Category Archives: BIDEN

Bookworm Beat 6/19/20 — the corporate pandering, Aunt Jemima edition

Can we still laugh at the leftist war on every American institution and value, including Aunt Jemima pancake mix? Read these memes and then you tell me.
























































Bookworm Beat 5/25/20 — Memorial Day illustrated edition

This mammoth illustrated edition honors Memorial Day, then tackles the Wuhan Virus, Biden, Democrats, government, and finally ends with a few good laughs.





















































Biden can no longer speak coherently:


















This is your cat on drugs….

 

A note on the featured image: “Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Lilly pays his respects to a fallen veteran May 28, 2013, at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Boulder City, Nevada. Lilly and other Airmen from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., volunteered their time to place flags over veterans’ cemetery plots for Memorial Day weekend. Lilly is a 57th Operations Group joint terminal air controller. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Hughes)”

Leftism: Life and politics without humor

Leftists lack true humor, something a handful of leftists proved again today, both in trying to make jokes and in failing to understand them.

Does it sound funny to say that leftism is without humor? After all, all the late-night hosts are leftists. Sarah Silverman is a leftist. Jon Stewart is a leftist, and they’re all funny, right? Right?

Well, funny up to a point. All can crack a good joke about bananas or bicyclists, same as the next person and, because they’re professionals with staffs of writers, they’re probably funnier than the next person.

In other words, they’re funny about the things that don’t matter to them.

About the things that do matter to them, they’re not so funny. Regular readers of my blog know that for years, when Mr. Bookworm insisted on watching them, I was irritated by how profoundly unfunny Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and John Oliver were. Likewise, when they get on political topics, neither Jimmy Fallon nor Jimmy Kimmel is funny.

They get laughs for their political “humor,” but you have to understand how cheaply earned those laughs are. The comics stand or sit before their audience. They identify a conservative target and make a cheap analogy. (They love analogies.) The analogy is never witty or intelligent. It’s often something along the lines of “Calling Donald Trump smart is like calling a wombat with his head caught in a tire a genius.”

Once having read the line of a notecard or TelePrompter, the comic smirks knowingly at the audience. The audience, primed to accept that a comic’s insult at a despised conservative is by definition “humor,” roars with appropriate laughter. None of this is actual humor, though. It’s just red meat for a hungry crowd that has neither taste nor discrimination.

Hard-edged political humor can rise above crude insults and be witty and even laugh-out-loud funny. Winston Churchill was the master. For example, because Churchill thought Ramsay MacDonald lacked a spine, he called him “a sheep in sheep’s clothing.” That’s clever, mean, and one of those insults that brutally exposes the weakness of the person insulted.

And then there’s Churchill’s most famous insult. He was in conversation with either Bessie Braddock, a socialist MP and not a very good-looking woman, or Nancy Astor, a conservative MP and a famous beauty. I’m therefore inclined to believe that Braddock was the person who accused Churchill of being “disgustingly drunk.” Drunk or not, Churchill’s rapier wit was still on call:  “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober, and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

Churchill was on the loo when he received a call from the Lord Privy Seal. Churchill rejected the call saying, “Tell him I can only deal with one s**t at a time.” Vulgar, mean – and clever.

The problem with today’s comics isn’t necessarily that they’re bad comics. It’s that leftism is inherently humorless, something summed up in the common expression that “Democrats (or progressives or leftists) can’t meme.”

In Hollywood  in1939, although there were a lot of leftists, the studios were anti-communist. That’s why they made the movie Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo, with its then-famous slogan, “Garbo laughs.” Garbo plays a Soviet commissar sent to Paris on official business who ends up dealing with a Leon, a fun-loving, capitalist playboy. (Ironically, Melvyn Douglas, who had the playboy role, was married to Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom Nixon once implied was a communist.)

The movie is filled with insults against communism and praise for the capitalist system. And of course, as the tagline indicates, one of the running jokes is how utterly humorless communists are. Here are just some examples of a movie that is both of its time and surprisingly timeless:

Buljanoff: How are things in Moscow?
Ninotchka: Very Good. The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.

***

Ninotchka: I have heard of the arrogant male in capitalistic society. It is having a superior earning power that makes you that way.
Leon: A Russian! I love Russians! Comrade, I’ve been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last fifteen years.
Ninotchka: Your type will soon be extinct.

