The Jury Talks Back

8/31/2019

Roman Polanski Receives Standing Ovation At Venice Film Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:54 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This, in spite of the unraveling horror show that is Jeffrey Epstein and his countless sexual assaults on untold numbers of minor females. I just can’t even. First, a brief reminder of what Polanski did:

On March 10, 1977, Polanski, then 43, invited 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Geimer) to the Los Angeles home of pal Jack Nicholson for a photo shoot. After plying Gailey with glasses of champagne and half a Quaalude, she alleged that she felt “dizzy… like things were kind of blurry sometimes. I was having trouble with my coordination, like walking and stuff.” She then claimed that Polanski placed her on a bed and performed oral, vaginal, and anal sex on her—ignoring her repeated pleas for him to stop. “I was mostly just on and off saying, ‘No, stop.’ But I wasn’t fighting really because I, you know, there was no one else there and I had no place to go,” she later testified.

Although not in attendance, the audience at the Venice Film Festival was wowed by Polanski and his new film. And as they gave the director a five-minute standing ovation, #MeToo gasped its last breath:

The Venice Film Festival played host to an uncomfortable scene this weekend, as director and convicted sex offender Roman Polanski garnered rapturous applause for his new film, J’Accuse. (English title: An Officer and a Spy. Polanski—who fled the United States decades ago and was expelled from the Motion Picture Academy in 2018—did not receive the applause in person, though journalists reportedly cheered co-producer Luca Barbareschi’s assertion that the event was “a film festival, not a moral trial.”

Vulture documented the strange scene, which featured cast member Emmanuelle Seigner (also Polanski’s third wife) and star Louis Garrel sharing nothing but praise for the absent Polanski’s direction. Co-star Jean Dujardin reportedly wished all actors “the good fortune of one day working with Polanski;” attempts from journalists to reference Polanski’s criminal history were met with both shutdowns from producers and further applause.

In later years, a number of women came forward with their own accusations that Polanski had sexually assaulted them as well. The three women claim they were ages 10, 15 and 16 years old when Polanski assaulted them.

Polanski, in a recent interview with a French media outlet, said that the “persecution” he has faced from people inspired him while he worked on the film:

…J’Accuse chronicles the early 20th century “Dreyfus Affair,” in which Alfred Dreyfus (played by Garrel in the film), a Jewish officer in the French Army, was fraudulently convicted of giving military secrets to the Germans, sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, and banished to a prison island. (He was later exonerated and freed.) Polanski made no secret of parallels to his own conviction in a recent interview with French writer Pascal Bruckner, who called the allegations “present-day neo-feminist McCarthyism.”

“In the story, I sometimes find moments I have experienced myself, I can see the same determination to deny the facts and condemn me for things I have not done,” Polanski said in the interview, which was included in official film notes distributed to press. “Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case. . . . I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film, and that has clearly inspired me.”

The victim’s grand jury testimony tells us pretty much what we need to know about Roman Polnski: (Warning: very graphic)

A. Then he lifted up my legs and went in through my anus.

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. He put his penis in my butt.

. . . .

Q. Do you know whether he had a climax?

A. Yes.

Q. And how do you know that?

A. Because I could kind of feel it and it was in my underwear. It was in my underwear. It was on my butt and stuff.

Q. When you say that, you believe that he climaxed in your anus?

A. Yes.

Q. What does climax mean?

A. That his semen came out.

Q. Do you know what semen is?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see some semen or feel some semen?

A. I felt it.

Q. Where did you feel it?

A. I felt it on the back of my behind and in my underwear when I put them on.

Contrary to Polanski’s claim, I think we all pretty much know that what he did to that child. And what I know compels me to never, ever watch one of his films, let alone give him a standing ovation.People who choose to support Polanski and give him standing ovations, demonstrate an obscenely elitist indecency. For if you are willing to ignore and/or rationalize the sexual assault of a child for the sake of “art,” then you are an indecent person. Maybe the audience wasn’t bothered by the suffering of a child because they believe that the resulting art would not have been possible had it not been for the suffering that Polanski has endured in the aftermath. Some people are able to separate art from the morality (or lack therein) of the artist. To me, if the artist has inflicted a destructive act of violence on a child, I will never be one of those people.

