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Imagine if President Trump had written an op-ed or gone on TV with a message to those who might be subpoenaed by, say, Adam Schiff or Jerrold Nadler: REFUSE TO COOPERATE.

Can you even imagine the fevered cries of “Obstruction!!”? Of course, in the chess game that was the phony “Trump/Russia” investigation, they managed to set it up so that virtually anything Trump said or did, even it it was well within his authority as President, could be viewed as obstruction of justice.

But Andrew Weissmann, former special counsel Robert Mueller’s infamous “pit bull” whose specialty is withholding exculpatory evidence, has quite arguably obstructed justice himself. Here’s the story from Daniel Chaitin in THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER.

In an op-ed in THE NEW YORK TIMES (where else?), he and co-author Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel, urged Justice Department officials to consider not cooperating with two investigations being overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr. There’s the wide-ranging John Durham investigation, and also the John Bash investigation into all that unmasking of American citizens. (Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was one of those unmasked, but there were many more.)

The reason Weissmann and Goodman are making a stink is that they don’t want either of the reports to come out before the election. So they maintain that putting it out before the election would be political --- an attempt to interfere with the election. But I say that keeping a completed report under wraps until AFTER the election would be political --- a calculated attempt to interfere with the election by keeping voters in the dark. Likewise, interfering with the investigation so that the report can’t be completed in time would be political. Sounds like obstruction to me.

"What can be done if Mr. Barr seeks to take actions in service of the President’s political ambitions?” they wrote. “...Employees who witness or are asked to participate in such political actions –- who all swore an oath to the Constitution and must obey Department policies –- can refuse, report and, if necessary, resign. Other models include speaking with Congress under subpoena or resigning and then communicating directly to the public. Reputable organizations are at the ready to advise whistle-blowers about the risks and benefits of pursuing these paths."

They’re probably talking about that same law firm that protected the “anonymous” whistleblower that kicked off Trump’s impeachment. How conveeeeenient. Of course, if Barr does anything at all that happens to benefit Trump, it must have been done “in service to the President’s political ambitions.”

One big take-away from Weissmann’s behavior is that he must think these investigations found some really, really bad stuff.

By the way, if you’re interested in a book not to buy, Weissmann has a book coming out in September, purported to explain why the Mueller team could have “done more” in their Russia investigation. Well, let’s see...according to Sidney Powell, they sure could have “done more” to get exculpatory documents to defense attorneys! A lot more.

A new Gallup poll found that 61% of black Americans want the police to maintain the same amount of time they currently spend in their communities. Another 20% of blacks want the police to spend MORE time in their communities. Only 19% want the police to spend less time in their communities.

A large majority of blacks think that we need police reform, and 37% aren’t confident that they’d be treated with courtesy and respect if they interacted with the police. But that doesn’t mean they want the police to go away. In short, they think there are problems, but you don’t solve them by doing away with the police and leaving citizens to the mercy of gangs and criminals and the protective abilities of unarmed social workers.

To put it in even fewer words: unlike a leftist city council, they’re not nuts.

Important Education Story

August 7, 2020

Here’s an important education story that I can’t find anywhere in the mainstream media:

Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul introduced the SCHOOL (Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning) Act. Since teachers’ unions are refusing to let schools reopen but expect taxpayers to keep funding them anyway, Paul’s bill would reallocate federal education funds directly to parents. Parents would get their own tax money back to use to educate their children however they see fit, whether in public schools, private schools or for supplies, tutoring and other expenses of home-schooling.

This is such a great idea that the media will surely try to bury it, as will Democrats, who depend heavily on teachers’ unions to get them reelected. I’m sure it will be assailed, just as school choice and vouchers are, as an assault on our sacred public school system.

Sorry, but I’ve studied theology, and I see nothing sacred about any governmental “system.” I think the public school system is a great and noble idea, and I have nothing but respect for the many dedicated teachers who are a part of it and who give their all (and sometimes spend their own paychecks on supplies the schools won’t provide.)

But the devil’s bargain between the union leaders and the Democratic Party has perverted that system. Our sole focus should be on how to provide the most effective learning experience for every student. Instead, we see failing schools kept open, students forced into them at detriment to their futures, political indoctrination substituted for real history and civics, and incompetent teachers protected, as if their job security were more important than our children’s futures. Just as with any other government system, I support the public school system as long as it works. When it starts doing more harm than good, then like a broken-down car, you either need to fix the problems or trade it in on something new that will get you where you need to go.

