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It’s hard to hit the standard of “Most Outrageous Story of the Day” these days, but this definitely does it: the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s sergeant who cowered outside behind his car waiting for help to arrive while children were being slaughtered during the Parkland school shooting just got his job back with full back pay.
Thanks to his union defending him, an arbitrator ruled that his firing violated his due process rights. He’ll not only be given his job back but also a year’s salary (he made $137,000 in 2018) and any overtime that he would have received, as well as medical reimbursements, accrual of time, paid holidays and time off.
Needless to say, the children whose right to life was violated when he failed to protect them will receive no restitution because they remain dead. I could go on, but I’ll just second what law Prof. Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog had to say about this disgusting travesty.  
 
 

D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has been in no hurry to dispense with the Michael Flynn case, and I’m sorry to report it’s not over yet.

Observers thought he might go ahead and dismiss the case early this week, but it was not to be. Tuesday evening, he “indefinitely postponed” any ruling. It’s not enough for him that the Department of Justice has had it reviewed by an outside U.S. attorney and recommended dropping it; Sullivan is inviting OUTSIDE GROUPS, no doubt with their own political agendas, to file amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs, to let them all come forward and make a case against Flynn’s exoneration.

That doesn’t sound like justice to me –- just the opposite. Although conservative groups may also file briefs, this ruling by Judge Sullivan will turn the case into a total political circus. The left will organize like crazy to deluge the court with condemnations of Flynn. (“He lied! He pleaded guilty!”) That is not how decisions of guilt or innocence should be made. Flynn should never have been questioned by the FBI in the first place, as investigators had found nothing, and after four years of this atrocity, Flynn deserves much better. I hate to say it, but he deserves a better JUDGE. Investigative reporter Sean Davis agrees.

Here’s the full story at FOX NEWS, updated to say that an ethics complaint is being filed against Judge Sullivan by independent journalist Michael Cernovich, because the judge has previously refused to let groups file pro-Flynn amicus briefs. Cernovich says the judge is “acting as a politician, not a judge.” I’ll second that motion.

In other (better) Flynn news, we know as of Tuesday evening at least part of what was in the mysterious satchel that acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell hand-delivered to the Justice Department last week. As Ed Henry reported on FOX NEWS, the contents were one of several batches being declassified and brought over and may explain the pre-emptive strikes in recent days by President Obama and former intel officials. The bag contains a list of the former Obama administration officials who targeted Flynn and unmasked him in classified transcripts of recorded conversations, including those with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This could be illegal, and the leak of his name to the Washington Post was undeniably illegal. Flynn’s name had been redacted because, as an American citizen, he has certain legal rights to privacy. (I’ll wait while you fall to the floor, helpless with laughter.)

Seriously, leaking unmasked information and/or using it for political gain is against federal law. Well, unless Obama –- or James Comey, on behalf of Obama –- told you to do it. I’m only half kidding.

Grenell has declassified the names of those who unmasked Flynn’s identity between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017. This was an intense period for the “Trump/Russia” investigators, especially January; we’ve all seen the timeline. In particular, Obama held an Oval Office confab on January 5 and afterwards discussed the Flynn recordings with Comey and Sally Yates.

Attorney General Bill Barr has recommended dropping the case against Flynn, and U.S. Attorney John Durham is reportedly looking at the unmasking and leaking to see if prosecutions are warranted. Those who want the names of the unmaskers will have to wait a while; according to Sarah Carter, they will be made public, but Grenell and Barr will “work through this and decide who is best to release the names.”

Of course, the HUGE question is this: how did Obama come to be so very well informed of the Flynn surveillance and his call with Kislyak? By January 5, he knew all about it, to Yates’ great surprise. Maybe we’ll know soon; sources tell Ed Henry that Grenell has “four or five” other batches of intel coming, and that “it could get sticky for [former CIA Director] John Brennan in particular.”

Apparently Brennan knew something that contradicted the chosen narrative that Russia wanted to help Trump win. It was that Russia actually wanted HILLARY to win, because she was “a known quantity” and “more malleable” than a wild-card businessman like Trump.

ASIDE: Isn’t this what we’ve been saying all along? Given all we know, it defies logic to say Russia backed Donald Trump, as the fictional Steele “dossier” claimed. Good heavens, look at what Hillary did for them –- how can anyone be surprised that Putin wanted her in the White House after she approved the deal that led to their owning 20 percent of America’s uranium supply? She might as well have been their lobbyist. Plus, there's no telling what they might have had on her to use as blackmail. No, Russia was “WITH HER."