***

Ninotchka: What do you do for mankind?
Leon: For mankind? Yes, eh, not so much, for mankind. But, for womankind my record isn’t quite so bleak.
Ninotchka: You are something we do not have in Russia.
Leon: Thank you.
Ninotchka: That’s why I believe in the future of my country.

I also like this dialog, just because it’s a reminder that “social justice” is an old and Marxist concept:

Ninotchka: Why should you carry other people’s bags?
Porter: Well, that’s my business, Madame.
Ninotchka: That’s no business. That’s social injustice.
Porter: That depends on the tip.

This humorlessness about the things that matter does not exist in a free Western society. Religion matters a great deal in America – or at least, it used to. And yet one of the staples of American comedy was the joke starting with, “A minister, a priest, and a rabbi….” These jokes were meant to tie Americans together as people with a shared Judeo-Christian culture who could also share a laugh about their faiths.

And yes, there is a point to all of this. I saw two things today that perfectly illustrated the fundamental humor failure on the left, including its inability to meme. The first was an opinion piece in the WaPo that was intended to ridicule the conservative belief that the Obama administration railroaded Flynn as part of subverting the election and then, when that failed, destroying its political enemies.

Alexandra Petri’s piece is entitled, “Obamagate was the worst crime ever committed and here is what it was.” I’ll just give you the first two paragraphs, not only because of fair use restrictions but because that’s more than enough for you to see that she eschews wit and cleverness in favor of ponderous pedantry:

“What is the crime exactly that you’re accusing him of?”

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

— President Trump responding to Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker

Obamagate began long ago, long before Trump even got elected, before he even knew he was running. It began before America, before time, in those early days when President Barack Obama lit the furnace of the sun, just before he fixed the paths of the planets in such a way that millennia in the future, Donald Trump would stare directly into a solar eclipse. And, of course, everyone knew about it.

Obamagate was the biggest political crime in American history by far, a fact that Barack Obama did not hesitate to tell Richard M. Nixon, causing him to shed bitter tears in an as-yet-unreleased tape. It was bigger than Teapot Dome. It was bigger than anything anyone blamed Ulysses Grant for allowing the people who surrounded him to do. Nothing could be worse than Obamagate. It went all the way to the top, where Obama floated inside a sinister Masonic eye at the apex of a pyramid on the back of a dollar bill, holding all the strings.

That’s not humor. That’s just riffing from a history book with occasional nods to some website or another entitled “World’s most famous conspiracy theories.”

The next example of the left’s lack of humor is even worse. Because we conservatives pay attention, I’m betting you remember when Biden said, “We [the Democrats] choose truth over facts.” In honor of that splendidly Bidenesque gaffe, the Trump campaign created a campaign website and video, that riffs off of the gaffe, while using it as a launching pad for the truth (and the facts) about Biden:

The Democrat response was even funnier than the campaign effort because leftists (just like Ninotchka) didn’t get the joke:

Not only can’t leftists meme, they can’t even recognize a meme when they see one. Being a leftist is a deadly serious business.

Americans like to laugh and the Trump campaign, wisely, is using humor as a potent weapon against the Biden campaign. Even an ugly leftist like Saul Alinsky, a master of manipulating people, had as his 5th rule the statement that “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Trump’s team gets it, while Biden’s team doesn’t even get the joke.

Bookworm Beat 4/13/20 — the “this is the place to come for coronavirus memes” illustrated edition

If you’re looking for coronavirus memes, my friend, you’ve come to the right place, and I’ll throw some bonus Biden memes, silly stuff, and random wisdom.






































 

 





















He’s 94; she’s 91:

If you liked this post, you can find more illustrated editions here.

The post Bookworm Beat 4/13/20 — the “this is the place to come for coronavirus memes” illustrated edition appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

What the double endorsement at the New York Times tells us

Faced with a field of highly defective Democrat candidates, the New York Times hides behind identity politics to endorse two seriously flawed women.

Yesterday, the New York Times came in for a good deal of both criticism and laughter when it endorsed not one but two candidates: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. The mere fact that it’s trying to move two candidates forward simultaneously shows a certain desperation.

