Category Archives: RUSSIA COLLUSION

On Trump, Progressives confused by irony and facts

The NYT published an article asserting 40 “facts” indicting Trump. In truth, each of those “facts” was false or pure opinion based upon intractable bias.

The New York Times published an article by one of its opinion columnists, David Leonhardt, that purports to indict Trump in a mere 40 sentences, each asserting a supposedly devastating “fact” showing Trump to be a criminal, a fascist, or a fool. Reviewing these 40 sentences, I found that most are premised on erroneous facts, with the remainder relying on underlying assumptions that deserve to be challenged. A fisking is in order.

“He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.”

Follow this link and you’ll discover that it refers to the fact that Trump asked the president of Ukraine to finish a legitimate corruption investigation that then-Vice President Biden had stopped through the use of strong-arm tactics. We know that’s what Biden did because he boasted about it, loud and proud. Of course, reopening the investigation means Ukraine will resume asking questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in that country — which is no doubt the reason that Biden stopped the investigation in the first place.

As one would expect from alleged “news” reports of late, this is absolutely, completely 100% poppycock. John Solomon explains what actually happened — and it had nothing to do with Trump begging for Ukraine to throw the election (emphasis mine):

But there is a missing part of the story that the American public needs in order to assess what really happened: Giuliani’s contact with Zelensky adviser and attorney Andrei Yermak this summer was encouraged and facilitated by the U.S. State Department.

Giuliani didn’t initiate it. A senior U.S. diplomat contacted him in July and asked for permission to connect Yermak with him.

Then, Giuliani met in early August with Yermak on neutral ground — in Spain — before reporting back to State everything that occurred at the meeting.

[snip]

Why would Ukraine want to talk to Giuliani, and why would the State Department be involved in facilitating it?

According to interviews with more than a dozen Ukrainian and U.S. officials, Ukraine’s government under recently departed President Petro Poroshenko and, now, Zelensky has been trying since summer 2018 to hand over evidence about the conduct of Americans they believe might be involved in violations of U.S. law during the Obama years.

The Ukrainians say their efforts to get their allegations to U.S. authorities were thwarted first by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, which failed to issue timely visas allowing them to visit America.

Then the Ukrainians hired a former U.S. attorney — not Giuliani — to hand-deliver the evidence of wrongdoing to the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, but the federal prosecutors never responded.

In other words, the Ukrainians have long been concerned about Americans engaged in illegal conduct in their country, but when they tried to raise those concerns, Deep State operatives rebuffed their efforts.

As for more specific information about what Trump’s allegedly “treasonous” phone call said . . . we don’t have any. Instead, the more credulous among us have been tricked again by one of those Lefty games of telephone. You know what I mean. We saw it with the latest Kavanaugh attack, which is that an alleged reporter heard something from someone who heard it from someone else who heard it from. The same is true with regard to the Ukraine telephone call, for it turns out that the Deep State whistleblower didn’t hear the call himself (herself?) and was not acting in his professional capacity when s/he relayed hearsay information to other Deep State officials:

It turns out the complaint is nothing more than a rumor reported by someone in the intelligence community. Buried in a lengthy CNN article about the complaint is the following paragraph:

The whistleblower didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower’s concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration’s determination that the complaint didn’t fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.

Granted, this is yet another anonymous source giving more context on what another anonymous source told a different outlet, but it still calls the entire story into question.

In other words, this whole Ukraine thing has nothing to do with Trump having done anything wrong and everything to do with Biden abusing his power to protect his family. Biden gets points for family loyalty, but demerits for corruption.

“He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.”

Back in the days when Hollywood made anti-communist movies, one of the tropes was that communists have no sense of humor. The whole point of both the 1939 movie Ninotchka and its 1955 musical remake Silk Stockings was to show that believing in socialism is a singularly joyless activity and that only embracing capitalism can bring humor and laughter back to ones life. Indeed the whole campaign for the original movie was built around the gift of laughter:

Ninotchka garbo laughs

What Americans understood when socialism was still a dirty word is that being a Leftist is a very serious business. You’re remaking the world, after all. This photo of a hysterical, enraged, and deeply frightened Greta Thunberg is the modern incarnation of humorless, angry socialism:

The adults who did this to an Asberger’s child — meaning that she has high anxiety and often erroneous fixations — should be prosecuted for child abuse . . . but that’s for another post.

Moreover, when you’re in the midst of a revolution, you always have to keep an eye out for fellow revolutionaries, who might be more zealous than you or, worse, who might openly question your own zeal. In Soviet Russia, that last led to an actual death sentence. In today’s America, it means social media death. In our brave new revolutionary world, there is no place for humor.

I’m not writing this to bemoan the lack of comedy in late night TV, which is now devoted to joyless attacks on Trump, or the fact that comedy is dead on college campuses, where blank-eyed, angry students kill visiting comedians with strident cries of “That’s not funny. I’m offended.” I’ll leave that for other writers. What I want to talk about, because it will show up in other rebuttals to Leonhardt’s indictments, is that Progressives can’t take a joke.

Leonhardt’s umbrage is directed to the fact that Trump stated at a rally (to much laughter from the crowd), “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” The crowd was in on the joke, which is the fact that Hillary’s uber-illegal decision to forfeit the State Department’s secured email system for an unsecured system in her bathroom meant Russia already had the emails — and so did China and any of a number of bad actors in the world. The joke was that the national security horse had not only long since left the barn, it was grazing in a field somewhere outside of Moscow.

In other words, Trump wasn’t inviting a foreign country to steal America’s secrets. He was using humor to show that Hillary Clinton, by intentionally violating America’s national security laws, had long before handed those secrets over to other countries.

“He divulged classified information to foreign officials.”

Much as Progressives don’t like it, Trump is America’s president. And as president, commander in chief, and head of the executive branch of government, including national security, it is he who has the ultimate say about whether something is classified or not, and when to declassify something.  His power is plenary and he got it when the American people elected him.

Moreover, it appears that Leonhardt isn’t in the habit of reading his own newspaper, because the story to which he links is the recent report that Trump’s big mouth resulted in a spy having to be exfiltrated from Russia. Except that, as even the Times later had to acknowledge, it was the media’s collective big mouth that exposed the spy during the Obama administration. Moreover, the CIA made the decision to withdraw the spy in 2016, again during the Obama administration. As for the other alleged security breaches in the linked article, let me say again: The president gets to make the call about what is and is not classified; not the New York Times.

“He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.”

Again, this is an example of the fact that being a Leftist means never understanding a joke. It also represents another chapter in the never-ending book entitled I Don’t Care What Mueller Said Or The Evidence Shows — I Still Think Trump Colluded With Russia. Thus, the article to which Leonhardt links, although it was written long after the Mueller report and after Mueller’s Sergeant Schultz-style testimony (“I know nothing. Nothing!”), is premised on the debunked theory that Trump colluded with Russia to win the election. The article also ignores entirely the fact that Hillary paid for all of the baseless and salacious claims that came out of Russia meaning that she, not Trump, conspired with a foreign agency to try to win the election.

So let’s go back to the claim that Trump “publicly undermined American intelligence agents.” One of Trump’s chief negotiating skills is to create an amicable environment within which to negotiate. He doesn’t insult the person unless, of course, the person insults him first, in which case Trump is a no-holds barred fighter. What he’ll fight like a demon over is the substantive matter at issue.

In this case, reporters were demanding that Trump call Putin a spy to his face. Doing so would have made a viable negotiation impossible. Putin would have been publicly offended and could not possibly engage in meaningful discussions with Trump. In other words, the media, intentionally or not, was doing its best to sabotage talks before they began.

Trump did the only thing possible under the circumstances — he made a joke, and it was a good one too, considering that we’ve learned in the last two years that high-level operatives in the intelligence community actively worked within American politics to destroy a candidate and, when that candidate still won the election, engaged in a coup attempt to get him out of office. All things considered, Trump’s little joke that “They [intelligence agencies] said they think it’s Russia [but] I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia,” was a perfect way both to defuse his relationship with Putin before talks began and to lob a humorous grenade in the direction of those who, for the first time in American history, tried to thrown an election.

