Category Archives: RUSSIA HOAX

The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling)

The House is considering three articles of Impeachment.  The Constitution is at issue in questions of Obstruction of Justice, Contempt of Congress and the form of the Senate Trial.  Comity and Corruption are at issue as to the Bidens and Abuse of Power.  And is this is an unlawful attempted coup?

The Constitution

The House is considering three Articles of Impeachment, one of which is expected to be for contempt of Congress.  The House claims that Donald Trump refused to honor lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents as pertains to the Ukraine. Was Trump within his rights to do so?  That is wholly a Constitutional question.  It is also closely related in at least one relevant part to a likely Second Article of Impeachment, namely Obstruction of Justice as to the Russian Hoax inquiry.

The only vote the House of Representatives has held to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump was defeated overwhelmingly in January, 2017.  In response to the Ukraine IC IG matter, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker, unilaterally declared an “impeachment inquiry” on September 24, 2019, and the House immediately began issuing subpoenas for witnesses and documents.  As to the latest vote held a week ago to formalize the procedures being used in the ongoing Star Chamber, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamant that the Resolution was not an authorization of an “impeachment inquiry.

Can anything less than a vote by the entire House of Representatives to authorize an “impeachment inquiry” be considered Constitutionally valid?  As I’ve discussed before, this is far from mere form.  If the House of Representatives approves a resolution for an impeachment inquiry, the House gains a power that it, by the explicit terms of the Constitution, does not otherwise possess — the judicial power to enforce subpoenas and requests for documents on matters outside its Art. I, Sec. 8 enumerated powers.  Without that power, the White House was acting lawfully when it refused to cooperate.  Tellingly, the House, rather than take those subpoenas to a Court to enforce them — and risk having a Court declare their proceeding unconstitutional — appears to be simply rolling all but one of their refused “subpoenas” into an contempt of Congress charge.

Then there is Part II of the Mueller Report.  We can expect the House to adopt Part II virtually in toto as an obstruction of justice charge.  There is a twist on this, however, and it is where this overlaps with the Contempt of Congress charge.  Without the judicial power of an impeachment inquiry, the House has no power to subpoena the Grand Jury testimony that Mueller referenced in his report.  The House subpoenaed the Department of Justice for that information and got the matter heard before an Obama judge (yes, John Roberts, there are progressive judges who rule by ideology, not the law) who ruled that the House was authorized to receive the material — and thus that their current “impeachment inquiry” was constitutionally sufficient.  The White House made an emergency appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court, which granted a stay, and the matter is now to be heard on November 12 before the D.C. Circuit. If the D.C. Circuit affirms the lower court’s ruling, the Trump administration will assuredly bring it to the Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will take up the case.

All of this brings up a huge, core Constitutional issue:  Which branch of government has the power to determine the meaning of the Constitution — specifically in this case, when the question is whether the House may claim judicial powers without a vote of the House of Representatives to authorize an impeachment inquiry? There is no doubt that Articles of Impeachment (other than Contempt of Congress) that the House votes upon would be facially constitutional.  So this question applies only to whether the President may be validly held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry that was never authorized by a vote of the full House of Representatives.

The Judicial Branch long ago claimed for itself the power to definitively interpret the Constitution, but that right to do so appears nowhere in the text of the Constitution.  Can the Senate summarily dispense with any claim for Obstruction of Justice as to this “impeachment inquiry” because the Senators believe that the House acted “unconstitutionally?”  Can the Senate do so in the face of a D.C. Circuit Court opinion to the contrary?  Could the Senate do so in the face of a Supreme Court refusal to hear an appeal from the D.C. Circuit?  And lastly, could the Senate do so even if the Supreme Court hears an appeal and concludes that the obscene House Star Chamber proceeding meets the standards for constitutionality?  Those are all valid questions that I believe should be answered in the affirmative, but that could have long term ramifications for how our nation operates.

A second Constitutional question that touches on this and all of the Articles of Impeachment concerns whether Donald Trump will be afforded the same due process rights at trial (rules of evidence, right to bring definitive motions, etc.) that are afforded all Americans in court?  As Supreme Court Justice Story said, in 1833 when remarking on impeachment:

It is the boast of English jurisprudence, and without it the power of impeachment would be an intolerable grievance, that in trials by impeachment the law differs not in essentials from criminal prosecutions before inferior courts. The same rules of evidence, the same legal notions of crimes and punishments prevail. For impeachments are not framed to alter the law; but to carry it into more effectual execution, where it might be obstructed by the influence of too powerful delinquents, or not easily discerned in the ordinary course of jurisdiction, by reason of the peculiar quality of the alleged crimes.

