Category Archives: MUELLER

The Democrat victimhood mantle, plus racial education madness

The story of the sweet beer guy and the doxxing reporter is a microcosm of Democrat behavior, plus racial — and racist — education madness in Seattle.

The first part of this post is about the way in which the Carson King and Aaron Calvin saga parallels the saga of Trump, the Democrats, the Russian Hoax, and the investigation into the origins of the hoax. The second part looks at education insanity in Seattle. I’ve done a podcast on the same topics, which is not identical to this post, but it’s close enough that, if you prefer reading, you won’t miss anything by not listening to the podcast.* And if you listened to the podcast, you’ll find in this post links to the things I mentioned in the podcast.

The Beer Guy, the nasty reporter, Trump, and the nasty Democrats. You’ve probably already heard this story, so I won’t go on at length about it. Carson King is a young man who, during ESPN game night, put up a sign asking people to buy him a beer and giving his Venmo account name. It was silly, audacious, and charming. People responded with cheerful vigor, eventually sending King $1.12 million. King promptly turned around and donated the money to a hospital in Iowa City, where it will be used primarily to help children with cancer. This is a nice guy.

Aaron Calvin is not a nice guy. He was a young reporter at the Des Moines Register. He thought it would be a good scoop to troll King’s twitter feed. After crawling back eight years, he found a tweet or two in which King quoted some movie or TV show in a way that is no longer considered politically correct. (Keep in mind that what’s acceptable changes on an almost daily basis now.) King gave the ritual apology.

Apropos these ritualistic apologies, I’m waiting for someone to say, “No, I won’t apologize. What I said or did 10 or 20 or 30 years ago was within the acceptable norms of the time at which I did or said it (including the norms for 16 year old boys at that time). I certainly wouldn’t do it now because values have changed (although it’s not clear whether for the better), but I will not apologize when I did nothing wrong.” Still, I totally understand that King, raised in cancel culture, felt that he had to apologize.

All of the above was the norm: Some ordinary person does something nice; some snarky, sleazy reporter doxes the person; and the person ritually apologizes.

Something different happened this time, though. While King bowed low, others fought on his behalf. They trolled Calvin’s social media and found him saying worse things (by today’s standards) than what King had said. Although the Des Moines Register refused to apologize to King, because being a media outlet means never having to say you’re sorry, it did fire Calvin.

At this point, Calvin could have said, “I’ve learned my lesson about doxxing and apologized.” He didn’t. Instead, he played the victim card!

Little Calvin, the narcissist, is going to have a lousy life, one in which he’s always the victim of other people being mean to him — and he’ll never understand that they are being mean to him because he was a vile pig to them. Or maybe he’ll mature and become the nice, decent person he can be if he puts aside this narcissistic mindset.

What fascinated me about the above story is that it is precisely the same story, except in microcosm, that’s been playing out nationally between Trump, on the one hand, and the Democrats in both Congress and the media, on the other hand.

Trump did a good thing — he convinced enough people that his values were in line with theirs that he ought to become president. These values were, up until about 20 years ago, completely mainstream American values. Trump is Carson King.

The Democrats were outraged that Trump won. They did everything they could to destroy him. The Democrats are Aaron Calvin.

Trump, however, did not do what King did, which was to apologize. Instead, he stood his ground.

Trump was shown to be innocent by the Democrats’ own anointed savoir, Robert Mueller. Now, Trump is doing what the third party warriors did on King’s behalf, which is revealing the bad motives behind the Democrats’ actions.

This means that he is approaching other countries and saying, “Please find out what role your country played in the 2016 meddling in the American election.”

Like Calvin, the Democrats are screaming their heads off that they’re the victims. It was only right that they should destroy Trump, but how dare Trump turn the tables on them!

Incidentally, although Anheuser-Busch cravenly pulled out of a contract with King, I have heard that King got a new, better one with another company. Also, I’ve heard that people are boycotting Busch for its cowardice, which is only right and proper.

Education madness in Seattle. I was talking to a young friend today who just got a lovely job offer. The interview came about because a friend recommended her to the company. The offer occurred because she’s smart, hardworking, personable, organized, and a perfect fit for the job.

It’s probable that, had there been 30 other equally qualified candidates, the company could have just pulled a name out of a hat but, instead, the company gave the job to my young friend because she came with a recommendation for a source they respected. That’s life. Life isn’t always fair. Not everyone has a friend who can help them with such useful specificity. In a sane world, when we have such a friend, we are grateful that this person knocked on the door for us, but it’s always our responsibility to prove ourselves worthy once that door is opened.

Most of my young friend’s own friends were happy for her. Perhaps they said, “I wish that would happen to me,” but it didn’t adulterate their pleasure in her good fortune.

One of them, though, found it unforgivable. Although white herself, she castigated my young friend for benefiting from white privilege and strongly suggested that she ought not to have gotten the job and, once she got it, she should have rejected it in solidarity with others less privileged than she is.

Almost immediately after that happened, a friend in Marin sent me a message the school sent to all parents from the high school principal. I thought it made for barfy reading:

As I mentioned in the September newsletter, the Redwood staff will continue our anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-bias work to make sure that Redwood is a school where diversity and a variety of experiences and perspectives are valued as beneficial to all of us in our learning community.

One of the key features of this work is upstanding. Upstanding is the opposite of bystanding. Upstanding is being active, not passive. Upstanding is standing up and saying something or doing something when we see or can prevent wrong or hurt. It is the opposite of “letting it go,” “looking away” and “turning a blind eye.” Upstanding is saying something when a racist, insensitive or stereotyping comment is made. Upstanding is helping someone who is being picked on or bullied or attacked. Upstanding is reporting a problem to an adult in our school or confidentially letting us know through our confidential tip line. Anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-bias work requires us to upstand if we are to make a positive difference to our school culture and community. If we want to appreciate each other and embrace and celebrate our differences, we need to upstand when we see or experience racism, hate or bias.

Upstanding is important in other areas as well as anti-racist work. It is important when we see sexual harassment, bullying and other mistreatment of others whether in person or online. Sometimes upstanding means saying something to others (always in a respectful and appropriate way). Other times, upstanding means sharing your concerns with a school staff member. Either way, the difference between upstanding and bystanding is the difference between doing something to make our school culture better for everyone at Redwood and ignoring the type of behavior that can hurt others, emotionally and/or physically.

My friend told me that the school has been shutting down extracurricular programs to fund all this social justice stuff.

Also, this school is not a hotbed of racial strife and hatred. It’s an ordinary school in a relatively affluent neighborhood, with families that are almost entirely Progressive, all of whom preach political correctness. This is virtue-signaling pure and simple.

Moreover, it’s a lie. If your child goes into the school and starts preaching about the Second Amendment, I can guarantee you that your child will find himself in a police station for being a threat. Conservativism, whether political or social, is not welcome there.

But the above message is where people like my young friend’s ill-wisher learn their ideas about “privilege.”

Once upon a time, if you came from a “privileged” background (which meant affluent and educated), you were grateful and, if you were well brought up, you believed it was your responsibility to share that privilege and to help other people.

Today, though, “privilege” is code for “white self-loathing.” These young people are being taught to hate themselves and, instead of sharing their blessings, they’re being told that they need to give them up. This is not about raising people up but about tearing people down. It’s the politics of greed and resentment written into our nation’s social fabric and our young people’s minds.

Which leads me to what’s going on in the Seattle Public School District. This is another school district in which black students are failing and the district, rather than teaching better, is doubling down on the politics of victimhood and resentment.

In May 2019, Stephan Blanford, a deeply Progressive former member of the school board launched an attack on those who failed to agree with the school’s Progressive strategic plan. I’ll get to the plan in a minute, but I just want to cite the statistics that Blanford and the Board felt justified the new plan:

Today, students in Seattle Public Schools lag behind students in other large school districts in our area. Only 53 percent of Seattle students meet grade-level science standards. Compared to nearby Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts, Seattle is underperforming by significant margins.

This statistic and others like it don’t capture the whole story. The achievement gap between higher- and lower-performing schools remains significant in Seattle. Our failures to address inequity have dramatic impacts on the lives of real kids, many of them students of color, whose parents are less likely to engage with our city’s power structure or follow online blog debates.

The District’s answer to a very real problem is victimhood. I’ve embedded the first page of strategic plan, below. The highlights are mine. You can click on the image twice to enlarge it:

The rest of the plan is here.

As you can see, while the goals are laudable, the method to achieve them is to drill into the students that they are victims of an inherently racist system. That’s bad. What’s really bad is the “math ethnic studies framework” the school district worked up for the kids. To understand what you’re reading, you need to know that “SWBAT” means “students will be able to. This time I’m embedding the entire document. Again, the highlights are mine and you can enlarge the images by clicking on them twice:

Translated: “Dear black children, everything that’s important about math predates the Greeks. The Greeks stole from Black Africans and Egyptians. Moreover, when this stolen math came Westerners compounded this theft by stealing Arabic numbers and the concept of zero from the Arabs (who first stole them from the Indian subcontinent). Since its origins in Africa and India, math has been used to destroy you, to oppress you, to demean you, to deny you opportunities to succeed, and to humiliate you. It is a vile instrument of white hegemony over the black man. Oh, and you’d better learn it because it’s a good thing to know.”