And then there was the bizarre illustration that the Times used, one that turned the candidates blue in order to avoid revealing that both women are snowy white. The Times tried to disguise its obvious intent by giving the picture the look of an old-fashioned photo negative (something today’s young people have never seen):

New York Times Warren Klobuchar

When I saw the picture, I had to laugh, because it ties in perfectly with a story about my sister. This was in the late 1950s, when she was very little, maybe three. Dad came home with a developed film roll which, in those days, included the negatives as well as the photographs.

My sister was less interested in the photos than she was in the negatives, with all their upside-down colors. Later that day, when Mom took my sister shopping, they saw a black person at the store and, for the first time, my sister had a name for people whose skin color was the opposite of hers.

“Look, Mommy,” she hollered at the top of her voice. “It’s a negative!”

I can’t help but think that one of the editors at the New York Times was present in the store that day and took inspiration from a toddler’s wonderment.

So please remember, dear Democrats: The New York Times isn’t endorsing two white women, it’s endorsing two negatives.

The double endorsement reveals how desperately frightened Dems are about their own party’s weaknesses. Neither Klobuchar nor Warren is a frontrunner. Indeed, according to today’s running averages poll at Real Clear Politics, Klobuchar only occasionally makes it into the top five or six, while Warren is scrambling to stay in third place:

So what’s going on? Why can’t the New York Times just go with the current leader, Joe Biden, a mainstay of Democrat party politics for decades?

The Times is grappling with the fact that it’s been burnt before. In 2016, we were all promised that Hillary was inevitable because she was a Clinton, a woman and, after that first failed run against Obama, it was her turn. Biden’s that same thing all over. He may be a man, but he’s got some of the Obama cachet and, after several failed presidential runs, it’s his turn.

The problem is that Biden has the same flaws as Hillary: He has a tin ear and he’s corrupt, something that’s going to become very obvious if Democrats insist on a full impeachment, complete with witnesses. Add to that the creepy factor of Biden’s constantly groping and snuggling up to little girls, and you can see where the establishment worries he’s a time bomb.

There’s also the problem of Joe’s chronic foot-in-mouth disease, exacerbated by something that may be incipient senile dementia. Once Biden is facing off against Trump in a debate, even black voters’ loyalty to him because of his Obama ties may not be enough to get him to the finish line.

And Sanders? The base may love this open socialist, but across America, away from the Blue coasts (plus a few dots in the Midwest, Southeast, and Pacific Ocean), people don’t like the idea of electing a man who wants to grow government. They also wonder about the moral principles (or lack of same) that allow a man to have unswerving loyalty to socialism even though he was alive during the decades in which socialism stacked up a hundred million dead bodies and billions of ruined lives. They can tell that his plans promise the worst for America. (I’ve detailed the problems here, here, here, and here.) It takes a modern college education, one heavy on Marxist indoctrination and light on knowledge and wisdom, to support Bernie.

Warren is the next most popular candidate in most polls, although she’s battling a bit with Buttigieg and Bloomberg. If numbers were all that mattered, the Times could as easily have endorsed Buttigieg and Bloomberg. Except that it couldn’t. Not really.

As I’ve written before, while Buttigieg is bright, intellectually agile, and served his country, he’s also someone who’s only real political asset is that he’s gay. Take away the gay and you’re left with a white, two-term mayor of a mid-sized American city that has an outsized crime rate and a local black community that’s extremely hostile to him. This hostility has spread to blacks across America. Buttigieg’s neither a statesman nor an executive. He’s the high school class valedictorian who thinks he’s special because he’s the teachers’ pet. Americans will not think he’s special.

Some Democrats are looking to Mike Bloomberg as their savior because he sounds sane. He’s also willing to invest billions and billions in the race so that, even if he doesn’t win, Trump doesn’t either. Those Democrats who haven’t gone entirely to the socialized dark side like to point out that Bloomberg has been a fiscal conservative in the past. Except that now that he’s in the race, Bloomberg has already begun pandering. Last night, he promised to create a program giving blacks $70 billion in reparations — all to be managed out of the White House, of course.