Under current Senate Rules, the President does not explicitly have those protections.  Under the modifications suggested here, he would gain them.  Assuming that the Senate does adopt those changes then before trial begins President Trump should move to dismiss Contempt of Congress Charges for failing to state a legal claim — i.e., the House did not vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and thus the President did not obstruct a lawful process.  As to the obstruction of justice charge, President Trump should make a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that, even assuming all of the facts alleged in the Mueller Report to be true, it does not as a matter of law show a violation of the law or a political offense for which impeachment is warranted.  President Trump committed no underlying crime.  President Trump substantially complied with the investigation and he committed no act that resulted in the investigation being hindered.

Corruption & Comity

A third Article of Impeachment, according to Breitbart, will be for Abuse of Power.  The House’s Star Chamber proceeding is likely to result in a claim that President Trump abused his power by withholding aid from Ukraine subject to them investigating Joe and Hunter Biden for corrupt practices.

This is yet another Article that should be dealt with on a motion to dismiss.  The President’s practice and authority to negotiate with foreign countries for the aid they may receive from America is a well-established power of the Presidency, one that has been exercised by numerous other Presidents.  Thus negotiating foreign aid with the Ukraine cannot itself, be grounds for impeachment.  It is axiomatic that, to again quote Justice Story, impeachment may not be used tomake that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.  And in fact, the aid was ultimately released in full to the Ukraine in September, 2019, so there is no Constitutional concern with Congress’s power of the purse, nor any legal concern with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

That leads to the next question, whether what Trump was negotiating for — the facts surrounding Joe and Hunter Biden in the Ukraine and whether it involved corruption — was an improper purpose.  (It should be noted that Trump never in the transcript explicitly said that Ukraine’s receiving the money hinged on looking into the Biden matter. Indeed, it’s a stretch even to read into the transcript his having said such a thing implicitly.) As a textual matter, Article II § 3 of the Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  So when the President looks into possible legal violations, he is acting in fulfillment of his Constitutional duties.

That leaves the last question: Did President Trump have reasonable grounds to suspect that Joe Biden violated federal rules of ethics, and perhaps American laws, regarding corrupt practices?  That is a factual matter. Trump does not need to show actual guilt.  But he needs to be able to show that, based on the facts as he knew them, a reasonable person would suspect that there was enough evidence of corruption that further investigation was warranted.

As a threshold matter, the Joe and Hunter show went far beyond Ukraine.  It was both foreign and domestic.  As to the former, when Daddy became Vice President and was given control of foreign affairs in certain countries,  Hunter Biden became Joe Biden’s little lamb.  With apologies to Sarah Hale and a hat tip to the poetess Bookworm:

Joe Biden had a little Hunter,
That filled its nose with snow,
And everywhere Joe Biden went
Hunter was sure to go;
He followed Joe to Ukraine,
Romania & China too;
He sold his daddy’s name there,
But saying so sparked a coup.

Hunter Biden’s escapades are well documented in the Ukraine, Iraq, China and Romania, for we know that he followed his father into those countries (sometimes flying into them with his father on Air Force Two) and immediately struck lucrative deals with corrupt politicians or, in the case of China, the government itself.  Standing alone, these undisputed facts stink to high heaven.  The mere appearance of corruption is an ethical problem for Joe Biden.  It becomes a legal problem for Joe Biden if he used his position as Vice President to further his son’s enrichment or to protect him from investigation. And to be clear, based on the facts as we know them, if Trump and Trump’s children had done what Joe and Hunter Biden did, the call to impeach and jail him would be deafening.

When it comes to Ukraine, we know Hunter Biden was hired to sit on the Board of Bursima, a Ukrainian energy company owned by a man who is a suspect in billions of dollars of government corruption.  We know that Hunter Biden was not qualified for such a seat beyond his familial relationship to Joe Biden.  We know that people associated with Bursima then dropped Hunter Biden’s name to lobby the State Dept. in order to quash the corruption probes targeting their client.  We know that at least one American official raised this as a problem to Biden’s office.  And we know . . .

It is in fact an open question, not yet definitively answered, whether the prosecutor whom Joe brags about getting fired had an active corruption investigation into Bursima — and perhaps Hunter Biden as well.  That was the question Trump seemed to be asking the President of Ukraine to find an answer to in his 25 July phone call.  If so, there is more to investigate, such as what did Joe Biden know and when did he know it.

But according to Democrats, it is an abuse of power even to ask those questions.  They can go pound sand.  No one is above the law, not even a Democrat candidate for office.  The only thing Trump asked for is information from an investigation.  Was that pretextual or warranted?  The first might arguably be grounds for impeachment, the second cannot be.  Thus the only factual issue to determine whether to proceed to a full impeachment trial on abuse of power grounds is whether Trump was justified in seeking an investigation of Biden’s seemingly corrupt dealings.

Bottom line, we need to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, under oath at any Senate trial, to determine whether there was sufficient appearance of corruption for a reasonable person in Trump’s shoes to investigate.  Indeed, the rule changes I suggested for the Senate’s impeachment trial are in anticipation of precisely that reality.

