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A brazen political payoff

April 15, 2022

President Biden announced that he will extend the moratorium on paying student loans again--this time until August. That means if you have a student loan, you don’t have to make any payments until August. Payments have already been suspended for the past 2 years due to Covid, but this has to be one of the most brazen political payoffs ever attempted and it’s one that insults the intelligence of the American voters, even the ones who went out and borrowed $150,000 for an education that will land them a job that pays $40,000 a year.

Here's the head-scratcher: Biden and all his team tell us every day what a great job he’s done with the economy. We are told our economy is in great shape and has recovered swimmingly well. But it sure doesn’t feel that way to families buying gasoline or groceries, much less trying to buy a car or clothing. But if the economy is doing as great as Joe Biden says, then there is no need to extend the moratorium. Somebody is selling us a Whopper by either saying the economy is going great when it isn’t or by telling us that the economy is so bad we have to let people off the hook for the loans they took out.

But Democrats actually want to do more than suspend the payments—they want all student loans to be wiped out. That would cost you the taxpayer $1.7 TRILLION dollars, but heck, it might buy off some very gullible people who would vote for Democrats for giving them free money. I say that if you’re going to wipe out student loans, why stop there? Why not wipe out home loans, car loans, home improvement loans, and credit card debt. And for those of us who paid off our debts? Clearly we are the suckers who would now get to pay off the debts of the people who didn’t pay theirs.

This isn’t about “caring” or being “compassionate.” If the government wants to allow people to restructure the terms or interest rate, that’s just fine. But to arbitrarily erase a loan for people who aren’t paying what THEY agreed to is just plain nuts.

I feel for young people who took out huge loans for an overpriced education instead of carefully determining if the cost of that education was worth it. Maybe it would have been smarter to go to a community college. And will this apply only to college? That wouldn’t be fair for the people who paid to be trained as plumbers, electricians, welders, brick masons, or finish carpenters. Frankly we need a lot more skilled labor who can fix and build things than we need people who sit around Starbucks thinking deep thoughts and drinking 5 dollar coffee.

If you take out a loan—any kind of loan--it’s YOUR responsibility to pay it back. If you later encounter a catastrophic health issue or you serve in the military, then maybe there would be a way to help you out. But just to wipe out the debt of someone who as my mother used to say had a “Champagne appetite and a Coca-Cola pocketbook” and bought something they couldn’t afford to pay for whether it was a new truck, a big house, designer clothes, or an Ivy League education is hardly the way to teach responsibility.

And if the government decides to pay off the debts for those who failed to make payments, then will it send a check to us suckers who paid for our education as we went and worked our rear-ends off to do it?

If you honestly think erasing all the student loans in the country is a great idea, you probably are going to vote for Democrats anyway. But I’m sure you won’t mind if people who owe YOU money for something won’t be expected to actually pay you for it. Nah—if you run a business and your customers owe you, just wipe it out. Forgive their debts and obligations. And then come back and tell me how great it is to be a liberal Democrat!

Attorneys for Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann, indicted for lying to FBI General Counsel James Baker when he said he was acting on his own in offering the Alfa Bank story, have been trying like heck to get the charge dismissed. That’s their job, of course, and their law firm of Latham and Watkins has been working overtime representing a number of Hillary cronies, such as Perkins Coie and Marc Elias, caught up in her mess.

When their first argument didn’t work on presiding U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, they went for Take 2, this time maintaining that the statute against lying, Section 1001, applies only to lies that are “materially” false. They claim this alleged lie is immaterial to Durham’s case.