In California in the 1970s through the 1990s, there was a totally misbegotten “self-esteem” theory in education. This theory was premised on the observation that good students had high self-esteem. The idiocrats in education concluded that high self-esteem made for good students. It never occurred to them that hard work and the reward of learning created high self-esteem, rather than self-esteem driving hard work and learning. California ended up with several generations of children who felt great about themselves, but who could barely read, write, or do math, and who were completely ignorant about the world.

What’s happening in Seattle is worse. Seattle is create generations of children with a profound sense of victimhood, resentment, and rancor, and then expecting them to embrace education. Only a Progressive could think that this is a pathway to instilling a love of learning into children.

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*I’d originally tried doing identical posts and podcasts, but that wasn’t working for me. I seem to use different parts of my brain when I talk and when I write. I ended up simply reading my posts aloud for the podcast, which really killed the fun for me. I’m now trying a system I think will work better, which is to go in this order (1) thinking about things; (2) making notes and collecting documents; (3) podcasting in a more free-form way; (4) writing a companion/parallel post. As always, I value your feedback.

NOTE: In the podcast, I mentioned one of my favorite books, which is an early insight into the Leftist takeover of education and media. The book is Helen MacInnes’s Neither Five Nor Three. I wrote about it here.

The post The Democrat victimhood mantle, plus racial education madness appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Time For A Reckoning Against The Anti-Trump Coup Leaders

If we are to remain a nation of laws, then the people who manifestly engineered a coup against duly elected President Trump need to be called to account.

By Wolf Howling

Can you believe that it is 2019 and Trump has, to this moment at least, survived a coup attempt?  I did not expect him to survive the onslaught.  He has to be the cleanest President we’ve ever had in office.  He just survived a three year investigatory equivalent of a general warrant to search anywhere for any crime — something the Bill of Rights made unlawful on December 15, 1791.

Unlike a criminal investigation, which benefits from Constitutional limits and protections, things were different for Trump. Beginning on July 31, 2016, when the FBI launched an investigation explicitly aimed at Trump — and right through and including the Mueller investigation, likewise explicitly aimed at Trump, — every aspect of Trump’s life, his businesses, and finances his finances was pried open under the rubric of a “counter-intelligence investigation.”  That he is clean as a whistle is obvious, for we know that, had the FBI or the Mueller team found anything that could be cast as a crime, whether related to Russia or not, they would have used it to destroy Trump. After all, Mueller’s team, while pursuing their Russia counter-intelligence investigation, used evidence about fraud regarding taxi medallions, something far removed from Mueller’s mandate, to prosecute Michael Cohen.

Anti-Trump actors in the government leaked top-secret information from NSA wiretaps to the press.  Mueller’s team metaphorically raped people around Trump  — including Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen — to get them to give some evidence that Trump committed crimes.  The Mueller investigative team actively solicited testimony adverse to Trump, unethically and seemingly without regard to whether true or false.  Trump’s personal attorney was subject to a SWAT-style raid, as was Roger Stone when his arrest played out for all on CNN.  At least one person, Carter Page, was subject to four separate FISA warrants — and under the three hop rule, we can safely assume that means Trump and his inner circle were spied upon as part and parcel of that warrant as well.  They were spied upon under four FISA Warrants for an entire year, beginning in October 2016 and concluding in September 2017.   Indeed, it is hard not to conclude that they were the real target, with Carter Page merely a convenient patsy. Strikingly, despite this total warfare, when it came to Trump, Mueller and Co. produced . . . nothing.

There is no predicate in American law or history for any of this, whether the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Trump, the FISA warrants, or the way in which the DOJ unlawfully authorized Mueller to conduct a criminal investigation under the guise and rules of a counter-intelligence investigation. That is, this did not start with a crime that called for an investigation. This started with an elected president whom Washington insiders both feared and disdained and they used the investigation in the hopes that they could find a crime. The only predicate to this approach can be found in the Soviet Union’s Levrentiy Beria, who famously said, “Show me the man, I’ll find the crime.” It was an abuse aimed at finding anything in Trump’s activities that could force him from office or, during the duration of the investigation, get him to make a mistake, then force him from office on a process crime.

It’s this unconstitutional, Soviet-style, bass-ackwards bullshit that allows Mueller to claim before Congress that there’s meaning to the fact that he has not not proven Trump innocent of obstruction. As others have pointed out, Mueller also failed to exonerate Trump of assassinating Lincoln).  And thus do we now have half of the progressive Congresscritters calling for Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that Trump obstructed an investigation . . . that Mueller says was never “curtailed, stopped or hindered” . . . for a crime or crimes . . . that neither Trump nor anyone in his administration committed.

Folks, this is a top-down, engineered coup to overturn the 2016 election.  It is not enough that the coup be defeated.  We need the disinfectant of sunshine — to make public every single aspect of this attempted coup.  And then we need heads on pikes, metaphorically, and people in prison, for real.  Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum. Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

To that end, these are the questions I believe need to be answered:

I.  How did the Russian counter-intelligence operation aimed at the Trump Campaign originate?

A.  When was the Trump campaign targeted, by which law enforcement or intelligence agencies, and to what end in 2016 and 2017?

1)  We now know that, well before Mueller opened the Russia investigation targeting Trump on July 31, 2016, people who were key players in the Russian collusion hoax sought out and interacted with Trump campaign staffers Carter Page, Stephen Miller, and George Papadopoulos.  These key players included Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper and Alexander Downer, along with several women, at least one of whom, Azra Turk, the NYT subsequently identified as a U.S. intelligence agent.  Were any of these individuals acting on behalf of an American intelligence or law enforcement agencies and, if so, what were their orders? Were Mifsud or any of these individuals directed  to make contact with George Papadopolous or Carter Page in a sting operation?

2)  Do transcripts or reports of any sort exist of the interactions between Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, on the one hand, and Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, or Alexander Downer, on the other?  Papadopoulos believes that both Halper and Downer tried to get him to make admissions about Russia collusion and were recording or transmitting the discussions.

3)  Why, if Mueller claims Mifsud lied to his investigators on three occasions, was Mifsud the only person who was not then subject to prosecution for the process crime of lying to the FBI, (in comparison to Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Alex van der Zwaan, and Paul Manafort)?

4)  Did Comey place a spy in the Trump campaign, transition team, or the White House and, if so, under what justification?  Comey repeatedly testified under oath that he was not investigating Trump personally for conspiring with Russia.  Comey did not have probable cause. Yet Comey refused to state that fact publicly and there is evidence that he placed an agent, Anthony Ferrante, a cyber crime specialist, inside the White House.

B.  Did Russian intelligence hack the DNC Server in April-May, 2016? 

It seems insane to have to ask that question about this pivotal issue three years into the nightmare to which this nation has been subject, and yet . . . Mueller made a very deliberate decision not to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax, part and parcel of which is the alleged hack of the DNC server.  The only thing that we know for sure is that in June, 2016, the DNC announced that it had been hacked by Russia and that this hack was obviously intended to benefit Trump.  We know that Julian Assange somehow received thousands of DNC and John Podesta e-mails, which he then released to the public.  We know that Crowstrike, a cyber investigation agency that the DNC employed, analyzed the claimed hack and gave a redacted draft of that analysis to the FBI.  The FBI never saw the server. Beyond that, as Aaron Mate explains in Crowdstrikeout, we do not have even remotely trustworthy evidence that a hack occurred, nor does the Mueller Report, its bald assertions to the contrary, actually tie the hack to the Russian government.

C.  Was an ambiguous comment by third tier staffer George Papadopoulos actually the basis for opening up a counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Donald Trump and the Trump campaign and, if so, was it a reasonable basis? 

Mueller claims in his report that the reason that the FBI, back in July 2016, opened up a counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump Campaign for conspiring with Russia was because of a statement George Papadopoulos purported made to the Australian diplomat and Clinton friend,  Alexander Downer, who then relayed it to the FBI through unofficial channels. This is troubling.

Taking everything in the prosecution of Papadopoulos and the Mueller Report as true — and see Papadopoulos’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee at p. 21) — nothing Papadopoulos ever said indicated that, before the DNC publicly announced in June 2016 that it had been hacked, he had any knowledge about that hack.  What Papadopoulos did believe in April, 2016 was something that half of America — including FBI Director James Comey — also believed: namely, that Russia possessed some or all of the thousands of emails Hillary generated on her private server while serving as Secretary of State.  Given this publicly held knowledge, how could Papadopoulos’s statement — that Mifsud had told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails” — standing alone, possibly justify a counter-intelligence investigation into Trump and his campaign that used all of the tools and police power of the U.S. government?  Who signed off on opening this investigation and was Papadopoulos’s statement about commonly held public knowledge the only basis?  Was Papadopoulos’s statement used in any other Court documents to provide probable cause for law enforcement actions as regards Russia, Trump, and his campaign?  Why did Mueller ignore this glaring inconsistency in his report?

II.  Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele and the Steele Dossier:  Their roles in the Russian collusion hoax.

The genesis of the Russian hoax was the Steele Dossier, which the DNC funded as opposition research on Hillary’s behalf. Steele gave it to the FBI and to every major news outlet before the November, 2016, election.  And yet Mueller, in both his report and testimony, all but completely ignored the Dossier and refused to answer questions about it.  Moreover, Mueller even claimed he did not know that Fusion GPS funded the Dossier. It appears that Mueller was tasked by Rosenstein to investigate the Steele Dossier.  There is no rational reason for Mueller and his team to ignore these things in the final report.  The only possible explanation I can see is that, had Mueller acknowledged that the investigation’s genesis was false, unlawful and unconstitutional, his team would have had to halt its fishing expedition (or, if truly honest brokers, redirect the probe from Trump to the Obama administration) without accomplishing the main goal, which was driving Trump from office.