Democrats are going nuts over that issue.  This from the Daily Beast, warning that “comity” in the Senate would be irreparably damaged by forcing the Bidens to testify:

Senate Democrats issued stark warnings on Wednesday that Republicans would severely damage the institution of Congress if they acquiesced to a push from Trump allies to haul former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for testimony about their actions in Ukraine.

A top Biden ally, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), told The Daily Beast that calling the 2020 presidential contender—who served for 35 years in the Senate—and his son for testimony “would be literally rolling a grenade down the aisle of the Senate” that would have “lasting consequences” on the upper chamber’s ability to work together.

“Look, Joe Biden is well known, widely respected, and frankly beloved by many in the Senate on both sides of the aisle,” said Coons. “The impeachment process is already disruptive enough. I think we should be approaching it with seriousness, not by entertaining conspiracy theories that are utterly unfounded. And I think it would be a very unfortunate move.”

Right.  As if the left overturning an election and pushing us to the brink of a second civil war over the proposition that they are above the law while the rest of us are below it is not exponentially beyond concerns of “comity” in the Senate.  Truly, screw these people.

Coup

And finally, here’s a question to pick up after what promises to be a failed impeachment attempt.  Mark Zaid, attorney for the whistle blower who orchestrated this Ukraine madness, tweeted in 2017:

#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately. #lawyers https://t.co/FiNBQo6v0S

— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017

Zaid has since claimed that what he meant only a “legal” coup. There is no such thing. A coup is, by definition, an “illegal seizure of power from a government.” Now, if what Mr. Zaid had in mind was an unlawful abuse of the laws of this nation to effect a coup . . . that is still not legal. It is an act of sedition punishable at law.

We certainly now have evidence of Mr. Zaid’s state of mind. We have reason to suspect that his client was likely previously involved in the leak of classified information to the press in order to damage President Trump and may have spied on Trump on behalf of the FBI, both illegal acts.  Then we have long standing ties between the whistle blower and Adam Schiff’s staff and we have Adam Schiff’s own statement that they coordinated filing a whistle blower complaint.  Lastly, we have a grossly legally deficient whistle blower complaint that should never have been filed as such, and certainly never should have been addressed to Congress as a finding of urgent concern.  The IC IG did not conduct due dillegence in his investigation.

Now, that could all mean nothing.  Or, it could mean that certain people were conspiring to effect a bloodless coup.  There is enough here to warrant an investigation to determine the truth.  And prosecution would be warranted if what we discover is in fact a seditious conspiracy rather than a series of simple errors.  That would in fact be an unlawful coup.

The post The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Bookworm Beat 10/25/19: Media still lies about the Russia hoax, plus more

Mueller’s report didn’t stop media lies about the Russia Hoax. As Bill Barr closes in on the culprits the lies get more extreme and desperate. Plus more.

(This is a companion post to the No. 28 Bookworm Podcast, which I uploaded early today.)

Lies from the Left about the Russia hoax. The second part of my podcast is a short rehash of my much longer post about the New York Times’ spin on the news that AG Barr has elevated to a criminal investigation John Durham’s look at the origins of the Russia hoax. I won’t repeat that here, but I urge you to check out my post if you haven’t already.

On MSNBC, a former Obama official spins an amazing web of lies about the Russia hoax. On his podcast today, Derek Hunter played a snippet of Andrea Mitchell’s Report, a daily MSNBC program I’d never heard of before. It isn’t a news report; it’s just Democrat spin.

The topic from this particular episode, broadcast on October 22, was AG Barr’s investigation (and this was before the news about it’s going criminal broke). I can’t find a copy of the video to embed, but you can see the video here.

What fascinated me was the opening statement from Mitchell’s guest, a woman named Wendy Sherman. For those who, like me, had never heard of Sherman, she was the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the State Department from 2011 to 2015. She was the lead negotiator for the Iran deal and also conducted nuclear negotiations with North Korea. This is a woman comfortable with selling out to dictators.

Here’s what she had to say about the investigation Barr is overseeing:

That short statement contains myriad lies, obfuscations, and misdirections, which I’ll address in a minute. The thing that most shocked me about it, though, was the opening sentence:

From the outside, this looks like a continuation of undermining the institutions of the United States government.

Why did that shock me? Because you need to understand what’s really been going on since 2016: The Left, using the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the NSC, and the State Department, attempted a coup against a duly elected American president — after the Left’s attempt to fix the election failed.

Think about that.

Of the acts and institutions I mentioned, only the election is in the Constitution. The Constitution says who will be elected (the President) and prescribes a mechanism for the people to speak in a way that avoids mob rule and that assures a voice for everyone, not just for major population centers (i.e., the Electoral College). The alphabet soup agencies therefore attacked a core Constitutional function. That’s a big deal.

