The most obvious mystery of the No-Knock Warrant issued against Michael Cohen out of the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York is that the person who sought the warrant from that office was not the interim U.S. Attorney for that office, Geoffrey Berman. He recused himself from involvement in the Cohen case.
There are many bases on which an attorney can recuse himself from a matter, the two most common being an actual conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. What we know about Berman is that he was personally interviewed by Trump for the job as Interim U.S. Attorney of SDNY and that he donated to Trump’s campaign. We do not know why he recused himself, nor whether he was pressured to do so. We do know that Rod Rosenstein signed off on both the no-knock warrant and Berman’s recusal.
If Berman’s only basis for recusal was the appearance of impropriety – as Allahpundit at Hot Air speculates – once again we have a Republican bringing a safety pin to a fight where the proggies bring tanks and are not playing by the same set of rules. We can see multiple examples of real conflicts of interest that have been ignored by the DOJ in the special counsel fishing expedition — Rod Rosenstein for his involvement in Uranium One, his potential criminal exposure for signing off on an extension to the unlawful Carter Page warrant, and of course his unlawful authorization of for the special counsel to conduct the entire counter-intelligence investigation instead of limiting his jurisdiction to a specific crime; Mueller for his close personal relationship to Comey; Mueller’s team for their overt support of Hillary Clinton . . . and I could go on.
Far more likely, I suspect that Mueller passed on information to the SDNY that was specifically crafted to bring within its ambit some legal work done previously by Berman. According to Hot Air, the warrant sought information on the payoff to Stormy Daniels, ATI’s contract with Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal, and, according to ABC News, a payment of $150,000 to Trump Foundation in by a Ukrainian billionaire in 2015 for a speech. In all fairness to ABC, they do an even handed job of pointing out that the same man
donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation over the years, and the New York Times reported that he lent his private plane to the Clintons. His name also appears in State Department emails made public by the group Citizens United as being invited to a small private dinner with then-Secretary Clinton.
Do hope that the special counsel is right on top of that one.
Lastly, there was one other basis listed in the warrant for the no-knock raid — the NYC taxi medallions that Cohen owns in his own private portfolio.
What the hell?
Did Mueller and SDNY crowd tack on the taxi medallions as a means to engineer the recusal of Berman? To date, I can find no one who has contacted Berman and asked him about the justification and circumstances surrounding his recusal. The stench of all of this just got significantly stronger.
The Closet Conservative
You’ve got to tip your cap to Hollywood…. To make a movie that is NOT a tribute to Ted Kennedy…. To make a movie that does not show Ted Kennedy bashing President Bush, or demonizing Republicans… This movie shows Ted Kennedy at the most vulnerable point in his life, after driving a car into a pond, and inadvertently killing the passenger, and THEN, juggling his options of telling the entire truth, or futzing the facts, and salvaging his political career.
Except for Kennedy devotees, this movie comes off as a seemingly fair portrayal of the incidents around the 1969 accident. Anyone over the age of 55 knows the story, and most under have heard of it, and know the general facts. In “fact”, unless there is still some very unknown, very hidden, very devious hidden lies, most of the facts that matter have either been told, or certainly insinuated. (Did he have an affair with Mary Joe Kopechne? In the grand scheme of her death, it really doesn’t matter… Was he drinking? Most likely, but that does not excuse what happened, it only makes it more of a legal issue… Did his father try to manipulate him, to cover it up? Surely, but, it was still Ted Kennedy’s call as to WHAT to say to the press, and WHEN.
Since the entire premise, and end result are known to most viewers, drama is low key, and there are no surprise twists or turns. The movie plays out like an above average Made-for-TV Movie. What it does best is how it explores more about what and when his two closet advisors that night knew, did, and suggested to Kennedy what he should do….
As the facts are portrayed in the movie, Kennedy (played by Australian actor, Jason Clarke) comes out of the water after the car goes off the bridge. He makes an attempt to save the life of Mary Joe Kopechne. (Played by Kate Mara)
When unable to see her or pull her out, he stumbles back to the house where his advisors/friends/cousin are finishing off the evening of a party celebration. (The party certainly implies they were drinking and that Kennedy very likely was driving intoxicated) Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan, two comedians, take on the rolls of Kennedy’s advisors and friends, Paul Markham and Joe Gargan (who was also a first cousin to Kennedy). Both men go back to the scene of the accident, dive in and look for Mary Joe. They are unable to find her and insist that Ted go straight to the law authorities and report the accident. History shows, he does not, and that’s what sets the second half of the movie in motion. One of the most critical revelations is that during the time Kennedy did NOT report the accident, shows that Kopechne may very well been still alive, and could have been saved even many hours later in the evening, had the accident been reported, and rescue teams sent out.