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Before We Go Further, A Short Summary of Dossier Facts

The Dossier is a series of “intelligence reports” compiled between June and December, 2016, making a series of wild and unfounded accusations against Donald Trump and the Trump campaign.  Specifically, it alleges that:

— Trump was an agent of Russia and had been working for the Russian government for eight years before 2016.  Russians paid Trump by providing him with hookers.

— Trump was being blackmailed by a tape held by the Russian government showing him watching hookers urinate on a bed in 2013.

— Trump actively supported the hacking of Democratic Party computers to steal and release stolen emails.

— Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, and campaign manager, Paul Manafort, conspired with the Russian government and coordinated with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.

— Carter Page traveled to Moscow in early July 2016 to deliver a public speech at a university. The dossier says he met with two top Kremlin operatives and discussed bribes worth billions of rubles for working to lift economic sanctions.

—  Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly traveled to Prague in August 2016 to orchestrate payments with agents of Vladimir Putin to manage the growing scandal of Trump-Russia collusion.

It is notable that the dossier contains some glaring errors: Here are just a few:

— A claim that Russian intelligence network was being paid for in part through a Russian consulate in Miami.  There is no Russian consulate in Miami.

— A claim that Mikhail Kalugin, chief of the economic section at the Russian Embassy was a spy responsible for funding Russian hacking, and that he was whisked out of Washington when the hacking scandal broke in August. His return to Moscow was actually a normal rotation announced ten months previously.

—  The claim that Michael Cohen’s wife was Russian and that his father-in-law was a wealthy Russian developer in Moscow.  Neither fact is true.

— The claim that Michael Cohen had been to Prague in August 2016 collapsed when it became apparent that he had never ever been to Prague.

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A.  Was the dossier, in whole or part, a series of manufactured charges designed to shock the public into supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and did the FBI and others misuse it to attack the Trump administration?

1)  What was Christopher Steele’s source (or chain of sources, where there are multiple levels of hearsay) for each allegation contained in the dossier?  Which of the allegations were based on legitimate foreign intelligence and which were not?  Given the specificity of the Steele allegations and his evidentiary claims in the dossier, the fact that not a single allegation has been proven in three years is stunning.  It strongly suggests on its face that some or all of the allegations were manufactured out of whole cloth, with the expectation that the media would make them public before the 2016 election and that both the media and the newly elected Hillary Clinton administration would conveniently bury them thereafter.  That would be the mother of all crimes against our democracy.  Is it true?

2)  What role did Clinton political hatchet men Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer play in providing allegations included in the Steele Dossier?  When these two men are involved, their history is so sordid that lone justifies investigating every last detail of their relevant acts.  We know that Blumenthal  funneled Cody Shearer’s opposition research to Steele using a State Department employee, Jonathan Winer, as a conduit.  I would not be surprised at all to find the more lurid, sex-based allegations against Trump originated with Blumenthal or Shearer. We do not know Shearer’s sources nor do we have a copy of his memo.  Was it too provided to the FBI?

3)  Steele lied to the FBI about briefing the media on the Steele Dossier in October, 2016.  Senators Grassley and Graham made a recommendation to the FBI that Steele be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted for this.  Mueller ignored the referral and did not address it in his report.  Why?

4)  It’s already been covered ad nauseum that the Steele Dossier, with its myriad of unverified allegations and obvious discrepancies, was the primary basis to obtain the FISA warrants against Carter Page.  We are awaiting a report from Inspector General Horowitz on whether the FISA warrants targeting Carter Page, signed and attested by Director Comey and others, were criminally deceptive and insufficient.

5)  On whom did the FBI spy as a result of the Steele Dossier?  We only know that the FBI spied upon Carter Page because it was convenient for the left to leak that to the media at the height of the Trump collusion frenzy.  Did the FBI also submit FISA warrants on Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign?  Did any of the players in this coup leak to third parties, including Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, the DNC, or the media, any of the information gleaned from these FISA warrants?

5)  What was CIA Director John Brennan’s role, if any, in creating and transmitting the Steele Dossier allegations to the FBI, to Congress, and to President Obama?  Did Brennan perjure himself in hearings before Congress (a) in claiming that he did not know about the Steele Dossier until December, 2016; and (b) in claiming that he determined, based solely on independent CIA-developed intelligence, that people in the Trump campaign were conspiring with the Kremlin in July 2016?  Note that Brennan now contends that he provided that intelligence to the FBI in July, yet in the one place one would expect to see independent corroborating evidence, in the FISA Court applications for a warrant to spy on Carter Page, there is no reference to information from the CIA.  There are simply the bare allegations of the Steele dossier, references to Michael Isikoff’s Sept 2016 article (based on information Steele gave Isikoff), and Steele’s personal reputation for honesty.

6)  Why was Trump Attorney Michael Cohen charged with a campaign finance violation while Mueller ignored the DNC’s, Clinton Campaign’s, and Perkins Coie law firm’s glaring violations of the same laws?  The fact that the DNC and Clinton Campaign used Perkins Coie to employ Fusion GPS, thus hiding behind a wall of attorney-client privilege their machinations with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, should make them subject to more stringent investigation on fraud grounds rather than getting Mueller’s free pass.

B.  Why has Fusion GPS’s role in manufacturing a Trump-Russian conspiracy been ignored?

1)  One of the pivotal events in the Trump-Russian conspiracy hoax was the fact that Trump family friend Ron Goldstone, arranged a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. along with several other members of the Trump campaign team, with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. While Veselnitskaya claimed to have compromising material on Hillary Clinton, she didn’t. However, the mere fact of the meeting was played in the press as proof of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

While Mueller, in his report, expends several pages analyzing the meeting, he ignores the elephant in the room, which is that Veselnitskaya had a business relationship with Fusion GPS and that she met with Fusion GPS’s founder, Glenn Simpson, both the day before and the day after the Trump Jr. meeting.  The Mueller Report fails to explain either Simpson’s role in arranging this apparent sting or how and why Goldstone misrepresented the meeting to Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign workers.

2)  There is  clear evidence that Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS misled and affirmatively lied to Congress about his relationship with Nellie Ohr, wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.  Why hasn’t Mueller or the DOJ pursued this?

III.  FISA Misuse and leaks of classified information

The Trump administration has been plagued by leaks, including the leaks of Top Secret information from FISA intercepts.  It has been abuse on a grand scale for which no one has been held accountable.  The most egregious example was the unmasking and leak of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador that served as the springboard Sally Yates and team Mueller to politically assassinate him.  What, if anything, has been done to identify those abusing the NSA intercepts and leaking / abusing that information?

That concludes my list of questions.  Please feel free to add any that you think I have missed.  I note that Aaron Mate has some different questions in his recent piece, Here are five big holes in Mueller’s work.  And at the Federalist, Adam Mill questions the Mueller investigation itself, given the apparent degree of Robert Mueller’s disconnect from the investigation.

The post Time For A Reckoning Against The Anti-Trump Coup Leaders appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Part II of the Mueller Report is a singularly dishonest political document

This post offers you five reasons to view Part II of the Mueller Report as a purely political document without any supporting legal rationales.

Part I of the Mueller Report conclusively found no evidence that President Trump or anyone close to him ever conspired with, or attempted to conspire with, the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. That should put the matter to bed.

Those who say that the Mueller report also doesn’t find affirmative proof that President Trump did not conspire with the Russians need to go back and study their basic American jurisprudence. In America, individuals do not have to prove their innocence; it is the prosecution that bears the high burden of proving their guilt. Case closed.

With Russian Collusion a dead-in-the-water talking point, the President’s critics have swung to Part II, which implies that the president of obstructed justice, whether it came about in the form of fulminating against what he knew was a witch hunt, debating with his attorney whether it was possible to fire the chief witch hunter, issuing orders to keep quiet about those discussions, or refusing to appear for an oral deposition.

See that, say President Trump’s critics. President Trump clearly had bad motives, which makes him unfit for the office he holds.

But for presidents, just as for everyone else, having bad motives doesn’t matter unless they’re followed by conduct. The fact that I put myself to sleep at night, not by counting sheep but by figuring out different ways to poison my enemies is irrelevant if I never poison my enemies or inflict any other criminal harm on them. My motives also do not make it a crime if someone later catches me sneering at one of those enemies, because sneering, while rude, is not a criminal act.

The record shows that Trump did not fire anyone and that his subordinates spoke freely to investigators. As for refusing to appear for a deposition, Mueller acceded to Trump’s request that he be subject only to written questions. That was a bargain, not an obstruction.

I’ve also noted before that it’s questionable whether one can claim “obstruction of justice” when there was no actual justice going on. The laws about obstruction of justice posit a known, actual crime; a prosecutor honestly investigating who did that crime; and a person, even an innocent one, deliberately engaging in affirmative acts (destruction of evidence, silencing of witnesses, etc.) to block that investigation.

In this case, however, the facts we know argue against “justice” having any part in this farce. Instead, a continuously emerging stream of new information tells us that government investigative agencies under Obama used illegal means to spy on the Republican presidential candidate. Then, when Trump won, he was accused of doing something bad with the Russians, although no one could quite finger what the precise illegality was. Trump’s FBI director then illegally leaked classified material to the media to trigger a special prosecutor. Although Mueller lacked evidence of an actual crime, he zealously spent two years and $35 million hunting for a crime, any crime, that he could pin on Trump.