Aside from the fiscal conservativism and his stop-and-frisk policies, for which he’s already apologized, Bloomberg is an across-the-board Leftist. He supports unlimited abortion, birth control for teenagers, open borders, amnesty, socialized medicine, and the end of the coal industry to satisfy the climate change gods. In addition, he promises to micromanage our diets and even the way in which Jews can circumcise their babies.

Here’s another way of looking at Bloomberg’s politics: Bernie’s socialism leads him to want to control everything. Bloomberg’s desire to control everything leads him to socialism. It’s not a big difference, but it’s a significant one nevertheless.

At the end of the day, Bloomberg’s flop-sweat neediness to win, his off-putting personality, the shameless pandering leading him away from his one decent principle (fiscal conservativism), and the stratospheric disconnection his wealth creates (promising to put coal miners out of work even as he owns more than ten houses, fleets of cars, and at least one plane) will not win over voters. Even investing billions cannot disguise that he’s an awful, charmless, arrogant, little man.

Of course, the big handicapped for Biden, Bernie, Bloomberg, and Buttigieg, aside from the crazy coincidence that the names with which they’re associated all start with “B,” is the fact that they’re white men. That’s a big no-no in today’s Democrat party. Andrew Yang is biologically not a white man, but he’s still a man and the Left keeps thinking that Asians are white because they do well in school and achieve economic success in life. So, no Yang.

The Times is therefore left with two blue women, one of whom is openly hard-Left and a liar, while the other tries to appear moderate but is, in fact, 90% Leftist. Klobuchar’s pose on the debate stage is to be the calm, principled realist, the one who’s not giving the farm away to the socialist comrades. Her policies, to the extent anyone can pin them down, however, hew Left and Lefter. Regarding trying to pin her down, though, it’s painfully clear that Klobuchar is not a leader; she’s a follower who has long been content to be a go-along-to-get-along Senator who does little other than sign group letters.

Still, Wikipedia gives us a little insight into what Klobuchar would stand for if she weren’t constantly hiding behind shrubbery. She’s for greater government surveillance, says America’s past “free society” just oppressed women, doesn’t want the census to record illegal aliens, opposes the death penalty, wants to raise teacher pay, opposed the Surge, supported Obama’s bombing Libya, supports the Iran Deal, supported Obamacare, she raised her hand for health care for illegal aliens. Klobuchar also supports abortion and her stance is a perfect example of her refusal to state her positions. Instead of saying, I support abortion, she’s one of those who says abortion is between a woman and her doctor. This ignores that there’s a larger principle involved, and turns abortion into just another item on the endless checklist of little ideas Klobuchar has.

And that’s the real problem with Klobuchar. She has no big principles. She inches along, mostly hewing Left, but having occasional moments of common sense, such as opposing free four-year college for all or trying to get Obama to attack China’s trade violations.

Klobuchar ends up reminding me of two people, one real, one fictional. When it comes to that lack of any principles and that urge to micromanage, she reminds me of Jimmy Carter. Bloomberg likes to micromanage too, but that’s because he’s a born despot. That’s not Klobuchar. Let me explain.

When Carter was president, a family friend, an engineer, told us that Carter’s problem was that, because he had no big principles, all he could do was follow the data. And whenever the data changed, his direction changed. That’s an excellent quality in an engineer, but a lousy quality in a leader. A good leader sees the forest and knows it has trees in it. A great leader sees both forest and trees. A lousy leader gets lost in the trees or just wanders around them in state of mild discomfort.

If you didn’t like Carter, you won’t like Klobuchar.

Also, Klobuchar’s staffer revealed that she’s a really vicious person behind that moderate demeanor. In that way, she reminds me of Dolores Umbridge, in the Harry Potter books: A soft, smiling mien hiding the soul of a bureaucrat completely wedded to the system that supports her power:

Then there’s Warren. I don’t like her personally, I don’t like her Leftists politics, and I don’t like the endless, very big, very substantive lies she constantly tells to advance her career and her political goals.

I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Well, Trump lies too.” Trump puffs. Crowds aren’t big; they’re huge. His policies are good; they’re the best policies ever. He constantly boasts and wiggles around the margins, but he’s true at his core. He says what he believes. He also says what he intends to do and then he does it.

