OLD BUSINESS IS NOT BEING SWEPT UNDER THE RUG
Even as much of America remains closed for business, some business is still being carried on. And I’m glad to report that some old business is not being swept under the rug.
For those who despaired of anyone ever being held to account for the attempted coup against President Trump that hamstrung his Administration for over two years, divided the nation, poisoned public discourse and cost taxpayers dearly (the House Democrats should be forced to buy us all T-shirts saying, “I spent $30 million and all I got was a groundless impeachment and this T-shirt”), a lot of old business started getting conducted on Friday. I’ll write about this in more detail next week, but just to summarize:
Judge James E. Boasberg, president of the FISA court, ordered the FBI to turn over the names of the 29 cases Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered were targeted for surveillance warrants with no documentation to support a warrant request. In four of those cases, the FBI couldn’t produce any documentation at all, even of the flimsiest kind. The judge said the IG report gives the FISA court less confidence in the FBI’s competence. That’s putting the best face on it. Some would argue that it shows a disturbingly high level of competence at skirting the law to enact partisan vendettas, which in a federal agency is worse than being incompetent.
President Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, saying he no longer has confidence in him. Naturally, this set off a tsunami of outraged harrumphing from Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, liberal media outlets and all the other usual suspects, accusing Trump of political revenge and retribution against this honest and nonpartisan public servant. If he is an honest and nonpartisan public servant, then I guess it doesn’t take one to know one.
Just as a reminder: Atkinson is the IG who found the so-called “whistleblower’s” complaint about Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President to be “credible” and “urgent,” setting off the month’s-long House impeachment circus that not only cost the taxpayers a fortune, it also distracted both Congress and the President from matters that, in retrospect, seem a heck of a lot more important. Designating the anti-Trump mole who birthed this ridiculous charade as a “whistleblower” gave him a patina of respectability he in no way deserved, as well as a legally baseless claim to anonymity (but we all know who he is. Schiff’s staffers certainly do.)
All this because Atkinson decided that a complaint based on second- and third-hand office gossip was “credible” and “urgent” enough to impeach the President over. If he lost his job, I think you can make a solid case that it wasn’t just due to retribution. I can think of quite a few other people who deserve to lose their jobs over this fiasco, too, including Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi.
US Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the bogus “Russia Collusion” investigation is reportedly turning increasing scrutiny on former CIA Director John Brennan. I’d say that’s a very good rock to turn over.
Finally, investigative reporter John Solomon reveals that a Russian translator whose testimony was part of the investigation of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting at Trump Tower actually gave exculpatory testimony that backed up Don Jr.’s story, but Robert Mueller ignored and hid that evidence, allowing the media to run with a false narrative that Trump was lying.
That’s enough light reading for this weekend, but trust me, we’ll be back to all of this soon. In the meantime, remember: the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
As long as you have to spend the weekend at home, enjoy another new episode of our comedian pal Chris Wineland's "Monologue Show," streamed online from his apartment. "Huckabee" writers Pat Reeder and Laura Ainsworth are helping out, as Chris tries to bring back the wacky one-liners of late night comedy monologues before they turned into boring leftist political lectures. (By comparison, Seth Meyers is also doing a show from his home, and he interviewed Bernie Sanders on how socialized medicine would help save coronavirus patients...Tell it to Italy! Chris Wineland is almost as funny on purpose as Seth Meyers is unintentionally.)
1. U.S. # CONFIRMED CASES (As of 4:00 PM): 301,902 DEATHS: 8,175 RECOVERIES: 14,505 (Reported recoveries)
TESTS GIVEN: 1,438,455
Source: The Covid Tracking Project
4. NEWS YOU CAN USE: Cleaners that kill coronavirus
“THE EXPERTS SPEAK!”
The media routinely attack President Trump for saying things that the “experts” disagree with. But when it comes to the current pandemic, the so-called experts remind me of the old line about economists: that if you laid them all end to end, they still wouldn’t point in the same direction. Since the beginning of this pandemic, various “experts” have told us things with absolute certainly that later turned out to be false, from massive death toll estimates to the effectiveness of certain drugs.
Now, it’s time for the experts to backtrack again. Remember when they told us that wearing facemasks in public did no good, and people who wore them were just fooling themselves? Well, scratch that: time to start wearing facemasks when you go out in public.
BILL WITHERS RIP
By “Huckabee” writer/pop culture guru Pat Reeder
It’s just been reported that Rock Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Bill Withers has died of heart complications last Monday at 81.
Even though his entire recording career spanned only about 15 years, from the early ‘70s to the mid-‘80s, his music seems as fresh and omnipresent now as ever. While he retired 35 years ago, he’s better remembered than many of his contemporaries who kept on much longer. Maybe it’s because his life did not revolve around pursuing stardom that his songs are relatable to so many people in all walks of life.
Withers joined the Navy at 17 and spent eight years as an aviation mechanic (the Navy announced that he will posthumously receive their Lone Sailor Award.) He didn’t get a guitar and start teaching himself to play it until he was in his 20s. The cover of his first album was a photo taken on his lunch break at the factory where he made toilets for 747s. The first single from the album was “Harlem,” but radio DJs preferred the B-side, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which went on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Song (his first of nine nominations and three wins) and become a soul standard covered by countless artists.
Withers continued his string of classics (“Lean On Me,” “Use Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Just The Two of Us”) until the mid-‘80s, when he got tired of label executives trying to tell him what to do. He walked away with no regrets to spend time with his family, saying that not having become a star until he was 32, he felt like a “regular guy” who didn’t need to be in showbiz to be content. He humbly insisted, “I'm not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don't think I've done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia."
If you’d like to learn more about this remarkable musical icon, check out the 2009 documentary, “Still Bill.” In his review, the late Roger Ebert wrote, “Withers seems as close to everyday Zen as I can imagine. He talks a great deal about his philosophy, to be sure, but it's direct and manifestly true: Make the most of your chances, do the best you can, stop when you're finished, love your family, enjoy life."
Good advice, indeed. And so is this: if you are locked down at home with your family, introduce your kids to the music of Bill Withers. It will make the time pass much more pleasantly, and someday, they'll thank you for it.