That’s not justice. That’s Soviet-style political persecution.

So, is it “obstruction of justice” to fulminate against political persecution (because Trump knew at all times that he had done nothing wrong) and to explore avenues to make it stop, but then, at the end of the day, to cooperate completely with the farce? I say no, but I’ll freely admit my bias on this one.

But there’s more wrong with Part II than just the fact that Trump fulminated about but did not block investigators or that there was no justice present here. The public recently got to see a letter from Emmet T. Flood, Trump’s new White House counsel. (In addition to embedding the actual letter at the bottom of this post via Scribd, I’ve included the full text in this post, as I find Scribd documents hard to read.)

I highly recommend reading Flood’s every word. He details how Mueller’s office deviated from the special prosecutor’s mandate in order to write a blatantly political document intended to give Democrats an impeachment road map. It also explains how Mueller & Co. violated the special prosecutor’s law when they refused either to recommend indicting Trump for obstruction of justice or to state that he should not be indicted. Instead, they spelled out all sorts of things that prosecutors are never supposed to make public . . . only to punt.

By the way, what Mueller did is the fun house mirror of how James Comey screwed Hillary in July 2016 — only instead of punting after telling all the illegal things she did, Comey shoved aside AG Lynch and unilaterally and improperly decided that she should not be prosecuted. That is, Mueller detailed that Trump did nothing criminal (see below) he nevertheless refused to say Trump should not be prosecuted, while Comey detailed textbook criminality but refused to say Hillary should be prosecuted. Both Comey and Mueller are political hacks of the highest order.

Before you read the Flood letter, though, I want to direct your attention to one more thing, which was Bill Barr’s recently revealed quarrel with Mueller about the applicable federal statute for determining whether someone obstructed justice. The part I want to focus on is something that Scott Adams, a very astute observer, misunderstood because he’s not a lawyer. I realized then that a lot of people might not understand it.

The whole matter came out thanks to an excellent post that Will Chamberlain wrote for Human Events, entitled Checkmate. How President Trump’s Legal Team Outfoxed Mueller. A large part of that outfoxing boils down to a statutory quarrel that’s central to Part II of the Mueller Report, the part regarding obstruction:

At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material.

There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.”  These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

Before Mueller issued his report, way back in June 2018, the White House got wind of the peculiar interpretation Mueller and his team intended to put on the statute. William Barr got wind too and, in his capacity as a private citizen he wrote an entire letter to Rod Rosenstein expressing his concerns about what he was hearing. You can read the whole debate in Chamberlain’s article, but I just want to focus on the core issue, which is the language in 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2):

(c) Whoever corruptly—
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Read literally, the above statute says that whoever intentionally messes with records, documents, or other objects so as to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. In addition, whoever intentionally does anything else to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. This is how Scott Adams understood the statute. It is not the law’s way of understanding it and, moreover, had Adams drilled down, with his fine mind he would have realized that his instincts are completely illogically.

Re-read the statute and ask yourself this: Why would subjection (1) focus tightly on a very specific type of interference if subsection (2) says any type of interference is criminal?

Let me simplify things by giving a more relate-able example. Imagine reading the following two-part statute:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Again, you find yourself asking why subsection (1) goes to the effort of singling out three types of dogs when subsection (2) fines owners for any and all types of dog. Given that subsection (1) is obviously a subset of subsection (2), subsection (1) is redundant, pointless, meaningless, and confusing.

The same goes for the Mueller team’s preferred reading of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Mueller desperately wanted to say that, in addition to criminal penalties for destroying documents or other tangible objects in a way that interferes with an investigation, a personal is also subject to criminal penalties for anything and everything else that interferes with an investigation.

But here is where the rules of statutory interpretation come to our aid. (And this is what Barr argued, although I’m doing so in more user-friendly and less lawyerly fashion.)

There is a very old doctrine (we know it’s old because it’s a Latin-named doctrine) called ejusdem generis. Per the Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition of ejusdem generis:

Of the same kind, class, or nature.  In statutory construction, the “ejusdem generis rule” is that where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same general kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Black, Interp. Laws, 141 ; Cutshaw v. Denver, 19 Colo. App.341, 75 Pac. 22; Ex parte Le- land, 1 Nott & McC. (S. C.) 462; Spalding v. People, 172111. 40, 49 N. E. 993.

To go back to our canine example, let me show you how ejusdem generis works:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Logic tells us that subsection (1) delineates a very specific class of dogs: toy or miniature dogs. Under the doctrine of ejusdem generis, subsection (2) must mean “any other dog that falls within the class of toy or miniature dogs.” That means those who own Labbies and and German Shepherds can breathe a sigh of relief, but people owning Miniature Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, etc., had better decide whether to start paying or give up their doggies.

The same holds true for interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Subsection (1) manifestly describes someone deliberately destroying or manipulating tangible evidence, since as documents or records or other “objects.” It does not refer to talking to people or engaging in behavior other than destroying or manipulating tangible evidence.

Once we have classified the type of wrongdoing described in subsection (1) we know that subsection (2) is a catch-all to describe any deliberate destruction of similar types of evidence. For example, when 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) was originally enacted in 1982, there was no such thing as being able to wipe out a hard drive using BleachBit. By using the catch-all, the legislators didn’t have to amend the statute every time new technology for storing or erasing data came along. Subsection (2) effectively sweeps in newer technology that’s clearly within the same class of tangible evidence as old-fashioned paper documents.

Finally, please read Andrew McCarthy’s latest post, Mueller’s Preposterous Rationale for Tainting the President with ‘Obstruction’ Allegations. Here’s just a snippet, but you must read the whole thing:

In gross violation of Justice Department policy and constitutional norms, a prosecutor neither charges nor recommends charges against a suspect, but proceeds to smear him by publishing 200 pages of obstruction allegations. Asked to explain why he did it, the prosecutor says he was just trying to protect the suspect from being smeared.

This is the upshot of the Mueller report’s Volume II. It might be thought campy if the suspect weren’t the president of the United States and the stakes weren’t so high.

The smear-but-don’t-charge outcome is the result of two wrongs: (1) Mueller’s dizzying application of Justice Department guidance, written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), holding that a president may not be indicted while he is in office; and (2) the media-Democrat complex’s demand that only laws they like — those that serve their anti-Trump political purposes — be enforced.

The rest of this post is Emmet T. Flood’s letter. I hope that all these things give you a new way of thinking about Part II of the Mueller Report.

*****************************************

The White House
Washington

April 19, 2019

Via Hand Delivery

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I write on behalf of the Office of the President to memorialize concerns relating to the form of the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”) Report (“SCO Report” or “Report”) and to address executive privilege issues associated with its release.

The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law. Lest the Report’s release be taken as a “precedent” or perceived as somehow legitimating the defect, I write with both the President and future Presidents in mind to make the following points clear.

I begin with the SCO’s stated conclusion on the obstruction question: The SCO concluded that the evidence “prevent[ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” SCO Report v.2, p.2. But “conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred” was not the SCO’s assigned task, because making conclusive determinations of innocence is never the task of the federal prosecutor.

What prosecutors are supposed to do is complete an investigation and then either ask the grand jury to return an indictment or decline to charge the case. When prosecutors decline to charge, they make that decision not because they have “conclusively determin[ed] that no criminal conduct occurred,” but rather because they do not believe that the investigated conduct constitutes a crime for which all the elements can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors simply are not in the business of establishing innocence. any more than they are in the business of “exonerating” investigated persons. In the American justice system, innocence is presumed; there is never any need for prosecutors to “conclusively determine” it. Nor is there any place for such a determination. Our country would be a very different (and very dangerous) place if prosecutors applied the SCO standard and citizens were obliged to prove “conclusively . . . that no criminal conduct occurred.”

Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary. the SCO’s inverted-proof-standard and “exoneration” statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties. The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO’s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.

Second, and equally importantly: In closing its investigation. the SCQ had only one job — to “provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c). Yet the one thing the SCO was obligated to do is the very thing the SCO — intentionally and unapologetically — refused to do. The SCO made neither a prosecution decision nor a declination decision on the obstruction question. Instead, it transmitted a 182-page discussion of raw evidentiary material combined with its own inconclusive observations on the arguable legal significance of the gathered content. As a result, none of the Report’s Volume II complied with the obligation imposed by the governing regulation to “explain[] the prosecution or declination decisions reached.” Id.

The SCO instead produced a prosecutorial curiosity — part “truth commission” report and part law school exam paper. Far more detailed than the text of any known criminal indictment or declination memorandum, the Report is laden with factual information that has never been subjected to adversarial testing or independent analysis. That information is accompanied by a series of inexplicably inconclusive observations (inexplicable, that is, coming from a prosecutor) concerning possible applications of law to fact. This species of public report has no basis in the relevant regulation and no precedent in the history of special/independent counsel investigations.

An investigation of the President under a regulation that clearly specifies a very particular form of closing documentation is not the place for indulging creative departures from governing law. Under general prosecutorial principles, and under the Special Counsel regulation’s specific language, prosecutors are to speak publicly through indictments or confidentially in declination memoranda. By way of justifying this departure. it has been suggested that the Report was written with the intent of providing Congress some kind of ” road map” for congressional action. See, e.g., Remarks of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, 4/18/19 (Press Conference).[Fn 1] If that was in fact the SCO’s intention, it too serves as additional evidence of the SCO’s refusal to follow applicable law. Both the language of the regulation and its ” legislative” history make plain that the “[c]losing documentation” language was promulgated for the specific purpose of preventing the creation of this sort of final report.[Fn 2] Under a constitution of separated powers, inferior Article II officers should not be in the business of creating “road maps” for the purpose of transmitting them to Article I committees.