“He hired a national security adviser who [sic] he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.”

Considering that Leonhardt works for a newspaper, you’d think he could do better than to use a newspaper article from early 2017 to attack Michael Flynn. In the two years since then, we’ve learned a lot about the intelligence agencies’ successful attempt to take out Flynn and about Robert Mueller’s despicable tactic of destroying someone economically and going after his family in order to get him to plead guilty to the process crime of lying to the FBI.

Worse, in the years since the linked article was written, we’ve learned that there probably wasn’t a process crime at all because the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn contemporaneously agreed that he wasn’t intentionally lying. There’s also the little “fruit of the poisonous tree” problem, given that the entire basis for questioning Flynn for a Logan Act violation was a blatant attempt to create a process crime without any good faith belief that an underlying crime had been committed.

And what about the merits of the claim that Flynn “secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist”? Well, not quite, according to The Hill. In November 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed defending Erdogan, who had survived a coup attempt, in which Flynn claimed that the American-based coup-plotter, an Imam named Fethullah Gulen, was a “shady Islamic mullah.” That article gave intelligence agencies, who were already gunning for Flynn because he’d challenged Obama’s Iran Deal and because he’d clashed with intel types on myriad occasions, an opening.

I’ll say right off the bat that I think it showed bad judgment and bad taste for Flynn to defend Erdogan, who is (in my opinion) a bad actor. Nevertheless, it appears that Flynn didn’t realize that Bijan Rafiekian, who co-founded Flynn Intel Group (“FIG”), had the group working with Turkey. Instead, what Flynn knew was that a Dutch-based company called Inovo BV got paid $530,000 to do PR work to boost Turkey’s image. It was Inovo that had ties to the Turkish government. In March 2017, FIG did a retroactive registration as foreign agents on Turkey’s behalf. By December 2017, Flynn claimed that was a false filing and that he knew about Turkey all along. Well, maybe….

The problem with my wholeheartedly believing that Flynn’s December 2017 statement is true is that, by December 2017, Mueller had Flynn in a vice and was hell bent on destroying him. Flynn was trying to salvage his life savings, avoid jail, and protect his son from Mueller’s army. Things may be quite different in a few weeks if Judge Sullivan grants the discovery motion that Flynn’s new attorney, Sidney Powell, filed. In it, she alleges that the alphabet agencies railroaded Flynn and that they’re hiding the documents that prove it — including exculpatory documents that they were required by law to produce to Flynn and his counsel.

Frankly, of all the charges Leonhardt levies against Trump, this is probably the most serious, not in terms of Trump being treasonous, but just in terms of bad judgment — but I remember, as others may not, that Trump was treated like such a pariah, he had a hard time finding people willing to work with him in the beginning. He was in a “beggars can’t be choosers” position, and, at least on paper. And as I said, it’s entirely possible that Flynn is simply another victim of the Deep State who will be gloriously exonerated in the near future.

“He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.”

This is the “emoluments clause” argument that Democrats cannot let go. However, the emoluments clause was never meant to address a situation in which a foreign government tries to curry favor with the president by staying in a hotel from which president’s family, after taxes and costs, will earn a small amount of money.

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 as president to charity or government agencies.

the real question, then, is whether hotel stays fall into the next part of the emoluments clause, the part that 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.) Both history and constitutional analysis reveal that Indirect income from foreign nationals using Trump hotels does not fall into that category, since any monies are so diffuse they can only be incidental to Trump’s overall wealth.

But wait, there’s more, which I’ll quote from National Review article on the subject:

Trump’s opponents claim that every time, say, a foreign diplomat books a room in a Trump hotel or pays for a meal in a Trump restaurant, the Constitution is violated. They seek to force the president to sell off all his holdings and demand disclosure of his tax returns to track foreign payments.

Before assuming office, President Trump disposed of his publicly traded and liquid investments. He put his illiquid assets (e.g., hotels, golf courses, and commercial properties) into a trust. He further resigned from all official positions with the Trump Organization and turned over management of the businesses to his adult sons. None of this is enough for his enemies.

[snip]

the term “emolument” is not in our modern vocabularies. In his first inaugural address, George Washington used the term as synonymous with government salary when he refused “any share of the personal emoluments, which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department.”

In Hoyt v. United States (1850), the U.S. Supreme Court defined emolument as “embracing every species of compensation or pecuniary profit derived from a discharge of the duties of the office.” Accordingly, President Trump argues that “emolument” must be understood as a prohibited benefit arising from the services a federal officer provides to a foreign power, either on account of his office (making a decision favorable to a foreign government for pay) or as an employee/agent of the foreign power. He further argues that the foreign-emoluments clause does not prohibit his companies from engaging in market transactions on the same terms as any other citizen or private business.

Early presidential practice supports the president’s interpretation. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe all owned massive plantations and sold agricultural commodities in Europe. Undoubtedly, some of their customers were foreign governments, but no political opponent ever raised the specter that they were violating the foreign-emoluments clause.

‘Nuff said, I think.

“He genuflects to murderous dictators.”

First, politics makes for some ugly bedfellows. For example, I loath the Saudis because they are violent, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian, but they’ve also been our stalwart allies throughout the Cold War and after. (Also, I currently have hope that Prince Mohamed bin Salman will be an effective reformer and I appreciate that Saudi Arabia and Israel are discovering that life is better when they cooperate than when they don’t.)

Second, because I know Leonhardt’s statement refers to Kim Jong-un, the New York Times is effectively saying that the only way to deal with him is what’s been done before: insult him and then, when he rattles his saber, give him money. That, after all, is what Clinton, Bush, and Obama did — and every time, the North Korean saber grew bigger until a nuclear bomb practically landed in Trump’s lap. Trump is using a different tactic, which is to try and bring the Swiss-educated dictator back into the fold by offering him wealth, respect, and personal security instead of national poverty, world isolation, and the constant fear of being assassinated in the dog-eat-dog world of a total tyranny.

Third, people who live in Progressive houses shouldn’t throw stones. Exhibit A is Obama making nice with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a man whom Obama described someone with whom he’d forged “bonds of trust.” Indeed, looking back, you really can’t blame Flynn for working with Erdogan given Obama’s liking for the man.

Exhibit B is Obama’s reverential bow before the Saudi King. Right now, the Progressives are gunning for the Saudis because they see the Saudis as a barrier to reinstatement of Obama’s Iran deal. Back in the day, though, Obama became the first American president ever to bow before a foreign monarch. It wasn’t a good look.

Exhibit C is Obama’s chumminess with Raul Castro, brother of Fidel. Cuba’s communist government is a dictatorship that has murdered, imprisoned, impoverished, and starved its people for over 60 years. I think we can call the Castro brothers murderous dictators — and yet, here we have a picture in which Obama looks like a puppet with the murderous Raul literally pulling his strings:

Exhibit D is Obama with Hugo Chavez, the man who, through socialism, started the rape of Venezuela. Under his and Maduro’s leadership, Venezuela went from one of the richest countries in Latin America, to one of the poorest, with people dying of starvation and disease — when they weren’t being murdered in the streets by their own government. It is a tragedy beyond comprehending, but Obama still managed a friendly smile and a handshake for this murderous dictator:

“He has alienated America’s closest allies.”

This is a matter of opinion. By “America’s closest allies,” I assume Leonhardt is referring to European leaders. But European leaders have not been acting like allies. They won’t pony up money for their own defense, they undermine American efforts to restrain Iran, and they provide succor for Islamists who murder Americans and Israelis. They liked Obama, who reflected their values, but they were routinely hostile to the country he led (never mind all the money from America that kept their soft socialism afloat for decades after WWII). With Trump in office, they’re no longer make any pretense of hiding their disdain for both our country and its duly elected president.

So no, Trump hasn’t alienated anyone. He’s simply revealed that European leaders resent America, no doubt because America had to rescue Europe twice and keep it afloat for the entirety of the Cold War. It made Europeans feel weak, so they responded, like trapped rats, by turning vicious. Trump’s presidency merely exposed what was there all along.