The movie then shows the days that follow, and it’s played out very slowly, yet the interaction between central characters in the political world, and personal world of Kennedy, all do their best to advise him on what to do…. One of my favorite lines of the movie comes toward the end, when Kenney is about to give a speech to the nation, just days after the accident…
…..Kennedy, trying to convince his cousin Joe that a massaged speech could work better than his resignation, says, “This may give me a chance at a new beginning.”
“This isn’t about opportunity, it’s about integrity,” Joe says.
It never fails to irk me when some proggie, convinced of his moral and intellectual superiority – and thus his right to dictate our life decisions – claims that the right is “anti-science.” Usually, proggies make this claim because more on the right believe in creationism and a six thousand year old earth. That is the intersection of faith and science. What is not at that intersection is the belief that anthropogenic global warming is “settled science” – as long as one ignores the repeated changes to the historical temperature record that are less trustworthy than even me when I have control of the golf scorecard – the best club in my bag is a pencil. It is not at the intersection of the belief that GMO’s are inherently dangerous (we’ve been doing genetic modification for millennia), that vaccines are dangerous (the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the rare negative consequence), nor that racism is colorblind (what an utter travesty of modern proggie science). And those are all proggie tropes, none of which stand up to experiment that fully satisfy the scientific method.
[T]he reason I feel compelled to dabble in [the replication crisis in science] . . . is that I don’t feel like anyone else is conveying the level of absolute terror we should be feeling right now. As far as I can tell, this is the most troubling outbreak of the replication crisis so far. And it didn’t happen in a field like social psychology which everyone already knows is kind of iffy. It happened in neuroscience, with dramatic knock-on effects on medicine, psychology, and psychiatry.
The above quote comes from psychiatrist Scott Alexander discussing a recent study that found that neurogenesis – the creation of new brain cells in humans – does not happen in any appreciable number in adult humans. Adult neurogenesis was supposedly proven in a 2002 study and thereafter became a foundation for a significant number of derivative theories, some with real world consequences in medicine. Thousands of scholarly articles cited to either the original study or to follow on studies.
To that, Mr. Alexander comments:
. . . We know many scientific studies are false. But we usually find this out one-at-a-time. This – again, assuming the new study is true, which it might not be – is a massacre. It offers an unusually good chance for reflection.
And looking over the brutal aftermath, I’m struck by how prosocial a lot of the felled studies are. Neurogenesis shows you should exercise more! Neurogenesis shows antidepressants work! Neurogenesis shows we need more enriched environments! Neurogenesis proves growth mindset! I’m in favor of exercise and antidepressants and enriched environments, but this emphasizes how if we want to believe something, it will accrete a protective layer of positive studies whether it’s true or not.
I’m also struck by how many of the offending studies begin by repeating how dogmatic past neuroscientists were for not recognizing the existence of adult neurogenesis sooner. . . .
Science is not a label one simply attaches to a finding. Science is defined by the four step process of the scientific method: hypothesis, experiment, findings, replication. Skip any step — as so often happens, particularly as regards global warming and our temperature records, and what you are left with is not science, it is a polemic to the faithful. Thus, this post is a reminder of three things.
One, anyone who tells you the “science is settled” in any complex area is a con man or a complete idiot unworthy of being allowed in the public square. Two, even well meaning scientists can make honest errors, ergo the absolute necessity of replication — and a true pox on all who would ever have the temerity to argue for the use of “secret science.” Three, we rely far too much on science in the modern world to leave its policing to modern scientists, many of whom seem to be budding Lysenkos and many others with their own agenda. As I argued here, we need to reform how science is practiced, published and financed in this country, including applying the same standards of fraud that we apply to securities, if science is to ever regain a modicum any trustworthiness.
My only qualification of the above is in regards to the marvelous health benefits of chocolate found in the ground breaking studies funded not long ago by Hershey, Inc. I have been assured by Ms. Bookwormroom that those studies carry their own indicia of trustworthiness and thus have no need of replication.