As Margot Cleveland at The Federalist explains, “Sussmann had attempted to avoid criminal prosecution by claiming that because the FBI would have investigated his “tip” no matter what he had told Baker about his clients (or lack of clients), the lie was immaterial.” The judge rejected that argument, made two weeks ago, on Wednesday.

https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/14/judge-denies-clinton-lawyer-micheal-sussmanns-motion-to-dismiss-charges-for-alleged-lies-to-the-fbi/

We would add that when he told them he was not representing clients, he was saying this regarding what his lawyers laughably called a “tip” but that was just a concoction, not a real tip. So the “tip” is actually a lie on top of a lie, though not part of the charge Special Counsel John Durham has chosen to pursue. Durham has Perkins Coie billing records to show that when Sussmann met with the FBI, he was indeed representing Hillary and also Rodney Joffe, who had organized the creation of the Alfa Bank narrative. But we also know that the Alfa Bank story was a lie, too, told in service to Sussmann’s clients.

And why on earth would he tell the FBI he wasn’t representing clients if not to make his (fake) “tip” seem more investigation-worthy?

The court ruled it was impossible prior to trial to resolve the “hotly disputed” question of whether Sussmann’s lie about not representing clients “was in fact capable of influencing either the commencement or the later conduct of the FBI’s investigation.” Judge Cooper, an Obama appointee, wrote that “the battle lines thus are drawn...”

On the other hand, that still doesn’t mean the case will get before a jury. Before he can determine the materiality of the lie, the judge said, the prosecution has to present their evidence. Once that has been done, the judge could possibly decide that Sussmann’s lie was “so peripheral or unimportant” to the agency’s function that he’s going to dismiss.

Cleveland explains that the judge could even toss the case after it’s been presented before the jury and they’ve found Sussmann guilty. He could rule on materiality even then, though she finds that highly unlikely.

As I often remind my readers, I am not a lawyer, but Sussmann’s lie about coming forward out of “duty,” not representing any client, is so central to what he was trying to accomplish that dismissing the charge would be a travesty. If it turns out this judge doesn’t have an immediate grasp of the obvious, we can only hope that Durham has the right words to make that argument.

But Cleveland seems assured that he has them for his presentation of the evidence. Durham has said he is prepared to show that the FBI could have been influenced NOT to open a full investigation had they known Sussmann “was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign.” If they’d known that, they might have chosen just to dip a toe rather than jump in, perhaps doing only an assessment or preliminary investigation. They might even have delayed it until after the election, and that would have defeated Sussmann’s purpose in going there in the first place. It had to be started right away --- before the election.

As Law & Crime reports: “Sussmann wanted the inquiry focused ‘only’ on ‘the FBI’s decision to commence an investigation’ based on the information he provided. That, Judge Cooper rationed, was a myopic view of the law --- one ‘based on an overly narrow conception of the applicable standard.’”

Their analysis quotes at length from Judge Cooper’s six-page opinion.

https://lawandcrime.com/russia-investigation/federal-judge-refuses-to-dismiss-durham-probe-case-against-michael-sussmann-says-he-cannot-resolve-this-standoff-prior-to-trial/

Durham says he has testimony from a number of government witnesses that “understanding the origins” of what Sussmann was bringing them “is relevant to the FBI in multiple ways, including to assess the reliability and motivations of its sources.” How true; it seems to me that any thinking person would understand right away what the motivation was, and that this would have huge bearing on the perceived reliability.

Of course (and Cleveland makes the point), the Crossfire Hurricane team might not have cared one bit where the information came from, considering they latched onto Steele’s “dossier” with both hands even though they knew he was working to elect Hillary. But that says more –- and it’s not flattering –- about those particular FBI agents than it does about materiality of Sussmann’s lie. The question isn’t whether or not a specific agent –- or even the entire Crossfire Hurricane team –- would be influenced, but whether the lie itself, objectively speaking, is CAPABLE of influencing. Durham says he can show that this one is.

So the courtroom testimony by Durham’s witnesses could put the Crossfire Hurricane team in a really bad light, as if we didn’t already know how bad they were, eagerly grasping at anything they could use to damage Trump, even material that was unverified or outright conjecture. They even falsified a document to help get a warrant to spy on his campaign. And in defending Sussmann, his attorneys will likely make the argument that this FBI team didn’t care if he represented Hillary or not. That’s not a good look.