But what about other alliances? Do others like Trump? In a word, yes.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump get along extremely well.

Trump also gets along extremely well with India’s popular Prime Minister Modi, something the media has been at pains to hide. Just the other day, the media went out of its way to ignore a rally for Modi in Houston that attracted 50,000 people who greeted Trump with resounding cheers. I happen to like this earlier picture of the two leaders:

Trump also gets along extremely well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyanu. Much as the media doesn’t like Israel, the reality is that Israel has been America’s friend through thick and thin for 60 years now. It is one of America’s most stable allies and, when it comes to technology, both military and civilian (oh, and medical), it is one of our most important allies.

When Trump visited Saudi Arabia, the respect accorded him was so great that, not only did his wife and daughter not cover themselves Saudi-style, but his daughter, Ivanka, had important meetings with high ranking Saudi officials:

Now that’s respect. I bet you all can think of other leaders I haven’t thought of.

“He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.”

Like the emoluments clause and the Russia conspiracy, this is one that the Democrats just won’t let die a natural, decent death. Putting aside Hillary’s profitable dealings with Russia (often at America’s expense), there was nothing nefarious in Trump’s business dealings with Russia before he went into politics.

A comprehensive IBT article details the Trump business interests in Russia. The main takeaways are that, during the Soviet era, Trump said it wasn’t profitable to do business in Russia; in 2008 Donald Trump Jr. puffed about Russian money; in 2015, before throwing his hat in the ring, Trump talked about building a Trump Tower in Moscow; and in 2013, Trump held the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow.

Trump’s conduct was neither illegal or nefarious. The Democrats just gave it an evil gloss when paired with the imaginary Russia collusion accusation. Stripped of the heavy breathing, we get a hotelier who saw Russia as a good emerging market after the Soviet Union fell. End of story.

“He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.”

The above statement offers a cognitive bias that’s impossible to overcome. Those who like Trump understand that he employs puffery, boasting, and New York style humor to make his points. Those who hate Trump are incapable of appreciating these things. As Salena Zito so perfectly said, “When he makes claims like this [i.e., using statistics from sources other than those that the Progressives prefer], the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

In other words, although Leonhardt dresses this statement up as “fact,” it is actually an opinion — and one with which I disagree.

“He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.”

So what? Obama was a famously lazy president. Trump is a ferociously energetic president, who went to work within hours of his inauguration. He hardly sleeps and he churns out material constantly. So what if he watches TV? So what if he hangs out at his resort? Weren’t were told during the Obama presidency that it was racist to point out Obama’s endless rounds of golf? I guess it’s not racist to do so if the golfer is the wrong color (i.e., white).

There’s also the strong possibility that, when Leonhardt makes this claim, he’s still getting confused by the gorilla channel joke that so many in the media took seriously.

“He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.”

Again, this is opinion. I think it’s fairly obvious that Trump is an auditory learner, preferring to have people provide oral, rather than written, briefings. Regardless of how he’s getting the information, he’s achieved a great deal more than Obama ever did in terms of making the economy grow, lowering unemployment across all demographics, slimming the welfare roles, reinvigorating the military, and keeping his campaign promises, such as building the wall, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, cutting back on over-regulation, and so forth.

At the end of the day, the well-read Obama had a sluggish economy, record unemployment, unenforceable agreements on climate and with Iran, a weakened military, and a self-destructing Affordable Care Act.

In other words, it appears that Trump is doing just fine — and then some — when it comes knowing what’s going on and performing his “basic functions.”

“He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.”

The GOP loathes Trump. He’s a disrupter. Of course, they’re going to go after him.

Conservative voters understand that there’s a schism on the Republican side of the aisle, with Republicans divided unequally into a huge bollus of pro-Trumpers and a dwindling, constantly humiliated little cadre of NeverTrumpers facing off. Significantly, the NeverTrumper’s dwindling numbers are composed primarily of Washington insiders, since they had a good little sinecure whining about Progressive initiatives and Trump, by actually addressing the things about which they whined, is upsetting their apple cart. After all, if you’ve built your brand being the perpetual opposition, you lose money when there’s nothing left to oppose.

For this reason, it’s instructive to true conservatives to see that the NeverTrumpers are backing Democrat candidates even as Trump enacts the most conservative agenda since Reagan, or even before. In other words, Trump’s supporters fully understand that Trump is weeding out Big Government types, faux-conservatives, and do-nothings, and they greatly appreciate that he is doing this, both through his actions and merely by being Trump.

“He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.”

McCain was a rat-weasel. The Left hated him right up until he got into a fight with Trump (with McCain throwing the first verbal punch). Then, suddenly, McCain became a saint-like figure who is worthy of such reverence that the rough-and-tumble of American politics no longer has meaning.

Read my paragraph immediately above about Trump haters and you’ll understand why conservatives appreciate that Trump took no guff from McCain. One can be a POW who survived horrible treatment, with all honor due for that fact, and still be a horrible human being with bad values and no decency.

“He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.”

Again, Trump is a counter-puncher and a dirty fighter. The Gold Star family insulted Trump, so he insulted them back.

For years, Republican politicians politely took it on the chin when they were savaged in the crudest, most vile terms. Funnily enough, that did not make Democrats respect them more.

No wonder, then, that conservatives and Republicans (who are not always the same group) thirsted for someone who would fight back. Trump does. He never throws the first punch, but he always finishes the fight good and hard.

“He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

See my point above about Trump being a counter-puncher. Barbara Bush was a nasty woman. She was proud, strong, funny, loving, and . . . extraordinarily mean and vicious. When she attacked Trump, he never forgot and he called her out.

I don’t believe in de mortuis nil nisi bonum if the dead person was on record being vile to achieve political ends.

“He described white supremacists as ‘some very fine people.'”

The Democrats cannot let go of this hoax. It is an absolute certainty that Trump described as “some very fine people” only those people who showed up because they were disturbed about statues being torn down, something that has a very banana republic feel to it. Trump made absolutely clear only a couple of minutes later that he condemned absolutely the white supremacists who showed up as well:

very fine people hoax

If Trump weren’t a public figure, he would be able to sue every media outlet in America for defamation and win.

“He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.’

First, although the tweet was taken as going to “the squad” of four new Democrat congresswoman, in fact Trump simply refers to “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen. I’ve always understood it to refer, primarily, to Ilhan Omar, who in fact comes from a broken country yet constantly denigrates America and, secondarily, to Rashida Tlaib, who may be from Michigan, but acts as if she comes from — and represents — an imaginary country called Palestine and also constantly denigrates America.

As for the other two in the squad — and, mind you, Trump does not refer to either “the squad,” AOC, or Pressley directly, or even the number four — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plays up her Puerto Rican roots over her American upbringing and constantly denigrates America, while Rep. Ayanna Pressley is a hanger-on-er, whom nobody remembers most of the time.

Another problem with Leonhardt’s “fact” is that, whether Trump was talking to one, two, three, or four Progressive congress woman, he didn’t tell them to exile themselves from America. The fact is that Trump said that, if their political ideas are as great as they claim, the Progressive congresswoman should use them to fix their broken countries (Somalia and the imaginary Palestine). Then, having proved that their theories work, they can bring them back to America.

But don’t take my word for it. Read Trump’s tweets:

Fact: Trump didn’t say what Leonhardt accuses him of having said.

“He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.”

The Native Americans at that ceremony were not offended, merely confused. Had they not been confused, they still wouldn’t have been offended because the joke wasn’t about Pocahontas.

That is, Trump wasn’t insulting that fascinating and important historic figure. Instead, he was throwing in a cutting remark about a white woman who falsely claimed to be a Native American so she could take Ivy League jobs that were reserved for genuine minorities. Now that’s offensive.

“He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.”