“Death Wish” (2018)
The Closet Conservative
Is this a movie that has Liberals squirming in their seats? Absolutely… A movie that is a Conservatives wet dream? Perhaps… A movie that will live in your minds as an all-time classic? Doubtful… A movie that will make you smile, laugh uncomfortably, and sometimes want to stand up and cheer? If you’re right of center, it’s quite possible… if you’re left of center, you may be more inclined to walk out of the theater.
Death Wish, the 2018 remake of the 1974 hit with Charles Bronson updates the theme, and replays the movie with slickness of todays technology making this time Bruce Willis the distraught father, successful surgeon, and folk hero to some, and vigilante monster to others. The radio DJ’s in the movie come on air each time Willis hits back and argue back the typical response to vigilantism, (And often with good merit), that society can’t have vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, for it then puts society on the brink of anarchy. So, Yes, we can acknowledge that in the real world, it would be difficult to accept this kind of response to criminals run-amok, but at the same time, we can “wish” something like this could happen. It indeed will be cathartic to conservatives
I’m not giving anything away when I report that the happy family of Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) and his wife (Elizabeth Shue), and daughter (Camilla Morrone) is thrown into a nightmare as they are horrible attacked at their home, and one of the family members is murdered, while the other suffers injuries that leave her in a coma.
In typical Dirty Harry fashion, the police try their best, but are for reasons quite unsatisfying to Dr. Kersey, not able to “do their job”, and protect the public. The movie then takes a sad and comic journey with his decision to turn to vigilantism. It’s not a wake up one day and go out on a rampage. We see how he is progressively more depressed and frustrated at what Chicago has become, and how little the police or public are doing to protect their citizens.
The first act of revenge is clumsy, but quite effective. The second is more methodical and premeditated, and turns out to be a great movie scene, right with the best that Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry would do. (“Go ahead, make my day…”)
More than randomly taking on the scum of Chicago, Dr. Kersey has a more specific plan of finding and punishing those who were responsible for the attack on his family. (Also a little like Harrison Ford, in The Fugitive) It’s clever and creative to see how he goes about investigating WHO the attackers were, all the while alluding the police who are now looking to capture the “Grim Reaper”. Two scenes where he visits a gun shop are played with effective drama, while bringing laughs as well. The second visit, is simply a quick cut, where he stands in front of the sales woman and says, “I want to buy a gun”. He does this toward the back end of the movie, well after he has taken out a few other scum bags with an illegal gun that stumbled into his hands at the hospital.
My favorite line? Had me smiling and laughing, and cheering. Dr. Kersey is out for his second “kill”, after he learns of a gang member who shot a 10 year old boy in the hand, and then threatened him to stay quite and obey his laws of the street. Willis approaches the gang member, in a hood mixed with kids and criminals. When he asks the Hoodlum, who is posing as an Ice cream man, if HE is in fact the ICE CREAM MAN, The Ice Cream man, pulls out a gun, and is about to shoot Willis when the Ice Cream Man responds, “Who’s asking” Willis without missing a beat, pulls his gun and responds, “Your last customer”! Bang Bang Bang!
You gotta love it…
My Twitter feed has been fascinating today, which is a good thing because calls from old and dear friends precluded blogging. Here’s the best of my Twitter.
When my mother died, I inherited both her and my Dad’s old friends (and I do mean “old”; one of them is now 98, having met my Dad in 1935). They are people who are dear to me and it seems to be mutual. If I don’t reach out to them in a timely fashion, they call me.
Today, I called a few old friends and those I hadn’t yet called coincidentally called me. I also got calls from my own friends, which is always nice. It’s therefore been a lovely day (a little sad, too, as one old friend recently had a stroke), but I got absolutely nothing done other than those phone calls. I’ve therefore had almost no time to read and, since I have to pick someone up from the airport soon, I’ll have no time to write anything.
I thought, therefore, that I’d share with you the best of my Twitter feed. (Yes, I do pay attention to Twitter.) These are in no particular order, but they do represent the fascinating mix of things that enliven the home page in my browser.
This week, Cpl Veronica Byrnes Bradley passed away.
She was the face of the Marine Corps recruiting effort during WWII.
