Yesterday, I wrote about the stalling of the IG report in the worst place for it to be languishing; namely, the DOJ/FBI, where the very departments cited for misconduct get to review it and perhaps do some editing and redacting to lessen its impact. It’ll be up to Inspector General Michael Horowitz to keep them from watering down what we’ve heard is a scathing report.
According to Jason Chaffetz, only the IG and his staff have seen the entire final report, along with the attorney general, deputy attorney general and FBI director, who were each given copies. Cooperating witnesses have seen segments that apply to them. Chaffetz also said the IG told him leaks would be inevitable.
And sure enough, a few leaks have happened, but they’re just general remarks on some of the glaring misconduct that we already knew about. I think it’s important to ask why, out of this 400- or 500-word report (depending on who is saying), these tidbits were the ones chosen for the early leaking.
According to a source cited by ABC News, former Director James Comey’s conduct was called “insubordinate”? Get me my smelling salts! Loretta Lynch’s suggestion of the word “matter” instead of “investigation” was questioned? OMG!
Now, class: What are leaks to major news outlets typically designed to do? Let’s say it together: Preserve the Obama legacy and damage Trump. Now, how does the use of the distinctive word “insubordinate” help preserve the Obama legacy? Anyone?
It’s easy. To be “insubordinate” is to violate the orders of those having higher rank. In Comey’s case, that would include Attorney General Loretta Lynch and, more significantly, President Obama. To say Comey’s behavior was insubordination not only communicates that he was wrong, but that President Obama was NOT wrong. It takes the blame off the Obama White House and places it squarely on him. Thus, it’s the perfect thing to leak.
Why should we assume that Comey was acting entirely on his own? It seems much more likely that he was doing exactly what was desired of him to keep Hillary viable as she coasted to her inevitable victory. Yet that word stands out as an attempt to make us go against our instincts and accept the idea of Comey “going rogue.” My intent is not to criticize the report --- we still haven’t seen the report --- but only to consider this particular leak in the context of its likely motivation.
Comments made by Comey while on his book tour make it clear that he considers himself to be an intensely moral man, quite possibly the most virtuous man who has ever trod the earth. (He has said he considers Trump to be morally unfit to be President). And he said he believes in “the chain of command.” Now, class: How does someone who behaves according to his principles and believes in the chain of command commit acts of insubordination? Answer: He doesn’t. Whatever he’s doing has come down from the top.
That’s why I suspect that Comey followed orders that came straight down from Obama, through “the chain of command” to him. Certainly the specific wording in Comey’s statement to protect Hillary from criminal charges in the summer of 2016 was part of that. Even the re-opening of the Hillary email case so close to the election could have been a way to try to minimize the damage to Hillary (or her future Presidency) from her emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, which we now know had come to the FBI’s attention weeks before.
Comey cited the infamous tarmac meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton as a reason why he had to distance himself form her. Lynch had become a “weak link” in that chain of command. Certainly she should have recused herself from the Hillary investigation after that stunningly inappropriate meeting. If she had, then supervision of Comey would have fallen to her deputy, and Comey might have felt less inclined to act as prosecutor as well as investigator.
While doing TV interviews during his book tour, Comey offered variations of this statement made on “The Late Show” on CBS: “I can be useful by offering people a vision of what ethical leadership looks like.” (With late-night TV starved for good comedy, this was probably the most hilarious line heard in some time.) On the contrary, what we now know, even before the full IG report is made public, is that Trump was absolutely right to fire Comey. It’s easy to see –- even for those of us on the outside looking in –- how thoroughly messed-up and agenda-driven the Hillary investigation was. Somebody sure needed to provide some ethical leadership, and nobody did.
It’s been a couple of days since Tuesday’s flurry of primaries, and a few more interesting races have been settled with some possible trends emerging. We already knew that the Democrats’ hopes of a “blue wave” in California leaving voters with only two choices for Governor (left and lefter) have evaporated. Republican businessman John Cox came in a surprise close second to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and he’s already making it clear that he won't let Newsom simply surf to victory.
Newsom’s camp is acting smug and complacent, signaling they expect to win easily by tying Cox to President Trump, who endorsed him but is very unpopular in California. But is Trump really less popular than the liberal state’s crushing tax burden and cost of living? The earthquake-prone state felt a seismic shift Tuesday when Orange County voters recalled Democratic State Sen. Josh Newman and replaced him with Republican Ling Ling Chang. That one vote shift removed the Democrats’ Senate supermajority that enabled them to ride roughshod over the voices of sanity.
