President Trump has yet to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un about dismantling his nuclear program, but he’s already won a major concession: Kim has released three Korean-American US citizens, a businessman and two university workers, who had been imprisoned for years. They’ve reportedly been moved from a horrific forced labor camp to a tourist hotel to recuperate, and will be allowed to return home soon.
Meanwhile, Trump has assembled a team led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to plan the summit and be prepared for any surprises, to insure that Kim is forced to give up his nuclear ambitions. Pompeo said the outcome isn’t certain, but one thing is: “This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past. Our eyes are wide open. It’s time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option.”
Despite the seemingly miraculous turnaround in Kim’s attitude, Trump’s win in getting the three Americans released and the news of his careful planning for the meeting, his critics are still warning the media that they’re afraid he’ll just go in and “wing it” and empower Kim’s regime.
Say, aren’t these the same Brainiacs whose 20 years or so of limp-noodle “smart diplomacy” resulted in Kim having nukes in the first place? Talk about empowering his regime! Also, aren’t they the same “experts” who warned the media that Trump’s strong response to Kim was going to incite nuclear war?
For some reason, I’m reminded of the famous words of humorist Ring Lardner: “’Shut up,’ he explained.”
For those who enjoy parsing the actual laws rather than indulging in partisan fantasies about collusion and impeachment, National Review has an excellent article by former US Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy. He analyzed the alleged list of 49 questions Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump. His verdict: Trump should decline to talk to him and Mueller should just stand down.
McCarthy believes that judging from the questions he allegedly wants to ask, Mueller has found no evidence of any real crimes and is now trying to force Trump to reveal what his thoughts, attitudes and intentions were when he was making executive decisions that he clearly had the Constitutional authority to make, in hopes of finding a way to charge him for something he says in the testimony, like wanting to obstruct an investigation that was never actually obstructed in any way. As McCarthy notes, Mueller has a habit of turning witness interviews into false statement prosecutions. In short, he’s trying to spin something out of nothing, or at least not enough of anything to justify continuing to distract America’s Chief Executive over, and he needs to wrap it up and let the President get back to governing.
That’s the layman’s nutshell version; you can find all the legal reasoning and explanations of such exotic terms as “pretextual appointment,” “executive prerogatives” and “corrupt motive theory” at the link. Happy reading!
Another legal term that’s not in McCarthy’s article but that you might be hearing a lot in the future is “fruit of a poisoned tree.” It means that you can’t convict someone based on evidence that was obtained illegally, such as through an illegal arrest, unreasonable search or coercive interrogation. The first place you might hear it is from the lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is facing multiple charges for alleged financial improprieties based on materials seized in a mob boss-style raid on his home, based on unrelated claims that he colluded with Russia on the election, which apparently came from an unproven Trump oppo research dossier that the FBI reportedly neglected to mention was paid for by the Clinton campaign when getting a warrant from the FISA court judges. That tree poisoned enough for you?
For months, Mueller’s team has been stonewalling Manafort’s attorneys’ requests for discovery to see any evidence that he had contacts with Russian intelligence agents. They say they’ve now been told there are no materials responsive to their request. In other words, there is no evidence that Manafort ever spoke to any Russians, despite government leaks suggesting that he did, which were used to create a false narrative to justify a special counsel. They say if this proves true, then Manafort never should have been under investigation, the counsel should never have been appointed, and the search never should have happened, so the evidence is tainted and the charges should be dismissed. There’s a suggestion that the investigators might have evidence they haven’t released yet, but it seems odd that they are refusing to release it to the defendant’s attorneys, as required by law.
Then again, in the probes of both Trump and Hillary, we’ve seen that some top federal law enforcement officials view laws the way Lewis Carroll’s Humpty-Dumpty viewed words:
“’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’”
The big story this morning seems to be Rudy Giuliani saying on Fox News that President Trump reimbursed his lawyer for a $130,000 “shut up and go away” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels over an alleged one-night tryst 11 years ago.
Some people are saying this is a nothingburger, and it actually undercuts a legal threat to Trump because it wasn’t campaign money (hence Giuliani, who is a lawyer, purposely saying it.) The anti-Trump media outlets are making a federal case out of it (“We’ve got that wily wabbit now!!”) I’m not a lawyer and don’t know about the legalities. I also don’t know what the full story is: Rudy didn’t make it clear whether Trump knowingly reimbursed his attorney for this specific expense or just had him on a retainer to repay all expenses paid on his behalf (I hate to break it to Trump haters, but people who run both multi-billion-dollar corporations and presidential campaigns don’t vet every expense personally.) I also don’t know the answer to the question that millions of Americans must be asking themselves: if this woman accepted $130,000 to shut up and go away, then why won’t she shut up and go away already?
Probably because if she went away, CNN would have to sign off the air. The Media Research Center looked into CNN’s coverage from March 7 to April 30. In less than two months, while such major news stories as the North Korean nuclear turnaround were happening, CNN somehow found time to interview Michael Avanatti, porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, a staggering 59 times! He must’ve been living in CNN’s studios. Perhaps in a sign that the Russian collusion narrative is pooping out, Trump-bashing Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who gets his healthy tan from TV lights, saw his CNN appearances drop 40% to only 17 during that same period.
By comparison, during the same period of less than two months, while CNN was interviewing the porn star's mouthpiece 59 times, all 51 Republican Senators combined received just 34 interviews.