Warren, however, lies about core things. She lies about who she is, what she’s done, and what she will do. Or, as the Times politely phrases it, “Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller.” She’s not a storyteller. She’s a stone-cold, sociopathic liar. Warren is Hillary, only with even less charm and more flop-sweat desperation to win, if either of those things is possible.

And so we get back to the main point, which is that, faced with an unelectable field, the Times decided to bunt and, as a last-ditch effort to save face in its world of identity politics, to split its endorsement between the two white women on the ticket. It’s a cowardly act, but one expects as much from the dinosaur media.

If you’ve ever seen Fantasia, this is what’s become of the New York Times, once one of the world’s mightiest newspapers in the grand old days of the dinosaur media:

Image credit: Screen grab; The New York Times.

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Bookworm Beat 9/28/19 — the Ukraine and climate change illustrated edition

When politics get stupid, as they did last week with climate change and Ukraine whistle blowers, the memes get really good — and I’ve got lots of them.




Pennywise Adam Schiff Ukraine hoax






























































And as a bonus, Mini-AOC is back with back with a wonderful parody:

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Whistle Blowin’ In The Wind

Progressives want to portray any investigation of Biden or the Trump Russia hoax as fundamentally illegitimate.  Is Joe Biden above the law?

We’re getting stuff in a bit of reverse order.  Yesterday, the White House made public the memorialization of the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and President Zelinskyy of Ukraine, the text of which I embedded here.  That phone call, as it turns out, was the entire centerpiece of the whistle blower complaint.

Today, that Whistle Blower Complaint has been released, along with a cover letter from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IG IC) detailing the IG IC handling and assessment of the complaint.  Neither the whistle blower nor the IGIC had seen the memorialization of the July 25 phone call prior to writing their documents.  The whistle blower had no first hand knowledge of the conversation, nor any of the other facts alleged in the complaint that did not appear publicly in the news (itself hearsay).  All of the allegations in the document are hearsay or multi-layered hearsay, most coupled with bald accusations and spin.  At the center of it all, this from the complaint:

Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’ s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to:

  •  initiate or continue an investigation the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son , Hunter Biden;
  • assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U . S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U . S . cyber security firm Crowdstrike, which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’ s networks in 2016; and
  • meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters,Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem .

Of the whistle blowers three claims above, the only one seemingly being pushed as meaningful concerns Joe Biden blatantly conditioning American aid to Ukraine on shutting down the corruption investigation that was, in part, aimed at his son.  And other than the July 25 conversation,  much of the rest of the complaint concerns meetings taken by Rudy Giuliani that show nothing.  The meat of it all is the phone conversation of July 25, something that does not on its face establish that Trump proposed an unlawful quid pro quo to Zelinskyy.

So now what do the progressives and the MSM do?  They start by outright lying about what was said in the phone conversation between Trump and Zelinskyy.  And for that, we go to Adam Schiff’s opening statement at today’s House Intelligence Committee Hearing on the whistle blower complaint.

A Fantasy Full of Schiff

This may be the most scurrilous opening statement ever given.  Rep. Adam Schiff made up a series of facts and quotes out of whole cloth to portray the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelinskyy as a Trump demand that Ukraine fabricate “dirt” on 2020 candidates if he wanted to receive American aid:

The Washington Times tells us just how vile Schiff’s conduct was:

Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged on Thursday that he made up parts of the Ukraine phone call transcript when he delivered his opening statement at a much-watched TV hearing with the U.S. top intelligence officer.

Mr. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said his reading was “part in parody”––but made the admission only after Rep. Mike Turner, Ohio Republican, called him out.

In his opening statement, Mr. Schiff said Mr. Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for fabricated dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and said Mr. Trump threatened to make the same request Mr. Zelensky eight times–––both quotes not in the transcript.

When it came his time to question Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Turner noted inaccuracies uttered to a large TV audience as Democrats rev up talk of impeachment.

“It’s not the conversation that was in the chairman’s opening statement,” Mr. Turner said. “And while the chairman was speaking I actually had someone text me, ‘is he just making this up?’ And yes, yes, . . .

Parody my eye. Schiff did nothing to point that out his fabrications during his speech.  It was an utterly outrageous attempt to influence public opinion with scurrilous lies.  Schiff should be subject to an ethics complaint and expelled from the House for that.

