Blessings on you and your family from all the Huckabee staff! Thank you for subscribing and I hope you enjoy today’s newsletter.
Daily Bible Verse
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:16 KJV
1. Indiana Senate News
By Mike Huckabee
In 2024, the Republicans will lose another Senate incumbent, leaving an open seat they’ll have to hold. Indiana Sen. Mike Braun appears poised to leave in 2024 to run for Governor.
Fortunately, Indiana is solidly red (Trump beat Biden there by 57-41%), so it’s a pretty safe bet for the GOP to hold. But who will be the candidate? The linked article takes a look at the likely top contenders for you political junkies who just can’t wait for the next election season to get started.
2. RIP To Three Celebrities
By Huckabee pop culture guru Pat Reeder (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com)
As the resident pop culture historian, movie/TV/theater buff and record collector, it falls to me to write celebrity obituaries, and this is an especially sad day, since I have to report the deaths of three well-known entertainers, one of them at a shockingly young age.
First, Christine McVie, singer/pianist/songwriter for Fleetwood Mac,” died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Wednesday after a short, undisclosed illness at age 79.
The band released a statement reading, "There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her.”
McVie’s pristine vocals were heard on such timeless hits as “Don’t Stop” (“thinkin’ about tomorrow”), “Over My Head,” “Little Lies” and “Say You Love Me.” Some fans might be surprised to learn that she was 79, but she had a long career outside of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest heyday in the mid-70s, with the mega-hit albums, “Fleetwood Mac,” “Rumours” and “Tusk.” Under her birth name of Christine Perfect, she recorded with a blues rock band called Chicken Shack, then was on several fine albums with the pre-Buckingham/Nicks incarnation of Fleetwood Mac.
The good news for fans is that if you only know the overplayed hits, she left a treasure trove of recordings you can dive into, including the Chicken Shack years, Fleetwood Mac before and after their commercial peak, and two solo albums, “Christine Perfect” in 1970 and “Christine McVie” in 1984. If you’re like me, you might discover that your favorite song turns out to be not one of the familiar hits, but a great album track that got no radio play.
I’m also sad to have to report that up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Jake Flint died in his sleep at 37, just hours after marrying his fiancée. Our prayers and condolences to her and his family. The cause of death has not yet been determined or announced.
And veteran actor Clarence Gilyard has died at home in Las Vegas at 66. The cause wasn’t announced, but he has battled health problems in recent years. His most famous roles were as the computer whiz trying to outfox Bruce Willis in “Die Hard,” and the role we Texans will always love him for, Chuck Norris’ partner Jimmy Trevette on the greatest TV show of all time, “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Rest in peace to them all.
Finally, some good news: there was a rumor that swept the Internet that country music star Alan Jackson had died. It was a hoax started by a dodgy website. Jackson has been battling a serious neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, but he tweeted a photo of himself with his family on Thanksgiving, and he’s definitely alive in it.
3. More on the FBI's controversial use of "geofence" warrants
In yesterday’s story on the verdict in the seditious conspiracy trial of Stewart Rhodes and his Oath Keepers co-defendants, we only scratched the surface on the issue of controversial “geofence” warrants, which the FBI used to essentially go back in time and sweep up the phone records of EVERYONE within a certain geographical area. They did this to thousands of people who were at some point present somewhere in a roughly four-acre area in or near the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.
Rebecca Fish, an assistant federal public defender in Tacoma, Washington, who is defending another participant at the rally named David Rhine, has put together an outstanding argument for why a “geofence” warrant, like a general warrant, is a civil rights abuse that violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. She also argues that Rhine had a reasonable expectation of privacy from Google, which cooperated with the government instead of respecting that. (Google says they have a “rigorous three-step process” for dealing with these warrants, to balance privacy with “the important job of law enforcement.” Gosh, I feel so much better knowing that, don’t you?)
The judge in Rhine’s case is expected to rule on the admissibility of the geofence evidence in December, with the trial scheduled for late January. This could turn out to be quite a high-profile case because of this issue and could end up before the Supreme Court. In case you didn’t see Michael Tracey’s excellent series of tweets on the subject that we linked to yesterday, here it is…
“Rather than establishing any basis for probable cause that subjects of the search had committed a crime,” Tracey tweeted, “the government relied on hypothesis and conjecture that merely [Fish's words] ‘equated presence at the Capitol with criminal activity.’”