Recall that our nation’s 17 (17!) intel agencies put together an “Intelligence Community Assessment” that concluded Russia had tried to damage Hillary and help Trump win in 2016. Evidence that Brennan suppressed intel saying Russia wanted Hillary is reportedly part of what Grenell is in the process of sending over. Even though Brennan had to be aware of the political origins of the “dossier,” he pushed hard for it to be included in the assessment, and he got his way, at least partly; a “dossier” summary was included.

So far, this all seems like old news to us –- and likely to you, too –- as we’ve followed investigative reporters who had excellent sources and were reporting on this for years, mostly into a vacuum. The important thing now is that we’re finally seeing evidence, not just what “sources say.” It’s all true. The reporters who’ve been worthy of our attention all along were not just way out ahead of the pack, but also right. Unlike the “journalists” so wedded to their anti-Trump narrative that they ignore anything that challenges it, we want most of all to be correct. If we’re not, we’ll say so. But so far, we are. Correct, that is.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsay Graham has been saying for months that he would seek testimony from Obama officials about the Russia investigation, issuing subpoenas if necessary. He wants to hear specifically about that January 5 meeting and the unmasking. As he told Sean Hannity Tuesday night, he wants to know if unmasking was “used as a political weapon.” He also wants to know “why Sally Yates didn’t know about the Flynn investigation but President Obama did.” And he wants Grenell to go ahead and release the names of the unmaskers.

The fact that the national security adviser for an incoming President was surveilled by the outgoing administration –- possibly the outgoing President –- is truly stunning. “If I ever find that the intelligence community is unmasking my phone calls to foreign leaders where I discuss foreign policy as a United States senator, heads will roll,” Graham said.

But the Senate has no prosecutorial power; that has to come from the Justice Department. The Senate can have hearings if they want to, but justice is in the hands of Durham and Barr, who must know this is the worst scandal in American government, possibly ever.

Leaving California

May 12, 2020

Californians have voted further and further left for years. As they have, they’ve watched their borders be erased, illegal alien criminals being welcomed and released from jail (first because ICE wanted to deport them, and now because they might get sick if they stayed in jail, so they have to release them to rob and kill law-abiding citizens.) They’ve watched their taxes and gas prices (due to taxes) skyrocket even as the homeless population exploded and public sanitation became so bad that parks and sidewalks were covered in feces and drug needles and ancient diseases such as typhus made a return. Affordable housing is impossible to find, and small business owners are fleeing to other states. Some areas, such as Silicon Valley, have reverted to the era of feudalism, with the wealthy tech lords protected by security walls and armed guards in their castles (while denouncing security walls and guns for anyone else), as the surfs who work for them shelter in tiny dwellings or in their cars.

Not content with driving out the middle class and small business owners, the leftist leaders passed AB-5, which is killing the growing gig economy (in the name of “helping the workers,” naturally), making it impossible for contract workers from Uber drivers to club musicians to make a living.

And then came the coronavirus, which gave leftist power mongers their long-dreamed-of excuse to “fundamentally transform” society by ordering everyone to just stay home and live off government handouts, no matter how painful or irrational that may be (someone pointed out that leftists want to arrest Americans who go to work to feed their families, but not illegal immigrants because they just want to work to feed their families.) They have now gone so far than even some of the tech titans are starting to cry foul. Like electric car pioneer Elon Musk, who has had enough of the endless lockdown policy.

Musk called the lockdown that’s shuttered his Tesla factory in Fremont “the last straw.” He says he’s filing a lawsuit against the county and plans to move his HQ and future programs to Texas and Nevada, and he might have to close the Fremont plant, depending on how they are treated. He noted that Tesla is the last carmaker left in California. No surprise there.

And how did California officials react to this news? Did they reexamine their policies? Did they try to convince Musk that they could be reasonable, and he should keep his plant in California? Are you kidding? Of course not! San Diego Rep. Lorena Gonzalez, author of the disastrous AB-5 bill, responded by sending a profane tweet cursing Musk (warning: foul language at the link, the kind responsible adults don’t use in public forums.)

Musk offered a perfect reply, but his ultimate reply will come if and when he takes his thousands of jobs and joins the stampede out of California. Let us hope this is the “last straw,” the one that finally convinces Californians to come out of their homes, go to the polls and throw these lunatics out of office, so that they can discover what it feels like not to have a job or be able to pay their rent.

The impact of COVID-19

May 12, 2020

As more states around the nation ease up on their COVID-19 (Chinese) virus lockdowns, New York is still suffering the worst. This link is to a regularly-updated map, showing the number of deaths per million in all nations, and by US state.