It doesn’t mean Durham will get Sussmann convicted. But according to Cleveland, if the jury does say he’s guilty, Durham will have presented enough evidence to sustain that conviction.

If you’d like a refresher on the case, the New York Post has an updated one.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/judge-wont-drop-durham-case-against-clinton-lawyer-sussmann/

Finally, in case you didn't see it, Cleveland has another piece from a few days ago in which she shows how Hillary’s chums at the Brookings Institution, now exposed for its "dossier" connections, have been defending Sussmann in print. Cleveland also offers possible scenarios surrounding the surprise appearance of that text message from Sussmann to Baker –- the one re-stating IN WRITING the lie that Sussmann wasn’t representing any clients. “The mysterious case of the appearing text will have to wait for another day,” she writes. But she notes that with the text's emergence, Durham has ample evidence that Sussmann did indeed tell that lie.

BLM Founder on IRS

April 15, 2022

BLM Founder on the IRS

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, had a unique response to allegations that the group isn’t following the rules required of nonprofit groups and secretly spent $6 million of donors’ money on a mansion for a headquarters.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/blm-co-founder-financial-disclosures-triggering-and-unsafe

At an event last Friday, Cullors reportedly said, “It is such a trip to hear the term ‘990,'’’ referring to the IRS form all charities are required to file, disclosing financial activities. She claimed she “actually did not know” what a 990 form was until this happened, and went on, “I’m like, ugh. It’s, like, triggering…This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is literally being weaponized against us, against the people we work with…People’s morale in an organization is so important. But if their organization and the people in it are being attacked and scrutinized at everything they do, that leads to deep burnout. That leads to deep, like, resistance and trauma.”

As triggering, unsafe and traumatizing as it must be to have to follow the same IRS rules as every other tax-exempt charity, I can understand why nonprofits are required to disclose how they spend donors’ money. In fact, I’ve wondered about that ever since woke corporations started showering BLM with tens of millions of dollars in hopes of not being targeted next.

Where exactly does all that money go? We know it doesn’t go to actually helping black people because black community leaders have been complaining that after the BLM-inspired riots and looting destroyed their neighborhoods and the local businesses that served and were owned by minorities, BLM has given them virtually nothing to help rebuild.

Personally, I support Samaritan’s Purse, not only because of the great work they do in helping victims of disasters all over the world but because their administrative costs are 10% or less of their income. I know that 90 cents or more out of every dollar I give them goes directly to helping those in need. You know how I know that? They file financial disclosure forms.

If you’d rather give your money to people who use it to help others instead of helping themselves to it, you can learn more at www.samaritanspurse.org.

You’ve got to hand it to leftist California legislators: they are endlessly creative when it comes to thinking up schemes to try to legislate reality away. Here’s the latest, and it’s a doozy:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10709547/California-proposes-four-day-work-week-companies-500-employees-forcing-overtime.html

In a proposal that would affect 2600 companies and about one-fifth of the state’s workforce, they want to help people cope with leftist-caused inflation by reducing the standard work week from 40 to 32 hours and from five to four days for companies with over 500 employees. That way, anyone who works more than 32 hours would be paid time-and-a-half for overtime. Those working over 12 hours a day or over eight hours on a seventh day would get double pay. In effect, it would force employers to raise wages by an average of 25 percent. It also bars employers from lowering wages to compensate for the government-mandated raise.

There’s also a move by House Democrats to pass a similar national bill. The chair of the Progressive Caucus, far-left Rep. Pramila Jayapal, declared, “It is past time that we put people and communities over corporations and their profits — finally prioritizing the health, well-being, and basic human dignity of the working class rather than their employers' bottom line. The 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance.”