–Dana

Next Up: Fox Business Host Lying About Trump Lying

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:55 am

[guest post by Dana]

Earlier this week I wrote about Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany lying about Trump lying. On the heels of McEnany’s comments, and clearly evidencing that he didn’t get the memo that Fox News doesn’t work for Trump, the network’s business host, Stuart Varney, humiliated himself on air when he too denied that Trump lies. Peak irony: he was called out on his lie by lying Joe Walsh:

During a heated interview with Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said he does not believe President Trump has lied to the country.

The former GOP congressman told Varney on Friday that Trump “lies virtually every time he opens his mouth,” prompting Varney to ask Walsh to give him an example.

“I will give you an example just from yesterday and even his staff, Stuart, admitted that he lied this week when he said there were high-level phone calls between the United States and China. Trump said that repeatedly. His staff came out yesterday and admittedly, admitted that the president of the United States lied to the world to manipulate the markets. I have a problem with that,” Walsh said.

“That’s not a lie. Let’s not get technical,” Varney replied. “If the man said, and he did, that high-level talks had been held with China, that is not a lie. They were held with China.”

“Stuart, he said there were high-level phone calls with Chinese officials. His staff admitted that was not true, that he lied in order to manipulate the market,” Walsh said.

Walsh then asked Varney if he believes Trump has ever lied.

“He exaggerates and spins,” he replied.

“Okay. Do you believe he’s ever told the American people a lie?” Walsh asked, to which Varney gave a curt “No.”

Varney then turned the tables on Walsh at the end of their conversation (not seen in the video), and asked Walsh whether he lied when he claimed that President Obama was a Muslim. Walsh was forced to admit that it was a lie, and added that he’s apologized for it.

Not seeing a lot of daylight between Trump and Walsh, two peas in a pod. All of which makes me wonder why Republicans would look to Walsh as their savior in 2020, because if you loathe and revile one lying bigot, why would you promote another lying bigot?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Christian Dior’s Latest Ad For “Sauvage” Men’s Fragrance Under Attack

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:53 am

[guest post by Dana]

Taking a break from the dumb world of politics, let’s look at the dumb world of social justice. Specifically, the new, cringe-inducing Christian Dior ad for the men’s fragrance, Sauvage, starring Johnny Depp:

As you can imagine, the ad was attacked for cultural appropriation: Dior pulled the from YouTube within six hours of it being uploaded.

Dior is facing backlash for promoting its perfume line Sauvage with an advertisement featuring Native American imagery.

The fashion brand teased the ad, which stars actor Johnny Depp, on Twitter on Friday as “an authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory”. It has since deleted the tweet and all references to the campaign on social media.

[…]

Scholars and critics have responded that the campaign is racist and a clear cut case of appropriation.

“It is so deeply offensive and racist,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, CEO of the media watchdog group IllumiNative. “I don’t know how anyone in 2019 can think a campaign like this can go down well.”

[…]

The French name of the fragrance line translates to “wild” or “savage” in English.

“These types of tropes, these types of narratives about Native people as savages they do real harm,” Echo Hawk said. “And fuel racism.”

And more criticism:

“Honestly, I couldn’t help but laugh because this drips with irony – every single aspect of it,” said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, an environmental and economic justice group. “But I’m also upset and angry at the same time.”

The video “romanticized Native Americans as relics from the past”, Goldtooth said. “It’s deplorable that Dior thought this was appropriate.”

“It has huge connotations. ‘Sauvage’ was to say we were dirty, uncivilized, that we had no culture. So this is not good at all. This is a racial slur for any Indigenous French-speaking person,” said Melissa Mollen-Dupuis, the co-founder of Idle No More’s branch in Quebec.

“It’s as if they used the N-word to promote a perfume.”

But here’s the thing: Dior worked in collaboration with Native Americans on the project as well as having Native American fancy war dancer Canku One Star, a Rosebud Sioux, and Canadian actor Tanaya Beatty, descended from the Da’Naxda’xw Nation in British Columbia, appear in the ad. One can reasonably assume they were not forced to be in the ad, and that they were compensated at a fair rate of pay per the terms of their contracts. Also noted: Depp gives a nod to Shawnee guitarist Link Wray as he riffs on Wray’s well-known Rumble.