Even more ominous for the Democrats, Newman was recalled due to fury over the state’s crippling gas tax (over 92 cents a gallon), which has sent prices in some places soaring to over $5 a gallon. As I told you recently, Gov. Jerry Brown signed another 12-cent-a-gallon tax hike last year that was supposed to pay for fixing the state’s roads and bridges. Instead, about 28 projects (many of them liberal totems such as electric buses and light rail) that have nothing to do with filling potholes had their pockets filled with money from the gas taxes. While Democrats nationwide run against Republicans by blaming Trump for higher gas prices, Newsom will be trying to tie Cox to Trump even as Cox blasts him for supporting the extremely unpopular gas tax that’s keeping prices higher in California than anywhere else.
As if that’s not enough, Newsom also wants to raise property taxes and income taxes, plus institute single-payer government health care for all, a plan so expensive (over twice the entire state budget) that even the California legislature wasn’t nutty enough to pass it. A poll in May showed that 64% of California adults (no, I don’t know how that’s defined in California) favor the idea of single-payer health care, but that drops to 41% if it means raising taxes. I imagine Cox will trumpet far and wide that it wouldn’t just mean raising taxes, it would mean tripling them.
The high gas tax already cost Democrats their supermajority. Now, they think they’ll ride into power on a blue tidal wave by supporting not only that but even higher taxes on everything else? They must have a lot of faith in the power of anti-Trump RAGE to propel voters to the polls.
Oh, one other ominous sign for Democrats from Tuesday’s vote: while some mail-in ballots are still being counted, it’s estimated that the primary turnout was a surprisingly low 22 percent. Maybe some Californians aren’t so discombobulated by RAGE that they're eager to hand their tax cuts over to Sacramento as we’ve been led to believe.
A Daily Caller investigation discovered what many have long suspected: Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all rely on that famously unbiased organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, to help them identify “hate groups” that should be banned from their platforms.
For those unfamiliar with the SPLC, it used to do laudable work combating actual hate groups such as the KKK. But in recent years, it’s come under fire for morphing into a leftist donation-grubbing factory that smears conservative and religious groups to promote the impression that there is a huge rise in “hate groups” that they need money to fight.
Some of these smears have been eye-poppingly blatant, like branding award-winning women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “anti-Muslim extremist,” or claiming Dr. Ben Carson is a racist and putting him on an “extremist watch list” (after four months of outrage, they finally apologized and removed him.) Others have resulted in violence against the victims, like the time a mentally-disturbed gunman attacked the offices of the Family Research Center after the SPLC declared it a “hate group.” The SPLC has also given passes to leftist-approved groups that do advocate hate and violence while condemning conservative and Christian groups that simply defend individual liberties.
In fact, if you were compiling a list of actual hate groups that smear and denigrate large groups of people based purely on their religious or political beliefs, the SPLC would surely top the list. Their transparent hatred and slander of Christians and conservatives has even drawn fire from some liberal media outlets as they’ve regressed beyond bias into the realm of the unhinged.
Another example: the SPLC is supposed to be a legal advocacy group, which I assume means somebody there has a nodding acquaintance with the law and the Constitution. Yet they’ve also labeled the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to Christians who are targeted for their religious beliefs, as an anti-gay hate group. So it’s surprising that the Supreme Court not only allowed the ADF to provide the legal defense for Christian baker Jack Phillips, but ruled in his favor 7-2.
Incidentally, I will be interviewing the CEO of the ADF about that case on this weekend’s “Huckabee” on TBN. Tune in and see if he spouts any anti-gay hate speech. I’m willing to predict that he won’t.
Facebook (which is already under government scrutiny for its infringements on free speech) is frantically trying to distance itself, insisting that the SPLC is just one of various sources it uses. But Amazon has allowed the SPLC free rein to revoke the eligibility of nonprofits to participate in the Amazon Smile fundraising program. That explains why the ADF has been removed from Amazon Smile while the Islamic Center of Jersey City, whose imam called Jews “apes and pigs” and called for Allah’s help in killing them “down to the very last one,” is still allowed to participate.
I don’t know about you, but I am not smiling.