Semper Fidelis, Marine. pic.twitter.com/T0Ev1X1Mue
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) March 9, 2018
Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018
The next is from a conservative Parkland survivor whom the media assiduously ignores:
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 8, 2018
I’m the happiest man on the planet tonight. My newly adopted 5 year old daughter, for the first time, called me dad.
— Pookiedr (@Pookiedr) March 8, 2018
Dems months ago: “Trump is going to get us killed with the way he is talking about Kim Jong Un”
Today: Kim Jong Un offers invitation to sit down and talk with Trump.
2018 Oscar Predictions
The Closet Conservative Critic
(Brief recap of who the Closet Conservative Critic is….C.C.C. is a 50-something “person of interest” who occasional writes on the Bookworm Blog, under the guise of the “Closet Conservative Critic”, reviewing Hollywood movies, and giving opinions with the perspective of a conservative. C.C.C. has worked in Hollywood and rubbed elbows with some of the most Liberal of the bunch. C.C.C. now lives in Marin County, and secretly lays low as a minority, in a bastion of limousine liberals)
Last year I made predictions for eight categories in the Oscars and correctly predicted five of them… given THAT as your barometer, consider your chances on using my predictions for any Las Vegas bets…
My predictions have nothing to do with my personal feelings about the movie… it’s simply an objective opinion based on 40 years of following the Oscars, 30 years of working in show biz, countless Oscar parties attended where the guests play the “WHO WILL WIN” pool, and just a gut feeling of the timing and sense of how the majority of the Academy will vote.
My personal picks however are clearly a subjective opinion, often times based on a political angle of how the filmmakers spun their stories or characters in this modern day media world of “Conservatives are bad …. We hate Trump”
SHOULD WIN: Darkest Hour
PREDICTION: The Shape of Water
The Darkest Hour was not my favorite movie of the year. (Coco was, followed by A Dogs Purpose, I Tonya, and Wonder) Yet, of the nominees it’s clearly my personal favorite. Winston Churchill saved England from the Nazis and did so with a great deal of in-house fighting with other politicians of Great Britain at the time. He was vilified as much as he was beloved. History has treated him much better than did his political opponents at the time. Add to that, among the many great quotes credited to him, one of my favorites is … “If you’re not Liberal at age 20 you don’t have a heart. If you’re not conservative at age 40, you don’t have a brain.” (* This quote has frequently been questioned as to having been said by Churchill, but it’s great fodder, and it sounds like something he could have said…)
I just saw The Shape of Water this week. It’s overrated, really quite silly and very bizarre. Yet, it’s the darling of the critics. It’s produced by a very talented Mexican filmmaker. Look for the Academy to give the Oscar this year to Shape of Water, and they’ll be just hoping this Mexican producer comes up on stage and will wave the Mexican flag, and rag on Trump.
SHOULD WIN: Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
PREDICTION: Guillermo de Toro – The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig directed a charming, heart-warming movie that’s a bonding story of a mother and daughter. In spite of a few digs at President Regan, it’s quite fair and gentle toward the Catholic religion. More than a few Nuns and Priests are portrayed as very sympathetic characters and as real humans in the movie. Greta could win, given that Hollywood would love to see a woman director win. However, in the fight for victimhood status, the Mexican director will win over the woman. Guillermo will win for the same reasons mentioned above about the Shape of Water for best picture.
SHOULD WIN: Margo Robbie – I, Tonya
PREDICTION: Frances McDormand -Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
How does one make Tonya Harding remotely likable? Margo Robbie’s performance is flawless. Playing the role of the trailer trash, foul-mouthed Olympic Ice Skater, Robbie plays down her own good looks, and plays up the low-life, brain-dead Tonya Harding. She may win, but my money is on Frances McDormand for Three Billboards. Her role as the heartbroken mother of a murdered daughter is terrific. While we sympathize with her in one scene, we are cringing in the next for some downright mean or immoral action her character will take.
SHOULD WIN: Gary Oldman: Darkest Hour
PREDICTION: Gary Oldman: Darkest Hour
Each year there is one category where the actor is considered a lock to win. He/She plays the role of a character that they BECOME and follow (generally) a very well written script that allows them to push the envelope. Gary Oldman, in a very DeNiro like way, BECOMES Churchill. He looks, sounds, and probably smells like Winston Churchill. A great performance, in a great movie, about a great man.