You remember back in 2016, when Hillary Clinton thought she was a shoo-in for President, and Trump might question the validity of her win, and she expressed shock, outrage and horror that anyone would be so selfish and unpatriotic as to refuse to accept the results of a US Presidential election…then she lost, and she’s spent the past three years doing precisely that, along with millions of her fellow “Resistance” sore losers.

Now, it’s déjà vu all over again as the same never-Trumpers who’ve spent every moment since 2016 refusing to accept that Hillary lost are floating nightmare conspiracy theories that Trump might refuse to accept that he lost to Biden and leave the White House (to be fair, there were also some crackpot theories on the right that Obama would refuse to leave the White House.)

This kind of paranoia and refusal to accept the peaceful transfer of power and the verdict of the people in elections is something new and extremely destructive in the history of the United States. It’s a large part of what’s led us to a period that may be the most divisive since the Civil War. And there’s growing concern that if Trump is reelected, it will actually get even worse (like Portland everywhere.)

To test that, a bi-partisan anti-Trump organization called the Transition Integrity Project (Ha!) secretly gathered 100 "former high-ranking government officials, senior political campaigners, nationally prominent journalists and communications professionals, social movement leaders, and experts on politics, national security, democratic reform, election law, and media." Together, they war-gamed various election scenarios to try to figure out what the reactions would be.

These scenarios ranged from Biden winning the popular vote and losing the Electoral College to a narrow Trump win but with claims of some Biden ballots being destroyed. In the end, there was only one scenario in which a candidate won a clear victory and the losing side refused to accept it, and that loser was Biden.

The moral I draw from this (aside from "be VERY prepared") is that Trump’s victory needs to be so overwhelming in both the popular vote and the Electoral College that there can be no disputing it. That won’t stop the left from disputing it anyway, because they may not believe in God, but they think they have a Divine right to rule us. It will, however, send them a signal that they’re outnumbered so maybe they'll finally develop a little introspection and realize it’s time to grow up, end their three-year-plus tantrum and start thinking about why so many people think they shouldn’t be within 100 miles of the levers of power.

Nah, that'll never happen! But at least they can comfort themselves that Trump won't run for a third term.

Or maybe he WILL!...

Most reporters covering the White House have a severe illness --- not COVID-19, but Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS. The main symptom of TDS, at least as it manifests itself at Trump’s press briefings, is the inability to resist the urge to correct him with fake information, typically DNC talking points.

On Wednesday, during President Trump’s press briefing, it happened again. Someone tried to correct the President as he was answering a question on mail-in balloting. The reporter chimed in, “There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.” The President, knowing a Democrat talking point when he hears one, called her out on that, saying, “Oh, really? Well, then, you’re reading a different newspaper than me.” Gotta love it.

Let’s try THE NEW YORK TIMES. Thanks to Dan Bongino for calling attention to this piece from the NYT from just a month before the 2012 election –- significantly, long before Trump called attention to the problem –- called “Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises.” Note that this article was talking mostly about absentee voting, which still has more controls than widespread mail-in voting.

Using a primary election as an example, this piece illustrated how easy it is to make a ballot NOT COUNT, just by comparing signatures and deciding the “r’s” don’t match. Lather, rinse, repeat, for as many times as you need votes.

At the time this article was written in late 2012, the use of absentee ballots and other forms of mail-in balloting had tripled since 1980 and accounted for almost 20 percent of all voting.

According to the NYT story, statistics showed that votes cast by mail were less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth. Twice more mail-in votes were rejected than in-person votes.

There’s something called the “margin of litigation” that allows election lawyers to challenge results with the possibility of changing the outcome. We’ve seen that if election results fall within that margin, there absolutely will be a challenge. If you recall the Florida results after the Bush-Gore election, you know what a ridiculous mess it turned into, with election judges trying to second-guess and accept or reject ballots on the basis of how their chads were hanging. Anyone who thinks wishful thinking and subjective analysis didn’t enter into that judgment is living in a fantasy world. That counts as fraud in my book.

Keep in mind, this was in THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Voting by mail is now common enough and problematic enough that election experts say there have been multiple elections in which no one can say with confidence which candidate was the deserved winner.”