[Fn 1] Some commentators have pointed to the so-called Watergate “Road Map” as precedent for giving Congress a prosecutor’s report containing no legal conclusions. That “Road Map” is shrouded in a bodyguard of myths, and the many separation of powers problems presented by its transmission remain largely unexplored. But the idea that it was a straightforward. just-the-facts type summary is easily dispelled. As two top Watergate prosecutors wrote years after the events of 1973-74, the Watergate Task Force created the “road map [to] serve as a do-it-yourself kit for the Judiciary Committee, helping it reassemble the individual pieces of grand-jury testimony and other evidence into a coherent theory of a criminal case as we and the [grand] jury saw it.” Ben-Veniste & Frampton. Stonewall: The Real Story of the Watergate Prosecution 242-43 (1977) (emphasis added).

[Fn 2] At the time of the Special Counsel regulations’ creation in 1999. it was widely understood that Section 600.8(c) was not intended to provide for “a report which discusses the evidence at length,” much less its public dissemination. The Future of the Independent Counsel Act: Hearings before the S. Comm. On Governmental Affairs, 106th Cong. 236 (1999) (letter from Robert B. Fiske, Jr.); see also id. at 252 (prepared statement of Janet Reno, Att’y Gen. of the United States); Reauthorization of the Independent Counsel Statute, Part I: Hearings Before the Subcomm. On Commercial and Admin. Law of the H. Comm. On the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 36 (1999) prepared statement of Eric H. Holder, Jr., Deputy Att’y Gen.).

With the release of the SCO Report and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency. He encouraged every White House staffer to cooperate fully with the sea and, so far as we are aware, all have done so. Voluntary interviewees included the Counsel to the President, two Chiefs of Staff, the Press Secretary and numerous others. In addition, approximately 1.4 million pages of documents were provided to the SCO. This voluntary cooperation was given on the understanding (reached with the SCO) that information (i) gathered directly from the White House or White House staffers and (ii) having to do with Presidential communications, White House deliberations, law enforcement information, and perhaps other matter may be subject to a potential claim of executive privilege and, for that reason, would be treated by the SCO as presumptively privileged. Volume II of the report contains a great deal of presumptively privileged information, largely in the form of references to, and descriptions of, White House staff interviews with the SCO. It also includes reference to presumptively privileged documentary materials.

The President is aware that, had he chosen to do so, he could have withheld such information on executive privilege grounds, basing such an assertion on the established principle that to permit release of such information might have a chilling effect on a President’s advisors, causing them to be less than fully frank in providing advice to a President. Notwithstanding his right to assert such a privilege, and with a measure of reluctance born of concern for future Presidents and their advisors, the President has in this instance elected not to assert executive privilege over any of the presumptively privileged portions of the report. As a consequence, not a single redaction in the Report was done on the advice of or at the direction of the White House.

The President therefore wants the following features of his decision to be known and understood:

(1) His decision not to assert privilege is not a waiver of executive privilege for any other material or for any other purpose;

(2) His decision to permit disclosure of executive-privileged portions of the report does not waive any privileges or protections for the SCO’s underlying investigative materials such as, for example, FBI Form 302 witness interview summaries and presumptively privileged documents made available to the SCO by the White House.

(3) His decision does not affect his ability as President to instruct his advisors to decline to appear before congressional committees to answer questions on these same subjects. It is one thing for a President to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation conducted largely within the Executive Branch; it is something else entirely to allow his advisors to appear before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the President and with each other. The former course reflected the President’s recognition of the importance of promoting cooperation with a criminal investigation. The latter course creates profound separation of powers concerns and — if not defended aggressively — threatens to undermine the integrity of Executive Branch deliberations. The President is determined to protect from congressional scrutiny not only the advice rendered by his own advisors, but also by advisors to future Presidents.

A great deal is said these days about the rule of law and the importance of legal norms. In that spirit, and mindful of the frenzied atmosphere accompanying the Report’s release, the following should not be forgotten. Government officials, with access to classified information derived from a counterintelligence investigation and from classified intelligence intercepts, engaged in a campaign of illegal leaks against the President. Many of those leaks were felonies. They disclosed the identity of a U.S. person in violation of his civil rights; they misused intelligence for partisan political purposes; and they eroded public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our intelligence services. The criminal investigation began with a breach of confidentiality executed by a very senior administration official who was himself an intelligence service chief. This leak of confidential information, personally directed by the former Director of the FBI, triggered the creation of the SCO itself – precisely as he intended it to do.

Not so long ago, the idea that a law enforcement official might provide the press with confidential governmental information for the proclaimed purpose of prompting a criminal investigation of an identified individual would have troubled Americans of all political persuasions. That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the President of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty. Under our system of government, unelected Executive Branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people — the President — and not the other way around. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue; it is a matter of having a government responsible to the people — and, again, not the other way around. In the partisan commotion surrounding the released Report, it would be well to remember that what can be done to a President can be done to any of us.

These leaks and this investigation also caused immense and continuing interference with the functioning of the Executive Branch. Our constitution makes the President the sole constitutional officer “for whom the entire Nation votes. and [who] represent[s] the entire Nation both domestically and abroad.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 711 (1997) (Breyer, J., concurring). As a result, “[i]nterference with a President’s ability to carry out his public responsibilities is constitutionally equivalent to interference with the ability of the entirety of Congress, or the Judicial Branch, to carry out its public obligations.” Id. at 713. It is inarguable that the now-resolved allegation of “Russian collusion” placed a cloud over the Presidency that has only begun to lift in recent weeks. The pendency of the SCO investigation plainly interfered with the President’s ability to carry out his public responsibility to serve the American people and to govern effectively. These very public and widely felt consequences flowed from, and were fueled by, improper disclosures by senior government officials with access to classified information. That this continues to go largely unremarked should worry all civil libertarians, all supporters of investigative due process, and all believers in limited and effective government under the Constitution.

I respectfully ask you to include a copy of this letter in the Department’s records relating to the SCO investigation.

Sincerely,

Emmet T. Flood
Special Counsel to the President

*****************************************

Flood letter to Barr by on Scribd

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Leaks and Barr (by Wolf Howling)

Expect deep state leaks to pick up to fire hose speed as the left targets AG Bill Barr and tries to minimize their criminal actions.

Is anyone else tired of criminal deep state denizens leaking classified information to a corrupt media in order to, at best, unfairly slant the news and, at worst, to plant outright lies? All of the leaks were once aimed at taking down the Trump administration, but now they’re aimed at taking down the Attorney General, Bill Barr.

For instance, who leaked the ridiculous Mueller memo to Barr on the eve of Barr’s testimony before Congress?  Leaks like this seem so commonplace now, though, in the Age of Deep State v. Donald Trump, that Vanity Fair is running an article on how the DOJ leaked the memo to two sources, WaPo and the NYT:

It was a familiar one-two in the age of Trump. On Tuesday, the day before Attorney General William Barr’s Senate testimony, The Washington Post published a staggering scoop, one that’s driven the news ever since: Robert Mueller had written a letter to Barr complaining that his initial summary of the Mueller report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s work.

Minutes later, The New York Times published a story with almost precisely the same reporting. “I felt a flashback to the days of 2017 and 2018 when the Times and the Post published dueling scoops the way fighters trade blows,” CNN’s Brian Stelter remarked in his newsletter that night.

The Times and the Post are both well sourced and are often in pursuit of the same stories. In this instance, however, the Times has been left with the distinct impression that the Department of Justice intentionally screwed it by helping its competitor get the scoop. . . .

I was more than a bit taken aback at how casually the media now treats the fact that a person at DOJ is leaking to the press. Media types used to be a bit more discrete about that kind of thing.  But to the media, these leaks are all part and parcel of the new hysteria surrounding AG Bill Barr.

True, a small part of the hysteria is anger that Barr circumscribed the proggie / media complex’s ability to spin the Mueller report with his own memo, setting out the bottom line conclusions of both Mueller and himself — no collusion, no actionable obstruction of justice.*  But the bulk of the hysteria is aimed at doing in Barr before he does in the deep state folks responsible for the what has amounted to a soft coup attempt. Andrew McCarthy explains:

So I give you: the Bill Barr perjury allegation.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But are we entitled to our own facts? Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s bon mot says no, but Washington makes you wonder. Like when spleen-venting about the supposedly outrageous, unbelievable, disgraceful invocation of the word “spy” to describe episodes of government spying is instantly followed by a New York Times story about how the spying — er, I mean, court-authorized electronic surveillance — coupled with the tasking of spies — er, undercover agents — green-lighted by a foreign spy — er, intelligence service — was more widespread than previously known.

If I were a cynic, I’d think people were trying to get out in front of some embarrassing revelations on the horizon. I might even be tempted to speculate that progressives were trotting out their “Destroy Ken Starr” template for Barr deployment (which, I suppose, means that 20 years from now we’ll be reading about what a straight-arrow Barr was compared to whomever Democrats are savaging at that point).

The claim that Barr gave false testimony is frivolous. That is why, at least initially, Democrats and their media echo chamber soft-pedaled it — with such dishonorable exceptions as Mazie Horono, the Hawaii Democrat who, somehow, is a United States senator. It’s tough to make the perjury argument without any false or even inaccurate statements . . .

