A Russian Ham Sandwich

From Derek Hunter:

If there’s one thing Special Counsel Robert Mueller is exceedingly good at it is indicting Russians over whom he has zero jurisdiction. Mueller had previously indicted 13 Russian individuals and companies, and Friday he added 12 more to the list.

It’s a neat little trick – bring charges against people you’ll never get in court, therefore you’ll never have to prove them. This allows Mueller and his team to say they’re “doing something,” that the American people are getting something for the millions his investigation has cost us, while not having to actually prove anything.

Maybe there is something to these charges. I don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t care. I do know the old saying that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich, proving those charges are something else entirely.

What the Russians are alleged to have done amounts to nothing – Facebook posts, fake social media accounts, etc. It’s nothing 12-year-olds couldn’t do, and likely do regularly.

The one thing they are alleged to have done that is serious is hacking the servers of the Democratic National Committee. That’s a serious charge. It’s also completely unprovable, which makes it a brilliant political move by Mueller.

It’s a serious charge. But if any of the people charged with doing it were to show up in court, which is highly unlikely, their lawyers would demand to see the DNC’s servers so they could have their experts examine them. Mueller says Russians hacked them, but the servers have magically disappeared. So how can anyone be certain who hacked them, or if they were even really hacked at all?

Since none of those charged are going to show up in court, there will be no challenge to the allegation, no demand to see the evidence, and no legal embarrassment for Mueller when the charges are dropped because the key piece of evidence not only can’t be provided to the defense, it wasn’t even examined by the prosecutor. He appears to have simply taken the word of the Democratic Party about what happened.

Democrats, naturally, have a vested interest in advancing a story of Russian hacking costing Hillary Clinton the election because the alternative is she was a horrible candidate, the American people wanted nothing to do with her or her ideas, and they ran an awful campaign.

The fact that their “hacked” server disappeared should be a red flag. It’d be like someone claiming they cleaned up a murder scene they stumbled across before calling the police because they’re a neat freak, not because they’re trying to cover up their guilt.

This “problem” with the server having vanished won’t be an issue because there’s no one to make it an issue. But there are plenty of people willing to exploit the charges because this is Washington, and Washington doesn’t need proof or have standards when there is a narrative or an agenda to advance.

And let’s not forget that John Podesta’s email password was “password,” and he gave it to a hacker by falling for a fishing email. Not exactly James Bond-level spying.

Elected Democrats immediately started whining about how President Trump should cancel his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin Monday.

Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, the proud chieftain of the “so white she’s almost translucent” tribe, told the President to “cancel your ridiculous Putin summit and get your butt on a plane back to the United States.” Kamala Harris of California, whose record in the Senate makes Barack Obama’s look like it was riddled with accomplishments, said, “It’s unconscionable for the President to meet one-on-one with Putin, especially given these latest indictments. We need to prevent the next attack, not reward the attackers.”

And that’s just a sampling of the liberal brain trust considered leading contenders for their party’s 2020 nomination.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Mueller investigation, but I do know what is being portrayed as a major development really isn’t. I also know that the idea that politics stops at the water’s edge is now dead. Liberals so hate Donald Trump they’re willing to do anything in an attempt to damage him.

Prepare for more hyperventilating about Russians from leftists than there was during the Cold War, when they actually were trying to destroy us. But keep this in mind – Democrats are now clamoring for “something” to be done to protect our elections in the future. OK, fine.

But first remember no votes were changed, and nothing related to voting or vote counting was “hacked,” even though Democrats and media like to fudge that fact. Second, if you want to protect the integrity of the election bring back paper ballots and require photo ID.

Computer voting started after Democrats claimed paper ballots were flawed after they lost in 2000. After Hillary lost they went in the opposite direction. Their real problem is the American people not wanting them in the White House, because their complaints disappear when they win.

Liberals love to talk about the importance of the integrity of the vote, but they aren’t willing to do literally the least they could do to protect it by requiring people to prove they are who they say they are when they show up at the polls.

Instead of something that will matter, we will get posturing about the need to regulate the Internet to “protect” people from fake stories planted by Russians. Not mentioned will be the fact that, if the allegations are true, all they did was exposed to the voting public things Democrats were saying to each other when they thought no one else was listening. That’s bad, that’s illegal, but that’s not fake.

Exactly how you control what is shared on the Internet will remain a mystery. The people who demand illegal aliens are imbued with Constitutional protections the second they sneak across the border will have difficulty arguing to control what actual Americans protected by that same document can read and share online.

In the end, this will likely amount to nothing. There are show trials and show indictments. What happened Friday appears to be the latter, especially since there will never be a trial. But there sure will be a lot of campaign commercials…

Funny how that works.