However, the California Chamber of Commerce calls the bill a “job killer.” California companies are already struggling to survive the inflation, supply chain crisis, outrageous gas prices, COVID restrictions and high taxes “progressives” have wrought, and they can’t afford a 25% hike in labor costs. They’ll have to lay off workers, go out of business or join the ongoing stampede to other states. Minimum wage workers who depend on working extra hours to make ends meet won’t be allowed to work more than 32 hours a week. It’s a perfect example of why President Reagan said the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

But I will give the “progressives” this: the workers they claim to be “helping” will be able to spend a lot more time with their families once they’re unemployed. However, if they really want to help both employers and employees, I suggest that “progressive” legislators cut their own work week to zero hours.

If you’re among the handful of people who were actually watching the Oscars before your friends called to say, “Turn it on, they’re slapping each other,” you heard the hosts mock what they call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill (it actually doesn’t even mention the word “gay”) The three hosts all sang out, “Gay, gay, gay!” to show how you just can’t stop woke Hollywood movie stars from saying, “Gay.”

Unless you’re China, then you can stop them quite easily. In a staggering example of Hollywood hypocrisy, Variety reports that in the new Harry Potter offshoot movie, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” two lines referring to a gay relationship between the characters were cut out to appease the Chinese censors.

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/04/13/hollywood-hypocrisy-we-say-gay-unless-china-doesnt-want-us-to-n549860

Warners released a statement reading, “As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors.”

Guy Benson of Townhall.com translated that showbiz baloney into plain English:

“Hollywood to Florida: ‘We say GAY!’

Hollywood to China: ‘We will certainly not say “gay” – thank you for your censorship notes, please give us money.’”

So they respect China's "culture" that denies gay people's existence, but not Florida's culture, where parents have the right to prevent their small children from being exposed to inappropriate sexual messages.

That’s Hollywood in 2022: they’ll boycott American states for protecting kids from porn or for not letting men into women’s bathrooms, but they’ll happily ignore Chinese genocide and censorship. Their respect for local customs and norms appears to depend entirely on the size of the profit margin.

As a longtime comedy writer and lifelong comedy fan, I am very sad to report that Gilbert Gottfried died Tuesday at 67 after a long illness known as Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II. His family issued a statement reading, “In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children” and urging people “to please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.”

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/comedian-gilbert-gottfried-dead

There’s a saying in show business that a comic says funny things, but a real comedian says things funny. Some people have a voice and delivery that make people laugh, no matter what they say. Gilbert Gottfried came out of an era of very distinctive comics (Sam Kinison, Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, etc.) and was perhaps the most unmistakable comic voice of all. Conan O’Brien recalled the first time he saw him: the audience applauded, and Gilbert said, “Thank you!” Then he kept repeating “Thank you!” for five minutes with different inflections, and it just got funnier and funnier.

In later years, he would do entire sets of nothing but old dirty jokes that everyone knew, but you’d still laugh your head off at the way he said them.

Social media was quickly flooded with tributes from fellow comics and former co-stars hailing Gilbert as both a brilliant "comedian's comedian" and one of the nicest, sweetest guys in the industry. His sweetness and living cartoon character image enabled him to get away with doing raunchy material for adult audiences while also delighting children by voicing many cartoon characters, including the Aflac duck and Iago the parrot in Disney’s “Aladdin.” At least, up until he lost the Aflac gig for being too politically incorrect.

Gilbert was fearless in doing jokes others found distasteful, like being the first to do jokes about 9/11 (giving rise to the concept of “Too soon,” a question he often asked his own audiences after a joke.) Friends said that if he could, he would already be tweeting jokes about his own death.

As for my usual trivia nobody else shares: Gilbert began performing standup at 15 and got his first big break when he was cast on “Saturday Night Live.” But it was the terrible 6th season, when the OG cast left and producer Jean Doumanian took over from Lorne Michaels. Gilbert seldom got on screen, and when he did, he had no lines. In one sketch, he played a dead body in a coffin. (Doumanian was so lacking in comedy instincts that her staff had to talk her into hiring Eddie Murphy over her objections.) Gilbert left after 12 episodes.