The Quid Pro Quo Wasn’t Stated In The Phone Call Because Supposedly It Was Common Knowledge To The Ukrainians

With no quid pro quo in the July 25 phone call, a second effort is underway to make it seem as if the quid pro quo was so well known to the participants that it did not require statement during the phone call.  The whistle blower states:

During [the May – June] time frame, multiple U . S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to play ball. . . . This was the state of affairs as conveyed to me by U.S. officials from late May into July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.

Apparently, no one delivered that message to the Ukraine.  This from President Zelenskyy in a press conference yesterday:

Zelensky insisted that “nobody pushed me” on the Biden matter.

“I think we had good phone call. It was normal, we spoke about many things,” Zelensky said. “I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed me.”

Hours before President Zelinskyy spoke at the press conference, ABC News ran a story, “Ukrainians understood Biden probe was condition for Trump-Zelenskiy talks, says former Ukrainian adviser.”  ABC described their source, Serhiy Leshchenko, as an “adviser to the Ukrainian President.”  Except that . . .

Oh my.  This is going nowhere.

The MSM’s Christopher Steele Gambit

For their final attempt at breathing life into this farce, the MSM is taking a page from the FBI and their treatment of Christopher Steele.  The FBI, in their four applications for a FISA warrant, tried to redeem the fact that all the information in their applications was hearsay by telling the Court that Christopher Steele, the source providing the hearsay, was trustworthy and knowledgeable.  Now it is the MSM’s turn to try and pull that same trick as pertains to the anonymous whistle blower.

This from the NYT today:

The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity.

The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.

The whistle-blower’s expertise will likely add to lawmakers’ confidence about the merits of his complaint, and tamp down allegations that he might have misunderstood what he learned about Mr. Trump. He did not listen directly to a July call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the political firestorm over the president’s mixing of diplomacy with personal political gain.

No need to worry about reliable facts or the actual law. Trust the Deep State and they will take care of it all.

Getting Dirt or Investigate Corruption?

We can thank Adam Schiff for one thing today, and that is making it crystal clear that he wants America to believe that what Trump was doing in the June 25 phone call was nothing more than to “make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of dirt, on this and on that.”

Except that is not what Trump asked Zelinskyy to do.  The first thing Trump asks of Zelinskyy is to provide the information he has on 2016 election interference coming out of the Ukraine and help in locating the DNC server.  None of that is aimed at the 2020 candidates, though progressives want to try and bootstrap that information into being viewed as illegitimate as well.  Indeed, Schiff, in his statement, implies that all the information Trump asked for will be false and made up by the Ukraine.

Trump did raise Joe Biden’s outrageous abuse of power to shut down an investigation aimed at Hunter Biden.  Here is precisely what Trump said:

Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.  A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. . . .  The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

Taking Trump’s words at face value, he asks for nothing other then to look into an incident that supposedly occurred, not to create dirt out of whole cloth.  So is Joe Biden, who indeed has been quite open about extorting the Ukraine with American aid money, now immune from any investigation because it might in fact show him in a bad, possibly criminal, light as he is running for the highest office in the land?  Is he above the law?

Part of the answer to that question rests on whether there indeed was an ongoing Ukrainian investigation that reached to Hunter Biden on the day when Joe extorted the then Ukrainian President to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor.

As Breitbart reported, despite many MSM claims to the contrary, such an investigation was ongoing:

In March 2016, Joe Biden threatened to withhold IMF funding from Ukraine if officials did not fire Viktor Shokin, who was then serving as Ukraine’s Prosecutor General. At the time, Shokin’s office was overseeing an investigation into Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. According to Bloomberg’s source, Shokin’s investigation had been “shelved” in 2015, well before Biden’s intervention, and “[t]here was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky.” Various outlets seized on the report to dismiss coverage of the Biden scandal:

  • PolitiFact“It’s not even clear that the company was actively under investigation”
  • Axios: “Ukrainian official knocks down Biden conflict scandal”
  • New York Magazine: “The investigation into Burisma was dead long before Biden started his campaign to oust Shokin”

Do read the whole article.  It goes on to explain that the information was incorrect.  That said, probably the definitive answer to the Hunter Biden question comes from investigative reporter John Solomon.  His answer, based on hundred of documents and interviews, is yes, the investigation was quite active when Biden shut it down. (H/T Ace)

So the real question at issue is whether Joe Biden above the law. Because, as Andrew McCarthy points out today at NRO, to claim he should not be investigated seems the mother of all double standards.

