Category Archives: Bill Clinton

Jeffrey Epstein and the war on sex crime in Trump’s America

My sense is that Jeffrey Epstein will not hurt Trump, even if Epstein names names, because Trump is all about stopping pedophiles, not being one.

I first learned about Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest for sex trafficking when I saw this tweet from News-weak:

I found News-weak’s framing to be interesting, to say the least, given that the politician mentioned most frequently in connection with Jeffrey Epstein isn’t Trump but is, instead, Bill Clinton. After all, it’s Bill Clinton who famously flew at least 26 times on Epstein’s plane to the latter’s infamous “Lolita Island.” Clinton also apparently ditched his Secret Service agents for at least a few of these trips. Those are facts, not rumor. I leave you to draw your own conclusions about Clinton’s behavior.

Another tweet makes it clear that Trump, while he may have said nice things about Epstein (probably because it’s his usual shtick to compliment people who is not his enemies), nevertheless appears to have steered very clear of Epstein’s unsavory activities and, indeed, to have meted out what consequences he could to Epstein:

As of now, I’m not too worried about Trump being swept into the hopper with Epstein and his activities.

I’ve also seen Leftists make accusations against Alan Dershowitz, claiming that he too will be caught up in Epstein’s wake. Again, I have my doubts.

Dershowitz is an interesting case because he’s completely honest about Israel, which ought to reveal to him that the Left is dishonest about everything. Nevertheless, he continues to self-identify as a Progressive.

You’d think that Dershowitz’s 98% Progressive track record would keep him in good odor with his fellow Leftists, but that’s not the case. Because he supports Israel, the Left is trying to destroy him. The engine of this destruction is the claim that Dershowitz, who represented Epstein as a defense lawyer in 2008, traveled on Epstein’s Lolita Express airplane and partook of the underage offerings on Lolita Island. Dershowitz has vigorously challenged these claims, but they dog him nevertheless.

What makes me believe that the charges against Dershowitz really are the garbage he says they are is the fact that it was Dershowitz, working with Mike Cernovich, who obtained the documents that re-opened the case against Epstein. Logic says that opening sealed records is the act of a man sure of his innocence. Were Dershowitz guilty as alleged I would imagine he would be working hard to keep all records sealed forever.

Generally speaking, what’s happening now reminds me of what happened a few years back in England, only the consequences here are going to affect the living, rather than rearrange the memory of the dead. To refresh your recollection about England’s pedophile sex scandal, it started after the death of BBC personality Jimmy Savile (or, to use his honorifics, Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE KCSG), long-time host of the popular Top of the Pops. What emerged then was the undisputed fact that Savile was a major, extreme, highly-predatory pedophile. When his crimes became public, Savile was already beyond the reach of the law, so one can only hope that a higher power is giving him the punishment he so richly deserves.

The posthumous investigation into Savile’s conduct opened the floodgates. It turned out that, starting in the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s, what seemed like battalions of famous British media and political figures either participated in Savile’s pedophilia or covered it up. Moreover, the BBC — a so-called news outlet — knew about these people (some of whom it employed) and, rather than covering such an obvious news story, also engaged in a cover-up.

As my post caption notes, though, I want to make a bigger point than Epstein’s arrest: Starting from Day One of his administration, Trump has been quietly but powerfully focused on bringing down pedophiles and sex trafficking:

President Donald Trump is making good on his pledge to use the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government to break up child sex trafficking rings and lock up sexual predators.

Since Trump was sworn in, authorities have arrested more than 1,500 pedophiles in the United States.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order giving the FBI extra power to crack down on human trafficking offenses.

“This should be one of the biggest stories in the national news. Instead, the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?” Liz Crokin wrote for Townhall.com on Feb. 25.

The numbers are “staggering” when compared to the less than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests made in 2014 according to the FBI.

Keep in mind that the above article was published only a month into Trump’s presidency.

Moreover, when I read the news lately, especially the Daily Mail, I routinely see stories about mass arrests of people involved in child sex trafficking and pedophile. A lot of these arrests take place at the state, not the federal, level, but I can’t help feeling that the apparent acceleration in arrests comes from the top — that is, it’s a priority for Trump, so it’s a priority for the FBI, so it’s a priority for state investigators. And just as Dershowitz’s determination to re-open sealed Epstein documents is inconsistent with his having participated in Epstein’s perversions, I can’t help feeling that Trump’s priorities are inconsistent with any insinuations that he is himself a pedophile or someone who went along with illegal sex trafficking and pedophilia.

People are also finally beginning to realize that the real “#MeToo” movement in Hollywood isn’t sex abuse against women (although it’s bad), but pedophilia. Half a year ago, Kyle Smith wrote a powerful article on the subject, calling Hollywood a “sex-grooming gang.” Just the other day, another Disney child star went on record about the sexual abuse she suffered. Considering how many former Disney stars have gotten into substance abuse or, like Miley Cyrus, become both substance abusers (pot) and extremely weird, aggressive, and exhibitionistic about sex, one has to believe that Bella Thorne wasn’t the only victim. Someone also put together a long tweet thread with very creepy imagery coming out of Nickelodeon’s child star factory. Although that account has since been suspended from Twitter, you can still find articles about Dan Schneider, the subject of those deleted tweets.

In a world that sees the advertising and entertainment industries increasingly sexualize children, we shouldn’t be surprised that people in power want to have sex with them. It should be very interesting watching the Epstein chips fall. I’m pretty sure, though, that News-weak’s dream notwithstanding, Trump will not be a falling chip.

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Elizabeth Warren as imagined by Monty Python

Watching Elizabeth Warren boast about her “plan” for Mitch McConnell shows she has a doppelgänger in the Monty Python universe — John Cleese’s Anne Elk.

Do you remember how, during last week’s debate, Elizabeth Warren stated that she had a plan for dealing with Mitch McConnell and then promptly followed that statement with meaningless blather? Even TIME Magazine figured out that, her statement about a plan notwithstanding, Warren had nothing of value to say:

The same was true when it came to Warren’s plans about gun violence. Instead of having a plan, she wants to conduct a study. She can conduct studies until the cows come home, but that’s not a plan; that’s a process.

Watching Warren debate tickled a memory and today I finally realized what memory it tickled. A famous Monty Python sketch had John Cleese playing Anne Elk, a woman who had a new theory about dinosaurs. Like Warren who, no matter the question, repeatedly falls back on her statement that she has a plan, Elk, no matter the question, insists that she has a theory.

Sadly, the original sketch is no longer available for computer viewing, but this recent John Cleese updates works reasonably well, especially because, now that he’s older, Anne Elk looks surprisingly like Warren herself:

I know who and what Warren is, not just because she was a teacher I disliked and disrespected a long time ago, before she became a Native American and moved to Harvard. I also know what she is because I know America history: She’s Woodrow Wilson — an arrogant academic with lots of theories and prejudices, all of which function horribly in the real world. Wilson was an awful president and Warren would be an awful president were she to get the nomination.

(By the way, speaking of theories, this is my theory: Kamala Harris will get the Democrat Party nomination. In that case, she may well choose Warren to be her Veep. Should that happen, expect instant stories how about how the two women bonded immediately and are besties who will go on to become the most dynamic POTUS/VEEP team in history.

I base this theory on the news reports that instantly emerged when Clinton chose Gore as his Veep. The media was saturated with loving encomiums about the friendship between the two men and the happy date night foursomes with Bill and Hillary on one side of the table at the soda fountain and Al and Tipper on the other side of the table.)

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Benjamin Wittes and witless logic about Trump

The Benjamin Wittes “I believe” tweetstorm about Trump, intended to expose conservative “Doublethink,” instead exposed Leftist irrationality and ignorance.

The anti-Trump blogosphere, both Leftists and #NeverTrumpers, is excited about an endless series of tweets from Benjamin Wittes all intended, in a sarcastic way, to challenge Trump and his supporters. Before I go further, some background on Wittes: He is a Brookings Institution Senior Fellow who graduated from Oberlin and is currently co-director of Harvard Law School’s Brookings Project on Law and Security. In other words, he’s been marinated in Leftism since he hit college (and, given that he went to a non-Orthodox Jewish school in New York City, probably for his entire life).

Okay. Now back to those tweets. It’s apparent from reviewing the tweets that what Wittes is trying to do is show that conservatives have entered the Orwellian world of “doublethink”:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

In fact, what Wittes has managed to do is show that Leftists are incapable of even “singlethink” — that is, the ability to look at two related pieces of information and recognize that they can easily and logically exist simultaneously in the same universe. For example, I can simultaneously believe that cows produce milk to feed their young and that humans consume and benefit from milk. As you can see, these two apparently disparate thoughts — cows milk is cow food but it’s also human food — manage to exist in the same universe without creating a logical black hole that destroys all rational thought.

With that in mind, how about we take a look at the Wittes tweet thread (which I’ve rendered in plain text):

I believe the president. I have always believed him.
‘I believe the president’: GOP stands by Trump on sexual assault allegation
Republicans are dismissing E. Jean Carroll’s accusation and still sticking with Trump.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/25/trump-accuse-gop-1382385

Yeah, I stand by President Trump too on this one. I’m not going to analyze it here, though, because Wittes raises the subject again, below, and that’s where I address more fully the sordid sexual allegations Lefties like to raise against Trump.

I believed him when he said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States. And I believe him now when he says his travel ban has nothing to do with religious discrimination.

In other words, Wittes is saying it’s impossible simultaneously to believe that Trump wants to keep Muslims out of America while not discriminating against Muslims; i.e., it’s doublethink! Except that to anyone who pays attention to facts, there’s nothing “doublethinky” at all about the fact that there is a segment of Islam that is cheerfully dedicated to Western destruction.

As it is, Wittes seems to have sat out the last few decades, when extremist members of the Islamic faith:

  • took over Iran in 1970 and declared war on America;
  • bombed a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 Americans;
  • bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, killing 6 Americans;
  • bombed American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, killing 224 people;
  • bombed the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 Americans;
  • attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, killing 2,996 people, the vast majority of whom were Americans;
  • attacked Fort Hood in 2009, killing 13 Americans;
  • attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012, killing 4 people, among whom was an American ambassador; bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a recruiting station in Chattanooga in 2015, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a Christmas party in San Bernardino in 2015, killing 14 Americans;
  • attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016, killing 49 Americans; and
  • ran over bicyclists in New York in 2017, killing 8 people.

And all of the above are just the bigger attacks aimed directly at Americans since the Iranian Revolution.

In the same time period, some of the better known Islamist attacks around the world targeted London, Manchester, Nice, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Berlin, Madrid…. And of course there was ISIS, which decimated the Christian Yazidis by slaughtering the men and sexually enslaving the women, before turning Islamic wrath on any of the “wrong” types of Muslims unluckily enough to be caught in its path. Those beheadings, crucifixions, and tortures were all internecine Islamic brutality.

Really, when you come right down to it, there’s a pretty long list of Islamist attacks around the world. Religion of Peace, a website dedicated to tracking Islam-inspired murder, notes that, since 9/11, there have been 35,222 Islamic attacks around the world. That’s not the number of dead; that’s the number of attacks. In May 2019 alone, Islamists killed over 800 people in 169 different attacks over 27 countries.

With that in mind, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that, when Muslims seek leave to come to America, a wise government will scrutinize them carefully to make sure that they the particular Muslims at issue don’t belong to that subset of Muslims (roughly 10% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims) who believe it is your religious responsibility to slaughter as many “unbelievers” as possible — and to say that without hating Muslims en masse. Indeed, word just broke today that the U.S. warned Mexico that ISIS members were heading to our southern border, hoping to slip in with all the other illegal aliens Democrats so adore, in order to launch mass murder attacks in America. (Thankfully, they seem to have been caught.)

Moreover, it’s perfectly reasonable, when trying to figure out how best to protect Americans from terrorism to rely upon Obama administration data identifying countries that generate the greatest number of terrorist attacks around the world. It’s not Trump’s fault, nor is it “anti-Muslim” sentiment, that the countries the Obama administration identified as the greatest terrorist supporters were Muslim countries. That’s just reality.

In other words, there’s nothing illogical about seeking to protect Americans from murderous Islamic extremists — a subset of Islam that manifestly exists — without hating all Muslims.

I believed him when he said Mexico is sending us its rapists and criminals, and I believed him when he said he loves Hispanics. [Linking to this post of his.]

Is it possible to respect and admire the Hispanic people and culture without respecting and admiring rapists and criminals? Wittes doesn’t think so. He’s trying to say that Trump was maligning Hispanics as a whole when he said that a disproportionate number of Mexican criminals were heading north to America. Of course, if Trump was not maligning Hispanics as a whole, but was merely noting accurately that too many hardcore criminals are using a porous border to their advantage, then the two statements can simultaneously exist perfectly well in a logical universe.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are rapists and other criminals in Mexico. In January 2018, the Mexican government admitted to its highest murder rate in history, driven by vast criminal activity:

Soaring levels of drug-related violence made 2017 Mexico’s most murderous year on record, according to government statistics released Sunday.

There were 25,339 homicides in Mexico last year, a 23% jump from 2016 and the highest number since at least 1997, the year the government began tracking the data. Overall, murders in Mexico had been declining in recent years, reaching a low of 15,520 in 2014. But officials say a surge in drug-related crime reversed that trend.

Mexican rape statistics are pretty stinky too:

Officials estimate that each year there are 120,000 rapes, one every 4 minutes, making Mexico number one in the world for sexual violence incidents. (México es el primer lugar en violencia sexual: ONU) (Over 14,000 Women Are Raped in Mexico Every Year: Report)

Most of these rapes go unreported.  Of those that are reported, very few are brought to justice.  For example, in 2009, 14,829 rape cases were filed.  Of those, only 3,462 were prosecuted, which led to only 2,795 sentences. (Amnistía Internacional (AI) en 2012)(LA VIOLENCIA SEXUAL EN MÉXICO INICIA EN CASA Y EN SU MAYORÍA QUEDA IMPUNE)

Do you want those rapists and murderers to invite themselves into America? I don’t. I want a border policy that requires people to prove, as best as possible, that they’re non-criminal, well-intentioned human beings before heading into my country.

