassification and release of a telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The first article concludes:

Several top lawmakers in the Senate raised similar concerns about Atkinson’s behavior in a separate letter.

“Why did the IC IG initially require first-hand information in its May 2018 disclosure form?” the senators asked. “Why did the IC IG remove the requirement for first-hand information?”

Atkinson has not answered their questions, either, raising questions that his behavior following his receipt of the anti-Trump complaint might not be completely above board. Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence and the Department of Justice that the anti-Trump complaint was statutorily deficient and forwarded it to HPSCI even though it did not meet the legal definition of an “urgent concern” that is required to be given to Congress.

The embattled ICIG also admitted on Friday that the anti-Trump complainant lied on his whistleblower complaint form by concealing the complainant’s previous secret interactions with House Democratic staff prior to submitting the complaint. Atkinson never even bothered investigating potential coordination between the complainant, whom DOJ said showed evidence of partisan political bias, and House Democrats prior to the filing of the anti-Trump complaint.

The second article is more of a history of the entire Ukraine scandal. It mentions the fact that there are genuine concerns about Ukraine interference in the 2016 American presidential election.

The second article also suggests some motivation behind this current circus:

The Democrats’ case for impeachment is hopeless, but their motivation is simple. They whipped up their base into such a delusional frenzy during the “Russia investigation,” they have to keep the narrative going at all costs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a rebellion from her caucus if she doesn’t go along with it.

There may be a more serious motivation behind this:

But there’s a group of intelligence bureaucrats at work here, and their motivation is a bit different. An immediate motive may be to prevent an investigation into how the Russia probe started. This includes an investigation into how a document the Hillary Clinton campaign created — using anonymous Russians and a British national tied to Russia — was used by our intelligence agencies to investigate Trump.

The other possible motivation is more complex. During the “Russia investigation,” many in the intelligence agencies worked to subvert Trump’s foreign policy and remove Trump, through spying, a large series of leaks, and articles planted with friendly outlets. Trump’s campaign was even spied on before the election, via something called the “two-hop rule,” once a secret court granted a warrant to spy on Trump campaign officials such as Carter Page.

Because of this, the White House moved to cut off the broader “intelligence community” — inexorably tied to America’s foreign policy establishment that Trump ran against — from information the White House knew many in the intelligence agencies would use to selectively leak.

That could mean some of what’s going on today, at least from the CIA angle, is intelligence bureaucrats “striking back” because they lost their access to diplomatic communications, a coveted source of the intelligence community’s power. But even the Obama administration liked to hide diplomatic calls from the broader intelligence community, which should tell us something about that bureaucracy.

The second article includes the following statement:

In other words, the real big takeaway here is that we have a problem with our Washington bureaucracy, including our intelligence agencies, which have routinely crossed the line into policymaking. How much of the impeachment mess is due to CIA bureaucrats being incensed that Trump, who is elected, would dare to question military aid to Ukraine, and would dare to curtail their eavesdropping on diplomacy?

What we see here is an illustration of the reason why we need to drain the swamp.