Again, Leonhardt completely misstates (or maybe deliberately lies about) what Trump said. Contemporaneous reporting reveals that Trump took note of the fact that Obama’s birth certificate had become a cause célèbre because some people claimed that Obama was born in Kenya. Indeed, you can see where they might think that, because Obama’s literary agency stated that in an author’s bio in the 1990s, and it’s inconceivable that Obama didn’t provide the info, or at least know or approve of the bio as written:

With the debate raging across the country, Trump didn’t take sides. Instead, he insisted that Obama produce the birth certificate to quiet the debate, something that Obama, rather peculiarly, refused to do:

“I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate,” Trump shouted to the show’s five co-hosts. “There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”

Indeed, contrary to Leonhardt’s assertion, when it came to the question of Obama’s natal country, Trump held that he came from America (emphasis mine):

Trump, who was on the show to discuss his own potential presidential run in 2012, said he felt Obama was probably born in the U.S.

But the follicle-challenged “Apprentice” host argued the president has been reluctant to definitively prove his detractors wrong.

“I really believe there’s a birth certificate,” Trump said. “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? And you know what? I wish he would. I think it’s a terrible pale [sic] that’s hanging over him.”

So Leonhardt’s “fact” is a lie.

“He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

Once again, Leonhardt’s facts and actual facts diverge. What Trump said is that illegal immigration means that the raff and scaff who inhabit every country — in this case, with the country being Mexico — were crossing the borders. He also implied that Mexico wasn’t sad to see its worst citizens leave so that it could hang on to the good ones:

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

It’s apparent that he’s saying that too many illegal immigrants are from the criminal class (think MS13 or Maryland rapists), while he acknowledges that other illegal immigrants are not criminals. That is most decidedly not the same as saying that all Mexicans are rapists.

As always, it’s hard to tell whether the collective Progressive media is so stupid it believes this crude misinterpretation or just too vicious to let a manifest falsehood go.

“He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

Yeah, these appellations were tacky. On the other hand, did I mention the thing about counter-punching and being the first conservative ever to hit back at the endless stream of lies and insults emanating from a Democrat-run media machine? If you insult Trump, he’ll come back at you twice as hard.

“He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.”

Yes, he was accused — and every one of those accusers was a Democrat party operative or Hillary fanatic. Bias and context matter. I can accuse Leonhardt of being a big fat doody face, but that’s kind of meaningless once you learn that I’ve never actually met him although I dislike his politics.

All of these accusers vanished back into the woodwork immediately after the election, suggesting that their charges were both false and opportunistic. They were also a trial run for the attacks on Kavanaugh.

“He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.”

Are you noticing a pattern here of Democrat women smearing Republican politicians with charges of sexual wrongdoing? This charge too appeared when Moore, who had been in politics for years, was threatening Democrat power and disappeared the instant he lost the election. There is no serious proof at all that Moore behaved criminally or inappropriately.

What happened in Alabama with Roy Moore was that Progressives (and some NeverTrumpers) used sleazy, unsubstantiated accusations to tar a political opponent. There were no videos, no confessions, no blue dresses. Instead, there were just old, stale charges from arguably quite unreliable sources. Rather than convincing me that Moore did something truly bad, my takeaway was that Moore was making the wrong people very nervous.

I think it’s also relevant that when the #MeToo movement finally went wild in Hollywood, it was stalwart Democrat men, not conservatives, who proved to have been bad actors.

“He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.”

No, no, and no again. I won’t debunk this myself, but will instead direct you to another solid debunking.

Incidentally, it was Obama who made an explicitly derogatory remark about people with handicaps, for he once said his bowling was so bad he looked like someone in the Special Olympics. Ouch!

“He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.”

Agreed. It was appalling when the president said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl.”

Oh, wait. That wasn’t Trump; that was Obama.

But it really was bad when Trump said of his political opponents, “They can come for a ride, but they gotta sit in the back.”

Oh, my! Wrong again. That was also Obama.

Still, Trump was really out of line when he talked about kicking people’s asses.

Boy, is my face red. That was Obama too.

Here’s what Trump has done and still does: Trump the counter-puncher counsels his supporters to counter-punch. If they hit you, don’t cower, he says. Hit back. He’s not big on turning the other cheek. Insult deserves insult and punch deserves punch.

I raised my kids the same way. I told them that they should never ever throw the first punch but, if someone punched them, they had the right to finish the fight. When the hyenas circle, the only way to survive is to show you’re alive and have fight in you.

“He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.”

Yeah, Trump has called for some of his opponents and critics to be investigated and, if found guilty, to be jailed, and was right to have done so. As report after report has come down in the last few months, it’s apparent that the Obama government operatives behaved badly during his administration (Hillary’s national security violations, Lois Lerner’s illegal use of the IRS as a partisan tool, Eric Holder’s illegal Fast and Furious operation, Biden’s potential use of financial extortion against Ukraine, to name just a few). Moreover, once Trump became the Republican candidate and after he was elected, first the Obama administration and then administration holdovers violated one law after another in a coup attempt against a duly elected president of the United States.

Trump is not engaging in a Lavrentiy “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” Beria style witch hunt. Rather, he is saying that, to the extent there are laws on the books, and Democrats from Hillary on down blatantly and repeatedly violated those laws, they need to be brought to justice.

As I said, Trump is right to do this. If there’s one law for the Democrats and another law for everyone else in America (i.e., Democrats don’t even get indicted, while every Tom, Jane, and Joe Shmo ends up in jail), the rule of law in America is over. Instead, we are headed into true banana republic territory.

“He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.”

If we had real journalists, this might be offensive. But since we have a mainstream media that functions as a branch of the Democrat party. Rather than reporting facts, the media routinely works to destroy Republicans in ways that include revealing wartime secrets, trying to overthrow elections, and, lately, reporting every bit of gossip and garbage as if it’s real news — all in stark contrast to the groveling obeisance shown Obama.

Under these circumstances, Trump’s not far off the mark. The people elected Donald Trump and the media, by trying through unethical means to undo that election, are an enemy of the people.

“He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.”

The media and other Democrats can give it but they can’t take it. Trump has never used his presidential powers unethically to attack his political opponents and, yes, enemies. However, he does something that horrifies Democrats: He routinely, and loudly, calls out the bad actors. He calls out the partisan hacks. He calls out the dishonest brokers. He calls out the corrupt Deep Staters. He calls out those who falsify scientific records to achieve political ends.

Again, Americans have watched, appalled, as the administrative state has become a permanent self-serving entity, the members of which have nothing but disdain for Americans. Instead, these members of the perpetual bureaucratic class imagine some vast international brotherhood of bureaucrats and politicians, all controlling the little people for the little people’s own good and for the brotherhood’s enrichment. For me and people like me, it’s refreshing to see Trump calling them out and speaking the truth about their behavior.

Again, not a single one of these people Leonhardt names has been denied due process when/if their wrongdoing finally caught up with them. None have been tortured. Their families have not been “disappeared.” They haven’t languished in jail or been executed. Instead, Trump merely pointed to the things they did and said and then explained to the American people why these things were problems.

To which I say Bravo!

“He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.”

Don’t you love this language? Trump didn’t actually harass the chairmen of the Federal Reserve. Instead, “he tried to harass.” In other words, once again, Trump spoke. Ye, gads! The gall of the man.

“He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.”

Yeah, I’m not going to go too far here to defend Trump, other than to say that what he did is a typical litigation tactic.

My bias is that I loathe judges, especially Democrat ones — and I’ve loathed them since I was a Democrat. With few exceptions, I learned when I worked as a litigator in San Francisco that Democrat judges tend to rule based upon their belly buttons, rather than the law. Back then, I didn’t realize it was a Democrat thing. I just knew I hated certain judges.

When I crossed the Rubicon and became a conservative, I went back and checked the bios on the rotten judges, at which time I learned that every last one was a Democrat. As for the few good judges, I am not exaggerating when I say that every last one was a Republican.

“He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.”

When Mueller and his team, despite spending tens of millions of dollars and destroying several people both professionally and financially, could not find any evidence whatsoever that Trump worked with the Russians to win the White House, they threw a little poison pill in the report to give Democrats something to hold onto: Trump, they said, was kind of obnoxious during the investigation. They said this even though he gave them full access to everyone involved other than himself and handed over millions of pages of documents.