Since the indictment of dangerous-domestic-terrorist-and-imminent-threat-to-our-democracy Rhine (for allegedly going inside the Capitol building with his wife, taking selfies, and leaving, as far as we can tell) and now the Oath Keepers verdict, we’re starting to see more expressions of concern about this type of warrant. For more information about how the government uses it –- and how they exploited it to glean information about January 6 participants –- Mark Harris at WIRED has an informative piece.
As Harris explains, even phones that were in airplane mode or otherwise out of cell service during the rally were caught up in the sweep. And the 37 people who tried later to delete their location data after the rally got out of control ended up in even worse trouble –- singled out by the FBI for greater scrutiny. After all, the reasoning must have gone, they’d tried to cover their tracks, so they must have had something to hide.
Apparently, this type of search has been going on for some time; it didn’t start with January 6. “Because Google’s Location History system is both powerful and widely used,” Harris writes, “the company is served about 10,000 geofence warrants in the U.S. each year.” A phone can be pinpointed to within a few yards, he says. (Aside: Isn’t it interesting that the use of GPS data to sniff out ballot dropbox-stuffing has been criticized for lack of accuracy, when this is the same technology being used by the FBI?)
Harris quotes a number of legal experts on the use of this type of warrant, one of whom, University of Utah law professor Matthew Tokson, says the discussion is “still in the very early stages.” But he rationalizes its use in this way: “Unlike a geofence warrant for a bank robbery, the people in this location are all likely to be engaged in at least a low-level criminal trespass [editorial aside: !!!] and in some cases worse. There’s a stronger than usual probable cause argument in favor of the government here.”
American University law professor Andrew Ferguson agrees and is worried about it, warning that “the January 6 cases are going to be used to build a doctrine that will enable police to find almost anyone with a cellphone or a smart device in ways that we, as a society, haven’t quite grasped yet.”
Maybe "as a society" we haven't, but I think most of us with half a brain have grasped it perfectly well.
The great Margot Cleveland, writing at THE FEDERALIST, expresses concerns of her own about this in a new column. She explains that Rhine has been charged by the DOJ with four federal crimes: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restrictive building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building [aside: don’t these charges seem to be getting redundant?]; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Rhine pleaded not guilty, and it was his public defender, Fish, who filed a motion to suppress any evidence derived from the geofence warrant. Nice to have a public defender who is such a go-getter.
It might be years, Cleveland thinks, before we have clarity on the Fourth Amendment issue relating to geofence warrants. “But what the Rhine case reveals now,” she says, “is the danger that a partnership between an equally politicized federal government and Big Tech presents to disfavored groups.”
Most of the people caught up in the January search and whose personal data was breached committed no crimes but did attend the rally, she says, which makes them political enemies of the Biden administration. Cleveland points out that those who were not charged with a crime “will never know the government collected their personal information.” And what use might the government make of it? Well, for one thing, they might be compiling an enemies’ list. The CCP would approve.
There’s another issue about this that Cleveland brings up; namely, that Google took the initiative to preserve the location data of its users from January 6 and 7, even though it was a week before the government came to them with their warrant. This apparently goes against Google’s policy that is supposed to let users delete their location history if they so choose. In other words, in the case of January 6, Google appears to have violated its own policy to help the government. “One has to wonder,” Cleveland observes, “if Google would have done the same had the DOJ sought data related to the violence flowing over from a Black Lives Matter protest.”
Of course, that’s a hypothetical question. The DOJ wouldn’t ask them for that.
Anyway, the courts will decide, and I wish I could be optimistic, but there’s just no way to know how it will go. It seemed beyond possibility that the Supreme Court would side with Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Kangaroo Kommittee and enforce a subpoena for the private phone records of the Arizona GOP chairperson, but they allowed that fishing expedition to proceed. Who knows how the “geofence” warrant issue will play out?
In the meantime, I’d suggest that even if everything you do every moment of every day is strictly above-board and you have nothing whatsoever to hide, you might want to save yourself some potential grief and keep as little of your life on your cellphone as you can. You might even leave it at home if it’s possible that you, as an innocent person, might get swept up in a location search of someone’s political adversaries. Some people are even going back to flip phones --- remember those? The idea seems more appealing all the time.
Remember: you’re not paranoid if it’s really happening.