And what about those agencies? None of them show up in the Constitution. The State Department is old, having been established in 1789 to help the president carry out his constitutional foreign policy responsibilities, but it itself is not a core constitutional creation. The position of Attorney General also came into being in 1789, but it too is not mentioned in the Constitution. The Department of Justice itself didn’t come into being until 1870 and it too is not in the Constitution, neither the original or amended versions.

As for the alphabet soup agencies, here are their dates of origin and none of them have any Constitutional ties either:

  1. FBI – created in 1908, not in Constitution
  2. CIA – created in 1947, not in Constitution
  3. NSA – created in 1952, not in Constitution
  4. NSC – created in 1947, not in Constitution

So Sherman, in her opening sentence, is angry that bureaucracies are under attack, and not at all upset that the bureaucracies participated in a coup against a Constitutional election. She’s got it bass ackwards.

After getting everything wrong at a core, principled level, Sherman then swings into the obfuscation and lies:

The theory — it appears that Attorney General Barr is operating under is a debunked conspiracy that, I think, Ned can elaborate even more than I can.

You noticed, I’m sure, that while Sherman says “Ned can elaborate even more” she about the alleged “debunked conspiracy,” Sherman never explains it in the first place. The fact that she avoids is the Democrats horrible nightmare, which is Mueller’s reluctant admission that there was no Russian collusion. It was a fake.

Moreover, it was pursued by people who laundered information that tracked perfectly on a scheme first tried out on John McCain in 2008. (For more on that, I urge you to check out Dan Bongino’s books and podcasts.) In other words, there is no “debunked conspiracy theory.” There is just an actual conspiracy that’s slowly emerging from the darkness in which the actors hid it.

Then there’s this sentence:

It’s really crazy to be perfectly frank.

The sentence doesn’t have much substance, but I mention it for two reasons: First, it tracks the language of the whistle blower’s source (who I half-jokingly explained may be Triggly-Puff or someone similar considering his/her fragile sensibilities). That source, in trembling tones, called Trump’s perfectly ordinary conversation with Ukraine President Zelenskyy “crazy” and was completely “shaken” for that reason. Second, remember that the Democrats in the media have been pushing the argument that Trump is “crazy” and needs to be kicked out of office under the 25th Amendment. This word “crazy” has wormed its way into the Lefts’ collective psyche. Some would call it projection….

But here’s the really big lie Sherman utters:

Durham is a professional, but none the less it is quite concerning about what they’re doing and, indeed, I think it is raising questions among diplomats around the world who are being questioned about whether in fact Russia was responsible for interfering in our elections, of course they were, all of our agencies, all 17, of them have said they did and we need to really be on our toes about what will happen in the upcoming election.

That “17 agencies” claim is a hoax that started (surprise!) with Hillary Clinton in the final debate before the 2016 election. There, when she was talking about the hacked DNC server and John Podesta’s little phishing problem, she said,

We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

Here’s what really happened: The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement saying they were confident that the attacks on the DNC and other sites came from Russia. It was an official statement from the top of a combination of 16 agencies (plus the DNI). These 16 agencies are:

  1. Air Force Intelligence
  2. Army Intelligence
  3. CIA
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency
  6. Office of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence for Energy Affairs
  7. Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  8. Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  9. Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence out of the Treasure Department
  10. Office of National Security Intelligence
  11. The Intelligence Branch of the Justice Department
  12. The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
  13. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  14. National Reconnaissance Office
  15. The National Security Agency/Central Security Service
  16. Office of Naval Intelligence

No one can tell me that the Coast Guard or the Navy or the National Reconnaissance Office or the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency were looking into the hacked DNC server. And, indeed, you don’t have to try spinning those lies to me.

That’s because we know what happened. The FBI showed up at the DNC and asked to look at the hacked server. The DNC refused, telling the FBI that a private company called Crowdstrike had looked at the server and fingered Russia — and that the FBI would have to live with that. The FBI, usually so zealous about protecting its territory, meekly acquiesced.

Crowdstrike, of course, has Ukraine ties, which is why President Trump, when talking to Zelenskyy, the new President of Ukraine, about the incredibly corrupt administration before Zelenksyy came on board, asked for Ukraine to look into Crowdstrike to help determine its connection to the claimed Russian collusion issue that roiled the Dems for three years. In other words, Trump is doing the work the FBI never did but lied about, and that the intelligence community lied about, and that Hillary then exaggerated and lied about, and that Wendy Sherman now lies about.

You can see how easily Sherman voiced all her lies, misdirection, and misrepresentaion . . . and how tedious it is to unpack and explain things. The criminal investigation had better have loud and clear results or the American public will never understand what happened.

All of this reminded me that, when it comes to the Left, you must never trust, but you must verify. Just think of what Mary McCarthy, a former Communist, had to say about Lillian Hellman, a communist until the day she died: “Every word [Hellman] writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.” Hellman sued for defamation. That was a bad idea.