Mueller couldn’t deny how forthcoming Trump and his people were. Nevertheless, complained Mueller, Trump said mean things; discussed with his attorney whether he could end the investigation, after which he did nothing; and generally was not enthusiastic about being investigated by the same group of people whom he knew had created and published the false stories that led to the investigation in the first place. Other than rabid anti-Trumpers, of whom Leonhardt is one, people were not impressed.

“He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.”

No, he did not violate federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money. It would have been a violation of federal law had Cohen used campaign funds to silence the women. However, he did not. Cohen used Trump’s own money, so there was no violation. Also, Trump consistently denies knowing about the payment at the time it was made, although he said he has since reimbursed Cohen for the money paid to Stormy Daniels.

Sordid? Yes. But the American people didn’t elect a saint. They elected a shaker, a mover, and a fighter.

“He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.”

The headline of the linked story tells it all (emphasis mine): “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father” In other words, we have no proof; we’re just guessing.

“He has refused to release his tax returns.”

So what? Last I looked, there was nothing in the Constitution or the federal statutes requiring someone to release his tax returns to prove his fitness for the presidency. Admittedly, there was no such thing as a tax return in 1783, but Congress could have amended the Constitution at any time after taxes became the bane of American life.

Producing tax returns has become a “thing” amongst presidential candidates in large part, I suspect, because they’re career politicians who’ve earned straight government salaries for decades. Producing tax returns is a reasonable way to prove that they weren’t augmenting their salaries with graft. Then, Hillary hit upon the idea of setting up a separate foundation for the graft, so her returns looked clean, thereby making ridiculous the whole exercise.

I applaud Trump for keeping a zone of privacy about himself. The last thing he needs is financially illiterate journalists and politicians leafing through his private financial information and drawing risible conclusions.

“He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.”

You can truthfully claim that Obama did not “wiretap” Trump if you’re a simplistic literalist and, by using the term wiretapping, you mean this:

However, if you understand that Trump meant that the Obama administration spied on him, Leonardt is the one who is lying. It’s all coming out now that, through fallacious applications to the FISA court, Obama’s security apparatus was able to obtain FISA warrants that were void from the get-go. Armed with those ill-gotten FISA warrants, Obama’s Deep Staters listened in on Trump and everyone connected to him.

If that doesn’t outrage you, you may have lost contact entirely with notions about free and fair elections, about the rule of law, about ethical law enforcement agencies, and about the clean and honest transfer of power in a republican democracy.

“He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.”

See the above. When it comes to actually supporting true law enforcement, nobody does it better than Trump. It was the Obama administration who, using Trayvon Martin and Ferguson as springboards, denigrated police across America and sparked a hot war between police and the people they try to keep safe. Trump calls out the bad actors with specificity, and throws his wholehearted support behind the myriad reputable, hard-working law-enforcement agents and prosecutors across America.

“He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.”

How heartless.  If only this wasn’t an Obama administration policy as well; if only illegal aliens crashing the border were not kidnapping children to claim as their own in order to get into the country; and if only men and children could be housed safely in a single detention facility.

This is one of those situations where there are tough choices that have to be made with the safety of the child in mind.  Crying about how heartless it is to separate the children is nothing but pure demagoguery that makes wonderful NYT press, but that actually endangers illegal alien children.

“He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

This falls into the category of “How dare Trump repeat our talking points.” If you follow Leonhardt’s link, you’ll see that, when O’Reilly said Putin is a killer, Trump responded that America has killed. By making this statement, he perfectly parroted Progressive talking points about America being a warmongering destablizer around the world, a killer of black men within America, and an exploiter of brown people from its inception.

I also suspect that Trump was trolling Obama, the king of drone attacks that frequently targeted resulted in collateral civilian deaths.

“He has called America a ‘hellhole.’”

If you follow all the links to the LA Times to CBS, what you will find is a 2015 article where Trump did indeed refer to the America being created by Obama a “hell hole” and that Trump said he was thinking of running for the Presidency to “make America great again.”  A significant majority of the electoral college firmly agreed over a year later.

I also think Trump was again trolling the Democrats. If you’ve paid any attention to the Democrat presidential candidates this time around, you’ll see that they describe America in dystopian terms as an impoverished, violent, racist . . . hellhole. Trump long ago accepted the Democrats’ characterization of our once great nation and promised to reverse that damage.

If you like this post, please share it with others. That’s the only way this blog can grow.

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Bookworm Beat 05/09/19 — the Russia collusion never ends illustrated edition

Russia collusion is still roiling the Left, to the great amusement of sane Americans. Indeed, thanks to Leftists, there’s a lot of silly stuff to laugh at.




















I check and, as best as I can tell, the following is not from a Twitter parody account but is from a person who really identifies as transgender:





























(Sorry for not doing a longer, substantive post, but I got an early call from a client with an emergency research project. That’s always going to take precedence over blogging.)

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Bookworm Beat 5/5/19 — Venezuela is socialism illustrated edition

In Venezuela, maybe today being Cinco de Mayo will magically strengthen citizens in their fight against tyranny. Meanwhile, in the U.S. we’ll keep our guns.





Venezuela socialism guns

























(Unless, of course, you’re the French president. To me, it looks very, very French.)





















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Passover: the nature of tyranny never changes but freedom is worth the fight

Passover tells us that tyrants fall only when revolution affects them directly and that revolutions are successful only when focused on individual liberty.

Passover, which begins tonight, is about so many things: the Jewish people’s renewed covenant with God; their escape from slavery; the journey that ended with the Ten Commandments and a return to Eretz Israel, the Holy Land of Israel; and — which is the subject of my annual post — the nature of tyranny.

Think about this for a minute: The Passover story, depending upon which Biblical archaeology you’re referencing, places the Passover story sometime between the 16th and 13th centuries B.C. In other words, this is a story that Jews have told and retold for as many as 3,500 years — and it’s a story that is always relevant. Slaves in the South took it as their story in 19th century America. And a couple of decades ago, when I was the only straight person at a gay Passover, the attendees there took it as their story too. The yearning for liberty is a timeless aspect of the human psyche.

It’s worth contemplating for a moment what “liberty” means. In European history, “liberty” invariably means trading one form of tyranny for another form of tyranny — only one in which the revolutionaries will have control. To Europeans, therefore, “liberty” is a gigantic state that will give them, rather than the others, all the goodies government can grab. And if, in exchange, government gets to control what they do, say, and think, well, they’re still “free” if the goodies keep flowing.

Once upon a time, the Americans went in a completely different direction that was more consistent with the original Exodus story. To go back to Exodus for a moment, Exodus might have told how the Jews rose up against Pharaoh, defeated him, took over Egypt, and enslaved their former enemies, at which point everyone who sided with the Jews lived happily ever after . . . right up until the Jews were deemed the tyrants and in turn overthrown.

But Exodus tells a different story: It tells about Jews leaving the old system behind entirely in order to live as a free people, even if that freedom meant the lack of a government safety net. After all, Pharaoh may have been cruel, but he kept them fed and housed. In the desert and in the land of Israel, the Jews were responsible for themselves, for better or worse.

In the same way, the American Revolutionaries, having concluded that England had become a tyrant by taking their money and dictating their actions without giving them a say in government, opted to create a different system entirely: one in which government played as small a role as possible and in which citizens had the greatest control over their lives . . . a notion both exciting and frightening. Ultimately, with fits and starts, failures and victories, tweaks and intransigence, this liberty-oriented system gave birth, not only to the most powerful nation in the world, but also to a nation that lifted more people out of poverty than any other nation ever had. Poverty is its own form of subjugation, so America spread freedom from want around large parts of the world. Indeed, today, those parts of the world most mired in poverty are nations that have systems antithetical to the American principles of individual liberty, small government, and a free market.

Put more simply, America went the Exodus route and traded enslavement for liberty. America did so because Americans, like the ancient Israelites, believed freedom was worth the scary downsides. And just as the ancient Israelites gave birth to a set of rules that changed the world (by which I mean the Ten Commandments), so too did Americans give birth to a political system that changed the world (by which I mean a system predicated upon limited constitutional government allied with a free market).