Source

Advertisements

Quote of the Day

“The people aren’t stupid. The 63 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump—some as an unappealing but better alternative to Mrs. Clinton, but many with gusto—recognize that what is going on here is a concerted effort to overturn the results of a legitimate presidential election. Is it really unreasonable to ask whether this might be as much of a threat to American democracy as anything Mr. Trump has said or done?”

William McGurn

And Robert Mueller is the leader of this coup d’état.

Gleeful Indignation

From Roger Kimball:

It is curious how close certain seemingly contrary emotions can be. Consider, to take just one example, the feelings of glee and outrage. At first blush, they seem very different. Glee occupies a positive register in the metabolism of human emotions. There is such thing as malicious glee, of course—the German word schadenfreude captures that perfectly. But by and large, I believe, glee is a sunny, allegro emotion.

Outrage, on the contrary, is a dour beast. It glowers. It fulminates. It glories in moral indignation, which it eagerly manufactures whenever it is in short supply.

And it is there, in the manufacture, affectation, the pretense, of moral indignation that that outrage shades in smarmy gleefulness. You can see this in operation right now, today, by the simple expedient of turning to CNN and watching commentator after commentator explode in gleeful outrage over Donald Trump’s alleged comments about the relative desirability of immigrants from countries like Norway, on the one hand, and countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and various apparently unnamed African countries on the other. (I say “alleged” not because I doubt the substance of the report, but simply because the president has disputed some details of the reporting.)

Two questions: Were all those commentators at CNN (and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other purveyors of sanctimony)—were they more delighted or unhappy about the president’s comment? Think carefully before answering.

Sometimes, the experience of outrage, and its accompanying moral indignation, is essentially a feeling of displeasure—at a wrong done or suffered, an injustice or cruelty observed, etc.

But sometimes, outrage is but a patina of indignation whose chief motive is incontinent delight. Which is it for the talking heads at CNN? Are they genuinely morally offended by the president’s comments? Or are they really absolutely delighted by the opportunity he has given them to say “shithole” over and over again while also running endless chyrons reminding viewers that the president referred to (if he did refer to) Haiti, El Salvador, etc., as “shithole countries” from which we should not seek immigrants?

I think it is the latter, and I believe there are two parts to the delight. One is the natural expectation of a ratings boost in the wake of all that potty-mouthed commentary. The other is the prospect, once again, of being given free rein to lay into Donald Trump and deplore how horrible, uncaring, racist, and vulgar he is. Maybe, just maybe, this exhibition of political incorrectness will turn the tide of public opinion against this most improbable president. Maybe, just maybe, it will administer the coup de grace against a man who is the walking embodiment of everything enlightened progressive opinion loathes.

Maybe. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Which brings me to my second question: Was the president right to question the desirability of accepting immigrants from places like Haiti? Let’s leave his colorful language to one side. That was just a bit of rhetorical salsa on the burrito. The coarsening of language in the public square (and the private hearth) means that virtually anyone not cloistered hears and/or utters much ruder language almost daily.

The real issue is whether we justly prefer immigrants from some places over others.

I would say that the answer is an unequivocal Yes. Of course we do. Not only was the president correct when, some time ago, he said that we should favor immigrants who knew English and brought with them marketable skills, he is also correct now when he suggests that someone from Norway, say, is more likely to bring those desirable qualities than someone from Haiti, El Salvador, etc.

He is further correct that the Haitis of the world are conspicuously undesirable places: crime- and disease-ridden trous de merde that we may pity and may endeavor to help but that are not necessarily good sources of helpful immigrants.

And here we come to a second curiosity in the preening and ecstatic outrage over the president’s comment. Everyone, near enough, knows that he was telling a home truth. It was outrageous not because he said something crude that was untrue. Quite the contrary: it was outrageous precisely because it was true but intolerable to progressive sensitivities.

In other words, the potency of taboo is still strong in our superficially rational culture. There are some things—quite a few, actually, and the list keeps growing—about which one cannot speak the truth or, in many cases, even raise as a subject for discussion without violating the unspoken pact of liberal sanctimoniousness.

Donald Trump, of course, does this regularly, delightedly. Hitherto, his brazenness has only endeared him to his base and driven his critics mad. Perhaps it will be different this time. Maybe the angry censors will descend en masse in effective indignation and drag him from the stage. Again, though, I wouldn’t count on it. Trump’s Haiti moment is cut from the same script as Trump’s “Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig” mot. Uncouth. Crude. But was it untrue?

We live in a surreal moment when it becomes ever harder to tell the truth about sensitive subjects. Donald Trump has strutted across our timid landscape like a wrecking ball, telling truths, putting noses out of joint. The toffs will never forgive him, but I suspect the American people have stronger stomachs and are up to the task.

Source

California’s Woes

From VDH:

With poor education, a budget deficit, and crumbling infrastructure, Californians shouldn’t be focused on idealistic social programs.