We also know that the rapists that make Mexico the most dangerous country in the world for sexual violence have been taking advantage of women and children who enter America illegally. Already in 2014, before Trump lambasted the rapists coming to America, HuffPo (!) reported on the scope of the problem:

According to a stunning Fusion investigation, 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico are raped during their journey. That’s up from a previous estimate of 60 percent, according to an Amnesty International report.

What this means is that, when Trump announced that he wanted to stop the flow of criminal illegal aliens, he was also protecting those Hispanic women and girls who are being raped along the way. That sounds like someone who likes Hispanics and wishes them well, rather than the opposite.

By the way, Mexico may not have been deliberately sending us the baddies, but it certainly wasn’t trying to stop them. Already in 2005, the Mexican government was provided instruction manuals for those entering the U.S. illegally. Mexico claimed it was to save lives, but Mexico could have saved lives by (a) stopping people at its border and (b) cleaning up its utterly corrupt government rather than letting the U.S. serve as a source of revenue and a way to lessen population pressure within Mexico.

And there’s one more thing to keep in mind about hating Mexican criminals while loving Hispanics: Those illegal alien rapists and murderers don’t go to Beverly Hills, Marin County, the Hamptons, or D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood (where Obama lives) to find prey. They prey on people in their own communities; namely, fellow Hispanics. If you love Hispanics, you can show that love by protecting them from the drug dealers, rapists, robbers, and murderers who see in America a new source victims for their crimes. There’s no doublethink involved in holding both those thoughts simultaneously.

I believe that Trump Tower makes the best taco bowls.

I don’t like taco bowls, so this one is entirely subjective. If Wittes likes Trump Tower’s taco bowls, that’s very nice.

I believe that Donald Trump will drain the swamp and that his election has delivered us from the corruption of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

I believe that too. With William Barr and his Inspector Generals examining the administrative state’s efforts to subvert the 2016 election, I think there’s a chance that we will return to an era of honest, or at least less partisan, government in D.C. This healthy trend will be helped by the fact that Trump is cutting regulations, shrinking administrative agencies, and attempting to move agency operations from the D.C. swamp out into those regions of America that the agencies are actually supposed to serve.

As for the corruption of Bill and Hillary, all I can say is that, if you want to see collusion with Russia and just look at the Clintons. Look at the Steele dossier, look at the sale of America’s uranium to Russia, and look at the vast amounts of money that flowed from Russia to Hillary via Bill’s speaking engagements. While I don’t think Trump will ever seriously prosecute either of those grifters, I have to believe America is safer without the Clintons willingly selling off American interests to hostile foreign countries in order to enrich themselves and advance their grip on political power.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason for him to disclose his tax returns.

No one should ever have to disclose his or her tax returns. If politicians want to do it voluntarily, fine. If not, fine. Trump’s tax returns are irrelevant to his promises as a candidate and his practices as a president. See? I can hold that logical thought just fine.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason to divest himself of any of his financial holdings.

If you were good with the Clinton Foundation that existed to sell America’s interests to enrich the Clinton clan (and I’m betting Wittes didn’t complain too much or at all), I don’t ever want to hear another word from you about a politician’s financial holdings. In any event, it’s a modern concern. It’s worth remembering that past presidents, men of true greatness such as Washington, would have laughed themselves silly over this idea.

By the way, please remind me how Harry Reid, after decades in government service, became hugely wealthy. And Biden. How’d Biden get so rich? And how did his unsavory son get so rich? In other words, if you’re really worried about financial corruption, clean your own house before casting stones at a man who has been a happy and unabashed billionaire for decades with money made in the real world, rather than through politics.

I believed him when he protested that he wasn’t trying to get a security clearance for his daughter and son-in-law. And I believe him now when says he needs his family installed by his side in the West Wing.

I believe that Jared Kushner’s deserves a security clearance.

If you were okay with Ben Rhodes’ security clearance, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you were okay about Michelle’s mother moving into the White House, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you didn’t mind Hillary’s recently deceased brother economically raping Haiti, I don’t want to hear from you. If you sat silently while Biden used the VP’s office to enrich his son, you need to stop talking.

So far, aside from snarky complaints about his buttoned down look, the Left doesn’t have much to hang on Jared Kushner. Although I have to say that I’m worried that, before Trump became the great conservative hope, both Kushner and Ivanka were garden-variety elitist Democrats. I hope seeing the bared fangs of the Democrats attacking them has educated Kushner and Ivanka about who their real enemies are.

I believe that only rank partisanship and media bias explain the skepticism about Trump’s finances running rampant in the press.

I’m glad Wittes believes that. I believe it too.

I believe E. Jean Carroll is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I also believe she is not Trump’s type.

I believe Temple Taggart McDowell is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Rachel Crooks is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Natasha Stoynoff is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Mindy McGillivray is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe that all of the other women who have accused the President of sexual assault are also cheap tramps who were asking for it.
In any event, I also believe that the President was merely engaged in “locker room talk” when he boasted of grabbing women by the pussy.

I believe that when you’re a star, they let you do it.

Wittes is clearly incredulous that people could believe that Trump did not rape someone. He believes this despite the fact that Republicans have seen false rape allegations leveled against multiple conservatives who are deemed terrible dangerous to the Leftist cause, conservatives such as Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. These allegations always crumbled in the face of objective facts and credible testimony.

Contrariwise, Democrats never seemed particularly bothered by more substantive claims against prominent Democrats such as Teddy Kennedy or Bill Clinton. Indeed, they’re also remarkably unconcerned about Joe Biden’s disturbing habit of pawing little girls. Democrats will talk about — and usually excuse — his handsiness with adult women (“That’s just Joe being Joe”), but they’re remarkably silent about his weird, creepy behavior around children.

As for me, I’m disgusted that, even in jest, Wittes would say that E. Jean Carroll is a “tramp who was asking for it.” Trump hasn’t said that nor have his supporters. What they have said is that Carroll’s affect is so peculiar it appears she has substance abuse or mental illness problems.

There are a few other reasons to question Carroll’s assertions: She’s a Democrat donor. She has a book to sell. She bizarrely refuses to press charges against Trump because it would insult real rape victims on our borders. Her narrative is hard to believe, for Bergdorf was a busy store with locked fitting rooms that sales clerks had to open for customers, which is hardly the setting for a sexual assault. She thinks rape is sexy. Oh, and she seems to have lifted her narrative right out of an old Law & Order plot.

I’ll add that I suspect that Carroll was promiscuous as a young woman and that her current hostility to men may be a way of distancing herself from the bad feelings she gets looking back upon her own actions. “It wasn’t me; it was them, the men, the rapists, the bullies….” Indeed, if one assumes solely for the sake of argument that Trump did actually have a brief hook-up with her (something I strongly doubt), I wouldn’t put it past Carroll to reframe it as rape so that she wouldn’t see herself as being cheap or for her to reframe it as rape to sell a book and tarnish a Republican.

So yes, in the logical world, one can absolutely believe that a mentally fragile woman has copied a narrative she saw on a TV show in order to sell a book to Leftists, all of whom will believe anything about President Trump, no matter how hackneyed the playbook or surreal the allegations.

As for Carroll’s not being Trump’s type, I’m sure that’s true. I’m going to bet that Trump likes his women willing. If she wasn’t willing, she wasn’t his type.

How about those other allegations?

Other sexual assault charges against Trump came from women who were hardcore Hillary supporters and whose allegations were not only insubstantial, but also vanished quickly. For example, those close to the aptly named Rachel Crooks say that her interaction with Trump more than a decade ago was brief and that her current accusations bear no relationship to her story at the time. In other words, she was either lying then or she’s lying now. Common sense tells us that the latter is more likely.

Interestingly, Wittes doesn’t even mention Jessica Leeds, who asserted that Trump was all over her “like an octopus.” Her statement is either a quotation from a Velvet Underground song (widely known when Leeds was young) or, possibly, a quotation from a well-publicized sexual harassment lawsuit in England. One more thing: Leeds has the same phone number as the Clinton Foundation. Really. What are the odds of that? Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Wittes left her off his list.

And that tired old “grab ’em by the pussy” shtick? Some of us actually watched the entire video giving rise to the claim that Trump grabbed women inappropriately. Watching the video instead of taking the media’s word for the video’s contents reveals that Trump was engaging in hypothetical locker room talk. It was crude, but the only thing he actually admitted to doing was making a move on a woman and immediately backing off when she rejected him. When it came to his grabbing women statement, he did not frame it in the first person but put it out as a hypothetical. I’ve always suspect that, had he said more, he would have added, “At least, that’s what Bill Clinton (or Bill Cosby) told me….”

Finally, I’ll bring up Stormy Daniels here, although Wittes doesn’t. What’s seldom mentioned is that Daniels later admitted she never actually had sex with Trump — meaning Trump paid her off just to make her go away, not because he had anything to hide. Keep in mind that Daniels’ lawyer during the interval when the media couldn’t get enough of her was Michael Avenatti, who’s proven to be a psychopathic criminal who defrauded handicapped people and tried to blackmail Nike.

Mostly, Daniels strikes me as a simultaneously pathetic and sinister figure — a woman who used her body to make a living and, when her body stopped being appealing, a woman who turned to extortion to make money. Creepy and sad.

I believed the President when he said he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare and I believed him when he said it was the Democrats’ fault that he didn’t repeal or replace Obamacare.

President Trump would have repealed Obamacare but for two types of legislators: Democrats and John McCain. So yeah, I believe the President about both his intention and the reason he failed. There is nothing inherently contradictory in those two statements.

I believe the President that he’s a great deal maker, and I look forward to his negotiating new trade deals on my behalf.

I believe that tariffs will bring China to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Mexico to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring the European Union to knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Canada to its knees.

I believe that China is trying to protect its businesses from the tariffs by subsidizing them, something that it can only do for so long. After all, behind the hype is the fact that China needs us more than we need China. As CNBC reported:

“So far, the U.S. has slapped duties on $250 billion in Chinese products, while Beijing has put tariffs on $110 billion in American goods. Trump has threatened to impose separate tariffs on more than $300 billion in currently untaxed Chinese goods, and reiterated that threat in the interview Monday morning.”

That tells you in which direction trade is flowing and who holds the cards — and it ain’t China.

I believe that, in order to prevent Trump’s threatened tariffs, Mexico sent 15,000 troops to its border to help control what even Democrats are now calling a crisis. Pence nailed it when he said, “The truth is, in the last 10 days, Mexico has done more to secure our southern border than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years….”

I believe that past administrations sold out the American worker especially to China, as well as to other countries or economic groups (Canada, Mexico, the EU, etc.) that imposed heavy tariffs on American goods and, worse, used government subsidies to make their goods more attractive to consumers. Arguably, this kind of unfair trade will even out in the long run, since the countries and economic unions engaging in this activity cannot maintain subsidies forever. But the long run can be one or two generations and millions of American lives destroyed.

I therefore believe that Trump’s tough negotiating tactics are forcing the long run to happen now. He’s telling them, “I see your unfair trade practices and I’ll raise you so much more in unfair trade practices that you’ll break soon, not in decades. Then we’ll go back to free trade and everyone will be happy.”

I believe both that separating children from their parents is good policy that will deter desperate people from fleeing Central America and coming to the United States and that the policy of separating children from their parents is President Obama’s fault.

I believe in a big, beautiful. transparent wall.

I believe in steel slats.

I believe that around 30 percent of these allegedly “desperate people” aren’t that worried about the children they drag along with them because those poor, misused, trafficked children aren’t theirs.

I believe that the policy of separating children is indeed Obama’s fault, although to be fair to Obama, it was a prior administration that made it impossible for the government to deal expediently with families:

President Barack Obama separated parents from their children at the border.

Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities.

For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants.

Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family.

But Obama’s policy helped create the road map of enforcement that Trump has been following — and building on.

[snip]

No numbers on children separated from their parents under Obama is available because the Obama administration didn’t keep them, according to Trump DHS officials.

Leon Fresco, a deputy assistant attorney general under Obama, who defended that administration’s use of family detention in court, acknowledged that some fathers were separated from children.

Most fathers and children were released together, often times with an ankle bracelet. Fresco said there were cases where the administration held fathers who were carrying drugs or caught with other contraband who had to be separated from their children.

“ICE could not devise a safe way where men and children could be in detention together in one facility,” Fresco said. “It was deemed too much of a security risk.”

One of the most controversial measures that Obama took was to resurrect the almost-abandoned practice of detaining mothers and children to deter future illegal immigration.

The government had one lightly used 100-bed facility in central Pennsylvania and added three larger facilities in Texas and New Mexico holding thousands.

The New Mexico facility would later close and Obama would face legal challenges that stopped him from detaining mothers and children indefinitely.

[snip]

Obama took other controversial steps as well, including fighting to block efforts to require unaccompanied children to have legal representation and barring detained mothers with their children from being released on bond.

I believe that if you didn’t care when Obama did it but suddenly care now that your new position is phony. You don’t care about immigrants. You care only about is scoring political points.

Finally, I believe that you’ve come down firmly on the side of rejiggering America’s population balance through illegal means in order to create a permanent Democrat Party power base. Kamala Harris, who’s not the brightest bulb on the block, gave the game away in this tweet:

(By the way, is it just me, or does Kamala’s voice remind you of Fran Drescher’s voice, if Drescher were the ex-wife who made your life a living hell with her nagging, prevaricating, and hectoring?)

One more thing . . . about that wall? I believe that you’re either really stupid or pretending to be stupid when you fail to understand that Trump’s reference to slats or invisibility means that he imagines a wall through which light can be seen, as opposed to a solid wall that impairs all visibility. Those are not inconsistent statements; they’re just typical Trump puffery, akin to a manufacturer boasting that it makes “the best facial tissues” or “the lightest weight face cream.”

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Vladimir Putin.