Both the Exodus story and the American experiment show that freedom is worth the price.

The eternal timeliness of the Exodus story also matters because it reminds us that tyranny never changes: Different tyrants may use different forms of tyranny, ranging from actual enslavement, as Pharaoh did, to oppressive political systems in which people ostensibly have citizens’ “rights” but lack all actual power over their lives. These modern tyrannies can be religious (think Iran), military (think of every Latin American junta), or ideological. In the latter category are fully socialist nations, such as North Korea pr Venezuela; socialist nations that nevertheless have commerce, such as China; and micromanaged liberal fascist states, of the type embodied in the European Union. In all of them, true freedom is illusory but the state, whether as a loving parent or a cruel, minatory parent, hides this lack of freedom by boasting about how it takes care of its citizens’ needs.

Another thing that never changes about tyranny is that, no matter how tyrants talk about what they do for the people, they hate the people. The only thing that matters to the one(s) atop the tyranny pyramid is that the tyranny remains stable and protected. Which gets me to my annual Passover post which, as always, I’ve edited it to reflect current concerns.

****

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (commemorating as it does the world’s first and, for a long time, only successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

As those familiar with the Bible know, this antisemitic Jew’s objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the first born in every family that did not have the blood of the Pascal lamb above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own ruling, in effect beginning before Moses’s birth, that all first born Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

Still, an atheist could argue that God was petty when he enacted retribution against innocent people who were not complicit in Pharaoh’s genocidal attack on the Jews. I know that the antisemitic Jew who gave rise to my thoughts about Passover would have made that argument had he been just a little bit more knowledgeable about the Book of Exodus.

Some people try to explain away the escalating plagues in Egypt, culminating with the first born’s death, by saying that the plagues are nothing more than dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger surrounding the Jew’s escape from Egypt. After all, if the exodus had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story. Imagine if Moses had asked, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh had answered, “Sure.”

That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. It’s much more dramatic, and resonates more strongly with the people reliving the narrative every year, to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

This reasoning is silly. The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he could always reconcile himself to the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he was assured that his people, despite the horrors inflicted against them, continued to fear and worship him, their suffering was irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and when the plague struck in his own palace, killing his own first born* — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high, when it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the high command knew that the Americans and Russians were coming after them, personally, did the war on the continent finally end.

The same held true for the Japanese. Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it. Even the fact that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so. What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option. Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman therefore had two choices: another year of war, with the loss of 100,000 Americans and up to a million Japanese civilians; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and an estimated 100,000 civilian Japanese casualties. Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer. The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, not to mention the lives of British, Australian, and Dutch troops. The atom bomb also saved the lives of the civilian prisoners of war all over the Malayan peninsula. One of the Dutch POWS, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.

The Japanese high command was Pharaoh. No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path. Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, making sure that the tyrant felt the pain personally was the only way to end that tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement.

What my antisemitic friend, and others who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom, refuse to accept is that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and Maduro will let his citizens eat garbage — as long as the tyrant can retain his power.

People of good will dedicated to freedom sometimes have to recognize that the generation raised up under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrants lash or in a war against tyranny, or because, when it finally attains freedom, it is afraid to use it. The Bible recognizes this latter problem, because it bars from the Promised Land those who were slaves in Egypt. Even when Pharaoh no longer lashes his whip over them, they are incapable of freedom. One can remove them from the lash, but one cannot turn them into a free people. They are a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if those same people will suffer through the destruction. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Protecting freedom for the greatest number of people sometimes demands proactive behavior. And there is nothing more proactive than an overwhelming response when a tyrant starts putting out feelers to see how far he can go. Had Chamberlain done that in 1938, WWII might have been avoided.** Had Obama done that in 2009 . . . . Well, think about it:

Thanks to Obama’s inaction during the 2009 Green Revolution, the Iranian people have suffered ten more years of fearful tyranny than they would have when they were willing to face down the tyrannical mullahs. Moreover, if Obama had acted and the Mullahs had been deposed, it’s entirely possible that Syria’s civil war, which Iran financed on Assad’s behalf, might never have happened. The 500,000 who died in Syria would still be alive. ISIS, which was birthed in Syria’s bloody war, might have died a’borning, saving thousands of lives in the Middle East, Europe, and America from its sadistic energies. And of course, the refugee crisis that is destroying the last vestiges of Western Enlightenment civilization in Europe might never have happened. One can credibly argue that Obama’s cowardly refusal to face down the Mullahs means that he has the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on his hands.

Closer to home, look at the Russia collusion hoax. Nixon’s Watergate was a one-time theft involving non-government actors in an effort to sway an election, yet it appropriately stirred an entire nation, both Democrats and Republicans. Russiagate was different: It was an ongoing spying and intimidation action involving the White House, the DOJ, the FBI, and the CIA. These extraordinarily powerful institutions worked together, first, to sway an election and, second, to take down a duly elected president. Moreover, when their conduct come to light, rather than stirring the outrage of an entire nation, one political party doubled-down on this illegal and un-American activity.

Mueller’s report, although it finally exonerated Trump and the people around him from colluding with Russia, nevertheless seeks to keep the tyrant’s hold over the attack on Trump and the election. It does this by focusing minutely on all the things that, ultimately, Trump and Co. didn’t do wrong, building them up into a laundry list of actions that imply to credulous, biased people that something bad really did happen. (As Scott Adams said in one of his podcasts, only deluded people look at a laundry list of zeros and conclude that ten zeroes makes one hundred, rather than . . . zero.) All the while, the report ignores entirely the Clinton camp’s collusion with Russia to get that Steele dossier and the Obama administration’s reliance on that manifestly partisan, faked dossier and its use of a covert police state to get Trump and overturn an election. And that’s not even to mention the icky stench the Mueller report deliberately left by refusing to acknowledge the obvious fact that Trump’s openly tweeted anger at a witch hunt, when coupled with his decision to do nothing to hinder the witch hunt, cannot amount to “obstruction.”

The Mueller report therefore, does not promote freedom; it is, instead, part of that same refusal to make a principled stand against illegal and un-American activity. If that’s not creeping tyranny that’s more Soviet in nature than American, I don’t know what is.

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. That’s why I am happy to see that the Trump government will not let these bad actors slink away. Instead, it is turning a gimlet eye on these Leftist bullies. Moreover, rumor has it that many of those being investigated are saving themselves by selling each other out. This is how you end tyranny: you make the tyrants suffer.

Never forget, though, that those who are dedicated to freedom must never let their righteous anger turn into a corrosive rage that destroys them. Kay Wilson, who was almost murdered by Palestinian terrorists, and saw her friend hacked to death before her eyes, speaks about this:

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Chag Sameach (Happy Passover). Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

____________________

*The fact that Pharaoh survived the last of the ten plagues tells us that he was not the first born son of the previous pharaoh. Either an older sibling died or Pharaoh was the younger child in a family unrelated to the Egyptian ruling family and, through a coup, seized the throne.

**And yes, I am aware of the argument that Chamberlain might not have been Hitler’s dupe. Thanks to England’s anti-War fervor after WWI, which led to disarmament and the drawing down of her military, Chamberlain might have believed by 1938 that England could do nothing to stop Hitler. That belief would have led him to choose appeasement as the only option. I don’t agree with this view because bullies will back down quickly if their intended victim fights even minimally, but I’ll give Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt because he was a decent and patriotic man.

(A couple more things. I highly recommend Dennis Prager’s The Rational Bible: Exodus. If you don’t want to read the whole book, you can just buy h is The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, which is a companion to his videos on the Ten Commandments. It’s a quick read and a refreshing one. Also, here’s the link for Wilson’s book, The Rage Less Traveled: A Memoir of Surviving a Machete Attack.)

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Spying On Trump & A Progressive Game of Semantics

Proggie congresscritters claim to be shocked at charges about Obama administration “spying” on team Trump.  Given the public record, that is itself shocking.