For a little color, here’s a quotation from Phyllis Jacobson’s March 21, 2010, New Politics’ review of Joan Mellen’s Hellman and Hammett. New Politics, it should be said, is a socialist publication:

McCarthy started producing evidence of some of Hellman’s lies, including her statements indicating that she knew nothing about the Moscow Trials. Hellman had, she pointed out, signed statements applauding the guilty verdict. But then she produced the most damaging of all Hellman’s lies, the chapter in Pentimento, the second volume of her memoirs (later made into the film, Julia with Jane Fonda playing Hellman (Julia) to Vanessa Redgrave’s anti-fascist activist), in which Hellman portrays herself heroically carrying money into Nazi Germany for her socialist activist friend. A complete fabrication. Hellman had appropriated the life of Muriel Gardiner who later told her own story in Code Name Mary, a story Hellman had learned from their mutual friend, lawyer Wolf Schwabacher. Told by London that she would have to produce evidence of the real Julia to proceed with her case against McCarthy, Hellman was frantic and became tangled in a web of additional lies. She actually had the chutzpah to plan to visit Muriel Gardiner to ask Gardiner to say that she was not Julia, a meeting that never came off. Hellman still hadn’t thought her way out of her dilemma when McCarthy’s attorneys’ motion to have the case dismissed on the basis that Hellman was a public figure was denied. The case was scheduled to proceed. But it never did. Hellman died before that could happen.

(I was a teenager when the movie Julia came out and I saw it on its first run. I was uninformed regarding just about everything in that movie, but I still hated it with every fiber of my being, for it was so obviously a self-serving lie. I never willingly watched another Fonda or Redgrave movie after that.)

Are you ready for President Michelle Obama? Mike McDaniel thinks that, as the Democrat candidates continue to implode, putting people off with their personalities, lies, and Leftism, the Democrat Party will begin casting about for a savior. I think so too.

Hillary clearly thinks she’s that savior, but she’s completely nutty. In the same interview in which she attacked Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian asset, Hillary had this to offer as one of the reasons she lost in 2016 (emphasis mine):

I think it’s going to be the same as 2016. Don’t vote for the other guy. You don’t like me. Don’t vote for the other guy, because the other guy is going to do X, Y, and Z. Or the other guy did such terrible things. I’m going to show you in these flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they’re on the dark web and nobody can find them, but you’re going to see them and you’re going to see that person doing these horrible things.

As an aside, don’t let Hillary’s attack on Tulsi lull you into thinking Tulsi’s one of the good guys. Tulsi’s not a Russian asset and she has moments of sanity, plus I’ve been told she looks good in a bikini, but do not mistake her for anything but a stone cold Leftist. This is not a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Just because Hillary doesn’t like Tulsi doesn’t mean you should.

So if Hillary’s not the one, who is? As I said, both Mike and I worry that it might be Michelle. Michelle’s claims that she doesn’t want to run mean nothing. She’ll answer the call if drafted.

Leftists love Michelle unreservedly and they know that she’ll be the second coming of Barack Obama. Moreover, while the sexism charge didn’t stick when Trump debated Hillary, because Hillary is so unlikeable and hard and unwomanly, don’t think Trump will have an easy time debating Michelle. Despite her more manly attributes, she still comes across as more feminine than Hillary. While she’s not as smart as Trump is, the fact that she’s a black woman will create optics so bad that even Trump might have problems opposing her in a debate.

The homeless industrial complex. PowerLine noted that a local television station in the San Francisco Bay Area revealed that, at least in the Bay Area, little of the money allocated to the homeless actually makes it to them.

In San Jose, for example, of $14 million in taxpayer money allocated to homeless, only $2 mil goes to homeless with the remaining 86% going to rental subsidies (which is arguably for the homeless) but also admin and “crafting plans”

Homelessness is big business for bureaucracy and the parasites it attracts. Ending homelessness is the worst thing that could happen to them.

Finding my people in Tennessee. Back in 2008, when Obama was the Democrat candidate and McCain, with Sarah Palin at his side, the Republican candidate, I got into a discussion with a Democrat who could not believe that I would let Palin get within a heartbeat of the presidency. I pointed out that she had significantly more executive experience than Obama and that she had several significant political accomplishments to her name. I also pointed out that Obama’s only accomplishment by 2008 was self-promotion.

The Democrat, exasperated, huffed at me, “She’s not one of us.”

I knew what he meant. We lived in the True Blue San Francisco Bay Area. We and all our friends went to top public and private colleges. We and all our friends were members of the professional class. We and all our friends (well, except for me), were pro-abortion, anti-fossil fuels, pro-“climate change is real”, anti-war, anti-gun, etc. And Palin wasn’t.

Fast forward 11 years, and here in Tennessee I’ve finally found my people. I’ve started attending a local Toastmasters to help me get over my microphone fear with podcasting.

The people who attend the meeting are lovely — very friendly, very interesting. Also, unlike my past community, they make open references to God and the Bible, with no attendant embarrassment; they make open, unashamed references to guns and hunting; and they discuss core political issues, such as the Electoral College and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in an intelligent, non-partisan way. (Toastmasters is not meant to be partisan, something I highly respect.)

