Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2023

Canada’s Social Progressivism Boxes Itself in

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:04 am



[guest post by JVW]

This is just a really sad story, as related by Wesley Smith at National Review Online:

At least one transgendered individual has been legally euthanized because of profound regret over transitioning. The killing took place in in Belgium ten years ago. From my piece on the tragedy at NRO, quoting the Daily Mail story about the case:

In the hours before his death he told Belgium’s Het Laatse Nieuws: ‘I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. ‘My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be… a monster.’…

The “treatment” for that despair? A lethal jab. Compassion, right?

Now, there’s a similar story out of Canada. A transgender woman named Lois Cardinal wants to be euthanized because of terrible pain being experienced from–and deep remorse over–having been transitioned surgically. From the Daily Mail story:

An indigenous transgender woman has slammed Canada‘s healthcare system for rejecting her euthanasia request despite the pain she endures from a surgically-built vagina.

In social media posts, Lois Cardinal, a self-proclaimed ‘sterilized First Nations post-op transsexual’ said regret over her medical transition led her to apply for a lethal injection in January.

Cardinal, who lives on a native reserve near St. Paul, Alberta, posted her medical records from the request online this week to draw attention to radical gender ideology.

Canada has been gung-ho for euthanasia under the current government led by the shallow and trifling snot-nosed Prime Minister. As seen in those European countries which allow euthanasia, mission creep tends to take the criteria for qualification from “has a terminal disease which will kill them slowly and horribly” inevitably down to “not feeling so great; kind of wants to be done with life.” Under normal circumstances in a progressive society like Canada, Lois Cardinal would almost assuredly be gently guided through the process and allowed to abruptly end her life. But of course in this case we have another progressive mania involved, namely the rush to affirm any desire to change one’s sex, no matter the pretext. And Canadian social justice leftists now find themselves in a crazy dilemma where on the one hand Lois Cardinal ought to be able to take her own life because she has lost all will to live and she can credibly argue that she experiences at least some constant physical pain, yet on the other hand that physical pain comes from a life-altering decision she made with the full blessing, support, and cooperation of the Canadian government. Ms. Cardinal’s problem is that her physician believes that her pain could be treated and overcome, yet as Mr. Smith points out that’s so often the case in other euthanasia situations where the state nevertheless allows the sufferer to proceed with the final solution.

What’s happening of course is that the Canadian government, like the rest of the trans lobby, wants everyone to believe that anybody who undergoes transition has a very satisfying experience and thereafter lives a full and happy life in their new gender. But the evidence we’ve seen from countries like the U.K. and elsewhere who are years ahead of us on the trans bandwagon is that plenty of people end up regretting their decision, long after it is too late to do anything about it. Canada can’t let Lois Cardinal take her own life, because that stands as a stark rejoinder to the idea that allowing people to transition always turns out to be a positive and healthy experience. Yet keeping her alive gives her a forum to speak out about her experience, though it won’t surprise anyone here to learn that the major news media in Canada are quite content to ignore this story.

Mr. Smith also points out that Lois Cardinal’s status as a a member of the First Nations indigenous people of Canada complicates the issue, as allowing her to die would likely bring unwanted publicity to the Trudeau government and invite the question whether they consider First Nation lives to be more disposable than the lives of other Canadians.

In the end, there is a strong argument that anybody else who is experiencing the sort of pain that Lois Cardinal experiences would be allowed to quietly take his or her or their own life. That’s an indictment of how cavalier Canadian society is to euthanasia. But the trans woman from the First Nations tribe is far too much of a hot potato for the Canadian establishment, so she’ll be kept alive so that neither the trans nor the euthanasia lobbys have to face the consequences of their disgusting advocacy.

– JVW

7/28/2023

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:08 am



[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Let’s go!

First news item [Dana]

Given President Biden’s age (80) and frequent behaviors that come with being an octogenarian, his team is now working to find ways to provide him cover, and thus prevent Republicans from exploiting the vulnerability:

Joe Biden’s aides realized they had a problem last month when the president tripped over a sandbag — hard — at the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony. Afterward…a few aides tried…make sure that such an embarrassing and dangerous incident “never happens again,” according to two people familiar with the discussion…

In a preview of what voters will see more of if Biden wins re-election and serves into his mid-80s, the White House seems to be making concessions to his age. An iconic image of the modern presidency is the chief executive walking up the stairs to a majestic Air Force One, then turning at the doorway and waving. More and more, Biden is forgoing the long staircase for the shorter stairway that takes him up through the plane’s belly.

Biden seems to be preserving his energy in other ways. It’s customary on foreign trips for the president to schmooze with other leaders at dinners once the meetings are over. Less formal and structured than the events preceding them, the dinners offer a chance for leaders to bond, talk through differences or amplify a point. On two recent international trips, Biden has chosen to skip the nighttime socializing…Other age-compensating measures are logistical…: extra-large font on his teleprompter and note cards to remind him of the points he wants to make in meetings.

President Biden is no exception to experiencing age-related issues. But being the Chief Executive complicates these normal events.

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning Mitch McConnell (81 years old) was lead away after he froze while making remarks about a policy bill. It was unsettling to watch as it appeared as if he experienced some sort of medical episode, given his lack of responsiveness. It was also jarring that those around him didn’t seem to have a sense of urgency about what was happening:

According to the report:

A few minutes later, McConnell walked back to the news conference by himself. When asked about his health, he said he was fine. Asked whether he is fully able to do his job, McConnell said, “Yeah.”

Asked about the episode, a McConnell aide pointed to the GOP leader saying, “I’m fine,” but the aide added that McConnell “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment.”

“He came back to handle Q&A, which as everyone observed was sharp,” the aide said.

A physician’s reminder:

Senator McConnell had a TBI in March. Reminder from a Brain Injury PM&R doc that head injuries can cause chronic sequela (including seizures that may look like this).
If you were to see something like this, call 911 & make sure they get evaluated.

Second news item [Dana]

Because Russia pulled out of the deal that allowed Ukraine to transport grain via the Black Sea, the U.S. is working to find alternative ways to deliver grain throughout the world:

“We are working with our EU partners, we’re working with Ukraine and other European partners to see if there’s other ways to get grain to market over land. But that’s not as efficient,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, told reporters at the White House Wednesday.
“The best way for this grain to get to market is through maritime lanes,” he said. “But we’re working to see what we can do.”

Hardest hit by Russia’s weaponization of food security will be developing countries where the need is the greatest. The United Nations estimates that up to 49 million people will be forced into famine or famine-like conditions because of Russia’s vile actions.

Third news item [JVW]
On Monday we lost Sinéad O’Connor: singer, songwriter, activist, brief supporter of the Provisional IRA, priest(ess) in a fake Catholic sect, Muslim convert, four-time bride, mother of four children, and someone who clearly struggled with mental health issues. She was big in my teen years until her psychological issues and the pressures of being a star caused it all to implode and sidelined her career. She continued to record and tour, though she never recaptured the magic of her early successes. Her cause of death has not been released, though the London Metropolitan Police say that the death is not being treated as suspicious.

I wasn’t any real fan of hers: I preferred Prince’s original version of her biggest hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U” and nothing else in her oeuvre really did much for me. But I appreciate the fact that she was consistent in her feminist beliefs and was not afraid to be accused of “slut-shaming” or “prudery” when she publicly expressed her distaste at the way Miley Cyrus was using raunchy titillation to advance her career. Ms. Cyrus and her fans reacted dismissively, as one might expect and lament, yet her career has certainly cooled as she has reached 30, much as Ms. O’Connor had forewarned. Gone too early, and here’s wishing Sinéad O’Connor the peace in the Hereafter that she failed to find in life.

Fourth news item [JVW]
All the best salons in Europe repeatedly find themselves verklempt when those pesky citizens insist upon electing leaders who don’t want to bend the knee to the edicts and whims of the European Union. Generally speaking, the EUreaucracy and their allies here in the U.S. dismiss these new leaders with typical epithets such as “hard-right” or “far-right,” as if to delegitimize them in the eyes of all proper-thinking people. On Thursday, the new Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, visited our rapidly-diminishing President who had used her election this past fall as a warning to his fellow Democrats of the dire consequences of the rising right. And though the idiot media were happy to apply the “far-right” descriptor on his guest, the President found himself thanking PM Meloni for her stalwart support of Ukraine as well as her skepticism regarding China’s desire for closer ties with her country. Naturally the AP article linked to in the previous sentence describes Ms. Meloni as “far-right” no fewer than three times, just in case we aren’t paying attention. But maybe just maybe the fools and dunderheads who staff the Biden Administration all the way from the reception desk to the Resolute Desk might stop to realize that getting it right on the big things (China, Ukraine) is far more important than getting it right on the little things (transgender locker rooms).

Fifth news item [JVW]
Bad times continue at Anheuser-Busch over the Bud Light fracas. Yesterday they announced a two percent reduction in their corporate workforce as sales of their top-selling beer continue to flag. This comes out to nearly 400 jobs. Understanding that the origin of their woes was a ridiculously stupid marketing department, the corporation has made a point not to reduce headcount in brewing, warehousing, distribution, or sales, and they have gone as far as to subsidize their wholesalers who have seen their summer sales projections go into the tank. Conservatives have long overplayed the whole “get woke, go broke” phenomenon, as companies such as Nike or Apple who court controversy often take very short-term hits but quickly recover. In this case, conversely, it seems pretty inarguable that an executive with a big mouth combined with somebody’s boneheaded decision to pursue a partnership with a troubled social media influencer has led to nearly twenty-score employees being pink-slipped. Perhaps corporate America might learn a lesson from this.

Sixth News Item [JVW]
Mick Jagger turned 80 on Wednesday. I had forgotten that he’s a few months older than my mother. Rest assured, the two are worlds apart in temperament and lifestyle. He’s certainly an interesting character, more so than even the immortal Keith Richards, partly because he was so self-conscious about being a rock star, in an age when his peers wanted everybody to believe that they were just ordinary folks. Christopher Sandford relates some interesting anecdotes in The Spectator:

“I used to go to the Ready Steady Go! studio,” Jagger recalls of the venerable British Friday night musical variety show. “The [Rolling Stones] weren’t even playing, but I’d go down there so I could get an idea of where the cameras were, and get to know the angles, and then I’d go home and practice my moves for the next time when we were on.”

While at the London School of Economics studying the dismal science with an eye on a future in the British ministry (as in bureaucracy), on a cold autumn day in 1961 the prospective civil servant met the vampiric guitarist on a platform at the Dartford Train Station. In short order they had formed a band. A few months earlier, upon leaving grammar school, Mick’s headmaster had written the following assessment of him which still rings true over 60 years later:

Jagger is a lad of good general character, though he has been rather slow to mature. The pleasing quality which is now emerging is that of persistence when he makes up his mind to tackle something. His interests are extremely wide.

Belated birthday wishes to him. Since we’re celebrating his birthday and not a band milestone, I’ll salute him with a song from one of his solo albums:

Seventh News Item [JVW]
World Cup action from Down Under: after the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team in winning major concessions on pay and working conditions from U.S. Soccer, other national squads comprised of birthing people are attempting to follow suit. This includes the hostesses of Australia, who kind of delusionally expect to receive prize money from the tournament organizers commensurate with the men. Our neighbors to the north, like their U.S. rivals, are more successful on the pitch than their male counterparts yet still lag behind them in pay. The English women’s team doesn’t have an arrangement with their federation for performance bonuses at all, so the Lionesses only receive bonus money from the tournament organizers, FIFA, based upon how strongly they finish. South Africa apparently resolved their dispute with their soccer federation. Beyond pay issues, teams from France, Spain, and Haiti have issues with either their coaches or their nation’s federation officials, or even both. Most dramatically, Norway’s star player Ada Hegerberg was a curious last-minute scratch during the team’s first game against Switzerland. Ms. Hegerberg had first played for the Norwegian women’s team twelve years ago at the tender age of 15. She left the national team in 2017, citing issues with the Norwegian Football Federation’s lack of financial support and developmental opportunities for female players. She returned to the team last year to prepare for this year’s tournament, so her decision to remove herself prior to the first game citing tightness in her groin had to strike fans as highly suspect. We will see if she appears in any of Norway’s upcoming matches.

I mean, dames. Sheeesh.

Bonus News Item [JVW]

I know that the Babylon Bee is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I do find their humor to be pretty on point, even when I don’t necessarily agree with the premise. This clip is apparently a few weeks old, but I only encountered it recently. I especially like the small touches that you will notice, such as the Chief Diversity Officer wearing a rainbow flag pin instead of a U.S. flag pin on her lapel. Enjoy (I hope).

Have a tremendous weekend.

– Dana and JVW

7/27/2023

More on the Curious Plea Agreement for Hunter Biden

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:36 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Yesterday came the news that a plea agreement reached by the defense team for Hunter Biden and the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (Hey! The name “Biden” appears on both the prosecution and defense sides! Fancy that!) had fallen apart under probing questions by U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika. As we related yesterday, Judge Noreika asked both sides if accepting the plea agreement before her would foreclose the possibility of Hunter Biden being subject to a future charge for a Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) violation during the period covered by the plea, which was 2014-19. When the Justice Department replied “no,” the defense backed out of the deal.

This development naturally raised the question of how the two sides could have reached such disparate interpretations of the agreement, and just what exactly the agreement had said. Some conservative analysts have attempted to string together what the deal might have looked like and how it fell apart. It’s an interesting story, and it does raise important questions as to whether or not the Biden Department of Justice did indeed attempt to give an unusually sweet deal to the President’s son.

At NRO, Andy McCarthy has an intriguing take on what went “wrong” at DOJ:

For now, suffice it to say that the Hunter Biden defense and the Biden Justice Department hid the sweeping immunity term, shielding Hunter from all future prosecution, in a “diversion agreement” related to the gun offense on which Hunter was not pleading guilty and is anticipated not to be prosecuted. (See here, p. 7, para. 15.) The “diversion agreement” is separate from the plea agreement to the misdemeanor tax charges (see here) — i.e., the only charges to which Hunter actually planned to plead guilty. The plea agreement is where one would ordinarily find the all-important immunity term (since the immunity is given by the government in exchange for the guilty plea). Both the diversion agreement and the plea agreement incorporate an outrageous statement of facts (which is appended to the tax plea agreement, linked above). This fictitious presentation, which appears to have been drafted by Hunter’s lawyers, is nevertheless endorsed by the Biden Justice Department, even though it is utterly inconsistent with the prosecutors’ face-saving protestations, under pointed questioning Wednesday by Judge Maryellen Noreika, that they are conducting a continuing investigation in which Hunter is a subject and could be charged.

Mr. McCarthy posits that rather than the Justice Department and defense team playing their traditional roles as adversaries, they appear to both be working on behalf of Team Biden. In what he terms as both a “travesty” and a “sham,” Mr. McCarthy suggests that the reason there has been no indictment — the plea deal was being negotiated without a DOJ indictment on the table — is because outlining all of the alleged crimes committed by Hunter Biden “would be politically devastating for the president, who is implicated in his son’s conduct.” He also lends credence to an idea that I suggested in the comments yesterday, that the whole point of this curious agreement was to give Team Biden reason to dismiss any future allegations against Hunter as being old news which had already been settled by the plea agreement.

Over at The Federalist, Will Scharf takes an educated guess as to how the DOJ and Biden defense team hoped to structure the plea agreement so as to shield it from Judge Noreika’s scrutiny:

Typically, if the government is offering a defendant to either drop charges or decline to bring new charges in return for the defendant’s guilty plea, the plea is structured under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(A). Pleas under this subsection are subject to judicial approval. So if a judge believes the government’s decision to decline prosecution or dismiss charges in return for a plea to other charges is unjust, the judge can reject the plea agreement.

The deal reached between the DOJ and Hunter seems to have been that, in return for his pleading guilty to the two tax misdemeanor charges that were the subject of his plea, the government would agree not to prosecute Hunter for unlawful possession of a firearm, Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) violations, and other crimes related to his international business schemes in China and Ukraine with Bohai and Burisma, among others. In any normal case, this would have been structured as a Rule 11(c)(1)(A) plea, which would have made it subject to judicial approval.

In Hunter’s case, though, the parties were apparently worried that Judge Norieka might reject such a broad grant of immunity from prosecution in return for such minor guilty pleas. As a result, Hunter’s plea was structured under a different provision, Rule 11(c)(1)(B), which is usually just a plea agreement in return for a nonbinding sentencing recommendation, and which does not provide any ability of a court to intervene or reject the plea.

To insulate Hunter’s plea from judicial oversight — and the possibility of judicial rejection — Hunter’s lawyers and the Department of Justice included no mention of the agreement not to prosecute Hunter for further crimes in the plea agreement. Instead, they buried it in a separate pretrial diversion agreement, which they argued the judge was not a party to and therefore lacked the power to reject.

Publicly, this pretrial diversion agreement was described as applying just to the unlawful possession of a firearm charge. This was a wild mischaracterization of the agreement. Included in the agreement was a provision that bound the United States to not prosecute Biden “for any federal crimes encompassed by . . . the Statement of Facts” attached to the Plea Agreement.

The referred-to Statement of Facts includes: Hunter’s role with and compensation from Burisma; Hunter’s role with and compensation from Chinese private equity firm Bohai, Harvest, and Rosemont; Hunter’s holding company Owasco; Hunter’s consulting firm Rosemont Seneca; and many other aspects of Hunter’s controversial web of business relationships.

In other words, if Hunter were to complete probation, this pretrial diversion agreement would prevent DOJ from ever bringing charges against Hunter for any crimes relating to the offense conduct discussed in the plea agreement, which was purposely written to include his foreign influence peddling operations in China, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

If correct, then the DOJ really was going to effectively immunize Hunter Biden from any violations, FARA or otherwise, which took place between 2014-19. And instead of copping to this upfront, they planned to bury these details in legal minutiae, safe from the incurious eyes of any White House reporter. When the time came to adjudicate other crimes committed by the President’s son during that period, his defense team would have credibly claimed immunity based upon the July 2023 plea deal. If Mr. Scharf is correct about this, then we are witnessing a clear case of favoritism given to a notorious member of a well-connected political family. Mr. Scharf hopefully guesses at what is likely to come next:

Hunter’s lawyers and DOJ are going to go off and try to pull together a new set of agreements, likely narrower and less novel in its arrangement to satisfy Judge Noreika and move the case. They will have to explain their conduct in a public briefing which may shed some light on the obviously tortured negotiations that led us to this place. And, fortunately, the chances of any agreement proceeding with the kind of blanket immunity the parties had in mind as they walked into court yesterday are essentially nil at this point.

Where we go from here remains to be seen, but what we are learning about the aborted plan does nothing to bolster the case that the DOJ is capable of handling an investigation and prosecution of the son of the President of the United States. Perhaps an independent special counsel needs to be appointed, not to begin this case from scratch, but to determine — free from DOJ meddling — what sort of charges should be brought and what sort of plea deal, if any, should be considered.

– JVW

7/26/2023

Hunter Biden Plea Deal Falls Apart

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:46 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Fox News has a pretty good write-up here; CNN covers it rather thoroughly here. As usual, I’ll stick to the reporting from National Review Online:

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor tax charges in a federal courtroom in Delaware Wednesday after U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika put a plea deal his lawyers had reached with prosecutors on hold.

In June, Biden was charged with felony gun possession and two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018. The original deal included a recommendation of probation for the tax violations, while the gun charge for illegally owning a Colt Cobra .38 Special handgun would be dropped and potentially wiped from Biden’s record if he met certain conditions laid out in court.

Noreika described the deal struck with U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware as “unusual” and questioned why the deal contained some “non-standard terms,” such as “broad immunity” from other potential charges.

When she asked prosecutor Leo Wise if there was precedent for the kind of deal proposed, he replied, “No, your honor,” according to the New York Times.

Noreika asked prosecutors if Biden would be immune from prosecution for possible crimes such as violations related to representing foreign governments without registering. When they responded “no,” Hunter Biden’s legal team said the agreement was “null and void.”

This seemingly puts the lie to the talking points that Team Biden was disseminating after the plea deal was first announced: that this sort of thing was entirely standard and would be given to just about any first-time offender, even if they weren’t connected to the President of the United States. The “broad immunity” from other charges seems to be what rightly piqued Judge Noreika’s interest, and it’s not hard to envision that sanctifying this plea deal could have down the road potentially handcuffed investigators and prosecutors from pursuing charges in the myriad of other controversies surrounding the First Son. After a brief recess, the prosecution and defense came back with a revised agreement which would have immunized the crackhead Caravaggio from any tax, gun, or drug related charges from 2014-19, but the judge would not be rushed into accepting that compromise, and the defendant was thus forced to enter his “not guilty” plea.

So it looks like Hunter Biden will be back in court again in a few weeks, after the Judge has had time to mull over the proposed updated plea deal. The week is off to a pretty horrid start for the Bidens, and it is starting to appear that even the family’s staunchest defenders in the media are having second thoughts, as witnessed by the heavy coverage today at CNN. In a small coda which typifies the sort of week that Hunter Biden has been experiencing thus far, Fox News has this tidbit:

Meanwhile, on the eve of the court appearance, the judge threatened to sanction Hunter Biden’s legal team after one of his attorneys allegedly lied about who she was while asking to remove IRS whistleblower testimony from the court docket.

The defense, though, denied the allegations and called the incident “an unfortunate and unintentional miscommunication.”

Oh yes, I am sure this is all just one giant misunderstanding and certainly not the entitled Biden Brigades believing they could pull rank and steamroll a district court.

Are the walls closing in? We heard this predicted so often about Donald Trump that one can be forgiven for assuming that the Bidens will find a way to escape this trap. On the other hand, they are far less clever than the Clintons (or even the Trumps, if that can be believed), and this might just be the moment when Democrats determine that they need a clean slate going into next year’s elections. Expect lots of twist and turns to this story over the next couple of months, but as I said yesterday, I do think the Democrats need to decide whether to keep Biden or dump him by the time Labor Day rolls around.

– JVW

7/25/2023

Is Anyone Surprised? Wealthy Dem Donors Are Purchasing Hunter Biden’s “Art” and Subsequently Being Granted Favors

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:10 pm



[guest post by JVW]

File this under “the least unexpected news from the Biden Administration”:

The New York art gallery representing Hunter Biden’s exorbitantly expensive painting collection sold his artwork to a Democratic-donor socialite whom President Biden appointed to a special U.S. commission of international significance.

Despite the assurance of the Biden administration that the president’s son, for ethical reasons, would be left in dark about the identity of his buyers, Hunter later discovered the identities of two of them, sources told Business Insider. One of those two clients received a presidential privilege in the form of a commission placement.

The buyer in question was California investor and philanthropist Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, who contributed $13,414 to the Biden campaign and $29,700 to the Democratic National Campaign Committee this year, Insider reported.

Biden announced Hirsh Naftali’s appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in July 2022 — eight months after Hunter’s art debuted at the gallery. The commission is an independent agency of the U.S. government; it’s tasked with reporting on cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe that involve American heritage.

A spot on the commission was highly coveted by Democratic elites, Insider noted. Eric Schwerin, Hunter Biden’s longtime business associate, landed the role in 2015 via appointment by President Obama. An email from that year found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop indicated that the president’s son might have helped facilitate Schwerin’s nomination, the outlet said.

We were all being gaslighted by the Democrat Establishment when they told us that Hunter Biden, self-taught and a practitioner of his craft for only a few months before “being discovered,” was a serious and legitimate artist, so it should come as no surprise to us that his art sales have become a back-channel into the sort of crony corruption around which the Biden Family seems to center their private enterprises. The article goes on to remind us that one of Biden fils’ masterpieces fetched $875,000. It’s no wonder that Hunter Biden settled his child support claims regarding Joe’s unacknowledged granddaughter by giving her mother paintings of his to sell. They know they are pulling a fast one on us, and they are laughing at us as they do because they know the left-wing art world has their back. Barack Obama’s former head of the Office of Government Ethics has criticized this arrangement from the beginning and predicted exactly what has transpired, with wealthy patrons becoming known to the Biden Administration despite promises to the contrary, and then receiving the benefits of their patronage.

And at the same time this story broke, keen-eyed observers noticed a shift in the White House’s strategy in describing Joe Biden’s knowledge of his son’s business dealings. Since his days as Vice-President, when Hunter Biden began doing business in Ukraine and China, the official Team Biden line had until now been that Joe Biden doesn’t discuss his son’s business dealings with him, and a pliant media had been happy to take them at their word. But now, as allegations continue to emerge that Joe Biden personally met and almost certainly chatted with Hunter Biden’s business partners and clients, the White House has suddenly updated their pro forma response to a denial that the President has ever been in business with his son. I don’t know about you, but it sure sounds to me like the White House now expects the release of credible evidence that Joe Biden is well-acquainted with his son’s overseas enterprises.

Fortunately for the doddering old fool, lying to the media and the American public is not a criminal offense. But even the worst offenders in the suck-up media culture have to realize that they’ve been played for the chumps that they are, and if they have one iota of pride they might think to register a complaint and maybe even reevaluate their assessment of the forty-sixth President’s character. If Joe Biden changes his mind about running for reelection — or, let’s be very clear about it, has his mind changed for him — then it would seem that the Democrats should want to have all of this sorted out before the end of the summer. Time is running out.

– JVW

7/24/2023

Nixon on Russia: Some Things Never Change

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:12 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Via Powerline comes a remarkable letter published in the Wall Street Journal and written “Eyes Only” by Richard Nixon to President Bill Clinton on the first day of spring in 1994 (the thirty-seventh President would die just 32 days later). Nearly thirty years on, the letter has been declassified and made available to the public. No matter what you think of Richard Milhous Nixon — whether you think he was an unrepentant warmonger, a dark lord authoritarian, a closet liberal who fell for some of the worst economic ideas of the academic left, or a mixture of one or more of the above — it is undeniable through the man’s voluminous writings that he was a deep-thinker, a shrewd analyst, and an insightful strategist. And what he wrote to the forty-second President, (past) disgraced leader to (future) disgraced leader, resonates with many of the issues vexing us today.

The letter was written by Mr. Nixon shortly after returning from a European jaunt which had taken him to Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and London. He wastes no time with small-talk or idle flattery with his most recent successor, immediately informing the current Chief Executive that “I learned during my years in the White House that the best decisions I made, such as the one to go to China in 1972, were made over the objections of or without the approval of most foreign service officers.” Having set the table, he continues with a warning of Washington’s foreign policy establishment that rings true today:

If you have not already done so, you will find that foreign service officers are seldom ignorant, but almost always arrogant. When they see a report from an outsider, they invariably react by saying, “We knew that. There’s nothing new in it.” Or, at the other extreme, “This is interesting, but we want to study it” … which they proceed to do until it is forgotten. I would urge you always to remember that foreign service officers get to the top by not getting into trouble. They are therefore more interested in covering their asses than in protecting yours.

But the crux of Tricky Dick’s advice to Bubba pertained to Russia. The dissolution of the Soviet Union had been finalized just twenty-seven months earlier, and in the past three years Moscow had seen a coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev come from an old-school communist faction led by Gennady Yanayev and Anatoly Lukyanov; the break-up of the Soviet Union into fifteen separate states; and the devolving of power as the President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union gave way to a new President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin. Mere months before Mr. Nixon’s visit, Russia had undergone a constitutional crisis when President Yeltsin had attempted to dissolve the Russian parliament and in turn had been impeached, all of which had brought protesters on both sides into the streets resulting in a death toll which ranged from official estimates of 187 to unofficial estimates of up to 2000. Mr. Nixon delivered a grim assessment of the ability of the Russian President to maintain control:

As one of Yeltsin’s first supporters in this country and as one who continues to admire him for his leadership in the past; I have reluctantly concluded that his situation has rapidly deteriorated since the elections in December, and that the days of his unquestioned leadership of Russia are numbered. [German Chancellor Helmut] Kohl is the only one I met who disagrees with this view. This speaks more for Kohl’s loyalty to an old friend than it does to his usually brilliant political judgment.

Since the December elections, Yeltsin is a changed man. His drinking bouts are longer and his periods of depression are more frequent. Most troublesome, he can no longer deliver on his commitments to you and other Western leaders in an increasingly anti-American environment in the Duma and in the country. I expected this among opposition leaders like Zhirinovskiy, Rutskoi, and Zuganov, but I found the same attitude among middle­-of-the-road and liberal supporters of Yeltsin’s economic and political reforms. He is still the elected head of our most important strategic partner. But those who rely on his commitments will soon find that he no longer has the political strength to deliver.

Though Boris Yeltsin would somehow hang on to office until the final day of the last millennium, proving Chancellor Kohl to be the wiser seer, he never could get a handle on the endemic corruption that permeated Russian society (in fact, he benefitted from it) and his relationship with the U.S. soured when NATO decided to intervene in the Balkan War being waged by Russian ally Slobodan Milošević, another ex-commie leading a basket case of a state. When President Yeltsin stepped down on New Year’s Eve 1999 he was replaced by his hand-picked successor, ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

Even though Mr. Nixon didn’t expect Mr. Yeltsin to last as long as he did, he urged President Clinton to separate his personal regard for his Russian counterpart from a clear-eyed assessment of his utility, and he was not adverse to including a criticism of his former Ambassador to the UN and Republican National Committee Chairman:

All this means not that you should discontinue the positive “Boris-Bill relationship,” which has been widely reported in the media, but that you recognize that Yeltsin plays an increasingly weak hand and that it is necessary to reach out to others who have some power now and may have all of the power sooner than we might like.

Bush made a mistake in sticking too long to Gorbachev because of his close personal relationship. You must avoid making that same mistake in your very good personal relationship with Yeltsin.

Richard Nixon being Richard Nixon, he also gave a pretty blunt assessment of the Clinton Administration’s Russian policy thus far:

Understandably, you might have reservations about any criticism of your Administration in the Wall Street Journal. However, the article on foreign aid to which you referred in our telephone conversation is unfortunately on target. The entire foreign aid program to Russia is a mess. This ranges from the IMF’s stubbornness and stupidity in continuing to treat Russia like Upper Volta (which no longer exists, incidentally). [. . .]

And he issued a timeless reminder of what happens when you send money into a thieves’ den like Russia, including a dig at an egocentric economist who happened to be a notorious Friend of Bill:

American and Russian businessmen are ripping off the aid programs shamelessly. In the past two years, Russians have sent over $25 billion to Switzerland and other safe havens. This money will not come back until there is a better climate for investment in Russia. The quick answer from those like Jeffrey Sachs that what is needed is an increase in government aid is irrelevant. [. . .]

He also addressed the rise of China, suggesting that another self-regarding Clinton ally (even one whom Mr. Nixon purported to respect) might not be suited for tasks beyond his portfolio:

As you know, China has by far the highest growth rate of any major country in the world. This has been accomplished with hardly any government foreign aid whatsoever. We face the ironic fact that a communist capitalist economy in China is more attractive for foreign investment than a democratic capitalist economy in Russia.

This brings me to a very painful recommendation. As I am sure you know, I share your respect and affection for Strobe Talbott. This goes back to the time when I totally supported his then controversial view about Israeli-Arab relations. He is an outstanding political officer. His strong suit, however, is not economics. What we need now is a new program, such as the one we had during the Marshall Plan, where aid is administered by a top­flight businessman reporting directly to the President. Strobe has to be big enough to accept this idea and not to insist that everything go through him and his staff.
It has been my experience that foreign service officers are very good on political issues but economics is not their strong suit. Like most politicians, they know very little about economics and much of what they do know is wrong. [. . .]

And finally, after a couple of paragraphs worrying that Ukraine is even more hopeless as a hotbed of political dysfunction and corruption than Russia is, and a warning that our embassy in Kyiv is inadequately staffed and poorly led since all of the best diplomats seek out cushy posts in places like Paris, Rome, and London when they are in fact needed in “combat zones like Ukraine,” Mr. Nixon warns the President about being very careful where he chooses to allocate precious funding:

You will be urged to scatter the available aid money all over the former Soviet Union. This would be a mistake. You have very limited funds. All the other nations in the near abroad are important. But Ukraine is in a different class — it is indispensable.

This post is way long, but there is so much more to this interesting letter: some thoughts on which Russian he thinks would be a good successor to Boris Yeltsin (as previously mentioned, Mr. Yeltsin would somehow hang on for nearly six more years; in March 1994 Vladimir Putin had just been appointed a deputy chairman in the local government of St. Petersburg and thus was on nobody’s radar screen) and his overall impressions of Helmut Kohl (positive). It’s a long letter, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a very facile and shrewd mind. Mr. Nixon obviously relished the opportunity to be seen as an elder statesman, and no doubt some of his impetus for writing was motivated by personal ambition and vanity, but overall the letter struck me as a largely sincere effort for an old warhorse to give helpful advice to a young Chief Executive, even one who had started off his political career in virulent opposition to him. Perhaps that was Mr. Nixon’s way of getting even, by co-opting the snotty Baby Boomer at a point when the job was seemingly overwhelming him. In any case, Bill Clinton later said the letter was the best foreign policy analysis he had ever read.

Give it a read if you’re nostalgic for a day when Presidents could actually hold complex ideas and think strategically.

– JVW

7/21/2023

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:55 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item:

Judge Cannon sets the date:

A federal judge in Florida has scheduled a trial date for next May for former President Donald Trump in a case charging him with illegally retaining hundreds of classified documents.

The May 20, 2024, trial date, set Friday by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a compromise between a request from prosecutors to set the trial for this December and a bid by defense lawyers to put it off indefinitely until sometime after the 2024 presidential election.

Judge Cannon wrote:

In pushing back the trial from the Dec. 11 start date that the Justice Department had asked for, Cannon wrote that “the Government’s proposed schedule is atypically accelerated and inconsistent with ensuring a fair trial.” She agreed with defense lawyers that the amount of evidence that would need to be sifted through before the trial, including classified information, was “voluminous.”

“The Court finds that the interests of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and Defendants in a speedy trial,” Cannon wrote.

(Clearly, this benefits Trump with regard to the primary races. And if he becomes the Republican nominee, another delay would also benefit him with a national election on the horizon…)

Second news item

The genocide continues:

Russia warned on Wednesday that it would consider any ship sailing around Ukrainian ports a military target, days after Moscow pulled out of a yearlong deal that had enabled Kyiv to export its grain across the Black Sea despite a wartime blockade.

Russia’s moves have profound implications for the export of Ukraine’s grain, a commodity vital for its own economy and world grain markets.

Ukrainian ports targeted by Russia:

Since Monday’s announcement, Russia has launched a series of nightly aerial attacks on Ukrainian ports, killing and wounding civilians. On Wednesday, an attack in Chornomorsk, just south of Odesa, also destroyed 60,000 tons of grain waiting to be loaded onto ships. That is enough to feed more than 270,000 people for a year, according to the World Food Program…The aerial attacks appeared to reinforce Russia’s decision to end the deal and its refusal to allow Ukrainian exports via the Black Sea.

The report notes that the Black Sea deal was a lifeline for Ukrainian farmers.

Meanwhile, thoughts on Ukraine’s predicament:

Ukraine reciprocates to Russia’s threat to Black Sea vessels: Ships to/from Russian and temporarily occupied Ukrainian ports are now valid military targets.

This tit-for-tat situation is intriguing; Russia threatens Ukrainian ships, Ukraine responds similarly.
The formal statement by the military of defense of Ukraine reads:

The Russian Federation has once again blatantly violated the universal right to free navigation and deliberately undermined food security, condemning millions of people to starvation. By openly threatening civilian vessels transporting food from Ukrainian ports, launching missile attacks and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in peaceful cities, deliberately creating a military threat on trade routes, the Kremlin has turned the Black Sea into a danger zone, primarily for Russian vessels and vessels sailing in the Black Sea towards Russian seaports and Ukrainian seaports located on the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. Responsibility for all risks lies entirely with the Russian leadership. The fate of the Moskva cruiser proves that the Ukrainian Defense Forces have the necessary means to repel Russian aggression at sea.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine warns that starting from 00:00 on July 21, 2023, all vessels sailing in the Black Sea in the direction of the seaports of the Russian Federation and Ukrainian seaports located in the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia may be considered by Ukraine as carrying military cargo with all the corresponding risks.

In addition, shipping in the areas of the North-Eastern Black Sea and the Kerch-Yenikal Strait of Ukraine is prohibited as dangerous, starting from 05:00 on July 20, 2023. The relevant navigational information for mariners has already been published.

So, Ukraine basically says “Russia back to you”. This how Russia should be handled. If Russia is at war and thinks it can do whatever it wants in the Black Sea without consequences, it will be proved wrong.

Third news item

More contentious school board meetings:

Chino Valley Unified teachers must tell parents if their child identifies as transgender under a fiercely debated policy approved by the school board late Thursday, July 20.

The 4-1 vote in favor of the notification rule came at the end of a contentious, four-hour meeting that at one point saw the ejection of state Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond, who was led away by security officers to shouts of “kick him out.”

The policy introduced in June requires schools to notify parents in writing within three days after their child identifies as transgender, is involved in violence or talks about suicide. Under the policy, schools will notify parents if their child seeks to change their name or pronouns or asks for access to gender-based sports, bathrooms or changing rooms that do not match their assigned gender at birth.

Before his removal from the meeting, Thurmond told the board “the policy you consider tonight may not only fall outside of privacy laws but may put our students at risk.”

School board President Sonja Shaw kicked him out after she said he continued to speak beyond his allotted one minute.

“Tony Thurmond, I appreciate you being here, but we are here because of people like you,” Shaw said.

It’s indefensible that school officials would not notify parents immediately if they discovered that someone’s child had been discussing suicide. FFS, who is the parent here: school officials or the actual damn parent? Moreover, according to the CDC, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teens and young adults, thus a three-day delay in notification to the parents could mean the difference between life and death for a young person who is hurting and feeling desperate. Shame on these officials.

Fourth news item

More border conflict:

The Justice Department told Texas Thursday that it intends to file legal action against the placement of floating barriers in the Rio Grande as part of the state’s operation along the Texas-Mexico border, according to sources familiar and a letter obtained by CNN.

The Justice Department sent the letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday, according to the letter, though there is time for the state to respond.

“The State of Texas’s actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” the letter stated, citing a clause in the law that “prohibits the creation of any obstruction to the navigable capacity of waters of the United States, and further prohibits building any structure in such waters without authorization from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”).”

The danger of the buoys is increased by additional placement of razor wire against them. See photo here.

Additionally, a Department of Public Safety trooper calls the situation “inhumane”:

According to the email, a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found late last month caught in the wire, doubled over in pain. A four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after she tried to go through it and was pushed back by Texas National Guard soldiers. A teenager broke his leg trying to navigate the water around the wire and had to be carried by his father.

The email, which the trooper sent to a superior, suggests that Texas has set “traps” of razor wire-wrapped barrels in parts of the river with high water and low visibility. And it says the wire has increased the risk of drownings by forcing migrants into deeper stretches of the river.

The trooper called for a series of rigorous policy changes to improve safety for migrants, including removing the barrels and revoking the directive on withholding water.

Fifth news item

For godsake, Alabama, it’s 2023!!!:

There’s a power struggle in Newbern, Alabama, and the rural town’s first Black mayor is at war with the previous administration who he says locked him out of Town Hall.

After years of racist harassment and intimidation, Patrick Braxton is fed up, and in a federal civil rights lawsuit he is accusing town officials of conspiring to deny his civil rights and his position because of his race.

“When I first became mayor, [a white woman told me] the town was not ready for a Black mayor,” Braxton recalls.

The town is 85% Black, and 29% of Black people here live below the poverty line.

Two years ago, Braxton says he was the only volunteer firefighter in his department to respond to a tree fire near a Black person’s home in the town of 275 people. As Braxton, 57, actively worked to put out the fire, he says, one of his white colleagues tried to take the keys to his fire truck to keep him from using it.

In another incident, Braxton, who was off duty at the time, overheard an emergency dispatch call for a Black woman experiencing a heart attack. He drove to the fire station to retrieve the automated external defibrillator, or AED machine, but the locks were changed, so he couldn’t get into the facility. He raced back to his house, grabbed his personal machine, and drove over to the house, but he didn’t make it in time to save her. Braxton wasn’t able to gain access to the building or equipment until the Hale County Emergency Management Agency director intervened, the lawsuit said.

“I have been on several house fires by myself,” Braxton says. “They hear the radio and wouldn’t come. I know they hear it because I called dispatch, and dispatch set the tone call three or four times for Newbern because we got a certain tone.”

This has become the new norm for Braxton ever since he became the first Black mayor of his hometown in 2020. For the past three years, he’s been fighting to serve and hold on to the title of mayor, first reported by Lee Hedgepeth, a freelance journalist based in Alabama.

Not only has he been locked out of the town hall and fought fires alone, but he’s been followed by a drone and unable to retrieve the town’s mail and financial accounts, he says. Rather than concede, Haywood “Woody” Stokes III, the former white mayor, along with his council members, reappointed themselves to their positions after ordering a special election that no one knew about.

Read the whole thing.

Sixth news item

What a disgrace she is:

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said she was “uncomfortable” showing nude photos of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter in Congress but that “the American people deserve to see” them.

Greene used a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday to hold up photos that purportedly showed Hunter Biden having sex with prostitutes.

The images clearly depict Biden nude and engaging in sex, but use black boxes to obscure his genitals and the faces of the people who aren’t Biden.

She said the pictures would help Americans hold the government accountable, telling the show “Rob Schmitt Tonight”: “This is actually the evidence that I believe the American people deserve to see. Because when the American people can see this evidence, as uncomfortable as it was for me to show it on the Oversight Committee today, I believe that’s how they can hold this government accountable.”

WTF

Seventh news item

Rest in peace to one of the greats:

Tony Bennett, the master pop vocalist who had a professional career spanning eight decades with a No. 1 album at age 85, died on Friday morning in New York City. He was 96.

Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, but had continued to perform and record through 2021.

His peer Frank Sinatra called him the greatest popular singer in the world. His recordings – most of them made for Columbia Records, which signed him in 1950 – were characterized by ebullience, immense warmth, vocal clarity and emotional openness. A gifted and technically accomplished interpreter of the Great American Songbook, he may be best known for his signature 1962 hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Have a lovely weekend.

–Dana

7/20/2023

Trump Reminds McCarthy: The Bill Is Due…Time To Pay Up

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:10 am



[guest post by Dana]

The desperation of Kevin McCarthy:

After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested on national television last month that Donald Trump may not be the GOP’s best presidential nominee in 2024, the former president was furious — and wanted the California Republican to rectify the slight immediately.

“He needs to endorse me — today!” Trump fumed to his staff on his way to a campaign event in New Hampshire, according to people familiar with what happened. McCarthy, after all, had indicated to Trump’s team that he would do so eventually. Why not clean up the mess and announce his support now?

But the House GOP leader — who has felt compelled to stay neutral during the primary so as to not box in his own members — wasn’t ready to do that. To calm Trump, McCarthy made him a promise, according to a source close to Trump and familiar with the conversation: The House would vote to expunge the two impeachments against the former president. And — as McCarthy would communicate through aides later that same day — they would do so before August recess.

According to an aide, McCarthy disagrees that he said that, but says that he “merely indicated that he would discuss the matter with his members.”

While the claims made above come from unnamed sources, it’s not a stretch (at all) to imagine that this is precisely what happened. After all, when you look at the Trump-McCarthy relationship, especially during the House vote for Speaker, there is every chance that McCarthy would not be in the position he is currently in if not for Trump calling members and persuading them to vote for McCarthy. And we know that Trump doesn’t do anything out of the goodness of his heart. Whether now or later, you will have to pay him back. Now, with McCarthy declining to endorse Trump, the frustrated former president sees the bill as due:

We’re told that Trump brings up the matter in every call he has with McCarthy, prodding the speaker about when he will bring expungement to the floor. McCarthy, however, has already pushed back the timeline. Perhaps realizing how tough such a vote will be, he recently told Trump’s team that the House will vote by the end of September…Trump’s inner circle, frustrated with McCarthy, is boiling. The former president and his team think the speaker should have endorsed him months ago…McCarthy told the Trump team that he can’t back Trump, because he wants to look neutral while the House clears his name on impeachment.

At the very least this will be a contentious matter if it comes up for a vote. McCarthy, who is not seen as a unifying or formidable leader, may not have a choice other than to placate submit to Trump’s demands. How a vote would go, however, is up in the air: two members voted to impeach, so count them out. Moderates are trying to “look ahead” and the few remaining “Constitutional conservatives” are reportedly questioning whether the House has the authority to hold such a vote. No matter how you look at it, it remains clear that Trump continues to be a self-serving, narcissistic and divisive figure who still maintains a stranglehold on the Republican Party.

–Dana

7/19/2023

Closing the Barn Door Long After the Horses Have Escaped

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:45 am



[guest post by JVW]

Par for the course in Clown World:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has suspended the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s eligibility to receive federal funding for ten years after the lab failed to turn in requested documents about safety and security measures.

HHS issued a memo on Monday notifying the lab of its decision and warning that it is also seeking to permanently blacklist the lab from receiving future taxpayer funds. The lab hasn’t received funds from the National Institutes of Health since July 2020.

The move comes after the agency found in a review that began last September that the facility was not compliant with federal regulations.

Recall that this is not the first time that the Wuhan Lab was accused of mishandling sensitive materials, but friendly American scientists and bureaucrats were always there to bail them out:

The Wuhan Institute received a sub-award of a 2014 NIH grant that was issued to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based organization focused on preventing infectious diseases. The grant was for “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.” EcoHealth Alliance also sent U.S. Agency for International Development funds to the lab.

[. . .]

The U.S government temporarily paused funding for gain-of-function research in 2014 due to concerns over biosafety and biosecurity. However, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases staff and EcoHealth leaders found loopholes to allow the nonprofit to continue its work infecting genetically-engineered mice with hybrid viruses until the pause was lifted in 2017.

Because if there’s one thing at which federal bureaucrats excel, it’s in finding loopholes. And we all know who was directing the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during this time, don’t we? The article further discusses the controversy over “gain of function” research being conducted at the Wuhan Labs, and Dr. Fauci’s role in downplaying it through misrepresentations and omissions, a campaign which was greatly helped along by supportive media and scientific allies.

The weird and ultimately counterproductive campaign to make Anthony Fauci into the secular saint of disinterested scientists whose motivations were then and are today pure and unquestionable was one of the worst aspects of the pandemic, and it has done incalculable harm to scientific credibility, especially in that intersection of science and government bureaucracy, should we ever find ourselves facing a similar disaster. Given what we now know about the general malevolence of China and the venality of some scientists whose livelihoods are dependent upon the uninterrupted flow of casually-regulated research money, the U.S. needs to take a long hard work at future collaborations with Chinese parties and should probably determine that they are not worth the various compromises that need to be made.

– JVW

7/18/2023

Trump Whines, Luttig Shines

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:36 am



[guest post by Dana]

While Trump whines that he is the target of the special counsel’s criminal probe, former federal Judge Michael Luttig helpfully reminds him that this “is a consequence of the former president’s own provocation”:

“There is not an Attorney General or Special Counsel of either party who would not bring charges against the former president for his efforts on January 6 to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He has dared, taunted, provoked and goaded DOJ to prosecute him for his offenses on and relating to January 6 for two and a half years,” Luttig said.

“The former president has left Jack Smith no choice but to bring charges, lest the former president make a mockery of the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law.”

P.S. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are defending Trump after he made public that he is a target of the criminal probe into Jan. 6:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested…that the government was targeting Trump out of fear he could win next November. “Recently President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President Biden for reelection. So what do they do now? Weaponize government to go after their No. 1 opponent…This is not equal justice. They treat people differently and they go after their adversaries,” said McCarthy, who after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol said Trump “bears responsibility” for what happened.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) also questioned the timing of the new development in the Jan. 6 investigation and whether there was a double standard being applied to the former president…not[ing] that the news comes as the House Oversight Committee is slated to hear testimony from two IRS whistleblowers this week who alleged an investigation into Hunter Biden was slow-walked by prosecutors…“Now you see the Biden administration going after President Trump once again, it begs that question — is there a double standard? Is justice being administered equally?” he said at the House GOP conference presser.

And crazy Marge suggested that because Smith has, in her words, “weaponized” the DOJ by these “ridiculous” charges, “we are worse than Russia, we are worse than China. We are worse than some of the most corrupt third world countries.”

Today’s Republican Party uh, at work

–Dana

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