Best Supporting Actress
SHOULD WIN: Allison Janney – I, Tanya
PREDICTION: Allison Janney – I Tanya
Again, like my pick and prediction for Oldman in Darkest Hour, my thoughts on Allison Janney as Tonya Hardings mother are similar. My personal favorite, AND my pick to win. Playing the role of the worst Mother of the Year, she never comes off as sympathetic, yet every moment she’s on the screen you can’t take your eyes off her. You are continually shaking your head that a mother could be so cruel and so nasty, both emotionally and physically. Janney often plays roles where her characters have a snarky edge. She was born to play this roll as Tonya’s mother.
Best Supporting Actor
SHOULD WIN: Sam Rockwell: Three Billboards
PREDICTION: William Dafoe: The Florida Project
Like Robbie in I, Tanya, Rockwell takes on the roll of a charming scumbag. One minute he’s an evil racist, and the next a charming nim-whit. For a movie that had very few people to “like”, he, McDormand, and Woody Harrelson bring flawed humans, with complex emotions to the screen. Rockwell or Harrelson could win, yet I see their votes being split, leaving room for the long-shot, underdog, William Dafoe to win. His roll in the Florida Project is under sung, and under-rated.
Best Original Screenplay
SHOULD WIN: The Big Sick
PREDICTION: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
I Loved The Big Sick! I’m a sucker for feel-good movies where all the characters are likeable, and they just need to fine-tune their ways so all is well in the happy-lovable universe. I don’t need complex, complicated, traumatized, demented, dark characters to enjoy a movie. Give me The Big Sick. YET, the dark side of the human character seems to appeal more to the Academy, so look for Three Billboards to win.
Best Adapted Screenplay
SHOULD WIN: Don’t care…. Did not see any of the five nominated movies…
Why Mudbound? Just a hunch…
Best Animated Picture
SHOULD WIN: Coco
This category is quite imbalanced… Two of the animated movies in this category nobody ever saw, and the other two are so light and meaningless that it will be Coco in a landslide. And, justly so. The movie was fantastic in every conceivable way. Funny, semimetal, cute, worldly, great music, culturally informative, great colors, editing, visual effects and animation movement. Pixar continues to break new ground, and their charming and FUN stories know no bounds. Will win, and should win.
Semi Final Prediction:
At least five of the winners will jump up on stage, and after thanking their wives and mothers, will offer us their annoying, and unsolicited options on the world and politics. Guaranteed the options will be Left-Wing Liberal-Drivel.
Final Prediction… it’s 100% assured that I won’t be watching the broadcast. For 35+ years I never missed. While working in the entertainment industry, it was always fun to gather with co-workers and see the glamour and excitement Oscars. Beginning in the George Bush era, there were just one too many pompous winners giving their options that half of American didn’t care about or agree with. Given Hollywood’s hysteria and hatred of President Trump, I have checked out from having any interest the Academy Awards. This Deplorable will find something else to do with his Sunday evening.
From The Hill:
The legislation, called the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, was introduced less than two weeks after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 people dead. The gunman used an AR-15 assault weapon during the shooting, one of the many firearms that would be banned under the bill.
The legislation would make it “unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon.”
However, the ban wouldn’t apply to semi-automatic weapons that were “lawfully possessed” when the measure went into effect.
The bill also requires the attorney general to create a public record of semiautomatic assault weapons that have been used in crimes. . . .
The new legislation is the latest attempt by Democrats to implement a ban on the guns since the Federal Assault Weapons ban expired in 2004.
First off, let’s end the progressive neo-Marxist left’s bastardization of language. This isn’t an assault weapons ban; it is a semi-automatic weapons ban, and by it, a disarming of America. This is not “gun control;” it is the nullification of our rights under the Second Amendment.
There is a single characteristic that differentiates a military grade “assault” weapon from any civilian weapon, be it semi-automatic (one pull and release for a single round, following which the another round from a magazine is fed into the chamber) or bolt operated. A military grade weapon, such as an M-16 (the similar looking weapon to the AR-15), contains a setting for fully automatic or automatic bursts of multiple rounds — on the M-16, that was 3 rounds, so the soldiers would aim, not pray and spray. If a weapon does not have the capability to fire multiple rounds with a single pull of the trigger, then it is not a military “assault” weapon. It is simply a semiautomatic weapon of the type popular in America since such weapons were first introduced in 1885.