Moreover:

In Dior’s press notes, and in an accompanying behind-the-scenes video, the company pointed out that Depp and director Jean-Baptiste Mondino collaborated with Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), an advocacy group for Native American people, “in order to respect indigenous cultures, values and heritage.”

Adrienne Keene, [an assistant professor at Brown University, who writes the “Native Appropriations” blog and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation], points out that AIO was founded by LaDonna Harris, who, Keene wrote, “has worked tirelessly for Native folks throughout her career, and done incredible work.” Keene also notes that Harris courted controversy among Native Americans in 2012 by adopting Depp into her family, giving him a Comanche name, “Mah-Woo-Meh,” or “shape shifter.”

In reading about this kerfuffle, I noticed that a number of outlets neglected to mention that LaDonna Harris’s daughter, who is also AIO’s executive director, Laura Harris, said: “the [‘Sauvage’] name is the name, and we knew it would be controversial.”

Eyes wide open.

I know Indians who are offended by the ad because of the cultural appropriation. I’m not offended by it other than on an aesthetic level because it is some seriously over-the-top-cringe-inducing awfulness, primarily because of Johnny Depp. If the Dior people had been smart about this, they would have scratched everything – especially Depp – and simply presented the gorgeous Canku One Star dancing on the red cliffs. Now that would be a breathtaking ad.

–Dana

8/30/2019

Trial Date Finally Set For Alleged 9/11 Mastermind

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A trial date has finally been set for the accused Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four other accused plotters will go on trial on Jan. 11, 2021, a U.S. military judge said Friday, according to the Office of Military Commissions.

KSM, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ’Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi all face the death penalty for their alleged roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Mohammad and his co-defendants are charged with crimes including terrorism, hijacking and 2,976 counts of murder for their alleged roles planning and providing logistical support to the Sept. 11 plot. They could get the death penalty if convicted at the military commission…

The capital case trial will take place at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The particulars:

The 2021 trial date — which will come more than 19 years after the attacks occurred — was included in a trial conduct order issued by the presiding judge in the case, Air Force Col. W. Shane Cohen, who set a series of deadlines for the case.

The order also includes a list of materials the prosecutors must provide defense lawyers before Oct. 1.

Cohen, who is the third judge since 2012 to preside over the the long-delayed case, took over the case in June.

Mohammed’s lawyers believe that their client has suffered brain damage and therefore should not face the death penalty:

Mohammed’s lawyers have argued brain scans prove the former al-Qaida leader suffered traumatic brain injuries at the hands of the CIA, which could cause the court to spare him the death penalty. They have been seeking for years to conduct more studies.

This: Witnesses have died, lawyers have grown old and victims’ families patience has been sorely tested.

–Dana

Patterico Talks to Bob Murphy About Plea Bargains and Anarchy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:00 am

Anarchocapitalist economist Bob Murphy had me on his podcast recently, and the episode just came out. It’s about two hours long. We talk about Murphy’s view of plea bargains as an inherently corrupt enterprise, and about my objections to his vision of a world without a government-run criminal justice system. Listen to the podcast at this link or by simply pressing play below:

As always, I speak for myself and not for my office.

Regular readers know I am a big fan of Bob Murphy. Bob and Tom Woods run a podcast called “Contra Krugman” that dissects the errors of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman every week. I told you about the podcast in this 2015 post which featured this hilarious video which Murphy recorded years ago to taunt Krugman into a debate that never happened:

Murphy is also hilarious as the zombie in the “Interview with a Zombie” video with Tom Woods which I told you about in 2016 and which you can watch here:

As funny as these videos are, you’ll be shocked to learn that comedy is just a side gig for Murphy, whose primary profession is being an economist. He’s a free market economist and a damned good one. He teaches two classes on the History of Economic Thought at Liberty Classroom, where I am a lifetime member. (Become a member yourself, here!) He wrote, with physician Doug McGuff, an excellent book called The Primal Prescription (which I told you about here) which is the best explanation I have seen anywhere of the problems with the health care system in general and ObamaCare in particular. I have also written posts summarizing his book “Choice” (itself a summary of Mises’s Human Action, and yes, I still owe you the last five posts of that series). A collection of Murphy essays about Krugman is a great way to learn about free-market economics. Murphy wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. He has writen study guides for Mises’s Human Action and The Theory of Money and Credit, and for Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State, so you can get the main points of those tomes without investing the time necessary to read them all the way through. I have read all of this from Murphy and more, and recommend it all.