A good portion of Washington right now has to be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair showroom.  Obama weaponized the alphabet agencies and turned them lawless; Clinton and the DNC put them to use.  All of it is illegal.  All of it dwarfs Watergate as Watergate was only a criminal dirty trick and cover-up, while this was a soft coup.  Soon we’ll see the NYT explaining to us, on the one hand, that Barr is Hitler’s newest henchman and, on the other hand, that the FBI’s and CIA’s did spying and stings against the Trump organization were wholly reasonable.

For instance, the NYT / DOJ line up to now was that the entire investigation into Trump had nothing to do with the Steele dossier, but was only opened when George Papadopoulos learned from Joseph Mifsud that Russia had “thousands” of Hillary e-mails and then divulged that fact to Aussie official, Alexander Downer.  Except now it is slowly coming out, through leaks and otherwise that Mifsud / Downer and two others involved in the Papadopoulos machinations, Stefan Halper and his “assistant,” Azra Turk, all had links to either or both the CIA and FBI.  In other words, it is starting to appear that the hapless Papadopoulos might well have been set up in a sting done as a pretext for investigating Trump.

At any rate, get ready for a lot more leaks.  They will soon start coming, dare I say it, fast and furious as the proggies try to justify their unjustifiable and unforgivable actions.

__________________________
*BOOKWORM HERE: Wolf Howling wrote the above post, but it did remind me of something. Yes, it’s true that even an innocent person can be guilty of obstruction of justice. In other words, it’s still wrong to impede genuine investigative work, no matter your innocence. But even assuming the Trump aggressively impeded first the FBI’s and then the Special Counsel’s work, was their work justice?

As is becoming quite clear, they were part of an ongoing illegal effort to oust a duly elected American president based upon faked charges. So whatever Trump did (no matter how minimal or egregious), he wasn’t obstructing “justice,” he was obstructing what he knew to be an attempted coup. That’s heroic, not illegal.

The post Leaks and Barr (by Wolf Howling) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Avenatti, Hillary, and Trump: thoughts about character and sociopaths

Avenatti and Clinton are self-serving criminals, while Trump is just a boaster and brawler — and he uses those traits constitutionally to serve America.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding completely fascinating the lengthening laundry list of malfeasance associated with Michael Avenatti. It turns out he’s not just a garden-variety crooked attorney with a gift for self-promotion who padded his bills or missed filing deadlines, only to lie about these things later. Instead, assuming the allegations against him to be true, Avenatti is a criminal of epic proportions. He embezzled millions of dollars from clients, one of whom was brain-damaged, in order to fund his other businesses enterprises as well as his high-end, race car-driving lifestyle.

Speaking only for myself, If I ever started engaging in crime, even minor crime, my instinct would be to keep a low profile. My crime motto, if I had one, would be “If you’re going to speed, do it in a boring car, not in a bright red sports car.” Thankfully, I am not criminally inclined, so this is not an issue.

Avenatti, however, who is apparently a true criminal, went in an entirely different direction. He did everything he could to make himself visible. Even more importantly for purposes of this post, he made himself visible at the national level by sitting in judgment — moral judgment — on the President of the United States. He spent months on Leftist TV speaking endlessly about what a corrupt person President Trump is. Then, when that fame started diminishing, Avenatti ratcheted up the fame factor again by thrusting himself into the heart of the baseless attack on Justice Kavanaugh.

To go back to my car metaphor, Avenatti wasn’t just speeding in a red sports car. He was speeding and running red lights, all while driving a red car with the top down, playing rap music at full blast on the top-end sound system, boasting a flag on the antenna reading “Hey, look at me” and, below that, another flag saying, “No, really, look at me!”

If I had to guess, I would say Avenatti is a sociopath. Or perhaps I should say he has an “antisocial personality disorder” (ASP), which is the modern DSM-5 classification for those people whom we once called sociopaths and/or psychopaths. I’m a little soured on the DSM, which seems more concerned with politics than clinical accuracy, but this laundry list of signs that someone has an ASP is remarkably accurate in describing not only Avenatti’s crimes, but his lust for fame, a lust entirely at odds with someone who actually wants to get away with criminal activity:

  • Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others
  • Lack of stability in job and home life
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Lack of remorse
  • Consistent irresponsibility
  • Recklessness, impulsivity
  • Deceitfulness
  • A childhood diagnosis (or symptoms consistent with) conduct disorder

Except for the last item in the list, about which we have no information, Avenatti ticks off all the other items. Nor is this a case of trying to massage a vaguely dishonest or insensitive person into the laundry list, even if that person really doesn’t belong there. Avenatti fits like a well-oiled key in a custom-made lock: His blatant attacks on others; his divorces and refusal to pay child care; his aggression; his manifest lack of remorse for his crimes (were he remorseful, he might be more low key); his carelessness with his clients and, indeed, with his own welfare as a criminal; the recklessness that drove him to the spotlight; and his blatant dishonesty — it’s all there.

Before I go further, let me say that, just because I’m a lay person willing to give Avenatti a diagnosis, doesn’t mean I’m going to go the next step and say something like, “Poor guy. He’s mentally ill. He can’t help himself. He deserves a pass.” Avenatti is a very competent man to have gone as far as he did with his corrupt behavior. He knew objectively that what he was doing was wrong because the law went directly opposite him. Even lacking a normal conscience, he understood that he was violating both the law and societal norms. He has therefore earned every bit of punishment that comes his way, and I hope he gets it good and hard. But back to my main point….

Should the transgender crowd every fully get its way and lead us into co-ed prisons, I do feel that Hillary ought to get the cell next to Avenatti’s. Even if we put aside the accusations against her from the 1990s on the ground that they were politically motivated hatchet jobs, there’s still no way around the fact that between 2008 and 2012 she grossly violated national security by conducting her business as Secretary of State over a home-brewed server. She then lied about it, spoliated evidence, and destroyed government documents. Her malfeasance is breathtaking. She’s right up there in the front seat of that over-the-top red car Avenatti is driving.

But what really shows that Hillary is every bit as sociopathic or personality disordered as Avenatti is the fact that, just today, after America had learned with absolute finality that Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with the Russians during his run for the White House, Hillary argued that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday argued that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed President Donald Trump would’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice if not for the fact he’s president and protected by Justice Department guidelines.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted. But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress,” Clinton said at the Time 100 summit in New York City.

Obstruction, Hillary? Do you really want to go there. I know I said I wouldn’t rehash her wrongdoing in the 1990s, but it is worth mentioning a couple of incontrovertible facts. For example, there’s the fact that Hillary deliberately hid her billing records from the Rose Law Firm. And there’s the fact that for Bill’s entire political life, she was out there, front and center, squashing Bill’s endless “bimbo eruptions,” including the rape accusation Juanita Broaddrick brought against him. I also mentioned above, didn’t I, her whole “hiding her server, erasing her hard drive, deleting her emails” activities. And please, don’t even get me started on the lies she told about Benghazi, where four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, were brutally slaughtered.

Just like Avenatti, not only is Hillary a criminal, she’s a moralizing criminal who presumes to sit in judgment on those who have done nothing wrong or, at the very least, have committed inconsequential wrongdoing compared to Hillary’s grotesque legal and moral sins. There’s that recklessness and sense of superiority that marks the sociopath or disordered personality. Not only do they feel above the law, they feel above everyone and everything. Ordinary laws apply only to the little people and these sociopaths are big, big, BIG — at least in their own mirrors. Indeed, that disordered and undeserved sense of bigness often propels them quite far into fame and fortune before their misdeeds finally catch up with them.

People like Avenatti and Hillary are very frightening because they have no brakes. Moreover, they don’t even have the decency to hide in the dark corners with the other rats. Instead, they sit there brazenly, their throne propped up by ill-gotten gains, and presume to sit in judgment on others.

So where does Trump fit in all this? Trump is certainly a larger than life person, but is he a criminal? Is he a sociopath?

Leftists love to point to all of his endless factual misstatements, but I honestly don’t believe he’s the same kind of liar Avenatti and Hillary are. As I’ve often said, Trump is a “puffer.”

In advertising, puffery allows you to make claims that every sensible person recognizes as boasting, indeed, sometimes humorous boasting. “Ours is the softest toilet paper ever.” “You’ll think you’re drinking a fresh peach with our fruit juice.” “Ours will be the best economy ever!” Only pedants or humorless scolds would take this type of thing seriously. (Speaking of which, less than year ago, the Times was still claiming that, when Trump on the stump said “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he wasn’t jokingly referring to the fact that, owing to Hillary’s national security violations, Russia already had every bit of her correspondence, but was, instead openly colluding with Russia.)

If you’re opposed to or incapable of understanding puffery then yes, Trump lies. If you don’t mind exaggeration, he’s good. Salena Zito nailed it perfectly when she wrote about Trump’s often cavalier approach to data, such as unemployment statistics or inauguration attendees: “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

The way I see it is that Trump exaggerates inconsequential details (although he seldom veers too far from the gist of things), but he never lies about core, consequential matters. By contrast, Hillary and Avenatti routinely tell huge, fraudulent, consequential lies that change people’s lives for the worse. Obama’s in that same class. Unlike Trump, he may have recited statistics accurately, but it was Obama who repeatedly promised the American people that their doctors and hospitals wouldn’t change — something of incredible importance to Americans — and not only was this wrong, it was a deliberate lie intended to sell the people on a deal they wouldn’t otherwise buy.