You can tell by the color coding that New York stands out like a blackened tooth, with 1378 deaths per million. Even other “hot spots” such as Michigan and Louisiana are under 500 per million. Florida, whose Governor has been savaged by the media for not closing down the whole state, has 80 deaths per million. Texas has only 39 (meaning the odds of dying of the virus in Texas are over 2-1/2 times longer than the odds of winning the Pick-4 lottery.) In Montana, it’s 15; in Wyoming, 12. It’s obvious how much New York is skewing the national death figures. Yet some health officials tell us that every state must impose the same strict lockdown rules as New York indefinitely or we’ll all die.

But wait: how effective have these rules been even in New York, if it's that bad (we now know 66% of new hospitalizations are people who were sheltering-in-place)? And for all the praise being lavished on Gov. Andrew Cuomo by the media, has he really been that effective and proactive in stopping it? We’ve been told that everything Trump has done has been wrong, like what a racist he was for shutting off travel from China in January. But that saved countless lives. On the other hand, the New York Times reports that according to a new study of outbreaks around the US, New Yorkers were “the primary source of infections” in other states. A Yale epidemiologist said they now have enough data to be confident in saying that New York was the primary gateway for the virus to the rest of the country.

But when other states, such as Rhode Island, proposed quarantining New York to contain the disease, Cuomo threatened to sue them if they didn't let New Yorkers in (for the record, Rhode Island currently has 398 deaths per million residents.)

So we can add that action to the list of tragic missteps that included forcing New York nursing homes to take recovering coronavirus patients, which led to New York having the highest rate of nursing home deaths.

Having been a Governor myself, I am loath to criticize and second-guess every incorrect decision that’s made when you’re dealing with an emergency and don’t have all the data needed. But when you add up not having enough ventilators on hand to deal with any major crisis, sending virus patients to nursing homes filled with the most vulnerable group of people, and threatening lawsuits to prevent a quarantine of a deadly, highly contagious disease, I’m finding it hard to understand why so many Democrats think we should replace Trump with Cuomo. Is Biden really that bad a candidate?

But then I look at Biden and think…yeah, he is.

While looking for some background information on former FBI Director James Comey, I happened to click on a link that took me to a 2003 profile of him in NEW YORK magazine. How interesting –- I love to look back at contemporaneous observations, in this case from the days following 9/11 and the introduction of the Patriot Act.

The thrust of the piece seems to be that Comey is just a “good guy” who can’t really be pigeonholed politically, and in 2003, that uncomplicated picture might have been adequate to describe him. There was a lot I learned about him, though, including events surrounding the deeply tragic loss of his 9-day-old son from an infection that could easily have been treated at the hospital.

Comey always seems to have been obsessed with moral introspection –- not sure when he picked up the nickname “Cardinal Comey” –- but the impression given in the article is also that of someone who didn’t want to be too public about it, or about his work in general. The future FBI director made it clear to the interviewer that he thought Rudy Giuliani, for example, was too much of an attention-seeker for his taste, much more of a show-boater than he himself could ever be. In that respect, the James Comey we see now appears to have changed a great deal from the man being profiled in 2003, in that today he has no problem with being bathed in the glow of worshipful anti-Trump media attention, which can always be counted on to provide a forum for all his self-indulgent lecturing and posturing and criticizing and condescending and tweeting and famously bragging about going around established procedures because, hey, he thought he could get away with it.

And in light of what we know today about what Comey did to ruin the life and career of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn –- bringing up the Logan Act to President Obama as part of the plan to railroad Flynn over a phone conversation that was a perfectly appropriate part of his new job as Trump’s new national security adviser –- one paragraph in particular leaped out at me:

"When Comey arrives in Washington next month to become interim deputy attorney general (his appointment is subject to confirmation hearings), the Patriot Act’s provisions will be among his main weapons. ‘Filling in this spot is a big...deal. Especially on the terrorism side,’ says a senior staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. ‘...Now that the Patriot Act powers are in place,’ the staffer says, ‘the cast of characters --- the people who are really going to implement them --- really matters. A PROSECUTOR WITH THESE TOOLS CAN RUIN SOMEBODY’S LIFE. [Emphasis mine.] Comey comes in with a reputation as a pretty good professional. We’ll see.”

And now, seventeen years later, we have seen.

Another eye-popper, offered by a colleague of Comey’s: “Whenever a new prosecutor started working in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Comey would tell him, ‘Don’t you ever say something you don’t completely believe. I’m not even talking about shades of gray. If you don’t 100 percent believe it, don’t you dare say it. That’s why being a prosecutor is so great: You don’t have to make arguments you don’t believe in.’”