This from the Blaze (internal links omitted):

At a hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Barr about a team he had indicated the day before that he was putting together to investigate the FBI’s handling of its Russia probe during the 2016 campaign, prior to the appointment of a special counsel. After President Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to head an independent investigation that would be separate “from the normal chain of command.”

Barr responded that he planned on “reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed against — at the Trump campaign during 2016.” He said he wanted to “pull together all the information from the various investigations that have gone on, including on the Hill, and in the department, and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed.”

Shaheen asked Barr why he thought this was necessary.

Roll the tape:

It is shocking indeed that the left would try to defend the FBI, CIA and DOJ on the factually ludicrous claim that none of the agencies were involved in “spying” on Trump, whether before or after the November 2016 election.   The public record is replete with the facts that show they targeted Trump, his campaign and then his administration.

More specifically, we know of multiple FISA warrants on Carter Page.  We know of the investigation — and possible entrapment — of George Papadopoulos.  We know of the unlawful unmasking of Michael Flynn and the obscene full court press by the FBI and the DOJ to successfully destroy him.  We know of the constant leaks from the DOJ and the intelligence agencies to the press, including of information from top secret NSA intercepts.  We know of claims made by Brennan at Congressional Hearings that the CIA had developed evidence of Trump Russia collusion in 2016 wholly independent of the Steele Dossier, though we don’t know a scintilla of his claimed evidence.  We know that Comey passed information to a law professor to set up the Mueller investigation, but we do not know yet if that contained classified information.  And of course, we know that the FBI took up the Steele Dossier as the basis for an investigation.

How can anyone look at the facts in the public domain and still claim that the levers of government were not being used to target the Trump administration, whether lawfully or not, and whether one calls that by the name “spying” or not?

Eric Felten at Real Clear Investigations explains the game the progressives are playing:

The spying, which Barr vowed to investigate, is not the only significant possible violation of investigative rules and ethics committed by agents, lawyers, managers, and officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice. A catalogue of those abuses can be found in recently released testimony that ex-FBI official Edward William Priestap provided to Congress in a closed-door interview last summer.

From the end of 2015 to the end of 2018, Bill Priestap was assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, which meant he oversaw the FBI’s global counterintelligence efforts. In that role, he managed both of the bureau’s most politically sensitive investigations: the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and the probe into whether Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election. His testimony provides rare insight into the attitudes and thoughts of officials who launched the Russia probe and the probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose final report is expected to be released very soon.

More important, his testimony contains extensive indications of wrongdoing, including that the FBI and DoJ targeted Trump and did so with information it made no effort to verify. It paints a portrait of the Obama-era bureau as one that was unconcerned with political interference in investigations and was willing to enlist the help of close foreign allies to bring down its target. And, perhaps presaging a defense to Barr’s claim that American officials had spied on the Trump campaign, it showcases the euphemisms that can be used to disguise “spying.” . . .

[snip]

. . . Back on the record, Priestap presented what smacks of pre-approved testimony: “I’ve not heard of nor have I referred to FBI personnel or the people we engage with as – meaning who are working in assistance to us – as spies. We do evidence and intelligence collection in furtherance of our investigations.”

Shen was happy with the answer, and so she asked Priestap to confirm it: “So in your experience the FBI doesn’t use the term ‘spy’ in any of its investigative techniques?” Priestap assured her the word is never spoken by law-enforcement professionals – except, he said (wandering dangerously off-script), when referring to “foreign spies.”

This game of semantics is apparently at the heart of the Democrat’s claim that there was no “spying” on the Trump administration, and then by a leap of logic that could span the Grand Canyon, if there was no spying on Trump, then nothing the DOJ, FBI or CIA did regarding team Trump should be worthy of investigation as illegal. It is not just Sen. Sheehan, but all other proggie congresscritters as well:

Congressional Democrats are furious over Attorney General William Barr’s statement Wednesday that Donald Trump’s campaign was spied on, accusing the attorney general of mischaracterizing the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation in an effort to please President Donald Trump.

Barr’s comments are likely to ratchet up Democrats’ unease over the attorney general that’s already simmering over Barr’s role in the Mueller investigation and the decision there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute obstruction of justice.

“I’m amazed that the AG would make that kind of statement, I think it’s in many ways disrespectful to the men and women who work in the DOJ, and it shows, I think, either a lack of understanding or willful ignorance on what goes into a counterintelligence investigation,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

“He almost seems to be endorsing one of these theories that has been debunked time and time again by the various, even House Republican-led, investigations trying to show some kind of resentment,” Warner added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Barr’s testimony that he was “going off the rails. He is the Attorney General of the United States, not the attorney general of Donald Trump,” she said. . . .

Truly, screw these traitorous scum.  If you think back to the last time we had the levers of government misused by the Executive, it was Watergate.  And indeed, Watergate became a cause celebre because both Democrats and Republicans refused to countenance turning the law enforcement and investigative agencies of government into tools of partisan politics.

We’re a long way from Watergate, and our “power at any cost” Democrats are shamelessly demonstrating that they could care less about abuse of power, so long as it is in their favor.   Bullshit.

If there is any chance of this country surviving as a Constitutional Republic, it will only be if rule of law extends to everyone and even the thought of using the law enforcement and investigative agencies of government as tools of partisan politics is rejected out of hand.

The evidence suggests that Hillary tried to set up Trump for an October surprise with the ludicrous Steele Dossier that Fusion GPS duly provided to the FBI.   Fusion GPS briefed Mother Jones and Yahoo News on the Steele Dossier prior to the November 2016 election, and both ran stories stating some of the claims therein, noting that they were the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.   The real October surprise, though, was that this illegal political dirty trick (for filing a false report with the FBI is illegal) did not swing the election to Hillary.

After the election, the Russia collusion story became the basis for a second bite at the apple — a soft coup orchestrated by the people in the DOJ, CIA and FBI who acted lawlessly prior to the election, not merely in trying to use the October surprise to down Trump, but also to protect those in on the lawless whitewash of Hillary Clinton’s multiple violations of the law regarding security of classified information.  It was a soft coup virtually every proggie in government and the media gleefully embraced.  Unfortunately for them, generating an investigation of Trump on almost certainly bogus — and thus unlawful — grounds to fish for evidence of a crime — any crime — worthy of impeachment came up empty.  Apparently, they should have dug up Lavrentiy Beria to do the investigation.

It is axiomatic that, if you are going to attack the monarch in a bid for power, you need to kill him, else you will face retribution.  In the instant case, retribution is not what we need, but fairly investigating and then, if warranted, enforcing the rule of law is long overdue, richly deserved, and absolutely necessary if this country is to survive. And any proggie who tries to stand in the way of that investigation needs to pay a stiff price indeed.

**  The cartoon at the top of the post was composed by Michael Ramirez and appeared at Townhall.com

The post Spying On Trump & A Progressive Game of Semantics appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax

With Barr promising to investigate the Russia Collusion Hoax, it’s a good time to think about the motivations driving those who masterminded the hoax.

Yesterday was another day spent pulling out ivy, a process I found so exhausting, I couldn’t write last night. Not writing, though, doesn’t mean not thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Russia collusion hoax, especially about what drove the major actors to do what they did. After all, even if they thought the risk was minimal because they were banking on a Hillary victory and doing their best to ensure that victory, the power players knew that what they were doing was both illegal and immoral. That’s a pretty big hurdle for otherwise law-abiding people to make.

To get to my answer, I’ll start by looking at what they did (and mine is a slightly different focus than most others), and then I’ll try to answer the question about what powered these people’s engines. Here goes….

I suspect that several of you, like me, remember the Watergate scandal. For any of you young’uns reading this, way back in 1972, while acting on behalf of Nixon and his innermost circle, a bunch of former government operatives broke into Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex to steal information related to the election.

To give what they did some context, the equivalent act would be for some former 49er football players, acting at the behest of the current coach to break into Seattle Seahawk headquarters to steal the coaching book for the upcoming football season. It’s an aggressive form of cheating in the midst of a fiercely fought rivalry.