In other words, I am something of a Bob Murphy stan. So I was thrilled when Bob invited me on the show.

In addition to being a free market economist (in his podcast intro, it sounds like the announcer is calling him a “Communist” rather than an “economist” which is something I tease him about at one point in our discussion) Bob is something of a philosopher who promotes a frankly anarchist view of society. Now I used to think of anarchists as those guys who run around in the streets breaking windows and lighting things on fire, but Bob’s vision is lawlessness without the shattered glass and arson. (Of course it’s my view that vandalism and arson, like other crimes, would be rampant in Bob’s hypothetical society, but that’s not his goal.) In the second part of the podcast, we discuss some questions I had for Bob that were intended to challenge some of the assumptions that underpin his views. So that’s the treat you’ll get if you muddle through this whole thing.

The first part of the podcast is devoted to a discussion about plea bargains. Bob had put out a podcast in May that laid out his view that plea bargains are inherently corrupt, and I wrote him to challenge him in (I hope) a respectful manner. Somehow this led to the invitation for me to appear on his show. Bob says in his intro that he liked the way the discussion turned out, and so do I. As the discussion progressed, I realized that I was getting to explain some things about plea bargains and the criminal justice system that are second nature for me, as a 22-year prosecutor, but that are not necessarily known to the general public.

My approach was not “you and your views are ridiculous” but rather a view that acknowledges that Murphy has some genuine and valid concerns about plea bargains, but claims that those concerns need to be placed in their proper context. I argued that our system is largely peopled by good people trying to do the right thing, and that we have protections in place for defendants that make our system quite different from its portrayal in the media.

It’s not two people yelling at each other, but two people having a discussion. (Indeed, Murphy said at the outset that it would not be a debate, and I think I should explain my joke in response, because it’s kind of an inside joke for Contra Krugman listeners. Bob and Tom Woods recently had a debate on a cruise that they run that grew out of their podcast. The deal was that the loser of the debate would have to shave his beard. All’s I’m saying is, Murphy still has his beard. So that’s the explanation for the beard-shaving reference I made.) If you like people yelling at each other on TV, you won’t like this. If you like a calm discussion between two people with different views who treat each other with respect, you just might enjoy this.

I’ll close this long post with an observation similar to what I closed with on the podcast. I’m a classical liberal in the mold of Ludwig von Mises who believes in limited government. Bob is an anarchocapitalist in the mold of Murray Rothbard who believes in no government. These are different views, but sometimes the two sides seem like the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea:

We both believe in far smaller government than that advocated by the crazy Democrats running for President — or that presided over by Donald Trump, for that matter. I’d like to see more collaboration and cooperation between libertarians of Murphy’s type and classical liberals of my type. I hope this conversation serves as an example to show that we can all just get along.

Thanks to Bob for the opportunity.

8/29/2019

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey: I’m Really Sorry I Wore Black Face In College Skit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

At this point, shouldn’t we just assume that every white politician in the Deep South who is over 40 years of age wore black face during their college years, at least once? Because, you know, it sure seems like a thing:

Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday issued an apology for appearing in a racist sketch during her time as an undergraduate at Auburn University in the 1960s.

Audio surfaced of a 1967 interview given by Ivey and her then-fiance, Ben LaRavia, in which LaRavia recalled a party at Auburn’s Baptist Student Union. Ivey participated in at least one sketch at the party, where LaRavia said she wore blackface.

“She had on a blue coveralls, she had put some black paint all over her face, and we were acting out this skit called Cigar Butts,” LaRavia said in the interview, which the governor’s office released with Ivey’s statement. “I could not go into a lengthy explanation, but to say the least, I think this skit, it did not require a lot of talent, as far as verbal talent. But it did require a lot of physical acting, such as crawling on the floor looking for cigar butts and things like this.”

LaRavia says Ivey got a “big reaction” from the audience. Ivey then says “that was just my role for the evening” before turning the discussion to a story about being unable to remember a joke for the end of the show.

Although Ivey doesn’t remember being in the skit, she nonetheless apologized for her participation:

“[I] sincerely did not remember the sketch” but said she would “not deny what is obvious.”

“While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later.”