Where to start? When it came to going after Trump and his campaign associates and bringing down Michael Flynn, Comey was painting with more shades of gray than an HGTV house-flipper. Recall that he was one of several officials who signed phony FISA warrant applications, swearing that they contained only “verified” information when they all knew otherwise. And in 2018, he told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC that the FISA process is “incredibly rigorous” and claimed that Republicans’ criticism of the Carter Page FISA warrant application was “a political deal” that was “not based in substance or law.”

That’s 100 percent SOMETHING, all right, but I won't use that language here. I'll just say that the former director of the FBI is a real piece of work. Under Comey’s watch, and with his blessing, the media were presented with a phony “dossier” and a phony story about the resulting “Trump/Russia” investigation, from beginning to end. It was based on nothing, it found nothing, but it told us everything we need to know about the caliber of leadership at the FBI.

If you want to see a master prevaricator at work, just check out this interview Comey gave to Chris Wallace on FOX NEWS after the release of the Horowitz report. He sort-of got away with it at the time, but the internet is forever, and we know so much more now about what really was going on at the FBI. Even so, I’d be willing to bet that in his own mind, he’s still always 100 percent truthful, 100 percent virtuous, a model of goodity and purity for the ages. And if he has to BELIEVE the sky is green and the grass is blue to make other people believe it and still be able to look at himself in the mirror, by golly, he will.

From the archives, here’s that 2003 profile of Comey.

Most people have tried to follow the guidelines to stay home and be cautious, but as the forecasts for the impact have proven to be grossly over-estimated, the only people who seem to want this to continue are certain elected officials who like telling people what to do.

I’ve been to some countries with authoritarian governments that govern with a brutal iron hand. I’ve always appreciated that as a citizen of the United States of America, I had guaranteed civil liberties and clearly defined rights that would be protected. Even if I actually committed a crime and the entire thing was captured from 6 angles on video, I was still presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty by a jury of my peers and I would be entitled to legal representation and due process. We’ve all been rankled by criminals who did horrible things, but who were protected by the very law that we hoped would put them in prison and away from our communities where they did real damage to the innocent. Then came the pandemic, and with it forced closure of businesses, events, and public places, and even forced demands to wear masks and refrain from even visiting our own relatives. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, my beloved America is starting to look like some of the truly horrible and abusive places I have visited and couldn’t wait to get out of.

This week, a hair salon owner in Dallas was actually put in handcuffs and taken to jail because she refused to apologize to a power-hungry judicial tyrant who gets to wear a robe at taxpayer expense. Her crime was not just that she chose to open her salon so that her employees could earn a living and feed their families. She was jailed because she refused to say the magic words ordered by the judge that she was selfish for allowing her employees to earn money to pay their rent, buy groceries, and pay their bills. The judge gets his paycheck by the way, and it’s a good one—over $150,000 a year. Meanwhile in Washington, members of the Nancy Pelosi-led House refused to return to Washington or to engage in session via online meetings because they didn’t think it was safe. They are fine with YOU driving a truck, working in a hospital or nursing home, answering calls as a firefighter or policeman, or stocking the shelves at your local supermarket. But they’re not going to work. But they are getting paid anyway. And YOU are paying them.

Then it hit me. Want to end the most ridiculous and dictatorial aspects of the shutdown? It’s simple. Whatever level of government orders a shutdown for others, its members should cease being paid until those under the shutdown can return to work. If your business can’t open and YOU can’t earn a living, then your mayor, your county officials, your governor or your Congress who shuts you down shouldn’t take one penny of pay until YOU can. You know what will happen? Those orders will get relaxed. Then it will be up to you whether you feel safe venturing out and opening your business or patronizing a business. It’s called freedom.

We’re Americans and we ought to act like it. And the people who were elected to serve us need to start treating us like Americans with fundamental civil liberties instead of like 1st graders who are told when it’s appropriate to go to the restroom and to line up for a trip to the lunchroom so we can eat what someone else has decided is good for us.

So to mayors, governors, county officials and members of Congress as well as the appointed and employed government officials I say this: Since you’re a public servant and the people you work for AREN’T getting paid, stop collecting YOUR paycheck until they get theirs.

You won’t see out of control judges putting hair stylists in jail for not saying the right words. As I said last week-I fear that I MIGHT get a virus. I fear even more that I will lose the liberties that make being an American unique. I’ve visited some police states. I don’t want to live in one.