With that in mind, we can see that there are some parallels to Watergate in the Russia collusion hoax and some things that differ wildly. It’s easiest to start with the obvious difference, which is that the Russia Collusion scandal did not involve outsiders acting only once to steal a playbook. Instead, it involved permanent government employees embedded deeply in our entire security apparatus — the FBI, CIA, and DOJ — working in concert for months. Watergate was kindergarten and this was post-graduate work.

Moreover, unlike Watergate, after Trump was elected, this collusion scandal morphed into a full-blown government coup intended to take down a duly elected American president. That the Left — from the DNC, to the media, to the people down the block from me — looks upon this complacently instead of with horror tells you that the Left no longer has any allegiance to America, American values, or the Constitution. Every Leftist, no matter where situated, is enthusiastically embracing tin-pot banana republic tyranny. There are no words for how sad and how dangerous this is.

Interestingly, though, I haven’t heard anyone articulate what information these bad actors were seeking in the run-up to the election. I know this sounds like a stupid observation, and it may well be. The obvious answer is that these bad actors were seeking evidence of Russian collusion in order to create an October surprise that would bring down Trump’s candidacy.

The thing is, though, that you and I know that, while a few true believers may actually have thought that Trump and/or people within his inner circle were working in concert with Putin, the reality is that the big bad actors — Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Priestap, etc. — knew perfectly well that there was no collusion. They knew this because (so far as we know) the only proof they could bring to the FISA court to justify spying on Trump was the Steele dossier.

We also know that these same Deep State players were able to “verify” the Steele dossier only by leaking its existence to a reporter and then, in a nice example of bootstrapping, using his subsequent report to bolster the dossier’s bona fides. Otherwise, there was no evidence whatsoever supporting the hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay accusations in the dossier. So, no, the Deep State inner circle knew that there was no evidence of collusion sufficient to justify spying on Trump.

That being the case, there were only two things they could have been looking for in the months leading up to the election when they attacked the Trump campaign using six different spying methodologies: The first thing they were probably doing, although  no one has talked about it, was engaging in a purely Watergate-type escapade. That is, they used the instruments of state to go after campaign strategies, private polling results, lists of voters, etc. That would have been bad enough and, indeed, worse than Watergate, given the nature of the actors, the scope of their investigation, and the amount of information they stole.

The second thing they were doing, though, was even worse: They brought America’s entire spying apparatus to bear on the Trump campaign in the hope that they might find an October surprise. In other words, America’s vast, all-powerful, potentially Stasi-like surveillance system was put to use for a fishing expedition against a presidential candidate that the unconstitutional fourth branch of government (that is, the permanent bureaucracy), as well as the president sitting at the head of that fourth branch of government, opposed.

This in turn leads to two questions further questions: First, considering that everyone thought Hillary had a lock on the White House, why would these Deep State players feel the need to spy on Trump? I think they did so because of what an old colleague of mine used to call the “belts and suspenders” mindset. In other words, even if your belt is doing a fine job holding up your pants, should there be even the slightest chance your pants might fall down, you can put on suspenders too.

The “belt” for these Democrat Party operatives was that Hillary polled well and that Trump was a brash outsider with no political experience (except, of course, for working with and against politicians and bureaucracies for 40 years, of course). Given that data, their pants seemed stable. But….

There was the little problem of tens of thousands of people turning up for Trump rallies, while tens of people, or maybe hundreds of people, showed up for Hillary’s rallies. Suspenders seemed called for, just in case.

What the Deep Staters were doing can therefore be likened to the “double tap” that shooters — whether they’re good guys or bad — use against their targets. If you’re a professional doing a job, you make damn sure the job is done right, and that’s true whether your work is legal or criminal.

Second, why did these permanent bureaucracy operatives dislike Trump? I think there are three ways to view this.

Some of it was class based. (Think of Kurt Schlichter’s Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy.) The brash, outspoken Trump was just too tacky — and his supporters were worse. “Deplorables” as Hillary called them. Or as Strzok said, “I can smell them at Walmart.” I bet Strzok pulled this face when that “smell” assaulted his nostrils, knowing that he was on his way to making their votes irrelevant:

Some of it was definitely policy based differences. These guys were Democrats and they wanted to see the Obama legacy continue. They knew, as did every person who voted for Obama and intended to vote for Hillary, that Trump was going to do his best to stop and reverse Obama’s policies. Where Obama opened our borders, Trump would close them. Where Obama squashed our economy, Trump would free it. Where Obama demoralized law enforcement, Trump would respect it. Where Obama turned our military into an under-funded Leftist therapy group, Trump would turn it back into the world’s finest fighting machine. Where Obama coddled Muslim terrorists, Trump would grind them into dust. You get the picture. These Leftist bureaucrats liked the Obama status quo. They wanted Hillary.

Mostly, though, I think it wasn’t love or hate or even politics that motivated our criminal bureaucratic class. It was fear. Trump ran on the promise that he would shrink the government that was sucking up American wealth and (as the Russia collusion hoax itself proved) destroying American liberty — for what can be more liberty destroying than wiping out free and fair elections? These people, therefore knew that two things were at stake for them, and they are the two things that routinely lead people to lie, cheat, steal, and kill: Money and Power.

Money (including those all-important government pension benefits) will always be a driving force in human behavior. In fact, though, I don’t think it was the main driver here. The people who masterminded what began as a major cheat on a fair election and then morphed into a full-blown coup knew that they could get money elsewhere. After all, whether in the Democrat-run media or in a private sector staffed by people who all graduated from the same Leftist academic institutions, they were all eminently employable.

What the Deep State operatives really risked losing was power. Their power optimum would be if Hillary won. She knew their secrets and they knew hers, in a merry waltz that would keep them circling the ballroom even as America collapsed around them.

However, even if a Republican other than Trump had won, they still would have maintained their power. Again, they knew the secrets of all the usual Washington players. They also understood that the usual Washington players, no matter the party and no matter their alleged fealty to “shrinking the government,” once they got a seat in Congress or a state house, never shrank government. Sure, a few regulations here and there or a few low-level jobs might go, but nothing that would threaten these power players. Republican or Democrat . . . government always grew.

But Trump, ah, Trump was a different animal altogether. He was an outsider who had a long-established reputation for cutting through things: He cut through red tape, he cut through bad business deals, he cut through realty-TV, etc. If he said he would do it, he did it and he did it damned efficiently. When Trump said he was going to shrink government, they knew in their guts that their power base was about to be destroyed. This was their own personal Defcon 1 event, one that, in their minds, readily justified jettisoning every American law and principle.

Anyway, the above is what I think Barr’s investigation, if it is an honest one, will reveal.

Of course, the biggest question of all is the one that also ties back to the Watergate years:

There is no doubt in my mind that President Obama was in on this, whether at the very beginning, when he wanted to ensure Hillary’s victory or sometime after the election, when he wanted to ensure a re-do. In other words, Obama was either amenable to using the instruments of government to cheat in a presidential election or was amenable to bringing down the United States government because his anointed candidate lost.

I hope Barr has the courage to answer Sen. Baker’s question. I think the American people deserve to know.

(I know that some of you are troubled by trolls in the comments. I therefore want to remind you that Disqus allows you to block those people, even when I cannot do so thanks to their weasel tactics with IP addresses. To block someone, look to the far right of their name, where you will see a little down arrow. Click on that arrow to bring up a menu. One of the choices is to block that person. It’s such an efficient blocking mechanism that you won’t even see them showing up in your emails.

Incidentally, I recommend using this very sparingly. Getting outside our bubbles for a debate about ideas or an exchange of facts if a good thing. I use this only for people who are obscene and abusive without any offsetting value.)

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Bookworm Beat 3/22/19 — the Mueller Report illustrated edition

Step on up, folks, and get yer red hot Mueller Report memes here! We got 26 rip-roarin’ memes plus a whole bunch of other sassy illustrated commentaries.

We know that a flaccid Mueller Report offering nothing but vaguely worded accusations will not stop the Democrats. The next phase, of course, will be to say that the absence of proof is itself proof that Trump is a criminal collusion mastermind. Meanwhile, though, please enjoy some good laughs.























































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