What Laws Did Trump Violate In His Phone Call With President Zelinskyy?

By Joe Biden’s own admission, he extorted the Ukraine with American tax dollars.  What he demanded and received benefited his son and prevented the Obama-Biden administration from being embarrassed.  That certainly seems an act of corruption.  If so, can asking a foreign power to continue what had been a valid investigation of corruption on its own soil constitute an impeachable offense?

In the IC IG letter linked at the top of this post (and, in an act of pure incompetence, composed by the IG IC without ever seeing or even asking to see the memorialization of the July 25 phone conversation), the IG IC laid out the supposed offenses that the President is alleged to have violated with his conduct:

Here, the Complainant’s Letter alleged, among  other things, that the President of the United States, in a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodyrnyr Zelenskyy on July 25, 2019, “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.” U.S. laws and regulations prohibit a foreign national, directly or indirectly, from making a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.  Similarly, U.S. laws and regulations prohibit a person from soliciting, accepting, or receiving such a contribution or donation from a foreign. national, directly or indirectly, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election. Further, in the ICIG’s judgment, alleged conduct by a senior U.S. public official to seek foreign assistance to interfere in or influence a Federal election would constitute a “serious or flagrant problem [or] abuse” under 50 U.S.C. § 3033 (k)(5)(G)(i), which would also potentially expose such a U.S. public official (or others acting in concert with the U.S. public official) to serious national security and counterintelligence risks with respect to foreign intelligence services aware of such alleged conduct.

I am having real trouble identifying how Trump could have violated any of those statutes based on the facts as we know them now.  I will admit that I am not an expert in this area of the law and, if anyone can correct me, feel free.  This is not a case of soliciting donations or offering bribes.  This is not a case, unlike 2016, where there were alleged underlying crimes in which Trump was alleged to have conspired.

Information itself may be of value, but I do not know of any court case where obtaining foreign information was deemed a violation of the law.  If that’s the case, lock up the DNC and Hillary for life after what they did in 2016, paying a Brit to get information from Russia and publish it a month before the election.

As Kevin Williamson points out, the threat to impeach Trump began in December, 2016, even before he came to office.  His real impeachable offense, in the eyes of the left, was winning the election.

To conclude with Victor Davis Hanson:

. . .  Any president has a perfect right to tell a foreign head of state and recipient of major U.S. aid that his corruption-plagued country has played a destabilizing but still murky role in recent American elections and in scandals that have affected the American people, and in particular the current president of the United States — and that it would be a good thing to get to the bottom of it.

Americans, left and right, would like to know the exact nature of Ukrainian-Russian interference and the degree, if any, to which CrowdStrike played a role in the Clinton-email imbroglio and why CrowdStrike (which analyzed the server that the DNC refused to turn over to the FBI) was apparently exempt from FBI investigation.

That Biden is now a Democratic front-runner does not provide immunity or excuse the fact that he was vice president of the United States tasked with Ukrainian affairs when his problem-plagued son, without any energy or foreign-policy experience, made a great deal of money for apparently nothing more than lending his Biden name to benefit a corrupt Ukrainian-Russian-related company. Nor should we overlook that Joe Biden threatened to cut off U.S. aid — $1 billion — to Ukraine if it did not within six hours fire the too-curious prosecutor who was looking into the mess. And that prosecutor was fired. And that $1 billion in aid was not cut off. And Hunter Biden was no longer a target of any investigation. And he made a great deal of money. . . .

I agree with Hanson’s ultimate conclusion, that this will destroy Biden’s candidacy.  And . . . it will do nothing more than strengthen Trump in the eyes of voters.

 

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Bookworm Beat 9/22/19: the anthro-moronic climate change illustrated edition

I admit that I got carried away in this illustrated edition — 69 pictures! — but between climate change cultism and general Leftism, I couldn’t resist.

Climate Change





































































The post Bookworm Beat 9/22/19: the anthro-moronic climate change illustrated edition appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.