Yeah, about that solicitude to Putin:

President Obama was running for re-election in March 2012, when a live microphone picked up his whispered conversation with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama told Medvedev it was important for incoming President Vladimir Putin to “give me space” on missile defense and other difficult issues and that after the 2012 presidential election he would have “more flexibility.” Medvedev said he would “transmit” the message to Putin.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama told Medvedev at a gathering in Seoul, South Korea.

“Yeah, I understand,” said Medvedev, who was about to replaced by Putin as Russian president. “I understand your message about space. Space for you–”

“This is my last election,” Obama said. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

“I understand,” Medvedev said. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Did Witness complain about Obama then? Or did he complain when Obama said this?

Gov. Romney, I’m glad you recognize al-Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaida. You said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.

And speaking of al Qaeda, did Wittes say anything bad about Obama when Obama essentially handed Syria over to Putin? That certainly made Putin a happy camper.

As for Trump’s solicitude for Putin. While Trump is careful not to alienate a man with whom he has to do business, whether he likes doing so or not, this is the type of solicitude Trump had displayed as of last year:

  • The Trump Administration has implemented a wide array of sanctions and other punitive actions against Russia for their destabilizing actions and provocations against the U.S. and its allies.
    • In response to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other malfeasance, the Trump Administration has sanctioned Russian oligarchs and intelligence entities.
    • Throughout 2017 and 2018, the U.S. sanctioned numerous Russian actors for violating non-proliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran and Syria, and supporting North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction.
    • The Trump Administration has issued sanctions against more than one hundred Russian actors and firms for Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine and its ongoing occupation of Crimea.
    • In March 2017, in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, the Trump Administration ordered multiple Russian consulates in the United States closed and expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers.
  • Due to sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, the Russian economy and Russian geo-economic projects have been severely constrained.
    • In 2018, as Russian investors reacted to new sanctions, the Russian Ruble made its biggest fall in over three years, and, as of July 2018, is down nearly nine percent against the dollar.
    • As a part of its sanctions against Russia, the United States has prevented numerous companies from partnering with Russian offshore oil projects, denying these projects access to capital and key resources.
    • The Trump Administration has also opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s largest geo-economic project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Russia.
  • In the wake of Russian provocations, President Trump has exercised U.S. military power and worked to bolster U.S. allies in Europe.
    • In 2017, President Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine addressing the country’s vulnerability to Russian-backed separatists in its eastern provinces.
    • Under the Trump Administration, Russian mercenaries and other pro-Syrian regime forces attacking U.S. troops in Syria were killed.
    • The U.S. has increased troops and its military capability in Eastern Europe and dramatically increased training and drills with its NATO partners.
    • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense increased its spending as part of the European Deterrence Initiative by $1.4 billion dollars.
    • Due to pressure from President Trump, U.S.’ NATO allies have increased defense expenditures by five percent.

Moreover, none of the above even mentions the fact that America’s increased oil production has been disastrous for the Russian economy.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Kim Jong Un.

Trump is being incredibly canny about his relationship with Kim Jong-un. He looked back at decades of America’s dealing with North Korea and saw a pattern: America told North Korea “be careful or we’ll destroy you.” North Korea responded by amping up its nuclear power. America, instead of responding with the promised military force, instead said, “We’ll pay you to stop being naughty.” North Korea took the money to help prop up its regime and lay dormant until the next time it needed money.

This was a dreadful, completely dead-end pattern that saw North Korea creep ever closer to being a full nuclear power, using American protection money to meet that goal.

Trump tried a different tactic: Trump told Kim Jong-un that North Korea had two choices: Develop nuclear power and be an outcast nation that America would inevitably destroy, with Kim being the first person to be killed, or give up nuclear power and tyranny to become as free and prosperous a nation as South Korea. The verdict is still out on how far Kim Jong-un will go, but he hasn’t done anything naughty of late, there are no more nuclear tests, we haven’t paid them millions in protection money, and Trump gave Kim an ultimatum with that offered a good, face-saving way out. Just as we see with the Clintons, corrupt, evil people don’t always get the punishment they deserve. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply to remove them from power.

To summarize, the old America/North Korea paradigm was, “We’ll destroy you. No, wait. We won’t. We’ll pay you off.” The new paradigm is “We’ll destroy you, Kim Jong-un personally, or welcome you and your nation into the fold if you repent and change your ways.”

The old paradigm consistently failed. I’ve never forgotten that it was Hillary Clinton who liked to go around repeating a quotation attributed variously to Einstein, Mark Twain, and Chinese sages: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s what we were doing. The new paradigm, on the other hand, might well work.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Regep Tayip Erdogan.

Was Wittes also complaining back when Obama buddied up to Erdogan (emphasis mine):

[Fareed Zakaria] But have you been able to forge similar [good] relationships with foreign leaders? Because one of the criticisms people make about your style of diplomacy is that it’s very cool, it’s aloof, that you don’t pal around with these guys.

[Obama]I wasn’t in other Administrations, so I didn’t see the interactions between U.S. Presidents and various world leaders. But the friendships and the bonds of trust that I’ve been able to forge with a whole range of leaders is precisely, or is a big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy.

I think that if you ask them, Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Singh or President Lee or Prime Minister Erdogan or David Cameron would say, We have a lot of trust and confidence in the President. We believe what he says. We believe that he’ll follow through on his commitments. We think he’s paying attention to our concerns and our interests. And that’s part of the reason we’ve been able to forge these close working relationships and gotten a whole bunch of stuff done.

Incidentally, it’s been on Trump’s watch that Erdogan’s party just suffered a stunning election defeat in Istanbul. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe people around the world are seeing that they can vote to change the paradigm.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Mohammed Bin Salman.

I believe that too. The Muslim world has a huge schism: Shiite versus Sunni Islam. Iran, which has been in a constant state of deadly war against us for 40 years represents the Shiite influence around the world. Saudi Arabia is the center of Sunni Islam, especially because it controls Mecca. Both are nasty places. Both subordinate women, kill gays, kill Christians, and kill Jews.

Sometimes, though, in the world of geopolitics, you end up making common cause with nations that aren’t very nice. As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s why Israel, which Iran has threatened to destroy, has good working relationships with Saudi Arabia. And that’s why we have to have a good working relationship with Saudi Arabia.

More than that, Mohammed bin Salman is a reformer. He’s still a Saudi, which helps explain why he may have been behind the bungled assassination of the completely awful, anti-American, pro-radical Islami Kashoggi dude. I’m not giving him a pass for the killing, but it was a very Middle Eastern way of dealing with someone viewed as an existential threat.

But again, MBS is a reformer. I wrote about him a year and a half ago:

If Prince Mohammed bin Salman can avoid assassination (and I devoutly hope he can), he is a true reformer. He is trying to upgrade women’s status, he is purging the most corrupt members of the royal family and, most importantly, he is behind the outreach to Israel. There have been rumors that a member of the House of Saud made a secret trip to Israel and, assuming that rumor is true, Prince Salman is the best bet.

If you’re interested in more details about Salman’s reforms, you can read more of what I wrote here.

Also, for a little perspective, don’t forget that Obama gave nasty Iran pallets of cash and permission to go nuclear, even though Iran never backed off from its cruel practices within its borders or its avowed war on America (a war that has played out through terrorist attacks as well as the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq).

I believe that it makes a great deal of sense to tweet belligerently about Iran and also tweet one’s doubts and hestitancy about military action.

Once again, Wittes and I find ourselves in agreement. Trump’s strategy is brilliant. I did a short version in a tweet:

I wrote about Trump’s smart strategy at greater length here:

Trump cultivates a different, albeit equally unpredictable and dangerous, image: He’s the attack dog, constantly barking ferociously, anxious to charge his enemies and rip out their jugulars. The only thing holding him back is the leash that his more mature advisers are able to tug on, just barely, in order to restrain his killer, otherwise-unmanageable instincts.

[snip]

With the events of the past 24 hours, Trump just sent a clear message to the Mullahs: “If it were entirely up to me, the mad dog, any time you cross me in any way, you will die. This time, you got lucky because my advisers were just barely able to hold on to my leash; next time, I guarantee you, you won’t be so lucky.” If that is indeed the message Trump sent and the Mullahs received, it’s a good disincentive for calculating killers who, like so many of the men on death row, are happy meting out death to others but are incredible cowards when they are called to face the Grim Reaper.

[snip]

Meanwhile, Scott Adams saw an even more brilliant spin to Trump’s conduct over the last 24 hours. (You can hear what he has to say here.) My potted summary is that (a) the U.S. was probing Iran’s defenses and a single drone, no matter how expensive, was a small price to pay for that information; (b) Trump forced the Mullahs to imagine their own deaths (which is kind of the same point I was making); and (c) by saying that the deaths of 150 civilians was what dissuaded Trump from acting this time, Trump sent the message to ordinary Iranians that he cares more about their lives than their own rulers do. Combine that with the crushing economic pressure Trump has placed on Iran since he jettisoned Obama’s awful agreement, and you’ve got the Mullahs thinking very carefully about what to do next.

You can read more of what I wrote here.

Wittes wrapped up his tweet storm by sarcastically stating the opposite of everything he believes about Russiagate. It’s hard even to know where to begin addressing his statements, because so much of what he says is inane, disproven, irrelevant, or (I believe) about to be disproven big time. I’ll just throw out a few Russiagate points to emphasize how Wittes fails to prove that Republicans and conservatives live in a world of Orwellian Doublethink. Instead, it is Wittes who lives in a world in which Leftism has deprived him of even the ability to engage in the most basic, functional “singlethink.”

I believe that the whole Russia connection story is “fake news” designed to cover up an embarrassing electoral loss on the part of the Democrats.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Carter Page’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Paul Manafort’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about George Papadopoulos’s dealings with a cutout for the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Russia’s setting up a secret line of communication to the Trump administration through Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of a cabinet secretary.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Jared Kushner’s meeting with a sanctioned Russian bank while working for his father-in-law’s transition. I believe that kind of thing happens all the time in all transitions.

I also believe there was nothing unusual about having a member of a Hungarian extremist party working in your White House while he was resolving a pending gun charge for trying to bring a handgun onto an airplane. I think his wife should be press secretary for a federal agency.

I believe there was no collusion.

I believe there was no obstruction.

I believe Robert Mueller has conflicts of interests because he used to be a member of the president’s golf club.

I also believe he absolutely cleared the president of any whiff of a suggestion of wrongdoing.

I also believe you can’t trust a word of his report because he ran a WITCH HUNT!

I believe Jim Comey is a treasonous liar.

I believe John Brennan is a treasonous liar.

I believe Jim Clapper is a treasonous liar.

I also believe Don McGahn is a liar—and a bad lawyer.

I believe real lawyers don’t take notes.

I believe Jeff Sessions left the president on an island.

I believe in insurance policies.

And yes, I believe that Barack Hussein Obama wire tapped Trump Tower.

I believe Devin Nunes was merely conducting an impartial investigation when he came across information the President needed to know about and that he therefore raced over to the White House to inform him of his discovery.

I believe any patriot would have done the same.

And I believe that stopping briefly before going in and before coming out of the White House to tell the press all about it is perfectly consistent with complaining about leaks.

I believe it makes all the sense in the world to rush over to the White House to inform the President of material you learned from the White House.

I believe that leaks are the real story.

I believe the president has fully cooperated with investigators.

I also believe in investigating the investigators.

Regarding the Mueller report, there’s no doubt that he staffed his team with hardcore Democrats. They worked for Dems, donated to Dems, partied with Dems, and wept when Hillary lost. I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as indicative of bias.

There’s also no doubt that, try as they might, that Dem affiliated team was unable to find any evidence tying Trump or his family to Russian efforts to affect the outcome. There’s also no doubt that the report missed a few Russia-relevant points. Thus, (a) the report did not challenge then-President Obama’s peculiar disinclination to block known Russian interference in the 2016 election and (b) the report sidestepped entirely that Hillary commissioned and paid for the Steele Dossier, which was predicated almost entirely information that Hillary’s agent avidly sought out from . . . Russia!

And of course, we know that, although Mueller couldn’t find evidence that Trump or his team colluded with Russia, there was good evidence that Hillary and the Dems colluded, and that people in the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and NSA violated protocol and laws to spy on Trump. It was this failure to bring down Trump on collusion that led Mueller to try to imply that Trump was guilty of criminal obstruction. (I’ve detailed here how Mueller perverted the statutory language to try to weasel his way into this one.)

Moreover, at a very basic level, it’s ethically improper and morally wrong for a prosecutor to smear someone for wrongdoing when the prosecutor admits he doesn’t even know if there’s enough evidence for a basic wrongdoing case. In America, people are not required to prove their innocence to the public. Instead, if the prosecutor believes he has the goods on someone, the prosecutor is required, using due process, to prove that person’s guilt.

On a more interesting level, remember that Trump knew all along that he was innocent of colluding with Russian and understood that he was being investigated and harassed by the same people who engaged in illegal spying. Seen in this light, it’s pretty hard to accuse Trump of obstruction of justice when he fired a corrupt FBI head (who lied to Trump’s face) and fulminated about the abuse he’s receiving, even as he produced millions of documents and hundreds of witnesses.

Regarding the Trump Tower eavesdropping, there’s no longer any question that, through mass unmasking and FISA applications that were predicated upon the Steele dossier (a document even the FBI admitted was not credible and was entirely unsourced), the Obama administration was listening in on Trump Tower.

There’s no question that Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for only a few months, was a sleazy lobbyist who, like his fellow sleazy lobbyists, the Democrat-supporting Podesta brothers, didn’t properly registered his dealings with Ukraine. He also cheated on his taxes. He also didn’t do anything with Russia.

Jim Clapper is indeed a liar. He’s been caught in several blatant lies. These are documented here and here, for example. Brennan lied too, both during the Obama administration and during Russiagate.

In any event, the known facts about Russiagate are what they are. What I’m looking forward to is hearing from Barr and the Inspector Generals. I happen to believe that we’ll have more than enough evidence to show that the Obama administration spied on an opposing political party’s presidential campaign. What’s going to come out in the future is the dirty details about what people did, what they knew, and when they knew it. For me, the next year is going to be all popcorn all the time.