“As such, I fully acknowledge — with genuine remorse — my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college.

Ivey informed the leaders of the Alabama Legislature to express her regrets. Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, who is African American, said after Ivey called him to personally apologize, that:

If the governor “could take ownership of it,” they could move forward.

Dear Gov. Ivey,

It’s okay. Nobody cares. Not really. Sure, you may have to endure a few difficult days or weeks of criticism and media scrutiny, but when the hullabaloo dies down, you’ll still be the sitting Governor.

*waves at Gov. Northam*

Oh.

Wait.

Sweet home Alabama, I forgot…

Ignore what I just said…

…you know, Gov. Ivey, it’s just a crying shame about that pesky “R” after your name because, little lady, you’re really screwed. But be sure to pick up a copy of Roots anyway…

–Dana

Trump Team Lies About Trump’s Lies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

That Trump lies is nothing new, we’ve seen it over and over again. But it’s interesting to see how far his people are going now to lie about his lies:

On Wednesday night, Trump reelection campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. It was, uh, contentious. But one part of the back-and-forth between the two really… stood out:

CUOMO: You don’t think this President has lied to the American people?

MCENANY: Let me finish, Chris.
CUOMO: You–

MCENANY: No, I don’t think the President has lied.
CUOMO: –have to answer that question, first.

MCENANY: I don’t think the President has lied.
CUOMO: He has never lied to the American people?

MCENANY: No, I don’t think the President has lied.

This exchange comes after White House communications director Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post explained why Trump’s lies aren’t lies and that people are just too dimwitted to grasp the unique, nuanced way in which he communicates:

“I don’t think they’re lies. … I think the President communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren’t necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally. I know people will roll their eyes if I say he was just kidding or was speaking in hypotheticals, but sometimes he is. What I’ve learned about him is that he loves this country and he’s not going to lie to this country.”

Stupid people, ignore the lies, he loves America!

We are also reminded that this sort of defensive bending of the truth by the administration is nothing new:

Kellyanne Conway made this same argument in the earliest days of Trump’s presidency, when she told NBC’s Chuck Todd this about the false claim that Trump’s inauguration drew the largest crowd ever: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts.”

You can read the linked piece in its entirety to see specific instances of the President’s lies.

I just want to leave you with this one because it happened as recently as two days ago: Trump falsely claimed that Melania Trump had gotten to know Kim Jong Un:

“The first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she would agree with me he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump said.

Melania Trump was not present for any of Trump’s three meetings with Kim Jong Un, and there is no evidence she has ever spoken to Kim.

Grisham addressed the stupid people in the room who can’t seem to grasp Trump’s “truths”:

“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim — and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”

Bend it like Trump.

–Dana

8/28/2019

President Trump: Fox News Is Dead To Me, Time to Shop For A New Media Outlet That Won’t Upset Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:59 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Seeing the Democratic National Committee’s communications director Xochitl Hinojosa discussing the upcoming Democratic primary debate while she was a guest on Fox News was just one Democrat too far for President Trump this morning. He tweeted his tantrum because that’s what Presidents of the United States do:

While Trump throwing a hissy fit is nothing new, this seems to be the final straw with Fox. They have betrayed him, and betrayed the “special relationship” between the President, his supporters and the media giant. What a long, strange trip it’s been, too, when we look back to the campaign days when Fox gave then-candidate Trump more airtime than God. And after he became the President, Trump could count on Fox and the company’s on-air personalities to make him look good.

Trump isn’t wasting time shedding big, sloppy tears over the breakup, though. Nope. He’s already shopping for a new media outlet that will do what he wants:

“…isn’t working for us anymore”??? Well, we all knew it was that kind of a relationship, but it’s nonetheless surprising to hear the President admit it. Britt Hume hit the nail on the head with his spot-on response:

Other Fox personalities also pushed back on the President’s comments.

Obviously, no news media outlet should be in the back pocket of a sitting president. Nor do they “work” for any president. Or at least, they shouldn’t. One doesn’t have to spell out all the incredible problems with viewing the interactions of a president and a major news outlet in the way. Whether it’s Fox News for President Trump or the MSM for a Democratic president, it’s wrong, and this unethical symbiotic relationship has only helped to further polarize the nation. We could all point to examples of both Fox and the MSM couching, covering, and conveniently omitting something critical and sneaking in something just to massage the message coming out of the White House. I see this breakup as a good thing.