The NYT even cited as an example the 2008 election that made Al Franken a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. (Recall that his win was what ended up giving Obamacare the Senate vote. Elections mean things.) Franken won by a mere 312 votes after 12,000 absentee ballots (about 4 percent of those) had been rejected.

In general, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to vote absentee; ironically, this might help explain the NYT’s willingness to criticize it. (To be fair, it might also have something to do with the push by Republicans in the past for absentee voting.) But widespread voting-by-mail has much less oversight than the process that is normally gone through to vote absentee. Some states are just wildly sending out mail-in ballots. Again this is from THE NEW YORK TIMES: “There is general consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms.”

Absentee voting was not meant to be the main way to vote. It’s for people who know they’re going to be away or otherwise unable to come in and vote on Election Day. In a normal election year, early in-person voting accommodates many of those people, and absentee voting takes care of the rest. I don’t think most people have thought seriously about what it would be like if virtually EVERYONE voted by mail. I agree with Bongino that it would be “an apocalyptic disaster.” (I haven’t even mentioned that the American Postal Workers Union has endorsed Biden. That in itself justifies a lack of confidence in the mail-in process.)

Even with the number of people who would normally vote absentee, the idea that “every vote counts” is naive. The only way we can counteract this problem is with a LANDSLIDE victory for President Trump and Republicans down the line.

I've previously linked to the Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database of proven examples of voter fraud from across the country, and in case you didn’t see it or would like to review it in this context, here it is again.

Voter fraud is hard to prove –- better to head it off than try to do something about it afterwards. Though this accounting is not all-inclusive and is limited to proven, not just suspected, cases, it gives an idea of the scope of the problem. In their words, “preventing, deterring and prosecuting election fraud is essential to protecting the integrity of our voting process. Reforms intended to ensure such integrity do not disenfranchise voters and, in fact, protect their right to vote.”

Bongino also had a story from the NEW YORK POST from just two days ago (August 4), with the headline “25 percent of ballots in Brooklyn June primaries invalid.” They’re trying to deal with the mess; here’s an updated story from later that day.

Election Day has always been a day for Americans to celebrate. There’s a certain ritual involved in going to the polls THAT DAY and exercising our right. Even early voting diminishes that a little, I think, and it also encourages people to vote without knowing as much about the candidates as they might if they had waited. Then there's absentee voting, an alternative when one simply cannot go to the polls. (This year, that would include the elderly and others at high risk.) But large-scale mail-in voting is an unnecessary invitation to fraud and must not happen.

Think of the generations of Americans who have risked their lives –- given their lives –- to preserve our precious freedom and our right to vote. In light of that, the VERY LEAST that freedom-loving Americans can do is put on a doggone mask, go to the polls, keep the proper distance, and VOTE, for crying out loud. They’ll have hand sanitizer there, promise.

Many Trump supporters are frustrated that the President seemed unprepared for some of the tough questions about the US coronavirus response in his Axios interview with Jonathan Swan. So he might want to take a cue from Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who has some advice for him on how to explain it in clearer terms.

Margolis points out that in comparing the US negatively to Germany and South Korea in terms of deaths per million, Swan cherry-picked two nations but left out a lot of others. In fact, the US is not #1 in deaths per million, but tenth.

Also, the US isn’t a small, homogenous nation with one all-powerful central government; it’s a collection of 50 states that the federal government can only offer aid and advice to as they make their own local decisions, and with Constitutional rights for individuals that must be accommodated (even if they are trampled in some blue states.) Because of that, many of the COVID-19 deaths have been in a small handful of Northeastern blue states. If you lifted New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and DC out and lumped them together as if they were a nation, they would lead the world in deaths per 100,000, while the entire remaining states together would come in 18th.

Liberal media outlets would like us to believe that Trump is somehow responsible for the bad decisions made by local Democratic officials, like forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients. Trump didn’t run the New York State or City response to the virus, but he did insure that the predicted deadly shortages of ventilators and hospital rooms (remember that scare story?) never materialized.

If Swan wants to know who was in charge of the response in New York, maybe he should interview New York City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Wait, I’m sorry: she’s now the former Health Commissioner. She just resigned and blasted Mayor DeBlasio on her way out the door. She wrote, “I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the health department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been.” There had been longstanding conflicts between her and DeBlasio, who said he needs team players: “It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change. We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.” (Can you imagine the media's reaction if Dr. Fauci had resigned and blasted Trump, and he replied that he needed team players?)