I’m home at last.

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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.

_____________________________
*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.

No. 21 Bookworm Podcast: Democrat Victimhood and Education Madness

In my latest podcast, the story of the sweet beer guy and the doxxing reporter is a microcosm of Democrat behavior, plus education madness in Seattle.

My latest podcast is up and running. You can listen to it through the audio embed below, or at LibSyn, or through Apple Podcasts.

Here’s the brief summary:

1. I look at the way the Democrats’ new claim of victimhood, now that they’re being investigated, parallels the way in which Aaron Calvin, the reporter who doxxed Carson “buy me a beer” King, is crying victim now that he’s been doxxed and fired.

2. I look at the insanity of the Seattle Public School District’s decision to improve black students’ educational outcomes by telling them that they are oppressed victims of an inherently unfair system that has exploited them for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t see this working well.

I’ll be putting these same ideas in a post and will cross-link soon if you prefer reading to listening.

The post No. 21 Bookworm Podcast: Democrat Victimhood and Education Madness appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

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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The DNC Server, the Russian Hoax, & the Murder of Seth Rich

We still do not know whether the DNC, FBI and DOJ acted unlawfully to create an October surprise that would elect Hillary in 2016, nor do we know beyond reasonable doubt that Seth Rich’s murder was unrelated.

Two recent articles raise important issues regarding the Russia hoax.  At Real Clear Investigations, Aaron Mate has written “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims.”  Mate points out that the FBI has never inspected the DNC server and that Mueller’s “evidence” that the server was hacked by Russians is speculative, not definitive.   At Yahoo News, Michael Isikoff has written “The true origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. A Yahoo News investigation.”  In it, Isikoff claims that Seth Rich’s murder was unrelated to the theft of DNC emails and that claims to the contrary are Russian disinformation.  What — and whom — to believe?

To put this in perspective, per the Mueller Report, we now know definitively that neither Donald Trump nor anyone in his campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.  We do not know whether the Russian narrative Mueller was tasked to investigate was an illegal hoax, though there is ample reason to suspect various illegalities at its heart.

The central part of the Russian narrative is the claim that Russian agents hacked the DNC server.  Amazingly, inexplicably and criminally, we do not, to this day, know if that is true because the FBI has never examined the server. An entity employed by the DNC, Crowdstrike, asserted that the emails were hacked in a phishing scheme.  Both Comey and Mueller assumed that to be true without any verification.

Further, the answer to whether the DNC was phished could definitively answer an open question about the murder of DNC employee Seth Rich.  If the DNC server was phished, than Julian Assange’s charge that Rich, not Russia, was the source of the DNC emails and that he may have been killed because of it, can be definitively disproven.  But that is a charge that the entire progressive left claims is verboten to even ask.  The FBI decided not to involve itself in the investigation of Rich’s murder — inexplicable given the potential relationship to the DNC server hack — and Mueller chose not to interview Julian Assange.

Relevant Background:

Hillary Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State from 2008 to 2012, used an unsecured private server to conduct her official business.  She illegally placed classified emails on the server in the thousands, including at least 14 that were classified at the highest level, Top Secret.  She had her private server wiped clean, all in violation of laws regarding security of classified information as well as the destruction of government records subject to a subpoena.  When it became public knowledge, the FBI ostensibly began an investigation.  Clinton, expected by many to be a shoo-in for the Democrat party nomination, then to be followed by a Presidential coronation, suddenly had a huge electability problem — a problem exacerbated by her false and constantly changing justifications for using a private server.

In May 2016, the Perkins Coie law firm, on behalf of their clients, the DNC and the Hillary campaign, hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Donald Trump.  In a move that Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS has never adequately explained, with the clock running down, he opted to investigate Trump’s Russia ties, though that was one of the few areas of the world were Trump had no history of business ties and minimal history of personal ties.  In May, 2016, Simpson hired former British intelligence agent and Russia specialist Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s Russia connections.

By June, 2016, Steele wrote his first report in what was to become known as the dossier, asserting that Trump was a Russian agent of five years standing and that he was being blackmailed for perverted sexual acts with Russian hookers.  Oh, and by the way, the Russians do not have any of Hillary’s emails from her private server.  The desired result was the assumption — proven true as regards the MSM — that when the dossier was made public  Hillary’s own problems of illegality and veracity would pale in comparison to Trump’s alleged illegal acts. To add an additional air of verisimilitude to an otherwise ridiculous narrative, sometime in July , 2016, Steele began feeding his dossier to the FBI in order to start an investigation that Steele et. al would tout in October.

Early in July 2016, in what has to be rated as one of the most obscene travesties of justice our nation has ever seen, FBI Director James Comey announced that Hillary would not be prosecuted for violating security of classified information.  He did not even address her destruction of government records subject to a subpoena.  The ostensible investigation was a sham.