Finallyl, when it comes to Witess’s last two tweets, I agree with him wholeheartedly:

I believe that no president has ever been treated more unfairly than Trump has.

And yet, I still believe that Donald J. Trump will Make America Great Again.
Don’t you?

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Trump is no better or worse than other recent presidents

Hand-wringing about Trump’s personality and private life — when compared to most other recent Presidents — is akin to complaining that a leopard has spots.

One of the things I hear from those who hate Trump personally is that he is worse than any other president who’s ever occupied the White House. Perhaps because I’m a history major, I have to disagree with that. We’ve had a lot of truly reprehensible people in the White House plus a couple of truly reprehensible people trying to get into the White House.

Woodrow Wilson was a model of rectitude in his private life. He was also an ardent racist who segregated the federal civil service, showed the KKK-loving film Birth of a Nation in the White House because he thought it was accurate history, used the excuse of WWI to bring fascism to America, and refused to step down when incapacitated, so that his wife effectively became president of the United States. Bottom line: Awful man, awful president.

Franklin Roosevelt, despite his disabilities, was a fairly compulsive womanizer, a habit he kept up while in the White House. Many people also feel that his innate antisemitism helped enable the Holocaust.

Roosevelt’s bottom line: Awful man, effective president if you like the Leftward tilt he gave the country, and a good wartime leader.

Harry Truman was also a model of rectitude in his private life, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he came up politically through the completely corrupt Pendergast political machine that dominated Missouri. Maybe he kept his nose clean but the reality is that, when you play politics with the corrupt big boys….

Truman’s bottom line: Decent man, decent president. A rarity

John F. Kennedy was disgusting. He got into the White House because his father made a deal with the union bosses, whose last-minute get-out-the-vote effort (in a style only the union bosses know how to do), tipped the balance for him. In exchange, one of Kennedy’s first acts was an executive order unionizing federal employees. Even ardent Leftist Franklin Roosevelt didn’t do that, because he understood that the unions and the politicians would simply throw taxpayer money back and forth at each other, which is precisely what has happened since 1961. Without that dirty deal, it’s doubtful a Democrat would ever have won the White House again. After all, the biggest spenders in every election are always government unions and it’s always on behalf of Democrats.

Kennedy was also a gravely ill man (get it? gravely ill because he had Graves disease) and a drug addict, hopped up on steroids and amphetamines. There were also all the pain medications for his lifelong back problems, which were compounded by the back injury he sustained during the war.

Kennedy’s compulsive womanizing was sickening. We learned recently that deflowered a 19-year-old intern, passed her around to “service” his buddies at the White House, and when he thought she was pregnant, sent her to an abortionist even though that was illegal and Kennedy was a Catholic. We’ve also known for years that he potentially put himself under the control of the mafia thanks to his affair with Judith Exner.

His handling of the Bay of Pigs was a disaster.

Really — and ironically — the only thing that saved Kennedy’s presidency, or at least the reputation of his presidency, was his early demise. Let the Democrat myth-making begin. . . .

Kennedy’s bottom line: Awful man, with a presidency too short to grade.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was also a truly disgusting man. I love this intro from a 1998 Atlantic article about Johnson:

URINATING in a sink, inviting people into his bathroom, showing off his abdominal scar, exposing his private parts: after a while nothing surprises a biographer of Lyndon Baines Johnson. After fourteen years of research for a two-volume biography, of which the second volume, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press, I have, however, found some new evidence, in three areas, that even by Johnson standards is surprising.

That intro doesn’t even mention his sadistic delight in forcing people to do business with him while he was having his bowel movements. Or his racism, for while there may  have been actual principles behind his push behind the Civil Rights Act, he definitely envisioned chaining blacks to the Democrat Party. I remember my father’s revulsion about the fact that Johnson liked picking beagles up by the ears which my father, a man who didn’t even like dogs, thought was unspeakably cruel.

Regarding those “revelations” in the Atlantic article from which I quoted, above, most of them have to do with Johnson’s feelings about the Vietnam War and his political manipulations. Still, I found this bit telling:

Johnson had “an unfillable hole in his ego,” [Bill] Moyers says. Feelings of emptiness spurred him to eat, drink, and smoke to excess. Sexual conquests also helped to fill the void. He was a competitive womanizer. When people mentioned Kennedy’s many affairs, Johnson would bang the table and declare that he had more women by accident than Kennedy ever had on purpose.

Johnson’s bottom line: Awful man who worsened an awful war (it took Nixon to save that) and who proved to be an ineffective leader for a country besieged by overt and covert communist influences.

Nixon was another man who was faithful to his wife, but we all know about his paranoia and political dirty-dealing. Nevertheless, he was an extremely effective president before he left office.

Nixon’s bottom line: Deeply unpleasant man, yet a truly consequential president in terms of his policy initiatives, both good and bad.

Jimmy Carter, was a man of rectitude who eventually proved also to be a man who never met a dictator he didn’t like. Moreover, he was (and continues to be) such an ardent foe of Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, that one can only suppose antisemitism. It was Carter’s hatred for Israel that led my father, a Democrat, to vote for Reagan in 1980.

Carter’s bottom line: Decent man if you like smug, moralistic antisemites, and one of America’s worst presidents.

Speaking of that 1980 election, how about Teddy Kennedy, the venerable “lion of the Senate”? Manslaughter, alcoholism, compulsive womanizing, sexual assault, and colluding with Russia. There’s a peach of a man.

Teddy Kennedy’s bottom line: Awful in every respect.

Reagan was a decent man while in office. Nevertheless, I recall that when Reagan ran for the presidency, many people were distressed by the fact that he was a divorced man entering the White House with his second wife. It’s worth noting that Trump, another divorced man in the White House, and someone who definitely played the field, has not given rise to any “cheating on Melania” stories since he was elected. (I also find unconvincing the hysteria about the whole “grab ’em” uproar.) Given the colonoscopy level of scrutiny to which Trump is being subjected, I suspect he, unlike many of the presidents in this list, has not used the White House as a cat house. As every romance writer will tell you, rakes can reform.

Reagan’s bottom line: Decent man despite a divorce that could still upset people in 1980 and one of the best presidents to ever occupy the White House — and that’s true despite problems, both of his own making and the making of others, that plagued him during those eight years.

Bill Clinton. Compulsive womanizer, probable rapist, possible pedophile (on Jeffrey Epstein’s Pedophile Island), and unbelievably politically corrupt, along with his even more corrupt wife. Do I need to say more?

Clinton’s bottom line: Utterly reprehensible human being, who had a successful presidency, although it planted a lot of time bombs, such as North Korea, the housing mortgage crisis, punting on rising Islamic terrorism, that bit us in the ass later.

Barack Obama. No matter what Biden says, Biden ran one of the most corrupt White Houses in American history, culminating with his using his administrative agencies to spy on Republican campaigns. (And yes, I’m certain he spied on all of them. It simply became focused on Trump when Trump won the primary.)

There were also the little things that ought to have distressed everyone during the Obama era, such as his inviting hate-filled, misogynist, antisemitic, anti-American rappers to the White House. There was the constant racial division that poured out of him (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” “The police acted stupidly.” Etc.). There was his increasingly openly expressed hostility to Israel, something that paired well with the openly anti-Semitic people who’d been a part of his political life for decades. He is the political Godfather of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. I could go on, but I think the next two years will do a good job of exposing just how bad Obama was.

Obama’s bottom line: It’s hard to say whether Obama has been a morally decent man personally. The press kept (and still tries to keep) such a tight lid on everything about him, before, during, and after the White House, that we really don’t know Obama the man. We do know that he’s a race baiter, an Israel hater, and a friend of antisemites, so to me that makes him an awful man. He was also an awful president, keeping the economy in chains, getting America into multiple wars, destroying our military, unleashing the malevolent Arab spring, turning on (admittedly unsavory characters) such as Mubarek and Qaddafi, pandering to Putin . . . the list is endless.

And now we’ve got candidate Joe Biden, a former Vice President and perennial senator, whom many of those who hate Trump are claiming represents the last gasp of “normalcy.” Speaking of “normalcy,” don’t forget that the phrase comes from Warren G. Harding, an adulterer and the man who had the most corrupt presidency right up until Obama appeared on the scene.

Let me count Joe’s sins: The obvious sins are that he’s a plagiarist, a liar, an unbelievably creepy man around woman and an even more creepy man around little girls, a racist (Obama is “clean”? Really?), a gaffe machine, and a man whose every political instinct for decades has been wrong. Cleverly, Biden hasn’t amassed great wealth despite a long career in politics (Harry Reid, anybody?) but as the developing Ukrainian and Chinese scandals show, that his merely a cover for his extreme corruption: He used his government power to enrich his son.

Joe also announced his run by claiming that foreign leaders are begging him to run. Does that sound good for America? It doesn’t for me. I’ve yet to see a foreign president who puts America’s interests first.

And most importantly, is all of the above “normal?” No. Joe is not normal. He’s weird, creepy, and dishonest. That’s the bottom line on Joe: Stupid and icky.

All of the above is not what-aboutism. That is, I’m not saying, “Well, sure, Trump lies . . . but what about. . . .?” “Or sure, Trump cheated on his wives, but what about. . . .?”

I’m trying to say something different, which is that, while the White House is certainly a bully pulpit, I don’t view it as an actual pulpit — because, since Washington, it never has been an actual pulpit. Moreover, the last guy I can think of who was both a model of rectitude and an extraordinarily successful president was Calvin Coolidge, who got elected 99 years ago.

I certainly don’t quarrel with those who claim that a job requirement for a president is that the president should be able to comport himself on the world stage, but I don’t confuse that requirement with moral decency. Moreover, Donald Trump does fine on the world stage. Trump, who’s been a top-of-the-world businessman for decades is, in fact, quite comfortable functioning at those rarefied echelons. Moreover, as I noted above, since Trump got elected, there haven’t been bimbo eruptions, there haven’t been nasty rappers, there haven’t been divorces . . . there haven’t been any personal scandals. He doesn’t drink or do drugs. Within the White House, he is a man of rectitude.

To the extent Trump is a sinner and a liar and a bombastic man, the laundry list I made above shows that America has never needed, and has seldom had, men of stunning moral rectitude and character in the White House. Moreover, those men who have had the best character in recent years were nothing to write home about. Jimmy Carter was arguably that man and he stank as a human being and a president. The two Bushes were arguably those men and they too were mediocre presidents at best.

Good men can be ineffective executives; bad (not corrupt, but just yucky) men can be effective executives. In my house, I want a good man; in my White House, I want an effective executive — and one, moreover, who loves America and Americans. That’s Trump.

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Fisking the Left’s escalating demands for Trump’s impeachment

Even though Mueller has totally vindicated Trump, you can expect cries for impeachment to intensify. Learn here how stupid those impeachment demands will be.

One of the Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed contends that she never wanted Trump to be impeached because, as Nancy Pelosi said, “he’s just not worth it.” However, now that the Mueller Report has finally dropped, she’s suddenly changed her mind and says that impeachment is the only way to rein in Trump’s power. In other words, now that the Progressive’s primary nefarious scheme to reverse the 2016 election has failed, it’s time to move on to the next nefarious scheme.

To support her new tack, the Progressive cites to The Atlantic’s March 2019 issue entitled Impeach Donald Trump : Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.  The article is certainly timely insofar as its publication conveniently coincides with the Mueller Report. The Progressive says the article is totally believable because the author, Yoni Appelbaum, is a “moderate,” albeit one with a “little bias.”

Having looked at Appelbaum’s article, I have to say I disagree with the article’s title, with every argument contained within it, and with my friend’s assessment that Appelbaum is a “moderate.” It therefore struck me as an article ripe for the fisking. Before I do so, though, I want to do three things. First, even before addressing Appelbaum’s argument, which on its face gives the lie to any claimed “moderation,” I’d like to address Appelbaum’s record, which also gives the lie to any claimed “moderation.”

Appelbaum is an editor at The Atlantic, so he doesn’t write a lot. When he does . . . well, here are most of Appelbaum’s videos or articles over the past couple of years:

I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing political moderation in Appelbaum. Instead, I’m seeing monomaniacal hate against Trump from a hard-Left perspective.

Second, before diving into Appelbaum’s article, it’s worth remembering what the Constitution has to say about impeachment (Art. II, Section 4; emphasis mine):

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

After Friday’s news drop, I think we can confidently say that, with Mueller refusing any indictments, treason is off the table. (Also, considering Trump’s morning joie de vivre, I doubt that the report says, “Trump should be indicted, but the DOJ has to wait until he leaves the White House before beginning the process.”) The question, then, is whether Appelbaum can make an argument for “Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Third, as we dive into Appelbaum’s reasoning, I’d like to remind you that surrounding a bad argument with endless historical facts and analysis will not remedy the false data and poor analysis lying at the article’s heart. Appelbaum, a history major, likes to tout his erudition. That erudition, however, does not offset the flat-out lies he advances, nor does it offset his illogical and often hysterical take on Trump’s presidency.

Now, let the fisking begin:

Appelbaum’s first two paragraphs say that President Trump swore to uphold the Constitution and, instead, has blatantly violated it, running roughshod over the separation of powers, the rule of law, and civil liberties (implying that Trump is a racist, misogynistic  Muslim hater). Well, at least we know what Appelbaum believes he will prove. Whether he meets his self-imposed burden of proof remains to be seen.

Things start falling apart immediately because, in his third paragraph, Appelbaum goes directly to a tried and true fallacy, namely the appeal to authority. In this case, his authority is two well-known #NeverTrumpers; namely, failed presidential candidates McCain and Romney:

This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.

“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naïveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” the late senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain lamented last summer. “The president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” the GOP’s other recent nominee, the former governor and now senator Mitt Romney, wrote in January.

The reliance on McCain tells us why, even though McCain is dead, Trump continues to attack him. As Shakespeare said, “the evil that men do lives after them.” Now that he’s dead, and Americans cannot be repulsed by the real man, McCain is a better Leftist sword than he ever was during his life.