The media can mock Kim Kardashian West all it wants, but her trip to the White House got results: President Trump has commuted the sentence of 63-year-old mother-of-five and great-grandmother Alice Johnson. This is not a pardon that clears her record, but she is finally out of prison for the first time in nearly 22 years.
Of course, she was also backed by a number of officials, including the prison warden, who called her a model prisoner who’d accepted responsibility for her crime, as well as an online petition with over 271,000 signatures. But Mrs. Johnson did thank and credit the reality TV star, writing to her, “Ms. Kardashian, you are literally helping to save my life and restore me to my family,” adding, “I believe that history will record that Kim Kardashian had the courage to take a stand against human warehousing and was a key figure in meaningful criminal justice reform becoming a reality." She even called Kim an “angel” and compared her to Rosa Parks for taking a stand that was a “defining moment” in history. I’ll bet you never imagined you’d hear anyone compare Kim Kardashian to an angel or Rosa Parks, but we live in unusual times indeed.
So what was Mrs. Johnson’s crime and why did so many people support her release? In 1993, she was convicted of a non-violent drug charge (money laundering and drug conspiracy) and sentenced to life without parole. Johnson says she never sold drugs or made drug deals, but she agreed to pass notes for some cocaine dealers. At the time, she’d just been divorced, her son had been killed, she’d lost her job and her home had been foreclosed on, and she was desperate. She now says she realizes what she did was wrong and the worst mistake of her life, although that’s no excuse for her actions.
I’m sure I’ll get a lot of negative responses for saying that I applauded Kim Kardashian West’s efforts and support Mrs. Johnson’s release, but I come here to tell you what I honestly think, not to grow my collection of thumbs-up emojis. I’ve long thought that we needed some serious prison reform. Life without parole is the kind of sentence we should give to murderers, but some of them are out in seven years. “Lock ‘em up” is always an applause line for politicians (even when they’re not talking about Hillary Clinton), and there’s never any political advantage to questioning that. But in some cases, it’s neither smart nor effective policy.
A year of prison costs taxpayers more than a year of college (including room and board), and 88% of the prisoners in Arkansas were there for drug- or alcohol-related crimes. Ordering them into treatment would have been far better for them, the budget and society in general. Instead, they got a prison record that made them unemployable and an education in how to commit far worse crimes. Guess how that combination works out.
To be clear: this is in no way an endorsement of being “soft on crime.” Some criminals deserve harsh penalties. When I was Governor, I signed more execution orders than any previous Governor – but only after studying each case thoroughly to insure that justice had been served fairly. I think that if some people who are very pro-death penalty actually had to personally sign the order to execute another human being, it might temper their enthusiasm a bit. But to quote Larry Norris, head of the Arkansas corrections system when I was governor, “We lock people up we’re mad at, rather than the ones we’re afraid of.” Both the offenders and society in general would be better off if we concentrated on reforming the former and incarcerating the latter.
I’ve long argued that the national debt is so overwhelming, it can never be paid off with tax increases, which would have to be so huge that they would crater the economy and balloon the debt even more. The only way ever to reduce the debt is to grow the economy so that the percentage taken as taxes gets larger.
When Donald Trump was elected President, the left assured us that it was impossible to restore growth and job creation to ‘80s levels and that America, and even the world, would soon be plunged into an economic Dark Age from which it would never recover. Trump had some fun making them eat their words with a video he just posted to Twitter:
But with all the thoroughly predictable benefits of ending liberal economic policies that liberals never saw coming, this may be the one that really sends them to the fainting couch with a bottle of smelling salts and a bag of medicinal pot brownies. Thanks to the booming economy, over the past two months, the national debt has actually declined a bit. Or sure, it wasn’t by much, but it was enough…get your smelling salts ready, liberals…to pay to build the border wall.
If you thought that Nancy Drew was a safe haven from social justice warrior proselytizing of children, not anymore. Brace yourself for “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Aggressive LGBTQ Agenda.”
It’s not just the publishers of Nancy Drew who are reminding us that the era of innocent, non-politicized children’s entertainment is over. The last surviving Munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz,” Jerry Maren, has died at 98.
I don’t know whether to file this under “Ever Thought You’d Live to See The Day?” or “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”
Having apparently used up all the current fake news, CNN is now reduced to making up fake news from 1814. In truth, the only thing “problematic” about “The Star-Spangled Banner” is hitting the high note.