No doubt there are other news groups interested in taking Fox’s place, and ready to compromise any integrity and journalistic principles if necessary. And there is a president willing to make it worth their effort.

I think this is true:

Axios’ Sara Fischer [said] that Trump was playing to a “fringe culture” of rabid supporters whom the president hopes would help push Fox News to intensify its already largely pro-Trump coverage.

Too bad the big breakup is happening while the run for 2020 is picking up steam. Trump better work fast. He won’t be able to count on his buds to push him right into victory.

–Dana

The Apparently Looming Indictment of Andrew McCabe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The New York Times recently reported:

Federal prosecutors in Washington appear to be in the final stages of deciding whether to seek an indictment of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director and a frequent target of President Trump, on charges of lying to federal agents, according to interviews with people familiar with recent developments in the investigation.

In two meetings last week, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who is expected to be involved in the decision about whether to prosecute, and for more than an hour with the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, according to a person familiar with the meetings. The person would not detail the discussions, but defense lawyers typically meet with top law enforcement officials to try to persuade them not to indict their client if they failed to get line prosecutors to drop the case.

Such meetings are indeed a strong indication of a possible indictment. I am no fan of Andrew McCabe, as this excerpt from a post I wrote after he was fired should make clear:

You might remember that in October 2016, before the election, I was ranting about the fact that a Terry McAuliffe PAC had donated almost half a million to McCabe’s’s wife’s election campaign . . . and yet McCabe had not recused himself from the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Granted, it’s not crystal clear that McCabe acted as a purely partisan warrior there. If you believe the leaks that he authorized to be made to the Wall Street Journal, he pushed for an investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Then again, as the Washington Post notes today, that same story demonstrated that “some FBI officials thought [McCabe] was standing in the way of the Clinton Foundation investigation.”

The point is, if Hillary Clinton’s bag man Terry McAuliffe was delivering sacks of cash to his wife, McCabe had no business ever being anywhere in the chain of command over anything having to do with Hillary Clinton — not the email investigation, not the Clinton Foundation, not any of it. I don’t care that his wife had already lost by the time he became deputy director. The consideration had already been given, and he should have recused himself — yet he didn’t do so until November 1, 2016, which was far too late. I’m not sure whether that failure alone is grounds for termination, but it brought discredit on the FBI. And new evidence that McCabe may have been less than forthright about whether he attended his wife’s campaign events and so forth only contribute to the suspicion.

Let’s place to the side for the moment the laughable fact that McCabe recently signed up to be a CNN contributor, and talk about the ways that Donald Trump has been endangering any possible prosecution of McCabe. Donald Trump is in charge of federal law enforcement, and he has been harshly criticizing McCabe for years. Here are just a few representative tweets:

Regardless of the strength of any possible criminal case against McCabe, it remains extraordinarily unseemly for the head of federal law enforcement to be saying such things, and causes observers to wonder whether any potential indictment is a result of the strength of the case, or a political hit job carried out to please the President of the United States.

The fact that Trump does this kind of thing all the time does not make it less poisonous, but more so. One of the worst things about Trump is his penchant for undermining confidence in law enforcement — both by wildly criticizing law enforcement when it investigates his wrongdoing, and in his continual assumption that law enforcement officials exist to act as his personal political henchmen. And if you don’t like McCabe (as I don’t), and if you think McCabe ought to be prosecuted (as to which I express no opinion), you might even find yourself offended by the fact that Trump is giving McCabe a colorable defense that the apparently imminent prosecution is political and vindictive.

This lout needs to shut his mouth. Of course, he won’t, ever, which is yet another reason why his departure from office needs to be a priority for people who care about the justice system.

8/27/2019

CNN Presents: Seven Hours Of Hot Air

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

…and I don’t mean Hot Air, the terrific website. I mean “hot air,” as in an unbearable barrage of toxic word vomit. In other words, a seven hour climate crisis town hall because we are a bad people and we deserve this:

CNN on Tuesday announced the candidate lineup for its unprecedented prime-time event focused on the climate crisis.

Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls will appear in New York at back-to-back town halls on Wednesday, September 4, taking audience questions about their climate plans as scientists sound the alarm about global warming.