Cicilline’s proposed legislation is based on the recent use by a mentally ill teen of an AR15 in a mass murder at a school in Florida. The Armalite (AR) 15 is the single most popular rifle in America. It is used by millions of Americans for defense of home, sport shooting and (reconfigured into higher caliber) hunting. The AR15 is only exceedingly rarely used in criminal acts, let alone murders or mass murders. As John Lott has pointed out, a similar piece of legislation aimed at the AR-15 in 1994 had no measurable positive impact on gun crime or mass shootings. Thus one must immediately suspect that this push to ban “assault” weapons is nothing more than the nose under the tent to disarm law abiding, gun owning Americans and, thereby, nullify the Second Amendment. Molon labe.
I personally do not give a rat’s hind end that the weapon the Florida shooter used against a soft target was an AR-15. The fact that the shooter was able to mass murder inside of a school was a failure of the FBI, a failure of local law enforcement, the cowardly acts of Broward County deputies, and the fact that proggies have screwed our culture on one hand and made our schools into soft targets on the other. The reality is that any semi-automatic weapon would have been as, if not more, effective in that school shooting. To be specific, the AR15, in its base configuration, fires a small caliber .223 round at high velocity. Countless semi-automatic weapons fire a larger bullet at equal or higher velocities which would have been far more destructive in the shooting.
And indeed, the proposed Cicilline law goes far beyond outlawing the AR-15. Virtually every semiautomatic weapon can hold a magazine. It does not matter whether the magazine capacity is 1 bullet, 10 bullets, or 30 bullets, only whether the magazine can fit into the weapon’s magazine receptacle at its mouth. Cicilline would define as an assault weapon any weapon that could accept a magazine holding more than 10 rounds. What a goddamn joke. It would essentially outlaw all semi-automatic rifles, and indeed, make even the transfer of such weapons in a Will illegal. This law could not possibly stand up to a challenge under Heller, or at least it couldn’t unless and until the proggies take control of the Supreme Court and nullify Heller, either directly or by allowing such bans that, in sum, only allow citizens to own muzzle loading smooth bore muskets.
Get ready, America. Our neo-Marxist proggies want to disarm the population, just like all Marxists in history, from Stalin through Hitler and, most recently, Chavez. The wheels of socialism may turn slowly, but they always seem to end at the same blood drenched place, with always a stop along the way to disarm their citizens.
The Mueller indictments show that no American conspired with the Russians — and that the Russians successfully acted to “sow discord” in the U.S. political system.
After suffering through a year of hysteria and the disruption of our national politics by our neo-Marxist progs trying to undo the election, Americans deserve the entire truth about what happened. We received some of it yesterday when the Special Counsel delivered his first series of indictments against thirteen Russian nationals, working through two Russian front corporations, for crimes relating to interference with the 2016 election.
The indictments go a long way, though not all the way, to clearing the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Russians. They put the Russian efforts into context — their operation was small. The facts definitively establish that Russian support of Trump was a by-product, not an end goal of the operation. Equally important, Rod Rosenstein explicitly stated that no American citizen, let alone anyone in the Trump campaign, was knowingly complicit in the actions described in the indictment.
One of the striking things to come out of the indictment was how small the Russian operation was. In terms of money and manpower, it was an operation involving 13 named defendants and several hundred employees working through two Russian corporate entities, all on a combined budget of no more than $2 million a month from 2014 through the end of 2016 (Indictment, ¶¶ 10-11). To put that into perspective, during 2016 campaign, candidates on both sides, along with their supporters and PACs, spent hundreds of millions during the primaries; then they spent $2.65 billion during the four+ month general election season. It does not seem possible that such limited scale Russian activities would have made the slightest difference to the outcome of the 2016 election. And indeed, Rod Rosenstein, in announcing the indictments, explicitly stated that there is nothing in the indictment to suggest that the activities of the Russians had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 elections. [Read more…]
New facts show that the so-called Russia conspiracy was in fact a product of savvy Russians and credulous, willing, and very dishonest Democrat operatives.
This Trump-Russia collusion narrative is looking more and more like an incredibly intelligent mix of publicly available facts wrapped around some damning pieces of knowing slanders and fictions, all of which were then given the imprimatur of verisimilitude by attaching a retired British spy, Christopher Steele’s name to the whole misbegotten mess. None of the damning pieces have been proven, though several key bits have been disproven. Edward Jay Epstein recently opined at Powerline that the Steele Dossier, to the extent it seems to contain actual information from Russian sources, seems to contain Russian curated disinformation at best.