Gilbert recently defended his friend Chris Rock’s right to tell a joke without being assaulted, just as he always fought against cancel culture. In an article for Vulture in 2016, he wrote that Twitter outrage mobs make “me feel sentimental about old-time angry mobs. In a mob, you actually had to throw on your jacket, go outside, use your hands. Now you can join a mob sitting on your couch in your underwear. I feel like people who get outraged like that are patting themselves on the back. ‘You see, I was offended.’”

And in an eerie coincidence, one of Gilbert’s recent tweets was in honor of the loss of two of his good friends. It was a selfie of him with Bob Saget and Louie Anderson. RIP to all three. Thanks for all the laughs, guys.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gilbert-gottfried-bob-saget-louie-anderson-photo_n_6255ebe3e4b0e97a3517f1be

If you wonder why so many Twitter twits are panicking at the idea of Elon Musk buying the company and bringing back free speech, here are just a couple of the most recent examples of how Big Tech companies have become addicted to censoring speech. Claiming they’re fighting “disinformation” or “dangerous” rhetoric is just a fig leaf to cover their irresistible urge to censor any opinion or even unassailable fact that undermines leftist narratives.

First, meet social influencers Cole and Savannah LaBrant, a popular Christian couple with over 10 million Instagram followers and 13 million YouTube subscribers. They made a documentary on abortion. It doesn’t vilify anyone: it just talks to pro-life doctors, a doctor who stopped doing abortions, and women who opted not to get abortions, and tells their stories and the truth about what abortion really is (hint: it’s not “reproductive justice” or some other fuzzy euphemism.) It also talks about Embrace Grace, a non-profit that helps women in crisis pregnancies.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/instagram-removes-pro-life-video-posted-by-influencer-labrant-family-while-they-face-intense-backlash-from-fans

After getting some angry complaints from the pro-abortion crowd, Instagram removed the video. YouTube allowed it to stay up, but demonetized it, even though all ad revenues go to local pregnancy centers.

Now, exhibit B (and a headache that this newsletter deals with regularly): Issues & Insights conducts regular polls with the TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP.) TIPP has been the most accurate pollster in the last five presidential elections. In March, the I&I/TIPP poll found that nearly two-thirds of America’s registered voters said they believe that decisions about COVID restrictions are driven by politics and not science. Majorities of almost every political, ideological and identity group agreed.

Yet Google’s AdSense stripped ads from the article, claiming it contained “dangerous or derogatory content,” and had to be “fixed” if they wanted ad revenue back. I&I requested a review, but Google rejected the request.

Please note that the poll didn’t declare that politics rather than science rules COVID decisions. That would be a statement of opinion. Instead, it stated the hard fact that a majority of registered voters surveyed believe that. I&I pointed out that, ironically, an earlier poll found that by a 59-29% margin, Americans disapprove of social media suspending users for expressing opposing views on COVID. The only group that approved of such censorship was Democrats (44-42%.) Liberals were evenly split at 43-43%. All other groups strongly disapproved.

When these sites first began violating their obligation to be neutral platforms to maintain their federal protection against lawsuits, they claimed it was necessary to stop “dangerous” extreme speech, like the promotion of terrorism or Nazism. Do you see anything “dangerous” in the examples above?

They’ve redefined "dangerous speech" as anything that might be dangerous to the far-left “progressive” political agenda, which can mean anything from a solid fact to an intelligent, informed opinion. They have become the real danger to society; and if they have no respect for the law that grants them immunity from lawsuits, then it’s high time that law got revoked and let the lawsuits flow like mighty rivers.

It’s either that, or Elon Musk might have to buy all of them.

https://redstate.com/bonchie/2022/04/12/elon-musk-has-twitter-employees-hyperventilating-after-his-latest-move-n549475