Along with the candidates, the network also announced the CNN journalists and the approximate appearance times for the presidential hopefuls during the seven-hour, live event.

The crisis is real, and CNN is determined to put an end to our misery so that the earth can finally be at peace. So instead of waiting 14 years for the world to disintegrate or whatever it’s scheduled to do, CNN’s plan will hasten our demise through the means of utter and complete boredom and misery.

Here is the roster of speakers, each of whom will be allotted 40 minutes to yammer:

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at 5 p.m. ET

Businessman Andrew Yang, who will also be interviewed by Blitzer, will come on at 5:40 p.m.
California Sen. Kamala Harris will be interviewed by CNN’s Erin Burnett at 6:20 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who will also be interviewed by Burnett, will appear at 7 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will also be interviewed by Cooper, will be on at 8:40 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo at 9:20 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who will also be interviewed by Cuomo at 10 p.m.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will appear with CNN’s Don Lemon at 10:40 p.m.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will also be interviewed by Lemon and will come on at 11:20 p.m.

Sadly, JVW’s Little Aloha Sweetie won’t be making an appearance.

Given that there is a big demand by Democratic voters for the 2020 candidates to take aggressive steps to decelerate the effects of climate change, including getting the greenhouse gas emissions be down to zero in the next 30 years, as well as rejoining the Paris climate agreement if elected and signing the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, it makes absolutely perfect sense for CNN to provide the candidates 40 minutes of airtime to present their specific plans on how to save the planet.

And in a cruel twist of fate, just last week Jay Inslee, who had made climate change the centerpiece of his short run for the presidency, announced that he was ending his bid for the 2020 nomination:

“This is sort of the bookends of my campaign,” Inslee said on MSNBC. “We started seeing that climate change had to be the number one job of the United States. I felt very good saying that the first days of my campaign. I feel very good saying that now. And the reason is this is has just become more urgent — a billion tons of ice melted in Greenland the other day… “

–Dana

Attorney General Barr Hosting Holiday Party At Trump Hotel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So, is everyone okay with this:

Attorney General William Barr is planning a holiday bash at his boss’ hotel in downtown Washington.

The party at the Trump International Hotel, Washington, DC, could wind up costing more than $30,000, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the party and its details. A Justice Department official told CNN that the party is not an official Justice Department event and will be paid out of Barr’s pocket.

Still, it is raising concerns from ethics experts and comes as the Justice Department defends President Donald Trump’s businesses in court over claims that they’re benefiting unlawfully from his position.

The party will cost a significant amount of money:

According to a contract Barr signed with the Trump hotel that was obtained by the Post, the party will draw a guest list of about 200 people and include a buffet and four-hour open bar. Depending on his menu selections, Barr’s party could run north of $45,000, according to calculations by the Post, and the contract stipulates that he pay at least $31,500, even if he cancels the event, the paper said.

Concerns:

“It contributes to this idea that you have to be putting money into an entity that will benefit the President — if not today, then down the road — personally to stay in his good graces,” Hempowicz said.

“On the letter of the law, this isn’t a violation, however it doesn’t look good. That’s not nothing when we’re talking about the chief law enforcement officer of the country and his private activity,” said Liz Hempowicz, the director of public policy at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.

And let’s keep in mind Barr headed the DOJ after the President was sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia president that he was illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors staying at his hotels.

As to whether it appears as if Barr is trying to “curry favor” with the President, an administration official denied that was the case, noting that Barr went to ethics officials at the DOJ for counsel, and was told that the ethics rules did not disallow him from hosting the party at Trump’s hotel. Further, Barr had scouted other establishments to host the party prior to settling on Trump’s place:

[Barr] had originally booked space for the party — an annual event that he throws for family and friends — at Washington’s Willard Hotel. However, that hotel had to cancel on him after they realized they’d double-booked the evening.

Barr also tried the Mayflower Hotel, another stately building in downtown Washington, but it too was unavailable to hold his event on his date of choice, December 8.

Note: Although Trump no longer runs his businesses, and instead his sons now have that responsibility, Trump still still benefits from them financially.

This news comes on the heels of Trump saying that he wants to host next year’s G-7 summit at the Trump Doral Resort in Florida, which also also raises a question of ethics.