And why do I say “repulsed by the real man” regarding this former POW? I do so because he ended up being a a vicious, unprincipled, hate-filled, dishonest political panderer. McCain, who was not running in the 2016 race, nevertheless tried to destroy Trump by spreading the debased and debunked Steele dossier, which was itself a product of Hillary’s campaign and the Russians. Then, when Trump won, McCain was so maddened by his hatred for Trump that he reneged on his promise to the American people to help defeat Obamacare. Trump supporters — who pretty much constitute most of the Republican base now — would never look at McCain as an authority for anything but raw hatred, dishonor, and possibly brain-tumor induced insanity. Please remember that the fact that someone suffered for his country, or that someone suffered at all, does not confer upon that person moral purity nor does it stand as a permanent barrier to attacks on that person’s character.

Romney, despite his clean-cut looks and business success fares no better as a respectable politician. It was this milquetoast candidate who handed Obama a second term in the White House who viciously attacked Trump in 2016, then made nice with Trump in 2018 so that Trump would support Romney’s senate candidacy, and then promptly attacked Trump again, all the while cuddling up to those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. In the Senate, he has abandoned his conservative principles in order to block Trump’s initiatives.

Bottom line: While McCain and Romney may suddenly be reliable sources for the Left (who attacked both crudely, dishonestly, and vigorously when they were running for president), true conservatives do not consider them go-to sources for objective analysis about Trump or his presidency. You really don’t have a good authority when you’re appealing to someone hated by everyone except for those who need them at a given moment for expediency’s sake.

Appelbaum’s first direct attack on Trump focuses in Trump’s refusal to divest himself of all his money or to disclose his income taxes (neither of which he is required to do by any law on the books):

The oath of office is a president’s promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it. Trump displays no evidence that he understands these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely privileged his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. He has failed to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of actors, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago (the “Winter White House,” as Trump has branded it) and his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Courts are now considering whether some of those payments violate the Constitution.

Stripped down, the above is a silly re-hash of the Emoluments Clause attack the Dems have made against the President. As always, let’s start with the source, which is the Constitution. At Art. II, Section 1, it states as follows:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

It scarcely needs to be said that Trump’s businesses, to the extent they provide him with money, do not constitute payments from either the federal government or the individual states. Incidentally, Trump, unlike any other president before him, donates every penny of his salary to charity.

The Constitution also bars any person — including the president — “without the Consent of the Congress” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” (Const. Art. I, Section 9.) Again, Trump’s profits do not fall into this category. Indirect income from foreign nationals using Trump hotels fall into that category, since any monies are so diffuse they can only be incidental to his overall wealth.

Although Progressives are obsessed with the Emoluments Clause, despite its patent inapplicability to Trump and even though no president has ever before been required to divest himself of his personal wealth, the better (i.e., actual legal analysis) argument says that this position is too dumb for words. Rather than clotting this fisking with another person’s argument, I’ll refer you here for a good analysis.

It’s also worth pointing out here that the Clintons and Obamas came into office with upper-middle class wealth and left office as multi-multi-multi millionaires. Trump, meanwhile, has seen his net worth drop while in office. Believe me, he’s not president to make bank.

What else did Trump do wrong? He asked that the employees who report to him under Art. II of the Constitution be loyal to him. Yes, yes, he did:

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and ultimately forced his resignation. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” Trump told his first FBI director, and then fired him when he refused to pledge it.

Regarding the first claim, I can just see the Articles of Impeachment: “High on the list of Bribery, High Crimes and Misdemeanors is the fact that President Trump disagreed with the hostile media’s crowd estimates and told his press secretary to support his preferred crowd estimates.” Imagine the outrage if Trump had told a blatant, substantive, provable lie such as “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Oh, wait. Don’t bother. Been there, done that. No outrage.

Regarding the second claim, yes, Trump was exceptionally unkind to Sessions. On the other hand, unless there’s a deep-laid movie-style plot that saw Sessions act as the hapless, bumbling AG for the cameras, all while working diligently behind the scenes to line up a series of indictments against the Democrats who worked with Russia to affect the 2016 election or who, as Hillary did, violated national security laws for their own profit and privilege, Sessions did almost nothing as Attorney General. Moreover, Sessions’ decision to recuse himself on the Russia matter was awful. There was no factual or legal basis for him to do so. Instead, he did it out of some over-developed need to demonstrate purity in the face of the Democrat mob.

The real bottom line is that the Attorney General serves at the discretion of the Executive Branch. If the boss is unhappy with the job he or she is doing, the Attorney General goes. The other bottom line is that, despite ridding himself of someone he deemed a bad employee, Trump did nothing whatsoever to interfere with Mueller’s probe.

Finally, regarding the third claim, Trump did not fire the execrable Comey because the latter refused to give Trump a loyalty pledge. Per the Rosenstein memo, Comey got the boot because his egotistical, illegal, unethical, and disgraceful conduct regarding Hillary brought the entire FBI into disrepute. The first two paragraphs in the Rosenstein memo give a flavor of Comey’s wrongdoing — and that’s impressive enough when one remembers that the memo doesn’t even touch upon the fact that Comey illegally passed confidential information to an unsecured source to trigger the now-pretty-much-discredited Mueller investigation:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.

The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

And again, the boss can fire a bad employee, including an employee who repeatedly stabs him in the back. If Comey’s monumental ego and self-righteousness hadn’t taken the place of any residual decency he might have had and if he really had a legitimate beef with the legality of Trump’s actions, Comey would have quit before being fired and then made a principled stand by openly raising his concerns about the president. (And that, my friends, one of the few times you’ll see the words “Comey” and “decency” in the same sentence.)

Following the above weak and ignorant sauce, Appelbaum moves on to the claim that Trump violated the rule of law . . . by whining. Trump could have shut down the whole Russian collusion investigation thanks to his authority under the Constitution. Instead, he left it untouched and limited himself to complaining about how the Department of Justice was treating him — and please keep in mind, both as you read this post and as you listen to the upcoming attacks on Mueller, that Mueller staffed his team entirely with Clinton cronies and other Trump haters:

Trump has evinced little respect for the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede, and shut down Mueller’s investigation have now led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

It takes a special kind of stupid to elevate whining to a “high crime and misdemeanor” justifying impeachment.

Appelbaum also conflates complaints with police action in the next paragraph of “indictments”:

As for the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Trump has repeatedly trampled upon them. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion, and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. He has falsely alleged that America’s electoral system is subject to massive fraud, impugning election results with which he disagrees as irredeemably tainted. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

Again, let’s break it down:

No, Trump did not ban admission to this country based upon religion. Instead, he looked at an Obama-era report identifying those nations most likely to harbor anti-American terrorists. To the extent most of those countries were Muslim, you can either blame the individual countries for harboring this type of criminality, you can blame Islam for promoting this kind of criminality, or you can blame Obama for being anti-Muslim. But you cannot blame Trump for coming up with a list of terrorist countries that happened to be Muslim.

Trump relied upon this Obama list to issue an order banning citizens from those terrorist-sponsoring countries from entering America. The theory behind the ban was reasonable: If Obama says they’re the most terrorist-prone regions in the world, a smart president, intent on saving Americans of all colors, creeds, races, etc., would stop them at the border saying, “Not so fast, buddy. Based upon my predecessor’s analysis, we’re going to triple-check you. After all, we don’t want another Boston Marathon bombing, do we?” (It’s more intriguing that Obama did not implement the ban, but that’s dirty water under the bridge.)

No, Trump did not violate the First Amendment’s mandate that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press. . . .: First, Trump is not Congress. Second, Trump did not use his authority to create a pseudo law, in the form of a regulation or executive order, “abridging the freedom . . . of the press.” Third, unlike his predecessor, who spied on the media, Trump has not used the instrumentalities of government or the police state to attack the press.

No one in the media has been silenced, threatened, tortured, imprisoned, or executed, either covertly or overtly. Instead, the media has puffed itself up to an extraordinary amount and gone on the type of “anti-President” spree that could only happen in a truly free country headed by an executive officer who is committed to the principles of liberty, including a free press.

So really, the charge about Trump’s allegedly unconstitutional attacks on the media boils down to the complaint that “the President said mean things!” In that regard, as even the WaPo acknowledges, President Trump was in good company. Thomas Jefferson too, while acknowledging that a free press is an essential component of a free state, nevertheless waged his own war of words with the media — and even went a step further, trying to use his power as president to silence the press:

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” Jefferson said then.

[snip]

“In his second term, in response to serious criticism from the New England newspapers … he instructed the state attorney generals in New England to prosecute the newspaper editors for sedition in the same way he had opposed such behavior when it was done by the federal government,” said Ellis, the historian.

The move further alienated Jefferson from the journalists, as well as the clergy.

It was during his second term in 1806 that Jefferson wrote to U.S. Rep. Barnabas Bidwell of Massachusetts, “As for what is not true you will always find abundance in the newspapers.”

The next year, Jefferson made his opinion known in a letter to John Norvell, a politician, lawyer and journalist who had written to him about plans to start his own newspaper.

“To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts and sound principles only,'” Jefferson said. “Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of it’s [sic] benefits, than is done by it’s [sic] abandoned prostitution to falsehood.

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Jefferson’s presidency ended in 1809 — but his frustrations with the press did not.

In 1814, he said, “I deplore with you the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed, and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them.”

A year later, he wrote to James Monroe: “A truth now and then projecting into the ocean of newspaper lies, serves like head-lands to correct our course. Indeed, my skepticism as to everything I see in a newspaper, makes me indifferent whether I ever see one.”

And then again the next year: “From forty years’ experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice.”

Monticello historian Christa Dierksheide said Jefferson was lamenting the press he envisioned when he first fought for its freedoms.

“As an idealist, he continued to hope that the press would overcome its partisan leanings,” she told The Post. “But that never happened.”

And finally, pardon me while I try to stop laughing before I address the risible claim that Trump must be impeached because he was prepared to challenge Electoral College results if they proved to be the product of voter fraud. Okay. Okay. I’m done laughing. Back to my discussion.

First, we know there is voter fraud, although the scale is questionable, with Republicans believing there is more voter fraud than Democrats believe exists. Second, all I’ll say is Hillary Clinton and her “why I lost” tour. Third, this comes from the same side of the political aisle that is celebrating Stacy Abrams, who still refuses to accept her defeat in Georgia. And fourth, for the last month or so, as part of its preparation for the 2020 election, the entire Democrat Party is viciously attacking the Electoral College.

Before I fisk further, let me summarize Appelbaum’s indictment against Trump to this point: According to Appelbaum, Trump fired employees for not doing their jobs or for violating the law, wanted loyal employees, complained about the Mueller witch-hunt but did not act on those complaints, relied upon Obama-era conclusions to block potential terrorists from entering the country, refused to impoverish himself or make public his tax returns, complained about but did not lay a hand on the media, and said that he was concerned that the 2016 election could be marred by fraud. The above, believe it or not, are the only substances issues Appelbaum adduces to justify impeachment.

Having established to his own satisfaction that there are multiple bases for impeaching Trump, Appelbaum then describes the purpose behind the impeachment process:

The electorate passes judgment on its presidents and their shortcomings every four years. But the Framers were concerned that a president could abuse his authority in ways that would undermine the democratic process and that could not wait to be addressed. So they created a mechanism for considering whether a president is subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare—in short, whether his continued tenure in office poses a threat to the republic. This mechanism is impeachment.

Appelbaum’s word choice — “subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare” — is very careful and remarkably anodyne. I prefer the way the Heritage Foundation phrases it (emphasis mine):

Because “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was a term of art used in English impeachments, a plausible reading supported by many scholars is that the grounds for impeachment can be not only the defined crimes of treason and bribery, but also other criminal or even noncriminal behavior amounting to a serious dereliction of duty. That interpretation is disputed, but it is agreed by virtually all that the impeachment remedy was to be used in only the most extreme situations, a position confirmed by the relatively few instances in which Congress has used the device.

To expand on the Heritage Foundation’s point, there is an ancient and still respected legal principle (one that Appelbaum relies upon later in his article) called “ejusdem generis.” Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as follows:

Of the same kind, class, or nature. In statutory construction, the “ejusdem generis rule” is that where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same general kind or class as those specifically mentioned.

For example, if a municipal code says residents can keep “dogs, cats, and other small animals,” that lead-in that specifically mentions dogs and cats, both of which are traditional home-based domestic animals, means that the phrase “other small animals” cannot be read to include feral, non-domestic small beasties such as honey badgers.

When applied to the Constitution, the ejusdem generis doctrine means is that high crimes and misdemeanors must fall into the same exalted wrongdoing category as treason (punishable by death when the Constitution was ratified) or bribery, which the Founders saw as a reasonable basis for dissolving their bonds with Britain’s incredibly corrupt political class and starting a nine-year shooting war. It’s doubtful that the Founders would have recognized “he hurt my feelings,” or “he insists that the crowd was larger than we insist it was” as an existential threat to America.

Nevertheless, according to the easily overcome and highly overwrought Appelbaum, “Trump’s actions during his first two years in office clearly meet, and exceed, the criteria to trigger this fail-safe.” Yeah, right.

In fact, as he proceeds with his article, it’s apparent that Appelbaum recognizes that his justifications for impeachment are pathetic. He therefore tries to dumb down the constitutional standards:

It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed. Impeachment, in fact, is a vital protection against the dangers a president like Trump poses. And, crucially, many of its benefits—to the political health of the country, to the stability of the constitutional system—accrue irrespective of its ultimate result. Impeachment is a process, not an outcome, a rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

Let me translate: We know that Trump has not committed “high crimes or misdemeanors” that rise to the serious level of treason and bribery, both of which can destroy the nation. Instead, because we’re from the opposing political party and dislike his policies, and because it’s totally unfair that our candidate didn’t win in 2016, disliking his politics alone is enough to justify impeaching a duly elected president.

I’m ignoring a bit of blah-blah and throat-clearing to move to Appelbaum next substantive (if you can call it that) point.