On July 10, 2016, DNC employee, Bernie-bro Seth Rich was murdered by two men.  He still had his valuables on his person when found by police.  Police speculate that Rich was murdered in a failed robbery attempt, but it is without evidentiary support and no one has been arrested for the murder.  In August, 2016, Julian Assange implied that Seth Rich was the source of the leaked DNC emails and that Rich may have been murdered because of it.

The meat of the claim of Russian interference in the 2016 election came in July, 2016, when Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager announced in an interview with Jake Tapper that the DNC server had been hacked, that the Russians had done it, and that they had done so in order to help elect Trump.  None of the DNC emails were a smoking gun that caused the Clinton campaign anything more than minor embarrassment..

Mook’s claim that the DNC server had been hacked by Russia was based on a preliminary analysis conducted by a firm employed by Perkins Coie, Crowdstrike, on behalf of the DNC.  Crowdstrike sent a draft preliminary analysis with redactions to the FBI.  The FBI, under Director James Comey, never inspected the server or independently verified the hack.  Likewise, Robert Mueller, in his independent investigation, never took control of the server to verify the hack.

On Sept. 23, 2016, Michael Isikoff became the first journalist to unleash the DNC’s October surprise.  In his article for Yahoo News, U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin, Isikoff claimed the FBI was investigating Carter Page who was supposedly interceding with “Moscow” to influence the election.

Russian interference in the 2016 election did not become a serious issue for the Obama administration prior to the November 2016 election..  After the election, it became a cause celebre in order to delegitimize, if not destroy, Trump and his presidency.

Discussion

If the DNC server was not hacked by Russia, that raises a number of questions.  One, who leaked the emails to Wikileaks?  Could it indeed have been Seth Rich and might it perhaps be related to his murder?  And if it was Rich or someone else on the inside of the DNC who leaked the emails to Wikileaks, what was their motivation?  Were they Bernie supporters angry at the DNC’s rigging of the primary for Hillary, or was there something more going on?

For instance, who benefited most from the Wikileaks release of the DNC emails?  It was not Trump.  Yes, Wikileaks released a huge trove of emails, but none of them were anything beyond minimally embarrassing to the Clinton campaign.  Arguably, Clinton and the DNC benefited the most from the leak. for it put Russian interference and perhaps Trump collusion to the very center of the campaign during a time when Hillary was still trying to escape from under the cloud of her illegal private server.  Moreover, this alleged “hack” occurred within two months after  Fusion GPS inexplicably chose to begin investigating Trump’s almost non-existent Russia ties and supposedly hit the mother lode of opposition research — Trump was a Russian spy working for Putin.  The felonious Hillary Clinton would look like an angel in comparison.  Looked at in that light, the “hack” and its timing seem fortuitous indeed.

To anyone who would now start yelling CONSPIRACY THEORY, let me just say up front, after the whole Russian hoax, the complexities of how it was formed and executed, and the mindless drive by the progressive left to get rid of Trump . . . feel free to go fornicate yourself.   America absolutely deserves definitive answers.  Because the DOJ and FBI jettisoned virtually every investigative protocol in order to rehabilitate Hillary in 2016 and then to destroy Trump thereafter, we do not have those answers.  What we have are progressives yelling “conspiracy theory!!!” to shut down questions and the DNC asking us to trust them.  Neither can be allowed to stand.

There was always an easy way to answer all of this — the FBI should have taken a snapshot of the DNC server after the alleged hack and analyzed it.  In any other situation, that would be what the FBI does — secure evidence and analyze it to determine the nature of any crime.  That the FBI did not do that with the DNC server is simply beyond belief.  Instead, the DNC refused to make the server available to the FBI and, instead, provided a draft memo by a firm employed by Perkins Coie on behalf of the DNC, the memo itself partially redacted, supposedly proving that the Russian government hacked the server.

One, the DNC and Clinton stood to — and did — benefit from the claim that Russia electronically hacked the DNC server.  It let them play the victim card and furthered the ridiculous narrative that Trump and Russia were collaborating to steal the 2016 election.

Two, FBI Director James Comey justified the FBI’s complete abdication of its responsibility to investigate the server on the grounds that the firm employed by the DNC  to evaluate the server, Crowdstrike, had a sterling reputation for honesty and accuracy.  Bullshit.  Do you know who else had a sterling reputation for honesty, accuracy and professionalism in July 2016? Christopher Steele, author of the dossier claiming that Trump was a Russian agent.

Mr. Mate, author of the above referenced article at RCI, Crowdstrikeout, gives further reasons to question the received truth that the Russians hacked the DNC server.  This from Mr. Mate:

While the 448-page Mueller report found no conspiracy between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, it offered voluminous details to support the sweeping conclusion that the Kremlin worked to secure Trump’s victory. The report claims that the interference operation occurred “principally” on two fronts: Russian military intelligence officers hacked and leaked embarrassing Democratic Party documents, and a government-linked troll farm orchestrated a sophisticated and far-reaching social media campaign that denigrated Hillary Clinton and promoted Trump.