–Dana

NY Post: Woman Claims Husband Left Her For Rep. Ilhan Omar

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Well, this is shocking news::

A Washington, DC, mom says her political-consultant husband left her for Rep. Ilhan Omar, according to a bombshell divorce filing obtained by The Post.

Dr. Beth Mynett says her cheating spouse, Tim Mynett, told her in April that he was having an affair with the Somali-born US representative — and that he even made a “shocking declaration of love” for the Minnesota congresswoman before he ditched his wife, alleges the filing, submitted in DC Superior Court on Tuesday.

The physician, 55, and her 38-year-old husband — who has worked for left-wing Democrats such as Omar and her Minnesota predecessor, Keith Ellison — have a 13-year-old son together.

“The parties physically separated on or about April 7, 2019, when Defendant told Plaintiff that he was romantically involved with and in love with another woman, Ilhan Omar,” the court papers say.

According to the filing, Tim Mynett made it clear there is not a chance of working this out, and the marriage is over. Further, from the report: “Defendant’s more recent travel and long work hours now appear to be more related to his affair with Rep. Omar than with his actual work commitments.”

Anyway, there apparently have been whispers about this for some times, and there have been photos of Omar with Mynett out in public, with her daughter.

And then there is this tibdit:

The 37-year-old congresswoman and mom of three paid Tim Mynett and his E. Street Group approximately $230,000 through her campaign since 2018 for fundraising consulting, digital communications, internet advertising and travel expenses.

In light of that bit of news, the National Legal and Policy Center announced it will be filing a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission:

“This arrangement where Ilhan is paying her lover consulting fees could be illegal if he’s not doing the work,” said National Legal and Policy Center Chairman Peter Flaherty.

“And we’ll be asking the FEC for an investigation to determine the nature and level of his work product.”

Further:

More than $70,000 of that money was transferred in 14 payments to Mynett’s E. Street Group LLC between April 22 and June 11, records show.

The fact that Omar’s campaign committee continued to pay Tim Mynett’s firm for months after his wife said he left her for the congresswoman isn’t outright illegal.

A public-affairs specialist at the FEC noted that the agency’s regulations include a section that says, “Salary payments to a member of a candidate’s family are not considered personal use, provided that the family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign and at a rate that does not exceed fair market value of the services provided.”

The question is whether that actually occurred here, Flaherty said.

He noted that six of the expenditures in Omar’s filings are simply labeled “travel expenses” worth $12,673.43 — and that in Beth Mynett’s legal papers, she questioned whether her husband’s purported work travel was all for legitimate purposes.

“The law states that travel expenses have to be itemized, but Ilhan’s campaign is just reporting large amounts for ‘travel,’” Flaherty said. “Our question is whether this was necessary travel or whether she was just bringing her boyfriend along for the company.”

Just last month, it became public knowledge that Rep. Omar and her husband, Ahmed Hirsi, were splitting up. Again. She first married Hirsi in a religious ceremony in 2002 and they split up in 2008. Here’s a look at the confusing timeline:

2002: She marries Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi in a religious ceremony but it is not recognized legally. The pair go on to have two children.

2008: She and Hirsi separate. Because the marriage was never recognized by law, neither is the separation

2009: Omar marries Ahmed Elmi in Minneapolis

2010: He enrolls at North Dakota State University to study fine art and lives with Omar as well as her first husband

2011: Omar claims she and Elmi split this year and he went back to the UK. She reconciles with Hirsi

2012: Omar and Hirsi have their third child.

Elmi is still in the US according to college officials and social media

2013: Elmi starts working in London

2017: Omar divorces Elmi

2018: Omar marries Hirsi in a civil ceremony

2018: The marriage is brought up during Omar’s campaign for congress. She denies it and it is largely ignored because of the lack of proof around it

How this will play out with her constituents and her community, as well as family members is yet to be seen. I wondered how a Muslim woman would be regarded in this situation, and saw this:

So far, no tweet from President Trump about the shocking news. And so far, no public comment from Rep. Omar, who doesn’t really owe anybody a comment. The dissolution of a marriage is a sad and awful thing, especially when children are involved, and especially when the world is watching. Unfortunately, you choose to become a public figure, you can wave goodbye to your privacy. Whether anything unlawful occurred with the payments to Mynett is a separate issue.

–Dana

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