That . . . ahem . . . substantive point is Appelbaum’s claim that, because Democrats picked up House control in the mid-terms, the voters were asking for impeachment. Indeed the only thing stopping this voter mandate is the fossils heading the Democrat party:

Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. Despite this clear rebuke of Trump—and despite all that is publicly known about his offenses—party elders remain reluctant to impeach him.

Under this line of argument — a switch in party control over the House — Republican House members were derelict in their duty not to impeach Obama in 2010. And they were likewise remiss when they did not impeach Clinton in 1994. And of course, you can say the same about slacker Democrats who didn’t act against Bush when the House flipped during his administration.

Following his own logic to its natural conclusion, Appelbaum cannot understand why Democrats, especially older ones like Pelosi or people running for president, aren’t all gung-ho for impeachment and seem to want to talk about stupid substantive issues instead:

Many Democrats avoided discussing the idea on the campaign trail, preferring to focus on health care. When, on the first day of the 116th Congress, a freshman representative declared her intent to impeach Trump and punctuated her comments with an obscenity, she was chastised by members of the old guard—not just for how she raised the issue, but for raising it at all.

Having identified a failing, Appelbaum comes up with a cause: For the old folks in the House, the ones who aren’t young and hip and angry and totally immune to facts, the problem is that they were scarred by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, not to mention being scared off by the inconvenient little fact that most of the country thinks impeachment is a bad idea:

Pelosi and her antediluvian leadership team served in Congress during those fights two decades ago, and they seem determined not to repeat their rivals’ mistakes. Polling has shown significant support for impeachment over the course of Trump’s tenure, but the most favorable polls still indicate that it lacks majority support. To move against Trump now, Democrats seem to believe, would only strengthen the president’s hand. Better to wait for public opinion to turn decisively against him and then use impeachment to ratify that view. This is the received wisdom on impeachment, the overlearned lesson of the Clinton years: House Republicans got out ahead of public opinion, and turned a president beset by scandal into a sympathetic figure.

The problem with the Democrats, Appelbaum concludes, is that they’re planning to forego the red meat of impeachment with the fake meat of just irritating Trump with endless investigations into his taxes and other stuff. Moreover, these cowardly Democrats are content to let federal judges intervene in Trump’s carrying out his executive mandate. And of course, as of the time Appelbaum wrote his article, these same weak and passive Democrat fossils still had their hopes pinned on Mueller.

(Pardon me. I need to interrupt this post for a happy schadenfreude moment. Aaaaahhhh. I feel sooo good.)

Still, says Appelbaum, you can’t just rely on federal prosecutors to get the job done when it comes to destroying a duly elected president. Worse, the longer you wait to impeach, the more Trump will get done and that’s BAD. This is especially bad because you can’t rush impeachment. So, the sooner you start the process, the better in terms of making sure Trump does not get things done.

For those squeamish readers who might think that it’s a bad thing for Congress to try to overthrow a presidency, Appelbaum assures them that an impeachment attack is good for the presidency — and then he comes up with a piece of slimy intellectual jiujutsu that is extraordinary, so let me break it out carefully.

Keep in mind that, up until this point, Appelbaum has been arguing that Trump is a dangerously powerful maniac who is engaged in conduct that, unless stopped via the extreme remedy of impeachment, will destroy America. He follows this up by acknowledging people who are concerned that, by decapitating such a powerful leader, Congress will accrue to itself way more power than it should have. Appelbaum’s counter to this concern is to negate everything he said before. Thus, Appelbaum counsels concerned citizens that they shouldn’t worry because Trump has in fact been a weak executive and only impeachment can restore the executive office to its appropriate high level of power, one that is co-equal with Congress. And no, I’m not making up that upside-down line of reasoning:

Critics of impeachment insist that it would diminish the presidency, creating an executive who serves at the sufferance of Congress. But defenders of executive prerogatives should be the first to recognize that the presidency has more to gain than to lose from Trump’s impeachment. After a century in which the office accumulated awesome power, Trump has done more to weaken executive authority than any recent president. The judiciary now regards Trump’s orders with a jaundiced eye, creating precedents that will constrain his successors. His own political appointees boast to reporters, or brag in anonymous op-eds, that they routinely work to counter his policies. Congress is contemplating actions on trade and defense that will hem in the president. His opponents repeatedly aim at the man but hit the office.

Orwell would be proud of this doublespeak. “War is peace.” “Freedom is slavery.” “Ignorance is strength.” “A president who deliberately reduces government power is so powerfully dangerous Congress must destroy him to return the presidency to its all powerful role.”

Nor should Democrats fear the backlash Republicans experienced when they went after Clinton, argues Appelbaum. Unlike Trump, who is undermining America by shrinking government, hurting reporters’ feelings, and relying on his predecessor’s working to identify countries that pose a threat to America, all of which justify impeachment, Republicans in the 1990s stupidly used impeachment to go after someone who engaged in criminal conduct while in office. That earlier Clintonian criminal conduct, insists Appelbaum, had nothing to do with “undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government” — all of which Appelbaum points to as reasonable justifications for impeachment per a 1974 House Judiciary Committee report.

Again, having satisfied himself with his own bass-ackwards, internally contradictory argument, Appelbaum insists that Trump is “attacking the bedrock of America democracy.” That language, incidentally, is hyperlinked to another Atlantic article from October 2017, entitled Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency? Don’t worry that I’m going to fisk two articles here. I won’t.

The quick summary of that second article, which is rich in invective and poor in facts, is that Trump, a mere nine months into his presidency, was destroying democracy because he issued an executive order based upon Obama-era information that banned open immigration from a small number of countries that posed serious terrorist threats to America; because of the (now-discredited) Russia Collusion claim; and because he insulted reporters and leftist judges. In other words (and boy, that article has lots of other words, most of them mean), Orange Man Bad.

After reiterating through a link to own magazine that Orange Man Bad, Appelbaum acknowledges that impeachment won’t actually work. Thus, if the House moves to impeach Trump, there’s no way a 2/3 Senatorial majority will vote to remove him from office despite all the compelling “proof” Democrats have amassed. Instead, it turns out, the whole reason Appelbaum wants impeachment is because of its public relations benefits over the next year and a half:

The process of impeachment itself is likely to shift public opinion, both by highlighting what’s already known and by bringing new evidence to light. If Trump’s support among Republican voters erodes, his support in the Senate may do the same. One lesson of Richard Nixon’s impeachment is that when legislators conclude a presidency is doomed, they can switch allegiances in the blink of an eye.

Lest you think Appelbaum’s calculation is too crude and obvious, he promises that votes in 2020 aren’t really the issue. It’s for the good of the country, he offers in high-minded terms:

The country will benefit greatly regardless of how the Senate ultimately votes. Even if the impeachment of Donald Trump fails to produce a conviction in the Senate, it can safeguard the constitutional order from a president who seeks to undermine it. The protections of the process alone are formidable. They come in five distinct forms.

Let me summarize those “five distinct forms” of “protections of the process”:

1. “The first is that once an impeachment inquiry begins, the president loses control of the public conversation.” I won’t quote Appelbaum’s tedious argument, which is replete with pointless historic references intended to make him look smart. The short version is that for two years Trump has used Twitter like a red dot on the wall to inflame the crazy cats in both Congress and the media, thereby bypassing them to send his messages directly to the voters.

By implementing the impeachment process, Appelbaum promises that Democrats can finally silence the President. He’ll be so afraid he will no longer speak up for himself and, most importantly, he’ll be too cowed to use his counter-punching technique. (When I refer to that technique, I mean that Trump never attacks first; but if you attack him, he’ll make sure he pounds you into the dust.)

2. Trump will be unable to govern. Or, as Appelbaum says, “As Trump fights for his political survival, that struggle will overwhelm other concerns. This is the second benefit of impeachment: It paralyzes a wayward president’s ability to advance the undemocratic elements of his agenda.” As you read those words, please think about just a short list of the results of Trump’s governance to date:

  • A soaring economy.
  • Fair trade agreements with an increasing number of nations, with China coming closer to the negotiating table.
  • Low unemployment, including the best numbers ever for Hispanics and the best numbers in decades for Blacks.
  • A sustained battle to enforce existing laws governing American immigration.
  • The cessation of North Korean nuclear testing, along with the promise of disarmament.
  • A reinvigorated military that is being shaped to win wars rather than appease social justice warriors.
  • The end of ISIS.
  • Support for the Second Amendment.
  • Support for fetal rights.
  • Support for Israel.
  • Respect for Trump in the Muslim world.
  • A federal bench (including the Supreme Court) that is being filled with judges who respect the Constitution and written laws of the United States, rather than governing from feelings.
  • Energy policies that sustain the economy and keep us from returning to the squalor, death, and decay of a pre-modern era.

Looking at that list, which out-Reagans Reagan, no wonder the Left is anxious to kneecap this President by any means possible. Every one of those achievements is a disaster from the Democrat policy perspective, whether it’s convincing minorities that they can do better than government dependence; barring the next generation of illegal Democrat voters from entering the country; showing that a strong American military can win wars; supporting gun rights against tyranny; shining a light on the Leftist death cult of abortion; supporting the only liberal nation in the entire Middle East; imposing the rule of law on our courts; and supporting energy policies that block the return of a Stone Age “nirvana.” Sheesh, no wonder the Left hates Trump so much.

Even Appelbaum is forced to concede that “Some of Trump’s policies are popular. . . .” Nevertheless, he claims, impeachment is necessary to stop in their tracks some of Trump’s more outré initiatives — all for the public good, of course. And what are these “orange man bad” initiatives?

What’s funny is that the first thing on the list of alleged bad policies is the Russia collusion issue. Why it’s funny isn’t just that Friday’s events — when it became clear, because of the lack of indictments, that there is no collusion — knock the pins out from under this argument. It’s funny because Appelbaum insists that impeachment will finally give the Russia collusion story the intention it deserves. Really:

[I]mpeachment would raise the scrutiny to an entirely different level. In part, this is because of the enormous amount of attention impeachment proceedings garner.

Considering that, for the past two years, it seems as 90% of reporting from CNN, MSNBC, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and all the other mainstream media outlets has been about Russian collusion, it’s difficult to imagine bringing “scrutiny to an entirely different level.” When you’ve reached the stratosphere already, where else are you going to go?

3. After some more erudition preening, Appelbaum moves on to his third process protection: “The process of impeachment can also surface evidence.” If you read through two paragraphs of pointless digression about Nixon, you learn that Appelbaum has nothing to offer in the way of new evidence about Trump. He’s just hoping that impeachment will be the ultimate fishing expedition, over and above the Mueller inquiry and myriad House investigations.

4. Benefit number four is a profoundly dishonest one: Impeachment, says Appelbaum, will help America by “defusing the potential for an explosion of political violence”:

This is a rationale for impeachment first offered at the Constitutional Convention, in 1787. “What was the practice before this in cases where the chief Magistrate rendered himself obnoxious?” Benjamin Franklin asked his fellow delegates. “Why, recourse was had to assassination in wch. he was not only deprived of his life but of the opportunity of vindicating his character.” A system without a mechanism for removing the chief executive, he argued, offered an invitation to violence. Just as the courts took the impulse toward vigilante justice and safely channeled it into the protections of the legal system, impeachment took the impulse toward political violence and safely channeled it into Congress.

Of course, Appelbaum is dishonest about his argument. After the erudition preening of quoting Franklin, he points out correctly that political terrorism escalated on Nixon’s watch and acknowledges that this terrorism came from the Left. Today, though, it’s different, insists Appelbaum:

The current moment is different, of course. Today, the left is again radicalizing, but the overwhelming majority of political violence is committed by the far right, albeit on a considerably smaller scale than in the Nixon era.

You’ll notice that there are no hyperlinks to his claim that “the overwhelming majority of political violence is committed by the far right.” That is because there is no proof whatsoever to support that claim. If you look at America’s streets and campuses, the violence is from Antifa and its ilk. If you look at America’s restaurants and other retail outlets, it’s not conservatives throwing foods and drinks at people, snatching their hats, driving them out of venues, etc. Again, that’s all from the Left.

To call things by their true labels, Appelbaum lied. That’s not a good sign about an argument’s integrity, is it?

5. The fifth benefit Appelbaum advances in favor of a pointless impeachment process, one that won’t end with in Trump’s leaving office, is once again a crude political calculation: It will help ensure that a Democrat candidate wins in 2020. Indeed, Appelbaum speculates, looking at Ford and Gore, the impeachment process might even keep Pence from ever becoming president, should he so desire.

In sum, looking at the five “benefits” Appelbaum puts forward, it’s obvious that he doesn’t want the impeachment process because it will remove a genuinely corrupt and damaging man from political office. Instead, he wants it to handicap a duly elected president and ensure that a Democrat will get the White House in 2020. Appelbaum’s isn’t a principled argument; it’s a crude political calculation dressed up in high-minded language and meaningless historic references.

I’ll skip entirely Appelbaum’s discussion about how impeachment works and what the standards are. I don’t care whether he’s accurate or not, because his words, again, are merely intended to dress a risible political attack in the respectable clothes of rules and constitutionality. The one thing to note is that Appelbaum concedes that the only hook on which Leftists can hang their hat is “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a concept I already discussed. After trawling through bits and bytes of constitutional history, he pretty much comes out where I did by discussing the ejusdem generis doctrine and the Heritage Foundation summation.

Where Appelbaum gets interesting again is when he goes full Lavrentiy Beria. As most of you know, Beria was Stalin’s head of secret police and famously said “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

To fully understand the horror behind Beria’s statement, you need to think about how America’s criminal justice system works. It’s based upon a very specific order of events: First, a crime occurs. Only then do we look for and prosecute the culpable party. Totalitarian states have a different order. First, the dictator identifies a person whom he wishes to destroy. Then the police state combs through every aspect of that person’s life to find something — anything — this person did that might have violated any one of thousands of laws and regulations. Armed with that information, the state destroys the person.