But a close examination of the report shows that none of those headline assertions are supported by the report’s evidence or other publicly available sources. They are further undercut by investigative shortcomings and the conflicts of interest of key players involved:

  • The report uses qualified and vague language to describe key events, indicating that Mueller and his investigators do not actually know for certain whether Russian intelligence officers stole Democratic Party emails, or how those emails were transferred to WikiLeaks.

  • The report’s timeline of events appears to defy logic. According to its narrative, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the publication of Democratic Party emails not only before he received the documents but before he even communicated with the source that provided them.

  • There is strong reason to doubt Mueller’s suggestion that an alleged Russian cutout called Guccifer 2.0 supplied the stolen emails to Assange.

  • Mueller’s decision not to interview Assange – a central figure who claims Russia was not behind the hack – suggests an unwillingness to explore avenues of evidence on fundamental questions.

  • U.S. intelligence officials cannot make definitive conclusions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer servers because they did not analyze those servers themselves. Instead, they relied on the forensics of CrowdStrike, a private contractor for the DNC that was not a neutral party, much as “Russian dossier” compiler Christopher Steele, also a DNC contractor, was not a neutral party. This puts two Democrat-hired contractors squarely behind underlying allegations in the affair – a key circumstance that Mueller ignores.

  • Further, the government allowed CrowdStrike and the Democratic Party’s legal counsel to submit redacted records, meaning CrowdStrike and not the government decided what could be revealed or not regarding evidence of hacking.

  • Mueller’s report conspicuously does not allege that the Russian government carried out the social media campaign. Instead it blames, as Mueller said in his closing remarks, “a private Russian entity” known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

  • Mueller also falls far short of proving that the Russian social campaign was sophisticated, or even more than minimally related to the 2016 election. As with the collusion and Russian hacking allegations, Democratic officials had a central and overlooked hand in generating the alarm about Russian social media activity.

  • John Brennan, then director of the CIA, played a seminal and overlooked role in all facets of what became Mueller’s investigation: the suspicions that triggered the initial collusion probe; the allegations of Russian interference; and the intelligence assessment that purported to validate the interference allegations that Brennan himself helped generate. Yet Brennan has since revealed himself to be, like CrowdStrike and Steele, hardly a neutral party — in fact a partisan with a deep animus toward Trump.

Do read the whole article.

Yet another article touching on all of this came out this week.  It is the Isikoff article purporting to show that “right wing conspiracy theories” surrounding the murder of Seth Rich were all part of a Russian disinformation campaign.  Why that topic, why now, and why is Isikoff the investigative journalist breaking the story?

First, understand Isikoff’s role in the Russian hoax.  In the run up to the 2016 election, Fusion GPS’s Glen Simpson and Christopher Steele briefed every major news entity on the contents of the Steele Dossier in the hopes of making Steele’s allegations public and dooming Trump.  It was the mother of all October surprises.  Yet in a pool of hyper partisan Trumpophobes that included CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, it was only Isikoff (and later rabid proggie David Corn) who published the ridiculous and unsubstantiated allegations in advance of the 2016 election as if they were serious allegations under investigation by the FBI.  Isikoff either lacks any journalistic ethics or he is naïve to the point of gross incompetence.  Either way, nothing he writes on anything touching the Russia hoax can be taken at face value as reasonably likely to be true.

So why are we reading now that that the theory Seth Rich was involved in the transfer of emails to WikiLeaks was nothing more than a conspiracy theory ginned up by the Ruissians?  It is of course possible that Isikoff’s article is accurate and that his timing of the report now is merely coincidental.  Let me posit a second possibility.

Attorney General Barr has authorized a top to bottom investigation of the Russia hoax and the attorneys involved are seeking to sequester the DNC server for a grossly belated investigation.  The DNC is contesting it and the matter is already or soon will be litigated.  Someone with a vested interest in ensuring that the server is never examined by the FBI has spoon fed the allegations used by Isikoff in his article, the same way Christopher Steele spoon fed Isikoff the Steele Dossier with the intent it be published in time to effect the election.  Isikoff, already shown to be a useful fool (and Leftist tool), is the obvious person to go to with such a story.  And no doubt one argument in favor of sequestering the server is that it may shed light on the murder of Seth Rich.  Isikoff’s article is aimed at taking that justification off of the table.

We will eventually know, I hope, the results of AG Barr’s investigation.  It might well be that there was no illegality by the Clinton campaign, the DNC, the FBI or any other entity as regards the Russian hoax and that all were acting in good faith.  I can live with that.  What I cannot live with is progressives obstructing the investigation.  After three years of progressives with their thumbs on the scales of justice, corrupting investigations hang them and hang them high if they try to do the same yet again.

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Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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