We have a family friend, someone I’ve known since I was three. She is the most delightful conversationalist because in her world everything is larger than life. The handsome man is “a God;” the luxury resort is “like a palace, you wouldn’t believe;” the former boyfriend “has turned into a fat old man. He’s so fat he’d take up three seats in an airplane;” and on and on. Everything is dramatic. Everything is exciting. And everything is taken with a grain of salt at the margins. What I know with certainty after talking with this lovely lady is that the man is handsome, the resort is great, and that the old boyfriend has filled out. Believe me, though, that I’m not disappointed, nor do I feel betrayed, when I learn that there is no Adonis, there is no palace, and there is no Jabba the Hutt.

Trump has never lied about the consequential stuff. Indeed, unlike every candidate in my lifetime, he’s kept his campaign promises. We all expect presidential candidates to lie about those things, but Trump didn’t. Some things didn’t happen as he promised (such as ending Obamacare) but that wasn’t for want of trying on his part. Instead, members of his own party blocked him.

And then there’s the whole obstruction thing, the thing for which Hillary, one of the most felonious people in American political history, had the temerity to rise in judgment against Trump. A few points as to that, all of which you’ve seen elsewhere, so I won’t belabor them too much:

It’s very hard to get excited about Trump doing anything to block an investigation that he knew at all times with absolute certainty was undertaken in bad faith. Even if Mueller went in thinking there might be something wrong, he would have learned within months that Trump was innocent of wrongdoing vis-a-vis the Russians. Continuing the investigations for two years could only have been meant to stymie Trump’s presidency, destroy the people in his orbit and, through that destruction, warn other people away from working with the Trump administration.

What I’m trying to say is that, from Trump’s perspective, this wasn’t just a case in which there was a known crime, but he was wrongly fingered as a suspect. If you’re wondering, that scenario was what happened with Richard Jewell, whom Mueller practically hounded into the grave with a wrongful investigation related to the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta.

When Mueller’s investigation began, there was no known crime. Instead, this was a Lavrentiy “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” Beria investigation, in which Trump was the target and Mueller was trying to find a crime to attach to him. Even assuming Trump was obstructionist, obstructing an investigation that violates the 4th Amendment doesn’t get my dander up.

Another thing to keep in mind, again consistent with the American judicial system, is that Mueller, when talking about obstruction, essentially said, “Trump hasn’t really satisfied me as to his innocence.” But that’s not how our judicial system works. It’s Mueller’s job first to have a crime, and then to finger the perpetrator. It’s not Trump’s job to prove he was innocent of a non-crime and then prove again that he was innocent of not cooperating 100% with investigating a witch hunt against him.

I have no problem with the fact that Trump refused to be interviewed in person. Even after Mueller must have known there was no collusion, he was determined to destroy people with process crimes, bizarre imprisonments, and over-the-top night time arrests. Especially for someone like Trump, who’s not tight on details, a live interview with Mueller would have seen him sent to Club Fed for the rest of his life for lying about what he had for breakfast on June 15, 2016.

I’m also unimpressed with the Don McGahn testimony. I don’t care that Trump asked if he could fire Mueller. It was a perfectly reasonable question for a White House lawyer given that Trump knew at all times that he was innocent. I don’t care that he tried to bully McGahn into firing Mueller, because pushy clients do that all the time with their lawyers until the lawyers give them a super firm no. I don’t even care that Trump said, “Hey, don’t tell anyone about this conversation” — First off, McGahn ignored that direction and freely talked about the conversation; second, the conversation was meaningless because Trump didn’t act upon it. And of course, who knows whether Trump was joking when he made that request and who knows whether McGahn retrofitted his memory or his notes given that he must have noticed that Mueller systematically destroyed anyone who didn’t feed something to his investigation.

Finally, I refuse to accept that Twitter outbursts unaccompanied by action constitute obstruction.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that Trump probably has some sort of personality disorder. He is an odd man with his peculiar look, his verbal twitches, his puffery, and his Twitter outbursts, which I find both effective and amusing but will agree are not necessarily presidential. He’s a brawler and a manipulator. He lived a debauched lifestyle before settling down in the last few years. All that’s true.

But since Trump entered the White House, he’s been a model president in constitutional terms. Everything he’s achieved, he’s achieved within constitutional parameters. That’s a lot more than can be said for Obama, with his illegal Kyoto Accords and Iran Agreements.

Larger than life people are often difficult and sometimes crazy. Put I’ll take Trump’s pro-American, constitutional craziness any day over Avenatti’s and Hillary’s selfish, amoral, immoral, and criminal sociopathy, especially when their particular brand of crazy is overlaid with self-righteous, completely unfounded moralizing about President Trump and others whom these sociopaths have targeted.

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President Trump is the “dayenu” president

No matter how imperfect Trump is, looking at his record of accomplishments, as to each one I say the Passover word “dayenu” — it would have been enough.

During the Passover dinner, one of the songs Jewish families sing is Dayenu. It is in the nature of a “count your blessings song,” with the song reciting each of God’s miracles during the Exodus and, after every verse reciting “dayenu,” which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” Growing up,  I considered this song one of the best parts of the proceedings. I was in good company, for Jews have been singing Dayenu for around one thousand years.

The song consists of three groups of praise for God’s miracles. The first group recites the miracles that challenged Pharaoh, the second recites the miracles that were the Exodus itself, and the third recites the miracles of being with God and getting the Ten Commandants during the forty years in the wilderness. Chabad provides a nice version of the lyrics in  both English and Hebrew:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the ShabbatDayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash) Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ

So you can get a sense of the melody, here is the Maccabeats’ charming version of the song (although when we were kids we perked up rather than collapsing during the song):

The point of the song, obviously, is not to get greedy, but to be grateful for whatever gifts or miracles come your way. God doesn’t need cumulative miracles to prove His greatness and the debt Jews owe Him. Each little thing He did, standing alone, would have been enough.

So what’s this got to do with Trump? Well, let me first assure you that I am not likening Trump to God. He is no God. He is, instead, a very imperfect man, but one who nevertheless has taken a series of steps that, even if each stands alone, is a reminder why a Trump presidency is so much better than the Hillary alternative.

The genesis for this thought came about because I got an email from a very dear friend, one whom I respect more than you can imagine, who is baffled by my fondness for Trump. Before the Mueller report, he saw Trump as a crude buffoon. Since the Mueller report, he sees him as a dangerously corrupt individual. Worse, he sees Trump as way less successful than a good Republican president should be. As readers of this blog know, I’ve come to hold Trump in quite high esteem. Thinking about how to explain my esteem to my friend, I came up with the “dayenu” meter.

To begin with, remember that America’s choice in November 2016 was completely binary: Hillary or Trump. So we’re not measuring Trump against some perfect Republican candidate; we’re measuring Trump against Hillary, who was committed to continuing the Obama administration, although with the addition of the Clintons’ unique brand of financial corruption. It is in that context that I look at what Trump has done. (As an aside, I would argue, as Wolf Howling already has, that Trump is proving to be an extraordinary conservative president who, only halfway through his first term, can measure up even to Ronaldus Magnus.)

Also, regarding what Trump has not done, or not yet done, I never lose track of the fact that, for two-and-a-half years, Trump has been contending with the weight of an entirely false accusation that he entered into a conspiracy with Russia to keep Hillary from the White House. (Incidentally, that’s why Trump said he was “f**ked* when he realized the immensity of this whole Russia collusion hoax. He wasn’t saying, “Oh, my God, the jig is up! I’m going to jail.” He was saying, “Oh, my God, this will paralyze my effectiveness as a president.”)

So here’s my dayenu recital for Trump:

If Trump had merely presided over a booming economy, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that it wasn’t his policies that made the change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely lowered taxes, even if one accepts Leftists talking points that lower taxes didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely massively cut regulations, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that lessening the government’s stranglehold over businesses didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over minorities seeing the best economic years of their lives, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that Trump didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely appointed two conservative Supreme Court justices, even though the remaining Leftists Supreme Court justices show no sign of vacating their seats — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely put dozens of strict constructionists in federal appellate and district courts, even though enough Leftist judges remain to thwart many of his policies — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely taken seriously and worked hard to address American’s concerns about illegal aliens flooding our southern border security, even though the Democrats’ have successfully hamstrung Trump through Leftists activist judges — Dayenu. (Don’t get me started on Congress’s failure to act on the southern border when Republicans controlled both houses. Just don’t get me started.)

If Trump had merely shifted the long-standing, failed paradigm that saw the US sending no-strings (or almost no-strings) money to North Korea and, instead, offered Kim Jong-un a carrot and stick approach to abandoning North Korea’s nuclear program, even though Kim recently conducted a rocket test and talked to Putin — Dayenu. (I’m not worried about Kim allying with Putin, because he’s always been allied with communist regimes; I think his recent posturing, including that rocket test, is just that — posturing intended to keep his own worst enemies, the ones inside his regime, at bay.)

If Trump had merely defeated ISIS on the battlefield, even though radical Islamism remains a worldwide scourge — Dayenu. (You have to start defeating radical Islamists somewhere, especially because it’s the nature of Islam to respect a strong horse and want to gut and devour a weak one.)