Corporate profits at California-based transnational corporations such as Apple, Facebook, and Google are hitting record highs.

California housing prices from La Jolla to Berkeley along the Pacific Coast can top $1,000 a square foot.

It seems as if all of China is willing to pay premium prices to get their children degreed at Caltech, Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, or USC.

Yet California — after raising its top income tax rate to 13.3 percent and receiving record revenues — is still facing a budget deficit of more than $1 billion. There is a much more foreboding state crisis of unfunded liabilities and pension obligations of nearly $1 trillion.

Soon, new gas tax hikes, on top of green mandates, might make California gas the most expensive in the nation, despite the state’s huge reserves of untapped oil.

Where does the money go, given that the state’s schools and infrastructure rank among America’s worst in national surveys?

Illegal immigration over the last 30 years, the exodus of millions of middle-class Californians, and huge wealth concentrated in the L.A. basin and Silicon Valley have turned the state into a medieval manor of knights and peasants, with ever fewer in between.

The strapped middle class continues to flee bad schools, high taxes, rampant crime, and poor state services. About one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients reside in California. Approximately one-fifth of the state lives below the poverty line. More than a quarter of Californians were not born in the United States.

Many of the state’s wealthiest residents support high taxes, no-growth green policies, and subsidies for the poor. They do so because they reside in apartheid neighborhoods and have the material and political wherewithal to become exempt from the consequences of their own utopian bromides.

Blue California has no two-party politics anymore. Its campuses, from Berkeley to Claremont, have proven among the most hostile to free speech in the nation.

A few things keep California going. Its natural bounty, beauty, and weather draw in people eager to play California roulette. The state is naturally rich in minerals, oil and natural gas, timber, and farmland. The world pays dearly for whatever techies based in California’s universities can dream up.

That said, the status quo is failing.

The skeletons of half-built bridges and overpasses for a $100 billion high-speed-rail dinosaur remind residents of the ongoing boondoggle. Meantime, outdated roads and highways — mostly unchanged from the 1960s — make driving for 40 million both slow and dangerous. Each mile of track for high-speed rail represents millions of dollars that were not spent on repairing and expanding stretches of the state’s decrepit freeways — and hundreds of lives needlessly lost each year.

The future of state transportation is not updated versions of 19th-century ideas of railways and locomotives, but instead will include electric-powered and automatically piloted cars — all impossible without good roads.

Less than 40 percent of California residents identify themselves as conservative. But red-county California represents some 75 percent of California’s geographical area. It’s as if large, rural Mississippi and tiny urban Massachusetts were one combined state — all ruled by liberal Boston.

Now, a third of the state thinks it can pull off a “Calexit” and leave the United States. Calexit’s unhinged proponents have no idea that they are mimicking the right-wing arguments of the Confederate states that prompted the Civil War. Like South Carolina residents in 1861, Calexit advocates seem to assume that federal law should apply everywhere else except in California. Many of these California residents also believe that the federal Environmental Protection Agency should always override local ordinances, but not so with another federal bureau, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

South Carolina started the Civil War by shelling and capturing federal property at Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. Calexit wannabe secessionists similarly assume that thousands of square miles of federal property — from California federal courtrooms and post offices to national parks such as Yosemite to huge military bases such as Camp Pendleton — belong to the state and could simply be confiscated from the federal government.

Calexit proponents assume California can leave the union without an authorizing amendment to the Constitution, ratified by three-fourths of all the states. And they fail to see that should California ever secede, it would immediately split in two. The coastal strip would go the way of secessionist Virginia. The other three-quarters of the state’s geography would remain loyal to the union and become a new version of loyalist West Virginia.

Buying a home on the California coast is nearly impossible. The state budget can only be balanced through constant tax hikes. Finding a good, safe public school is difficult. Building a single new dam during the California drought to capture record runoff water in subsequent wet years proved politically impossible.

No matter. Many Californians consider those existential problems to be a premodern drag, while they dream of postmodern trains, the legalization of pot-growing — and seceding from the United States of America.

Source

The History is Clear

From Alan Dershowitz:

In his testimony former FBI director James Comey echoed a view that I alone have been expressing for several weeks, and that has been attacked by nearly every Democratic pundit.

Comey confirmed that under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual. I paraphrase, because the transcript is not yet available: the president can, in theory, decide who to investigate, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. The president is the head of the unified executive branch of government, and the Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may order them to do what he wishes.

As a matter of law, Comey is 100 percent correct. As I have long argued, and as Comey confirmed in his written statement, our history shows that many presidents—from Adams to Jefferson, to Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Bush 1, and to Obama – have directed the Justice Department with regard to ongoing investigations. The history is clear, the precedents are clear, the constitutional structure is clear, and common sense is clear.

Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to “get” President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities. In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights.

Source