That’s going full Lavrentiy Beria and that’s exactly what Appelbaum says impeachment should be used for (emphasis mine):

Some democrats have already seen enough from the Trump administration to conclude that it has met the criteria for impeachment. In July 2017, Representative Brad Sherman of California put forward an impeachment resolution; it garnered a single co-sponsor. The next month, though, brought the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s defense of the “very fine people on both sides.” The billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a petition drive calling for impeachment. A second resolution was introduced in the House that November, this time by Tennessee’s Steve Cohen, who found 17 co-sponsors. By December 2017, when Representative Al Green of Texas forced consideration of a third resolution, 58 Democrats voted in favor of continuing debate, including Jim Clyburn, the House’s third-ranking Democrat. On the first day of the new Congress in January, Sherman reintroduced his resolution.

These efforts are exercises in political messaging, not serious attempts to tackle the question of impeachment. They invert the process, offering lists of charges for the House to consider, rather than asking the House to consider what charges may be justified. The House should instead approve a resolution authorizing an impeachment inquiry and allocating the staff, funding, and other resources necessary to pursue it, as the resolution that initiated the proceedings against Richard Nixon did.

Please keep in mind that, when the impeachment process against Nixon started, we already knew — absolutely for sure and certain — about the Watergate break-in, which was a crime. Here, Appelbaum’s “indictment” is nothing more than “I don’t like him, his policies, or his personal style.” Based on this indictment, he is insisting that the House convene an extraordinary constitutional process to find a crime or anything else on Trump’s part that amounts to wrongdoing sufficiently extreme to make the nightly news. If you don’t find that troubling, perhaps you’re a Leftist.

At this point, perhaps realizing how far out on a totalitarian limb he’s placed himself, Appelbaum concedes that, on the rare occasions Congress has gone the impeachment route, it likes to start with a crime onto which it can hang its hat.

Despite the consensus of constitutional scholars that impeachable offenses need not be crimes, Congress has generally preferred to vote on articles that allege criminal acts. More than a third of representatives, and an outright majority of senators, hold law degrees; they think like lawyers. Democrats are thus focused on campaign-finance regulations, obstruction of justice, tax laws, money-laundering rules, proscriptions on bribing foreign officials, and the Constitution’s two emoluments clauses, which bar the president from accepting gifts from state or foreign governments.

Appelbaum even concedes that the whole Russia collusion farce probably won’t be enough of a “crime” to justify impeachment. Even if Mueller came up with something — which he didn’t — wrongful acts Trump may have committed before entering office do not justify impeachment. When he was writing his article, Appelbaum was also filled with hope that Mueller would come up with something that could be grounds for impeachment.

Too bad, so sad, that didn’t happen. Still, Appelbaum dreams and in his dreams he sees a successful House process that sends articles of impeachment to the Senate.

And then, suddenly, the members of the United States Senate will be forced to answer a question that many have long evaded: Is the president fit to continue in office? There will be no press aides to hide behind, no elevators into which they can duck. Some Democrats have already made their opinions clear. Others will have to decide whether to vote to remove a president backed by a majority of their constituents. For Republicans, the choice will be even harder.

If you’re wondering how a Republican majority senate, representing a Republican base that strongly supports the President, will answer the question Appelbaum poses, please refer to the list I compiled, above, detailing just a few of the things Trump has accomplished during his presidency.

Question asked and answered as we lawyers like to say.

Appelbaum must at some low-level in his brain understand that Trump is governing wisely and well, even if not in a way Democrats like, because he suddenly backtracks wildly from his previous line of reasoning (if one can call it reasoning) and announces that impeachment is necessary, not because of high crimes and misdemeanors, but simply because Trump is unworthy:

This is where the dual nature of impeachment as both a legal and a political process comes into sharpest focus. The Founders worried about electing a president who lacked character or a sense of honor, but Americans have long since lost the moral vocabulary to articulate such concerns explicitly, preferring to look instead for demonstrable violations of rules that illuminate underlying character flaws. It is Trump’s unfitness for office that necessitates impeachment; his attacks on American democracy are plainly evident, and should be sufficient.

In this regard, may I point out that Kennedy, Clinton, and FDR were sexual predators; FDR and Kennedy lied to the American people about their health and drug use; and Johnson was a man who abused dogs (although he did not eat them), debased his employees while talking to them as he defecated, and communicated with endless crude obscenities.

And then there’s Obama. Obama invited into the White House anti-Semites, singers who sang anti-white songs, and singers who supported murdering police. Obama also talked about kicking people’s asses, sending people to the back of the bus, and bringing guns to fights. Because the media adored him, and not enough decades have passed for people to start speaking the truth, I suspect there’s more there in terms of Obama’s behavioral abuses while in the White House. We just haven’t heard it yet.

I’m going to skip most of Appelbaum’s discussion about the effort to remove Andrew Johnson in 1868. The point that Appelbaum is trying to drive home is that Trump is another Johnson: a populist (although Johnson was a Democrat) who hated blacks and, while comfortable with seeing slavery gone, wanted to ensure that blacks continued as second-class citizens without the benefits of civil rights:

The case before the United States in 1868 bears striking similarities to the case before the country now—and no president in history more resembles the 45th than the 17th.

[snip]

A remarkable number of Americans looked at the president and saw a man grossly unfit for office. Johnson, a Democrat from a Civil War border state, had been tapped by Lincoln in 1864 to join him on a national-unity ticket. A fierce opponent of the slaveholding elite and a self-styled champion of the white yeomanry, Johnson spoke to voters skeptical of the Republican Party’s progressive agenda. He horrified much of the East Coast establishment, but his raw, even profane style appealed to many voters. The National Union Party, seeking the destruction of slavery and the Confederacy, swept to victory.

No one ever thought Johnson would be president.

[snip]

In federal efforts to establish racial equality, they saw antiwhite discrimination.

[snip]

The question facing Congress, and the public, was this: What do you do with a president whose every utterance and act seems to undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold?

[snip]

It was the campaign of white-nationalist terror that raged through the spring and summer of 1866 that persuaded many Republicans they could not allow Johnson to remain in office.

[snip]

But the euphoria [at Johnson’s failed impeachment] proved short-lived. The New York Times urged Johnson’s supporters to look at the bigger picture: “Congress has assumed control of the whole matter of reconstruction, and will assert and exercise it.” Any effort to wrest control back from the House and Senate was held in check by the specter of another impeachment, which haunted Johnson’s remaining months in office.

[snip]

The chorus of experts who now present Johnson’s impeachment as an exercise in raw partisanship are not learning from history but, rather, erasing it. Johnson used his office to deny the millions freed from bondage the equality that God had given them and that the Constitution guaranteed. To deny the justice of Johnson’s impeachment is to affirm the justice of his acts. If his impeachment was partisan, it was because one party had been formed to defend the freedom of man, and the other had not yet reconciled itself to that proposition.

To understand the above narrative from Appelbaum’s perspective, you must believe that President Trump — who has brought blacks more economic success than any president in history and who is working hard to keep out illegal aliens who primarily compete with blacks for jobs — is nevertheless a member of a new, secret KKK.

Although Appelbaum doesn’t mention Charleston, we know that the only piece of so-called “evidence” the Left has that Trump is the reincarnation of the racist Andrew Johnson is Trump’s alleged support for White Supremacists in Charlottesville. That alleged support is a hoax. I will not explain the hoax here but will, instead, direct you to Scott Adams, John Nolte, and Steve Cortes, all of whom have irrefutably rebutted that gross and complete canard. Take out the hoax, and there is nothing that justifies trying to analogize Trump, who’s never been racist in his life, to Johnson.

In fairness, here’s Appelbaum’s conclusion to his article, which I’ll follow with my own conclusion:

Today, the United States once more confronts a president who seems to care for only some of the people he represents, who promises his supporters that he can roll back the tide of diversity, who challenges the rule of law, and who regards constitutional rights and liberties as disposable. Congress must again decide whether the greater risk lies in executing the Constitution as it was written, or in deferring to voters to do what it cannot muster the courage to do itself. The gravest danger facing the country is not a Congress that seeks to measure the president against his oath—it is a president who fails to measure up to that solemn promise.

Nothing that Appelbaum asserts against Trump rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” His assertions aren’t even low crimes and misdemeanors. Parsed, Appelbaum’s indictment boils down to attacking Trump for seeking loyalty from his employees, firing people who are corrupt or incompetent, calling out the media on its partisanship and dishonesty, shrinking government’s role in citizen’s lives, refusing to turn himself into a pauper in order to hold office, and successfully bypassing the media in getting his message to America.

Moreover, the benefits that Appelbaum asserts flow from impeachment proceedings have nothing to do with addressing alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. Instead, he is open about the fact that they are intended to entangle Trump in process so seriously that he can no longer govern. Appelbaum also hopes that the proceedings smear Trump so completely that he’ll not only lose in 2020, but that Pence will be forever tarred with the same brush.

In other words, Appelbaum doesn’t make a case for impeachment. Instead, he proves that he’s just another garden-variety, biased, monomaniacal member of the “Resistance,” so deeply infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that he’s incapable of realizing that what comes out of his mouth is a fetid combination of politically biased garbage and nonsense, infused with meaningless historic references, and neatly packaged in the rotting remnants of a once-reputable magazine.

One more thing. Although The Atlantic is pretty much a joke today whenever it gets on politics (groveling at Obama’s feet and snapping at Trump’s), it still has significant reach. If you think my post has some virtue in tearing down Appelbaum’s argument, please think about sharing it. And of course, if you don’t, quickly pass over my post and pretend you never read it in the first place to spare me the shame of ignominiously showcasing my own ignorance and bias.

The post Fisking the Left’s escalating demands for Trump’s impeachment appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Hillary Clinton’s Endgame: a Third Term for Bill Clinton?

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Hillary Clinton, provided a glimpse into what is in store for the nation and its citizens should she become president.

After pointing out Barack Obama’s failed energy policies, role in our national debt crisis, job loss, and the economy, Donald Trump asked Clinton why after 30 years is she suddenly thinking about solutions? Clinton’s response is scary and a warning to America.

TRUMP: Hillary, I’d just ask you this. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you’ve been doing it, and now you’re just starting to think of solutions.

CLINTON: Well, actually… [Interruption]

TRUMP: I will bring — excuse me. I will bring back jobs. You can’t bring back jobs.

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit.

TRUMP: Yeah, for 30 years. [Interruption]

CLINTON: And I have — well, not quite that long. I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s. I think a lot about what worked and how we can make it work again…

TRUMP: Well, he approved NAFTA… [Interruption]

(CROSSTALK)

Read more

The post Hillary Clinton’s Endgame: a Third Term for Bill Clinton? appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

The Bookworm Beat 9/15/16 — the “polls they are a’changin’” edition and open thread

If Bill Clinton and Al Gore couldn’t do it, then no one can. A Leftist Facebook friend posted an article from The Hill with a lede saying that Donald Trump “floats rolling back food safety regulations.” The implication, obviously, is that in Trump’s America, we’re all going to die from salmonella and e. Coli. Read through to the end, though, and you discover that Trump is instead making a remarkably sensible suggestion:

Trump’s economic policy plan also calls for “an immediate halt to new federal regulations and a very thorough agency-level review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped.”

Agencies would be required to list all regulations and rank them in terms of their contribution to growth, health and safety. The goal, Trump said, would be to strengthen the rules that are useful and reduce the rules that harm the economy.

One of my Leftist Facebook friends stopped with the lede, of course, and envisioned our nation drowning in fecal matter emanating from food-poisoned Americans. In a comment, I quoted the above language and suggested that it was a good idea to control regulations, which are so big no one can know them, are often non-effective, are frequently inconsistent with each other, and are too often quasi-legislation.

To seal it for this Leftist, I reminded him that Bill Clinton had assigned Al Gore this very task of cutting back on America’s burgeoning regulations, although it never came to anything. And that’s when my Facebook friend essentially said “Well, if Al Gore and Bill Clinton couldn’t do it, then no one can. After all, Trump has never been a politician, and he’s really stupid, so what does he know?”

My reply was that voters may be hoping that it’s an advantage that Trump hasn’t been a politician. He may have out-of-the-box (i.e., out-of-D.C.) ideas that actually work. The response? A reiteration that Trump is stupid. (Has there ever been a Republican candidate, no matter how successful and brilliant, whom the Left hasn’t called stupid? I don’t think so. It’s a tired idea.)

Agencies must be reined in. Exhibit A in the “agencies need to be cut back and God willing Trump is the man to do it” category is the fact that the FBI thinks it is more important than Congress is. So it was that Jason Chaffetz had to explain to the acting FBI chair that, no, Congress gets to have all of the notes from Hillary’s FBI interview — and then serves him, then and there, with a subpoena.

The funny thing about the WaPo’s indictment of Trump as a scam artist.  The Washington Post is beside itself with excitement that ardent Hillary supporter, and pay for play attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is starting an investigation into Trump’s charitable foundation. I got three paragraphs into the WaPo editorial supporting this investigation and castigating Trump before I broke into uncontrollable laughter:

To read more, please go here.

Bill’s latest lie: Clinton Foundation won’t take foreign donations if Hillary’s elected.

On Thursday, at a meeting with staffers, Bill Clinton announced that if Hillary Clinton is elected, the Clinton Foundation would no longer accept receive donations from foreign enemies entities, governments, corporate charities and domestic or foreign corporations, all of whom might will return later seeking favors from the Oval Office.

Clinton who anticipates his resignation from the foundation’s board contends that the Clinton foundation would only accept donations from independent charities and American citizens.

Oh and if you’re asking yourself, “what about the paid speeches?” Well, the Clintons supposedly will hold off on delivering paid speeches until “after the November elections.”

Of course, all of the above is incumbent upon whether or not Hillary Clinton is elected which brings the last paragraph into question but not so much since Clinton’s remarks are an admission of guilt that pre-dates Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State by more than a decade AND includes Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State to present day.

the clintons lying with pigs by michael ramirez

IF? That was THURSDAY when the cameras were rolling but TODAY is SATURDAY, the cameras are not; and with the latter being the case, according to Yahoo-Reuters News the Clinton Foundation NOT weighing its options because there were none to begin with is skirting with the continued acceptance (if Clinton is elected) by the Clinton Foundation of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations.