If Trump had merely walked out of the illegal Kyoto Accord, which was set to deplete the American economy while propping up the hyper-polluting Chinese economy, even though his administration is still paying some lip service to the cult of climate change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely supported a reinvigorated American oil, gas, and coal sector, which will bring employment to vast numbers of people and lower product prices for everyone, even though the climatistas are up in arms — Dayenu. (I have long believed that “renewables” cannot provide First World energy needs. Forcing America onto renewables will return us to a pre-industrial time which, while pastoral, was deadly and uncomfortable. The answer is to use our technology to make cleaner-burning fossil fuels and, if Scott Adams is correct, to turn to Generation IV nuclear reactors, which are completely safe and will burn up existing nuclear waste.)

If Trump had merely withdrawn from the illegal Iran Deal — which propped up the mullahs and funded world-wide terrorism — and instead reimposed economic sanctions on Iran, even though the mullahs are still rattling sabers and making trouble — Dayenu. (Nobody expected the mullahs to collapse the instant Trump undid that vile deal; it’s enough that he undid it and is starting to reapply pressure on a very shaky regime.)

If Trump had merely reinvigorated the American military by pouring more funds into it and by ending the habit of treating it as a social justice experiment, even though doing so hurts the feelings of transgender people — Dayenu. (The military exists to protect our nation, not to make people feel good about themselves.)

If Trump had merely put the screws to China’s predatory trade practices, which have been depleting the American economy for decades, in such a way that China appears to be backing down, even though people on the Left and the Right are now saying all tariffs are bad — Dayenu. (I believe in free trade, but free trade works only if there isn’t cheating. Moreover, while many claim that things will eventually right themselves if left alone, that’s a fine thing to say to one or two generations of Americans who are economically destroyed by China’s unfair trade practices, which include intellectual piracy, slave labor, and government underwriting in the marketplace. This “dayenu,” incidentally, also goes to the new trade deals Trump negotiated with other nations.)

If Trump had merely managed to de-fang most of Obamacare, which was a drag on the economy and which destroyed people’s relationships with their physicians while doing nothing to improve the delivery of medical care in America, even thought the vicious, unprincipled John McCain did everything he could to block Trump’s efforts — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely proved to be the staunchest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, or certainly the staunchest friend since Reagan, and implemented policies that are putting a stop to the Palestinians’ non-stop, bad faith demands, even as the whole Democrat Party is turning increasingly anti-Semitic — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over a Department of Education that withdrew the “Dear Colleague” letter that turned already Leftist campus administrations into fanatically man-hating entities that destroyed young men without due process and on the merest threads of accusations, even though . . . I don’t know what “even though” clause could be used here — DAYENU!

If Trump had merely threatened to withdraw federal funds from institutions of (ostensibly) higher education that squash free speech, even though . . . heck! There is no “even though” here either.  DAYENU!

If Trump had merely shown fearlessness in the face of stifling, Leftist political correctness, thereby freeing other Americans to speak honestly, even though . . . what’s the downside here? None. DAYENU!

I could go on all day with this. Trump is rude, crude, bumptious, impulsive, cold-blooded, combative, etc. I see that. I also see that he’s incredibly funny, that he has a wonderful knack for making Leftists reveal their true colors, and that his initiatives, even if imperfect or ultimately ineffective, nevertheless have shifted paradigms at home and abroad in ways that are important to and beneficial for America.

As far as I can tell, the worst thing that Trump has left completely unfixed and unaddressed — and something that is a dangerous time bomb that could destroy America — is the $21 trillion national debt, which skyrocketed under Obama and has continued to rise under Trump. This is unsustainable and we need to work hard and fast to bring government spending down even as we hope that the soaring economy will help increase tax revenues to pay off that debt.

Also, while I’m on the subject, I want to address the Mueller report’s statement that Trump refused to let Mueller interview him and the allegation that Trump played with the idea of dismissing Mueller and, while he eventually did not do so, asked White House counsel to lie about the fact that he even contemplated that dismissal.

First, the undoubted fact that Trump refused to allow Mueller to interview him: No sane attorney would have allowed Mueller anywhere near his client. We saw with General Flynn that the Mueller approach was to trip people up on small, inconsequential details, and then use those trip-ups to prosecute them for perjury in the hope of squeezing more out of them. It was Mueller’s version of the torture Torquemada used during the Spanish inquisition.T

Just think for a moment about the fact that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he was trying to tell the truth, but that he didn’t remember something they knew only because of their spying. Despite Flynn’s manifestly honest intentions, and the fact that he did not committed any of the crimes for which he was being investigated, Mueller destroyed Flynn professionally and financially, and finally brought Flynn to heel by threatening Flynn’s family.

Imagine what would have happened if Mueller, with all the information available to him through Obama-era spying, had gotten his talons into Trump. The only way to protect Trump was (a) to demand that Trump respond only to written interrogatories that could be carefully reviewed with an attorney and (b) to have Trump in those interrogatory responses denying remembering anything as to which he did not have absolutely perfect recall. To do otherwise would have thrown Trump into the maw of the new American Stasi.

I’m equally unimpressed with the allegation that, according to White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump wanted to fire Mueller, backed down on that desire, and then instructed his attorney to lie. It’s meant to show that Trump had evil in his heart, even though he didn’t fire Mueller, and then he tried to make his attorney complicit in that evil. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, we only have Don McGahn’s word for this. Trump was never asked about his side. The due process protections of examination and cross-examination are missing, making this pure hearsay from an attorney who had witnessed how Mueller destroyed the lives of those who didn’t cooperate with him. In that way, his testimony was probably as honest as any testimony coming from one of Torquemada’s victims.

Second, I can tell you as an attorney with decades under my belt that clients, when talking to their attorneys, often ask, “Can we do X?” or “Can we do Y?” with X and Y being either stupid or against the law. By the way, please remember that things can be against the law even if they’re not morally wrong. One of the scary things about today’s over-legislated and over-regulated world is that it’s impossible for us to know what the law is, making us sitting ducks for zealous or biased prosecutors. The fact that Trump didn’t know his suggestion couldn’t fly means nothing.

Once client asks such a question (“can we do X?”), the attorney’s role is to be extra cautious to protect the client. This may mean drawing lines that the attorney recommends the client not cross. When you have a bulldog client such as Trump, you, as the attorney, may have to take a strong stand to show that you’re not joking about the fact that something that seems logical and moral is still illegal: “No, you can’t do that, and if you insist on doing it, I’ll have to quit as your counsel.”

If that thread is indeed what McGahn had to make, Trump then did what 99% of clients do: He backed down and McGahn remained as his attorney. But Trump is in a unique class. Rather than this back-and-forth staying confidential, so that no one knows what ideas a client had before behaving perfectly legally, his attorney spilled the beans, making Trump look uniquely evil rather than completely ordinary.

One more thing about Trump’s query about firing Mueller, if he indeed did make that query: To the extent Trump knew he was being framed, it was quite reasonable for him to wonder if he could stop a baseless witch hunt intended to invalidate an American election.

Third, keep in mind that we’re dealing with exceptionally humorless people here. I sure you remember how, on the campaign trail, Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Sane people immediately recognized that Trump was making a humorous riff about the fact that Hillary’s blatant, grossly illegal security violations meant that the Russians had almost certainly been in possession of her emails for years.

Insane people — and that means the entire Left — insisted that Trump had the brazen effrontery to demand in public that Putin collude with him to hack Hillary’s already hacked emails. When you remember that Mueller’s attack dogs were all die-hard Democrat establishment members, you start to wonder, as I do, it’s entirely possible that Trump made an obvious joke to McGahn (“Hey, remember not to tell Mueller I wanted to fire his humorless little ass”).

So, yeah, I’m totally unimpressed by Mueller’s obstruction drama. And if you’d like more reasons to be unimpressed, I recommend watching this Mark Levin video on the subject:

Finally, if you’re interested in a stellar analysis of Trump — warts and all — as well as an explanation for why every American should find appalling the behavior of the bureaucratic caste arrayed against him, I highly recommend this Victor Davis Hanson interview, every minute of which is entertaining and informative (hat tip: Maggie’s Farm):

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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.

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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.”

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*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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[VIDEO] Magnificent Trump victory dance — and no mercy

Some say Trump should be grateful he was “exonerated” and let bygones by bygones. I say, “NEVER!” The wrongdoers MUST be punished and Trump MUST dance.

On a more serious note, I can see where “reconciliation” might be appropriate response when an entire sector of society has engaged in immoral behavior over the course of decades or its entire history. Punishing each individual is time-consuming and there’s a serious question as to whether there’s any judicial process that can properly identify all individuals who deserve punishment or that can prevent the process from being used to wage private vendettas.

In this case, however, very specific individuals in government (or, in Hillary’s case, trying to be in government once more), acting with media assistance, deliberately engaged in highly illegal acts to destroy the integrity of an American election, solely in order to keep power for themselves and their cronies. This wrong-doing cannot be countenanced. It cannot be green-lighted by “turning the other cheek.”

Indeed, if you’ll recall, Trump tried to make a peace-offering the moment he was elected when he did not immediately prosecute Hillary for her blatant and extreme national security violations, fire Comey for his gross dereliction of duty, prosecute Lois Lerner for breaking strict IRS laws, etc. The Left did not respond with forbearance. Instead, it redoubled its efforts to stage a coup against Trump.

No mercy. No forbearance. No turning the other cheek. No letting bygones be bygones. No truth and reconciliation.

When you are faced with specifically identifiable people who knowingly committed acts of extreme criminality and immorality, you must punish them. Otherwise, the rule of law is meaningless and any semblance of a stable, civil society, one in which people rely upon and respect the law and each other, is over FOREVER.

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