I am rapidly concluding that the Dossier may represent more than Russian meddling. Certainly Russia meddled. That’s what it does. But in this case, it seems to have gotten some help on the home front. There are far too many coincidences, far too many things that don’t make sense, and in several cases, dogs that don’t bark, for me to believe that, within America’s borders, those working on the Steele Dossier assembled it in good faith as honest, genuine investigatory work. It might be, but that is not the direction in which the known undisputed facts point at the moment.
In addition to reading this post, I recommend you read two other things. The first is Victor Davis Hanson’s article, Hillary’s “sure” victory explains most everything. The second is my post briefly explaining FISA and the questions that the FBI and DOJ have yet to answer about abusing FISA in the Trump-Russia matter. Both will help make sense of the events of the past two years and the tale I tell below.
In the coming days, I will also publish a detailed timeline listing all the relevant events and explaining why many of the key ones are problematic. It is very long. Before throwing you into that deep end, this post simplifies the timeline narrative and lets you see most of the major the issues without having to hack your way through the . . . I would say weeds, but it really is a triple-canopy jungle.
This post, relying on the facts set out in my soon-to-be-published timeline, gives you an insight into what was going on in the Hillary campaign. You’ll see that the evolving Trump-Russia narrative dovetailed perfectly with the struggle Hillary’s campaign had to overturn voters’ firm conviction that it was impossible for anyone to be more corrupt than Hillary.
So, with that preamble, let me ask you to step back in time and pretend you’re a top political operative in the DNC Now, close your eyes and make spooky noises as you travel back through slime, time and space. When you open your eyes, you see that the calendar on the wall shows that today is April 30, 2016.
April 30 . . . and your gal, Hillary Clinton, is tapped as a shoe-in for the nomination. And looking at the crowded Republican primary field, you know it’s a hop, skip and a jump from nomination to her walk on a red carpet, showered with a glittering combination of male tear drops and fragments of glass from the broken ceiling, as she heads to her coronation . . . uh, inauguration.
It’s a beautiful vision. But in the meantime, something has gone wrong. Very wrong.
Now, don’t misunderstand — not everything has gone wrong. The DNC is an arm of Clinton, Inc., bought and paid for, and it is doing her bidding. The DNC has stacked the primary deck in her favor and Hillary has virtually all the super-delegates in her bag.
The MSM is on her side and is pushing Donald Trump’s nomination on the theory that he will be her weakest opponent, Donald Trump. The MSM’s work seems to have paid off, as it is becoming ever more apparent that Trump is going to win the Republican nomination. All of that is great . . . but there are still a few irritants preventing you from reveling in the moment.
The main irritant is that Hillary is still on the ropes with the public for the email scandal that was first exposed almost a year ago. And worse, that public — including all those darn Deplorables — will get to vote for President in six months.
These likely voters know that Hillary, while Secretary of State, put tens of thousands of America’s secrets at risk by running them through an unsecured private server, the entire purpose of which was to thwart Congressional investigations and watchdog groups, something itself completely illegal. (This particular irritant, incidentally, if proven can be punished with 20 years in prison and a ban on ever again holding public office – which may explain why Comey didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole when he exonerated Hillary on 5 July.) The Russians and every other American competitor and enemy, from China to Iran to the fat boy in Pyongyang, may have copies of all her emails during her time as Secretary of State, exposing both her and our nation to blackmail.
The FBI and DOJ are giving the appearance of investigating Hillary’s wrongdoings, but giving her exoneration a veneer of an honest investigation takes time. The FBI needs to interview witnesses and give them immunity. They need time to make side deals to destroy evidence. The grand jury needs . . . whoops, forgot: Unlike virtually every other criminal case the DOJ and FBI investigate, they haven’t bothered to impanel a grand jury. Someone needs to write (and edit) an exoneration statement, so it doesn’t get thrown together carelessly at the last minute, after you’ve heard and discarded the evidence. And all of this is a pain in the ass when you keep getting interrupted by having to do all these check-the-box “key” witness interviews.