Translation: “Come on’ in boys, America is for sale to the highest bidder and there’s plenty of space in the Lincoln bedroom for everyone.”

Ah, those platform promises but Bill Clinton said Thursday. Yeah well…. the new guidelines would take about a year for the Clinton Foundation to work out. Besides, only a small part of the foundation’s work would be affected, like climate change, work on economic development and the like.

More about “and the like,” offshoots of the Clinton Foundation such as Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) are being fundamentally transformed into independent entities (if Clinton is elected?) and will not be bound by the Clinton Foundation’s donor limits.

Not buying it are you? Well, you shouldn’t because in the name of the greater good (that’s how Progressives roll):

…The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the foundation’s flagship project credited with reducing the cost of life-saving HIV medicines in the developing world, is yet to decide if it will similarly introduce new limits on donors….

CHAI accounts for nearly 60 percent of the $250 million the foundation spent in 2014, according to the foundation’s most recent annual report posted on its website. CHAI files separate tax returns from the Clinton Foundation, but is included in the foundation’s audited expenses, annual reports and other promotional literature….

The Clintons who has never been held accountable for anything and who again lied to voters on camera just two days ago will continue their ponzi schemes, questionable fundraising tactics, money laundering operation for dictators, the worst violators of human rights across the planet and America’s enemies while lining their pockets with blood money.

Bill Clinton spoke too soon last week when he called his wife’s email scandal: ‘the biggest load of bull I ever heard.’ Thursday’s dog and pony show has taken the prize for being the biggest load of bull that anyone has heard brought to American voters courtesy of 1209 North Orange Street, Wilmington Delaware, epic center of the Clinton Crime Family Syndicate and official address for over 285,000 companies in particular WJC, LLC which happens to be a shell company set up in 2008 by Bill Clinton to shield consulting fees and ZFS Holdings, LLC set up in 2013 exactly one week after Hillary left the State Department.

… The Clinton campaign declined to comment on why the Clintons, who live in New York and have no evident residential ties to Delaware, set up companies in the state. But the presidential candidate isn’t alone. Experts say Delaware is the most popular place to register a company in the United States, due in part to its established system of business case law and tax incentives for intellectual property and real estate holdings.

One of the biggest draws may be the state’s lack of disclosure requirements—businesses can be created completely anonymously, allowing the owners to avoid public detection and even hide income from U.S. authorities….

Read full article

The Clintons Foundation Weapons Deals

Oh yes, the air is ripe from the bull spun by the Clintons who never met a hundred million, ponzi scheme, tax shelter and scandal they didn’t like.

 

Cross-posted on Pumabydesign001’s Blog.

 

Politicians’ external behaviors do not prove whether they have a strong moral core

I don’t particularly like a friend one of the Little Bookworms has, although I feel quite sorry for the young woman. She’s in her late teens, with staggeringly low self-esteem that she buries by indulging in drugs, alcohol, and gender fluid sexual engagements. I don’t worry, though, that she’ll be a bad influence on my child who has – thank goodness – a solid moral core that resists this type of depressing debauchery. In any event, my child is a legal adult and can consort with whomever she likes.

The reason I mention this unhappy young woman is that my Little Bookworm met the young woman’s latest boyfriend. Of that young man, my Little Bookworm had this to say: “He’s a really interesting guy in his early 20s. He’s a total straight arrow. He doesn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs.”

I asked the logical question: “What’s he doing with your friend then?”

The answer surprised me. “He’s a drug dealer.”

Well! I immediately told Little Bookworm that, while I have no legal control over her social life, she would do well never to socialize with either the friend or the boyfriend again. I reminded my children ad nauseum when they were growing up that San Quentin (which we can see from our home, so it’s a very real place to them) is filled with prisoners whose primary mistake was to have the wrong friends. If the boyfriend gets arrested while my Little Bookworm is in the same apartment he is, Little Bookworm will find herself in an adjoining jail cell.

Having delivered myself of this practical advice, I begin to think about the difference between apparently moral trappings and genuinely moral conduct. After all, other than the small problem of drug dealing, the boyfriend sounds great – clean cut and clean-living. The package looks good, but the core is rotten.

Looking back in time, we all know about that famous dog-loving, non-smoking, teetotaling vegetarian who sent six million Jews to the gas chamber and started a war that claimed 40 million or so lives within just six years. Hitler, like the boyfriend, was a mass of objectively virtuous behaviors that hid another rotten core.

The opposite can be true too. That is, there are people whose lives appear superficially vice-ridden, but who nevertheless have a strong moral compass. Take Winston Churchill, who was in so many ways Hitler’s opposite during WWII.

Churchill was undoubtedly an alcoholic. He showed exceptionally bad judgment during WWI, leading to the Gallipoli disaster. Many have credibly accused him during WWII of promoting plans that led to unnecessary loss of life, whether of his own troops or German civilians. In addition to loving his wife, mother, and daughters, he had a strain of misogyny that revealed itself in some of his most brutally memorable insults to women who got under his skin.

Despite all those behavioral problems, Churchill had a rock-solid inner morality, one that allowed him immediately to take Hitler’s measure and to be a sure compass during the dark, dark days of WWII. He was Hitler’s light-filled antithesis.

We grow them like that at home too – people whose external behavior is at odds with their true moral (or immoral or amoral) center. Jimmy Carter is Southern Baptist who has always lived a life of traditional rectitude – he is a committed husband, a devout church-goer, and someone who regularly donates his time and energy to building housing for the poor.

I should admire Carter, but I don’t. I loathe him because that pious mantel is wrapped around a man who is a committed anti-Semite, one who routinely sides with the debauched death cult that is Hamas and its followers, a group of people who seek Jewish genocide, murder homosexuals and Christians, suppress women, and use children as shields for their children. No matter how conventionally pretty Carter’s little acts of selflessness, he is (to my mind, at least) a fundamentally bad man.

And of course there are the Clintons. What can we say about the Clintons? Hillary has been married to only one man (although he did allegedly tell an adulterous girlfriend that she cheated on him constantly . . . with women). She’s stood by her man through thick and thin, which seems like the act of a solid, faithful spouse. Still, one cannot help but suspect that her decision to stick it out was driven, not by a commitment to her marriage vows, but by her understanding that she would need someone whose charisma could pole vault her from one job for which she was unqualified and in which she did badly to another job for which she was unqualified and in which she did badly, a pattern that Hillary planned (and plans) to repeat right up until she sits behind the desk in the Oval Office.

To those of us who don’t respect Hillary, the fact that she’s held positions of importance (in all of which she’s conducted herself badly) or that she pays lip service to every Leftist political shibboleth of days past and present does nothing to hide her toxic soul: Hillary is a compulsive liar, a user, a shamefully unindicted felon, and a person motivated by a greed so deep and pure that many of us cannot even begin to contemplate what drives her from one act of crime and corruption to another.

You’d think that after having grubbed in $150,000,000 over a sixteen-year period, Hillary’s greed would be satiated and she’d lie low, but she can’t. Hillary is compulsively greedy and dishonest, a manifest fact that shocks those who believe core morality matters and a fact that, even more shockingly, couldn’t matter less to the legions of Leftists who will do anything to get her into the White House.

Bill is in a class by himself too. He’s such a charming, compassionate man, who really does seem to feel everyone’s pain. A more naturally gifted politician it’s hard to imagine. While I suspect most Americans would cringe at the thought of having Hillary seated next to them at a dinner party, I’m pretty sure most Americans, even those who hate the Clintons – both their politics and their corruption – would have a good time if they ended up with Bill as their dinner partner.

These superficial virtues, though, cannot should never allow us to forget that Bill is almost certainly a rapist, he’s definitely guilty of sexual assault short of rape, he’s a workplace harasser, he’s best buddies with a pedophile, he’s a perjurer and, like his wife, he will do absolutely anything, including selling out his own country, to fill his coffers. His soul is black. But there’s that charm. . . .

As they do with Hillary, the Left so desperately wants to ignore that black soul and forgive Bill his sins, never mind that he has no interest in forgiveness. It’s that need to pin atonement upon him, when he hasn’t really atoned at all, that resulted in one of the most perverse posts I’ve ever seen at the Wonkette blog, home to a hardy, and somewhat . . . um . . . intellectually esoteric collection of rapidly Leftist feminists.

A Leftist named Rebecca Schoenkopf gamely, and rather admirably, decided to tackle head-on an interview that Katie J. M. Baker did for Buzzfeed with Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who has claimed for almost forty years that Bill Clinton raped her.

The interview is a good one and deserves to be read. Broaddrick has never changed her core story in the 38 years since she alleges that Bill trapped her in a hotel room and raped her. Moreover, she’s mostly kept out of the limelight, so she cannot be accused of having made a profitable or high-profile career out of slandering Bill Clinton. Indeed, she might have stayed quiet still were it not for Hillary’s “feminist” insistence that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

For the 73-year-old Broaddrick, whom Hillary did everything possible to silence and discredit, these assertions were a bridge too far. Suddenly, on Twitter, she started speaking out. “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.”

Broaddrick comes across as a credible woman who was used badly by both Bill and Hillary and who never got the justice she deserved. But I want to return to Ms. Schoenkopf who, having read the interview, felt compelled to address it.

To her great credit, Schoenkopf has to concede that Broaddrick’s story is credible. To those who challenge Broaddrick, whether because her story has become more detailed over the years or because she speaks with right-wing organizations, Schoenkopf points out that (a) rape survivor’s do that as they grapple with the event and (b) Broaddrick hates Hillaru so she’ll naturally be drawn to those who support her as she speaks out against Hillary. Schoenkopf notes that, once one addresses these points:

that’s pretty much all the “I don’t believe Juanita” crowd has. Her friends found her with bruised lips, crying, right after the rape allegedly occurred. That’s what we call “contemporaneous evidence” when we believe women.

Once having accepted Broaddrick’s story as true, however, Schoenkopf seeks to rehabilitate Bill without any help from Bill himself. She first says that it was probably just an 80s power thing that had him respond to a woman’s repeated noes by assaulting her so badly she was left bruised and bleeding.

No.

I lived through the 1980’s in America. They were not like the 880’s in the Muslim Caliphate nor are they like the 2016’s in any ISIS-controlled region. Even back in those benighted times 35 years ago, men understood that trapping an unwilling woman in a room and using brute physical force as a way to have intercourse with her was a criminal act, no just macho posturing.

Bad as that bit of historical rewrite is, the worst thing Schoenkopf does it try to cleanse Bill’s criminal, blackened soul without demanding that he make any effort himself in that direction:

To sum up, I think Bill Clinton could very well have raped Juanita Broaddrick; that it doesn’t make him an evil man, or irredeemable (I’m Catholic; we’re all forgiven, if we’re sorry, and Broaddrick says Bill Clinton personally called her up to apologize). It doesn’t even necessarily make him a bad feminist — you know, later, once he stops doing that.

Sorry, but stopping committing crimes is not good enough. There’s no indication that he stopped because of conscience. There’s every indication that he stopped only because the higher his profile, the harder it became to get away with rape and other forms of sexual assault. In addition, the higher his profile, the easier it was to get women to bed him without his having to make any effort. He has no remorse. He has never repented.

Bill – charming, brilliant, even lovable – is a rotten apple who can be forgiven only if one re-writes entirely the definition of remorse and repentance so that those concepts have nothing to do with the actor’s soul and everything to do with his sycophants’ desire to resurrect his credibility.

The last joker in this deck of presidents and president wannabes is Donald Trump? It’s actually hard to get a grip on Trump’s behavior because of the foul miasma that the drive-by media has created around him. After a youth and midlife spent womanizing (but not raping), he seems to have settled down to marital fidelity. He’s also temperate in his behaviors, because he doesn’t smoke nor drink, and apparently has never done so. One could characterize him as an older man who, having sown his wild womanizing oats, has settled down and has the external morals of an elder statesman.

The Left, however, cannot accept a temperate, normal Donald Trump. The fever swamp that passes for a media today insists that (a) he’s an amphetamine addict and (b) that he’s a NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) devotee. The last is especially funny because this is put forward as the reason he’s hiding his tax returns – as if an internationally known businessman would place front and center in his returns a charitable write-off to a pedophile organization.

The media derides Trump as a monster who tries to boot old ladies out of their homes, while his supporters (many of whom have known him personally for decades) characterize him as a generous, spontaneous, compassionate man who doesn’t hesitate a moment to help out people in need. He’s either a corrupt, inept businessman who’s sued constantly, or a pragmatic man who takes minimal risks, turns real profits, and has a knack for cutting through the red tape and getting the job done. He’s a bully or a warrior. He’s a genius or a fool.

The real question, though, is whether any of the above tell us about the real Trump, the man beneath the weird hair, the crazy outbursts, the crude attacks, the savvy business deals, the generous charitable contributions, the teetotaling (and tweaking?). I don’t think so. Everything I’ve described is window-dressing, none of which is an insight into the man’s soul.

I do have some hope, though, that Trump is one of the good guys and that’s for a reason personal to me: Just as I immediately recognized Obama because he was identical in affect and behavior to a handful of malignant narcissists who have been in my life and made me quite unhappy, Trump reminds me strongly of a dear friend.

Trump and my friend have so many traits in common: quirky, original, often brilliant minds; explosive tempers; mountains of eccentricities; pit bull-like fighting instincts, that include the inability to walk away from an argument or insult; loyalty; and great charm. That’s my friend’s outer shell, just as it’s Trump’s outer shell.

With my friend, this shell is a difficult, prickly one, but the rewards of calling him a friend are tremendous. He has such a deep, strong moral core. You can rely on him for insights about difficult times and help during times of need. He knows what is right and what is wrong. For now, until proven otherwise, I’m going to hope that, once one wipes away the slime the media throws at Trump, he’ll be just like my friend: brilliant, difficult, brave, and truly worth the effort.

[It occurs to me that someone who ought to be included in this post is Oskar Schindler, a ne’er do well who had one of the strongests consciences to emerge in Nazi Germany.]

Cross-posted at Bookworm Room