Please note that I’m not even going to comment on which side is right here. I may think that DeBlasio has done a terrible job, but that doesn’t mean that he should have done whatever Dr. Barbot said. Way back in April, when there were reports of dust-ups between Trump and Fauci, I said I wouldn’t be surprised, since they both have different jobs. Fauci has only the health issue to deal with, and if he thinks we could prevent even only COVID-19 death by shutting down the economy for two years, he might think it’s worth it. But Trump is more like a general overseeing a battlefield: he has to consider all the ramifications and unintended consequences; he can’t focus solely on one platoon if it’s going to cost him the war in the long run.

We have pandemics all the time (remember swine flu in 2009?), but we can’t shut down the world for a year or more until we develop a vaccine for all of them. Maybe DeBlasio thought he was protecting both New York’s health and its economy. He simply failed on both counts.

So, if you defund the police, what do you replace them with?

According to a blueprint reportedly backed by a majority of the Seattle City Council, the Police Department “perpetuates racism and violence” and upholds “white supremacy culture,” so they want to replace it with non-profit programs and “community-led activities.” They’re seeking groups that are “well-versed in de-escalation skills and mental health support,” including “trauma-informed, gender-affirming, anti-racist praxis,” and that are “committed to retention of social service workers with adequate and equitable pay and benefits, preferably unionized” and have a “demonstrated commitment to a harm-reduction model, including safer consumption practices.” They'd also better have really excellent medical insurance benefits.

There’s a lot more of this touchy-feely, leftwing fantasyland word salad at the link, but to help the citizens of Seattle, I’ll boil it down to just one word:

“MOVE!”

Thursday Fake News

August 6, 2020

A story exploded onto the media Wednesday that for the first time, Facebook and Twitter had banned President Trump from tweeting because of a video clip of him talking about reopening schools in which he said children are “almost immune” to the coronavirus, which the sites branded as “misinformation.”

That was actually due to sloppy reporting by the Washington Post, which confused President Trump’s personal Twitter account with his campaign account, which is where the clip actually was posted.

As to whether either social media platform had any business censoring Trump’s comment, that’s an entirely different and legitimate question. A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign said the President was merely "stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus," and the ban was “another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.

I just wrote about a study showing the leftwing bias of the “fact-checkers” such sites rely on.

But I’ll toss this in, too: According to the CDC, the number of children in the US under age 15 who have died of COVID-19 is 42 out of 135,579 as of July 25th. That represents 0.03% of all virus deaths, and only 0.3% of all deaths in that age group. Eighty percent of COVID-19 deaths are among the elderly, and people under 45 account for less than 3%. COVID-19 is not even among the 10 leading causes of deaths of children school-age and younger. So while it must be taken very seriously, and obviously, all children are not immune to it, saying they’re “almost immune” doesn’t sound like it’s that far off the mark to me.

Incidentally, those numbers come from a must-read article by Heritage.org with a number of surprising facts and debunked popular claims about COVID-19. For instance, it is not the leading cause of death in America right now, the US does not have the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world, and Florida’s deaths-per-million rate is far from equaling that of New York (by 327 to 1,685.) Listen to the media long enough, and you’ll be like the old Firesign Theater album: “Everything You Know Is Wrong.”

Gregg Jarrett has an excellent write-up of former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’ testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s a must-read.

To put it mildly, Jarrett was not impressed with this Obama holdover at the DOJ. “Like Comey,” he said, “Yates was a model of prevarication and insincerity...She minimized her own negligence and incompetence while blaming everyone else.”

Her strategy was so transparent that it even amused at times. She threw James Comey under the bus (which does seem like a pretty appropriate place for him, but still), and she cast herself as a Pollyanna who just didn’t know about the problems with the so-called evidence in the “Russia” case. Give me a break.

In “Yates World,” George Papadopoulos really is “connected to Russian intelligence”; the wiretapping of Page wasn’t surveillance of the Trump campaign because Page was a FORMER campaign associate; and Michael Flynn was not truthful with FBI agents Strzok and Pientka. Also, there was no bias on the part of FBI agents. None of this is true. Is Yates the Queen of Denial, or is she concocting an insanity defense in the event she is charged?