And all the while all this is going on, no one trusts Hillary. She can’t shake the scandal, despite her trying out a new excuse – usually laughable, as even you admit – on a weekly basis.
Still worse, Hillary is facing a real primary challenge from Bernie the Red, despite the fact that the super-delegates will ensure he can’t possibly win. Still, he’s seriously hurting m’lady’s “inevitability” narrative, especially because young Democrat voters, those with the stars still in their eyes, are almost as bothered as the Deplorables are by Hillary’s email “issues.”
Finally, to pile on the irritants bedeviling inevitability. you learn that Hillary’s Campaign Chairman, John Podesta, fell for a phishing scam and now Wikileaks has all the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails. Who knows what dirty laundry lies at the bottom of that black hole?
So many problems it makes even the most confident head spin. You shake yourself — time to get back to concentrating on pulling this tired old donkey across the finish line. You decide that what you are going to need is an opponent who makes Hillary look like an angel dressed in shining white robes; one that makes her seem an avatar of ethics and purity in comparison.
Impossible? You say, Ha! [Read more…]
I couldn’t stop smiling after reading a young Leftist’s horrified realization that Trump is a successful president who has undone all things Obama.
A friend sent me a link to an article in the online student newspaper at his son’s college. The student author, proving himself wiser than many in the adult media to which I’m sure he aspires, has figured out something that horrifies him: Trump is an amazingly effective president and he’s systematically undoing everything Obama did. Honestly, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh uproariously when reading The Trump Administration — and that heart is not mine.
Here are just a few exquisite gems from the opinion piece. I do urge you to read the whole thing. You’ll be feeling great about where we are in 2018 when you’re done.
Although student writer Matthew Raskob starts off by reassuring himself that Trump is disorganized, negligent, deceitful, and that nobody likes him, the truth quickly leaks out. For example, there’s the truth about Mueller’s failed investigation, although the student rushes to tell us that the Alinsky metric still works — even though there’s no fire, Mueller managed to envelope Trump in smoke:
Moreover, Robert Mueller’s investigation of l’affaire Russe continues apace. Whether or not it implicates the president personally, it has further cemented the perception of scandal among all but the most unctuous Trump apologists.
Before I go further, let me remind you that the above is an example of the type of thinking you get at a liberal arts college that charges more than $52,000 a year for tuition: Even though the FBI has utterly failed in its mission, the fact that it wrongly impugned someone’s character must be counted as a victory.
That’s just ephemera, though. The article’s meat is to be found in Raskob’s horror that, if you push through the slime in which Mueller is coating Trump, you find someone who has been remarkably successful at carrying out a far-reaching conservative agenda:
Closer scrutiny of the Trump administration’s record reveals a strikingly different reality. Through appointments to the federal judiciary, executive actions and regulatory policies — or perhaps more accurately, lack thereof — Trump has managed to overturn a substantial portion of Barack Obama’s legacy and shape American domestic politics and policy for years to come. Thanks to the brevity of our collective attention span, the Republican tax bill has now faded from the public consciousness, but its lasting impact upon the nation’s already grievously unequal distribution of wealth should not be underestimated. Even if Democrats regain the White House and Congress, they will find it difficult to do away with this legislation, despite the unpopularity of its specific provisions (see Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts). Additionally, although Trump failed to repeal the ACA, he has managed to cripple it through executive actions and the tax bill’s repeal of the individual mandate.
Let’s hope that Raskob has a long enough attention span and memory in a few months to realize that lower taxes benefit everyone, doing away with that “grievious unequal distribution of wealth” he decries. In this, the new scheme is distinct from the old tax scheme, which primarily benefited government cronies. (Call it “fascism lite,” if you will — a system in which private ownership continues, but profits only if it’s at government’s beck and call.)
The wailing and gnashing of teeth, of course, does not stop there: [Read more…]
Sorry for the silence today. I had a corrupted something or other and got locked out of my blog. Thanks to Terry Trippany’s heroic efforts, though, my system is running again.
I’ll be back tomorrow, although I can’t say when, as I have to show up for jury duty.
Frankly, if I were a lawyer, I would not want me on a jury. I am way to opinionated . . . about everything.
I don’t know how many of you follow Mike Rowe on Facebook. If you don’t, consider adding him to your list. He’s wonderful. And just yesterday, he hit one out of the park. I’m embedding it here so that everyone can read it. It deserves that kind of attention: