News breaks on Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort
Donald Trump’s horoscope for today: There will be much breaking news about legal cases that may or may not affect you. But the stars are saying they probably won’t.
On the same day that Trump’s personal attorney and noted “fixer” Michael Cohen reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that could land him in prison for 3-5 years, the jury in the Paul Manafort trial taking place in Virginia reached a unanimous verdict of “guilty” on 8 out of 18 counts. They said they couldn’t agree on the other 10 counts, and Judge T. S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on those.
But since the defendant is 69 years old, he could be spending the rest of his life in prison.
This trial is the first to result from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible “collusion” with the Trump campaign. Notice that none of the charges faced by Manafort, let alone the ones he’s been convicted of, have anything to do with the Trump campaign –- or with Donald Trump himself in any way, except for the unfortunate fact that Trump employed him for a few months.
That's all for now. Much more to say about this tomorrow.
The attempted take down of Brett Kavanaugh
The Democrats’ and the media’s (pardon my redundancy) attempts to “Bork” Justice Bret Kavanaugh have been so transparently lame that they’re just making themselves the butt of jokes. The desperate smear campaign against Kavanaugh, an incredibly well-qualified, straight-arrow, religious family man, is like trying to convince us that Mr. Rogers was “literally Hitler!!!”
They’ve had to get down in the mud and wallow around in public, trying to convince us that Kavanaugh lied to Congress (he didn’t); that his wife’s personal emails should be fair game; that the name “Bret” isn’t appropriate for a Supreme Court Justice; that his schooling was too elite (unlike the current SCOTUS Justices, who all attended Harvard or Yale); that the sports reporting he did for his college paper decades ago might hint that he believes in unlimited presidential power; and my favorite, that he spent too much on Washington Nationals tickets. I guess you could make the case that that reflects poorly on his judgement of baseball teams.
There’s a term that’s become popular recently in politics: to “beclown oneself.” Although Kavanaugh’s pursuers have done a great job of putting the red noses and floppy shoes on themselves, a number of conservative commentators have had a field day helping to point out their hilarious antics. But like the clowns in a low-rent, one-ring circus that’s about to go out of business, the laughter their pathetic, worn-out routine evokes isn’t intentional, it’s sarcastic.
Of course, Hollywood has also pulled on a costume, only in one case, it was a costume from (say it all together with me), “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Liberal celebrities keep insisting that piece of ridiculous fiction is going to come true any day now because of Christians daring to vote. News flash: there is a religion out there that does treat women like property, beat them if they get out of line and force them to cover themselves from head to toe. It’s called “radical Islam,” and liberals rush to court to defend it every time Republicans challenge it.
If journalists and celebrities had to undergo the same kind of scrutiny as Kavanaugh before they were declared qualified for their jobs, most of these media outlets would be blank paper or dead air.
Learning about limits
Here’s a hopeful development: A federal judge has realized that there are limits to the magic that can be concocted when you use your gavel as a magic wand.
Well there you go!
I was assured by all the smartest people in Washington that this was not going to work:
Oh my CNN
From the same liberal media that last week brought you a coordinated, pious defense of the right to “free speech”: If you disagree with me, “GET OUT!!!”
Congrats to "reporter" Brian Ross
Congratulations to “reporter” Brian Ross, who left ABC after tanking the stock market with a fake report tying President Trump to Russian collusion. He had previously retailed such whoppers as falsely tying the Aurora, Colorado, movie shooter to the Tea Party and (full disclosure) tying me to prison clemencies I had nothing to do with when I was a presidential candidate.
Ross has proven that there’s no such thing as a “permanent record” in the "journalism" game by landing a new job at the Law & Crime Network. I hope that as part of the interview process, the Law & Crime people taught him which was which.
Make America's judicial system great again!
As the daily avalanche of information pours out on the tactics of the FBI and special counsel in their “Russia” investigation –- courtesy not of the Justice Department and mainstream news but of congressional oversight committees, watchdog groups and a few relentless reporters –- we’re learning more about the apparent set-up cooked up to protect Hillary’s candidacy and, later, to hobble and if possible remove Donald Trump. But there’s something even beyond that travesty we must sadly take away:
There is something seriously wrong with the system of justice in our country.
Sure, we’ve always known our justice system wasn’t perfect, because it’s made up of human beings and nothing about human beings will ever be without its flaws, but we assumed the people at the top were doing their best to ride herd and maintain overall integrity. We’ve always known there were SOME dirty cops who planted evidence, and SOME prosecutors who cut deals with sleazy witnesses, and SOME defense attorneys who prided themselves in getting the guiltiest and most vile defendants off (hey, it showed how skilled they were), and SOME judges who let personal associations and/or under-the-table money affect their decisions. We’ve known that the system favored those who had money for bail and high-priced attorneys. And we’ve had government scandals large and small, in every administration, that dismayed, distracted and sometimes wearied us.
But in my lifetime, we’ve never before discovered such a spectacular spider web of contamination. We see it was the people we should be able to trust the most, the ones who had worked their way to the top, who abused their power and orchestrated what appears to have been an attempted coup. This mess NEEDED to be exposed, and for that we should thank the election of President Trump. But it’s sad, and as painful to those who love America as having teeth pulled without novocaine.
We’re watching the system grind people up. Trump’s national security advisor and retired Gen. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying when his questioners didn’t even think he had. George Papadopoulos, age 30, a very minor player on the political stage likely used to help set up the investigation of candidate Trump, was induced to accept a plea deal for lying to investigators that would give him a recommended sentence of up to six months in prison. His wife Simona has gone public, tweeting: “George wasn’t ‘cooperative enough’ in the Mueller’s recommendation. He cooperated for 1 year and helped his country. He has been loyal to the truth and not to anyone’s agenda. His cooperation is considered pointless as it didn’t reveal any wrongdoing by the campaign.”
She says her husband didn’t even have a lawyer when they first talked to him and that he “could not lie, of course, to please Mueller’s agenda.” She believes the case was “manufactured to justify...the Mueller investigation.” Tuesday they will meet with lawyers to decide whether or not to withdraw his plea.
We should also be concerned with the rights of some, like Paul Manafort, who may have actually skirted the law sometime in the past because their journey through the system shows how disparate the treatment of lawbreakers can be. He faces the real possibility of life in prison for not accepting a deal; he apparently had nothing to offer Mueller on Trump. But Rick Gates got a “sweetheart” deal to testify against Manafort, the person he had also embezzled from, just because Mueller thought Manafort might have something on Trump. It will be interesting to see what the jury does with this.
But for unequal treatment under the law, who’s been revealed as the poster child for that? Um, that would be Hillary Clinton. Thank you, Hillary, for showing us just how messed up our system of justice can get. You are “Exhibit A,” corrupt but off the hook, the most obvious symptom of the disease.
Contrast her treatment --- kid-glove --- with that of President Trump. The gloves are...off. Remember when being President didn’t involve constant investigation, horrific accusations (ex-CIA chief John Brennan essentially accused him of treason, and it was said on MSNBC that he would probably like to round people up and murder them), legal hand-tying to prevent him from exercising his most basic constitutional authority as President, and vicious death wishes? It’s all fine, because...TRUMP. Justice, reason, and common decency are forgotten.
Obviously, Mueller isn’t through with Trump, and won’t be unless somebody ends this. White House attorney Don McGahn has already testified for 30 hours about anything they wanted to know, but they need the big fish. (Read Andrew McCarthy's piece at the link below about why Mueller should go whistle up a rope.) We now know how “perjury traps” work –- in a nutshell, the prosecutor gets to decide what’s “true” and what’s not –- and Mueller’s goal is no doubt to catch Trump in one. Otherwise, he’s got nothing. But what we have going on now has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. It’s what Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has called “the criminalization of political differences.”
That’s what Russian dictator Josef Stalin’s chief of police was referring to when he famously said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Folks, this is one reference to “Russia” that we should heed. Maybe then we can make America’s judicial system great again.
Make Engineering Great Again!
I recently mentioned that I hoped never to fly in a plane that was worked on by someone who got a degree in the new field of math that places more emphasis on a lot of social justice hogwash than on numbers that actually add up. Well, that goes double for the engineers
A Michigan State University engineering professor probably just made himself a target of all sorts of venom and reprisals (I'll do him a favor and not mention his name) by daring to speak up against social justice warriors corrupting and ruining engineering. He writes that “instead of calculating engine horsepower or microchip power/size ratios or aerodynamic lift and drag, the engineering educationists focus on group representation, hurt feelings, and ‘microaggressions’ in the profession.” He says they are increasingly obsessing on feminism, racism, post-colonialism, and “empowering” students and “reimagining” engineering as a more “socially connected” field of study.
While it’s nice that someone is finally helping engineering students get “socially connected,” the professor says that engineering is based on truth – what provably works and what doesn’t – and that engineers “empower” themselves and others by inventing things. Engineering is already totally egalitarian: anyone who is good enough at understanding hard truths can enter the field. I guess that’s why the social justice types want to change it.
Personally, when I step on my car’s brake pedal, I want to know that it was engineered by someone well versed in hydraulics, not histrionics.
"Manhattan Madam" spills the beans
Kristin Davis, the former "Manhattan Madam" who's friends with Trump ally Roger Stone spilled the beans to Fox News about what she was asked and how she answered when she was questioned in front of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury in the Russia investigation.
You can read the details at the link, but in short, she said she told them she knew of no wrongdoing between the Trump campaign and Russia. As for claims that a Stone tweet suggested he knew in advance that Wikileaks was going to release the DNC’s emails, Davis said that was misconstrued. He was guessing they were going to release something about the Uranium One deal, which a lot of people thought at the time. Davis also said she was concerned by all the cozy camaraderie and joking among the Mueller prosecutors and grand jurors, who’ve spent months together with nobody to present another set of facts.
I think it shows how far down the rabbit hole this investigation has been allowed to go when the former “Manhattan Madam” is questioning the special counsel’s ethics.