THIS…is CNN! Boom-chicka-wow-wow!...
I’ve written before about how the Democrats and the Republicans have fundamentally different electoral strategies. Republicans try to convince over 50% of voters that their solutions work and they should get together to support them. Democrats adopt a “divide and conquer” strategy, dividing voters up into many warring identity groups and telling each they’re getting a raw deal that only the Democrats can fix, in hopes of piecing together enough smaller groups to add up to over 50%. The problem with that is that it inevitably tears the country apart by fostering rivalries and resentments between groups, corrodes national unity and harms America as a whole.
It also means the Democrats are constantly hustling to keep each of their separate groups happy, like jugglers on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” rushing from one spinning plate on a stick to another to try to keep them from crashing down. But there are signs that some of the plates are wobbling. I already told you about the Reuters poll that found Millennials, especially young white males, were drifting away from the Democrats. Another new poll found, possibly due to listening to Kanye West and seeing how he was pilloried for expressing independent thought, support for Trump among blacks has risen and among black men, it’s doubled to 22% in just one week.
But the party had better beware because there is another crack in its foundation that’s even more ominous and could threaten to split the party apart, particularly with the “progressive” left taking such an in-your-face leadership role. David French at National Review calls it the Democrats’ “God Gap.”
A new Pew Research Center survey found that only 5% of Republicans, white or non-white, don’t believe in God. Among Democrats, non-whites are much like Republicans: only 5% don’t believe in God, and nearly two-thirds believe in the God of the Bible. Meanwhile, 21% of white Democrats are atheists, and less than one-third believe in the God of the Bible (the rest believe in some “higher power or spiritual force,” possibly a la "Star Wars.")
The upshot is that many black Democrats are regular churchgoers, while many white Democrats, particularly in positions of power and leadership, are becoming more bold in their hostility to anyone of faith (forcing nuns to pay for abortion drugs, suing Christian bakers into bankruptcy for declining to make same-sex wedding cakes, obstructing Trump's nominees for being Christian or pro-life, even trying to ban Chick-Fil-A from New York City, etc.)
Kanye West has started a national dialogue among African-Americans on why they should think it’s required of them to vote Democrat even when nothing gets better for them under Democratic governance. With the party’s leadership becoming increasingly aggressive in its hostility to traditional morality and people of faith, black Democrats might also start questioning why they continue to support a party whose policies are directly opposed to their sacred beliefs.
Liberals like to ask, “What’s the matter with Kansas?,” that is, why do Middle Americans “vote against their own interests” (making the dubious assumption that activist big government is in the average citizen's interests.) The Democrats will be in big trouble if black voters start looking at what the party’s done for them, and its growing open hostility to their faith, and start asking themselves the same question. But as French notes, it’s up to Republicans to reach out to black voters, try to see things from their point of view, and make the case for why conservative principles are in their interests as well.
You know the problem with the Boy Scouts? Too many boys. At least, that seems to be the brilliant thinking behind the Boy Scout organization’s latest effort to combat declining membership by dropping the word “Boy” and just becoming the gender-neutral “Scouts BSA,” to reflect that they now let in girls, too.
Apparently, none of them ever earned a merit badge in biology or they would know (brace yourself, this will probably get flagged as “hate speech”) boys and girls are different. The move is not only garnering criticism from parents, it’s also being blasted from an unlikely source: the Girl Scouts. While their official statement claimed they were unconcerned, some Girl Scout leaders told the media that they’re also fighting declining enrollment and if the Boy Scouts (oops, sorry: the Generic Scouts) want to attract more members, why don’t they target the 90% of boys who currently aren’t Scouts instead of competing with them for the girls?
This is just the latest in a long series of ever-more leftward PC drift of the Boy Scouts that’s seen them do away with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance and the traditional Boy Scout oath to placate atheists, and admit gay Scoutmasters and transgender scouts and so on. Say, I wonder if any of that has something to do with the fact that 90% of boys are not Boy Scouts, that membership is half what it used to be, and the number of boys (and their parents) who are giving the group a pass is still rising?
Nah, it must be the name. Too masculine. That’s toxic, you know.
Congratulations to the anti-terrorism agents of the FBI, who have prevented what might have been a devastating lone wolf attack in Frisco, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The FBI announced that it has arrested 17-year-old high school student Matin Azizi-Yarand. He was allegedly planning an attack with guns and pipe bombs sometime this month. He was reportedly an ISIS sympathizer who used social media to reach out to the terrorist group about getting training in guns and bomb-making and traveling to Pakistan to join them. But he didn’t realize that his online conversations were actually with an undercover FBI informant. He wrote that he’d considered attacking a school because that would be easy (“just fire where you hear screams”), but decided on a shopping center instead because there were cops there, and he would “like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun. Then, douse him with gasoline and burn him. Record it.”
Thank God, he won’t be doing any of that. And thank the FBI for being on the case. As difficult as it is, I suggest reading the full story with more quotes from his messages that he thought were between him and ISIS. It should put to rest any suggestion that the problem we’re facing with a young generation that has no regard for the sanctity of life is due to hardware and not the software in the sick minds of the people who would actually plan such an assault with no other motive than to kill as many innocent people as possible.
I’ll take “Things You’ll Never Hear” for $200, Alex…